Contradictions in Christopher Nemelka’s “Book of Lehi”

The following is a list of contradictions found in Christopher Nemelka’s “The Sealed Portion: The Final Testament of Jesus Christ” (2005; a free download can be found here http://www.marvelousworkandawonder.com/tsp/download/TSPSecured.pdf). Nemelka claims that he has translated the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon and that he has also been given the power to reproduce the lost 116 pages of the original Book of Mormon manuscript. Unfortunately for Nemelka, the reproduction of the 116 page manuscript bears little similarity to the Book of Mormon and has many problems, not the least of which are glaring contradictions of events found in the current version of the Book of Mormon. Some of these contradictions are listed below:

  1. Book of Mormon = Lehi was a descendant of Manasseh (Alma 10:3)

“And Aminadi was a descendant of Nephi, who was the son of Lehi, who came out of the land of Jerusalem, who was a descendant of Manasseh, who was the son of Joseph…”

 Nemelka = Lehi was a descendant of Ephraim (Lehi 1:11, p. 600)

“And Saresh was the son of Judah, who was the son of Ephraim, who was the son of Joseph.”

2. Book of Mormon =  The order of the Priesthood is necessary for Christ’s church (Moroni 3:3-4)

“In the name of Jesus Christ I ordain you to be a priest (or if he be a teacher, I ordain you to be a teacher) to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end. Amen.”

“And after this manner did they ordain priests and teachers, according to the gifts and callings of God unto men; and they ordained them by the power of the Holy Ghost, which was in them.”

Nemelka = The Priesthood is unnecessary for salvation (Lehi 1:51, p. 602)

“Behold, I [Zenock] am not a member of your church, nor do I have the priesthood ye claim giveth you the power and authority to act in the name of God…Nevertheless, God hath called me through the administrations of His holy angels…”

3. Book of Mormon = The ordinances of baptism and taking the sacrament are necessary for salvation (3 Nephi 12:1/18: 5-6)

“Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants; and unto them I have given power that they may baptize you with water; and after that ye are baptized with water, behold, I will baptize you with fire and with the Holy Ghost; therefore blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized, after that ye have seen me and know that I am.”

“And when the multitude had eaten and were filled, he said unto the disciples: Behold there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name. And this shall ye always observe to do, even as I have done, even as I have broken bread and blessed it and given it unto you.”

Nemelka = Ordinances like baptism and the sacrament profit us nothing (TSP 12:116-117, p. 56/ Lehi 1:46, p. 602)

“if a man or woman doeth the works of Christ in the spirit of Christ and doth not receive the ordinance of baptism, or doth not partake of the ordinance of the sacrament, then this man or woman is already doing the will of the Lord and is justified therein…And if their works are righteous, then the ordinances that have been established in the church profit them nothing.”

“For Zenock said unto the priests: Know ye not that the ordinances and sacraments, and offerings, and institutions, and traditions of this church are not the gospel of the Lord, but were intended to point a man towards this gospel?”

4. The Book of Mormon follows a linear timeline (see The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ)

Nemelka cites numerous events in the Book of Mormon before they happened (Lehi 2:14, 16, p. 604-605; see also Lehi 5:23, p. 617/ 9:23, p. 630)

“And Zenos spoke of this land, which is a promised land unto the Nephites and also unto the Lamanites…And in the latter days before God once again sendeth His Son among the people, yea, even in all his glory like unto the glory that he showed unto the Nephites and the Lamanites in the land of Bountiful.”

5. Book of Mormon = The Olive Tree in Zenos’ allegory represents the house of Israel (Jacob 5:3)

“For behold, thus saith the Lord, I will liken thee, O house of Israel, like unto a tame olive tree, which a man took and nourished in his vineyard; and it grew, and waxed old, and began to decay.”

Nemelka = Contradicts himself by first stating the Olive Tree is the house of Israel, then states that there will be many churches who claim to be the “pure olive tree” (Lehi 2:5,15, p. 604-605)

“And Zenos expounded unto them a parable of an olive tree and likened the house of Israel unto this olive tree…And there shall be many churches that shall claim to be the pure olive tree that the Lord grew in his vineyard.”

6. Book of Mormon = The land Bountiful was found after Ishmael’s death and after Nephi got food for his murmuring family (1 Nephi 16:23-24, 34/17:4-5)

“I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food? And it came to pass that he did inquire of the Lord, for they had humbled themselves because of my words…”

“And it came to pass that Ishmael died, and was buried in the place which was called Nahom.”

“And we did sojourn for the space of many years, yea, even eight years in the wilderness…And we did come to the land which we called Bountiful, because of its much fruit and also wild honey…”

Nemelka = Lehi’s family found Bountiful before Ishmael’s death and Nephi getting food (Lehi 5:45-47, 50, p. 619)

“the Lord commanded Lehi to continue to travel until they came to a land bordering the seashore, which they called Bountiful…And Ishmael grew old and died in the wilderness…And Nephi asked his father to repent of his murmurings and take the ball again in his hand and ask the Lord to point the directors where he must go to hunt for food.”

7. Book of Mormon = The land Bountiful was full of food so that Lehi’s family would not perish (1 Nephi 17:5)

“And we did come to the land which we called Bountiful, because of its much fruit and also wild honey; and all these things were prepared of the Lord that we might not perish.”

Nemelka = Lehi’s family struggled to find food after finding the land Bountiful (Lehi 5:45-46, p. 619)

“they came to a land bordering the seashore, which they called Bountiful. And there were many times when food was scarce. And during these times Laman and Lemuel and some of the children of Ishmael began to murmur…”

8. Book of Mormon = Nephi tells Laman and Lemuel they will wither away and die if they touch him. He eventually shocks them to show them the power of God (1 Nephi 17:48, 53)

“they were angry with me, and were desirous to throw me into the depths of the sea; and as they came forth to lay their hands upon me I spake unto them, saying: In the name of the Almighty God, I command you that ye touch me not, for I am filled with the power of God, even unto the consuming of my flesh; and whoso shall lay his hands upon me shall wither even as a dried reed…Stretch forth thine hand again unto thy brethren, and they shall not wither before thee, but I will shock them, saith the Lord, and this will I do, that they may know that I am the Lord their God.”

Nemelka = Nephi is saved by Zoram who is wielding a staff (Lehi 6:5-6, 9, p. 621)

“And they were again desirous to take the life of Nephi and their father Lehi…And it came to pass that Zoram stood forth and took up a staff against the enemies of Nephi…And it came to pass that Zoram struck down the son of Ishmael and was about to strike down Laman and Lemuel, but Nephi stood forth and embraced his friend and begged for the safety of his brothers.”

9. Book of Mormon = Laman and Lemuel tie up Nephi on the boat for days. They become afraid of the storm and loosen his bands. They never try to kill Nephi (1 Nephi 18:11, 13, 15)

“And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness; nevertheless, the Lord did suffer it that he might show forth his power…And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists…And there was nothing save it were the power of God, which threatened them with destruction, could soften their hearts; wherefore, when they saw that they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea they repented of the thing which they had done, insomuch that they loosed me.”

Nemelka = Laman and Lemuel try to throw Nephi into the ocean. They are stopped by Barhanas, a son of Ishmael (Lehi 6:22, 28, 31 p. 622-623)

“And Laman and Lemuel were desirous to throw Nephi into the great waters, believing him to be the cause of all of their problems…Barhanas broke forth from the place where he was being held and took hold of Laman and Lemuel and was about to throw them into the depths of the ocean…And Barhanas broke the bonds that held Nephi.”

10. Book of Mormon = Nephi and his family and friends leave the land of their first landing after being warned by the Lord to flee because Laman and Lemuel desired to kill them (2 Nephi 5:2, 5)

“But behold, their anger did increase against me, insomuch that they did seek to take away my life…And it came to pass that the Lord did warn me, that I, Nephi, should depart from them and flee into the wilderness, and all those who would go with me.”

Nemelka = The Lamanites are chased out of the land by Nephi and his guards armed with swords fashioned after the sword of Laban (Lehi 7:13, 23, 25/8:6, p. 624, 627)

“And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel began to separate themselves from the people of Nephi and they called themselves Lamanites…And it came to pass that Nephi commanded his best foundry men and his strongest guards to take the sword of Laban and construct other swords…And the Lamanites were sore afraid of the weapons of the Nephites, and they fled into the wilderness…many years passed in peace and happiness among the Nephites. And all of their enemies were swept away from among them.”

11. Book of Mormon = Abinadom is the son of Chemish (Omni 1:10-11)

“Behold, I, Abinadom, am the son of Chemish…And behold, the record of this people is engraven upon plates which is had by the kings, according to the generations.”

Nemelka = Abinadom was named after his father (Lehi 8:37, p. 629)

“And Abinadom, who was named after his father…took his family and fled into the wilderness with Mosiah. And Abinadom had many of the records of the Nephites in his possession.”

How the Story of the Lost 116 Pages is Faith Promoting

Many critics of the LDS faith identify Joseph Smith’s loss of the 116 pages of the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon (BOM) as proof of his fraud. Martin Harris, Joseph’s scribe, had the first 116 pages of the BOM manuscript stolen from him while keeping them hidden at home. Critics claim that this was a test of Joseph’s prophetic ability, and when he could not re-dictate the same lost 116 pages, he failed that test. Joseph, in the preface of the first edition of the BOM, stated that the Lord told him not to re-translate the 116 pages that were stolen under Martin Harris’ possession because there would be those who would alter the original manuscript in order to provide false evidence of his fraud, but this explanation seldom satisfies those who do not believe in Joseph’s prophetic calling.

There are several problems with this criticism which will be discussed shortly. Upon deeper examination, it may be that the story of the lost 116 pages of the BOM manuscript can in fact give greater credibility to Joseph’s claims of having divine power giving him the ability to translate an ancient record. The story of the 116 pages can be faith promoting for the following reasons:

1.Joseph Smith did not have a manuscript from which he was dictating. Recognizing the brilliance of the BOM and Joseph’s supposed ignorant nature, many theorize that Joseph stole a manuscript from a much smarter person such as Solomon Spaulding (see https://www.lds.org/topics/spaulding-manuscript?lang=eng for a detailed history of the theory), Sydney Rigdon, or wrote pages himself and then pretended to be dictating from an ancient record while hidden from his scribes. If Joseph was using a manuscript from any other source, he would have been all too willing to reproduce the 116 pages to prove his prophetic calling.

2. Had Joseph reproduced the 116 pages, critics would not have been silenced. Reproducing the 116 pages so easily would have given further ammunition to theories that someone else wrote the BOM for Joseph. When viewed from this perspective, those who claim that Joseph could not have written the BOM because of his limited academic abilities have a difficult time explaining why Joseph dictated such a manuscript to a scribe and then refused to reproduce it a second time.

3. Joseph did not receive help from his scribes in creating the BOM. After the loss of the 116 pages Joseph switched from having Martin Harris serve as his scribe to Oliver Cowdery. The easy ability to switch scribes suggests that the scribes had no part in the creative process of fabricating the BOM, and in turn supports the claims by Joseph and multiple witnesses that he dictated the BOM himself without the help of others. Both Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris were ex-communicated some time later, which would have been a perfect opportunity to reveal the true nature of the fraudulent translation process. They did not, suggesting that what they claim to have witnessed during the translation process, that Joseph dictated hour after hour and day after day without the help of manuscripts, did in fact happen.

4. Joseph was uneducated and relied on scribes to write for him. In order for critics of the LDS faith to win the argument that the BOM was a produce of Joseph’s imagination, they must also concede that he was a brilliant creative mind, capable of memorizing vast portions of scripture, and was a consumer of an extremely large list of literary works that they suggest he must have read before creating the BOM. Remarkable as his intellectual abilities must have been, he did not have a sufficient ability to write the book on his own. It would make more sense that if Joseph had planned all of his life to write a fraudulent work to get money, that he would have learned how to write and avoid the risky nature of hiring gullible followers and fake the translation process. It is interesting that a man as supposedly brilliant as Joseph (and apparently with so much free time on his hands for reading) had to rely on scribes to produce his creative works. After one scribe failed him by losing 116 pages of the original manuscript, instead of deciding to carry on the fraud himself to avoid further mishaps, he decided to recruit another scribe and open a whole new set of risky complications.

5. Joseph continued translating from the Book of Mosiah as if he had a transcript from which he was reading. There is great evidence to support the fact that Joseph continued to dictate from where the 116 pages left off in the Book of Mosiah until the end of the BOM, and then returned to the chronological beginning of the book to produce 1 Nephi through Words of Mormon (see http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705384845/Scholars-Corner-The-stolen-chapters-of-Mosiah.html?pg=all). This means that if Joseph was making it up, he did not have the ability to go back and review the details of his story in order to reference story details later on. Anybody writing a book who lost their manuscript would find it easier to start their writing process over from the beginning rather than continue where they left off and then write the beginning after the book was completed, but this is not what Joseph did. It is even more interesting considering that several scriptures from Mosiah through the end of the BOM directly quote phrases that happened during the events contained in the lost 116 pages (compare Alma 36:22 and 1 Nephi 1:8. Alma 36 was dictated long before Joseph returned to the account of Lehi and his family in 1 Nephi, and yet he directly quotes Lehi in Alma 36). This happened either because Joseph was dictating words from a source other than his own mind, or because Joseph knew beforehand that it would be more convincing if he quoted scripture found in 1 Nephi in Alma and then remember to come back and write the quote when he started the translation of 1 Nephi. However, Joseph probably did not have a manuscript since he did not reproduce the 116 pages. This gives support to his account of the divine translation of an ancient record.