Book of Mormon Places (Gazetteer)

 

Ammonihah, Land of 

-It was 3 days travel on the north of the land/city of Melek (which was west of Sidon by the west? wilderness) ,  (Alma 8:6).
-It was on the border of the greater land of Zarahemla (Alma 25:2).  Possibly the northern border?
-It was near, and probably west of, the city of Sidom (Alma 15:1).
-It was near the city of Noah (Alma 16:2–3, 49:12-14).
-It was near the city of Aaron (Alma 8:13).
-The wilderness abutted Ammonihah on the west (Alma 8:5).
-There were 2 routes into the city (Alma 8:16).
-It was fortified with Moroni’s ditch and mound system (Alma 49:4).

discussion:   The location of this city depends largely on identifying Melek (since we know they are both west of Sidon, but Ammoniihah is 3 days north of Melek).  Since the people of Jershon flee Jershon and go to Melek to avoid the Zoramite attack… Ammoniahah can’t be all that far from Jershon! If Jershon is by the east sea, why are they fleeing somewhere by the WEST wilderness?

 

Melek, Land of

-West? of Zarahemla (Alma 8:3).
-West of the Sidon River by the borders (on the edge of) of the wilderness (Alma 8:3).
-The land was large enough to contain the displaced Ammonites from Jerson (Alma 35:13).
-It was 3 days journey to (the south of) the city of Ammonihah (Alma 8:6).

discussion: The location of this city is tied to the location of Ammonihah. Alma 8:3 may lead to speculate the Melek was far in the west by the west sea and west wilderness. However, since the Ammonites flee there, it must still be pretty close to the east sea. Alma 8:3 must not be talking about the west wilderness, but the east or north wilderness.  (Alma 27:22 makes it clear Jershon is “on the east by the sea”.)   It could be accross the river from Gideon (which is on the east of Sidon), or it could be farther west like Chalcatzingo (cut why would the Ammonites flee there?). How do you get a configuration that is west of the river Sidon, but close to the east sea and Jershon?

 

Mulek, Land of – (see Bountiful)

-on east borders by seashore, possessed by Amalickiah: Alma 51:25–26 .
-Moroni retakes Mulek: Alma 52:16–26 . ( Alma 53:2, 6 )
-heavily fortified. Not too far from city of Bountiful. (Alma 52:17)  Not too far from the seashore (Alms 52:22). Teancum retreat north along the seashore away from the city (v. 23). Likely less than a few hours south-east of Bountiful. (see discussion)
-there are plains between Mulek and Bountiful that could serve as a battleground. (Alms 52:20)

discussion: The location of this city is tied to city of Bountiful per Alma 52.  Teanucm flees Mulek (east?) to the seashore (v. 20), then flees northward (v. 23) toward the city of Bountiful (v. 27,39)

 

 

Bountiful, City of – (see Mulek)

-Moroni & Teancum force Lamanite prisoners to dig a ditch and dirt brim about the city. It becomes a stronghold “ever after”. (Alma 53:2–5)
-it is near the city of Mulek, (eastward?), and presumably near the east? seashore. (Alms 52:20)

-it is near the pass which leads to the land northward. Likely the most northern of the string of east coast cities (Alma 52:11–15?)

discussion: Alma 52:11 talks about how Moroni is over by the west sea fighting, and sends an epistle to Teancum who is by the east sea cities of Mulek and Bountiful, and tells him to” secure the pass which led into the land northward” (v. 9). This makes no sense unless he’s talking about an EAST SEA PASS. Moroni leaves the west coast and marches to Bountiful and the EAST coast (v. 15).   So Bountiful could only be somewhere like Tamtoc or ruins in Tampico!

 

 

South & West Cities.   Zeezroom, Cumeni, Antiparah & Judea. Described as being presumably on the borders of the land on the south by the west sea (Alma 53:8,22)

-They appear to stretch in a line from Manti in the order of Manti, Zeezrom, Cumeni, Antiparah, Judea? (Alma 56:14). They are retaken by Helaman’s 2000 warriors in reverse order.
-The cities of were apparently on the south and west border of the Nephite lands and were the first cities captured by the Lamanite invaders (Alma 56:14). Alma 52:11–12 describes Ammaron’s intent to assault the “borders by the west sea”.
-Antiparah was between the city of Judea and an unnamed Nephite city near the seashore (Alma 56:30). We can presume this is the west sea, although it’s strange that Nephihah (on the west sea) is mentioned in conjunction with these cities (Alma 56:25).
-The Nephite armies could flee two days northward from Antiparah into the wilderness without reaching the shore or Zarahemla (Alma 56:33–42).
-Cumeni seems to be just west of Manti (Alma 57:22). Cumeni doesn’t appear to have been a fortified city (Alma 57:16–20).
-In battle for Cumeni, defeated Lamanites were driven back to nearby city of Manti (Alma 57:22).
Some or all of these cities were fortified (Alma 56:20–21).
-Zeezrom is likely right next to Manti, because it’s never mentioned again after verse 22. After Cumeni the war goes straight to Manti.
-going from these cities to Nephihah would require crossing “the head of Sidon”.  Nephihah and Zarahamla were the closest options of Lamanite attack from these cities (Alma 56:25).
-there are “other cities which were on the northward”, which are not mentioned by name (Alma 56:22). This again suggests that these cities are the southern (or possibly southwestern? – but I think not) frontier.

discussion: The cities defended by Helaman’s 2000 stripling warriors in Alma 56-57 are said to be “southern cities” by the west sea, which Moroni must have been guarding before he went to help Teancum with the Eastern front- Alma 52:11–52. (Moroni left Helaman & Antipus in charge when he left.) Additionally, prisoners from this group are sent down to Zarahemla (suggesting it’s close by & lower).  Helaman says in Alma 56:14 the Lamanites had taken Manti, Zeezrom, Cumeni and Antiparah (in that order) when he gets to Judea. The cities are then retaken in the reverse order (with no mention of Zeezrom).

Military maneuvers begin in Judea (Alma 56:9). Helaman then marches past (but within sight of spies) Antiparah as if to go “to a city beyond by the seashore” as a decoy (possibly northward. see v. 36). When the Lamanites take the bait they flee a full day “northward, even to a considerable distance” (v. 36-37). Probably heading somewhat toward the sea still. After the battle prisoners are sent to Zarahamla, not back to Judea, so their march must have put them closer to Zarahamla. After heading back to Judea, the Lamanites abandon Antiparah, so the Nephites march and siege Cumeni— which is surrendered. The next battle is for Manti.

Heleman’s army then decoys the Lamanites out of Manti and then flees “much in the wilderness” toward Zarahemla, so it can’t be that far from Zarahamla (58:23-28). I suspect that Judea might be by the shore near Acapulco (La Sabana), and Manti near Tehuacan, with the other cities strung between. So this is the southwest frontier, and Teancum/Mororni’s battles were the eastern frontier.  Perhaps Oxtotitlan Cave and Juxtlahuaca Cave were painted during this Lamanite assault? (dates are typical ascribed earlier.)    Possibly, La Sabana, Teopantecuanitlan by the river Sidon, Cuetlajuchitlán and Chalcatzingo or Xochicalco near Cuernavaca (Manti being Cholula near Puebla or Chalcatzingo or Tenongo).

 

East Sea Cities. At least four cities (and likely nine) border the East Sea, Moroni, Aaron, Nephihah and Jershon.

MORONI, AARON

-It was located on the shore of the east sea and was near the south wilderness of the Lamanites (Alma 50:13).
-The land of Moroni bordered the land of Aaron, and the city of Nephihah was built in between (Alma 50:14).
-Lehi was a nearby city to the north (Alma 50:15; 51:24).
-Moroni was surrounded by a wall (probably the trench-mound-palisade fortifications of Moroni) (Alma 62:36).
-Submerged in the sea. Perhaps still underwater. (3 Ne. 8:9).

NEPHIHAH, LEHI

-It was located between Moroni and Aaron (Alma 50:14–15).
-It was in the borders by the east sea, but apparently not right on the seashore (Alma 51:25–26).
-There was a plain near the city (Alma 62:18).
-The city had walls and an entrance (Alma 61:20–22).
-It was south of the city of Lehi (Alma 51:25).

MORIANTON, OMNER, GID & MULEK,

-They were on the east on the borders by the seashore (Alma 51:26).
-They were built for defense and were probably about a days journey apart (Alma 50:9–11).
-Mulek was less than a day’s journey from the city of Bountiful (Alma Ch. 52).
-Lehi and Morianton were probably built in close proximity to each other-because they have a boundary dispute (Alma 50:25–36)
-These cities were all fortified with a ditch, mound and wooden palisade (Alma 51:27, 55:25-26).
-Heleman’s sons take a missionary journey from Bountiful, to Gid, to Mulek to Zarahemla to the Lamanites in the land Southward (Helaman 5:15–16). Note the direction error in v 16.

discussion: when Amalickiah comes to battle the Nephites in Alma 51, he first takes the city of Moroni and “all of their fortifications”, and then goes on to “take Nephihah, Lehi, Morianton, Omner, Gid and Mulek, all of which were east on the borders of the seashore” (Alma 51:26), suggesting that those cities were arranged in that order from south to north along the east sea.  They then “march forth… that they might take possession of the land Bountiful and also the land northward” (Alma 51:30). After Teancum kills Amalickiah on the way to Bountiful, they retreat back to Mulek. At that point Moroni sends a letter telling Teancum to secure the narrow pass, because he “cannot come” because he is occupied with a Lamanite attack “on the borders of the west sea”. This suggests the western cities are a long way from these eastern cities and the narrow pass.

 

Gideon, Land of 

-It was situated east of the River Sidon and about a days journey from Zarahemla, (Alma 6:7).
-A trail led southward from Gideon to Manti, and also to the land of Nephi (Alma 17:1)
-The Land of Gideon was at a higher elevation than the City of Zarahemla (Alma 62:6–7).
-It was near the hill Amnihu (Alma 2:15–20).
-It was located between the city of Zarahemla and the city of Minon (Alma 2:24).

discussion: If Zarahemla is Cuicuilco in the valley of Mexico, Cholula is a fantastic match for Gideon with La Malinche matching the Hill Riplah.

 

Jershon, Land of

It was south of the land of Bountiful, by the east seashore and bordering on the south wilderness (Alma 27:22).
It was east of the city of Zarahema (Alma 27:22).
It was lower in elevation than the south wilderness (Alma 27:26).
It was north of the land of Antionum, or land of the Zoramites (Alma 31:3).
It probably encompassed the eastern coastal cities of Mulek, Gid, Omner, Morianton, Lehi, Nephihah, and Moroni.

 

Helum, Alma, Amulon (cities in Alma’s flight to Zarahemla)

-Helam is 8 days journey into the wilderness from the city of Nephi (Mos. 23:3).
-Helam is 12 (or 13) days journey from the city of Zarahemla (Mos. 24:23-25).
-Helam was in an area suitable for agriculture (Mos. 23:4-5).
-The Valley of Alma was one days journey (probably northward) from Helam (Mos. 24:20).
-Amulon was suitable for agriculture, but apparently not as good as Helam as they did not return to it (Mos. Ch. 23).
-All these locations were in the south wilderness between Nephi and Zarahemla.
-The land of Amulon should probably be encountered first in traveling toward Nephi from Zarahemla in accordance with the experience of the lost Lamanite army (Mos. 23:31-36).  (double check this)

 

Sidon, River (28 uses) – major or geographically significant river. The only named river in the Book of Mormon. It has east and west banks… but also may flow “from east to west”.

-hill Amnihu is on east of Sidon: Alma 2:15 .
-Lamanites camp on west of Sidon: Alma 2:34 .
-many are baptized in waters of Sidon: Alma 4:4 .
-wilderness at Sidon: Alma 22:29 .
-One must go round about the river’s head when traveling from Jershon/Anionum to Manti (Alma 43:22).
-One must presumably cross from the west to east side of it going traveling from Zarahemla to Gideon (Alma 6:7).  The city and valley of Gideon are on the east side of the river.
-One must cross it (presumably on foot) going from Gideon to Zarahemla. (Alma 2:27,34).  It has banks that can serve as battlegrounds.
-It was large enough to carry the bodies of the dead Lamanites out to the sea. (Alma 3:3)
-It was west of the hill Amnihu. (Alma 2:15)
-It was west of the Valley of Gideon. (Alma 2:26; 6:7)
-The City of Melek was to the west of the Sidon. (Alma 8:3)
-The City of Manti was at the headwaters of the Sidon near the south wilderness. (Alma 16:6–7; 22:27)
-The head of the River Sidon extended into the south wilderness. (Alma 43:22)

-Likely down in a canyon or deep valley in places (ref?)  and had banks big enough to battle on (ref)

 

Sidon, Head of (Head of Sidon. 5 uses) – could be either headwaters or mouth of the river

-Perhaps “running from the east toward the west”. Alma 22:27
-Perhaps “bordering on the wilderness” and going “from east to the west”. Alma 22:29  If the “wilderness” mentioned in Alma 22:29 is the same as the “narrow strip of wilderness” in verse 27 (which seems likely), then the head of Sidon is likely IN the narrow strip of wilderness that divides the Nephite and Lamanite lands.
-Exists as an obstacle between Jershon and Manti, when going “round about in the wilderness”. Alma 43:22
-“From the west sea, running by the head of Sidon” Alma 50:8,11  See discussion.
-Between Lamanite armies and the city of Nephihah (on the east sea). Alma 56:25

Commentary: Seems likely that “the head of sidon” is a geographical term paralleling the modern term of “headwaters of X river”. Such as modern use of “the headwaters of the Mississippi or Ohio or Colorado or Snake rivers”. All of these terms would actually be talking about a highland or mountainous ridge area. Thus, the “head of sidon” may not be talking about the river so much, as the ridge of mountains which runs from Popocatépetl & Tlaloc (or even Pico de Orizaba) in the east to Nevado de Toluca & Morelia (or even Tancitaro) in the west. For an army to “cross the head of Sidon” would not only mean crossing the river’s small early tributaries, but more importantly crossing the mountain passes which lie at the head of them.

Alma 50:11, almost seems to suggest the head of sidon is near the west sea. However, Alma 56:25 says the Nephites would have had to cross the head of sidon to get to Nephihah, which is by the east sea. Therefore, Alma 50 is likely contrasting the head of sidon with the west sea (suggesting it is opposite the west sea, and near the east sea).  See a great discussion on this in this link, search for “Thus, we seem to have established, as clearly as the text will allow, that the head of the river Sidon was east of Manti, not far from Nephihah, south of Antionum, and near the east sea. All of these bits of information are consistent with each other, and therefore, increase the probability of our conclusion.”

 

Manti (land of)

-The Lamanite crossing of Sidon was up beyond the borders of the land Manti (Alma 16:6). Also, the army ambush of Alma 43:32 occurs up from manti “and so down into the borders of manti” (Alma 43:32)
-It was on the southern borders of the land of Zarahemla, at the head of the River Sidon, near the narrow strip of wilderness (Alma 22:27).
-A trail from Gideon led southward to Manti (Alma 17:1).
-To the south of the land of Manti, there was another valley along the course of the upper Sidon, with the hill Riplah on its east side. (Alma 43:31–32)
-The cities of Zeezrom, Cumeni, Antiparah, Judea? (Alma 56:14) stretch out in a line from it. It has a “wilderness side” (likely up against a mountain or forest (Alma 58:13), with places to hide an army (56:17). Judea is near the west seashore.
-Heleman’s army decoys the Lamanites out of Manti and then flees “much in the wilderness” toward Zarahemla, so it can’t be that far from Zarahamla (58:23-28).

 

Nephi, City of

-everything is ALWAYS up to the city of Nephi (down out of the city of Nephi when leaving). In my model this is not necessarily because of the cities high elevation (although it is high at 6,300 ft), but because it is up on a tall defensive hill.  The Land does have hills higher than it which over look it (Mos 7:6). See Omni 1:27; WOM 1:13; Mosiah 7:2–6; 19:5; 20:2,7; 24:20; 26:3; 28:5; 29:3,14; Alma 27:5, 47:1;
-It was a twenty days journey from Nephi to Zarahemla (with families apparently on foot) (Mosiah 23:1–4; 24:25). This would have been about 150-250 miles.
-It was an area of dryer climate grassland or savannah (not a forested area or jungle) where they could raise grain and grazed flocks and had to fight for water resources (2Ne.5:11; Mosiah 21:16).
-It was “Many days journey” west of the Land of First Inheritance (with families apparently on foot) (2Ne.5:7).
-Nephi built a temple there (2Ne.2:16).
-The city of Nephi had a wall (Mosiah 22:6).
-Abundant mineral deposits (2 Ne.5:15).
-Land of Mormon, and waters of Mormon were close by (no further than a days journey) (Mosiah 18).
-Adjacent to the lands of Shemlon and Shilom (Mosiah 19:6; 22:8).
-Near the south wilderness (Mosiah22:12).

 

Wilderness  – a (1) : a tract or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings (2) : an area essentially undisturbed by human activity together with its naturally developed life community  b : an empty or pathless area or region

When the Book of Mormon speaks of wildernesses, I believe it is using the moden definition. It is talking about unsettled, unclaimed, undeveloped area. That is, one without cities, roads or easy access.

Wilderness, Narrow Strip

-area dividing the Nephite and Lamanite lands running from sea east to sea west. (Alma 22:27)

 

Zarahemla, City of –   In most Book of Mormon verses, things tend to be always down to Zarahemla. In our model this is not necessarily because it is in a coastal lowland, but because it is in a deep valley surrounded by such unparalleled huge mountains, it tends to feel like a very low valley. And may have had a hieroglyphic marker denoting down or low in it’s name.

-complaints come up to the land of Zarahemla (3Ne 6:25). This reference might have nothing to do with altitude, but of importance… such as “up to capitol hill, Washington”.
-must head westward and cross the river Sidon to get to Gideon (Alma 6:7)
-“the river Sidon, which ran by the land Zarahemla” (Alma 2:15). River runs by land Zarahemla, not necessarily the city.
-many in the “land of Zarahemla”, join the church and are baptized in the “waters of Sidon” (Alma 4:1–4). This infers the river sidon is near or in the land of Zarahemla. However, because it says “waters of Sidon” instead of river Sidon we must guess as to whether this is the river or perhaps a sacred lake with the same name (somehow associated with the river? part of its headwaters?)
-war begins with the Lamanites in the “borders of Zarahemla, by the waters of Sidon”.  Whether this is the river Sidon or a lake with the same name is unknown. Also unknown if this is the land or city of Zarahemla. Presumably a war is not going to begin on the outskirts of the capitol city… so likely the land of Zarahemla.

Discussion: There is never any mention of the river Sidon flowing through Zarahemla or any city. In fact it most often seems to be associated with the barriers between Nephite & Lamanite lands. Two verses mention the “waters of Sidon” in association with the land of Zarahemla (not city).

-It was divided from the Land of Nephi to the south by a narrow strip of east-west wilderness. (Alma22:27)
-It was in a central part of the Nephite lands which were south of the narrow neck of land (Hel. 1:27).
-It had a mixed (and probably segregated) population of Nephites and Mulekites which probably resulted in separate barrios or twinned cities (Omni 1:16–19; Mosiah 25:4).

-The City of Zarahemla had a wall (it does not specify whether it was of stone or timber) (Hel. 1:21).
-It was located at a distance of 20 days travel from the City of Nephi (apparently in a northward direction) (Mosiah 23:3; 24:25).
-It was occupied by the Nephite faction from about 200 B.C. (The “Mulekites” having arrived earlier.)
-The Land Zarahemla was roughly bordered on all sides by areas of wilderness (Alma 22), including a west wilderness, past Mekek somewhere west of the river Sidon (Alma 8:3), the Wilderness of Hermounts northwest from Zarahemla (Alma 2:37), and the east wilderness (Alma 25:5).
-South of Zarahemla and the narrow strip of wilderness, lay the expansive south wilderness of the Lamanite domains (Alma 22:27).
-It was burned at the time of the crucifixion (3 Ne. 9:3).
-The city of Gideon and river Sidon lay a short distance to the east (Alma 6:7).
-It was an area where tropical diseases (i.e. fevers) and their remedies were present (Alma 46:40).

 

 

Problems with this model.

The narrow neck. The up and down of Nephi & Zarahemla.

 

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Travels of the Nephites from Zarahemla to the Final Battle.

-Moroni gets instructions to go to hill Shim in the Land Antum to get records (Mor 1:3)
-Moroni “carried by his father into the land southward, even to the land of Zarahemla”. 1:7
-War begins “in the borders of Zarahemla, by the waters of Sidon”. (first battle) 1:10
-A number of battles fought, then a truce for four to seven years.
-Lamanites attack again, Nephites retreat “toward the north counties” 1:3
-Moroni’s army take and fortify Angola “with their might”, but “notwithstanding their fortifications”, the city is taken.1:4
-They are “also” driven out of the land David. (unsure if Angola was in the land David or if its the next province to the north) 1:5
-They gather to Joshua which is “west by the seashore”. 1:6-8 A battle with a force of 40,000 each is fought here… Lamanites retreat.
-345AD. Lamanites attack again, Nephites retreat to city of Jashon, “near the land [Antum] where Ammaron had deposited the records”. Moroni gets just the plates of Nephi, and leaves the remainder “where they are”. 1:4
-Nephites driven “northward to the land which was called Shem”. 1:20 Nephites fortify the city and are attacked in 346AD, but win a battle with 30k to 50k. 1:25
-In 350AD a treaty is made. Lamanites “ give unto us the land northward, yea, even to the narrow passage which led into the land southward. And we did give unto the Lamanites all the land southward.” 1:29
-For 10 years, Nephites fortify and prepare. In 360AD Mormon causes his “people that they should gather themselves together at the land Desolation, to a city which was in the borders, by the narrow pass which led into the land southward. 6 And there we did place our armies, that we might stop the armies of the Lamanites, that they might not get possession of any of our lands; therefore we did fortify against them with all our force. 7 And it came to pass that in the three hundred and sixty and first year the Lamanites did come down to the city of Desolation to battle against us”. Nephites beat them. They come again the next year. They beat them a third time. “and their dead were cast into the sea.” 1:8
Desolation is by the sea or a river that flows into sea
-in 363AD, the Nephites go on the offensive, up out of desolation, but are driven back to “the land of Desolation” (not city). Then Lamanites attack, and take the city of desolation “slaying many and taking many prisoners”. 1:2
-”And the remainder did flee and join the inhabitants of the city Teancum. Now the city Teancum lay in the borders by the seashore; and it was also near the city Desolation.”
Teancum is also somewhat near the sea.
-364AD, Lamanites come against Teancum, and are repulsed, so Nephites follow them and retake Desolation. 1:8
Desolation and Teancum are close to each other
-In 366AD Lamanites attack and take Desolation, and then Teancum (and sacrifice the inhabitants both women and children.) Nephites are so angry about the loss of their families they retake the cities and drive the Lamanites out of the land. Then another 10 year pause in fighting 1:16
-In 375AD, the Lamanites come down to desolation with a numberless host.
-Nephites flea to Boaz and fight two battles. On second attack they flea and women and children are sacrificed again. Nephites flea and “all the inhabitants with them, both in towns and villages” 1:22
-Mormon goes to the hill Shim and takes up ALL the records.
Boaz is still relatively close to all the preceding cities (Antum, Jashon, Desolation)
-in 379AD Nephites flee to Jordan, and repulse a Lamanite attack. 3:4 They maintain a line of stronghold cities “that they could not get into the country which lay before us, to destroy the inhabitants of our land.” 1:4
Jordan is likely in the Southwest, one of a line of cities defending the land northward.
-in 384AD Mormon sends a letter to Lamanites requesting to gather to the land of Cumoruh “in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains;”

 

Jordan (line of cities)
Boaz (gets rest of records)
—-
Teancum (by seashore & desolation)
Desolation (dead cast into sea)
Shem (fortified)
Jashon (gets records)
Joshua (west by seashore)

David
Angola
Zarahemla