Mormon Abridges the Nephite Records

Mormon’s Description of Nephite and Lamanite Geography

Alma 22:27

While abridging the account of Aaron’s mission among the Lamanites, Mormon digresses and begins to describe the geography of the land: the Nephite territory and Lamanite territory was separed by a narrow strip of wilderness that ran from the west sea to the east sea.

And it came to pass that the king sent a proclamation throughout all the land, amongst all his people who were in all his land, who were in all the regions round about, which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west, and round about on the borders of the seashore, and the borders of the wilderness which was on the north by the land of Zarahemla, through the borders of Manti, by the head of the river Sidon, running from the east towards the west—and thus were the Lamanites and the Nephites divided.

Alma 22:28–29

The Lamanites inhabited the land of Nephi, western coast, and the lands east of Nephite holdings.

Now, the more idle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness, and dwelt in tents; and they were spread through the wilderness on the west, in the land of Nephi; yea, and also on the west of the land of Zarahemla, in the borders by the seashore, and on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers’ first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore.And also there were many Lamanites on the east by the seashore, whither the Nephites had driven them.

Alma 22:29

Nephite holdings included the land of Zarahemla and stretched north towards the land of Bountiful.

And thus the Nephites were nearly surrounded by the Lamanites; nevertheless the Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land bordering on the wilderness, at the head of the river Sidon, from the east to the west, round about on the wilderness side; on the north, even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful.

Alma 22:30

Bountiful was near Desolation, which was the land where the Jaredites lived.

And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, it being the place of their first landing.

Alma 22:31

Desolation referred to the Northern land, and Bountiful was included in the Southern land.

And they came from there up into the south wilderness. Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful, it being the wilderness which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind, a part of which had come from the land northward for food.

Alma 22:32

Bountiful and Desolation were situated in a narrow neck of land; it would take a Nephite about a day and a half to travel from the west coast to the east cost at that point.

And now, it was only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward.

Alma 22:33–34

The Nephites had strategically established themselves at Bountiful, to prevent the Lamanites from progressing northward and obtaining additional territory.

And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea, and thus the Nephites in their wisdom, with their guards and their armies, had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south, that thereby they should have no more possession on the north, that they might not overrun the land northward. Therefore the Lamanites could have no more possessions only in the land of Nephi, and the wilderness round about. Now this was wisdom in the Nephites—as the Lamanites were an enemy to them, they would not suffer their afflictions on every hand, and also that they might have a country whither they might flee, according to their desires.

Alma 22:35

Mormon goes back to writing about the Nephite missionaries.

And now I, after having said this, return again to the account of Ammon and Aaron, Omner and Himni, and their brethren.