III. The book of Alma – Chapters 16-44
Now the Nephites were desirous to obtain those who had been carried away captive into the wilderness, therefore, he that had been appointed chief captain over the armies of the Nephites, and his name was Zoram, 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 whether the Lord would that they should go into the wilderness in search of their brethren, who had been taken captive by the Lamanites. Alma : 16:2-5
And Alma said: Behold, the Lamanites will cross the river Sidon in the south wilderness, (The river Sidon runs north and south. Did it run north and east of the city of Zarahemla and then through the south wilderness, which was south of Zarahemla?) away up beyond of the land of Manti. (The land of Manti was near the river Sidon and the south wilderness. Was it also south of Zarahemla?) 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.
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. (It sounds like the river Sidon was east of Zarahemla and of Manti.)
And they came upon the armies of the Lamanites and the Lamanites were scattered and driven into the south 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. Alma 16:6-8
Now it came to pass that the sons of Mosiah took a small number with them and went to their father the king and desired of him that he would grant unto them that they might, with these whom they had selected, go up to the land of Nephi, that they might impart the word of God to their brethren. Mosiah 28:1
And it came to pass that Mosiah granted that they might go and do according to their request. And they took their journey into the wilderness to go up to preach the word among the Lamanites; and I shall give an account of their proceedings hereafter.
And thus they departed into the wilderness with their numbers which they had selected, and they journeyed many days in the wilderness. Mosiah 28:5-9
Ammon went to the land of Ishmael, the land being called after the sons of Ishmael, who also became Lamanites. Alma 17:19
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 they life; but thou shalt go the land of Middoni; for behold they brother Aaron, and also Muloki and Ammah are in prison.
And 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 20:2, 28
Now, when Ammon and his brethren separated themselves in the borders of the land of the Lamanites, behold Aaron took his journey towards the land which was called by the Lamanites, Jerusalem, calling it after the land of their father’s nativity; and it was away joining the borders of Mormon. Now the Lamanites and the Amalekties and the people of Amulon had built a great city, which was called Jerusalem.
And when Aaron saw that they would not hear his words he departed out of their synagogue, and came over to a village which was called Ani-Anti, and there he found Muloki.
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. And they did preach the word unto many and few believed on the words which they taught.
And it came to pass that Ammon and Lamoni returned from the land of Middoni to the land of Ishmael, which was the land of their inheritance. Alma 21:1-18
For after he (Aaron) departed from the land of Middoni he was led by the Spirit to the land of Nephi, even to the house of the King which was over all the land save it were the land of Ishmael; and he was the father of Lamoni. Alma 22:1
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, (Why round about? Round about what? The west sea or Gulf of Mexico? Its round.) which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, (This refers to the direction, not name of a sea.) and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east 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, (Manti is south of Zarahemla so the wilderness spoken of must be north of the land of Nephi.) by the head of river Sidon, (Head of Sidon is the sum or total of the river, not the beginning of the river; as described in Hebrew) running from the east towards the west-and thus were the Lamanites and the Nephites divided. (Why does Mormon tell us all of this geography? What good is it if we don’t understand the basic geographic layout of the Book of Mormon? Even if we understood the geographic layout, what possible good would come from studying geography? As hard as it was to inscribe on to metal plates, there must be a reason for its existence.)
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 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. 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; (Let’s see; the Lamanites are on the east, on the south, and on the west of the Nephites! Yep, they are nearly surrounded.)
Nevertheless the Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land bordering on the wilderness, at the head of the River of 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. (Why was land Bountiful established north of Zarahemla? What was the attraction or incentive? Was it because it was in the wilderness that was filled with all manner of wild life? The land of desolation was a Nephite designation not a Jaradite one. You had to go through land of Desolation before getting to the land of whose bones have been spoken of.)
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, (It is important to understand that it is the Jaredites who are the -they- in this verse, and not the people of Zarahemla. [See footnote d in vs. 30 of Alma 22: first landing.] This wasn’t clarified until the new scriptures were published in the early 1980s. If the verse referred to the people of Zarahemla, it would indicate that the Mulekites landed north of the land of Desolation, which is not the case.) which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, it being the place of their first landing. (This refers to the Jaredites.)
And they came from there up (Up? Didn’t they come from the north to the south?) into the south wilderness. (To the Jaredites the south wilderness was the land Bountiful. To the Nephites, the south wilderness was south of Zarahemla) Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful, (That’s if you are standing on the line or border of the land Bountiful and the land Desolation.) it being the wilderness which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every king, a part of which had come from the land northward for food. (Coming from the land of Desolation southward to the land Bountiful.)
And now, it was only the distance of a day a half’s journey (There must have been a space between the line Bountiful and the border of the land of Desolation that extended all the way across from the east to the west sea that took a day and a half to cross. How far is a day and a half’s journey? It depends on how you are traveling or the method of travel. They did have horses.) for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful (The line Bountiful is the boarder line separating it from the land of Desolation.) and the land Desolation from the east to the west sea; (This is confusing when you only think of the land Bountiful and the land Desolation running east and west. When looking at the major rivers in the U.S., one could see how the boundaries of these lands could run east and west as well as north and south. Look in the book He Walked the Americas; page 200. The Algonquin Indian occupation of the U.S.: it’s interesting – He Walked the Americas, L. Taylor Hansen, Legend Press copyright 1961, twenty – first printing 1997) and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck (Is this the same as the narrow neck of land or the same as the narrow pass?) of land between the land northward and the land southward. (Is this the same northward and southward spoken of in Heleman 6:10?)
And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east (Does this mean from the east or from the east sea?) 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, (How do you hem in the Lamanites all away across the country: like the U.S. does with Mexico? That would be too difficult unless you have a narrow route or bottleneck by which to hem them in. Perhaps the Nephites had two with something like the west sea dividing them. Is that why the Nephites had a two-front war with the Lamanites in the later chapters of Alma and first chapters of Helaman?) that thereby they should have no more possession on the north, that they might not overrun the land northward.
Therefore the Lamanites could have no more possessions (In the north) 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. Alma 22:27-34 (Which the Nephites eventually had to do.)
And thousands were brought to the knowledge of the Lord, and as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preachings and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away. Now these are they who were converted unto the Lord; the people of the Lamanites who were in the land of Ishmael, the land of Middoni, the city of Nephi, the land of Shemlon, and the land of Shilom, and the city of Lemuel and the city of Shimnilom.
And it came to pass that they called their names Anti-Nephi-Lehies; and they were called by this name and were no more called Lamanites. Alma 23:5-17
And it came to pass that the Amalekites and the Amulonites and the Lamanites who were in the land of Amulon, and also in the land of Helam, and who were in the land of Jerusalem, and in fine, in all the land round about who had not been converted and had not taken upon them the name of Anti-Nephi-Lehi, were stirred up by the Amalekites and by the Amulonites to anger against their brethren.
Now when Ammon and his brethren and all those who had come up with him saw that preparations of the Lamanites to destroy their brethren, they came forth to the land of Midian, and there Ammon met all his brethren; and from thence they came to the land of Ishmael that they might hold a council with Lamoni and also with his brother Anti-Nephi-Lehi, what they should do to defend themselves against the Lamanites.
Now there was not one soul that would take up arms against their brethren, (so) they took their swords and all their weapons and did bury them up (What does up mean? Does up in this case mean into?) deep in the earth.
Now when the Lamanites saw that their brethren would not flee from the sword, they were more angry because they had slain their brethren; therefore they swore vengeance upon the Nephites; and they did no more attempt to slay the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi at that time.
But they took their armies and went over into the borders of the land of Zarahemla and fell upon the people who were in the land of Ammonihah and destroyed them. And after that, they had many battles with the Nephites in the which they were driven and slain.
And among the Lamanites who were slain were almost all the seed of Amulon and his brethren, who were the priests of Noah, and they were slain by the hands of the Nephites; and the remainder having fled into the east wilderness, and having usurped power and authority over the Lamanites caused that many of the Lamanites should perish by fire because of their belief. Alma 24:1-23; 25:1-5
And it came to pass that when the Lamanites saw that they could not over power the Nephites they returned again to their own land; and many of them came over to dwell in the land of Ishmael and the land of Nephi, and did join themselves to the people of God, who were the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi. Alma 25:13
And it came to pass that the Amalekites, because of their loss, were exceedingly angry. And when they saw that they could not seek revenge from the Nephites, they began to stir up the people in anger against their brethren, the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi; therefore they began again to destroy them.
And the Lord said: Get this people out of this land that they perish not; for Satan has great hold on the hearts of the Amalekites.
And all their people, yea all the people of the Lord did gather together all their flocks and herds, and departed out of the land, and came into the wilderness (Was this the narrow strip of wilderness or the south wilderness?) which divided the land of Nephi from the land of Zarahemla, and came over near the borders of the land. Alma 27:2-14
And now it came to pass that as Alma was journeying from the land of Gideon southward, away to the land of Manti, (Was the land of Gideon north of Manti?) behold to his astonishment, he met with the sons of Mosiah journeying towards the land of Zarahemla. (Manti must have been between the land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi. Also, it must have been south of Zarahemla like the land of Gideon.) And Alma conducted his brethren back to the land of Zarahemla. Alma 17:1
And it came to pass that the chief judge sent a proclamation throughout all the land, desiring the voice of the people concerning the admitting their brethren, who were the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi. 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 (Was this east of Zarahemla?) by the sea, which joins the land Bountiful, which is on the south of the land Bountiful; which we will give unto our brethren for an inheritance. And behold, we will set our armies between the land of Jershon and the land of Nephi, (The land of Nephi must have been east of Zarahemla, east of Jershon or at least east of the route to the land of Nephi.) that we may protect our brethren in that land Jershon; and this we do for our brethren, on account of their fear to take up arms. Alma 27:21-23
Now the Zoramites had gathered themselves together in the land which they called Antionum, which was east of the land of Zarahemla, which lay nearly bordering upon the seashore, (Was this the west sea?) which was south of the land of Jershon, which also bordered upon the wilderness south, which wilderness was full of the Lamanites. Alma 31:3
Now it came to pass that after Amulek had made an end of these words, they withdrew themselves from the multitude (Zoramites) and came over into the land of Jershon. Yea, and rest of the brethren, after they had preached the word unto the Zoramites, also came over into the land of Jershon.
And the people of Ammon departed out of the land of Jershon, and came over into the land of Melek, (This was west of the River Sidon and north of Zarahemla.) and gave place in the land Jershon for the armies of the Nephites. Alma 35:1, 13
Now in the eighteenth year of the reign of the judges 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 Zarahemla was their leader.
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.
And Moroni took all the command, and the government of their wars. And it came to pass that he met the Lamanites in the borders of Jershon, and his people were armed with swords, and with cimeters, and all manner of weapons of war.
Behold, now it came to pass that they durst not come against the Nephites in the borders of Jershon; therefore they departed out of the land of Antionum into the wilderness, and took their journey round about in the wilderness, away by the head of the river Sidon, (Traveling south) that they might come into the land of Manti and take possession of the land; for they did not suppose that the armies of Moroni would know wither they had gone.
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, and the word of the Lord came unto Alma, 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.
Now Moroni, leaving a part of his army in the land of Jershon, least 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.
And he caused that all the people in that quarter (Four quarters – north, east, west and south. Are we speaking of the southwest quarter?) of the land should gather themselves together to battle against the Lamanites. 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 in the wilderness.
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; and the remainder he concealed in the west valley, on the west of the river Sidon, and so down into the borders of the land of Manti. Alma 43:3-32
And it came to pass that the Lamanites came up on the north of the hill, where a part of the army of Moroni was concealed. And as the Lamanites had passed the hill Riplah, and came into the valley, and began to cross the river Sidon, (Going from the east toward the west.) the army which was concealed on the south of the hill, which was lead by a man whose name was Lehi, and he led his army forth and encircled the Lamanites about on the east in their rear.
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.
And it came to pass that the Lamanites become frightened, even until they began to flee toward the river Sidon. And they were pursued by Lehi and his men; and they were driven by Lehi into the waters of Sidon, and they crossed (Going west) the waters of Sidon. And Lehi retained his armies upon the bank of the river Sidon that they should not cross. And it came to pass that Moroni and his army met the Lamanites in the valley, on the other side (Toward the west.) of the river Sidon, and began to fall upon them and to slay them.
And they began to stand against the Lamanites with power, and the Lamanites began to flee before them; and they fled even to the waters of Sidon.
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.
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. Now Moroni, when he saw their terror, commanded his men that they should stop shedding their blood. Alma 43:34-54
Now Zerahemnah, when he saw that they were all about to be destroyed, cried mightily unto Moroni, promising that he would covenant and also his people with them, if they would spare the remainder of their lives, that they never would come to war again against them.
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. Alma 44:19, 22 (The west sea or the head of Sidon.)