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Book of Mormon Lands

A Scriptural Approach to Evidence of Book of Mormon Lands 

Written by Russell Don Rentmeister Edited by Laura Lee Rentmeister

 Russell@rentmeister.com

Phone # 801-807-9900

Version 1/10/2019

 

Introduction of the Book of Mormon-

 

We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon,

to ponder in their hearts the message it contains,

and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true.

Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.)

book of alma (2).jpg
 
 

There is much confusion among Church members today about the location of the lands of the Book of Mormon. Members have been driven to and fro as they pondered where the events were held: New York? Other places in North America? Central or South America? Groups have called lo here and lo there; here is a land and there is a land, and then they have mingled their ideas with a few scriptural references. Their approaches have added much confusion to the already “muddied” waters. 

 

Let’s go to the source, the Book of Mormon, for our answers. We think the Book of Mormon is very clear where these lands are located. Let’s see if we can understand the scriptures better.

 

We will show that the Jaredites traveled east from the land of Agosh to the waters of Ripliancum, then southward to the Hill Ramah. Hill Ramah and Hill Cumorah are the same hill, and it is in the land of many waters. We will also highlight scriptures that coordinate the land of Agosh (Jaredites) to the Nephite land of Desolation; and the waters of Ripliancum (Jaredites) to the Nephite city Jordan. According to verses in the Book of Mormon, the “narrow neck of land” is part of the land of Desolation, and that narrow neck runs east and west. Other verses define the “land of liberty” along the northern boundary lines of the United States. Again, per scriptures, the land Bountiful and the land of Zarahemla meet at the narrow neck of land. We will show that the wilderness on the east and west sides of the land Zarahemla travel from the south wilderness, up to the land Bountiful. South of the south wilderness is the land of Nephi.

 

By considering a few Book of Mormon verses carefully, we can understand that the Book of Mormon lands are not located in South America; land descriptions within the book do not validate those theories. If the “narrow neck of land” meets with the land of Bountiful and the land of Zarahemla, both Bountiful and Zarahemla must be in the land of New York. Scriptures state that the land of Zarahemla is surrounded by wildernesses on the south, east, and west; they all need to be connected. No wilderness can travel the entire distance from South America to this narrow neck of land in the north, and then west to Hill Ramah/Cumorah. Some people theorize that the Missouri area is the land of the Book of Mormon, yet again, there does not exist a continuous wilderness that runs the length from Missouri to the Hill Cumorah in New York. If we carefully read the land descriptions and directions within the Book of Mormon, we will learn that Book of Mormon testifies of the location of its own lands.

 

Let’s turn to the Jaredite Book of Ether (approximately 400 years B.C.) and to Mormon’s record of his day, Mormon (approximately 400 years A.D.), and the last battles of their respective civilizations. Let’s line up the Jaredites’ and Nephites’ travels, and find common ground in the descriptions.  

 

Jaredite Travel in Ether

Here is the Jaredite travel itinerary for their final wars. The book of Ether mentions these lands and cities, as illustrated on the left side of the chart below. In contrast, verses on the right side of the chart quote Mormon’s record, and provide a method of correlating the lands of the Jaredites and Nephites.

Jaredites - Land Moron -

Ether 7:5, Ether 14:6

Jaredites - 1st Sea Shore

(Lake Huron) - Ether 14:13

Jaredites- Agosh

The Jaredites headed east until they

got to the Waters of Ripliancum -

Ether 14:15

Nephites- Land of Desolation/

Narrow Neck

Jaredites - 2nd Sea Shore

(Lake Ontario)-Ether 14:26

Jaredites - Hill Comner (West) -

Ether 14:28

Jaredites - Valley of Shurr -

Ether 14:28

Nephites - City of Teancum -

Mormon 4:14

Jaredites - Land of Corihor -

Ether 14:27

Nephites - City Boaz -

Mormon 4:20

Nephites - Hill Shim (East) -

Mormon 4:23

Jaredites- Waters of Ripliancum Jaredites

headed south to get to Hill Ramah - Ether 15:8

Nephites- Jordan -

Mormon 5:3

Jaredites - Hill of Ramah/Ogath -

Ether 15:10

Nephites - Hill Cumorah -

Mormon 6:2,4

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

We will discuss these areas mentioned in the Book of Mormon, and show the connection between lands common to two major civilizations, the Jaredites and the Nephites. Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today (and in the past) agree upon the location of the hill Cumorah, so we will start there and show from the scriptures the placement of each of the lands in the Book of Mormon.

Ramah/Hill Cumorah

 

Hill Camorah 11.jpg

Ether 15:11 400BC

11 And it came to pass that the army of Coriantumr did pitch their tents by the hill Ramah; and it was that same hill where my father Mormon did hide up the records unto the Lord, which were sacred.

 

Moroni declares there is a connection between Jaredite and Nephite lands: Hill Ramah of the Jaredites  and Hill Cumorah of the Nephites is the same hill.

 

(Mormon 6:4) 385 AD

4 And it came to pass that we did march forth to the land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents around about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains...

Hill Cumorah must be located in an area of many waters, rivers, and fountains.

 
 
summary ramahhillcumorh.jpg

Outlined in blue is the area around Hill Cumorah, in modern-day New York State. This area is full of waters, rivers and streams. We will talk about this area more in depth and will show a connection between the Jaredites and the Nephites in a moment, but for now let’s talk about Limhi’s group, and the discovery made by descendants of Zeniff’s colony, about 121 B.C. The search party sent by King Limhi failed to find Zarahemla, but found evidence of a different civilization.

 

Mosiah 8:8 121 BC

Mosiah 8:8 And they were lost in the wilderness for the space of many days, yet they were diligent, and found not the land of Zarahemla but returned to this land, having traveled in a land among many waters, having discovered a land which was covered with bones of men, and of beasts, and was also covered with ruins of buildings of every kind, having discovered a land which had been peopled with a people who were as numerous as the hosts of Israel.

 

Limhi’s search party found this “land among many waters” 121 years before Christ was born, and the land surrounding the Hill Cumorah had changed little by Mormon’s time, as he described the area in Mormon 6:4, approximately 385 A.D. (and following physical upheaval in the land at the time of Christ’s crucifixion). Obviously, that land of many waters should exist even today. It is interesting that prophets of both Jaredite and Nephite civilizations buried their records at the same place; Ramah/Cumorah stood out to people in both civilizations.

 
Waters of Ripliancum
Water of Ripliancum.JPG

In Ether 15:8, the Jaredites were at the waters of Ripliancum. Three verses later, they turned and headed southward to get to the Hill Ramah/ Cumorah.

 

Ether 15:10-11 400 BC

10 And it came to pass that the armies of Coriantumr did press upon the armies of Shiz that they beat them, that they caused them to flee before them; and they did flee southward, and did pitch their tents in a place which was called Ogath.

 

11 And it came to pass that the army of Coriantumr did pitch their tents by the hill Ramah…

Ogath and hill Ramah are close to each other, per the record keeper, and would not be far from the waters of Ripliancum.  

 

Ether 15:8 400 BC

And it came to pass that he came to the waters of Ripliancum, which, by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all;…

 

Note the description, “waters” of Ripliancum, which were “large, or to exceed all”.  Cumorah is found in a land of many waters, according to Mormon 6:4. Those scriptures connect the waters of Ripliancum to a place northward of Cumorah, as the Nephites offer a similar description of a place near the hill Cumorah. On the New York map located above, as we look northward from Hill Cumorah, we see its proximity to Great Lake Ontario. It is reasonable to connect the area of Cumorah (land of many waters) to the sea (Lake Ontario), and therefore connect those to the waters of Ripliancum. Let’s examine a description from the Nephites and see if it adds to our understanding of this area.

 

Mormon 5:3 375-385 AD

And it came to pass that the Lamanites did come against us as we had fled to the city of Jordan; …

 

The Jaredites went to the Waters of Ripliancum, and the Nephites came from Jordan. Jordan is named after the Jordan River in the Bible. Following is a quote from the Bible Dictionary:

BD= Jordan River-

The River Jordan is 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.

 

One can see why the Nephite city of Jordan was named after the River Jordan in the Bible. This is a land of many waters, but moreover, the Genesee River flows into Lake Ontario, and we believe the Genesee to be the river Sidon of the Nephite civilization. Let’s look at the connection between the River Jordan and the river Sidon.

 

1-      The River Jordan is the most important river in Palestine; the River Sidon is the most important     river in Nephites lands.

 

Book of Mormon Index- Sidon, River—most prominent river in Nephite territory 

 

Both Jordan in Palestine and Sidon in Nephite lands have the same importance.

2-      River Jordan is a union of several springs. The Genesee River (Sidon) is a union of several springs from the Pennsylvania mountains and the lands around. Both have the union of several springs.

3-      River Jordan flows to the sea of Galilee; the River Sidon flows to the sea (Lake Ontario). Both flow to the sea.

4-      The river Jordan flows 100 miles. The Genesee River/Sidon travels 158 miles through Pennsylvania and New York. The lengths of the two rivers are similar.

Additional note: If this connection is right, then the river Sidon would flow through the waters of Mormon (Waters of Mormon and Waters of Meron sound quite a bit alike.)

 

There is a lot of correlation between Ramah/Cumorah, the land of many waters, Jordan, and the River Sidon.

 
 
 
 
 
summary river sidon nephites.jpg
summary sidon.png

The Genesee River matches these descriptions in Ether and Mormon, and the Genesee is as important to western New York as the river Sidon was to the Nephites long ago. It is fitting that the river Sidon/Genesee would end in this area, as it is the land of many waters. The Genesee River travels through the city of Rochester. We believe that the Nephite city Jordan was located near the New York city of Rochester.  

 

Now let’s go to the land of Agosh and the land of Desolation and find the connection in this area.

Land of Desolation

 

Canada- Desolation 3.jpg

According to Ether 14, Shiz and Coriantumr headed east from the land of Agosh until they turned south at the waters of Ripliancum.

 

Ether 14:16 400 BC Jaredites

16: And when he had come to the plains of Agosh he (Coriantumr) gave battle unto Lib, and he smote upon him until he died…

 

After Coriantumr killed Lib at Agosh, Shiz took up the battle in place of his brother, Lib.

 

Ether 14:26 400BC Jaredites

26 And it came to pass that Shiz did pursue Coriantumr eastward, even to the borders by the seashore, and there he gave battle unto Shiz for the space of three days. (emphasis added)

 

Here is a description of the land of Agosh, found in Ether 14:

 

Ether 14:21 400BC

21 …the whole face of the land was covered with the bodies of the dead.

22 And so swift and speedy was the war that there was none left to bury the dead, but they did march forth from the shedding of blood to the shedding of blood, leaving the bodies of both men, women, and children strewed upon the face of the land. (emphasis added)

 

The Nephites recorded a similar description of the place they called the land of Desolation, which coincides with Agosh, of the Jaredites.

 

Alma 22:30 90-77BC 

30 And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, it being the place of their first landing.

 

And earlier in the Book of Mormon, this description of the Jaredites and their destruction:

 

Omni 1:22 232-130 BC 

It also spake a few words concerning his fathers. And his first parents came out from the tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people; and the severity of the Lord fell upon them according to his judgments, which are just; and their bones lay scattered in the land northward.

 

Note the similarities in description for the land of Agosh and the land of Desolation in the three verses above, despite a difference of 300 years. The following verse in Helaman outlines why the Nephites called this area “Desolation.”

 

Helaman 3:6 

And now no part of the land was desolate, save it were for timber; but because of the greatness of the destruction of the people who had before inhabited the land it was called desolate.

 

The land of Desolation was not called that because of the absence of people residing there, but because of the absence of timber. Descriptions of the narrow neck of land will further link Agosh, Desolation, and the Jaredite and Nephite cultures.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Narrow Neck of Land
Canada- Desolation 1.jpg

(View of eastern portion of Ontario, Canada from plane flying close to Buffalo, New York)

Mormon 3:5 360-360AD Nephites

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. (emphasis added)

 

Mormon 3:7 

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. (emphasis added)

 

The city located at the border of Desolation and the land of Bountiful/Zarahemla is the city of Desolation, as clarified by these two verses in Mormon 3.

 
 

The narrow pass (or “neck”) of land is part of the land of Desolation, and lies between the land of Desolation and the land southward. The city of Desolation is found at the borders of the narrow pass and the land southward (Mormon 3:7). The land southward of Desolation is the land of Bountiful. The following verses in Alma 22 clarify the areas around the narrow neck.

 

Alma 22:31-32 90-77BC 

31 And they came from there up into the south wilderness. Thus the land on 

map of narrow neck (2).png
 

the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful, it being the wilderness which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind, a part of which had come from the land northward for food.

 

 32 And now, it was only 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 (Bountiful) and the land of Zarahemla (Desolation) were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward. (emphasis added)

 

From those verses, we determine the following:

1-      The land northward was called Desolation and the land southward was called Bountiful.

2-      Travel across the narrow neck of land took Nephites only 1.5 days, from the west part of the land of Bountiful on the east, heading westward then to the west sea. (Clarification: In Alma 22:32, the land of Nephi mentioned is the land of Bountiful, and the land of Zarahemla is the land of Desolation.) Between the land northward and the land southward is a narrow neck of land which separates them. As we locate the narrow neck of land, it helps us position and specify the rest of the lands in the Book of Mormon. With the narrow neck on the east side of Desolation, it means that Agosh (Jaredites) and Desolation (Nephites) were in the same place.

3-      The narrow neck of land ran east to west, not north to south.

4-      The land of Desolation and the land of Zarahemla were almost surrounded by water.

 

Helaman 3:8 

And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east. (emphasis added)

 

The verse preceding describes the land of Desolation, with four seas on the north, south, east, and west.

(In Section Two, we will show that the land of Zarahemla was surrounded by water.)

 

In summary, there is a narrow neck of land between the land of Desolation (Agosh) and the land of Bountiful, and the land of Desolation had no timber; the city of Desolation is on the borders of the land of Desolation and the land of Bountiful; the narrow neck of land is part of the land of Desolation, runs east and west, and it takes 1.5 days to walk this neck of land. The Jaredites traveled east from the land of Agosh to the waters of Ripliancum, or traveled east to a sea. There are actually two seas mentioned in the travel of the Jaredites. Let’s locate those seas to bring on better connection to this area.

 
Two Sea’s
Two Sea's.jpg

Jaredites - Moron

Ether 7:5, Ether 14:6

Jaredites - 1st Sea Shore (Lake Huron) Ether 14:13

Jaredites- Agosh

The Jaredites headed east until they

got to the Waters of Ripliancum -

Ether 14:15

Nephites- Land of Desolation/

Narrow Neck

Jaredites - 2nd Sea Shore (Lake Ontario) Ether 14:26

Jaredites - Hill Comner (West)

Ether 14:28

Jaredites - Valley of Shurr

Ether 14:28

Nephites - City of Teancum

Mormon 4:14

Jaredites - Land of Corihor

Ether 14:27

Nephites - City Boaz

Mormon 4:20

Nephites - Hill Shim (East)

Mormon 4:23

Jaredites- Waters of Ripliancum

Jaredites headed south to get to Hill Ramah Ether 15:8

 

Nephites- Jordan

Mormon 5:3

Jaredites - Hill of Ramah/Ogath Ether 15:10

Nephites - Hill Cumorah

Mormon 6:2,4

Ether 14:13 

And it came to pass that Coriantumr pursued him; and Lib gave battle unto him upon the seashore.

 

Ether 14:26 

And it came to pass that Shiz did pursue Coriantumr eastward, even to the borders by the seashore, and there he gave battle unto Shiz for the space of three days.

 

Ether 14:13 indicates a first sea that was the scene of a battle between Coriantumr and Lib (Lake Huron). After Lib’s death, Coriantumr pursued the opponent’s brother, Shiz, east to the waters of Ripliancum. From Ether 14:26 we know the armies came to a second sea (Lake Ontario). Looking at the map above (and the one below), we see that even the seas match the descriptions given in Ether 14. With the land of Desolation marked “Narrow Neck” on the map below, we see the land surrounded by water on all four sides—north, south, east and west—as described in Helaman 3:8.  

 

On the map above, you can also see the travel route of the Jaredites from the land of Agosh/Desolation going east to the waters of Ripliancum, then southward to the Hill Ramah.

 
 
Boundaries of the land of Liberty
Boundaries of the land of liberty.JPG

Alma 46:17  73-72BC  Nephites

17 And it came to pass that when he had poured out his soul to God, he named all the land which was south of the land Desolation, yea, and in fine, all the land, both on the north and on the south—A chosen land, and the land of liberty. (emphasis added)

 

In Alma 46, Captain Moroni raises the title of liberty, rallies the Nephites to battle against the conspiring Amalickiah—and gives us a marvelous description of the “chosen land, and the land of liberty” (Alma 46:17). Captain Moroni identified land south of the land of Desolation as the land of Liberty. Looking at the map above, the black lines through Great Lakes and between borders of Michigan, Ontario (Canada) and New York define the boundaries between the United States and we see an interesting fact: the land of Desolation is actually in a different country (Canada) than the land of Bountiful (United States).  Here Captain Moroni named the land south of Desolation the land of Liberty, which falls within the borders of the United States.

 

 
Land of Moron
Moron.jpg

Ether 7:6  400BC

6 Now the land of Moron, where the king dwelt, was near the land which is called Desolation by the Nephites. 

(emphasis added)

 

Ether 7 states that the king of the Jaredites dwelt in the land of Moron, which appears to be the farthest western boundary of the Jaredite civilization that is defined in the book of Ether. It was Moron where the Jaredites’ last battles started, on land located to the west of land termed “Desolation” by the Nephites. This would place Moron around Detroit, Michigan.

 
East Boundary for the Jaredites
East boundary for the Jaredites.jpg

Ether 9:3 400BC

3 And the Lord warned Omer in a dream that he should depart out of the land; wherefore 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, and came to a place which was called Ablom, by the seashore, and there he pitched his tent, and also his sons and his daughters, and all his household, save it were Jared and his family.

 

Again, the narrator in Ether establishes a connection between Jaredite and Nephite lands, and states that righteous king Omer was led to an area much further east than the land of Moron, beyond the hills Shim and Cumorah, to a seashore he called Ablom. Omer’s family pitched their tent by the east sea of the Nephites. Ether 7:6 and Ether 9:3 establish the western and eastern boundaries of the Jaredite civilization that are provided in the Book of Mormon.

 

Bountiful, Zarahemla, and Narrow Neck Meet

3 Nephi 3:23 16-18AD

23 And the land which was appointed was the land of Zarahemla, and the land which was between the land Zarahemla and the land Bountiful, yea, to the line which was between the land Bountiful and the land Desolation(emphasis added)

 

On the line of where Zarahemla and the land of Bountiful meet, they meet touching the land of Desolation. This being the Narrow Neck of land. If the land of Zarahemla and the land of Bountiful meet with the Narrow neck of land then the land of Bountiful needs to be shorter than the narrow neck of land so Zarahemla can also meet with the narrow neck of land.  

 
Wilderness’s East, West, and South in Zarahemla
Wilderness East, West, South in Zaraheml

This picture shows the land of Zarahemla has a wilderness on both sides east and west as well as the south.

 

Alma 22:27-29 90-77BC

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, (A) which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, (B) 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,  (C) 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.

 

28 Now, the more idle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness, and dwelt in tents; and they were spread through  (D) 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.

 

29 And also there were many (E) Lamanites on the east by the seashore, whither the Nephites had driven them. And thus the Nephites were nearly surrounded by the Lamanites; nevertheless (F) 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(Letters A, B, C, D, E, F added for emphasis)

 

After King Lamoni and his father were converted to the gospel following the preaching of Mosiah’s four sons and their companions, these verses in Alma describe how their Lamanite land was divided between Nephites and Lamanites. A lot of information is packed within these three verses from Alma 22. It states that: (A) the Lamanite lands ran from the east sea to the west sea;  (B) a narrow wilderness separated the Lamanites from the Nephites, from the east sea to the west sea, and ran around about the borders of the seas; (C)  a clarification of the boundaries of the wilderness, which wilderness divided Zarahemla (on the north, per Alma 22:27) from the land of Nephi, and which wilderness ran from east to the west, and ran through the borders of Manti and the head of the River Sidon; (D) a further clarification that the lands of Zarahemla and Nephi had a wilderness on their west, and that west side was inhabited by Lamanites and was close to a seashore;  (E)  Lamanites were also found in the east wilderness that was on a seashore, and it further indicates that the Lamanites nearly surrounded the Nephites because they were in the wildernesses on the east and west (and essentially on the south). The land of Zarahemla must be in the middle of these wildernesses because the Nephites were surrounded by the Lamanites; (F) the wildernesses on both sides came as far north as the land of Bountiful.

 

These verses also tell us how far south the land of Zarahemla must reach, since the wildernesses on the east and west extends from the south wilderness to the land of Bountiful. With three simple verses in Alma 22 describing the division of Lamanite and Nephite lands, we eliminate the possibility that the land of Zarahemla could be found in Central or South America—or even in Missouri—because there is no wilderness that extends that far. If we follow the east or west wilderness from the land of Bountiful to a south wilderness, then we have determined the south border of the land of Zarahemla. That boundary has been identified on the map above.

 

We also know that the south wilderness and beyond was called the land of Nephi. There is no south boundary suggested in the Book of Mormon for the land of Nephi. We do know that the west sea and the east sea are the boundaries west and east for the land of Zarahemla, so without question the land of Zarahemla is in New York and could be nowhere else. We know that the south wilderness starts in New York and ends in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and assume that Lehi’s colony landed in the New York, New York area (possibly close to the Statue of Liberty in New Jersey), and that Nephi’s group probably traveled west along the current I-80 in New York and Pennsylvania as they tried to distance themselves from Lamanites, who tried constantly to kill or enslave them.  

 

Up to the Land of Nephi and Up to the Land of Zarahemla

The land of Nephi is south of the land of Zarahemla, and south of the south wilderness (according to Alma 22:27-29). The book of Mosiah contains more clues to position the land of Nephi. Book of Mormon writers often give directions (southward, east, etc.,), but when the writers use the terms “up” or “down”, it is evident that they are talking about altitude change. In Mosiah 7:1, the king wanted knowledge of a Nephite colony that left Zarahemla to return to lands they owned previously; those people went “up” to live in Lehi-Nephi.

 

Mosiah 7:1 121BC

And now, it came to pass that after king Mosiah had had continual peace for the space of three years, he was desirous to know concerning the people who went up to dwell in the land of Lehi-Nephi, or in the city of Lehi-Nephi; for his people had heard nothing from them from the time they left the land of Zarahemla; therefore, they wearied him with their teasings.

 

Five scriptures later, the search party goes “down” to the land of Nephi.

 

Mosiah 7:6

And Ammon took three of his brethren, and their names were Amaleki, Helem, and Hem, and they went down into the land of Nephi.

 

The terms “up” and “down” do not contradict here; it simply means there is a mountain range or difference in elevation between the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla. Because of the topography of New York and Pennsylvania, these Book of Mormon verses help us to more accurately position the land of Nephi.

 

 
 
summary up and down _edited.jpg
First Wilderness by the Land of Nephi
1st Wilderness.jpg

Using Nephi’s descriptions of the land in which he lived following separation from his blood-thirsty brothers in the Promised Land, we can place more detail in the map, above. Nephi states he and his followers traveled many days through a wilderness, before pitching their tents in the land of Nephi. 

 

2 Nephi 5:7-8 588-559BC

7 And we did take our tents and whatsoever things were possible for us, and did journey in the wilderness for the space of many days. And after we had journeyed for the space of many days we did pitch our tents.

 

8 And my people would that we should call the name of the place Nephi; wherefore, we did call it Nephi.

 

On the preceding map, a landing area marks the probable location where Lehi and his colony arrived. As noted in 2 Nephi 5:7-8, soon the followers of Nephi followed him through a wilderness until they reached a place his people called “Nephi.”

 
Landing Place for Lehi’s Family

Based on the positions of the land of Nephi, the land of Zarahemla and the land of Bountiful, it is reasonable to place the landing area for the Nephites and Lamanites on the east coast of the United States, as the United States fits descriptions of the Promised Land awarded to Lehi and his descendants. Lehi said the following, in 2 Nephi 1:

 

2 Nephi 1:5-12 588-570BC

5 But, said he, notwithstanding our afflictions, we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord.

 

6 Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.

 

This land is a land of liberty for all whom the Lord should bring.

 

7 Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.

 

It shall never be brought into captivity unless iniquity abounds, and then the Lord will curse the land. To the righteous, the Lord will bless this land forever.

 

8 And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.

 

This land would be kept from the knowledge of other nations.

 

9 Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever.

 

As they keep the commandments, Lehi’s descendants would be prospered and blessed. None would molest them or take away their land of inheritance.

 

10 But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise—behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them.

 

11 Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten.

 

12 Yea, as one generation passeth to another there shall be bloodsheds, and great visitations among them; wherefore, my sons, I would that ye would remember; yea, I would that ye would hearken unto my words.

 

If Lehi’s descendants dwindle in unbelief after having such great blessings and knowledge of God, He will bring other nations and give them power to take away this land.

 

IN SUMMARY

The scriptures are very clear as to the location of the land of Desolation, the land of Bountiful, the land of Zarahemla, the south wilderness, and the land of Nephi. We do believe that the Lamanite and Nephite civilizations stretched way beyond the lands detailed in the Book of Mormon—indeed, the Book of Mormon declares that they covered the whole land—but the prophets and writers in the Book of Mormon wrote of the lands in which they lived, and those lands are mostly in present-day New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario (Canada). By studying the directions, the descriptions and the details given by those writers, we can lay out the lands in the Book of Mormon according to the scriptures.

 

This work is a summary of scriptures that establish boundaries and areas for the Book of Mormon. On the website, soon to be unveiled, there are more than 157 pages of details of those lands. The website will clarify even further the evidence and the scriptures with adequate detail as how this land fits that of the Book of Mormon.