Tuesday, July 6, 2021

In the Heat of the Day

Along the east borders by the seashore situated from the south to the north, were the Nephite cities of Nephihah, Lehi, Morianton, Omner, Gid and Mulek (Alma 51:26). All of these cities were obtained by the defector Amalickiah, who worked his way among the Lamanites to command their armies, as he marched at the head of his Lamanite army northward to the borders of Bountiful (Alma 51:28), where he was finally stopped by Teancum (Alma 51:30) in 67 B.C.

A great battle ensued in which Teancum’s famed warriors killed many Lamanites throughout the heat of the day, “even until it was dark” (Alma 51:31), at which time Teancum and his men “pitched their tents in the borders of the Land Bountiful; and Amalickiah did pitch his tents in the borders on the beach by the seashore” (Alma 51:32).

Now these borders are not the borders of the city, but the borders of the land of Bountiful. And during the night, Teancum and his servants stole into the Lamanite camp, with Teancum killing Amalikiah, and when the Lamanites awoke the following day, with Teancum and his troops encircling their camp ready to do battle, the Lamanites gave up their plan of “marching into the land northward” and retreated with all their army into the city of Mulek, and sought protection in their fortifications” (Alma 52:2). 

The Heat of the Day is determined by the temperature, plus  the humity, which determines a “feels like” heat


An interesting point can be made here about the temperature of all three locations under discussion: Heartland/Great lakes, Mesoamerica, and Andean Peru. Mormon describes the reason for the Lamanites to all be asleep when Teancum entered the city at night as: “And it came to pass that when the night had come, Teancum and his servant stole forth and went out by night, and went into the camp of Amalickiah; and behold, sleep had overpowered them because of their much fatigue, which was caused by the labors and heat of the day” (Alma 51:33, emphasis added). Now, since this event took place on the night of the last day of the year, for the Lamanites awoke the next day, which was the first day of the year—as Mormon put it: “[1] And now, it came to pass in the twenty and sixth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, behold, when the Lamanites awoke on the first morning of the first month, behold, they found Amalickiah was dead in his own tent; and they also saw that Teancum was ready to give them battle on that day” (Alma 52:1, emphasis added).

It should be noted that the “heat of the day” suggests the heat of summer, which Mormon says occurred that last day of the year and the first day of the next year. Now the Heartland model of Tennessee is between 50º the last month of the year and the first of the following year; the temperature in western New York (Great Lakes) at that time of the year is 34º. In Mesoamerica, the temperature in Mexico City is 56º, with January the coldest month, is 65º F. The temperature in Guatemala City at this time of the year is 64º in the last month of the year, and 65º in the first month.

None of these temperatures, which are very cold to comfortable, could be considered in the “heat of the day.”

On the other hand, the area of Andean Peru, specifically Kuelap, or what would be the city of Mulek, is 88º during the last month of the year and the first month of the next. Now 88º would be considered “in the heat of the day,” and is hot and uncomfortable. In fact, in the vast area of eastern Peru occupied by plains and hills and belonging to the Amazon Basin, there is an impenetrable rainforest, almost completely uninhabited—the large eastern area covered by the Amazonian forest, called la Selva, covers 60% of the country and its eastern Environs resulted from being submerged for so many centuries, has a hot and humid climate throughout the year—which is 79% humidity in the last month of the year, which feels like 113º heat (statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service, Silver Spring, Maryland). The average humidity of Mexico City is 55%, and of Guatemala City is 70%, with that of Tennessee 53%, and Buffalo 83%.

When Teancum stole into the city at night when the Lamanites slept, he made his way through the many quarters until he found Amalickiah where  he killed him


Thus, to match the description of the event surrounding Teancum’s penetration of the city to kill Amalickiah, the Land of Promise has to be in the southern hemisphere. In fact, the area all around this region of eastern Peru, which would have been the East Sea, is 86º to 92º degrees at this time of the year.

As for Teancum’s situation, Moroni engaged in battling the Lamanites on the West Sea and was unable to come to Teancum’s aid He fdid, however, send a part of his army to defend Teancum’s force, which was planning to mount an attack against the Lamanites that occupied Mulek, but in the end he gave up the idea because the city was so well fortified (Alma 52:17). Later in the following year Moroni finally arrived in the North to join Teancum (Alma 52:18).

Seeing that they could not attack the Lamanites within the fortifications of the city of Mulek, Moroni and his chief captains held a council of war the following year to decide how to coax the Lamanites out of the city, so they could retake Mulek (Alma 52:19).

It is interesting that this city, originally built by the Nephite, was so strongly defended that it was impossible to attack, therefore Moroni devised a plan of subterfuge to draw the Lamanites out of the city, which eventually worked.

The point is, the fortification of the city of Mulek, a northern city along the borders of the Land of Bountiful, and within some proximity to the seashore of the East Sea, was the last city the Lamanites captured in their drive to take the Land Northward.

In the area if where Mulek would have been located are the ruins of a magnificent city/fortress, called Kuelap. This city is built on the top of a high hill in the mountains that would have been along the eastern slope leading down to the seashore of the East Sea.

Obviously, there were no more major cities between Mulek and the narrow neck of land and its narrow pass (Alma 52:9), or none that were capable of giving the Lamanites any problem, thus the city of Bountiful was not between the city of Mulek and the narrow neck of land, but further south, nor close enough to the narrow neck to head the Lamanite army before it reached the Pass and was marching toward the Land Northward.

White Arrow: Narrow, uphill entrance a hundred yards long; Yellow Arrow: Defenders can stand above the entrance on the level of the city and shoot arrows down or drop rocks, etc.


This is why, once Amalikiah had captured Mulek, his path to the Land Northward was open as they marched to the borders of the Land of Bountiful, driving the Nephites before them and slaying many (Alma 51:28), and was so disappointed when Teancum arrived with his army to head them in their forward and northward progress (Alma 51:29).

As Mormon states it: “And it came to pass that he [Teancum] headed Amalickiah also, as he was marching forth with his numerous army that he might take possession of the land Bountiful, and also the land northward” (Alma 51:30). Thus, Teancum, when he headed or cut off Amalickiah’s march to the narrow neck and Pass, was north of the City of Bountiful, but still within the Land of Bountiful.

One can imagine how disappointed Amalikiah would have been, having marched all the way up the east coast, taking one city after another in his unopposed race to reach the Land Northward and occupy the northern lands beyond the Nephites, when so near his prize, his worst enemy shows up with his army to cut him off from his objective. As Mormon states it: “But behold he [Amalikiah] met with a disappointment by being repulsed by Teancum and his men, for they were great warriors; for every man of Teancum did exceed the Lamanites in their strength and in their skill of war, insomuch that they did gain advantage over the Lamanites” (Alma 51:32).

(Image C  - The formidable walls of Kuelap, the City of Mulek. It is not difficult to see why both Teancum and Moroni realized they could not attack the Lamanites entrenched in the captured city, so well defended was it

Kuelap is about 10 miles south of Chachapoyas, though at a higher elevation, about 2 miles south of Nuevo Tingo (same elevation), and about 60 miles northwest of Cajamarca. It is also about 250 miles southeast of the narrow neck of land. Both Kuelap and Chachapoyas lie between the Maranon River and the Utcubamba River, though Chchapoyas is to the east and Kulap to the west of the Utcumbamba, with Tingo along the west river’s edge.

Cajamarca is about 250 miles south and east of the narrow neck of land, with Kulap further east and not as far south.

Kulap and Chachapoyas are both on the eastward slope of the Andes overlooking the Amazonas to what was once the Sea East, but Cajamarca is on the western slope of the Andes and within a natural high plain called an Inter-Andean Valley (or capital parts of the Land) that moves from Lima (Pachacamac) to Cajamarca—and as far south from Lima to Avacucho and Arequipa and the Chilean border.

Around Kuelap and Chachapoyas, the Andes are relatively narrow and not quite tall enough to be snow covered, and sort of sandwiched in between the coast and jungle. Along the valley floor to the east and down the Andean slope from Kuelap is the Atuen River. In addition, from Kuelap to Cajamaka is a bridge across the Maranon River at Balsas.


  1. Very interesting post! We continue to appreciate your work Del.

    There is one issue with this post however. The idea that our January 1st would the the first day of the year for the Nephites is not reasonable. That date came from the Romans.

    If Jesus died the day before Passover, and the Passover started on the 15th day of the first month, then the Hebrew year would have started around the spring equinox. Right?

    The spring and summer equinoxes are the only two times in the year when the length of the day is the same for EVERY place on earth.

    1. I found that those who have studied the matter say that each month started with the first "sliver" of light after a new moon.

      And they say that the new year started with the first month after tender green heads of barley are exposed from the stalk. Or some other related method.

      Because the lunar month is about 28 days, every few years they would have a 13th month.

      To me, this seems like a realistic system for an ancient people. So it is possible that the Nephites used the same or similar system.

    2. Under this calendar system the first month would start somewhere in middle to late March. That would still be hotter in the Southern hemisphere than in the Northern hemisphere.

  2. I'm assuming that the Nephites used the Hebrew calendar. Nisan is the 1st month which occurs in March to April. It's not a fixed thing since it is a lunar calendar. The first of the year comes at the 1st of Tishrei in Sept-Oct.

    What I've learned is that the ancients fought their wars in the winter months because they had to grow food during the summer months to survive.

    Since we dealing with southern hemisphere the seasons are reversed to our calendar.

    So the question is when did the battle happen in Alma 51 and 52? It is answered in Alma 52:1. The month would have been Nisan because they were counting from the reign of the judges. They were just coming out of Summer at this point and going into winter. That is why it was so hot. This would have been that they would have gone to war around the first month.

    Point well taken that Mesoamerica and North America certainly would not be this hot as it mentions in Alma at the March-April time frame.