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Mormon's Map


poulsenll

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"How would you parse and then punctuate the description of the Nephite and Lamanite lands found in Alma 22?

Sometimes called Mormon's Map, Alma 22:27-34 describes Mormon's view of the Nephite and Lamanite lands. This text is probably the most significant description of Book of Mormon geography found in the text. However, its application to developing an internal map and then applying it to real world geography is dependent on how one parses the text. The original text of the translation had no punctuation. The punctuation was added by the printer based on his knowledge of grammer and punctuation.

27And 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 bwest, and which was divided from the land of cZarahemla 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 dManti, by the head of the eriver Sidon, running from the east towards the west
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This is how Royal Skousen reconstructed the original text in The Earliest Text with punctuation removed:

and it came to pass that the king sent a proclamation throughout all the land amongst all his people which was in all his land wich was 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 now the more idle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness and lived 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 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 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 had been destroyed of whose bones we have spoken which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla it being the place of their first landing 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 was filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind a part of which had come from the land northward for food and now it was only the distance of a day and a halfs journey for a Nephite on the line between the land* Bountiful and the land Desolation from the east to the west sea and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla was nearly surrounded by water there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward 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 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

* "between the line" was a added by Royal Skousen becuase he conjectured that it was accidently deleted. I don't own Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part 4 which includes his justification for this change, so I can't say why exactly he changed this.

This is how I would punctuate this passage:

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,

which was 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.

Now the more idle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness and lived 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,

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

(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 had been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, it being the place of their first landing. 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 was filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind, a part of which had come from the land northward for food. And now it was only the distance of a day and a half

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This section describes the Nephite lands and how they kept the Lamanites from completely surrounding them. They took possession of the area bordering the narrow strip of wilderness where the Sidon originates and the area by the wilderness east and west from there. They control the area to the north up to the land of Bountiful, which goes from the east sea to the west sea, so that the Lamanites can't get into the land northward where the Nephites can flee to if necessary.

This section describes how the land southward is nearly surrounded by water. The land Bountiful borders the land Desolation, and the land Desolation's northern part contains where Limhi

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry that I took so long to get to this; I've had a pretty busy week.

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,

which was 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.

"all the land" is described by "which was in all the regions round about", "which was bordering even to the sea on the east and on the west", and "was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, etc.

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Here's a very speculative and rough map that I created. I am definetly not commited to it.

MormonsMap.jpg?t=1297814223

From all the things I have seen on BoM geography you are in the consensus of most scholars. They all agree that it is in this area along the Mexico / Guatemala boarder.

Your boundaries are a little bigger than most are but it seems reasonable still!

Good job!

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Thanks!

I probably wasn't being clear, so to clarify, this map was mainly to illustrate my reading of Alma 22, and I was already assuming that things took place around the Grijalva River.

This is interesting! What thoughts do you have on Desolation being in North America?
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Thanks!

I probably wasn't being clear, so to clarify, this map was mainly to illustrate my reading of Alma 22, and I was already assuming that things took place around the Grijalva River.

Good job.

I had never considered the possibility that the narrow neck seperated Desolation from Bountiful but after careful reading I noticed the following relationship.

Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation and the land on the southward was called Bountiful
there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward

Based on these verses, it is reasonable to conclude that that Desolation was northward of the nnarrow neck and Bountiful was southward. Based on a number of other descriptions of the narrow neck, one might also conclude that the narrow neck was considered to be in the Land Desolation rather than the Land Bountiful.

Again, good job. It is always good to have someone else parse a scripture because sometimes our preconcieved view of the geography causes us to overlook an obvious relationship between different verses.

Larry P

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