East Wilderness

Lamanite area in Zarahemla

East Wilderness

The East Wilderness is referenced in the Book of Mormon as an area located part of the broader region surrounding Zarahemla, within the Nephite lands. Its strategic position plays a significant role in several military and social events among the Lamanites and Nephites:

Refuge and Conflict: After the death of Amulon, a group of Lamanites fled into the East Wilderness and assumed control over their compatriots. This precipitated a conflict that led to the persecution and death of many believers by fire, indicating that the area served both as a haven for those fleeing authority and as a site of intense ideological strife (Alma 25:5).

Escape Route: Amulon's followers sought refuge in the East Wilderness when being pursued by other outraged Lamanites, which further fomented violent contention in the region (Alma 25:8).

Military Clearance and Nephite Settlement: Captain Moroni, the Nephite military leader, conducted a campaign where his forces drove out the Lamanites from the East Wilderness. Subsequently, he encouraged the Nephite population to expand and settle this land, which extended to the seashore, incorporating it more fully into the Nephite dominion (Alma 50:7,9).

Strategic Security: Moroni fortified the East Wilderness, alongside the West Wilderness, to establish a more defined boundary line between the Nephite and Lamanite territories, which spanned from the west sea to the head of the river Sidon (Alma 50:11).

Tactical Maneuvering: The East Wilderness figured prominently in the tactical movements during military campaigns, specifically during the encirclement of the Lamanite forces by Moroni, in collaboration with commanders Lehi and Teancum, showcasing its vital placement for the strategic operations of both Nephite and Lamanite armies (Alma 62:34).

The East Wilderness served as a backdrop for refugee settlement, ideological conflict, military campaigns, strategic territorial security, and expansion of Nephite settlements. It highlights the wilderness' multifaceted role in providing sanctuary, becoming a battleground, and a frontier for colonization in the intricate narratives of the Book of Mormon.


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