Thursday, October 23, 2014


We find the term "borders" 75 times in the Book of Mormon, once referring to the bounds of a person's home or property 3 Nephi 22:12 (citing Isaiah 54:12), once referring to the extent of the Kingdom of God upon the earth also symbolized by the Stakes of Zion Moroni 10:31 (cited in D&C 82:14 which is a gloss on 2 Nephi 8:24 & 3 Nephi 20:36, both of which cite Isaiah 52:1), and 73 times referring to Book of Mormon places we expect to eventually locate on the modern map. The singular "border" never appears. We saw earlier there is a strong affinity between the words "borders" and "by" in the text. See the blog article "By and By." This post will analyze all occurrences of "borders" in an attempt to shed light on the Nephite meaning of the term. Potential synonyms "edge," "margin," "littoral," "boundary," "bounds," and "perimeter" were not used in the version of the record we have today. Antonyms "center" and "heart" are attested in the text and will be included in our analysis where they are used in spatial contexts. We will also look at the 4 instances of the word "bordering" and the 2 instances of the word "bordered." We will first address the questions "Which geographic entities had borders?," "What nearby features were associated with these border regions?" and "What actions took place at the borders?" Explanatory information will be in square brackets, proximate features and actions in parentheses.

Entities with borders in the Nephite worldview
- City of Ammonihah Alma 49:2 (armies of the Lamanites, Moroni's army, fortifications)
- Land governed by King Noah Mosiah 18:4,5, Mosiah 18:31, Mosiah 19:6 [The name "Lehi-Nephi" was a politically correct term used only during the sojourn of the Zeniff colony among the Lamanites. Before and after that time the Nephites referred to both the city and the land as simply "Nephi." The original land grant from the king of the Lamanites to Zeniff included the cities of Lehi-Nephi and Shilom and the land round about each Mosiah 7:21. In other words, Lehi-Nephi and Shilom were classic city states. King Noah expanded the territory he inherited from his father in two different directions. He named Mormon, a sylvan place in the borders of Nephi Alma 5:3 and he built a tower north of the land of Shilom Mosiah 11:13. In the records of the Zeniff colony, Mormon was merely a "place" Mosiah 18:4, 7, 16, 30. One generation later, Alma2 called it a "land" Alma 5:3. Mormon also called it by its more elevated name "land of Mormon" 3 Nephi 5:12.] (Mormon had a fountain of pure water, Mormon had wilderness characteristics with seasonal infestations of wild animals, Alma's converts traveled to Mormon, army of the Lamanites)
- Land governed by King Limhi which he inherited from his father, King Noah Mosiah 21:2 [local land of Nephi, land of Shilom, place of Mormon, hill north of  Shilom] (oppressive Lamanite taskmasters)
- Land of Helam Mosiah 23:25 (land of pure water, army of the Lamanites)
- Land of Jershon Alma 43:22 (on the east by the sea, army of Zerahemnah)
- Land of Melek Alma 8:5 (west of river Sidon, by the wilderness side of Melek)
- Land of Moroni Alma 62:34 (armies of Moroni, Lehi & Teancum; wilderness south of Moroni; wilderness east of Moroni)
- Local land of Nephi Mosiah 21:26, Alma 5:3 (Limhi explorers, waters of Mormon)
- Land of Shemlon Mosiah 19:6 (army of the Lamanites)
- Greater land of Zarahemla Alma 3:23 [land of Minon] (armies of the Lamanites)
- Greater land of Zarahemla Alma 16:2 [city of Ammonihah] (wilderness side of Ammonihah, armies of the Lamanites)
- Local land of Zarahemla Alma 2:36 (armies of the Lamanites, Amlicites)
- Northern kingdom of Israel destroyed by the Assyrians ca. 721 B.C. 2 Nephi 20:13 [citing Isaiah 10:13 where the Book of Mormon "borders" is translated variously in different Bible versions as "bounds," "boundaries," "defenses" or "territory."] (army of the Assyrians)
- Wilderness between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba 1 Nephi 2:5 (travel, near the shore of the Red Sea)
- Wilderness east of the Gulf of Aqaba 1 Nephi 2:5, 1 Nephi 2:8 (travel, nearer the Red Sea, near the mouth of river Laman)
- Wilderness east of the Red Sea 1 Nephi 16:14 (travel, near the Red Sea)
- Wilderness west of Mulek Alma 8:3 (west of river Sidon)

Things associated with borders
- Wilderness
- Water
- Travel
- Military & para-military actions
- Fortifications