How Could Jerusalem, "That Great City," Be Destroyed?


Book of Mormon, Jerusalem, False Prophets, prophecy


In the opening chapters of the Book of Mormon, Nephi records that his brothers Laman and Lemuel murmured against their father Lehi “because he was a visionary man, and had led them out of the land of Jerusalem, to leave the land of their inheritance, and their gold, and their silver, and their precious things, to perish in the wilderness. And this they said he had done because of the foolish imaginations of his heart” (1 Nephi 2:11). One of the chief complaints the brothers had against their father was that they—like many—did not “believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets. And they were like unto the Jews who were at Jerusalem, who sought to take away the life of my father” (1 Nephi 2:13). The biblical record contains much information that helps us to better understand the attitude of Laman and Lemuel and many of their fellow inhabitants of Jerusalem and to identify the basis for their fervent belief that their city Jerusalem was invincible and impregnable.

Original Publication Citation

David R. Seely and Fred E. Woods, “How could Jerusalem ‘That Great City’ Be Destroyed?” Glimpses of Lehi’s Jerusalem, Jack Welch, David Seely and Jo Ann Seely, eds., Provo: FARMS, Brigham Young University, 2004), 595–610.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies




Religious Education


Church History and Doctrine

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor