Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Describing the Lands of the Book of Mormon

As one Theorists recently wrote: “The most logical place to look for information regarding Book of Mormon geography is the Book of Mormon text itself—yet few people do that even though they claim to do so.” We would like to alter that statement to say that “the first, foremost, and most logical and accurate place to look for information regarding Book of Mormon geography is the Book of Mormon itself—and to do so without altering, changing, ignoring or paraphrasing any description given.” We also agree with the comment “yet few people do that even though they claim to do so,” including the author of the above statement.
    So let us look to the Book of Mormon exclusively for the geography of the Land of Promise.
    According to the many descriptions of the ancient writers, and using only the language found in the scriptural record of the Book of Mormon regarding the Land of Promise, the following factual statements are undeniably true:
1. The land is divided into two major and basic parts or land masses—The Land Northward and the Land Southward (Alma 22:32; Mormon 2:29).
2. These two land divisions are connected by a “small” (Alma 22:32) and “narrow” neck (Alma 63:5) of land (Alma 22:32) with water on both sides of the neck (Alma 50:34). While that is the description used to describe an “isthmus,” the word “isthmus” is never used in the scriptural record—only neck of land (Ether 10:20).
3. The Land Northward (Ether 10:20) was the home of the Jaredites beginning sometime after the Flood at the time of the Tower of Babel and Confusion of Languages (Ether 1:33). These Jaredites never occupied land south of the narrow neck, a land they reserved as a hunting or animal preserve (Ether 10:21) and went into only to hunt for game.
4. The Land Southward was occupied by both the Nephites, including the Mulekites, called the People of Zarahemla (Omni 1:12) and the Lamanites (Alma 22:29), with the Nephites controlling the Land Northward (Mormon 2:29) from the last century B.C. (Helaman 3:3) until the final wars with the Lamanites in which the latter violated their treaty (Mormon 2:28) and invaded the Nephite Land Northward (Mormon 3:7).
5. Physically, the narrow neck of land, which was the only connection between the Land Southward and the Land Northward (Alma 22:32), was only the distance in width from sea to sea that could be crossed in a day and a half journey by a Nephite (Alma 22:32),
6. This narrow neck had a narrow “pass” (Alma 50:34; 52:9; Mormon 3:5) or “passage”(Mormon 2:29) running through it by which people could pass through from the Land Southward into the Land Northward and vice versa (Mormon 2:29).
7. This narrow neck and passage was the only land bridge or means of people movement from the Land Southward and the land Northward and was the only thing keeping the Land Southward from being entirely surrounded by water (Alma 22:32).
8. The Land Southward was divided into two parts, called the Land North and the Land South (Alma 46:19; Helaman 6:9). The Land North was also called the Land of Mulek, for the Lord brought Mulek into that part of the Land Southward, and the Land South was called the Land of Lehi, for the Lord brought Lehi into the southern part of the Land Southward (Helaman 6:10).
9. Though not specifically indicated, the Land Northward was also surrounded by water for Jacob tells us the Land of Promise was an island in the midst of the sea (2 Nephi 10:20), which Nephi recorded on the Plates (2 Nephi 11:1), and Mormon abridged Helaman’s remark that the Land of Promise was occupied by the children of Lehi from the Sea South to the Sea North and from the Seat East to the Sea West (Helaman 3:8).
10. Describing the entire Land Southward, Mormon tells us that it was divided in the far south by the Land of First Inheritance (Land of Lehi) for that is where Lehi landed along the west seashore (1 Nephi 22:28),
11. Moving from south to north, the Land Southward contained the Land of Nephi (Alma 22:27,34), that ran from the Sea East to the Sea West, to a narrow strip of Wilderness--sometimes referred to as a line (Alma 50:11), that that ran from the Sea East to the Sea West (Alma 22:27), to the north was the Land of Zarahemla (Alma 22:27), the latter running from the Sea West toward the east, where the borders of the land are along the River Sidon and the Land of Gideon (Alma 8:1, 17:1 is just beyond to the east.
Also to the east of the Land of Zarahemla is the Land of Antionum (Alm 31:3), and to the north of the Land of Zarahemla is an unnamed land (3 Nephi 3:23), and beyond that is the Land of Bountiful, which extends to the narrow neck of land.
12. On the north of the narrow neck of land is the Land of Desolation (Alma 22:30), and along the northern borders of that would be the Jaredite land of Moron (Ether 7:6), where the seat if the kingdom was held for most of the Jaredite period.
13. In a non-descript manner, north of that area is the Land of Many Waters and the Land of Cumorah (Mormon 6:4), and within the latter, the Hill Cumorah (Mormon 6:2), also called by the Jaredites, the Hill Ramah (Ether 15:11), were the demise of both great nations, the Jaredites and Nephites, took place. And to the north of that area are the Waters of Ripliancum.
14. Within the major land areas (i.e., Land of Nephi, Land of Zarahemla) are other subdivisions or “lands,” for each city or settlement had an area of “land” around it, such as the city and land of Manti (Alma 16:6), the city and land of Mulek (Alma 51:26), the city and land of Moroni (Alma 51:22), etc., and in Lamanite lands, the city and land of Ishmael (Alma 17:19), Middoni (Alma 20:4), Jerusalem (Alma 24:1), etc.
15. In terms of elevation, we know that the city of Nephi in the Land of Nephi sits up (Alma 27:23) in a highland valley, surrounded by hills (Mosiah 7:5-6; 11:12) at a considerable elevation since the Lamanites are always coming down (Alma 27:5) to do battle in the Land of Zarahemla, which is located at a lower elevation.
15. Far to the south in the Land of First Inheritance along the West Sea (Alma 22;28), is a large forest big enough for wild beasts and domesticated animals to coexist for quite some time, and where gold, silver and copper are abundant (1 Nephi 18;25);
16. Also in this Land of First Inheritance ; where a climate exists that would allow “seeds of every kind” to grow exceedingly and provide an abundant harvest (1 Nephi 18:24).
    While theorist after theorist tries to make the Land of Promise look different than this, this is the way Mormon and others describe it, therefore, it should be understood that this is the way the land was laid out. Any supplemental material used beyond the Book of Mormon itself, must agree with the placements of these lands as described in the scriptural record.


  1. One thing I find interesting about the BOM lands is it never mentions snow or ice particularly during the Jaredite times. After the flood the earth was plunged into a great ice age that lasted about a thousand years. The Lord brought the Jaredites to what is now Ecuador because of its location on the equator. Hence no mention of snow during the great battles that took place. This is just another reason why the Jaredites could never occupy North America after the Noah's flood.

  2. If a theorist read this article they would take issue with some of the points you make. However, even if we accept their other version of things as a possibility, the understanding of things you give is also a valid possibility. And I would agree your understanding is the most likely understanding. And since this model-- the Andes with the Amazon basin under water before the time of Christ-- is a hit with every point you make, even those that feel some points you made could be made differently, should recognized how significant this model is. And thus they should consider studying it and doing research in it. Instead, they give it NO credit and say it is not even a possibility. It seems clear to me their vested interest in their own models is far greater than any honest search for the truth.

    1. There is a great divide between main-stream science and Creationists who believe in Noah's flood and in great catastrophes. You will never get BYU or any other scientific organization to even consider the fact that South America came up out of the ocean during a 3 hour earthquake. To them this idea is complete fantasy and is not even thinkable. Yet it is the truth.

  3. All valid points. Thank you. By the way, this model that i use is one taken from geologists, right down to the finest point. The basic and only difference is the time frame from tens of millions of years to the biblical time frame--which is why I wrote "Scientific Fallacies and Other Myths" as part of the four-book set on the subject of the Land of Promise.

  4. Don't tell any educated person that South America appeared out of the water in 3 hours. Nonsensical at its extreme.

    1. Geologist here (Unknown)- I believe the Lord raised South America out of the ocean in 3 hours. I guess you either believe in the power of God or you don't.

    2. Unknown- I am a highly educated person (top of my class bachelors and master's degrees and an avid reader) and I believe that much of South America "appeared out of the water in 3 hours". When I first heard of it on Del's blog a couple years ago, it did not seem possible because of what I had been taught over the years. I am also a skeptic and rarely believe anything someone tells me without researching it myself. However, after a significant amount of study, I not only felt Del's position was possible, but highly logical and probable. Even mainstream science agrees that most of the eastern portion of South America used to be underwater- so the only question is when did it arise. If you believe the Book of Mormon, they you believe Samuel's prophecy that a mountain of great height rose up at the Savior's death. I had to ask myself, where is that new mountain of great height if not the Andes. Even mainstream science agrees the Andes are the youngest mountain range- but again think it rose millions of years ago. Read Del's blog posts about the science behind the rising of the mountains and South America rising up in 33 AD. It all makes sense. Mainstream science says the earth is millions of years old and mountains rising takes millions of years. The Bible says otherwise. I believe the word of God- and I believe there is absolute true and logical science behind a young earth, a suddenly rising mountain range, and a suddenly rising South America.
      I started at Del's first blog entry and read every blog post. I also read every comment to see what others were thinking of his positions and to consider any challenges to his thinking. I research many posts by reading other books and doing extensive separate research on the Internet. I later bought Del's books and have studied each of them carefully including the one about "scientific fallacies". His research is extremely impressive, well documented, and logical.

      If you put the work into thoroughly studying this topic, you likely will come to acknowledge that South America appearing "out of the water in 3 hours" is not nonsensical, but in fact almost certainly what happened in 33 AD when the Savior died on the cross and the earth shook violently in the promised land.

    3. One other quick point for those struggling with the possibility that much of South America was once underwater. If you believe in the Bible, then you believe that the Flood occurred around 3,000 BC. In which case, all land was underwater- including South America. In which case, you already believe South America was underwater in "recent" times- not millions of years ago. South America rose up sometime after 3,000 BC. Now it's just a matter of figuring out when. Either it showed up as the flood waters receded or it came up sometime after that. If the latter, do we have any record of a catastrophic event (such as the colliding of tectonic plates) that could cause land to come up a little- and if so, when? 33 AD in the Book of Mormon. It's not like South America appeared from nowhere- it was just a little below the water level- and today, it is just a little above the water level- and much is still below like the Amazon River. Read Del's work on this topic and it won't sound like nonsense at all.

    4. David - you won't get any geology prof at BYU to believe in Noah's flood. Nor any of their students. I know - I've talked to many.

  5. I won't tell them that the Brother of Jared actually moved a mountain, but the fact is he did. Nor will I tell them that the Lord organized the entire Earth in a matter of seven days (his time), but he did. Of course, mainstream science has made it a point to ignore God, something I do not do.

  6. Many years ago at an Education Week in Southern California, I asked a few scientists and evolutionist professors from BYU down teaching some of the classes these types of questions, i.e., how can they teach such learning that is so opposed to the gospel. Their basic answer was that BYU had to teach what was generally accepted as educational criteria at the college level, but these three professors made it clear that it was not their personal belief. I believe today (my assumption) that you won't find three, if any at all among the BYU professors who feel that way today.