East Sea

The East Sea bordered most of Book of Mormon geography. “By most,” we mean the southeast quadrant is unknown. We know that it did exist on the east of the lands: ZarahemlaBountiful, and Desolation. We must clarify “Land of Nephi” however before including it. The phrase “land of Nephi” is used to identify more than one land.

Nephi’s “Land of Nephi” bordered the West Sea, not the east. The Lamanite “land of Nephi” however did stretch from the East Sea to the West Sea. Thus, the East Sea did border the entire length of the (Jaredite) Land Northward, and the Land Southward – core Book of Mormon lands (we clarify “Jaredite” Land Northward because some people confuse a “land northward” expression within the Land Southward for the Jaredite Land Northward, i.e., everything north of the Narrow Passage).

Lamanite – Land of Nephi

27 And it came to pass that the king [Lamanite] 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 bordering even to the sea on the east and on the west, (Alma 22)

8 And the [Lamanite] land of Nephi did run in a straight course from the east sea to the west. (Alma 50) 

Land Bountiful / Land Desolation

32 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
33 And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful even from the east unto the west sea (Alma 22) 

Narrow Pass

34 And it came to pass that they did not head them until they had come to the borders of the land Desolation; and there they did head them, by the narrow pass which led by the sea into the land northward, yea, by the sea on the west and on the east. (Alma 50)

Land Northward

8 And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east. (Helaman 3) 

26 And it came to pass that Shiz did pursue Coriantumr eastward even to the borders by the seashore and there he gave battle unto Shiz for the space of three days. (Ether 14)

Land Northward and Land Southward

20 And thus it did come to pass that the people of Nephi began to prosper again in the land, and began to build up their waste places, and began to multiply and spread, even until they did cover the whole face of the land, both on the northward and on the southward, from the sea west to the sea east. (Helaman 11)

Not the Furthest Point East

3 And the Lord warned Omer in a dream that he should depart out of the land wherefore Omer departed out of the land with his family, and traveled many days, and came over and passed by the hill of Shim, and CAME OVER by the place where the Nephites were destroyed, and from thence eastward and came to a place which was called Ablom, by the seashore, and there he pitched his tent, and also his sons and his daughters, and all his household, save it were Jared and his family. (Ether 9)

Several clues show us that Omer went beyond the East Sea, just as the final Nephite battle was fought beyond the East Sea

  1. No one wanted to bury the dead
  2. No one wanted to live with the stench
  3. The Land Desolation was 1.5 days wide
  4. Omer traveled “many days” eastward, beyond the East Sea in other words
  5. Neither Mormon nor Moroni referred to the Hill Cumorah as Hill Ramah
  6. Mormon deposited some records in the Hill Ramah, and some in the Hill Cumorah
  7. Nephites fled south of the Hill Cumorah into the South Country
  8.  The Land Northward had a sea south of it, not a South Country south of it

If we identify the River Sidon, its head, and where the City of Zarahemla was, we can then look east for East Sea candidates. There should be no confusing a sea for a river (as one modeler has). In our Western New York model, when you go east of the head of the River Sidon you come to Leechworth State Park:

East Sea

It is considered the Grand Canyon of the East with the Genesee River running through it:

Grand Canyon of the East

 That river two thousand years ago was larger, a veritable “sea.” At that location, no one was “fighting upon the banks,” baptizing in it, or crossing it. Exactly how deep or wide the river was back then is unclear, and may have broadened out considerably before and after the canyons in Leechworth State Park.

East Sea Ontario Lake

The fact this was their eastern border and not the River Sidon is substantiated by the lack of evidence east of it:

The evidences of mound culture are more numerous in extreme western New York than east of the Genesee river. (William A. Ritchie, Pre-Iroquoian Occupations of New York, 1944, p. 9)

Sorenson had this to say about the length of the Sea East in the Land Southward:

In summary, the mileages measured along the coast are as follows: Bountiful to Gid/Mulek, twelve miles; Gid/Mulek to Omner, twenty miles; the southward component of the last day’s flight, maximum fifteen miles. Suppose we now arbitrarily allow an additional twenty miles for the distance between Omner and Lehi, for which we do not have a specific basis for measurement, another ten miles from Bountiful to the “line” that separated the lands Bountiful and Desolation, and finally, five miles from Moroni city to the edge (“line”) of Nephite-controlled land. Adding the numbers together we conclude that the southward limit of Nephite possessions along the east sea was only about eighty miles from the land northward. No wonder Amalickiah, in his plan to capture the narrow neck (Alma 51:30), chose this east shore as his prime point of attack (the distance he would have had to drive along the west coast was over 250 miles). Further, no wonder Moroni1 put such prodigious effort into fortifying the Nephites’ vulnerable east coast (see Alma 50:7-11). (John L. Sorenson, Mormon’s Map, FARMS, 2000, pp. 67-68)

Actually, the total distance is much less because:

a. The City Bountiful was on the west side not the east. – 12 miles

b. Last day’s flight minimum miles ignored (5 miles). -10 miles

c. The City Bountiful was on the line that separated the lands Bountiful and Desolation. -10 miles

d. The City Moroni was on the edge (“line”) of Nephite-controlled land. -5 miles

Thus, 12+10+10+5=37 miles – his 80 = 43 true miles. Modelers with exorbitant distances on the east are incorrect.

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