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The importance of Geography in the Book of Mormon

The first 26 verses of Alma 22 are discussed often but rarely any light is put on the 'why' of the last 8 verses. In Alma 22 we have a wonderful and light intensive story of the King of the Lamanites being converted, raised up by a handclasp, and bringing many of his people unto Christ.

In an odd transition (right in the middle of a very miraculous event), Mormon then goes on a 570 word tangent about the geography of the surrounding land. Even further, "John L. Sorenson, one of the foremost students on the subject [of Book of Mormon geography], identified over 600 passages relevant to geography. Cross-referencing Sorenson’s list with that of John E. Clark, Randall Spackman determined that there are upwards of 1000 passages of potential geographic significance."

In the last verse of Alma 22, Mormon transitions back into the story in a way that makes it obvious he knew what he is doing. To think otherwise is to suggest that Mormon somewhat often got lost on tangents during his writings (which was a painstaking and slow process to write on plates in the first place). This, obviously, was not the case.

This all begs the question, "If the Book of Mormon's purpose is to invite all to come unto Christ why 'waste' over 1,000 verses of the over 6,000 that exist in the book on the seemingly unrelated topic of geography?"

It should be self-evident that geography is not an unrelated topic and, therefore, our understanding of the Book of Mormon probably needs to be adjusted. It is a complex book that was calculated for us to plummet its depths. As a result, we will come unto Christ in matters of heart and MIND. It is possible that one can get too caught up in the geography and, therefore, miss the bigger picture of the book. But, I would also suggest the reverse is true, that one is probably not as familiar with the record as they should be to dismiss over 15% of the book as irrelevant details instead of using that information to further enrich their study of this book. It is true that even geography can bring us closer to Christ.


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