Part 7: Alma 43 – Alma 56
The introduction to this series on internal consistency in the Book of Mormon is found in part 1 here.
This part covers the “war chapters” in Alma. They go into a lot of detail, especially concerning the geography. The examples shown in this part don’t do justice to the complexity of the Book of Mormon geography since there is more here than we can cover.
49. Alma 43:5 and Alma 31:3 — “the land of the Zoramites”
In Alma 43:5, Mormon informs us that an army of Lamanites arrived at…
…the land of Antionum, which is the land of the Zoramites
This is consistent with the only other mention of the land of Antionum in Alma 31:3:
Now the Zoramites had gathered themselves together in a land which they called Antionum
50. Alma 45:10, Helaman 13:9, and Mormon 8:6-7 — the “400-year prophecy”
In the nineteenth year of the reign of the judge, in Alma 45:10, Alma issues a “400-year prophecy”
10 And these are the words: Behold, I perceive that this very people, the Nephites, according to the spirit of revelation which is in me, in four hundred years from the time that Jesus Christ shall manifest himself unto them, shall dwindle in unbelief.
Samuel the Lamanite reiterates this prophecy 67 years later, in Helaman 13:9 (a)
9 And four hundred years shall not pass away before I will cause that they shall be smitten; yea, I will visit them with the sword and with famine and with pestilence.
Following Mormon’s death in battle, in Mormon 8:6-7 (b), his son Moroni makes sure to record the fulfillment of the prophecy:
6 Behold, four hundred years have passed away since the coming of our Lord and Savior.
7 And behold, the Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more; and great has been their fall; yea, great and marvelous is the destruction of my people, the Nephites.
51. Alma 45:21-22 and Alma 62:44, 46 — “a regulation should be made again”
In the nineteenth year of the reign of the judges, following a period of war, Helaman proclaimed the word of God. In Alma 45:21-22, we read
it became expedient that the word of God should be declared among them, yea, and that a regulation should be made throughout the church. Therefore, Helaman and his brethren went forth to establish the church again in all the land
(Mosiah 25:19 records when King Mosiah granted unto Alma-1 that he might “establish churches throughout all the land of Zarahemla” (a).)
In Alma 62:44, after another period of war, we read:
44 And Pahoran did return to his judgment-seat; and Helaman did take upon him again to
preach unto the people the word of God; for because of so many wars and
contentions it had become expedient that a regulation should be made again in the church.
45 Therefore, Helaman and his brethren went forth, and did declare the word of God with much power unto the convincing of many people of their wickedness, which did cause them to repent of their sins and to be baptized unto the Lord their God.
46 And it came to pass that they did establish again the church of God, throughout all the land.
It is a very subtle reference, but since a “regulation in the church” is not mentioned anywhere else in the Book of Mormon, the “again” in Alma 62:44 clearly refers to Alma 45:21(b).
52. Alma 49:3 and Alma 16:2 — “the city of Ammonihah had been rebuilt”
In Alma 49:3, we learn something about Ammonihah
Behold, I said that the city of Ammonihah had been rebuilt. I say unto you, yea, that it was in part rebuilt; and because the Lamanites had destroyed it once because of the iniquity of the
people, they supposed that it would again become an easy prey for them.
Then, after a failed attempt to attack Ammonihah, the Lamanite army retreats to the wilderness and marches towards the land of Noah to attack the city of Noah instead (se Alma 49:11-12). Compare this with Alma 16:2-3.
2 For behold, the armies of the Lamanites had come in upon the wilderness side, into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah, and began to slay the people and destroy the city.
3 And now it came to pass, before the Nephites could raise a sufficient army to drive them out of the land, they had destroyed the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, and also some around the borders of Noah, and taken others captive into the wilderness.
In this chapter, Ammonihah was destroyed, which is consistent with “rebuilt” in chapter 49 (a). The fact that they went to Noah next is also consistent with the geographical descriptions in Alma 16:3 (b), where the Lamanites came from the wilderness side into Ammonihah and destroyed the people there as well as some on the borders of Noah.
53. Alma 49:16 and Alma 43:35 — “the same Lehi”
In Alma 49:16, we read:
It was the same Lehi who fought with the Lamanites in the valley on the east of the river Sidon.
This is a reference to a previous battle described in Alma 43. Not only did the author refer to the correct person and event but also the place. Compare with Alma 43:53
Therefore when Zerahemnah saw the men of Lehi on the east of the river Sidon, and the armies of Moroni on the west of the river Sidon, that they were encircled about by the Nephites, they were struck with terror.
54. In Alma 50:34, Alma 63:5, and Mormon 3:5 — “the narrow pass”
Mormon consistently describes the land Desolation as being located in the north by “the narrow pass.” This is something the author must keep in mind because it is consistent with Desolation by the “narrow neck” in Alma 63:5 (a) and “narrow pass” in Mormon 3:5 (b).
55. Alma 51:24 and Alma 59:5 — “those who fled”
When the Lamanites conquer the land of Moroni, “those who fled out of the city of Moroni came to the city of Nephihah.” We are also told that “the people of the city of Lehi gathered themselves together.” In Alma 59:5, this detail is mentioned again:
5 And it came to pass that while Moroni was thus making preparations to go against the Lamanites to battle, behold, the people of Nephihah, who were gathered together from the city of Moroni and the city of Lehi and the city of Morianton, were attacked by the Lamanites.
56. Alma 51:26 and Alma 52, 55 and 62 — Losing and recapturing Nephite cities
Alma 51:26 contains a list of six cities conquered by the Lamanites: “the city of Nephihah, and the city of Lehi, and the city of Morianton, and the city of Omner, and the city of Gid, and the city of Mulek, all of which were on the east borders by the seashore.”
Beginning in Alma 52:15, we get a description of the efforts made by the Nephites to reclaim those cities. Five of the six are specifically mentioned again over the next few chapters:
Nephihah (Reclaimed in Alma 62:14-30)
Lehi (Reclaimed in Alma 62:30-32)
Morianton (Noted to be heavily fortified in Alma 55:33-34)
Omner (Not mentioned)
Gid (Alma 55:7-26)
Mulek (Alma 52:16-34)
57. Alma 53:11,13-15, Alma 56:7-8 and Alma 24:18 — “an oath that they would never shed blood more”
In Alma 53:11, we are reminded of the oath that the people of Ammon had sworn
And because of their oath they had been kept from taking up arms against their brethren; for they had taken an oath that they never would shed blood more
This is consistent with Alma 24:18 (a)
And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did, vouching and covenanting with God
Despite this oath, we read in Alma 53:13-15
13 But it came to pass that when they saw the danger, and the many afflictions and tribulations which the Nephites bore for them, they were moved with compassion and were desirous to take up arms in the defence of their country.
14 But behold, as they were about to take their weapons of war, they were overpowered by the persuasions of Helaman and his brethren, for they were about to break the oath which they had made.
This is from Mormon’s abridgment of the plates. In Alma 56, Mormon includes a letter from Helaman to Captain Moroni. This letter tells about the same event (b).
7 But in the twenty and sixth year, when they saw our afflictions and our tribulations for them, they were about to break the covenant which they had made and take up their weapons of war in our defence.
8 But I would not suffer them that they should break this covenant which they had made, supposing that God would strengthen us, insomuch that we should not suffer more because of the fulfilling the oath which they had taken.
58. Alma 55:26 and Helaman 5:14-15 — Bountiful and Gid
In Alma 55:26, we read:
And it came to pass that when he had fortified the city Gid, according to his desires, he caused that his prisoners should be taken to the city Bountiful;
This is not an example with a direct reference, but a clear indication that the city of Gid is close to Bountiful. This is consistent with Helaman 5:14-15
…they went forth, keeping the commandments of God, to teach the word of God among all the people of Nephi, beginning at the city Bountiful; And from thenceforth to the city of Gid.
Another subtle example of consistent geography.
59. Alma 56:13-14, Alma 57 and Alma 58 — Losing and recapturing more Nephite cities
Similar to item 56, this verse contains a list of Nephite cities the Lamanites have conquered in the western parts of the land.
13 And now these are the cities of which the Lamanites have obtained possession by the shedding of the blood of so many of our valiant men:
14 The land of Manti, or the city of Manti, and the city of Zeezrom, and the city of Cumeni, and the city of Antiparah.
3 out of 4 of these are specifically mentioned in Alma 57 and Alma 58 as cities that the Nephites recapture.
End of Part 7
That concludes the seventh part of this series. Below is an updated version of the arc diagram which includes each of the internally consistent details we’ve described so far.
Jeff Markham has been an avid student of the Book of Mormon his entire life. He recently joined the FairMormon group. He has practiced radiology in the Dallas, Texas area since 2011, having obtained his undergraduate education at Brigham Young University (B.S. in 2000), a medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA (M.D. 2005), and post-graduate training in diagnostic radiology and neuroradiology at University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, TX. He served as a full-time missionary in the Germany Hamburg Mission from 1996-1998. His favorite callings include teaching primary and early morning seminary. He lives in the Dallas area with his wife and children. He blogs at BookofMormonNotes.com.