The Treaty Line of AD 350: Its Paramount Geographic Importance

The Treaty Line of AD 350: Its Paramount Geographic Importance

Copyright © 2015 by Joe V. Andersen

Understanding the “line” between Desolation and Bountiful is central and controlling on the part of Book of Mormon readers who are trying to comprehend the geography of the Book of Mormon—especially at they attempt to locate the “small neck of land.” Following are all the Book of Mormon references and associated events that geographically relate to that “line”:

·      It began on the west sea and ran eastward a distance of about a day and a half—about fifteen miles or so (Alma 22:31–33, Helaman 4:6–7).

·      It never bordered any other sea.

·      It was located northward from Joshua, which was also located near the west sea (Mormon 2:6).

·      It divided Desolation from Bountiful, both of which also began on the west sea (Alma 22:31–33).

·      The “line” was not the same thing as the “narrow neck of land” or “small neck of land.”

·      It was not the same as the two passes, the passage, or the narrow neck, all of which did not divide anything but each of which led into the lands northward/southward:

            “the narrow pass which led by the [west] sea into the land northward” (Alma 50:34).

            “the narrow pass which led into the land southward” (Mormon 3:5).

            “the narrow passage which led into the land southward” (Mormon 2:29.

            “the narrow neck which led into [did not divide] the land northward” (Alma 63:5).

·      It did not lead into Desolation or Bountiful because the “line” went from the west sea eastward to the Sierra Madre mountains. Desolation was located northward from that line, and Bountiful was located southward from that line (Helaman:4:6–7).

·      Desolation was part of the Jaredite land northward beginning at the “line” (Alma 22:32).

·      Bountiful was a part of the Nephite land southward, and it began at the same “line” (Alma 22:32).

·      It was the Jaredite entrance or gate into the land southward. “And they did preserve the land southward for a wilderness, to get game. And the whole face of the land northward [from the line] was covered with inhabitants.” Lib built his city by the entrance into the land southward to preserve the land Bountiful (Alma 22:31) “to hunt food for the people of the land” (see Ether 10:19–22). The dividing “line” between the land northward/southward was always the same “line” that separated Desolation from Bountiful.

·      It was the area where Morianton was stopped and killed by Teancum ca. 67 BC (Alma 50:33–36).

·      It was the area where Moronihah, son of Captain Moroni, took refuge with his armies for two years, ca. 35 BC, while the Lamanites controlled all the land southward, including Zarahemla and all the east-sea locations (Helaman 4:5–10).

·      It was a defensive line or a strategic feature that Moronihah “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 countries (Helaman 4:7; emphasis added). [This line clearly ran almost perpendicular to the west sea and surely not parallel to the west sea.]

·      It was near where Lachoneus and his people (together with the Lamanite and Nephite armies (3 Nephi 3:14) took refuge for eight years (3 Nephi 6:1) while the Gadianton robbers controlled all of the land southward, ca. AD 17–26 (3 Nephi 3:22–26, 4:1–5).

·      It was near where Hagoth built and sailed his ships in the years ca. 55–54 BC (Alma 63:4–10).

·      It was the treaty “line” of AD 350, which treaty gave the Lamanites/robbers all the land southward, including the passage that led into the land southward. And, of course, it was the same “line” from which the treaty gave the Nephites all the land northward, from the “line” where “the narrow passage which led into the land southward” began (Mormon 2:28–29).

·      It was adjacent to and to the south of the place where the “sea divides the land” (Ether 10:19–21).

·      The length of the line—“from the east to the west sea” in Alma 22:32—was about fifteen miles or so. This was also the approximate width of the small or narrow neck of land. This was also the approximate distance as the width of the west-sea land Bountiful, which was “inhabited,” according to Alma 22:33, “even from the east to the west sea.” Notice that it does not say that the land Bountiful was inhabited from the east sea to the west sea—a distance of 250 air miles. And notice also that this inhabitation was exclusively by the Nephites because after 72 BC, to which this event is referencing, “all” of the Lamanites had been chased to the south of the narrow strip of wilderness (Alma 22:34).

·      It was the defensive area near, and to the south of, where the city Desolation was located, where the Lamanites, between AD 360 to AD 375, took fifteen years and five major assaults to permanently force Mormon and the Nephites out of Desolation northward to Jashon/Jordan (the Chivela Pass area) in the year AD 375.

·      It was also near the place where the Nephites beat the Lamanites in AD 362 and dumped their dead bodies into the west sea (Mormon 3:8).

These events were not happening within the Isthmus of Tehuantepec but adjacent to it within the west-sea Bountiful area, including only the events associated with city Desolation area within the southwest border area of Desolation. None of these events and locations could possibly have been associated with the Gulf of Mexico area.

Andersen, Joe V.