Book of Mormon Geography
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Commentaries of Virginia Elieson,
the author of the map

The numbers on the map correspond to the commentary numbers below.

Map

1 The city of Ablom on the eastern seaboard east of the Hill Cumorah
2 The hill Cumorah - The light came from the same place where it was taken
3 Ripliancum - Large or to exceed all
4 Ogath - Gath means vine press. 90 vineyards in the area surrounding Palmyra
5 The hill Shim in the land Antum
6 The city of Jashon Near Shim
7 Modern Zarahemla - D&C 125
8 Adam-ondi-Ahman
9 The temple at Far West, Missouri
10 The temple in Bountiful where Christ appeared
11 The land of Moron near the land of Desolation
12 The land Bountiful - Jackson County, MO - The New Jerusalem
13 The sea east
14 The city of Mulek
15 The narrow neck of land near the place where the sea divides the land
16 The city of Lehi
17 The city of Morianton
18 The city of Gid
19 The city of Aaron joining boarders of Nephihah
20 The city of Nephihah
21 The narrow strip of wilderness running from east to west sea
22 How much of the land sank?
23 The city of Moroni
24 The land of Ishmael and Middoni
25 Over into the land of Nephi from Zarahemla
26 Round about the head of Sidon
27 The boarders of Manti
28 The land of Nephi - Never mentioned after 34 AD
29 The land of Mulek the north continent. The land of Lehi the south continent.
30 Up into Nephi
31 Other cities in the western war zone - Antiparah, Cumini, Judea between Cumini and Zarahemla, and Zeezrom; named after the lawyer converted by Alma and Amulek
32 The south wilderness
33 The land of Zarahemla
34 The river Sidon the only river in the Book
35 The city of Melek
36 The people of Ammon move here 74 BC and then go North in 46 BC
37 The city of Manti
38 Ammonihah or the Desolation of Nehor
39 The land of Joshua
40 The land of Noah - Noah lived 200 years after the Jaredites left. They brought a written record with them.
41 The land of Antionum - San Antonio?
42 The land of Jershon
43 King Limhi's 43 men came this way

Q. What are the major points of Book of Mormon geography?
A.

  1. The Book of Mormon contains 40 typed pages of just geographical references.
  2. There are four major land areas in the Book of Mormon; the land of Nephi; land Bountiful, the land of Zarahemla, and the land of Desolation.
  3. Much of the Book of Mormon geography describes travels and communications between the land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi.
  4. The Land of Nephi is mentioned 41 times before coming of Christ but not once afterward.
  5. The Lord led the righteous people from the land of Nephi on five different occasions (before some or all of the land of Nephi sank into the sea);
    1. "Mosiah being warned of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi, and as many as would hearken to the voice of the Lord", between 279 and 130 B.C., Omni 12-13.
    2. "Now Alma being warned of the Lord…made it known to his people, therefore they gathered together…and departed into the wilderness…" between 135 and 121 B.C., Mosiah 23:1.
    3. "And it came to pass that the people of king Limhi did depart by night into the wilderness…and bent their course towards the land of Zarahemla, being led by Ammon and his brethren." Mosiah 22:11, between 145 and 121 B.C.
    4. "…and the Lord said unto him (Ammon): Get this people out of this land, that they perish not…and they gathered together all their people, all the people of the Lord…and departed out of the land, and came into the wilderness which divided the land of Nephi from the land of Zarahemla…" Alma 27:11-14, between 90 and 77 B.C. This left the Lamanites who would not heed the word and the Nephites who had dissented from the land of Zarahemla. From then on, there were continual and frequent wars and battles between the Lamanites and Nephites.
    5. Because of the preaching of Nephi and Lehi in the book of Heleman, chapter 5, "that many of the Lamanites did come down into the Land of Zarahemla, and did declare unto the people of the Nephites the manner of their conversion…"
  6. The land of Nephi was north of the land of their First Inheritance.
  7. The land of Zarahemla was north of the land of Nephi.
  8. The land Bountiful was north of the land of Zarahemla.
  9. The land of Desolation was north of the land Bountiful.
  10. There are twice as many references to north and south directions than east and west (excluding references to the east and south wilderness and west and south sea.)
  11. The land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi were many miles apart and yet were close to each other, why? There were two routes to journey with something in between that prevented travel in a single course.
  12. The river Sidon is the only river named in the Book of Mormon. It generally ran from north to the south and emptied into the west sea or the head of the river Sidon, i.e., to bring something "to a head."
  13. Christ appeared in the land Bountiful, in the city in the land Bountiful.
  14. The Mulekites landed in North America and stayed where they first settled. It became Zarahemla.
  15. The west sea was the Gulf of Mexico. In this way, it provided that the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla to be nearly surrounded by water. (Alma 22:32) This is also the reason the Nephites had to fight a two front war.
  16. A narrow strip of wilderness, the east wilderness, ran between the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla.

Q. Did Joseph Smith say anything about geography?
A. Yes. He did say that:

  • Lehi landed in the Americas a little south of the Isthmus of Darien, Panama.
    Times and Seasons, vol. 3 (November 1841-October 1842), Vol. 3 No. 22 September 15, 1842 927
  • He said that the ruins of Quirigua, Guatemala were surely from Nephite origin.
    Times and Seasons, vol. 3 (November 1841-October 1842), Vol. 3 No. 22 September 15, 1842 927; Page 942 of this issue of the Times and Seasons states: "The Times and Seasons, Is edited, printed and published Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, by Joseph Smith." [W]e have found another important fact relating to the truth of the Book of Mormon. Central America, or Guatimala [Guatemala], is situated north of the Isthmus of Darien and once embraced several hundred miles of territory from north to south. - The city of Zarahemla, burnt at the crucifixion of the Savior, and rebuilt afterwards, stood upon this land…
  • He said that the Jaredites settled in Aztalan, Wisconsin. This is an archeological site similar to the thousands found in the Mississippi valley region attributed to the Mound Builders of North America. The site contains three small stepped pyramidal mounds.
    Times and Seasons, "Truth will prevail." Vol. III. No. 16. CITY OF NAUVOO, ILL. JUNE 15, 1842. [Whole No. 52 From the Millennial Star Pg 88.] After the death of Don Carlos Smith, Josephs younger brother in August of 1841, Joseph took responsibilities of editor of Times and Seasons.
  • He said that Zelph was a Lamanite warrior found in Illinois.
    On June 3, 1834, in Pike County, Illinois, some of the men of Zion's Camp located some bones and an arrowhead about a foot below the ground. Seven of the members of Zion's Camp who were with Joseph either recorded or orally related their accounts of what was said. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zelph These accounts declared that the bones were from Zelph, a "white Lamanite" general who was a righteous man and was a chieftain under the great prophet Onandagus, whose fame was known from the Hill Cumorah or eastern sea to the Rocky Mountains.

Q. How do you account for the long distances and many miles this map would require people to travel?
A. Consider:

  • Zion's Camp traveled over 900 miles from May 1 to June 19, 1834 with 25 wagons 205 men, 11 women and 7 children. They only took 40 days in travel.
  • The Mormon Battalion marched on foot 1,900 miles, from Omaha, Nebraska to San Diego, California in 6 months. Alexander Donaphin, (The man who saved Joseph Smith's life when he was arrested at Far West) was in the same Mexican War and took his men from Independence, Missouri to San Diego and back through New Orleans, Louisiana; 5,000 miles in 12 months.
  • The saints went from Winter Quarters with 73 wagons and one cannon to Salt Lake, 1,050 miles in 2.5 months. Brigham Young turned around in August and returned to Winder Quarters the same year.
  • The ship Brooklyn sailed from New York harbor to San Francisco, California with 238 Mormon saints and traveled 24,000 miles in five months and twenty-seven days.

Q. Why are there so many different opinions and theories about the geography of the Book of Mormon?
A. In part because there is so much geography described in the Book of Mormon. In a way it's a puzzle. Many pieces to the picture are there, but not all. Assumptions have to be made in order to create a map.

Q. This map is too imaginary and unreal to be considered. How can anyone have confidence in it?
A. There is no doubt this model unbelievable, either good or bad. But if you read just the geography in the Book of Mormon, more than once, the puzzle pieces seem to come together.

Q. Where can I read just the geography all knit together?
A. The only place is on this site. Read the Narrative with the comments and questions in red. Find the model that's best for you.

Q. What is the reason for all of this geography if it's all unclear?
A. The best reason is you can visualize places, travels, events and remember them. It will enhance your experience and make the Nephites and Lamanites come alive. For some this isn't relavent, and for the purpose of the Book of Mormon this is true. But for others, it grows their testimony.