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The Settlements of Book of Mormon Peoples

TitleThe Settlements of Book of Mormon Peoples
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsSorenson, John L.
Book TitleNephite Culture and Society: Collected Papers
PublisherNew Sage Books
CitySalt Lake City
KeywordsBook of Mormon Geography; Culture; Jaredite; Lamanite; Land Northward; Land Southward; Mesoamerica; Nephite; Polity; Promised Land
A neglected aspect of Book of Mormon studies is analyzing what the text says about the patterns of settlement of its peoples. To understand an ancient document, its authors, and its history requires asking where the groups it describes lived on the face of their lands, for the life of any people depends to an important degree on how many of them there are and on their space-determined interactions with each other and with outsiders. We cannot grasp what was going on among them unless we can characterize how houses, neighborhoods, communities and lands were arranged. Questions about Nephite, Lamanite and Jaredite settlement patterns have not previously been addressed. The aim of this article is to lay out some of the relevant questions and to search the text for preliminary answers.
The study does not aim to settle questions of exactly where in the Western Hemisphere Book of Mormon groups dwelt. Rather, we shall be mainly reconstructing part of the "ethnogeography" of the Nephites, that is, how they themselves conceptualized the divisions of their living space.