Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship


Book of Mormon, language, culture, Lamanites


An earlier Insights article noted a possible wordplay in the first verse of the Book of Mormon that provides internal textual evidence that the name Nephi derives from the Egyptian word nfr. While nfr denotes “good, fine, goodly" of quality, it also signifies “beautiful, fair” of appearance. Assuming that at least some senses of the Egyptian word passed into Nephite language and culture, this second sense of nfr may have influenced Nephite self-perception. Several Book of Mormon passages evidence the affiliation.