Nephi's Departure to the Land of Nephi

prepared by Don R. Hender

    The journey of Nephi from the Land of First Inheritence to the Land of Nephi is actually the simplist journey to present. The relationship between the two points is the easiest to present from the scriptures. It is the basic relationship between the two location of the Land of Lehi's First Inheritence to the Land of Nephi. But there are other matters that further need to be considered in this, at first, easily addressed matter.

    "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."
    ~ Book of Mormon | Alma 22:28

Here then is the simple relationship between Nephi and the place of Lehi's first inheritence. It is an east-west relationship. When Nephi left the company of his elder brothers because after the death of Lehi they had again began to seek Nephi's life, so the Lord instructed Nephi to depart into the wilderness and take those who would follow after him with him.

    "Now I do not write upon these plates all the words which they murmured against me. But it sufficeth me to say, that they did seek to take away my life.
    "And it came to pass that the Lord did warn me, that I, Nephi, should depart from them and flee into the wilderness, and all those who would go with me."

    ~ Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 5:4-5

Now Nephi does not give every detail here, but for a certainty Nephi did take with him the plates of brass as the Book of Mormon does later related that the Nephites have them and that is one of the reason Laman and Lemuel did complain to their children about of how the Nephites has wronged them. And Nephi also took the Liahona or the director ball compass, as well as his own plates records and he would have also taken the record which Lehi had written, which Nephi has spoken of.

Thus having been warned of the Lord, Nephi would have certainly used the Liahona to guide he and those who would follow after him in directing them just where to go. That they traveled to the generally to the east is also to be understood, as the previous scriptur verse relates, that the land of first inheritance was on the west of the Land of Nephi. For a space of time, until Mosiah I did flee from the land, there was the two generally separate lands, the land of first inheritence and the Land of Nephi. Eventually it all became that which was called the Land of Nephi.

Nephi's small plates record does not elaborate it but the general understanding of the relationship is that the 'idle' Lamanites remained all along the western shores. And at the time that Mosiah did take all the Nephites that would follow him and head north to the land of Zarahemla, he understandably left the Nephites that would not so follow him there in the land of Nephi. And by tht time of Mosiah, it is quite safe to presume that many of the 'wicked Nephites had already 'defected and joined with the Lamanites. The Book of Mormon will later make that distinction that the 'Nephites' were generally those who would accept Jesus Christ, that is Jehovah the Spirit God of the Old Testament, who is the same as Jesus Christ, as their God, and the Lamanites would be all those who would not. And thus the Lamanites actually become more than just those who were descended from Laman and Lemuel, for there were defecting Nephites among them as well. They even retained the name of the land as the Land of Nephi. And that Land of Nephi became the Land of the Lamanites which included both the two separate lands of first inheritence and of Nephi.

As to the exact course and where the city of Nephi was where Nephi build his temple like unto Solomon's temple is not detailed enough to make any designation about from the Book of Mormon. And as time past from Nephi's departure, his brother did eventually locate Nephi's city and there did commence 'wars' amongst them. And as time passed and the two division of Nephi and his people and 'Laman' and his people did begin to fill the land, the two land grew together until there even become one of the future cities that was named 'Lehi-Nephi', it being such city as was on the border of Lehi's land of first inheritence and Nephi's land that he had departed to. In fact when Mosiah I would depart, the hill to which he 'retreated to' was just north of that city named Lehi-Nephi, perhaps a final bastron of the land of Nephi as witness to the lands having come together, at least geographically.

Now the distance between Nephi's first city and the land of inheritence was a great distance. Nephi states that they did journey 'many days' in the wilderness before they stopped and pitched their tents to make a permant settlement. Some who desire to create a 'limited' sized land pretend that it was any more than about fifty miles distance form the land of the Lamanites. And they even promote that Nephi's group did wander somewhat aimlessly in the wilderness not knowing whether to go, and thus though the days were 'many', they suggest 6 or so, and still were within just about 50 miles away from Laman and Lemuel—the distance from Salt Lake to Ogden. Why that is still in possible visibility range. From my home in Clearfield I can look across the Salt Lake and see Kennecott, the Qquirrh Mountains and beyond toward Tooele. At least I use to be able to until all this smog in the valley. And when returning from Dugway, I could see the large main four light across the hill of Hill Field Air Force Base from I 80 east of Tooele. Certainly Nephi's party travel further than that distance away from Laman and Lemuel.

    "And we did take our tents and whatsoever things were possible for us, and did journey in the wilderness for the space of many days. And after we had journeyed for the space of many days we did pitch our tents."
    "And my people would that we should call the name of the place Nephi; wherefore, we did call it Nephi.
    "And all those who were with me did take upon them to call themselves the people of Nephi."

    ~ Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 5:7-9

Now the land of Nephi or that eventual land of Nephi which would include all the lands south of the lands of Zarahemla, was such that it did evenually spread from sea to sea, just either Canada, the United States or Mexico does today. The exact distance is not known but since there was a sea east or the Amazon Sea just east of the Andeas, it would have been within about that distance and not more. When the first Spanish explores came and stood upon the Andeas' Mountains the expected to find the Ocean just to the east. Following the Napo river and when it turned east and emptied into the great Maranon river, the explorer exclaimed "Is it the sea or not?" And thus it was named 'Maranon' meaning 'sea or not'. Not always known is that this name Mananon was the early name of Amazon river and the Mananon river is still considered as the head waters of the Amazon as part of the Amazon. The following early map displays that consideration as the map itself is titled 'Mananon or Amazon' river. And if one denotes the 'main stream' flow back, the Amazon indeed does begin with the Mananon river as it turns to the south as it reaches the Andes mountain range. And that is the nearness considered to be where the east sea was at, it being that as known as the Amazon Sea which was one a large sea and even for a time a 'fresh water' sea.

Back to Nephi's journey from the land of Lehi's first inheritence to Nephi's first city called Nephi, it cannot be just mapped as a straight east to west line. Before one travels any great distance to the east from he west coast of Peru, one will encounter the terrain and obstacle of the Andes, be it that before their continued rise** once escalated at the time of Christ's death, they may not have been as great as they are today. And then there is the problem of just where that 'first' city of Nephi would have been located. So one is left to choose a destination 'east' somewhere up in the Andes. Of course Machu Picchu is of too recent a date, but such as Chavin de Hauntar would be of a prime consideration. Even one 'contraversial author' has stipulated that he has considered that the temple of Chavin de Hauntar in its oldest foundations does have certain features which match Ezekiel's temple which correlations with Solomon's Temple. But then what makes this author contraversial is not his 'scholarship' background but that he believes in such things as the 'Chariots of the Gods' by Erich von Däniken. Among other things, 'Däniken' noted that the 'Old Temple' design was such that it did face due east, towards the sunrise, and did match many of Ezekiel's temple design stipulations, and though while the 'newer temple' of the 'cat cult' differed. And he did note that the ancient temple complex dated to 'around 500 BC. And in his 'Strategy of the Gods, page 47, he comes right out and states that the people build the temple modeled after Solomon's. But von Daniken is not looking to prove the divinity of the Book of Mormon. He is merely looking for his extraterrestrials. And though 'God' loosely fits therein by some, this is really not testamony material.

This all being said, though the truth is that when Nephi departed from his brothers Laman and Lemuel, he did travel east from the west coast of the land of Lehi's first inheritence, the best suggested mapping on a modern map can be but to such a destination as Chavin de Huantar up in the mountains of Peru, likely about halfway between what would have been then the coasts of the sea west and the sea east. That this does make such a local within a 100 miles 'as the bird flies' in a direct line from the coast, it is by no means arived at by mere wandering aimlessly, nor it is likely that from the land of first inheritence on the coast to Nephi's first city was it in an precisely direct easterly direction, just 'generally east'. It one 'images' the darkgreen floor of the practically near to sea level of the entire Amazon basin as that of the 'blue' sea east, one may obtain that which would have been noted by Jacob that they were upon an Island of the Sea (2 Nephi 10:20). And one can further put a diminsion to that 'stright line' from east to west that defined the southern mapped marking of the 'narrow strip of land' as set out in Alma 22.

    "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 [national lands of Nephi] 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."
    ~ Book of Mormon | Alma 22:27

So, with all said, here finally is a 'very, very' rough and simple map representation of Nephi's journey from the 'Land of First Inheritence' from where he departed form his brothers who were seeking to take away his life, to the 'first' city of Nephi. The straight white line representing that journey is more to depect that it was a 'divinely guided route' than that it was actually a journey in a straight line. For indeed the terrain of the mountaineous regions would have prohibited a direct line of travel. I also keep emphasizing that this is the 'first' city of Nephi, for I truely have to concede that that later city of 'Lehi-Nephi' was not the same city as Nephi' first city named Nephi. That city of Lehi-Nephi was in directly visual contact with the cities and lands of the Lamanites to the west from the tower built by King Noah. And by its first given name of 'Lehi-Nephi' as given in the Book of Mormon, it speaks to being more of a city that is upon the border between the lands of Lehi's inheritence and Nephi's land, than being that of Nephi's first city deeper and further away from the Land of Lehi's First Inheritance.

Now these firt three journey's and the 'three landings' in the land of promise are very simply and roughly depicted upon the simple map at the right. It shows the narrow neck of land, where Mulek 'first landed', where Lehi landed, where Mulek 'second' landed, where Lehi journeyed to the Land of Lehi's/First Inheritence, and where Nephi relatively journeyed to the first city and land of Nephi. The details added of this representation is first considering Lehi. Lehi landed 'a little south of the Isthmus of Darien. After a season of planting and harvesting, he journeyed in the wilderness and found in the forests [plural] animals of every kind good for the use of man. His journey likely ran the course south up the Cauca river valley to the head of that river and then thense southwest to his land of first inheritence where was found all manner of ores that Nephi would use to make his plates for the large plates of Nephi, which Nephi was commanded by the Lord to prepare.

Second, Mulek's land and further 'sailing': Mulek's Phoenician provided journey sailed to as distant a considered port of safety from the ever explanding Babylonian Empire, all the way around the world to that great sea port city of traffic and trade of the Jaredite nation. There instead of a bustling city, they found a city and land of desolation with everybody dead except for one soul named Coriantumr visually and eventually verbally tell of the total destruction of his people which he had/would write upon a large stone. Fearing that even this land was under such waring attacks, the Phoenician ship departed their first landing sight and sailed to and up the navigatible Magadalena river about half of its great course to the center of the land, inland landing site of where the great city of Zarahemla would be built. This is how the center of the land city came to be the first and primary habitation of the land—at least so speculated.

Third, the simplest journey, though likely only due to the lack of details, is that of Nephi's departure journey into the wilderness from his brothren who were seeking to take his life again. Since the land of Lehi's first inheritence is later defined as being on the eastern shore of the land of Nephi, it becomes quite obvious that Nephi traveled east, northeast, or southeast away from his brethren located upon the western shore. And here again, Nephi's city of constructed buildings, including a temple like unto that of Solomon's temple [or even Ezekiel's temple] was built by Nephi and again laid the foundation for a 'surprisingly inland based civilization in the 'center' of the land like was found at Chavin de Huantar. Of course scientist who just cannot account for the sudden development of a civilization will impute that civilization's age on back for hundreds and even thousands of years. And they'll search until they supposedly find some type of perhaps 'carbon dated' material that they say supports their conclusions etc. And this even though it is now well proven that 'carbon dating' is one of the least reliable methods of determining the exact age of a civilization.

Again Hey?! For those who missed it on the last page of this series that question of "What happened to the rest of South America?" There are a number of sites that speak to the question of the Amazon Sea, and to personaly address the topic, I would need to know how I am to appoach you on the matter. This includes anything from, 'if you are a good Bible Christian who accepts the universal world wide flood of Noah or not?' For if you do, then I can move right ahead past all the scientific theory hangups that some people have here. Then, 'if you are an atheist and don't believe in God, then I'd have to consider why are you even worrying me about what is or is not in the Book of Mormon?' So it helps to know how I am to address the answer to that question. But here are some pages to refer to. Link to 'The Amazon Sea and Me' or 'The Amazon Sea — The Sea East'. Or there is 'Jacob's Island' or 'When the Land Was One II' or 'When the Land Was One I'. And then there is the consideration of all the great changes caused by the destruction of the land at the death of Christ recorded in the Book of Mormon, but that page is still under constrution and development. Now, if you are a good LDS member, consider if the prophet told you that this was the way that it was? Maybe you could then come up with some of your own answers then?
** It is known that the Andes mountains are continuing to rise and the added break up cuased is feeding into the Amazon that which turns the river brown. But there is further evidence that at one time this 'rise' rate of the mountains did take a spike which actually resulted in an evolutionary adaptation of the 'Indian' people who live in the Andes. This evolutionary adaptation is that the native Indians have a measurable significant increase in lung capacity which has allowed them to live or 'remain' to live in the high Andes mountains which is decidedly much more difficult than for someone with a normal lung capacity. This adaptive evolution would have happened at that time when the Andes mountains did rise at such an escalated rate that did not allow for mass population migration from one's home, and thus the people who did remain to live at those much higher levels had a selective process which favored the development of those with increased lung capacity to be those who lived and survived the uplift. Further there are ancient remains of what once where 'corn fields' where corn was raise that are today at height levels where corn does not germinate and grow. These are high above the great lake titicaca, which has also been raise in it mountainous height from where it once was. There is even an ancinet 'spill-way' that is a 'natural' feature where once there was a western drainage division aproximately between Bolivia and Peru where the ancient Amazon Sea did have connection to the Pacific Ocean. Of course science puts such things thousands upon thousands of years ago, though 'if' the flood of Noah is 'fact', then that blows all such 'scientific theories' out the window, because the effects of such a flood would mean that such land trace evidence so found would have to be post Noah's flood and not before.

ver 13 January 2016