Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cities of the Land of Nephi – Part III

As stated in the last post, within the Land of Nephi was a separate region called the Land of Jerusalem (Alma 21:1), which was on the borders of the Land of Mormon, where the Nephite outcasts, the Amalekites and Amulonites who became Lamanites, built a great city which they called Jerusalem (Alma 21:2), so named after the Jerusalem in Palestine (Alma 21:1).
While the more idle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness and dwelt in tents (Alma 22:28), many lived within the vacated cities built by the Nephites before they fled with Mosiah to the Land of Zarahemla (Mosiah 9:7). Now the Nephites in Zarahemla considered the Land of Nephi, where the first Nephi settled, “the land of our fathers’ first inheritance” (Mosiah 9:1). This land was called the Land of Lehi-Nephi (Mosiah 9:6), and also the Land of Shilom, which was to the south (Mosiah 9:14). Beyond Shilom was the Land of Shemlon, which was occupied by the Lamanites (Mosiah 10:7; 11:12). Both of these lands could be seen from a high tower built next to the temple in the City of Nephi (Mosiah 11:12).

When Zeniff led his people back to the Land of Nephi to reclaim this land of their fathers’ first inheritance, they “built buildings and repaired the walls of the city of Lehi-Nephi, and those of the city of Shilom” (Mosiah 9:8), where they lived for 22 years in peace (Mosiah 10:3) between Lamanite attacks. In this City of Nephi, Zeniff’s son, Noah, built many elegant and spacious buildings (Mosiah 11:8), and also built many buildings in the Land of Shilom (Mosiah 11:13).

Thus we can see that the Nephites built numerous buildings in the Land of Nephi and round about as late as 150 B.C. Unfortunately, there is not sufficient information in the record to place any of these cities except possibly one and that is the City of Jerusalem. This city the Lord said that he buried in the sea, along with the cities of Onihah and Mocum. Unlike the cities of Gilgal, Gadiandi, Gadiomnah, Jacob and Gimgimno, which were sunk into the depths of the earth, where hills and valley covered them (3 Nephi 9:6-8), Jerusalem was covered by the sea. This could mean that Jerusalem was near the East or West Sea. The probability of this location would be the East Sea since that was the coastline that changed dramatically, with waters flooding the land before mountains were raised up “whose height was great.”

If the Land of Jerusalem was along the east coast, and the city was near the shore, it would make sense that it was buried in the tidal waves that would have occurred as the “entire face of the land” was changed, the shores were inundated with flood waters before the mountains rose up out of the sea bed and formed the tall mountains that Samuel the Lamanite foresaw. This action would have caused a giant wave to have hit the city, the waters to come up and flood the land round about, and then the mountains rising which took the remnants of the city up into the air as the mountains continued to rise.

Such an occurance is seen today in the ruins of the ancient city now called Tiwanaku by archaeologists. These ruins attest to the fact that Tiwanaku was covered with water at one time and was hit by a giant tidal wave that left its mark on the ruins seen and written about by professor Posnansky, whose 50 year study is contained in a 4-volume work entitled “Tiahuanaco, The Cradle of American Man” and first published in 1945

The size of Tiwanaku was very large, the largest ruins found in the eastern Peru, second only to the size and scope of the fortress, city and temple now called Sacsahuaman and the valley below it the Spaniards named Cuzco.

This, then, would place the city of Jerusalem along the southern reaches of the present high-altitude Lake Titicaca and the border between Peru and Bolivia. This city could not be renewed by the Nephites (4 Nephi 1:9), and therefore was lost to them and not rediscovered until the 20th century.

(See the following post, “The Ancient Nephite City of Tiahuanacu – Part I,” for a further understanding of this ancient city and its description)

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