Book of Mormon Covenant Lands

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Ether saw the days of Christ, and he spake concerning a New Jerusalem upon this land.


 1 Introduction

Introduction

This website is for those interested in exploring history in the Book of Mormon, the special covenant of God upon the land of North America, and the locations of Book of Mormon lands. It represents my research into scriptural doctrine, the teachings of Joseph Smith, geographical descriptions in the Book of Mormon, and includes much that I have learned from others who have explored and refined what is known as Book of Mormon "heartland theory". For a logical model of Book of Mormon locations I have created an Entity Relationship (ER) table. The logical model (ER table) is used to help create the physical model, which is represented as a series of maps centered in the heartland of America. As you see it, this website represents my progress to date. I estimate that as of February 2017, the logical model is 90% complete and the physical model 70% complete. At the current rate, I expect at least one more year to complete phase 1 of this project. Phase 2 is for detailed chronology, to complement the logical and physical models.

A Sacred Covenant Land

The ancient Nephites of the Book of Mormon, by divine means, "saw" our day. They saw the future.

Mormon 8
35 Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.

They wanted us to know that their land was a special covenant land, preserved for a righteous people - a land of promise for both them and for us, if we would live worthy of it.

Ether 2
7 And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people.
8 And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them.
9 And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.

Book of Mormon Locations

The Nephites seemed to assume we would have some understanding of their lands and even have access to their historical records.

Jacob 1
2 And he [Nephi] gave me, Jacob, a commandment that I should write upon these plates a few of the things which I considered to be most precious; that I should not touch, save it were lightly, concerning the history of this people which are called the people of Nephi. For he said that the history of his people should be engraven upon his other plates ...

Unfortunately, we don't have access to those other plates with the history. However, the Book of Mormon has a wealth of geographical references that make it possible to construct maps after a few anchor points are known. To help with the specific locations we have guidance from scripture and also the writings of Joseph Smith. Archeology and land topography provide important additional clues and confirmation. To codify geographical knowledge I have created an Entity Relation logical model that serves as the foundation for the physical model.

Questions and Answers

Here are the questions I would anticipate and answers to each.

Q. Why have you done this Book of Mormon research?

A. I believe it vitally important to better understand the special purposes and destiny of North America in Gods plan for the latter days, and what that means for those that live there. I find it very satisfying to read the Book of Mormon with a mental picture of the land involved and the important religious doctrines that apply to those lands. The Entity Relationship logical model provides evidence of Book of Mormon's internal consistency, and is therefore a testimony of the divine source of the text.

Q. Are you saying that everyone else is wrong with their models and that you are right?

A. There have been many maps and theories for the Book of Mormon locations published over the years. They contradict each other because little has been accomplished in the way of consensus or collaboration - but I have tried to learn from each of them. In fact, most of the foundational work of what I have placed into my framework originates from the efforts of others. Collaboration and consensus is something I hope to achieve as I get further along. Actually, collaboration is something I would benefit from having right now.

My goal is to discover truth with an open mind and apply the scientific method to arrive at the best possible answer -- and be worthy to have God help me in it. The process of experimentation is also described in the Book of Mormon itself.

Alma 32
27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves--It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.
32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.

Diagram illustrating the "Scientific Method". In my case, "Test with an Experiment" means to validate the physical model (the map) with the logical model (the Entity Relationship Table). For "Procedure Working?", I read the Book of Mormon, with map in hand, to validate that it fits (is plausible with) the text of the Book of Mormon.

Q. How is your research approach different?

A. The mainstream heartland model, as proposed by Wayne May and others, I believe has many things correct. However, a more accurate model can be achieved by giving pre-eminance to the Book of Mormon text over the archeology (which is important, yet incomplete). Therefore my approach is to build the Entity Relationship logical model based on the Book of Mormon text first. Then secondarily consider the archeological and topographical considerations to refine the model. The ER logical model table is especially important, so that for the first time (that I know of), work on specific locations can proceed with a well defined logical model as the foundation.

Q. How are your conclusions specifically different?

The ER model shows that, during the Reign of the Judges period and before, that Nephite lands were limited to the upper Mississippi region and included north and northwest Illinois, eastern Iowa, eastern Missouri, eastern Minnesota, all of Wisconsin, and all of upper Michigan. The ER physical model does not point to Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, lower Michigan, or the lower Mississippi - at least not for Nephite civilization in the Reign of the Judges period for which the most detailed narrations take place.

The city of Nephi is St. Louis. The location for the city of Manti is near Minneapolis. The west sea is Lake Superior, the east sea is Lake Michigan. The border between Bountiful and Desolation is the current border between upper Michigan and Ontario. I believe the text and the resulting ER modeling support these conclusions abundantly and conclusively.

All truth from discovery comes here a little and there a little. Here are some items I believe the ER logical model adds to the conversation:

  • The flow direction of the Sidon river: Many believe the Sidon flows to the north based on statements made in Alma 22:27-34. As it is now, Alma 22:27-34 is confusing and unclear due to, what I believe, are punctuation problems with these verses that once cleared up, remove the confusion. Also, it helps to consider that the term "wilderness", especially "strip of wilderness" refers to river bottomland areas. In any case, verse 29 says "nevertheless the Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land bordering on the wilderness, at the head of the river Sidon". The head of a River is its place of origin, it's source. That is the common definition found in any dictionary for "riverhead". 1 Nephi 8:13,14 also backs up this interpretation:

    13 And as I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family also, I beheld a river of water; ...
    14 And I looked to behold from whence it came; and I saw the head thereof a little way off; and at the head thereof I beheld your mother Sariah, and Sam, and Nephi; ...

    In short, the ER model supports a Sidon River that begins in the North and flows to the South.
  • The location of the land of Nephi: Some geographical models indicate eastern Tennessee but this is incompatible with the ER logical model. The most obvious problem is that it makes the Nephi to Zarahemla trip a 700 mile journey over difficult terrain. 700 miles would be impossible because the Book of Mormon says it is a 12 day journey for Alma and his people, not far from Nephi, to Zarahemla (Mosiah 24:23-25) via an homogenous piece of land called a "narrow strip of wilderness" (Alma 22:27). The journey between these two locations is mentioned about a dozen times in the Book of Mormon, and with the ER model, it can be a land or river journey.
  • The location of Bountiful: Again because of the ER logical model I propose Wisconsin and upper Michigan, rather than Ohio and this is because the Book of Mormon clearly states, multiple times, that Bountiful is north (Helaman 1:23, Alma 22:23) of Zarahemla, and that Zarahemla is at the center of the land (Helaman 1:24-27).
  • In summary, the logical and physical model clearly supports specific locations for the land of Nephi, the strip of wilderness between Nephi and Zarahemla, the narrow neck of land, the narrow pass between the seas, the west sea, and the east sea - all with lots of supporting evidence. No other model, that I am aware of, is successful in this regard.
  • The meaning of the term "to go up to" and "to go down to" a land or city: It has no directional consistency according to the ER logical model. It is not north - south. It is not an indication of elevation. The only interpretation I have found to be 100% consistant with the ER logical model is for "down" to mean familiar territory and "up" to mean less familiar territory. In other words, down is us and up is them. As we say: "down home".
  • Like the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon, the printers manuscript had no punctuation. After changing punctuation for Alma 22 that was first introduced by the compositor John H. Gilbert (at the print shop), Alma 22 (Mormon's dissertation on geography) now clearly confirms the ER model and vice-versa.

Q. How are your conclusions the same as other Heartland models?

A. The Book of Mormon events took place in North America. Zarahemla is in the center of the land and located in Iowa and west, across the river, from Nauvoo, Illinois. The Sidon River is the Mississippi river. The Hill Cumorah is located at the tradional location in New York.

Q. How sure are you of your logical and physical model?

A. I am confident of the basic framework of the ER model because it is based on Book of Mormon text -- which has proven to be very consistent. I am often confident but less sure of the exact location of cities -- except for the anchor cities of Zarahemla and Nephi. Further research is needed to validate many aspects of the physical model.

 2 North America Setting
 2.1 Heartland Theory

In my opinion, the Book of Mormon peoples and events must be located in the North America in order to be compatible with scripture and with the teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith. This basic premise is known as "Heartland Theory" and has rapidly gained acceptance as more people learn about ancient North American cultures, the content of the Book of Mormon, Gods covenant with this land, and the teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith. This has all been brought to the foreground of LDS thought thanks to Wayne May, Rod Meldrum, Ryan Fisher, Bruce Porter, Timothy Ballard, and others who have published youtube videos, books, magazines, and documentaries. These are all talented Latter-day Saints who believe the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and I love and really appreciate the work they have done.

For many years a Central American location for the Book of Mormon has been unofficially promoted, primarily I think because it was more attractive from a missionary presentation point of view. That is understandable - with its magnificent ruins, Central America seemed more interesting, especially when the science establishment said for over a hundred years that native North Americans never had any advanced civilization. Who could dare challenge it? Scholors no longer say that because it's now known to be incorrect, but it fit in well with the preferred narrative of 19th century "manifest destiny" ideology, and then it became codified. I think the whole idea is an unfortunate distraction from the important doctrines of the Book of Mormon that apply uniquely to the promised land of North America.

 2.2 LDS Doctrinal Considerations

Location of the Hill Cumorah

It is often stated that the LDS Church has no "official" position on the location of places mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Truly, I am sure it's not something the Church wants to argue about. However, I have always seen the intent of "no official position" as pertaining to the specific locations of Book of Mormon cities and lands. This is because modern day prophets have repeatedly said that the United States is the promised land mentioned in the Book of Mormon. For example:

The United States is the promised land foretold in the Book of Mormon—a place where divine guidance directed inspired men to create the conditions necessary for the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was the birth of the United States of America that ushered out the Great Apostasy, when the earth was darkened by the absence of prophets and revealed light. It was no coincidence that the lovely morning of the First Vision occurred just a few decades after the establishment of the United States. L. Tom Perry, "The Tradition of Light and Testimony", January 23, 2012

Even in the case of specific locations, there is one clear exception in my opinion: the Hill Cumorah. The clearly stated position of modern Prophets, Seers, and Revelators has always been that the Hill Cumorah mentioned in the Book of Mormon is the same as the traditional site that Joseph Smith identified in northern New York State where he received the plates. Joseph Fielding Smith wrote extensively about this. James E Talmadge, LeGrande Richards, and Bruce R McConkie have also said the Hill Cumorah is the traditional site in upper New York where Joseph Smith received the plates. My faith is to believe in the words of the Prophets. Early members if the Church always referred to the hill where the plates were deposited by Moroni as "the Hill Cumorah" as did Joseph Smith himself in his written histories and in the scripture text known as the Doctrine & Covenants.

Doctrine and Covenants 128
And again, what do we hear? Glad tidings from Cumorah! Moroni, an angel from heaven, declaring the fulfilment of the prophets--the book to be revealed. ...

Of course, Joseph tells in his history how he had four yearly interviews with Moroni at the location where the plates were buried, and here, in scripture, he makes reference to that taking place at Cumorah.

The Book of Mormon in North America

Of all the reasons supporting "Heartland Theory", the doctrinal and scriptural reasons are the more important. I make no compromise in the divinely revealed truths presented in the words and writings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (see next chapter "Joseph Smith"). Here are all the references in the Doctrine and Covenants and Book of Mormon that refer to Lamanite lands. Can anyone logically take this out of the context of North America and put it in Central or South America? I do not think so.

Doctrine and Covenants 10:45,49,50
45 Behold, there are many things engraven upon the plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel; therefore, it is wisdom in me that you should translate this first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth in this work. ...
49 Now, this is not all--their faith in their prayers was that this gospel should be made known also, if it were possible that other nations should possess this land;
50 And thus they did leave a blessing upon this land in their prayers, that whosoever should believe in this gospel in this land might have eternal life;

Doctrine and Covenants 54:8
8 And thus you shall take your journey into the regions westward, unto the land of Missouri, unto the borders of the Lamanites.

Doctrine and Covenants 28:14
14 And thou shalt assist to settle all these things, according to the covenants of the church, before thou shalt take thy journey among the Lamanites.

Doctrine and Covenants 28:9
9 And now, behold, I say unto you that it is not revealed, and no man knoweth where the city Zion shall be built, but it shall be given hereafter. Behold, I say unto you that it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites.

Doctrine and Covenants 84
2 Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.
3 Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.

Ether 13
2 For behold, they rejected all the words of Ether; for he truly told them of all things, from the beginning of man; and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof;
3 And that it was the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, and the holy sanctuary of the Lord.
4 Behold, Ether saw the days of Christ, and he spake concerning a New Jerusalem upon this land.

2 Nephi 1:5
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.

Zarahemla

The location of Zarahemla is the main anchor point that makes it possible to construct the ER physical model. The precise location of the city of Zarahemla is known thanks to Joseph Smith's writings and modern revelation. It starts with the understanding that Zarahemla is in Iowa across the river from Nauvoo, Illinois.

Doctrine and Covenants 125:1,3
1 What is the will of the Lord concerning the saints in the Territory of Iowa? ...
3 Let them build up a city unto my name upon the land opposite the city of Nauvoo, and let the name of Zarahemla be named upon it.

So, according to the word of the Lord, the land opposite from Nauvoo is Zarahemla. Some may argue that Section 125 doesn't mean it was the same Zarahemla as the Book of Mormon Zarahemla, but the Lord doesn't personally name places that often and then certainly not without a reason. In this case, I would say that Occam's Razor certainly applies, which means that the simpler explanation is the one that should be taken. In fact, there is no other explanation. This interpretation is also compatible with a consistant scriptural pattern of Deity specifying proper names for a reason and as a teaching device. For example:

Luke 1
11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. ...
57 Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.
58 And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.
59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.
60 And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.
61 And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.
62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.
63 And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.
64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.
[The Hebrew meaning of the word JOHN is "God has shown favor"]

Matthew 1
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
[JESUS is the Greek form of JOSHUA, which means "God is Salvation"]

DC 116
1 SPRING Hill is named by the Lord Adam-ondi-Ahman, because, said he, it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet.



The Church had a lot of land holdings in Zarahemla before the Nauvoo extermination order and the trek west.
 2.3 Joseph Smith

The Prophet Joseph knew all about the ancient lands of the Book of Mormon and faithful Latter-day Saints should take the Prophet Joseph Smith at his word. He is not only a prophet, he is THE Prophet and Seer of the latter days. Joseph Smith knew all about Book of Mormon civilization, their customs, and the location of their lands. In the famous Wentworth letter, written directly by Joseph Smith, he states:

Wentworth Letter

Joseph Smith, Wentworth Letter
I was also informed concerning the aboriginal inhabitants of this country, and shown who they were, and from whence they came; a brief sketch of their origin, progress, civilization, laws, governments, of their righteousness and iniquity, and the blessings of God being finally withdrawn from them as a people was made known unto me: I was also told where there was deposited some plates on which were engraven an abridgment of the records of the ancient prophets that had existed on this continent. The angel appeared to me three times the same night and unfolded the same things. ...

So here we have the angel Moroni himself informing Joseph about his people, "the aboriginal inhabitants of this country". Not once, but three times repeated in one night. That seems pretty clear. Note especially that Joseph was not just told about the ancient enhabitants of this land but also "shown".

A careful reading of the Joseph Smiths History account of what happened the next morning also reveals that Moroni did not just talk to the young Joseph at this time but also "unfolded" to him visions:

Joseph Smith History
I left the field, and went to the place where the messenger had told me the plates were deposited; and owing to the distinctness of the vision which I had had concerning it, I knew the place the instant that I arrived there.

Urim and Thummim

Doctrine and Covenants 130:6
The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth; But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord. The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim. ...

Joseph Knight
"He (Joseph Smith) seemed to think more of the glasses or the Urim and Thummim than he did of the plates for says he, I can see anything. They are Marvelous."

Mosiah 8:13
Now Ammon said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer.



Artist rendition of Urim and Thummim based on accounts of Lucy Mack and William Smith (Joseph's mother and brother)

Joseph Smith had the Urim and Thummim that came with the gold plates, which literally allowed him to see into the past of the ancient Book of Mormon civilizations.

Lucy Mack Smith

According to Joseph's mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Joseph had a knowledge of the ancient Americans that he wrote about in the Wentworth Letter.

Lucy Mack Smith
During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of travelings, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them.

Emma Smith

Joseph Smith wrote the following in a letter to Emma Smith

Joseph Smith
The whole of our journey, in the midst of so large a company of social, honest and sincere men, wandering over the plains of the Nephites, recounting occasionally the history of the Book of Mormon, roving over the mounds of that once beloved people of the Lord, picking up their skulls & their bones, as a proof of its divine authenticity, ...

Excerpt from letter to Emma Smith from Joseph Smith, written during the Zions Camp march to western Missouri. See Joseph Smith Papers

We have the statement above in Joseph's own handwriting. Also, there is no question that Joseph Smith was not the author of the Times and Seasons articles in 1842 that excitedly, but erroneously, linked discoveries in Central America to the Book of Mormon. I do not believe that Joseph Smith was confused, that he changed his mind, or contradicted himself as regards to the location of Book of Mormon lands. His own personal writings are very clear.

 2.4 Central and South America

I believe there is a great history of the peoples of Central and South America and the islands of the Pacific, as yet untold. I believe they have the blood of the House of Israel in their ancestry.

2 Nephi 29
11 For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.
12 For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it.
13 And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.
14 And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in one. And I will show unto them that fight against my word and against my people, who are of the house of Israel, that I am God, and that I covenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seed forever.

It appears that these words are written as an indication that the peoples of Central America and of South America "in the south" are of the House of Israel also. Jesus specifically says "all nations" and I do not believe He is given to hyperbole. Therefore I believe their traditions of a bearded God who came to to their forefathers are true. We just don't have their sacred records, yet - but the records exist, or can be restored, and are promised to come forth.

Joseph Smith said of those in Central and South America:

...speaking of the Land of Zion, it consists of all North and South America but that any place where the Saints gather is Zion which every righteous man will build up for a place of safety for his children… The redemption of Zion is the redemption of all North and South America.

Jesus said that with faith we can understand and accept these things and that it is only our unbelief that keeps us from the truth.

3 Nephi 15:14-20
14 And not at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell it unto your brethren at Jerusalem.
15 Neither at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell unto them concerning the other tribes of the house of Israel, whom the Father hath led away out of the land.
16 This much did the Father command me, that I should tell unto them:
17 That other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
18 And now, because of stiffneckedness and unbelief they understood not my word; therefore I was commanded to say no more of the Father concerning this thing unto them.
19 But, verily, I say unto you that the Father hath commanded me, and I tell it unto you, that ye were separated from among them because of their iniquity; therefore it is because of their iniquity that they know not of you.
20 And verily, I say unto you again that the other tribes hath the Father separated from them; and it is because of their iniquity that they know not of them.

 3 Logical Model
 3.1 Entity Relationships

There are several different varieties of Entity Relationship modeling, which was originally invented for modeling business processes. My version of ER modeling is adapted for the Book of Mormon and focuses on a Logical Model that helps lead to the end result Physical Model - which is a series of Book of Mormon maps. The table of Entity Relationships starts below, but first, here is the notation used:

  1. Square brackets [ ] define the entity relationship name. It is always geographical proper noun - a place name.
    Example: [Zarahemla ]
  2. Each entity is connected by a double arrow pointing to or from the entity via a relationship or attribute. Example: [Zarahemla]
  3. Angle brackets describe the entity relationship to an attribute or other entity. The entity relationship is always stated after the first entity. The cardinality is normally 1 to 1 but if 1 to N then additional attributes or entities are simply listed.
    Example: [Zarahemla] ⇒ <is a >
  4. Curly brackets { } contain an entity attribute - a description.
    Example: [Zarahemla] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city or land }
    Entity names always start first and are followed by entity relationship(s) and next with an entity name or attribute.
    Examples:
      [Zarahemla] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city or land}
      [Zarahemla] ⇒ <is north of> ⇒ [Minon]
      [Zarahemla] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Sidon]
      [Lehi] ⇒ <is north> ⇒ <by borders of> ⇒ {seashore}

Entity Relationship Diagrams

The Entity Relationships can be converted into a diagram overlayed onto the real map. Below is an example of an Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD).

I have created an ER table to model the locations of Book of Mormon Lands. However, for the Book of Mormon maps I refrained from placing an ERD on the maps because the amount of detail would tend to overwhelm. Instead I place just Book of Mormon entities in areas that: 1) make sense geographically with the terrain; and 2) conform to the Entity Relationship table. See the ER table in Chapter 3.2.

 3.2 Entity Relationship Table
Period Entity Relationship References
Reign of Judges Aaron [Aaron] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Aaron] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Moroni]
[Aaron] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Nephihah]
[Aaron] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [East Sea]
[Aaron] ⇒ <is a journey from> ⇒ [Ammonihah]
Alma 8:13
Alma 50:14
Reign of Judges Ammonihah [Ammonihah] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Ammonihah] ⇒ <is located> ⇒ {north of Melek}
[Ammonihah] ⇒ <distance is> ⇒ {three days from Melek}
[Ammonihah] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Zarahemla]
[Ammonihah] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Sidom]
[Ammonihah] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ {wilderness side borders of land}
[Ammonihah] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Noah]
Alma 8: 6,7
Alma 15:1
Alma 16:2,3,9,11
Alma 25:2
Alma 49:1,3,14
Alma 5:10
Reign of Judges Amulon [Amulon] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Amulon] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Helam]
[Amulon] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Nephi]
[Amulon] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Shemlon]
[Amulon] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Shilom]
Mosiah 23:31,36-39 Mosiah 24:1,2,4
Reign of Judges Amnihu [Amnihu] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {hill}
[Amnihu] ⇒ <is east of> ⇒ [Sidon]
[Amnihu] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Zarahemla]
Alma 2:15
Reign of Judges Ani-Anti [Ani-Anti] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {village}
[Ani-Anti] ⇒ <is over from> ⇒ [Jerusalem]
[Ani-Anti] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Middoni]
Alma 21:2,11,12
Reign of Judges Antionum [Antionum] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Antionum] ⇒ <is east> of> ⇒ [land of Zarahemla]
[Antionum] ⇒ <nearly borders the> ⇒ {seashore}
[Antionum] ⇒ <is south of> ⇒ [Jershon]
[Antionum] ⇒ <borders the> ⇒ {wilderness south}
Alma 31:3
Alma 43:5,15,22
Reign of Judges Antiparah [Antiparah] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Antiparah] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Manti]
[Antiparah] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Zeezrom]
[Antiparah] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Cumeni]
[Antiparah] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Judea]
Alma 56:14,31,33,34
Alma 57:1,2,3,4
Reign of Judges Antipas [Antipas] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {mount or hill}
[Antipas] ⇒ <is same as> ⇒ {Hill North of Shilom}
[Antipas] ⇒ <is site of a> ⇒ {tower}
[Antipas] ⇒ <is north of> ⇒ [Shilom]
[Antipas] ⇒ <is near a> ⇒ {valley}
[Antipas] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Onidah]
[Antipas] ⇒ <is less than one day from> ⇒ [city of Nephi]
Mosiah 7:5,16
Mosiah 11:13
Alma 47:7,9,10
Reign of Judges Bountiful [Bountiful] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {wilderness or land or city}
[Bountiful] ⇒ <is located> ⇒ {north}
[Bountiful] ⇒ <is located south of> ⇒ [Desolation]
[Bountiful] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Desolation]
[Bountiful] ⇒ <border distance> ⇒ {one and a half day travel}
[Bountiful] ⇒ <is inhabited> ⇒ {from east to west sea}
[Bountiful] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Gid]
[Bountiful] ⇒ <is located north of> ⇒ [Jershon]
[Bountiful] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Morianton]
[Bountiful] ⇒ <is north of> ⇒ [Mulek]
[Bountiful] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Gid]
[Bountiful] ⇒ <has> ⇒ {narrow neck of land}
[Bountiful] ⇒ <border is near to> ⇒ {Hagoth departure point}
[Bountiful] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {Hagoth ship launch to west sea}
Alma 22:29,31,32,33
Helaman 1:23
Alma 27:22
Alma 63:5
Helaman 4:5-6
Helaman 5:14,15
3 Nephi 3:11
Reign of Judges Cumeni [Cumeni] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Cumeni] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Manti]
[Cumeni] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Zeezrom]
[Cumeni] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Antiparah]
[Cumeni] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Judea]
Alma 56:14
Alma 57:5,6,12,23,31,34
Reign of Judges Desolation [Desolation] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Desolation] ⇒ <is north> ⇒ [Bountiful]
[Desolation] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Bountiful]
[Desolation] ⇒ <border distance> ⇒ {one and one half days}
[Desolation] ⇒ <contains a> ⇒ [Narrow pass]
[Desolation] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [East Sea]
[Desolation] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [West Sea]
[Desolation] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ {Hagoth departure point}
Alma 22: 30,32,32
Alma 50:34
Mormon 3:3
Reign of Judges Gad [Gad] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Gad] ⇒ <destroyed by> ⇒ {fire}
3 Nephi 9:10
Reign of Judges Gadiomnah [Gadiomnah] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Gadiomnah] ⇒ <destroyed by> ⇒ {being sunk into the earth}
3 Nephi 9:8
Reign of Judges Gid [Gid] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Gid] ⇒ <is east> ⇒ {Nephite lands}
[Gid] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [East Sea]
[Gid] ⇒ <is borders> ⇒ [Bountiful]
[Gid] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Mulek]
Alma 51:1,24,26
Alma 55:7,16,26
Helaman 5:15
Reign of Judges Gideon [Gideon] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {valley,land,city}
[Gideon] ⇒ <is southward of> ⇒ [land Manti]
[Gideon] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Zarahemla]
Alma 2:1,20,26
Alma 6:7,8
Alma 8:1
Alma 17:1
Alma 61:5
Alma 62:3,4,6
Helaman 13:15
Reign of Judges Gilgal [Gilgal] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Gilgal] ⇒ <destroyed by> ⇒ {being sunk into the earth}
3 Nephi 9:6
Reign of Judges Gimgimno [Gadiomnah] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Gadiomnah] ⇒ <destroyed by> ⇒ {being sunk into the earth}
3 Nephi 8:8
Reign of Judges Hagoth [Hagoth] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {ship building site}
[Hagoth] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [West Sea]
[Hagoth] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Bountiful]
[Hagoth] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Desolation]
Alma: 63:5
Reign of Judges Helam [Helam] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land or city}
[Helam] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [land Nephi]
[Helam] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [land Jerusalem]
[Helam] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Ani-Anti]
[Helam] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Amulon]
[Helam] ⇒ <is 1 days travel from> ⇒ [Valley of Alma]
[Helam] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ {travel wilderness}
[Helam] ⇒ <is 8 days travel from> ⇒ [Waters of Mormon]
[Helam] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {pleasant land of pure water}
Mosiah 18:12,13,14
Mosiah 23:3,4,19,20,25,26,29-39
Mosiah 27:16
Alma 24:1,20,21
Reign of Judges Hermounts [Hermounts] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {wilderness with wild beasts}
[Hermounts] ⇒ <is north and west of> ⇒ [Zarahemla]
Alma 2:37
Reign of Judges Ishmael [Ishmael] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Ishmael] ⇒ <is very near to> ⇒ [Nephi]
[Ishmael] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Middoni]
[Ishmael] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Midian]
[Ishmael] ⇒ <encountered first in journey from> ⇒ [Zarahemla]
Alma 17:18,19,29,21
Alma 18:38
Alma 20:14,15
Alma 21:18,20,21
Alma 22:1,4
Alma 23:9
Alma 24:5
Alma 25:13
Reign of Judges Jacob [Jacob] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Jacob] ⇒ <is destroyed by> ⇒ {being sunk and buried}
3 Nephi 9:8
Reign of Judges Jacobugath [Jacobugath] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Jacobugath] ⇒ <is located> ⇒ {northernmost part of land}
[Jacobugath] ⇒ <destroyed by> ⇒ {fire}
3 Nephi 9:9
3 Nephi 8:12
Reign of Judges Jershon [Jershon] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Jershon] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [East Sea]
[Jershon] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Bountiful]
[Jershon] ⇒ <is south of> ⇒ [Bountiful]
[Jershon] ⇒ <is north and east of> ⇒ [Zarahemla]
[Jershon] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Zarahemla]
[Jershon] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Melek]
[Jershon] ⇒ <is travelled to via wilderness from> ⇒ [Nephi]
[Jershon] ⇒ <is north of> ⇒ [Antionum]
[Jershon] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Antionum]
Alma 27:22,23,24,26
Alma 28:1,8
Alma 30:1,19
Alma 31:3
Alma 35:1,2,6,8,13,14
Alma 43:4,15,17,22,25
Reign of Judges Jerusalem [Jerusalem] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land or city}
[Jerusalem] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Mormon]
[Jerusalem] ⇒ <populated by> ⇒ [Lamanites,Amalekites,Amulonites]
[Jerusalem] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Amulon]
[Jerusalem] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Helam]
[Jerusalem] ⇒ <destroyed by> ⇒ {waters coming up}
Alma 21:1,2,4
Alma 24:1
3 Nephi:9:7
Reign of Judges Josh [Josh] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Josh] ⇒ <destroyed by> ⇒ {fire}
3 Nephi 9:10
Reign of Judges Judea [Judea] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Judea] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Manti]
[Judea] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Zeezrom]
[Judea] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Cumeni]
[Judea] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Antiparah]
Alma 56:9,15,18,57
Alma 57:11
Reign of Judges Kishkumen [Kishkumen] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Kishkumen] ⇒ <destroyed by> ⇒ {fire}
3 Nephi 9:10
Reign of Judges Laman [Laman] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Laman] ⇒ <destroyed by> ⇒ {fire}
3 Nephi 9:10
Reign of Judges Lehi [Lehi] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city or land}
[Lehi] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Morianton]
[Lehi] ⇒ <is located> ⇒ {on the north}
[Lehi] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [East Sea]
[Lehi] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Nephihah]
Alma 52:24,26
Alma 51:1,24,26
Alma 59:5
Alma 62:30
Reign of Judges Lehi [Lehi] ⇒ <is> ⇒ {all the land south} Helaman 6:6,10
Reign of Judges Lehi-Nephi [Lehi-Nephi] ⇒ <is another name for> ⇒ [Nephi]
[Lehi-Nephi] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Shilom]
[Lehi-Nephi] ⇒ <has> ⇒ {walls}
Mosiah 7:1,2,4,21
Mosiah 9:6-8
Reign of Judges Lemuel [Lemuel] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Lemuel] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Shilom]
[Lemuel] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Shemlon]
[Lemuel] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Shimnilom]
Alma 23:12
Reign of Judges Manti [Manti] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land or city}
[Manti] ⇒ <borders a> ⇒ [South Wilderness]
[Manti] ⇒ <is north of> ⇒ [South Wilderness]
[Manti] ⇒ <is north of> ⇒ [Gideon]
[Manti] ⇒ <is a wilderness journey from> ⇒ [Antionum]
[Manti] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Cumeni]
[Manti] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Zeezrom]
[Manti] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Antiparah]
[Manti] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ {wilderness}
Alma 16:6,7
Alma 17:1
Alma 11:27
Alma 43:22,24,25,32,42
Alma 56:14
Alma 57:22
Alma 58:1,13,25.26.27.28.39 Nephite city
Reign of Judges Hill Manti [Hill Manti] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ [hill]
[Manti] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {execution of Nehor}
Alma 1:16
Reign of Judges Melek [Melek] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Melek] ⇒ <is near> ⇒ [Zarahemla]
[Melek] ⇒ <is west of> ⇒ [Sidon]
[Melek] ⇒ <is west by the borders of> ⇒ [the wilderness]
[Melek] ⇒ <is south of> ⇒ [Ammonihah]
[Melek] ⇒ <distance is three days from> ⇒ [Ammonihah]
[Melek] ⇒ <receives> ⇒ {people of Ammon} ⇒ <from> ⇒ [Jershon]
Alma 8:3,4,6
Alma 31:6
Alma 35:13
Alma 45:18
Reign of Judges Middoni [Middoni] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Middoni] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Nephi]
[Middoni] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Ishmael]
[Middoni] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Ani-Anti]
Alma 20: 2,3,4,5,7,14,15,28,30
Alma 21:12,13,18
Alma 22:1,3
Reign of Judges Midian [Midian] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Midian] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Ishmael]
Alma 24:5
Reign of Judges Minon [Minon] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Minon] ⇒ <is south of> ⇒ [Zarahemla]
[Minon] ⇒ <is on the way to> ⇒ [Nephi] ⇒ <from> ⇒ [Zarahemla]
Alma 2:24
Reign of Judges Mocum [Mocum] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Mocum] ⇒ <destroyed by> ⇒ [water coming up]
3 Nephi 9:7
Reign of Judges Morianton [Morianton] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city,land}
[Morianton] ⇒ <is north of> ⇒ [Lehi]
[Morianton] ⇒ <is east by the borders of> ⇒ {the seashore}
[Morianton] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Lehi]
[Morianton] ⇒ <is south of> ⇒ [Bountiful]
[Morianton] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Gid]
[Morianton] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Mulek]
[Morianton] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Omner]
[Morianton] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Nephihah]
[Morianton] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Moroni]
[Morianton] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Lehi]
Alma 50:25,26,27,28,29,30,32,33,35,36
Alma 51:1,24,29
Alma 55:33
Alma 59:5
Reign of Judges Mormon [Mormon] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {place, land}
[Mormon] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Nephi]
[Mormon] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Jerusalem]
[Mormon] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {waters of Mormon}
[Mormon] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {forest of Mormon}
Mosiah 18:4,5,7,8,16,30
Mosiah 25:18
Mosiah 26:15
Alma 5:3
Alma 21:1
3 Nephi 5:12
Reign of Judges Moroni [Moroni] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land or city}
[Moroni] ⇒ <is located in the borders by> ⇒ {the seashore}
[Moroni] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ {wilderness south}
[Moroni] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ {wilderness east}
[Moroni] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Nephihah]
[Moroni] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Lehi]
[Moroni] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Morianton]
[Moroni] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Gid]
[Moroni] ⇒ <destroyed by> ⇒ {sinking into the sea}
Alma 50:14
Alma 51:22,23,24
Alma 59:5
Alma 62:25,32,33,34
3 Nephi 3:8
Reign of Judges Moronihah [Moronihah] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Moronihah] ⇒ <destroyed by> ⇒ [being covered with earth]
3 Nephi 8:10,25
3 Nephi 9:5
Reign of Judges Mulek [Mulek] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Mulek] ⇒ <is south of> ⇒ [Bountiful]
[Mulek] ⇒ <is located> ⇒ [east]
[Mulek] ⇒ <is located> ⇒ {by the seashore}
Alma 51:26
Alma 52:2,16,17,19,20,22,26,28,34
Alma 53:2,6
Helaman 5:14,15
Reign of Judges Mulek [Mulek] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Mulek] ⇒ <is all the land north of> ⇒ [Lehi]
Helaman 6:6,10
Reign of Judges Narrow Neck [Narrow Neck] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {geologic feature}
[Narrow Neck] ⇒ <is route to> ⇒ {land northward}
Alma 63:5
Reign of Judges Narrow Pass [Narrow Pass] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {geologic feature}
[Narrow Pass] ⇒ <is part of the> ⇒ {Narrow Passage}
[Narrow Pass] ⇒ <is to> ⇒ {water strait}
[Narrow Pass] ⇒ <leads to> ⇒ {land southward}
[Narrow Pass] ⇒ <leads to> ⇒ {land northward}
[Narrow Pass] ⇒ <is> ⇒ {militarily strategic}
Alma 52:9
Alma 50:34
Mormon 3:5
Reign of Judges Narrow Passage [Narrow Passage] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {travel route}
[Narrow Passage] ⇒ <includes the> ⇒ {Narrow Pass}
[Narrow Passage] ⇒ <is a route that> ⇒ <divides> ⇒ {the land}
[Narrow Passage] ⇒ <is the border> ⇒between [Bountiful] and [Desolation]
[Narrow Passage] ⇒ <extends from the> ⇒ [East Sea] to the [West Sea]
Mormon 2:29
Ether 10:20
Helaman 4:7
Alma 22:32
Helaman 4:7
Reign of Judges Narrow Strip [Narrow Strip] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {wilderness}
[Narrow Strip] ⇒ <divides> ⇒ [Zarahemla] ⇒ <from> ⇒ [land Nephi]

Reign of Judges Nephi [Nephi] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land, city}
[Nephi] ⇒ <is> ⇒ [Lehi-Nephi]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {first enheritance}
[Nephi] ⇒ <is located south> ⇒ {Nephi}
[Nephi] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ {a wilderness}
[Nephi] ⇒ <is located> ⇒ {south of a wilderness}
[Nephi] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {armies} ⇒ <going north to> ⇒ [Zarahemla]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is located south of> ⇒ [Zarahemla]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Shilom]
[Nephi] ⇒ <boarders> ⇒ [Shilom]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Helam]
[Nephi] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Mormon]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Middoni]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Amulon]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Jerusalem]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Midian]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Ishmael]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is separated from> ⇒ [Zarahemla] ⇒ <by> ⇒ {wilderness}
[Nephi] ⇒ <is separated from> ⇒ [Jershon] ⇒ <by> ⇒ {Nephite armies}
[Nephi] ⇒ <has a border (river) running to> ⇒ [the east sea]
Omni 1:12,27
Mosiah 9:1
Words of Mormon 1:13
Mosiah 7:1,2,4,6,7,21
Mosiah 9:1,6,8,14
Mosiah 19:15,19,22,24
Mosiah 20:3,7
Mosiah 21:1,12,21,26
Mosiah 23:35,36,37,38
Mosiah 27:16
Mosiah 28:1,5
Mosiah 29:3
Alma 2:24,25
Alma 5:3
Alma 17:8
Alma 18:9
Alma 20:1,2
Alma 22:1,28,32,34
Alma 23:11
Alma 24:1,5,20
Alma 25:13
Alma 26:23
Alma 27:1,14,20,21,23
Alma 28:3,4,8
Alma 29:14
Alma 46:29
Alma 47:1,20,31,35
Alma 49:10,25
Alma 50:7,8,12
Alma 53:6
Alma 54:6
Alma 56:3,12
Alma 58:38
Helaman 4:12
Helaman 5:20
Reign of Judges Nephihah [Nephihah] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city,land,plain}
[Nephihah] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Aaron]
[Nephihah] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Moroni]
[Nephihah] ⇒ <is located between> ⇒ [Moroni] & [Aaron]
[Nephihah] ⇒ <is near> ⇒ [Morianton]
[Nephihah] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [East Sea]
Alma 50:14
Alma 51:24-26
Alma 59:5 (7,8,9,11)
Words of Mormon 1:13
Reign of Judges Noah [Noah] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Noah] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Ammonihah]
[Noah] ⇒ <fortified by> ⇒ {Captain Moroni}
Alma 16:3
Alma 49:13-15
Reign of Judges Omner [Omner] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land,hill}
[Omner] ⇒ <borders the east> ⇒ {seashore}
[Omner] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Lehi]
[Omner] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Morianton]
[Omner] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Nephihah]
[Omner] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Mulek]
Alma 51:26
Reign of Judges Onidah [Onidah] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {hill}
[Onidah] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Antionum]
[Onidah] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {place of arms}
Alma 32:4 Alma 47:5
Reign of Judges Onihah [Onihah] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Onihah] ⇒ <destroyed by> ⇒ {waters coming up}
Mosiah 21:1,12,21,26
Reign of Judges Riplah [Riplah] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {hill}
[Riplah] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ [battle Moroni vs Zerahemnah]
[Riplah] ⇒ <east of> ⇒ [Sidon]
[Riplah] ⇒ <is near to borders of> ⇒ [Manti]
[Riplah] ⇒ <is near to valley> ⇒ <west of> ⇒ [Manti]
[Riplah] ⇒ <is north> of> ⇒ [Manti]
Mosiah 27:16
Reign of Judges Ripliancum [Ripliancum] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {large body of water}
[Ripliancum] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ [battle Coriantumr vs Shiz]
[Ripliancum] ⇒ <is north> of> ⇒ [Ogath]
Mosiah 28:1,5
Reign of Judges East Sea [East Sea] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {Great Lake}
[East Sea] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Moroni]
[East Sea] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Aaron]
[East Sea] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Nephihah]
[East Sea] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Lehi]
[East Sea] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Morianton]
[East Sea] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Omner]
[East Sea] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Gid]
[East Sea] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Mulek]
[East Sea] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Bountiful]
[East Sea] ⇒ <is bordering> of> ⇒ {Lamanite land}
[East Sea] ⇒ <is boundary of> ⇒ {Nephite land}
[East Sea] ⇒ <is near border of> ⇒ {Nephite land}
[East Sea] ⇒ <is near border of> ⇒ {Lamanite land}
[East Sea] ⇒ <contains> ⇒ [Narrow Pass] ⇒ <leading to> ⇒ {land northward}
[East Sea] ⇒ <contains> ⇒ [Narrow Pass] ⇒ <leading to> ⇒ [West Sea]
[East Sea] ⇒ <contains> ⇒ {fortified line} ⇒ <leading to> ⇒ [West Sea]
Alma 22:27,33
Alma 27:22
Alma 50:13,14
Alma 50:8,13,34
Alma 51:26
Alma 52:13
Helaman 4:7
Reign of Judges West Sea [West Sea] ⇒ <is bordering> {Lamanite land}
[West Sea] ⇒ <is north of> ⇒ {Stripling soldiers}
[West Sea] ⇒ <is north of> ⇒ {Lamanite army}
[West Sea] ⇒ <is boundary of> ⇒ {Nephite land}
[West Sea] ⇒ <is near border of> ⇒ {Nephite land}
[West Sea] ⇒ <is near border of> ⇒ {Lamanite land}
[West Sea] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ {Lamanite land}
[West Sea] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ {head of Sidon}
[West Sea] ⇒ <is north of> ⇒ {Nephite land}
[West Sea] ⇒ <contains> ⇒ [Narrow Pass] ⇒ <leading from> ⇒ [East Sea]
[West Sea] ⇒ <is near border of> ⇒ [Bountiful] ⇒ <and border of> ⇒ [West Sea] ⇒ <is launch site of> ⇒ {ship of Hagoth}
[West Sea] ⇒ <contains> ⇒ {fortified line} ⇒ <leading to> ⇒ [East Sea]
Alma 22:27,32,33
Alma 50:11,34
Alma 52:11,12
Alma 53:8,22
Alma 63:5
Helaman 4:7
Reign of Judges Sebus [Sebus] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {watering place}
[Sebus] ⇒ <is located in> ⇒ [Ishmael]
Alma 17:20,26,34
Alma 18:7
Alma 19:29,21
Reign of Judges Shemlon [Shemlon] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Shemlon] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Shilom]
[Shemlon] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Nephi]
[Shemlon] ⇒ <is visible> ⇒ {from tower}
[Shemlon] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Lemuel]
[Shemlon] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Shimnilom]
[Shemlon] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Amulon]
Mosiah 10:7
Mosiah 11:12
Mosiah 19:6
Mosiah 11:12,13
Mosiah 24:1,2,4
Reign of Judges Shilom [Shilom] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land or city}
[Shilom] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Hill]
[Shilom] ⇒ <boarders> ⇒ [Nephi]
[Shilom] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Lehi-Nephi]
[Shilom] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Shemlon]
[Shilom] ⇒ <is south of> ⇒ [Hill]
[Shilom] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Amulon]
[Shilom] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Lemuel]
[Shilom] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Shimnilom]
Mosiah 7:5,7,16,21
Mosiah 9:6,8,14
Mosiah 10:8
Mosiah 11:12,13
Mosiah 22:8,12
Mosiah 24:1,2,4
Alma 23:12
Reign of Judges Shim [Shim] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ [hill]
[Shim] ⇒ <is located in> ⇒ [Antum]
[Shim] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Nephite destruction]
[Shim] ⇒ <is to the west of> ⇒ [Ablom]
Mormon 1:3
Mormon 1:23
Ether 9:3
Reign of Judges Shimnilom [Shimnilom] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Shimnilom] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Shilom]
[Shimnilom] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Lemuel]
[Shimnilom] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Amulon]
[Shimnilom] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Nephi]
Alma 23:12
Reign of Judges Sidom [Sidom] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Sidom] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Ammonihah]
[Sidom] ⇒ <is location of> ⇒ [sick Zeezrom]
[Sidom] ⇒ <is location of> ⇒ [church]
Alma 15:1,3,4,11,13,14,17
Reign of Judges Sidon [Sidon] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ [river]
[Sidon] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ <baptisms> ⇒ [Zarahemla]
[Sidon] ⇒ <is west> of> ⇒ [Gideon]
[Sidon] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Zarahemla]
[Sidon] ⇒ <is west> of> ⇒ {battle Moroni vs Zerihemnah}
[Sidon] ⇒ <is east of> ⇒ [Melek]
[Sidon] ⇒ <is west> ⇒ [south wilderness]
[Sidon] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Riplah]
[Sidon] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {battle Moroni vs Zarahemnah}
Alma 2:15,17,27,34,35
Alma 3:3
Alma 4:4
Alma 6:7
Alma 8:3
Alma 16:6,7
Alma 43:27,32,25,29,40,41,50,51,53
Alma 44:22
Alma 49:16
Alma 50:11
Reign of Judges Sidon Head [Sidon Head] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {place}
[Sidon Head] ⇒ <is located in> ⇒ {northern lands}
[Sidon Head] ⇒ <is near to the> ⇒ [West Sea]
[Sidon Head] ⇒ <is in the border of> ⇒ [Manti]
[Sidon Head] ⇒ <is encountered on the way to> ⇒ [Manti]
[Sidon Head] ⇒ <is crossed on the way to> ⇒ [Nephihah] ⇒ <from> ⇒ [Manti]
Alma 22:27,29
Alma 43:22
Alma 50:11
Alma 56:25
Reign of Judges Siron [Siron] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Siron] ⇒ <is located at borders of> ⇒ {Lamanites}
Alma 39:3
Reign of Judges Waters of Mormon [Waters of Mormon] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {spring}
[Waters of Mormon] ⇒ <is located in> ⇒ [Mormon]
[Waters of Mormon] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ {forest}
[Waters of Mormon] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {baptisms}
Mosiah 18:8,16,30
Mosiah 25:18
Mosiah 26:15
Alma 5:3 Baptismal waters for Nephites
Reign of Judges Valley of Alma [Valley of Alma] ⇒ <is one days travel from> &Implies [Helam] Mosiah 24:20-21<</td>
Reign of Judges Zarahemla [Zarahemla] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land, city}
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <is located> ⇒ {across the river from Nauvoo, Illinois}
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <is separated by a wilderness to> ⇒ [Nephi]
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <is many days journey from> ⇒ [Nephi]
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <is many days journey from> ⇒ [Shilom]
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <is 12 days journey from> ⇒ [Nephi]
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Sidon]
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <is located north> ⇒ [Minon]
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Gideon]
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <is located west of> ⇒ [Sidon]
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <is located west of> ⇒ [Gideon]
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Ammonihah]
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <is north of> ⇒ [Nephi]
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <is divided from Nephi by a> ⇒ {wilderness}
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <is west of> ⇒ [Antionum]
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Melek]
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <is located north of> ⇒ {east wilderness}
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <is separated by a wilderness to> ⇒ [Zarahemla]
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <is located in the center of> ⇒ {land of Nephites}
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <destroyed by> ⇒ {fire}
Doctrine & Covenants 125:3
Omni 1:12,13,14,15,18,19,21,24,28
Mosiah 1:10,18
Alma 2:4
Mosiah 7:1,3,9,13,14
Mosiah 1,5,7,8,14
Mosiah 9:2
Mosiah 21:24,25,26
Mosiah 22:11,13
Mosiah 24:25
Mosiah 25:5,19,23
Mosiah 27:35
Mosiah 29:24
Alma 2:15,24,26
Alma 3:20
Alma 4:1
Alma 5:1,2
Alma 6:1,4,7
Alma 7:3,5
Alma 8:1
Alma 15:18
Alma 16:1
Alma 17:1,7
Alma 22:27,28,30,32
Alma 25:2
Alma 26:1,9,23
Alma 27:5,14,15,20
Alma 28:1
Alma 30:6,29
Alma 31:3,6
Alma 35:14
Alma 45:18
Alma 46:33
Alma 47:29
Alma 48:6
Alma 50:7,9,11
Alma 51:11
Alma 52:12
Alma 53:10,12
Alma 56:25,28,57
Alma 57:6,11,15,16,28,30
Alma 58:3,4,23,24
Alma 59:4
Alma 60:1,3
Alma 61:8,18
Alma 62:6,7,11,14,42
Alma 63:4
Helaman 1:15,17,18,22,23,27,29,233
Helaman 3:3,31
Helaman 4:5
Helaman 5:16,19
Helaman 6:4
Helaman 7:1,10
Helaman 13:12,2
3 Nephi 1:2
3 Nephi 2:9
3 Nephi 3:23
3 Nephi 6:25
3 Nephi 9:3
Reign of Judges Zeezrom [Zeezrom] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Zeezrom] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Manti]
[Zeezrom] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Cumeni]
[Zeezrom] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Judea]
[Zeezrom] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Antiparah]
Alma 56:14
Jaredites Ablom [Ablom] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {place}
[Ablom] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [the seashore]
[Ablom] ⇒ <is east> of the> ⇒ [Shim]
Ether 9:3
Jaredites Agosh [Agosh] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {plain(s)}
[Agosh] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Akish]
[Agosh] ⇒ <is destination of> ⇒ [Coriantumr]
[Agosh] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ [Coriantumr vs Lib & brother of Lib battle]
Ether 14:12,13,14,15,16
Jaredites Akish [Akish] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {wilderness}
[Akish] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ {the seashore}
[Akish] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Moron]
[Akish] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {brother of Shared vs Coriantumr battle}
[Akish] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {Coriantumr fleeing Lib}
Ether 14:3,4,12,13,14
Jaredites Comnor [Comnor] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {hill}
[Comnor] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {Coriantumr gathering his armies}
Ether:14:28
Jaredites Corihor [Corihor] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {valley}
[Corihor] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Comnor]
[Corihor] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Shurr]
Ether 14:28
Jaredites Ephraim [Ephraim] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {hill}
[Ephraim] ⇒ <contains a> ⇒ {steel armory}
Ether 7:9
Jaredites First Inheritance1 [First Inheritance] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {and conquered from Shule} Ether 7:16
Jaredites Gilgal [Gilgal] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {valley}
[Gilgal] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {battle,Coriantumr vs Shared}
[Gilgal] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ {plains}
Ether 13:27,29,30
Jaredites Heshlon [Heshlon] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {plain(s)}
[Heshlon] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {battle Corianturm vs Shared}
Ether 13:28
Jaredites Heth [Heth] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land} Ether 8:2
Jaredites Shim [Shim] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {hill}
[Shim] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Cumorah]
[Shim] ⇒ <is located enroute to> ⇒ [Ablom]
Ether 9:3
Jaredites Moron [Moron] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Moron] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ {the seashore}
[Moron] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Desolation]
[Moron] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {battle,Coriantumr vs Lib}
Ether 7:5,6,17
Ether 14:6,11
Jaredites Nehor [Nehor] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Nehor] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {dwelling of Corihor}
[Nehor] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Ephraim]
Ether 7:4,9
Jaredites Ogath [Ogath] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ [place]
[Ogath] ⇒ <is southward of> ⇒ {armies of Shiz}
Mosiah 9:1,6,8,14
Jaredites Ramah [Ramah] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {hill}
[Ramah] ⇒ <is> ⇒ {Cumorah}
[Ramah] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {Coriantumr campsite}
[Ramah] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {sacred records depository}
Ether 15:11
Jaredites Shurr [Shurr] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ [valley]
[Shurr] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Comnor]
[Shurr] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {army of Coriantumr}
[Shurr] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {battle,Coriantumr vs Shiz}
Ether 14:28
Late History Angola [Angola] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Angola] ⇒ <fortified by> ⇒ {Nephites}
[Angola] ⇒ <site of> ⇒ {batte,Nephites vs Lamanites}
Mormon 2
Late History Antum [Antum] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Antum] ⇒ <contains> ⇒ [hill Shim]
[Antum] ⇒ <contains> ⇒ {Nephite records}
Mormon 1:3
Late History Boaz [Boaz] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Boaz] ⇒ <occupied by> ⇒ {Nephites}
[Boaz] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {battle,Nephites vs Lamanites}
Mormon 4:20
Period Entity Relationship References
Late History Cumorah [Cumorah] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {hill,land}
[Cumorah] ⇒ <contains> ⇒ {many waters,rivers,fountains}
[Cumorah] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {final battle,Nephites vs Lamanites}
Mormon 6:2,4,5,6,11
Mormon 8:2
Late History David [David] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[David] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {Nephite vs Lamanite battles}
Mormon 2:5
Late History Desolation [Desolation] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Desolation] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {battle,Nephites vs Lamanites}
[Desolation] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ {city of Nephites gathering}
[Desolation] ⇒ <is near> ⇒ [Teancum]
Mormon 3:5,7
Mormon 4:3,8,13,19
Late History Desolation [Desolation] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Desolation] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {Nephites vs Lamanites battle}
Mormon 4:1,2
Late History Gadiandi [Gadiandi] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Gadiandi] ⇒ <judged and destroyed by> ⇒ {being sunk into earth}
3 Nephi 9:8
Late History Jashon [Jashon] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Jashon] ⇒ <occupied by> ⇒ {fleeing Nephites}
[Jashon] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ {place where Ammaron put plates}
Mormon 2:16,17
Late History Jordan [Jordon] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Jordon] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {Nephite vs Lamanite battle}
Mormon 5:3
Late History Joshua [Joshua] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Joshua] ⇒ <is located> ⇒ {in the borders west}
[Joshua] ⇒ <is located> ⇒ {by the seashore}
[Joshua] ⇒ <is located> ⇒ {south of Shem}
Mormon 2:6,20,21
Late History Mocum [Mocum] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Mocum] ⇒ <judged and destroyed by> ⇒ {water coming up}
3 Nephi 9:7
Late History Moriantum [Moriantum] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {place} Moroni 9:9
Late History Shem [Shem] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land or city}
[Shem] ⇒ <is northward of> ⇒ [Joshua]
Mormon 2:6,24,25
Late History Sherrizah [Sherrizah] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {tower} Mormon 9:7,16,17
Late History Sidon [Sidon] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {river}
[Sidon] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Zarahemla]
Mormon 1:10
Late History Teancum [Teancum] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {city}
[Teancum] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ {seashore}
[Teancum] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Desolation]
[Teancum] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {Nephite vs Lamanites battle}
Mormon 4:3,6,7,14
Late History Zarahemla [Zarahemla] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {rebuilt city}
[Zarahemla] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {start of final Nephite war}                                       
4 Nephi 1:8
Mormon 1:6,10
 3.3 Principles of Navigation and Travel

In building the physical model, I use information from the logical model combined with clues I can find from topography, geology and the historical patterns and precedents of the Book of Mormon. Of particular importance is determining the correct meaning of frequently used phrases. Based on experience thus far with the entity relationships, I have come to use the following set of rules when determining locations, directions, and distances. See below.

  1. "Wilderness" areas are river bottomlands, unless otherwise indicated, which serve as travel routes and as borders1.
  2. When consistent with the logical model, cities are placed near where two rivers meet, but not within the bottomlands per se.
  3. Book of Mormon "lands" are located in the areas between the rivers so that the rivers serve as the natural borders.
  4. The phrase to go "up to" means to travel to a place that is less familiar2.
  5. The phrase to go "down to" means to travel to a place that is home or more familiar2.
  6. Use of the directional adjective either before (1) or after (2) the noun (as in 1="east sea" vs 2="sea east"). #1 indicates a local direction. #2 indicates the big picture or even continental direction3.
  7. To "take a journey" (e.g. Alma departed from thence and took his journey) means that the trip is more than one day in length4.
  8. To travel "away" means "on the way to" (e.g. the Lamanites will cross the river Sidon in the south wilderness, away (on the way to) up beyond the borders of the land of Manti)5
  9. Average military or emergency travel marching distances are calculated at 8 hours travelling per day at 2.5 mph. So, for example, a 10 day journey is 10*8*2.5 = 200 miles. A 200 mile trip is 200/(8*2.5) = 10 days.
  10. Average civilian travel marching distances are calculated at 8 hours travelling per day at 1.5 mph. So, for example, a 10 day journey is 10*8*1.5 = 120 miles. A 120 mile trip is 120/(8*1.5) = 10 days.
  11. Water travel with no current, as in the Great Lakes, is calculated at an average speed of 8 hours travelling per day at 4 mph. So, for example, a 10 day journey is 10*8*4 = 320 miles. A 320 mile trip is 320/(8*4) = 10 days.
  12. Water travel with the river current, is calculated at an average speed of 8 hours travelling per day at 6 mph. So, for example, a 10 day journey is 10*8*6 = 480 miles. A 480 mile trip is 480/(8*6) = 10 days.
  13. Water travel against the river current, is calculated at an average speed of 8 hours travelling per day at 2 mph. So, for example, a 10 day journey is 10*8*2 = 160 miles. A 160 mile trip is 160/(8*2) = 10 days.



1"Wilderness" areas in the Book of Mormon

The google definition of wilderness is: "an uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region.". A wilderness is therefore a term relating to fitness for permanent human habitation and not necessarily associated with a particular climate. The Book of Mormon follows that definition. When Lehi leaves Jerusalem they travel down the Arabian peninsula in an arid desert which they call a wilderness. Later in America, even though there are no arid areas in the heartland of North America, yet there are frequent mentions of wilderness. From the book of Jacob onward, a wilderness is either a uninhabitable forest region or river bottom lands. It is much more frequently the latter case because there are lots of rivers in North America and their bottomlands are uninhabitable and also useless for farming because of flooding, yet they are frequently mentioned travel routes. They contain food water and game and lead to other cities. See Chapter 4.2.2 for more about this.

From a directional perspective the use of the word "wilderness" is often confusing in the text but becomes clear when converting the logical ER model to a physical model. In most cases when reading the Book of Mormon, you can equate "wilderness" with "river bottom area". See below for examples.

"Wilderness" in North America
Nephi makes journey from the land of first inheritance to the land of Nephi by traveling into the wilderness.
Mosiah 10:16

Lamanites wander about in the wilderness dwelling in tents and feeding upon beasts of prey. Lamanites travel in the wilderness.
Enos 1:20 -- Mosiah 23:30,35

Nephites depart land of Nephi and go into the wilderness to Zarahemla
Omni 1:1 -- Mosiah 8:7 -- Mosiah 19:23 -- Mosiah 21:25 -- Mosiah 21:34 -- Mosiah 22:2,6,8,11,12,13,15,16 -- Mosiah 22:2 -- Mosiah 23:1,3 -- Mosiah 24:24,25 -- Mosiah 25:2

Nephites journey into the wilderness to go to the land of Nephi
Omni 1:27,28,29 -- Mosiah 7:4 -- Mosiah 9:3,4 -- Mosiah 28:9 --

Nephites journey from land of Nephi in the wilderness to Jaredite lands
Mosiah 8:8

Alma and his people travel in the wilderness. Mosiah 18:34 -- Mosiah 23:1,3 -- Mosiah 24:20

King Noah and his people flee from Lamanites by fleeing into the wilderness.
Mosiah 19:9 -- Mosiah 19:18,23 -- Mosiah 20:4,5,18,23 -- Mosiah 21:20 --

(etc)

2 To Go "Up To" and Go "Down To"

One common phrase is to go "down to" and to go "up to" places of some distance apart. These phrases are used very consistantly and the table below summarizes all the occurrances and variations of going "up" and "down".

One possibility considered, is that up means south and down means north. Normal American-English would do the opposite, saying up for north and down for south: as in, "down to Florida" and "up to New York". According to the logical model, "up" is usually south and "down" is usually north in the Book of Mormon. Zarahemla is always down from Nephi (10 times) and Nephi is always up from Zarahemla (11 times). However, there are exceptions, for example: when prisoners are sent "down" to Zarahemla from Cumeni. Cumeni is north of Zarahemla. For the exceptions, I have to reject the up=south and down=north hypothesis.

Another possiblity is that up and down refer to elevation. However, this is clearly ruled out by having Zarahemla always down from Nephi. That Zarahemla is of higher elevation as easily seen by the Sidon/Mississippi which flows downward from Zarahemla to Nephi. So it would be obvious to the Nephites that Zarahemla has higher elevation, yet they always go down to Zarahemla from Nephi. There are many other problems with the elevation hypothesis. So I have to reject it also.

The interpretation that fits 100% is that "down" means home and "up" is not home. In American english we also say "down home". This interpretation is consistant with the ER model, however it doesn't help very much as a directional reference. Unfortunately. See references below.

Go up to Jerusalem (or somewhere in Jerusalem)
3 Nephi 3:9,10,23,29 -- 1 Nephi 4:1,2,3,4 -- 1 Nephi 5:6 -- 1 Nephi 7:1,3,4,15

From Zarahemla: go up to Nephi or into wilderness towards Nephi
Omni 1:27,28 -- Mosiah 7:1,2,3,4,9,13 -- Mosiah 8:2 -- Mosiah 9:3 -- Mosiah 10:1,8 -- Mosiah 28:1,5,6,7,9 -- Mosiah 29:3 -- Alma 17:8 -- Alma 20:2 (from Ishmael) -- Alma 26:9,3 -- Helaman 4:4

From Nephi: go down to Zarahemla or other northern location
Omni 1:13 -- Mormon 1:13 -- Alma 27:5,7,8,9 -- Alma 49:10 -- Alma 51:11 -- Alma 51:10 -- Alma 53:12 -- Alma 56:3,25 -- Helaman 5:5 -- Helaman 6:1

Go down to Zarahemla from Cumeni
Helaman 1:15.16.20

Gadianton robbers go down to attack Nephites
3 Nephi 3:3,4,8,12,17,25 -- 3 Nephi 4:1

Go down to Jershon from Nephi
Alma 27:26

Lamanites come down to Moronihah
Alma 63:13

Lamanites armies pursue Teancum down by the seashore, northward
Alma 52:23

Down to Zarahemla from Cumeni
Alma 57:15,16,28,29,30

Lamoni and Ammon go down to Middoni from Ishmael
Alma 20:7

Come up to Nephi from Middoni
Alma 22:3

Lamanites come up to land of Nephi to replace the King
Alma 24:20

Lamanites came up on the north of the hill
Alma 43:34

Went down to some place south from Jerusalem
1 Nephi 2:5 -- 1 Nephi 3:15,16,22 -- 1 Nephi 4:33,34,35 -- 1 Nephi 5:1,5 -- 1 Nephi 7:2,5,22

Lamanites come down to Desolation to battle
Mormon 3:7,8 -- Mormon 4:17,18

Ether goes down, which is northward, to the valley of Nimrod
Ether 2:1,4

3Directional Adjective Before or After ("east sea" vs "sea east", etc.)

There is a consistent usage in the Book of Mormon regarding the wording of "seas".

First, independent bodies of water appear to have directional relationship to one another. Then when the word sea is combined with a cardinal direction, it is consistent with the ER logical model to say that "{direction} sea" is a local body of water (e.g. one of the great lakes) as it relates to something else local -- and that "sea {direction}" is body of water (e.g. an ocean) relating to a comprehensive or even continental region. This line of reasoning yields the following results:

  1. East Sea = Lake Michigan/Huron (It is east of the West Sea. Hydrologically, these are one lake.)
  2. West Sea = Lake Superior (It is west of the East Sea or Lake Michigan/Huron, yet it is north of Nephite lands. This is shown when the stripling warriors are described marching south of the west sea - see Alma 53:22.)
  3. North Sea = none
  4. South Sea = none
  5. Sea East = Atlantic Ocean in terms of entire continent. Sea East = Lake Michigan/Huron in global terms of all Lamanite lands of about 80 BC.
  6. Sea West = Pacific Ocean in terms of entire continent. Sea West = Lake Superior in global terms of all Lamanite lands of about 80 BC.
  7. Sea South = Gulf of Mexico in terms of entire continent.
  8. Sea North = Hudsons Bay (and beyond) in terms of entire continent.

Global usage of "sea east" = Alma 22:27, Helaman 3:8, Helaman 11:20

Localized usage of "east sea" = Alma 50:8,13, Alma 52:13

Global usage of "sea west" = Alma 22:27, Helaman 3:8, Helaman 11:20

Localized usage of "west sea" = Alma 22:32,33, Alma 50:11, Alma 52:11,12, Alma 53:8,12, Alma 63:5, Helaman 4:7

Global usage of "sea north" = Helaman 3:8

Localized usage of "north sea" = none

Global usage of "sea south" = Helaman 3:8

Localized usage of "south sea" = none

4"journey" vs "went over"

In the book of Mormon, when one has a "journey" it is consistent to say it is a full day or more of travel. If someone "went over to" place B from place A it consistantly means less than one days travel. This interpretion is compatible with the ER model.

Took their journey back to Jerusalem
1 Nephi 3:9 --

Took their journey into the wilderness
1 Nephi 7:5,21 -- 1 Nephi 16:9,16 -- 1 Nephi 17:1 -- 2 Nephi 5:7 -- Mosiah 10:13 -- Mosiah 22:12

Took their journey into the wilderness towards Nephi
Omni 1:29

Took their journey into the wilderness towards Zarahemla
Mosiah 8:7 -- Mosiah 9:3

Alma fled eight days journey into the wilderness to Waters of Mormon
Mosiah 23:3

Alma fled twelve days journey into the wilderness to Zarahemla (from the Valley of Alma)
Mosiah 23:3

Sons of Mosiah II take journey into the wilderness to Nephi
Mosiah 28:9

Alma takes his journey to Melek from Nephi
Alma 8:3

Alma travels three days journey from Melek to Ammoniha
Alma 8:6

Alma takes his journey to Aaron
Alma 8:13

Ammon and Lamoni proceeded on their journey towards Middoni
Alma 20:28

Aaron takes his journey to land of Jerusalem which borders Mormon
Alma 21:1

Lamanites take their journey from Antionum round about in the wilderness to the head of the Sidon in Manti.
Alma 42:22

Alma went over the river to Gideon.
Alma 6:7

Korihor goes over to Jershon from Zarahemla
Alma 30:19

Corihor goes over to Nehor from Moron
Alma 30:19

5See section 3.4.2

 3.4 Early Modern English
 3.4.1 Use of Early Modern English




  1. Before 1150 = Old English
  2. 1150 - 1470 = Middle Engish
  3. 1485 - 1660 = Early Modern English  
  4. 1660 - present = Modern English
The works of William Shakespeare are in Early Modern English. He lived 1564 - 1616.

In studying the Book of Mormon I frequently check The Book of Mormon, The Earliest Text, a milestone version of the Book of Mormon edited by BYU Linguistics scholar Royal Skousen. I also use this version in my daily reading of the Book of Mormon. I prefer this version because of: 1) its technical accuracy; 2) consistency and; 3) the use of "sense lines" that break up the sentences into easier to read phrases. In his restoration of the original/earliest text, Royal Skousen discovered that it was translated into "Early Modern English" or the English language of the King James Bible.

Here is what Skousen says about Early Modern English:


Use of Early Modern English

One of the most remarkable findings of the Critical Text Project is the frequent occurrence of vocabulary from Early Modern English. This older form of English, dating approximately from 1500 to 1700, is familiar enough from the language of the King James Bible. Yet the vocabulary of the Book of Mormon is not simply lifted from the King James Bible. In virtually all cases, the words in the Book of Mormon are still used in English, but their meanings are often different. For the most part, these meanings can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), where we often find that the citations for those meanings date to the 1500s and 1600s but do not extend into the 1700s or 1800s. Some of these word uses can be found in the King James Bible, such as require with the meaning 'to request':


Enos 1:18
   and the Lord said unto me
   thy fathers have also required of me this thing

OED, with citations from 1375 to 1665
   William Shakespeare, Henry VIII (1613)
      Most gracious sir,
      In humblest manner I require your Highness
      That it shall please you to declare ...

King James Bible (1611)
   Ezra 8:22
      for I was ashamed to require of the king
      a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us
      against the enemy in the way

Yet other word meanings in the Book of Mormon occurred in Early Modern English but are not found in the King James Bible, such as the following:


   • but if with the meaning 'unless, except'

      Mosiah 3:19 (edited to unless in the 1920 LDS edition)
         for the natural man is an enemy to God
         and has been from the fall of Adam and will be forever and ever
         but if he yieldeth to the enticings of the Holy Spirit

      OED, with citations from about 120o to 1596
      Philip Sidney, Arcadia (1580)
         He did not like that maids should once stir
         out of their fathers' houses but if it were to milk a cow.

   • counsel with the meaning 'to consult with'

      Alma 37:37 (edited to counsel with in the 1920 LDS edition)
         counsel the Lord in all thy doings

      Alma 39:10 (edited to counsel with in the 1920 LDS edition)
         take it upon you to counsel your elder brothers in your undertakings

      OED, with citations from 1382 to 1547
      John Hooper (1547)
         Moses ... counseled the Lord
         and thereupon advised his subjects what was to be done

   • depart with the meaning 'to part, divide, separate'

      Helaman 8:11 (emended to parted in the 1830 edition)
         God gave power unto one man even Moses
         to smite upon the waters of the Red Sea
         and they departed hither and thither

      OED, with citations from 1297 through 1677
      Geneva Bible, 1557 translation of John 19:24
         they departed my raiment among them

      [the King James Bible reads "they parted my raiment among them"]

detect with the meaning 'to expose'
      Helaman 9:17 (unchanged in all textual sources)

         and now behold we will detect this man
         and he shall confess his fault and make
         known unto us the true murderer of this judge

      OED, with citations from 1449 to 1645
      Richard Hooker, Of the lawes of ecclesiastical politie (1594)
         The Gentlewoman goeth forward, and detecteth herself of a crime.

 3.4.2 The word "brass"

In the Book of Mormon the Saxon word "brass" is used and never "bronze" although the modern concept of bronze is more likely given the prevalence of tin available on Isle Royal on Lake Superior and other places. See section 3.5. However, brass is the correct word for Early Modern English. See Chapter 3.4.1. Here are the definitions from an Early Modern English dictionary.

BRASS [Saxon] 1. A yellow metal made by mixing copper with lapis calaminaris.

BRONZE [French] 1. Brass. 2 A metal.

CALAMINE, or Lapis Calaminaris. A kind of fossile, bituminous earth, which, being mixed with copper, changes it into brass.

"Lapis Calaminaris" and "Calamine" are synonymous and refer to the modern word "hemimorphite" which is "An alloy composed of lead, tin, and zinc"

 3.4.2 The word "away"

This word is an example of how understanding Early Modern English can help clarify directional references. In the Book of Mormon the word "away" is used as shown below, the only Early Modern English definition of this word related to travel.

AWAY (Saxon) 1. On the way; on the road: Perhaps this is the import of the following phrase: Sir Valentine, wither away so fast?

Alma 6
6 Behold, the Lamanites will cross the river Sidon in the south wilderness, away (on the way to) up beyond the borders of the land of Manti.

 3.5 Geology, Trade, and Travel
 3.5.1 Sources of Ore (Copper, Tin, Iron, Gold, Silver)

2 Nephi 5:15
15 And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance.

Jacob 2:12
12 And now behold, my brethren, this is the word which I declare unto you, that many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver, and for all manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which is a land of promise unto you and to your seed, doth abound most plentifully.

1 Nephi 18
25 ... And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper.

Jarom 1:8
8 And we multiplied exceedingly, and spread upon the face of the land, and became exceedingly rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things, and in fine workmanship of wood, in buildings, and in machinery, and also in iron and copper, and brass and steel, making all manner of tools of every kind ...

Ether 10:23
23 And they did work in all manner of ore, and they did make gold, and silver, and iron, and brass, and all manner of metals; and they did dig it out of the earth; wherefore, they did cast up mighty heaps of earth to get ore, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of copper. And they did work all manner of fine work.

Tin is found in Isle Royal on Lake Superior, so the Nephites could have made bronze or bronze/brass hybrid but there is no mention of bronze, only brass, in the Book of Mormon. The reason for this is one of semantics. See Chapter 3.4.1.

From Wikipedia:
"While it originated thousands of years earlier, copper mining in Michigan became an important industry in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Its rise marked the start of copper mining as a major industry in the United States. Within the state of Michigan, copper is found almost exclusively in the western portion of the Upper Peninsula, in an area known as the Copper Country. The Copper Country is highly unusual among copper-mining districts, because copper is predominantly found in the form of pure copper metal (native copper) rather than the copper oxides or copper sulfides that form the copper ore at almost every other copper-mining district. ... A number of copper mines also contained a notable amount of silver, both in native form and naturally alloyed with the copper. Halfbreed is the term for an ore sample that contains the pure copper and pure silver in the same piece of rock; it is only found in the native copper deposits of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan... Native Americans were the first to mine and work the copper of Lake Superior and the Keweenaw Peninsula of northern Michigan between 5000 BCE and 1200 BCE. The natives used this copper to produce tools. Archaeological expeditions in the Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale revealed the existence of copper producing pits and hammering stones which were used to work the copper. Some writers have suggested that as much as 1.5 billion pounds of copper was extracted during this period..."

Worlds Largest Float (Glacial) Copper
The world’s largest piece of float copper, weighing 28.2 tons. Discovered in Hancock, MI in 1997, it is 90-97% pure copper.
"Iron Range" refers collectively or individually to a number of elongated iron-ore mining districts around Lake Superior, in the United States and Canada. Despite the word "range," the iron ranges are not mountain chains, but outcrops of Precambrian sedimentary formations containing high percentages of iron.
"Float" copper from the Great Lakes Region
"Shot" copper from the Great Lakes Region
Michigan float copper, sold as bookends.
 3.5.2 Main Travel Routes for Ore

Copper mining on the Great Lakes has been a major endeavor for thousands of years. The Nephites, Jeredites, and antediluvian peoples found huge copper deposites in the Keweenaw Peninsula (K) and Isle Royal (R) on Lake Superior. Included with the copper is found silver "inclusions" as well. The unique aspect of this copper is that it can be dug up in pure, not oxidized form. Simply cut it off or break it out and it's good to go. The Keweenaw Peninsula is in upper Michigan and in Nephite territory. Nephites were always concerned with keeping Lamanites out of their north country and Keweenaw is as far north as one can get. Obviously they would want to guard their valuable metal resources as well a prevent being out-flanked by Lamanite intrusions.

The map above shows likely trade routes of the Book of Mormon. Copper, silver, gold, and tin are abundantly available in the Lake Superior region at the Keweenaw Peninsula (K) and Isle Royal (R). Although it takes a lot more time and patience, gold is also found in the black sands of Lake Superior and in streams. Going west, a load of ore ingots would be taken up the Bois Brule River, past the Brule Glacial Spillway (BGS) and then into the Upper St. Croix Lake (S) which is the head (origin) of the Sidon river. From there they would just follow the Sidon (St. Croix river) which then eventually flows into the Mississippi as we know it today. The BGS is a large channel carved out during the time of the formation of Lake Superior when the lake was much fuller (glacial Lake Duluth) and excess water ran into the spillway and down into the St. Croix (Sidon).

Alma 22
27 ...through the borders of Manti, by the head of the river Sidon (S)...
29 ...the Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land bordering on the wilderness, at the head of the river Sidon (S)...

Alma 43
22 ...and took their journey round about in the wilderness, away by the head of the river Sidon (S), that they might come into the land of Manti...

Alma 50
11 ...from the west sea, running by the head of the river Sidon (S)--the Nephites possessing all the land northward...

Going eastward (see map above), the trade route goes out of Lake Superior through the St. Marys river (M) which leads to Lake Huron/Michigan. The St. Mary's river is also part of the border between Upper Michigan/Ontario which is the same border as described in the Book of Mormon between Bountiful, the "small neck of land" (N) and the "land of Desolation" (D) (1.5 days journey by water). Once into Lake Huron/Michigan, ore could be delivered anywhere on the shores of the Great Lakes.

Alma 22
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 (M), from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land (N) between the land northward and the land southward.

Helaman 4
7 And there they did fortify against the Lamanites, from the west sea, even unto the east (M); it being a day's journey for a Nephite, on the line which they had fortified and stationed their armies to defend their north country.

This map above shows the trade route, in light blue, from Lake Superior to Lake Michigan. Water flows through the St. Marys river from Lake Superior. This is represented as the border between the lands Bountiful and Desolation which took the Nephites 1.5 days to traverse from the West Sea to the East Sea. The black line is the present day border between Michigan and Ontario, Canada.

From Wikipedia:
"The Brule Glacial Spillway is a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources-designated State Natural Area that encompasses the valley of the upper reaches of the Bois Brule River. This valley was carved by the outlet of Glacial Lake Duluth, which occupied what is now the western portion of Lake Superior, during the retreat of the Superior lobe of Wisconsin glaciation. This outlet flowed southwestward through the valley, to what is now the St. Croix River. As the glacier melted, and the level of Lake Superior dropped, the direction of flow shifted to its present northeastward course, towards Lake Superior. A high point in a vast bog near Solon Springs marks the divide between the watersheds of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. This divide was used for thousands of years, by Native Americans, European explorers, fur traders, and settlers as a portage between the two watersheds."

At the top of the map above I have traced out my best guess as to the ancient shores of the Glacial Lake Duluth that emptied into the Brule Glacial Spillway (BGS) and forming a large channel that became a future trade and travel route.

Shows the present day borders (above) of Lake Superior and the ancient glacial Lake Duluth border with the Brule Glacial Spillway

Satellite view of Upper St. Croix Lake which is the source of the Sidon River. The divide is at Salon Springs where, to the north, water flows towards Lake Superior and eventually empties into the Atlantic. To the south water from the lake flows into the St. Croix river, joins up with the Mississippi and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. Exit streams to the north and south of the St. Croix Lake can be seen.

 4 Physical Model
 4.1 Building the Physical Model

Everything in the Logical Model, especially the Entity Relationship Table, is recorded for the purpose of building the Physical Model. The physical model consists of maps describing the lands, cities, travels, and campaigns. Building the physical model consists of seeking the most plausible solutions. In most cases, the solution to be plotted is very obvious and the confidence level is very high. In every case, I have been able to find a plausible solution for mapping Book of Mormon events that stays totally consistent with the Logical Model, which consists of the Entity Relationship table, the land and water features, the events, and the elapsed time periods. In some cases, more than one plausible mapping solution has been found (these are noted). I have found the Entity Relationship table, which is based on the Book of Mormon text, to be 100% internally compatible with itself. It is yet another testimony of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.

 4.2 Mormon's Dissertation on Book Of Mormon Lands

Book of Mormon locations and directions are frequently and prominently mentioned in the narratives. So also is the chronology. I believe that everything in the Book of Mormon is important, was placed there for a reason, and has a role to play in the latter-days. Room on the plates was precious so it shows the Nephite prophets thought the geography was important also, because they included a remarkable amount of both geography and chronology, especially for the period of the Reign of the Judges. Both geography and chronology are the backbone of history and, once understood, create a opportunity where the Book of Mormon can be studied in its full depth.

In Alma 22:27-34, Mormon takes a break in the abridged narrative, to give us a major explanation in his own words of all the locations and political boundaries of about 80 BC. Unfortunately, the way it currently reads is confusing and and contradictory it's because, I believe, that the original Book of Mormon manuscript was totally unpunctuated, except for a mark indicating chapter breaks. Punctuation wasn´t added until the typesetter set the type for the press. Therefore, the original sentence punctuation is not revealed knowledge from heaven and I believe it is incorrect. The problems with Alma 22 can be resolved by replacing the long run-on sentences with discrete shorter ones and by using bullet items for clearer emphasis.

Alma 22:27-34 -- Side by Side With Bullet Item Changes

Here are the proposed changes in Alma 22:27-34, followed by further analysis of the text in subsequent commentary. The purpose of the bullet items in the verses below is to separate each phrase as its own thought, so they are not read as part of the bullet item before or after, but tie back to the sentence ending in a colon. Also, in this case, the bullets are labeled in capital letters for ready reference to the adjoining map.

Note that:

  • Verse 27 is a description of the borders separating Nephites from Lamanites.
  • Verse 28 describes where the major populations of Lamanites are located;
  • Verse 29 describes where major populations of Nephites are located. (The first sentence of verse 29 moved to last sentence of verse 28.)
  • Verses 30-32 describe the northern lands of former Jaredite territories.
  • Verses 33-34 describe the land as it relates to the Nephites military situation.
Text without bullet items Text with bullet items  

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, which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, 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, 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.

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:

  1. Which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west.
  2. And which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness.
  3. Which ran from the sea east even to the sea west and round about on the borders of the seashore (A again)
  4. And the borders of the wilderness which was on the north by the land of Zarahemla (also F),
  5. Through the borders of Manti by the head of the river Sidon (C→A) running from the east towards the west (C again).

—and thus were the Lamanites and the Nephites divided.



Verse 27 explains borders as opposed to verse 28 which describes inhabited locations. Borders are light blue. Narrow strip of wilderness is yellow.

There is no sea directly west of Nephite land territory. However, from the perspective of the Great Lake "seas", Lake Superior is the western most sea, called the "west sea". Therefore Lake Superior is the west sea because that is how it best relates to the other seas. In one case, Nephite lands are described as being south of the west sea - therefore the west sea is north of Nephite lands. See commentary on Alma 53:22.

Borders separating Nephite lands from Lamanite lands at about 80 BC

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

28 Now, the more idle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness, and dwelt in tents; and they were spread:

  1. Through the wilderness on the west in the land of Nephi.
  2. Yea, and also on the west of the land of Zarahemla.
  3. In the borders by the seashore.
  4. And on the west in the land of Nephi.
  5. In the place of their fathers’ first inheritance and thus bordering along by the seashore.

And also there were many Lamanites on the east by the seashore (F), whither the Nephites had driven them.


Verse 28 tells where major populations of Lamanites were located at the time. A = river wilderness west of St. Louis; B = western Iowa; C = Minnesota; D = Western Missouri; E = New Orleans; and CF = Chicago region. I believe "wilderness", "strip of wilderness", "borders by the wilderness", means a tributary system of the Mississippi/Sidon. So, in this case, A would indicate locations along the Missouri river. E is a little further away. There would be Lamanites all the way from Nephi to E.

Lamanite population concentrations near to Nephites, at about 80 BC

29 And also there were many Lamanites on the east by the seashore, whither the Nephites had driven them. And thus the Nephites were nearly surrounded by the Lamanites; nevertheless 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.

29 And thus the Nephites were nearly surrounded by the Lamanites. Nevertheless, the Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land:

  1. Bordering on the wilderness at the head of the river Sidon.
  2. From the east to the west round about on the wilderness side.
  3. On the north even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful.


In verse 29 the Nephites are nearly surrounded by the Lamanites and in verse 32 they are nearly surrounded by water. Which is it? I think we have to carefully consider the meaning of the word "surrounded". It doesn't have to mean a 360 degree encirclement. It also means to "hem in" or "seal off" as used in verse 33 and 3 Nephi 4:16. With that meaning in mind we can see the Nephites are surrounded (hemmed in) by the Lamanites on the west and south and surrounded (hemmed in) by water on the north and east. This makes the most sense when you consider the word "nearly". They have that small neck of land in the northeast as an escape route to the land northward. A partial encirclement for water and for Lamanites makes sense in light of Helaman 1:31 where a full encirclement is described – the specific distinction is made that not only were the Lamanites "surrounded" by they were "surrounded on every hand".

Helaman 1:31
And now, behold, the Lamanites could not retreat either way, neither on the north, nor on the south, nor on the east, nor on the west, for they were surrounded on every hand by the Nephites.

Border between Lamanite and Nephite lands, outlined in blue.

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.

31 And they came from there up into the south wilderness. Thus the land on 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 and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward.

33 And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea, and thus the Nephites in their wisdom, with their guards and their armies, had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south, that thereby they should have no more possession on the north, that they might not overrun the land northward.

30 And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation (D), 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 (Z), it being the place of their first landing (D).

This sentence could refer to the first landing of the Jaredites or the first landing of the people of Zarahemla (Mulekites), depending on how you read it. Clearly however, to be compatible with Book of Mormon narrative as well as the logical model (ER table), it must be referring to the first landing of the Jaredites. Remember that the last Jeredite king, Coriantumr, wanders into Zarahemla and stays nine moons with the people of Zarahemla, where he sees the new inhabitants of the land, as Ether prophesied he would. The indication is clear that this was a first contact event.

The question then becomes "How did the Mulekites get to Zarahemla". The narrative doesn't say but, based on their location, logic would indicate they were lead by the Lord to come right up the Mississippi just like the original Nephites did (see section 4.3.1). Since quite a few years go by before there is contact between the two peoples, the Mulekites must have made it to the promised land first. Unlike Lehi's family traveling in the wilderness for eight plus years, Mulek and his group could have sailed to the promised land in a much more direct way, out of an Egyptian or Phonecian port. There is a story there that we don't have yet.

31 And they came from there up into the south wilderness (S). Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation (D), and the land on the southward was called Bountiful (S), 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:

  1. On the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea.
  2. And thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water.
  3. There being a small neck of land between the land northward (D) and the land southward (S).

33 And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful (S and C), even from the east unto the west sea, and thus the Nephites in their wisdom, with their guards and their armies, had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south, that thereby they should have no more possession on the north, that they might not overrun the land northward (D).



The (A) journey is from the east sea to the west sea so the whole journey would be by boat. And the line, between Bountiful and Desolation, would be the water border, the same border that exists today between Upper Michigan and Ontario. So it is a day and a half journey by boat following the yellow line between the east sea, Lake Michigan and the west sea, Lake Superior. From Lake Michigan, the route is north, sailing past Mackinac Island, past De Tour Village and then on to Lake Superior.

Land of Bountiful, Narrow Neck of Land, and Border between Bountiful and Desolation.
Land of Zarahemla (Z) and Land of Nephi (N) "nearly" surrounded by water and showing a blue border between Nephite and Lamanite lands. The Land of Zarahemla (all Nephite lands in this case) is half surrounded by water (North and East), half surrounded by Lamanites (South and West). The Land of Nephi (Lamanite land) is less "surrounded" by water since there is Nephite land in the way, at least in terms of Lake Superior (west sea) and Lake Michigan (sea East).

34 Therefore the Lamanites could have no more possessions only in the land of Nephi, and the wilderness round about. Now this was wisdom in the Nephites—as the Lamanites were an enemy to them, they would not suffer their afflictions on every hand, and also that they might have a country whither they might flee, according to their desires.

34 Therefore the Lamanites could have no more possessions, only in the land of Nephi, and the wilderness round about (B). Now this was wisdom in the Nephites—as the Lamanites were an enemy to them, they would not suffer their afflictions on every hand, and also that they might have a country whither they might flee, according to their desires.

Border between Lamanite and Nephite lands outlined in blue.
 4.3 The Lands Near Nephi
 4.3.1 From Landfall to the Land of Nephi

For Nephi to get to the heart of America it would be necessary to hitch a ride on that great river highway - the lower Mississippi. To do this the Lord, via the Liahona, must have led them directly to the mouth of Mississippi river, near New Orleans.

Nephi records the very minimum about their journey to the heartland of America.

2 Nephi 5:5-12
5 And it came to pass that the Lord did warn me, that I, Nephi, should depart (L) from them [Laman & Lemual] and flee into the wilderness, and all those who would go with me.
6 Wherefore, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did take my family, and also Zoram and his family, and Sam, mine elder brother and his family, and Jacob and Joseph, my younger brethren, and also my sisters, and all those who would go with me. And all those who would go with me were those who believed in the warnings and the revelations of God; wherefore, they did hearken unto my words.
7 And we did take our tents and whatsoever things were possible for us, and did journey in the wilderness (L→N) 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 (N).
9 And all those who were with me did take upon them to call themselves the people of Nephi.
10 And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things, according to the law of Moses.
11 And the Lord was with us; and we did prosper exceedingly; for we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance. And we began to raise flocks, and herds, and animals of every kind.
12 And I, Nephi, had also brought the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass; and also the ball, or compass, which was prepared for my father by the hand of the Lord, according to that which is written.

Notice that they took their tents on the journey but did not pitch them for many days – not until after they arrived at the Land of Nephi. I therefore believe that they continued to use the ship when they left the Lamanites. They would have taken their tents and supplies with them on the ship, traveled up the Mississippi (the alluvial plains of the mid and lower Mississippi being the "wilderness"), arrived in the Land of Nephi, disembarked and then finally pitched their tents at the end of the journey. Also note that it was not a migration over a long period of time but described as a single trip. Nephi was still alive and leading his people when they arrived. Nephi mentions he took the Liahona compass with him, so he had a divine means of guidance to their final destination. They arrived at the center of North America at the confluence all the major rivers (Missouri, Mississippi, Illinois, and Ohio rivers) of the American heartland. The center of America is also where Adam and Eve and the pre-diluvian patriarchs lived, and near to the ancient locations of the City of Enoch, the Garden of Eden, and Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Early "Mound City" = St Louis

The Land of Nephi

I believe the Land of Nephi to be located at where today is the City of St Louis. This is a key location in the heartland of America. It is near the center of the land and the hub of the river spokes - the exact confluence of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois Rivers. Not too far south is also the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. These are the same reasons the early settler Pierre LaClede chose the location in 1764 and specifically the high bluff area (100 ft above the flood plain) immune to flooding where downtown St Louis now resides. Of course the ancient peoples would have noticed and done the same thing.

St Louis Missouri was once called "Mound City" because of the numerous number of large native american mounds in the area. On the west side of the Mississippi they have all been removed for development except just part of one that remains. On the east side of the river from St. Louis is the famous Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. Native Americans have been in the Land of Nephi locale for a very long time.

Land of Nephi and Surrounding Lands

The term "Land of Nephi" is where the Nephites originally settled in the promise land about 580 BC. Eventually the Nephite capital moved to Zarahemla and during the Reign of the Judges this area was occupied by a Lamanite population. It is often referred to as Nephi, the "Land of Nephi" and sometimes as "Lehi-Nephi".

Chapter 4.2 onward places the various cities and lands into map locations that are compatible with the 1) ER Model; 2) the physical terrain; and 3) the narratives contained in the Book of Mormon. The logical model requires he Land of Nephi proper (which includes the city of Nephi) to be land between the rivers and the land extending to the southwest, which borders the land of Mormon (now called the Ozarks). Also directly bordering the Land Of Nephi are Ishmael, Shilom, Shemlon, Midian, Amulon, East Wilderness (River bottomlands), and Middoni. Sometimes in the Book of Mormon the term "Land of Nephi" is used in a broad sense to include all the suburbs and surrounding areas of the city of Nephi.

The city of St. Louis and suburbs is the ancient Land of Nephi. The Land of Nephi and surrounding areas are shown at about about 90 BC

I feel really positive about proposing that the people of Nephi came to the St. Louis area and did so by boat. It just makes total sense to me based on the narrative itself. As we'll find out later there is incredibly strong support for this in the logical model. For example, Zarahemla and Nephi are only 10-12 days travel from each other and that are many other reasons that point to St. Louis.

 4.3.2 Strip of Wilderness

Strip of Wilderness separating Nephi from Zarahemla

There are 14 journeys between Nephi and Zarahemla mentioned in the Book of Mormon and three of these were migrations of large groups of people (people of Limhi, Alma, and Ammon), so it must not have been difficult or hazardous to travel from Nephi to Zarahemla. There is also mentioned an homogeneous piece of land called a "wilderness" or "strip of wilderness" that separates the two lands. In the case of the people of Alma we do actually have a distance in days, which is 12 (Mosiah 24), for a trip that actually starts at least two days south of Nephi. So at an estimated rate of 19 miles per day, it is a 190 mile trip from Nephi to Zarahemla for 10 days traveling by land. For early American pioneers traveling west, 20 miles a day would be the top end speed for traveling with a fully loaded wagon. More typical would be 15 miles in a day. However, for the the people of Alma there is no indication of wagons, although we do know Nephites had animals as beasts of burden. In general, pack animals are faster than wagons (and break down a lot less). Additionally, the people of Alma were in a hurry to escape their pursuers as well, so that 19 miles per day seems quite plausible.

Alma 22 (see Chapter 4.1 for an explanation of this verse)
27 And it came to pass that the king [in Nephi] sent a proclamation throughout all the land ... which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness ...

Mosiah 22
11 And it came to pass that the people of king Limhi did depart by night into the wilderness with their flocks and their herds, and they went round about the land of Shilom in the wilderness, and bent their course towards the land of Zarahemla, being led by Ammon and his brethren.
12 And they had taken all their gold, and silver, and their precious things, which they could carry, and also their provisions with them, into the wilderness; and they pursued their journey.
13 And after being many days in the wilderness they arrived in the land of Zarahemla, and joined Mosiah II's people, and became his subjects.
15 And now it came to pass when the Lamanites had found that the people of Limhi had departed out of the land by night, that they sent an army into the wilderness to pursue them;
16 And after they had pursued them two days, they could no longer follow their tracks; therefore they were lost in the wilderness.

Mosiah 23
25 For behold, it came to pass that while they were in the land of Helam, yea, in the city of Helam, while tilling the land round about, behold an army of the Lamanites was in the borders of the land. ...
30 Now the armies of the Lamanites, which had followed after the people of king Limhi, had been lost in the wilderness for many days.
35 ... and they were traveling in the wilderness in search of the land of Nephi when they discovered the land of Helam, which was possessed by Alma and his brethren.

Mosiah 24
16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.
17 And he said unto Alma: Thou shalt go before this people, and I will go with thee and deliver this people out of bondage.
18 Now it came to pass that Alma and his people in the night-time gathered their flocks together, and also of their grain; yea, even all the night-time were they gathering the flocks together. ...
24 And it came to pass that they departed out of the valley, and took their journey into the wilderness.
25 And after they had been in the wilderness twelve days they arrived in the land of Zarahemla; and king Mosiah II did also receive them with joy.

The bottom lands of the Mississippi well qualify as the "narrow strip of wilderness" that divides Nephi from Zarahemla. The map to the right shows a top view topography of upper Mississippi/Sidon bottom lands. Below is a representation of typical bottom land elevations.

River bottom lands are:

  • Forested, especially next to the river but also contain un forested regions where flooding may have occured.
  • Flat and so easier to travel on than hilly regions, especially after a trail is established.
  • Can be travelled by canoe or raft - but not large craft on most rivers due to shallow waters.
  • Are not suitable for permanent settlement due to seasonal flooding.
  • Attract all kinds of game and so are ideal for hunting.
  • Provide ready drinking water for men and beasts.
  • Naturally lead to settlements which are located close to rivers.
Typical bottom lands (exaggerated elevations)
"Wilderness" river bottoms route from Zarahemla to the city of Nephi (only 1/3 of total distance shown, from Fort Madison to Hannibal)

Understanding the use of the term "wilderness" is an important underpinning of my entire model. Fortunately, the Book of Mormon narrative gives direct support for it in many instances.

 4.3.3 Missionary Journey of Ammon, Aaron, Muloki and Ammah

Ammon enters the Land of Ishmael

When Ammon and the sons of Mosiah II departed on their missionary journey, they traveled from Zarahemla south towards the Land of Nephi. The first place they encountered was the land of Ishmael which was not too far from the city of Nephi. Ammon departs from the others (implying that the others continued their journey, probably by boat) and enters the land of Ishmael. Thus I place Ishmael as the first land bordering Nephi that one would see when traveling down the Sidon river from Zarahemla to Nephi. Later there are frequent trips mentioned between the land of Ishmael and the land of Nephi where King Lamoni's father rules as "king over all the land" so the two locations must near to each other. No "City of Ishmael" is mentioned but the population would naturally have been concentrated by the Missouri river. In my opinion, the west side of the Missouri River, where the city of St. Charles is located today, is the most logical location.

Alma 17
13 And it came to pass when they had arrived in the borders of the land of the Lamanites, that they separated themselves and departed one from another (A)
...
18 Now Ammon being the chief among them, or rather he did administer unto them, and he departed from them (A), ...
19 And Ammon went to the land of Ishmael, the land being called after the sons of Ishmael, who also became Lamanites.

Alma 20
1 And it came to pass that when they had established a church in that land, that king Lamoni desired that Ammon should go with him to the land of Nephi, that he might show him unto his father.
2 And the voice of the Lord came to Ammon, saying: Thou shalt not go up to the land of Nephi, for behold, the king will seek thy life; but thou shalt go to the land of Middoni; for behold, thy brother Aaron, and also Muloki and Ammah are in prison.
6 Now when Lamoni had heard this he caused that his servants should make ready his horses and his chariots.
7 And he said unto Ammon: Come, I will go with thee down to the land of Middoni, and there I will plead with the king that he will cast thy brethren out of prison.
8 And it came to pass that as Ammon and Lamoni were journeying thither (F), they met the father of Lamoni (G), who was king over all the land.
28 And it came to pass that Ammon and Lamoni proceeded on their journey towards the land of Middoni. And Lamoni found favor in the eyes of the king of the land; therefore the brethren of Ammon were brought forth out of prison.

Alma 21
1 Now when Ammon and his brethren separated themselves (A) in the borders of the land of the Lamanites, behold Aaron took his journey (D) towards the land which was called by the Lamanites, Jerusalem, calling it after the land of their fathers' nativity; and it was away joining the borders of Mormon.
11 Therefore, when he saw that they would not hear his words, he departed out of their synagogue, and came over (H) to a village which was called Ani-Anti, and there he found Muloki preaching the word unto them; and also Ammah and his brethren. And they contended with many about the word.
12 And it came to pass that they saw that the people would harden their hearts, therefore they departed and came over into the land of Middoni (E). And they did preach the word unto many, and few believed on the words which they taught.
13 Nevertheless, Aaron and a certain number of his brethren were taken and cast into prison (E), ...
14 And those who were cast into prison suffered many things, and they were delivered by the hand of Lamoni and Ammon, and they were fed and clothed.
18 And it came to pass that Ammon and Lamoni returned from the land of Middoni to the land of Ishmael (F), which was the land of their inheritance.

Alma 23
1 Now, as Ammon was thus teaching the people of Lamoni continually (B), we will return to the account of Aaron and his brethren; for after he departed from the land of Middoni he was led by the Spirit to the land of Nephi>, even to the house of the king (L) which was over all the land save it were the land of Ishmael; and he was the father of Lamoni.
2 And it came to pass that he went in unto him into the king's palace (L), with his brethren, and bowed himself before the king, and said unto him: Behold, O king, we are the brethren of Ammon, whom thou hast delivered out of prison.

Alma 23
8 Now, these are they who were converted unto the Lord:
9 The people of the Lamanites who were in the land of Ishmael;
10 And also of the people of the Lamanites who were in the land of Middoni;
11 And also of the people of the Lamanites who were in the city of Nephi;
12 And also of the people of the Lamanites who were in the land of Shilom, and who were in the land of Shemlon, and in the city of Lemuel, and in the city of Shimnilom.
13 And these are the names of the cities of the Lamanites which were converted unto the Lord; and these are they that laid down the weapons of their rebellion, yea, all their weapons of war; and they were all Lamanites.

Entity Relationships for Ishmael

[Ishmael] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Ishmael] ⇒ <is very near to> ⇒ [Nephi]
[Ishmael] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Middoni]
[Ishmael] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Midian]
[Ishmael] ⇒ <encountered first in journey from> ⇒ [Zarahemla]

Entity Relationships for Middoni

[Middoni] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Middoni] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Nephi]
[Middoni] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Ishmael]
[Middoni] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Ani-Anti]

Entity Relationships for Ani-Anti

[Ani-Anti] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {village}
[Ani-Anti] ⇒ <is over from> ⇒ [Jerusalem]
[Ani-Anti] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Middoni]

Map of present day St Louis area, showing the proposed routes of the missionary journeys of Ammon and the Sons of Mosiah to the lands of Ishmael, Nephi, Middoni, and Ani-Anti.

With this level of detail there must be some things wrong. However, it is amazing to me that there is so much easy correllation with the narrative and the topography of the St. Louis area. I really believe that, in the main, it is a good fit to the Logical Model.

 4.3.4 East of Nephi

Near to the land/city of Nephi is the land/city of Shilom, Shimnilom and the land of Shemlon. In the Book of Mormon the three places are frequently mentioned together, leaving the impression that they are very close to each other.

We also know that there was a tower (T1) built near the temple at Nephi (placed in the former location of "Big Mound") and another tower built on a hill north of Shilom called Antipas. (T2). What is seen from these towers in the narrative indicates that Nephi, Shilom and Shemlon are adjacent to each other.

Being on the west side of the river, Nephi is on a bit higher ground. Shilom and Shemlon are both visible from Nephi and adjacent to each other on the east side of the river. The east side is river bottom lands, and all flat except for one hill named "Antipas". Of course this would be the ideal place for a second look-out tower (T2). The Missouri/Sidon river itself once flowed through this area in a big horseshoe shape. The remnants of that are now called Horseshoe lake (H) and Canteen lake (C).

As you can see from the topographical map, the Hill North of Shilom, called Antipas (A) has an elevation of 500 feet. By comparison, Monks mound (the red square north of Shimnilom is a man-made pyramid/mound at 100 feet high (and a footprint of 14.4 acres). Monks mound itself is dated later than the Book of Mormon narratives. The Hill North of Shilom called Antipas (A) is visible from the top of Monks mound. See images to the right.

Mosiah 7
7 And behold, they met the king of the people who were in the land of Nephi, and in the land of Shilom;
21 ... who having entered into a treaty with king Zeniff, and having yielded up into his hands the possessions of a part of the land, or even the city of Lehi-Nephi, and the city of Shilom; and the land round about--

Mosiah 90
6 And I went in unto the king, and he covenanted with me that I might possess the land of Lehi-Nephi, and the land of Shilom.
8 And we began to build buildings, and to repair the walls of the city, yea, even the walls of the city of Lehi-Nephi, and the city of Shilom.
14 For, in the thirteenth year of my reign in the land of Nephi, away on the south of the land of Shilo>, when my people were watering and feeding their flocks, and tilling their lands, a numerous host of Lamanites came upon them and began to slay them, and to take off their flocks, and the corn of their fields.

Mosiah 11
12 And it came to pass that he built a tower (T1) near the temple (T1); yea, a very high tower, even so high that he could stand upon the top thereof and overlook the land of Shilom, and also the land of Shemlon, which was possessed by the Lamanites; and he could even look over all the land round about.
13 And it came to pass that he caused many buildings to be built in the land Shilom; and he caused a great tower (T2) to be built on the hill north (A) of the land Shilom, which had been a resort (O) for the children of Nephi at the time they fled out of the land; and thus he did do with the riches which he obtained by the taxation of his people.

Omni 1
12 Behold, I am Amaleki, the son of Abinadom. Behold, I will speak unto you somewhat concerning Mosiah, who was made king over the land of Zarahemla; for behold, he being warned of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi, and as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord should also depart out of the land with him, into the wilderness--(A,O)
13 And it came to pass that he did according as the Lord had commanded him. And they departed out of the land into the wilderness (A,O), as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord; and they were led by many preachings and prophesyings. And they were admonished continually by the word of God; and they were led by the power of his arm, through the wilderness until they came down into the land which is called the land of Zarahemla (A→Zarahemla).

Mosiah 19
5 And it came to pass that he fought with the king; and when the king saw that he was about to overpower him, he fled and ran and got upon the tower which was near the temple (T1).
6 And Gideon pursued after him and was about to get upon the tower to slay the king, and the king cast his eyes round about towards the land of Shemlon (S2), and behold, the army of the Lamanites (L) were within the borders of the land.

Mosiah 20
8 And now Limhi had discovered them from the tower (T1), even all their preparations for war did he discover; therefore he gathered his people together, and laid wait for them in the fields and in the forests.

Alma 47
5 And now he had got the command of those parts of the Lamanites who were in favor of the king; and he sought to gain favor of those who were not obedient; therefore he went forward to the place which was called Onidah (O), for thither had all the Lamanites fled; for they discovered the army coming, and, supposing that they were coming to destroy them, therefore they fled to Onidah, to the place of arms (O).
7 And it came to pass that they had gathered themselves together upon the top of the mount which was called Antipas (A), in preparation to battle.
8 Now it was not Amalickiah's intention to give them battle according to the commandments of the king; but behold, it was his intention to gain favor with the armies of the Lamanites, that he might place himself at their head and dethrone the king and take possession of the kingdom.
9 And behold, it came to pass that he caused his army to pitch their tents in the valley which was near the mount Antipas (A).
10 And it came to pass that when it was night he sent a secret embassy into the mount Antipas (A), desiring that the leader of those who were upon the mount, whose name was Lehonti, that he should come down to the foot of the mount (A), for he desired to speak with him.
11 And it came to pass that when Lehonti received the message he durst not go down to the foot of the mount (A). And it came to pass that Amalickiah sent again the second time, desiring him to come down. And it came to pass that Lehonti would not; and he sent again the third time.
12 And it came to pass that when Amalickiah found that he could not get Lehonti to come down off from the mount, he went up into the mount (A), nearly to Lehonti's camp; and he sent again the fourth time his message unto Lehonti, desiring that he would come down, and that he would bring his guards with him.

Map showing land of Nephi and lands east of Nephi (proposed)
Topical Map showing the Hill North of Shilom called Antipas
Photo showing the Hill North of Shilom = Antipas, the only hill in the area, as viewed from the top of Monks mound in Cahokia. Downtown St. Louis is in the distance to the left in the photo, looking southwest. The ancient temple of Nephi was most likely north of downtown St. Louis where the mound complex was located.
Old painting of St. Louis showing "Big Mound", before it's demolition.
Artist depiction of ancient Cahokia and in the far distance what is know known as Monks Mound. Notice the guard towers and wooden palisade walls, the remains (post holes) of which have been found, which match Book of Mormon descriptions of defensive fortifications.

Entity Relationships for Nephi

[Nephi] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land, city}
[Nephi] ⇒ <is> ⇒ [Lehi-Nephi]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {first enheritance}
[Nephi] ⇒ <is located south> ⇒ {Nephi}
[Nephi] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ {a wilderness}
[Nephi] ⇒ <is located> ⇒ {south of a wilderness}
[Nephi] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {armies} ⇒ <going north to> ⇒ [Zarahemla]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is located south of> ⇒ [Zarahemla]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Shilom]
[Nephi] ⇒ <boarders> ⇒ [Shilom]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Helam]
[Nephi] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Mormon]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Middoni]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Amulon]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Jerusalem]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Midian]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Ishmael]
[Nephi] ⇒ <is separated from> ⇒ [Zarahemla] ⇒ <by> ⇒ {wilderness}
[Nephi] ⇒ <is separated from> ⇒ [Jershon] ⇒ <by> ⇒ {Nephite armies}
[Nephi] ⇒ <has a border (river) running to> ⇒ [the east sea]

Entity Relationships for Shilom

[Shilom] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land or city}
[Shilom] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Hill]
[Shilom] ⇒ <boarders> ⇒ [Nephi]
[Shilom] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Lehi-Nephi]
[Shilom] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Shemlon]
[Shilom] ⇒ <is south of> ⇒ [Hill]
[Shilom] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Amulon]
[Shilom] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Lemuel]
[Shilom] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Shimnilom]

Entity Relationships for Hill North of Shilom, called Antipas

[Antipas] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {mount or hill}
[Antipas] ⇒ <is same as> ⇒ {Hill North of Shilom}
[Antipas] ⇒ <is site of a> ⇒ {tower}
[Antipas] ⇒ <is north of> ⇒ [Shilom]
[Antipas] ⇒ <is near a> ⇒ {valley}
[Antipas] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Onidah]
[Antipas] ⇒ <is less than one day from> ⇒ [city of Nephi]

Entity Relationships for Shemlon

[Shemlon] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {land}
[Shemlon] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Shilom]
[Shemlon] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Nephi]
[Shemlon] ⇒ <is visible> ⇒ {from tower}
[Shemlon] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Lemuel]
[Shemlon] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Shimnilom]
[Shemlon] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ [Amulon]

I consider the correllations to the Logical Model to be really strong for this location. It is amazing how good it fits, and it works best when considering the ancient route of the Sidon/Mississippi. Fortunately, we can see plenty of support for the old river route in todays topography. The puzzle pieces fit really well.

 4.3.5 Alma, the Waters of Mormon, and People of Limhi

Entity Relationships for Mormon

[Mormon] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {place, land}
[Mormon] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Nephi]
[Mormon] ⇒ <borders> ⇒ [Jerusalem]
[Mormon] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {waters of Mormon}
[Mormon] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {forest of Mormon}

Entity Relationships for Waters of Mormon

[Waters of Mormon] ⇒ <is a> ⇒ {spring}
[Waters of Mormon] ⇒ <is located in> ⇒ [Mormon]
[Waters of Mormon] ⇒ <is near to> ⇒ {forest}
[Waters of Mormon] ⇒ <is site of> ⇒ {baptisms}

Alma Flees to the Land Of Mormon

After the prophet Abinidi is martyred by the King Noah and his corrupt government, Alma (the younger) has a change of heart and leads those who believed Abinidi to a place of refuge, called "The Land of Mormon".

Wayne May, Robert Meldrum and others have proposed the “Waters of Mormon” are located at Big Spring in the Ozarks Mountains. This is totally compatible with the ER table. In the physical model the Ozarks plateau (green and purple) is designated as the Land of Mormon.

If one is looking for a natural spring anywhere near Nephi, the place to look is in the Ozarks where springs are located. The Book of Mormon describes the Waters of Mormon as being a beautiful place, with a forest nearby and located in the Land of Mormon which borders the Land of Nephi. There are 20 springs in the Ozarks, most of them quite small. Big Spring (the biggest in term of water volume flow) is the leading candidate for the waters of Mormon because its size, beauty, forest nearby, seclusion and yet ease of travel, via rivers, from Nephi.

From Nephi, Big Spring/Waters of Mormon is best accessible by going south via the Mississippi by boat (N → R), and then following the Current River up to Big Spring. This is a distance of about 200 miles but today it would mean about 60 miles of travel over flat lands (R → C) from the Missippippi to the Current River. This would make the trip much more difficult than simply traveling down the river. However, it is certain that the Mississippi did not follow the course then that it follows now. The alluvial plain of the Mississippi in Missouri and Arkansas is 50 miles wide (A). That means that over time the great river has meandered east-west within that 50 mile stretch. In it's natural state the Mississippi makes a major course change in this flatland area once or twice every thousand years due to the buildup of silt. Earthquakes can also cause river course changes and this area is known the "New Madrid" earthquake zone. Therefore, I propose that in the time of the Book of Mormon, the Mississippi flowed from (R) to (C) rather than (D) where it goes today. Therefore, the journey from Nephi to the Waters of Mormon would be starting at Nephi, traveling completely on the river (S) to (R) to (C) and then to the Waters of Mormon. The Mississippi flows along at about 3 mph so the whole scenic float trip could be made in about a week -- and faster if oars or sails are used.

The Ozarks is a highland region of the central United States. Although referred to as the Ozark Mountains, the region is actually a high dissected plateau. Geologically, the area is a broad dome around the Saint Francois Mountains.
Proposed travel route from Nephi to the Waters of Mormon
Topography of Big Spring/Waters of Mormon, which joins the Current River flowing left to right.
Proposed direction of Sidon/Mississippi 2100 years ago -- that it flowed more westerly rather than the present easterly route.
Aerial view of Big Spring/Waters of Mormon.
Where the old Sidon/Mississippi River, circa 100 BC, would have met the Current River flowing out of the Ozark plateau. Today the Current River later joins the White River which then joins the Mississippi 200 miles further south.
The Waters of Mormon = Big Spring. There is a hardwood forest next to Big Spring. Big Spring is located along the Ozark National Scenic Riverway – a very beautiful place to visit. Big Spring itself produces so much water that it is a major tributary to the Current River.

The map (below and right) outlines the proposed travel routes for the people of Alma (400+ people) departing from Limhi and traveling to Zarahemla and also the people of Limhi (a larger group) departing from Nephi and traveling to Zarahemla. In both cases they have to escape Lamanite guards and pursuing Lamanite armies. The Book of Mormon has an amazing amount of descriptive detail in the text which, when combined with a map, produce a limited number of plausible scenarios. Remember that my goal here is to produce plausible scenarious that make good sense on the map, while reading the Book of Mormon. It has been a confidence builder that the mapping presented comes out to be so very realistic. I haven't had to stretch credibility at all because the map and the distances involved really does fit well. To validate this, I created the Travel Chart and explanations below which show that, mathematically, it works.

King Limhi and his people depart for Zarahemla

Mosiah 22
11 And it came to pass that the people of king Limhi did depart by night into the wilderness with their flocks and their herds, and they went round about the land of Shilom (1) in the wilderness (2), and bent (3) their course towards the land of Zarahemla (4), being led by Ammon and his brethren.

Shilom is southeast of the city of Nephi but Zarahemla is north of Nephi, so they headed south and later "bent" their course to the north. Verse 16 indicates they were pursued by the Lamanites for two days. It appears they expected to be pursued and wanted to confuse the Lamanites as to their final destination. Thus, it appears that the course bending occured after two days travel at which point the pursuing Lamanite army lost their tracks.

12 And they had taken all their gold, and silver, and their precious things, which they could carry, and also their provisions with them, into the wilderness (1→2→3→4); and they pursued their journey.

This indicates they are on foot. They must have had pack animals also in addition to flocks and herds, similar to what Moroni later describes what the Jaredites had. Moroni is familiar with the animals named.

Ether 9
17 Having all manner of fruit, and of grain, and of silks, and of fine linen, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious things;
18 And also all manner of cattle, of oxen, and cows, and of sheep, and of swine, and of goats, and also many other kinds of animals which were useful for the food of man.
19 And they also had horses, and asses, and there were elephants and cureloms and cumoms; all of which were useful unto man, and more especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms.

Since the cureloms and cumoms are included together with the elephants, it indicates a likely similarity of type and purpose, so that they are probably mammoths and mastodons.

Reproductions: Mastodon to the left and Mammoth to the right.

13 And after being many days in the wilderness (4 →) they arrived in the land of Zarahemla, and joined Mosiah II's people, and became his subjects.

Since they bent their course at (3) which is almost to the Valley of Alma, the length of the journey from (3) would be around 12 days or less to reach Zarahemla, if they traveled the same speed as the people of Alma. On the map I show them crossing the Mississippi at the same time they bend their course to Zarahemla. It would be unrealistic to imagine them crossing today's Mississippi on foot. However we live in an era where the river is dammed, locked, and levee'd to make it dramatically deeper, and also dredged to maintain a depth of at least 9 feet for river traffic. However, anciently the river was wider and shallower. It meandered more and changed course frequently. It would also split into two or more smaller rivers and then join back up again later. At the right point, back then, it could be crossed on foot. Rather than just doubling back to Zarahemla on the west side, it is much more logical to assume that they would want to cross to the east side to hide their tracks and also avoid encountering the pursuing Lamanites.

14 And it came to pass that Mosiah II received them with joy; and he also received their records, and also the records which had been found by the people of Limhi.
15 And now it came to pass when the Lamanites had found that the people of Limhi had departed out of the land by night, that they sent an army into the wilderness to pursue them (2) ;
16 And after they had pursued them two days (3), they could no longer follow their tracks (3); therefore they were lost in the wilderness (5).

This is the same Lamanite army that end up finding the people of Alma in the land of Helam, as noted in Mosiah 23:30, which ties the two narratives together both chronologically and geographically. See Mosiah 23:30 below.

Alma Returns from the Land Of Mormon

Mosiah 18
5 Now, there was in Mormon a fountain of pure water, and Alma resorted thither, there being near the water a thicket of small trees, where he did hide himself in the daytime from the searches of the king.
6 And it came to pass that as many as believed him went thither to hear his words.
7 And it came to pass after many days there were a goodly number gathered together at the place of Mormon, to hear the words of Alma. Yea, all were gathered together that believed on his word, to hear him. And he did teach them, and did preach unto them repentance, and redemption, and faith on the Lord.
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light ...
...
16 And after this manner he did baptize every one that went forth to the place of Mormon; and they were in number about two hundred and four souls; yea, and they were baptized in the waters of Mormon , and were filled with the grace of God.
17 And they were called the church of God, or the church of Christ, from that time forward. And it came to pass that whosoever was baptized by the power and authority of God was added to his church. ...
30 And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever.
31 And these things were done in the borders of the land, that they might not come to the knowledge of the king.
32 But behold, it came to pass that the king, having discovered a movement among the people, sent his servants to watch them. Therefore on the day that they were assembling themselves together to hear the word of the Lord they were discovered unto the king.
33 And now the king said that Alma was stirring up the people to rebellion against him; therefore he sent his army to destroy them.
34 And it came to pass that Alma and the people of the Lord were apprised of the coming of the king's army; therefore they took their tents and their families and departed into the wilderness (W→C).
35 And they were in number about four hundred and fifty souls.

Mosiah 23
1 Now Alma, having been warned of the Lord that the armies of king Noah would come upon them, and having made it known to his people, therefore they gathered together their flocks, and took of their grain, and departed into the wilderness before the armies of king Noah.

My best theory at this point is that they traveled by boat. Flocks, grains, and tents can be transported by water easier than on land and we know there were only 450 people. It is easy to forget that the Nephites were technologically advanced when compared to the later Lamanites that the European settlers encountered. The Book of Mormon is very clear about that. Nephites had boats, writing, advanced metallurgy, buildings, machinery, education, and representative system of government. They were a Nation with a vast territory and cultural diversity and not just a tribe. In any case, whether by boat or by land, the trip to Helam comes out to 8 days either way.

2 And the Lord did strengthen them, that the people of king Noah could not overtake them to destroy them.
3 And they fled eight days' journey into the wilderness (W→C→R→H by water or (W→H by land).
4 And they came to a land, yea, even a very beautiful and pleasant land, a land of pure water.

My best candidate for Helam is the current "Twin Cities" of Festus and Crystal City. This area was chosen as the first location coming up river from Mississippi towards St. Louis/Nephi that has water and land suitable for a city. There is room here for a small population. Today the Twin Cities has a total population of about 17,000 people.

Obviously the people of Alma wouldn't want to settle too close to Nephi for fear of being discovered. Unfortunately they were eventually discovered anyway by the Lamanite army pursuing the people of Limhi. As seen in the topographical map, the river used to swing inward to Crystal City, and this would have been very useful in ancient times.

5 And they pitched their tents, and began to till the ground, and began to build buildings; yea, they were industrious, and did labor exceedingly.
6 And the people were desirous that Alma should be their king, for he was beloved by his people. ...
19 And it came to pass that they began to prosper exceedingly in the land; and they called the land Helam.
20 And it came to pass that they did multiply and prosper exceedingly in the land of Helam; and they built a city, which they called the city of Helam. ...
25 For behold, it came to pass that while they were in the land of Helam, yea, in the city of Helam, while tilling the land round about, behold an army of the Lamanites was in the borders of the land (5).
26 Now it came to pass that the brethren of Alma fled from their fields, and gathered themselves together in the city of Helam; and they were much frightened because of the appearance of the Lamanites.
27 But Alma went forth and stood among them, and exhorted them that they should not be frightened, but that they should remember the Lord their God and he would deliver them.
28 Therefore they hushed their fears, and began to cry unto the Lord that he would soften the hearts of the Lamanites, that they would spare them, and their wives, and their children.
29 And it came to pass the the Lord did soften the hearts of the Lamanites. And Alma and his brethren went forth and delivered themselves up into their hands; and the Lamanites took possession of the land of Helam (6).
30 Now the armies of the Lamanites, which had followed after the people of king Limhi, had been lost in the wilderness for many days (3, 5).
31 And behold, they had found those priests of king Noah, in a place which they called Amulon; and they had begun to possess the land of Amulon and had begun to till the ground.
32 Now the name of the leader of those priests was Amulon.
33 And it came to pass that Amulon did plead with the Lamanites; and he also sent forth their wives, who were the daughters of the Lamanites, to plead with their brethren, that they should not destroy their husbands.
34 And the Lamanites had compassion on Amulon and his brethren, and did not destroy them, because of their wives.
35 And Amulon and his brethren did join the Lamanites, and they were traveling in the wilderness (2,3,5) in search of the land of Nephi when they discovered (6) the land of Helam, which was possessed by Alma and his brethren.
36 And it came to pass that the Lamanites promised unto Alma and his brethren, that if they would show them the way which led to the land of Nephi (7) that they would grant unto them their lives and their liberty.

It is not indicated why these Lamanites would be lost and searching for a way to get back to Nephi. Since they just came from Nephi, all they really have to do is retrace their steps backwards along the wilderness river route to get home and that should not be too hard. One reasonable explanation is that their original route back is no longer feasible and, once again, if there is some flooding going on this would explain why. So they need another way back, an inland route (7) that does not following the river flood plains. So this could be the information that Alma gives to them. Alma and his people have been in Helam for some time by now and know their way around.

37 But after Alma had shown them the way that led to the land of Nephi (7) the Lamanites would not keep their promise; but they set guards round about the land of Helam (6), over Alma and his brethren.
38 And the remainder of them went to the land of Nephi (7) and a part of them returned to the land of Helam, and also brought with them the wives and the children of the guards who had been left in the land.
39 And the king of the Lamanites had granted unto Amulon that he should be a king and a ruler over his people, who were in the land of Helam; nevertheless he should have no power to do anything contrary to the will of the king of the Lamanites.

Mosiah 24
16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.
17 And he said unto Alma: Thou shalt go before this people, and I will go with thee and deliver this people out of bondage.
18 Now it came to pass that Alma and his people in the night-time gathered their flocks together, and also of their grain; yea, even all the night-time were they gathering the flocks together.
19 And in the morning the Lord caused a deep sleep to come upon the Lamanites, yea, and all their task-masters were in a profound sleep.
20 And Alma and his people departed into the wilderness (6); and when they had traveled all day they pitched their tents in a valley, and they called the valley Alma, because he led their way in the wilderness.
21 Yea, and in the valley of Alma they poured out their thanks to God because he had been merciful unto them, and eased their burdens, and had delivered them out of bondage; for they were in bondage, and none could deliver them except it were the Lord their God.

My best candidate for the Valley of Alma is Valmeyer. Valmeyer was originally founded by a family of German immigrants name Meyer and Val-Meyer literally means "Valley of Meyer". The area has had a difficult time in modern history. It seems everytime the Mississippi floods, that water comes rushing into Valmeyer. The following is from wikipedia:

Valmeyer's history has been marked by the periodic flooding of the Mississippi River and efforts to control it, the town having been flooded in 1910, 1943, and 1944. In the 1940s and 1950s, the Army Corps of Engineers constructed a levee system to protect the village and surrounding area. This levee system successfully protected the area from flooding for almost 50 years, even as floods occurred upstream from Valmeyer, the most significant threat having come in 1973.

It was not until the Great Flood of 1993 that the levees protecting Valmeyer and its environs were damaged by floodwater causing a large gap to form, flooding the town. Though the village was largely destroyed, the flooding of the American Bottom floodplain relieved pressure upstream from Valmeyer, and very likely saved downtown St. Louis from a major flood event. This was an intentional design element in the original levee plan, to use the sparsely populated agricultural areas surrounding Valmeyer to relieve threat against the more valuable real estate in the levee districts north of Valmeyer, including St. Louis. Valmeyer's story was well documented in both the national and international media, most notably on public television's Nova program, as a front-page article in the New York Times, and in a feature article in Smithsonian in June 1996.

22 And they gave thanks to God, yea, all their men and all their women and all their children that could speak lifted their voices in the praises of their God.
23 And now the Lord said unto Alma: Haste thee and get thou and this people out of this land, for the Lamanites have awakened and do pursue thee (6); therefore get thee out of this land, and I will stop the Lamanites in this valley that they come no further in pursuit of this people.

To stop the Lamanites, a flood event seems the most likely scenario for this location. See verse 21.

24 And it came to pass that they departed out of the valley (V→north), and took their journey into the wilderness (4).
25 And after they had been in the wilderness twelve days they arrived in the land of Zarahemla and king Mosiah did also receive them with joy.

Travel Chart

Travel
Mode
Way-
Points
Avg
MPH
Total
Miles
Total
Hours
Hrs
day
Total1
Days
Water WC 6 56 9.3 10 0.93
Water CR 3 115 38.4 10 3.84
Water RH 3 102 34 10 3.4
Total 8.171
Water HV 2 10 5.0 10 0.50
Water VZ 2 223 111.5 10 11.15
Total 11.652
Land WH 1.5 121 80.8 10 8.081
Land HZ 1.5 253 126.5 10 12.652
Total 20.73
1 Book of Mormon says "8 days"
2 Book of Mormon says 1 day or less for H to V (Valley of Alma) and then 12 days from V to Z (Zarahemla) or 13 days total.

Proposed travel route from the Nephi to Zarahemla by King Limhi and his people. See orange path that goes south, then north. The purple path is the pursuit by the Lamanite army. The red path represents the travel, by river, of the people of Ammon which is also basically the proposed ancient course of the Mississippi. The green path shows the non-river wilderness return path to the city of Nephi that Alma shows to the Lamanite army.

In 2007 under the waters of Lake Michigan (the East Sea) divers found the "Mastodon Rock", an ancient American carving in granite rock. Notice how the tusk is trimmed, which is a sign of domestication.
Proposed travel route from the Waters of Mormon to Helam and Zarahemla

Typical Phoenician type ship design, that Nephites could have used.

Proposed travel route from the Waters of Mormon to Helam and Zarahemla

Topographical map showing the proposed location for the city/land of Helam where Chrystal City and Festus are located today.
[Repeat of map above for convenience]Proposed travel route from the Nephi to Zarahemla by King Limhi and his people. See orange path that goes south, then north. The purple path is the pursuit by the Lamanite army. The red path represents the travel, by river, of the people of Ammon which is also basically the proposed ancient course of the Mississippi. The green path shows the non-river wilderness return path to the city of Nephi that Alma shows to the Lamanite army.

About the Travel Chart

The grid below and left calculates plausible time and distance scenarios for both a water based journey and a land based journey for the waypoint sections on the map. Keep in mind my goal is to show plausibility in the scenarios presented. If a proposed route is not plausible, it must be rejected. Using the google map distance ruler I have precise river and land distances available. In turns out that for the case of traveling from the Waters of Mormon (W) to the Land of Nephi (N), both water and land travel modes are plausible in that they fit remarkably well with the time travel distances mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

WC   6 mph is fast if rowing only but modern trials with ancient ships show that such a sustained speed is doable if going with the current at about 3 mph. With sails it would be no problem at all to go 6 mph. We also know from the narrative that they were fleeing from the army of King Noah, so there was motivation to move along fairly briskly.

CR   The stretch requires a little more guessing. I postulate that the Mississippi flowed through here anciently, although it is not the current route. I took the google ruler distance for this chapter and increased the distance by 20% for unforeseen undulations (I call it my undulation factor). The present Mississippi is 50 miles east now and undulates a lot over there. However, some features of the prior river courses on the west side are still visible on maps and it appears west side undulation of 20% would be the most accurate. Through trial and error I discovered that a 20% additional undulation factor would be accurate for the Current River (without zooming down for absolute precision) so I applied the same 20% to the proposed ancient route of the Sidon/Mississippi. This chapter also has prevailing winds going north (from the Gulf) so sailing upstream would normally be no problem. Wind power plus rowing would have yielded better than 3mph in this chapter. But 3mph is a good average.

RH   The final span is measured accurately with the google distance ruler. Prevailing winds in this chapter are mixed, so some rowing might have been necessary to make the 3 mph average in this chapter. H was chosen as the as the land of Helam.

HV   This would appear to a partial days journey with time required to set up camp and time left to have some kind of prayer service where they gave thanks to God. VZ   In the Travel Chart I reduced the average speed to 2mph. There are no prevailing northern winds on the way to Zarahemla. Whether by boat or on foot, it makes no difference in the distance calculation as 2mph is a reasonable top speed either way.

After considering all the evidence there are still two feasible routes (water route and land route) to the waters of Mormon to choose from, and this is why I have presented so much supporting information. I wish there was more information in the narrative and in the way Logical Model, yet the indirect evidences are extensive.

 4.4 The Lands Near Zarahemla
 4.4.1 City of Zarahemla

Ancient Zarahemla is on the west side of the upper Mississippi immediately across the river from Nauvoo, Illinois.

The Mississippi runs generally north to south and has three sections:

  1. Upper Mississippi (purple, orange, dark blue): From the headwaters at St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for 475 miles, to its confluence with the Missouri river at St. Louis, Missouri.
  2. Middle Mississippi (light blue and dark blue to LD25): From the Upper Mississippi River's confluence with the Missouri River at St. Louis, Missouri, for 190 miles (310 km) to its confluence with the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois.
  3. Lower Mississippi River from its confluence with the Ohio River to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico, a distance of about 1,000 miles (1,600 km).

Prior to the locks and dams, finished in 1913, one could actually walk across the Mississippi near Nauvoo where the Des Moines Rapids begin. The river widened from 2500 to 4500 feet and the mean depth of the river was only 2.4 feet. Zarahemla is strategically located at the best crossing point. A good travel and trade route. All of that is obscured now because of the present day dam at Keokuk.

The city of Zarahemla itself occupied the plains area across the river, west from Nauvoo. It's natural boundaries can be seen clearly on the map. The Zarahemla plain has about 25 square miles.

There are earthen berms still in the areas bordering the ancient City of Zarahemla that pre-date white settlers. According to Book of Mormon descriptions these would have originally been topped with wooden palisades for defense (see below).

The west side of the river is also said to be a fertile ground for arrow head hunters, especially in the Montrose area. Here is one account:

Although the climate of the Midwest is not conductive to the preservation of wood, leather or bone, an abundance of stone remnants of past Indian cultures, arrowheads, axe heads, knives, pestles, and other stone implements -- were once easily found in the smaller streams and freshly plowed fields along the Mississippi, Skunk and Des Moines river valleys.

Three or four generations ago nearly every young boy owned a cigar box full of such treasures. Many were broken pieces or arrowheads, shards of pottery, spear points and effigy good luck stones. Perfect, unbroken pieces were true collectors items, and many a boy or young man who was an avid artifact hunter, and perhaps bit of a shrewd trader to boot, built impressive collections of Indian implements.

There are still many such collectors around. But with the passing years actually finding an artifact is becoming harder and harder. Many collectors now depend upon trading or buying the choice specimens needed to complete a display.

Perhaps one of the most plentiful sources of Indian artifacts in this area has been the area around Montrose. Because of its location along the rapids of the Mississippi, and the excellent fishing there, it is believed that Indian villages of one sort or another have been there for a thousand years. When the white settlers first appeared here it was the location of a Sac and Fox encampment called "Cut Nose Village." Until they were driven out by the Sac and Fox, it was thought to be the location of an Illini Indian village. Before that it was probably once occupied by the Iowa tribe, and even earlier, by the prehistoric Woodland Indian civilizations who disappeared so mysteriously.

In the late 19th century nearly everyone in Montrose had a collection or Indian artifacts. Fred Green found a 15 pound stone axe head in such perfect condition that it is now in a British museum.

J.B. Kiel collected dozens of stone axe heads, and more than a thousand arrowheads, spear points, knives and grinding stones. He sold and gave hundreds of them to the Smithsonian Institute and the Davenport Academy of Science.

Manessa Reeves was digging a trench in front of his store at Montrose and unearthed a war axe weighing over seven pounds but it was an imperfect specimen because a sizable chunk had been broken off. Ray Rigby found a four pound stone pestle that had probably been used to grind hominy, a favorite Indian food.

Among the more unusual finds was one by Fred Barker. His was a large double-edged axe with a hole drilled through it for a handle. Most stone axes were grooved on either side so that the split end of a handle could be tied to it.

On his farm just below Montrose, Jerry Anderson collected 20 hatchets, axes and mortars as well as a large number of stone knives, spear points and arrowheads. They were found in such a small area that Anderson believed it must have been either a manufacturing location or a storage place.

The Montrose area was so rich in Indian artifacts that they can still be found in numbers there. When Paul Hellige built a new house in the Schlotter addition near Montrose a couple of dozen years ago, he found many arrowheads while digging the basement.

The Walls of Zarahemla

Alma 50
1 And now it came to pass that Moroni did not stop making preparations for war, or to defend his people against the Lamanites; for he caused that his armies should commence in the commencement of the twentieth year of the reign of the judges, that they should commence in digging up heaps of earth round about all the cities, throughout all the land which was possessed by the Nephites.

The fortification project of Moroni starts in 72 BC. However Moroni's walls are not the first. Walls around the cities of Nephi and Shilom are mentioned prior to this. The Amilicite war (see next chapter) also implies that there were prior walls around Zarahemla as well. Unlike other cities, Zarahemla has natural highlands around the plains area that help make for good fortifications.

2 And upon the top of these ridges of earth he caused that there should be timbers, yea, works of timbers built up to the height of a man, round about the cities.

"Works of timbers" seems to imply more of a 3D structure with some depth that form a base.

3 And he caused that upon those works of timbers there should be a frame of pickets built upon the timbers round about; and they were strong and high.

"Frame of pickets" describe a straight wall that rests upon and is secured by the "works of timbers".

4 And he caused towers to be erected that overlooked those works of pickets, and he caused places of security to be built upon those towers, that the stones and the arrows of the Lamanites could not hurt them.

The towers are higher than the pickets and have places of security which means an enclosure and probably a crenalated enclosure which provides protection while launching missiles.

5 And they were prepared that they could cast stones from the top thereof, according to their pleasure and their strength, and slay him who should attempt to approach near the walls of the city.

They would also need ladders, and a ready supply of stones and other weapons. A stone dropped on an attackers head from 20-30 feet would be a devestating deterrent and stones are plentiful and cheap for this kind of defense compared to arrows and spears.

6 Thus Moroni did prepare strongholds against the coming of their enemies, round about every city in all the land.

City and Land of Zarahemla and Environs. Notice that Nephite lands are bordered by rivers where possible. A "land" is between the rivers. Cities are almost always located where rivers meet. In describing topography the Book of Mormon refers to a "wilderness" rather than "river" per se. To the Nephites, the river is water and the wilderness is a river bottom area - a place for travel and hunting, uninhabited, and often heavily forested. The only time a "river" is referenced is at Zarahemla, because it is inhabited and thus not a wilderness area. Usually, cities are not located immediately next to rivers because rivers occasionally flood and/or change course. An exception is the city of Zarahemla itself, which is located in a former, pre-historic floodplain. The Sidon at Zarahemla does not flood for the same reason that the top of Niagra Falls does not flood. Just past Zarahemla, the water cascaded down the Des Moines rapids immediately south of Zarahemla, the river dropping 24 feet from Zarahemla (Montrose) to the Hill Manti in southern Minon (Keokuk).
A topical map showing the Zarahemla plain and the highland areas surrounding it.
Sections of the Mississippi
A satellite image showing the Zarahemla plain and the highland areas surrounding it.
This image, by Wayne May, is south of Montrose Iowa and is one of the berms on the highland borders of Zarahemla. The scrub trees and overgrowth obscure the berm but it is still plainly visible as shown by the orange arrows.
Here is another picture of the berm, closer in. Hundreds of years of erosion have probably diminished it somewhat.
Here is a photoshopped version with trees removed from the berm and adding the "works of timber" topped by the "frame of pickets" as described in Alma 50.
Side view of the berm with an outline of a Warrior for scale.
Here is what I surmise a side view of the wall structure would look like, including the tower and ascending ladders.

The Center of the Land

Helaman 1
24 And, supposing that their greatest strength was in the center of the land, therefore he did march forth, giving them no time to assemble themselves together save it were in small bodies; and in this manner they did fall upon them and cut them down to the earth.
25 But behold, this march of Coriantumr through the center of the land gave Moronihah great advantage over them, notwithstanding the greatness of the number of the Nephites who were slain.
26 For behold, Moronihah had supposed that the Lamanites durst not come into the center of the land, but that they would attack the cities round about in the borders as they had hitherto done; therefore Moronihah had caused that their strong armies should maintain those parts round about by the borders.
27 But behold, the Lamanites were not frightened according to his desire, but they had come into the center of the land, and had taken the capital city which was the city of Zarahemla, and were 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.

3 Nephi 3
21 But Gidgiddoni saith unto them: The Lord forbid; for if we should go up against them the Lord would deliver us into their hands; therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us; therefore as the Lord liveth, if we do this he will deliver them into our hands.
22 And it came to pass in the seventeenth year, in the latter end of the year, the proclamation of Lachoneus had gone forth throughout all the face of the land, and they had taken their horses, and their chariots, and their cattle, and all their flocks, and their herds, and their grain, and all their substance, and did march forth by thousands and by tens of thousands, until they had all gone forth to the place which had been appointed that they should gather themselves together, to defend themselves against their enemies.
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.

The location of Zarahemla is in the "center of the land" and thus the center of Logical ER Model model. The land north is Canada and the land south is the USA. The border is the same as today's border between Ontario and Michigan. This map shows the land north and the land south with Zarahemla in the exact center of the land south with the outer circle at the exact border of upper Michigan and Ontario. The blue line shows the boundary between the Nephites and Lamanites at 67 BC, during the period of the Reign of the Judges (see also, Section 4.4.7).

The Lord has revealed Zarahemla in Doctrine and Covenants 125 (See also Section 2.2), so my confidence level is high: 100%

 4.4.2 Amlicite War - Battle of Zarahemla
Amlicite Civil War battle map. Legend: Pink=Lamanite army, Peach=Amlicite army, Blue=Nephite army

There are several armed conflicts in the Book of Mormon that give enough detail to reconstruct a battle map once it is determined where the battle took place. The Nephite/Amlicite civil war is one of these and so I will use it as an example of how understanding the location of the event can add so much to the narrative. As described in the Book of Mormon, there were two major Amlicite battles in two days and probably a third day of chasing down survivors.

Alma 2:12 - Alma 3:3
12 Therefore the people of the Nephites were aware of the intent of the Amlicites, and therefore they did prepare to meet them; yea, they did arm themselves with swords, and with cimeters, and with bows, and with arrows, and with stones, and with slings, and with all manner of weapons of war, of every kind.
13 And thus they were prepared to meet the Amlicites at the time of their coming. And there were appointed captains, and higher captains, and chief captains, according to their numbers.

(Z) at 25 sq miles (that now includes the cities of Montrose and Fort Madison and the space in between), the population of Zarahemla could have reached as much as 80,000 to 120,000 people. That's not enough to provide Alma's army of (est) 65,000 warriors (see Comparison to Gettysburg) so they must have recruited far and wide in preparing for the Amlicite Civil War with Zarahemla being the central staging area.

14 And it came to pass that Amlici did arm his men with all manner of weapons of war of every kind; and he also appointed rulers and leaders over his people, to lead them to war against their brethren.
15 And it came to pass that the Amlicites came up upon the hill Amnihu, which was east of the river Sidon, which ran by the land of Zarahemla, and there they began to make war with the Nephites.

See (Z) Zarahemla and (A) Amnihu.

The Nauvoo Temple currently occupies the high spot on the east of Sidon and overlooks the river and Zarahemla. This general area is Amnihu. See (A). Here the Temple and the angel Moroni statue now face west towards Zarahemla instead of the usual east. My guess is that Alma would have set up battle lines some distance east of the current temple site. For the Nephites the tactical situation is clear. They cannot retreat to the western lowlands because they would then be yielding the high ground to the enemy. They have got to hold their ground and then take the fight to the enemy.

View of Zarahemla from Amnihu/Nauvoo

16 Now Alma, he being the chief judge and the governor of the people of Nephi, therefore he went up with his people, yea, with his captains, and chief captains, yea, at the head of his armies, against the Amlicites to battle.

Alma (the younger, son of Alma) is a prophet, priest, warrior, patriot, lover of liberty, and the first governor of a free republic. He is first chief judge in a newly established system of representative government, set up by Mosiah II, their last king -- and this is the cause of the civil war conflict. Although everybody agreed to the new system before Mosiah II died, now only 5 years later Amlici thinks he should be king, despite losing of the vote of the people. Amlici is an absolute monarchist - so he doesn't believe in voting anyway.

Alma the younger is a hero. A composite of George Washington and Nathan Hale. The original American patriot.

17 And they began to slay the Amlicites upon the hill east of Sidon. And the Amlicites did contend with the Nephites with great strength, insomuch that many of the Nephites did fall before the Amlicites.

When the Saints first arrived in Nauvoo, the land was uneven because of burial mounds. There are still some burial mounds today, some of which have been recently restored after damage caused by looters years ago.

18 Nevertheless the Lord did strengthen the hand of the Nephites, that they slew the Amlicites with a great slaughter, that they began to flee before them.

No mention of superior numbers, lucky breaks, better generalship, or disadvantages of retreat. Just "The Lord did strengthen". That they prepared as well as possible is mentioned earlier in the account, but they knew that after all they could do, "The battle is the Lords".

19 And it came to pass that the Nephites did pursue the Amlicites all that day, and did slay them with much slaughter, insomuch that there were slain of the Amlicites twelve thousand five hundred thirty and two souls; and there were slain of the Nephites six thousand five hundred sixty and two souls.

These fatality numbers are significant and I'll return to them later.
The timid general retrenches, shores up supply lines, tends to the wounded, and doesn't pursue the defeated enemy. The problem with that is the enemy lives on to fight another day, rendering the victory almost meaningless. Alma is not that kind of general as he attempts to make the victory final. He did not succeed in total victory at the Battle of Amnihu but the great 2 to 1 ratio advantage in fatalities is likely the result of the vigorous pursuit. A lot of Amlicites probably died with arrows in their backs.

20 And it came to pass that when Alma could pursue the Amlicites no longer he caused that his people should pitch their tents in the valley of Gideon, the valley being called after that Gideon who which was slain by the hand of Nehor with the sword; and in this valley the Nephites did pitch their tents for the night.

See (G). The account doesn't mention from where the Amlicites came into the Battle of Amnihu. But it makes the most sense to me that they would retreat from the same direction they came, so I drew it that way in the map.

21 And Alma sent spies to follow the remnant of the Amlicites, that he might know of their plans and their plots, whereby he might guard himself against them, that he might preserve his people from being destroyed.
22 Now those whom which he had sent out to watch the camp of the Amlicites were called Zeram, and Amnor, and Manti, and Limher; these were they who went out with their men to watch the camp of the Amlicites.

See (S) on the west of Sidon. These spy scouts end up being major war heroes as their report literally saves the day. They are honored in the story by having their names specifically mentioned.

23 And it came to pass that on the morrow they returned into the camp of the Nephites in great haste, being greatly astonished, and struck with much fear, saying:
24 Behold, we followed the camp of the Amlicites, and to our great astonishment, in the land of Minon, above the land of Zarahemla, in the course of the land of Nephi, we saw a numerous host of the Lamanites; and behold, the Amlicites have joined them;

See (L). Note that the Land of Minon lies in the course of the Land of Nephi (see (N)), so it is south. I think it no coincidence that a Lamanite army just happens to be there at that moment. It had to be pre-planned. The Amlicites are both rebels and traitors.

25 And they are upon our brethren in that land; and they are fleeing before them with their flocks, and their wives, and their children, towards our city; and except we make haste they obtain possession of our city, and our fathers, and our wives, and our children be slain.

See (M). The people in the Land of Minon are under attack and I imagine there must be at least some resistance. That's why I put a small battle icon in the Land of Minon.

26 And it came to pass that the people of Nephi took their tents, and departed out of the valley of Gideon towards their city, which was the city of Zarahemla.

See (S) on the east of Sidon. In the map I have Alma and his warriors doing an abrupt about face and retracing their route back to Zarahemla. It is hard to tell from a map where the Valley of Gideon would have been. The spot I chose is as far down as possible while still being close enough to Zarahemla to get back again in time to save the city. At least by my estimation.

27 And behold, as they were crossing the river Sidon, the Lamanites and the Amlicites, being as numerous almost, as it were, as the sands of the sea, came upon them to destroy them.

See (B). Sounds like the enemy got there first, at least by a little bit and that the initial fighting took place in the shallows of the Sidon/Mississippi. Note that the Lamanites/Amlicites did not immediately head directly into the City of Zarahemla and overrun it. That's because Zarahemla was a fortified city with a wall. (The Book of Mormon describes fortifications as consisting of earthen berms with a trench in front if it and topped with a wooden palisade on top of the berm (as described elsewhere in the Book of Mormon).

Amlicite Civil War battle map. Legend: Pink=Lamanite army, Peach=Amlicite army, Blue=Nephite army

28 Nevertheless, the Nephites being strengthened by the hand of the Lord, having prayed mightily to him that he would deliver them out of the hands of their enemies, therefore the Lord did hear their cries, and did strengthen them, and the Lamanites and the Amlicites did fall before them.
29 And it came to pass that Alma fought with Amlici with the sword, face to face; and they did contend mightily, one with another.
30 And it came to pass that Alma, he being a man of God, being exercised with much faith, and he cried, saying: O Lord, have mercy and spare my life, that I may be an instrument in thy hands to save and protect this people.
31 Now when Alma had said these words he contended again with Amlici; and he was strengthened, insomuch that he slew Amlici with the sword.

There are many incidents throughout history of conflicts being decided by "single combat" or "judicial combat", either by the leaders fighting it out or by each side choosing a champion. David and Goliath comes to mind. Also Hector and Achilles. In this case it was by the leaders and it happened during the battle melee.

32 And he also contended with the king of the Lamanites; but the king of the Lamanites fled back from before Alma and sent his guards to contend with Alma.
33 But Alma, with his guards, contended with the guards of the king of the Lamanites until he slew and drove them back.

Apparently there was no prior understanding that Amlici's death would end the conflict, but psychologically it gives a huge boost and a rally point to the Nephites. It may have been the tipping point.

34 And thus he cleared the ground, or rather the bank, which was on the west of the river Sidon, throwing the bodies of the Lamanites which had been slain into the waters of Sidon, that thereby his people might have room to cross and contend with the Lamanites and the Amlicites on the west side of the river Sidon.

They actually had to toss bodies into the Sidon in order to get out of the water and continue the battle. This battle took place where the Des Moines rapids began.

35 And it came to pass that when they had all crossed the river Sidon that the Lamanites and the Amlicites began to flee before them, notwithstanding they were so numerous that they could not be numbered.
36 And they fled before the Nephites towards the wilderness which was west and north, away beyond the borders of the land; and the Nephites did pursue them with their might, and did slay them.

Sounds like no quarter was given. It's interesting that the Amlicites and Lamanites did not flee back to the direction they came but looked for another escape route. There must have been some angry people from Minon looking for some vengeance. Also the Amlicites and Lamanites are probably taking a barrage of arrows and sling stones from the walls of Zarahemla as well. They were met "on every hand".

37 Yea, they were met on every hand, and slain and driven, until they were scattered on the west, and on the north, until they had reached the wilderness, which was called Hermounts; and it was that part of the wilderness which was infested by wild and ravenous beasts
38 And it came to pass that many died in the wilderness of their wounds, and were devoured by those beasts and also the vultures of the air; and their bones have been found, and have been heaped up on the earth.

Alma 3:1 - Alma 3:3
1 And it came to pass that the Nephites who were not slain by the weapons of war, after having buried those who had been slain--now the number of the slain were not numbered, because of the greatness of their number--after they had finished burying their dead they all returned to their lands, and to their houses, and their wives, and their children.

So in the Battle of Sidon, the dead were in the land of Minon, out in the Sidon river and scattered on the west and north of the city of Zarahemla. Sounds much more chaotic than the Battle of Amnihu and therefore too difficult to get a body count this time around. Plus, at one point they're sending bodies down the Des Moines Rapids in the midst of battle just so they can get thru to continue the fight. No accurate count feasible.

2 Now many women and children had been slain with the sword, and also many of their flocks and their herds; and also many of their fields of grain were destroyed, for they were trodden down by the hosts of men.
3 And now as many of the Lamanites and the Amlicites who had been slain upon the bank of the river Sidon were cast into the waters of Sidon; and behold their bones are in the depths of the sea, and they are many.

Modern historians say that the largest battle ever fought in North America was the three days at Gettysburg - but not according to the Book of Mormon. The two battles at Zarahemla each exceeded Gettysburg in battlefield fatalities by a significant margin. Later in the Book of Mormon, we see even larger Nephite/Lamanite battles and more extended wars.

Considering what happened there, Zarahemla and Amnihu/Nauvoo can be considered sacred ground before the Saints arrived in Nauvoo. It is where freedom was defended in the promised land of America. 87 BC = year 5 of the Reign of the Judges, of the People of Nephi.

Alma 3:20 - Alma 3:25
20 Now it came to pass that not many days after the battle which was fought in the land of Zarahemla, by the Lamanites and the Amlicites, that there was another army of the Lamanites came in upon the people of Nephi, in the same place where the first army met the Amlicites.

Unfortunately the war is not over, and the Lamanites make another attempt. 2nd battle of Amnihu.

21 And it came to pass that there was an army sent to drive them out of their land.
22 Now Alma himself being afflicted with a wound did not go up to battle at this time against the Lamanites;
23 But he sent up a numerous army against them; and they went up and slew many of the Lamanites, and drove the remainder of them out of the borders of their land.

Nephites have "lands" and "cities". The city of Zarahemla is on the west side of Sidon but the hill Amnihu on the east of Sidon is in the borders of the land of Zarahemla. The river Sidon itself is the actual border.

24 And then they returned again and began to establish peace in the land, being troubled no more for a time with their enemies.
25 Now all these things were done, yea, all these wars and contentions were commenced and ended in the fifth year of the reign of the judges.

Only a one year war. Mercifully short.

The First Battle of Zarahemla in the Amlicite War has more detailed information from the Book of Mormon narrative than any other conflict. It was so fun to diagram the battle! Plus, it all takes place in a location in which I have 100% confidence of being correct. My confidence level, including every detail: 95%

 4.4.3 Journeys of Alma II

Alma 4
20 And thus in the commencement of the ninth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, Alma delivered up the judgment-seat to Nephihah, and confined himself wholly to the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to the testimony of the word, according to the spirit of revelation and prophecy.

Alma 5
1 Now it came to pass that Alma began to deliver the word of God unto the people, first in the land of Zarahemla, and from thence throughout all the land.

Later we find out that certain events happen while Alma II is travelling to the city of Aaron and also when travelling to Manti. Aaron is on the far eastern edge of Nephite lands and Manti is on the western edge so it is apparent that we don't get a record of every place Alma II stopped at and that Mormon is very selective in the narrative. However, this also indicates that the phrase "throughout all the land" is a literal fact and not hyperpole.

Alma 6
7 And now it came to pass that when Alma had made these regulations he departed from them, yea, from the church which was in the city of Zarahemla, and went over upon the east of the river Sidon, into the valley of Gideon (A), there having been a city built, which was called the city of Gideon, which was in the valley that was called Gideon, being called after the man who was slain by the hand of Nehor with the sword.
8 And Alma went and began to declare the word of God unto the church which was established in the valley of Gideon, ....

Since Alma II "went over upon the east of the River Sidon" to Gideon, this sounds like a land journey (A) which make sense because Gideon is not that far away and to go via the river route means dealing with the Des Moines rapids going South and then returning North up the rapids back to Zarahemla - not to practical for a short trip.

Alma 8
1 And now it came to pass that Alma returned from the land of Gideon (A), after having taught the people of Gideon many things which cannot be written, having established the order of the church, according as he had before done in the land of Zarahemla, yea, he returned to his own house at Zarahemla to rest himself from the labors which he had performed.
3 And it came to pass in the commencement of the tenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, that Alma departed from thence and took his journey over into the land of Melek (B), on the west of the river Sidon, on the west by the borders of the wilderness.
4 And he began to teach the people in the land of Melek (C) according to the holy order of God, by which he had been called; and he began to teach the people throughout all the land of Melek.
5 And it came to pass that the people came to him throughout all the borders of the land which was by the wilderness side. And they were baptized throughout all the land;

Missionary journeys of Alma II

In addition to the Entity Relationship table, I use the following principles in constructing the physical model. It is pretty simple:

6 So that when he had finished his work at Melek he departed thence, and traveled three days' journey (D) on the north of the land of Melek; and he came to a city which was called Ammonihah.
8 And it came to pass that when Alma had come to the city of Ammonihah he began to preach the word of God unto them.

From the city of Melek (as marked) to Ammonihah, via the river by boat, is precisely 80.2 miles, which is 26.7 miles a day.

13 Now when the people had said this, and withstood all his words, and reviled him, and spit upon him, and caused that he should be cast out of their city, he departed thence and took his journey towards the city which was called Aaron (E).

The phrase "took his journey" is meaning Aaron is more than a day, maybe much more. The city of Aaron is to the east past Jershon and off this map. In any case, Alma II did not get far before he is commanded to return to Ammonihah.

14 And it came to pass that while he was journeying thither, being weighed down with sorrow, wading through much tribulation and anguish of soul, because of the wickedness of the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, it came to pass while Alma was thus weighed down with sorrow, behold an angel of the Lord appeared unto him, saying:
15 Blessed art thou, Alma; therefore, lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou hast great cause to rejoice; for thou hast been faithful in keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou receivedst thy first message from him. Behold, I am he that delivered it unto you.
16 And behold, I am sent to command thee that thou return to the city of Ammonihah (E), and preach again unto the people of the city; yea, preach unto them. Yea, say unto them, except they repent the Lord God will destroy them.

Alma 15
1 And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek were commanded to depart out of that city; and they departed, and came out even into the land of Sidom (F); and behold, there they found all the people who had departed out of the land of Ammonihah, who had been cast out and stoned, because they believed in the words of Alma.
2 And they related unto them all that had happened unto their wives and children, and also concerning themselves, and of their power of deliverance.
3 And also Zeezrom lay sick at Sidom, with a burning fever, which was caused by the great tribulations of his mind on account of his wickedness, for he supposed that Alma and Amulek were no more; and he supposed that they had been slain because of his iniquity.
...
13 I And Alma established a church in the land of Sidom, and consecrated priests and teachers in the land, to baptize unto the Lord whosoever were desirous to be baptized.
14 And it came to pass that they were many; for they did flock in from all the region round about Sidom, and were baptized.

There is no actual "city" of Sidom mentioned in the Book of Mormon but there is a place where Zeezrom and the refugees from Ammonihah gathered and where Alma established the Church. I have chosen to mark a plausible place for it on the map.

Alma 16
1 And it came to pass in the eleventh year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, on the fifth day of the second month, there having been much peace in the land of Zarahemla, there having been no wars nor contentions for a certain number of years, even until the fifth day of the second month in the eleventh year, there was a cry of war heard throughout the land.
2 For behold, the armies of the Lamanites had come in upon the wilderness side (L), into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah, and began to slay the people and destroy the city.
3 And now it came to pass, before the Nephites could raise a sufficient army to drive them out of the land, they had destroyed the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, and also some around the borders of Noah, and taken others captive into the wilderness (W).
4 Now it came to pass that the Nephites were desirous to obtain those who had been carried away captive into the wilderness. ...
9 ...yea, every living soul of the Ammonihahites was destroyed, and also their great city, which they said God could not destroy, because of its greatness.
10 But behold, in one day it was left desolate; and the carcasses were mangled by dogs and wild beasts of the wilderness.

I placed Ammonihah north of Noah (instead of vice-versa) because Ammonihah is attacked first, is closer to Lamanite territory, and close to a wilderness area from where the attack came from. Note in this raid that the Lamanites were in and out quickly before the Nephites could mobilize, and that they "carried away" captives. Later we'll see (in Chapter 4.4) that they went 300+ miles up to and beyond Manti (near Minneapolis-St. Paul) before the Nephites could meet them in battle. All this is an indication of cavalry. The Book of Mormon has many incidental references to horses (Enos says "many horses"). Jaredites, Nephites and Lamanites all had them.

Ammonihah to the north and Noah to the south is the best fit to the Book of Mormon descriptions. The flatlands of Ammonihah are good for farming and settlement and yet not in a flood zone because the Iowa river runs through the hilly region on the east. Earlier in time, multiple small creeks snaked their way throughout the Ammonihah valley. Also there was no wide river or Coralville lake. That was created in modern times by the Coralville dam (D). When the Lamanites attacked Ammonihah they came from the "wilderness side" (F) where the Iowa river flows in the bottomlands. I postulate that Alma II leaves the river at point (A) and it's about a 1.5 mile walk to point (B) and then enters the city on the north side. When he returns to Ammonihah the second time, a logical route to enter on the "south of the city" is to disembark at point (C)and then follow Muddy Creek three miles to point (E).

Alma 16
1 And now it came to pass that as Alma was journeying from the land of Gideon southward (A,B), away to the land of Manti (northward) (J,K), behold, to his astonishment, he met (X) with the sons of Mosiah journeying towards the land of Zarahemla (L).

The description of Alma's journey is ambiguous and can be read two ways: A) Alma is journeying south starting at the land of Gideon and headed to Manti (making Manti south of Gideon); or 2) Alma is starting his journey in Gideon, which is south, and then traveling to Manti (making Manti north of Gideon). I am forced to conclude that Manti is north because the head (origination) of the Sidon river is north, way north. Alma 22:27 says "through the borders of Manti, by the head of the river Sidon" and Alma 43:22 says "took their journey round about in the wilderness, away by the head of the river Sidon, that they might come into the land of Manti". The head of a River is its place of origin, it's source. That is the common definition found in any dictionary for "riverhead". 1 Nephi 8:13,14 also backs up this interpretation:

13 And as I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family also, I beheld a river of water; ...
14 And I looked to behold from whence it came; and I saw the head thereof a little way off; and at the head thereof I beheld your mother Sariah, and Sam, and Nephi;

Putting Manti to the north, at the head of the Sidon, makes Manti a long journey, about 500 miles. However, to meet Lamanite missionaries going south to Zarahemla, they most likely would be coming from Jershon, where their converts have settled. So it could be anywhere between Gideon and Jershon. The spot I picked has a very narrow passage, where it would be less likely to miss seeing a traveler going the opposite direction.

2 Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God. ...

Interesting to know that they had access to written scriptures. The Book of Mormon indicates that the Nephites used writing extensively and normally used an altered form of Hebrew when writing on non-metallic media.

4 And they had been teaching the word of God for the space of fourteen years among the Lamanites, having had much success in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth; ...
6 Now these were their journeyings: Having taken leave of their father, Mosiah, in the first year of the judges; having refused the kingdom which their father was desirous to confer upon them, and also this was the minds of the people;
7 Nevertheless they departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and took their swords, and their spears, and their bows, and their arrows, and their slings; and this they did that they might provide food for themselves while in the wilderness.

Again, this shows that "wilderness" areas are for traveling and for sustenance -- in other words, in or next to river bottomland areas.

Missionary journeys of Alma II (repeated)

Alma 16
3 Now the Zoramites had gathered themselves together in a land which they called Antionum, which was east of the land of Zarahemla, which lay nearly bordering upon the seashore, which was south of the land of Jershon, which also bordered upon the wilderness south, which wilderness was full of the Lamanites.
4 Now the Nephites greatly feared that the Zoramites would enter into a correspondence with the Lamanites, and that it would be the means of great loss on the part of the Nephites.

The Zoramites are not on a natural river route connecting to the rest of the Nephites. They have to be reached via overland travel and so are relatively isolated.

5 And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just--yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them--therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.
6 Therefore he took Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner; and Himni he did leave in the church in Zarahemla; but the former three he took with him, and also Amulek and Zeezrom, who were at Melek; and he also took two of his sons. ...

So now they are a party of 8 traveling overland. Obviously the best way would be to go mounted. The journey is about 120 miles or so on horseback and would take probably take 7-9 days to make it to where I have placed Rameuptom on the map, in present day Peoria, Illinois.

12 Now, when they had come into the land (Z), behold, to their astonishment they found that the Zoramites had built synagogues, and that they did gather themselves together on one day of the week, which day they did call the day of the Lord; and they did worship after a manner which Alma and his brethren had never beheld;
13 For they had a place built up in the center of their synagogue, a place for standing, which was high above the head; and the top thereof would only admit one person. ...
21 Now the place was called by them Rameumptom, which, being interpreted, is the holy stand.

Alma 16
1 Now it came to pass that after Amulek had made an end of these words, they withdrew themselves from the multitude and came over into the land of Jershon.
2 Yea, and the rest of the brethren, after they had preached the word unto the Zoramites, also came over into the land of Jershon.
3 And it came to pass that after the more popular part of the Zoramites had consulted together concerning the words which had been preached unto them, they were angry because of the word, for it did destroy their craft; therefore they would not hearken unto the words.
4 And they sent and gathered together throughout all the land all the people, and consulted with them concerning the words which had been spoken.
5 Now their rulers and their priests and their teachers did not let the people know concerning their desires; therefore they found out privily the minds of all the people.
6 And it came to pass that after they had found out the minds of all the people, those who were in favor of the words which had been spoken by Alma and his brethren were cast out of the land; and they were many; and they came over also into the land of Jershon.
7 And it came to pass that Alma and his brethren did minister unto them.
8 Now the people of the Zoramites were angry with the people of Ammon who were in Jershon, and the chief ruler of the Zoramites, being a very wicked man, sent over unto the people of Ammon desiring them that they should cast out of their land all those who came over from them into their land.
9 And he breathed out many threatenings against them. And now the people of Ammon did not fear their words; therefore they did not cast them out, but they did receive all the poor of the Zoramites that came over unto them; and they did nourish them, and did clothe them, and did give unto them lands for their inheritance; and they did administer unto them according to their wants.
10 Now this did stir up the Zoramites to anger against the people of Ammon, and they began to mix with the Lamanites and to stir them up also to anger against them.
11 And thus the Zoramites and the Lamanites began to make preparations for war against the people of Ammon, and also against the Nephites.

(To be continued...)

The journeys of Alma II narrative detail provide the information needed to identify Melek, Sidom, Ammonihah, Jershon, and Antionum. I wish there were more corroborating detail to fix these locations like there is in the Zarahemla and Nephi areas. Fortunately, we do have some more detail from the military campaigns of Moroni I, and that helps boost my confidence level to 60%

 4.4.4 The People of Ammon - Migrations

Alma 27
22 And it came to pass that the voice of the people came, saying: Behold, we will give up the land of Jershon, which is on the east by the sea (S), which joins the land Bountiful (B), which is on the south of the land Bountiful; and this land Jershon is the land which we will give unto our brethren for an inheritance.
23 And behold, we will set our armies between the land Jershon and the land Nephi, that we may protect our brethren in the land Jershon; and this we do for our brethren, on account of their fear to take up arms against their brethren lest they should commit sin; and this their great fear came because of their sore repentance which they had, on account of their many murders and their awful wickedness.
24 And now behold, this will we do unto our brethren, that they may inherit the land Jershon; and we will guard them from their enemies with our armies, on condition that they will give us a portion of their substance to assist us that we may maintain our armies.
26 And it came to pass that it did cause great joy among them. And they went down (J) into the land of Jershon, and took possession of the land of Jershon; and they were called by the Nephites the people of Ammon; therefore they were distinguished by that name ever after.

Alma 35
6 And it came to pass that after they had found out the minds of all the people, those who were in favor of the words which had been spoken by Alma and his brethren were cast out of the land; and they were many; and they came over (Z) also into the land of Jershon.
7 And it came to pass that Alma and his brethren did minister unto them.
8 Now the people of the Zoramites were angry with the people of Ammon who were in Jershon, and the chief ruler of the Zoramites, being a very wicked man, sent over unto the people of Ammon desiring them that they should cast out of their land all those who came over from them into their land.
9 And he breathed out many threatenings against them. And now the people of Ammon did not fear their words; therefore they did not cast them out, but they did receive all the poor of the Zoramites that came over unto them; and they did nourish them, and did clothe them, and did give unto them lands for their inheritance; and they did administer unto them according to their wants.
10 Now this did stir up the Zoramites to anger against the people of Ammon, and they began to mix with the Lamanites and to stir them up also to anger against them.
11 And thus the Zoramites and the Lamanites began to make preparations for war against the people of Ammon, and also against the Nephites.
13 And the people of Ammon departed out of the land of Jershon, and came over into the land of Melek (P), and gave place in the land of Jershon for the armies of the Nephites, that they might contend with the armies of the Lamanites and the armies of the Zoramites; and thus commenced a war betwixt the Lamanites and the Nephites, in the eighteenth year of the reign of the judges; and an account shall be given of their wars hereafter.

Alma 47
29 Now when the servants of the king saw an army pursuing after them, they were frightened again, and fled into the wilderness, and came over into the land of Zarahemla (A)and joined the people of Ammon.

Alma 53
10 And now behold, I have somewhat to say concerning the people of Ammon, who, in the beginning, were Lamanites; but by Ammon and his brethren, or rather by the power and word of God, they had been converted unto the Lord; and they had been brought down into the land of Zarahemla, and had ever since been protected by the Nephites.
11 And because of their oath they had been kept from taking up arms against their brethren; for they had taken an oath that they never would shed blood more; and according to their oath they would have perished; yea, they would have suffered themselves to have fallen into the hands of their brethren, had it not been for the pity and the exceeding love which Ammon and his brethren had had for them.
12 And for this cause they were brought down into the land of Zarahemla (A); and they ever had been protected by the Nephites.

Alma 62
14 And it came to pass that Moroni and Pahoran, leaving a large body of men in the land of Zarahemla, took their march with a large body of men towards the land of Nephihah, being determined to overthrow the Lamanites in that city.
15 And it came to pass that as they were marching towards the land, they took a large body of men of the Lamanites, and slew many of them, and took their provisions and their weapons of war.
16 And it came to pass after they had taken them, they caused them to enter into a covenant that they would no more take up their weapons of war against the Nephites.
17 And when they had entered into this covenant they sent them (M) to dwell with the people of Ammon, and they were in number about four thousand who had not been slain.

Helaman 3:10
10 And it came to pass as timber was exceedingly scarce in the land northward, they did send forth much by the way of shipping.
11 And thus they did enable the people in the land northward that they might build many cities, both of wood and of cement.
12 And it came to pass that there were many of the people of Ammon, who were Lamanites by birth, did also go forth into this land (N).

Migrations of the people of Ammon
 4.4.5 Zoramite War - Battle of Jershon

Alma 28
1 And now it came to pass that after the people of Ammon were established in the land of Jershon, and a church also established in the land of Jershon, and the armies of the Nephites were set round about the land of Jershon, yea, in all the borders round about the land of Zarahemla; behold the armies of the Lamanites had followed their brethren into the wilderness(L).
2 And thus there was a tremendous battle (A); yea, even such an one as never had been known among all the people in the land from the time Lehi left Jerusalem; yea, and tens of thousands of the Lamanites were slain and scattered abroad.

Although, not many details are given about battle, it is obvious that it was a major deal. Later Nephite strategy and troop movements appear designed to keep thus from happening again.

3 Yea, and also there was a tremendous slaughter among the people of Nephi; nevertheless, the Lamanites were driven and scattered, and the people of Nephi returned again to their land.
4 And now this was a time that there was a great mourning and lamentation heard throughout all the land, among all the people of Nephi--
5 Yea, the cry of widows mourning for their husbands, and also of fathers mourning for their sons, and the daughter for the brother, yea, the brother for the father; and thus the cry of mourning was heard among all of them, mourning for their kindred who had been slain.
6 And now surely this was a sorrowful day; yea, a time of solemnity, and a time of much fasting and prayer.
7 And thus endeth the fifteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi;
8 And this is the account of Ammon and his brethren, their journeyings in the land of Nephi, their sufferings in the land, their sorrows, and their afflictions, and their incomprehensible joy, and the reception and safety of the brethren in the land of Jershon. And now may the Lord, the Redeemer of all men, bless their souls forever.
9 And this is the account of the wars and contentions among the Nephites, and also the wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites; and the fifteenth year of the reign of the judges is ended.
10 And from the first year to the fifteenth has brought to pass the destruction of many thousand lives; yea, it has brought to pass an awful scene of bloodshed.
11 And the bodies of many thousands are laid low in the earth, while the bodies of many thousands are moldering in heaps upon the face of the earth; yea, and many thousands are mourning for the loss of their kindred, because they have reason to fear, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are consigned to a state of endless wo.
12 While many thousands of others truly mourn for the loss of their kindred, yet they rejoice and exult in the hope, and even know, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are raised to dwell at the right hand of God, in a state of never-ending happiness.

Battle of Jershon

We hear about the terrible effects of this battle rather than than the troop movements. All we know is that the attack was launched against the Land of Jershon from Antionum. As we'll see later, this battle a great effect on future military strategy. Details of the conflict are lacking but the gist of it is plain.

 4.4.6 War of Amalickiah - Victory in the Wilderness

Alma 46
11 And now it came to pass that when Moroni, who was the chief commander of the armies of the Nephites, had heard of these dissensions, he was angry with Amalickiah.
12 And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it--In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children--and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.
13 And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land--

Many examples of Nephite armor have been found in mounds and tombs. It has a unique style. This example shows the breastplate with rope cinch holes that secure it to the body. The headplate goes from the forehead to the back of the head and is held together with leather. The decorated side pieces protect the side of the head and cheekbones. The tomb photo shows a headplate at the top and breastplate to the bottom left. See also, Section 6.3

Alma 46
16 And therefore, at this time, Moroni prayed that the cause of the Christians, and the freedom of the land might be favored.
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.

The land north is Canada and the land south is the USA. The border is the same as today's border between Ontario and Michigan. This map shows the land north and the land south with Zarahemla in the exact center of the land south with the outer circle at the exact border of upper Michigan and Ontario. The blue line shows the boundary between the Nephites and Lamanites at 67 BC, during the period of the Reign of the Judges (see also, section 4.4.7).

18 And he said: Surely God shall not suffer that we, who are despised because we take upon us the name of Christ, shall be trodden down and destroyed, until we bring it upon us by our own transgressions.
19 And when Moroni had said these words, he went forth among the people, waving the rent part of his garment in the air, that all might see the writing which he had written upon the rent part, and crying with a loud voice, saying:
20 Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and enter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord God may bless them.
21 And it came to pass that when Moroni had proclaimed these words, behold, the people came running together with their armor girded about their loins, rending their garments in token, or as a covenant, that they would not forsake the Lord their God; or, in other words, if they should transgress the commandments of God, or fall into transgression, and be ashamed to take upon them the name of Christ, the Lord should rend them even as they had rent their garments.
22 Now this was the covenant which they made, and they cast their garments at the feet of Moroni, saying: We covenant with our God, that we shall be destroyed, even as our brethren in the land northward, if we shall fall into transgression; yea, he may cast us at the feet of our enemies, even as we have cast our garments at thy feet to be trodden under foot, if we shall fall into transgression.
28 And now it came to pass that when Moroni had said these words he went forth, and also sent forth in all the parts of the land where there were dissensions, and gathered together all the people who were desirous to maintain their liberty, to stand against Amalickiah and those who had dissented, who were called Amalickiahites.
29 And it came to pass that when Amalickiah saw that the people of Moroni were more numerous than the Amalickiahites--and he also saw that his people were doubtful concerning the justice of the cause in which they had undertaken--therefore, fearing that he should not gain the point, he took those of his people who would and departed into the land of Nephi.
30 Now Moroni thought it was not expedient that the Lamanites should have any more strength; therefore he thought to cut off (C) the people of Amalickiah, or to take them and bring them back, and put Amalickiah to death; yea, for he knew that he would stir up the Lamanites to anger against them, and cause them to come to battle against them; and this he knew that Amalickiah would do that he might obtain his purposes.
31 Therefore Moroni thought it was expedient that he should take his armies, who had gathered themselves together, and armed themselves, and entered into a covenant to keep the peace--and it came to pass that he took his army and marched out with his tents into the wilderness, to cut off the course of Amalickiah (C) in the wilderness.
32 And it came to pass that he did according to his desires, and marched forth into the wilderness, and headed (C) the armies of Amalickiah.

Moroni's intercept of the armies of Amalickiah

33 And it came to pass that Amalickiah fled (F) with a small number of his men, and the remainder were delivered up into the hands of Moroni and were taken back into the land of Zarahemla.
34 Now, Moroni being a man who was appointed by the chief judges and the voice of the people, therefore he had power according to his will with the armies of the Nephites, to establish and to exercise authority over them.
35 And it came to pass that whomsoever of the Amalickiahites that would not enter into a covenant to support the cause of freedom, that they might maintain a free government, he caused to be put to death; and there were but few who denied the covenant of freedom.
36 And it came to pass also, that he caused the title of liberty to be hoisted upon every tower which was in all the land, which was possessed by the Nephites; and thus Moroni planted the standard of liberty among the Nephites.

Title of Liberty upon the walls of Zarahemla. Shown is photoshopped reconstruction of the walls of Zarahemla upon a photo of earthen berms still in existance. See also section 4.4.1.

Alma 46
1 Now we will return in our record to Amalickiah and those who had fled with him into the wilderness (F); for, behold, he had taken those who went with him, and went up in the land of Nephi among the Lamanites, and did stir up the Lamanites to anger against the people of Nephi, insomuch that the king of the Lamanites sent a proclamation throughout all his land, among all his people, that they should gather themselves together again to go to battle against the Nephites.

 4.4.7 War of Amalickiah - Battle of Noah

Alma 49
1 And now it came to pass in the eleventh month of the nineteenth year, on the tenth day of the month, the armies of the Lamanites were seen approaching (L) towards the land of Ammonihah.


See the light blue line at the top for the path of the Lamanite army. First to Ammonihah and then on to Noah. The other cities and lands are included for context. The tenth day of the eleventh month of the nineteenth year is 10 Adar, 3688 on the Hebrew calendar, 10 Adar 19 on the Nephite calendar and 17 February 82 BC on the Gregorian calendar.

2 And behold, the city had been rebuilt, and Moroni had stationed an army by the borders of the city, and they had cast up dirt round about to shield them from the arrows and the stones of the Lamanites; for behold, they fought with stones and with arrows.
3 Behold, I said that the city of Ammonihah had been rebuilt. I say unto you, yea, that it was in part rebuilt; and because the Lamanites had destroyed it once because of the iniquity of the people, they supposed that it would again become an easy prey for them.
4 But behold, how great was their disappointment; for behold, the Nephites had dug up a ridge of earth round about them, which was so high that the Lamanites could not cast their stones and their arrows at them that they might take effect, neither could they come upon them save it was by their place of entrance.
5 Now at this time the chief captains of the Lamanites were astonished exceedingly, because of the wisdom of the Nephites in preparing their places of security.
6 Now the leaders of the Lamanites had supposed, because of the greatness of their numbers, yea, they supposed that they should be privileged to come upon them as they had hitherto done; yea, and they had also prepared themselves with shields, and with breastplates; and they had also prepared themselves with garments of skins, yea, very thick garments to cover their nakedness.
7 And being thus prepared they supposed that they should easily overpower and subject their brethren to the yoke of bondage, or slay and massacre them according to their pleasure.

This is an example a of ditch and bank fortification. A wall was built originally on the top of the bank. Most of these earthen berm fortifications, first found by early settlers, have been destroyed by erosion, farming and development. This one is well preserved from ancient times and is found in Ohio and dates after the period when Moroni first introduced this type of fortification in Iowa in 72 BC. See also Section 6.1.

8 But behold, to their uttermost astonishment, they were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known among the children of Lehi. Now they were prepared for the Lamanites, to battle after the manner of the instructions of Moroni.
9 And it came to pass that the Lamanites, or the Amalickiahites, were exceedingly astonished at their manner of preparation for war.
...
12 Therefore they retreated into the wilderness, and took their camp and marched towards the land of Noah, supposing that to be the next best place for them to come against the Nephites.
13 For they knew not that Moroni had fortified, or had built forts of security, for every city in all the land round about; therefore, they marched forward to the land of Noah with a firm determination; yea, their chief captains came forward and took an oath that they would destroy the people of that city.
14 But behold, to their astonishment, the city of Noah, which had hitherto been a weak place, had now, by the means of Moroni, become strong, yea, even to exceed the strength of the city Ammonihah.
...
18 Now behold, the Lamanites could not get into their forts of security by any other way save by the entrance, because of the highness of the bank which had been thrown up, and the depth of the ditch which had been dug round about, save it were by the entrance.
19 And thus were the Nephites prepared to destroy all such as should attempt to climb up to enter the fort by any other way, by casting over stones and arrows at them.
20 Thus they were prepared, yea, a body of their strongest men, with their swords and their slings, to smite down all who should attempt to come into their place of security by the place of entrance; and thus were they prepared to defend themselves against the Lamanites.


Here are the survey drawings of two ancient sites that show fortified "places of entrance". Gated areas are always weak spots but as the enemy soldiers enter, there are additional fortified walls for defense and narrow areas that are easy to defend - often creating a gauntlet that invaders must pass through. Notice that the second fort was designed in the shape of a menorah and also a lamp - ancient Hebrew motifs. See Section 6.1.

21 And it came to pass that the captains of the Lamanites brought up their armies before the place of entrance, and began to contend with the Nephites, to get into their place of security; but behold, they were driven back from time to time, insomuch that they were slain with an immense slaughter.
22 Now when they found that they could not obtain power over the Nephites by the pass, they began to dig down their banks of earth that they might obtain a pass to their armies, that they might have an equal chance to fight; but behold, in these attempts they were swept off by the stones and arrows which were thrown at them; and instead of filling up their ditches by pulling down the banks of earth, they were filled up in a measure with their dead and wounded bodies.

 4.4.8 War of Amalickiah - East Wilderness Campaign

Alma 50
7 And it came to pass that Moroni caused that his armies should go forth into the east wilderness (A); yea, and they went forth and drove all the Lamanites who were in the east wilderness (A) into their own lands, which were south of the land of Zarahemla (Nephi and Environs).
8 And the land of Nephi did run in a straight course from the east sea to the west.

The east wilderness border (or Illinois river bottomlands), is the river highway, rendezvous points, and jumping off spots for Lamanite invasions. Normally, natural boundaries, especially rivers, separate the lands, but in this case we get a new official straight line boundary south of the Illinois river. Apparently Moroni wanted the Lamanites to stay away from the river.

9 And it came to pass that when Moroni had driven all the Lamanites out of the east wilderness, (A) which was north of the lands of their own possessions, he caused that the inhabitants who were in the land of Zarahemla and in the land round about should go forth into the east wilderness (A), even to the borders by the seashore (B), and possess the land.
10 And he also placed armies on the south, in the borders of their possessions (C), and caused them to erect fortifications that they might secure their armies and their people from the hands of their enemies.
11 And thus he cut off all the strongholds of the Lamanites in the east wilderness, yea, and also on the west (D), fortifying the line between the Nephites and the Lamanites, between the land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi (C), from the west sea, running by the head of the river Sidon (E)--the Nephites possessing all the land northward (G), yea, even all the land which was northward of the land Bountiful (F), according to their pleasure.
12 Thus Moroni, with his armies, which did increase daily because of the assurance of protection which his works did bring forth unto them, did seek to cut off the strength and the power of the Lamanites from off the lands of their possessions, that they should have no power upon the lands of their possession.
13 And it came to pass that the Nephites began the foundation of a city, and they called the name of the city Moroni (H); and it was by the east sea; and it was on the south (H) by the line of the possessions of the Lamanites.

Of course, they need to shore up their right flank, to protect the northern lands and maintain good access to East Sea. The city Moroni is would be in the area of modern day Chicago.

14 And they also began a foundation for a city between the city of Moroni and the city of Aaron (J), joining the borders of Aaron and Moroni; and they called the name of the city, or the land, Nephihah (K).
15 And they also began in that same year to build many cities on the north, one in a particular manner which they called Lehi (L), which was in the north by the borders of the seashore.

Looking at the map and considering The Battle of Jershon (see Section 4.4.5), it is easy to see why Moroni initiated a new border south of east wilderness (Illinois river).
Mormon started with just an East Wilderness explanation but expanded on it to give us a complete picture of Moroni's strategies. Nice. See also, Section 4.2 (Mormon's dissertation on geography). Mormon is the commander of the Nephite armies so geography, strategy, innovation and troop placement are important subjects to him. Also, he admired Moroni enough to name his son after him.
 4.4.9 Rebellion of king-men and Pachus

Alma 62
1 And now it came to pass that when Moroni had received this epistle his heart did take courage, and was filled with exceedingly great joy because of the faithfulness of Pahoran, that he was not also a traitor to the freedom and cause of his country.
2 But he did also mourn exceedingly because of the iniquity of those who had driven Pahoran from the judgment-seat, yea, in fine because of those who had rebelled against their country and also their God.
3 And it came to pass that Moroni took a small number of men, according to the desire of Pahoran, and gave Lehi and Teancum command over the remainder of his army, and took his march towards the land of Gideon.
4 And he did raise the standard of liberty in whatsoever place he did enter, and gained whatsoever force he could in all his march towards the land of Gideon.
5 And it came to pass that thousands did flock unto his standard, and did take up their swords in the defence of their freedom, that they might not come into bondage.

Moroni starts his march to Zarahemla from Nephihah. He could take a northern route, marked in blue, or a southern route, marked in red. My theory is that to create an army on the way requires moving men and provisions in quantity and so that requires the best water route. The northern route is shorter but requires significant overland travel from Nephihah to the Rock River (A to B). The Rock River joins up to the Mississippi at (E), and from there goes on down to Zarahemla. On the other hand, the southern route, in red, is longer but provides water passage to Moroni (A to F) and from there along the river all the way to Zarahemla except for a short hop from Florence to Atlas (D to C). I favor the southern route because: A) it follows the east wilderness (Illinois river bottomlands) almost all the way (F to D), with less overland travel, providing more water, game, and better opportunity for scouting ahead and behind; B) there are defensive outposts on this route already established that can provide soldiers (see Section 4.4.7); and 3) we know in verse 6 that Moroni and his army arrives in Gideon before Zarahemla and so that also indicates the southern route.

There are two possibly best routes to travel overland to the Mississippi river route from the Illinois river route, Florence to Rockport (C to D) or Pleasant Hill to Pearl (C to D). This map shows the size and flatness of the bottomland areas most suited to travel - a great highway. Anciently, the bottomlands were more forested, especially along the river.

6 And thus, when Moroni had gathered together whatsoever men he could in all his march, he came to the land of Gideon; and uniting his forces with those of Pahoran they became exceedingly strong, even stronger than the men of Pachus, who was the king of those dissenters who had driven the freemen out of the land of Zarahemla and had taken possession of the land.
7 And it came to pass that Moroni and Pahoran went down with their armies into the land of Zarahemla, and went forth against the city, and did meet the men of Pachus, insomuch that they did come to battle.
8 And behold, Pachus was slain and his men were taken prisoners, and Pahoran was restored to his judgment-seat.
9 And the men of Pachus received their trial, according to the law, and also those king-men who had been taken and cast into prison; and they were executed according to the law; yea, those men of Pachus and those king-men, whosoever would not take up arms in the defence of their country, but would fight against it, were put to death.
10 And thus it became expedient that this law should be strictly observed for the safety of their country; yea, and whosoever was found denying their freedom was speedily executed according to the law.
11 And thus ended the thirtieth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi; Moroni and Pahoran having restored peace to the land of Zarahemla, among their own people, having inflicted death upon all those who were not true to the cause of freedom.

 4.4.10 War of Coriantumr

Helaman 1
18 And it came to pass that because of so much contention and so much difficulty in the government, that they had not kept sufficient guards in the land of Zarahemla; for they had supposed that the Lamanites durst not come into the heart of their lands to attack that great city Zarahemla.
19 But it came to pass that Coriantumr did march forth at the head of his numerous host, and came upon the inhabitants of the city, and their march (M) was with such exceedingly great speed that there was no time for the Nephites to gather together their armies.
20 Therefore Coriantumr did cut down the watch by the entrance of the city, and did march forth with his whole army into the city, and they did slay every one who did oppose them, insomuch that they did take possession of the whole city.
21 And it came to pass that Pacumeni, who was the chief judge, did flee before Coriantumr, even to the walls of the city. And it came to pass that Coriantumr did smite him against the wall, insomuch that he died. And thus ended the days of Pacumeni.
22 And now when Coriantumr saw that he was in possession of the city of Zarahemla, and saw that the Nephites had fled before them, and were slain, and were taken, and were cast into prison, and that he had obtained the possession of the strongest hold in all the land, his heart took courage insomuch that he was about to go forth against all the land.
23 And now he did not tarry in the land of Zarahemla, but he did march forth with a large army, 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.
24 And, supposing that their greatest strength was in the center of the land, therefore he did march forth, giving them no time to assemble themselves together save it were in small bodies; and in this manner they did fall upon them and cut them down to the earth.
25 But behold, this march of Coriantumr through the center of the land gave Moronihah great advantage over them, notwithstanding the greatness of the number of the Nephites who were slain.
26 For behold, Moronihah had supposed that the Lamanites durst not come into the center of the land, but that they would attack the cities round about in the borders as they had hitherto done; therefore Moronihah had caused that their strong armies should maintain those parts round about by the borders.
27 But behold, the Lamanites were not frightened according to his desire, but they had come into the center of the land, and had taken the capital city which was the city of Zarahemla, and were marching through the most capital parts of the land (M), slaying the people with a great slaughter, both men, women, and children, taking possession of many cities and of many strongholds.
28 But when Moronihah had discovered this, he immediately sent forth Lehi with an army round about to head them (H) before they should come to the land Bountiful.
29 And thus he did; and he did head them before they came to the land Bountiful, and gave unto them battle (H), insomuch that they began to retreat back (R) towards the land of Zarahemla.
30 And it came to pass that Moronihah did head them in their retreat, and did give unto them battle, insomuch that it became an exceedingly bloody battle; yea, many were slain, and among the number who were slain Coriantumr was also found.
31 And now, behold, the Lamanites could not retreat either way, neither on the north, nor on the south, nor on the east, nor on the west, for they were surrounded on every hand by the Nephites. 32 And thus had Coriantumr plunged the Lamanites into the midst of the Nephites, insomuch that they were in the power of the Nephites, and he himself was slain, and the Lamanites did yield themselves into the hands of the Nephites.
33 And it came to pass that Moronihah took possession of the city of Zarahemla again, and caused that the Lamanites who had been taken prisoners should depart out of the land (L) in peace.

The blue line shows the march of Coriantumr to Zarahemla and through the heart of Nephite Lands. This map shows Coriantumr following the upper Mississippi and then veering off along the Rock River until he gets to present day Rockford Illinois, where he is met in battle with Moronihah, and killed. The march along the entire blue line would have taken four to five weeks. The red line border represents the border between Nephite lands and Lamanites lands as described in Alma 50.
 4.4.11 Missionary Travels of Nephi II and Lehi II

Helaman 5
1 And it came to pass that in this same year, behold, Nephi delivered up the judgment-seat to a man whose name was Cezoram.
2 For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.
3 Yea, and this was not all; they were a stiffnecked people, insomuch that they could not be governed by the law nor justice, save it were to their destruction.
4 And it came to pass that Nephi had become weary because of their iniquity; and he yielded up the judgment-seat, and took it upon him to preach the word of God all the remainder of his days, and his brother Lehi also, all the remainder of his days;
5 For they remembered the words which their father Helaman spake unto them. And these are the words which he spake:
...
10 And remember also the words which Amulek spake unto Zeezrom, in the city of Ammonihah; for he said unto him that the Lord surely should come to redeem his people, but that he should not come to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins.
11 And he hath power given unto him from the Father to redeem them from their sins because of repentance; therefore he hath sent his angels to declare the tidings of the conditions of repentance, which bringeth unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls.
12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
13 And it came to pass that these were the words which Helaman taught to his sons; yea, he did teach them many things which are not written, and also many things which are written.
14 And they did remember his words; and therefore they went forth, keeping the commandments of God, to teach the word of God among all the people of Nephi, beginning at the city Bountiful;
15 And from thenceforth to the city of Gid; and from the city of Gid to the city of Mulek;
16 And even from one city to another, until they had gone forth among all the people of Nephi who were in the land southward (S); and from thence into the land of Zarahemla, among the Lamanites.
17 And it came to pass that they did preach with great power, insomuch that they did confound many of those dissenters who had gone over from the Nephites, insomuch that they came forth and did confess their sins and were baptized unto repentance, and immediately returned to the Nephites to endeavor to repair unto them the wrongs which they had done.
18 And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did preach unto the Lamanites with such great power and authority, for they had power and authority given unto them that they might speak, and they also had what they should speak given unto them.
19 Therefore they did speak unto the great astonishment of the Lamanites, to the convincing them, insomuch that there were eight thousand of the Lamanites who were in the land of Zarahemla and round about (Z) baptized unto repentance, and were convinced of the wickedness of the traditions of their fathers.
20 And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did proceed from thence to go to the land of Nephi.
21 And it came to pass that they were taken by an army of the Lamanites and cast into prison; yea, even in that same prison in which Ammon and his brethren were cast by the servants of Limhi (Nephi).
22 And after they had been cast into prison many days without food, behold, they went forth into the prison to take them that they might slay them.
23 And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi were encircled about as if by fire, even insomuch that they durst not lay their hands upon them for fear lest they should be burned. Nevertheless, Nephi and Lehi were not burned; and they were as standing in the midst of fire and were not burned.
...
49 And there were about three hundred souls who saw and heard these things; and they were bidden to go forth and marvel not, neither should they doubt.
50 And it came to pass that they did go forth, and did minister unto the people, declaring throughout all the regions round about all the things which they had heard and seen, insomuch that the more part of the Lamanites were convinced of them, because of the greatness of the evidences which they had received.
51 And as many as were convinced did lay down their weapons of war, and also their hatred and the tradition of their fathers.
52 And it came to pass that they did yield up unto the Nephites the lands of their possession (Zarahemla and environs).

An approximation of the missionary journey of Nephi and Lehi as mentioned in the text. There is no mention of visitation to the lands south of the west sea (SW) or areas known be inhabited by Lamanites in other places in the Book of Mormon (Antionum and areas marked LL)
 4.4.12 Nephite/Lamanite Era of Peace and Free Trade

Helaman 6
1 And it came to pass that when the sixty and second year of the reign of the judges had ended, all these things had happened and the Lamanites had become, the more part of them, a righteous people, insomuch that their righteousness did exceed that of the Nephites, because of their firmness and their steadiness in the faith.
2 For behold, there were many of the Nephites who had become hardened and impenitent and grossly wicked, insomuch that they did reject the word of God and all the preaching and prophesying which did come among them.
3 Nevertheless, the people of the church did have great joy because of the conversion of the Lamanites, yea, because of the church of God, which had been established among them. And they did fellowship one with another, and did rejoice one with another, and did have great joy.
4 And it came to pass that many of the Lamanites did come down into the land of Zarahemla (Z), and did declare unto the people of the Nephites the manner of their conversion, and did exhort them to faith and repentance.
5 Yea, and many did preach with exceedingly great power and authority, unto the bringing down many of them into the depths of humility, to be the humble followers of God and the Lamb.
6 And it came to pass that many of the Lamanites did go into the land northward (N); and also Nephi and Lehi went into the land northward, to preach unto the people. And thus ended the sixty and third year.
7 And behold, there was peace in all the land, insomuch that the Nephites did go into whatsoever part of the land they would, whether among the Nephites or the Lamanites.
8 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did also go whithersoever they would, whether it were among the Lamanites or among the Nephites; and thus they did have free intercourse one with another, to buy and to sell, and to get gain, according to their desire.
9 And it came to pass that they became exceedingly rich, both the Lamanites and the Nephites; and they did have an exceeding plenty of gold, and of silver, and of all manner of precious metals, both in the land south and in the land north.
10 Now the land south was called Lehi and the land north was called Mulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah; for the Lord did bring Mulek into the land north, and Lehi into the land south.
11 And behold, there was all manner of gold in both these lands, and of silver, and of precious ore (M) of every kind; and there were also curious workmen, who did work all kinds of ore and did refine it; and thus they did become rich.
12 They did raise grain in abundance, both in the north and in the south; and they did flourish exceedingly, both in the north and in the south. And they did multiply and wax exceedingly strong in the land. And they did raise many flocks and herds, yea, many fatlings.

This map shows the description of the lands when the Nephites and Lamanites ceased their wars and enjoyed free trade and travel.

 4.4.13 Nephi II in Zarahemla

Helaman 7
1 Behold, now it came to pass in the sixty and ninth year of the reign of the judges over the people of the Nephites, that Nephi, the son of Helaman, returned to the land of Zarahemla from the land northward (N).
2 For he had been forth among the people who were in the land northward and did preach the word of God unto them, and did prophesy many things unto them;
3 And they did reject all his words, insomuch that he could not stay among them, but returned again unto the land of his nativity.
4 And seeing the people in a state of such awful wickedness, and those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment-seats --having usurped the power and authority of the land; laying aside the commandments of God, and not in the least aright before him; doing no justice unto the children of men;
10 And behold, now it came to pass that it was upon a tower (G - small rectangle), which was in the garden of Nephi (G), which was by the highway (H) which led to the chief market (M), which was in the city of Zarahemla; therefore, Nephi had bowed himself upon the tower which was in his garden, which tower was also near unto the garden gate (G - large rectangle) by which led the highway.

highway (n.)
"Main road from one town to another;" see high (adj.) in sense of "main" + way (n.). Highway used after about 1700 (Early Modern English). In Old English the word High Street was used.

11 And it came to pass that there were certain men passing by and saw Nephi as he was pouring out his soul unto God upon the tower (G - small rectangle); and they ran and told the people what they had seen, and the people came together in multitudes that they might know the cause of so great mourning for the wickedness of the people.
12 And now, when Nephi arose he beheld the multitudes of people who had gathered together.
13 And it came to pass that he opened his mouth and said unto them: Behold, why have ye gathered yourselves together? That I may tell you of your iniquities?
14 Yea, because I have got upon my tower (G - small rectangle) that I might pour out my soul unto my God, because of the exceeding sorrow of my heart, which is because of your iniquities!
15 And because of my mourning and lamentation ye have gathered yourselves together, and do marvel; yea, and ye have great need to marvel; yea, ye ought to marvel because ye are given away that the devil has got so great hold upon your hearts.
16 Yea, how could you have given way to the enticing of him who is seeking to hurl away your souls down to everlasting misery and endless wo?
17 O repent ye, repent ye! Why will ye die? Turn ye, turn ye unto the Lord your God. Why has he forsaken you? 18 It is because you have hardened your hearts; yea, ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd; yea, ye have provoked him to anger against you.
19 And behold, instead of gathering you, except ye will repent, behold, he shall scatter you forth that ye shall become meat for dogs and wild beasts.
20 O, how could you have forgotten your God in the very day that he has delivered you?
21 But behold, it is to get gain, to be praised of men, yea, and that ye might get gold and silver. And ye have set your hearts upon the riches and the vain things of this world, for the which ye do murder, and plunder, and steal, and bear false witness against your neighbor, and do all manner of iniquity.
22 And for this cause wo shall come unto you except ye shall repent. For if ye will not repent, behold, this great city, and also all those great cities which are round about, which are in the land of our possession, shall be taken away that ye shall have no place in them; for behold, the Lord will not grant unto you strength, as he has hitherto done, to withstand against your enemies.
23 For behold, thus saith the Lord: I will not show unto the wicked of my strength, to one more than the other, save it be unto those who repent of their sins, and hearken unto my words. Now therefore, I would that ye should behold, my brethren, that it shall be better for the Lamanites than for you except ye shall repent.
24 For behold, they are more righteous than you, for they have not sinned against that great knowledge which ye have received; therefore the Lord will be merciful unto them; yea, he will lengthen out their days and increase their seed, even when thou shalt be utterly destroyed except thou shalt repent.
25 Yea, wo be unto you because of that great abomination which has come among you; and ye have united yourselves unto it, yea, to that secret band which was established by Gadianton!
26 Yea, wo shall come unto you because of that pride which ye have suffered to enter your hearts, which has lifted you up beyond that which is good because of your exceedingly great riches!
27 Yea, wo be unto you because of your wickedness and abominations!
28 And except ye repent ye shall perish; yea, even your lands shall be taken from you, and ye shall be destroyed from off the face of the earth.
29 Behold now, I do not say that these things shall be, of myself, because it is not of myself that I know these things; but behold, I know that these things are true because the Lord God has made them known unto me, therefore I testify that they shall be.

This map shows areas of Zarahemla mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Included are the Temple, the market place (M), the Garden Gate (G - small rectangle), the Highway (H), the city walls (W) and the Judgement Seat (J). The Temple site has been found by Wayne May, see Section 4.4.2. Man-made earthen fortifications for the walls have also been found. To have the Highway following the river seems the most plausible, as is also the location of the Garden Gate, Garden, Tower, Chief Market, and Judgement Seat. These are not exact locations but are chosen for what are possible locations based on the narrative.

The Sidon River is shown as it may have appeared in Book of Mormon times -- and before the water was backed up behind the dam downstream at Keokuk (completed in 1913) which flooded the areas colored in brown. Before the dam, the river was 2500 feet wide (9500 feet today) as it approached the bend (going south) and then widened to 4500 feet (7000 feet today). Originally the Des Moines rapids (starting at R) averaged only 2.6 feet in depth and could be crossed on foot and the river was even shallower at (A) where the army of Alma I crossed by foot to attack the Amlicite/Lamanite coalition army. See Section 4.4.2. The goal of the Keokuk dam was to raise the river to a minimum of 9 feet to allow river traffic. It widened and deepened the river dramatically.

This shows the Zarahemla temple lot as described by Wayne May. See Section 4.4.2. I have overlayed the outline of the Solomon Temple, with the correct dimensions, and it is a perfect fit. Note that the slight coloration difference between the inner and out temple courts is natural. (X) marks the latitude of the center of the Nauvoo temple lot on the east side of the river.

Here is the description of the Nephi Temple of about 560 BC and it is likely that all Nephite Temples prior to Christ followed the same pattern but with perhaps a little more grandeur in Zarahemla at the time of Nephi II in 22 BC.

2 Nephi 5
16 And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon's temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.

The Nauvoo Temple on the east side of the river faces the Zarahemla temple on the west side almost perfectly. X marks the longitude coordinate of 40°33'00.86 which is the center of the Nauvoo Temple Lot, across the river, 2.65 miles to the east.

Helaman 8
26 Yea, even at this time ye are ripening, because of your murders and your fornication and wickedness, for everlasting destruction; yea, and except ye repent it will come unto you soon.
27 Yea, behold it is now even at your doors; yea, go ye in unto the judgment-seat (J), and search; and behold, your judge is murdered, and he lieth in his blood; and he hath been murdered by his brother, who seeketh to sit in the judgment-seat.
28 And behold, they both belong to your secret band, whose author is Gadianton and the evil one who seeketh to destroy the souls of men.

Helaman 9
1 Behold, now it came to pass that when Nephi had spoken these words, certain men who were among them ran to the judgment-seat (J); yea, even there were five who went, and they said among themselves, as they went:
2 Behold, now we will know of a surety whether this man be a prophet and God hath commanded him to prophesy such marvelous things unto us. Behold, we do not believe that he hath; yea, we do not believe that he is a prophet; nevertheless, if this thing which he has said concerning the chief judge be true, that he be dead, then will we believe that the other words which he has spoken are true.
3 And it came to pass that they ran in their might, and came in unto the judgment-seat; and behold, the chief judge had fallen to the earth, and did lie in his blood.
4 And now behold, when they saw this they were astonished exceedingly, insomuch that they fell to the earth; for they had not believed the words which Nephi had spoken concerning the chief judge.
...
16 And now it came to pass that the judges did expound the matter unto the people, and did cry out against Nephi, saying: Behold, we know that this Nephi must have agreed with some one to slay the judge, and then he might declare it unto us, that he might convert us unto his faith, that he might raise himself to be a great man, chosen of God, and a prophet.
17 And now behold, we will detect this man, and he shall confess his fault and make known unto us the true murderer of this judge.
18 And it came to pass that the five were liberated on the day of the burial. Nevertheless, they did rebuke the judges in the words which they had spoken against Nephi, and did contend with them one by one, insomuch that they did confound them.
19 Nevertheless, they caused that Nephi should be taken and bound and brought before the multitude, and they began to question him in divers ways that they might cross him, that they might accuse him to death--
20 Saying unto him: Thou art confederate; who is this man that hath done this murder? Now tell us, and acknowledge thy fault; saying, Behold here is money; and also we will grant unto thee thy life if thou wilt tell us, and acknowledge the agreement which thou hast made with him.
21 But Nephi said unto them: O ye fools, ye uncircumcised of heart, ye blind, and ye stiffnecked people, do ye know how long the Lord your God will suffer you that ye shall go on in this your way of sin?
22 O ye ought to begin to howl and mourn, because of the great destruction which at this time doth await you, except ye shall repent.
23 Behold ye say that I have agreed with a man that he should murder Seezoram, our chief judge. But behold, I say unto you, that this is because I have testified unto you that ye might know concerning this thing; yea, even for a witness unto you, that I did know of the wickedness and abominations which are among you.
24 And because I have done this, ye say that I have agreed with a man that he should do this thing; yea, because I showed unto you this sign ye are angry with me, and seek to destroy my life.
25 And now behold, I will show unto you another sign, and see if ye will in this thing seek to destroy me.
26 Behold I say unto you: Go to the house of Seantum, who is the brother of Seezoram, and say unto him--
27 Has Nephi, the pretended prophet, who doth prophesy so much evil concerning this people, agreed with thee, in the which ye have murdered Seezoram, who is your brother?
28 And behold, he shall say unto you, Nay.
29 And ye shall say unto him: Have ye murdered your brother?
30 And he shall stand with fear, and wist not what to say. And behold, he shall deny unto you; and he shall make as if he were astonished; nevertheless, he shall declare unto you that he is innocent.
31 But behold, ye shall examine him, and ye shall find blood upon the skirts of his cloak.
32 And when ye have seen this, ye shall say: From whence cometh this blood? Do we not know that it is the blood of your brother?
33 And then shall he tremble, and shall look pale, even as if death had come upon him.
34 And then shall ye say: Because of this fear and this paleness which has come upon your face, behold, we know that thou art guilty.
35 And then shall greater fear come upon him; and then shall he confess unto you, and deny no more that he has done this murder.
36 And then shall he say unto you, that I, Nephi, know nothing concerning the matter save it were given unto me by the power of God. And then shall ye know that I am an honest man, and that I am sent unto you from God.
37 And it came to pass that they went and did, even according as Nephi had said unto them. And behold, the words which he had said were true; for according to the words he did deny; and also according to the words he did confess.
38 And he was brought to prove that he himself was the very murderer, insomuch that the five were set at liberty, and also was Nephi.

Helaman 12
18 And behold, the people did rejoice and glorify God, and the whole face of the land was filled with rejoicing; and they did no more seek to destroy Nephi, but they did esteem him as a great prophet, and a man of God, having great power and authority given unto him from God.
19 And behold, Lehi, his brother, was not a whit behind him as to things pertaining to righteousness.
20 And thus it did come to pass that the people of Nephi began to prosper again in the land, and began to build up their waste places, and began to multiply and spread, even until they did cover the whole face of the land, both on the northward and on the southward, from the sea west to the sea east.

 4.4.14 Gadianton Robber Rebellion

Helaman 11
24 And it came to pass that in the eightieth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, there were a certain number of the dissenters from the people of Nephi, who had some years before gone over unto the Lamanites, and taken upon themselves the name of Lamanites, and also a certain number who were real descendants of the Lamanites, being stirred up to anger by them, or by those dissenters, therefore they commenced a war with their brethren.
25 And they did commit murder and plunder; and then they would retreat back into the mountains, (M) and into the wilderness and secret places (W), hiding themselves that they could not be discovered, receiving daily an addition to their numbers, inasmuch as there were dissenters that went forth unto them.
26 And thus in time, yea, even in the space of not many years, they became an exceedingly great band of robbers; and they did search out all the secret plans of Gadianton; and thus they became robbers of Gadianton.
27 Now behold, these robbers did make great havoc, yea, even great destruction among the people of Nephi, and also among the people of the Lamanites (blue arrows).
28 And it came to pass that it was expedient that there should be a stop put to this work of destruction; therefore they sent an army of strong men into the wilderness (W) and upon the mountains (M) to search out this band of robbers, and to destroy them.
29 But behold, it came to pass that in that same year they were driven back even into their own lands (lands of Zarahemla, Nephi, etc). And thus ended the eightieth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.
30 And it came to pass in the commencement of the eighty and first year they did go forth again against this band of robbers, and did destroy many; and they were also visited with much destruction.
31 And they were again obliged to return out of the wilderness and out of the mountains (M & W) unto their own lands, because of the exceeding greatness of the numbers of those robbers who infested the mountains and the wilderness.
32 And it came to pass that thus ended this year. And the robbers did still increase and wax strong, insomuch that they did defy the whole armies of the Nephites, and also of the Lamanites; and they did cause great fear to come unto the people upon all the face of the land.
33 Yea, for they did visit many parts of the land (blue arrows), and did do great destruction unto them; yea, did kill many, and did carry away others captive into the wilderness (W), yea, and more especially their women and their children.

3 Nephi 1
27 And it came to pass that the ninety and third year did also pass away in peace, save it were for the Gadianton robbers, who dwelt upon the mountains, who did infest the land; for so strong were their holds and their secret places that the people could not overpower them; therefore they did commit many murders, and did do much slaughter among the people.
28 And it came to pass that in the ninety and fourth year they began to increase in a great degree, because there were many dissenters of the Nephites who did flee unto them, which did cause much sorrow unto those Nephites who did remain in the land.
29 And there was also a cause of much sorrow among the Lamanites; for behold, they had many children who did grow up and began to wax strong in years, that they became for themselves, and were led away by some who were Zoramites (in A, land/city of Antionum), by their lyings and their flattering words, to join those Gadianton robbers.

The areas inhabited by Gadianton robbers are outlined in blue. These are the wilderness (river bottom land areas) and hilly areas within reach of both Nephites and Lamanites. The blue arrows indicate the robber sorties into Nephite and Lamanite lands. The red arrows indicate migration paths along the rivers to the central location of Zarahemla where the people gathered for safety. Note that those in the land of Bountiful in the far northeast are not mentioned as gathering to Zarahemla, only the lands up to but not including Bountiful. The land of Manti to the far northwest is also not mentioned as far as this gathering is concerned. Obviously not all the Lamanites gathered to Zarahemla either, just the many righteous ones in proximity to the Gaddianton robber attacks.

3 Nephi 2
11 And it came to pass in the thirteenth year there began to be wars and contentions throughout all the land; for the Gadianton robbers had become so numerous, and did slay so many of the people, and did lay waste so many cities, and did spread so much death and carnage throughout the land, that it became expedient that all the people, both the Nephites and the Lamanites, should take up arms against them.
12 Therefore, all the Lamanites who had become converted unto the Lord did unite with their brethren, the Nephites, and were compelled, for the safety of their lives and their women and their children, to take up arms against those Gadianton robbers, yea, and also to maintain their rights, and the privileges of their church and of their worship, and their freedom and their liberty.
13 And it came to pass that before this thirteenth year had passed away the Nephites were threatened with utter destruction because of this war, which had become exceedingly sore.
14 And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites;
15 And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;
16 And their young men and their daughters became exceedingly fair, and they were numbered among the Nephites, and were called Nephites. And thus ended the thirteenth year.
17 And it came to pass in the commencement of the fourteenth year, the war between the robbers and the people of Nephi did continue and did become exceedingly sore; nevertheless, the people of Nephi did gain some advantage of the robbers, insomuch that they did drive them back out of their lands into the mountains and into their secret places.
18 And thus ended the fourteenth year. And in the fifteenth year they did come forth against the people of Nephi; and because of the wickedness of the people of Nephi, and their many contentions and dissensions, the Gadianton robbers did gain many advantages over them.

3 Nephi 3
12 Now behold, this Lachoneus, the governor, was a just man, and could not be frightened by the demands and the threatenings of a robber; therefore he did not hearken to the epistle of Giddianhi, the governor of the robbers, but he did cause that his people should cry unto the Lord for strength against the time that the robbers should come down against them.
13 Yea, he sent a proclamation among all the people, that they should gather together their women, and their children, their flocks and their herds, and all their substance, save it were their land, unto one place (red arrows).
14 And he caused that fortifications should be built round about them, and the strength thereof should be exceedingly great. And he caused that armies, both of the Nephites and of the Lamanites, or of all them who were numbered among the Nephites, should be placed as guards round about to watch them, and to guard them from the robbers day and night.
15 Yea, he said unto them: As the Lord liveth, except ye repent of all your iniquities, and cry unto the Lord, ye will in no wise be delivered out of the hands of those Gadianton robbers.
16 And so great and marvelous were the words and prophecies of Lachoneus that they did cause fear to come upon all the people; and they did exert themselves in their might to do according to the words of Lachoneus.
17 And it came to pass that Lachoneus did appoint chief captains over all the armies of the Nephites, to command them at the time that the robbers should come down out of the wilderness against them.
18 Now the chiefest among all the chief captains and the great commander of all the armies of the Nephites was appointed, and his name was Gidgiddoni.
19 Now it was the custom among all the Nephites to appoint for their chief captains, (save it were in their times of wickedness) some one that had the spirit of revelation and also prophecy; therefore, this Gidgiddoni was a great prophet among them, as also was the chief judge.
20 Now the people said unto Gidgiddoni: Pray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the mountains and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers and destroy them in their own lands.
21 But Gidgiddoni saith unto them: The Lord forbid; for if we should go up against them the Lord would deliver us into their hands; therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us; therefore as the Lord liveth, if we do this he will deliver them into our hands.

This portion of the text is contradictory, as it appears to indicate the Nephites gathered together into the lands between Zarahemla and Bountiful whereas every other indication is that the entire population was concentrated into one central fortified location. The conflict is resolved with the simple punctuation and versification changes shown to the right. It is important to understand the use of the word and as a Hebrew construct in the Book of Mormon.

 

22 And it came to pass in the seventeenth year, in the latter end of the year, the proclamation of Lachoneus had gone forth throughout all the face of the land, and they had taken their horses, and their chariots, and their cattle, and all their flocks, and their herds, and their grain, and all their substance, and did march forth by thousands and by tens of thousands, until they had all gone forth to the place which had been appointed that they should gather themselves together, to defend themselves against their enemies.

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.
24 And there were a great many thousand people who were called Nephites, who did gather themselves together in this land. Now Lachoneus did cause that they should gather themselves together in the land southward, because of the great curse which was upon the land northward.

Here is the "corrected" punctuation. According to Royal Skousen*: "One interesting example of this Hebrew-like usage is the frequent occurrence in the earliest text of an extra and between the initial subordinate clause and its following main clause." The extra and is ungrammatical in Modern English and so is usually removed in new editions or, as in the case to the left, the extra and is obfuscated by the use of punctuation that is actually incorrect but has the sole virtue of hiding ungrammatical and connectives.

* The Book of Mormon - Earliest Text, Editor's Preface, p xxxvi

22 And it came to pass in the seventeenth year, in the latter end of the year, the proclamation of Lachoneus had gone forth throughout all the face of the land, and they had taken their horses, and their chariots, and their cattle, and all their flocks, and their herds, and their grain, and all their substance, and did march forth by thousands and by tens of thousands, until they had all gone forth to the place which had been appointed that they should gather themselves together, to defend themselves against their enemies. And the land which was appointed was the land of Zarahemla.
23 And the land which was between the land Zarahemla and the land Bountiful (see red arrows pointing south and west), yea, to the line which was between the land Bountiful (the northmost extent of the land Bountifile is the yellow line) and the land Desolation (D), and there were a great many thousand people who were called Nephites, who did gather themselves together in this land (red arrows pointing south and west).
24 Now Lachoneus did cause that they should gather themselves together in the land southward, because of the great curse which was upon the land northward.

25 And they did fortify themselves against their enemies; and they did dwell in one land, and in one body, and they did fear the words which had been spoken by Lachoneus, insomuch that they did repent of all their sins; and they did put up their prayers unto the Lord their God, that he would deliver them in the time that their enemies should come down against them to battle.
26 And they were exceedingly sorrowful because of their enemies. And Gidgiddoni did cause that they should make weapons of war of every kind, and they should be strong with armor, and with shields, and with bucklers, after the manner of his instruction.

3 Nephi 4
1 And it came to pass that in the latter end of the eighteenth year those armies of robbers had prepared for battle, and began to come down and to sally forth from the hills, and out of the mountains, and the wilderness, and their strongholds, and their secret places, and began to take possession of the lands, both which were in the land south and which were in the land north, and began to take possession of all the lands which had been deserted by the Nephites, and the cities which had been left desolate.
2 But behold, there were no wild beasts nor game in those lands which had been deserted by the Nephites, and there was no game for the robbers save it were in the wilderness.
3 And the robbers could not exist save it were in the wilderness, for the want of food; for the Nephites had left their lands desolate, and had gathered their flocks and their herds and all their substance, and they were in one body (Zarahemla).
4 Therefore, there was no chance for the robbers to plunder and to obtain food, save it were to come up in open battle against the Nephites; and the Nephites being in one body, and having so great a number, and having reserved for themselves provisions, and horses and cattle, and flocks of every kind, that they might subsist for the space of seven years, in the which time they did hope to destroy the robbers from off the face of the land; and thus the eighteenth year did pass away.
5 And it came to pass that in the nineteenth year Giddianhi found that it was expedient that he should go up to battle against the Nephites (A), for there was no way that they could subsist save it were to plunder and rob and murder.
6 And they durst not spread themselves upon the face of the land insomuch that they could raise grain, lest the Nephites should come upon them and slay them; therefore Giddianhi gave commandment unto his armies that in this year they should go up to battle against the Nephites.
7 And it came to pass that they did come up to battle; and it was in the sixth month; and behold, great and terrible was the day that they did come up to battle; and they were girded about after the manner of robbers; and they had a lamb-skin about their loins, and they were dyed in blood, and their heads were shorn, and they had head-plates upon them; and great and terrible was the appearance of the armies of Giddianhi, because of their armor, and because of their being dyed in blood.
8 And it came to pass that the armies of the Nephites, when they saw the appearance of the army of Giddianhi, had all fallen to the earth, and did lift their cries to the Lord their God, that he would spare them and deliver them out of the hands of their enemies.
9 And it came to pass that when the armies of Giddianhi saw this they began to shout with a loud voice, because of their joy, for they had supposed that the Nephites had fallen with fear because of the terror of their armies.
10 But in this thing they were disappointed, for the Nephites did not fear them; but they did fear their God and did supplicate him for protection; therefore, when the armies of Giddianhi did rush upon them they were prepared to meet them; yea, in the strength of the Lord they did receive them (B1).
11 And the battle commenced in this the sixth month; and great and terrible was the battle thereof, yea, great and terrible was the slaughter thereof, insomuch that there never was known so great a slaughter among all the people of Lehi since he left Jerusalem.
12 And notwithstanding the threatenings and the oaths which Giddianhi had made, behold, the Nephites did beat them, insomuch that they did fall back from before them.
13 And it came to pass that Gidgiddoni commanded that his armies should pursue them as far as the borders of the wilderness (BW), and that they should not spare any that should fall into their hands by the way; and thus they did pursue them and did slay them, to the borders of the wilderness, even until they had fulfilled the commandment of Gidgiddoni.
14 And it came to pass that Giddianhi, who had stood and fought with boldness, was pursued as he fled; and being weary because of his much fighting he was overtaken and slain. And thus was the end of Giddianhi the robber.
15 And it came to pass that the armies of the Nephites did return again to their place of security (Zarahemla). And it came to pass that this nineteenth year did pass away, and the robbers did not come again to battle; neither did they come again in the twentieth year.
16 And in the twenty and first year they did not come up to battle, but they came up on all sides to lay siege round about the people of Nephi; for they did suppose that if they should cut off the people of Nephi from their lands, and should hem them in on every side, and if they should cut them off from all their outward privileges, that they could cause them to yield themselves up according to their wishes.
17 Now they had appointed unto themselves another leader, whose name was Zemnarihah; therefore it was Zemnarihah that did cause that this siege should take place.
18 But behold, this was an advantage to the Nephites; for it was impossible for the robbers to lay siege sufficiently long to have any effect upon the Nephites, because of their much provision which they had laid up in store,
19 And because of the scantiness of provisions among the robbers; for behold, they had nothing save it were meat for their subsistence, which meat they did obtain in the wilderness;
20 And it came to pass that the wild game became scarce in the wilderness insomuch that the robbers were about to perish with hunger.
21 And the Nephites were continually marching out by day and by night, and falling upon their armies, and cutting them off by thousands and by tens of thousands.
22 And thus it became the desire of the people of Zemnarihah to withdraw from their design, because of the great destruction which came upon them by night and by day.
23 And it came to pass that Zemnarihah did give command unto his people that they should withdraw themselves from the siege (BW), and march into the furthermost parts of the land northward (N).
24 And now, Gidgiddoni being aware of their design, and knowing of their weakness because of the want of food, and the great slaughter which had been made among them, therefore he did send out his armies in the night-time, and did cut off the way of their retreat (C), and did place his armies in the way of their retreat.
25 And this did they do in the night-time, and got on their march beyond the robbers, so that on the morrow, when the robbers began their march, they were met by the armies of the Nephites both in their front and in their rear (R).
26 And the robbers who were on the south were also cut off in their places of retreat (R). And all these things were done by command of Gidgiddoni.
27 And there were many thousands who did yield themselves up prisoners unto the Nephites (B2), and the remainder of them were slain.
28 And their leader, Zemnarihah, was taken and hanged upon a tree, yea, even upon the top thereof until he was dead. And when they had hanged him until he was dead they did fell the tree to the earth, and did cry with a loud voice, saying:
29 May the Lord preserve his people in righteousness and in holiness of heart, that they may cause to be felled to the earth all who shall seek to slay them because of power and secret combinations, even as this man hath been felled to the earth.
30 And they did rejoice and cry again with one voice, saying: May the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, protect this people in righteousness, so long as they shall call on the name of their God for protection.
31 And it came to pass that they did break forth, all as one, in singing, and praising their God for the great thing which he had done for them, in preserving them from falling into the hands of their enemies.
32 Yea, they did cry: Hosanna to the Most High God. And they did cry: Blessed be the name of the Lord God Almighty, the Most High God.
33 And their hearts were swollen with joy, unto the gushing out of many tears, because of the great goodness of God in delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; and they knew it was because of their repentance and their humility that they had been delivered from an everlasting destruction.

Example of a buckler and showing medieval usage. A buckler is a small, round shield held by a handle or worn on the forearm. This is the only mention of bucklers in the Book of Mormon. A buckler is used in hand-to-hand combat, whereas the larger shield is more for defense from arrows, spears, darts, and slings. Advantages of a buckler include:

  • Hand protection: The primary use of the buckler was to protect the sword hand.
  • Deflector: The buckler's lightness and curved center made it excellent for deflecting attacking blades.
  • Blinder: The wielder of the buckler could use the buckler to shield his sword-hand's position from view, keeping his opponent from guessing his next strike.
  • "Metal fist": A buckler could be used to directly attack an opponent by punching with either its flat face or its rim.
  • Binder: The buckler could be used to bind an opponent's sword hand and weapon as well as their buckler against their body. The buckler was also very useful in grappling, where it allowed an opponent's arms to be easily wrapped up and controlled.

Zarahemla is the perfect place to provide fortified protection for a large number of people. The orange line represents fortified areas that are both natural and artificial. See also, section 4.4.1 and Walls of Zarahemla. In 16 AD, prior to the Keokuk dam, the total land area available within Zarahemla was greater. The river areas in brown were dry land in Book of Mormon days. Note that Zarahemla was not in a flood zone. The Des Moines rapids (D) drained water out quickly. Zarahemla is positioned basically at the top of a waterfall.

As outlined in orange, the total area within the fortified lines is about 35 square miles. By way of comparison, ancient Rome of 5 BC, within it's fortified walls, was 5.3 square miles and said to contain up to million people. By this standard, the city of Zarahemla could have held a max of 6.5 million. As in indication of scale, if Nephite soldiers stood in ranks with one square yard for each soldier, then 3,097,600 soldiers could fit into a square mile as outlined on the map as a green square, next to (B1).

I have placed the initial attack at B1 because:

  1. The Gadianton robbers inhabited regions primarily to the south of Zarahemla, so this was the quickest and easiest access;
  2. The hilly, wooded areas to the north and west of Zarahemla (elsewhere called Hermounts, H) would be easy for the Nephites to fortify and difficult for large armies to see and maneuver in;
  3. Trying to attack on the river side east would present multiple difficulties and probably two fortified lines instead of one.
  4. The B1 region is the closest direct approach to the city and has flat land, best for maneuverability and visibility.

The first attack (A) route is shown in yellow. After that failed (B1), a siege was attempted, which also failed, after which the robber army tried to obtain the north countries (N) but were cutoff C surrounded and defeated (B2). We know that after the robbers started heading north (N), the Nephites were able to intercept them and set up, after marching through the night. So the distance of 15 miles for (N) is about right for a robber army that has to move it's entire encampment.


The fighting men of the Nephites did not stay behind their fortifications but made offensive harrassment sorties that cut of "tens of thousands" (3 Nephi 4:21) of the enemy. This, along with the 35 square miles of Zarahemla, suggest that the following numbers would not be unreasonable:

Fighting Men: 300,000
Non-Fighting Men: 300,000
All Women: 600,000
All Adults: 1,200,000
All Children: 1,800,000
Total Zarahemla: 3,000,000

 4.4.15 Great Destructions at the Coming of Christ

3 Nephi 8
3 And the people began to look with great earnestness for the sign which had been given by the prophet Samuel, the Lamanite, yea, for the time that there should be darkness for the space of three days over the face of the land.
4 And there began to be great doubtings and disputations among the people, notwithstanding so many signs had been given.
5 And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year, in the first month, on the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the land.
6 And there was also a great and terrible tempest; and there was terrible thunder, insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder.
7 And there were exceedingly sharp lightnings, such as never had been known in all the land.
8 And the city of Zarahemla did take fire.
9 And the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned.
10 And the earth was carried up upon the city of Moronihah, that in the place of the city there became a great mountain.
11 And there was a great and terrible destruction in the land southward.
12 But behold, there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds, and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth;
13 And the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough.
14 And many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned, and many were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth, and the inhabitants thereof were slain, and the places were left desolate.
15 And there were some cities which remained; but the damage thereof was exceedingly great, and there were many in them who were slain.
16 And there were some who were carried away in the whirlwind; and whither they went no man knoweth, save they know that they were carried away.
17 And thus the face of the whole earth became deformed, because of the tempests, and the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the quaking of the earth.
18 And behold, the rocks were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land.
19 And it came to pass that when the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the storm, and the tempest, and the quakings of the earth did cease--for behold, they did last for about the space of three hours; and it was said by some that the time was greater; nevertheless, all these great and terrible things were done in about the space of three hours--and then behold, there was darkness upon the face of the land.
20 And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could feel the vapor of darkness;
21 And there could be no light, because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceedingly dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all;
22 And there was not any light seen, neither fire, nor glimmer, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness which were upon the face of the land.
23 And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen; and there was great mourning and howling and weeping among all the people continually; yea, great were the groanings of the people, because of the darkness and the great destruction which had come upon them.
24 And in one place they were heard to cry, saying: O that we had repented before this great and terrible day, and then would our brethren have been spared, and they would not have been burned in that great city Zarahemla.
25 And in another place they were heard to cry and mourn, saying: O that we had repented before this great and terrible day, and had not killed and stoned the prophets, and cast them out; then would our mothers and our fair daughters, and our children have been spared, and not have been buried up in that great city Moronihah. And thus were the howlings of the people great and terrible.

Regarding the cities destroyed, 4 "great cities" and 12 "cities" are mentioned. In Early Modern English (EME), "great" means "big". Only the "great cities" (plus Jerusalem) are mapped above because there is some detail in the Book of Mormon about them. Each city name has an icon (earth, fire, water) next to it indicating how it was destroyed. Of the 12, presumably lesser, "cities" destroyed, we only have mention of Jerusalem elsewhere. It's kind of a surprise to find out there were so many cities listed as destroyed that have no prior mention in the Book of Mormon at all. However, the narrative frequently reminds us that the information we have in the abridged record is very limited. For example:

"But behold, a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, yea, the account of the Lamanites and of the Nephites, and their wars, and contentions, and dissensions, and their preaching, and their prophecies, and their shipping and their building of ships, and their building of temples, and of synagogues and their sanctuaries, and their righteousness, and their wickedness, and their murders, and their robbings, and their plundering, and all manner of abominations and whoredoms, cannot be contained in this work." (Helaman 3:14)

According to the account, only the cities specifically mentioned were destroyed, and all the others were just damaged. We know of 43 (59 total minus the 16 destroyed) other cities that are mentioned in the Book of Mormon but not listed as destroyed. For the destroyed cities, if the unknown/known ratio (11/5 = 2.2) holds up in general, then that would indicate there are about 94 (43 x 2.2) cities that existed but that are never mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

3 Nephi 9
1 And it came to pass that there was a voice heard among all the inhabitants of the earth, upon all the face of this land, crying:
2 Wo, wo, wo unto this people; wo unto the inhabitants of the whole earth except they shall repent; for the devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice, because of the slain of the fair sons and daughters of my people; and it is because of their iniquity and abominations that they are fallen!
3 Behold, that great city Zarahemla have I burned with fire, and the inhabitants thereof.
4 And behold, that great city Moroni have I caused to be sunk in the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof to be drowned.
5 And behold, that great city Moronihah have I covered with earth, and the inhabitants thereof, to hide their iniquities and their abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints shall not come any more unto me against them.
6 And behold, the city of Gilgal have I caused to be sunk, and the inhabitants thereof to be buried up in the depths of the earth;
7 Yea, and the city of Onihah and the inhabitants thereof, and the city of Mocum and the inhabitants thereof, and the city of Jerusalem and the inhabitants thereof; and waters have I caused to come up in the stead thereof, to hide their wickedness and abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints shall not come up any more unto me against them.
8 And behold, the city of Gadiandi, and the city of Gadiomnah, and the city of Jacob, and the city of Gimgimno, all these have I caused to be sunk, and made hills and valleys in the places thereof; and the inhabitants thereof have I buried up in the depths of the earth, to hide their wickedness and abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up any more unto me against them.
9 And behold, that great city Jacobugath, which was inhabited by the people of king Jacob, have I caused to be burned with fire because of their sins and their wickedness, which was above all the wickedness of the whole earth, because of their secret murders and combinations; for it was they that did destroy the peace of my people and the government of the land; therefore I did cause them to be burned, to destroy them from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up unto me any more against them.
10 And behold, the city of Laman, and the city of Josh, and the city of Gad, and the city of Kishkumen, have I caused to be burned with fire, and the inhabitants thereof, because of their wickedness in casting out the prophets, and stoning those whom I did send to declare unto them concerning their wickedness and their abominations.
11 And because they did cast them all out, that there were none righteous among them, I did send down fire and destroy them, that their wickedness and abominations might be hid from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints whom I sent among them might not cry unto me from the ground against them.
12 And many great destructions have I caused to come upon this land, and upon this people, because of their wickedness and their abominations.

3 Nephi 11
1 And now it came to pass that there were a great multitude gathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land Bountiful; and they were marveling and wondering one with another, and were showing one to another the great and marvelous change which had taken place.
2 And they were also conversing about this Jesus Christ, of whom the sign had been given concerning his death.
3 And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.
4 And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not.
5 And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.
6 And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:
7 Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name--hear ye him.
8 And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.
9 And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:
10 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
11 And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
12 And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven.
13 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying:
14 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.
15 And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.
16 And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:
17 Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.

3 Nephi 16
1 And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister.

 4.5 The Lands Near Manti
 4.5.1 Ammonihah Raid and Battle for the Nephite Captives

Alma 16
1 And it came to pass in the eleventh year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, on the fifth day of the second month, there having been much peace in the land of Zarahemla, there having been no wars nor contentions for a certain number of years, even until the fifth day of the second month in the eleventh year, there was a cry of war heard throughout the land.
2 For behold, the armies of the Lamanites had come in upon the wilderness side, into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah, and began to slay the people and destroy the city.

See Chapter 4.3.3 map 2 for the City of Ammonihah.

3 And now it came to pass, before the Nephites could raise a sufficient army to drive them out of the land, they had destroyed the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, and also some around the borders of Noah, and taken others captive into the wilderness.
4 Now it came to pass that the Nephites were desirous to obtain those who had been carried away captive into the wilderness.
5 Therefore, he that had been appointed chief captain over the armies of the Nephites, (and his name was Zoram, and he had two sons, Lehi and Aha)--now Zoram and his two sons, knowing that Alma was high priest over the church, and having heard that he had the spirit of prophecy, therefore they went unto him and desired of him to know whither the Lord would that they should go into the wilderness in search of their brethren, who had been taken captive by the Lamanites.

The Lamanites destroyed every person in the City of Ammonihah and then later they have men captives. One has to wonder why take captives. In war, one would expect it was for slave labor or for ransom. There is no mention of ransom because Zoram in not in contact. They have disappeared.

6 And it came to pass that Alma inquired of the Lord concerning the matter. And Alma returned and said unto them: Behold, the Lamanites will cross the river Sidon in the south wilderness, away up beyond the borders of the land of Manti. And behold there shall ye meet them, on the east of the river Sidon, and there the Lord will deliver unto thee thy brethren who have been taken captive by the Lamanites.

What are they doing up beyond Manti with captives? If the Lamanites were returning home they would go south instead of north.

7 And it came to pass that Zoram and his sons crossed over the river Sidon, with their armies, and marched away beyond the borders of Manti into the south wilderness, which was on the east side of the river Sidon.

In Early Modern English (the language of the Book of Mormon), the word "Away" means "on the way". See Chapter 3.4.2. So they are on their way beyond the borders of Manti at the time the answer is received from the Lord. The only thing of significance that I know of in that region is the head of the Sidon river at Upper St. Croix Lake, which is the trade route to the copper mines of the Keewenaw Peninsula on Lake Michigan. See Chapter 3.4.1. A plausible answer is that the Lamanites wanted copper and brass and they have taken Nephite captives for the purpose of mining and transporting it.

The "south wilderness" appears to be south of their destination, the area along the St. Croix river that is south of Upper St. Croix lake and north of the Manti. Following the "Principles of Navigation", see Chapter 3.3, the land of Manti is between the two rivers, so I have picked what appears to be the most suitable spot for crossing the river, which is just beyond St. Croix (or Taylors) Falls in Wisconsin. As shown in Chapter 3.4.1 the channel for the St. Croix river was created when water emptied out of glacial Lake Duluth and into the Mississippi (the Brule Glacial Spillway). The BGS created a huge channel at that time. The water flow is much, much less now but a lot of the old riverbed gets filled in modern times because of dams and levees. However, in Nephite times the river was much smaller, easily crossable as there were no dams or levees. Because of the ancient BGS there was a lot of adjacent flatland area for the Nephites, which made for easy travel next to the river -- at least until one gets to the St. Croix Falls, where the river bed narrows and drops 50 feet in 6 miles. This is best portaged around on the west side and crossed over to the east again to continue traveling. This is where I propose the battle site to be.

8 And they came upon the armies of the Lamanites, and the Lamanites were scattered and driven into the wilderness; and they took their brethren who had been taken captive by the Lamanites, and there was not one soul of them had been lost that were taken captive. And they were brought by their brethren to possess their own lands.

Sign explaining what happened to the St. Croix Falls.
The battle icon above Manti shows the location of the battle. See the map below for additional detail.
Battle of the Upper Sidon - going beyond Manti, and crossing the Sidon (St. Croix) river from the west and the battle takes place on the east side.
 4.5.2 Zoramite War - Battle of Manti

Alma 31
3 Now the Zoramites had gathered themselves together in a land which they called Antionum, which was east of the land of Zarahemla, which lay nearly bordering upon the seashore, which was south of the land of Jershon, which also bordered upon the wilderness south (S, figure 1), which wilderness was full of the Lamanites.
The south wilderness consists of the bottomland area of the Illinois river and is also in close proximity to the Zoramites. Having large numbers of Lamanites so close to the Nephites is a great danger. It is like having Russian nuclear weapons in Cuba. Tactically unacceptable. Now, if the Zoramites join up with the Lamanites, it just worsens the already bad situation.
4 Now the Nephites greatly feared that the Zoramites would enter into a correspondence with the Lamanites, and that it would be the means of great loss on the part of the Nephites.
8 Now the people of the Zoramites were angry with the people of Ammon who were in Jershon, and the chief ruler of the Zoramites, being a very wicked man, sent over unto the people of Ammon desiring them that they should cast out of their land all those who came over from them into their land.
9 And he breathed out many threatenings against them. And now the people of Ammon did not fear their words; therefore they did not cast them out, but they did receive all the poor of the Zoramites that came over unto them; and they did nourish them, and did clothe them, and did give unto them lands for their inheritance; and they did administer unto them according to their wants.
10 Now this did stir up the Zoramites to anger against the people of Ammon, and they began to mix with the Lamanites (Z) and to stir them up also to anger against them.
11 And thus the Zoramites and the Lamanites began to make preparations for war against the people of Ammon, and also against the Nephites. ...
13 And the people of Ammon departed out of the land of Jershon, and came over (A) into the land of Melek, and gave place in the land of Jershon for the armies of the Nephites, that they might contend (B) with the armies of the Lamanites ...

Alma 43
4 For behold, it came to pass that the Zoramites became Lamanites; therefore, in the commencement of the eighteenth year the people of the Nephites saw that the Lamanites were coming upon them; therefore they made preparations for war; yea, they gathered together their armies in the land of Jershon.
5 And it came to pass that the Lamanites came with their thousands; and they came into the land of Antionum, which is the land of the Zoramites; and a man by the name of Zerahemnah was their leader.
6 And now, as the Amalekites were of a more wicked and murderous disposition than the Lamanites were, in and of themselves, therefore, Zerahemnah appointed chief captains over the Lamanites, and they were all Amalekites and Zoramites. ...
13 And the people of Ammon did give unto the Nephites a large portion of their substance to support their armies; and thus the Nephites were compelled, alone, to withstand against the Lamanites, who were a compound of Laman and Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael, and all those who had dissented from the Nephites, who were Amalekites and Zoramites, and the descendants of the priests of Noah.
14 Now those descendants were as numerous, nearly, as were the Nephites; and thus the Nephites were obliged to contend with their brethren, even unto bloodshed.
15 And it came to pass as the armies of the Lamanites had gathered together in the land of Antionum, behold, the armies of the Nephites were prepared to meet them in the land of Jershon.
16 Now, the leader of the Nephites, or the man who had been appointed to be the chief captain over the Nephites--now the chief captain took the command of all the armies of the Nephites--and his name was Moroni;

Coming up is Moroni's first campaign. We are not sure who led the Nephite armies prior to this and during the Battle of Jershon. Previously, in the Battle of the Upper Sidon, the Chief Captain was Zoram and he had two sons, Lehi and Aha. This may have been the same Lehi who was the renowned commander under Moroni.

17 And Moroni took all the command, and the government of their wars. And he was only twenty and five years old when he was appointed chief captain over the armies of the Nephites.
18 And it came to pass that he met the Lamanites in the borders of Jershon (B), and his people were armed with swords, and with cimeters, and all manner of weapons of war.
19 And when the armies of the Lamanites saw that the people of Nephi, or that Moroni, had prepared his people with breastplates and with arm-shields, yea, and also shields to defend their heads, and also they were dressed with thick clothing--
20 Now the army of Zerahemnah was not prepared with any such thing; they had only their swords and their cimeters, their bows and their arrows, their stones and their slings; and they were naked, save it were a skin which was girded about their loins; yea, all were naked, save it were the Zoramites and the Amalekites;
21 But they were not armed with breastplates, nor shields--therefore, they were exceedingly afraid of the armies of the Nephites because of their armor, notwithstanding their number being so much greater than the Nephites.

Figure 1, Battle of Manti 2 - going round about in the wilderness to Manti. Point D could have further south, depending on how far the Lamanites/Zoramites felt they had to go to escape detection on their way to Manti.

22 Behold, now it came to pass that they durst not come against the Nephites in the borders of Jershon (B); therefore they departed out of the land of Antionum (C and D) into the wilderness, and took their journey round about (D and E) in the wilderness, away by the head of the river Sidon, that they might come into the land of Manti (G) and take possession of the land; for they did not suppose that the armies of Moroni would know whither they had gone.

From the text alone it is not clear what "round about" means but when looking at the map it makes more sense. They can't go north following the Sidon because that is the land of Jershon where Moroni's armored armies await. East and south lead away from Manti. West and northwest contain more Nephite armies in the center of Nephites lands. The only possible direction is southwest to skirt around Zarahemla, go through northern Missouri and the then over the plains of Iowa to get to Manti. It's a long trip, about 575 miles, taking about 5 weeks.

23 But it came to pass, as soon as they had departed into the wilderness Moroni sent spies into the wilderness to watch their camp; and Moroni, also, knowing of the prophecies of Alma, sent certain men unto him, desiring him that he should inquire of the Lord whither the armies of the Nephites should go to defend themselves against the Lamanites.
24 And it came to pass that the word of the Lord came unto Alma, and Alma informed the messengers of Moroni, that the armies of the Lamanites were marching round about in the wilderness, that they might come over into the land of Manti, that they might commence an attack upon the weaker part of the people. And those messengers went and delivered the message unto Moroni.

Moroni has already introduced upgraded technology in the form of armored troops. He's got a network of spies and now he has word from on high as to exactly what the enemy camp is up to. Exactly how the word of the Lord came to Alma is not stated but we know he is the keeper of the sacred records and that includes the Urim and Thummim.

25 Now Moroni, leaving a part of his army in the land of Jershon, lest by any means a part of the Lamanites should come into that land and take possession of the city, took the remaining part of his army and marched over into the land of Manti (M).
Moroni's travel route is easy. All he has to do is travel up the Sidon/Mississippi to Manti and it's a fairly straight shot. It is 325 miles or about 3 weeks. However, now the size of his army has been reduced but he'll have local recruits and a week or two head start to get them gathered and prepared. Plus, he should have the the element of surprise on his side.
26 And he caused that all the people in that quarter of the land should gather themselves together to battle against the Lamanites, to defend their lands and their country, their rights and their liberties; therefore they were prepared against the time of the coming of the Lamanites.
27 And it came to pass that Moroni caused that his army should be secreted in the valley which was near the bank of the river Sidon, which was on the west of the river Sidon (D, Figure 2) in the wilderness.

The St. Croix river is top and Mississippi River is bottom. Notice how much wider the St. Croix is as compared to the Mississippi at this juncture. Before modern dams, both rivers were smaller and crossable on foot. I am confident the Nephites would have considered the St. Croix river to be their Sidon for the following reasons: 1) it appears larger at the point the St. Croix meets the Mississippi (even though it has slightly less water flow it is wider and slower moving); 2) It follows the direction towards the west sea/Lake Superior; 3) It has a near "head" or source of origin; and 4) It is navigable, whereas the Mississippi (before it reaches Manti) is more turbulent and also has the St. Anthony falls blocking navigation, requiring a portage to get around it. Note in the picture how muddy and narrower the Mississppi is compared to the St. Croix.

The Book of Mormon describes the head of the river Sidon/Mississippi as extending towards the west sea (which is Lake Superior) and they seemed to be familiar just where the head of the river was. However, the "true" head of the Mississippi is now said to be Lake Itaska which is some 300+ miles to the northeast of Manti (where the two rivers meet), in an area never mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

28 And Moroni placed spies round about, that he might know when the camp of the Lamanites should come (A) ...
31 Therefore, he divided his army and brought a part over into the valley, and concealed them on the east, and on the south of the hill Riplah (B);
32 And the remainder he concealed in the west valley, on the west of the river Sidon (D), and so down into the borders of the land Manti (E).

Dividing an army prior to battle is a very risky business. The advantage is that you can come against the enemy from multiple directions causing confusion and panic. The great danger is that a smaller force can get crushed by the larger one unless the timing is just right - and war is hard to predict. However, Moroni has advance intel from God via Alma and he has time to prepare and train his soldiers. Plus, Moroni's men have their new armor which provides an extra margin for error. Moroni springs an elaborate trap and it works to perfection.

33 And thus having placed his army according to his desire, he was prepared to meet them.
34 And it came to pass that the Lamanites came up on the north of the hill (A), where a part of the army of Moroni was concealed (B).

Figure 2. Battle of Manti 2 - Moroni vs Zarahemnah.

35 And as the Lamanites had passed the hill Riplah, and came into the valley, and began to cross the river Sidon (C), the army which was concealed on the south of the hill, which was led by a man whose name was Lehi, and he led his army forth and encircled the Lamanites about on the east in their rear (C).
36 And it came to pass that the Lamanites, when they saw the Nephites coming upon them in their rear, turned them about and began to contend with the army of Lehi.
37 And the work of death commenced on both sides, but it was more dreadful on the part of the Lamanites, for their nakedness was exposed to the heavy blows of the Nephites with their swords and their cimeters, which brought death almost at every stroke.
38 While on the other hand, there was now and then a man fell among the Nephites, by their swords and the loss of blood, they being shielded from the more vital parts of the body, or the more vital parts of the body being shielded from the strokes of the Lamanites, by their breastplates, and their armshields, and their head-plates; and thus the Nephites did carry on the work of death among the Lamanites.
39 And it came to pass that the Lamanites became frightened, because of the great destruction among them, even until they began to flee towards the river Sidon.
40 And they were pursued by Lehi and his men; and they were driven by Lehi into the waters of Sidon, and they crossed the waters of Sidon. And Lehi retained his armies upon the bank of the river Sidon that they should not cross.
41 And it came to pass that Moroni and his army met the Lamanites in the valley (D), on the other side of the river Sidon, and began to fall upon them and to slay them.
42 And the Lamanites did flee again before them, towards the land of Manti; and they were met again by the armies of Moroni (E). ...
50 And they began to stand against the Lamanites with power; and in that selfsame hour that they cried unto the Lord for their freedom, the Lamanites began to flee before them; and they fled even to the waters of Sidon.
51 Now, the Lamanites were more numerous, yea, by more than double the number of the Nephites; nevertheless, they were driven insomuch that they were gathered together in one body in the valley, upon the bank by the river Sidon.
52 Therefore the armies of Moroni encircled them about, yea, even on both sides of the river, for behold, on the east were the men of Lehi.
53 Therefore when Zerahemnah saw the men of Lehi on the east of the river Sidon, and the armies of Moroni on the west of the river Sidon, that they were encircled about by the Nephites, they were struck with terror.

Alma 44
18 But behold, their naked skins and their bare heads were exposed to the sharp swords of the Nephites; yea, behold they were pierced and smitten, yea, and did fall exceedingly fast before the swords of the Nephites; and they began to be swept down, even as the soldier of Moroni had prophesied. ...
22 And it came to pass that they did cast their dead into the waters of Sidon, and they have gone forth and are buried in the depths of the sea.
23 And the armies of the Nephites, or of Moroni, returned and came to their houses and their lands (M).

The First Battle of Manti is the second most detailed narrative of a battle in the Book of Mormon.

 4.5.3 War of Amalickiah - Stripling Warriors

Alma 53
16 But behold, it came to pass they had many sons, who had not entered into a covenant that they would not take their weapons of war to defend themselves against their enemies; therefore they did assemble themselves together at this time, as many as were able to take up arms, and they called themselves Nephites.
17 And they entered into a covenant to fight for the liberty of the Nephites, yea, to protect the land unto the laying down of their lives; yea, even they covenanted that they never would give up their liberty, but they would fight in all cases to protect the Nephites and themselves from bondage.
18 Now behold, there were two thousand of those young men, who entered into this covenant and took their weapons of war to defend their country.
19 And now behold, as they never had hitherto been a disadvantage to the Nephites, they became now at this period of time also a great support; for they took their weapons of war, and they would that Helaman should be their leader.
20 And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all--they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.
21 Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him.
22 And now it came to pass that Helaman did march (M) at the head of his two thousand stripling soldiers, to the support of the people in the borders of the land on the south (S) by the west sea (W).

Alma 56
9 But behold, here is one thing in which we may have great joy. For behold, in the twenty and sixth year, I, Helaman, did march at the head of these two thousand young men to the city of Judea, to assist Antipus, whom ye had appointed a leader over the people of that part of the land.
10 And I did join my two thousand sons, (for they are worthy to be called sons) to the army of Antipus, in which strength Antipus did rejoice exceedingly; for behold, his army had been reduced by the Lamanites because their forces had slain a vast number of our men, for which cause we have to mourn.
11 Nevertheless, we may console ourselves in this point, that they have died in the cause of their country and of their God, yea, and they are happy.
12 And the Lamanites had also retained many prisoners, all of whom are chief captains, for none other have they spared alive. And we suppose that they are now at this time in the land of Nephi; it is so if they are not slain.
13 And now these are the cities of which the Lamanites have obtained possession by the shedding of the blood of so many of our valiant men;
14 The land of Manti, or the city of Manti, and the city of Zeezrom, and the city of Cumeni, and the city of Antiparah.
15 And these are the cities which they possessed when I arrived at the city of Judea; and I found Antipus and his men toiling with their might to fortify the city.
16 Yea, and they were depressed in body as well as in spirit, for they had fought valiantly by day and toiled by night to maintain their cities; and thus they had suffered great afflictions of every kind.
17 And now they were determined to conquer in this place or die; therefore you may well suppose that this little force which I brought with me, yea, those sons of mine, gave them great hopes and much joy.
18 And now it came to pass that when the Lamanites saw that Antipus had received a greater strength to his army, they were compelled by the orders of Ammoron to not come against the city of Judea, or against us, to battle.
19 And thus were we favored of the Lord; for had they come upon us in this our weakness they might have perhaps destroyed our little army; but thus were we preserved.
20 They were commanded by Ammoron to maintain those cities which they had taken. And thus ended the twenty and sixth year. And in the commencement of the twenty and seventh year we had prepared our city and ourselves for defence.
21 Now we were desirous that the Lamanites should come upon us; for we were not desirous to make an attack upon them in their strongholds.
22 And it came to pass that we kept spies out round about, to watch the movements of the Lamanites, that they might not pass us by night nor by day to make an attack upon our other cities which were on the northward.
23 For we knew in those cities they were not sufficiently strong to meet them; therefore we were desirous, if they should pass by us, to fall upon them in their rear, and thus bring them up in the rear at the same time they were met in the front. We supposed that we could overpower them; but behold, we were disappointed in this our desire.
24 They durst not pass by us with their whole army, neither durst they with a part, lest they should not be sufficiently strong and they should fall.
25 Neither durst they march down against the city of Zarahemla; neither durst they cross the head of Sidon, over to the city of Nephihah.

This is not a reference to cities that are close at hand, but actually quite distant. Lamanite strategy is to disappear and then surprise and strike at the Nephites in a distant unexpected location. Another way of saying this is: Because of Antipus they dared not expose themselves in an attack in the center or on the right flank of Nephite lands... etc
Note that to attack Zarahemla the Lamanites would "march down" but to attack Nephihah they would "cross the head of Sidon". It is clear from 1 Nephi 8:14 ("And I looked to behold from whence it came; and I saw the head thereof a little way off") that the head of a river is the source where it originates. One may think of the head as a very small stream -- as in Louis and Clark looking for the head of the Missouri continental divide. If this was the case with the Sidon, then the head would be somewhat nebulous and crossing it would not be a reference point of significance. However, the Book of Mormon makes several matter-of-fact references to the head of the Sidon indicating it was well known and well defined, which would indeed be the case when the head is St. Croix Lake. See the Upper St. Croix Lake and the trade routes diagrammed in section 3.5.2. The Sidon continental divide (where water flows either into the Atlantic via Lake Superior or into the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi) is at Salon Springs near the center of St. Croix Lake. So therefore, to "cross the head of Sidon" is what happens when taking the river route to the West Sea (Lake Superior) in order to follow established trade routes to Nephihah on the East Sea (Lake Michigan).

26 And thus, with their forces, they were determined to maintain those cities which they had taken.
27 And now it came to pass in the second month of this year, there was brought unto us many provisions from the fathers of those my two thousand sons.
28 And also there were sent two thousand men unto us from the land of Zarahemla. And thus we were prepared with ten thousand men, and provisions for them, and also for their wives and their children.
29 And the Lamanites, thus seeing our forces increase daily, and provisions arrive for our support, they began to be fearful, and began to sally forth, if it were possible to put an end to our receiving provisions and strength.
30 Now when we saw that the Lamanites began to grow uneasy on this wise, we were desirous to bring a stratagem into effect upon them; therefore Antipus ordered that I should march forth with my little sons to a neighboring city, as if we were carrying provisions to a neighboring city.
31 And we were to march near the city of Antiparah, as if we were going to the city beyond, in the borders by the seashore.
32 And it came to pass that we did march forth, as if with our provisions, to go to that city.
33 And it came to pass that Antipus did march forth with a part of his army, leaving the remainder to maintain the city. But he did not march forth until I had gone forth with my little army, and came near the city Antiparah.
34 And now, in the city Antiparah were stationed the strongest army of the Lamanites; yea, the most numerous.
35 And it came to pass that when they had been informed by their spies, they came forth with their army and marched against us.
36 And it came to pass that we did flee before them, northward. And thus we did lead away the most powerful army of the Lamanites; 37 Yea, even to a considerable distance, insomuch that when they saw the army of Antipus pursuing them, with their might, they did not turn to the right nor to the left, but pursued their march in a straight course after us; and, as we suppose, it was their intent to slay us before Antipus should overtake them, and this that they might not be surrounded by our people.
38 And now Antipus, beholding our danger, did speed the march of his army. But behold, it was night; therefore they did not overtake us, neither did Antipus overtake them; therefore we did camp for the night.
39 And it came to pass that before the dawn of the morning, behold, the Lamanites were pursuing us. Now we were not sufficiently strong to contend with them; yea, I would not suffer that my little sons should fall into their hands; therefore we did continue our march, and we took our march into the wilderness.
40 Now they durst not turn to the right nor to the left lest they should be surrounded; neither would I turn to the right nor to the left lest they should overtake me, and we could not stand against them, but be slain, and they would make their escape; and thus we did flee all that day into the wilderness, even until it was dark.
41 And it came to pass that again, when the light of the morning came we saw the Lamanites upon us, and we did flee before them.
42 But it came to pass that they did not pursue us far before they halted; and it was in the morning of the third day of the seventh month.

By divine design or coincidence, the miraculous battle victory started and ended on the third day of the seventh month (Tishri 3), which is the same calendar description as the final Battle of Gettysburg (July 3).

43 And now, whether they were overtaken by Antipus we knew not, but I said unto my men: Behold, we know not but they have halted for the purpose that we should come against them, that they might catch us in their snare;.
44 Therefore what say ye, my sons, will ye go against them to battle?.
45 And now I say unto you, my beloved brother Moroni, that never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites.
46 For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.
47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.
49 And it came to pass that I did return with my two thousand against these Lamanites who had pursued us. And now behold, the armies of Antipus had overtaken them, and a terrible battle had commenced.
50 The army of Antipus being weary, because of their long march in so short a space of time, were about to fall into the hands of the Lamanites; and had I not returned with my two thousand they would have obtained their purpose.
51 For Antipus had fallen by the sword, and many of his leaders, because of their weariness, which was occasioned by the speed of their march--therefore the men of Antipus, being confused because of the fall of their leaders, began to give way before the Lamanites.
52 And it came to pass that the Lamanites took courage, and began to pursue them; and thus were the Lamanites pursuing them with great vigor when Helaman came upon their rear with his two thousand, and began to slay them exceedingly, insomuch that the whole army of the Lamanites halted and turned upon Helaman.
53 Now when the people of Antipus saw that the Lamanites had turned them about, they gathered together their men and came again upon the rear of the Lamanites.
54 And now it came to pass that we, the people of Nephi, the people of Antipus, and I with my two thousand, did surround the Lamanites, and did slay them; yea, insomuch that they were compelled to deliver up their weapons of war and also themselves as prisoners of war.
55 And now it came to pass that when they had surrendered themselves up unto us, behold, I numbered those young men who had fought with me, fearing lest there were many of them slain.
56 But behold, to my great joy, there had not one soul of them fallen to the earth; yea, and they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power did they fall upon the Lamanites, that they did frighten them; and for this cause did the Lamanites deliver themselves up as prisoners of war.
57 And as we had no place for our prisoners, that we could guard them to keep them from the armies of the Lamanites, therefore we sent them to the land of Zarahemla, and a part of those men who were not slain of Antipus, with them; and the remainder I took and joined them to my stripling Ammonites, and took our march back to the city of Judea.

Alma 57.
22 And now behold, it was these my sons, and those men who had been selected to convey the prisoners, to whom we owe this great victory; for it was they who did beat the Lamanites; therefore they were driven back to the city of Manti.

Alma 58.
1 And behold, now it came to pass that our next object was to obtain the city of Manti; but behold, there was no way that we could lead them out of the city by our small bands. For behold, they remembered that which we had hitherto done; therefore we could not decoy them away from their strongholds.
13 And thus we did go forth with all our might against the Lamanites, who were in the city of Manti; and we did pitch our tents by the wilderness side, which was near to the city.
25 And behold, it was night and they did pitch their tents, for the chief captains of the Lamanites had supposed that the Nephites were weary because of their march; and supposing that they had driven their whole army therefore they took no thought concerning the city of Manti.
26 Now it came to pass that when it was night, I caused that my men should not sleep, but that they should march forward by another way towards the land of Manti.
27 And because of this our march in the night-time, behold, on the morrow we were beyond the Lamanites, insomuch that we did arrive before them at the city of Manti.
28 And thus it came to pass, that by this stratagem we did take possession of the city of Manti without the shedding of blood.
39 And those sons of the people of Ammon, of whom I have so highly spoken, are with me in the city of Manti; and the Lord had supported them, yea, and kept them from falling by the sword, insomuch that even one soul has not been slain.

Stripling warriors travel from Jershon to Judea (M) in the "land south by the west sea". A journey of 298 miles, taking about 15 days.

Shows Nephite cities south of the west sea and the St. Croix (Sidon) river where it meets the Mississippi (Sidon) river at Manti. The source of the Sidon is at or near Antiparah (the continental divide at current day Salon Springs). Todays Brule River runs north from Salon Springs to Lake Superior. The Nephite "borders of the land" is along the St.Croix river where major Nephite cities were located (S).

The march to Zarahemla from Antiparah, the city containing the largest Lamanite army. Instead of following the Sidon all the way down where Nephite resistance might be encountered, this shorter route crosses the plains of Iowa for a total distance of 447 miles which is calculated to take about 22 days.

The route to Nephihah from Antiparah, the major Nephite port city on the East Sea. The trip is not mentioned as being a "march" so water travel is assumed, which would be faster and easier in this case. The total distance is 759 miles or about 16 days travel.

The route of the Stripling Soldiers from Judea, past Antiparah on the way to the city beyond Antipus, by the sea. They turn back to join with the men of Antipus and defeat the Lamanites, as marked with the battle icon. It is 37 miles total distance from Antiparah to the West Sea.
 4.6 The Lands Near the East Sea
 4.6.1 Conflict in Morianton

Alma 50
25 And it came to pass that in the commencement of the twenty and fourth year of the reign of the judges, there would also have been peace among the people of Nephi had it not been for a contention which took place among them concerning the land of Lehi, and the land of Morianton, which joined upon the borders of Lehi; both of which were on the borders by the seashore (S).
26 For behold, the people who possessed the land of Morianton did claim a part of the land of Lehi; therefore there began to be a warm contention between them, insomuch that the people of Morianton took up arms against their brethren, and they were determined by the sword to slay them.
27 But behold, the people who possessed the land of Lehi fled to the camp of Moroni B, and appealed unto him for assistance; for behold they were not in the wrong.
28 And it came to pass that when the people of Morianton, who were led by a man whose name was Morianton, found that the people of Lehi had fled to the camp of Moroni (B), they were exceedingly fearful lest the army of Moroni should come upon them and destroy them.
29 Therefore, Morianton put it into their hearts that they should flee to the land which was northward, (D) which was covered with large bodies of water, and take possession of the land which was northward.
30 And behold, they would have carried this plan into effect, (which would have been a cause to have been lamented) but behold, Morianton being a man of much passion, therefore he was angry with one of his maid servants, and he fell upon her and beat her much.
31 And it came to pass that she fled, and came over to the camp of Moroni (B), and told Moroni all things concerning the matter, and also concerning their intentions to flee into the land northward.
32 Now behold, the people who were in the land Bountiful (B), or rather Moroni, feared that they would hearken to the words of Morianton and unite with his people, and thus he would obtain possession of those parts of the land, which would lay a foundation for serious consequences among the people of Nephi, yea, which consequences would lead to the overthrow of their liberty.
33 Therefore Moroni sent an army, with their camp, to head the people of Morianton, to stop their flight into the land northward (NP).
34 And it came to pass that they did not head them until they had come to the borders of the land Desolation (D); and there they did head them, by the narrow pass (NP) which led by the sea into the land northward Lehi, yea, by the sea, on the west and on the east.
35 And it came to pass that the army which was sent by Moroni (purple route), which was led by a man whose name was Teancum, did meet the people of Morianton(light blue route); and so stubborn were the people of Morianton, (being inspired by his wickedness and his flattering words) that a battle commenced between them (battle icon), in the which Teancum did slay Morianton and defeat his army (N), and took them prisoners, and returned to the camp of Moroni (Bountiful). And thus ended the twenty and fourth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.
36 And thus were the people of Morianton brought back. And upon their covenanting to keep the peace they were restored to the land of Morianton, and a union took place between them and the people of Lehi; and they were also restored to their lands.

Besides the De Tour Passage there other routes available to go north by water. On the other side of Drummond Island and Cockburn Island is False Detour Channel and the Mississagi Straits. However, these are more dangerous, being more shallow and with shoals and rocks closer to the surface. These routes require more expertise and better maps to navigate safely and especially through the area marked as (S). It is estimated that the lake levels were 6 feet or so lower 2000 years ago than they are today so, in short, the De Tour Passage is much quicker and safer and is the passage Nephites would have used exclusively when heading north.
Given the proposed locations of Morianton and Lehi, the most logical place of dispute between them would be, what is now Marinette Wisconsin (on the south side of the river) and Menominee, Michigan (on the north side of the river), which is where the Brule (Menominee) River empties into Lake Michigan (S). This is a key transport point of the "Old Copper Complex Culture" that goes back in ancient times, to at least the Jaredite time period. In 1952, an ancient burial ground was found there within what is now the Wisconsin Copper Culture State Park, a National Historic Landmark. See Copper Culture State Park and Old Copper Complex.

Morianton and Lehi appear to be new settlement areas for the Nephites, given that there is argument over territory and given the Nephite custom for naming land, which seems to be after their leader, Morianton.

Alma 8
7 Now it was the custom of the people of Nephi to call their lands, and their cities, and their villages, yea, even all their small villages, after the name of him who first possessed them ...
Morianton is headed by Teancum, defeated, and prevented from obtaining the narrow pass (about a mile wide) to the land northward. The narrow pass is a sea route, now called the "De Tour Passage" (NP). There is also, in the Book of Mormon, reference to a "narrow passage" which is the water route that leads from the east sea (Lake Michigan) to the west sea (Lake Superior) and which forms the border between the land of Bountiful and the land of Desolation. It is often referred to as the border between the lands north and the lands south. We are not told how the people of Morianton were headed by Teancom "by the narrow pass that leads by the sea to the land northward" and whether it was a naval battle, land battle or both. This being an extremely strategic spot for the Nephites, they likely had fortifications and military equipment already in place and some method to monitor and control travel through the pass.
 4.6.2 War of Amalickiah

Alma 51
22 Behold, it came to pass that while Moroni was thus breaking down the wars and contentions among his own people, and subjecting them to peace and civilization, and making regulations to prepare for war against the Lamanites, behold, the Lamanites had come into the land of Moroni, which was in the borders by the seashore.
23 And it came to pass that the Nephites were not sufficiently strong in the city of Moroni; therefore Amalickiah did drive them, slaying many. And it came to pass that Amalickiah took possession of the city, yea, possession of all their fortifications.
24 And those who fled out of the city of Moroni came to the city of Nephihah; and also the people of the city of Lehi gathered themselves together, and made preparations and were ready to receive the Lamanites to battle.
25 But it came to pass that Amalickiah would not suffer the Lamanites to go against the city of Nephihah to battle, but kept them down by the seashore, leaving men in every city to maintain and defend it.
26 And thus he went on, taking possession of many cities, the city of Nephihah, and the city of Lehi, and the city of Morianton, and the city of Omner, and the city of Gid, and the city of Mulek, all of which were on the east borders by the seashore.
27 And thus had the Lamanites obtained, by the cunning of Amalickiah, so many cities, by their numberless hosts, all of which were strongly fortified after the manner of the fortifications of Moroni; all of which afforded strongholds for the Lamanites.
28 And it came to pass that they marched (M) to the borders of the land Bountiful, driving the Nephites before them and slaying many.
29 But it came to pass that they were met by Teancum, who had slain Morianton and had headed his people in his flight.
30 And it came to pass that he 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 (N).
31 But behold he met with a disappointment by being repulsed by Teancum (T) 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.
32 And it came to pass that they did harass them, insomuch that they did slay them even until it was dark. And it came to pass that Teancum and his men did pitch their tents in the borders of the land Bountiful; and Amalickiah did pitch his tents in the borders on the beach by the seashore (S), and after this manner were they driven.
33 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.
34 And it came to pass that Teancum stole privily into the tent of the king, and put a javelin to his heart; and he did cause the death of the king immediately that he did not awake his servants.
35 And he returned again privily to his own camp, and behold, his men were asleep, and he awoke them and told them all the things that he had done.
36 And he caused that his armies should stand in readiness, lest the Lamanites had awakened and should come upon them.
37 And thus endeth the twenty and fifth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi; and thus endeth the days of Amalickiah.

Amalickiah's string of victories on the "east borders by the seashore" (Lake Michigan).

Alma 52
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 (T).
2 And now, when the Lamanites saw this they were affrighted; and they abandoned their design in marching into the land northward, and retreated (M) with all their army into the city of Mulek, and sought protection in their fortifications.
3 And it came to pass that the brother of Amalickiah was appointed king over the people; and his name was Ammoron; thus king Ammoron, the brother of king Amalickiah, was appointed to reign in his stead.
4 And it came to pass that he did command that his people should maintain those cities, which they had taken by the shedding of blood; for they had not taken any cities save they had lost much blood.
5 And now, Teancum saw that the Lamanites were determined to maintain those cities which they had taken, and those parts of the land which they had obtained possession of; and also seeing the enormity of their number, Teancum thought it was not expedient that he should attempt to attack them in their forts.
6 But he kept his men round about, as if making preparations for war; yea, and truly he was preparing to defend himself against them, by casting up walls round about and preparing places of resort.
7 And it came to pass that he kept thus preparing for war until Moroni had sent a large number of men (W and/or L) to strengthen his army.

Amalickiah's defeats and kills Amalickiah. Note that the walking distance (M) from Mulek to the battle (T) is 45 miles or about three days travel.
Moroni's travel to Teancum by land (L) is 400 miles or about 30-40 days.

Likely, communications and some men and provisions were sent via the West Sea (W) since this journey is only about a week by water (after waiting for favorable winds). The land route (L) to Moroni is 400 miles, so that would take about 30-40 days to make the (L) journey.

8 And Moroni also sent orders (W) unto him that he should retain all the prisoners who fell into his hands; for as the Lamanites had taken many prisoners, that he should retain all the prisoners of the Lamanites as a ransom for those whom the Lamanites had taken.
9 And he also sent orders (W) unto him that he should fortify the land Bountiful, and secure the narrow pass (P) which led into the land northward, lest the Lamanites should obtain that point and should have power to harass them on every side.
10 And Moroni also sent unto him (W), desiring him that he would be faithful in maintaining that quarter of the land, and that he would seek every opportunity to scourge the Lamanites in that quarter, as much as was in his power, that perhaps he might take again by stratagem or some other way those cities which had been taken out of their hands; and that he also would fortify and strengthen the cities round about, which had not fallen into the hands of the Lamanites.
11 And he also said unto him, I would come unto you, but behold, the Lamanites are upon us in the borders of the land by the west sea (BW); and behold, I go against them, therefore I cannot come unto you.
12 Now, the king (Ammoron) had departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and had made known unto the queen concerning the death of his brother, and had gathered together a large number of men, and had marched forth against the Nephites on the borders by the west sea (BW).
13 And thus he was endeavoring to harass the Nephites, and to draw away a part of their forces to that part of the land, while he had commanded those whom he had left to possess the cities which he had taken, that they should also harass the Nephites on the borders by the east sea (BW), and should take possession of their lands as much as it was in their power, according to the power of their armies.
14 And thus were the Nephites in those dangerous circumstances in the ending of the twenty and sixth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.

15 But behold, it came to pass in the twenty and seventh year of the reign of the judges, that Teancum, by the command of Moroni--who had established armies to protect the south and the west borders of the land (BW), and had begun his march towards the land Bountiful (L), that he might assist Teancum with his men in retaking the cities which they had lost--

This location "south and the west borders of the land" is above the land of Manti on the western borders of Nephite lands, and near to Lake Superior - the west sea. It is also called "on the west sea, south" in Alma 53:8.

16 And it came to pass that Teancum had received orders to make an attack upon the city of Mulek, and retake it if it were possible.
17 And it came to pass that Teancum made preparations to make an attack upon the city of Mulek, and march forth with his army (M) against the Lamanites; but he saw that it was impossible that he could overpower them while they were in their fortifications; therefore he abandoned his designs and returned again to the city Bountiful, to wait for the coming of Moroni, that he might receive strength to his army.
18 And it came to pass that Moroni did arrive (L) with his army at the land of Bountiful, in the latter end of the twenty and seventh year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.
19 And in the commencement of the twenty and eighth year, Moroni and Teancum and many of the chief captains held a council of war--what they should do to cause the Lamanites to come out against them to battle; or that they might by some means flatter them out of their strongholds, that they might gain advantage over them and take again the city of Mulek.
20 And it came to pass they 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 (M) between the two cities. But behold, Jacob, who was a Zoramite, would not come out with his army to meet them upon the plains.
21 And it came to pass that Moroni, having no hopes of meeting them upon fair grounds, therefore, he resolved upon a plan that he might decoy the Lamanites out of their strongholds.
22 Therefore he caused that Teancum should take a small number of men and march down near the seashore (SM); and Moroni and his army, by night, marched in the wilderness, on the west (WM) of the city Mulek; and thus, on the morrow, when the guards of the Lamanites had discovered Teancum, they ran and told it unto Jacob, their leader.
23 And it came to pass that the armies of the Lamanites did march forth against Teancum, supposing by their numbers to overpower Teancum because of the smallness of his numbers. And as Teancum saw the armies of the Lamanites coming out against him he began to retreat down by the seashore, northward (SN).
24 And it came to pass that when the Lamanites saw that he began to flee, they took courage and pursued them with vigor (V). And while Teancum was thus leading away the Lamanites who were pursuing them in vain, behold, Moroni commanded that a part of his army who were with him should march forth into the city, and take possession (MP) of it.
25 And thus they did, and slew all those who had been left to protect the city, yea, all those who would not yield up their weapons of war.
26 And thus Moroni had obtained possession of the city Mulek with a part of his army, while he marched with the remainder to meet the Lamanites when they should return from the pursuit of Teancum.

Proposed troop movements for Moroni and Teancum based on Book of Mormon text. Note for scale the distance top to bottom (M to Mulek) is only 15 miles, a 5-6 hour march for foot soldiers in a hurry.

27 And it came to pass that the Lamanites (LA) did pursue Teancum (T) until they came near the city Bountiful, and then they were met by Lehi and a small army (L), which had been left to protect the city Bountiful.
28 And now behold, when the chief captains of the Lamanites had beheld Lehi (L) with his army coming against them, they fled in much confusion, lest perhaps they should not obtain the city Mulek before Lehi should overtake them; for they were wearied because of their march, and the men of Lehi were fresh.
29 Now the Lamanites did not know that Moroni had been in their rear (M) with his army; and all they feared was Lehi and his men.
30 Now Lehi was not desirous to overtake them till they should meet Moroni and his army.
31 And it came to pass that before the Lamanites had retreated far they were surrounded by the Nephites, by the men of Moroni on one hand, and the men of Lehi on the other, all of whom were fresh and full of strength; but the Lamanites were wearied because of their long march.
32 And Moroni commanded his men that they should fall upon them until they had given up their weapons of war (M).
33 And it came to pass that Jacob, being their leader, being also a Zoramite, and having an unconquerable spirit, he led the Lamanites forth to battle with exceeding fury against Moroni.
34 Moroni being in their course of march (M), therefore Jacob was determined to slay them and cut his way through to the city of Mulek. But behold, Moroni and his men were more powerful; therefore they did not give way before the Lamanites.
35 And it came to pass that they fought on both hands with exceeding fury; and there were many slain on both sides; yea, and Moroni was wounded and Jacob was killed.
36 And Lehi pressed upon their rear with such fury with his strong men, that the Lamanites in the rear delivered up their weapons of war; and the remainder of them, being much confused, knew not whither to go or to strike.
37 Now Moroni seeing their confusion, he said unto them: If ye will bring forth your weapons of war and deliver them up, behold we will forbear shedding your blood.
38 And it came to pass that when the Lamanites had heard these words, their chief captains, all those who were not slain, came forth and threw down their weapons of war at the feet of Moroni, and also commanded their men that they should do the same.
39 But behold, there were many that would not; and those who would not deliver up their swords were taken and bound, and their weapons of war were taken from them, and they were compelled to march with their brethren forth into the land Bountiful.
40 And now the number of prisoners who were taken exceeded more than the number of those who had been slain, yea, more than those who had been slain on both sides.

Alma 53
1 And it came to pass that they did set guards over the prisoners of the Lamanites, and did compel them to go forth and bury their dead, yea, and also the dead of the Nephites who were slain; and Moroni placed men over them to guard them while they should perform their labors.
2 And Moroni went to the city of Mulek with Lehi, and took command of the city and gave it unto Lehi. Now behold, this Lehi was a man who had been with Moroni in the more part of all his battles; and he was a man like unto Moroni, and they rejoiced in each other's safety; yea, they were beloved by each other, and also beloved by all the people of Nephi.
3 And it came to pass that after the Lamanites had finished burying their dead and also the dead of the Nephites, they were marched back into the land Bountiful; and Teancum, by the orders of Moroni, caused that they should commence laboring in digging a ditch round about the land, or the city, Bountiful (yellow border).
4 And he caused that they should build a breastwork of timbers upon the inner bank of the ditch; and they cast up dirt out of the ditch against the breastwork of timbers; and thus they did cause the Lamanites to labor until they had encircled the city of Bountiful round about with a strong wall of timbers and earth, to an exceeding height.
5 And this city became an exceeding stronghold ever after; and in this city they did guard the prisoners of the Lamanites; yea, even within a wall which they had caused them to build with their own hands. Now Moroni was compelled to cause the Lamanites to labor, because it was easy to guard them while at their labor; and he desired all his forces when he should make an attack upon the Lamanites.
6 And it came to pass that Moroni had thus gained a victory over one of the greatest of the armies of the Lamanites, and had obtained possession of the city of Mulek, which was one of the strongest holds of the Lamanites in the land of Nephi the Nephites; and thus he had also built a stronghold to retain his prisoners.

Mulek is not in the "land of Nephi" -- this is an copy error. It should read "land of the Nephites". See Royal Skousen, The Book of Mormon, The Earliest Text, Alma 53:6.


7 And it came to pass that he did no more attempt a battle with the Lamanites in that year, but he did employ his men in preparing for war, yea, and in making fortifications to guard against the Lamanites, yea, and also delivering their women and their children from famine and affliction, and providing food for their armies.

Battle scenario for Moroni vs Jacob on the plains south of Bountiful.
Moroni's travel to Teancum by land (L) is 400 miles or about 30-40 days.
Moroni captures Gid, send prisoners to Bountiful, prepares to recapture Morianton.

8 And now it came to pass that the armies of the Lamanites, on the west sea, south (BW), while in the absence of Moroni on account of some intrigue amongst the Nephites, which caused dissensions amongst them, had gained some ground (BSW) over the Nephites, yea, insomuch that they had obtained possession of a number of their cities in that part of the land.
9 And thus because of iniquity amongst themselves, yea, because of dissensions and intrigue among themselves they were placed in the most dangerous circumstances.

Alma 55
16 And Moroni had prepared his men with weapons of war; and he went (B) to the city Gid, while the Lamanites were in a deep sleep and drunken, and cast in weapons of war unto the prisoners, insomuch that they were all armed;
17 Yea, even to their women, and all those of their children, as many as were able to use a weapon of war, when Moroni had armed all those prisoners; and all those things were done in a profound silence. 18 But had they awakened the Lamanites, behold they were drunken and the Nephites could have slain them. 19 But behold, this was not the desire of Moroni; he did not delight in murder or bloodshed, but he delighted in the saving of his people from destruction; and for this cause he might not bring upon him injustice, he would not fall upon the Lamanites and destroy them in their drunkenness.
20 But he had obtained his desires; for he had armed those prisoners of the Nephites who were within the wall of the city Gid and had given them power to gain possession of those parts which were within the walls.

21 And then he caused the men who were with him to withdraw a pace from them, and surround the armies of the Lamanites.
22 Now behold this was done in the night-time, so that when the Lamanites awoke in the morning they beheld that they were surrounded by the Nephites without, and that their prisoners were armed within.
23 And thus they saw that the Nephites had power over them; and in these circumstances they found that it was not expedient that they should fight with the Nephites; therefore their chief captains demanded their weapons of war, and they brought them forth and cast them at the feet of the Nephites, pleading for mercy.
24 Now behold, this was the desire of Moroni. He took them prisoners of war, and took possession of the city, and caused that all the prisoners should be liberated, who were Nephites; and they did join the army of Moroni, and were a great strength to his army.
25 And it came to pass that he did cause the Lamanites, whom he had taken prisoners, that they should commence a labor in strengthening the fortifications round about the city Gid.
26 And it came to pass that when he had fortified the city Gid, according to his desires, he caused that his prisoners should be taken (B) to the city Bountiful; and he also guarded that city with an exceedingly strong force.
27 And it came to pass that they did, notwithstanding all the intrigues of the Lamanites, keep and protect all the prisoners whom they had taken, and also maintain all the ground and the advantage which they had retaken.
28 And it came to pass that the Nephites began again to be victorious, and to reclaim their rights and their privileges.
29 Many times did the Lamanites attempt to encircle them about by night, but in these attempts they did lose many prisoners.
30 And many times did they attempt to administer of their wine to the Nephites, that they might destroy them with poison or with drunkenness.
31 But behold, the Nephites were not slow to remember the Lord their God in this their time of affliction. They could not be taken in their snares; yea, they would not partake of their wine, save they had first given to some of the Lamanite prisoners.
32 And they were thus cautious that no poison should be administered among them; for if their wine would poison a Lamanite it would also poison a Nephite; and thus they did try all their liquors.
33 And now it came to pass that it was expedient for Moroni to make preparations (P) to attack the city Morianton; for behold, the Lamanites had, by their labors, fortified the city Morianton until it had become an exceeding stronghold.
34 And they were continually bringing new forces (S) into that city, and also new supplies of provisions.

Morianton is isolated from other known cities and so not easily accessible by land. It does however border the East Sea (Lake Michigan) and so is accessible by water for "continually bringing new forces". The account leaves off with Moroni making preparations to go against Morianton but we hear no more about. Mormon is more anxious to tell us about the exploits of the stripling soldiers so he skips to that in chapter 56 (see section 4.5.3). We next hear of Morianton in Alma 62, at which point it is in Nephite hands.

35 And thus ended the twenty and ninth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.

 4.6.3 The Fall of Nephihah

Alma 59
1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, after Moroni had received and had read Helaman's epistle, he was exceedingly rejoiced because of the welfare, yea, the exceeding success which Helaman had had, in obtaining those lands(in Manti) which were lost .
2 Yea, and he did make it known unto all his people, in all the land round about in that part where he was, that they might rejoice also.
3 And it came to pass that he immediately sent an epistle to Pahoran (in Zarahemla), desiring that he should cause men to be gathered together to strengthen Helaman, or the armies of Helaman, insomuch that he might with ease maintain that part of the land which he had been so miraculously prospered in regaining.
4 And it came to pass when Moroni had sent this epistle to the land of Zarahemla, he began again to lay a plan that he might obtain the remainder of those possessions and cities which the Lamanites had taken from them.
5 And it came to pass that while Moroni was thus making preparations to go against the Lamanites to battle, behold, the people of Nephihah, who were gathered together from the city of Moroni and the city of Lehi and the city of Morianton, were attacked by the Lamanites.
6 Yea, even those who had been compelled to flee from the land of Manti, and from the land round about, had come over and joined the Lamanites in this part of the land (see blue arrows).
7 And thus being exceedingly numerous, yea, and receiving strength from day to day, by the command of Ammoron they came forth against the people of Nephihah, and they did begin to slay them with an exceedingly great slaughter.
8 And their armies were so numerous that the remainder of the people of Nephihah were obliged to flee before them; and they came even and joined the army of Moroni (see yellow arrows).
9 And now as Moroni had supposed that there should be men sent to the city of Nephihah, to the assistance of the people to maintain that city, and knowing that it was easier to keep the city from falling into the hands of the Lamanites than to retake it from them, he supposed that they would easily maintain that city.
10 Therefore he retained all his force to maintain those places which he had recovered.
11 And now, when Moroni saw that the city of Nephihah was lost he was exceedingly sorrowful, and began to doubt, because of the wickedness of the people, whether they should not fall into the hands of their brethren.
12 Now this was the case with all his chief captains. They doubted and marveled also because of the wickedness of the people, and this because of the success of the Lamanites over them.
13 And it came to pass that Moroni was angry with the government, because of their indifference concerning the freedom of their country.

As described in Alma 59, the defeated Lamanites shifted their forces east to capture Nephihah. To avoid the interior of Nephites lands they would have had to return to the land of Nephi for provisioning and then would have followed along the Illinois river to get to Lake Michigan (the East Sea) and Nephihah. It makes the most sense that those Nephites who gathered to Nephihah would have done so by boat, since they all came from coastal cities to start with.
 4.6.4 War of Nephite Dissenters

Helaman 4
1 And it came to pass in the fifty and fourth year there were many dissensions in the church, and there was also a contention among the people, insomuch that there was much bloodshed.
2 And the rebellious part were slain and driven out of the land, and they did go unto the king of the Lamanites
3 And it came to pass that they did endeavor to stir up the Lamanites to war against the Nephites; but behold, the Lamanites were exceedingly afraid, insomuch that they would not hearken to the words of those dissenters
4 But it came to pass in the fifty and sixth year of the reign of the judges, there were dissenters who went up from the Nephites unto the Lamanites; and they succeeded with those others in stirring them up to anger against the Nephites; and they were all that year preparing for war.
5 And in the fifty and seventh year they did come down against the Nephites to battle, and they did commence the work of death; yea, insomuch that in the fifty and eighth year of the reign of the judges they succeeded in obtaining possession of the land of Zarahemla; yea, and also all the lands, even unto the land which was near the land Bountiful.

There are two ways to read this: A) The Lamanites occupied all the lands up to but not including Bountiful; or B) The Lamanites (and Dissenters) occupy all the lands, including Bountiful or at least most of it. The Entity Relationship model supports only interpretation B. Mormon is skipping a lot of the detail on how this all occurred but this is truly a disaster for the Nephites. However, the Nephites still have the far northern territories. This interpretation is also supported in the next verse, describing the Nephites be driven "into" (not "unto") the Land of Bountiful.

6 And the Nephites and the armies of Moronihah were driven even into the land of Bountiful;
7 And there they did fortify against the Lamanites, from the west sea, even unto the east; it being a day's journey for a Nephite, on the line which they had fortified and stationed their armies to defend their north country.

The Nephites are still in Bountiful so the fortifications must be on the Bountiful side of the boundary line. See also, Section 4.2, verse 30. The border separation between Bountiful and the north countries is the St Mary's river (which drains Lake Superior to Lake Huron) but really most of it is an inlet of Lake Huron with multiple islands separating the lands. The islands are today named Sugar Island, Neebish Island, and St. Joseph Island. Trying to traverse this expanse of water has many of the same logistical problems and military dangers as trying to cross the English Channel for invasion. If the defenders are waiting and prepared, they have a huge advantage. Looking at the map informs us of the two easiest areas to cross are from the East side of Neebish Island or even better, up at Sault Ste. Marie somewhere (pronounced Soo Saint Marie). There's no real need to station soldiers south of Manuscong, just keep spies and scouts in swift canoes patrolling the south. The fortified line is along the line where Bountiful meets the land northward (also known as the Land of Desolation). The most logical location for the Nephite city of Bountiful is at present day Sault Ste. Marie. The Entity Relationship model calls for Bountiful to be the northern most city and this is the most northern location along the border. It is a key strategic location for trade, travel, and military security. The name Bountiful is unique in that all other cities are named after the first person to live there but Bountiful has a name that is an adjective. I could be because of it's importance in the shipping of raw materials, metals, and other trade goods.

8 And thus those dissenters of the Nephites, with the help of a numerous army of the Lamanites, had obtained all the possession of the Nephites which was in the land southward. And all this was done in the fifty and eighth and ninth years of the reign of the judges
9 And it came to pass in the sixtieth year of the reign of the judges, Moronihah did succeed with his armies in obtaining many parts of the land; yea, they regained many cities which had fallen into the hands of the Lamanites
10 And it came to pass in the sixty and first year of the reign of the judges they succeeded in regaining even the half of all their possessions
11 Now this great loss of the Nephites, and the great slaughter which was among them, would not have happened had it not been for their wickedness and their abomination which was among them; yea, and it was among those also who professed to belong to the church of God.
12 And it was because of the pride of their hearts, because of their exceeding riches, yea, it was because of their oppression to the poor, withholding their food from the hungry, withholding their clothing from the naked, and smiting their humble brethren upon the cheek, making a mock of that which was sacred, denying the spirit of prophecy and of revelation, murdering, plundering,gic lying, stealing, committing adultery, rising up in great contentions, and deserting away into the land of Nephi, among the Lamanites--
13 And because of this their great wickedness, and their boastings in their own strength, they were left in their own strength; therefore they did not prosper, but were afflicted and smitten, and driven before the Lamanites, until they had lost possession of almost all their lands.
14 But behold, Moronihah did preach many things unto the people because of their iniquity, and also Nephi and Lehi, who were the sons of Helaman, did preach many things unto the people, yea, and did prophesy many things unto them concerning their iniquities, and what should come unto them if they did not repent of their sins
15 And it came to pass that they did repent, and inasmuch as they did repent they did begin to prosper
16 For when Moronihah saw that they did repent he did venture to lead them forth from place to place, and from city to city, even until they had regained the one-half of their property and the one-half of all their lands.

Nephites driven into the Land of Bountiful and they fortify along the yellow line which borders the lands northward. There is no indication they ever had to defend that border, so they may have occupied most of the narrow neck of land separating the two seas until they began to expand and regain their lands to the south.

Proposed boarders after Moronihah regains half of original Nephite possessions. The outline in blue represents the former borders. The outline in yellow seems like the most natural new boundaries for being one half of the former territory.
 4.6.5 Migrations to the Land Northward

Helaman 3
3 And it came to pass in the forty and sixth, yea, there was much contention and many dissensions; in the which there were an exceedingly great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla (Z), and went forth unto the land northward to inherit the land.
4 And they did travel to an exceedingly great distance (N), insomuch that they came to large bodies of water and many rivers.
5 Yea, and even they did spread forth into all parts of the land, into whatever parts it had not been rendered desolate and without timber, because of the many inhabitants who had before inherited the land.
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 (D).
7 And there being but little timber upon the face of the land, nevertheless the people who went forth became exceedingly expert in the working of cement; therefore they did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell.
8 And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward (N), and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south (SS) to the sea north (SN), from the sea west (SW) to the sea east (SE).
9 And the people who were in the land northward (N) did dwell in tents, and in houses of cement, and they did suffer whatsoever tree should spring up upon the face of the land that it should grow up, that in time they might have timber to build their houses, yea, their cities, and their temples, and their synagogues, and their sanctuaries, and all manner of their buildings.
10 And it came to pass as timber was exceedingly scarce in the land northward (N), they did send forth much by the way of shipping (yellow arrows).
11 And thus they did enable the people in the land northward (N) that they might build many cities, both of wood and of cement.
12 And it came to pass that there were many of the people of Ammon, who were Lamanites by birth, did also go forth into this land (blue arrows).
13 And now there are many records kept of the proceedings of this people, by many of this people, which are particular and very large, concerning them.

Here we are given the "big picture" of Nephite migrations. They are going through a "pioneering" phase, exploring and then populating new lands, and also expanding trade.

I propose, for example, that the "sea east" is the Atlantic Ocean whereas the "east sea" is Lake Michigan. See also section, 3.3.
 4.6.6 Fall of Central Government and Jacobite Rebellion

3 Nephi 8
2 And the people were divided one against another; and they did separate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family and his kindred and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land.
3 And every tribe did appoint a chief or a leader over them; and thus they became tribes and leaders of tribes.
4 Now behold, there was no man among them save he had much family and many kindreds and friends; therefore their tribes became exceedingly great.
5 Now all this was done, and there were no wars as yet among them; and all this iniquity had come upon the people because they did yield themselves unto the power of Satan.
6 And the regulations of the government were destroyed, because of the secret combination of the friends and kindreds of those who murdered the prophets.
7 And they did cause a great contention in the land, insomuch that the more righteous part of the people had nearly all become wicked; yea, there were but few righteous men among them.
8 And thus six years had not passed away since the more part of the people had turned from their righteousness, like the dog to his vomit, or like the sow to her wallowing in the mire. 9 Now this secret combination, which had brought so great iniquity upon the people, did gather themselves together, and did place at their head a man whom they did call Jacob;
10 And they did call him their king; therefore he became a king over this wicked band; and he was one of the chiefest who had given his voice against the prophets who testified of Jesus.
11 And it came to pass that they were not so strong in number as the tribes of the people, who were united together save it were their leaders did establish their laws, every one according to his tribe; nevertheless they were enemies; notwithstanding they were not a righteous people, yet they were united in the hatred of those who had entered into a covenant to destroy the government.
12 Therefore, Jacob seeing that their enemies were more numerous than they, he being the king of the band, therefore he commanded his people that they should take their flight into the northernmost part of the land, and there build up unto themselves a kingdom, until they were joined by dissenters, (for he flattered them that there would be many dissenters) and they become sufficiently strong to contend with the tribes of the people; and they did so.
13 And so speedy was their march that it could not be impeded until they had gone forth out of the reach of the people. And thus ended the thirtieth year; and thus were the affairs of the people of Nephi.

There is one primary location that fits the description of the location of King Jacob and his followers. They flee not to the "land north" but rather to the "northernmost part" of Nephite lands. That would be the Keewenaw Peninsula. What would be the motivation for this location? Access to sea travel and the center of metals mining, particularly the float copper of the region. See section 3.5.1.
 4.6.7 Visit of Jesus Christ to the Temple at Bountiful

3 Nephi 11
1 And now it came to pass that there were a great multitude gathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land (Bountiful); and they were marveling and wondering one with another, and were showing one to another the great and marvelous change which had taken place.
2 And they were also conversing about this Jesus Christ, of whom the sign had been given concerning his death.
3 And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.
4 And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not.
5 And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.
6 And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them: 7 Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name--hear ye him.
8 And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.
9 And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:
10 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.

3 Nephi 19
1 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ascended into heaven, the multitude did disperse, and every man did take his wife and his children and did return to his own home.
2 And it was noised abroad among the people immediately, before it was yet dark, that the multitude had seen Jesus, and that he had ministered unto them, and that he would also show himself on the morrow unto the multitude.
3 Yea, and even all the night it was noised abroad concerning Jesus; and insomuch did they send forth unto the people that there were many, yea, an exceedingly great number, did labor exceedingly all that night, that they might be on the morrow in the place where Jesus should show himself unto the multitude.

3 Nephi 26
13 Therefore, I would that ye should behold that the Lord truly did teach the people, for the space of three days; and after that he did show himself unto them oft, and did break bread oft, and bless it, and give it unto them.

The temple at Bountiful is the primary location of Christ's visit to the Nephite civilization. There are three temples mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The first was the one that Nephi built in the city of Nephi. The city of Nephi was conquered later by the Lamanites so it is assumed that the temple was destroyed or otherwise ceased to function as a true temple. There was also a temple at Zarahemla but at Christ's coming, the city of Zarahemla and inhabitants were destroyed by fire, so it was obviously not a suitable location for Christ's visit. The Book of Mormon recounts that the more righteous people were spared at Christ's coming, so there must have been a lot of those, plus a recognized temple at Bountiful. The line extending from Bountiful is a radius of 20 miles, probably around the outer limit of those that could be gathered for the second day visit of Christ. Messengers with the news could travel by land or water.
 4.7 Final Conflict: From Zarahemla to Cumorah

Mormon 1
2 And about the time that Ammaron hid up the records unto the Lord, he came unto me, (I being about ten years of age, and I began to be learned somewhat after the manner of the learning of my people) and Ammaron said unto me: I perceive that thou art a sober child, and art quick to observe;
3 Therefore, when ye are about twenty and four years old I would that ye should remember the things that ye have observed concerning this people; and when ye are of that age go to the land Antum, unto a hill which shall be called Shim; and there have I deposited unto the Lord all the sacred engravings concerning this people.

Note that the hill Shim is not the hill Cumorah, neither is it in the land of Cumorah but rather in the land of Antum. The two hills are often conflated because of Ether 9:1 (" ...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 ...") but note that the final destruction of the Nephites literally took place at Cumorah whereas Omer simply passes by the Hill Shim on his way to an unnamed place where the Nephites were destroyed. That unnamed place of destruction refers to the 2nd Battle of the city Desolation, in Mormon 3:18-23, where the Nephites suffered a major defeat. In seems this is where the war was really lost. It is immediately after this defeat that Mormon goes to the Hill Shim to retrieve the records and this ties the hill Shim to the events in Mormon 3:18-23 and not to Cumorah.

4 And behold, ye shall take the plates of Nephi unto yourself, and the remainder shall ye leave in the place where they are; and ye shall engrave on the plates of Nephi all the things that ye have observed concerning this people.
5 And I, Mormon, being a descendant of Nephi, (and my father's name was Mormon) I remembered the things which Ammaron commanded me.
6 And it came to pass that I, being eleven years old, was carried by my father into the land southward (S), even to the land of Zarahemla.
7 The whole face of the land had become covered with buildings, and the people were as numerous almost, as it were the sand of the sea.
8 And it came to pass in this year there began to be a war between the Nephites, who consisted of the Nephites and the Jacobites and the Josephites and the Zoramites; and this war was between the Nephites, and the Lamanites and the Lemuelites and the Ishmaelites.
9 Now the Lamanites and the Lemuelites and the Ishmaelites were called Lamanites, and the two parties were Nephites and Lamanites.
10 And it came to pass that the war began to be among them in the borders of Zarahemla, by the waters of Sidon.

"... in the borders of Zarahemla, by the waters of Sidon." and yet not in the city of Zarahemla proper, so it may have been on the other side of the river, on the east side -- in Nauvoo! That would be the same site as the first battle of the Amlicite war. See section 4.4.2. Mormon himself is in Zarahemla, so it sounds like the Nephites are defending the the Lamanites attacking.

11 And it came to pass that the Nephites had gathered together a great number of men, even to exceed the number of thirty thousand. And it came to pass that they did have in this same year a number of battles, in which the Nephites did beat the Lamanites and did slay many of them (B1).

Mormon 2
2 Therefore it came to pass that in my sixteenth year I did go forth at the head of an army of the Nephites, against the Lamanites; therefore three hundred and twenty and six years had passed away.
3 And it came to pass that in the three hundred and twenty and seventh year the Lamanites did come upon us with exceedingly great power, insomuch that they did frighten my armies; therefore they would not fight, and they began to retreat towards the north countries (N).
4 And it came to pass that we did come to the city of Angola, and we did take possession of the city, and make preparations to defend ourselves against the Lamanites. And it came to pass that we did fortify the city with our might; but notwithstanding all our fortifications the Lamanites did come upon us and did drive us out of the city (B2).
5 And they did also drive us forth out of the land of David.
6 And we marched forth and came to the land of Joshua, which was in the borders west by the seashore (WS).

Most of these cities are new (compared to 300 years ago during the Reign of the Judges period), but this is a description (borders west by the seashore) previously used, so it gives us an anchor point. See Alma 53:31, section 4.5.3

7 And it came to pass that we did gather in our people as fast as it were possible, that we might get them together in one body.
8 But behold, the land was filled with robbers and with Lamanites; and notwithstanding the great destruction which hung over my people, they did not repent of their evil doings; therefore there was blood and carnage spread throughout all the face of the land, both on the part of the Nephites and also on the part of the Lamanites; and it was one complete revolution throughout all the face of the land.
... 16 And it came to pass that in the three hundred and forty and fifth year the Nephites did begin to flee before the Lamanites; and they were pursued until they came even to the land of Jashon, before it was possible to stop them in their retreat.
17 And now, the city of Jashon was near the land where Ammaron had deposited the records unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed. And behold I had gone according to the word of Ammaron, and taken the plates of Nephi, and did make a record according to the words of Ammaron.
... 20 And it came to pass that in this year the people of Nephi again were hunted and driven. And it came to pass that we were driven forth until we had come northward to the land which was called Shem.
21 And it came to pass that we did fortify the city of Shem, and we did gather in our people as much as it were possible, that perhaps we might save them from destruction.
22 And it came to pass in the three hundred and forty and sixth year they began to come upon us again. ...
25 And it came to pass that we did contend with an army of thirty thousand against an army of fifty thousand. And it came to pass that we did stand before them with such firmness that they did flee from before us (B3)).
26 And it came to pass that when they had fled we did pursue them with our armies, and did meet them again, and did beat them; nevertheless the strength of the Lord was not with us; yea, we were left to ourselves, that the Spirit of the Lord did not abide in us; therefore we had become weak like unto our brethren....
28 And the three hundred and forty and ninth year had passed away. And in the three hundred and fiftieth year we made a treaty with the Lamanites and the robbers of Gadianton, in which we did get the lands of our inheritance divided.
29 And the Lamanites did give unto us the land northward (Desolation), yea, even to the narrow passage (NP) which led into the land southward. And we did give unto the Lamanites all the land southward.

We basically know from the text that the Nephites, starting at Zarahemla, retreat north, then northwest, then east and end up at the land of Desolation. The cities mentioned in between are placed in the most plausible locations based on the geography and distance. Angola would be where Wisconsin Dells is located today. It was picked because of it's strategic location and because it's never come up before in the Book of Mormon narrative. Jashon is north and placed in the part of Wisconsin that is rich in iron, gold, silver, tin, and especially copper - float copper that can just be picked up and used. This is a logical location for Ammoron, the keeper of the metallic Nephite records. See section 3.5.1.
The "narrow passage" leading south is route between Lake Michigan and Lake Superior and the border between Michigan (the land south) and Ontario (the land north). The "narrow pass" leading north is a geologic feature that is part of the narrow passage. See section 4.6.1 for more information on the "narrow pass". The best location matching the description is the water passage at De Tour Village called the De Tour Passage (NP). It is also described in Alma 50:1 "34 ...by the narrow pass which led by the sea into the land northward, yea, by the sea, on the west and on the east."

Mormon 3
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.

6 And there we did place our armies (B2), that we might stop the armies of the Lamanites, that they might not get possession of any of our lands; therefore we did fortify against them with all our force.
7 And it came to pass that in the three hundred and sixty and first year the Lamanites did come down (B1) 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.

Mormon 4
1 And now it came to pass that in the three hundred and sixty and third year the Nephites did go up with their armies to battle against the Lamanites, out of the land Desolation.
2 And it came to pass that the armies of the Nephites were driven back again to the land of Desolation. And while they were yet weary, a fresh army of the Lamanites did come upon them; and they had a sore battle (B1 and B2), insomuch that the Lamanites did take possession of the city Desolation, and did slay many of the Nephites, and did take many prisoners.
3 And the remainder did flee (F) and join the inhabitants of the city Teancum. Now the city Teancum lay in the borders by the seashore; and it was also near the city Desolation.

4 And it was because the armies of the Nephites went up unto the Lamanites that they began to be smitten; for were it not for that, the Lamanites could have had no power over them.
5 But, behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed.
6 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did make preparations to come against the city Teancum.
7 And it came to pass in the three hundred and sixty and fourth year the Lamanites did come against the city Teancum, that they might take possession of the city Teancum also.
8 And it came to pass that they were repulsed and driven back by the Nephites (B3). And when the Nephites saw that they had driven the Lamanites they did again boast of their own strength; and they went forth in their own might, and took possession again of the city Desolation.
9 And now all these things had been done, and there had been thousands slain on both sides, both the Nephites and the Lamanites.
... 13 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did take possession of the city Desolation, and this because their number did exceed the number of the Nephites.
14 And they did also march forward against the city Teancum, and did drive the inhabitants forth out of her, and did take many prisoners both women and children, and did offer them up as sacrifices unto their idol gods (B3).
15 And it came to pass that in the three hundred and sixty and seventh year, the Nephites being angry because the Lamanites had sacrificed their women and their children, that they did go against the Lamanites with exceedingly great anger, insomuch that they did beat again the Lamanites, and drive them out of their lands.
16 And the Lamanites did not come again against the Nephites until the three hundred and seventy and fifth year.
17 And in this year they did come down against the Nephites with all their powers; and they were not numbered because of the greatness of their number.
18 And from this time forth did the Nephites gain no power over the Lamanites, but began to be swept off by them even as a dew before the sun.
19 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did come down against the city Desolation; and there was an exceedingly sore battle fought in the land Desolation, in the which they did beat the Nephites (B1).
20 And they fled again from before them (F2), and they came to the city Boaz; and there they did stand against the Lamanites with exceeding boldness (B4), insomuch that the Lamanites did not beat them until they had come again the second time.
21 And when they had come the second time, the Nephites were driven and slaughtered with an exceedingly great slaughter; their women and their children were again sacrificed unto idols.
22 And it came to pass that the Nephites did again flee from before them (F3), taking all the inhabitants with them, both in towns and villages.
23 And now I, Mormon, seeing that the Lamanites were about to overthrow the land, therefore I did go to the hill Shim, and did take up all the records which Ammaron had hid up unto the Lord.

Mormon 5
3 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did come against us as we had fled (F3) to the city of Jordan; but behold, they were driven back that they did not take the city at that time.
4 And it came to pass that they came against us again (B5), and we did maintain the city. And there were also other cities which were maintained by the Nephites, which strongholds did cut them off that they could not get into the country which lay before us, to destroy the inhabitants of our land.
5 And it came to pass that whatsoever lands we had passed by, and the inhabitants thereof were not gathered in (F5), were destroyed by the Lamanites, and their towns, and villages, and cities were burned with fire; and thus three hundred and seventy and nine years passed away.
6 And it came to pass that in the three hundred and eightieth year the Lamanites did come again against us to battle, and we did stand against them boldly; but it was all in vain , for so great were their numbers that they did tread the people of the Nephites under their feet.
7 And it came to pass that we did again take to flight, and those whose flight was swifter than the Lamanites' did escape, and those whose flight did not exceed the Lamanites' were swept down and destroyed (F6).
8 And now behold, I, Mormon, do not desire to harrow up the souls of men in casting before them such an awful scene of blood and carnage as was laid before mine eyes; but I, knowing that these things must surely be made known, and that all things which are hid must be revealed upon the house-tops--
9 And also that a knowledge of these things must come unto the remnant of these people, and also unto the Gentiles, who the Lord hath said should scatter this people, and this people should be counted as naught among them--therefore I write a small abridgment, daring not to give a full account of the things which I have seen, because of the commandment which I have received, and also that ye might not have too great sorrow because of the wickedness of this people.

Mormon 6
1 And now I finish my record concerning the destruction of my people, the Nephites. And it came to pass that we did march forth before the Lamanites (F7).
2 And I, Mormon, wrote an epistle unto the king of the Lamanites (L), and desired of him that he would grant unto us that we might gather together our people unto the land of Cumorah, by a hill which was called Cumorah, and there we could give them battle.
3 And it came to pass that the king of the Lamanites did grant unto me the thing which I desired.
4 And it came to pass that we did march forth (F8) 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; and here we had hope to gain advantage over the Lamanites.
5 And when three hundred and eighty and four years had passed away, we had gathered in all the remainder of our people unto the land of Cumorah.
6 And it came to pass that when we had gathered in all our people (F9) in one to the land of Cumorah, behold I, Mormon, began to be old; and knowing it to be the last struggle of my people, and having been commanded of the Lord that I should not suffer the records which had been handed down by our fathers, which were sacred, to fall into the hands of the Lamanites, (for the Lamanites would destroy them) therefore I made this record out of the plates of Nephi, and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord, save it were these few plates which I gave unto my son Moroni.
7 And it came to pass that my people, with their wives and their children, did now behold the armies of the Lamanites marching towards them; and with that awful fear of death which fills the breasts of all the wicked, did they await to receive them.
8 And it came to pass that they came to battle against us, and every soul was filled with terror because of the greatness of their numbers.
9 And it came to pass that they did fall upon my people with the sword, and with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the ax, and with all manner of weapons of war.
10 And it came to pass that my men were hewn down, yea, even my ten thousand who were with me, and I fell wounded in the midst; and they passed by me that they did not put an end to my life.
11 And when they had gone through and hewn down all my people save it were twenty and four of us, (among whom was my son Moroni) and we having survived the dead of our people, did behold on the morrow, when the Lamanites had returned unto their camps, from the top of the hill Cumorah, the ten thousand of my people who were hewn down, being led in the front by me.
12 And we also beheld the ten thousand of my people who were led by my son Moroni.
13 And behold, the ten thousand of Gidgiddonah had fallen, and he also in the midst.
14 And Lamah had fallen with his ten thousand; and Gilgal had fallen with his ten thousand; and Limhah had fallen with his ten thousand; and Jeneum had fallen with his ten thousand; and Cumenihah, and Moronihah, and Antionum, and Shiblom, and Shem, and Josh, had fallen with their ten thousand each.
15 And it came to pass that there were ten more who did fall by the sword, with their ten thousand each; yea, even all my people, save it were those twenty and four who were with me, and also a few who had escaped into the south countries, and a few who had deserted over unto the Lamanites, had fallen; and their flesh, and bones, and blood lay upon the face of the earth, being left by the hands of those who slew them to molder upon the land, and to crumble and to return to their mother earth.
16 And my soul was rent with anguish, because of the slain of my people, and I cried:
17 O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!
18 Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. But behold, ye are fallen, and I mourn your loss.
19 O ye fair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, ye fair ones, how is it that ye could have fallen!
20 But behold, ye are gone, and my sorrows cannot bring your return.
21 And the day soon cometh that your mortal must put on immortality, and these bodies which are now moldering in corruption must soon become incorruptible bodies; and then ye must stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, to be judged according to your works; and if it so be that ye are righteous, then are ye blessed with your fathers who have gone before you.
22 O that ye had repented before this great destruction had come upon you. But behold, ye are gone, and the Father, yea, the Eternal Father of heaven, knoweth your state; and he doeth with you according to his justice and mercy.

Mormon 8
2 And now it came to pass that after the great and tremendous battle at Cumorah, behold, the Nephites who had escaped (F10) into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed.
3 And my father also was killed by them, and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone, and I fulfil the commandment of my father. And whether they will slay me, I know not.

He must have been close enough to have seen it happen. Otherwise, he could not have about it.

Doctrine & Covenants 17
1 BEHOLD, I say unto you, that you must rely upon my word, which if you do with full purpose of heart, you shall have a view of the plates, and also of the breastplate, the sword of Laban, the Urim and Thummim, which were given to the brother of Jared upon the mount, when he talked with the Lord face to face, and the miraculous directors which were given to Lehi while in the wilderness, on the borders of the Red Sea.
2 And it is by your faith that you shall obtain a view of them, even by that faith which was had by the prophets of old.
3 And after that you have obtained faith, and have seen them with your eyes, you shall testify of them, by the power of God;

For the city of Desolation, there are three clues given: A) it is "in" the borders (borders plural, and not at the borders or on the borders); B) it is close to the narrow pass by the sea leading northward; and 3) The Nephites are gathered there for defense. The water connecting the east sea (Lake Michigan) and west sea (Lake Superior) forms the border between the land north of Desolation and the land south of Bountiful (and beyond). However the borderis not in terms of a line drawn on a map because there are islands between the mainland areas. These are known today, top to bottom, as Sugar Island, Neebish Island, and St. Joseph Island. These could well be considered to be "in the borders" with the east and west shorelines being borders. Then to best get close to the Narrow Pass the city of Desolation would be located at the southern tip of St. Joseph Island. Being surrounded by water, St. Joseph Island is an excellent defensive location, large enough for a city (230 square miles), and with access to fresh water. Plus there opportunity for a bridge on the north end of the island.
Potential bridge locations between St Josephs Island and Ontario.
Mormon's journey to the Hill Shim to retrieve the records of Ammaron would have been a sea journey, to provide the means to carry all the records as safely as possible. It's about 350 miles from Jordan to the Hill Shim, so it would have taken Mormon 3-4 weeks round trip by sea - landing at (present day) Ontonagan, traveling up Irish Creek to the Hill Shim and then back again.
Flight of the Nephites to Cumorah.
Nephites gather to Cumorah. According to the chronology they had about four years, granted by the Lamanite king (who is left unnamed), to prepare and gather together, so there must have been many Nephite groups in addition to Mormons army scattered throughout the country in various fortifications. It is about 384 AD at which point all of North America and Canada is populated.
This is a representation of what the Nephite artifacts stored with the records of Ammaron may have looked like according to eye witness descriptions. The Three Witnesses were shown these artifacts by the Angel Moroni. Starting at 12 O'clock and then clockwise: 1) The Sword of Laban; 2) The Liahona; 3) The Golden Plates (Mormon's abridgement of the records of Ammaron); 4) The Breastplate (a optional holder of the Urim and Thummim); and 5) The Urim and Thummim (Holy Interpreters).
 4.8 Jaredite Lands ...
 4.9 Changing Boundaries
Overview of areas of settlement or influence in 50 year increments, as the people spread from the place of "first landing" to eventually encompass the entire land of North America. 587 BC - 1 BC, Yellow = Lamanites, Red = Mulekites, Blue = Nephites, Purple = combined
 5 Timelines ...
 5.1 Jaredite Period ...
 5.2 Early Nephite ...
 5.3 Late Nephite ...
 6 Archeology ...
 6.1 Fortifications ...
 6.2 Burials ...
 6.3 Armor and Weapons ...
 6.4 Other Artifacts ...


27 July 2017 17:05:27 PST
See also, Book of Mormon Covenant Lands forum.