Three Separate Lands Bountiful: Where Located? What Size? To which Bountiful did Christ initially appear?
To which Bountiful did Christ initially appear?
May 2012 firstname.lastname@example.org
The “Arabian Bountiful” where Nephi built his ship.
The “west-sea land Bountiful,” on the Pacific coast between Izapa and Tonala.
The “east-sea land Bountiful,” located near the east coast of southern Belize.
The Arabian Land Bountiful where Nephi built his ship (about 590 BC)
The scriptures describing the land Bountiful on the Arabian coast are as follows:1 Nephi 17:5-8 states: 5. And we did come to the land which we called Bountiful, because of its much fruit and also wild honey…and we beheld the sea, which we called Irreantum, which, being interpreted, is many waters. 6. …we did pitch our tent by the seashore;…and we called the place Bountiful, because of its much fruit. 7. …I, Nephi, had been in the land Bountiful for the space of many days…I arose and went up into the mountain, and cried unto the Lord. 10…..the Lord told me whither I should go to find ore, that I might make tools. 18:1…and we did work timbers of curious workmanship….3. I did go into the mount oft…Obviously this land Bountiful was not a large area and it was bounded by a large sea (ocean) and a mountain. In between was a productive land of fruit and honey with a lot of rainfall. There were large trees in the area and iron ore in the mountain. Could this description of the Arabian land Bountiful be a type and pattern for naming other lands Bountiful in the Americas? I believe the answer is, yes.
B. The west-sea land Bountiful (about 80 BC)
The Book of Mormon states that there was a land Bountiful bordering on the west sea and there was also a land Bountiful bordering on the east sea.
About 80 BC the Book of Mormon first introduces us to a specific land Bountiful in the Americas and it bordered the west sea. In Alma Chapter 22, Mormon gives us an explanation of the lay of the land of the Nephites and Lamanites, between the east and west seas and north and south of the narrow strip of wilderness. This was about the time when the Nephite missionaries were beginning to have success among the Lamanites in the land of Nephi, south of the narrow strip of wilderness.About 80 BC: Alma 22:33 states: 33. …The Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea…32. …it was only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line[between]Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea…31. …the land on the northward [of the line] was called Desolation, and the land on the southward [of the line] was called Bountiful, it being the wilderness which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind, a part of which had come from the land northward for food…29….the Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land bordering on the [narrow strip of] wilderness, at the head of the river Sidon, from the east to the west, round about on the wilderness side [western part of the narrow strip of wilderness], on the north, [from the western part of the narrow strip of wilderness] even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful. 30. And it [the Bountiful that bordered the west sea] bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it [the Desolation that also bordered on the west sea] being so far northward [from the narrow strip of wilderness] that it [Desolation] came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed…[Because Desolation ”came into the” Jaredite land northward, then Desolation was not synonymous with the land northward but was a subdivision thereof. Because the Nephites possessed the land northward of the narrow strip of wilderness until they “came to the land which they called Bountiful,” then this land Bountiful cannot be synonymous with the land southward but must be a smaller subdivision thereof.]It is irrefutable that there was a land Bountiful that bordered the west sea and it did not include the land of Nephi. This is made even more emphatic in the year 56 BC when Hagoth launched his ship into the west sea from the land Bountiful.Alma 63:5: states: …Hagoth…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.There was a land Bountiful that was located on the west sea (the Pacific) and it bordered the land known by the Nephites as Desolation also located on the west sea. There is only one west sea mentioned in the Book of Mormon. I do not believe that the Book of Mormon justifies locating a second west sea on the west side of the Yucatan Peninsula.1 I will hereafter call this Bountiful the west-sea land Bountiful, referring to the Pacific Ocean as the west sea.Now let’s identify the location and time period of the Bountiful that bordered the east sea.
C. The East-Sea Land Bountiful (about 77 BC)
The Book of Mormon first identifies the east-sea land Bountiful about 77 BC This was the time when the Ammonites were camped near Manti in the narrow strip of wilderness awaiting the decision of the Nephites as to where to locate the Ammonites.Alma 27:22 states: 22. ….Behold, we will give up the land of Jershon, which is on the east [of Zarahemla] by the sea, which joins the land Bountiful, which [Jershon] is on the south of the land Bountiful, and this land Jershon is the land which we will give unto our brethren for an inheritance. 26. …and they went down into the land of Jershon….[Notice that the land of Jershon is identified as a land different than the land Bountiful, begging the questions; how large an area was the land Jershon? and how large an area was the separate land Bountiful? Notice also that the land of Jershon was on the east sea coast and that the land Bountiful was located north of Jershon and not west. The land Bountiful is never described as being large and never as being the same as “the land southward.”]Like Jershon and Mulek, this east-sea land Bountiful was also located very close to the east seashore. About the end of the year 67 BC the Lamanites had captured all the east-sea coastal cities northward from the narrow strip of wilderness. Amalikiah was pushing northward along the east sea coast attempting to secure the east-sea land Bountiful and then push on to the land northward from the east-sea land Bountiful. Teancum was trying to stop him. (Notice how the term “borders of” takes on the meaning of “very close to.”) The distance between Bountiful and Mulek could not have been more that a half a day’s march (6 miles or so) 2.Alma 51:28-36 states: 28. …They marched to the borders of the land Bountiful, driving the Nephites before them and slaying many. 26. …[Teancum] headed Amalikiah also, as he was marching forth with his numerous army that he might take possession of the land Bountiful, and also the land northward [of the land Bountiful]. 32….[Teancum gained advantage over Amailikiah] and they did slay them even until it was dark…Teancum and his men did pitch their tents in the borders of the land Bountiful; and Amalickiah did pitch his tents in the borders [of the land Bountiful] on the beach by the seashore….34….Teancum stole privily into the tent of the king and put a javelin to his heart…35. …he returned again privily to his own camp…36. …he caused that his armies should stand in readiness, lest the Lamanites had awakened and should come upon them. Chapter 52:1…on the first morning of the first month behold, they found Amalickiah was dead in his own tent; and they also saw that Teancum was ready to give them battle…2. …they abandoned their design in marching into the land northward [from Bountiful] and retreated [southward along the seashore] with all their army into the city of Mulek…[less than a half days march].Clearly the east-sea land Bountiful (which later became the city Bountiful) was located very close to the east sea. The distance between the camp of Moroni near Bountiful, and the camp of Amalikiah on the beach near Bountiful, could not have been more than a mile or so away (because they could see each other) proving that the east-sea land Bountiful was located right on the east seacoast east of Zarahemla and not inland some 40 miles3 (See also footnote No. 2). Because the east-sea land Bountiful was located on the east of Zarahemla and east of the Pacific Ocean and eastward from the narrow strip of wilderness, then the east sea land Bountiful must have been located near the Gulf of Honduras.Therefore the Book of Mormon conclusively identifies an east-sea land Bountiful and a west-sea land Bountiful.PART IIWERE THE LANDS BOUNTIFUL CONNECTED OR WERE THEY SEPARATE?One of two theories must obtain: Either there was one large land Bountiful that extended from the east sea to the west sea or there were two separate, and relatively small, lands Bountiful in the greater land southward (everything south of the “narrow neck of land”). The only scripture giving any possible implication that the two lands Bountiful might have been connected is in Alma 22:33 which states:33. …The Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea…This scripture does not say the “east sea”. I believe the same construction of the same wording in Alma 22:29 should prevail in this scripture. The Allens agree with this meaning of Alma 22:33 and Alma 22:32,4 with the exception that they believe that the size of Bountiful was the same as the size of all the greater “land southward. In fact, they believe there were three lands Bountiful in the Americas: The Country Bountiful, The State Bountiful, and the City Bountiful.5The Allens cite Alma 22:31 as evidence that Bountiful is synonymous with the greater land southward and that Desolation is the same as, or greater than, the Jaredite land northward 6 Because the greater land southward extended from the east sea to the west sea then this single land Bountiful (the country Bountiful) must have included both seas. I believe that both of these conclusions are inaccurate.Let us carefully consider Alma 22:29-31 which in fact shows that the land Bountiful is not the same as the land southward and therefore there were two separate lands Bountiful and not one country called Bountiful.About 72 BCAlma 22:2929. …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.
[This is clearly not talking about the city/land Bountiful located on the east sea. If the land Bountiful was the same as the land southward then how could they come to the land Bountiful if they were already in the land Bountiful? The very least this scripture holds is that the land Bountiful could not have included the land of Nephi south of the narrow strip of wilderness and therefore it was not synonymous with the land southward.The referent here for the term “on the north” is the narrow strip of wilderness. The Nephites took possession of all the land north of the narrow strip of wilderness from the east sea to the west sea. How far north we are not told except that from the western part of the narrow strip of wilderness (where Moroni was stationed at the time) it did extend to the line between Bountiful and Desolation, which were located on the west sea. In Alma 52:11 it states”…I would come unto you but behold, the Lamanites are upon us in the borders of the land by the west sea.” Moroni was in a very precarious and “dangerous circumstance” trying to control the line of defense, which he had recently created, from the east sea to the west sea and trying to protect all the Nephites possessing the land north of the narrow strip of wilderness. This was especially important in the area northward from the western part of the narrow strip of wilderness which Moroni was defending at that time. The Lamanites had already conquered all the east sea cities including Mulek. This area of the western part of the narrow strip of wilderness also bordered (but was a distinct land from) the west-sea area called Bountiful.
It appears to me that the term “…to the west, round about on the wilderness side” means that the Nephites were in possession not only of the land north of the narrow strip of wilderness but within the mountainous area in the western part of the narrow strip of wilderness. They inhabited that area and also the whole of the west-sea land Bountiful which land bordered along the Pacific until it came to the “line” between Bountiful and the land Desolation. This west-sea land Bountiful was in width about 12 to 20 miles “from the east to the west sea” (see Alma 22:33 below). If the length of the line (which extended a day and a half from the east to the west sea) between Bountiful and Desolation was about 12 miles, according to Exploring7, and if that line went from the “east to the west sea” then the same meaning must be given to the width of the land Bountiful along the Pacific. The Nephites inhabited and controlled all of this land from the narrow strip of wilderness northward to the “line” between Bountiful and Desolation and from the Sierra Madre Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.31….Thus the landon the northward[of the line between Desolation and Bountiful] was called Desolation, and the landon the southward[of the line] was called Bountiful, it being the wilderness which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind, a part of which had come from the landnorthward for food. Notice that the first “northward” does not say “the land northward” but it says “on the northward.” Therefore the term “on the northward” is directional and the referent is the “line.” The second time “northward” is mentioned it clearly states “the land northward,” meaning the Jaredite land northward.Notice also that Bountiful is described as “the wilderness” to where the animals came from the land northward (see Ether Chapter 20). Is the entire land southward, from the Isthmus to Salvador and from the Pacific to the Yucatan, this Jaredite wilderness to where the animals fled? I believe not. This Jaredite wilderness, is identified by Mormon as the Nephite land Bountiful that bordered the west sea. It was a subdivision of the land southward and was not synonymous with the greater land southward. Certainly the land Bountiful did not include all of the land of Nephi located south of the narrow strip of wilderness, whereas the land southward did include all of the land of Nephi.I find it incredible that one could claim that a single use of the directional term “on the southward” would mean that the entire area from the Isthmus to Salvador and from the Pacific to the Yucatan was a country called the land Bountiful. Which was it? The country called Bountiful or the country called greater “land southward?” Did Mormon not know the difference? The referent for the term “on the southward” was the “line between Bountiful and Desolation” and that line was only about 12 to 20 miles in length. This west-sea land Bountiful was located south of that 12 to 20 mile line.Alma 22:3333 And it came to pass that the Nephites [not Lamanites] 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, [of the narrow strip of wilderness] that thereby they should have no more possession on the north [of the narrow strip of wilderness], that they might not overrun the [Jaredite] land northward. 34. Therefore the Lamanites could have no more possessions only in the land of Nephi [and not in the land Bountiful] and the wilderness round about…[If the land Bountiful was the same as the land southward, then the land Bountiful would have to have included where the Lamanites inhabited because the land southward included the land of Nephi south of the narrow strip of wilderness. Was Mormon confused again as claimed by Magleby? (see appendix). Did he not know the difference between “on the north,” and “the land northward.” If he meant them to be the same why did he not use the same terms?This does not say that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful from the east sea to the west sea. The referent here is again the narrow strip of wilderness. The only time and place where the Lamanites had been hemmed in by the Nephites was when Moroni, in the year 72 BC, established the defensive line along the narrow strip of wilderness from the east sea to the west sea. The term “no more possessions on the north” clearly indicates that the Lamanites had possessed some of the Nephite land north of the narrow strip of wilderness until they were driven out and into the land south of the narrow strip of wilderness. This term, “on the north” could not have meant the Jaredite land northward because to this time, no Lamanites had inhabited any of the land of Desolation let alone any of the Jaredite land northward.The phrase “that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea” does not mean from the east sea to the west sea. It means that the west-sea land Bountiful (which was inhabited by the Nephites) was in width the distance of about 12 to 20 miles or so from some point or object just east of the west sea and from there westward to the west sea. This should have the same meaning as Alma 22:29At a minimum the west-sea land Bountiful had an eastern boundary which was not the east sea. Therefore, there had to have been two separate lands Bountiful. If the land Bountiful on the Arabian Peninsula is any indication of the size and boundaries of the west-sea land Bountiful then this eastern boundary should be a mountainous area. I believe the eastern boundary of the west-sea land Bountiful was the Sierra Madre Mountains. This was the same boundary where the “line” between Bountiful and Desolation ended (the day and a half journey).As shown below, the size of the west-sea land Bountiful was limited to the area that extended from the narrow strip of wilderness on the south to the “line” between Bountiful and Desolation on the north, and from the west sea to some barrier (the Sierra Madre Mountains) about 12 to 20 miles to the east of the west sea, a relatively small area compared to the greater land southward.The conclusion seems apparent that there was not one land Bountiful synonymous with the land southward, but there were two relatively small and separate lands Bountiful.PART IIICAN THE SIZE OF THE EAST-SEA LAND BOUNTIFUL BE DETERMINED THUS CORROBORATING THAT THE TWO LANDS BOUNTIFUL WERE SEPARATE?Starting about 72 BC the term “Bountiful”, referring to this east-sea land Bountiful, is used several times. It is not until about 65 BC that this east-sea land Bountiful is identified as a city. Moroni had fortified the west sea area, and then, while he was marching from the west sea to the east-sea land Bountiful, Teancum, (who was stationed at the land/city Bountiful), attempted to retake Mulek. Alma 52:17 states:17. …but he saw that it was impossible that he could overpower them while they were in their fortifications; therefore he abandoned his designs and returned again to the city Bountiful to wait for the coming of Moroni that he might receive strength to his army.They had been camping in the land Bountiful (see Alma 51:32, 35 and 52:9) but now for the first time it is called city Bountiful. About a year after Moroni left the west sea area, the Nephites recovered Mulek by stratagem and they took many prisoners. Alma 53:3 states:3. …After the Lamanites [prisoners] had finished burying their dead and also the dead of the Nephites, they were marched back into the land Bountiful; [notice the battle at Mulek was not in the land Bountiful. They had marched out of the land Bountiful and then back into the land Bountiful.] and Teancum, by the orders of Moroni, caused that they should commence laboring in digging a ditch round about the land, or city, Bountiful.Because the land/city of Mulek was in a different land than the land Bountiful means that the land/city Bountiful must not have been a large area. The distance between the two cities could not have been more than a half day’s march, (about 6 miles, see footnote No.2). If half of the distance belonged to Mulek and the other half to Bountiful then it would mean that the land supporting Bountiful was about 3 miles on each side of the city Bountiful. This gives more credibility to the statement that the prisoners had to dig a ditch around “the land, or city Bountiful.” Perhaps in digging the ditch around the land Bountiful they defined the “city limits” of the new city Bountiful. They did not dig a ditch from the east sea to the west sea.The term, “the land, or city Bountiful,” written by Mormon, was not a lapse of memory or confusion or error on Mormon’s part as suggested by Kirk Magleby (See Appendix). Rather this statement or something similar is repeated 24 times clearly meaning the area immediately surrounding and supporting the named city. These 24 scriptures are identified in the Appendix.The foregoing corroborates that the east-sea land Bountiful and the city Bountiful were virtually the same area and not a large area. The land Bountiful bordered the east sea, near the Gulf of Honduras east of Zarahemla, and it was a land of plenty of rainfall and fruits just like the Arabian Bountiful. It did not extend across the Yucatan to the Gulf of Mexico. It was not located north of the Mayan heartland. It did not extend continuously from Cancun to Campeche, to Tabasco to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and then to Tonala. There is no Book of Mormon support for such theories.Furthermore the land Bountiful is not synonymous with the land southward. It could not have included Yucatan, Peten, Belize, all of Guatemala (including everything south of the narrow strip of wilderness) and all of Mexico southward from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and from the Gulf of Honduras to the Pacific Ocean.I agree with Dr. Hauck’s original conclusion as stated in his book Deciphering, that the Book of Mormon contains no support for the all-encompassing single land Bountiful theory8.
Therefore, there was not just one large Bountiful but two relatively small areas, each called Bountiful, and each followed the pattern of the Arabian land Bountiful.The following map shows the proposed relative relationships of these various areas and some proposed locations for Zarahemla, and land/city Bountiful on a Google map.
PART IVCHRIST FIRST APPEARED AT WEST-SEA BOUNTIFULI submit that Christ did not initially come to the city Bountiful or the east-sea land Bountiful but to a temple located within the west-sea land Bountiful (See footnote No. 2). This conclusion is based upon the following summary of evidence and rationale:
The city Bountiful and the east-sea land Bountiful were never mentioned after 30 BC. (Hel. 5:14). The east sea is implied in Helaman 11:20, about AD 34 when city Moroni was sunk into the depths of the east sea, however the city and land Bountiful and the east sea are not mentioned. From 30 BC forward the term “Bountiful” always has reference to the west-sea land Bountiful.
The Book of Mormon never mentions a temple in any east sea location.
City Bountiful and east-sea land Bountiful are never mentioned after 30 BC.
City Bountiful was located at the extreme northern area of the Nephite occupation on the east sea coast area and not where most of the Nephites lived.
There is no evidence that any Nephite or Lamanite ever went north of the east-sea city Bountiful.
Lachoneus never went to the east-sea Bountiful area for protection but to the west-sea Bountiful in the year 17 AD.
West-sea Bountiful was located more near the heartland of the Nephites about the time of Christ’s first appearance. They had spread from Zarahemla to the Pacific coastal area and northward including into the Jaredite land northward.
The Maya had so heavily populated the areas of northern Peten and Belize from 1500 BC to the time of Christ’s resurrection that it would have been impossible for there to have been substantial numbers of faithful Nephites, including faithful Lamanites, in that area.
The areas of northern Peten, Yucatan, and Belize were too far from Zarahemla for the Nephites to have conquered and then effectively converted, protected and governed. This would have been especially true if Santa Rosa, 300 air miles distant on the Grijalva, was Zarahemla.
The Maya in Belize and Peten and Yucatan never practiced a Christian religion nor lived the law of Moses.
All the leaders of the church from Helaman; to his son Helaman; to Nephi, son of Helaman; to Nephi, son of Nephi, (who was the leader of the church at the time Christ appeared to the people at Bountiful), resided in the city of Zarahemla and they had the records there with them. They never lived in the city Bountiful. The church headquarters never left Zarahemla until after Christ’s appearance (see endnote No. 2).
There must have been good reasons for Lachoneus, (in the year AD 17) to have relocated his “tens of thousands” of Nephites (including Lamanites), after abandoning Zarahemla and other cities to the robbers led by Giddianhi (3 Nephi 3 & 4), to an area near the west sea coast and near the “line between Desolation and Bountiful.” The Nephites were already familiar with the west sea area. It would have been near where they had support from those Nephites who had relocated there and, perhaps, support from those who had relocated into the land northward. This was also close to the same area where Hagoth had built and launched his ships some 60 years or so prior. Surely there were friendly Nephites in this appointed area.It also seems reasonable that they would have traveled along an existing and major route and not a foot-path in the wilderness somewhere because they took 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 the thousands and by tens of thousands, until they had all gone forth to the place which had been appointed… (3 Ne 3:22)…the land which was appointed was the land of Zarahemla, and the land which was between the land Zarahemla and the [west-sea] land Bountiful. [Therefore the land Bountiful could not have included the land of Zarahemla. Both of these separate lands were located in the land southward] yea, to [not beyond]the line which was between the land Bountiful and the land Desolation. …Lachoneus did cause that they should gather themselves together in the land southward, because of the great curse which was upon the land northward. [See 3 Nephi 3:22-25. Clearly they settled in that part of the greater land southward that was called Bountiful from the “line” (starting on the west sea) and southward as needed because they settled in one place near the land northward. There is no reference to a line between Desolation and Bountiful near the east sea. The Book of Mormon speaks about “the line between the land Desolation and the land Bountiful” in Alma 22:32 and it borders the west sea and the length of the line is 12 to 20 miles as noted above. Therefore, because they settled on the “line” between land Bountiful and Desolation then the location of this land where Lachoneus settled had to have been near or in the mountains just east of the Pacific. An excellent candidate for this location is the huge and once heavily populated area called La Perseverancia located just southward from the “line.” It is also up in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains9. Had there not been a curse in the land northward, Lachoneus would have located in the land northward.The proposed land Bountiful on the west sea coast is an area including the western foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains and southward from about Tonala, near Tehuantepec, Mexico to about the border of Guatemala. This is an area with an annual rainfall of over 200 inches and, unlike other areas in Mesoamerica, rarely goes without rain even in the dry season. The southern part of this west-sea land Bountiful would have been located near the Book of Mormon city of Joshua. Dr. Hauck believes Joshua was located near the archeological site of Izapa, Mexico. I agree.Dr. Hauck shows many good reasons to believe that when Christ first appeared to the Nephites at the temple in the land Bountiful, he must have come to a temple in the west-sea land Bountiful, probably at Izapa where the “Tree of Life Stone” is located.10 Certainly the headquarters of the church was never moved to the east-sea city Bountiful. I believe that Christ would have come to where the headquarters of the church was located (See footnote No. 2).CONCLUSIONSThe conclusion seems obvious. There was not one land Bountiful that was the same size as the land southward. There were two separate relatively small lands Bountiful. The west-sea land Bountiful and the east-sea land Bountiful were each of a similar nature and description as the Arabian land Bountiful. The following is a summary of the support for these conclusions.
The Book of Mormon confirms that there were two separate relatively small areas each called land Bountiful. The east sea land Bountiful was in existence from about 72 BC to just after 30 BC, a period of just over 40 years. These defensive cities became useless from about 16 BC when the Lamanites became more righteous than the Nephites. Christ did not first appear at the east-sea Bountiful, which was diminishing in importance, but He appeared at the west-sea land Bountiful which was gaining in importance and, according to Ted Stoddard, was the major transportation corridor from the land southward to the Jaredite land northward.11
Both were located on a sea where abundant rainfall occurred.
Both were located near mountains with very productive agriculture between the sea and the mountains.
The west-sea land Bountiful had a mountainous eastern boundary separating it from the land of Zarahemla and from the east-sea land Bountiful.
The term “land or city of” denotes the supporting area surrounding the named city of Bountiful”. The Land or city Bountiful was a relatively small area that did not include city of Mulek, or any of the other east sea cities.
The Book of Mormon never joins the two lands Bountiful.
The term “land or city Desolation” was never associated with the east-sea land Bountiful. It was always associated with the west sea and west-sea land Bountiful.
All of the Nephite/Lamanite cities named in the Book of Mormon (including north and south of the narrow strip of wilderness and south from the “small neck of land” and including the line between west-sea Bountiful and west sea Desolation) were included in the designation “land southward”. The term Bountiful never fit that description and never had reference to the land of Nephi south of the narrow strip of wilderness.
The Book of Mormon never indicates that the Lamanites ever occupied the east-sea Land Bountiful or the west-sea land Bountiful, with the one exception being when Lachoneus located both the Nephite armies and Lamanite armies and people to the “line” between Bountiful and Desolation.
Therefore, the term “land Bountiful” cannot be synonymous or equate with the “land southward.”
Notes:1 See Allen, Joseph Lovell and Blake Joseph. Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon. 2nd ed. Rev. American Fork, UT: Covenant Communications. 2008 2nd edition. (hereafter cited as Exploring) see map at page 552.
2 See my article entitled Why City Bountiful was not located in the Yucatan, the Peten, or Northern Belize. located at www.bmaf.org/articles/bountiful_not_yucatan_peten_belize__andersen. The Lamanite army left Mulek in the morning and went to the edge of Bountiful. They had a battle and Lehi chased them back toward Mulek. Because they could have gone from Mulek to Bountiful and back in the same day means that the distance between Bountiful and Mulek was less than a half day march or about 6 miles.
3 See Exploring. at pages 95, 470, 605-610
4 See Exploring at pages 628-630.
5 See pages 467, 307, 409, 477,& 615 of Exploring. Allens’ three lands Bountiful are:The Country Bountiful. The same as the greater land southward including everything south of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec including all of the Nephite land southward of the narrow strip of wilderness.The State of Bountiful. A subdivision of the Country Bountiful like the state of the land of Zarahemla, the state of the land of Nephi and the state of the land Bountiful being synonymous with the state of the east wilderness.The city/land of Bountiful. A smaller subdivision of the state of Bountiful located on the east sea.
6 See page 463 of Exploring.
7 See Exploring at page 412.
8 F. Richard Hauck’s Deciphering the Geography of the Book of Mormon 1988 at page 32 states: “The text contains no reference to an intermediate Bountiful somehow linking the east sea and the west sea Bountifuls. These two coastal zones are separate and quite distinct from one another. Thus, the common notion that a single, all-encompassing Bountiful existed spanning the distance between the two seashores is not acceptable, for there are no supporting data for such an assumption.
9 (The description of this site and its population is according to Gareth Lowe, (Izapa: An introduction to the Ruins and Monuments, 1982).10 Hauck states in an Email dated April 29, 2012.. “I think that Izapa was a place of refuge to them because of its historic significance and therefore, a year after the destructions associated with the Crucifixion, the remaining righteous Nephites returned to that place knowing that is where the Savior would come. An architectural analysis of Izapa demonstrates that site's planning and construction as a sacred location in exact similitude of the temple site in Jerusalem only on a scale 15 times larger than was Solomon's temple, Izapa's prototype."11 Ted Dee Stoddard explained this very well in an Email he sent me August 2, 2010: "For centuries, the only reasonable way to get from Chiapas or Guatemala to Veracruz, Oaxaca, or the Mexico valley was to end up on the Pacific coast and go north through the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. About fifty miles into the isthmus, the topography opens up, permitting travelers to continue to Veracruz or to follow trails into the mountains and thence to the Oaxaca or Mexico areas.In a similar vein, travelers from the east wilderness (lowland jungle area of the Peten and Belize) or from the east sea (Caribbean off the coast of Belize) could not travel due west to go through the top of the isthmus because of (1) the mountainous terrain, especially in the Hermounts region at the top of and east of the isthmus, or (2) the marshy lagoons and rivers of Tabasco that made east-west travel almost impossible until the arrival of modern highways."APPENDIX:“Land or city Bountiful;” Was this a scriveners error? Did Mormon make an incorrect engraving which he then had to correct? Or does it have a specific meaning of being the supporting area surrounding the named city?
These are very important questions that help in the determination of the size of the east-sea land Bountiful. Let us explore these questions in depth.
On 5-2-12 Kirk Magleby wrote, on the BMAF website, of the great work of Royal Skousen regarding possible errors in the Book of Mormon whether by transcription, translation, printing, or even in the original writing by the authors of the Book of Mormon. In most of his article Magleby credits Royal Skousen’s critical text in support of the errors cited in Magleby’s article. However as to his following comments he does not cite Skousen. Nonetheless one is given the impression that the following, including the statement that Moroni was confused, was stated or supported by Skousen.
Some examples of textual issues:
Even Mormon had trouble keeping everything straight in his mind all the time. InAlma 53:3 he engraved "the land," then corrected himself and because one can't erase engravings on metal plates, said "or, the city, Bountiful." As verse 4 makes explicit, it was the city and not the entire land that was fortified. Mormon had previously temporarily confused the lands of Bountiful and Moroni Alma 50:32.
The same thing happened in Alma 56:14 where Mormon engraved "the land of Manti," then corrected himself and said "or the city of Manti."I cannot stress too much that the meaning of “land, or city” in the Book of Mormon was not a lapse of memory or confusion on Mormon’s part. This statement “land or city of,” or similar language, was used by Mormon over 20 times. As will be shown hereafter, all of the following phrases clearly show that the authors’ intent was to include the supporting areas surrounding each city as part of the city area. Perhaps it is like one might have said, 200 years ago; “the city of Lehi including the farm lands around it;” or “the lands around American Fork;” or “the Alpine area” where initially there were no defined boundaries of a town or city. Remember during the years of Moroni’s command they were just beginning to establish the east-sea coastal cities and their boundaries. Remember also the boundary dispute between Morianton and Lehi as an example.The following 24 scriptures support the above understanding. See if you think Mormon was confused or mistaken as to any one of them:The land of Manti, or the city of Manti, and the city of Zeezrom, and the city of Cumeni, and the city of Antiparah.And they also began a foundation for a city between the city of Moroni and the city of Aaron, joining the borders of Aaron and Moroni; and they called thename of the city, or the land, Nephihah.They have got possession of the land, or the city, of Zarahemla; they have appointed a king over them, and he hath written unto the king of the Lamanites, in the which he hath joined an alliance with him; in the which alliance he hath agreed to maintain the city of Zarahemla, which maintenance he supposeth will enable the Lamanites to conquer the remainder of the land, and he shall be placed king over this people when they shall be conquered under the Lamanites.And now, it came to pass that after king Mosiah had had continual peace for the space of three years, he was desirous to know concerning the people who went up to dwell in the land of Lehi-Nephi, or in the city of Lehi-Nephi; for his people had heard nothing from them from the time they left the land of Zarahemla; therefore, they wearied him with their teasings.And it came to pass that after the Lamanites had finished burying their dead and also the dead of the Nephites, they were marched back into the land Bountiful; and Teancum, by the orders of Moroni, caused that they should commence laboring in digging a ditch round about the land, or the city, Bountiful.And ye all are witnesses this day, that Zeniff, who was made king over this people, he being over-zealous to inherit the land of his fathers, therefore being deceived by the cunning and craftiness of king Laman, who having entered into a treaty with king Zeniff, and having yielded up into his hands the possessions of a part of the land, or even the city of Lehi-Nephi, and the city of Shilom; and the land round about—All of the following scriptures clearly show that the term “land of” is interchangeable with the term “city” or at the least it shows that the terms mean the land supporting and surrounding the specified city:For behold, it came to pass that while they were in the land of Helam, yea, in the city of Helam, while tilling the land round about, behold an army of the Lamanites was in the borders of the land.For behold, the armies of the Lamanites had come in upon the wilderness side, into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah, and began to slay the people and destroy the city.And it came to pass that Amalickiah marched with his armies (for he had gained his desires) to the land of Nephi, to the city of Nephi, which was the chief city.Alma 49: For they knew not that Moroni had fortified, or had built forts of security, for every city in all the land round about; therefore, they marched forward to the land of Noah with a firm determination; yea, their chief captains came forward and took an oath that they would destroy the people of that city.And it came to pass that they did multiply and prosper exceedingly in the land of Helam; and they built a city, which they called the city of Helam.But behold, we trust in our God who has given us victory over those lands, insomuch that we have obtained those cities and those lands, which were our own.Therefore I write unto you, desiring that ye would yield up unto this my people, your cities, your lands, and your possessions, rather than that they should visit you with the sword and that destruction should come upon you.Now it was the custom of the people of Nephi to call their lands, and their cities, and their villages, yea, even all their small villages, after the name of him who first possessed them; and thus it was with the land of Ammonihah.Alma 62:7 And it came to pass that Moroni and Pahoran went down with their armies into the land of Zarahemla, and went forth against the city, and did meet the men of Pachus, insomuch that they did come to battle.And it came to pass that I did cause my people that they should gather themselves together at the land Desolation, to a city which was in the borders, by the narrow pass which led into the land southward.Now Moroni, leaving a part of his army in the land of Jershon, lest 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.Now it came to pass that after Alma had received his message from the angel of the Lord he returned speedily to the land of Ammonihah. And he entered the city by another way, yea, by the way which is on the south of the city of Ammonihah.And it came to pass that the Lamanites did come down against the city Desolation; and there was an exceedingly sore battle fought in the land Desolation, in the which they did beat the Nephites.And it came to pass that when they had sent them away they pursued their march towards the land of Nephihah. And it came to pass that when they had come to the city of Nephihah, they did pitch their tents in the plains of Nephihah, which is near the city of Nephihah.And it came to pass that Moroni and Pahoran, leaving a large body of men in the land of Zarahemla, took their march with a large body of men towards the land of Nephihah, being determined to overthrow the Lamanites in that city.Now it came to pass that Moroni, after he had obtained possession of the city of Nephihah, having taken many prisoners, which did reduce the armies of the Lamanites exceedingly, and having regained many of the Nephites who had been taken prisoners, which did strengthen the army of Moroni exceedingly; therefore Moroni went forth from the land of Nephihah to the land of Lehi.And it came to pass that the armies of the Nephites were driven back again to the land of Desolation. And while they were yet weary, a fresh army of the Lamanites did come upon them; and they had a sore battle, insomuch that the Lamanites did take possession of the city Desolation, and did slay many of the Nephites, and did take many prisoners.
In most of these cases the terms “city” or “land of” are interchangeable, giving rise to the concept that each city/land was not a huge area and it did not overlap another adjoining “city or land of”. Therefore the city/land of Bountiful was not a large area and it did not overlap the city/land of Mulek some 6 miles or so distant.Magleby also misunderstood Alma 50:32 saying: “Mormon had previously temporarily confused the lands of Bountiful and Moroni Alma 50:32.” I submit that it is Magleby that is confused. As my daughter said “a general does not confuse the lands he is protecting.” If Mormon was only temporarily confused then he would have corrected it. Since he did not correct it then he must have been permanently confused? This scripture is not talking about the land of Moroni. If it would have been, then surely Mormon would have said “land of Moroni.” Alma 50:32 states:…the people who were in the land Bountiful, or rather Moroni, feared that they [the people who were in the land Bountiful] would hearken to the words of Morianton and unite with his people and thus he would obtain possession of those parts of the land, which would lay a foundation for serious consequences among the people of Nephi…Think about it and apply what Magleby describes as “temporary confusion” on the part of Mormon and insert “land of Moroni” in the place of “land Bountiful” and what do you have?
“The people who were in the land of Moroni feared that they (themselves?) would hearken to the words of Morianton and unite with his people”What sense does that make? It is total confusion on Magelby’s part and not Mormon. The people of Morianton were not going to the land of Moroni (which was located on the east sea coast south next to the line of possessions of the Lamanites near the narrow strip of wilderness). They were bound for the Jaredite land northward (see Alma 50:34) to where many of the Nephites were beginning to migrate. In order to get to the Jaredite land northward, Morianton had to go through the west-sea land Bountiful. He certainly would not have traveled through the territory of the millions of Maya in Tikal, El Mirador etc. Moroni was desperately trying to control the Lamanites to the south of the narrow strip of wilderness and could not afford to have a dissident group of Nephites poison the minds and hearts of his people living in the west-sea land Bountiful as the group traveled into the land northward via the west sea land Bountiful route. Mormon said what he meant without confusing the land Bountiful and the land of Moroni. Today we might state the scripture as follows:Moroni feared that the people who were in the land Bountiful would hearken to the words of Morianton and unite with his people and thus he [Morianton] would obtain possession of those parts of the land…[being west-sea land Bountiful and or the Jaredite land northward]Mormon was not confused even temporarily. He did not have trouble keeping the geography straight.
That he might have made an occasional error he admitted. This was not one of them. I submit that if he had made a “whoops”, as Stoddard and Allens call it, and then he corrected it, it would no longer be a mistake. We must give it the meaning that is consistent with all of the relevant scriptures.