How did Zoram reach the head of the river Sidon
        before the Lamanites?

(Book of Mormon | Alma 16:1 - 10)

1  AND it came to pass in the eleventh year of the reign of the judges over the
people of Nephi, on the fifth day of the second month, there having been much
peace in the land of Zarahemla, there having been no wars nor contentions for a
certain number of years, even until the fifth day of the second month in the
eleventh year, there was a cry of war heard throughout the land.

War again.

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.

The Lamanites were able to get into the western end of the land of
Zarahemla by going along the seashore and around the
northwestern end of the western wilderness where they caught the
city of Ammonihah unprepared. They destroyed the city and left,
returning essentially the same route but turning to one side and
taking prisoners from the city of Noah.

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.

Leaving the city of Noah they returned to the Wilderness and
eventually travelled homeward down the beach. (Figure 1 violet line)

4  Now it came to pass that the Nephites were desirous to obtain those who had
been carried away captive into the wilderness.

They arrived too late to save Ammonihah but found that prisoners
had been taken from the City of Noah.

5  Therefore, he that had been appointed chief captain over the armies of the
Nephites, (and his name was Zoram, and he had two sons, Lehi and Aha)—now
Zoram and his two sons, knowing that Alma was high priest over the church, and
having heard that he had the spirit of prophecy, therefore they went unto him and
desired of him to know whither the Lord would that they should go into the
wilderness in search of their brethren, who had been taken captive by the

Desiring to recover the prisoners, probably suspecting that they had
been taken to serve as sacrifices to celebrate the conquest, they
went to Alma and asked him to tell them what they should do and
where they should go to find the Lamanites.

6  And it came to pass that Alma inquired of the Lord concerning the matter.  And
Alma returned and said unto them: Behold, the Lamanites will cross the river Sidon
in the south wilderness, away up beyond the borders of the land of Manti.  And
behold there shall ye meet them, on the east of the river Sidon, and there the Lord
will deliver unto thee thy brethren who have been taken captive by the Lamanites.

After inquiring of the Lord, Alma tells them to go to a place in the
southern wilderness away up beyond the borders of Manti. They
were told to wait on the east of the river Sidon for the arrival of the
Lamanites. Being able to travel through the valley of Zarahemla, they
easily arrived ahead of the Lamanites (Figure 1 orange line). Based
on examination of satellite maps, just north of the beginning of the
river Sidon, in the south wilderness, there is a small valley on the
east side of the river Sidon. It is located where the Sidon leaves an
east-west canyon and turns southward.

7  And it came to pass that Zoram and his sons crossed over the river Sidon, with
their armies, and marched away beyond the borders of Manti into the south
wilderness, which was on the east side of the river Sidon.

Crossing over the river Sidon where it passes northward through
the land of Manti, they continue eastward on up into the south
wilderness where they camped and waited for the Lamanites to
come out of the canyon which served as part the first available exit
from the seashore up into the land of Nephi.

8  And they came upon the armies of the Lamanites, and the Lamanites were
scattered and driven into the wilderness; and they took their brethren who had
been taken captive by the Lamanites, and there was not one soul of them had
been lost that were taken captive.  And they were brought by their brethren to
possess their own lands.

The captives are rescued and the Lamanites were forced to flee into
the Wilderness. The captives were taken back to Zarahemla and
eventually restored to their own lands.

9  And thus ended the eleventh year of the judges, the Lamanites having been
driven out of the land, and the people of Ammonihah were destroyed; yea, every
living soul of the Ammonihahites was destroyed, and also their great city, which
they said God could not destroy, because of its greatness.
10  But behold, in one day it was left desolate; and the carcases were mangled by
dogs and wild beasts of the wilderness.

Alma recounts the prophecy about Ammonihah and tells of its
fulfillment at this time.
Figure 1. Map of Mesoamerica
showing the routes taken by the
Lamanites, violet line and the
Nephites, orange line, after the
destruction of Ammonihah.

Tale of Ammonihah