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Zarahemla in Iowa

Is Zarahemla across the river from Nauvoo, IL?

D&C 125:3

Let them build up a city unto my name upon the land opposite the city of Nauvoo, and let the name of Zarahemla be named upon it.


The Lord, in March of 1841, revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that a city was to be built opposite the city of Nauvoo, Illinois across the Mississippi River near what is now Montrose, Iowa “Zarahemla” was to be its name.

Could this have been the ancient city of Zarahemla?

Why did the Lord use this specific name from the Book of Mormon? That this was where Joseph was told to build up a city named Zarahemla can be seen in the map on page 394 of the Joseph Smith Papers, Journals Vol. 1 which shows the many tracts of land purchased by the saints on the western side of the Mississippi River across from Nauvoo as a result of this revelation.

No statement exists that confirms that the ancient city of Zarahemla was west of Nauvoo, however that does not rule out the possibility, and the Lord gave no indication the it was not its location or that the name given was only symbolic. He called it Zarahemla for a reason. He has an infinite number of names that He could have used, yet He used the specific name “Zarahemla.” If this was not the location of the ancient city of Zarahemla, why didn’t the Lord so indicate, as he did by distinguishing the Jerusalem in the Old World from the new by calling it “New Jerusalem.” Why wasn’t it called “New Zarahemla” if doing so was only symbolic.



  • Is Zarahemla across the river from Nauvoo, IL?
    • Cal Christensen, long time resident of Nauvoo, Illinois and Rod Meldrum discuss the significance of the Des Moines rapids of the Mississippi River. Could Zarahemla of the Book of Mormon have been across the river as possibly indicated by revelation from the Lord in D&C 125:3? Why are these rapids significant? Could they help us to locate the lands of the Book of Mormon? Learn more by watching this video!1

One thought to “Ancient Zarahemla”

  • Frank

    This is an interesting article. Have you ever read the 1923 Latin American travels of Mormon Historian Andrew Jenson? It is interesting to read his experience. I really enjoy thinking about the buried swords and possible location. Moroni 9:24, Ether 15:10,11,33, Ether 13:6 (Alma 46:24), Ether 12:30, Ether 10:20,21 (Alma 63:5 could possibly be Bajah California), Ether 9:3,13,18,19, Ether 7:6 Mormon 6:6, Mormon 3:5, Mormon 2:3,-6,17,29, Mormon 1:3,6,7, 4 Nephi 1:8,9, Helaman 3:3-7 (Mosiah 8:8 the discovery of ruins), Alma 22:27-33, Alma 16:2,6,7,11, Alma 15:1, Alma 8:3,6(3 days journey) ,7, Alma 6:7,
    3 Nephi 8:12-19and chapter 9 (city of Moroni sunk to the sea), Alma 24:16,17(swords burried deep), Alma 10:2 and many more are interesting scriptures that have a puzzle of information in my opinion


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