Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


Prior to the Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem in 586 BC, Lehi took his family into the wilderness. Around the same time, another group of Jews fled to Elephantine in Egypt. Ludlow evaluates the Nephite group, the Elephantine colony, and the Jews in postexilic Jerusalem to show how the Nephites compared religiously with other Jewish groups. Social relationships, the Sabbath and festivals, priesthood officials, and temples played important roles in all three communities, with the importance and function of each varying among the three. On the other hand, scriptural texts strongly aided the reformation of Jerusalem and played an important role among the Nephites, beginning with the retrieval of brass plates from Laban, but the Elephantine community lacked texts related to the Hebrew Bible. After comparing the three, Ludlow shows that the Nephites created their own religious community, separate and independent from the religious community they left behind.