“The City Moroni and It Was by the East Sea”

Alan C. Miner

Moroni pressed on with his preparations for defense, clearing out straggler Lamanites along the coast and installing garrison cities, using colonists from the Zarahemla area (Alma 50:9-11). . . . The city of Moroni was practically on the coast (Alma 62:32; 3 Nephi 8:9), but Alma 62:34 suggests there may have been a little wilderness between it and the sea. . . .

According to geographical theory of John Sorenson, everything said about the city of Moroni fits neatly if we suppose it was located near Laguna Mecoacan, through which the Grijalva/Sidon formerly emptied (by way of the Rio Seco). Alternatively, it might have been at or near the site of Tupilco a few miles farther along the coast. Sisson found in his archaeological reconnaissance of this area that in the Late Preclassic period, including the time when Moroni was fortifying that section, that "waxy-feeling" pottery characteristic of the Mayan area was distributed throughout the lowlands of Guatemala and southeastern Mexico right up to the eastern side of Laguna Mecoacan, and then stopped. Quite a different style existed beyond the lagoon and ethnic border. At the time of the conquest, too, a single "economic bloc," coinciding with the distribution of the Mayan languages, extended all the way from Honduras to this same ethnic limit. That distribution agrees with what appears to have been the realm of the lowland "Lamanites." . . . An archaeological site at nearby Tupilco in recent decades was washed into the sea by powerful storms on the Gulf, whose waves sometimes pound the shore. We are reminded that further in the Book of Mormon story, the city Moroni would "sink into the depths of the sea" at the time of the great storm marking the crucifixion of the Savior (3 Nephi 8:9). The city of Moroni's location at about this point on the coast would then fit the natural setting, although, of course, the original ruins went under the water 1,900 years ago, according to the Book of Mormon. [John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, pp. 244, 246-247]

Alma 50:13 The city Moroni ([Illustration]): John Sorenson's proposed site for the city of Moroni (near Laguna Mecoacan. Alternatively, near the site of Tupilco. Archaeological Map of Middle America: Land of the Feathered Serpent. Produced by the Cartographic Division , National Geographic Society, 1972.

Geographical [Theory Map]: Alma 50:13 The City of Lehi (20th Year)

Geographical [Theory Map]: Alma 50:13 The City of Moroni (20th Year)

Alma 50: 13-15 (T[heory Map]): The cities of Moroni, Aaron, Nephihh, and Lehi Sorenson

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