|The Tale of the King’ s Proclamation or Where is the Geographic Location of the Book of Mormon
on the American Continents?
The King’s proclamation is found in Alma 22:27-34. It is an insertion by Mormon made while making the
abridgement of the Book of Mormon. It contains three geographic descriptions (In the mouth of three
witnesses.) that serve as a reference point to locate possible areas in the Americas where the Book of
Mormon took place.
A. A narrow strip of mountainous wilderness that runs from east to west.
B. An east sea and a west sea that mark the two ends of this narrow strip of wilderness
C. A major river that has its source in this same narrow strip of wilderness and runs from east to west at the
Any proposed geographic location for the Book of Mormon must meet these three geographic criteria.
In addition there must be some kind of evidence that a civilization with a written language existed in that
location during the time periods recorded in the Book of Mormon. Although this evidence may not need to be
spectacular ruins, the requirement for a written language can not be ignored.
Using Delorme’s mapping program based on satellite images, Earth Global Explorer DVD, one can search
for geographic locations in both 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional maps. A careful search of both North and
South America in both 2D and 3D locates only one obvious narrow strip of mountains which stretches from an
east sea due west to a west sea. This is located in Mesoamerica in Guatemala. The Grijalva River has its
source in this range of mountains and it’s source runs from the east to the west. Since the Book of Mormon
itself is the only acceptable criteria for determining its geographic location and we know it was located
somewhere in the Americas, one must conclude that the geographic location of the Book of Mormon had its
center in Mesoamerica in Guatemala as generally accepted by most of the recent authors about Book of
How far it extended to the north and south is dependent on interpretation of the more than 1000 geographic
references found within its pages.
One might argue that the Appalachians in the US stretch from the Atlantic on the east to the Gulf of Mexico in
an east-west direction. However, the Gulf of Mexico is south not west and there is no connection to a north-
south wilderness on the western end that could be described as round about by the wilderness towards the
north. In addition, there is no evidence at this time that a civilization with a written language existed here
during either the Nephite time period or the Jaredite time period. In Mesoamerica we have the Olmecs, at the
time of the Jaredites and the Maya, and others at the time of the Nephites. All of these kept written records
and have left significant evidence of their occupation of the lands in or near the narrow strip of wilderness
found in Guatemala.
Following is a commentary on the various parts of this scripture:
1 – A proclamation is sent out by the king
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,
2 Mormon tells us where it was sent and what the regions belonged to the Lamanites He also points out that
there is a definitive and narrow strip which divides the Land of Nephi from Zarahemla. This Wilderness must
be mountainous since the head (source) of the river Sidon is found in this area. Few if any rivers have their
source in desert regions. Mormon also tells us that the river Sidon runs from the east to the west (at least at
the source) not south to north as proposed by most other internal maps of the Book of mormon.
which was 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.
3 Mormon goes on to tell where each group of Lamanites were located. At the same time He gives
information on the location of the original landing described as their father’s place of first inheritance. We can
conclude that it was at the western edge of the land of Nephi, south of the narrow strip of wilderness and
obviously on the seashore.
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.
4 To emphasize that the Nephites were surrounded by Lamanites he points out that there were also
Lamanites on the eastern seashore. This description indicates that the Nephites were located in a valley
which was separated from the lamanites on three sides, the east, the south, and the west.
And also there were many Lamanites on the east by the seashore,
whither the Nephites had driven them.
And thus the Nephites were nearly surrounded by the Lamanites;
5 Mormon points out that the Nephites controlled everything north of the narrow strip in an east to west
direction till it reached the western wilderness and then north until it came to the land of Bountiful. He also
indicates that this territory extends from the head of the river Sidon in the east, to the west and ends at the
western wilderness and that their territory extends until it reaches the land of Bountiful.
nevertheless the Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land bordering on
at the head of the river Sidon,
from the east to the west,
round about on the wilderness side;
on the north, even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful.
6 Mormon now interjects information about the land of Desolation. Although this has nothing to do with the
proclamation sent out by the King, since Mormon came from the north, he includes this information to
complete the overall picture of the lands with which he is familiar.
And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation,
it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of
whose bones we have spoken,
which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla,
it being the place of their first landing.
And they came from there up into the south wilderness.
Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation,
and the land on the southward was called Bountiful,
it being the wilderness which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind,
a part of which had come from the land northward for food.
7 Mormon now writes about a line that separates Bountiful from the land of Desolation. This is probably an
easily defended strip that may have been fortified to prevent any invasion from inhabitants from the north.
Possibly from the Gadianton Robbers which at the time this was written had fled into the north. It could also
have served to prevent the Lamanites from following the seashore of the western wilderness and gaining
access to the lands in the north since no indication is given of how far in the east it begins.
And now, it was only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite,
on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation,
from the east to the west sea;
8. Mormon now informs us that the Nehites and lamanites are nearly surrounded by water with the exception
of a narrow neck of land which in this context probably included a desert area lacking water.
and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being
a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward.
9. We are now informed that the Nephites had spread out from the Land of Zarahemla into the western part of
the Land of Bountiful. He concludes by emphasizing the ability of the Nephite guards and armies to maintain
thier ability to expand to the north and keep the Lamanites from invading. their territory.
And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful,
even from the east unto the west sea,
and thus the Nephites in their wisdom,
with their guards and their armies,
had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south,
that thereby they should have no more possession on the north,
that they might not overrun the land northward.
Therefore the Lamanites could have no more possessions only in the land of Nephi,
and the wilderness round about
. Now this was wisdom in the Nephites —as the Lamanites were an enemy to them,
they would not suffer their afflictions on every hand,
and also that they might have a country whither they might flee,
according to their desires.