“To Hide Their Wickedness and Abominations”

Brant Gardner

In this litany of destroyed cities, only Jerusalem (as a New World city) and Moroni appear elsewhere in the text (Alma 21:1–2). The rest of the cities are attested only in this catalogue of destruction; therefore, we can say little about where they might have been on a map: Onihah, Mocum, Gadiandi, Gadiomnah, city of Jacob, Gimgimno, Jacobugath (v. 9) city of Laman (v. 10), the city of Josh (v. 10), the city of Gad (v. 10), and the city of Kishkumen (v. 10).

The image of opposing parallels is now repeated for a larger number of cities. Cities go down into water, and land comes up to bury a city. Both of these directions are unusual. Water might rise up in flood, but we do not expect cities to go down into water. We might dig down into the earth to bury something, but the earth does not rise up to bury anything. These unexpected and “unnatural” actions reveal the obedience of the earth to the God of nature—Yahweh. This passage also spells out his motive: to expunge their “wickedness and abominations.” Yahweh is destroying more than cities, He is destroying the wicked. These precise fulfillments of Messianic prophecies are declarative proof that it is indeed the Messiah who has come.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 5