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: Melek, Ammonihah, and Noah

Melek is “on the west of the river Sidon, on the west by the borders of the wilderness” (Alma 8:3). The double use of "west" strongly suggests it borders the west wilderness.

The city Ammonihah is northward of Melek. When Alma finished his preaching and baptizing in Melek, he “traveled three days’ journey on the north of the land of Melek; and he came to a city which was called Ammonihah” (Alma 8:6).

Ammonihah is not specifically described as being on the borders of the west wilderness, but Alma 16:2 tells of a Lamanite army that “had come in upon the wilderness side, into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah.” After destroying the city Ammonihah, the Laminates carry away some captives, retreat back into the wilderness, and then cross “the river Sidon in the south wilderness, away up beyond the borders of the land Manti” (Alma 16:6). This places Ammonihah along the west wilderness.

The land of Noah is mentioned only in Alma 16 and Alma 49, both times in connection with Ammonihah. In Alma 16, after the Lamanites destroyed the city of Ammonihah, they also attacked “some around the borders of Noah” (3).

In Alma 49, after their unsuccessful attempt to again destroy Ammonihah, the Lamanites “retreated into the wilderness, and took their camp and marched towards the land of Noah” (12) intending to destroy the city of Noah (13). However, the Lamanites were thwarted in their efforts because Moroni had built up the city Noah as a fortress.

These three lands could be further up the west coast of ZARAHEMLA, making it a more obvious North from Melek to Ammonihah, but the distance from Manti seems to exclude them being so far up. We don't know the exact shapes of the lands, or how much area each covered, or where their capital cities were located within them. We only have to look at a U.S. map to see that the shape of states can present interesting situations direction-wise.

Vermont is east of New York, but people in much of the state would have to travel north to get to it. Part of Idaho is west of Montana, and part of it is south. West Virginia is north of part of Virginia. Part of Michigan is west of Wisconsin, and part of it is north. These are just a few examples to illustrate that directional travel would very much depend on the location of each city in its respective state.

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