City of Mulek (Malay geography model)

Nephite city south of Bountiful

City of Mulek (Malay geography model)

The city of Mulek was a significant Nephite settlement situated south of Bountiful, “on the east borders by the seashore” (Alma 51:26). It became a focal point of military strategy during the latter part of the first century B.C. Initially, Mulek fell into Lamanite hands during Amalickiah’s aggressive campaign into Nephite territories around 67 B.C. (Alma 51:25-26). The city’s capture signified a substantial loss for the Nephites, as its location was strategic both for its proximity to the seashore and its fortifications.

Realizing the importance of Mulek, the Nephite commander Teancum was tasked with the city’s recapture. Unable to draw the Lamanite occupants into the open, Teancum, along with Moroni, devised a cunning strategy that involved luring their adversaries out by feigning a smaller force’s retreat. This plan successfully culminated in a pincer movement where the Lamanites found themselves trapped between Nephite forces led by Moroni, approaching from the west, and those led by Lehi, stationed at Bountiful (Alma 52:17-27). The ensuing battle was fierce, and the Nephites were able to reclaim the city after the Lamanites’ defeat.

An apparent textual inconsistency arises when the city of Mulek is referred to as being “one of the strongest holds of the Lamanites in the land of Nephi” (Alma 53:6, in an earlier edition). However, other verses clarify that the city was indeed part of the land of Zarahemla, lying to the north of the land of Nephi (Alma 50:11; 51:24-27). This discrepancy may be a result of the city’s temporary occupation by the Lamanites, effectively making it a de facto extension of the “land of Nephi” during their control.

The city of Mulek plays a role in the complex interplay of territorial control and provides insight into the military tactics of the period, reflecting the tenacity of the Nephite leaders in reclaiming and defending their lands against Lamanite expansion.

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