Seas in the Book of Mormon

Book of Mormon lands were considered to be an "island" nearly surrounded by water (Alma 22:32), so it is natural to assume that there would be references to different bodies of water surrounding the Nephite homeland. There are indeed many references to the east and west seas, particularly in reference to the narrow neck of land separating the land southward from the land northward. In Helaman 3:8 we read that the Nephites "did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east." Thus the Nephites specified that there were seas in all directions surrounding their lands of inheritance.

John Clark feels that this reference to four seas is metaphorical referring instead to a global populating of the land. He says this "passage in Helaman may have been meant in a metaphorical rather than a literal way. .....I am convinced that the reference to a north sea and a south sea is devoid of any concrete geographical content. All specific references or allusions to Book of Mormon seas are only to the east and west seas. Any geography that tries to accommodate a north and south sea, I think, is doomed to fail." (A Key for Evaluating Nephite Geographies. Farms Review of Books 2000, V.1 # 1)

However, I disagree with him and feel that the model I am proposing can include four seas, and is one of the few places on the continent where such a match does occur. The west sea, of course, would have been the Pacific, and the east the Caribbean. From southern Costa Rica and eastward into Panama, the Pacific is actually the southern sea, and was so called by the Spaniards and the Indians. There are two possibilities for the north sea (and both may have been correct in their respective settings). In a limited sense, Lake Nicaragua is the north sea for Costa Rica to the south. On a larger scale, and speaking of the land northward, which is what the Book of Helaman was referring to, the Gulf of Honduras is the north sea.