“The Hill”

Alan C. Miner

According to Hunter and Ferguson (Ancient America, page 363), it is an interesting fact that all mountains, regardless of size, are referred to as "hills" in the Book of Mormon. The Hebrew term "harar" is translated "hill or mountain." It is the term used for referring to large elevations. The translators of the Old Testament have sometimes rendered the term "hill" and sometimes rendered the term "mountain." Apparently Joseph Smith saw fit to render it "hill" in all instances where an elevation was referred to by name in the Nephite account. In doing so he was doing an excellent job of translating. [Roy E. Weldon, Book of Mormon Deeps, Vol. III, p. 296]

“They Carried Him Upon the Top of the Hill Manti”

If Nehor "was . . . brought" (Alma 1:2) to be judged of Alma, and if the judgment seat of Alma was in the local land of Zarahemla, then the place of execution or the hill Manti might have been close by if we take the words "they carried him upon the top of the hill Manti" (Alma 1:15) in a literal sense. However, if the term "hill Manti" has any reference to a location within the land of Manti, then Nehor might have been taken back to his land of origin (the land Manti) to be executed. According to Alma 22:27, the land of Manti was apparently located near the head of the river Sidon, close to or in the narrow strip of wilderness which separated Nephite territory from Lamanite territory. It is interesting that an area possibly near the land of Manti ("the land of Minon, above the land of Zarahemla, in the course of the land of Nephi"--Alma 2:24) is associated with the Amlicite War that followed Nehor's preaching and execution. This association was between "Lamanites" apparently coming from the land of Nephi (upstream from Zarahemla) and the Amlicites (downstream from Zarahemla). Amlici was "after the order of the man that slew Gideon" [Nehor] (Alma 2:1).

In Mesoamerica, near the headwaters of the Grijalva river (a proposed river Sidon) or the Usumacinta river (a proposed river Sidon), there are a number of distinctive "hills" which distinguish highland Guatemala from the lowland Chiapas depression or lowland Peten. These "hills" are majestic volcanoes which form part of the Cuchumatanes mountain range. They are tall enough to imply to the onlooker that anybody who was carried to their top would truly be situated "between the heavens and the earth" (Alma 1:15). [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes] [See the commentary on Alma 2:1, 2:15, 21:4, 24:28-29]

Alma 1:15 And they carried him upon the top of the Hill Manti ([Illustration]): The Tacana volcanic peak, 4,064 meters (13,208 ft.) above sea level, as seen from a point just west of Tapachula on the Interamerican Highway. [Gareth Lowe, Thomas Lee, and Eduardo Martinez, Izapa: An Introduction to the Ruins and Monuments, N.W.A.F., p. 42]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary