If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. Anne Bradstreet

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Ether 12:27

Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season therof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion. D&C 59:18-20

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Book of Mormon Geography: Jershon and Antionum

Alma 27 records a major change in ZARAHEMLA. The sons of Mosiah, just returned from NEPHI, bring word to the Nephites that the converted Lamanites are being slaughtered. The people of Nephi responded by giving them their own inheritance in ZARAHEMLA and promising to protect them from the Lamanites. This inheritance is the land Jershon.

In verse 22, Mormons says Jershon “is on the east by the sea, which joins the land Bountiful, which is on the south of the land Bountiful.” The Nephites promised to “set [their] armies between the land Jershon and the land Nephi.” Impulsive interpretations place Jershon along the east sea.

Mormon’s descriptions of Antionum, a new land established by the apostate Zoramites, provide some clarification of Jershon’s location. Alma 31:3 says Antionum is “east of the land of Zarahemla,” lies “nearly bordering upon the seashore,” is “south of the land of Jershon,” and borders “the wilderness south.” These descriptions place Antionum along the west sea, between Jershon and the south wilderness. It is outside the borders of ZARAHEMLA, and thus described to its east. This also places Jershon along the west sea, not the east sea.

Further evidence that Jershon borders the west sea, not the east sea, comes from Alma 35. When the Zoramites and Lamanites prepared for war against the Nephites, “the people of Ammon departed out of the land of Jershon, and came over into the land of Melek, and gave place in the land of Jershon for the armies of the Nephites.” The combined Zoramite/Lamanite army gathered in Antionum, and the battle with Moroni’s forces began “in the borders of Jershon” (43:18). Defeated in Jershon, the Zoramite/Lamanite army retreated through Antionum “into the wilderness, and 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” (43:22).

Finally, the Stripling Warriors, the sons of the people of Jershon, are always associated with the war campaign “on the west sea, south” (Alma 53:8). Mormon also phrases it as “in the borders of the land on the south by the west sea” (Alma 53:22). The reason the Stripling Warriors engaged in the war against the Lamanites is because the people of Jershon felt so bad about so many Nephites giving their lives to protect them (Alma 53:13).

Collectively, these descriptions require placing Jershon along the west sea, not the east sea. Jershon is simply the colonization of the west wilderness from Bountiful to the southern border of ZARAHEMLA. This location certainly places Jershon east of Bountiful, along the sea, and south of Bountiful, just as Mormon described in Alma 27:22.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A couple of questions.
1. How does a land described as being east of Zarahemla end up west of it?
2. If the Ammonites were in Melek at the time the sons of Helaman were down in the south west, how does that have anything to do with Jershon?