Waters of Mormon
Soon after the second Nephite evacuation of
Lehi-Nephi, these Nephites were en route to Zarahemlawhen they came to “a place which was called Mormon, having received its name from the king, being in the borders of the land having been infested, by times or at seasons, by wild beasts.” This place of Mormon contained “a fountain of pure water” near which the prophet Alma—a fugitive from King Noah’s court—“did hide himself in the daytime from the searches of the king” and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to “as many as believed him” (sourcetext|source=Book of Mormon|book=Mosiah|chapter=18|verse=4|range=-6).
“ [A] fter many days,” a “goodly number” of people had “gathered together at the place of Mormon, to hear the words of Alma.” Alma was no doubt moved by his audience’s willingness to “ [believe] on his word”; thus, he encouraged each of them to have faith, repent, and be baptized unto Christ. “And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, … what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord…?” (sourcetext|source=Book of Mormon|book=Mosiah
As Alma’s audience agreed, the prophet descended into the waters of Mormon and began his work by first baptizing a man named Helam. During the baptism of Helam, “both Alma and Helam were buried in the water,” as Alma renewed his own covenant with the Lord while also serving as example for his followers. He then proceeded to baptize “every one that went forth to the place of Mormon; and they were in number about two hundred and four souls; yea, and they were baptized in the waters of Mormon, and were filled with the grace of God. And they were called … the church of Christ, from that time forward. And it came to pass that whosoever was baptized by the power and authority of God was added to his church” (sourcetext|source=Book of Mormon|book=Mosiah|chapter=18|verse=12|range=-17).
Further Significance of the name “Mormon”
Latter-day Saint scholar David Lamb, of the [http://www.ancientamerica.org Ancient America Foundation] , had the following to say about the land (and therefore, waters) of Mormon and their significance in the book of the same name:
“ [The prophet] Mormon was not named after his father; he was named after the land of Mormon. He had been taught about his heritage by his parents and understood the sacred significance associated with the name Mormon. No doubt his father also bore the name Mormon for the same reason. In sourcetext|source=Book of Mormon|book=3 Nephi
chapter=5|verse=12 he gives us a clear indication that the name Mormon is symbolically synonymous with the restoration of the covenant which took place in the land of Mormon by Alma and his people.
“A study of the sourcetext|source=Book of Mormon|book=Introduction of the Book of Mormon tells us its main purpose is to restore a knowledge of the covenants to the house of Israel. This adds weight to the understanding that the name Mormon was always associated with the place of the restoration of the covenant to the Nephites. In fact, the name Mormon became synonymous with the concept of restoring the covenants.
“In light of this understanding, the Book of Mormon is not named for a man. It is named for the place where the covenant was restored. Symbolically, the Book of Mormon bears the name ‘Book of the Restoration of the Covenant.’” [http://www.meridianmagazine.com/articles/040507mormon.html]
According to the limited geography model of the Book of Mormon within LDS scholarship, the most plausible site of the Waters of Mormon would be modern
Lago de Atitlánin the highlands of Guatemala.Fact|date=May 2007
#David Lamb, “Articles from the Zarahemla Record”; [http://www.restoredcovenant.org/ Zarahemla Research Foundation] .
All other references are from The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, translated by Joseph Smith, Jr.
(Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981 [first edition, 1830] ).
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