“That Quarter of the Land”

Alan C. Miner

Does the phrase, "that quarter of the land" (Alma 52:10), imply that the land of Zarahemla was divided up into quarters? If so where were these quarters and what significance did they have militarily?

The reader should note that there are two distinct phrases used overwhelmingly during the tenure of Moroni as chief commander of the Nephites. The first is "that quarter of the land," and the second is "that part of the land." Not counting the book of Ether, which is a history of the Jaredites, the Book of Mormon has 12 instances where these phrases occur. All of these occurrences are found within the tenure of Moroni as chief commander.

As part of the overall defense of the country, the Nephite chief commander Moroni might have viewed the general land of Zarahemla as being divided up into four quarters (NW, SW, NE, SE). Each of these quarters or parts were apparently connected to the central local land of Zarahemla. In Alma 60:18-19, we find that Moroni writes an epistle to Pahoran to complain about the lack of support. Pahoran is Chief Judge at the time and has a residence in the city of Zarahemla. Moroni says the following:

But why should I say much concerning this matter? For we know not but what ye yourselves are seeking for authority. We know not but what ye are also traitors to your country. Or is it that ye have neglected us because ye are in the heart of our country and ye are surrounded by security, that ye do not cause food to be sent unto us, and also men to strengthen our armies?

Thus leaders were apparently established for the various "quarters of the land"; however, only certain ones are mentioned at various times. We know that Teancum was set up in the northeast quarter in the land Bountiful (Alma 52:9). Moroni had his "camp" in the southeast quarter near the cities of Lehi, Morianton, and Nephihah (Alma 50:27). Antipus was appointed by Moroni as a leader in the southwestern quarter (Alma 56:9), and Helaman was recognized as the leader of the 2000 "young men" of the people of Ammon (possibly from the northwest quarter--Alma 56:5). [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes] [See Geographical Theory Maps]

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