Chapter 2

The Land of Zarahemla

Book of Alma

Section 2:

Land of Zarahemla Zarahemla Summarized

 
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The map above shows the east, west, and south wilderness and how it fits New York. The red line marks the river Sidon. Zarahemla is the land between the east, west, and above the south wilderness. Alma 22:27-29 77 BC. The south wilderness runs from the sea east to the sea west, it divides the land of Zarahemla from the land of Nephi. Verse 29 adds, "until they came to the land which they called Bountiful." The east and west wilderness run to the land of Bountiful

 

The land of Nephi runs east and west. There is a portion of the boundary that takes a turn to the north at the Aaron-Manti area. We are talking about the red line at the bottom. (Alma 22:27) This northward rise splits Nephi (west) borders and the land of Zarahemla (east). This rises split lines up with the head of the River Sidon.

Each one of these areas listed in the diagram above has been identified and does exist in New York, though of course, the boundaries are less “square.” Utilizing the model above, let’s place its critical components in modern New York. The map below shows only a general layout. We will break down each area and show the boundary lines in each.

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Western New York has many wildernesses or places where trees grow densely and form forests. The wildernesses we seek to place are ones referred to as the east, west, and south. The red line marks the Genesee River, which we feel is the Nephite river Sidon. Zarahemla is the land between the east and west wildernesses. Both east and west wildernesses extend northward, to the land of Bountiful. At first, the Lamanites had control of the west, east and south wilderness.

Section 1
Sea East, East Wilderness, Sea West, West Wilderness,  South Wilderness, and River Sidon

 

 

This scripture describes the south wilderness (a narrow strip of wilderness).

 

Alma 22:27-28

 27 … which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, and which was divided [land of Nephi] from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness [south wilderness], which ran from the sea east even to the sea west, and round about on the borders of the seashore, and the borders of the wilderness which was on the north [of land of Nephi] by the land of Zarahemla, through the borders of Manti, by the head of the river Sidon, running from the east towards the west ...

 

28 Now, the more idle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness, and dwelt in tents; and they were spread through the wilderness on the west, in the land of Nephi; yea, and also on the west of the land of Zarahemla, in the borders by the seashore, and on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers’ first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore. [italics added]

 

The south wilderness runs from the sea east to the sea west. It divides the land of Zarahemla from the land of Nephi. It runs around north on both sides (meaning it turns the corner and heads north on the east and west) by the borders of the sea on the seashore. Therefore, the wilderness is all connected: the south wilderness connects to the east wilderness, and then runs north by the sea on the east shore, up to the land of Bountiful. This south wilderness also connects to the west wilderness on the north, by the sea on the west seashore, and runs north to the land of Bountiful.  

 

Alma 22:29  90-77 B.C.

And also there were many Lamanites on the east by the seashore, whither the Nephites had driven them. And thus the Nephites were nearly surrounded by the Lamanites; nevertheless the Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land bordering on the wilderness, at the head of the river Sidon, from the east to the west, round about on the wilderness side; on the north, even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful. [italics added]

 

Lamanites lived in both the west wilderness and the east wilderness, according to these verses. Alma 22:29 provides nearly the same description as Alma 22:27-28, but it adds “until they came to the land which they called Bountiful”. The east and west wilderness run north to the land of Bountiful on the east and west. This wilderness was filled with the Lamanites on the south, east, and west, all the way to the land of Bountiful. This description places a “U-shaped” wilderness border around the land of Zarahemla. The Lamanites nearly surrounded the Nephites. The Nephites had the land which was bordering the wilderness or the center part of the land. We already established the placement of the land of Bountiful, and where it ends on the south side. This also determines where the land of Zarahemla starts. With the south wilderness being the south boundary of the land of Zarahemla, it seems clear the Book of Mormon lands would be in New York.  The west wilderness starts at Bountiful and stops at the south wilderness; the east wilderness also starts at Bountiful and stops at the south wilderness, on opposite sides of the land of Zarahemla. The descriptions seem to make impossible the placement of the Book of Mormon lands in South America, for no wilderness extends the length of the country (the United States), both on the east and west wilderness. It also appears unlikely the Book of Mormon authors lived in present-day Missouri, either. The only lands which fit the Book of Mormon descriptions are in New York.

 

Alma 22:27-28

27  … and the borders of the wilderness which was on the north [of land of Nephi] by the land of Zarahemla, through the borders of Manti, by the head of the river Sidon, running from the east towards the west ...

 

28 Now, the more idle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness, and dwelt in tents; and they were spread through the wilderness on the west, in the land of Nephi; yea, and also on the west of the land of Zarahemla, in the borders by the seashore, [italics added]

 

The borders of the south wilderness take a turn to the north at the Aaron-Manti area. We will discuss the layout of the cities later, but for now, we are talking about the red line and the boundaries of the south wilderness on the map below. Alma 22:27 outlines the wilderness that is on the north. We can see on the map below that the red line on the south or lower part of the Land of Zarahemla does not run in a straight line, but going from east to west, rises significantly northward at one point. This northward rise splits the borders of Manti west of the land of Zarahemla by the head of the river Sidon. Referring again to Alma 22:27-28, the verses describe where the head of the River Sidon is,  and give evidence of the wilderness going north at this point. Verse 28 clarifies further the layout, mentioning Lamanites lived in the wilderness on the west of the land of Nephi and west of the land of Zarahemla, in the borders of the seashore. This description in Alma 22 fits well the area of western New York. Even today, there is  “wilderness” or forests on the east and west of the area identified as “Land of Zarahemla” on the map below. Traveling south from Bountiful on both the east and west sides, we run into the south wilderness, which is U-shaped; the center is flatter and features farmable land, as described in the Book of Mormon, and a major river (Sidon/Genesee) nearly splits this area in the middle, as scriptures indicate.

 
 
 
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Section 2

Lamanites Lived in the Wilderness

 

The following verses describe inherent differences in the ways Lamanites and Nephites lived off the land. Jacob’s son, Enos, describes matters in his day.

 

 

Enos 1:20  420 B.C.

And I bear record that the people of Nephi did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites unto the true faith in God. But our labors were vain; their hatred was fixed, and they were led by their evil nature that they became wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, full of idolatry and filthiness; feeding upon beasts of prey; dwelling in tents, and wandering about in the wilderness with a short skin girdle about their loins and their heads shaven; and their skill was in the bow, and in the cimeter, and the ax. And many of them did eat nothing save it was raw meat; and they were continually seeking to destroy us.

 

This scripture shows that the Lamanites of Enos’ day lived in the wilderness, and followed a different lifestyle than the Nephites, who farmed. Verses 28-29 of Alma 22, previously quoted, show that by Alma the Younger’s day, Lamanites resided in the wilderness on the west side of Zarahemla and the east side. That concerned Captain Moroni because now the Nephites were surrounded by Lamanites on the south, east, and west.

 

Section 3

Nephites Lived off the Land

 

Enos 1:21  420 B.C.

21 And it came to pass that the people of Nephi did till the land, and raise all manner of grain, and of fruit, and flocks of herds, and flocks of all manner of cattle of every kind, and goats, and wild goats, and also many horses.

 

In contrast to the Lamanites, this scriptures shows the Nephites were mainly farmers. They lived off the land and raised grain, fruit, and animals. Nephite lands must support farming, with areas flatter, more open, and with more sunlight available than in forested or wilderness areas. Even in western New York, today, there exist wilderness and forested areas close to farmlands.

 
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 Events described by Book of Mormon writers fit well into western New York.

Section 4

Sea East Placement

 

Remember that trails used in former days by trappers often became today’s major roads. Cities are placed in areas where a living can be sustained. Many civilizations built cities upon older cities, because food, water, and ways to earn a living were available there. Roads were constructed upon trapper routes because the trappers usually took the most accessible path from one place to another. Trappers required water and food along the way, so many times the trails were adjacent to a river or sea. We also realize that roads nearly always lead to cities. We used these known facts and clues from the Book of Mormon, as well as common sense, in placing the roads and cities from the Book of Mormon.

 

Let’s look at an area in New York that could have hosted the sea east [also referred to as the east sea in the Book of Mormon], as described by Nephites. This area needs to be east of the land of Zarahemla, but scriptures do not state that it was east of the land of Bountiful. Roads would stop, or go around the east sea. There is an area which stands out: the Finger Lakes area. It makes a lot of sense that in early Nephite days, the Finger Lakes region was the sea East. We have already determined the position of the east wilderness. The sea east has to be just east of the eastern wilderness.

 

Alma 50:9 

And it came to pass that when Moroni had driven all the Lamanites out of the east wilderness, which was north of the lands of their own possessions, he caused that the inhabitants who were in the land of Zarahemla and in the land round about should go forth into the east wilderness, even to the borders by the seashore, and possess the land. [italics added]

 

If the furthest east Alma identifies in Bountiful is the Hill Cumorah, then the east wilderness and the sea east would also line up with this eastern boundary, and the east wilderness was north of Lamanite lands in the land of Nephi. The entrance to the land of Nephi is south of the east wilderness. Alma 50:9 announced that Captain Moroni caused Nephites to build cities on the shore of the sea east, into the east wilderness; it seems that Nephites possessed lands that were on the seashore and partly in the east wilderness. Again, the Finger Lakes region fits the description. Nephite authors do not provide much detail for what was east of the sea east, so we do not know the length or the breadth of the sea east. This supports the theory that the east sea would also line up with the east wilderness and the Hill Ramah/Cumorah area. The sea east is the eastern boundary of Zarahemla. Seneca Lake fits the description well, and we feel that Seneca and Cayuga Lakes were at a higher level in Book of Mormon times. The sudden lowering of Lake Ontario by 125 feet, which created the Niagara River, is enough evidence that groundwater would have been at a higher level. We assume both modern Seneca and Cayuga Lakes would have been included in the Nephites’ sea east. It appears that this is the right place as it fits the region, terrain, and the positioning of the sea east. Incidentally, the two western Finger Lakes are manmade, and would not have been a part of the east sea in Alma 50.

 

After placing the east sea of the Nephites in the Finger Lakes area, we can readily see how New York roads go around, not through, this area on the map below. There is a modern-day road that we believe was initially the Nephite transportation road from city to city on the east side. This road is west of the sea, but inside the wilderness, as described in the Book of Mormon. Nephites built cities on the seashore of the sea east in the wilderness.

 
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The photograph above shows Seneca Lake by Geneva,  New York, shot from the road close to the lake. That road or path is at a higher elevation than the lake itself.

Section 5

East Wilderness, Ammonihah, and Noah Placement

 
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In this picture, we can see road #1 goes just west of the sea east. West of that is a wilderness area, called the east wilderness in the Book of Mormon, outlined in this picture by a large black triangle. As described in the Book of Mormon, the Nephites built several cities between the sea east and the east wilderness and would need a transportation road from city to city. Notice that road #1 on this current New York map borders the west side of a finger lake, north to south,  and that road #2 (Interstate 390) cuts a southeast line by the Nephite’s east wilderness, with no large roads currently appearing in the wilderness triangle, indicating today that roads still go around that wilderness area.  

 

Because of the rugged terrain evident in this picture, we also notice there are not many roads which run north/south in this area from southern New York to northern Pennsylvania. There is a road (#3) which goes north from Tioga and Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, to New York before splitting, that we labeled Lamanite Entrance in the preceding map. The east road goes to the east wilderness (#4). Road #2 travels northwest to Batavia (city of Zarahemla), and road #5 leads west to the Jasper (Noah) area. We believe the Nephite city, Ammonihah, was situated in the Corning, New York area, and that the city of Noah is close /to the current city of Jasper, New York, for reasons detailed later. Let’s see how the cities would line up as described in the Book of Mormon.

 

Alma 16:2-3

2 For behold, the armies of the Lamanites had come in upon the (south) wilderness side, into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah, and began to slay the people and destroy the city.

 

3 And now it came to pass, before the Nephites could raise a sufficient army to drive them out of the land, they had destroyed the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, and also some around the borders of Noah, and taken others captive into the wilderness. (parentheses and emphasis added)

 

Ammonihah was the Nephite city closest to the Lamanites’ entrance into the land of Zarahemla. Remember at this time the Lamanites controlled the east and south wilderness. No wonder that Lamanites destroyed Ammonihah before anyone could respond to the call; there was little security for cities on the edge of Nephite boundaries. We will further correlate events with the city of Ammonihah later in Section Two. The Nephites were starting to establish the land of Zarahemla at this time. The only cities mentioned in early sections of the book of Alma are Zarahemla, Gideon, Noah, and Ammonihah; it was more common to say the land of Zarahemla.

 

Section 6

Land of Jershon

 

Seven Lamanite cities in the land of Nephi (land of Ishmael) were converted to the church by the missionary efforts of Ammon and his brethren, per the record in Alma 23. Stirred up by Nephite apostate Amalekites and Amulonites living in the land, the Lamanites were determined to destroy those who converted. To protect Lamanite converts, the Nephites gave up the land of Jershon, which was by the land of Bountiful on the eastern side, according to verses in Alma 27.

 

Alma 27:22, 24

22 And it came to pass that the voice of the people came, saying: Behold, we will give up the land of Jershon, which is 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.

 

24 … they may inherit the land Jershon; and we will guard them from their enemies with our armies, on condition that they will give us a portion of their substance to assist us that we may maintain our armies. (italics added)

 

If the land of Jershon is south of the land of Bountiful on the east side of the boundaries, then Jershon would be found south of line #1 on the map below. Jershon’s eastern border was just west of the sea east. This is boundary line #2. Bountiful would be north of the black line (#1); Zarahemla is south of the black border. The sea east is east of the black line (#2). The land of Jershon is in the corner of this connecting line (southwest). Now we have the land of Jershon on the map.

 

Alma 27:26  90-77 B.C.

… they went down into the land of Jershon, and took possession of the land of Jershon; and they were called by the Nephites the people of Ammon; therefore they were distinguished by that name ever after. (italics added)

 
 
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Section 7

Up, Down, North, South Descriptions

 

The words up and down mean just that when used by Nephite authors—up and down in elevation. People today commonly use up and down instead of “north” or “south” in their descriptions, but consistently throughout the Book of Mormon, it is north for north and south for south; phrases up and down are solely used for elevation changes. Nephite descriptions do fit the New York area because Nephites would have to go up in elevation to reach the land of Nephi in Pennsylvania, and Nephites leaving the land of Nephi to travel back to Zarahemla would go down in elevation.

 

There are mountains between the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla. We must go down from the hills to reach the land of Zarahemla, as well as go down from the hills to reach the land of Nephi. The river Sidon must flow to the north. As you follow the description in the Book of Mormon, the ground is higher between the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla, so travelers came down in elevation to get to Zarahemla, and then the River Sidon flowed north to the sea.

 

Alma 28:1-3  77-76 B.C.

1 And now it came to pass that after the people of Ammon were established in the land of Jershon, and a church also established in the land of Jershon, and the armies of the Nephites were set round about the land of Jershon, yea, in all the borders round about the land of Zarahemla; behold the armies of the Lamanites had followed their brethren into the wilderness.

 

2 And thus there was a tremendous battle; yea, even such an one as never had been known among all the people in the land from the time Lehi left Jerusalem; yea, and tens of thousands of the Lamanites were slain and scattered abroad.

 

3 Yea, and also there was a tremendous slaughter among the people of Nephi; nevertheless, the Lamanites were driven and scattered, and the people of Nephi returned again to their land. (italics added)

 

The surviving Lamanite armies were driven and scattered abroad. Next, the land discussion shifts to Antionum.  

 

Section 8

The Land of Antionum

 

Nephites described the land of Antionum as being south of the land of Jershon. With its proximity to the Lamanites, it would have been simple for Zoramite dissenters from the area to meet with  Lamanites (in the east wilderness) and convince them to come and attack the Nephites.

 

Alma 31:3

Now the Zoramites had gathered themselves together in a land which they called Antionum, which was east of the land of Zarahemla, which lay nearly bordering upon the sea shore, which was south of the land of Jershon, which also bordered upon (in) the wilderness (going) south, which wilderness was full of the Lamanites. (parentheses and italics added)

 

Zoramites inhabited the land Antionum, which was east by the seashore and south of Jershon by the wilderness. Here in Antionum, the Zoramites dissented, as explained in the next verses.

 

Alma 30:8 

Now the Zoramites were dissenters from the Nephites; therefore they had had the word of God preached unto them.

 

Because of their poverty, poor people were driven out of the land of Antionum by elitist Zoramites. These refugees found Alma at the hill Onidah, and Alma began to teach them.

 

Alma 32:4 

Now, as Alma was teaching and speaking unto the people upon the hill Onidah, there came a great multitude unto him, who were those of whom we have been speaking, of whom were poor in heart, because of their poverty as to the things of the world.

 

Could the hill Onidah correspond today with the Sugar Hill State Park area in New York, and be the place where one of the best sermons on faith delivered to humble people expelled from Antionum because of their poverty? 

 
 
 
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Alma 35:10-11

10 Now this did stir up the Zoramites to anger against the people of Ammon, and they began to mix with the Lamanites and to stir them up also to anger against them.

 

11 And thus the Zoramites and the Lamanites began to make preparations for war against the people of Ammon, and also against the Nephites.

 

Alma 43:4 

4 For behold, it came to pass that the Zoramites became Lamanites; therefore, in the commencement of the eighteenth year the people of the Nephites saw that the Lamanites were coming upon them; therefore they made preparations for war; yea, they gathered together their armies in the land of Jershon. (italics added)

 

From this time forward, the Zoramites were known as Lamanites, and those Zoramites successfully stirred up Lamanites to war against the Nephites. The Lamanites went into the land of Antionum.

 

Alma 43:5-8

5  And it came to pass that the Lamanites came with their thousands; and they came into the land of Antionum, which is the land of the Zoramites; and a man by the name of Zerahemnah was their leader.

 

And now, as the Amalekites were of a more wicked and murderous disposition than the Lamanites were, in and of themselves, therefore, Zerahemnah appointed chief captains over the Lamanites, and they were all Amalekites and Zoramites.

 

Now this he did that he might preserve their hatred towards the Nephites, that he might bring them into subjection to the accomplishment of his designs.

 

For behold, his designs were to stir up the Lamanites to anger against the Nephites; this he did that he might usurp great power over them, and also that he might gain power over the Nephites by bringing them into bondage. (italics added)

 

Notice that these verses refer to “the land of Jershon” and “the land of Antionum.” Nephite cities were not well established here, hence the reference to “the land of…” Lamanites deliberately chose apostate Amalekites and Zoramites as leaders because of their hatred towards their people, the Nephites.  

 
 
 

Section 9

Land of Melek

 

The Nephites had a hard time protecting the people of Ammon (originally named the Anti-Nephi-Lehies), who were Lamanites that converted to the gospel of Christ through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren. The Zoramites and the Lamanites were continually trying to destroy the people of Ammon, so Nephites moved the people of Ammon to the land of Melek.

 

Alma 35:13  74 B.C.

And the people of Ammon departed out of the land of Jershon, and came over into the land of Melek, and gave place in the land of Jershon for the armies of the Nephites, that they might contend with the armies of the Lamanites and the armies of the Zoramites; and thus commenced a war betwixt the Lamanites and the Nephites ... (italics added)

 

Ammon and his people moved to the land of Melek to give a place for the Nephite army to battle the Lamanites near Jershon. At this time the land of Melek must have been a more secure place.

 

Alma 8:3 

And it came to pass in the commencement of the tenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, that Alma departed from thence and took his journey over into the land of Melek, on the west of the river Sidon, on the west by the borders of the wilderness. (italics added)

 

Alma 8:3 describes the location of the land of Melek, which is west of the river Sidon, and by the borders of the wilderness. This is talking about the area that goes north on the west side in the south wilderness. This would put the wilderness just west of the city of Melek. 

 

Alma 8:6

when he had finished his work at Melek he departed thence, and traveled three days’ journey on the north of the land of Melek; and when he came to a city which was called Ammonihah. (Highlights added)

 

The direction he was headed was east. Going west would take them to the south wilderness (west of Melek). No cities would have been west as this is the Lamanite area. The Lamanites lived off the wilderness and wild game, not in cities. It also makes sense that he says on the north side of Melek. There are two roads in this area. It clarifies that he took the north road. It also says he traveled three days to Ammonihah.

 

Alma 8:13 

and caused that he should be cast out of their city, he departed thence and took his journey towards the city which was called Aaron.

 

So he headed towards Aaron after being kicked out of Ammonihah. The Lord told him to go back to Ammonihah.

 

Alma 8:18  

he returned speedily to the land of Ammonihah. And he entered the city by another way, yea, by the way which is on the south of the city of Ammonihah.

 

Melek (Wellsville area) is mentioned as being at the west side of the River Sidon. Aaron (Belmont area) is mentioned as south of the River Sidon. Ammonihah is three days’ travel from Melek. Ammonihah (Corning area) was the city that was destroyed in one day. Positioned here, it would be the first city the Lamanites approached, coming up from Pennsylvania/Land of Nephi.

 
 
 
 
 
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Alma 15: 1 

And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek were commanded to depart out of that city; and they departed, and came out even into the land of Sidom; and behold, there they found all the people who had departed out of the land of Ammonihah, who had been cast out and stoned, because they believed in the words of Alma.

 

The land of Sidom must have been close to Ammonihah. We will tentatively place it just north of Ammonihah, since we feel they would choose to be closer to Nephite lands than Lamanite lands.

Alma 16:2-8

2 For behold, the armies of the Lamanites had come in upon the (south) wilderness side, into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah, and began to slay the people and destroy the city.

 

3 And now it came to pass, before the Nephites could raise a sufficient army to drive them out of the land, they had destroyed the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, and also some around the borders of Noah, and taken others captive into the wilderness.

 

4 Now it came to pass that the Nephites were desirous to obtain those who had been carried away captive into the (south) wilderness.

 

5 Therefore, he that had been appointed chief captain over the armies of the Nephites, (and his name was Zoram, and he had two sons, Lehi and Aha)—now Zoram and his two sons, knowing that Alma was high priest over the church, and having heard that he had the spirit of prophecy, therefore they went unto him and desired of him to know whither the Lord would that they should go into the wilderness in search of their brethren, who had been taken captive by the Lamanites.

 

6 And it came to pass that Alma inquired of the Lord concerning the matter. And Alma returned and said unto them: Behold, the Lamanites will cross the river Sidon in the south wilderness, away up beyond the borders of the land of Manti. And behold there shall ye meet them, on the east of the river Sidon, and there the Lord will deliver unto thee thy brethren who have been taken captive by the Lamanites.

 

7 And it came to pass that Zoram and his sons crossed over the river Sidon, with their armies, and marched away beyond the borders of Manti into the south wilderness, which was on the east side of the river Sidon.

 

8 And they came upon the armies of the Lamanites, and the Lamanites were scattered and driven into the wilderness; and they took their brethren who had been taken captive by the Lamanites, and there was not one soul of them had been lost that were taken captive. And they were brought by their brethren to possess their own lands. (Highlights added)

 

The Lamanites went past Ammonihah to go to the city Noah, probably straight west of Ammonihah, for that fits well. The Lamanites would have utilized the south wilderness to gain access to the city Noah to attack.

 

Alma 8:6 

So that when he had finished his work at Melek he departed thence, and traveled three days’ journey on the north of the land of Melek; and he came to a city which was called Ammonihah.

 
 
 

Section 10

Travel Time to Ammonihah

 

In the previous verse, Alma traveled east to the city of Ammonihah, three days’ travel on the north side of Melek. In the picture below, it shows that if a person walked the most northerly route above Belmont, it would take 21 hours and 23 minutes (21 hours divided by 3 = 7 hours travel per day), approximately, to go from the north of Melek to Ammonihah (which city seems to fit the Corning area), according to googlemaps.com. The south road is Lamanite territory, and the north road is used by the Nephites. (This section of the Book of Mormon occurred before Nephites and Lamanites  divided the territory at the south wilderness.)  The Lamanites had great access from the southern section, allowing them to attack the Nephites without any warning.  

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Section 11

Entrance from Land of Nephi to the Land of Zarahemla

 

At this point, Captain Moroni cleared out the area south and east area of Zarahemla. They pushed the Lamanites south of the east wilderness, back to their own lands. It make sense that the entrance into the land of Nephi is south of the east wilderness. There is a valley between two mountains that Lamanites would have entered to go to the land of Zarahemla. This entrance is just south of the wilderness, and south of Ammonihah (Corning), as described in the Book of Mormon.wn text and edit me. It's easy.

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Alma 50:7,9-11

… Moroni caused that his armies should go forth into the east wilderness; yea, and they went forth and drove all the Lamanites who were in the east wilderness into their own lands, which were south of the land of Zarahemla.

 

9 … when Moroni had driven all the Lamanites out of the east wilderness, which was north of the lands of their own possessions, he caused that the inhabitants who were in the land of Zarahemla and in the land round about should go forth into the east wilderness, even to the borders by the seashore, and possess the land.

 

10 And he also placed armies on the south, … that they might secure their armies and their people from the hands of their enemies.

 

11 … he cut off all the strongholds of the Lamanites in the east wilderness, yea, and also on the west, 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—the Nephites possessing all the land northward, … 72-67 BC (Highlights added)

 

 
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Today there are five roads from Pennsylvania and Ohio to the Western New York area.

Section 12

Fifth Route

 
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This journey would take you from the Middoni area (land of Nephi)  to the Lamanites ground which is west of the land of Zarahemla. There are no known scriptures which talk about travel in the Book of Mormon. We know that it was plausible that the Lamanites used it. It is also important to note that both water and food are available by this route.

Section 13

 Third and Forth Routes

 

These two routes are very treacherous. There is no known travel in the book of Mormon because it is a mountainous area of high & challenging terrain, as well as limitations on food and water.

 

Section 14

Second Route

 

This route was used by the Nephites and the Lamanites later part of the book of Alma. The position of this route makes it one of the most likely courses preferred by the Lamanites. The Amalekites and the Mulonites with the help of the Lamanites built the city of Jerusalem in Alma 21. With Jerusalem built it made it possible for travel from the land of Nephi to the land of Zarahemla. It still was treacherous and hard travel, but it seems that times in the Book of Mormon the Lamanites did use this way of travel to attack the Nephites. This route made it easy for a gathering place for the Lamanites and the Dissenters to gather and then to pull together an army. After the collection of the Lamanites, they would exit to the land of Zarahemla to attack. In the book of Mormon, it talks about Alma’s travel from the River Sidon to the Jerusalem area. It is also important to note that both water and food are available but at a lower supply on this route.

 

Section 15

First Route

Route one is the most popular route taken in the first part of Alma. It talks about this route as being south of the East wilderness. Moroni setup protection first in this area. This area is southeast part of the land of Zarahemla. From the east side of Zarahemla, this journey would be much shorter to get to the east wilderness. There is also a big valley allowing for food and water for big groups of Lamanites to enter the land of Zarahemla.

 

This route also brings knowledge to Limhi’s groups traveling to the land of Ramah/Cumorah.  The road comes up from Pennsylvania through Lawrenceville on the east side. Route one is just south of the East Wilderness. Twice in Alma chapter 50, quoted above, the Book of Mormon stresses that Lamanite land is south of the east wilderness, and north of the land of Nephi. In the Book of Mormon, this route fits a lot of times of the attacks from the Lamanites. It answers how ten of thousands of Lamanites could exit the land of Nephi and be able to attack the Nephites.

 

This way of travel makes the most sense because Lamanites would likely prefer traversing valleys rather than going over the mountains. Going around a mountain is more accessible than traveling over it. In this area of New York, many mountains run east and west. If the Lamanites moved northward, it would force them to cross many mountains to reach the land of Zarahemla. Route #1 has a clear opened valley which made this way of travel more natural than the rest.

 

Again, scriptures in Alma 50: 7-9 state that the east wilderness is north of the valley going between the east wilderness and the land of Nephi. This road to New York allows travel to the east wilderness, the city of Zarahemla, and the River Sidon area. This route also makes sense as the preferred Lamanite route, since it would take them back to the land of their first inheritance or land of Nephi.

 

The photograph below shows it would be easy to imagine a Lamanite army going north from the south wilderness in this valley between the land of Nephi, a clear path to the land of Zarahemla.

 
 
 
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How was Moroni able to secure the land enough to give assurance of protection to the Nephites? The scriptures provide clear answers. Now that we have laid out the east sea’s position, River Sidon position, and marked the roads in the southeast side, this path leads to the land of Nephi. Let’s start placing the cities and roads to connect stories from the Book of Mormon.

Section 16

City of Moroni Placement

 

Alma 50:12-13

12 Thus Moroni, with his armies, which did increase daily because of the assurance of protection which his works did bring forth unto them, did seek to cut off the strength and the power of the Lamanites from off the lands of their possessions, that they should have no power upon the lands of their possession.

 

13 And it came to pass that the Nephites began the foundation of a city, and they called the name of the city Moroni; and it was by the east sea; and it was on the south by the line of the possessions of the Lamanites. (Highlights added)

 

According to the preceding verses, the city of Moroni was built on the southeast corner of the land of Zarahemla, by the east sea (sea east). Nephites deliberately made the city close to the start of the South Wilderness or the land of the Lamanites. Verse 12 emphasizes that the Nephites had confidence in Captain Moroni’s assurance of protection. The city of Moroni had to be built in a very secure place, as it must secure entry into the land of Zarahemla. In this case, a Nephite army would protect the boundary which separated Nephites from Lamanites here and would stop the progress of  Lamanites trying to enter both the land of Zarahemla and the East Wilderness.

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The great Nephite captain saw advantages to positioning the city of Moroni (Bath area) at the south by the wilderness, and east by the east sea (Sea East), as described in the book. Thus, Captain Moroni was able to secure enough of the land that he could see attacking Lamanites coming from the land of Nephi. After we placed the city of Moroni here, just north of a major travel route, things started to come together for us.  The Nephites had faith that they could secure more of the land by building their cities north and west from Moroni, which was on the southeast corner of their land.

Alma 51:24-25

24 And those who fled out of the city of Moroni came to the city of Nephihah; and also the people of the city of Lehi gathered themselves together, and made preparations and were ready to receive the Lamanites to battle

 

25 But it came to pass that Amalickiah would not suffer the Lamanites to go against the city of Nephihah to battle, but kept them down by the seashore, leaving men in every city to maintain and defend it. (Highlights added)

 

Section 17

City Placement of Nephihah, Lehi, Morianton, Omner, Gid and Mulek

 
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Alma 51:26 

And thus he went on, taking possession of many cities, the city of Nephihah, and the city of Lehi, and the city of Morianton, and the city of Omner, and the city of Gid, and the city of Mulek, all of which were on the east borders by the seashore.

 

Captain Moroni provided a list of the major cities in this area (see Alma 51:24-26). He named them in order, going from the city Moroni to the city Mulek. The Lamanites battled and took possession of these important cities until they were stopped just south of Bountiful. The scriptures tell us that the city of Mulek is just south of Bountiful. As we prove the layout on the east side by Book of Mormon scriptures, we will see the connection between these cities and the city of Bountiful. Let’s position the cities now about current-day New York, as in the map above.

 
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First, we need to address a battle which took place between two major cities, Lehi and Morianton. What issue may have caused the Nephites to fight each other for the land, to the point of bloodshed? As we placed Lehi at Dundee area and Morianton by Penn Yan, and physically examined the territory in modern New York, we determined that the fight could have been about water rights. We need water to live; life and survival were on the line for the people of Morianton, and if a river changed course or a group dammed up a portion of a waterway that fed another city, this could stir up much anger. Placing the cities here would also secure the east wilderness, and block the land travel Lamanites would use.

 

The Nephites saw the need to secure the shoreline of the Sea east continuously. Lamanite descendants (including the American Indians; see Introduction to the Book of Mormon) are known for using canoes and boats. If using boats, Lamanites could conceivably travel across the sea east, and by-pass the cities of Lehi and Morianton that blocked the land travel.   

 

Omner was the next city mentioned; we placed it at the next crossroad since crossroads would likely lead to each major city. That would put Omner around the Gotham area, and Gid at Geneva. At Gid, Captain Moroni gave the Lamanites wine to drink. Lamanites became drunk, and Nephites then took the city of Gid without bloodshed (Alma 55:7-16). The story follows:

Alma 55:7-16

Now the Nephites were guarded in the city of Gid; therefore Moroni appointed Laman and caused that a small number of men should go with him.

 

8 And when it was evening Laman went to the guards who were over the Nephites, and behold, they saw him coming and they hailed him; but he saith unto them: Fear not; behold, I am a Lamanite. Behold, we have escaped from the Nephites, and they sleep; and behold we have taken of their wine and brought with us.

 

9 Now when the Lamanites heard these words they received him with joy; and they said unto him: Give us of your wine, that we may drink; we are glad that ye have thus taken wine with you for we are weary.

 

10 But Laman said unto them: Let us keep of our wine till we go against the Nephites to battle. But this saying only made them more desirous to drink of the wine;

 

11 For, said they: We are weary, therefore let us take of the wine, and by and by we shall receive wine for our rations, which will strengthen us to go against the Nephites.

 

12 And Laman said unto them: You may do according to your desires.

 

13 And it came to pass that they did take of the wine freely; and it was pleasant to their taste, therefore they took of it more freely; and it was strong, having been prepared in its strength.

 

14 And it came to pass they did drink and were merry, and by and by they were all drunken.

 

15 And now when Laman and his men saw that they were all drunken, and were in a deep sleep, they returned to Moroni and told him all the things that had happened.

 

16 And now this was according to the design of Moroni. And Moroni had prepared his men with weapons of war; and he went to the city Gid, while the Lamanites were in a deep sleep and drunken, and cast in weapons of war unto the prisoners, insomuch that they were all armed;

 

Before knowing the town today hosts vineyards, we placed Gid near Geneva area. Vineyards cannot grow everywhere; soil and weather conditions must be just right. To discover a vineyard around Geneva after we put Gid in this area, was a marvelous confirmation that we were on the right track; the scripture story matched the terrain, and Moroni would not have to look far for wine to give the Lamanites. In our travels through most of western New York, we only saw two vineyards: one at Gid/Geneva, and one in the southwest by Lake Erie (Lamanite territory).

 
 
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Continuing northward from Gid, we place the Nephite city Mulek at the next crossroad, Clifton Springs, New York area. According to the Book of Mormon (Alma 52:22-23,27), the city of Bountiful is just north of Mulek.

 

Alma 52:22-23,27

22 Therefore he caused that Teancum should take a small number of men and march down near the seashore; and Moroni and his army, by night, marched in the wilderness, on the west of the city Mulek; and thus, on the morrow, when the guards of the Lamanites had discovered Teancum, they ran and told it unto Jacob, their leader.

 

23 And it came to pass that the armies of the Lamanites did march forth against Teancum, Supposing by their numbers to overpower Teancum because of the smallness of his numbers. And as Teancum saw the armies of the Lamanites coming out against him he began to retreat down by the seashore (of the sea east), northward.

 

27 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did pursue Teancum until they came near the city Bountiful, and then they were met by Lehi and a small army, which had been left to protect the city Bountiful.(Highlights added) 

 

There is nothing in section one about the city of Bountiful. We could say”- This puts the city of Bountiful at the Palmyra area. With this information, it connects our first section (Bountiful) with this second section (Zarahemla), and it accounts for each significant crossroad in this area of modern New York, from the southeast corner of Nephite lands, clear up to the land of Bountiful, traveling north.

 

We positioned the city of Bountiful at Palmyra, as Palmyra is just north of Clifton Springs, and on the next crossroad. With the placement of Bountiful city at Palmyra, the books of Alma, Ether, and Mormon all connect and agree in their descriptions and directions of the cities in this area.

 

The city Mulek is south of Bountiful (Alma 52:27), and the sea east is just east of Mulek (Alma 52:22). We also can say that the east wilderness is south of bountiful (Alma 52:23). We know that all of these cities mentioned, the scriptures tell us that these cities were built between the East Wilderness and the East Sea. It all fits together and matches, as we account for all the crossroads from the city Moroni (southeast corner of the Nephite lands) to the city of Bountiful at the northeast area.

 

In section 1, we correlated descriptions and cities of Book of Mormon lands in modern New York, from the land of Desolation (northwest corner of the land of Bountiful) to the northeast corner of the land of Bountiful, reaching to Hill Ramah/Cumorah. We also quoted scripture that maintains the furthest point east of the land Bountiful is Ramah/Cumorah. Now quoting scripture again, we show that the east wilderness/sea matches are on the boundary of Zarahemla. Once more, we emphasize the fact that the record in Ether, Mormon, and Alma all fit and correlate: one voice together.

 
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The picture just below on the left shows red lines that define the major roads in this area of modern New York which run east-west. The picture on the right positions Nephite cities on those designated roads. All the major roads are put to secure the east boundaries of the land of Zarahemla. We place the Hill Cumorah between the markings of Bountiful and Mulek, and again note that Book of Mormon writers mentions no lands or cities further east than the Hill Cumorah/Ramah/east sea. The eastern boundary of the land of Zarahemla is the sea east. Next to the sea east is the east wilderness. The east border of Bountiful and Zarahemla do line up with each other. There is evidence that a sea used to exist here, and there is a wilderness here as described in the Book of Mormon.

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Section 18

Positioning the cities of Nephihah and Aaron

 

The next question to address: how did Moroni secure the land going west from Moroni?

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Alma 50:1-6

1 Moroni did not stop making preparations for war, or to defend his people against the Lamanites; for he caused “…that they should commence in digging up heaps of earth round about all the cities, throughout all the land which was possessed by the Nephites.

 

 2 And upon the top of these ridges of earth he caused that there should be timbers, yea, works of timbers built up to the height of a man, round about the cities.

 

3 And he caused that upon those works of timbers there should be a frame of pickets built upon the timbers round about; and they were strong and high.

 

4 And he caused towers to be erected that overlooked those works of pickets, and he caused places of security to be built upon those towers, that the stones and the arrows of the Lamanites could not hurt them.

 

5 And they were prepared that they could cast stones from the top thereof, according to their pleasure and their strength, and slay him who should attempt to approach near the walls of the city.

 

6 Thus Moroni did prepare strongholds against the coming of their enemies, round about every city in all the land."

 

Alma 50:14  

And they also began a foundation for a city between the city of Moroni and the city of Aaron, joining the borders of Aaron and Moroni; and they called the name of the city, or the land, Nephihah.

 

Today, there are three hills with valleys that fit this location described in Alma 50. Between the cities of Bath (Moroni), Hornell (Nephihah), and Aaron (Belmont), there are hills between each city. Perhaps it was here where the Nephites erected those towers mentioned in Alma 50. From these viewpoints, guards could easily see Lamanites entering the valleys, and have enough time to respond to threats.

 

The road marked “Lamanite Entrance” in the map below signifies a passage or entryway Lamanites used when approaching the city Moroni, but it would also give the Lamanites access to the road leading to Nephihah, and eventually, to the city of Zarahemla. There is also a road from the Lamanite Entrance—faint on the map below, but leading westward—that Lamanites could travel towards Aaron (marked). That road to the city Aaron is an important one, for it also marks access to the River of Sidon area. Moroni secured the area from the east wilderness to the River Sidon area by placing three cities here, as shown.

 
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One more scripture that helps us understand the placement of Nephihah is Alma 56:25.  Armies of the Lamanite king, Ammoron, were on the west side by the River Sidon and did not want to cross the River Sidon east to Nephihah (Alma 56:25).

 

Alma 56: 25 

Neither durst they march down (elevation) against the city of Zarahemla; neither durst they cross the head of Sidon, over to the city of Nephihah.

 

Remember that “down” to Book of Mormon writers does not mean traveling in a southward direction; instead, the Lamanites were reluctant to go down in elevation to attack the city of Zarahemla. Similarly, the Lamanites did not want to cross the River Sidon and go to Nephihah to battle. The comparison used by Helaman here indicates that Nephihah was not positioned at the seashore, but was between the River Sidon and the sea east.

 

The layout we show in maps above and below are the best fit to the Book of Mormon stories, and help us to understand the stories and strategies employed by Moroni. The valleys, hills, terrain, and spacing between the cities in New York fit the descriptions given by ancient writers. It shows how Moroni could secure and protect the land of Zarahemla on the south from the east wilderness (southeast corner) to the middle of the area (the River Sidon). There is evidence of land shifts in the southeast corner, according to Geologists, which probably occurred at the time of Christ’s crucifixion.

 

Looking at this map below, we can more easily see how Moroni employed a strategy to secure the Nephite lands from the sea east to the River Sidon Area, running east to west.

 
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Section 19

Travel Routes for the Nephites and Lamanites

 

Alma 8:6  

So that when he had finished his work at Melek he departed thence, and traveled three days’ journey on the north of the land of Melek; and he came to a city which was called Ammonihah.

 

In Alma 8:6 above, it says that the prophet Alma traveled “on the north of the land of Melek.” Since Alma clarified his path was a north route leading to Ammonihah, it is reasonable to assume that there was also a south route. (Review pages 18-19.) As a reminder, we place the city of Ammonihah in the Corning, New York area. The north road (designated as “North Melek Road on the map below) was utilized by Nephites to reach Ammonihah, while the south road (designated as “South Melek Road” was used by Lamanites. Situated inside the south wilderness in this layout,  South Melek Road gave the Lamanites access to three Nephite valleys without being seen. As stated previously, Captain Moroni recognized the security problem and blocked the Lamanites from entering the land of Zarahemla by building new cities, Moroni, Nephihah, and Aaron, in these valleys, thus halting easy access to the River Sidon, the city of Zarahemla, and the east wilderness.

 

 
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Look at the North Melek Road about three New York cities. Bath, Hornell, and Belmont are south of the North Melek Road. Alma and other Nephites traveling the north road to the three cities would avoid Lamanite attacks since they would experience more protection on the back side of the line.  Additionally, Moroni placed towers atop the mountains, so Nephites would be able to see approaching Lamanites before armies reached their cities.

 

The South Melek Road, the Lamanites, traveled goes through the modern New York cities of Corning, Jasper, and Wellsville. The Lamanites did not have to worry about Nephites attacking them—time and time again in the Book of Mormon, Nephite dissenters joined the Lamanites instead of attacking them. Lamanites did not need to secure their cities in the Nephite manner.

 

Let’s place the River Sidon on the map according to descriptions in the Book of Mormon. It should flow north, and flow to the sea. In New York, there is a famous river, the Genesee, that runs down the valley from Wellsville, Belmont, Houghton, Fillmore, Nunda and Mt. Morris. The Genesee River flows northward, not southward as most rivers in the area, and flows to the sea, emptying into Lake Ontario. The importance of the River Sidon will be in the following section.

Section 20

Hill Amnihu, Land of Gideon and the City of Gideon

 
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Alma chapter 2 contains a story about the Amlicites (apostate Nephites) attacking the Nephites at a hill east of Sidon.

 

Alma 2:15 

And it came to pass that the Amlicites came upon the hill Amnihu, which was east of the river Sidon, which ran by the land of Zarahemla, and there they began to make war with the Nephites.

 

Mount Morris, New York fits the description of the Nephite hill Amnihu that is east of the River Sidon, since the Town of Mount Morris is east of the Genesee River, with valleys close. Other information in this story helps us position the land and cities in this section of the land of Zarahemla.

 

Alma 2:17-18 

17 And they began to slay the Amlicites upon the hill east of Sidon. And the Amlicites did contend with the Nephites with great strength, insomuch that many of the Nephites did fall before the Amlicites.

 

18 Nevertheless the Lord did strengthen the hand of the Nephites, that they slew the Amlicites with great slaughter, that they began to flee before them.

 

The fight between Amlicites and Nephites occurred east of the River Sidon, and the Amlicites began to flee before the Nephites, heading south and then west, moving them closer to Lamanite territory. Continuing Alma 2:

 

Alma 2:19-20

19 And it came to pass that the Nephites did pursue the Amlicites all that day, and did slay them with much slaughter, insomuch that there were slain of the Amlicites twelve thousand five hundred thirty and two souls; and there were slain of the Nephites six thousand five hundred sixty and two souls.

 

20 And it came to pass that when Alma could pursue the Amlicites no longer he caused that his people should pitch their tents in the valley of Gideon, the valley being called after that Gideon who was slain by the hand of Nehor with the sword; and in this valley the Nephites did pitch their tents for the night.

 

The Nephites chased Amlicites to the valley of Gideon. The city of Gideon would have been around Nunda, New York and the valley of Gideon between Hill Amnihu (Mount Morris) and Nunda.

 
 
 
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The Nephites chased Amlicites to the valley of Gideon. The city of Gideon would have been around Nunda, New York and the valley of Gideon between Hill Amnihu (Mount Morris) and Nunda.

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In this photo of the Genesee River, taken in October 2013, one can see the river is hard to cross due to cliffs. It makes sense that Nephites always passed at the head of the River Sidon, rather than in the middle. Even today there are no major cities here in New York because the Genesee River/River Sidon is at the bottom of a deep, narrow canyon. Calling this area a valley still fits the land today. Alma sent spies to follow the Amlicites. The next morning they came back and reported that the Amlicites joined forces with the Lamanites.

 

Alma 2:24

24 Behold, we followed the camp of the Amlicites, and to our great astonishment, in the land of Minon, above (in) the land of Zarahemla, in the course (pathway to) of the land of Nephi, we saw a numerous host of the Lamanites; and behold, the Amlicites have joined them;

 
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Alma 2:25 

And they are upon our brethren in that land; and they are fleeing before them with their flocks, and their wives, and their children, towards our city (Zarahemla); and except we make haste they obtain possession of our city (Zarahemla), and our fathers, and our wives, and our children will be slain.

 

In the map above, we placed the land of Minon in Cattaraugus County, New York, west of the river Sidon, and close to a wilderness area (Hermounts), that Lamanites inhabited.  One can see a pathway directly south of this spot that goes to the land of Nephi, or Pennsylvania area. Travelers going north on this path would eventually reach the City of Zarahemla, the central place of Nephite government. 

 

Reviewing Alma 2, the Amlicites attacked the Nephites on the east side of the River Sidon at hill Amnihu (Mount Morris).  The Nephites pursued the Lamanites to a valley called Gideon. There they pitched their tents and sent spies out to follow the Amlicites. They determined that the Amlicites joined forces with the Lamanites and could now travel north to the city of Zarahemla (Batavia, New York) and endanger the Nephite government. As the Nephites broke camp and determined to protect the city Zarahemla, they met the Amlicites and Lamanites on the west side of the River Sidon. The Amlicites probably met up with the Lamanites at the area below the  Gowanda, New York, or west of Melek. Instead of heading north to the city of Zarahemla (Batavia) as the Nephites had feared, the Amlicites and Lamanites headed east to the River Sidon, where they met the Nephite army traveling west.

 

As the Nephites battled the Amlicite/Lamanite army, they killed and destroyed many of the Amlicites and Lamanites at the River Sidon and pushed the remaining army west and north to a wilderness called Hermounts. This wilderness was infested with wild and ravenous beasts, and some Amlicites and Lamanites died there. According to Alma 2:37-38:

 

Alma 2:37-38

37 Yea, they were met on every hand, and slain and driven, until they were scattered on the west, and on the north, 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.

 

38 And it came to pass that many died in the wilderness of their wounds, and were devoured by those beasts and also the vultures of the air; and their bones have been found, and have been heaped up on the earth.

               

The writer declares in Alma 3 that the number of dead was too many to count, so the Nephites “buried” them in an unusual manner: they threw the bodies into the River Sidon, which flowed north to the sea (Lake Ontario). Considering the size of the Genesee River, its history of flooding, and the sides of its canyons, one can see how such an event could occur.

 

Alma 3:1-3

1 And it came to pass that the Nephites who were not slain by the weapons of war, after having buried those who had been slain—now the number of the slain were not numbered, because of the greatness of their number—after they had finished burying their dead they all returned to their lands, and to their houses, and their wives, and their children.

 

2 Now many women and children had been slain with the sword, and also many of their flocks and their herds; and also many of their fields of grain were destroyed, for they were trodden down by the hosts of men.

 

3 And now as many of the Lamanites and the Amlicites who had been slain upon the bank of the river Sidon were cast into the waters of Sidon; and behold their bones are in the depths of the sea, and they are many.

 

A Native American woman living in New York told Vaughn Hansen that many years ago, there was a big rain storm in the valley of the Genesee River. It rained hard, and after a few days, people found many bones everywhere, uncovered by the storm—exactly where the Book of Mormon describes battles that took the lives of many people. 

 

Alma 3:2 states that many women and children had been slain by the sword, as well as many flocks and herds; grain fields were trodden down. Fields are in this section of New York, for the area south of Gowanda is flatter and could sustain animals and grain fields. A little further south from that, however, is a mountainous area.

 
 
 

Section 21

Placement of the City of Zarahemla

 

Alma 2:24-25

24 Behold, we followed the camp of the Amlicites, and to our great astonishment, in the land of Minon, above (in) the land of Zarahemla, in the course (pathway) of the land of Nephi, we saw a numerous host of the Lamanites; and behold, the Amlicites have joined them;

 

25 And they are upon our brethren in that land; and they are fleeing before them with their flocks, and their wives, and their children, towards our city (Zarahemla); and except we make haste they obtain possession of our city (Zarahemla), and our fathers, and our wives, and our children will be slain.

 
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It is reasonable to assume that the city of Zarahemla is north of this entrance to the land of Zarahemla. We know that the Lamanites were on the west side of the River Sidon while the Nephites were east of the River Sidon. The scriptures tell us that the city of Zarahemla is directly north of the wilderness (Hermounts). We believe that the modern city of Batavia, New York was once the location for the Nephite city of Zarahemla. In the map above, one can see that numerous roads go out of Batavia, as it is an important city for trade and the center point for the area around.  As the Nephite prophets traveled from city to city, as described in the book of Alma, they would have gone in many directions also.  Batavia is also straight north of the area we were describing.

 

Alma 2:35-38

35 And it came to pass that when they had all crossed the river Sidon that the Lamanites and the Amlicites began to flee before them, notwithstanding they were so numerous that they could not be numbered.

36 And they fled before the Nephites towards the wilderness which was west and north, away beyond the borders of the land (Head of River Sidon); and the Nephites did pursue them with their might, and did slay them.

 

37 Yea, they were met on every hand, and slain and driven, until they were scattered on the west, and on the north, 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.

 

38 And it came to pass that many died in the wilderness of their wounds, and were devoured by those beasts and also the vultures of the air; and their bones have been found, and have been heaped up on the earth.

 

These verses help us to understand that there is a wilderness west and north of the crossing of the (Head of the) River Sidon and that this wilderness is full of wild and ravenous beasts. This area in New York today can fit the description of a wilderness. In ancient times, we would label this area as  Lamanite territory.

 

Section 22

City of Alma Placement

 

 

Interesting fact: there is a city called Alma, New York. It is towards the south section of this area, and just west of the Genesee River/River Sidon.

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Here is the information on Alma from the internet.

 

Quick facts of Alma, New York

Alma is a town in Allegany County, New York, United States.

 

The population was 842 at the 2010 census. The source of the town name is uncertain. It may come from the Latin word for "nourishing", or it may be named for a city in Germany. (Wikipedia)

How interesting to learn that there is a Alma, New York, with the source of the town name  uncertain. A (Prophet) name often used in the Book of Mormon… Next, let’s review the description for the River Jordan that is found in the LDS Bible Dictionary.

BD= Jordan River- The most important river of Palestine, formed by the union of several springs rising in Mount Hermon. It passes through the Huleh Valley (the waters of Merom), then descends to the Sea of Galilee. The total length of the river is well over 100 miles. [Note that the Genesee River runs south to north, approximately 158 miles through Pennsylvania and New York until it flows into Lake Ontario]

 

  1. The Jordan River was the most important river in Palestine. The River Sidon is the most important river for the Nephites.

  2. The Jordan River flows through the water of Merom. The water of Merom sounds similar to the “waters of Mormon.”

  3. The Sidon River would flow through the waters of Mormon.

  4. It would make sense that the waters of Mormon would be close to a city called Alma. Alma was the Nephite priest and prophet that baptized so many people in the waters of Mormon.

  5. There are many waterways in this area.

  6. The waters of Mormon was in a secluded area. This area fits this area and description in the Book of Mormon. We will place the Waters of Mormon later in this section.

 

Section 23

Cities West of River Sidon: Manti, Zeezrom, Cumeni, Antiparah, Judea

 
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In the latter part of the book of Alma, there are clues about the layout of Nephite cities in the southwest part of the land of Zarahemla.

 

Alma 53:22 

And now it came to pass that Helaman did march at the head of his two thousand stripling soldiers, to the support of the people in the borders of the land on the south by the west sea.

 

In Alma 56:13-14, Helaman’s epistle to Moroni mentions that the Lamanites had captured five Nephite cities in the southwest quarter. 

 

Alma 56:13-15

13 And now these are the cities of which the Lamanites have obtained possession by the shedding of the blood of so many of our valiant men:

 

14 The land of Manti, or the city of Manti, and the city of Zeezrom, and the city of Cumeni, and the city of Antiparah.

 

15 And these are the cities which they possessed when I arrived at the city of Judea;

 

There are two possible ways to match the five Nephite cities mentioned by Helaman in these verses to modern New York settlements. One layout involves going straight west from the head of the river Sidon, Starting at the city of Aaron. There is one more scripture in Alma 56:31 that provides an additional qualification.

 

Alma 56:31 

And we were to march near the city of Antiparah, as if we were going to the city beyond, in the borders by the seashore.

 

The order of the cities is as follows: Manti, Zeezom, Cumeni, Antiparah, then Judea. The strategy given to Helaman’s group was to march towards Antiparah as if to reach the next city (Judea), which was in the borders of the seashore. We tried to place Nephite cities at each major crossroads in New York where cities are now (again, because ancient and modern people tend to settle where there are food, water and a way to make a living to “sustain life”),  going west from Aaron, furthest west placed city to this point.  I tried to place the western cities at multiple times—but “ran out of the room,” before coming to the west sea too early, with Antiparah at the seashore of the West Sea. Judea needs to be in the West Sea and not Antiparah. That layout would not fit the New York model. We realized that the Nephites must have traveled slightly north from Aaron. As we laid out the cities, one road to the north before placing the five cities to the west, Judea’s set at the seashore at the right time and place. Placement of the land of Manti in the area of Fillmore Village, which village is on the banks of the Genesee River/river Sidon; Zeezrom would be at Arcade, Cumeni at Springville, Antiparah at Gowanda, and Judea at Forestville/Sheridan. Let us point out that Nephite record keepers note in Alma 22:27 and Alma 50:11 that the boundaries for the Lamanites and Nephites go by the River Sidon, and through the borders of Manti.

 

Alma 22:27 

And it came to pass that the king sent a proclamation throughout all the land, amongst all his people who were in all his land, who were in all the regions round about, which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west, and round about on the borders of the seashore, and the borders of the wilderness which was on the north by the land of Zarahemla, through the borders of Manti, by the head of the river Sidon, running from the east towards the west—and thus were the Lamanites and the Nephites divided. (Highlights added)

 

Alma 50:10-11

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 armies and their people from the hands of their enemies.

 

11 And thus he cut off all the strongholds of the Lamanites in the east wilderness, yea, and also on the west, 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—the Nephites possessing all the land northward, yea, even all the land which was northward of the land Bountiful, according to their pleasure.

 
 
 
 
 
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When we traveled through this section of New York, we realized that going north at Aaron takes us around the borders of a mountain and wilderness area that contains a Seneca Nation of Indians reservation called the Allegany Reservation. This area would also put evidence of the wilderness of Hermounts in this area. Much of this area typifies Book of Mormon land descriptions held by Lamanites. 

We can see the strategic importance of the cities that run north and then west from Aaron, as Nephite strongholds in that area would ideally stop Lamanite attacks on Zarahemla that might go north along the west of the River Sidon, or straight north from the Zeezrom/Arcade area.

Here is a picture that shows the land in this area, just south of Gowanda and west of Belmont, New York. There is a visible difference between the mountains and wilderness area (favored by Lamanites) and the flatter/farm lands (suitable to Nephites). This distinct division of land is found throughout this western portion of New York, and assists us in placing Book of Mormon cities on the map in terrain that fits its inhabitants—Lamanites or Nephites. This land, with its roads, wilderness areas and farm land, uniquely fits descriptions by Book of Mormon authors, and fits the stories within the book.

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The placement of Aaron near Belmont previously positioned, and the five cities westward (near Fillmore, Arcade, Springville, Gowanda and Forestville/ Sheridan, New York) fit the description of land and makes more sense with the stories of hill Amnihu in the Book of Mormon stories exactly. The Lamanites traveled from the west to the east and met at the head of the River Sidon. Heading north puts us by the River Sidon, directs us around the more mountainous/wilderness territory of the Lamanites,  and gets us to the seashore by matching Nephite descriptions and crossroads to New York cities. The Nephite- Lamanite boundary here is not a straight one from the west sea to the river Sidon, but Nephites placed their cities to better secure and protect the land of Zarahemla from the encroaching Lamanites, and our placement of Nephite cities close to these New York towns accounts for all the major roads between both sea east and sea west.

Section 24

Gadianton Robbers

 
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3 Nephi 2:17 

And it came to pass in the commencement of the fourteenth year, the war between the robbers and the people of Nephi did continue and did become exceedingly sore; nevertheless, the people of Nephi did gain some advantage of the robbers, insomuch that they did drive them back out of their lands into the mountains and into their secret places. (Highlights added)

 

We place the strongholds of the Gadianton robbers in western New York, in the mountainous areas of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties, just south of where Helaman and his stripling warriors fought Lamanites.  Vaughn Hansen states that just south of Gowanda is a unique area, according to the Book of Mormon. When Vaughn and Jeannie Hansen were on their mission, they served near Gowanda. Vaughn commented to an Indian lady that they wanted to go and see a valley south of Gowanda. She told him not to go there by the mountains; it was full of “robbers and thieves.” Might this area land previously infested by Gadianton Robbers? This story fits exceptionally well here.

 

 
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The woman continued to say that they have ways to stop your car and rob you, so don’t go. Remember that sacred lands remain sacred, and a possible result might be that evil lands remain evil. Again, this section of southwestern New York fits descriptions of lands and people found in the Book of Mormon. 

Section 25

South Wilderness

 

South of the land of Zarahemla is a wilderness that extends from the east to the west and effectively separates Nephites on the north from the Lamanites on the south. This wilderness is called the South Wilderness or the narrow strip of wilderness.

 

South of this wilderness is the Land of Nephi, also called the land of the Lamanites in other descriptions. Nephi and his posterity lived in this land for many years until Mosiah (I) led the righteous Nephites northward away from the unrighteous Lamanites to the Land of Zarahemla.

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The Land of Nephi was a prosperous land. Early Nephites were industrious and lived off the farmland; early Lamanites chose areas more mountainous and wild, sleeping in tents and hunting for their survival.

 

Mosiah I’s group left the land of Nephi, traveled through a wilderness and headed north to the land of Zarahemla. This wilderness is the very important South wilderness that separates the land of Zarahemla (Nephites)  from the land of Nephi (Lamanites).

 

It would be easy for the Lamanites to travel through it and be invisible. That is why Nephites sent spies to follow the path of Lamanites, so they knew where to prepare for Lamanite attacks.

 

Consider the density of trees in this photograph. Typical to the south, east, and west wilderness areas. In some places in the Book of Mormon, it mentions that people lost their way or wandered in the wilderness. Looking at this picture, one can see how that could happen.

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Section 26

Placement of Angola, Land of David, Land of Joshua, Jashon, Hill Shim

 

Let’s line out the cities in the last battle talked about in Mormon, found near the end of the Book of Mormon. Remember that the prophet Mormon wrote this portion of scripture after the destruction at Christ’s crucifixion. The cities and lands mentioned by Mormon are similar to what we would find in New York, today. The war commenced at the River Sidon (Mormon 1:10), before continuing to the city of Angola (Mormon 2:3-4). There is a village of 2200 people in New York today called Angola, and a hamlet just west of it called Angola on the Lake. We are referring here to the village of Angola since Mormon does not mention a seashore at this time.

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Mormon 1:10 

And it came to pass that the war began to be among them in the borders of Zarahemla, by the waters of Sidon.

 

Mormon 2:3-6 

And it came to pass that in the three hundred and twenty and seventh year the Lamanites did come upon us with exceedingly great power, insomuch that they did frighten my armies; therefore they would not fight, and they began to retreat towards the north countries.

 

4 And it came to pass that we did come to the city of Angola, and we did take possession of the city, and make preparations to defend ourselves against the Lamanites. And it came to pass that we did fortify the city with our might; but notwithstanding all our fortifications the Lamanites did come upon us and did drive us out of the city.

 

5 And they did also drive us forth out of the land of David.

 

6 And we marched forth and came to the land of Joshua, which was in the borders west by the seashore.

 

Mormon 2:17

And now, the city of Jashon was near the land where Ammaron had deposited the records unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed. And behold I had gone according to the word of Ammaron, and taken the plates of Nephi, and did make a record according to the words of Ammaron.

 
 
 
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The previous scriptures mention the city of Angola, the land of David, the land of Joshua (by the seashore), then the city of Jashon where Ammonron placed the records. The city of Angola is easy to set since we believe the Nephite city was close to the area where the New York village of Angola is found now, in Erie County. (In an interesting side note, the Book of Mormon published in 1830. According to Wikipedia, the New York village Angola was first called Evans Station, then about 1855, a post office was placed there with the name “Angola.”) We put the lands of David and Joshua in a north-east direction from Angola, following Lake Erie, then come to the city of Jashon. The next areas mentioned by Mormon in these final battles are the city of Desolation and the city of Teancum. The following verses connect this area to the ones we discussed in section one.

 

Mormon 3:5-7

5 And it came to pass that I did cause my 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; and it came to pass that in that year we did beat them, insomuch that they did return to their own lands again.

 

The city of Desolation is on the eastern portion of the land of desolation and the narrow neck of land. In Mormon 4, the Nephites and the Lamanites fight back and forth from the city of Desolation to the city of Teancum. Then the Nephites are driven to the east, and the final battles with the Lamanites occur at the Hill Cumorah/Ramah. Moroni survives, but the Nephite civilization ends there.   

 

Section 27

City of Desolation, Naval & Shipping Yards in Buffalo-

Launch Sites of Hagoth’s Ships

 
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(Photograph of Naval Yard at Buffalo, New York)

We position the Nephite city of Desolation at Buffalo, New York. According to Mormon 4:3, the cities of Desolation and Teancum are close to each other, and Teancum bordered the seashore. The Buffalo area, on Lake Erie, would be a place for Hagoth to build and launch ships that travel northward. In Alma 63, the writer states that Hagoth built a large ship on the west sea, by the borders of the lands of Bountiful and Desolation, and by the narrow neck of land. Here are the scriptures which provide the details:

 

Mormon 4:3 

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.

 

These next verses from Alma 63 describe Hagoth and his shipping ventures: 

 

Alma 63:4-9

4 And it came to pass that in the thirty and seventh year of the reign of the judges, there was a large company of men, even to the amount of five thousand and four hundred men, with their wives and their children, departed out of the land of Zarahemla into the land which was northward.

 

5 And it came to pass that Hagoth, he being an exceedingly curious man, therefore he 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.

 

6 And behold, there were many of the Nephites who did enter therein and did sail forth with much provisions, and also many women and children; and they took their course northward. And thus ended the thirty and seventh year.

 

7 And in the thirty and eighth year, this man built other ships. And the first ship did also return, and many more people did enter into it; and they also took much provisions, and set out again to the land northward.

 

8 And it came to pass that they were never heard of more. And we suppose that they were drowned in the depths of the sea. And it came to pass that one other ship also did sail forth; and whither she did go we know not.

 

9 And it came to pass that in this year there were many people who went forth into the land northward. And thus ended the thirty and eighth year.

 
 
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The cities of Teancum and Desolation are close to each other, and the City of Buffalo fits descriptions of the Desolation found in the Book of Mormon. Buffalo hosts a naval yard, shipping yards, and marinas, and the city is at the entrance to the south country. At this placement for Hagoth to launch his ships on the west sea, which is Lake Erie seems to be right.

Section 28

Summary of Sections 1 & 2

 

In the first section, we established that hill Ramah/Cumorah is the ending point (furthest east point described) in the lands of the Book of Mormon. Using the Jaredites’ record from the book of Ether, and a portion of the Nephite history, we correlated land descriptions common to the Jaredites and Nephites. We established that they traveled from the west to east, and then south to the land of Ramah/Cumorah. We also proved that the narrow neck of land and desolation is in Ontario, Canada. We showed that the height of the land of Bountiful is the height of the narrow neck of land. We established that the promised land is divided exactly along the current borders of Ontario, Canada, and the United States, where the two countries come together. We also established that the land of Bountiful has no eastern boundary as described in the Book of Mormon; the land furthest east, as defined by Nephite authors, is Bountiful, wherein is found the Hill Ramah/Cumorah. We established that the land of Zarahemla touches the narrow neck of land, and it is also part of modern-day New York. We have shown the land of Zarahemla using the Nephite record, namely the Book of Alma.  We have discussed the boundaries, cities, river Sidon, with the wildernesses (South, East, and West) in precise positioning. We don’t claim to have the cities perfectly positioned but feel they are close, and the positioning agrees with descriptions in the Book of Mormon.

 

In this second section, we have shown where the Book of Mormon correlates the east boundary with Bountiful and Zarahemla. We placed the River Sidon and suggested placement for the city of Alma; we set the Hill Amnihu, and we discovered a place that could be the site for the Waters of Mormon. We shed light on why the Book of Mormon authors note that armies crossed at the head of the River Sidon, and never mention passing in the middle of the river. We positioned the cities of Ammonihah and Noah, and then placed the eastern cities along the shores of the east sea, and discussed how the Nephites could protect themselves on their eastern boundary with this alignment. 

 

Through the scriptures, we placed the cities on south on the New York map and also showed how Nephites in this area could protect themselves, utilizing the terrain of the land. We showed the three hills on which Nephites built towers so they could prepare for battle when they saw the Lamanites coming to attack. We have accounted for all the major roads in this western New York area and have placed city for the city on the east and south. We showed evidence for the main stronghold of the Gadianton Robbers area. 

 

Next, we positioned cities on the west side of Zarahemla, starting with Angola. There is a New York village Angola near the ancient Nephite area of Angola. We placed the cities of Bountiful and Zarahemla. We correlated the comments of the Book of Mormon prophets—Alma, Captain Moroni, Helaman, Mormon, etc.— to show how their words match the layout of the land in western New York. We showed the connection between each city and lands with reasoning, proof, and scripture. We showed the main travel routes for the Lamanites and the Nephites; we accounted for all the wildernesses mentioned by Nephite writers, from the wilderness (south) between the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla to the wildernesses on the east and west of Zarahemla.

 

We positioned the Sea East and Sea West. We found Hill Onidah, Hill Shim, and Hill Amnihu. We clarified the position of the Lamanite and Nephite lands and territories at different times in the Book of Mormon. We described how the different living habits of the Nephites and Lamanites caused them to choose specific areas of New York, and we positioned their lands, accordingly.  We highlighted Nephite transportation roads on the east side of Zarahemla, and the four possible ways of travel from the southern land of Nephi to the northern land of Zarahemla. We showed the development of lands and cities in both the early Zarahemla and later Zarahemla eras.

 

In section three, we will discuss the destruction and changes that occurred in the Book of Mormon lands at the time of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion.  The importance of dates and timing; the location of the “Great Mountain” that formed; the position of buried cities; the land shifts and the floods, hills, fires, and river changes and creations. We will also discuss original landing places of Lehi’s colony, the people of Zarahemla, and the Jaredites. Some people focus too much on the destruction at Christ’s crucifixion, thinking that all evidence of the Nephites destroyed, but the reality is that there remain geological evidence and signs that testify of Jesus Christ and his visit to the Americas.

Section 29

The Nephite Area in the Book of Mormon

 
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Section 30

The Lands Identified in the Book of Mormon

 
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