City of and Land of Shilom (Tehuantepec geography model)

Small region next to land of Lehi-Nephi

City of and Land of Shilom (Tehuantepec geography model)

Shilom, both a city and nearby land within the overarching territory of the land of Nephi, held significant strategic and agricultural importance in Nephite history. Peacefully ceded to Zeniff from the Lamanite king Laman, Shilom’s acquisition was a starting point for Zeniff’s efforts to reestablish a Nephite foothold in the land of their forefathers (Mosiah 9:6-9). However, as later events unfolded, King Laman’s intentions were less than benign, aiming to subdue Zeniff’s people to exploit their labor and resources (Mosiah 9:10-12).

The region around Shilom became a focal point of conflict between the Nephites and Lamanites. It sustained multiple invasions, with Zeniff’s forces successfully repelling Lamanite aggressions through their reliance on fortifications and Zeniff’s leadership (Mosiah 9:14-19; 10:8-20). Despite these victories, the peace was fleeting; after Zeniff’s death, his son King Noah’s misrule led to increased vulnerability and eventual Lamanite subjugation of the city. King Noah constructed many buildings in Shilom, expanding its development, only for the city to later become a symbol of the fallen Nephite monarchy under his son Limhi (Mosiah 11:13; 19:6-28).

When Limhi’s people made their escape to Zarahemla, guided by Ammon and his brethren, they circumvented the land of Shilom in their journey, leaving Shilom to revert fully back to Lamanite control (Mosiah 22:8-11). The land then figured as a territory overseen by the priests of Noah, who had betrayed their king and were appointed as teachers of the Lamanites within the region—including in Shilom where they pervaded the teaching occupation (Mosiah 24:1-2).

In a transformative shift, the inhabitants of Shilom eventually embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ through the missionary efforts of Ammon and his associates, becoming part of a widespread spiritual conversion among the Lamanites (Alma 23:8). The narrative of Shilom illustrates the fluctuating fortunes of Nephite settlements in contested border regions and underscores the recurring theme of religious conversion and ideological conflict within the broader Nephite-Lamanite discourse.

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