Land of Shemlon

Region bordering on land of Lehi-Nephi

Land of Shemlon

The land of Shemlon, bordering the cities Lehi-Nephi and Shilom, emerges in the narrative of the Book of Mormon as a region under Lamanite control and pivotal to the historical record of the Lamanite and Nephite peoples. King Zeniff’s people inhabited nearby Lehi-Nephi and Shilom, and references to Shemlon are often interconnected with events that transpired among these populations (Mosiah 10:7). Around 200 B.C., Zeniff, vigilant of potential Lamanite aggression, dispatched spies into Shemlon to monitor military movements, highlighting its strategic significance in the ongoing conflicts between the two nations.

By approximately 145 B.C., the land of Shemlon had become the staging ground for a Lamanite incursion, wherein King Noah3, from his vantage point in a tower at Shilom, observed the advancing enemy forces (Mosiah 19:6). In a subsequent and rather infamous incident, priests loyal to King Noah3, residing in Shemlon following their disgrace at Noah’s court, abducted Lamanite women who had assembled in Shemlon for traditional revelry (Mosiah 20:1-5). These events set in motion a series of further interactions with the Lamanites, including the eventual appointment of Amulon, one of these very priests, as an educator throughout Lamanite lands, notably in Shemlon (Mosiah 24:1). This appointment stands in contrast to the later spiritual awakening that occurred within Shemlon, as recounted in Alma 23:8, where the inhabitants of the land were among those who converted to the Lord through the ministry of Ammon and his brothers.

Enclosed by a wilderness expanse, Shemlon, like the broader land of Nephi, was an area of forested highlands and valleys only sparsely settled by peoples mentioned in the Book of Mormon. This rural and somewhat isolated character is underscored by episodes of disorientation and discovery, such as the lost Lamanite army and the settlements found by Alma1 in the land of Helam (Mosiah 23:3-4, 23:30-31). Shemlon, therefore, serves not only as a historical backdrop for various Book of Mormon events but also as a reminder of the extensive wilderness encompassing the more concentrated population centers of the time.


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