Book of Mormon Geography

Book of Mormon Geography Found- Mexican Highland Continental Model (Summary)

The following is a temporary power point or slides presentation summarizing The Book of Mormon Mexican Highland Continental Model. Soon it will be converted into a coffee table book and then youtube video summary of our model. Use keyboard arrows to advance slides once slides has focus.

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Below is a 20 year old overview of the Mexican Highland Continental Model, with none of the many, many new and better correlations that keep coming to light.

Introduction

This application presents our model for correlating North American Archeological evidence with the channeled Book of Mormon narrative. With our model, essentially every culture the texts mentions, ends up being a major culture found by modern archaeologists. In fact essentially all the largest North American prehistoric cultures are represented in our model by the Book of Mormon text.

Far from sticking the texts location into a small Mesoamerican or Heartland corner, our model correlates the texts most mentioned cities with the most influential Mesoamerican archaeological ruins. Zerahamla and the Nephites are correlated with what many have called the largest archaeological ruins and most dominate, powerful culture on the continent — Teotihuacan and the Mexican highland culture. The Lamanites are correlated with arguably, the most predominate and populous culture in American prehistory — the Maya. The City of Nephi with it’s towers, priest cult and public works correlates with the great city of Monte Alban. The early Lehites bring true writing to the New World [Zapotec/epi-olmec culture] Nephi brings it to the Zapotec and Laman brings it to the Western Mayalands (called the Land of first Inheritance in the text). The River Sidon matches with what many consider Mexico’s most economically important & strategic water way– the Rio Balsas. The Jaredites end up being not on only the first inhabitants on the continent [Paleoindians to Adena/Olmec], but also the only North American Culture that Archaeologists have found to have coexisted with elephants and other extinct mega-fauna [Clovis/Folsom]. They expanded to covered both Northern America and Mexico instead of just a part of the isthmus of Tehuantepec (Adena, Olmec & all other preclassic groups). The destruction of the post-Christian Nephite culture described in the text, corresponds to the collapse of every major culture on the North American Continent between the carbon dates of 900-1350 AD from Teotihuacahn to Tula, to West Mexico (Chichimecs) to the Anasazi and Cohokia (people’s of the ‘Land Northward).

When you get over the hurdle of the narrow neck and exact date correlations, every major event and culture in the Book of Mormon just ends up ‘fitting’ with the continents largest archaeological findings. Problems people may find with our model include suggesting that Book of Mormon dates are based on faulty records, mixed up authors, problems in the channeling process or possibly North American archaeological dates might be systematically skewed. We also suggest the Book of Mormon authors, like nearly ALL ancients, had a poor understanding of continental geography, especially in regards to the Great Salado Basin–believing that the East and West Mexican Sierra Madre Ranges were one and the same–and thus a very Narrow Neck or isthmus existed in Northern Mexico, with a narrow “passage” or travel corridor existing on each coast. A mistake that early European map makers would actually make as well.


The Failure of All Other Models

LDS scholars have tried to find a convincing correlation between the Book of Momron narrative and archaeological evidence for 150 years with little consensus. There are essentially NO existing models which do not suffer from substantial problems. (However, some are much better than others)

In our model we believe this failure has been the result of most models being primarily based on two things that ancients were typically VERY bad at. Understanding continental geography and spatial relationships— and keeping accurate calendar systems. Just a cursory look at maps made before the Renaissance age helps one to understand how differently ancient people saw the world. Cultures without pervasive sea-going capabilities simply could not accurately map shorelines. Calendars and succession chronologies also, were typically anchored to partially mythic or faulty events such as a kings assertion to the throne, and often historical texts and genealogies contained large gaps or false interpolations. Modern Mormonism suffers from a desire to make present and past ‘prophets’ into partially infallible intellectuals who possess superhuman understandings of all things they religiously address instead of the truth of the matter, which is that ‘prophets’ like most people often get as much wrong in the things they address as they get right.

Our model is different in that it focuses on cultures, events and actual archaeological cities instead of holding Book of Mormon geography and dates sacrosanct. We also consider the Book of Mormon a ‘channeling’ instead of a ‘translation’. Channeling, or the act or practice of a mystic somehow ‘seeing’ events across space and time and/or serving as a medium through which a spirit guide purportedly communicates with living persons was very common during the Second Great awakening, and far better explains the anachronisms and issues which exist in the Book of Mormon text. By looking at the text as a more fluid product of visionary ability instead of a literal translation, amazing correlations become apparent. Book of Mormon events begin to align with all the MAJOR CULTURAL movements & conflicts found in North American prehistory, and a rational view of the Book of Mormon emerges which can be harmonized with the many issues found in the text.

Illustration depicting the actual geography of North America versus what the ancient authors of the Book of Mormon may have thought the geography looked like.

Arrival of the Jaredites

The Book of Mormon narrative explains that the Jaredite civilization was the first culture to inhabit North America and the only to coexist with elephants and other megafauna early in their history. (Ether 9:19, Note that for the early jaredites, these megafauna were ‘especially useful for the food of man’.) It further states that a great dearth or climatalogical shift caused massive fauna migrations which the people followed, hunting them to extinction. (Ether 9:30,34)

Shouldn’t it be obvious that the only plausible archaeological correlation for the pre-dearth Jaredites is with the North American PaleoIndians? (C14 dated from between 14,000BC to 7000BC) These were the first inhabitants of North America, and are the only North American cultures to interact with elephants (Mammoth and Mastodon). There are also many other correlations between these cultures but none have seen the similarities because of the difference between carbon dates obtained for these cultures and the dates inferred from the scriptural record.

The cultural center for two of the most notable paleoindian peoples (the Clovis & Folsom) are located in the North American Southwest, which as both the Book of Mormon and our model show, matches with the Nephite land of Desolation.

Although modern scientific consensus is that these groups migrated from Asia to North America across the bearing straights, we believe that the Book of Mormon account of ship travel is equally plausible (given the 40,000 BC in-habitation of Australia). Diverse groups of ‘Jaredites’ spread out to cover North & South America, and we propose also migrating back into Siberia, Asia and parts of Europe.

We also suggest that the Jaredite account, like the Book of Mormon itself, was ‘channeled’ by the ancient author Alma from some ancient record which acted as a talisman or prop. In doing so, the ancient author projected his own biases and beliefs on the Jaredite record in the same way Joseph would have later done with the ‘translation’ (channeling) of the Book of Mormon.

Map of known ancient migrations, overlaid with possible path of Jaredite migration.

Omer and His Household

As the early Book of Mormon ‘pre-dearth’ period in American prehistory was coming to a close, a small group of families left the core area and settled ‘by the seashore’ directly east of the hill Cumorah (Ether 9:1–13). The group of sites, in and around northeastern Massachusetts, are called the Bull Brook Complex by archaeologists. Clovis points found at several of the sites tie it to the Southwest.

Building on excavations by D.S. Byers in the mid-50’s, archaeological societies in the Northeast have pieced together the history of the Bull Brook Complex. Their findings and subsequent analysis have shown the interactions of a system of organized, interdependent groups with specialized work force networks . It is recognized as containing the highest level of social structure in America at that time , which would be expected in a ‘refugee camp’ of the royal household .

As Moroni attests, the next archaeological period saw the rise of a richer and more diversified culture / . The Plano and Early Eastern Archaic Cultures fanned across the continent (S/H: around 1600-1200 BC; A/C: around 8500-6000 BC) . Scientists have found the full spectrum of plants and animals corresponding to the days of Emer. See animals in the book of mormon

Post-Dearth Jaredite Culture

Moroni’s next exposition on culture comes in the days of Lib (Ether 10:18–28), who is based in the Land Northward [Adena culture of the Ohio Valley] but builds a southern outpost at a ‘Narrow Neck’ [Olmec culture of Mexico]. My corresponding period is labeled by archaeologists as the Middle and Late Archaic. Often indistinguishable from one another, these two cultural periods represent a major advancement over the preceding culture. Again the culture spread across North America from coast to coast. There were villages, agriculture, and widespread trade networks. South of the narrow neck, in the Mexican highland and beyond, the only inhabitants we find are organized hunting parties, which ‘coincidentally’ brought spear points of North American manufacture and style.

Scientists recognize metallurgy from this time period, and copper is the most common metal found. Many fine textiles have also survived from this period. Moroni says they made ‘all manner of tools to till the earth, both to plow and to sow, to reap and to hoe, and also to thrash’. He also says they had, ‘all manner of tools with which they did work their beasts’ (Ether 10:26–27). Most of the tools on this list have been found by archaeologists at sites dating to the Middle and Late Archaic. New weapons were also invented and manufactured, although archaeologists currently view them only as hunting weapons. Another major industry of the Jaredites was wood exploitation. A huge assortment of woodworking tools has been found at Archaic period sites across the Nation.

This ‘southern outpost’ built in Mexico, which grew into the Olmec culture, to facilitate trade between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans even captured some trade from Asia. The ‘Jade Masks’ of the Olmec have obvious similarities and cultured ties to Chinese art and Jade work. We believe these ‘Jade Masks’ came from Chinese trade ships and will one day be conclusively tied to Chinese jade mines, and the ‘jade emperor’, through isotope studies. Archaeologists will slowly come to realize that ancient seafaring and trade was more widespread than currently thought.

Colonial Arrivals

In our article on the scattering of Israel, we detail how the Babylonian empire initiated a global colonial movement, matching closely with the European Colonial era 2000 years later.

In our model, colonies started in South America, the Zapotec of San Jose Migote [Nephites], and the Otomangue-speaking people of the Mexican highland [the Mulekites], who brought new and unique pottery & practices to the Americas; in each culture the pottery was already well-developed even at the earliest sites. (These new cultures can often be associated with skewed or eradic carbon dates going as early as 1500-4000 BC) The architecture and burial customs of these groups can easily be tied to the Old World. (although nothing convincing enough has yet to be found to overturn the predominate belief of American/Eurasian no contact.) Square waddle and daub homes with storage pits in the floor dotted their lands. Their temples and public buildings are extremely similar to those of Egypt and Israel. Subfloor burials and burial positions also match those of the Middle East.

Olmec: The Mother Culture

Many Book of Mormon model’s attempt to match the Olmec with the Jaredites. In my model the correlation is more complex with the Olmec matching only the southernmost branch of the late Jaredite civilization; San Lorenzo corresponding to the ‘great city’ which Ether 10:19–28 says Lib built by the narrow neck. The culture that rose from Lib’s city is seperate from the Jaredite heartland in the Land of Desolation [southwest u.s] as well as Lib’s capital which was likely in the Adena heartland of the Ohio valley (thus the similariteis between Adena & Olmec mound structures). The ‘narrow neck’ mentioned in Ether is different from the defensive ‘narrow pass’ between Bountiful and Desolation mentioned by Mormon elsewhere in the Book of Mormon. There is no need for any ‘two cumorah’ theory and most of the traditional issues with an Olmec/Jaredite correlation are removed.

From as early as the time of Nephi and Jacob, the Nephites of San Jose Mogote [city of Nephi] heavily influence the Olmec. As the Jaredite civilization collapses around 300 BC with the exodus of the elite to join the great Adena war, the new Zapotec/Olmec mix is called Epi-Olmec and is largely defined by the spread of the new Nephite (Zapotec) writing system. Before the Olmec collapse, their influence is seen readily in the early colonies of Izape and Chiapa de Corzo (Lamanite core), San Jose Migote (city of Nephi) and Mexican Highland (Mulekite core). In fact the early mixture of Nephite outliers and Lamenites with the epi-Olmecs sets the stage for the Book of Mormon’s Zoramites, Amalekites, Amulonites and other Nephite dissenters who effectually take control of remnant Olmec cities like Tres Zapotes after the Olmec collapse.

The Amulonite priests (Zapotec/epi-Olmec group of Oaxaca) were likley responsible for appointing teachers who began to train the Maya [Lamanites] in the same language and learning of Zapotec [Lemhites] and Mexican highland people [the Nephites]. With this new education the Maya began to prosper and make many technological advances. The sparsely-populated Mayan lands were soon covered with huge temples and city-centers with art and architecture reminiscent of the Zapotec and epi-Olmec style.

The Move to Zerahemla

At the dawn of the formative period there were several major demographic shifts which set the stage for the developing cultures. First, King Mosiah I and his people left the Land of Nephi [San Jose Migote/Monte Alban] and traveled to early Zarahemla [central Mexico, Likely Cholula at that time] to join the Mulekites (S/H: around 200 BC; A/C: around 1400 BC). This is seen archaeologically as an influx of Mixe-zoquean culture brings new advances to central Mexico, and public buildings begin to appear in the larger villages.

Archeological evidence in the Valley of Mexico also shows the appearance of epi-Olmec influence in sites such as Tlatilco and Tlapacoya. In our research, the early Nephite Zapotecs of Oaxaca effectively merge with the late Olmec [left over Jaredites from Great City of Ether 10:20] and are thus outlier Nephite peoples from before the move to Zarahemla, the late epi-Olmec may also be associated with the Amulonites who enslave the people of Limhi & Alma and build a short lived empire by teaching and exploiting the Lamanites (early Maya).

Zeniff and the City of Nephi

Back in San Jose Mogote [the city of Nephi], the city falls from its preeminence as the ruling elite leave [Moroni I] and those remaining are almost indistinguishable from their epi-Olmec trading partners. Shortly, however, high culture returned to the valley as Zeniff and his people arrive and begin to build anew a fortified city with public buildings and towers overlooking its neighbors [Monte Alban].

The new inhabitants of Monte Alban [people of Zeniff] were an elitist group which maintains strong ties to the Mexican Highland [Zerahemla] for hundreds of years afterward. Initially their culture was very similar to that of central Mexico (from which they had come), but the similarities decreased as time went on and they (the people of Zeniff, now led by King Noah) became extravagant in their prosperity. Lavishness dominates the architecture and material culture of this period. With the influence of Alma the younger, and his companions, and their conversion of Lamoni and his Father (and the expulsion of their loyalists who were likely centered in Mitla), the land eventually becomes a strong trading partner and vassal to Teotihuacan [Zerahemla].

Captain Moroni: Fortifying the Mexican Highland

These two great nations, the Nephites on the Mexican Plateau and the Lamanites [Maya] in Southern Mexico, Guatemala and Yucatan, began to experience greater conflicts. Foreseeing the coming challenges, Captain Moroni prepared his people and their lands. First, the weak lands were fortified and the southern frontier was strengthened. Hilltop fortifications began to dot southern Mexico in Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Guerrero. Great urban fortresses were created. No wonder Mormon venerated the leadership, courage and vision of Captain Moroni and the manner in which he prepared his people for war.

After Amalickiah’s first attack, a second phase of construction was begun in which fortified cities and hilltop fortresses were built throughout the land of Zarahemla which appears to have stretched from Oaxaca to Jalisco and from southwestern Michoacan to northern Veracruz. Also, the Book of Mormon records Moroni pushing the Lamanites out of the east wilderness and on the west, then building new cities in these areas in order to create a more defensible border. Excavations in southern and western Oaxaca and Guerrero, as well as central Veracruz are now showing such movements of peoples and the construction of new large defensive cities and fortresses.

During the time that fortifications were being built in the Mexican highland, a massive weapons production industry commenced throughout Mesoamerica, both in the Mexican Highland [Zarahemla] and in Maya [Lamanite] lands. To accommodate these war preparations, the peoples of the Mexican Highland [Nephites] made major breakthroughs in agriculture and built massive irrigation systems. From that time forward, urbanization and trade specialization, with accompanying prosperity, enveloped the Nephite lands.

The great war of Moroni’s time, and the wars that followed, are seen archaeologically in demographic and cultural movements of this time period, and in numerous monuments depicting warriors and captives in both Highland Mexico and Maya lands. The Lamanites displaced and jumbled the Nephites numerous times. There was also a great cultural mixing when groups of Lamanites converted to the Nephite religion and went to live among the Nephites, and also when groups became captives. Cities experienced occasional upheavals, but most of them changed hands without noticeable ruin.

The People of Ammon in Jershon

Book of Mormon says the people of Ammon were mostly women.  After the death of most the men among Ammon’s converts the remaining people burried their swords and fled for refuge among the Nephites. After travelling to Zarahemla they were given the land of Jershon, the location of which was said to be,

…on the east by the sea, which joins the land Bountiful, which is on the south of the land Bountiful; and this land Jershon is the land which we will give unto our brethren for an inheritance. (Alma 27:22)

Later when the armies of Zoramites prepare to battle the people of Ammon (because they had given refuge to the Zoramites who were expelled), the people of Ammon flee “over into the land of Melek” (Alma 35:13).

Our model places the eastern coast cities of Bountiful, Melek, Moroni, Aaron, Nephihah and Jershon on the east Coast of Mexico stretching somewhere between Tampico on the north and Veracruz (or more likely El Tajin) on the south. Many fortified settlements, castles and towers are found within the small stretch of coastline. Among them lies a coincidental correlation between the city of Tamtoc (aka Tamtok) and the people of Ammon.

Although Tamtoc reached its zenith in the late classic, archaeological evidence has determined the city was founded as early as 600 BC by Olmec (Jaredite) peoples. If a correlation to the people of Ammon is to be made, better dating of the mostly female remains would need to be found to fit into a window of closer to 100BC to 200AD.  The latter date assuming that the early Book of Mormon women of this community started a legacy of feminine predominance which lasted at least a few centuries after its establishment.

Approximate routes and dates of the proto-Huastec and other Maya-speaking groups

One of the characteristics that distinguish Tamtoc is the remarkable female presence. To date, 90% of the burials discovered there are of women. Furthermore, they are represented in most of the clay and ceramic figurines found here and that are thought to have a high rank in the social division of the community. The sites iconography touts a sculpture of a “priestess” (dated to as early as 600 BC) and “the Scarified Woman or Venus of Tamtoc”, which has been interpreted as glorifying…

Perhaps one of the most striking correlations between this city and the Book of Mormon narrative is the linguistic evidence which suggests that the language of the “Huestec” culture which permeated Tamtoc came from the Putin Maya region of Oaxaca and Southern Mexico (our land of First Inheritance). ref.

Founding of the Imperial City
Teotihuacan

Just before the time of Christ, the combined guerrilla forces of ‘The Gadianton Robbers’ became so numerous as to warrant an unprecedented sociological experiment. All the people of Nephi temporarily abandoned their cities and moved to a new area in ‘The Land of Zarahemla’ (3 Ne 3:13–23). In our model, the urban city built for these immigrants was the great city of Teotihuacan. The old city of Zarahemla (likely Cholula or Cuicuilco) was too exposed and near the forests where Guerrilla fighters could hide, as well as being threatened by volcanic eruptions. So with hundreds of thousands of refugees and immigrants, what was likely the largest pre-planned city in the world was born. In the middle of a large open defensible valley, Teotihuacan was built with the refugee cultures in mind, with defined quarters for each major culture. The Zapotec from the land of Nephi, the Mixtecs from Gideon, and the Totonac and epi-Olmec from the lands of Melek and Jershon, and even Nahua peoples from the land of Desolation and fleeing lamenites from the Mayan lands.

The city contains some of the largest structures on earth, with the pyramid of the Sun and Moon rivaling the Great pyramids of Egypt. At its zenith a hundred or so years after the time of Christ there were likely up to 250,000 inhabitants in the 11+ square miles urban area, not counting the many, many satellite communities.

The city would soon come to be the de-facto political and religious capital of MesoAmerica, holding rule and influence of peoples from the Lamanites of Guatemala to Anasazi of Arizona and New Mexico (land of Desolation).

Cataclysm at Christ’s Coming

In our model, we tentatively suggest a huge supernova (seen as a ‘new star’) caused a gravity wave to reach earth around 34 AD causing slight changes in the earth’s angular momentum (see nutation or ‘chandler wobble’) which was responsible for driving a pulse of increased subduction on the Pacific, Cocos and Nasca Plates at the time of Christ. This minor subduction event initiated an upresidented earthquake, widespread volcanism, orogenic movement and thrusting which may have even eventually uplifted the Mexican cordillera by thousands of feet. If true, this slow isostatically driven uplift could have caused regional climate changes and possibly even the size and extent of water bodies in the Great Salado Desert Basin. (see our article on explaining the narrow neck).

Of course it’s also possible that the destruction’s at the time of Christ spoken of in the Book of Mormon were based largely on myth. The many volcanoes which surround the Mexican Highland and border the Central Mexican Volcanic belt could certainly account for many of the phenomena mentioned in the text.  However, verses like 4 Nephi 1:9 which states “But there were many cities which had been sunk, and waters came up in the stead thereof; therefore these cities could not be renewed” are hard to explain with simple volcanism.  Nor could they share any correlation with the three hours of darkness spoken of in the New Testament in Israel. If one is to believe these difficult to believe parts of the text some cosmological event must be inferred to tie the event together. Or they should just be dismissed as another exaggerated ancient myth.

The Golden Age of Zion

major population centers

As the ash settled , a new culture spread across the land. In some ways, this new culture was more monolithic; in other ways it was more diverse. Throughout the Americas a new two-room temple replaced varying former styles. A utopia of peace and prosperity is spoken of in legends. There is no evidence of weapons being used at this time, and the murals, figurines, and architecture show designs of nature, lines of symmetry and harmony, and displays of pleasant animals and domestic life. Gone are all signs of a military elite, governmental force, and coercion. The Hopewell, the Anasazi, the Mogollon, Teotihuacan, and the Maya; continent-wide the traits are the same. The great peace resulting ‘because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people’ (4 Nephi 1:15).

The people were united in righteousness, yet at the same time, the culture became more diverse, as the focus turned from making a profit to making quality products and upholding the ideals of family and community. Local artisans replaced the mass-production and expansive trade networks of the preceding period. Thus there was no need to travel extensively ‘on business,’ so people could spend more time with their families. Family gardens replaced mass-produced food. People ate a greater variety of food, but their food was of more local origin. Analysis of skeletons shows that the people were healthier and enjoyed longer life spans than during the preceding period. The arts flowered during this period. The number and variety of musical instruments greatly increased. Pottery and other goods became more useful and more beautiful, and less ornamental and extravagant. A much greater variety of artifacts is found, but in much smaller quantities than before, and with much less waste. The prosperity was great throughout all of the Americas and in all areas of human development, ‘because of their prosperity in Christ’ (4 Nephi 1:23).

In the early classic period the church became very wealthy. The people donated their time and skills to the creation and maintenance of beautiful temples and public centers. The population exploded, but at the same time, the cities became less dense as the communities were reorganized and the people spread out across the land. Even the biggest ‘cities’ were only lightly populated, yet they contained ceremonial centers and public buildings large enough to accommodate all the people of the surrounding villages. Social classes disappeared, yet the standard of living increased everywhere; And ‘they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God’ (4 Nephi 1:17).

The Destruction of American Civilization

The peace was not to stay. Midway through the Classic social classes appeared again. An extravagant upper class emerged; churches began to decorate their temples with riches; idol worship commenced; mass production and long distance trade networks appeared. Gambling, tattoos, body-piercing, and drugs became vogue, enveloping society. The gods and culture of the Pre-Classic Maya returned in places and Teotihuacan responded by exercising harsh dominion. Wars spread across the land. Soon two distinct super-powers emerged: the Quetzalcoatl Cult centered at Teotihuacan and the Jaguar Cult of southern Yucatan. Mayan frescos paint the conflicts. In Maya lands they portray early local victories. As the Jaguar Cult grew in numbers and power they began conquering Central Mexico: at Xochicalco archaeologists have found a mural depicting the Eagle Warriors of the Jaguar Cult crushing the feathered serpent, Quetzalcoatl. It dates to just before Teotihuacan was abandoned.

War moved in succession from Teotihuacan to the Chichimec lands, to the coast of West Mexico, then north across a ‘narrow ecological strip’ in the Sierra Madre Occidental to the Southwest. The amazing burst of economic activity in the Anasazi lands followed, corresponding with the build-up of the Toltec Kingdom and the evacuation of the upper class in Maya lands. Then came the great slaughter. Starting in the south and moving north the entire Southwest was desolated. Smaller sites were abandoned and great defensive cities were built but to no avail. Archaeologists find site after site burnt, abandoned, or covered with unburied bodies. The destruction is staggering. It moved to a line of sites from Mesa Verde, Colorado to Albuquerque, New Mexico but then these too were abandoned. Then the entire Midwest was abandoned and the Mississippian culture collapsed.

Archaeologists are at a loss to explain why these culture’s collapsed. Drought is a common (but poor) explanation, but evidence of war is present although often ignored or explained away. We believe the social fabric of these cultures was destroyed as the Lamanite armies chased the Nephites from the Valley of Mexico, to the American Southwest, and finally up the Ohio arm of the Mississippi (the main travel corridor) to its end in the Land of Cumorah in Western New York.

Book of Mormon Exhaustive Timeline

Pioneering Phase

Perhaps (3100-2920 B.C.)? 180 years? Jaredite dates are highly speculative.

  • Departure from Tower of Babel to arrive at land 30
  • Adjustment to choosing a king 70
  • Orihah’s rule (“exceeding many days,” 31 children) 80

Formation Phase

Perhaps (2920-2320 B.C.)? 600 years

Early Formation

(Sub-phase–300 years)

  • Kib begets Corihor after he becomes king, then reigns 32 years until Corihor’s flight 34
  • Corihor prepares to rebel, fathers children who help 32
  • Corihor rules, with father captive, until latter is very old 25
  • Kib, the father, begets Shule, who grows to manhood before seizing the throne 25§
  • Corihor has children, including Noah who rebels and reigns over half the kingdom 33
  • Cohor, Noah’s son, succeeds him, ruling half the land 15
  • Nimrod, another son of Cohor succeeds, then gives up the half kingdom to Shule, reuniting the nation 10
  • Thereafter Shule begets children in his old age 25
  • Omer, Shule’s son, begets Jared, then the latter has children 30
  • Jared plots, Omer flees, Jared rules one year 1
  • Akish kills Jared. Akish’s one son is imprisoned; he then has others 35
  • Akish wars with his sons for many years 35

B. Late Formation

(Sub-phase–300 years)

  • Omer regains the throne. While old, begets Emer, who comes to reign 20
  • Emer’s “house” reigns 62 years 62
  • Coriantum follows and rules until 142 years of age 142
  • Com reigns 49 years until Heth is born; Heth grows up then kills his father 30
  • Heth rules until the drought becomes unbearable 24

Disruption Phase

Perhaps (2320-1720 B.C.)? 600 years? Jaredite dates are highly speculative.

Early Disruption

(Sub-phase–360 years)

  • Interval 30
  • Shez picks up the pieces after drought, and lives long 88
  • Interval 100
  • Riplakish, a son of Shez, gains power, then reigns 42 years, until killed in a rebellion 42
  • Interval 100

Late Disruption

(Sub-phase–240 years) Jaredite dates are highly speculative.

  • Morianton, a descendant of Riplakish, prepares, fights for years to gain central power 40
  • He lives to “an exceeding great age” 60
  • His son Kim succeeds him, reigning’s years while his father still lives 8
  • Kim’s brother later overthrows him; Kim goes into captivity 15
  • Kim begets Levi in his old age 65
  • Levi lives in captivity 42 years after father’s death 42
  • Then Levi fights and gains the throne 10

Elaboration Phase (1720-1120 B.C.)

600 years

Early Elaboration

(Sub-phase–270 years)

  • Levi rules to “a good old age” 60
  • Corom replaces Levi and “saw many days” 66
  • Kish then reigns and passes away 60
  • Lib next reigns, living many years 60
  • Hearthom rules for 24 Years before being overthrown 24

Late Elaboration

(Sub-phase–330 years) Jaredite dates are highly speculative.

  • Hearthom then lives in captivity many years 60
  • Heth also lives in captivity all his days 60
  • Interval 30
  • Aaron (a “descendant”) lives in captivity 60
  • Amnigaddah also lives in captivity 60
  • Corianton also was in captivity all his days 60

Decline Phase (1120-570 B.C.)

550 years

Early Decline

(Sub-phase–270 years)

  • Com matures, prepares, and gains control of half of the kingdom 30
  • He then rules for 42 years (10:32) 42
  • After that he wars “for many years” with Amgid 30
  • After Amgid’s demise, Com rules to the accession of his son Shiblom 18
  • Shiblom rules through much trouble, then is slain 35
  • Seth (apparently the successor) in captivity all his days 60
  • His son Ahah retakes the kingdom; “few were his days” 25
  • Interval 30

Late Decline

(Sub-phase–280 years)

  • Ethem (a “descendant”) obtains the kingdom, reigns 50
  • Moroni, his son reigns (10), loses half the kingdom (35), fights but loses all (5), then is a captive (20) 70
  • Coriantor in captivity all his days 60
  • Interval 40
  • Ether (a “descendant”) sees the end of the nation 60

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Jerusalem and environs

600 BC, Jerusalem

  • First Nephi begins.
  • First year of the reign of Zedekiah.
  • Lehi prophesies to the Jews that they must repent and return to the ways of God; they seek his life.
  • Lehi and his family leave Jerusalem and travel in the wilderness near the Red Sea. After three days they arrive in the valley of Lemuel.

Between 600 and 592 BC, In the wilderness

  • Lehi sends Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Nephi back to Jerusalem for the brass plates.
  • Laman seeks the brass plates from Laban. Laban says he will slay Laman, who flees.
  • The brothers go the land of their inheritance and gather their gold, silver and precious things. They offer to buy the brass plates and are driven out by Laban, who keeps their treasure.
  • Laman and Lemuel smite Sam and Nephi with a rod. An angel appears and tells them to return to Jerusalem.
  • Nephi returns to Jerusalem and finds Laban “fallen to the earth”. An angel commands Nephi to slay Laban and puts on his armor. Nephi commands Zoram to get the brass plates.
  • Nephi and his brothers take the brass plates to Lehi; Zoram agrees to accompany them.
  • Lehi comforts Sariah, who had feared for her sons.
  • Lehi sends Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Nephi back to Jerusalem to persuade Ishmael and his family to join them.
  • The sons of Lehi and the family of Ishmael leave Jerusalem. Laman and Lemuel and some of Ishmael’s children rebel. Nephi persuades them to continue and they rejoin Lehi and Sariah.
  • They gather seeds and grain.
  • Lehi has a vision of the tree of life.
  • Nephi also has a vision of the tree of life, and foresees many future events.
  • Nephi’s brothers complain that they can’t understand the words of their father. Nephi expounds.
  • The sons of Lehi and Zoram take the daughters of Ishmael to wife.
  • Lehi discovers the Liahona.
  • They depart the valley of Lemuel and travel south-southeast for four days. They pitch their tents and call the place Shazer.
  • They continue their journey, following the directions of the Liahona.
  • Nephi breaks his bow.
  • They travel for many days, “traveling nearly the same course as in the beginning”.
  • Ishmael dies and is buried in the place called Nahom.
  • Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael want to slay Lehi and Nephi. Nephi chastens them and they repent.

592 BC, Bountiful

  • They arrive at the land Bountiful, near a sea they call Irreantum.

About 591 BC, Bountiful

  • Jacob and Joseph, “born in the wilderness”, are first mentioned.
  • Nephi is commanded to build a boat. His brothers murmur and complain, but he persuades them to assist and the boat is completed.
  • Lehi and his family, Ishmael’s family and Zoram embark for the promised land.

About 590 BC, on the sea

  • Nephi’s brothers and the sons of Ishmael “make themselves merry”, “with much rudeness”. Nephi fears they will offend God and speaks to them “with much soberness”. Laman and Lemuel bind Nephi. Storms arise, their compass ceases to work and they are “driven back upon the waters for the space of three days.” On the fourth day, Nephi’s brethren see that “the judgements of God were upon them” and they release Nephi.
  • Nephi guides the ship “towards the promised land”.
  • After many days they arrive at the promised land.

The land of Nephi

About 589 BC, in the promised land

  • They find “beasts in the forest”, “all manner of wild animals” and “ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper”.

Between 588 and 570 BC, the land of their first inheritance

  • Second Nephi begins.
  • Lehi blesses his sons.
  • Lehi dies and is buried.
  • Laman and Lemuel rebel against Nephi. The Lord warns Nephi to flee.

Between 588 and 570 BC, the land of Nephi

  • Nephi, Zoram, Sam and their families, Jacob, Joseph, Nephi’s sisters and “all who would go with [him]”, journey in the wilderness “for the space of many days”.
  • Nephi and his followers pitch their tents and call the place Nephi.
  • Nephi makes swords for his people “lest by any means the people who were now called Lamanites should come upon us and destroy us”.
  • The Nephites build buildings. Nephi builds a temple.
  • The Nephites want Nephi to be their king, but Nephi is “desirous that they should have no king”.
  • Nephi consecrates Jacob and Joseph as priests.
  • The Nephites live “after the manner of happiness”.

569 BC, the land of Nephi

  • The secular history is kept on metal plates. Nephi makes a second set of plates to record “the things of God”.

559 BC, the land of Nephi

  • The Nephites “had already had wars and contentions with our brethren”.

Between 559 and 545 BC, the land of Nephi

  • Jacob and Nephi speak to the people. Nephi rehearses the words of Isaiah.
  • Nephi expounds “the doctrine of Christ” (2 Nephi 31:2).
  • Nephi bids his “beloved brethren…Farewell until that great day shall come” (2 Nephi 33:13).

544 BC, the land of Nephi

Between 544 and 421 BC, the land of Nephi

  • Nephi grows old and appoints a man to be king and ruler. The Nephite rulers are called “second Nephi, third Nephi, and so forth”. (Jacob 1:11)
  • Nephi dies.
  • The Nephites begin “to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices.” (Jacob 1:15)
  • Jacob and Joseph preach to the people.
  • “After some years” a man named Sherem preaches “that there should be no Christ” (Jacob 7:1). He contends with Jacob and demands a sign. Sherem is smitten by God, recants and dies.
  • Probably about 510 B.C. Jacob gives the small plates to his son, Enos, and bids adieu.
  • The Book of Enos begins.
  • The Nephites try to “restore the Lamanites unto the true faith in God” (Enos 1:20). The Lamanites are “wild” and “ferocious” and feed upon beasts. The Nephites raise grain and fruit and flocks.
  • Many prophets are among the Nephites, who need constant reminders to remain faithful.
  • There are “wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites” (Enos 1:24).

420 BC, the land of Nephi

  • Enos grows old.

Between 420 and 400 BC, the land of Nephi

  • Jarom, son of Enos, writes on the small plates. The Book of Jarom begins.
  • Jarom laments that “much should be done among this people” (Jarom 1:3).

Between 399 and 361 BC, the land of Nephi

  • The Nephites prosper, though the Lamanites are more numerous and come “many times against us, the Nephites, to battle” (Jarom 1:7).
  • The Nephites multiply and become rich in material goods.
  • Prophets of the Lord threaten the Nephites that if they do not keep the commandments, “they should be destroyed” (Jarom 1:10).

361 BC, the land of Nephi

  • Jarom delivers the plates to his son, Omni.

323 BC, the land of Nephi

  • The Book of Omni begins.
  • Omni declares there have been “many seasons of peace” and “many seasons of serious war and bloodshed” (Omni 1:3).

317 BC, the land of Nephi

  • Omni confers the plates on his son, Amaron.

279 BC, the land of Nephi

  • The more wicked part of the Nephites have been destroyed.
  • Amaron delivers the plates to his brother, Chemish.

Between 279 and 130 BC, the land of Nephi

  • Abinadom, son of Chemish, records that he has seen “much war and contention” (Omni 1:10) between the Nephites and the Lamanites.
  • Mosiah is “warned of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi” (Omni 1:12). Mosiah and “as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord” (Omni 1:12) depart the land of Nephi and are led through the wilderness to Zarahemla.

Zarahemla

Between 279 and 130 BC, Zarahemla

  • Mosiah and his followers discover the people of Zarahemla. (Omni 1:12-15)
  • The people of Mosiah and the people of Zarahemla unite and appoint Mosiah to be their king. (Omni 1:19)
  • Amaleki, son of Abinadom, is “born in the days of Mosiah”. (Omni 1:23)
  • Mosiah translates a large stone with engravings on it. The stone gives an account of Coriantumr and his people. (Omni 1:20)
  • There is a “serious war and much bloodshed” (Omni 1:24) between the Nephites and the Lamanites.
  • End of the small plates of Nephi.
  • King Benjamin repulses the attack of the Lamanites and drives them from the land of Zarahemla. King Benjamin has peace the rest of his days. (Mosiah 1:1)
  • King Benjamin dies. His son, Mosiah, reigns in his stead. (Mosiah 1:9)

About 200 BC, Zarahemla

  • An expedition seeks to return to the land of Nephi, “desirous to possess the land of their inheritance” (Omni 1:27). They depart, but contention arises and all but fifty are slain. They return to Zarahemla.
  • Zeniff leads a second expedition to the land of Nephi. They treat with the king of the Lamanites, who gives them the lands of Lehi-Nephi and Shilom, displacing their Lamanite inhabitants.

Note: From this point the land where the people of Zeniff dwell is referred to as the land of Lehi-Nephi, but sometimes as the land of Nephi.

About 200 BC, land of Lehi-Nephi

  • Zeniff and his followers begin to build buildings and till the ground.

About 188 BC, land of Lehi-Nephi

  • War and contention begins between the Lamanites and the people of Zeniff.

About 187 BC, land of Lehi-Nephi

  • A “numerous host of Lamanites” (Mosiah 9:14) attack the land of Shilom. The people flee to the city of Nephi. The people of Zeniff defend themselves and repulse the Lamanites. 279 Nephites are slain.
  • The people of Zeniff make weapons of war and set guards around their lands.

About 177 BC, land of Lehi-Nephi

  • The people of Zeniff toil and spin and prosper.
  • Laman, king of the Lamanites, dies.
  • Laman’s son, now king of the Lamanites, stirs the Lamanites up to anger against Zeniff and his people.
  • Zeniff sends spies to the land of Shemlon to discover the preparations of the Lamanites.
  • Zeniff instructs the women, children, the old and infirm to hide in the wilderness. The Lamanites attack the land of Shilom and are driven out after a fierce battle.
  • The people of Zeniff return to their lands.

Probably about 160 BC, land of Lehi-Nephi

  • Zeniff confers the kingdom on his son, Noah.
  • Noah rules in wickedness, taking many wives and concubines. He replaces the priests of his father with his own priests. The people are heavily taxed to support the lavish lifestyle of Noah and his cohorts.
  • Noah builds many buildings, including “a spacious palace” (Mosiah 11:9) and a tall tower near the temple, where he could overlook the lands of Shilom and Shemlon.
  • Noah plants vineyards and builds wine presses and becomes a “wine-bibber” (Mosiah 11:15). He and his priests spend their lives “in riotous living” (Mosiah 11:14).

About 150 BC, land of Lehi-Nephi

  • The Lamanites come upon small numbers of the people of Noah and slay them. Noah sends guards, but in insufficient numbers.
  • The Lamanites continue to harass Noah’s people and Noah send his armies to drive them back. Victorious, the army returns “rejoicing in their spoil” (Mosiah 11:18), and boasting of their strength.
  • Abinadi begins to prophesy to the people of King Noah, telling them they must repent or they will be delivered into the hands of their enemies. King Noah rejects Abinadi’s prophecies and desires to slay him, but is unable to capture Abinadi.

About 148 BC, land of Lehi-Nephi

  • Abinadi again begins to prophesy, saying that because the people of Noah have not repented, they will be brought into bondage.
  • The people take Abinadi, bind him and bring him before the king. Noah casts Abinadi into prison.
  • Noah and his priest have Abinadi brought before them for questioning.
  • Abinadi rebukes the king and his priests. Noah orders his priests to take Abinadi away and slay him, but he is protected by divine power and continues to teach them the commandments and redemption through Christ.
  • Abinadi finishes his address and Noah again commands his priests to slay him. One of Noah’s priests, Alma, believes Abinadi and asks that Abinadi “might depart in peace” (Mosiah 16:2). Noah casts Alma out and commands that he be slain. Alma flees. Abinadi is cast back into prison.
  • After three days, Abinadi is brought before the king and priests again. Noah sentences Abinadi to death (for blasphemy) unless he recalls his words. Abinadi refuses and suffers death by fire.

About 147 BC, the place of Mormon

  • Alma preaches in private and gathers a small following. He baptizes them in the waters of Mormon. Alma organizes the “church of Christ” (Mosiah 18:17) and ordains priests and teachers.
  • King Noah discovers “a movement among the people” (Mosiah 18:32) and sets a watch. When Alma’s followers assemble themselves to hear the word of God, Noah sends his army against them.
  • Alma and his followers, about 450 souls, take their families and depart into the wilderness. They travel eight days and settle in a land they call Helam (Mosiah 23:19).

About 145 BC, land of Lehi-Nephi

  • Gideon attempts to slay King Noah.
  • The Lamanites attack. King Noah, his priests and other men flee. Those who remain are forced to pay tribute to the Lamanites.
  • Those who fled the Lamanites desire to return. King Noah objects and is killed by fire. All but the priests of Noah return. Limhi, son of Noah, becomes tributary monarch.

Between 145 and 122 BC, land of Lehi-Nephi

  • The people of Alma prosper in the land of Helam. Alma serves as high priest.
  • The fugitive priests of King Noah kidnap several Lamanite women.
  • The Lamanites, mistakenly blaming the people of Limhi, attack but withdraw when they see their error.
  • The people of Limhi, having failed three times to overcome the Lamanites by force, become resigned to their tributary status.
  • The priests of King Noah, with the Lamanite women, settle in a land they name after their leader, Amulon.
  • Limhi sends a group to search for the land of Zarahemla. They discover instead the land formerly occupied by the Jaredites. They bring back a record on twenty-four plates but they are unable to read it.

Between 130 and 121 BC, Zarahemla

  • The Book of Mosiah begins.
  • 124 BC: Benjamin addresses his people, exhorting them to serve one another and to take upon themselves the name of Christ.
  • Benjamin records the names of his people who have “entered into a covenant with God to keep his commandments” (Mosiah 6:1).
  • Benjamin consecrates his son, Mosiah, to be king.
  • 121 BC: Benjamin dies.
  • Mosiah sends sixteen men, led by Ammon, to the land of Lehi-Nephi to discover the fate of Zeniff and his followers.

About 121 BC, land of Lehi-Nephi

  • Ammon discovers the people of Limhi and assists them in escaping from the Lamanites. The people of Limhi join Mosiah’s people in Zarahemla.
  • An army of Lamanites pursue the people of Limhi but become lost after two days. The Lamanite army discovers the land of Amulon. The people of Amulon join the Lamanites. Together the Lamanites and Amulonites discover the people of Alma and take possession of the land of Helam.
  • Laman, king of the Lamanites, appoints Amulon and his brethren to instruct his people. The Lamanites “increase in riches” and become “a cunning and wise people, as to the wisdom of the world” (Mosiah 24:7).
  • Amulon begins to exercise authority over the people of Alma. Alma’s people are persecuted and afflicted.

About 120 BC, land of Lehi-Nephi

  • The people of Alma miraculously escape and join the Nephites in Zarahemla (Mosiah 24:18-20).

About 120 BC, Zarahemla

  • Mosiah addresses his people and rehearses the story of the people of Zeniff and their eventual deliverance. All the people of Zarahemla are called Nephites. Alma organizes the church in Zarahemla.

Between 120 and 92 BC, Zarahemla

  • Many Nephites, especially the younger generation, refuse to join the church.
  • Mosiah forbids persecution of the church by unbelievers.
  • Alma, son of Alma, and the four sons of Mosiah are numbered among the unbelievers. Alma the Younger becomes “a great hinderment to the prosperity of the church of God” (Mosiah 27:9), secretly seeking, with the sons of Mosiah, to destroy the church.
  • An angel appears to Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah, telling them to “seek to destroy the church no more” (Mosiah 27:16). They fall to the earth. Alma is insensible for two days but awakens to tell of his conversion. Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah thenceforward seek to build up the church.

About 92 BC, Zarahemla

  • The sons of Mosiah refuse to succeed their father as king. They leave Zarahemla to carry the message of the gospel to the Lamanites.
  • Mosiah translates the twenty-four plates discovered by the people of Limhi. They contain the record of the Jaredites.
  • Mosiah gives all the records, including the brass plates and the plates of Limhi, and “the interpreters” (Mosiah 28:20) to Alma.
  • Mosiah, having no willing heir and fearing the difficulties that would arise from a contested succession or the rule of an unjust king, proposes the establishment of the rule of law, with judges to govern the people. Judges are to be appointed by the people and higher judges may overrule lower judges. The chief judge may be overruled by a council of lesser judges. Mosiah will continue to serve as king until his death.
  • Alma the Younger is appointed as the first chief judge. He is also appointed high priest by his father.

91 BC, Zarahemla

  • Alma the Elder dies.
  • King Mosiah dies.
  • Reign of the judges commences.

The reign of the judges

91 BC, Zarahemla

  • The Book of Alma begins.
  • Nehor teaches priestcraft and slays Gideon. He is executed, but his followers persecute those in the church.

About 90 BC, Zarahemla

  • Contentions arise, but Alma regulates the church. The people prosper, but more especially those who belong to the church.

About 90 BC, among the Lamanites

  • The sons of Mosiah: Ammon, Aaron, Omner and Himni, preach among the Lamanites
  • Ammon goes to the land of Ishmael and is taken captive. He is brought before the king, Lamoni. Ammon becomes Lamoni’s servant and miraculously preserves the king’s flocks.
  • Ammon is called before the king. Lamoni is converted and Ammon establishes a church in Ishmael.
  • Aaron is rejected by the people of Jerusalem. He and his companions are imprisoned in the land of Middoni.
  • Ammon and Lamoni journey to Middoni to free the prisoners. They meet Lamoni’s father, king of all the Lamanites. Believing Ammon has deceived his son, Lamoni’s father tries to slay Ammon. Ammon withstands the old king and persuades him to allow Lamoni to rule unhindered. Ammon and Lamoni proceed to Middoni and free the prisoners.
  • Aaron visits Lamoni’s father, who is troubled by the words of Ammon regarding repentance and salvation. Aaron teaches and converts the king and all his household.

Between 90 and 81 BC, among the Lamanites

  • Religious freedom is granted to all Lamanites. The Lamanites in the lands of Ishmael and Middoni, the city of Nephi, and several other cities are converted. The Amalekites and Amulonites, Nephite dissenters living among the Lamanites, are not converted.
  • The converted Lamanites call themselves the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. They vow never to take up arms again.
  • Lamoni’s father confers the kingdom on his son, Anti-Nephi-Lehi. Lamoni’s father dies.
  • The unconverted Lamanites prepare to make war against the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. They reiterate their refusal to take up arms, even to defend themselves.
  • The Lamanites attack the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, but desist when the Anti-Nephi-Lehies refuse to defend themselves. Many of the attackers are converted.

87 BC, Zarahemla

  • Amlici, a follower of Nehor, endeavors to establish himself as king.
  • The people vote and Amlici is unsuccessful. Nevertheless, his followers set him apart as their king.
  • The Amlicites wage war on the Nephites. The Amlicites are defeated but are then joined by the Lamanites and attack again. Alma slays Amlici and The Lamanites are driven out.
  • The Lamanites attack once more but are repulsed again.

Between 86 and 84 BC, Zarahemla

  • 86 BC: The Nephites begin to “establish the church more fully” (Alma 4:4).
  • 85 BC 3,500 Nephites join the church.
  • 84 BC The people of the church begin to “wax proud, because of their exceeding riches” (Alma 4:6). Contentions arise.

Between 83 and 81 BC, Zarahemla and environs

  • 83 BC: Alma selects Nephihah to replace him as chief judge, but retains the office of high priest in order to combat the pride and dissension in the church.
  • Alma preaches in Zarahemla, Gideon and Melek.
  • 82 BC: Alma preaches in Ammonihah but is rejected. An angel commands him to return. He is joined by Amulek and they preach again to the people of Ammonihah.
  • Zeezrom contends with Alma but is silenced, fearing he has sinned.
  • Alma and Amulek are imprisoned. The people of Ammonihah martyr the believers among them and burn the scriptures.
  • 81 BC: Alma and Amulek are miraculously delivered from prison and their persecutors are slain.
  • Alma and Amulek preach in Sidom. Alma heals Zeezrom.
  • Alma and Amulek return to Zarahemla.
  • An army of Lamanites, following the abortive attack on the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, attack and destroy the city of Ammonihah. Zoram leads the Nephite army to victory over the Lamanites.

Between 81 and 77 BC, among the Lamanites

  • Many more Lamanites are converted and join the Anti-Nephi-Lehies.
  • The Amalekites seek to convince the Lamanites to avenge their losses by attacking the Anti-Nephi-Lehies again.
  • Ammon is directed by the Lord to lead the Anti-Nephi-Lehies to the land of Zarahemla. As they are journeying, the sons of Mosiah meet Alma and are re-united.
  • The Anti-Nephi-Lehies are received by the Nephites and given the land of Jershon. They are now called the people of Ammon, or Ammonites.

Between 76 and 69 BC, Zarahemla

  • 76 BC: The Lamanites come against the Nephites. There is a “tremendous battle” (Alma 28:2) with great losses on both sides. The Lamanites are defeated and there is peace for two years.
  • 74 BC: Korihor, an antichrist, preaches false doctrine and is brought before Alma. Korihor demands a sign from God and is struck dumb. Korihor recants, in writing, and is later trampled to death by the Zoramites, an apostate group.
  • Alma leads a mission to the Zoramites. They are rejected by the more wealthy people, but enjoy success among the poorer classes.
  • The Zoramites cast out the converts who join with the Ammonites in Jershon. The Zoramites begin to mingle with the Lamanites and prepare to go to war against the Nephites.
  • The Ammonites remove to the land of Melek so that the armies of the Nephites can occupy the land of Jershon.
  • Alma sorrows for the iniquity of his people and the bloodshed and wars. He counsels his sons, Helaman, Shiblon and Corianton.
  • The Zoramites become Lamanites. The army of the Lamanites, led by Zerahemnah, come to battle against the Nephites. Moroni, chief captain of the Nephites, asks Alma to inquire of the Lord how to direct his armies. Moroni and Lehi lead the Nephites to victory.
  • 73 BC: Alma gives the records to his son, Helaman. Alma is “taken up by the Spirit,…even as Moses” (Alma 45:19).
  • Amalickiah, desiring to be king, persuades many Nephites to dissent. He and his followers seek to obtain power and destroy the church and the government.
  • Moroni, angered by Amalickiah’s actions, rends his coat and writes upon it–“In memory of our God, our religion, our freedom, and our peace, our wives and our children” (Alma 46:12). He fastens the writing to a pole and calls it the “title of liberty” (Alma 46:13).
  • Moroni goes forth with the title of liberty and raises an army to defeat the Amalickiahites. Outnumbered, the Amalickiahites seek to flee and join with the Lamanites, but Moroni heads them off, although Amalickiah and a few followers escape. The dissenters are compelled to swear allegiance or be put to death.
  • 72 BC: Amalickiah uses treachery, murder and intrigue to become king of the Lamanites. He incites the Lamanites to war with the Nephites.
  • Moroni prepares for war by fortifying the Nephite cities.
  • The Lamanites come to war but are unable to overcome Moroni’s defenses. When their chief captains are slain, the Lamanites withdraw.
  • Helaman, Shiblon, Corianton and Ammon preach among the people. (Alma 49:30)
  • Moroni erects a fortified line of cities between the Nephites and the Lamanites.
  • 72 to 69 BC: The Nephites prosper: “There never was a happier time among the people of Nephi” (Alma 50:23)

Between 68 and 67 BC, Zarahemla

  • The people of Morianton contend with the people of Lehi over possession of land. The people of Morianton attempt to flee to the land northward. An army of Nephites, led by Teancum, overtakes them and defeats them in battle.
  • Nephihah dies. Pahoran, son of Nephihah is appointed chief judge.
  • The “king-men” try to alter the law to allow the establishment of a king over the Nephites. They fail to persuade a majority.
  • Amalickiah again leads the Lamanites to war against the Nephites. The king-men refuse to assist in defending the Nephites. Moroni sends an army to compel the dissenters to defend their country or be put to death. Four hundred king-men are killed and the rebellion is put down.
  • The Nephites armies, reduced by the rebellion, are unable to defend their cities. The Lamanites take possession of many cities.
  • Teancum steals into the Lamanite camp and slays Amalickiah.

Between 66 and 63 BC, Zarahemla

  • Ammoron, brother of Amalickiah, is appointed king of the Lamanites. Ammoron returns to the land of the Lamanites, leaving Jacob in charge of the Lamanite armies in Zarahemla.
  • Moroni, Teancum and Lehi retake the city of Mulek. Jacob is slain. Many Lamanites are taken prisoner.
  • The Lamanites take possession of a number of cities near the west sea.
  • The people of Ammon, seeing the precarious situation of the Nephites, considering taking up arms again. Helaman persuades them to uphold their oath to renounce arms, but raises an army of two thousand of their sons who had not taken the oath.
  • Ammoron negotiates with Moroni for the exchange of prisoners, but they are unable to come to terms. The Nephite prisoners escape. The city of Gid is retaken.
  • Helaman and Antipus win a great victory over the Lamanite army, taking many prisoners of war. They send the prisoners under guard to Zarahemla. The Lamanite armies attack the Nephites guarding the prisoners and free the prisoners. Helaman, Gid and Teancum defeat the Lamanites, defending the city of Cumeni and retaking the city of Manti.

Between 62 and 60 BC, Zarahemla

  • Moroni writes to Pahoran, complaining of lack of support for his armies from the Nephite government.
  • Pahoran replies that the king-men have rebelled and he has been compelled to flee to the land of Gideon. The king-men hold the city of Zarahemla and are in league with the Lamanites. Pahoran requests Moroni’s aid in defeating the dissenters.
  • Moroni marches to Zarahemla, raising assistance en route. Moroni and Pahoran defeat the king-men in Zarahemla and slay Pachus, their leader. The dissenters are once again compelled to defend their country or be put to death.
  • Moroni and Pahoran retake the city of Nephihah. Many Lamanite prisoners join the people of Ammon. Moroni, Lehi and Teancum pursue the Lamanite armies. Teancum steals into the Lamanite camp and slays Ammoron, but is slain in turn. The Nephite armies, under Moroni and Teancum, defeat the Lamanites and drive them from the land of Zarahemla.

Between 60 and 53 BC, Zarahemla

  • Moroni fortifies the lands exposed to the Lamanites and yields command of the armies to his son, Moronihah.
  • Helaman and his brethren go forth to regulate the church.
  • 57 BC: Helaman dies. Shiblon, son of Alma, takes charge of the records.
  • 56 BC: Moroni dies.
  • 55-54 BC: Hagoth builds ships and several expeditions sail off to the north.
  • 53 BC: Shiblon dies. Helaman, son of Helaman takes charge of the records. The Lamanites attack but are driven back by the army of Moronihah.
  • End of the Book of Alma.

Between 52 and 39 BC, Zarahemla

  • The Book of Helaman begins.
  • 52 BC: Pahoran dies. Pahoran’s sons, Pahoran, Paanchi and Pacumeni, contend for the judgement-seat. Pahoran is appointed chief judge by the voice of the people. Paanchi incites rebellion and is condemned to death. Kishkumen founds a secret combination and murders Pahoran on the judgement-seat. Pacumeni is appointed chief judge.
  • 51 BC: A Lamanite army, led by Coriantumr, takes possession of the city of Zarahemla and slays Pacumeni. Moronihah retakes Zarahemla and Coriantumr is slain.
  • 50 BC: Helaman, son of Helaman, is appointed chief judge.
  • Gadianton becomes the leader of Kishkumen’s band. Kishkumen attempts to murder Helaman but is slain by Helaman’s servant. Gadianton’s band flees into the wilderness.
  • 46 BC: There is “much contention and many dissensions” (Helaman 3:3). Many Nephites leave Zarahemla and settle in the land northward.
  • 45 BC: Helaman rules “with justice and equity” (Helaman 3:20) and the contentions lessen. Helaman’s sons, Nephi and Lehi, are mentioned.
  • 43 BC: Peace is established except for the secret combinations of Gadianton.
  • 41 BC: Pride begins to enter the church.
  • 39 BC: Helaman dies. Nephi, son of Helaman, becomes chief judge.

Between 38 and 30 BC, Zarahemla

  • 38 BC: There are “many dissensions in the church, and…contention among the people” (Helaman 4:1). The Nephite dissenters go over to the Lamanites.
  • 35-33 BC: The Lamanites come against the Nephites. They take possession of all “the land southward” (Helaman 4:8).
  • 32-31 BC: Moronihah succeeds in regaining half the Nephite lands.
  • 30 BC: The Nephites “abandon their desire to obtain the remainder of their lands” (Helaman 4:19).
  • Nephi gives up the judgement-seat to Cezoram.
  • Nephi and Lehi go forth to preach repentance to the Nephites, then to the Lamanites in the land of Zarahemla, and then to the land of Nephi.
  • Many Lamanites are converted. The Lamanites yield up the lands of the Nephites.

Between 29 and 24 BC, the lands of Mulek and Lehi

  • 29 BC: The Lamanites become more righteous than the Nephites.
  • The Nephites and Lamanites enjoy peace and free trade among their peoples.
  • The land north is called Mulek and the land south is called Lehi.
  • 26 BC: Cezoram is murdered on the judgement-seat by Gadianton’s band.
  • 25 BC: The people become more wicked. Gadianton’s robbers prosper, especially among the Nephites.
  • 24 BC: The Lamanites drive the Gadianton robbers from their lands. The Nephites build up and support the robbers and their secret combinations. The Gadianton robbers obtain control of the Nephite government.

Between 23 and 14 BC, Zarahemla

  • Nephi returns to Zarahemla.
  • Nephi preaches that the people must repent or perish. He miraculously announces the murder of Seezoram, the chief judge. He and others are imprisoned until he miraculously names the murderer.
  • 19 BC: There are “wars throughout all the land among the people of Nephi” (Helaman 11:1). Nephi prays for famine, rather than war.
  • 18-17 BC: The destruction continues, despite increasing difficulties from famine.
  • 16 BC: The people, about to perish from famine, cease fighting. Nephi prays for rain and the Lord grants Nephi’s petition.
  • The Nephites recover from the famine and enjoy peace for a short time.

Between 13 and 7 BC, throughout the land

  • Gadianton’s band increases in numbers. They “make great havoc, yea, even great destruction among the people of Nephi, and also among the people of the Lamanites” (Helaman 11:27). The robbers defy the armies of the Nephites and the Lamanites. The people grow more wicked.

Between 6 and 5 BC, Zarahemla

  • Samuel, a Lamanite prophet, prophesies the destruction of the Nephites if they do not repent. He predicts signs of Christ’s birth and death.
  • Nephi baptizes those who believe Samuel’s message.
  • Samuel cannot be harmed by arrows or stones, nor can he be taken. Samuel departs from Zarahemla.

Between 2 and 1 BC, Zarahemla

  • The signs indicating Christ’s birth, foretold by Samuel and other prophets, begin to be fulfilled. The unbelievers deny the validity of the signs.

1 BC, Zarahemla

  • Third Nephi begins.
  • Lachoneus is chief judge.
  • Nephi, son of Helaman, departs. Nephi, son of Nephi, is given charge of the records.
  • There is a great division over the signs of Christ’s birth. A date is given where, unless the signs are all fulfilled, the believers will be put to death.

From the birth of Christ to His death

AD 1, Zarahemla

  • The sign of Christ’s birth, a day and a night and a day with no darkness, is given on the eve of the day specified for the destruction of the believers. A new star appears.
  • AD 9: The Nephites begin to set their calendars according to when the sign was given.
  • Many are converted, but the Gadianton robbers still thrive.

Between AD 3 and 15, throughout the land

  • Some forget (or dismiss) the signs that were given. Wickedness increases among the Nephites and the Lamanites. Those who remain true are all called Nephites.
  • The Gadianton robbers increase in strength and threaten to destroy the Nephites. Wars and contentions exist throughout the land.

Between AD 15 and 21, Zarahemla

  • AD 15: Giddianhi, leader of the Gadianton robbers, sends an epistle to Lachoneus, the chief judge, demanding the surrender of the Nephites.
  • AD 17: The Nephites gather in the lands of Zarahemla and Bountiful. They bring sufficient supplies to withstand seven years of siege.
  • AD 18: The Gadianton robbers take possession of the abandoned Nephite lands, but cannot subsist without plundering the Nephites. They attack the Nephites and are driven back. Giddianhi is slain.
  • AD 21: Zemnarihah, the new leader of the robbers, lays siege to the Nephite fortifications, but the siege is more damaging to the robbers than to the Nephites. Zemnarihah determines to withdraw. Gidgiddoni, leader of the Nephite armies, knowing their weakness, attacks the robbers and defeats them. Zemnarihah is hanged.

Between AD 21 and 33, throughout the land

  • The Nephites hunt out the remnants of the robber band. The robbers are destroyed.
  • AD 26: The Nephites return to their former lands, and the Nephites prosper for a time.
  • AD 29: Contentions over power and wealth arise. The people become wicked. Secret combinations arise once more, seeking to murder the prophets and to overthrow the government.
  • AD 30: Lachoneus, son of Lachoneus, becomes chief judge. Lachoneus II is murdered and the government is overthrown. The people divide into tribes, “every man according to his kindred and friends” (3 Nephi 7:2). The secret combinations gather to a tribe led by a man named Jacob, and flee into the land northward.
  • AD 31-33: Nephi ministers to the people and performs miracles, but few are converted.

The coming of Christ

At the commencement of AD 34, throughout the land

  • AD 34, the fourth day of the first month: Great and terrible destruction occurs — “The face of the whole earth became deformed” (3 Nephi 8:17). Many cities are destroyed with their inhabitants. The destruction lasts “for about the space of three hours” (3 Nephi 8:19).
  • Unremitting darkness covers the land for three days. “There was not any light seen, neither fire, nor glimmer, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars” (3 Nephi 8:22).
  • As the people howl and mourn their great losses, a voice from heaven proclaims the destruction of numerous people and cities, because of their wickedness. The voice continues: “I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (3 Nephi 9:15). He declares the fulfillment of the law of Moses and invites all men to repent and come unto Him.
  • The darkness disperses and the earthquakes and groanings from the earth cease. The mourning of the survivors is “turned into joy, and their lamentations into the praise and thanksgiving unto the Lord Jesus Christ” (3 Nephi 10:10).
  • Those who were spared were “the more righteous part of the people” (3 Nephi 10:12). They recognize their survival as the fulfillment of prophecy.

At the ending of AD 34, near Bountiful

  • “In the ending of the thirty and fourth year” (3 Nephi 10:18) a great multitude gathers near the temple in the land of Bountiful.
  • The voice of God invites the multitude: “Behold, my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (3 Nephi 11:7).
  • Jesus descends out of heaven. He invites the multitude to examine the wounds in His hands and feet and side. He instructs them in the correct manner of baptism. He chooses twelve men, including Nephi, to minister to the people.
  • Jesus preaches to the multitude and delivers a discourse similar to the Sermon on the Mount. He announces the fulfillment of the law of Moses.
  • He tells the Nephites that they are the “other sheep” that he spoke of to the Jews. He tells them there are yet other sheep that he will visit.
  • He directs the people to pray and speaks to them in words that cannot be written (3 Nephi 17:17). Angels minister to the people.
  • Christ institutes the sacrament and commands them to pray. He ascends into heaven.
  • The people disperse to their homes and word goes out that Christ will appear again tomorrow. Those further away “labor exceedingly all that night” to be at the place where Christ will appear.
  • The next day, the twelve disciples divide the multitude into twelve groups and rehearse to them the words of Christ. They invite them to pray for the Holy Ghost and all are baptized by the twelve disciples. They are encircled with fire and angels minister to them.
  • Christ appears in their midst and ministers unto them. He miraculously provides bread and wine and administers the sacrament.
  • Christ speaks of the last days and of the gathering of Israel. He recites the prophecies of Isaiah and Malachi.
  • In all, Christ teaches the people for three days. He ministers to the children and heals the sick.

Between AD 34 and 35

  • The people are taught and baptized by the twelve disciples. They have “all things common among them” (3 Nephi 26:19).
  • Jesus appears again to the twelve in answer to their prayer concerning the name of the church. Christ tells them the church must be called in His name. Three disciples are given power to remain on the earth until Christ’s second coming.
  • The twelve “go forth among all the people of Nephi” (3 Nephi 28:23) and preach. The people are converted and “united unto the church of Christ” (3 Nephi 28:23).
  • End of Third NephiFourth Nephi begins.

Between AD 36 and 321

  • AD 36: “The people [are] all converted unto the Lord” (4 Nephi 1:2).
  • AD 36-60: There is continual peace. The disciples of Jesus perform many “great and marvelous works” (4 Nephi 5).
  • Many cities, including Zarahemla, are rebuilt.
  • AD 100: All the disciples, save “the three who should tarry” (4 Nephi 1:14), have died and others are chosen in their stead. Amos, son of Nephi, takes charge of the records.
  • “Surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God” (4 Nephi 1:16). There are no robbers, or Lamanites, “nor any manner of -ites” (4 Nephi 1:17).
  • AD 110: All the first generation from Christ have died.
  • AD 194: Amos dies. Amos, son of Amos, keeps the records.
  • A small group of people revolt from the church and call themselves Lamanites.
  • AD 200: All but a few of the second generation have died.
  • AD 201: Some begin to be lifted up in pride in “costly apparel…and of the fine things of the world” (4 Nephi 1:24). The people no longer have their goods and substance in common, and they begin to be divided in classes.
  • AD 211: There are many churches in the land, some of which deny Christ and persecute believers.
  • AD 231: There is a great division. The believers are called Nephites and the unbelievers are called Lamanites.
  • AD 245: The wicked are “exceedingly more numerous” (4 Nephi 1:40) than the people of God.
  • AD 261: The secret combinations and oaths of Gadianton reappear.
  • AD 301: The Nephites have become as wicked as the Lamanites.
  • AD 306: Amos dies. His brother Ammaron takes charge of the records.
  • AD 311 (about): Mormon is born.
  • AD 321: Ammaron hides the records.

Mormon and Moroni

Between AD 321 and 328 (Mormon’s Youth)

  • AD 321 (about): Ammaron visits Mormon and instructs him on the location of the sacred engravings.
  • AD 322: Mormon is carried into the land southward to the land of Zarahemla by his father.
  • AD 326: Mormon is visited by the Lord at the age of fifteen, “and taste[s] and [knows] of the goodness of Jesus” (Mormon 1:15).
  • AD 327-28: Mormon becomes head of the Nephite armies and leads them in battle against the Lamanites.

Between AD 328 and 350

  • AD 331: Mormon and his army of 42,000 defeats the Lamanite king, Aaron, and his army of 44,000.
  • AD 335 (about): Mormon goes to the hill called Shim in the land Antum, takes the plates of Nephi, and begins his abridgment of the records.
  • AD 345: Nephites retreat to the land of Jashon, but are driven forth again northward to the land of Shem.
  • AD 346: A Nephite army of 30,000 beats a Lamanite army of 50,000.
  • AD 350: The Nephites make a treaty with the Lamanites and the Gadianton Robbers, giving the Nephites the land northward up “to the narrow passage which led into the land southward“, and giving the Lamanites the land southward (Mormon 2:28-9).

Between AD 350 and 360

  • No battles fought between the Nephites and the Lamanites

Between AD 360 and 385

  • AD 360: Lamanites again come to battle the Nephites.
  • AD 362: Nephites beat the Lamanites in battle and begin to boast in their own strength and “swear before the heavens that they would avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren who had been slain by their enemies” (Mormon 3:9). Mormon “utterly refuse[s]…to be a commander and a leader” to the Nephites (Mormon 3:11).
  • AD 363: Nephite armies attack the Lamanites and are beaten back. Lamanites take the city of Desolation.
  • AD 364-66: Lamanites attack the city of Teancum, but are driven back. Nephites retake the city of Desolation.
  • AD 367: Mormon describes “the horrible scene of the blood and carnage which was among the people, both of the Nephites and of the Lamanites” (Mormon 4:11). Lamanites take the city of Desolation back driving the Nephites before them, next attacking the city of Teancum and taking many women and children prisoners to offer up as sacrifices to their idol gods. Nephites drive the Lamanites out of their land in anger over Lamanite sacrifices (Mormon 4:15).
  • AD 375: After eight years of no conflict between the two sides, the Lamanites attack. Meanwhile, the Nephites, from this point forth, gain no power over their enemies (Mormon 4:16-18), resulting in a nationwide retreat (Mormon 4:22).
  • Sometime between AD 375 and 380: Mormon resumes command of the Nephite armies.
  • Between AD 380 and 385: Mormon, with the permission of the Lamanites’ king, gathers his people to Cumorah to fight the Lamanites.
  • AD 385: The Nephites finish gathering their people. Around this time is when Mormon abridges the Large Plates of Nephi, and compiles the record into its almost finished product (See Words of Mormon 1:1-5, 9 and Mormon 6:6).
  • They then go to battle, resulting in the annihilation of the Nephite nation, with 230,000 Nephite casualties, or 10,000 each led by 23 captains. Only 24 survive, including Mormon and his son Moroni. Mormon bids farewell to the once great nation.

Between AD 385 and 421

  • Between AD 385 and 400: Of the remaining survivors of the final battle, all are hunted down and slain, except for Moroni.
  • Between AD 401 and 421: Moroni finishes his father’s work (Mormon 8); abridges the book of Ether, the record of the Jaredites; and finishes with his own book, including the church ordinances (Moroni 2-6) and some of his father’s teachings and writings (Moroni 789).
  • About AD 421: Moroni finishes the work his father and ancestors started, leaving a promise to its readers, and buries it in the earth.

Mesoamerican Prehistory Timeline

List of Peoples

(These links connect to the beginning of the period in which the group is mentioned. Only one reference is provided per group, normally the time of the group’s first or major appearance in the archaeological record.)

Aztecs, Chichimecs, Chontàl Maya, Esperanza Phase People, Huastecs, Itzà Maya, Izapàn Maya, Kaqchikèl [Cakchiquel] Maya, K’ichè’ [Quiché]Maya, Mam, Maya, Mixe-Zoqueans, Mixtecs, Mogollón, Olmecs, Otomí, Pipìl, Pokomàm Maya, Putùn Maya, Purépecha, Spanish, Tapachultecs, Tarascans, Teotihuacanos, Tèpenacs, Toltecs, Totonacs, Tzutuhìl Maya, Zapotecs.

List of Periods

  1. Geological Background
  2. Early Hunters 11,000± – 7,000± BC
  3. Archaic (Incipient Farming) Period 7000± – 2000± BC
  4. Early Formative (Pre-Classic) Period 1500/1800-900 BC
  5. Middle Formative (Pre-Classic) Period 900-300 BC
  6. Late Formative (Pre-Classic) Period 300 BC – AD 300
  7. Early Classic Period (Mexico: AD 150-650/Maya: AD 250-600)
  8. Late Classic Period AD 600-900
  9. Early Post-Classic Period AD 900-1200
  10. Late Post-Classic Period (part 1) AD 1200-1400
  11. Late Post-Classic Period (part 2) AD 1400-Spanish Conquest

Appendix: Table of Aztec Monarchs

More detailed chronology of the Aztecs

Geological Background

  • 50,000-7000± Wisconsin Glacial Period
  • 38,000-34,000, 30,000-15,000 The presence of land corridors from Beringia allows the possibility of human passage, but convincing evidence is still wanting. Click here for more information on the Bering Strait Land Bridge
  • >11,500 Cary Advance
  • 11,000-10,000 Mankato Advance (humid)
  • 10,000-8000 Two Creeks Interval (dry)
  • 9000-7000 Valders Advance (humid)
  • 8000 Sea levels rise, ending Bering Straits Land Bridge (Beringia)
  • 7000-2000 Hypsithermal (European “Climatic Optimum”)
  • 5500-4800 Cochrane Advance in Canada (humid) (=Younger Dryas Event)
  • 2000 BC – AD 1800± Little Ice Age
  • 1500-150± BC (humid)
  • 150± BC – AD 900 (dry)
  • 900 – 1800± (humid)
  • Return to very beginning, list of periods, list of peoples.

1. Early Hunters Period 13,000±? to 7,000± BC

  • Nomadic foragers; fishing; some seed collection.
  • 11,000-10,500 (formerly 9500-9000) Clovis points in North America used in mammoth hunting.
  • 8000 Folsom bison points in North America.

Mexico: Northern Mexico (Tamaulipas)

  • 11,000-10,000 Diablo Phase.
  • unspecialized foraging tools.

Mexico: Central Highlands

  • >7000 Tehuacán Ajuereado Phase.
  • bands of 12-15 people; some big-game hunting.

Mexico: Oaxaca Valley

  • Long Sequence parallels Tehuacán.
  • 7400-6700 Zea pollen; bottle gourds; pumpkin.

Maya Areas:

  • 11,000± Red ochre mined from caves in Yucatán
  • Wild horses among prey
  • 9000-7500 Lowe-Ha Phase in northern Belize; very small nomadic bands

2. Archaic (Incipient Farming) Period 7000± – 2000± BC

  • Gradual development of horticultural skills, some signs of fixed settlement, possibly some shamanism; extinction of many animals; Desert Cultures of US West and northern Mexico (Tamaulipas &c.).

Mexico Central Highlands

  • Tehuacán (Puebla) Phases:
  • 7000-5000 El Riego Phase.
  • Cotton; ritually damaged buried bodies; seasonal nomadism.
  • 5000-3400 Coxcàtlan Phase.
  • Bottle gourds, beans, new squashes, first maize.
  • 3400-2300 Abejas Phase.
  • Small hamlets of 5-10 pithouses; hybrid maize, tepary beans, pumpkin?; 30% of diet made up of cultigens; ground stone containers.
  • 2300-1500 Purrón Phase.
  • crude pottery appears in two shapes, probably by diffusion from Caribbean or South America.
  • Tlapacòya: Female figurines of 2300±100 BC oldest in Mesoamerica.

Mexico: Balsas Depression

  • 2000± Maize probably composes majority of human diet according to finds in Balsas River Valley.

Mexico Oaxaca Valley

  • Long Sequence parallels Tehuacán
  • 7000-5000 Wild and probably domesticated corn found in Puebla-Oaxaca.

Mexico Gulf Coast

  • Probable cultivation of manioc without archaeological traces.

Maya Areas

  • 7000-3500 Santa María Complex (Chiapas) similar to Tehuacán & Tamaulipas Archaic, and to “Desert Culture” further north.
  • 2000± first division of hypothetically unitary Proto-Maya language into Huastecan, Yucatecan, and southern variants; Huastec migration to Veracruz & Tamaulipas; southern group divides into two language groups: (North-)Western (Chol of Tabasco) and (South-)Eastern (Mam & K’ich’è [Quiché] of highland Guatemala).
  • Broadly savannah-like environment (destined to be forested AD 300±)
  • Some maize grown!
  • Belize Archaic
  • August 13, 3114 BC (Gregorian): Starting point (0.0.0.0.0 4-Ahàw 8-kumk’ù) of Classic Maya Long-Count Calendar

Other Parts of the World

  • 6150± Çatal Hüyük a major Neolithic center in Turkey
  • 2600± Great Pyramid built
  • 2350± Sargon of Akkad destroys Babylon (which rises again)
  • 1700± Founding of Chinese Shāng dynasty

3. Early Formative (Pre-Classic) Period (Mexico: 1500-900 BC; Maya Area: 1800-900 BC)

  • “Neolithic” farming villages; pottery, looms, ground stone figurines; rule by groups of elders, shamans, or chiefs; rain & fertility cults; regional differentiation.

Mexico Central Highlands

  • figurine cults.
  • 1100 Zacatènco.
  • 1200 Tlatìlco: large, rich village; storage pits, animal and human sculpture; 340+ burials.
  • 1350 El Arbolillo.

Mexico: Southernmost Mexico (Chiapas)

Beginning of Chiapa de Corzo sequences running from 1500 to the present in Grijalva Depression.

Mexico Oaxaca Valley

  • 1150-850 San José Phase
  • San José Mogote: village of 80-120 households with maize, chili, squashes, avocados.

Mexico Gulf Coast

  • 1750-1500 Earliest evidence of cacao (chocolate) use by Pre-Olmec peoples of the Gulf coast. (Click here for More About Cacao. )
  • 1400-900 San Lorenzo (Veracruz) earliest of the major Olmec sites, a major Olmec center by 1200; first religious ceremonial center in the New World; earliest ball court; stone drains; spectacular sculptures, including colossal heads; probable cannibalism; bufotenine (frog-derived) hallucinogens.
  • >1000 San Lorenzo Destroyed.

West Mexico

  • Juxtlahuàca Cave, near Colotlìpa (Guerrero) with polychrome “Olmec” murals, contemporary with San Lorenzo Olmec?

Maya Areas

  • Beginning of Chiapa de Corzo sequences running from 1500 to the present in Grijalva Depression.
  • 1000± Arévalo phase at Kaminaljuyù (Guatemala). Burial mound shows class distinctions, viz priest buried with riches, a commoner with nothing, possibly not correctly dated to this phase.
  • 1900-1500 villages of the Mokaya people along the Pacific coast of Chiapas include ceramics with traces of cacao (Click here for More About Cacao. )
  • 1800 villages along coast at Soconusco (Xoconòchco), Guatemala
  • 1800 Barra Phase huts, decorated pottery, possibly used for stone-boiling, in forms similar to Purrón ware of Tehuacán; maize cultivation; clay figurines; no evidence of social classes. Gives way to fully agricultural Ocós
  • 1700-1500 Locona Phase; stamper-rocking, cooking vessels, social hierarchy.
  • 1500-1400 Ocós Culture of La Victoria (near Soconusco); fully agricultural combined with marine animals; first cord-marked pottery in New World; female “goddess” figurines similar to those of Ecuador from 3700± BC
  • 1200 Cuadros Culture; Nal-Tal maize production.
  • 1000-700 Swasey/Bladen Phase at Cuello (Belize) exhibits popcorn, yams; plaster platforms; ceramics with no known stylistic predecessors and some ressemblance to later forms.
  • Tz’ibilchaltùn [Dzibilchaltún] (Yucatán) occupied from 1500 or 1000 BC till conquest by Spanish, never an important center, but little else is known about the area in the Formative.

Other Parts of the World

  • 1350± Babylon assimilated into Assyrian Empire
  • 1200± Fall of Troy, Mycenae, and other Archaic Greek states, beginning the “Greek Dark Ages”
  • 1000± Jerusalem conquered by King David

4. Middle Formative (Pre-Classic) Period 900-300 BC

Olmec civilization; widespread trade; diffusion of Olmec traits in many directions; class divisions. Spread of Mayan speakers into Lowlands seems to have occurred in this period.

Mexico Central Highlands

  • Lakeside sites (lake fish, deer, birds; skilled uses of obsidian):
  • El Arbolillo (three-legged bowls).
  • Zacatenco (many clay figurines, usually nude women.
  • Tlapacoya & Cuicuilco the first purely religious structures in the Valley of Mexico.
  • 800 Tlatilco increased class differences.
  • 700-500 Cantera Phase in Morelos.
  • 1400 -500 BC Chalcatzingo: An Olmec “peripheral site”; artificial terraces; Olmec-style sculpture. Monumental archetecture at 700 BC.

West Mexico

  • Oxtotitlán Rockshelter (Guerrero) with polychrome “Olmec” murals, contemporary with La Venta Olmec?

Mexico Oaxaca Valley

  • San José Mogote remains most important site; hieroglyph of proto-danzante possible forerunner of later Zapotec script.
  • 600 – 200± Monte Albán I Phase. Writing & calendar, probably borrowed from Olmecs.
  • 500-450 Monte Albán founded on commanding hilltop site, with 10,000 to 20,000 inhabitants by end of Early Formative times; danzante reliefs with clear hieroglyphic texts, still undeciphered. Calendar Round in use.

Mexico Gulf Coast

  • Height of the Olmec civilization; astronomy, sculpture, writing, calendar?
  • 1000-400 or 400 La Venta (Tabasco)
  • Greatest Olmec site, but hinterland poorly understood; Tres Zapotes (Veracruz) First Occupation, contemporaneous with La Venta.

Maya Areas

  • Maya languages now spread throughout roughly their historical range.
  • Conchas Phase.
  • 500-300 Las Charcas phase widespread, but centered at Kaminaljuyù with excellent decorated pottery.
  • 700-400 Mamóm village culture phase at El Mirador, Waxaktùn [Uaxactún] & Tik’àl with red-orange pottery (rarely decorated), first seen in Swasey Phase at Cuello (Belize) dating about 1000-700 BC.
  • Nak’bè shows platforms layered on older ones.
  • Altùn Ha (Belize) only known Mamòm public architecture
  • Xe Phase at Altar de Sacrificios & Seibal
  • 900-400 BC Uìr Phase at Copán (Honduras) has Olmec-like features, probably because Olmec jade seekers found Copán area jade deposits
  • Maní Cenot Phase, followed by Yucatán Middle Pre-Classic.

Tz’ibilchaltùn [Dzibilchaltún] with Mamòm-like Nabanchè phase

Other Parts of the World

  • 753 Town of Rome founded
  • 586 Nebuchadnezzar destroys Jerusalem
  • 551 Confucius born
  • 478 Themistocles of Athens founds the Delian League

5. Late Formative (Pre-Classic) Period (Mexico: 300 BC – AD 150; Maya Area: 300 BC – AD 250)

  • “Urban Revolution”: building of the great urban centers, new social class divisions.
  • (Note: If there were trans-Pacific contacts, they would have occurred sometime before the end of this period, since the “shared cultural traits” were then in place. However neither material goods nor diseases seem to have moved across the sea by this time, so “shared cultural traits” must be provisionally attributed either to chance or to parallel developments from traditions that antedate the last of the Beringia migrations.)

Mexico Central Highlands

  • 300-1 BC Teotihuàcan I Phase.
  • AD 1-300 Teotihuàcan II (=Tzacualli?) Phase.
  • Pyramid of the Sun constructed.
  • AD 150 Volcano destroys Cuicuilco, leaving Teotihuàcan unrivaled in the Central Highlands.

Mexico West Mexico

Balsas (=Mezcala) River sites (Guerrero) develop Mezcala art style; shaft tomb art in Nayarit, Jalisco, and Colima states.

Mexico Oaxaca Valley

  • 250± BC – 1 BC Monte Albán II Phase.
  • Many peoples involved in stages I & II, probably including ancestors of modern Zapotecs; Maya influence till beginning of Classic; building J constructed.
  • AD 1 – 500 Monte Albán IIIa Phase.
  • Zapotecs definitely now the people involved.

Mexico Gulf Coast

  • Probable invention of Long Count calendar. (Some say it was invented as early as the 8th century BC.)
  • Tres Zapotes (Veracruz), Second Occupation .
  • Stele C (dated to 3 Sept 32 BC).
  • La Mojarra stela 1 with two long-count dates, AD 143 and 156
  • “Isthmian”-style Tuxtla statuette (possibly in Mixe-Zoquean language) with long count date of AD 162

Maya Areas

  • Oldest Long Count date of 7.16.3.2.13 (7 December 36 BC) found at Chiapa de Corzo (Chiapas).
  • Izapa (Chiapas) founded in Early Formative by Tapachultec (Mixe-Zoquean) speakers and persisting to Early Classic, with height in Late Formative.
  • Olmec-derived but idiosyncratic art style; the principal transmitting tradition between Olmec & Maya societies, with wide influence; possibly forerunner of Classic Maya configuration.
  • Izapa-like Miraflores phase of Kaminaljuyù, its Golden Age, including effigy vessels and widespread Usulutàn yellow-on-brown ware; mushroom stones; irrigation; water storage.
  • Santa Clara Phase, Aurora Phase.
  • AD 36 Herrera Stele, earliest dated sculpture in Maya region at El Baúl
  • Abàj Tak’alìk’ (Chiapas), like El Baúl a “Maya” site within a generally Cotzumalhuapa area
  • Izapan culture at Izàpa (Chiapas)has wide influence, possibly forerunner of Classic Maya configuration.

  • Chikanèl [Chicanel] Phase at Waxaktùn [Uaxactún] and elsewhere; cement-plastic-stucco surfaces widely used
  • Temples built at El Mirador, Tik’àl & Waxaktùn [Uaxactún] (Guatemala) and Cerros & Lamanai (aka Indian Church) (Belize); tombs with vaults.
  • Enormous Danta and Tigre pyramids at El Miradór.
  • Matzanel Phase.
  • Yucatán Late Pre-Classic, very similar to Chicanel; site of Yaxunà.

Other Parts of the World

  • 63 BC Birth of Augustus, to become first Roman emperor
  • 255 BC Qin dynasty ends Chinese feudalism & establishes Chinese imperial system
  • 206 BC – AD 219 Chinese Han dynasty

6. Early Classic Period (Mexico: AD 150 – 650; Maya: AD 250 – 600;  Traditionally AD 300-600 for both areas)

For the Maya, the Classic is now more formally defined as the interval during which Long Count dated monuments were erected in the lowlands.

Consolidated states with substantial social class differentiation; long-count calendar, writing, sculpture, mathematics, ceramics, and large-scale urban planning widespread in many areas; strong Izapan influence continues in Maya areas.

Mexico: Central Highlands

  • Teotihuàcan III (=Miccoatli?) Phase: the height of Teotihuàcan, with much influence elsewhere. People of unknown name sometimes called Teotihuacanos.
  • 200 Pyramid of the Moon & Ciudadela (“TFS”) constructed, the latter dedicated with about 200 human sacrifices.
  • (By the end of the Early Classic there were about 40 times as many people in the Valley of Mexico as during the Middle Formative, and Teotihuàcan probably had a population of about between 100,000 and 200,000 people, its maximum.)

Mexico: Oaxaca Valley

  • Classic period for Monte Albán with major temples built.
  • 500-900 Monte Albán IIIb population estimated at 24,000; 170 underground tombs with frescoes.

Maya Areas:

  • Mexican (probably Pipil) culture at Santa Lucía Cotzomalhuapa arises in late Early Classic with strong interest in death & ball games.
  • 400 Kaminaljuyù, occupied by Teotihuacanos, becomes miniature version of Teotihuàcan. Long Count calendar vanishes.
  • Esperanza Phase of Kaminaljuyù, a kind of Maya-Teotihuàcan hybrid. (Teotihuàcan influence has been traced as far as Nicaragua and Costa Rica.)
  • Teotihuàcan-influenced Tzak’òl phase of Waxaktùn [Uaxactún] & Tik’àl; dawn of Classic Maya culture till 600. Teotihuàcan domination is now judged more likely due to conquest than to local Maya emulation, although new evidence could change this.
  • Tik’àl’s Leiden Plate (AD 320), stele 29 (AD 292), and possibly Humberg stele (AD100?) earliest known Long Count objects in Maya area.
  • 250± Yax Moch Xoc founds Tik’àl dynasty
  • 378 Siyàh K’ak’ arrives from El Perú to the west at Tik’àl or Waxaktùn, possibly leading an invasion force from Teotihuàcan; Waxaktùn [Uaxactún] falls to Tik’àl
  • 426? Yax K’uk’ Mo’ founds dynasty at Copán (Honduras) which continues to 585±
  • Destruction of many sites toward end of Early Classic probably due to revolt & local warfare, both possibly linked to major drought peaking about 585 and/or to fall of Teotihuàcan about 600.
  • Rich graves of Río Azul sites (looted in 1960s & 1970s)

  • Bekàn [Becán] fortified town in Chenes region suggests warfare before Teotihuàcan conflict
  • Akankèh [Acanceh] shows Mexican-style buildings; Regional Styles.

Other Parts of the World

  • 391 Christianity becomes state religion of the Roman Empire
  • 476 Western Roman Empire collapses

7. Late Classic Period (AD 600-900)

(In the Maya area the term “Terminal Classic” refers to the period from 800 to 925 or so. Various states collapse late in this epoch: Monte Albán, Mexican-influenced Kaminaljuyù, Copán are either destroyed or abandoned. Cultural florescence of Puuk [Puuc] hills of northern Yucatán late in this period.

Mexico: Central Highlands

  • Teotihuàcan IV.
  • 600-700 Teotihuàcan destroyed by fire, probably by Chichimecs. (Most Teotihuàcan influence on other sites ended by about AD 600. The fire is dated differently by different writers.)
  • Production of related Coyotlatèlco ware by squatters on the site continued for an additional 200 years.
  • 700± Xochicàlco (Morelos) founded, apparently with Maya contacts.
  • 860 Xochicàlco “Fortress” built.
  • 800-900 pre-Toltec Corràl Phase at Tula.
  • 700-1292 Olmeca-Xicallanca (= Putùn Maya = Chontòl) dynasty at Cholula (Puebla), site of largest pyramid in the New World.
  • Cacàxtla (Puebla) site of Putùn Maya enclave in Mexico in 8th & 9th centuries.

Mexico: Oaxaca Valley

  • Monte Albán declining, to be abandoned about 900

Mexico: Gulf Coast

  • Classic Veracruz culture (sometimes claimed to resemble Bronze Age China, despite misfit of dates). (The modern Totonac people live in this region today, and Classic Veracruz people are sometimes called Totonac.)
  • El Tajín (Veracruz), the most important Classic Veracruz site, reaches its height about 900. Obsessive interest in ball games.
  • Remojadas (Veracruz) produces pottery figures of same name, resembling Classic Maya sculptures.

Maya Areas:

  • Occasional but increasingly severe droughts after about 650 begin to reduce crops and increase warfare.
  • Cotzomalhuapa Phase continues at El Baúl, associated with Nàhuatl-speaking Pipìl on Pacific Piedmont and showing traits of Maxican Gulf Coast.
  • Earliest evidence of tobacco (possibly for medicinal use) found through analysis of resideues in pottery in Mirador basis of soutrhern Campeche.

  • 682 Copán meeting of astronomers fixes lunar-solar calendrical correlation
  • 683 Chahn-Bahlum succeeds Sun Lord Pacal and the latter is magnificently entombed at Palenque.
  • Tik’àl Major temples built; largest Maya site with 10 to 40,000 people.
  • 695 Ruler 18 Rabbit (Waxaklahùn Ubàh K’awìl) enthroned as 13th monarch of Copán, begins huge building project.
  • 735 Seibal falls to Dos Pilas
  • 738 King Canac Sky of Quiriguá rebels; captures & beheads 18 Rabbit; Smoke Monkey accedes in Copán, builds Popol Nah of Copán.
  • Tepeu culture
  • Yaxchilán, Piedras Negras, etc major centers
  • 751-790 Deterioration of alliance system
  • 760-830 Protective walls built at Dos Pilas and Aguateca
  • 792 Bonampak murals left unfinished
  • 790-830 death rate exceeds birth rate across Petèn region
  • 800± Probably about 8-10 million people in all Maya lowlands when unknown catastrophe strikes.
  • 800-1050 Major drought, peaking about 862, may have interacted with inter-state warfare and with environmental degredation caused by high population levels to cause general collapse.
  • 820 end of Copán dynasty founded by Yax K’uk’ Mo’
  • 830 Construction stops except in peripheral sites.
  • 849 “Wat’ul” mentioned in Seibal stele as coming from “Puh,” possibly Tula, since both terms mean “place of reeds.”
  • 850± Chontàl and Putùn, both “Mexicanized Maya” of Tabasco and southern Campeche, begin to move into “fallen” sites like Seibal
  • 900 Copán abandoned.

Maya Area: Yucatán Lowlands

  • This region generally flourishes after the Petèn collapse.
  • Mid-Peninsula sites of Río Bec, Chenes, Kobà [Cobá]
  • Río Bec & nearby sites (Xpuhil, Hormiguero) exhibit “movie-set” false-fronts
  • Development of Tulúm on the east coast, Jaina island necropolis off west coast.
  • Puuk [Puuc] & Chenes Phases.
  • Puuk [Puuc] Florescence: Labná, Sayìl, Uxmàl, K’abàh, Etz’nà [Edznà].

Other Parts of the World

  • 618-906 Tang dynasty an era of Chinese internationalism
  • 622 Hegira of Mohammed
  • 732 Defeat at Tours & Poitiers stops Moorish advance north of Spain
  • 800 Charlemagne crowned “Romanorum Gubernans Imperium”

8. Early Post-Classic Period (AD 900-1200)

Widespread militarism. This is the “Epoch of the Toltecs,” with influence as far as Yucatán. Factionalism & Chichimecs bring about Toltec fall about 1168 or so.

Mexico: Central Highlands

  • Rise of Toltec Empire, centered at Tula (=Tollan) (Hidalgo). They dominate Mexico between about 1100 and 1200 and become a model on which later imperial states nostalgically look back.
  • Between 800 & 1100 Toltecs enter “Civilized Mexico” under Mixcòatl and settle at Colhuàcan, later to arrive at Tula (Tòllan) under Topìltzin-Quetzalcóatl.
  • 950-1150 or 1200 Tòllan Phase at Tula.
  • Tula covered 14 sq km and held 30-40,000 people.
  • 987± Exile of Topiltzin Quetzalcóatl(= Ce Àcatl Topìltzin) from Tula to “Tlapàllan,” possibly Yucatán. Conquest of Chichén Itzá.
  • 1100s Factionalism & Chichimec pressures.
  • 1156 or 1168 Tula destroyed by fire; Huèmac commits suicide at Chapultèpec; Toltec diaspora.

Mexico: Northern Mexico

  • 900 Alta Vista (Zacatecas) control of Turquoise road replaced by control from Quemada (Zacatecas).
  • Casas Grandes (Chihuahua) contemporaneous with Tòllan Phase Tula, culturally linked with Mogollón (locally pronounced “muggy-own”) culture(s) of the US Southwest.

Mexico: Gulf Coast

  • El Tajín continues till burnt by Chichimecs about 1200.

Mexico: Oaxaca Valley

  • Monte Albán IV: Monte Albán site used for royal burials by the Mixtecs.
  • Monte Albán IV site of Lambityeco shows Maya influence.
  • Mitla, a Zapotec town, becomes the Mixtec capital; expansion of Mixtecs during Monte Albán V (=Toltec & Aztec periods).

Maya Area:

  • 900± Teotihuacanos leave Kaminaljuyù.
  • Ayampuc Phase.
  • Possible flow of refugees from Petèn in 900s.

Maya Area: Petèn Lowlands

  • 900 Copán abandoned.
  • 905 last dated Puuk [Puuc] style monument
  • 910 Last recorded Long Count date (at Itzimtè).
  • General depopulation of the Petèn
  • Expansion of Putùn (=Chontòl = “Olmeca-Xicallanca”) Maya expand from around Xicallanco (Tabasco); they move to Campeche, where they are ejected about 1200, migrating to the Lake now called Petén Itzá, then to the site of Chich’èn.

Maya Area: Yucatán Lowlands

  • Possible flow of refugees from Petèn in 900s.
  • 987 Toltecs under “K’ulk’ulkàn,” possibly Topìltzin Qutzalcóatl, and seize the Maya town of Uukìl-abnàl (= Chich’èn Itzà)
  • (Caution: A people called the Itzà established a later dynasty at the same site in the 1200s. The modern site name, Chichén Itzá, comes from that later occupation. It is convenient to refer to the pre-Itzà site simply as Chich’èn. The most famous buildings that the visitor sees on this site today date from the Toltec occupation period.)
  • Toltec-Maya fusion seen in cult of the feathered serpent K’uk’ulcàn (Quetzalcóatl), possibly based on arrival of the refugee Toltec leader, in increase in human sacrifice, and in architectural features at new buildings at Chich’èn & Puuk [Puuc] sites.
  • “Plumbate ware” found in Toltec-dominated Yucatán sites.
  • Severe drought between 1000 and 1100 may have motivated out-migration and abandonment of settlements.
  • Plumbate & Tojil Phases.

Other Parts of the World

  • 1096-1099 First Crusade
  • 1066 Norman conquest of England
  • 960-1279 Song dynasty in China

9. Late Post-Classic Period (part 1) AD 1200-1400

Rise of the Aztec Empire; disintegration of Maya civilization.

(Note: By the time the Aztecs amounted to much, the Maya had disintegrated politically in all but a handful of mountain successor states. The Aztecs were not contemporary with major Maya states, and neither people knew about, cared about, or conquered the other. Grmpf!)

Mexico: Central Highlands

  • 1230 Nathuatl-speaking Tepanec take over older town of Azcapotzalco.
  • 1244 Nahuatl-speaking Chichimeca under Xolote settle at Tenayuca.
  • 1250± non-Nahuatl-speaking Otomí found Xaltocan.
  • 1260 Nahuatl-speaking Acolhua found Coatlinchan.
  • 1325 Southern Aztecs (= Mexìca = Tenòcha) under Tènoc found Tenochtìtlan while northern Aztecs found Tlatelòlco just north of it.
  • (A table of Aztec monarchs will be found in the appendix. For a detailed chronology of the Aztecs/Mexica, click here.)
  • 1358 Northern Aztecs found Tlatelòlco just north of Tenochtitlan.
  • 1359 Kingdom of Huexotzingo takes over sacred site of Cholula (Puebla).

Mexico: West Mexico

  • 1325 Pátzcuaro founded on Lake of same name by Tarascan (Purépecha) hero Taríakuri. Ihuàtzio and later Tzintzúntzan eventually become capitals of Tarascan “Empire” in Michoacán.

Mexico: Oaxaca Valley

Mixtec States

Mexico: Gulf Coast

  • 1200 El Tajín burnt by Chichimecs.

Maya Area: Yucatán Lowlands

  • 1200-1224 Decline of Chich’èn Itzà and its abandonment by “Toltec” occupants.
  • 1224-44 Itzà group of Putùn (“Mexicanized Maya”) leave Chakanputún (Campeche) and settle in ruins of Chich’èn, thenceforth known as Chich’èn Itzà (“Well Mouth of the Itzà”), using sacred cenote intensely.
  • 1263 founding of Mayapán by Itzà leader K’ak’upakàl, possibly a Putùn from Tabasco. Mayapán’s dominance of surrounding territory is known as the League of Mayapán. (The site of Mayapán was actually first occupied in 941± by an earlier population.)
  • 1283 Kokom lineage siezes Mayapán and subdues Northern Yucatán, forcing tribute from subordinates through a hostage system, but creating a city incapable of sustaining its population any other way.
  • Further development of Tulúm island off east coast

Other Parts of the World

  • 1206-1526 Sultanate of Delhi: height of Muslim rule of India
  • 1223 Franciscan order founded
  • 1245 Mongols rule all Russia
  • 1276 Kublai Khan completes conquest of China
  • 1300-1600 Renaissance in Europe

10. Late Post-Classic Period (part 2) AD 1400-Spanish Conquest

Mexico: Central Highlands

  • 1427 Itzcoatl & Tlacaelel free the Aztecs.
  • 1502 Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin & the major Aztec Expansion.
  • 1519 Tenochtìtlan/Tlatelolco probably has 200,000 to 300,000 people.
  • 1521 Spanish Conquest.

Mexico: Oaxaca Valley

  • Mixtecs & Zapotecs largely successfully resist conquest by Aztecs, despite an Aztec assalts beginning in 1434.
  • 1488 Aztecs raze Huaxyacac (Oaxaca City) and establish a garrison there.
  • 1522-1523 Spanish take Oaxaca Valley; Aztec garrison town becomes Antequara, the Spanish regional capital for Oaxaca

Mexico: Gulf Coast

  • 1518 Juan de Grijalva lands near Veracruz.
  • 1519 Cempoala, the Totonac capital, conquered by Aztecs (They ally with Cortés soon afterward.)
  • 1519 Cortés lands in Mexico.

Maya Areas:

  • The K’ich’è [Quiché] at Utatlàn (Qúmaraqaj), controlled by an elite group probably descended from Putùn immigrants, and dominated by the Kawek family, dominate
  • the Kaqchikèl [Cakchiquel] at Iximchè,
  • the Pokomàm at Mixco Viejo, and
  • the Mam at Zaculeu, and the Tzutuhìl.
  • 1524 Pedro de Alvarado (died 1541) arrives in Guatemala highlands.
  • Tecpán founded as Spanish HQ. Cakchiquel at Iximché ally with Spanish against Tzutuhil & K’ich’è [Quiché]. Tekùn Umàn, last K’ich’è ruler, killed by Alvarado near Quetzaltenango. Utatlàn, the K’ich’è capital, destroyed.
  • 1525 Spanish conquest of Mam and Pokomàm.
  • 1530 Kaqchikèl [Cakchiquel] chafe under Spanish domination and rebel. Spanish conquest of them at Iximchè.
  • 1712 Tzeltàl rebellion in Chiapas.
  • 1868 Tzeltàl rebellion in Chiapas.
  • 1994 Tzeltàl rebellion in Chiapas.

  • (This area is inaccessible [& gold-free] enough that Maya states continued for long after the fall of other areas.)
  • 1450± Tayasal (Tah Itzà) founded at Lake Petén Itzá by Itzà refugees from Chich’èn.
  • 1625 Spanish Conquest of Petèn Lowlands.
  • 1697 Spanish Conquest of Tayasal, the final Itzà capital.
  • 1524 Cortés is received by Tayasal King.
  • 1695 Andrés de Avendaño visits Chak’àm on Lake Petén Itzá.
  • 1450± Mayapán destroyed after feud between Xiw family of Uxmàl and Kokòm of Mayapàn; Itzà driven from Chich’èn.
  • Small states squabble under local chieftains; fighting & disease; all large cities abandoned in general collapse
  • 1517 Hernández de Córdoba discovers Yucatán, but is killed at Champotòn [Chakanputún].
  • 1528 Francisco de Montejo lands in Yucatán and is repulsed.
  • 1541 Spanish conquest of Yucatán.
  • 1542 Founding of Mérida (Yucatán)
  • 1847 Yucatán Rebellion against Mexican influence.
  • 1860 Yucatán Rebellion against Mexican influence.
  • 1910 Yucatán Rebellion against Mexican influence.

Other Parts of the World

  • 1300-1600 Renaissance in Europe
  • 1429 Jean d’Arc burned by the English
  • 1492 Moors driven from Spain
  • 1636 Harvard University Founded
  • 1649 Manzhou conquest of China; Qing dynasty founded

Appendix: Toltec Monarchs

write here.

https://www.historyfiles.co.uk/KingListsAmericas/CentralToltecs.htm

Appendix: Aztec Monarchs

Spellings. Spellings in this table have been modernized to conform to modern standardized orthography of Classical Nahuatl, except that a dieresis (Umlaut) has been used instead of a macron to represent long vowels. Spellings in most books about the Aztecs will vary slightly.

Dates. Different sources disagree about the exact reign dates of some of Aztec monarchs, largely due to ambiguities in the original sources and in the Aztec calendar. Here are dates given by three painstaking authors as an example of the extent of the discrepancies.

MonarchDavies-1Orozco-2García-3
1. Äcamäpichtli1372-13911376-13961376-1395
2. Huïtzilihhuitl1391-14151396-14171396-1417
3. Chïmalpopöca1415-14261417-14271417-1424
4. Ïtzcöätl1427-14401427-14401425-1437
5. Motëuczomah Ilhuicamina1440-14681440-14691438-1471
6. Äxäyacatl1468-14811469-14811471-1479
7. Tizoc1481-14861481-14861480-1483
8. Ahuitzotl1486-15021486-14921483-1501
9. Motëuczomah Xöcoyötzin1502-15201502-05201502-1520
10. Cuitlahuäc152015201520
11. Cuauhtemoc1520-15251521-15251520-1525
Nigel DAVIES
1973 The Aztecs. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. P. 305. Fernando OROZCO LINARES
1992 Fechas históricas de México. Mexico City: Panorama Editorial. Enrique GARCÍA EXCAMILLA
1995 Historia de México narrada en Nahuatl y Español de acuerdo
al calendario azteca. Mexico City: Plaza y Valdés.

More detailed chronology of the Aztecs

The Aztec/Mayan Calendar (And its similarities to the Hebrew/Biblical Calendar & Book of Mormon dates)

Summary

  • Similarities between Mesoamerican and Near-eastern Calendars
  • How to read Mesoamerican/Mayan/Aztec Calendars (see my Maya date conversion program!)
  • Understanding the “K’atun Wheel/Round” (or u kahlay katunob) and how it tracks the 520 year cycles very much like Daniel’s 490/500 year ‘sacred weeks‘ calendar.
  • A list of long count dates & references.

Introduction

Mesoamerican calendars show an astonishing amount of similarity to the Hebrew/Biblical and ancient Eurasian calendars. Really, its hard to believe these calendar systems developed completely independent of each other without some type of diffusionary influence. The purely Solar calendar of the Inca & their entirely unique Quipu writing system are far closer to what might be expected from a culture that developed in 12,000+ years of complete isolation from Eurasian thought. Of particular significance is “K’atun Wheel/Round” (or u kahlay katunob) and its similarity to the Hebrew 70 week/490 ‘year for a day’ sacred calendar used in the Book of Daniel. Although essentially ALL the ancient calendars of the world have been continually modified by various rulers for various purposes, most of the calendars in the Near-east/Eurasia show evidence of cultural diffusion from one to another despite the repeated modifications and corrections made to them. In the eyes of this author, this Eurasian cultural diffusion seems it must have made its way all the way to Mesoamerica.

In addition to the Mayan numeric system which is surprisingly similar to Egyptian numbering, the Mayan religious cycle or sacred round shows surprising similarity to the Jewish sacred round or religious cycle preserved in the Book of Daniel. For those unfamiliar with Daniel’s 70 week prophesy, it showcases the Jewish prophetic calendar or cycle made by combining the Jewish Sabbatical cycle of 7 years with the Jewish Jubilee cycle of 49/50 years. In Daniel 9 a full ‘prophetic cycle’ is said to be 70 ‘weeks or sevens‘ equaling 490 years (after which time ‘Messiah’ would come & the temple would be destroyed). This 490 year period is the conjunction of 70 sabbatical cycles (7×70=490) and ten Jubilee periods (10×49=490). This is often interpreted to actually be 500 years since some speculate that an intercalary ‘sabbatical year’ was added to the end of each Jubilee–thus adding 10 uncounted intercalary years in 490 (490+10=500yrs). One can’t help but notice the similarity of this Jewish ‘prophetic/religious calendar’ and the Tzolkin or sacred round of the Mayans. With the Maya, their ‘Jubilee’ was 52 years instead of 49, and was formed of 18 ‘weeks’ of 20 days instead of 7 sevens. Ten of these 52 year sacred rounds, in turn made a great year of 520 years (quite like the “K’atun Wheel”, “short count” or “u kahlay katunob” of the Maya). The similarity of these calendar cycles caused early chronologers like Fernando de Ixtlilxochitl to refer to the Mesoamerican systems with the same Biblical nomenclature.

Of course, this is just one of many similarities. Following is a list of many of the other similarities between the Mesoamerican calendars and the Near-eastern/Eurasian calendars of antiquity.

  • They both start from similar Anno Mundi epochs or ‘date for the creation of the world’. (Hebrew Cal: 3761 BCE, Mayan: 3114-3374 BCE, Chinese: 2671 BC — why would they all pick the 3rd & 4rth millennium? Unless they were all basing their worldviews on the same creation/destruction cycles covered in the Kolbrin & Oahspe )
  • They both have a ‘long count’ and a ‘short count’. The long count tracks days/years from creation, and the short count is a ‘sacred’ calendar used to track days/years within a smaller religious/political cycle (the Haab & Tzolkin 520 yr cycle for Mayans; the Jubilee & Sabbatical 490 yr cycle for Jews)
  • They both have similar Jubilee years. Hebrew Calendar: every 49/50 years, Maya: 52 years.
  • They both have similar Great Sabbatical Years (Hebrew Calendar: every 70 years, Maya 73 sacred years)
  • They both have important 13 cycle periods (Hebrew Calendar skipped between 12 months on a regular year, and 13 months on ‘leap’ years.) Whereas the Mesoamericans used 13 cycles to track their sacred round.
  • They both used a ‘Year for a Day’ system, where the annual sacred calendar’s “days” were projected onto a parallel ~500 year period. The Mayans called theirs ‘u kahlay katunob‘ or ‘Katun Wheel’ which projected the Tzolkin’s 13 cycles of 20 days onto 13 periods of 20 years to track long period religious cycles of 260 years (or ‘doubled’ as 520 years). For the Hebrew Calendar this ‘Year for a day’ system is given in Daniel 9’s “70 week prophesy” which prophesies of a period totaling 490 years (70 sabbatical years or 10 Jubilee years). Both Ixtlilxochitl and Diego de Landa use this Mesoamerican calendar system and point out its similarities to the Jewish Jubilee cycle.
  • They both seem to have special regard for the number 144,000 (length of Baktun in days, also in Bible in Revelation 7:3–8, 14:1, 14:3–5).
  • There is a WILD correlation between the use of the tzolkin– and haäb-cycle 52 year round’s FOUR signs & directions (see this image! or last 30sec of this video) and the Chinese Sexagenary Cycle. Not only are they written identically with 2 characters pairs, but the ‘earthy branches‘ part of the cycle is divided into four animate glyphs matching with coordinate directions! The Babylonians & near-easterners did this with degrees/minutes/seconds in maps too. (I suspect that by studying the Chinese Sexagenary Cycle, someone will unravel the Mesoamerican Tzolk’in and how it tracks seasons with the direction, and tracks Venus like Israel & Egypt instead of Jupiter like China).
  • The Mesoamerican Tzolkin notation is almost exactly like the Chinese zodiac system. Particularly in the way a year in a great cycle is denoted by a number and Zodiac animal. The Chinese would say January 2012 as ‘the year of water (5) dragon’. The Mesoamericans would say Jan 2012 as the year of ‘2 Flint’.
  • They both have a significant ‘aligning’ of the Sabbatical and Jubilee years. See the way Daniel 9 uses 490 as ’70 weeks‘ or 10 Jubilees (70×255.5 and 49×365-d = 49 years). Compare that with the way Ixtlilxochitl uses 10 ’rounds’ or 52 year ‘Calendar Rounds’ (where lunar/ritual Tzolk’in cycle aligns with solar Haab cycle- 73×260-d Tzolkʼin days and 52×365-d Haab days = 52 years). So a epochal calendar round was 490 in bible (see Daniel 9), and 520 among Aztecs (see Ixtlilxochitl for an explanation of this).
  • The fact that the Book of Mormon says they changed their calendar system base date 510 years after leaving Jerusalem, and started counting anew from the ‘reign of the Judges’ is very significant. Since the ‘Katun Wheel’ as I explain below, only goes to 260/520 years; a people using a Mesoamerican Calendar (or Jewish of 490?) would be needing a new base date.
  • There are some strange similarities in the Aztec Calendar stone in its ‘weeks’. Note it has 52 boxes of 5’s around the center. This is speculated to be 52 ‘weeks’ of 5 days in a sacred round/tzolkin of 260 days which also happens to be a microcosm to the exactly 52 years of the sacred round aligning with the Long Count (exactly 53 years to align with the Haab). That’s a strange correlation to the 52 weeks of 7 days in a Western/Babylonian based calendars. Is this similarity coincidence, or is there another Tzolkin/Haab correlation with a strange mathematical relationship they used, between the Tzolkin 260 day round and Haab 365 day round that we don’t understand yet?

I suppose one could argue that all these similarities simply have to do with the similarities in the celestial cycles being tracked, but I think that’s a stretch. There’s little in nature that would make them choose such similar creation dates or ‘Jubilee/Venus’ correlations. Note that Mesoamerica has over 60 Calendar system variants, but nearly all of them use similar cycles to those mentioned above.

The Metonic Cycle: Among the Greeks & Hebrew’s their religious cycles were often based on the Saros & ‘Metonic Cycle‘. Although its unknown when the Metonic Cycle was discovered and incorporated into sacred calendars, attributes of the cycle were shared between many near east calendar systems including the ancient Babylonian and modern Hebrew Calendars. Somewhat like the Mayan Sacred Round, the Metonic Cycle syncs individual cycles of 18/19 solar years (or 235 synodic months/255 draconitic months) after which the phases of the moon recur on the same day of the year, in the Jewish/Hebrew calendar, this 19 year cycle is used to tie together the lunar & solar calendars by keeping track of the 12 common (non-leap) years of 12 months and 7 uncommon (leap) years of 13 months. To automate this correlation, the Greeks even invented a mechanism very similar to the Mayan calendar round to sink their three calendars. Called the Antikythera Mechanism this device synced the solar, lunar and sacred calendars of the Mediterranean world during the Greek era BC. Note that the Hebrew, Metonic and Mesoamerican Tzolkin all tracked the lunar cycles in a similar ‘separate sacred or prophetic calendar’ (often related to Venus).

Interpreting a Mesoamerican/Mayan Calendar date is quite simple once you know how each unit correlates with Western Calendar units.

How to Read & Calculate Aztec/Mayan Dates

Its important to understand Mesoamerican dates can and were specified in multiple ways. One is by simply using the Long Count. With this system you simply count the number of days/years from the “creation date”, which is thought to be 3114 BC. (see ‘creation date’ discussion) This system gives the most accurate result but isn’t a traditional date. Its more like the modern ‘Julian day number‘ used by astronomers. The others are the traditional Short Count or sacred round cycle of the Tzolkin & Haab, year bearer and lastly the K’atun Wheel/Round or “u kahlay katunob” which we’ll get to in a minute. Here’s a breakdown of the different systems and how they correlate with Western systems we are used to.

  • Long Count = Similar to the Julian day number system used by astronomers. (anno mundi of ~3114 BC instead of 4714 BC)
  • Haab/Solar Round = Similar to the day/month part of our Western solar/annual calendar. (18 mo. of 20 days instead of 12 mo. of 28/31 days)
  • Tzolkin/Sacred Round = Similar to the ‘weeks’ of our Western/lunar calendar. (28 weeks of 13 days instead of 52 weeks of 7 days)
  • K’atun Round/Short count = Similar to the ‘year’ section of our Western calendar. Since the Haab doesn’t track years (only day-month), and the Long Count doesn’t match the true solar year, the K’atun round can track true years in a 260/520 year religiously significant cycle (after which it starts over).
  • Year Bearers = One of the most common date system used in old codices, it really doesn’t have a Western equivalent. It is much more like the Chinese zodiac system which labels each year after an animal. (ie. 2012, the year of the Dragon)

Long Count Dates: Just like the Julian day number system counts dats from 4714 BC, or the year date in a Gregorian system counts from the time of Christ, or a year on the Hebrew calendar counts from the creation year of 3761 Anno Mundi. A typical Long Count date has the following format: Baktun.Katun.Tun.Uinal.Kin, (14.20.20.18.20 or year×400.years×20.year×1.month.day). Note it reads from right to left (and top to bottom on monuments) instead of left to right, and uses a vigecimal/base-20 system instead of a base-10 like ours). Since it is believed that the ‘years’ of the Long Count were computed using 360 days instead of 365.25 days (without adding leap days) then the Long count’s days/months would have been completely off from the seasons and solar years. This is why the calendar’s use was limited. And converting to a Gregorian date takes some math. This is usually done by multiplying the whole number into days and then essentially dividing by 365.24 to get back into true years/months/days. However, note that computing the left 3 ‘year’ digits without any conversion usually gets you within 22-36 years of the true date. (Since most dates range from 500 BC to 1000 AD and missing 3.25days×in 2500-4000 years = only 22-36 years). Here’s the breakdown of the digits.

  • Kin = 1 Day.
  • Uinal (month) = 20 kin = 20 days. (or 4 weeks of 5 days)
  • Tun (year) = 18 uinal (months) = 360 days = ~1 year. (or 72 weeks of 5 days)
  • Katun (score) = 20 tun (years) = 360 uinal (months) = 7,200 days = ~20 years.
  • Baktun = 20 katun (scores) = 400 tun (years) = 7,200 uinal (months) = 144,000 days = 400 ‘long count‘ years.
  • Piktun = 13 Baktun = 5200 years or a full creation/destruction cycle.

The kintun, and katun are numbered from 0 to 19 (20 yrs); the uinal are numbered from 0 to 17 (18 mo); and the baktun are typically numbered from 0 to 13 (like the Tzolkin/sacred round). The Long Count has a cycle of 13 baktuns, which will be completed 1,872,000 days (13 baktuns) after 0.0.0.0.0. This period equals 5,125.36 solar years and is referred to as the Great Cycle of the Long Count (thus the 2012 hype).

Creation Date. The Mayan Anno Mundi used in ancient Mayan long counts was lost in prehistory, and has had to be determined by archaeologist using a combination of logic, radiocarbon dating and astronomical events found in monuments and codices. (as well as consulting tribes who still use some version of it). Currently the most used date is the GMT or Goodman-Martinez-Thompson correlation. Although some archaeologists support the Spinden correlation of 3374 BC, and a handful of others exist going back to the earliest Bowditch correlation of 3634 BC. Also, one must consider the possibility that DIFFERENT kingdoms/cultures used a different creation dates. Given its prevalence in Western calendar history, its very likely that it could have been randomly changed by certain rulers over time. Note that Oahspe puts the ‘end of the age at March 31, 1848 instead of Dec 21 2012, which if true would make the GMT correlation off by 164 years. Early radiocarbon dates at Tikal seemed to match best with the Spinden correlation which was 260 years earlier than the GMT. (add these, as well as list of alternatives with references)

Lets walk through converting the example of 13.0.4.6.17 given in the illustration above. Although an accurate conversion requires converting the whole Long count to days, and then correlating it to the astronomically-based Julian Day Number and then to a Gregorian date from there, note that just adding up the left 3 digit year size gives us 4+0+5200=5204 years. Which added to 3114 BC, gives us 6-17-2090 AD (which is fairly close). But that’s using 360 day years/20 day months and gives a number roughly 70 years off from the true converted date which uses the more precise method of counting days. To get the generally accepted ‘true’ solar date we must, first compute the ‘days’ by multiplying each part by its vigesmal coefficient. So starting at the right we have 17×1+(6×20)+(4×360)+(0×7200)+(13×144000)= 1,873,577 days [Or conversely using the 5204 from the ‘years’ method explained above (5204×360=1,873,440) + (6×20 + 17 =137) + (1,873,440+137=1,873,577 days)] To get an exact date we’d now convert this ‘Mayan day number’ of days after the Mayan creation date of Aug 11, 3114 BC, to Julian Days which start at 4713 BC (ie. add 1599.6 yrs). Now to get the Julian Day number to a Gregorian date, the math is actually quite complicated and can be found here. But for a rough estimate, one can simply divide the Julian day by 365.24 (1,873,577 days/365.24 days=5129.71 years) then add that to the creation date of Aug 11, 3114 A.M. and it gives us (-3114 + 5129.71 = 2016 AD). To which we then do a bit more complicated match to turn the “.71” into months/days and add it to the “Aug 11”, and it comes out to April 16, 2017. If you’d like to walk through the math try it out here, or better yet, use my Javascript Mayan converter program here.

A few things you should notice if you’ve followed along or played with this in excel, is that if the Mesoamericans used ANY intercalary days it could quickly change the long count by years. (For instance some Mesoamerican cultures might have already added in the 5.24 missing intercalary days so that no conversion is necessary.) For instance, if they just threw in ‘uncounted’ festival days (like the Israelites did) then a given long count date computed the standard way could easily be off by up to 22-36 years (3.25 days in 2500-4000 years = 22-36years). Also the creation date is crucial. And since different scholars and archaeologists have posited creation dates ranging from about 2900 – 3400 BC, then we must admit that any given long count date could also be off by that amount). Although this is where the Tzolkin and the Haab calendars come in.

You can try it our with this calculator: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VvTABETBkEAosUHXUiqwVKa9-wkCuwxzoYDyCiqZ-XA/edit?usp=sharing or https://utahgeology.com/bin/maya-calendar-converter/ 

Since the Long Count is believed to have used 360 instead of 365.24 days and thus NOT have lined up with the sun, moon or seasons, they used other separate calendars to more often track the solar year and moon/Venus rituals.

The Solar Round (Haab): The Haab’ was a number found at the end of many ancient calendar inscriptions. In our illustration it is the right-most part of the Mesoamerican date. Known as the Vague/ true solar year or Haab’ to the Maya, xiuitl to the Aztec, and yza to the Zapotec; it was supposedly based on 18/19 named months, each matched with the 20 days of the month, with a five day period of ‘uncounted days’ tacked on the end (19th month) to make a total 365. It’s thought to be essentially a repetition of the right 2 digits of the Long Count except, since it has a 19th month of 5 ‘unnamed’/intercalary days it accords with the solar year (adding 5+360=365). So the Haab would only fall 0.242 days behind the seasons each year, where the Long Count would fall completely out of sink (5.242days/year). This is typically more useful than the long count, because every culture is more concerned with progress through the year/seasons than days from creation or weeks on a religious calendar.

[Some Thoughts: My main issue with the Haab, is why wouldn’t a culture just started throwing the 5 intercalary days onto the Long Count? Seems awfully laborious to create and keep an essentially redundant unit on your calendar. Could we be mistaken on how it was used? I need to go through all the archaeological long count inscriptions and see how often the Haab/Tzolkin don’t match the Long Count like they should… I think it’s quite prevalent. In these cases either the Ka’tun wheel is being used or there’s something we’re not quite getting yet in these Haab dates.]

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The Sacred Round (Tzolkin): Just above the Haab was a date named the Tzolkin by archaeologists. It was a 260-day cycle called the Sacred Round, or the Ritual Calendar; tonalpohualli in the Aztec language, Tzolk’in in Maya, and piye to the Zapotecs. Each day in this cycle was numbered from one to 13 (a trecena), matching with 20-named months (13 × 20 = 260). Note that many call the tzolkin’s 20 named units ‘days’. However, the Aztec Calendar Stone makes it pretty clear that the 20 named units were ‘sacred/religious months’ placed on a 260 day round (which we know from the 52 ‘weeks’ of 5 days labeled on it). Evenso, the exact purpose of the Sacred Round is not understood. Theories include correlating cycles of the moon, 9 months of pregnancy, Venus cycles combined with observations of the Pleiades and eclipse events and potentially appearance and disappearance of Orion. At any rate, it counts out 13 cycles of 20 (months), totaling 260 days or about 9 months (we could call these sacred or religious months like a biblical week). After those 260 days it repeats, adding another 8 sacred ‘months’ of 13 days (8×13=104) to fill up the 105 days of the true year’s 365 days. This then continued into perpetuity aligning with the Haab/solar year once every 52 years. Because of this unique 52 year alignment the combined Tzolkin and Haab dates could be used to specify ONE unique date each 52 years–which is apparently how it was ubiquitously used. (As a coefficient to the Haab to track years instead of days) So a Haab | Tzolkin date like 8 Kab | 13 Pop could be narrowed down to ONE specific day each 52 years.

  • Archaeologist believe the Tzolkin sacred calendar had 20 ‘months’ of 13 days each. So a sacred year was 260 days (13×20=260)
  • 72 cycles (or sacred years) of 260 days = 18,720 days. Which equals 52 Long Count years (of 360 days).
  • 73 cycles (or sacred years of 260 days = 18,980 days, Which equals 52 Haab or true years (of 365 days)

The Short Count or K’atun Round/Wheel: Known also as the “u kahlay katunob“, early records from Diego de Landa (the first Bishop of Yucatan) found in his 1566 Relacion de las Cosas en Yucatan, also talk of another calendar cycle used by the Mayans in which they basically projected the Tzolkin or Sacred Round onto an annual cycle of 260/520 years instead of days. It was a 13 k’atun cycle, which totaled 260 years or 260 tuns (of 365 days each). Each k’atun was named by the tzolk’in day on which it began (or often when it ended). Because the 20 day names of the Tzolk’in are an even divisible of the tun (360 days), a k’atun beginning can only start on an Ahaw day. Thus, the 13 k’atuns of the K’atun Wheel were named 1-13 Ahaw (or Izcalli/Mat in some systems). See page 80 of Morely’s An Introduction to the Study of the Maya Hieroglyphs for more info. A brief explanation can also be found here. You can even find a brief description on the Wikipedia Maya Calendar page (see short count).

An understanding of the Short Count/Katun Round comes from only a few initial authors, and I don’t believe it was always used as they describe. So I’ll attempt to explain the way I think it was used. It seems likely that early in Mesoamerican history (from 600 BC to ~100AD) the tzolkin portion of dates was used as a Katun Wheel tracking years more often than archaeologist realize. For example, the date 8 Kab would be used to say the 8th year of the sacred score Kab instead of 8th day of the sacred month Kab instead of the traditional 8th day of the sacred calendar month Kab. This sacred system of tracking years used 20 cycles (a score) of 13 years each, totaling 260 years. I believe the special ‘variant’ glyphs, commonly seen, were then used for the ‘score’ glyph to double its value extending the systems reach to 520 years. Note also the Aztec Calendar stone and its ‘weeks’ or 52 boxes of 5’s around the center. This is speculated to be 52 ‘weeks’ of 5 days in a sacred round/tzolkin of 260 days which seems like it must have been used as a microcosm for the 52 years of the sacred round aligning with the Long Count. This is a big deal, since Mesoamericans counted by 5s, it means that a date that looks like a tzolkin number telling the day on the sacred calendar could actually be a Katun Round number telling the year in the 52 year Round. This system would explain the dates seen so prevalently in writers like Ixtlilxochitl. Thus:

  • The Haab’ tracked days and months — The Tzolkin sometimes tracked sacred months, but often dualistically used the same notation & symbols/numbers to track the years in a short count of 520 years.
  • Both of these systems used the Tzolkin convention of: day/year | month/sacred cycle or score of years (example: 8 | Kumkʼu)
  • These two numbers/symbols can then be used to track either 260/520 days or 260/520 yrs.
  • ——- first let’s explain the math of the Tzolkin as day tracker ————-
  • 13 days = 1 sacred month
  • 20 sacred months = 1 sacred year (a Tzolkin year) = 260 solar days. (then we repeat)
  • 1 solar year (Haab) = 28+8 sacred months = 1.8 sacred years (tzolkin year)
  • 52 solar years (full sacred cycle) = 72 sacred months
  • ——- now let’s do the Tzolkin as a year tracker ————-
  • 13 Tzolkin years = 1 score of years = 4745 days (13y×365d)
  • 20 Tzolkin years or 1 score = 1 sacred round = 260 solar/Tzolkin years = 94,900 solar Tzolkin days (260×365d)
  • 2 of these cycles gets us to 520 years

So in summary. The Tzolkin/Haab was dualistic. It could count for “days, and months and times/seasons and years” (see Gal 4:10, D&C 121:31, Gen 1:14). The Tzolkin could be a sacred 13day/20month cycle equating to a sacred year of 260 days OR it could be a solar 13year/20score cycle equating to 260 solar years (or doubled to 520 solar years). Note also that the bible might have used a VERY similar system and that what I call ‘scores’ (20 year periods), they call a ‘time’; and that the ‘doubling’ of the time with a ‘variant’ would make it a ‘times’. A convention likely applied to each of the major cycles of 260/520/1040 (coincidentally enough 260+520+1040=1820, the date of the first vision was time, times & half a time after Christ’s birth according to Mesoamerican epochs).

The Year Bearers: Note that many Mesoamerican dates are referenced using the year bearer system. With this system each year was referenced by the Tzolkin coefficient for the first day of the year. Thus since EVERY year starts with the same Haab date of 1 Pop (1 Izcalli) in Aztec, that portion is omitted and only the Tzolkin coefficient is given. So a date like 9 Flint/ Etz’nab’/ Tecpatl, 1 Mat/ Pop/ Izcalli is given as just 9 Flint/ Etz’nab’/ Tecpatl and corresponds to only ONE year in each 52 year sacred round. Note also, as explained here, that many different regions used different starting days for their year bearers at different times, which can make correlating historic dates using the year bearer, very difficult. Of course, this also extends to the sacred round haab/tzolkin date in general—when working with historic dates, these dates can be notoriously inaccurate because of regional changes made to the calendars over time.

Understanding the Three Celestial Cycles: There are three very obvious celestial events which most cultures have used to track time and align celebrations/holidays with and they involve the brightest orbs in our sky; the Sun, the Moon and Venus. We know that the Haab tracked the solar year. But its not fully understood how the tzolkin might have been used to track the Moon & Venus, although its theorized they were.

The first is obviously the solar year. It controls the seasons and thus is the most important. Its length is 365.242 days for the tropical or synodic year (one revolution from equinox to equinox) or 365.256 for the Sidereal year (one revolution in relation to viewing fixed stars or constellations). This cycle controls the length of the day, temperature and seasons, so obviously ancient cultures wanted to commemorate the equinoxes so they knew when summer and winter were coming and going.

Second is the lunar cycle. It controls the tides, fish harvests and possibly even child bearing. One full lunation or lunar cycle as viewed from earth is 29.53 days making each quarter phase last about 7.4 days. Lunar cycles fit into the solar cycle 12.48 times, so it is natural to fit 12 ‘moonths’ into a year. However those 12×29.53 days only equal 354.36 days so we’re left with 10.882 ‘left over’ days where the lunar year grows out of alignment with the solar year. (That’s a bit more than a full month each 3 years! — so more about that later.)

Third is the Venus cycle. Venus is often the most obvious star in the sky because it nearly always either precedes or follows the suns rising and setting. Because of this ‘coupling’ with the sun, its often called the ‘evening and morning star‘ and is represented as a son or bride to the Sun in religion & mythology. (Jesus/Messiah is referred to as the Morning star in 2 Peter 1:19, Job 38:7, Rev 22:16, Num 24:17) It’s cycle or period is usually measured from one of its transits/conjunctions across the sun to another (where it switches from morning star to evening star). A process which takes 584 days (583.92 to be exact). 263 as a morning star, 50 days absent behind the sun/below the horizon, then 263 days as an evening star, and finally, 8 days absent/obscured by solar glare (and sun being at its back) when between the Sun & Earth. See video here. Its raising and setting are tracked by the temples at Teotihuacan and show interesting relationships with the Mesoamerican calendar.

Many ancient calendars used similar geometric shapes to visualize celestial mathematical relationships. On the Aztec calendar the sacred round of 260 days. (52 ‘weeks’ of 5 dots/days each) can clearly be seen around the month ring which total 260 total days. These were likely used as a microcosm of a ‘great cycle’ of 260/520 years spoken of by chronologers like Ixtlilxochitl, using the same ‘year for a day’ prophetic calendar found in the bible. See the ‘similarities’ section for how the mayan 520 year cycle might correlate to the Jewish 490 year cycle.

Understanding the Venus Cycle: It is VERY likely the sacred round or Tzolkin tracked the Venus cycle and somehow tied it to the solar (and lunar?) year. As mentioned above, Venus is a “morning or evening star” for approximately 260-263 days each year. And 5 synodic periods/orbits of Venus is almost exactly 8 Earth years (& 13 sidereal Venus years). So it lines up 5 times each 8 years, 15 times each 24 years, 25 times each 40 years 30 times each 48 years and 50 times each 80 years. These periods are VERY handy for a culture that counts by 5’s and 20’s. So lets explore how this might relate to the Sacred Round and or Jubilee. Questions to explore…

  • Do the Jewish spring and fall festivals line up with the spring and fall equinoxes at some point in the 49/52 year Jubilee? (note, this would be latitude specific.) When does the Jubilee line up with Venus’ 50 days in the sun/underworld?
  • Did the Mulekites/Nephites purposefully travel to the same latitude as Jerusalem (31.5 N), or Sanai (28.5) in order to build a city & temple where the calendar matched the Jewish feast/holidays? Did Nephi ‘modify’ the calendar and holy days to fit Monte Alban, and then Mosiah do the same to fit Cholula (so that the sacred round is changed from 59/80/52 in order to work with the equinoxes of those cities?)
  • The feast of weeks (7 weeks after Pentecost) is a microcosm of Jubilee (7 sabbaticals after what?). Is there some correlation here? Might the sabbatical years actually be intended to represent the 7 ‘leap months’ added every 19 years? Might the sabbath day be meant to be a ‘leap day’ which wasnt counted, so that two 14 day ‘weeks’ could actually be 12 days long (matching the months/zodiac)?
  • The Hebrew calendar tracks each 19 years, inserting its leap month 7 times in the 19 years. Leaving 13 years untouched. This seems strangely similar to the Haab and Tzolkin? Could the Haab originally have been 19 year coefficients instead of 18 months? Could the 13 Tzolkin coefficients be related? (unlikely)
  • How does the Oahspe cosmic serpent calendar correlate to the Egyptian/Jewish one? Did they match the cube/sum to the 4 seasons & creation/destruction periods of the Aztec Calendar? Did they match the 7.5 Dan’has to a week? Did they match the 12 squares to the months & zodiac? (chart this on a circle and see if you can make sense of it). Is the 144,000 years of a ‘cube’ supposed to correlate with the 144,000 days of a Baktun (~400 years)? I suspect these are only VERY loosely correlated if at all, the Oahspe calendar being much older, and only partially available to Egypt/Israel. (they were more just trying to match the sacred numbers to their festivals and seasons)

Examples of Mesoamerican Dates

Monte Alban Stelae 12 & 13594 BCE4snake, 8flower and 10jaguar, 4somethinghttps://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/blogs.uoregon.edu/dist/7/5151/files/2013/12/DSCF8526-2a7la1b.jpg
Monte Alban Danzante FigureMarch 16, 692 ADbarely legible Haab? of 4-somethinghttps://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/blogs.uoregon.edu/dist/7/5151/files/2013/12/DSCF8524-1zlij16.jpg
siteNameGMT (584283) DateLong CountLocation
Takalik AbajStela 2236 – 19 BCE7.(6,11,16).?.?.?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takalik_Abaj#/media/File:Abaj_Takalik_Stela_5.jpg
Chiapa de CorzoStela 2December 6, 36 BCE /
October 9, 182 CE
7.16.3.2.13 or
8.7.3.2.13
https://classconnection.s3.amazonaws.com/962/flashcards/1362962/jpg/stela2_chiapa_de_corzo-141951102545CAEF8F5.jpg
Tres ZapotesStela CSeptember 1, 32 BCE7.16.6.16.18https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Estela_C_de_Tres_Zapotes.jpg,
https://www.chegg.com/flashcards/o-frontier-and-lf-e63c243b-2544-45b9-8536-25e86eb087b7/deck
El BaúlStela 1March 6? 11 – 37 CE7.18.9.7.12,
7.18.14.8.12,
7.19.7.8.12, or
7.19.15.7.12
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3b/El_Baul_Stela_1.jpg
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ElBaulSt.jpg
Takalik AbajStela 5August 31, 83 CE or
May 19, 103 CE
8.2.2.10.15 or
8.3.2.10.1
This interpretation is horrible! Do your own.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Abaj_Takalik_Stela_5.jpg
Takalik AbajStela 5June 3, 126 CE8.4.5.17.11https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Takalik_Abaj_Stela_5.JPG
La MojarraStela 1May 19, 143 CE8.5.3.3.5 | glyph-18https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4b/La_Mojarra_Stela_1_Schematics.jpg/1200px-La_Mojarra_Stela_1_Schematics.jpg (left most date)
La MojarraStela 1July 11, 156 CE8.5.16.9.7 (or 9.9?)Once again, (or) interpretation wrong for some reason… why?
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:La_Mojarra_Estela_1_(Escritura_superior).jpg
Near La MojarraTuxtla StatuetteMarch 12, 162 CE8.6.2.4.17https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1d/Tuxtla_Statuette.svg/250px-Tuxtla_Statuette.svg.png
TikalStela 29July 8, 292 AD8.12.14.8.15| 13 Men 3 Zip Mexico
CopanStela 15AD 504?Copan has 8+? Stela’s with dates ranging from 504 AD to 761 AD. THIS IS YOUR BEST BET OF DECODING MAYAN DATES.
See https://uncoveredhistory.com/honduras/copan/the-stelae-of-copan/
Read its history at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cop%C3%A1n#Rulers
CopanStela PMarch 623 AD9.9.10.0.0, 2 Ajaw 13 Pophttps://uncoveredhistory.com/honduras/copan/the-stelae-of-copan/attachment/w1067-copan-stela-p-2/
CopanStela N17th March 761AD9.16.10.0.0 1 Ahau 3 Siphttps://uncoveredhistory.com/honduras/copan/the-stelae-of-copan/attachment/w1105-copan-stela-n-side-view-slim-2/
Yaxchilán, Chiapas Lintel 375 July AD 5349.5.0.0.0, 11 Ahaw 8 Sekhttp://research.famsi.org/uploads/montgomery/hires/jm01537yaxlin37.jpg
Piedras NegrasBurial 5July 5, 674 9.12.2.0.16http://www.mesoweb.com/pari/publications/RT06/FourShellPlaques-OCR.pdf (check)
TikalAlter 14March 16, 692 AD9.13.0.0.0 | 8 Ajaw 8 Wohttp://research.famsi.org/uploads/montgomery/292/image/JM000713TikT1Alt14.jpg
ToninaMonument 101January 15, 909 AD? 10.4.0.0.0. ????https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse4.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.Trbe2hynkEumla1Urmwm6AAAAA%26pid%3DApi&f=1
last Long Count date in the Classic Maya lowlands.
Chichen ItzaInitial Series lintelJuly 28, 87810.2.9.1.9| 9 Muluk 7 Sakhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesoamerican_Long_Count_calendar#/media/File:Morley_1915_ISglyphs.svg
https://www.jstor.org/stable/275754?seq=1
Chichen ItzaSE PillarMay 6, AD 998 and Jan. 30, AD 998 10.8.10.11.0| 2 Ajaw 18 Mol and 10.8.10.6.4|10 K’an 2 SotzNo Longcount, only solar round date. says. ’10 K’an [the] day, 2 Sotz’, eleventh tun [of K’atun] 2 Ajaw’. Only fit is that date. See great article at:
https://brucelove.com/research/contribution_002/
TortugueroMonument 6December 23, 201213.0.0.0.0 4| Ajaw 3 K’ank’inhttps://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7f/Estela_6_el_Tortuguero.jpg
La CoronaHS 2, Block VDecember 23, 20123.0.0.0.0 4 Ajaw 3 K’ank’inhttp://1.bp.blogspot.com/-zM2HrRL-BC0/UOChmLSOsjI/AAAAAAAABPI/hfs4jsySyYk/s1600/MNU2012-12-30_04_June-2012_La-Corona_Hieroglyphic-Stairway-2_Block-V_IM-DavidStuart-PRALC-TU.jpg
(more dates here?)
QuiriguaStela CAugust 11, 3114 BCE13.0.0.0.0|4|8https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:East_side_of_stela_C,_Quirigua.PNG, WRONG DATE, CHECK ME!
CobaStela 1December 23, 201213.0.0.0.0 | 4 Ahau 8 KumkʼuPlaces nineteen 13’s before this date for some reason.
https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Coba-Stela-1-A1-D17-Drawing-COBSt-1-from-Corpus-of-Maya-Hieroglyphic-Inscriptions_fig1_231872337

Notes Concerning Ancient Calendars from Oahspe

This background information from the text ‘Oahspe’ is very insightful when it comes to making assumptions about possible ancient calendar systems. Of particular note are the ideas that many cultures (like the Israelites) combined the calendars of surrounding cultures in order to create ‘short and long’ count calendars (ie. the ‘prophetic calendars spoken of in other parts of the text). As well as some cultures counting ‘two years’ to the same amount of time that other cultures called ‘one year’ (Note that Ixtlilxochitl does this). As also, its ‘creation cosmology’ is insightful when comparing this type of ancient reasoning to the cosmology we find in Mayan myth and/or ancient books like The Kolbrin.

2. And he placed the sun in the midst and made lines thence to the stars, with explanations of the powers of the seasons on all the living.
3. And he gave the times of Jehovah, the four hundred years of the ancients, and the halftimes of dan, the base [number] of prophecy; the variations of thirty-three years; the times of eleven; and the seven and a half times of the vortices [orbits/frequencies] of the stars, so that the seasons might be foretold, and famines averted on the earth. (Oahspe, Book of Osiris, XII)

Note that the ‘times of eleven’ or variations of thirty-three years (3×11) is tracking the Solar cycles or Solar Max. The well known cycle of 11.01yrs when the sun switches polarity. (apparently 3 of them makes some type of repetitive cycle of solar variability, having to do with Jupiter & Saturn’s orbit and their tidal effects on the sun). The ‘7.5 times of the vortices’ must be something else I’m not aware of. If you know what it is… contact me! (likely some kind of planetary alignment that also includes other planets so the tidal forces of the sun make an even bigger difference). It does seem to match the alignment of Earth & Venus with the Solar Max. Earth & Venus conjunct every 1.5987 earth years (583.92 days), and 6.5 to 7.5 of these equal the Solar Cycle (see this article). Another less likely possibility is that the solar orbit of Venus (sidereal period) is 7.5 earth months (225 days / 30 = 7.5), but since most cultures have different spans for months I’m not sure what that would prove. 7.5 yrs is also the time it takes for Saturn to move through 3 zodiacs (or 1/4 the full 12 or 360 degree celestial equator).

…The times by the learned gave two suns to a year, but the times of the tribes of Eustia gave only six months to a year. Accordingly, in the land of Egypt what was one year with the learned was two years with the Eustians and Semisians.
3.God said: My people shall reckon their times according to the place and the people where they dwell. And they did this. Hence, even the tribes of Israel had two calendars of time, the long and the short.

To events of prophecy there was also another calendar, called the ode, signifying sky-time, or heavenly times. One ode was equivalent to eleven long years; three odes, one spell, signifying a generation; eleven spells one Tuff. Thothma, the learned man and builder of the great pyramid, had said: As a diameter is to a circle, and as a circle is to a diameter, so are the rules of the seasons of the earth. For the heat or the cold, or the drouth or the wet, no matter, the sum of one eleven years is equivalent to the sum of another eleven years. One spell is equivalent to the next eleventh spell. And one cycle matcheth every eleventh cycle. Whoever will apply these rules to the earth shall truly prophesy as to drouth and famine and pestilence, save wherein man contraveneth by draining or irrigation. And if he apply himself to find the light and the darkness of the earth, these rules are sufficient. For as there are three hundred and sixty-three years in one tuff, so are there three hundred and sixty-three days in one year, besides the two days and a quarter when the sun standeth still on the north and south lines.

In consequence of these three calendars, the records of Egupt were in confusion. The prophecies and genealogies of man became worthless. And as to measurements, some were by threes, some by tens, and some by twelves; and because of the number of languages, the measurements became confounded; so that with all the great learning of the Eguptians, and with all the care bestowed on the houses of records, they became even themselves the greatest confounding element of all. (Oahspe, Book of Arc of Bon, XIV)

Egyptian calendar of 363 days. Also using the ‘year for a day’ system. So a week had 11 days, with 3 weeks in a month and 11 months in a year. And this system was projected onto years as well, creating a 363 year cycle.

4. And from this time forth My spiritual (etherean) hosts shall not remain in heaven (atmospherea) more than eight years in any one cycle. This, then, that I give to thee shall be like every dawn of dan, some of one year, some of two or three or four or more (years), as the time requireth.

5. And thou shalt dwell in thy kingdom seven years and sixty days, and the time shall be called the first dawn of dan, and the next succeeding shall be called the second dawn of dan, and so on, as long as the earth bringeth forth.

6. And the time from one dawn of dan to another shall be called one dan’ha; and four dan’ha shall be called one square, because this is the sum of one density, which is twelve thousand of the earth’s years. And twelve squares shall be called one cube, which is the first dividend of the third space, in which there is no variation in the vortex (whirlwind) of the earth. And four cubes shall be called one sum, because the magnitude thereof embraceth one equal of the Great Serpent. (Oahspe, Book of Ah’shong, II)

Oahspe suggests that the ancients appear to have created ‘Galactic prophetic calendars’, where they extrapolated the short term ratios of a day, week, month, year into cosmic ages. They believed to understand (through revelation) the time it took of the Solar system to orbit the Galactic core, calling it the ‘celestial serpent’ (see Oahspe, ref, ref). The epochs were tied to the 11 year solar cycle, which they believed caused the weather (and other events) to repeat on a 33 or 33×11 year cycle. This formed the basis of their galactic solar cycle calendars.

.

(day)(week)(month)(season)
6 gen.7.5 dans4 dan’ha12 sqrs4 cubes
1 dan1 dan’ha1 square1 cube    1 sum
  • 1 Generation = [could be 11 to 100 years;     ~33 years]
  • 1 Dan = 6 Generations               [33×6= ~198 years] [mean = 400 years]
  • 1 Dan’ha = 7.5 Dans                   [231×7= ~1386 years]      [mean = 3,000 years]
  • 1 Square = 4 Dan’has             [1617×4= 5,544  years]     [mean = 12,000]
  • 1 Cube = 12 Squares                   [6,468×12= 66,528  years]    [mean = 144,000]
  • 1 Sum = 4 Cubes     [77,616×4= 266,112 years] [mean = 576,000]
  • 1 galactic year = 4.7 million years
  • 1 dan = ~428 years (400 years)
  • -about 10,980 dans in a galactic orbit/year. (a lot like an hour in a solar year; there’s 8760hrs/year)
  • -about 391 squares in a galactic year (fairly similar to our 365 days in a solar year)

Relevant Publications

STILL DO DO: (WHERE I LEFT OF).

  • Still need to find a reference book of ALL archaeological long count date inscriptions and compare them to figure out where they fit in that 520 method I figure out.
  • Replace the long count list/table with a better formatted one (from the spreadsheet I’m building).
  • Then get the Dresden codex and other historical codices and compare those….
  • Find more references to the ’52 weeks’ (of 5 days each) on the Aztec Calendar stone, and the double of 52×10=520.

Ixtlilxochitl & Evidence for the Book of Mormon in Mesoamerican Codices

Sigüenza Map. A cartographic history of the migration of the Aztec from Aztlán to Tenochtitlan. Created in the pictographic style of Aztec & Mixtec authors not unlike Ixtlilxochitl in the Late Classic and Post-Classical periods. Several maps of this style exist and can be viewed here. A later, more legible version is available here. Codices like these undoubtedly formed the source material for Ixtlilxochitl.

Table of common elements with Ixtlilxochitl’s writings and the Book of Mormon quoted later in the article:

  1. They both speak of a creation from a primordial male and female couple. (Adam & Eve vs.
  2. They both speak of a flood which destroyed the world by water. (1.4-5)
  3. They both speak of a first king and civilization coming from the great tower at the time of the confusion of tongues. (1.5, Brother of Jared & Jaredites from the Tower of Babel vs. Chichimecatl & Chichimecs from the Zacualli)
  4. They both speak of a white god who was born of a virgin and who ascended to heaven after teaching his people. (Christ vs. Quetzalcoatl)
  5. They both record the date of a great destruction occurring in the first month of the 34th year, or at the death of Christ.
  6. They both use the same terminology in describing the manner in which cities were named.
  7. They both speak of three distinct civilizations that predate the coming of Christ. (one from the east in 6 ships, one the west and one unspecified)
  8. They both record the destruction of the first civilization that predates the coming of Christ, who lived in the northern lands, or the Land Northward.
  9. They both speak of a nation whose principal area meant “land of abundance” or “bountiful.”
  10. They both mention multiple migrations to and from a far northern land. (2600 miles in one case).
  11. They both mention only one river (Sidon/Atoyac) which flows between two principle cities (Zarahemla/Gideon vs. Cholula/Los Angeles)
  12. They both tell a story of a war of annihilation where two kingdoms fight to the death with men, women & children until they one is annihilated.
  13. Plus many more commonalities…

16. It had been 166 years since they had adjusted their calendar with the equinox and 270 years since the giants [tall ones] had been destroyed when the sun and the moon eclipsed and the earth quaked and rocks were broken into pieces and many other signs that had been given came to pass, although man was not destroyed. This was in the year CE Calli, which, adjusted to our calendar, happened at the same time that Christ, our Lord, was crucified. And they say that this destruction occurred in the first few days of the year. (Fernanado Ixtlilxochitl, Obras históricas ~1620)

Background of Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl (1578-1650)

There may be no better evidence for the historicity of the Book of Mormon than that from the writings of the controversial early Aztec historian Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl (pronounced: EEsh-leal-sho-cheat-l. 1578-1650). Born roughly 60 years after Cotez’ conquest of the Aztec, Ixtlilxóchitl was a mixture of Aztec royalty and Spanish nobility. He was fluent in both the history and language of the Aztec as well as Latin and Spanish. His works, read much like the Book of Mormon itself, coming from the pen of one trying their best to FIND biblical Christianity in the records of the ancient Mixteca peoples. He chooses interpretations of ancient Mexica stories and myths which adhere closely to Biblical stories of the creation, global flood and tower of Babel.

Much as they do with the Book of Mormon, modern historians tend to dismiss the biblical similarities of Ixtlilxóchitl woks as attempts to twist the ancient stories he translated in order to fit a Christian biblical narrative. But for LDS adherents, his methods are informative as they show us precisely what we would expect from the translation process of the Book of Mormon’s ancient authors if it is to be a legitimate translation of ancient records (or work of mediumship based on ancient records). In comparison of the two, we should suppose in the translation or ‘channeling’ of the Book of Mormon text that the authors involved took liberties to convert the words and ideas of the ancient people, not just from their ancient languages to English, but from their ancient cultural contexts into that of 19th century New England. Thus we see mammoths called ‘elephants’, antelope called ‘sheep’, deer called ‘horses’, macuahuitl called ‘swords’, pyramids called ‘towers’ and god’s like Quetzalcoatl or Kukulkan changed to Jesus Christ. Many ancient stories, myths and ideas mixed in with more “modern” sermons on infant baptism, Catholic Church apostasy, New World exploration, prophesies about Joseph Smith and King James Isaiah or Pauline quotes.

Indeed to believe in the Book of Mormon as historical, this idea of a loose translation of words and culture must go considerably farther than simply a ‘dynamic equivalence’ translation. Much like the writings of Ixtlilxóchitl, we must suppose that the translators/channels took great liberties, relying heavily on Biblical sermons, idioms, wording and even concepts to change the ancient stories and ideas as fully as possible into 19th century religious ideals — and making the ancient concepts relevant to 19th century readers. Only this would explain not only how King James biblical phrases, chapters and even King James spelling and conceptual errors made their way into the Book of Mormon, but also how you get remarkably accurate explanations of ancient geographies and cultural descriptions juxtaposed with sermons on faith, charity, baptism and Unitarianism which align strikingly with the ideological and religious debates circulating New England during Joseph Smith’s time.

In this regard the writings and even phrasology of Ixtlilxóchitl are so similar to the Book of Mormon that were it not that his works WERE UNPUBLISHED until a few decades after the Book of Mormon was written, many (including myself) would have trouble not believing it was copied in part to create the Book of Mormon. Because of the similarity I am convinced that he was part of the translation/channeling process as a disincarnate spirit. And also that ubiquitous usage of European Christian concepts in the Book of Mormon was included largely to prove to people that the translation was divinely inspired instead of just dumbly copied from ancient Aztec, Toltec & Mixtec records and legends. (see


following section taken from http://www.ancientamerica.org/  Read original of Ixtlilxochitl's book here.  Or my complete Google document English translation here. And finally an annotated web version of only the summaries here.

AFTER THE EARTH BEGAN AGAIN to be populated, they built a Zacualli very high and strong, which means the very high tower, to protect themselves against a second destruction of the world.

As time elapsed, their language became confounded,  such that they did not understand one another; and they were scattered to all parts of the world. (Ixtlilxochitl:6-7)

The above statement was recorded c 1600 AD by a native born scholar of Mexico named Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl (EEsht-leal-sho-cheat-el). He is considered by many to be the most prolific early writer on the history of Mexico. In a sense, he may be considered to be the Josephus of Mexico.

One biographer, Dr. Jose Maria Beristain y Souza, said that Ixtlilxochitl was one of the most distinguished students at the Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco and that he was the most knowledgeable in the language, history, and antiquities of his people. (Biblioteca Hispano-Americana-Septemtrional, p. 58, as quoted in Chavero 1965)

The author Clavijero called Ixtlilxochitl “the truly noble Indian concerning the antiquities of his nation.” (Historia Antigua de Mexico 1:37, as quoted in Chavero 1965)

Dr. Lara Pardo called Ixtlilxochitl a man of great talent and deep intellect and said that Ixtlilxochitl possessed a most excellent library containing the paintings and hieroglyphic history of pre-conquest Mexico. (Leduc-Lara Pardo, Diccionario de Geogrqfia e Historia y Biografias Mexicanas, p. 492, as quoted in Chavero 1965)

Early writers placed the birth date of Alva Ixltilxochitl somewhere near the year 1568 AD. Edmundo O’Gorman, who published the writings of Ixtlilxochitl in 1975, with an update in 1985, determined that the date of Ixtlilxochitl’s birth was in the year 1578 AD. The place of birth was Texcoco, which is now a suburb of Mexico City. (O’Gorman 17)

Ixtlilxochitl was born of royalty, being a descendant of both the last king of Texcoco and the next-to-the-last Emperor of Mexico, Cuitlahuac. Ixtlilxochitl was also of Spanish descent,  as his grandfather on his mother’s side was the Spaniard Juan Grande.

The writings on the history of Mexico, according to Ixtlilxochitl, consisted of many manuscripts that were first circulated in the year 1600 AD. His works, Sumaria Relacion de la Historia General, were completed about 1625 AD-more than 200 years prior to the publication of the Book of Mormon. Traditionally, the date of the death of Ixtlilxochitl has been placed around 1648. O’Gorman’s research indicates that Ixtlilxochitl died in 1650 at the age of 72. (O’Gorman 36)

Regarding the sources for his history of Mexico, Ixtlilxochitl wrote the following:

… of a truth I have the ancient histories in my hand, and I know the language of the natives, because I was raised with them, and I know all of the old men and the principals of this land…. It has cost me hard study and work, always seeking the truth on everything I have written…. (Chavero 62)

Alfredo Chavero wrote in the preface of his two volumes follows:

Ixtlilxochitl is the original chronista of the Texcucanos [from Texcoco, a suburb of Mexico]. Few of our writers have enjoyed the fame and reputation that he has. Nevertheless, his numerous works are unknown. (Chavero 5)

And that is certainly an understatement. To this very day, the works of Ixtlilxochitl are hardly known in the United States. Even Latter-day Saint writers who have a high interest in the history of the Book of Mormon have basically ignored the works of Alva Ixtlilxochitl.

I suspect that part of the reason for the Latter-day Saints’ lack of knowledge about Ixtlilxochitl is that the works of Ixtlilxochitl have not been readily available in the English language. Hunter and Ferguson, in their 1950 book, Ancient America and the Book of Mormon, did, however, publish segments of Ixtlilxochitl’s works in English-segments that appeared to them to correlate with the Book of Mormon history. Wells Jakeman and Thomas Ferguson acquired the services of a man named Arnulfo Rodriguez to translate segments of the 1892 publication of Alfredo Chavero. (Hunter 1950:14)

Although Ixtlilxochitl wrote in the 1600s, his work was not circulated widely until Lord Kingsborough of England published nine volumes of work entitled Antiquities of Mexico. Kingsborough included the writings of Ixtlilxochitl in Spanish, having obtained those writings from the National Library of Madrid.

Kingsborough’s material on Ixtlilxochitl is similar to that of an early Mexican writer by the name of Boturini, who said that he copied his account of the writings of Alva from the handwriting of Alva Ixtlilxochitl. Kingsborough’s works were published between 1832-1848, but because of the extensive cost, his Antiquities of Mexico were never widely circulated.

Under the mandate of Mexican President Porfirio Diaz, Alfredo Chavero edited and footnoted a compilation of Ixtlilxochitl by Jose Fernando Ramirez. This edition was published in 1892 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the New World by Columbus.

This same edition, consisting of two volumes of approximately 500 pages each, was republished in 1965 with a preface by Lic. J. Ignacion Davila Garibi. Chavero called the books Obras Historicas de Don Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl. The works of Ixtlilxochitl have been published as various editions in Spanish as follows:

  • Original written manuscript: Ixtlilxochitl, Fernando de Alba. Historia Chichimeca, ~1580-1615 (never published, archived in Spain or Italy)
  • First official printing: Kingsborough. Antiquities of Mexico. Vol. IX London 1848 (in Spanish, available here)
  • Chavero, Alfredo (ed.), Obras históricas de D. Fernando de Alba Ixtlilxochitl. México, 1891-92. (in Spanish, available here)
  • Chavero, Alfredo & Garibi pologue, Obras históricas de don Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl, 1958. (in Spanish)
  • Reediciones de la anterior: Editora National. Mexico. 1952 y 1965. (in Spanish)
  • O’Gorman, Edmundo (ed.), Obras históricas de Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxóchitl, México, 1975, UNAM. (in Spanish)
  • Vázquez Chamorro, Germán (ed.), “Historia de la nación Chichimeca”, México, 1985. (in Spanish)
  • Brian, Benton, Villella & Loaeza. History of the Chichimeca Nation: Don Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl’s Seventeenth-Century Chronicle of Ancient Mexico, 2019 (in English available here)

It is from Chavero’s 1965 edition that I have translated into English the first section of Ixtlilxochitl’s works called “The Summary Account” (Sumaria Relacion).

Ramirez and Chavero divided the works of Ixtlilxochitl into two main parts: (1) Diverse Accounts and (2) The History of the Chichimeca.

The latter receives the most attention, as Ixtlilxochitl was a descendant of the Chichimeca people and, as a result, he follows the Chichimeca trail right up through the Conquest of Mexico.

The first part, “Diverse Accounts,” deals with the origin of the first settlers, called Quinametzin or giants. They came from the great tower. The first part also discusses a group of people called the Tulteca. They were wise men who worshipped a god they called Quetzalcoatl. A great dispersion among the Tultecas took place in the 4th Century AD.

The “Diverse Accounts” section is the section that attracts the interest of students of the Book of Mormon, as a common trail appears in both accounts. Ixtlilxochitl called this section “Sumaria Relacion de todas las cosas que han sucedido en La Nueva Espana y de muchas cosas que los Toltecas alcanzaron.”

That’s rather a long title patterned after the manner of the native Mexicans. It means “A summary account of all the things than happened in New Spain and many things that the Toltecs accomplished.”

  • The first chapter (“Primmer Relacion”) of Chavero’s works is only 11 pages, and that portion is what I have included in its entirety in this text. The “Primmer Relacion” covers the history of Mexico from the time of the great tower to about 439 AD.
  • Chapter 2, or”Segunda Relacion,” provides dates of 466 AD to 543 AD. It also provides summary statements of the early history, typical of the way that Ixtlilxochitl wrote. He wrote, “The Tultecas were the third settlers of this land, counting the giants as the first, and the Ulmecas and Xicalancas as the second.” (Chavero 28)
  • Chapter 3 of Chavero consists of seven pages and covers the period of time from 556 AD to 826 AD.
  • Chapter 4 provides only one date, 880 AD, but the chapter provides a summary of the nature and characteristics of the Tultecas. “The Tultecas were great architects, carpenters, and workers of arts such as pottery: They mined and smelted gold and silver, and worked precious stones . . . .” (Chavero 40)
  • Chapter 5, or “Quinta Relacion,” covers about 30 pages and terminates with page 108 and the year 958 AD. With the exception of a summary section at the end of Volume One, the remainder of the works of Ixtlilxochitl deals with the history of Mexico from 1000 AD to 1600 AD. The majority of the history is centered in the 16th Century.

Don Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl indeed makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the pre-Conquest civilizations of Mexico. His writings have been criticized, however, because they contain much repetition and because his chronology and dating often lack consistency. One writer said, “It would have been better if Alva Ixtlilxochitl had written less, and paid more detail and attention to the chronology.” (Garcia Icazbalceta, Bibliography de Autores Mexicanos, VIII,271; as quoted in Chavero in the “Prologo”)

We could perhaps defend Ixtlilxochitl by noting that he was only writing down what he read in the different native records he was translating.


Explore and read the ORIGINAL Ixtlilxochitl text at this link of Archive.org. And see my direct translation of the text in this Google Document. This section in the online original of Chaveros version can be found here. And the earlier Kingsborough account here. Another translation can be found here. Some footnotes and commentary with maps are also added by Allen, the rest by Weaver.


.

Creation of the world in Toltec records

Both the Book of Mormon and writings of Ixtlilxochitl speak similarly about the ancient records containing an account of the creation of the world down to the flood and tower

1:1. A history of the events in New Spain including many things regarding the knowledge and accomplishments of the Tultecas from the creation of the world to its destruction, and up to the arrival of the third inhabitants called Chichimecas, and on up to the arrival of the Spanish, taken from the original history of New Spain.
1:2. The creation of the world and things pertaining thereto, including the origin of man. The omniscience of God and what He has revealed to the Tultecas.
1:3. The Tultecas had a knowledge of the creation of the world by Tloque Nahuaque, including the planets, mountains, animals, etc. They also knew about how God created a man and a woman from whence all mankind descended and multiplied. They recorded many other events that are not included in this account, inasmuch as the same events are recorded by other nations in the world. 2

  • 2 Moroni wrote, “And as I suppose that the first part of this record, which speaks concerning the creation of the world, and also of Adam, and an account from that time even to the great tower, and whatsoever things transpired among the children of men until that time, is had among the Jews-Therefore I do not write those things which transpired from the days of Adam until that time . . . .” (Ether 1:3–4)

Global Flood in Toltec Records

Both the Book of Mormon and writings of Ixtlilxochitl speak similarly about the Flood

1:4. The records indicate that the world was created in the year Ce Tecpatl, and the period of time from the creation to the flood is called Atonatiuh, which means the age of the sun of water because the world was destroyed by the flood. And it is recorded in the Tulteca history that this period or first world, as they called it, lasted for 1,716 years, after which time great lightning and storms from the heavens destroyed mankind, and everything in the earth was covered by water including the highest mountain called Caxtolmolictli, which is 15 cubits high.3

  • 3 Genesis states that “Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.” (Genesis 7:20) Whether Ixtlilxochitl was quoting from the native records or was influenced by the Biblical account cant be known for sure, although the context would suggest he is seeing this clause in the Aztec records somewhere.

Tower of Babel in Toltec Records

Both the Book of Mormon and writings of Ixtlilxochitl speak similarly about the Tower of Babel

1:5. To this they recorded other events, such as how, after the flood, a few people who had escaped the destruction inside a Toptlipetlacalli, which interpreted means an enclosed ark, began again to multiply upon the earth.

1:6. After the earth began again to be populated, they built a Zacualli very high and strong, which means the very high tower, to protect themselves against a second destruction of the world. 4

  • The wording is surprisingly similar to that referenced by Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews, where he explains why Nimrod build the tower of Babel. “He also said he would be revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach!”

1:7. As time elapsed, their language became confounded, such that they did not understand one another; and they were scattered to all parts of the world.

1:8. The Tultecas, consisting of seven men and their wives, were able to understand one another, and they came to this land, having first crossed many lands and waters, living in caves and passing through great tribulations. Upon their arrival here, they discovered that it was a very good and fertile land.5

  • 5 It appears here that Ixtlilxochitl confuses the record-keeping Tultecas with the first civilization, whom he consistently calls Quinametzin or giants/tall ones (see verses 16, 25, 32, 37). The Quinametzin are probably the same people as the Jaredites in the Book of Mormon: “Which Jared came forth … from the great tower … the language of Jared . . . and his brother were not confounded … And they did land upon the shore of the promised land . . . .” (Ether 1:33, 35; 6:12)

1:9. It has been reported that they wandered for 104 years in different parts of the land until they settled in Huehue Tlapallan, their homeland. 6 This was in the year Ce Tecpatl and 520 years had elapsed since the flood, which represent five periods of time. 7

  • 6 Huehue Tlapallan is mentioned 6 times in Ixtlilxochitl’s Sumaria Relaciones. (sometimes as one word, sometimes as two). Moreover Tlapallanconco (Tlapallancinco or zinco) is the beginning place of the Toltec Exile, which (cinco) means ‘new tlapallan’ so obviously named after Huehue Tlapalla, and was said to be ‘close to their homeland’ or 60 leagues (180 miles) from it.
  • 7 A period of time refers to the 52-year calendar cycle. In this case, however, Ixtlilxochitl apparently is calling two calendar cycles a period of time. Hence, five periods of time equal 520 years. The 104 years that they wandered represents one period of time or two 52-year calendar cycles.

1:10. And 1,715 years after the flood, the people were destroyed by a very great hurricane that carried away trees, rocks, houses, and large buildings. Many men and women escaped the storm by hiding in caves and other places where the great hurricane could not reach them.

  • 8 Today, hurricane winds are common to the coasts of Mexico. The great hurricane destruction referred to by Ixtlilxochitl may be the same destruction referred to in the days of Shiblom in the Book of Ether: there was a great destruction, such an one as never had been known upon the face of the earth . . . .” (Ether 11:7)

1:11. After a short period of time, they left the caves to see how much damage had taken place in the land. They discovered that it was populated and covered with monkeys that had been driven by the winds, as they had been in darkness all this time without being able to see the sun or the moon.

1:12From this event, the saying came about that men had turned into monkeys. This period became known as the second period, or the second world, called Ehecatonatiuh, which means sun of wind. After the destruction, men began again to rebuild and to multiply upon the face of the land.

1:13In the year 8 Tochtli, 9 which was 1,347 years after the second calamity and 4,779 years since the creation of the world, it is recorded in their history that the sun stood still one natural day without moving, and a myth evolved wherein a mosquito saw the sun suspended in the air in a pensive mood and said, “Lord of the world, why are you standing still and why are you in such deep thought? Why are you not doing the work you are supposed to do? Do you want to destroy the world as before?” And the mosquito said many other things to the sun, but the sun still did not move. The mosquito then stung the sun on the leg, and seeing that his leg had been stung, the sun began again to move along its course as before.

  • 9 Anytime a number is in front of a name such as 8 Tochtli, the number refers to the day and the month and is correlated with a year. The date in which the sun stood stilt corresponds with 52 BC in the dates given by Ixtlilxochitl.

1:14It had been 158 years since the great hurricane and 4,964 years since the creation of the world, when there occurred another destruction in this land. 10   The people who lived in this corner of the land, which they now call New Spain, were giants [tall ones] called Quinametzin. The destruction consisted of a great earthquake that swallowed up and killed the people when the high volcanic mountains erupted. All of the people were destroyed and no one escaped; or if anyone did escape, it was those who were in the internal parts of the land. Many Tultecas, along with the Chichimecas, who were their neighbors, were killed. This was in the year Tecpatl, and they called this time period Tlacchitonatiuh, which means sun of the earth.

  • 10 (This destruction appears to be the same referred to in verse 16, which dates to the exact time the destruction occurred at the death of Christ. (3 Nephi 8:5) The dating here, however, is inconsistent.

Calendar Adjustment & Destruction at time of Christ

The dates on these two verses do not agree. However this council and calendar Adjustment sounds an a lot like the beginning of the reign of the Judges. The destructions sound like the death of Christ. The Book of Mormon gives this Calendar base date change at the Reign of the judges a date of 91 BC or 126 years before Christ’s coming to Bountiful. Note however that King Benjamin’s address occurred 166 years before the destructions of Christ.

1:15In the year Ce Tecpatl, which was 5,097 years since the creation of the world and 104 years after the total destruction of the giant Quinametzin, all of the land of this new age being at peace, a council was held of the leading scientific, astrological, and artistic scholars of the Tultecas in their capital city called Huehuetlapallan. Here they discussed many things, including the destruction and the calamities that had taken place, as well as the movements of the heavens since the creation of the world. They also discussed many other things; but because of the burning of the records, we do not know or understand any more than what is written here. Among other things, they added the leap year to the calendar to adjust it with the solar equinox; and they discussed many other interesting things as will be observed from their records and laws regarding the years, months, weeks, days, signs, and planets. These, along with other interesting things, were understood by them.

1:16It had been 166 years since they had adjusted their calendar with the equinox and 270 years since the giants [tall ones] had been destroyed — when the sun and the moon eclipsed and the earth quaked and rocks were broken into pieces and many other signs that had been given came to pass, although man was not destroyed. This was in the year CE Calli, which, adjusted to our calendar, happened at the same time that Christ, our Lord, was crucified. And they say that this destruction occurred in the first few days of the year. 11

  • 10 This ‘council’ sounds a lot like the beginning of the Reign of the judges in Mosiah 29:39–47, “39 Therefore, it came to pass that they assembled themselves together in bodies throughout the land, to cast in their voices concerning who should be their judges, to judge them… in the whole, five hundred and nine years from the time Lehi left Jerusalem. 47 And thus ended the reign of the kings over the people of Nephi [and began the new Calendar of the reign of the Judges]”.
    However, its timing actually matches perfectly with King Benjamin’s address in 130 BC. in Mosiah 1:10 “My son, I would that ye should make a proclamation throughout all this land among all this people, or the people of Zarahemla, and the people of Mosiah who dwell in the land, that thereby they may be gathered together”
  • 11 The wording here could be ambiguous being unclear whether the destructions mentioned happened at the Time of Christ or if its referring to the destruction of the giants/Jaredites 270 years earlier. We will suppose the former since the Book of Mormon records the same date for the great destruction at the time of the crucifixion of Christ: “And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year, in the first month, on the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such as one as never had been known in all the land… 17 And thus the face of the whole earth became deformed, because of the tempests, and the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the quaking of the earth. 18 And behold, the rocks were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land.” (3 Nephi 8:5,17–18)

1:18.It had been 305 years since the time of the eclipsing of the sun and the moon, 438 years since the time of the destruction of the large Quinametzin (giants), and 5,486 years since the creation of the world, when Chalcatzin and Tlacamihtzin, chief leaders and descendants of the Tulteca royal lineage, following many years of quiet peace, commenced to desire the usurpation of the kingdom, desiring to overthrow the legitimate successor. This was the year 13 Acatl.

1:19. They were exiled, and there began to be wars, and they cast them out of the City of Tlachicalzincan, in the region of Hueytlapallan, their homeland. And they were cast out with their families and allies, their men as well as their women, and a great number were exiled. They left in the year following CE Tecpatl, banished from all that land, as you will see in that which follows. And this transpired, according to our calculations, 449 years after the birth of our Christ the Lord. 13

  • 13 If the date of the exile of the Tultecas is 305 years from the 34 AD eclipse, then the above date would be 339 AD instead of 449 AD. If we attempt to correlate the record-keeping Tultecas with the record-keeping Nephites, the 339AD exile date is close to the exile of the Nephites from the Land Southward at 350 AD. (Mormon 2:28–29), the 449 AD date is closer to the 385 AD battle at Cumorah and the 421 AD closing date in the Book of Mormon.

The Chichimecs came from Babel in Asia.

Although the Toltecs and Chichimec titles seem to be claimed by many different tribes and peoples in early codices, here they seem to be associated with the Jaredites. Coincidentally in the highland model, the Jaredite heartland is the narrow coastal pass of central Sonora near Culiacan which is where archaeologist often place the early chichimecs. (Early Spanish conquires associate the tribes of the Taramara region of Sonora with the Chichimec’s). Perhaps then, after the final battle Lamanites who fought over and settled the Land of Desolation where the treaty was signed end up claiming those ancestral Jaredite lands as their own and associating themselves with the Jaredite remnants and pictographs (of which their are thousands).

1:20The ancestors of the natives of this land that is now called New Spain, according to the common and general opinion of everyone, as well as that which appears demonstrated in their paintings, came from the Occidental [western] areas.

1:21And all who are now called Tultecas, Aculhuas, and Mexicanas, as well as the other people in this land, boast and affirms that they are descendants of the Chichimecas. The reason, according to their history, is that their first king, whose name was Chichimecatl, was the one who brought them to this new land where they settled. And it was be, as can be deduced, that came from the great Tartary, and was part of those who came from the division of Babel. This account is described in great detail in their history, and it tells how he, their king traveled with them crossing a large part of the world. arriving at this land, which they considered to be good, fertile, and abundant for human sustenance. As mentioned earlier, they populated the major part of the land, and more particularly that which falls along the northern part. And the Chichimecatl called the land by his own name.14

  • 14 Verse 21 is a repeat of verses 6-8, as it describes the first settlers who came from the great tower at the time of the confusion of the languages. The Book of Ether records that the first king, Jared, and those who traveled with him traveled in “that quarter where there never had man been”, and they traveled “many years” in the wilderness. (Ether 2:5; 3:3; 6:8-12) The Book of Ether does not tell which ocean the Jaredites crossed. However, from the above information, they apparently crossed the Pacific after wandering through the ‘Tartary’, which is the general area of South Russia & China where the Black & Caspian seas could match well with the inland seas mentioned in Ether 2:5.
    Ixtlilxochitl said that the first inhabitants settled primarily along the “northern part”… and Moroni records the account of the “ancient inhabitants who were destroyed by the hand of the Lord upon the face of this north country.” (Ether 1: 1)

On Lands being named after the one who first ‘possessed’ them

1:22In each place where the Chichimecatl settled, whether it be a large city or a small village, it was their custom to name it according to the first king or leader who possessed the land. This same custom prevailed among the Tultecas. The general area was called the Land of Tollan, after the first king who was so named. Be that as it may, this custom was prevalent in naming other cities and villages throughout the land. 15

  • 15 This same custom is mentioned by Mormon wherein he writes, “Now it was the custom of the people of Nephi to call their lands, and their cities, and their villages, yea, even all their small villages after the name of him who first possessed them; and thus it was with the land of Ammonihah.” (Alma 8:7)

1:23Notwithstanding that some were called Tultecas, others Aculhuas, Tepanecas and Otomites, they all were proud to be of the lineage of the Chichimecas, because they all descended from them. However, it is true that there were divisions among the Chichimecas thei-nselves. And some were more civilized than others, such as the Tultecas. And others were more barbaric. such as the Otomites, and others like them. Those who are pure Chichimecas, whose kings were direct descendants of thc first king and founder Chichimecatl, were bloodthirsty men, warriors, and lovers of power, holding other nations in bondage. 16

  • 16 Regarding the 190 BC Lamanites, Mormon wrote. “They were a wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, believing in the tradition of their fathers . . . .” And . . . “they were desirous to bring us [the Nephites] into bondage . . . .” (Mosiah 10: 12; 9:12)

1:24. Although one nation was inclined to righteousness and another nation was full of mischief idleness, being exceedingly haughty and proud and being warmongers, or although one nation was virtuous and another full of iniquity, both, as recorded in their history, came from the same lineage, the Chichimecas. And all are descended from the same forefathers; and as it has been said, they came from the Occidental [Western] areas. 17

  • 17 Apparently Ixtlilxochitl traces his lineage, through the Chichimeca lineage, all of the way back to the first settlers who came from the tower. The Book of Mormon may clear up this issue. Some of the 588-570 BC Lamanites, “the people who were now called Lamanites,” (2 Nephi 5:14) were in all probability descendants from the Jaredite Tower of Babel people. Hence, the Chichimeca in Ixtlilxochitl’s history may be the same as the Lamanites in Book of Mormon history, and yet many would have descended from the original Jaredite or Quinametzin king.

1:25. In this land called New Spain [Mexico], there were giants [tall ones], as demonstrated by their bones that have been discovered in many areas. The ancient Tulteca record keepers called them Quinametzin. They became acquainted with them and had many wars and contentions with them, and in particular in all of the land that is now called New Spain. They [the Quinametzin] were destroyed, and their civilization came to an end as a result of great calamities and punishments from heaven for some grave sins that they had committed. 18

  • 18 When Mosiah fled to the Land of Zarahemla about 200 BC and encountered the people of Zarahemla, they informed him that they had “had many wars and contentions, and had fallen by the sword from time to time.” (Omni 1: 17) The Mulekites had landed in the land of the Jaredites approximately 400 years prior to the uniting of the Nephites and the people of Zarahemla. (Alma 22:30; Omni 1: 19) An expedition dating to 121 BC, sent out by Limhi in search of the Land of Zarahemla, discovered the Jaredite ruins, including bones of men and breastplates that were large. (Mosiah 8:8) The above statement of Ixtlilxochitl may have reference to these accounts. This possibility suggests that the Quinametzin, who were large people, were the same people known as the Jaredites.

1:26It is the opinion of some of these ancient historians that these giants [tall ones] descended from the same Chichimecas mentioned earlier, and they say that in these northern lands, where the ancient Chichimeca Empire was located that there are villages where there are still men living who are over thirty hands tall. And it is of no wonder, that even our own Spaniards have not yet entered into the interior of the lands, but have only traveled along the coastal areas such as the lands of the Chicoranos and the Duharezases, and they have found men in these parts who are eleven and twelve hands in height, and have been told that there are others even taller.

  • 19 One hand is considered equivalent to 4 inches, in which cases the extremes of the above measurements are 4 feet to 10 feet. From an archaeological point of view, the Otmec were large people–but not necessarily tall people. (See Figure 11-2.) Many scholars brush off the comment about giants as being Indian superstitions, saying that the large bones are remains of elephants. Too much consistency is evident, however, to ignore the idea of a large race of people. Although a discrepancy exists between 30 hands and 11 or 12 hands tall, the facts that the Book of Mormon Jaredites, the archaeological Olmecs, and the Quinametzin of Ixtlilxochitl are all large people and that they all lived in the Land Northward, the northern country, or the northern lands lend credibility to the above statements. The northern lands of both the Olmecs and Ixtlilxochitl are the area along the Gulf of Mexico (or Texas, New Mexico, etc?). This area appears to be the same area as the Land Northward in Jaredite history.

1:27. The greatest destruction that occurred among the Quinametzin [elsewhere called Philistines or giants] was in the year and date that the natives call CE Toxtli, signifying the date 1 Rabbit, 299 years after the birth of Jesus Christ, and with them ended the third age, which was called Ecatonatiuh, because of the great winds and earthquakes. And almost everyone was destroyed. 20

  • 20 The above date is obviously a transcription error as it’s given different dates elsewhere. This destruction appears to be referring to the second period because of the context in which it is written. Four basic ages or periods of destruction are constantly referred to by Ixtlilxochitl and are also recorded by other early Mexican writers. The Aztec calendar stone also reflects four periods of destruction. The first period relates to the flood and appears to date to 3114 BC. The second is the great hurricane, which has been dated to 1399 BC in this account as outlined in verse 10. The third age correlates to the death of Christ in 34 AD and consisted of great earthquakes and storms. The fourth age usually refers to the time when the world will be destroyed by fire and is still in the future.

Nephites & Toltecs are both industrious record keepers

1:28. The Tultecas were the second civilization in this land after the destruction of the giants [Quinametzin] . . ., and they had a knowledge of the creation of the world and of how the world had been destroyed by the flood; and many other things are recorded in their history and paintings.

1:29. . . . the word Tulteca means men of the arts and sciences, because those of this nation were great artisans, as you can see today in many parts, and especially in the ruins of buildings, such as Teotihuacan, Tula, and Cholula.

21 The Tolteca or second civilization sound a lot like Helaman 3:15 which says “15 But behold, there are many books and many records of every kind, and they have been kept chiefly by the Nephites. 16 And they have been handed down from one generation to another by the Nephites”. Being the one’s who brought the records (unlike the Jaredites and Mulekites)

1:30. The most serious authors and historians of the ancient pagans included Quetzalcoatl, who is considered to be the first. Some of the modem pagans include Nezahualcoyotzin, king of Texcuco, and the two infants of Mexico, Itzocatzin and Xiuhcozcatzin, sons of King Huitzilihuitzin. And there are many others I could mention if it were necessary. 21

  • 21 The name Quetzalcoatl is prominent in the ancient histories of Mexico. The origin of the name dates back to the advent of Christ. Others were given the name of Quetzalcoatl, including a 10th Century AD Toltec leader. The 16th-Century Catholic priests made serious attempts to obliterate the name and power of Quetzalcoatl from the minds of the people. (See Chapter 12, “Fray Bernardino de Sahagun.”)

1:31. It is declared through their histories about the god Teotloquenahuaque, Tlachihualcipal Nemoanulhuicahua Tlaltipacque, which, according to the correct interpretation, means the universal god of all things, creator of them and in whose will lives all creatures, lord of the heaven and of the earth, etc. After having created all things, he created the first parents of men, from whence came forth all others; and the dwelling place and habitation that he gave them was the world.

1:32. It is said that the world had four ages. The first, which was from the beginning, was called Atonatiuh, which means sun of water, signifying that the world was terminated by a flood. The second, called Tlachitonatiuh, means sun of earth, because the world came to an end by great earthquakes, in such a manner that almost all of mankind was destroyed. This age or time occurred during the time of the giants [tall ones], who were called Quinametintzoculihicxime.

1:33. The third age, Ecatonatiuh, means sun of air, because this period came to an end by winds that were so strong that they uprooted all of the buildings and trees and even broke the rocks in pieces; and the majority of mankind perished. And because those who escaped this calamity found a large number of monkeys that the wind must have brought from other parts, the survivors said man must have been changed into monkeys. 22

  • 22 Verse 33 apparently is the same destruction referred to in verses 10-12, in which case it is the second age or period of time instead of the third. The confusion may lie in the name of Ecatonatiuah, which is either transcribed wrong or which Ixtlilxochitl confuses with Ehecatonatiuh. Sometime after the great destruction at the time of Christ, as recorded in some of the traditions, the name of Ehecatl, which means wind, became part of the title of Quetzalcoatl-that is, Ehecatl Quetzalcoatl.

1:34Those who possessed this new world in this third age were the Ulmecas and Xicalancas; and according to what is found in their histories, they came in ships or boats from the east to the land of Potonchan, and from there they began to populate the land. 23

  • 23 Potonchan is near the present-day City of Veracruz, Mexico. It is the same place where the Spanish conquerors landed in the 16th Century AD. LDS writers commonly agree that the Mulekites came from the east across the Atlantic. Cacaxtla was said to be the capitol of the Olmeca-Xicalanca people by Diego Muñoz Camargo. It is the site of the famous ‘Battle Mural’ depicting warriors with dark and lighter skin. Cacaxtla was likely founded around 400 AD by a group of Mayan settlers (possibly after sacking Chula?) but is essentially the sister city to Xochitecatl and Moyotzingo, formative sites with early ties to the Olmec of Veracruz, Chiapas and the Mexican Highland. Here we presume that the Olmeca are Lehites and Xicalancas Mulekites. Note Mariano Veytia in Historia antigua de México (p. 150) says the Zapotecs/Mixtecs are kindreds with Olmeca and Xicalancas.

Does Ixtlilxochitl explain why the Mulekites make Mosiah I their king?

The book of Mormon does not explain why the people of Zarahemla so eagerly appointed Mosiah I their king, except perhaps that the Nephites had writing. (Omni 1:15–24) This section of Ixtlilxochitl gives a convincing explanation that perhaps Mosiah and his people freed the Mulekites from bondage when they arrived by killing the Jaredite overlords who were holding the Mulekites in bondage. Perhaps Omni 1:24 is speaking of this battle, with Mormon calling the enemy “Lamanites” and Ixtlilxochitl calling them Quinametzin or giants.

1:35. On the banks of the Atoyac River, which is the one that passes between Puebla and Cholula, there were found some of the giants [tall ones] who had escaped the destruction and extermination of the second age. Taking advantage of their size and strength, they oppressed and enslaved their new neighbors.

1:36The principal leaders of the new settlers determined to liberate themselves, and the means they employed were to invite the old settlers to a very solemn feast. After the old settlers became full and intoxicated, they were killed and destroyed with their own weapons, with which feat the new settlers remained free and exempt from bondage, and this increased the domain and command of the Xicalancas and Ulmecas. 24

  • 24 This makes an amazing explanation for Mosiah’s quick ascension to rule the people of Zarahemla. The only detail the Book of Momron gives after talking about Coriantumr and the Jaredites is Omni 1:24 “And behold, I have seen, in the days of king Benjamin, a serious war and much bloodshed between the Nephites and the Lamanites. But behold, the Nephites did obtain much advantage over them; yea, insomuch that king Benjamin did drive them out of the land of Zarahemla.” Note this tactic is strikingly similar to the 121 BC account of Gideon & Limhi escaping from Lamanite bondage by getting their guards drunk in the Land of Nephi. Mosiah 22:3–13, explains that Gideon would “go according to thy command and pay the last tribute of wine to the Lamanites, and they will be drunken; and we will pass through the secret pass on the left of their camp when they are drunken and asleep” (v. 7). Perhaps Gideon learned this trick by the Nephite stories of what had been done a century earlier. Or perhaps even this account by Ixtlilxochitl is a corrupted version of the escape in Mosiah 22.

    The largest-based pyramid in the world is Cholula (verse 35). It covers over 40 acres of ground and dates to the Preclassic Era (200 BC — about the time the Nephites moved from the City of Nephi to Zerahemla). It was covered in a thin ash layer around the time of Christ and has subsequently been rebuilt/added to several times. A Catholic church sits peacefully on top of the pyramid today. (See Figure 11-4.) The State of Puebla borders the east ports mentioned earlier as landing spots for the Mulekites.

Quetzalcoatl and the Tree of Life

Its important to understand that Quetzalcoatl was a title used by Mexican Highland people very much like the prefixes/sufixes of ‘el’ and ‘jah’ in Hebrew. Thus it seems likely that Mesoamerican spiritual and kingly figures had variations of Quetzalcoatl attached to their names much like biblical kings or prophets like Eli’jah’, Dan’el’, Adoni’jah’ actually had the title of Jehovah attached to their names. Ixtlilxochitl notes at least two or three different characters who are called Quetzalcoatl and several other varients. Care must be taken in deciphering which historical figure is being referred to under the title Quetzalcoatl. I believe that prophets named ‘Nephi’ in the Book of Mormon actually have some variation of Quetzalcoatl in their native names. See here.

1:37. The people were living in a time of great prosperity, when there arrived in this land a man whom they called Quetzalcoatl. Others called him Hueman because of his great virtues. He was considered just, saintly, and good, teaching them by deeds and words the road to virtue. He instructed them to refrain from vices and not to sin, and he gave them laws and sane doctrine. He told them to constrain their appetites and to be honest, and he instituted the law of the fast.

1:38. And [He was] the first to be worshiped and to be placed in authority, and for that reason [He] is called Quiauhtzteotlchicahualizteotl and Tonaceaquahuitl, which means god of the rains and of health and tree of sustenance or of life. 25

  • 25 The Spanish translation at the beginning of verse 38 states: “el primero que adoro y coloco la cruz.” (literally: the first who I adore & placed the cross). I have translated it as referring to Quetzalcoatl inasmuch as that is consistent with the context of the verses preceding and following the statement. I have translated “coloco la cruz” as “placed in authority.” Quetzalcoatl has been given many names, including the two above. The “tree-of-life” motif is associated with Christ and is prevalent throughout Mesoamerica. Quetzalcoatl is afforded the prominent position of all of the gods of Mesoamerica. The original Quetzalcoatl is considered by most Latter-day Saint writers to be the same person as Jesus Christ. (See Chapter 14, “The White God Quetzalcoatl.”

1:39. After he [Quetzalcoatl] had preached the above mentioned to all of the other Ulmeca and Xicalanca cities, and especially in the City of Cholula, where he spent a great deal of time, and seeing the small amount of fruit that resulted from his doctrine, he returned to the same place from whence he had come, which was to the east, disappearing at Coatzacoalco. 26

  • 26. Coatzacoalco(s) (Co-ought-saw-co-all-cos) has grown into a modem oil refinery city located in the State of Veracruz near the border of the State of Tabasco. The Coatzacoalcos River empties into the Gulf of Mexico at the top of the gulf by the City of Coatzacoalcos. The Aztec meaning of the word Coatzacoalcos is “the foundation of the religion of the feathered serpent.” Cholula is a city just over the mountain from Mexico City and is the original city of Zarahemla in our continental model. (3 Nephi 11: 1; see Figure 11-5)

1:40. And at the time of his farewell from these people, he told them of times to come. He said that in the year that would be called CE Acatl, he would return and then his doctrine would be accepted, and his children would be lords and heirs of the earth. He also told them that they and their descendants would pass through great calamities and persecutions. He prophesied of many other things that would surely come to pass.

1:41. Quetzalcoatl, by literal interpretation, means serpent of the precious feathers, with an allegoric meaning of, man of exceeding great wisdom. And Huemac (Hueman), some say, was the name given to him because his hands were printed, or stamped, on a rock, like a very fine wax, as testimony that what he prophesied would come to pass. Others say that (Hueman) means, he with the great or powerful hand.

1:42. A few days after he left, a great destruction and devastation took place, which is referred to as the third period of the world. At that time, the great building and tower of Cholula, which was so famous and marvelous, was destroyed. It was like a second tower of Babel that these people had built, with virtually the same idea in mind. It was destroyed by the wind. 27

  • 27. This “3rd period” destruction appears to be the same as those mentioned in verses 14 and 16. Verse 16 gives the same date as the date recorded in the Book of Mormon-that is, the first month of the 34th year. (3 Nephi 8:5) Verse 42 says that the destruction took place a few days after Quetzalcoatl left. It seems quite likely that this is confustion in the translation or myth and it should instead read, “at the time of his death.” Especially in light of verse 43 which records the destruction as occurring some years after the birth of Christ.

1:43. And later, those who escaped at the end of the third age, in place of the ruins, the people built a temple to Quetzalcoatl, whom they named the god of wind, because it was destroyed by the wind. They understood that this calamity was sent by his hand. And they called it CE Acatl, which was the name of the year of his coming. According to the history referred to, and from the records, the foregoing took place a few years after the birth of Christ our Lord.

 1:44.After this age had passed, beginning at this time, entered the fourth age called Tletonatiuh, which means, sun of fire, because it is said that this fourth and last age will end by fire.

1:45. Quetzalcoatl was a man of comely appearance and serious disposition. His countenance was white, and he wore a beard. His manner of dress consisted of a long, flowing robe. 28

  • 28. This verse concludes the first chapter, or Sumaria Relacion, as edited by Alfredo Chavero. The historical era covered in this first chapter was from the flood called the first age, and terminates with a great storm that occurred around the time of Christ, called the third age, or from approximately 3114 BC to ~34 AD. It is interesting that the Aztec legends prophesy that the current age will end by “fire” just as the Book of Revelation and many other Middle Eastern traditions. The second chapter of Chavero provides us with a beginning date of 466 AD, with intermittent statements dating back to the 3rd Century AD.

After the Book of Mormon Final War

The similarity between what’s described here and the Book of Mormon is remarkable. The dispersion of the war-like Chichimeca at 387 AD correlates with the same time period directly after the Nephites/Lamanite final battle at Cumorah in 385 AD presumably in New England. This description of “Journeying along the coast” from their “home land” (perhaps Nephites and/or Lamanites in the Hopewell lands of Ohio in the Land Northward) back to “California” or the southwest and down the sea of Cortez to the Colorado (reddish) river in order to arrive at the legendary city of Tollan (called Tollanzinco or New Tollan in the next verse).

2:40. Banished from their homeland, the Tultecas undertook their journey along the coast. Traveling through the country, they arrived at California by the sea, which they called Hueytlapallan, which today is called Cortez, which name was given because of its reddish [colorado] color. The date of their arrival was in the year CE Tecpatl, which corresponds to 387 AD. 29
2:41. Following along the coast of Xalixco (Jalisco) and all along the south, leaving from the port of Huatulco 30 and traveling through diverse lands, they arrived at the province of Tochtepec, which is located along the sea north. And after walking and exploring, they settled in the Tolantzinco, leaving colonies in the places where they made Great Houses (hecieron mansion).

  • 29. Mormon 8:2–3 tells us “2 And now it came to pass that after the great and tremendous battle at Cumorah [in 385 AD], behold, the Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed. 3 And my father also was killed by them, and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone, and I fulfil the commandment of my father. And whether they will slay me, I know not.” Note the above quote from Ixtlilxochitl is not of the Toltec but the war-like Chichimeca. So it seems more likely that this group is the returning army of Lamanites (although perhaps some Nephites not known to Moroni as well?)
  • 30. Huatulco is in Southern Oaxaca and in our model this area is directly seaward from the Land/city of Nephi (Monte Alban, Oaxaca) and would have been their principle sea port. Xalisco is modern Jalisco and likely a name for the entire West Coast of Mexico from the Sea of Cortez south to Oaxaca. Tochtepec is a city in Puebla (our Zarahemla)

On the three settlers of the Americas and the 7 tribes

Just like the Book of Mormon Ixtlilxochitl speaks of 3 settlers in the Americas (Jaredites, Mulekites & Lehites). Elsewhere these three groups are spoken of in more detail. The seven founding tribes is also a very pervasive myth in early writings and match incredibly with the Book of Mormon 7 groups of Lehites.

2:42. The Tultecas were the third settlers of this land, counting the giants [tall ones] as the first, with the second being the Ulmecas (olmecs) and Xicalancas. While in Tolantzinco (Tollan?) they counted one hundred and four years of having left their homeland. The names of the seven leaders/chieftains who led them, and among whom the government took turns, were ‘: 1- Tlacomíhua that others call Ácatl: 2- Chalchiuhmatzin: 3- Ahuecatl: 4- Cóatzon: 5- Tiuhcoatl: 6- Tlapalhuitz: 7- Huitz: whom later populated the city of Tollan, head of the monarchy. Seven years after it was founded, they elected king and supreme lord, the first being Chalchiuhmatzin Chalchiuhtlatanac which was in the year Chicome Acatl and in our dates, 510 AD. (Chavero 1965:28)

31  Note the Book of Mormon repeatedly mentions the seven tribes. (see Jacob 1:13, Mormon 1:8, 4 Ne 1:36–37) “13 Now the people which were not Lamanites were Nephites; nevertheless, they were called Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites, Zoramites, Lamanites, Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites. 14 But I, Jacob, shall not hereafter distinguish them by these names, but I shall call them Lamanites that seek to destroy the people of Nephi, and those who are friendly to Nephi I shall call Nephites.” Third Relacion begins with the founding of the legendary city of Tula by the Toltecs (prosperous and abundant empire–a city “that was the head of its kingdoms and lordships for many years”). Combining the mythology of the story with what we know of the archaeology seems to paint a believable narrative suggesting that perhaps after the Nephite destruction, some of the treasonous Nephite defectors, combined with the Lamanite army returned to Tula (a little North of Teotihuacán and Mexico City) and founded the final Toltec empire the immediate precursor to the Aztec.

On the traditions of Native Warfare

This account gives insight into the warfare described concerning the final battles of the Nephites and Jaredites in the Book of Mormon. Particularly why they wage war of total annihilation.

5.23 … the three competitor kings of the great Topiltzin came into the city of Tula with a great army. 5.24 They told him to get his people ready, that they would understand each other with arms. 5.25. Topiltzin, seeing himself so oppressed and that there was no way out, asked for time, for it was a law that before a battle they would notify each other some years in advance so that on both sides they would be warned and prepared. The idea was that their descendants, at some future time, could with just reason do the same. This custom was adhered to up to the time the Spaniards came to this land. They answered Topiltzin, telling him that they would give him ten years, and on the last of the ten years they would engage in battle at Tultitlan…
6:4. They engaged in battle, innumerable people dying on both sides. The war lasted three complete years. Those of Topiltzin had few reinforcements, while the three chieftains, their competitors, every day received great numbers of people. The Tultecs were vanquished and nearly all the people were killed in the battle. Many Tultec matrons fought very bravely, helping their husbands. Many of them died.

1 Note the similarity to Mormon 6:2–6 “And I, Mormon, wrote an epistle unto the king of the Lamanites, and desired of him that he would grant unto us that we might gather together our people unto the land of Cumorah, by a hill which was called Cumorah, and there we could give them battle. 3 And it came to pass that the king of the Lamanites did grant unto me the thing which I desired… 6 And it came to pass that [after four years] when we had gathered in all our people in one to the land of Cumorah, behold I, Mormon, began to be old; and knowing it to be the last struggle of my people… 7 And it came to pass that my people, with their wives and their children, did now behold the armies of the Lamanites marching towards them…9 And it came to pass that they did fall upon my people… and were hewn down…”

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On the Toltec Migration

Many codices speak of the famous Toltec migration myth. Most Hispanic historians reference Ixlilchotil’s history as his account stands out in its use of dates. Most authors place their homeland either in West Mexico, Sonora or the Southwest. Several very early Spanish maps also place it in the US southwest. (Some confusion exists in the date of this account. And later authors go with the 439 date instead of the 388. When I get some time I’ll explain how this migration might relate to the Book of Mormon and go through the differing accounts of it.)

Overview of the Toltec migration as related by Ixlilchotil.

2:1. In the year 1 FLINT [439 or perhaps 388? see note 8], as has been said [in 1:19], the Tultecs [Nahuatls] were banished from their country and nation. They left fleeing and as they could, while the followers of Tlaxicholiucan, their kindred, came following, harassing them, until they arrived at a point more than sixty leagues away from their lands, where they stayed, reorganizing themselves and cultivating the land and doing other things for their sustenance. 2:2. This land they called Tlapallanconco and the discoverer of this land was called Cecatzin. 2:3. … they were near their country eight years making war, until they were entirely driven out….

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For the rest of this account see this page.

To Do

-Go back through these and put the Book of Mormon quotes of verses and refs in the footnotes to compare and contrast whats said in the two books.
-Add references to the ‘high priest of cholula’ that are everywhere to show that there’s a distinct religion with a leader (quote b.o.m. – leader of their church)
-Add refs to ‘bandits’ that are all over the chapter section. “Huetzin was upon him and they had a very cruel battle in which many people died on both sides until the bandits were defeated, and their leader Yacanex fled without stopping to Panuco, becausethere was the sierra where they tried to take refuge and they had that strength” (see also “Chichimecas rebels”)
-Compare this section to the b.o.m. sections of ferocious lamanites… “These Chichimecas dressed in their nature, and today they wear the marinated skins of martens, lions, tigers and other animals: the…”
-Another explanation on how the 4rth Nephi genealogy lived so long… Ixlolchitl says, “how could they live so long? To this the answer is that even today many natives live almost a hundred years, and others spend a hundred years… (get quote)
-In history chichmeca, Ixlilchotil seems to use Chichimecas and Toltecas like B.O.M. uses Nephites and Lamantes. Get some examples and make section on it (maybe just contrast the idleness of chichimecs w/ the resourcefullness? or however he says it, of totecs. “1:29. … the word Tulteca means men of the arts and sciences, because those of this nation were great artisans, as you can see today in many parts, and especially in the ruins of buildings, such as Teotihuacan, Tula, and Cholula” whereas the Chichimec were “dressed in their nature, and today they wear the marinated skins of martens, lions” and “very great idoloters”
-section on similarity between Hueman (sp?) and Mormon
-section on Both B.O.M and Ixlilchotl tell of prophets (called astrologer)

Oh ye fair ones: The implications of racism and genocide on Book of Mormon DNA evidence

Given recent DNA research of places like Britain, a scarcity of Middle Eastern (Lehite) DNA in Native American populations is exactly what might be expected from the Book of Mormon narrative. With only a handful of colonizing Middle Eastern families, the genetic fingerprint was quickly absorbed into the native population JUST as recent DNA evidence is showing happened to the Roman colonizers of Britain. Furthermore, the book’s narrative explains how racism, and genocide based on racism, destroyed the remnants of the small group of more racially pure Nephite elite around 400AD.

The Book of Mormon goes to great lengths to suggest that much like the Jews of Ezra, the Nephite elite took pride in their own racial purity– holding a racist belief system to minimize mixing with the native population. Whereas the text suggests that the ‘Lamanites’ and Mulekites immediately began to fully mix with the indigenous population. (with the Nephites superstitiously labeling the darker offspring of the Mestizo Lamanites as ‘cursed’) After nearly 1000 years of history, this system of racial segregation then came back to haunt the Nephites as systemic racism (this time in the other direction) obviously served as the basis for the final genocidal war, wherein the ‘fair’ (ie. more white/less mixed) Nephite elite were hunted down and annihilated by the darker inhabitants of the continent— largely eradicating the remaining population of undiluted Israelite DNA from the continent.

To understand why substantial DNA evidence of Israelite colonization of the Americas has not been found, one need not look any farther than the virtual absence of Roman DNA in Great Britain. This interesting phenomena is well documented (see here for instance). Despite both abundant archaeological evidence and overwhelming historical evidence of centuries of regional domination, very little evidence of Roman DNA exists from DNA studies of modern Britain peoples. This genetic absorption has been explained by a process known as genetic drift, where although significant, Roman populations were simply not great enough to leave long-term markers compared to the overwhelmingly larger populations of Native Britons. This same phenomena, would of course be expected among Book of Mormon peoples, given that the initial Middle Eastern colonialists mentioned in the record were composed of only a few initial families.

[Also like Britain’s Roman DNA problem, the timing of the introduction of genetic traits which link these colonizing groups is often hard to prove. Just one example is the recent discovery of the breast cancer causing Ashkenazi mutation found in Southwestern Native American groups linking them to Old World Jewish groups. (See here and here for instance.) However, because of prevailing worldviews of “first contact”, these genetic similarities are usually dismissed as being introduced into Native populations, post conquest by Sephardic Jewish blood within Spanish colonizers.]

For over a hundred years, many LDS authors and scholars held the view that the Lamanites were the “principal ancestors of the American Indians”. This phrase has been taken out of the introduction to modern printings of the Book of Mormon for the simple reason that a careful reading of the Book does not support it! It is based on the rather unbelievable idea that the continent was not already populated by many indigenous people when Book of Mormon people arrived. Or that subsequent migrations not mentioned in the Book of Mormon did not occur.

Of course, this isn’t to say the Book of Mormon happened in a tiny corner or that it is not an account of the most significant cultures and happenings of the North American continent. Indeed our model has the Nephites and Lamanites being the ruling class of some of the greatest cultures the continent has seen. With the Nephites founding the Zapotec Culture, and then combining with the Mulekites to found the Teotihuacan empire. Followed by a Toltec, Anasazi and Cahokia (Hopewell) takeover as they slowly fled to their destruction in New England’s Cumorah.

However, much like the very small number of initial Spanish colonizers in Mexico made massive social changes despite their small numbers, it seems most likely the same effect occurred among Book of Mormon peoples (except with a far smaller number of Colonizers). Likewise it seems to me that the Book of Mormon works to set up a background of Israeli beliefs in racial purity in order to explain how these beliefs led to systemic racism and eventual retaliatory racism and ethic cleansing and genocide which wiped out the remaining groups of somewhat racially pure Middle Eastern DNA.

I believe this is why a background to these racist beliefs was explicitly given in the channeling of the Pearl of Great Price.

21 Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth.
22 From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land.
23 The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden;
24 When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land.
25 Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham…
26 Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom… with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.
27 Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry;

The racist idea that those of African descent were from some sort of ‘cursed’ lineage which excluded them from Middle Eastern priesthoods, would not have been exclusive to these supposed Israelites. Some Greek and Persian records also seemingly preserve some racism in those cultures toward those of a darker skin. A 9th century Persian text is supposedly quoting more ancient Avestan myth in describing the ancient racist Persian view of how the black (arab?) race came to be.

“During his sovereignty, Az i Dahak (a male demon) let loose a dew on a young girl and let loose a young man on a parig (female demon), and they (the female spirits) had sex with the visible image of the male (counterparts of each other); through this new way of the action the Black people appeared.” (9th Century, the Bundahishn Chapter XIVB quoting Avesta ‘creation of the origins’, Bd XIVb.7 Greater Bundahishn)

It’s not a stretch to see how Nephi (or a later author transcribing Nephi) in the Book of Mormon found an explanation for the darker skinned natives they encountered in the America’s as “cursed Lamanites”.

21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon [the Lamanites], yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.
22 And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities.
23 And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it, and it was done. (2 Ne 5:21–23)

This belief appears to have succeeded in creating a culture of ethnic isolation, independence and purity but also seems to have unintentionally promoted an attitude of systemic racism toward the Lamanites. Only 50 years or so after Nephi, Jacob begins to preach against a racist attitude that had obviously developed.

9 Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, which is the word of God, that ye revile no more against them because of the darkness of their skins; neither shall ye revile against them because of their filthiness; but ye shall remember your own filthiness, and remember that their filthiness came because of their fathers.
10 Wherefore, ye shall remember your children, how that ye have grieved their hearts because of the example that ye have set before them; and also, remember that ye may, because of your filthiness, bring your children unto destruction, and their sins be heaped upon your heads at the last day. (Jacob (3:9-10)

This attitude persisted throughout Book of Mormon times, especially among the ruling class, as we continually see both religious and political leaders using their pure “Nephite” Lehite or Mulekite genealogy as a way to legitimize themselves.

20 I am Mormon, and a pure descendant of Lehi. I have reason to bless my God and my Savior Jesus Christ, that he brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem…

13 Behold, I make an end of speaking concerning this people. I am the son of Mormon, and my father was a descendant of Nephi. (Mormon 8:13)

3 And it came to pass that on the morrow they started to go up, having with them one Ammon, he being a strong and mighty man, and a descendant of Zarahemla; and he was also their leader. (Mosiah 7:3)

2 But there was one among them whose name was Alma, he also being a descendant of Nephi. (Mosiah 17:2)

23 I am Ammoron, and a descendant of Zoram, whom your fathers pressed and brought out of Jerusalem. (Alma 54:23)

15 …And they were led by a man whose name was Coriantumr; and he was a descendant of Zarahemla; (Hel 1:15)

With the ruling class using race and pedigree in such a manner, its easy to see how that same system of social stratification and segregation set the stage for the ethnic wars which destroyed the Nephites. Although Christ’s visit in the Book of Mormon seems to have temporarily put an end to racial and ethnic tension, ending the practice of differentiation of people’s by “ites” (4 Ne 1:17), after a mere 80 years the darket skinned Lamanites, this time seem to reignite the ethnic fuels of racism as they leave the church and “take upon themselves the name of Lamanites” (4 Ne 1:20). This is followed a little more than a hundred years later by the church taking upon themselves the name of “Nephites” as well as a restoration of all seven of the original ethnic classes and a slow descent into full cultural depravity as all groups “become exceedingly wicked one like unto another.” (4 Ne 1:37–38,45)

The fact that skin color and race becomes a dividing issue between the Nephites and the Lamanites, sometime before the final war, is made clear not only by Mormon and Moroni’s fixation on being “pure descendants of Nephi” (A fact undoubtedly part of why this young general was recruited from the Land Northward, even at such a young age, to lead the armies of the Nephites). But also by Mormon’s Lament after the destruction of “his” people. Mormon makes it obvious that the Nephites do not share his values or religious obedience. Indeed they had become as wicked as the Lamanites in every respect (ref). But they did apparently largely share his ethnicity, as he laments after their genocide,

17 O ye fair [white] ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!
18 Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. But behold, ye are fallen, and I mourn your loss.
19 O ye fair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, ye fair ones, how is it that ye could have fallen!

Although the word “fair” is also used in the Book of Mormon to describe beauty, there is little doubt that in this context, it is being utilized in its primary definition of “white” or “not dark” (see Webster’s definition or online encyclopedia: As in fair skinned or fair hair).

This definition equating “fair” with light or white color is also used elsewhere in the Book of Mormon. Not only in scriptures already mentioned (2 Ne 5:21–23), but in both 1 Ne 11:13, 1 Ne 13: 15 and Mormon 9:6

13 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.

15 And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain.

6 O then ye unbelieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day.

We see in these verses that much like many European authors, Book of Mormon authors naively turned light skin color into a synonym for moral purity and physical beauty.

However, the obvious message of the Book of Mormon is not to promote the same subtle racist undertones in modern belief, but instead to learn from the lessons wherein ancient racism led to the complete genocide of a colonial people. If there is one lesson to be learned from the Book of Mormon, it is that the modern white Christian Colonial “Gentiles” who were to colonize the American continent in our Latter-days need to learn from the mistakes of ancient Israelite colonist, and eradicate racism from our culture, before the “mixture of the seed of the Lamanites” goes forth like a “lion among the beasts of the forest, who if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth to pieces where none can deliver”.

5 And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my people—

16 Then shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, go forth among them; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. (3 Nephi 20:15–16)

Again the entire point of the Book of Mormon and scripture in general is to learn from the mistakes of past generations. Scripture compiles the history and wisdom of the ages and asks us to use that wisdom to make better life choices. Listen to some of the last words of advice given by the prophet/historian Moroni in the Book of Mormon.

31 Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been. (Mormon 9:31)

The Book of Mormon teaches against racism

It’s important to understand how fully the gospel message teaches against racism and all types of inequality. From Paul’s sermon against gender bias and economic inequality in Galatians 3:28, to Nephi’s sermon in 2 Nephi 26:33, to Christ’s many sermons against inequality in the Gospels and 3 Nephi, the Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches AGAINST racism.

…for [god] doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.
2 Nephi 26:33

It is unfortunate that many leaders of Mormonism and Christianity in general have weaponized the words of scripture, and instead of using them as a guide of how to “be more wise than [the ancients] have been” (Mormon 9:31). They have used them as a justification of how to fall into the same errors of the ancients. Instead of realizing that Jesus ended the Mosaic practices of priesthood acclivity and opened the door of the Gospel Covenant to ALL peoples and races, they use the Joseph’s Channeling of the Pearl of Great Price (something meant to help us understand the ancient mindsets) to justify defying Christ’s words and excluding blacks & women from the priesthood. (see my article, The priesthood of God and its…) Instead of seeing the follies of dynastic Polygamy as it was practiced by King David and other erroring leaders of the Old Testament, they use these scriptures to Justify its dynastic institutionalization (see my article Disavow Polytamy and …)

Its time to stop these justifications. Its time to repent of past practices and move ahead in equality, love and fairness in all aspects of the Gospel program.

To Finish.

  • The gospel’s teaching AGAINST racism.
  • -Jews were of Shem, a mix of Japheth and ham. (Book of Jubilee makes it clear that ham was Africa, Japheth was north countries.
  • -Abram was the patriarch UNTO ham.
  • -Hagar was very likely black. And we can assume some of Jacob’s wives were as well.
  • -Joseph took a wife of the Egyptians, making both Ephraim and Manassah half Egyptian.
  • -Moses married a Black Cushite (Ethiopian) woman (Numbers 12:1)
  • Israel is and ALWAYS HAS BEEN multi-cultural. So why has it often espoused racism? Such is the nature of mankind.

Book of Mormon Nephite & Jaredite Destruction Outline (narrow neck exodus)

Nephite Geography

Summary of cities:
City of Jordan (north-most city. part of line of cities defending north country)

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City of Boaz (gets rest of records from hill Shim; so still near Antum)
Teancum (by seashore & “near the city of desolation”)
City of Desolation in land Desolation (dead cast into sea)
Narrow Pass or Passage (presumably southward of desolation – treaty boundary)
City of Shem in land of Shem (people gathered & city fortified – could be north of Desolation)
City of Jashon in land of Jashon (near Land Antum so gets records – could be north of Desolation)

Land of Joshua (west by seashore)

Land of David (still no mention of any sea)
City of Angola (fortified city, first retreat after Zarahemla.)
Land Zarahemla (war starts)

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Mormon apparently raised in Antum (where Ammaron & the Hill Shim & records are), near the land of Desolation and Jashon, Shem, Teancum & Boaz.

– 321 AD Moroni gets instructions to go to hill Shim in the Land Antum to get records at age 10 (Mormon 1:3)

-Moroni “carried by his father into the land southward, even to the land of Zarahemla” at age 11. (Mormon 1:7)

-War begins “in the borders of Zarahemla, by the waters of Sidon”. (first battle, also 321 AD)  Mormon 1:10

-A number of battles fought, then a truce for four to six years.

-326 AD. At 16 Mormon put in charge of armies.

-327 AD. Lamanites attack again, Nephites retreat “toward the north counties” (Mormon 2:3)

-Moroni’s army take and fortify city of Angola “with their might”, but “notwithstanding their fortifications”, the city is taken. (Mormon 2:4)

-They are “also” driven out of the land of David. (sounds like Angola was not in land David likely next province to the north) Mormon 2:5

-330 AD. They march forth and gather in “one body” to land of Joshua which is “west by the seashore”. (Mormon 2:6–8)  A battle with a force of 40,000 each is fought here… Lamanites retreat. Because of robbers land is “one complete revolution.”

-345AD. Lamanites attack again, Nephites retreat & are pursued to city of Jashon in the Land 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.” (Mormon 2:17)

-346 AD. Nephites driven “northward to the land which was called Shem”. (Mormon 2:20)   Nephites fortify the city of Shem and are attacked in 346 AD, but win a battle with 30k to 50k. (Mormon 2:25)

-In 350 AD a treaty is made with Lamanites AND the robbers of Gadianton.  They “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.” (Mormon 2:29

-For 10 years (350-360 AD), 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.” (Mormon 3:5–8)

Desolation is by the sea (since dead are thrown in the sea there), by the ‘Narrow Pass’

-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”. (Mormon 4:2

-”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. (Mormon 4:8)

Desolation and Teancum are quite close to each other (With absolutely NO indication that they are on opposite sides of the Narrow Neck. — All this seems to occur on the West Sea)

-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 (Mormon 4:16)

-In 375AD, the Lamanites come down to desolation with a numberless host. The Lamanite attack base is UP from desolation and Teancum. (Mormon 3:7, 4:17-19) Lamanites come down to desolation. V.1-4 Nephites go up out of desolation to battle Nephites. This makes a northern neck or cerro trinchera location problematic for desolation and the narrow neck. Perhaps likewise for Mazatlan…Nayarit and Amapa seem more likely.)

-Nephites flea to City of Boaz and fight two battles (still 375 AD? 54 Years after beginning of war). 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” (Mormon 4:22)

-“Seeing the Lamanites were about to overthrow the land”, Mormon goes to the hill Shim and takes up ALL the records. (Mormon 4:23)

Hill Shim is also mention in conjuction with early Jaredites

-“Omer departed out of the land with his family, and traveled many days, and came over and passed by the hill of Shim, and came over by the place where the Nephites were destroyed, and from thence eastward…” (Ether 9:3)

City of Boaz is still relatively close to all the preceding cities? (Antum, Jashon, Desolation). V.10-23 really gives that impression. It’s like they don’t go far from Desolation to Boaz… but once boaz is taken they “overthrow the land” and everyone flees are far way to Jordan. (Jordan could now be the southwest, since this are flees and is burned”.

-in 379AD Nephites flee to city of Jordan, and repulse a Lamanite attack. (Mormon 5:3)  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.” (Mormon 5:4)

Jordan is likely in the Southwest, one of a line of cities defending the land northward.

-in 380 AD. Nephites begin final flight from Jordan (southwest) to Cumorah. (Mormon 5:6)  Anyone whose flight isn’t faster than the Lamanites is swept down. 59 Years from the beginning of the war.

-in 384 AD Mormon sends a letter to Lamanites requesting to gather to the land of Cumorah “in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains;”  People finish gathering to Cumorah in 384 AD for final battle. 63 Years after beginning of war.  (Mormon 6:2,5–6)

-401 to 421 Moroni finishes writing the rest of the book and hides it up. 17-38 years after the final battle.

Some thoughts on dates in the final retreat and battle:

Note that the Jewish Metonic cycle adds seven intercalary years (leap year) every 19 years.  So one roughly every 2.7 years.  In strangely similar to the prodigious use of 18,19 & 20 in the Mayan Calendar.  I suspect the Baha’i calendar may be closer to the way the ancient Mesoamerican and ancient Israelites did it, than the current calender’s.

If this is true… It may be that the Nephites after Christ’s time counted a “prophetic year” (or one of their calendars) as roughly every 2.7 – 3 true sidereal years.  Which is a possible explanation for the discrepancy between Carbon dates for cultural collapses and BOM dates.  So 321 AD would be coincide with 963ish AD and 380 AD would coincide with 1140ish AD. Making both Anasazi and Cahokia dates work. Probably more likely though, that either C14 dates are skewed or the records the authors were working off of, were wrong or misunderstood.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metonic_cycle

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bah%C3%A1%27%C3%AD_calendar

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_calendar#Haab’

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Jaredite Geography

– Jaredite barges land in an unknown location after 344 days on the water (Ether 6:11). Floating ducks might give some insight to how far things float in a year, and give evidence for a pacific vs. Atlantic journey.
– Corihor leaves Jaredite ‘Land of inheritance’ and “goes over and dwelt in the land of Nehor” (Ether 7:4).
– Corihor comes back to the Jaredite ‘Land of inheritance’, called Moron and takes the king captive (Ether 7:5).
– Jaredite ‘Land of inheritance’, or ‘land of Moron’, was near the land which is called Desolation by the Nephites (Ether 7:6).
– Shule “came to the hill Ephraim” and “made swords out of steel” and battles Corihor in the “city of Nehor” (Ether 7:9)
– Country or land of inheritance “was divided; and there were two kingdoms, the kingdom of Shule, and the kingdom of Cohor” (Ether 7:20)
– After 2 generations Jared rebelled “and came and dwelt in the land of Heth.” (Ether 8:2) Where he flatters away half his fathers kingdom (presumably moron) so we’re still close to land of inheritance.
– Ether 8:21 shows that the Nephites are already destroyed when the Book of Ether was written.
– Omer is warned in a dream and so “departed out of the land with his family, and traveled many days, and came over and passed by the hill of Shim, and came over by the place where the Nephites were destroyed, and from thence eastward, and came to a place which was called Ablom” with all his family & royal household. (Ether 9:3)
– A small number of men “flee out of the land, and came over and dwelt with Omer” (Ether 9:9)
– Civil war results in the “destruction of nearly all the people of the kingdom, yea, even all, save it were thirty souls.” So Omer was “restored again to the land of his inheritance”, which we presume is Moron (Ether 9:12–13)
– After 62 years, Omer’s son Emer rebuilds a kingdom (with what people?) who become rich and have all sorts of cloths, metals and animals including; silks, gold, silver, cows, goats, horses, elephants, cureloms and cumoms. (Ether 9:14–19)
– Emer’s son Coriantum “builds many mighty cities”, lives to 142 and under his son “people spread again over all the face of the land” then there’s a dearth and their flocks began to flee [from Moron or Desolation] before the poisonous serpents, towards the land southward, which was called by the Nephites Zarahemla” (Ether 9:20–31)
– Note these references. Land of Desolation. Alma 22:30–32Mormon 3:5Ether 7:6.
– Ether 9:32 says, “many of [their flocks] did perish by the way; nevertheless, there were some which fled into the land southward.” Ether 9:34 says serpents “hedge up the way that the people could not pass,” and “the people did follow the course of the beasts.. and devoured them all” This suggest the Land Southward/Zarahemla is really far away from Moron/Desolation. Alma 22:30 sounds like that as well. Most people die, and Shez begins to “build up a broken people” (Ether 10:1)
– Shez “did build up many cities upon the face of the land, and the people began again to spread over all the face of the land.” Ether 10:4
– Morianton sounds like an outsider from a different land (although it doesn’t specify) who “gathered together an army of outcasts, and went forth and gave battle unto the people; and he gained power over many cities” until he “gain power over all the land, and did establish himself king over all the land” and then he “built up many cities” (Ether 10:9–12). He could easily be from far away like Watson Break or Poverty Point.
– ONLY after Lib (how many generations/years later? 4?) do they “go into the land southward, to hunt food for the people of the land, for the land was covered with animals of the forest.” Once again this sounds like the Land Southward is really far away from the Kingdom at this point. Has it shifted to the Eastern US by now? It’s here that Lib “built a great city by the narrow neck of land”. BUT NOTE THE LOGIC!!!! Moron and the Jaredite Land of Inheritance was “near [but not in?] the land which is called Desolation by the Nephites” (Ether 7:6). But now Lib builds a city by the Narrow Neck, and makes the Land Southward a hunting ground like its somewhere far away! Leaving “whole face of the land northward covered with inhabitants“. (Ether 10:21) Note we seem to have switched to THE LAND NORTHWAD. Really this part doesn’t make much sense if the whole last chapter was on the Narrow Neck in the Olmec lands. And it is a poor fit archaeologically since there’s just as many cities south near Izapa & Mirador as north in the Mexican Highland at this point (date?).
– During Libs time there’s a LOT of mining and manufacture again with silks and gold, sliver, iron and copper from mines casting up “mighty heaps of earth” (Ether 10:23). Hard pretend that Lake Superiors copper mines aren’t included in this such as Isle Royale Copper Mines dated from 4-5000 BC.
– After several generations during the reign of Shiblon there’s “a great destruction, such an one as never had been known upon the face of the earth” (Ether 11:4–8). We have no clue if this is in Moron near desolation or somewhere else in ‘The Land Northward’ of Ether 10:21.
– The King Moron of Ether 11:14–18 probably has some association to the ‘Land Moron’, but we can’t be sure.
– Coriantumr “was king over all the land”, perhaps suggesting he rules like Lib all the way from the Land northward to the Narrow Neck (Ether 12:1)
– Ether prophesies that “this land” was “the place of the New Jerusalem”, possibly suggesting that he lives in the Land Northward maybe near Independence somewhere. (Ether 13:2–4,6)
– Since he “hid himself in the cavity of a rock by day, and by night he went forth viewing the things which should come upon the people… viewing the destructions which came upon the people, by night.” (Ether 13:13–14) we know he lived near the Jaredite heartland which had somewhere with caves he could hide in. (The ozarks?)
– The final battle between Coriantumr & Shared starts in the Valley of Gilgal (Ether 13:27). Apparently by the Jaredite heartland, the only indication of its location is still Ether’s prophesy suggesting he’s probably somewhere close to the future New Jerusalem or Independence MO.
– They go back and forth between the Valley of Gilgal & plains of Heshlon. (Ether 13:27–30)
– War moves to wilderness of Akish. (Ether 14:3) And then into the Land of Moron where he “placed himself upon the throne of Coriantumr”. (Ether 14:6). THIS IS HUGE. We are back now to the Jaredite land of inheritance. HOW? Is there a different land or moron? Did we move back at some point? Did we ever leave?
– Note a Shared’s ‘High Priest’ is murdered in a “Secret pass”. Does this suggest Moron is near mountains where “passes” exist? The Olmec lands have few passes. Could be a “secret pass” in the town though?
– More battles occur in Land of Moron, and then “upon the seashore” showing Moron is near the sea (Ether 14:11–13)
– They head back to the wilderness of Akish, showing it’s close to the Land of Moron (Ether 14:14)
– Then on to new & different plains (plains of Agosh) “taken all the people with him as he fled before Lib in that quarter of the land whither he fled.” v. 15, and then he “overthrows many cities, and he did slay both women and children, and he did burn the cities.” v.17
– There is then a long “flock[ing] together of armies” and long march “from the shedding of blood to the shedding of blood,” just like the Nephites (Ether 14:18–22) THIS IS WHERE THE MARCH TO NEW YORK WOULD HAPPEN.
– After a long period of gathering and war (it uses the words “great and lasting” in Ether 14:21), It says “Shiz did pursue Coriantumr eastward, even to the borders by the seashore”. We have no idea exactly how long or how far the armies have traveled at this point, but the 2 MILLION casualties from Ether 14:24–31 & Ether 15:1–3 suggest it could be a long time and a long ways until they finally end up near “the waters of Ripliancum, which, by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all” (Ether 15:8) which is NORTH (Ether 15:10) of, and “by” the hill Rama which is “that same hill where my father Mormon did hide up the records unto the Lord” (Ether 15:10)
– It then says they spend 4 years doing a final gathering for war (same as Nephites?). It suggest that gathering happens in tents near the hill, but its not specific so it could also be in the Adena lands of Ohio and northeast Penn “by” Cumorah.
– After it all Ether “hid [his record] in a manner that the people of Limhi did find them.” (Ether 15:33)

Overview. Although the Jaredite story beings in Moron, near the land which is called Desolation by the Nephites (Ether 7:6). Note that Ether 10:21 suggest the Jaredite heartland moves from Desolation and the Narrow Neck to ‘The Land Northward’, somewhere seemingly distant from the Land Southward which is made a hunting ground with a ‘Great City’ guarding it. However, by at least Ether 14:3 it has moved back to the Land of Moron (although its possible it never left). The final retreat and battle however is “great and lasting” and takes the armies through many lands until finally going “eastward” to Ripliancum, which, by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all” (Ether 15:8) which is NORTH (Ether 15:10) of, and “by” the hill Rama which is the Cumorah of the Nephites.

Outline of places

Establishment of Moron & the divided kingdom
–Moron & Nehor
Possible movement to Land Northward
–Lib’s city built by narrow neck, land southward preserved
Back at Moron by final war
–Valley of Gilgal (Ether 13:27)
–Plains of Heshlon
–Back to Moron (Ether 14:6–11)
–the seashore (v. 12-13)
–wilderness of Akish
–plains of Agosh (v.15)
–Shiz burns and overthrows many cities (v.17)
march forth from the shedding of blood to the shedding of blood (v.22)
–Shiz did pursue Coriantumr eastward, even to the borders by the seashore (v.26)
–THESE LAST TWO FLIGHTS ABOVE ARE LIKELY THE ONES THAT GO MOSTLY FROM MORON TO RIPLIANCUM.
–Note there’s NEVER a north or westward flight (as you’d expect from olmec lands)
–Shiz fled to the land of Corihor (v.27)
–Shiz pitched their tents in the valley of Corihor (in the land of Corihor v.28)
–Coriantumr pitched his tents in the valley of Shurr… near the hill Comnor (likely near Valley of Corihor chasing Shiz)
–They have 2 “sore” battles on Hill Comnor.
–2 Million now dead. (men, women & children)
–They flee to waters of Ripliancum (Ether 15:8))
–Flee “southward, and did pitch their tents in a place which was called Ogath” (v.10)
–Coriantumr pitches his armies tent at Hill Rama (which is same as Cumorah) in pursuit.
–Spend 4 years gathering for final battle.

Those who say is desolation the use of cement is Teotihuacan need to make up their minds. Was Desolation North Tehuantepec where the Olmec ruins are, south Tehuantepec before the ‘pass’ or the Mexican Highland where the building of cement was? But note those apartments are from after the time of Christ, so we essentially have to assume they just continued the same practices (which might make sense given 3 Ne. says the land northward had all its buildings destroyed at the death of Christ – ref). But then it doesn’t make sense if your reasoning is that it was called desolation because of the defor (work this out more)

Book of Mormon and the Seer Stone

Arguments For and Against the Authenticity of the Book of Mormon

Book of Mormon and the Seer Stone

Book of Mormon and the Seer Stone

Overview

Despite the Book of Mormon being the source of the strongest spiritual awakening of my life,  I likely would believe the Book of Mormon to be a non-historical or mythical spiritualist channeling instead of an actual history –were it not for this model and a few of the key evidences offered in this section.  I’ve found that the predominate Heartland and limited Mesoamerican models out there seem to conflict with the overall impression, scope and internal model of the book (as I’ve delineated in this article). However, this unique continental geography model overcomes those limiting issues as it essentially matches every major Book of Mormon city and culture with essentially the biggest and most influential archaeological sites, cultures, migrations and societal collapses on the ancient North American continent (in the way the book seems to portray). It also explains many of the cultural anachronisms, 19th century religious overtones, and KJV biblical quotes by comparing the translation process to other forms of spiritual mediumship used in many other American religious works of the 1800’s. (See OahspeUrantia Bible, or the other texts featured in our channeled texts section. Also see the Kolbrin and Ixtlilxochitl’s translations of Aztec Codices for amazing analogs to the Book of Mormon translation).

Still though… As a scientist and analytical thinker I continually weigh the arguments for and against Book of Mormon authenticity against each other, in the same way that I weigh the Egyptian chronologies of Menetho or Herodotus against archaeological evidence to determine how much weight to give those supposed historical accounts.


Neutral Arguments

-the arguments concerning animal anachronisms and metal anachronisms aren’t very good in my opinion.  They really could go either way. On one hand they seem anachronistic because you might think Joseph “didn’t know” that there weren’t horses or cows or swords in ancient America. On the other hand, many of the supposed anachronism ARE things a 17th century author likely would have known about ancient America, and yet they put them in there anyway–only to be later proven correct (copper, ziff, swords, early transoceanic travel, migration from the pacific coast, etc). Either way, the majority of these can mostly be explained by a loose translation. Overall the anachronism arguments seem to cancel each other out and be a neutral proof–unconvincing either for or against authenticity.


Poor Arguments

-the idea that the Book was written so fast is proof of its truthfulness is a horrible argument. Many channeled texts which Mormon’s would have issue with, were written with incredible speed. Oahspe (supposedly channeled from light beings in 1850) is a great example. Over 1000  pages channeled in a number of weeks. The Urantia Bible and the writings of other people like Ellen White are other great examples. The Aquarian gospel of Jesus Christ and many other exist as well. People who use this argument are unfamiliar with channeled literature.


Arguments Against Authenticity

-CES letter issues such as word-for-word King James Bible language, and the mistakes in the King James Isaiah being propagated in the Book of Mormon are a pretty solid argument against authenticity—  There is little doubt the B.O.M. Isaiah chapters were copied straight from the King James, with only a couple changes made by the “translator as he went”. The chances of these being the originals are slim–if they were originals we would expect significant differences. The Dead Sea Scrolls version of Isaiah contains 2600 textual variants when compared with the Masoretic codex.[2]  We would expect at least as many, if not more in the Book of Mormon were it truly a 600BC text. The only viable explanation I can fathom is that the B.O.M. is an incredibly “loose” translation, where Joseph was required to come up with most of the words himself, getting only ideas psychically–with the exception of names and places which had to be spelled out in a very time consuming and difficult channeling process. Thus for simplicity and brevity, the Spiritual channels, passing the information to Joseph pulled the KJV text out of his mind (because Joseph had read it previously, and it existed in his sub-conscious). Note: The channeled work, The Law of One explains in more detail how this channeling works, and tediously “spells out” numbers.

-See Dan Vogel’s stuff on anti-universalism in the B.O.M.  The similarity in phraseology to other literature in Joseph’s day, makes it seem an awful lot like a product of his times.  At the same time however, is seems unlikely that Joseph would have been reading very much of the theological literature of his day… let alone be able to reproduce it.  Could this be evidence of some kind of ‘group consciousness’ aspect of channeling?  At any rate, the anti-universalism and Christology do NOT seem like anything that would have existed in an ancient text.  Could the Book of Mormon (like many channelings) be a mixture of things in Joseph’s mind, with things in the cultural ‘group mind’ of New England mixed perhaps with a true true history of ancient America? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wm7t7pNUWAM   (Note the similarities in Oahspe’s channeled account of ancient America, or the Law of One’s channeled accounts of the past, and the Book of Mormons.)

-The New Testament allusions in the Book of Mormon are incredibly suspect. Whether it be Moroni’s sermon on charity in Mor. 7:x, which shares exact phraseology with Paul, or whether it be the shared Pauline phraseology concerning “dead works” and baptism in Moroni 3-6.  There is a lot of the New Testament in the Book of Mormon.  These references seem to be obviously influenced by someone who had read the New Testament and was brought up in Anglo-Christian culture.  And they flow just like the Old Testament allusions. Really what are the chances that was written by chance in 400 AD Mesoamerica?  Find something in India or China like that… very unlikely. Frankly, the text reads incredibly like many of the Spanish Codices, where true historical mexican histories and myth are being translated and transcribed into sixteenth century European Christianized language, format & culture.  Of course, much of this could be explained with a ‘loose translation’, where original concepts were translated into 19 century biblical wording, phrases and organization.

-Verses that predict the three witnesses, and Anthon translation are crazy suspect.  Why would someone in 500 BC prophesy about that?  Its so inconsequential and asinine, it just fits the King James reading of Isaiah, why even put it in there?  I guess its possible, but seems lamely improbable.  These are too improbable that the only redeeming explanation of these is that the entire 116 lost pages section (Ether, 1 Nephi, 2 Nephi) were re-channeled completely different than the original in way that wasn’t even a loose translation, but a modern summary attempting to capture some essence of the original text.

-Also the prophecy in Ether by “Joseph” saying another “Joseph” who is the son of Joseph will restore his words…. totally crazy. Joseph didn’t even prophecy about Christ or David or Moses… and yet he prophesies about Joseph Smith?  Not likely. These would have to be transcription injections by Joseph. (see above reasoning)

-Southpark’s ‘dum, da, dum, dum’ bit on why Joseph couldn’t just retranslate the ‘lost 116 pages’ is a really good point. The explanation given in the D&C that others changed these pages and were going to accuse Joseph that they didn’t match makes little sense.  The fact that he couldn’t reproduce the same pages is FAR more damning against the “translation’s” legitimacy than any “changed” text that Harris’s wive’s friends could have produced. Why not just retranslate it? A more possible explanation is the opposite of that given in D&C 12.  That the Book of Mormon was loosely channeled, and that a second draft would have actually been SO different from the original that those who stole the pages would have accused Joseph of fraud, not because THEY changed things, but because the differences in Joseph’s second draft would have been significant (even if they were substantially similar in concept, but vastly different in wording, order and storyline).

The only believable explanation I can find with these is the idea of a mixed “social memory complex” given in ‘The Law of One’.  (Essentially a group-consciousness of spirits or resurrected beings living in higher planes of existence or the shared mental realm of humanity itself).  Because there is such notable Anglo-Christian and Mesoamerican influence I could conceive that if a social memory complex existed in the heavens which was composed of both European/Anglo Christians and Mesoamericans (perhaps groups of deceased Mesoamericans who were taught by Spanish Bishops in the period between the Spanish Conquest of Mexico and Joseph Smith), and that if this group had an agenda wanting to publish their records and story and allowed both Joseph’s and their own ideas to be injected into the channeling.

-why didn’t Joseph just show people the actual plates? All the secrecy and the accounts that the 3 & 11 witnesses only saw the plates with an “eye of faith” or “spiritual vision”, is suspect. (although there are conflicting accounts which attest to seeing them too). But given as a whole, it makes me think that even Joseph, also only saw the plates “in vision”.  Also the fact that he seems to have purposefully deceived people by using the hat and a “cover” to obscure the plates. Either this is the higher plane group trying to preserve the “free will distortion” spoken of in the Law of One, or there really was deceit going on here, which doesn’t speak well for the BOM’s authenticity.  The idea that “God took the plates” after Joseph was done is completely ridiculous.  If that was a possibility, then why didn’t god just take them from Moroni?  Then he could have given them to anyone, anytime in history afterwards. No need to wait until 1830 in New York; he could have done it in Mexico City in 1620 or Missouri in 1860, and avoided all the persecution and issues which came from Joseph supposedly digging them up only to constantly hide them. I think the Ankalan channeling is a perfect analog. Joseph really believed all his visions were real. But in order to get others to believe him, he constantly stretched the truth and used nebulous language to obscure the difference between visionary experiences and objectively real experiences.

Of course its also possible he wrote the B.O.M. and all his other “revelations” with a few friends from pure imagination. And made up the church and “kingdom” as he went. However, given the Kolbrin, and that Xong Xiuquan “coincidentally” did almost the same thing in China in the same decade, with his “heavenly kingdom” and continental Taiping Rebellion seems even more implausible even with the above issues.


Arguments For Authenticity

-the Book of Mormon’s allusion in the Bible are amazing. Whoever wrote it, knew the bible like a champ. Really in an almost impossible way. Nephi’s allusions to the cities of refuge in Leviticus, as a justification for why it was OK for him to slay Laban are so subtle.. who would have ever thought about that? And that’s just one example of many. Witnesses attest that he recited all the Isaiah and malachi sections in the plates without referencing other sources.

-The mention of “elephants, curloms and cumoms” could be a pro (or neutral) argument to me. Mammoths were written about as early as 1722 by John Bell who explored the Ob River in Russia. Mammoths were first popularly described by German scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenback in 1799. And were well known enough that Thomas Jefferson used the world ‘Mammoth’ as an adjective in 1802. But it seems like a stretch that he would have decided to put them in the book as being “especially useful for the food of man”.  What are the chances that he knew that they (as well as other extinct megafauna) were a major food staple in the Paleoindian diet, and that their extinction seems to be related to climate change (a dearth) and over hunting?  Why did he call them ‘Elephants’ instead of ‘Mammoths?’  Why invent these other crazy words ‘curelom and cumom’ to describe other animals that were ‘especially useful for the food of man’.

-The idea that Nephi sailed across the pacific from the Indian Ocean instead of across the Atlantic like the pilgrims doesn’t fit what you’d expect a New Englander who was making up a novel would write.

-The fact that the arrival of true writing in Mesoamerica with the Zapotec script matches so well with my model for the Nephites is  a huge proof. (and that earlier Olmec script is so different).  And that it coincides so well with class stratification and and new system of government and stratified priestly ruling system in Monte Alban, with a two columned temple like Solomon’s.  Seriously crazy coincidences.

-The general fit of cultures in the Book of Mormon fits crazy well with the Zapotec, Highland Cultures and Mayan.  You couldn’t ask for a better fit.  The continental collapse of each culture from the Maya to the Toltec to the Anasazi and Mississippian between 700AD & 1400AD is an amazing coincidence. The Book of Mormon’s narrative for these downfalls it far better than the narrative believed by archaeologists currently. Only time will tell if the Carbon Dates could actually be skewed in the way they’d have to be— but I think the evidence sides better with the Book of Mormon (especially with the Anasazi rise and disappearance).

-The River Sidon the the Rio Balsas is an amazing fit… I don’t think Joseph would have been able to imagine anything but New England or Yucatan type rivers (far too large to cross without boats).  Yet his descriptions of the River Sidon fit perfectly with the arid, seasonal flow of Balsas as well as it being a major geographical boundary between the Nephite & Lamanite lands.

-If Joseph or some New Englander wrote the Book of Mormon with Mesoamerica in mind, (as the ‘Narrow Neck’ suggests) why didn’t they mention pyramids?  Why call them towers? The ‘tower’ and building project of King Noah fits so perfectly with Monte Alban, its uncanny.  But why not call them pyramids to better capture the imagination of his readers. He throws in the phrase ‘reformed Egyptian’, (which I think all New Englanders were captivated by the ‘Egyptian-like’ writing of Mesoamerica), why not call the towers what they undoubtedly would have been… pyramids?  Why not make the narrow neck fit Panama if that’s what he was envisioning? Why not mention jungles?  Or ANYTHING that made the location somewhat obvious.  Why not make the land at least SOMEWHAT fit South America or Mexico?  But it doesn’t. He would have had access to an accurate map of central and south America, so why does the VERY detailed geography of the Book of Mormon, NOT fit the known topography?  This is far more likely of an actual ancient text written by people who had a non-modern distorted view of their own geography (much like herodotus and other legitimate ancient geographers).

-Seems strange for anyone to have the Jaredites come in tight ‘dish-like’ boats and take so much longer than the Lehites and kill of and eat the elephants (mammoths), when all of that strongly contradicts the 1820’s prevailing views.    And what are the chances that so much (circumstantial?) evidence of cuneiform would surface in North America? The Chief Joseph Tablet from 1877 and the Georgia (Hearn) Tablet from 1963 made from lead. The Shawnee Creek Stone from Oklahoma also seems to bare a resemblance to middle-eastern culture. https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/archive/where-did-chief-joseph-get-his-mesopotamian-tablet-JuItqhPUYkeYmvcooUO6kA/

-‘Description of Antiquities Discovered in the State of Ohio and other Western States’ by Caleb Atwater, gives an origin story for the native americans somewhat similar to the B.O.M.  Alluding to them coming from ‘the tower of babel’ (p. xx). And in another part migrating from ‘Hindustan’ (p. 213) or ‘Tartarary’ (north Asia). James Adair in ‘History of the Indians (1775), also suggests the tower, and later the ’10 tribes’ or explorers sent from David’s kingdom, alluding to the Bering strait (Kamschatska, p. 219/20).

However, Rancesco Clavigero’s ‘History of Mexico’ (1806) give a FAR more modern view talking of how natives could have arrived here by sea or land, but most likely across the ice of the bering strait.  He also speaks of elephants & Mammouts. (p. 106) As well as how there were NO horses, asses or bulls in America until Europeans brought them there. see http://olivercowdery.com/texts/bookindx.htm

OUTLINE OF GREAT CORRELATIONS IN ORDER

-Having barge-like boats (no sails) get the Jaredites to N.America instead of just walking across the Bering Strait was a bold and amazing call. He wouldn’t have known about the lack of an ‘ice free corridor’ debate that rages today.  And I would suspect a boat voyage from Asia across the bering strait (which was a view of his day) would be incredibly short… so why did Joseph have them travel twice as long as the Nephites in crazy type raft-boats?

-Jaredites hunting mammoths to extinction is another great call. I’ve seen no evidence of this information being known in 1830

-The story of Omer and the Bull Brook Complex is an amazing fit! (what are the chances?)

-Having a lone Jaredite outpost by the narrow neck with architecture (mounds) like the north American heartland is an amazing fit with the Adena vs Olmec.

-Having the Nephites travel across Arabia, and then traverse the pacific the way they did seems very unintuitive for someone in 1830. did he have ANY clue of the south pacific islands that could be hopped?

-Nahom is a pretty fair match or ‘coincidence’. Just having the name be the same is a big deal, because Nahom is NOT in the bible. (but Nahum is). Likewise with the newly publicized Beit Lehi (cave in Israel).  Lehi also isn’t a name in the Bible, its only a place mentioned only once in connection with David.  So to find it as a common name all the way into the Greek period is a great evidence that Joseph picked a name very likely to have been in use.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDqIfI1Fwcg

–The match between some of the earliest writing in Monte Alban, and the City of Nephi is amazing. And really the correlation with pyramids and hieroglyphic writing in general is a pretty obvious match. Its kind of mind blowing that this similarity is so universally dismissed by academics. (even the Javan pyramid makes a great match with the story)

-The match with ___’s work in San Jose Migote with the new religion, and two room temple ‘men’s house’ and its introduction of complex social structure is an amazing fit.

-The match between Monte Alban and its ‘tower’, 2 room temple, alter and prison with BOM stories of the same is amazing. How could you ASK for better matches?

-The distinct Olmecean culture of Zarahemla and its correlation to the Kolbrin egyptian stories might be one of the biggest matches of all! (you need to write about this!)  Included in that is how all the creation stories have them coming from the north! Near Sanora, just like the BOM says of the mulekites.

-The match of Captain Moroni’s line of defensive cities with the Miztec and East Coast cities is also a good match.  I can’t really find ANY OTHER MODEL with a geographic match of those defensive lines!

-The story of the great gathering under Lachoneus (3 Ne 3) to defend against the Gadianton Robbers matching with the creation of Teotihuacan is so fantastic, that if it isn’t true… its better than the truth.

-The volcanism in the Mexican Highland and its proximity to the Nephite capital is also better than any other model.

-The Nephite destruction matching with the fall of every major empire in North America is a fantastic match.. once again, if it isn’t the truth… it makes a better story than whatever the truth is.

-Also the narrative of Racism built into the BOM of POGP, as an explanation of so little DNA is pretty believable. (utterly destroyed)

-The match of the gathering at desolation and the ‘Chacoan phenomena’ is fantastic, especially in its match to _____’s stories of migrating Toltecs going all the way to Cahokia.

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CONCLUSION AND FINAL THOUGHTS

-In my opinion, because of these issues, if one is to have faith in any sort of divinity concerning the text, you’ve got to see it as a ‘channeled text’ instead of a revealed or translated text.  It needs to go in the same genre as other channeled texts like Oahspe, Urantia, D&C, or A Course in Miracles.  Joseph channeled it through his own mind or subconscious from some unknown source. He saw the ‘plates’ in vision just like the author of The Aklatan did. (see Did the Eleven Witnesses Actually See the Gold Plates?) He continually stretched the truth and led people to believe that his visions or both the plates and god were objective experiences, because he wanted people to believe them (as he thoroughly believed them). But like those other channeled texts, it has so many great truths that one could be justified as building a faith around the idea of there being divinity in the book (like the Bible, Koran, writings of Ellen White, or other religious texts with form a basis for a faith community). It seems entirely possible that it actually  depicts a true history of certain regions of prehistoric North America.  But one must also accept it’s major issues and come to terms with the possibility that it is not a historical translation of an ancient text. I could see some ancient native religious/military leader converting to Western Christianity in the Spirit World and then working through Joseph’s subconscious to create something that put ancient religious ideas into 17th century Christian religious terms—in addition to adding a bunch of sermons on 17th century contemporary issues..  More likely Joseph (likely with Spirit being helpers, pulled ancient American historical events and concepts out of the ‘Akashic records‘ and mixed it with sermons answering contemporary Christian theological problems. It could certainly be largely true. But certainly not as a translated ancient text without substantial addition and translation of ancient concepts into modern language, culture and ideology.

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Book of Mormon Geography: An Internal Model

Separate authors internal models of the Book of Mormon. Left BYU Virtual Scriptures by Tyler Griffin, Middle Joel Hardy Map (1998), Right, Old official LDS Institute/student manual map. See also Turner Map.

Quicklinks/ Jump to Section:

Narrow NeckAmmonihahAntionumAaronMelek
MulekNoahBountifulSouthwest CitiesEast Sea Cities
GideonJershonJerusalemHelam, Alma, AmulonIshmael
River SidonHead of SidonMantiNephiZarahemla
Land Many WatersCumorahHill ShimWildernessesDefensive Lines

Overview

Apart from the general isthmusian nature of Book of Mormon lands laid out in Alma 22 (and explained in detail later), perhaps the most important aspect of any internal model of the Book of Mormon is the relationship between Moroni’s East Coast and Southwestern defensive garrison cities fought over in Alma chapters 50-56.  In Alma 50:11 (Alma 50:7–15) we learn that Moroni creates a NEW border between the Nephite and Lamanite lands, and fortifies it with garrisons/cities which run between the Land of Zarahemla and the northern border of the Land of Nephi which Alma 50:8 says runs “in a straight course from the east sea to the west [sea]” (see also Alma 22:27). Read carefully through Alma 50 and pay close attention to the wording and logic concerning these new border fortifications.

10 And he also placed armies on the south, in the borders of their possessions, and caused them to erect fortifications that they might secure… their people… …fortifying the line between the Nephites and the Lamanites, between the land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi, from the west sea, running by the head of the river Sidon— [to the] foundation of a city, and they called… Moroni; and it was by the east sea. (Alma 50:8–13, esp. verse 11)

The army march in Alma 52-56 from the West Sea to Manti (particularly Alma 56:25) verifies this by showing that south frontier town of Manti, while only a few days march from the west sea city and other south frontier garrisons (Alma 53:22; Alma 56:31), is also close enough to reasonably march to Nephihah and Moroni and the east sea (Alma 51:26). Alma 59:5–7 also shows Manti is close to Nephihah. Moroni also fortifies the entire east coast from the new southern border all the way to the “Narrow Pass” (Alma 50:34; 52:9) or “Line Bountiful” (Alma 22:32–33) which leads to the land Northward. Basically, making a backward L of defensive cities to guard the Nephite southern frontier and eastern coast. The attention shown by Moroni in fortifying the east coast (and not the west coast), further suggests the east coast posed a greater threat as a travel corridor and mode of entry to Nephite lands than the west coast, almost certainly because Zarahemla and the Nephite center was closer to the east coast than the west coast. As will be seen in a moment, these are vital details that makes almost all existing geographic correlations (whether Heartland models, or Mayanland models) difficult to correlate with the text, because features like the Yucatan Peninsula in Mesoamerican models or shear width of the North American continent and/or configuration of the Great Lakes in Heartland models make the travels of the various armies on these new coast to coast southern defensive borders spoken of in these chapters, incredibly problematic.

Alma 22 lays the most comprehensive geographic groundwork for this border dispute by explaining the general layout of Nephite and Lamanite lands before Moroni’s border realignment. The chapter sets forth the following important geographic relationships.

-The “land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward [called Mulek or Desolation- Hel 6:10, Alma 22:30] and the land southward [called Lehi or Nephi/Bountiful- (Hel 6:10, Alma 22:29)”. (Alma 22:32)
-Before Captain Moroni’s redefinition of the southern national boundary, the Nephites had become “nearly surrounded by the Lamanites” (Alma 22:29)
-The land of Nephi’s borders stretched “to the sea, on the east and on the west” (Alma 22:27). In other words the Land of Nephi stretched from the East Sea to the West Sea. (see verses 27-30)
-The land of Bountiful, which “the Nephites had inhabited”, was north of Zarahemla and also stretched “even from the east unto the west sea” (Alma 22:33).
-The land of Nephi was “divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which [also] ran from the sea east even to the sea west” (Alma 22:27)
-The “head of the river Sidon” or headwaters of the river Sidon were “by” the land of Manti in the Narrow strip of wilderness that separated the lands of Nephi and Zarahemla. (Alma 22:27). Verse 27 also seems to suggest that the river Sidon actually “runs” or flows “from east toward the west” forming a border of sorts between the Nephite and Lamanite lands, just like the narrow strip of wilderness which also is said to have “ran from the sea east even to the sea west” (Alma 22:27).
-Similar to typical English usage, the Book of Mormon seems to differentiate between the seas or oceans (i.e. called either ‘sea’ or ‘many waters’) and lakes (Called simply ‘waters of ’ or ‘bodies of water’). These verses show the word sea = ocean: 1 Ne 18:8, etc, etc, etc.  Also ‘Great waters’ = Ocean: Omni 1:16.  Contrasted with ‘Waters of’ = lake or river: Mosiah 25:18, Alma 2:34, Alma 18:7, Mormon 1:10. Large bodies of water = large lakes: Alma 50:29, Hel 3:4. One exception is the phrase ‘many waters’, which seems to be used interchangeably with lake or large ocean that inhibits travel ( ‘Many Waters = ocean that divides continents: 1 Nephi 17:5; 1 Nephi 13:10–12. ‘Land of many waters’ = land with lots of large lakes?: Mormon 6:4, Mosiah 8:8).

Thus before Captain Moroni, there seems to have been a poorly defined border between the lands of Nephi and Zarahemla through a “narrow strip of wilderness” which ran between the two lands, as well as possibly some part of the “River Sidon”, which seems to repeatedly be used as the strategic battle point to stop Lamanite armies from entering or leaving the land (see Alma 2:15–17, 34–35, Alma 16:6–7, Alma 43:40–41).  However, because the Lamanites had moved north of the narrow strip of wilderness along the east and west seashore until they “nearly surrounded” the land of Zarahemla, Captain Moroni decided to drive them out of the east and west coastal areas, until they were south of the new ‘sea to sea’ or ‘coast to coast’ border he created through the land of Manti and cities of Antiparah, Judea, Cumeni, Zeezrom, Nephihah and Moroni. (again, see Alma 50:7–15)

Book of Mormon Geography (internal model)
Internal model of Book of Mormon Geography. cc. Lance Weaver Map

Narrow Neck

Book of Mormon references to the Narrow Neck or Narrow pass are actually a bit confusing and contradictory, leading me to believe there is confusion about it in the mind of the author(s). The Book of Mormon gives no indication of exactly how wide the narrow neck is excepting that it “divides the land” (suggesting an isthmus), and that it contains some type of pass or defensive line that is a day’s journey across in one area (Hel 4:7) and/or a day and a half’s journey in another (Alma 22:32). It is specifically called a “small neck of land” (Alma 22:32, Ether 10:20), or “narrow neck” (Alma 63:5) but then a “narrow pass” or “passage” which led by the sea (Alma 50:34; 52:9, Mormon 2:29; 3:5-6).  The distances given, may be only specifically talking about the “the line” which they had fortified (Alma 22:32, Hel 4:7).  Since a day and a half’s journey is typically only 15-30 miles, we can assume these distance markers are NOT referring to the whole width of the isthmus, since even the narrowest parts of panama are more than 30 miles wide and were referenced as being at least “3 days journey” by Natives in early references (see Balboa, January 20, 1513).

So perhaps it’s safe to assume that this isthmus must have contained a rugged mountain range or some impassable feature in addition to the 15-25 mile wide fortified “line” on the coastal plain or travel corridor. 

Also of important note is that the Book of Mormon (especially the book of Alma) seems to be quite precise when it comes to cardinal directions. Using “northward” instead of just north, and more importantly, directions like “south and west” as well as “west sea, south” and “borders of the land on the south, by the west sea” when referring to the battles for the southwest cities (Alma 52:11–15 & 53:8,22 ).  But note it NEVER mentions a north shore or north and west (northwest)/north and east (northeast) shore when talking about the battles for the cities of Bountiful and Mulek or the travels along the east sea or west sea to the land Northward. Chapters dealing with the East sea, strongly suggest the narrow neck is inline with the rest of the East sea.  Conversely, the opposite seems true for the final flight of the Nephites to Cumorah (although these battles are glossed over). No mention is made of Bountiful, the River Sidon, the sea east or any east sea city in the final flight before the destruction. (only the WEST sea is mentioned). In fact new ‘lands’ are mentioned we never heard about in the battles on the East sea. The text also refers to various wild animals coming from “the land northward to the wilderness of Hermounts “on the north and west” [of Zarahemla], suggesting some kind of mountainous wilderness corridor on the narrow neck which connects with northwest wilderness of Hermounts. Also when Hagoth launches “into the west sea”, “BY the narrow neck” (not at the narrow neck) it seems to suggest there is no northern shore caused by the land narrowing. (ie. the narrow neck is to the west, not north east). Given these details, and asking ourselves why the final flight was along the west sea instead of east, it almost seems like there are two narrow necks… one on the east, and one on the west?  At very least the two narrow necks seem somewhat separated. 

“by the narrow pass which led by the sea into the land northward, yea, by the sea, on the west and on the east.” (Alma 50:34)

Lastly, it is important to note that the common placement of Teancum on the Sea East is entirely unsupported by the text. ALL references to the sea in the final flight (until arriving in Cumorah) are to the West Sea. And the text suggests that Teancum is quite close to Desolation. (see Final Flight section at the end of this document)

-It was “the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward”.  (Alma 22:32).
-Teancum’s army heads Morianton’s flight northward on the “borders of the land Desolation… by the narrow pass which led by the sea into the land northward, yea, by the sea, on the west and on the east.” (Alma 50:34)
-Moroni orders that Teancum “should fortify the land Bountiful, and secure the narrow pass which led into the land northward, lest the Lamanites should obtain that point and should have power to harass them on every side”. (Alma 52:9)
-Hagoth… went forth and built him an exceedingly large ship, on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation, and launched it forth into the west sea, by the narrow neck which led into the land northward. (Alma 63:5)
-Nephite armies of Moroniahah, “fortify against the Lamanites, from the west sea, even unto the east; it being a day’s journey for a Nephite, on the line which they had fortified and stationed their armies to defend their north country.” (Hel 4:6–7)
-A peace treaty is made wherein the “Lamanites did 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.” (Mormon 2:29)
-The Nephites gather to Desolation, “to a city which was in the borders, by the narrow pass which led into the land southward… that we might stop the armies of the Lamanites, that they might not get possession of any of our [northern] lands” (Mormon 3:5–6)
-Lib “built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land. And they did preserve the land southward for a wilderness, to get game.” (Ether 10:20–21)

ReferenceExact WordingSea west mentioned?Sea east mentioned?Days jour-neyDirectional indicators
Alma 22:32–33“small neck of land” or “the line Bountiful”yespossibly1.5from the east to the west sea
Alma 50:34“the narrow pass”yeslikely by the sea, on the west and on the east
Alma 52:9“the narrow pass” no  
Alma 63:5“the narrow neck”yesno the west sea
Hel 4:6–7“the line”yeslikely1from the west sea, even unto the east
Mormon 2:29“the narrow passage” no  
Mormon 3:5–6“the narrow pass” no  
      
Ether 10:20–21“narrow neck of land”likelylikely place where the sea divides the land

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Ammonihah, Land of

Ammonihah and Melek are two of the most problematic cities in Book of Mormon Geography. This because so many features mentioned in relation to this cities seem to contradict each other.  I believe these contradictions to all be caused by a copy/translation error made by Mormon or Joseph Smith where the city is said to be NORTH of Melek, when in fact is is SOUTH of Melek.  See discussion for details.

-It was 3 days travel on the north [south] of the land/city of Melek (which was west of Sidon by a/the west? wilderness) ,  (Alma 8:6).
-It was on the border of the greater land of Zarahemla (Alma 25:2).  Likely northern border if it really was north of Melek, but southern border if in reality it was south of Melek.
-It was near, and probably west? of, the city of Sidom (Alma 15:1). Likely less than a days Journey (15 miles)
-It was near the city of Noah (Alma 16:2–3). The Lamanite armies destroy “some around the borders of Noah” after sacking Ammonihah. They also go straight to Noah after attempting to sack Ammonihah after its rebuilt (Alma 49:12–14). Noah is mentioned nowhere else in the text.
-It was near the city of Aaron. At least Alma “took a journey toward the city called Aaron” after being cast out of Ammonihah (Alma 8:13).  Which seems likely the same as the East coast city of Aaron between Moroni & Nephihah (Alma 50:14), perhaps by Jershon and named after Aaron the Missionary of Alma 31.
-The or a wilderness abutted Ammonihah on the west (Alma 8:5).
-There is a pass of some sort between it and Zarahemla which requires ‘coming over’. (Alma 15:18)
-There were 2 routes into the city (Alma 8:16).
-It was fortified with Moroni’s ditch and mound system (Alma 49:4). But beforehand considered “the weakest part of the land”, thus obviously a frontier town. (Alma 49:15)

discussion:  Ammonihah is twice attacked by Lamanite armies on account of its convenience. Alma 49:3 calls it “easy prey” and Alma 49:15 calls it “the weakest part of the Land”.  Alma 25:2 says its “on the borders of Zarahemla”.  So the question is which border?  The fact that its the first place of convenient attack to the Lamanites angry at the conversion of the Lamanites in Alma 25:1–2 would suggest it is on the SOUTH border close to the city of Nephi. This is substantiated by the mention of Alma “took his journey toward… Aaron” after being cast out of Ammonihah (Alma 8:13), since we know Aaron is near Nephihah and Moroni on the southeast coast (Alma 50:7–15, esp v.14). So given a careful reading of Alma 50, how can Ammonihah be put on the northwest coast? Another likely evidence that the city is SOUTH of Melek instead of north is found in Alma 8:16–18 where we learn that when Alma returns to the city after being instructed by the angel to return he sneaks in the backdoor of the city “which is on the south of the city”.  If the city was North of Zarahemla, why would the backway into the city be on the south? This verse suggests that the city is actually south of Zarahemla and Melek along with Noah, Aaron and Nephihah. In fact just the names of this cities should suggest that they are close to the Land of Nephi, likely being named after Aaron the son of Mosiah, and possibly Noah the wicked king. Also, the leaders of Ammonihah are some of the first to fully convert to the Order of Nehor (Alma 15:15) and Nehor seems to have lived/preached mostly around the areas of the Amalekites and Amulonites (Alma 24:28) whose home was close to Helem eight days from the city of Nephi (Mosiah 23). Also, since the people of Jershon flee Jershon and go to Melek to avoid the Zoramite attack… Ammonihah isn’t likely that far from Jershon! (since Ammonihah is 3 days journey from Melek, and having the people of Ammon flee 200 miles from their new home Jershon to another new home that is also on the edge of Nephite lands doesn’t make much sense).

Because of the above difficulties, many have speculated there are two Melek’s and two Aaron’s because of the confusion. (including the BOM topical guide). But I believe all these confusions are fixed by assuming that the “3 days north of Melek” is an error, and it is actually 3 days south.

Note that the retreating army of Lamanites after sacking Ammonihah and Noah in Alma 16 is perhaps the best indication of where this city is. It suggests Ammonihah is a first city in the Nephite lands when an army “come in upon the wilderness side, into the borders of the land [of Zarahemla]” (Alma 16:2). Not only does Alma 16 say NOTHING about the west sea in this chapter — which seems to go against the common habit/mistake of putting Ammonihah somewhere near the west sea on the north. But after destroying Ammonihah, as they head back to the land of Nephi with their prisoners, Alma tells the Nephite generals to head them off near “the river Sidon in the south wilderness, away up beyond the borders of the land of Manti” (Alma 16:6). Looking at internal maps or most Mesoamerican models we see how little sense this path of retreat makes given what we know of Manti (see Manti and Sidon, Head of). Why would they go back through the central part of the land to hightail it home, after purposefully sneaking into the “weakest part of the land?” (Alma 49:15) If Ammonihah is near the coast then surely they would take the coastal route back to the Land of Nephi, and not make a strange jaunt inland to cross the headwaters of Sidon only to head back toward the coast and arrive in the Land of Nephi!

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Antionum, Land of 

-Antionum is “the land of the Zoramites” (Alma 31, Alma 43:5), yet it seems to have been in Nephite territory or the border of Nephite territory during Moroni’s time.
-It is “east of the land of Zarahemla, which lay nearly bordering upon the seashore, which was south of the land of Jershon, which also bordered upon the wilderness south” (Alma 31:3)
-After their mission to the Zoramites, Alma and Amulek go rest at Jershon (so its close). Alma 35:2
-Bordering the land of Jershon & the “wilderness” (Alma 43:15, see Alma 43:5,15,22)

discussion: Alma 43, is important as it establishes that Antionum and Jershon are very close to each other, and likely closest to Manti and the “head of Sidon”, more than Zarahemla or other Nephite cities. It also establishes Antionum as the likely southernmost city of the east border/coast cities, since it was the first place the Zoramites reached as they came up the coast for battle. But both it and Jershon are NEARLY bordering the shore, but not ON the shore, and yet BORDERING the south wilderness.  So they seem to be where the coastal plain meets the mountains/wilderness and BORDERING the south wilderness. Its initially In Nephite territory, but Zoramite mission is because they fear they might join the Lamanites and thus endanger Nephite lands (Alma 31:4)

Geographic model notes: note this means it has to be SOUTH of Zarahemla & thus Catonia (which Jershon could be), and perhaps as far south as Tehuacan or even La Coyotera (thats probably too far). Probably on the upper or lower border of the coastal mountains. I get the feeling that the entire coastal plain is refered to as the “borders of the seashore”, so the fact that it is only “nearly” bordering the seashore, it is NOT down on the coastal plain.

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Aaron, City of

Alma 50:14. Nephihah is built by Moroni, between the city of Moroni and Aaron. So they are likely all defensive cities. Moroni and Nephihah build specifically to hedge out the Lamanites.

discussion: The topical guide and many others speculate that there are two Aaron’s because Alma heads “towards” Aaron after giving up on preaching to Ammonihah (Alma 8:13), but is “called back” by an angel.  YET, Alma 50:14, says they built Nephihah (a defensive city) between Moroni and Aaron (so east coast cities).  

However I think there might just be one, as it doesn’t actually say Nephihah is on the coast. So maybe Aaron isn’t either. Maybe Moroni is on the coast, and Nephihah and Aaron stretch inland and form a southern border of Nephite lands?  Seems likely these are some of the cities mentioned in Alma 50:10, where he says “he placed armies in the south, in the borders”. This would actually help make more sense of Alma 56:25, where it says the Lamanite army fighting manti “durst not march down against Zarahemla, or cross the head of Sidon over to the city of Nephihah.”  It also makes sense, because most of the cities built by Moroni were built to fortify the southern border between the lands of Nephi and Zarahemla.

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Melek, Land of

-Alma 8:3–4 says Melek is “west of the river Sidon, on the west by the borders of the wilderness”.
-Alma 8:6 says it’s three days Journey south of Ammonihah. (which I believe is an error. See Ammonihah)
-Alma 31:6 agrees it’s close to Ammonihah (since Amulek and Zeezrom are there). Either way, this chapter gives more support to the idea that Melek is close to Jershon and the Zoramites. (by the east sea)
-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).  Probably very good agriculturally, and secure in order for the Ammonites to be moved there once their land was deemed an unsafe frontier.
-It was near the city of Noah (Alma 16:2–3). The Lamanite armies destroy “some around the borders of Noah” after sacking Ammonihah. They also go straight to Noah after attempting to sack Ammonihah after its rebuilt (Alma 49:12–14). Noah is mentioned nowhere else in the text.
-It was near the city of Aaron. At least Alma “took a journey toward the city called Aaron” after being cast out of Ammonihah (Alma 8:13).  Which seems likely the same as the East coast city of Aaron between Moroni & Nephihah (Alma 50:14), perhaps by Jershon and named after Aaron the Missionary of Alma 31.
-It was where Alma seemed to be headed toward when he left the land never to return. (likely headed to the Land Northward via the west coast).

discussion: This is one of the hardest of ANY cities in the book of Mormon to place. (making it fit with Ammonihah, Jershon and Noah) Many have speculated there are two Melek’s because it makes little sense for the people of Ammon to go from the East coast to somewhere near the “west wilderness”, and “west of Sidon”. 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 where Jershon was. Its hard to say exactly what encompasses the “west wilderness” of Alma 8:3  (Alma 27:22 makes it clear Jershon is “on the east by the sea”.)   It could be across the river from Gideon (which is on the east of Sidon),

Geographic model notes: Perhaps “west of sidon” doesn’t mean by the West Sea, but west of a Sidon tributary, like where Puebla is. (see Jershon).  Of course it’s possible that anything west of Zarahemla/Cholula/Popocatepetl could be considered the “west wilderness”.  I’m guessing somewhere like Chalcatzingo/Ocuituco/Chalco or Cuernavaca or south to Cuetlajuchitlán or even Teopantecuanitlan (but thats a LONG way for a people to fee, although they’d already come from Nephi and may have wanted to move closer to it anyway). Or it could be farther west like Chalcatzingo (but why would the Ammonites flee there if its that far?). How do you get a configuration that is west of the river Sidon, but close to the East sea and Jershon?   I’ll bet its good agricultural land, but quite possibly closer to the “southwest” cities that their 2000 sons were defending. Lower Cuernavaca, lower Chalcantango or even into the Mixtec lands. Likely very hidden.

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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)
-likely named after Mulek the son of Zedekiah who first landed in the “Land North”. (Helaman 6:10) Perhaps close to their landing? Or perhaps just so far in the north that it is named after the north region of “Mulek”.

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)

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Noah, City of – (see Bountiful)

A city close to Ammonihah. All we know of it, is when the Lamanites attack Ammonihah the first time, they attack Noah also, and take many prisoners (Alma 16:2–3). And some geography is described when they head off the Lamanites on their way home with the prisoners (16:5-8).  Then after Ammonihah is rebuilt and fortified, the lamanites come against Noah again, but this time it’s a fortress (Alma 49:12–15). After suffering many casualties, they head back to the land of Nephi.  In Alma 49:15, it’s called “the weakest part of the land”.  Thats another reason to believe its not in the mountains or way out of the way, but in a major thoroughfare.

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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).

Geographic model notes: So Bountiful could only be somewhere like Tamtoc or ruins in Tampico!

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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”.
-Manti is consistently mentioned in conjunction with the river Sidon (especially it’s ‘head’). But the river Sidon is never mentioned in the war for these cities… so it’s likely near Manti but not between these cities.
-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 (which Alma 51:26 says is by the East Sea) is mentioned in conjunction with these cities (Alma 56:25).
-The fact that Zarahemla and Nephihah (which Alma 51:26 says is by the East Sea) is mentioned in conjunction of these cities is another great evidence that these South & West Cities are stretching in a line from the West Sea toward the East Sea. (with the head of Sidon being beyond Manti, yet between these and Nephihah — 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). That might be a good evidence that the ‘head’ of Sidon is it’s headwaters which are close to Nephihah and the east sea.
-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.  

Geographic model notes: 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).

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East Sea Cities

At least four cities (and likely nine) border the East Sea, Moroni, Aaron, Nephihah and Jershon. (Lehi, Morianton, Omner, Gid, Mulek seem near the sea but could be inland a ways)

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.

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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, and “in the course of” or on the way to the land of Nephi (Alma 2:15–20).
-It was located between the city of Zarahemla and the city of Minon (Alma 2:24)..
-The ‘Valley Gideon’ is likely east of the River Sidon (alma 2:35)?  At any rate you must cross sidon to get from the valley of Gideon to the city of Zarahemla

Geographic model notes: If Zarahemla is Cholula, East Publa is a fantastic match for Gideon with La Malinche matching the Hill Riplah. (but does Amla 2 fit with that well?)

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Jershon, Land of

-It was “east by the sea”, south of the land of Bountiful (joining borders with Bountiful), and bordering on the south wilderness (Alma 27:22). The Lamanites had to be driven out of it, and it became a buffer between Bountiful and the Lamanite Lands.
-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 was likely near the eastern coastal cities of Mulek, Gid, Omner, Morianton, Lehi, Nephihah, and Moroni. (ref?)
-It’s just north of the Zoramites of Antionum, “which was east of the land of Zarahemla, which lay nearly bordering upon the seashore, which was south of the land of Jershon, which also bordered upon the wilderness south, which wilderness was full of the Lamanites” (Alma 31:3).
-It’s not far from Melek? since the people of Ammon temporarily flee to Melek when the Zoramites prepare to attack (Alma 35:13–14).  But it doesn’t make sense, because Alma 8:3–4 says Melek is “west of the river Sidon, on the west by the borders of the wilderness”. Perhaps this doesn’t mean by the west sea, but west of a Sidon tributary, like where puebla is.
-Alma 8:6 says Melek is three days Journey south of Ammonihah. Alma 31:6 agrees it’s close to Ammonihah (since Amulek and Zeezrom are there). Either way, this chapter gives more support to the idea that Melek is close to Jershon and the Zoramites.

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Jerusalem, City of

-It was drown at the death of Christ (3 Ne 9:7), and mentioned with many other drown cities, so likely a coastal city.
-It was “joining the borders of Mormon”,(and thus Helam?)  and where Aaron went first on his mission to the Lamanites (Alma 21:1)
-The Amalekites and Amulonites built it (Alma 21:2)
-It was near to Ani-Anti and Middoni (Alma 21:11–12)
-Amulon, Helam & Jerusalem all seem to be in proximity (Alma 24:1)

Find verse that puts Amulonites and Amalekites with Zoramites suggesting their regions are in close proximity on the east coast.

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

-Helam is 8 days journey into the wilderness from the city of Nephi (Mosiah 23:3).
-Helam is 12 (or 13) days journey from the city of Zarahemla (Thus likely about 2/5’s between Nephi & Zarahemla. Mosiah 24:23–25).
-Helam was in a “beautiful and pleasant land… of pure water” in an area suitable for agriculture (Mosiah 23:4–5).
-The Valley of Alma was one days journey (probably northward) from Helam (Mosiah 24:20).
-Amulon was founded by the Amulonites and near Alma’s city of Helam. (Mosiah 23:30–35)
-All these locations were in the south wilderness somewhere between Nephi and Zarahemla. (8 days from Nephi & 12 days from Zarahemla)
-The Amalekites & Amulonites of Jerusalem seem to be in proximity to the Zoramites of Antionum (Alma 43:5–6)
-Both the Amalekites & Amulonites of Jerusalem & Zoramites of Antionum are in proximity to Jerson which is by the east sea (Alma 43:4, Alma 35:2–11).
-Amulonites who battle with the Nephites flee into the EAST wilderness (Alma 25:5).

Discussion: Evidence is split between these lands being toward the west or east coast. On one hand Alma 21:1–14 has Aaron and his brother preaching in Jerusalem the land of the Amalakites & Amulonites (v. 2), where they are rejected and go to the nearby cities of Ani-Anti & Middoni where they are cast into prison (v, 13) and kept there until Lamoni & Ammon deliver them (v. 14). Which might suggest a west coast location since Ishmeal is synonymous with the ‘Land of first Inheritance (Alma 21:18), which is on the seashore west of the Land of Nephi (Alma 22:28). However, 2 Nephi 5:7 has the city/land of Nephi being “many days” from the land of first inheritance so we can’t be sure Ammon & Lamoni didn’t cross the land were it a narrow location. Especially since on the flip side Alma 43:5–6 seems to have the Amalekites & Amulonites of Jerusalem in proximity to the Zoramites of Antionum which we know are by the east sea (Alma 35:2–11). Furthermore Alma 25:5 has Amulonites fleeing home from Nephite battles going into the EAST wilderness. And again, at the Destructions of Christ the Amalekite city of Jerusalem has “waters caused to come up in the stead thereof” (3 Nephi 9:7) just like the southeast coast (Alma 50:13) city of Moroni which is “sunk into the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned” (3 Nephi 8:9). 4 Nephi 1:9 seems to suggest that many of these sunk cities were not just destroyed by a tsunami, but that a sizable region of coast line sluffed off or sank into the sea. (Although on some of these cities a lake could be involved instead of the sea). Furthermore Alma 43 seems to suggest that the land of the Zoramites and Amalikes are in proximity, and that the Amakite Zerahemnah starts his war by recruiting Zoramites then attempting war with Jerson (again on the east coast), and then going to Manti (which must be less than a few days journey away).

The Sorenson model puts the lands of the Amulonites and Amalakites (which we know were near Helam & Alma) along the west or pacific coast of Northern Guatemala. But note this is a very poor placement for several locations. Firstly, his location is near Izapa and many archaeological sites which have unbroken archaeological records dating from early formative Olmec times all the way to the time of Christ. Sites like La Blanca, La Victoria, Takalik Abaj and El Mesak. Placing Alma and the land of Helam anywhere near Lamanite or Lehite population centers does not make sense. More importantly this region is lies in the flat western coastal plane and ancient travel corridor where really only a fool wouldn’t be able to find their way to the coast and then up the known river undoubtedly linking the city of Nephi to the coast, yet Mosiah 23:36–37 shows that the Journey from Helam to Nephi was difficult to find causing the Lamanite army to become lost, strongly suggesting that Helam was in an area away from any typical travel corridors.

These lands are near the people of Ammon who get converted so it makes no sense that they are given Jershon on the east coast if they are from the east coast! (explain more and reference this…)

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Ishmael, Land of

-Is the home of Lamoni. (Alma 17:21, Alma 21:18)
-Is “the land of their inheritance” (Alma 21:18), which is likely synonymous with the ‘land of first inheritance’.
-Place of their father’s first inheritance is ‘west in the land of Nephi… bordering along by the seashore’ (Alma 22:28)

Since Alma 17:21 specifies Lamoni ‘was a descendant of Ishmael’ we assume that Ishmael did not follow Nephi or Laman into the wilderness but stayed in the land of first inheritance, since according to Alma 21:18 which calls it the land of first inheritance, and also places it in proximity to the land of Middoni (although a distance is not given and could be substantial the context suggests it is within a few days journey of Nephi and Middoni which is in turn somewhat close to Helam and Amulon, etc.

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Sidon, River (28 uses)

A seemingly major or geographically significant river. The only named river in the Book of Mormon. It has east and west banks… but also may run/flow “from east to west” just like the ‘narrow strip of wilderness’ between the land of Nephi and Zarahemla (Alma 22:27). Mhe majority of references to the river, refer to coming and going armies or people between the land of Nephi and land Zarahemla, suggesting it forms an important geographic boundary of some sort. (further supporting the above east/west interpretation of Alma 22:27)

-hill Amnihu is on east of Sidon: Alma 2:15 .
-it “ran BY the land of Zarahemla”: 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/Antionum to Manti (Alma 43:22).
-One must presumably cross from the west to east side of it traveling from Zarahemla to Gideon (Alma 6:7).  The city and valley of Gideon are on the east side of the river. (in the region of Zarahemla and Gideon it flows north-south.
-An army 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)
-But it was small enough for an army to easily cross without boats/etc. (Alma 43:35–41, Alma 16:6–7)
-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.
-It apparently must be crossed as one goes from the Land of Nephi to the Land of Zarahemla (further supporting it being some kind of east-west running barrier like the south wilderness) Alma 16:6, Alma 2, Alma 43 .
-It was west of the hill Amnihu. Suggesting it runs north/south at that point. (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–again suggesting a north-south flow in this region. (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, and created an obvious crossing point on the way to Nephi. (Alma 43:22).
-Runs between the Valley of Gideon (which is west of Zarahemla), then through “the land of Zarahemla”, but likely not through the city. (Alma 2:15, since the bodies of Alma 2:34 would then float through the city).)
-Likely either too large to safely cross, or down in a canyon or deep valley in most places as the crossing points seem limited & predictable (Alma 16:6, Alma 2)

discussion: Alma 22:27 ambiguously gives several geographic descriptions ending with the words “through the borders of Manti, by the head of the river Sidon, running from the east towards the west”. One way to read this is that it’s saying that the river Sidon “runs from east to west”.   This verbiage isn’t unique as Alma 2:15, also uses the words “running” to show directionality of the river by the land of Zarahemla. However, it is also possible this verse is for some reason simply redundantly repeating the clause earlier in the verse where the “narrow strip of wilderness… runs from sea east even to sea west”. The idea that a region might also “run” like a river is also used in Alma 50:8 where the land of Nephi is said to “run in a straight course from the east sea to the west”.  I actually believe it is both, as the author is trying to explain that Sidon, just like the lands of Bountiful and Nephi and the south wilderness “runs” from east to west nearly all the way across the land.  (that’s why its repeated twice in v.27). This idea is further supported by Alma 16:6, where Alma prophecies that the Lamanites as they flee home will “cross the river Sidon in the south wilderness, away up beyond the borders of the land Manti”. As if Sidon was some kind of border which Zoram ‘expected’ the Lamanites would have to cross (and there were only so many expected places to easily cross it, so as to know where Alma was talking about). This also accords with other places in the text where the river Sidon appears to be the best place to meet Lamanite armies as they head toward the Land of Zarahemla (Alma 2, Alma 43). A generally east to west configuration helps explain why no mention of crossing Sidon’s mouth/delta is ever mentioned in conjunction with the East Coast defensive cities, OR with the final retreat of the Nephites to Desolation along the West Coast. If Sidon flowed north wouldn’t Moroni mention that they crossed it!

HOWEVER, we must also note that the only ‘banks’ ever mentioned in relation to the river are east-west ones (Alma 16:6, Alma 43:27,53), suggesting that at least in the places where it is most often crossed, it flows north-south.  Also… the head (headwaters we assume) of Sidon are consistently mentioned as being in or near the Land of Manti, which we also know is south of Zarahemla (between the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Nephi). And since we also know the river flows through the land and even near the city of Zarahemla (Alma 2:15) and city of Gideon (Alma 2:26; 6:7) and other central Nephite regions, this reinforces that at least part of the river flows from south to north.

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Sidon, Head of (5 uses)

“Head” is defined in websters 1828 dictionary as “n. To originate; to spring; to have its source, as a river.”  Also “n. The part most remote [or opposite] from the mouth or opening into the sea; as the head of a bay, gulf or creek.”  Also “n. The principal source of a stream; as the head of the Nile.”  the head of a river is NOT the mouth of a river. Attempting to make it such is a wild stretch.

Additionally, attempting to make the “head of Sidon”, mean the mouth or delta of the river run into possible problems in explaining a setup where the Lamanite armies leave coastal Jerson/Antionum and go “round about in the wilderness…by the head of Sidon” to get to Manti (Alma 43:22–27) which is known to be “up” and on the way to Nephi (which is also always “up”).

-Ambiguous, run-on sentences here. But Sidon likely “running from the east toward the west” just like the “narrow strip of wilderness which ran from sea east even to sea west” and apparently dividing the Land of Nephi and Zarahemla along with the narrow strip of wilderness. Alma 22:27. See discussion on Sidon, River..
-Perhaps a second(?) “head of the river Sidon” mentioned in Alma 27:29 which is “on the north” or “northern parts of the land bordering on the wilderness” near bountiful.
-Exists as an obstacle between Manti/Zeezrom and Nephihah, when going “round about in the wilderness”. Alma 56:25
-Exists as an obstacle between Jershon and Manti, when going “round about in the wilderness”. Alma 43:22
-It’s in the south-east, being between Lamanite armies (of the south & west cities) and the city of Nephihah (on the east sea). Alma 56:25
-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.
-“From the west sea, running by the head of Sidon” Alma 50:8,11  See discussion.
-Alma 50:11 could possibly suggest the ‘head of Sidon’ is near the West Sea, however it could also simply be contrasting the ‘head of sidon’ against the west sea. (see discussion)

discussion: Seems likely that “the head of Sidon” is a geographical term paralleling the modern term of “headwaters of a 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 the river originates in.  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 43:22, Alma 56:25 .

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 plainly said to be by the East Sea (Alma 51:25–26). Therefore, Alma 50:11 is either contrasting the head of Sidon with the west sea (suggesting it is opposite the West sea, and near the East sea) Or it is by BOTH the east and west sea, being in a narrow part of the ithsmas.  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.”

Geographic model notes: In our model the Rio Balsas has two main heads and 5 minor ones. The main head is in the Mixtec lands of northern Oaxaca. Secondary are the massive peaks of Valley of Mexico near Cholula, Teotihuacan and even Cuernavaca. If 50:11 really is saying it’s head is by the west sea, then it would have to be the Oaxaca arm which is the ‘head of Sidon’. Since the “south and west cities” appear to stretch in a line from Manti to somewhere near Nephihah in the order of Manti, Zeezrom, Cumeni, Antiparah, Judea (Alma 56:14). Of course perhaps, one could argue that Manti is somewhere near the mouth of Sidon and those cities stretch north toward Cuernavaca or Guadalajara?

The idea that Alma 22:27–29 might be talking about two different heads of Sidon, although hard to prove because of the ambiguity of these verses however works incredibly well with the Highland-Continental model.

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Manti, Land & City 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 rugged terrain, a mountain or dense 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 (Alma 58:23–28).
-After Nehor slays Gideon in Alma 1:9,15 he’s hung on the “hill Manti”. It seems likely that the “hill Manti” was in the land Manti (perhaps it’s defining feature), and that the land of Gideon is named after Gideon and thus is close to Manti (or at least the hill).  Alma 17:1 might support this, saying that Manti is “southward” from Gideon.
-Alma 16:6–7 says after Ammonihah and Noah are attacked, the Lamanites head home and “cross the river Sidon in the south wilderness, away up beyond the borders of the land of Manti.” Verse 6 suggests that the borders of Manti are by the “south wilderness, which was on the east side of the river Sidon.” Note it doesn’t say “south side of Sidon,” it says east side.

Geographic model notes: Could it be talking about the Cuernavaca tributary of Sidon or is Manti east of Puebla?

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Mormon, Land of

-Waters of Mormon were likely no further than a days journey from the City of Nephi. (Mosiah 18:4–7).
-Likely close enough to get there and back from the city in a day but far enough to be able to ‘hide from the king’. (Mosiah 18:3–4).
-Had a fountain (or spring) of pure water, presumably filling a pool big enough to baptize in. (Mosiah 18:5,16)
-No indication waters of Mormon are a large lake. More likely a small pool which is hidden “in a thicket”. (Mosiah 18:5)
-A noteworthy forest exists in the land. Likely different from the vegetation of the surrounding area. Perhaps because it is a high rugged area. (Mosiah 18:30)
-A big enough area that 450 people could gather, but small enough to still feel hidden and not in the open. (Mosiah 18:35)

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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 (Mosiah 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 (2 Nephi 5:11; Mosiah 21:16).
-It was “Many days journey” from of the Land of First Inheritance (with families apparently on foot. see 2 Nephi 5:7. Also note First Inheritance is said to be on the west seashore of the Land of Nephi. Alma 22:28).
-Nephi built a temple there (2 Nephi 2:16).
-The city of Nephi had a wall (Mosiah 22:6).
-Abundant mineral deposits (2 Nephi 5:15).
-Land of Mormon, and waters of Mormon were close by (likely no further than a days journey) (Mosiah 18:4–7).
-Adjacent to the lands of Shemlon and Shilom (Mosiah 19:6; 22:8).
-Near the south wilderness (Mosiah 22:12).

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Zarahemla, Land & City of –   

Note that unlike many other Book of Mormon cities, almost EVERY reference to Zarahemla refers to the “land of Zarahemla” instead of the city (~60 references to ‘land’ vs. only 11 references to ‘city’), suggesting that at least until it is rebuilt after it’s burning at the death of Christ (3 ne 8:8, 9:3, 4 ne 1:8) it must be a fairly spread out city. Being more of a regional influence than a strongly metropolitan capital. That it DID indeed have an urban center is shown when 3 Nephi 9:3 calls it a ‘Great City’. As well as the story of Nephi and Samuel who show the city has both ‘towers’ and ‘walls’. (Hel 6, 13). However the afore overwhelming references to the ‘land Zarahemla’ suggest the regional population is even more important than the city.
Perhaps even more important for our model is that EVERY reference to a low elevation, of which there are many, are to the “land Zarahemla” and not the city.  I.e. it is always down to the land of Zarahemla when entering or coming ‘up out of’ the ‘land Zarahemla’ when leaving, but strangely not a SINGLE reference to going ‘down’ to the city of Zarahemla, suggesting that the ‘land of Zarahemla is lower than the capital city, which may be found at a high point in the land.

-complaints come up to the land of Zarahemla (3 Ne 6:25). This is the only reference to Zarahemla being ‘up’, so although part of the land of Zarahemla might be ‘up’, perhaps just as likely this reference has nothing to do with altitude, but of importance… such as “up to capitol hill, Washington”. Perhaps evidence of a large pyramid where the high priest officiated from?
-the city must be WEST of the river Sidon since Alma heads westward and crosses the river Sidon to get to Gideon (Alma 6:7). Same is said of the armies in Alma 2, they cross west across Sidon to get from Gideon to Zarahemla.
-“the river Sidon, which ran by the land Zarahemla” (Alma 2:15). River runs by the land Zarahemla, but likely not necessarily through the city.
-many in the “land of Zarahemla”, join the church and are baptized in the “waters of Sidon” (Alma 4:1–4). Because it says “waters of Sidon” instead of river Sidon we must guess as to whether this is the river (which would obviously be close to the city) or perhaps a sacred lake with the same name (somehow associated with the river? part of its headwaters? an oxbow lake by the river? A reservoir taken from the river? A pond/lake the river feeds or that feeds the river?)
-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 right on the outskirts of the capital city… so likely the land of Zarahemla.

Discussion: There is never any mention of the river Sidon flowing through the city Zarahemla but Alma 2:15 says it flows through the land Zarahemla, and the narrative definitely suggests it’s within a day of the city. (since people were babtized there, the waters of Sidon must be well within a days travel). Sidon 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 coast to coast east-west wilderness. (Alma 22:27))
-The Land of Zarahemla is NOT said to run from the east to west coast like the Lands of Nephi and Bountiful are (Alma 22), but instead is said to be in the “heart of their [Nephite] lands” (Hel 1:18)
-Thus in a central part of the Nephite lands which were south of Bountiful & 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; Mosiah 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).

discussion: Alma 2 may be one of the best descriptions of Zarahemla and its relationship to the River Sidon, Gideon and Nephi. It first tells us there is a strategic hill (Amnihu), “east of the River Sidon, which ran by the land of Zarahemla” that the Amlicites use to start a war with the people of Zarahemla (perhaps a Guerilla base on the hill- Alma 2:14–16). These verses seem to purposely point out that the River Sidon goes through the land Zarahemla, but NOT the city of Zarahemla. The Amlicites flee from the hill to the Valley of Gideon, so the Hill is likely between Zarahemla and Gideon. But there is no mention of crossing Sidon yet. (So Gideon Valley must still be East of the River Sidon). Gideon is also “in the course of” (on the way to) the land of Nephi (Alma 2:24). The Amlicites circumvent Gideon to head back to Zarahemla by way of Minon which is “above” Zarahemla. But as the Nephites go to head off the Amlicites in Minon and get ready to cross Sidon (from East to West?, on the way to Zarahemla) they get attacked and must “clear the bank on the west of Sidon” (Alma 2:34) to fight off the Amlicite army which then flees “towards the wilderness which was west and north, away beyond the borders of the land…until they had reached the wilderness, which was called Hermounts; and it was that part of the wilderness which was infested by wild and ravenous beasts” (Alma 2:36–38).  This is a tricky configuration that tells us a number of things…

-River Sidon runs “by the land of Zarahemla”, and NOT likely through the city of Zarahemla (Alma 2:15, since the bodies of Alma 2:34 would then float through the city)
-There is a prominent “hill Amnihu, which was east of the river Sidon, which ran by the land of Zarahemla”
-It is likely about a day from Zarahemla to the valley of Gideon (Alma 2:20), which is “in the course of” (on the way to) the land of Nephi (Alma 2:24). But at the same time Gideon can be easily circumvented to get back to Zarahemla another way (see v.25-26).
-There is a land of Minion above (higher than) the land of Zarahemla (Alma 2:24).
-For some reason you don’t seem to cross Sidon to get from Zarahemla to Gideon, but you do cross it if you want to head back to Zarahemla through Minon which is (in a pass)  ‘above’ Zarahemla..
-From that Sidon Crossing near Minon above Zarahemla, you would flee to the North and West Wilderness (Hermounts), which is infested with beasts from the Land Northward. (compare Alma 2:36–38 to Alma 22:31).
-You can throw a bunch of bodies into Sidon from near Minon above Zarahemla, Alma 2:34 (presumably without polluting the water source of any respected city like Zarahemla– which makes the idea that Sidon flows north from Gideon and Minon through Zarahemla seem unlikely).
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Land of Many Waters or ‘large bodies of water

– Morianton tries to flee to “the land which was northward” covered with “large bodies of water“. (Alma 50:29)
– “an exceedingly great many” leave the land of Zarahemla and travel “an exceedingly great distance” to “the” land Northward where there are “large bodies of water and many rivers”. (Hel 3:3–4)
– Lemhi’s exploratory party travels in a land “among many waters” after being “lost in the wilderness for the space of many days”. Finds a land covered with bones and ruins. (Mosiah 8:8)
– Cumorah is “in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains”. (Mormon 6:4)

Discussion: Its uncertain if the Land of many waters of Mosiah 8:8 & Mormon 6:4 is the same as the land of large bodies of water of Alma 50:29 & Hel 3:3–4, but it seems quite likely given that both terms occur along with the description of “many rivers”.

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Cumorah, Land & Hill

Site of both the Lehite AND Jaredite final battles. Obviously Cumorah must provide either some exceptional strategic advantage, or be the natural endpoint or trap for refugee peoples.

– In a land of many ‘waters, rivers and fountains’ [ie. springs].  Nephite gather around the ‘hill’, hoping ‘to gain advantage over the Lamanites’ (Mormon 6:4).
– Before even entering the ‘land of Cumorah’, Mormon writes the Lamanites asking for time to ‘gather together out people unto the land of Cumorah, by the Hill which was called Cumorah, and there we could give them battle’ (Mormon 6:2).  Obviously the site is strategic in multiple ways.
– Mormon hides up in the ‘Hill Cumorah ‘all the records which had been entrusted’ to him (BUT NOT the b.o.m. plates – Mormon 6:6). We are not told the name of the hill Moroni hides his plates in, BUT D&C 128:20 seems to refer to the location of Joseph’s vision of Moroni as ‘Cumorah’, suggesting IT IS Cumorah (or at least in the Land Cumorah!).
– Jaredites call it the Hill Ramah (Ether 15:22), and tell us it’s about a day south of the waters of Ripliancum, meaning waters to exceed all (Ether 15:8), which are mostly likely a lake since they are west of, and not far from the East Sea–and different from it (Ether 9:3).  Given D&C 128:20 this strongly suggests Ripliancum is the Great Lakes and land Cumorah encompasses where the Joseph found the plates (although the final battle could have been somewhere else nearby but still in the land of Cumorah).

discussion: Since Moroni says in Moroni 1:1, that he expected to have been killed before writing the final book of Moroni, (his father being killed in the battle or shortly after in Mormon 8:3) we can suppose that Mormon and his father MUST have made both the cave for ALL the records, finished most the gold plates AND made the cement box/crypt for just the gold plates BEFORE the final battle, and likely hid up the records expecting to possibly die. (They wouldn’t have chanced something so important seeing death was so immanent in the final battle. And I would suppose this was done on a hill close to the final battle, but not the SAME hill, as they would not want to risk the invading army finding the record stores. This is VERY important, as it strongly suggests that if Moroni did a lot of travel and wandering after the final battle (which the text suggests), he hid the plates first and traveled before coming back to the plates and adding the final leaves instead of wandering around with the plates, risking being killed and having them stolen and melted down.

Also, since Omer and his family are fleeing for their lives from Desolation (the early Jaredite core) to the East Sea ‘eastward’ of Cumorah, we can assume that Cumorah is quite far from the Hill Shim and the land Desolation. (since Ether 9:3 says he fled “many days” from his homeland and the Hill Shem to Cumorah).  The same is true of the fleeing Nephites. If 50,000+ early LDS saints fled 1000+ miles by foot from Nauvoo (plus another 700 miles from New York) to escape persecution, we can assume that Omer’s family, the Jaredites and Nephites also fled a large distance (as much or more?) in attempt to avoid their annihilation. Suggesting Cumorah and the final battle were in southern Vera Cruz just 100 miles from Desolation (ie. the hill Shem) which are on the narrow neck really doesn’t fit well with the text in this regard.

A final important note is Mormon 8:2 which states that those who survived the final battle fled SOUTH afterwards!  If Cumorah was anywhere even close to Zarahemla, why would the survivors flee south into what had now become the heart of enemy territory? Their fleeing south strongly suggests that Cumorah is nowhere even close to Zarahemla, and that fleeing any farther north was not an option (because of some impassible barrier like Ripliancum/The Waters that exceed all — which therefor must have been something like the Great Lakes or ocean which could not just be canoed across, or something like a coming winter stopping northward travel).

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Hill Shim

Location where Nephite records were kept by Ammaron. Mentioned in both Nephite and Jaredite accounts.

– Ammaron deposited all the ‘sacred engravings of the people there’ (Mormon 1:3).
– In a land of desolation. Mormon gathers all the records from Hill Shim when he sees the Lamanites are about to ‘overthrow the land’ of Desolation. (Mormon 4:23)
– Omer passes by the hill as he flees ‘many days’ from the early Jaredite heartland/core, and then onto Cumorah, and ‘from thence eastward to the seashore’ where he and his refugee family set up residence. (Ether 9:3)

discussion:  It doesn’t really make much sense for the Hill Shim to be very close to the land of Cumorah. If it were why would they bother moving the records from one hill to the other? It makes far more sense to suppose that these records were moved before things got hopeless when the Nephites still hoped to find a new homeland, and that Shim and Cumorah are a considerable distance apart.

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Wildernesses

Definition: (1830 dictionary). 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 modern 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)

Add references to each of the wildernesses here. East, West South, Hermounts.

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The Three Defensive Lines

The Book of Mormon talks about 3 separate defensive lines.  One between the land of Nephi & land of Zarahemla. One between the land of Bountiful and the land of Desolation. And one north of Desolation somewhere around the city of Boaz between Desolation and ‘the land which lay before us’, which presumably seems to be the land of Many Waters.

1- Alma 50:7–11 describes the first, which is built by Moroni after he forces the Lamanites out of the east and west wildernesses after the Amalakite attack. He drives out “all the Lamanites who were in the east wilderness…south of the land of Zarahemla”, “and also on the west [wilderness]” (v.11) and then appears to build Moroni and Nephihah on the south-east to fortify that line. (v. 13)  migrating people from Zarahemla into the east wilderness to do it. (v. x)    

2- The second defensive line is the “line Bountiful” which is a narrow neck  between the Land Northward and the land Southward which is described in Alma 22:33, (refs).  This defensive line is important in two different occasions where the Nephite elite are completely driven from Zarahemla their capital to desolation. First in Helaman 4:5 the Lamanites drive the Nephites and their army “even into the land of Bountiful, and there they did fortify…from the west sea even unto the east”.  350 years later, the same thing occurs in Mormon 3:5–6 & Mormon 2:28–29, where a 10 year treaty is signed with the Lamanites giving the Nephites the land Northward “even to the narrow passage which led to the land southward”. During that time they “fortify against them with all our force”.

 3- The third is a line of cities near Boaz or “strongholds” mentioned in Mormon 5:4 where it says that for a time they did “maintain… strongholds [which] did cut them off that they could not get into the country which lay before us, to destroy the inhabitants of our land.” 

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Jaredite Lands

Unlike the Nephite record, the Jaredite account gives VERY little directionality or geographic information. There are really three or four locations that have any ability to be associated with an internal or external model. And half of those have directionality ONLY because they are associated with Nephite lands.

Moron, Land of

The Jaredite ‘Land of Inheritance’ (first inheritance) and heartland throughout at least major parts of their history..
– its near the
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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. (Mormon 1:3)
-Moroni “carried by his father into the land southward, even to the land of Zarahemla”. (Mormon 1:6)
-War begins “in the borders of Zarahemla, by the waters of Sidon”.  (First Battle – Mormon 1:10)
-A number of battles fought, then a truce for four to seven years.
-Lamanites attack again, Nephites “retreat towards the northcountries”. (Mormon 2:3)
-Moroni’s army take and fortify Angola “with their might”, but “notwithstanding their fortifications”, the city is taken. (Mormon 2:4)
-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) (Mormon 2:5)
-They gather to Joshua which is “west by the seashore”. (Mormon 2:6–8) 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 unto the Lord” (Mormon 2:17).  Moroni gets just the plates of Nephi, and leaves the remainder where they are. (see Mormon 1:3)
-Nephites driven “northward to the land which was called Shem”. (Mormon 2:20) Nephites fortify the city and are attacked in 346AD, but win a battle with 30k to 50k. (Mormon 2:25)
-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.” (Mormon 2:29)
-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.” (Mormon 3:8)
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”. (Mormon 4:2)
-”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.”  (Mormon 4:3)
Teancum is also somewhat near the sea.
-364AD, Lamanites come against Teancum, and are repulsed, so Nephites follow them and retake Desolation.  (Mormon 4:8)
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 (Mormon 4:16)
-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” (Mormon 4:20–22)
-Mormon goes to the hill Shim and takes up ALL the records (Mormon 4:23).
Boaz is still relatively close to all the preceding cities (Antum, Jashon, Desolation)
-in 379AD Nephites flee to Jordan, and repulse a Lamanite attack. (Mormon 5:4) 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.” (Mormon 5:4)
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;” (Mormon 6:4)

Thus the spatial relationship from north to south, of these cities is as follows:

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

David
Angola
Zarahemla

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