Mosiah's Departure from Nephi to Zarahemla

prepared by Don R. Hender


    Though the simple title here may mislead, the fact is that the lands of the nation of Nephi had grown and spread out in all directions upon the land from that first central city of the prophet Nephi whose city was named the city of Nephi. Many the quick reader of the Book of Mormon, who does not unfold the highly condensed abridged one hundredth part text of the Book of Mormon record, merely presumes that the 'hill' of departure of Mosiah's party was that just north of the first city of Nephi. But that point of departure was not just north of the center of the land city of Nephi, it was just north of the furtherest laying city to the north of the city of Lehi-Nephi. That city was both north and west of the first city of Nephi, and it lay upon the borders of the two separate larger lands of the land of first first inheritence and the lands of the country of Nephi which by the age of Mosiah had bumped up against each other.

The location of Mosiah's party's departure to Zarahemla is in that same region and location to which Zeniff's three travels back and forth would entail. And it would be just inside that northern border of the land to the east, which also bordered upon the lands of the Lamanites of the land of first inheritence. With those three land borders in mind, the northern border of the lands, and the shared borders of the country and lands of the Nephites of Nephi's land and then that boarder of the country lands of the Lamanites of first inheritence, a positioning of the city of Lehi-Nephi ought to be well visualized as to where, in which corner of the land of Nephi against the land of first inheritence of where it was.

Now the hill north of the land of Shilom, which was the land wherein was the city of Lehi-Nephi or just 'Nephi' as they has shortened its name to being in the days of Zeniff, Noah, and Lemhi, was that hill used by Mosiah and the children of Nephi when they had fled out of the land national lands of Nephi (Mosiah 11:13, Omni 1:12-13). And this hill was also that hill to the north of the land and the city of Lehi-Nephi where Ammon and his group had concealed themselves while Ammon went into the Land to find what happened to the people of Zeniff of the land of Lehi-Nephi (Mosiah 7:1, 5, 16).

So Mosiah had gathered those people who would follow him out of the land of Nephi according as to the Lord had commanded him and approximately about 180 B.C. they first gathered to their position of refuge, that hill north of the city of Lehi-Nephi, and departed from thence. Being commanded of the Lord, Mosiah would have had the theings of God with them, the plates of brass, the two records of Nephi, that record of Lehi, the Liahona, and sword of Laban and all such things. And they, being led by the Liahona were enabled to find their was through the 'maze' of the three converging cordillera of the Land of Zarahamela and down through the valley of the river Sidon until they did come city of the immediate land about that city called Zarahemla after the king whose name was Zarahemla. Thus upon the very rough and simple map at the left is shown the series of lined journey of Mosiah's people through the mountain maze of the upper cordelleras of the three merging ranges of the lands of Zarahemla or Colombia. If we remember 'ahead' to the explores of Lemhi and the 40 days lost in the wilderness of Ammon's investigative team, the value of having the Liahona to navigate the course ought to be appreciated. Lemhi's explores took a wrong turn and ending up traveling the valley of the Cauca river all the way north until they came to the land of Desolation.

Now of course these people of Zarahemla turned out to be those who were the descendants of the party of Mulek who had left Jerusalem about the time of the destruction of the city. And they did flee the city in order to preserve the life of Mulek, the heir of king Zedekiah from being captured by the Babylonians. This would be the first time that the Nephites and the styled 'Mulekites', the people of Zarahemla, had come in contact one with the other since they had both left Jerusalem and sailed to the land of promise some 400 years prior. Bound in part by that wilderness 'maze' to the south of the Mulekites and to the North of the Nephites, the two peoples had developed separatedly and when joined their languages had changed. Mostly it was the language of the Mulekites that had become corrupted due to the lack of any sizable text of thier language brought along with them while the Nephites had their scriptural record of the plates of brass.

Just about everything we know about Mosiah the father of King Benjamin, in contained in the one chapter book of Omni. There it is Amaleki the son of Abinadom who was born in the days of Mosiah I, that summarizes his history in verses 12 to 23, which records his death and that his son Benjamin did reign in his stead. Just what Mosiah I was to his people in the land of Nephi is not spoken. He was a prophet and man of God. And he did lead his Nephite followers by many preachings and prophesyings. And he did also have the power of a seer, in that it was he who translated the large stone that had been written most certainly by the hand of Coriantumr, for it gave an account of Coriantumr in Coriantumr's written language. Coriantumr being that last living person and king among the Jaredites who had been found by the party of Mulek who the people of Zaramenla were descended from.


San Agustin ~ Manti

Some points of interest here concerning the region where Mosiah would have treked is first pictured here in the circled map region of the merging of the three cordillera of Colombia. The western mountain range or the Ocitental Cordilleras is the first mountain range the the storms from the pacific hit against. Consequently this region from the coast to the mountains is one of the wetest regions in the world. Historically the region's terrain is not suited to land travel due swamps and mangrove everglade wide type coastal regions and next with thick rain forests jungles which butt on up to and thus on into and upon the foothills and entially low mountains of the Occidental Cordilleras. Even today only 3% of all Colombians reside in these Pacific lowlands. And while from the land of Nephi, the most direct straight line to the narrow next was to just march right up the western coast, and thus bypassing central Zarahemla, the fact is that they could not because of the natural barrier that the mangrove everglade swamps and soggy thick rain forests jungles were impassable to the Lamanite Armies. Only a few native Lamanites would even have lived along the coast with accesses by their small sea craft reed 'boats'. Note the area circled in yellow. That is the area of confussion where high mountian ridges and numerous mountain valleys tend to confuse any of those who journey there in the maze like conditions it causes.

In that high mountain region where the cordilleras meet, there is one surviving unique archealogical sight. It is in the upper most reaches of the Magdalena or Sidon valley and mark where a traveler from the south might first encounter at the later southern border of the land of Zarahemla at what is today San. Agustin. But when Mosiah trek the land following the guidance of the Liahona, there was no such sights, just the land about that region. Here is some of the landscape like what he may have encountered.

Now make your way about those lands without stopping at a little farm house to ask for directions of where to go and which valley or canyon route to take in order to get where you are going. Mosiah did transvers the land, but then he had the Laihona to guide him as to which turn to take. To remain along and to to the left or right of the ridge top only works until you come to converging mountain ranges. Likely some will say its too far and they will not allow for a flatter more direct course before the great land changing destruction at the time of Christ's death. At 20 miles a day, even the travelors of Zeniff, 'wandered' and traveled the route in 'many days'. Ammon also 'wandered' and would travel the distance in 40 days. That would have been a total of 800 miles distance at a rate of 20 miles a day. Alma traveled from the 'waters of Mormon' a reported distance of 8 days, but just how far those waters were from the land of Nephi were not listed. And then from the valley of Alma to the border of the land of Zarahemla was another 12 days. But what was the distance from Helam to that valley? And of course Alma's route would have be as direct as possible. Other differences would be such as the difference in the land before and after 'the times'. Sit in a chair and tape a string the distance 'around' your bended knee. Then stand up and you see the string is very loose. Then also the land was 'raised up' and in seams when before it was flatter and in one solid piece. Just what distances are added thus? You see the 'bend' in the land, it is obvious as the map protrudes out into the Pacific. And the Andes mountains are still continuing to rise, and ever have, likely before, at an extreme accellerated rate at the time of distruction, and then at a diminishing rate since. That 'rate' has not been a constant for the lands had been moving apart since the days of Peleg and the plates presures transforming the lands since the days of Peleg. In short distances do change over the long range numbers 'if' you are to adhere to the scriptural accounts of the dividing of the land and the destruction at the time of Christ. A distance in 200 B.C. need not be the same distance as in 2000 A.D. Neither is the exact shape and form of a land needed to be the same before and after the great destructions and their subsequent changes from the death of Christ.


rev 13 January 2016