CHOICE ABOVE ALL OTHER LANDS
Book of Mormon Covenant Lands According to the Best Sources

 

Why Lake Erie, and not Lake Tonawanda, is the Western Terminus of the Land Bountiful

 

Reason 1Lake Tonawanda was in the Book of Mormon land Desolation. The ancient inland sea was near Bountiful, but did not form a shore of that land.

Scripture states:

31  And they came from there [Desolation] up into the south wilderness.  Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful ... (Alma 22:31)

The Onondaga Limestone Formation and escarpment parallels the linear divide or “line which was between the land Bountiful and the land Desolation.” (3 Nephi 3:23) Unlike the southern fortified “line” of Bountiful (Helaman 4:6-7), there is no mention of the “line” between Desolation and Bountiful being fortified in early Nephite times. (Alma 22:32) While there is mention of a “sea” north of “the line Bountiful and the land Desolation” (Lake Tonawanda, e.g. Mormon 3:8, Alma 50:34). The sea on the west of Bountiful is clearly the one named “the west sea”.

In her 2004 master’s thesis, geologist Heidi Natel explains that the “Tonawanda Basin lies between the (Middle) Devonian Onondaga Escarpment and the (Middle) Silurian Lockport Escarpment to the north (Figure 1.).” (pg. 12)

As the waters of Lake Tonawanda receded, the Batavia Moraine was exposed as a small neck of land (Alma 22:32) named the narrow pass”. (Alma 50:34)

In Hebrew, the narrow passcan also be translated the narrow passage. (Mormon 2:29; see The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-Aramaic Lexicon, entry 4569, מעבר, pg. 721)

The narrow pass passed through Desolation’s sea - “between the land northward and the land southward”.

 Divided Narrow Neck

With the Batavia Moraine exposed as the “narrow pass which led by the sea into the land northward, yea, by the sea, on the west and on the east.” (Alma 50:34), the receded waters of Lake Tonawanda formed shorelines some distance north of the Onondaga Escarpment – in the land of Desolation. In fact, western Lake Tonawanda was bound north of the Niagara Falls Moraine (Figure 1.) which is north of the Onondaga Escarpment (the natural boundary between the land of Desolation and the land of Bountiful). The Onondaga Escarpment is a little north of, and approximately parallel to I-90. See Figure 1 above.

Bountiful by Desolation by the Narrow Neck

Figure א. This map shows the authentic Book of Mormon setting featuring “the west sea” (Lake Erie), and the natural linear boundary between the lands of Desolation and Bountiful.

 

Batavia Moraine - narrow landbridge Figure ב. The southern portion of the diagonal Batavia Moraine (tan) sits on the Onondaga Limestone Formation (light tan). From the Onondaga Formation, the Batavia Moraine extends northward, down into the land of Desolation and then runs parallel with, and within the divided Niagara Neck - as depicted in Figure 1. Tonawanda Creek is nearby, spilling over the escarpment at Indian Falls, just west of where the Batavia Moraine passed through the inland ancient sea.

Tonawanda Basin

 Holley Embayment and Batavia Moraine

 Tonawanda Basin and Batavia Moraine

Natel: Figures 2, 3 and 5 depict the Batavia Moraine and Prehistoric Lake Tonawanda’s shoreline (undiminished) – north of the Onondaga Limestone Escarpment.

Natel’s mollusk macrofossil  study indicates that as Lake Tonawanda receded and the exposed Batavia Moraine cut off the eastern waters of the lake from the more effluent western side, different aquatic species came to inhabit the more stagnant eastern end. (E.g. pg. 72, Figure 23.) This is proof positive that in later stages of the lake, there really and truly was a narrow land-bridge that cut through the inland sea. This shouldn't be too surprising. Early 19th century maps of western NY show that the moraine was used as a pass through the muck-lands.

Lake Erie – the Book of Mormon “west sea”:

Scripture states:

33  And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea (Alma 22:33)

Scripture does not say “the Nephites inhabited … the land Bountiful … from the east almost to the west sea…”

Since the borders of the land Bountiful (which reside “up” above the Onondaga Formation) do not extend to the receded edge of Lake Tonawanda, the diminished inland sea could not have been Bountiful’s western terminus. Bountiful came short of Lake Tonawanda! Lake Tonawanda was “the sea” that invaded nether Desolation. (Mormon 3:5-8) The Bountiful “west sea”, in all likely hood, is the very same “west sea” that forms the western coasts of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi to the south.

Bountiful’s fortified southern “line” probably ran more or less parallel with Buffalo River / Creek and part of its tributary Cayuga Creek “from the west sea [Lake Erie] even unto the east”. (Helaman 4:7) The eastern terminus of the fortified line could have been the beaches of a lake or inland sea in the vicinity of what is now Tonawanda Creek. (Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, Vol. 10, Tonawanda Valley, 32-34)

Reason 2Even though Lake Tonawanda was connected to Lake Erie, it is unlikely that Lake Tonawanda (north of Zarahemla) would have been called “the west sea”. 

Given the scriptural location of the Book of Mormon land Cumorah (LDS Doctrine and Covenants 128:20), Lake Erie matches the Book of Mormon “west sea” splendidly. The Great Lake’s extent meets the requirements of scripture.

No Book of Mormon passage states that “the sea” that “the narrow pass” traversed, was called the west sea. It was “the narrow neck”, not “the narrow pass”, that was by “the west sea” (Lake Erie). (Alma 63:5)

Why should we suppose that “the narrow pass” and “the narrow neck of land” are different things?

Scripture tells us that in the vicinity of “the narrow neck of land” there is a “place where the sea divides the land”. (Ether 10:20) Thus, “the narrow neck” most likely has something to do with the conspicuous Niagara Isthmus. The Great Lake clearly “divides the land” at the place where Lake Erie becomes the Niagara River! See Figure 1. and Figure א. With Buffalo River close by to the south, this is an ideal location for a “great city” - in fact, there is one there today!

Note that a portion of the Batavia Moraine actually passes within the Niagara Narrow Neck. The word isthmus means narrow neck. (OED)

Unlike “the narrow pass”, there is no indication in scripture that “the narrow neck” was a continuous, unbroken land bridge that “led into the land southward”. (Mormon 2:29; 3:5) West of the Niagara River divide, “the narrow neck ... led into the land northward.” It was “by the narrow neck”, not “the narrow pass”, that Hagoth launched his “exceedingly large ship … into the west sea”. (Alma 63:5) The mouth of Buffalo River can accommodate very large ships. It is an ideal location for a Nephite, Sidon-like seaport. There are two battleships and a submarine moored there today. Check it out on Google Earth!

The region of the city of Zarahemla was regarded by the Nephites as “the heart of their lands”, “the center”, or “most capital parts” of their lands. It stands to reason that the names of nearby inland seas would coordinate with the Nephite “center” or “heart”. (Alma 60:19)

From “the heart of their lands”, the names “east sea” and “west sea” are appropriate. Similarly “east sea” (the Salt Sea, Ezekiel 47:18, Joel 2:20, Numbers 34:2-3) and “utmost sea”  (the Mediterranean, Deuteronomy 34:2. Joel 2:20) are appropriately named relative to Jerusalem. The Hebrew הַ\יָּם הָ\אַחֲרוֹן, translated “the utmost sea” in the KJV, actually indicates “the western sea” - west with respect to Jerusalem and the land of Israel in general.

Relative to the Nephite “center”, Lake Tonawanda was north - not west!

The fact that the ancient inland sea is identified today by the name - “Lake Tonawanda”, not Prehistoric Lake Erie, should prompt us to consider that even though the lake was connected to Lake Erie, it most likely would have been given its own name in former times. Names like the north sea or the Desolation sea would have been appropriate, and consistent with how neighboring bodies of water were named relative to the Nephite “center of the land”. Besides, it’s difficult to say exactly how diminished Lake Tonawanda was by Nephite times - that is, how connected it was to Lake Erie near its shallow eastern end. Tonawanda River (near “the narrow pass”) could have been a more significant contributor to the Lake. The Nephites certainly would have had means of fording Tonawanda River to get to “the narrow pass”. Today there is a small bridge spanning the creek in the town of Batavia.

It makes sense that the Nephites would have distinguished Lake Tonawanda with some name other than “the west sea” in order to avoid ambiguity with Great Lake Erie that formed the long, western coast of their principal lands?

Indeed, the simplest, most straightforward interpretation of scripture supports the conclusion that “the west sea”, on the western coast of Nephi and Zarahemla, is the same “west sea” that forms the western coast of the land Bountiful further “north”.  This great body of water is consistently named “the west sea” throughout the Book of Mormon. The land Bountiful “north” of the Nephite “center of the land”, plainly shares Lake Erie’s coast with Zarahemla and Nephi.

The scriptural statement “... land southward which was called by the Nephites Zarahemla” is consistent with a point of view based in Bountiful or Desolation. Zarahemla is “southward” from Desolation and Bountiful. (Ether 9:31, Omni 1:22)

What about the expression “west sea, south”? It occurs once in scripture. This expression does not represent a different or more specialized name for Lake Erie - distinguishing it from Lake Tonawanda. In other words, the expression “on the west sea, south” should not be construed to suggest that Lake Tonawanda was called “the west sea” or the west sea, north. (Alma 53:8) The same Book of Mormon chapter restates the meaning of the expression “…on the west sea, south” as “on the south by the west sea.” (Alma 53:22) Nothing more is implied!

The name or proper noun “west sea” has the construct “west” (adjective) + “sea” (noun), whereas “sea west” or “sea south” is a noun followed by a direction. (E.g. Helaman 3:8) Note that the expression “west sea, south” is a proper noun followed by a direction. The Book of Mormon expression “sea west” is just another way of saying “sea … on the west”. (Alma 22:27) Similarly, the expression “west sea, south” is just a way of referring to a southern coast of “the west sea”. The name of the body of water is “the west sea” (Lake Erie) not something of the form Lake Erie, south.

What of the “east sea”?

From the King James Translation alone the attentive Bible reader can tell that ancient Israelites referred to lakes as seas. The word lake is found nowhere in the KJV Old Testament. Even relatively small, inland bodies of water were called seas.

Similarly, there are many inland seas (lakes) east of Lake Erie. In ancient times especially, the Finger Lakes region was truly “a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains” - more difficult for an invading force to penetrate! (Mormon 6:4) A continuous passable land route for war parties would have been much preferred to carrying canoes in order to periodically cross intervening bodies of water.

Publishing the views of naturalists of his day, Josiah Priest (a renowned contemporary of the Prophet Joseph Smith), stated that “the western lakes … Erie, Seneca, Cayuga, and many lesser ones, are the mere remnants of the great inland sea which once existed in this region”. (Priest, American Antiquities and Discoveries in the West, “FURTHER REMARKS ON THE DRAINING OF THE WESTERN COUNTRY OF ITS ANCIENT LAKES”, 1833 edition, pg. 370)

Referring to the American Promised Land, scripture states that “after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord…” (Ether 13:2)  - a land akin to Israel’s Old World inheritance:

7  For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; (Deuteronomy 8:7)

How great a lapse of time took place from the subsiding of the flood of Noah”, till the bursting of barriers that held vast inland seas in America, Priest is unwilling to speculate. (A.A., 1833 edition, pg. 369) Suffice to say that Priest and others set forth the view in Joseph Smith’s time, that “the millions of mankind, with their multifarious works, covering the vales of all our rivers, many of which were once the bottoms of immense lakes, and where the tops of the tallest forests peer to the skies, or where the towering spires of many a Christian temple makes glad the heart of civi'ized man, and where the smoking chimnies of his widespread habitations - once sported the lake serpent…” (A.A., “DISAPPEARANCE OF MANY ANCIENT LAKES OF THE WEST, AND OF THE FORMATION OF SEA COAL”, 1833 edition, pg. 352)

We shouldn’t be surprised, therefore, to find that contemporaries of Joseph Smith recognized in the marshes north of Batavia the remains of an ancient inland sea. That local rivers, creeks, and wetlands had once been much larger bodies of water in ages past; was not too uncommon an idea for 19th century upstate New Yorkers. (LDS Doctrine and Covenants 128:23)

The geological facts are, that in the vicinity of a major NY fault, near what is now Tonawanda Creek, there are remnant beaches (Alma 51:32) of bygone lakes. (Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, Vol. 10, Tonawanda Valley, 32-34) Geologist Frank Leverett, for instance, notes several “beaches” of former lakes in western New York. (Glacial Formations and Drainage Features of the Erie and Ohio Basins, PL. III)

The Tonawanda Creek corridor running parallel to the Clarendon Linden Fault is somewhat analogues to the Jordan Rift Valley of the biblical Promised Land. But unlike the Jordan, Tonawanda Creek flows northward. Long ago there was an inland sea or lake at the head of Tonawanda Creek in the Beaver Meadows, Gallagher Swamp, and Java Lake region. (Leverett, Glacial Formations and Drainage Features of the Erie and Ohio Basins, pp. 210-213) This lake also fed the narrow Cattaraugus Creek corridor which runs westward to Lake Erie.

Further east, and south of the yawning Letchworth Gorge, stood ancient Lake Genesee. (Leverett, Glacial Formations and Drainage Features of the Erie and Ohio Basins, pp. 201, 204, 206, 649)

Here we have possible candidates for “east” inland seas in the authentic Book of Mormon setting. But which of these best fits the one the Book of Mormon calls “the east sea”?

The covenant land setting of the Bible should here be considered as a template for the Book of Mormon setting:

There is more than one eastern sea in the small Biblical Promised Land. (Numbers 34:11-12, Joshua 12:3; 13:27; 15:5, 12) These bodies of water are connected. We should consider the possibility that as the great western sea (the Mediterranean) is much larger than the biblical eastern seas (lakes), so the Book of Mormon “west sea” (Great Lake Erie) could be considerably larger than the eastern seas (lakes) in the Book of Mormon setting. (Numbers 34:6, Joshua 1:4, Ether 9:3)

Of the interconnected eastern seas referred to in the Bible, one was actually called “the east sea” with respect to Jerusalem. More commonly called “the salt sea” (or Dead Sea by Gentiles), this famous lake situates in the southeastern quarter of the land. (Numbers 34:3, Joel 2:20) Was the Book of Mormon  “east sea” similarly located in the southeastern quarter of Nephite territory?

There was a wilderness corridor between the Book of Mormon “east sea” and “the west sea”. 

From scripture we conclude that “the narrow strip of wilderness”, the “straight course” of the land of Nephi, which formed “the line between … the land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi”, ran from “the east sea to the west [sea]”. That “west” means “west sea” in Alma 50:8, is clear from the following verses taken together:

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. (Alma 22:27)

8  And the land of Nephi did run in a straight course from the east sea to the west. (Alma 50:8)

11  And thus he cut off all the strongholds of the Lamanites in the east wilderness, yea, and also on the west, fortifying the line between the Nephites and the Lamanites, between the land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi, from the west sea, running by the head of the river Sidon—the Nephites possessing all the land northward, yea, even all the land which was northward of the land Bountiful, according to their pleasure. (Alma 50:11)

Thus, “to the west” definitely means to “the west [sea]” in Alma 50:8.

It's useful to know that more than one Hebrew word is translated “west”. Because the western coasts of Israel's inheritances are “unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun” (Joshua 1:4), one of the Hebrew words that can be translated “west” or “to the west”, literally means “seaward” or “to the sea”. For example: “toward the west” in 2 Nephi 21:14 (Isaiah 11:14) is really the Hebrew word יָמָה pronounced “yamah”. This word literally means “seaward” or “to the sea”. Thus we see that when translated into Hebrew, Alma 50:8 need not contain an ellipsis (i.e. omission of the word “sea”) after all. The Hebrew word translated “to the west” may literally mean “to the sea”, suggesting to the Israelite mind “unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast”. (Joshua 1:4)

Hebrew terms that are translated “east” relate to facing or standing before sunrise, not an eastern body of water. (2 Nephi 12:6; 21:14, Isaiah 2:6; 11:14)

With these biblical facts in mind, we should be careful, not to generalize the apparent ellipsis in Alma 50:8, jumping to the conclusion that “from the east” means from “the east [sea]” in Alma 22:32-33:

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 …

33  And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea ... (Alma 22:32-33)

The “sea” (or lake) by the eastern borders of the land Bountiful is never actually called the east sea. (Alma 27:22) The Book of Mormon seems to deliberately avoid naming the eastern terminus of Bountiful “the east sea”, even when “the west sea” is mentioned first as the western terminus, that is, in reverse order from Alma 22:32-33. See Helaman 4:6-7 - curious!

Now contrast the apparent avoidance of the name “east sea” in connection with the eastern ends of Bountiful’s southern and northern lines, with the more southern “straight course” or line ... between the land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi”: Here we find the seas named at both ends in different verse, that is, “from the east sea” and “from the west sea”. (Alma 50:8, 11)

It may be significant that the word “east” in Alma 22:32-33 is not capitalized in the 1828 Book of Mormon  Printer’s Manuscript. The printer or typesetter apparently interpreted that “east” meant “East [sea]”, and chose an uppercase “E” in the 1830 edition; imposing the idea that the East Sea bordered Bountiful. Fortunately more recent edition have restored the lowercase.

"from the east to the west Sea"

1828 Printer’s Manuscript of a line from Alma 22:32 reads:  “from the east to the west Sea;”

"even from the east unto the west Sea"

1828 Printer’s Manuscript of a line from Alma 22:33 reads: “even from the east unto the west Sea,”

Biblical Hebrew tends to not use ellipses and there is no upper or lowercase. If Hebrew writers mean “east sea” or “east side” they tend to be explicit. (See Yehoshua (Josh.) 12:3, YehezqEl (Ezek.) 48:25-28, Yo'El (Joel) 2:20)

Based on its explicit mention, it can only be determined that “the east sea” extended as far north as the city of Gid; which was one of a string of fortified towns a short distance south of Bountiful. (Alma 50:13-15; 51:22-31; 53:6; 56:25; 59:5-8)

There could have been other interconnected lakes and beaches north of “the east sea” and closer to Bountiful. The fact that there was a “sea” near the eastern borders of Bountiful does not prove it was the one called “the east sea”.

So where exactly was the authentic “east sea” of the  Book of Mormon’? I favor the long ago lake in the Beaver Meadows, Gallagher Swamp region, in the hill country of western NY. Matching scripture, this elevated lake was near the head of Buffalo Creek (the Book of Mormon river Sidon, Alma 56:25; 50:13-14).

The fortified city of Mulek (by the east sea, south, and technically in the land of Nephi, Alma 53:6) is listed after the city of Gid following a series of conquests from the south. (Alma 51:26) How can that be? Mulek is clearly listed after Gid coming from Bountiful! (Helaman 5:14-16) The likely answer is that “the east sea” was just a lake. Whether you got to Gid coming from the south, or from the north, you could reach Mulek by traveling south on the other side of the lake.

East Sea Region

Beaver Meadows wetland exhibit – Rochester Museum of Science

In order, beginning at the most southern city in Nephite territory, the fenced cities near the shore of “the east sea” are:

The city of Moroni -  which is explicitly said to have been “by the east sea ... on the south by the line of possessions of the Lamanites [what the Nephites called the land of Nephi]”. (Alma 50:13)

Had the city of Mulek been on the same side of the lake as the city of Moroni, perhaps it would have been listed first (not last) in order of conquests from the south. (Alma 51:22-26)

The city of Nephihah - which is said to have been positioned so that it joined both “the borders of Aaron and Moroni”. (Alma 50:14) It makes sense that the suburbs of all seven coastal towns were similarly joined, or nearly joined so that the inhabitants could readily flee a city to one nearby - which is exactly what happened! (Alma 51:24

The city of Nephihah was on the eastern side of the “head of Sidon” (headwaters of Buffalo Creek) across from the land of Manti. (Alma 56:25; 59:5-6) Therefore the “east sea” had to have been near the headwaters of Buffalo Creek (as is the Gallagher Swamp region). Did an ancient tributary of Sidon once flow from “the east sea”?

The city of Aaron (Alma 50:14)

The city of Lehi - “which was in the north by the borders of the seashore [implying the east sea].” (Alma 50:15)

The city of Morianton - which we know “joined upon the borders of Lehi; both of which were on the borders by the seashore [implying the east sea].” (Alma 50:25)

The city of Omner (Alma 51:26)

The city of Gid - “all of which [the before listed cities] were on the east borders by the seashore [implying the east sea; in the context of Moroni being “by the east sea”].” (Alma 51:26-27)

The fenced city of Gid was likely stationed near the northern end of the lake, so that from there, an invading army from the south, or missionaries coming from the north could reach the southern stronghold of Mulek on the other side of the lake. (Alma 51:26, Helaman 5:14-16) Mulek was far enough south (near an extreme southern end of the lake) that it was technically “in the land of Nephi.” (Alma 53:6)

So how big of a lake would the “the east sea” have needed to be in order to accommodate a series of seven fortified villages (what the Bible calls “fenced cities”; 2 Kings 18:13, 2 Chronicles 17:2) along its coast? To estimate an answer we need to know how big an Israelite fenced city was with its surrounding suburb? The Torah gives us an idea: From Numbers 35:4-5 we may generously assume 2000 cubits (about 17.5 inches/cubit) to be the distance along one side of a palisade city, having a suburb perimeter extending 1000 cubits beyond any wall. The entire distance across a Nephite city, including its suburbs end-to-end, therefore amounts to only (4000 cubits)(17.5 inches/cubit)(1 ft/12 inches)/(5,280 ft/mile) ≈ 1.1 miles.

All seven Nephite fortified towns could have hugged the shore of a lake that was less than 8 miles long - about the size of one of the smaller Finger Lakes. This means that from Gid you could walk (or march) perhaps less than 10 miles to Mulek (stationed southward in the land of Nephi). It should be clear to students of the Book of Mormon that the distance between Bountiful in the north, and Mulek (land of Nephi border) in the south is not very great - less than a night’s or a day’s march. (Alma 52:18-28) Exaggerated geography promoters (including Heartlanders) - what are you thinking?

 

Scripture References

18 … 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. (Helaman 1:18)

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, 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 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, insomuch that they began to retreat back towards the land 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. (Helaman 1:22 - 31)

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. (3 Nephi 3:21 - 23)

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. (Alma 22:32 - 33)

8  And the land of Nephi did run in a straight course from the east sea to the west. (Alma 50:8)

11 And thus he cut off all the strongholds of the Lamanites in the east wilderness, yea, and also on the west, fortifying the line between the Nephites and the Lamanites, between the land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi, from the west sea, running by the head of the river Sidon—the Nephites possessing all the land northward, yea, even all the land which was northward of the land Bountiful, according to their pleasure.

13 And it came to pass that the Nephites began the foundation of a city, and they called the name of the city Moroni; and it was by the east sea; and it was on the south by the line of the possessions of the Lamanites. (Alma 50:11, 13)

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, and should take possession of their lands as much as it was in their power, according to the power of their armies. (Alma 52:13)

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; 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.

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, and should take possession of their lands as much as it was in their power, according to the power of their armies. (Alma 52:11 - 13)

8  And now it came to pass that the armies of the Lamanites, on the west sea, south, while in the absence of Moroni on account of some intrigue amongst the Nephites, which caused dissensions amongst them, had gained some ground over the Nephites, yea, insomuch that they had obtained possession of a number of their cities in that part of the land. (Alma 53:8)

22  And now it came to pass that Helaman did march at the head of his two thousand stripling soldiers, to the support of the people in the borders of the land on the south by the west sea. (Alma 53:22)

5 And it came to pass that Hagoth, he being an exceedingly curious man, therefore he went forth and built him an exceedingly large ship, on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation, and launched it forth into the west sea, by the narrow neck which led into the land northward. (Alma 63:5)

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.

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.  (Helaman 4:5 - 7)

  

Narrow Neck versus Narrow Pass Truth Table

Scriptural, Geographic Constraints:

“narrow neck“:

narrow pass”:

By “the west sea”.

Yes, Alma 63:5

 

Associated with “the place where the sea divides the land.”

Yes, Ether 10:20

 

Only known to lead “into the land northward.”

Yes, Alma 63:5

 

Connects both “land northward” and “land southward”.

 

Yes, Alma 50:34; 52:9, Mormon 2:29; 3:5

By an unnamed body of water referred to as a “sea”.

 

Yes, Alma 50:34, Mormon 3:5-8

Waters of the unnamed “sea, on the west and on the east” of it.

 

Yes, Alma 50:34

Small enough in width to be described as a geographic “point”.

 

Yes, Alma 52:9

 

Vincent Coon וִינְסֶנט כּוּן Copyright 2015

 

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