Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jacob and Sherem: Who Was Sherem?

As stated in our last post, by the time Jacob begins his record, it was 55 years after Lehi left Jerusalem (Jacob 1:7), Nephi was about 80 and there were four Nephite tribes: Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites, and Zoramites, and three Lamanite tribes: Lamanites, Lemuelites and Ishmaelites (Jacob 1:13). Altogether, there would have been over 200 Nephites and maybe as many as 250 or more Lamanites as shown in the last post.

After Nephi dies (Jacob 1:12), he is replaced by a king, who, in turn, is replaced by the second king, during which time the people began to be hard-hearted and indulged in wicked practices, such as desiring many wives and concubines (Jacob 1:15), and hunted gold and silver and were lifted up in pride (Jacob 1:16). Consequently, in the second generation after Nephi, during the reign of the second king, there would have been between 400 and 500 Nephites (four generations from Lehi—Jacob was actually by age, a second generation from Lehi).

At this time, the Nephites being about the size of an average Ward in our day, would have had unmarried women and widows among their group (especially since some men would have been killed during the wars and contentions with the Lamanites), which other men desired to have as additional wives and concubines. When Sorenson asks “who were thses extra women,” look around your Ward and ask yourself, are there single women of unmarried age among the members?

During these years, Jacob had seen angels, been ministered to by them, and had heard the voice of the Lord from time to time (Jacob 7:5). He had seen much evil among the Nephites and was burdened by it (Jacob 2:9). In about 523 B.C., about 77 years after Lehi left Jerusalem, with Jacob being born about 598 B.C., making him 75 years old, a certain event occurred when “After some years had passed away, there came a man among the people of Nephi, whose name was Sherem” (Jacob 7:1).

Sorenson and others claim Sherem was not a Nephite for “he came among them” and because “he had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people” (Jacob 7:4), and that “he sought much opportunity that he might come unto” Jacob (Jacob 7:3). Yet, none of this suggests he was not a Nephite. Obviously, in a community of some 400 to 500 people, with obviously some of these Nephites living in separate villages, “coming among “ Jacob’s people would not denote a non-Nephite, nor would having “a perfect knowledge” of the language of the people mean anything other than he spoke very fluently, and with “much flattery” and with “much power of speech.” He was, in fact, a con man whose soul purpose was to “lead away much of the people that they pervert the right way of God and keep not the law of Moses” (Jacob 7:7)
It is also interesting that when Sharem was finally granted an audience with the Prophet Jacob, he addressed him as “brother Jacob” (Jacob 2:6), a term that would not be used by someone not a Nephite. In addition, Sherem had a knowledge of the scriptures (Jacob 7:10), knew of the Holy Ghost and the ministering of angels (Jacob 7:17), and also knew of God and Christ (Jacob 7:19). Obviously, Sherem was a Nephite and had lived among the Nephites and knew of all things Nephite.

About five years after this, Jacob dies, being about 80 years old. This is based on Nephi’s age at death, and the fact that Enos would have died around 421 B.C., (Enos 1:25); Jarom died some time after 362 B.C. (Jarom 1:13), probably in 360 B.C. when the plates were given to Omni (Jarom 1:15); Omni died about 318 B.C. (Omni 1:3); Amaron died after 280 B.C. (Omni 1:5,8); Chemish (Amaron’s brother) died after 230 B.C., and Abinadom would have died around 180 B.C., and Amaleki, the last of these prophets, entered Zarahemla with Mosiah I (Omni 1:13-14), and dies at the close of his record in 130 B.C. (Omni1:30).

It should be noted that 200 years after Lehi left Jerusalem (just after Enos’ death), the Nephites had “multiplied exceedingly and spread upon the face of the land” (Jarom 1:8). And there is mention of “many wars” (Jarom 1:7) about which Enos had prophesied (Enos 1:23).

However, Sorenson and other Mesoamerican Theorists must find indigenous people in the Land of Promise to justify their Mesoamerican model, and go to great lengths to alter the simple plainness of the scriptures. With somewhere around 400 to 500 Nephites living during the time of Jacob, it is not necessary to invent indigenous people.


  1. I think there is a lot to the idea that Sherem was an early Mulekite contact.

  2. The point is that the Book of Mormon gives evidence itself that Lehi's family weren't the SOLE inhabitants of the Americas, from the Aleutians across to Newfoundland, down through the isthmus of Panama and all the way down to Patagonia. Knowing as Thor Heyerdahl demonstrated some 70 years ago that transoceanic voyages were quite possible with ancient marine technology, it would seem preposterous to assert that the Americas were empty after the final Jaredite battles until Lehi and his little band arrived. Sherem is but one anecdote of someone who is obviously an outsider.