Waters of Mormon (Malay geography model)

Baptismal waters for over two hundred Nephites

Waters of Mormon (Malay geography model)

The Waters of Mormon is a notable site within the Book of Mormon, famed for being the setting where Alma the Elder conducted the baptism of a group of Nephite believers. Nestled in an area known as the place of Mormon, adjacent to a forest referred to as the thicket of small trees, these waters are described as a fountain of pure water (Mosiah 18:5). This place, credited with receiving its name from the king and known to occasionally be infested by wild beasts, became a secret refuge for Alma as he evaded King Noah’s forces (Mosiah 18:4).

At the Waters of Mormon, a covenant community was formed as 204 individuals were baptized and committed themselves to bear one another’s burdens, mourn with those that mourn, stand as witnesses of God, and live the commandments of God (Mosiah 18:8-10). The spiritual significance of the site is further emphasized by the joy and covenantal unity of the people who gathered there, as well as by the statement that the place was beautiful to the eyes of those who came to the knowledge of their Redeemer (Mosiah 18:30). This sacred event marked the establishment of the Church of Christ in that dispensation and served as a pivotal moment in Nephite religious history.

However, the peaceful existence of the believers at the Waters of Mormon was short-lived. The threat posed by the approaching army sent by King Noah prompted the group, which had grown to 450 souls, to flee the area to avoid destruction (Mosiah 18:34-35). Alma later invoked the spiritual legacy of the Waters of Mormon in his sermons to the wayward in Zarahemla, underlining its continued importance in Nephite collective memory (Alma 5:3-13).

The exact size and expanse of the Waters of Mormon remain uncertain, but further textual evidence suggests that the waters may have been significant in size, potentially being a considerable lake that shared borders with both Mormon and the city of Jerusalem (Alma 21:1-2). The city of Jerusalem was later sunk and covered by water as part of the catastrophic events at the time of Christ’s crucifixion, indicating the possibility that the Waters of Mormon were implicated in this disaster (3 Nephi 9:6-7). The enduring influence of the Waters of Mormon can be recognized by the fact that the prophet-historian Mormon was named after this sacred land (3 Nephi 5:12).

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