Monday, February 21, 2011

The City of Bountiful in the Land of Bountiful

Where was the city of Bountiful located? Obviously, in the north (Alma 22:29), near the narrow neck of land, far north of Zarahemla. Evidently, it was in the center of the land, for Coriantumr, when marching toward it, went up the capital parts of the land.
Coriantumr brought his Lamanite army north, up the capital parts of the land toward the city of Bountiful

Thus, after Coriantumr had brought his Lamanite army down from the Land of Nephi in the far south, and after he had captured the city of Zarahemla, “his heart took courage insomuch that he was about to go forth against all the land” (Helaman 1:22). He then set out for the north, “even towards the city of Bountiful; for it was his determination to go forth and cut his way through with the sword, that he might obtain the north parts of the land” (Helaman 1:23). He then set out, “marching through the most capital parts of the land, slaying the people with a great slaughter, both men, women, and children, taking possession of many cities and of many strongholds. But when Moronihah had discovered this, he immediately sent forth Lehi with an army round about to head them before they should come to the land Bountiful” (Helaman 1:26-28).

Now, when Mormon used the phrase “the most capital parts of the land,” we can assume he meant that the city of Bountiful was in the center of the land, the first and foremost area of importance, where the chief resources of the land were located, the major part of a population, or area of greatest importance in assets or resources, the highest part of the land—its head (Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary).

Evidently, from Mormon’s description, the Land of Bountiful stretched across the land just south of the Narrow Neck of Land, for it bordered along the Land of Desolation (Alma 22:30), there being a line or common boundary between these two lands from sea to sea (Alma 22:32). Thus, somewhere south of this line that separated the Land Northward from the Land Southward, at the narrow neck, was the city of Bountiful.

Now somewhere along the east seashore, evidently near the east border of the Land of Bountiful and in the northeast part of the land, was the city of Mulek “on the borders by the east sea” (Alma 52:13). Moroni, who had established armies to protect the south and the west borders of the land of Bountiful (Alma 52:15) and had begun his march towards the land Bountiful, that he might assist Teancum with his men in retaking the cities which they had lost, had given orders to Teancum to attack and retake the city of Mulek (Alma 52:13).

However when this was determined impossible, Teancum, Moroni, and other chief captains gathered in the city of Bountiful to decide how to get the Lamanites out of the city of Mulek (Alma 52:19). Moroni then “sent embassies to the army of the Lamanites, which protected the city of Mulek, to their leader, whose name was Jacob, desiring him that he would come out with his armies to meet them upon the plains between the two cities” (Alma 52:20).

Obviously, there was a plain or open area (a land with relatively low relief, that is flat or gently rolling) somewhere between the city of Bountiful and the city of Mulek. Now, Teancum marched down by the seashore, which suggests that the land inland from the shore was at a higher elevation. At the same time, Moroni “marched in the wilderness, on the west of the city Mulek” (Alma 52:22). Thus, this plain between Mulek and Bountiful was unoccupied—that is “an uninhabited wide barren plain” (Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary).

Earlier, Moroni had established himself and his armies to guard the west and south of the Land of Bountiful, but no land to the west of Bountiful is mentioned. Thus, it might be assumed that the Land of Bountiful stretched clear to the West Sea.

In any event, we can now place the city of Bountiful within the Land of Promise with some confidence, though not with absolute certainty.

(See the next post, “The City of Bountiful in the Land of Bountiful – Part II,” to see where the city of Bountiful was located in the most capital parts of the land)

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