In the Book of Mormon
, the Nephites
are a race of people descended from Nephi, a prophet who traveled with his family from Jerusalem
to the Western Hemisphere
circa 600 B.C. at the urging of God
. The Nephites, intially a righteous people, eventually fell into wickedness, and they were utterly destroyed by their rivals the Lamanites
circa A.D. 400.
Most members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in the historicity of the Nephite race. However, many mainstream archeologists claim that there is no evidence that this race ever existed. The Mormon university Brigham Young University does archeological research in this area.