“Morianton Establish Himself King Over All the Land”

Brant Gardner

Riplakish’s death and the expulsion of his descendants (v. 8) left the country without a king, a situation that continued for “the space of many years.” Obviously there was government of some sort, though apparently something less than a king. A lull in the monumental building program would be one predictable consequence.

The next king is Morianton, Riplakish’s descendant but apparently not a son. He appears on the king-list as the recognized successor. Significantly, Morianton must establish himself by force of arms, suggesting a complete overthrow of the interim government, which Ether does not even mention.

In the Nephite record, “Morianton” is both a man and a land (Alma 50:25–29). It is not clear whether the land was already named Morianton or whether the contemporary ruler Morianton gave his name to the land. This land was located on Zarahemla’s northern border and therefore was close to the Jaredite homelands. At the very least, “Morianton” was retained culturally as a name.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 6