Where is Zarahemla? Why have we not found its ruins?

While reading the Book of Helaman with Esperanza this morning, I ran across a verse that jumped off the page at me.  I’ve read it many times before, but I did not notice it.  It is Helaman 12:19, and I think it might explain why archaeologists and other diggers have never found any proof that Zarahemla and other Book of Mormon sites existed.  Here is the verse:

“And if the Lord shall say–Be thou accursed that no man shall find thee from this time henceforth and forever–behold, no man getteth it henceforth and forever.” (Helaman 12:19)

The rest of the chapter includes important context for understanding this verse. It explains that when a wealthy man or a blessed people offend God by turning against him, he can curse their treasure so that when they bury them up in the earth, they can never be found again. He reminds the reader that the earth moves and mountains cover up cities according to his mere word. Could Zarahemla be buried deep beneath the earth because it was cursed by God at the time of the final destruction of the Nephites? The scriptural record does not record everything that God does. But these passages do indicate that God works in this way. It would explain a lot.


5 Responses to Where is Zarahemla? Why have we not found its ruins?

  1. Solange Brun says:

    I think the BoM cities were here in the USA. The proof is the Hill Cumorah and I believe it is no accident we know about it. Im not sure why so many members look towards other places. Even LDS Seminary classes taught many years ago used maps that looked like Central America. Perhap member archeologists are drawn to look outside the USA for BoM evidence because there is so little evidences here but you shared the BoM verse that might explain part of the reason so little BoM evidences exist here in the USA… Helaman 12:19. Do we need physical proof to believe or know scriptural places once existed?

  2. mbaf40@gmail.com says:

    I like the thought that the B of M cities may have been sunken in the Caribbean area. A couple at church went on a Book of Mormon tour(S. America), and I kept thinking that most of what I have read doesn’t fit the area very well. The sunken cities could make sense along with the small strip of land being Florida. Of course you still have the conflict with the DNA studies.

    • Perhaps our knowledge of DNA is not complete. Perhaps we have more we need to learn about early migrations before we understand these things. In the meanwhile, the Book of Mormon is scripture and our faith is religion not secular geography and history. The whole idea underlying all religion is faith, not empirical evidence. If someday I find out I’m wrong, which I highly doubt will happen, there is no problem. I’ll just repent and learn. No big deal. With some, Jehovah is God. With others, not so much. And in some cases, science is their God and their religion.

  3. I have read the Book of Mormon many times but I did not keep count. I’m sure I have read it far fewer times than you have, however. I love your comment. I have never thought of the things you brought up. I thought some of the cities that were sunk at the time of Christ’s visit might be under the Gulf of Mexico, but it never occurred to me that the narrow neck of land might have been Florida. Unlike many at the former F.A.R.M.S. people. I have never been very persuaded by the “local” definition of Book of Mormon lands. None of them are prophets. And all of the modern prophets who have spoken on the topic seem to feel as Joseph Smith did that the “promised land” ie. the Book of Mormon lands were all of the Americas.

    I follow prophets as best I can even when their thinking and mine are not particularly “scientific.” I have always loved science and it played a role in my conversion to the gospel fifty years ago, but I am a man of faith, not a doubting Thomas. And science is often wrong about many things as they themselves are continually admitting.

    Anyway, I found your comment thought inspiring and just plain inspiring. Thank you for it.

  4. Mr. Kay D. Jenkins says:

    I have another bit of thinking on this subject. What if they are looking in the wrong places? In I Nephi 13:10 to 12, it says that Columbus landed in America and we know he landed in the San Salvador Island which according to the Book of Mormon was in verse 12, “even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.”

    What if the sunken city off the coast of Cuba was the city of Zarahemla? According to the Book of Morman, in 3 Ne. 9 there were some 11 cities sunken. Could they have been in the Bahamas or the San Salvador area? Therefore, most Book of Mormon thinkers are looking in the wrong place. I personally think that the tip of Florida might have been the ‘Narrow Neck of Land,’ expressed in the Book of Mormon. I don’t think until Christ came that there was a connection in Central America as to the ‘Narrow Neck of Land’ connecting the Americas together.

    Thomas Stuart Ferguson spent some near 50 years looking for Book of Mormon cities in Central America and couldn’t find any and he lost his testimony near the end of his life. Again, he was looking in the wrong places.

    I am on my 594th reading of the Book of Mormon. I read 30 chapters a day and I read the Book of Mormon every 8 days. I started this documented type of reading on March 1, 1996 and before that I had read the Book of Mormon some 18 times. I found if I read 10 chapters a day I can read it every 24 days and if I read one chapter a day I can read the Book of Mormon 1.9 times a year. I learn something new overtime I read it.

    I am a host at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and have been for nearly 13 years. I encourage folks to read the Book of Mormon. Always, brother Kay D. Jenkins

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