Were the Book of Mormon Nephites acually Toltecs & Anasazi? Evidence for the Final Exodus and Battles

Map showing correlations between known archaeological battle and abandonment sites and possible corresponding Book of Mormon cities with known battles leading up to the final destruction of the Nephites. Here we propose TWO POSSIBLE TIMELINES. The early timeline labels are placed in the Gulf of Mexico on the right (321-384 AD). Late timeline on the left in the Pacific (1050-1150 AD). Read below to explore details of these two possible Book of Mormon correlations.


In our model we give two possible timelines for the final exodus and battles of the Nephite destruction. One with archaeological dates matching the Book of Mormon narrative’s dates of a Nephite destruction between 321-384 AD which matches the initial burning of Teotihuacan around 350 AD and subsequent fall of the Hopewell culture between 300-400 AD with the Book of Mormon Events of Mormon chapters 2-9. And a second rather convincing timeline which matches overwhelming archaeological evidence of mass warfare, migration and social collapse stretching from Tula in the Valley of Mexico along the narrow West Mexican corridor to the American southwest Puebloan/Anasazi cultures, and onto Cahokia and New York between 1100-1150 AD. Although the twelfth century collapse of the Toltec, Anasazi postdates the timeline given in the Book of Mormon by 700 years, the remarkable similarities between the archeological evidence and the Book of Mormon narrative’s events make it hard not to explore whether or not these were one and the same events.

In this paper we explore numerous pieces of evidence pointing to why the Book of Mormon dates and archaeological dates might be off by 700 years. The most impressive of which is historical evidence of confusion caused by a different base-date for the Chichimec calendar of northern Mexico people than the Toltecs of central Mexico. This same confusion would actually cause Fernando Ixtlilxochitl’s to place events similar to the Book of Mormon such as the destruction of the Toltecs around 300-400 AD, when archaeology shows it seems to have actually occurred around 1050-1150 AD.

Time spans in 4rth Nephi are incredibly suspect. Nephi IV gets the plates from Nephi III (son of Helaman) around 1 AD. (3 Ne 1:1–3) and keeps them until 110 AD (4 Ne 1:18–19), giving him a lifespan of at least 120-130 years! Likewise, Amos I would have had to father Amos II when he was in his 80’s or 90’s given he got the plates in 110 AD and gave them to his son in 194 AD (4 Ne 1:19–21). Then Amos II has them from 194-305 AD or 111 years! Even if he got the plates at a young age of something like 12, that means he would have had to have lived to be over 123! Because of this, some have speculated there was an Amos III as well who isn’t mentioned. But perhaps a better explanation is that Mormon was unknowingly copying an incomplete ‘floating’ timeline, with a gap of around 600 years of missing time that he wasn’t aware of. Unknown gaps like this in ancient records and king lines are not uncommon in historical sequences.

Could Mormon have been a Toltec?

Its hard not to acknowledge the overwhelming similarities between the historical and archeological demise of the Toltec and the destruction of the Nephites in the Book of Mormon narrative.

The Spanish/native historian Ixtlilxochitl wrote one of the most complete accounts of the demise of the Toltecs in his well known book, Obras Historicas. It it we read a story unbelievably similar to what’s related in the Book of Mormon concerning the fall and destruction of the Nephite nation. He even begins his account by telling of an “astrology” or prophet who lived around 400 AD and compiled the Toltec scriptures!

2:4. And before going on, I want to make an account of Huematzin the astrologer [prophet]….
2:5. Before dying, he gathered together all the histories the Tultecas had, from the creation of the world up to that time and had them pictured in a very large book, where were pictured all of their persecutions and hardships, prosperities and good happenings, kings and lords, laws and good government of their ancestors, old sayings and good examples, temples, idols, sacrifices, rites and ceremonies that they had, astrology, philosophy, architecture, and the other arts, good as well as bad, and a resume of all things of science, knowledge, prosperous and adverse battles, and many other things; and he entitled this book calling it Teoamoxtli, which, well interpreted, means Various Things of God and Divine Book.
2:6. The natives now call the Holy Scriptures Teoamoxtli, because it is almost the same, principally in the persecutions and hardships of men


This Section Under Construction. (Outline)

-there truly is overwhelming archaeological AND historical evidence of destruction, BOTH at 380 AD and 1100 AD. So we’re going to go through every site and show the archeological evidence for BOTH timelines. But first lets go through the evidence of why the timelines might be off.

-we see evidence of TWO great destructions. So TWO possibilities. With two reasons for the second possibility. (bom wrong or c14 wrong)

-Multiple Calendar Confusion: Gordon Brotherston demonstrated that most of the codices from central and southern Mexico had a “base date” from which the many calendar dates within them were calculated. (A Key to the Mesoamerican Reckoning of Time: The Chronology Recorded in Native Texts; British Museum Occasional Papers 38, London, 1982). Brotherston identifies three codex groups, each with a different base date, which he labels Tulteca, Mixtec, and Chichimec. The Tulteca & Mayan base date is the year 13 Reed 3114 BC (strangely similar to the Jewish Calendar base date of 3761 BCE); the Mixtec from Tilantongo, Oaxaca, 13 Reed 11 AD as shown in the Codex Boturini (strangely similar to the Christian and Book of Mormon base date – Tilantongo being our land of Nephi and immigrants to xochicalco); and the Chichimec, 13 Reed 647 AD (strangely similar to the 774 carbon spike and Quetzalcoatl the prophet date). The Codex Vienna has the Tulteca base date, 3114 BC (Codex Nuttall, pp. 73, 76), although in the Mixtec art style, while the Codex Nuttal has the Mixtec base date, AD 11 (Codex Nuttall, p. 4). reference adapted from Bruce W. Warren.

-the Toltec fixation with the Teotihuacan Quetzalcoatl cult. Its shown in Chichenizta, in Xoxicalco which was settled from Tilantongo/Central Oaxaca rulers/traders, Cholula,

-Go through each individual city and battle.
–Teotihuacan. quote of sacrifices
–Chalchihuites. (peak at 400 AD, then decline)
–Sonora Culture (find where a decline hits at 400 AD
–Hopewell Culture (find info)

[Be sure to add pics of the bodies, skull racks and canibalism headlines, both here and powerpoint, so if people just scroll through they get the point of it]–Tula (find evidence of earliest attack? earlier than 1150?, (skull rack?)
–La Quemada, get the early report, mention the newer later dates),
–Los Pilarilllos. huge kill site. females, males and babies dead. talk about stupidity of archaeologist in thinking its not war because of age and location. (skull rack?)
–Funary mounds of Guesave/El Ombligo.. what was the dates again? talk about how battle graveyards become local graveyards.
–Mochicahui, not bodies, but proof there were cities.
–Trincheras fire signal system
–Paquime. Once again we have all the bodies but a date problem. but its just one of many
–Chacoan phenomena.
–Salmon Ruins
–Other sites with massacres?
–New York.

The final exodus and destruction of the Nephite people took 57-63 years to cover an unknown distance between at least 12 different lands and/or towns from start to finish. Compare that to the exodus of the early Mormon pioneers who coved 2160 miles over a 17 year period building at least as many cities in the 3 major regional centers of Ohio, Illinois/Missouri and Utah, and its easy to see why limited Book of Mormon geographic models which suggest the Nephites only fled 200-300 miles to avoid complete genocide are hard to believe when compared to historical analogs. Whether it be the 900+ mile trail of tears, the 1100+ mile Ostrogothic migrations, 1900+ mile Visigoth migrations, 3000+ mile Turkic migrations or the 2200+ mile Oregon trail, history shows that incredibly large numbers of people are entirely willing and able to cover enormous distances in hopes for a better life.




Outline of Nephite Geography (During final exodus & destruction)

Summary of cities:
Land of Cumorah
City of Jordan (north-most city. part of line of cities defending north country)


City of Boaz (gets rest of records from hill Shim; so still near Antum)
Teancum (by seashore & “near the city of desolation”)
City of Desolation in land Desolation (dead cast into sea)
Narrow Pass or Passage (presumably southward of desolation – treaty boundary)
City of Shem in land of Shem (people gathered & city fortified – could be north of Desolation)
City of Jashon in land of Jashon (near Land Antum so gets records – could be north of Desolation)

Land of Joshua (west by seashore)

Land of David (still no mention of any sea)
City of Angola (fortified city, first retreat after Zarahemla.)
Land Zarahemla (war starts)


Mormon apparently raised in Antum (where Ammaron & the Hill Shim & records are), near the land of Desolation and Jashon, Shem, Teancum & Boaz.

– 321 AD Moroni gets instructions to go to hill Shim in the Land Antum to get records at age 10 (Mormon 1:3)

-Moroni “carried by his father into the land southward, even to the land of Zarahemla” at age 11. (Mormon 1:7)

-War begins “in the borders of Zarahemla, by the waters of Sidon”. (first battle, also 321 AD)  Mormon 1:10

-A number of battles fought, then a truce for four to six years.

-326 AD. At 16 Mormon put in charge of armies.

-327 AD. Lamanites attack again, Nephites retreat “toward the north counties” (Mormon 2:3)

-Moroni’s army take and fortify city of Angola “with their might”, but “notwithstanding their fortifications”, the city is taken. (Mormon 2:4)

-They are “also” driven out of the land of David. (sounds like Angola was not in land David likely next province to the north) Mormon 2:5

-330 AD. They march forth and gather in “one body” to land of Joshua which is “west by the seashore”. (Mormon 2:6–8)  A battle with a force of 40,000 each is fought here… Lamanites retreat. Because of robbers land is “one complete revolution.”

-345AD. Lamanites attack again, Nephites retreat & are pursued to city of Jashon in the Land of Jashon, “near the land [Antum] where Ammaron had deposited the records”. Moroni gets just the plates of Nephi, and leaves the remainder “where they are.” (Mormon 2:17)

-346 AD. Nephites driven “northward to the land which was called Shem”. (Mormon 2:20)   Nephites fortify the city of Shem and are attacked in 346 AD, but win a battle with 30k to 50k. (Mormon 2:25)

-In 350 AD a treaty is made with Lamanites AND the robbers of Gadianton.  They “give unto us the land northward, yea, even to the narrow passage which led into the land southward. And we did give unto the Lamanites all the land southward.” (Mormon 2:29

-For 10 years (350-360 AD), Nephites fortify and prepare. In 360AD Mormon causes his “people that they should gather themselves together at the land Desolation, to a city which was in the borders, by the narrow pass which led into the land southward.  6 And there we did place our armies, that we might stop the armies of the Lamanites, that they might not get possession of any of our lands; therefore we did fortify against them with all our force. 7 And it came to pass that in the three hundred and sixty and first year the Lamanites did come down to the city of Desolation to battle against us”. Nephites beat them. They come again the next year. They beat them a third time. “and their dead were cast into the sea.” (Mormon 3:5–8)

Desolation is by the sea (since dead are thrown in the sea there), by the ‘Narrow Pass’

-in 363AD, the Nephites go on the offensive, up out of desolation, but are driven back to “the land of Desolation” (not city). Then Lamanites attack, and take the city of desolation “slaying many and taking many prisoners”. (Mormon 4:2

-”And the remainder did flee and join the inhabitants of the city Teancum. Now the city Teancum lay in the borders by the seashore; and it was also near the city Desolation.”

Teancum is also somewhat near the sea.

-364AD, Lamanites come against Teancum, and are repulsed, so Nephites follow them and retake Desolation. (Mormon 4:8)

Desolation and Teancum are quite close to each other (With absolutely NO indication that they are on opposite sides of the Narrow Neck. — All this seems to occur on the West Sea)

-In 366AD Lamanites attack and take Desolation, and then Teancum (and sacrifice the inhabitants both women and children.)  Nephites are so angry about the loss of their families they retake the cities and drive the Lamanites out of the land. Then another 10 year pause in fighting (Mormon 4:16)

-In 375AD, the Lamanites come down to desolation with a numberless host. The Lamanite attack base is UP from desolation and Teancum. (Mormon 3:7, 4:17-19) Lamanites come down to desolation. V.1-4 Nephites go up out of desolation to battle Nephites. This makes a northern neck or Cerro trinchera location problematic for desolation and the narrow neck. Perhaps likewise for Mazatlan…Nayarit and Amapa seem more likely.)

-Nephites flea to City of Boaz and fight two battles (still 375 AD? 54 Years after beginning of war). On second attack they flea and women and children are sacrificed again. Nephites flea and “all the inhabitants with them, both in towns and villages” (Mormon 4:22)

-“Seeing the Lamanites were about to overthrow the land”, Mormon goes to the hill Shim and takes up ALL the records. (Mormon 4:23)

Hill Shim is also mentioned in conjunction with the early Jaredites

-“Omer departed out of the land with his family, and traveled many days, and came over and passed by the hill of Shim, and came over by the place where the Nephites were destroyed, and from thence eastward…” (Ether 9:3)

City of Boaz is still relatively close to all the preceding cities? (Antum, Jashon, Desolation). V.10-23 really gives that impression. It’s like they don’t go far from Desolation to Boaz… but once Boaz is taken they “overthrow the land” (Mormon 4:23), so that he has to “take up all the records”.  So everyone seems to flee far away to Jordan. (Jordan could now be the southwest (or Cohokia?), since “their towns, and villages, and cities were burned with fire” (Mormon 5:5).

-in 379AD Nephites flee to city of Jordan, and repulse a Lamanite attack. (Mormon 5:3)  They maintain a line of stronghold cities “that they could not get into the country which lay before us, to destroy the inhabitants of our land.” (Mormon 5:4)

Jordan is likely in the Southwest, one of a line of cities defending the land northward.

-in 380 AD. Nephites begin final flight from Jordan (southwest) to Cumorah. (Mormon 5:6)  Anyone whose flight isn’t faster than the Lamanites is swept down. 59 Years from the beginning of the war.

-in 384 AD Mormon sends a letter to Lamanites requesting to gather to the land of Cumorah “in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains;”  People finish gathering to Cumorah in 384 AD for final battle. 63 Years after beginning of war.  (Mormon 6:2,5–6)

-401 to 421 Moroni finishes writing the rest of the book and hides it up. 17-38 years after the final battle.

Some thoughts on dates in the final retreat and battle:

Note that the Jewish Metonic cycle adds seven intercalary years (leap year) every 19 years.  So one roughly every 2.7 years.  In strangely similar to the prodigious use of 18,19 & 20 in the Mayan Calendar.  I suspect the Baha’i calendar may be closer to the way the ancient Mesoamerican and ancient Israelites did it, than the current calendar’s.

If this is true… It may be that the Nephites after Christ’s time counted a “prophetic year” (or one of their calendars) as roughly every 2.7 – 3 true sidereal years.  Which is a possible explanation for the discrepancy between Carbon dates for cultural collapses and BOM dates.  So 321 AD would be coincide with 963ish AD and 380 AD would coincide with 1140ish AD. Making both Anasazi and Cahokia dates work. Probably more likely though, that either C14 dates are skewed or the records the authors were working off of, were wrong or misunderstood.





Outline of Jaredite Geography (In relation to their exodus to Cumorah)

– Jaredite barges land in an unknown location after 344 days on the water (Ether 6:11). Floating ducks might give some insight to how far things float in a year, and give evidence for a pacific vs. Atlantic journey.
– Corihor leaves Jaredite ‘Land of inheritance’ and “goes over and dwelt in the land of Nehor” (Ether 7:4).
– Corihor comes back to the Jaredite ‘Land of inheritance’, called Moron and takes the king captive (Ether 7:5).
– Jaredite ‘Land of inheritance’, or ‘land of Moron’, was near the land which is called Desolation by the Nephites (Ether 7:6).
– Shule “came to the hill Ephraim” and “made swords out of steel” and battles Corihor in the “city of Nehor” (Ether 7:9)
– Country or land of inheritance “was divided; and there were two kingdoms, the kingdom of Shule, and the kingdom of Cohor” (Ether 7:20)
– After 2 generations Jared rebelled “and came and dwelt in the land of Heth.” (Ether 8:2) Where he flatters away half his fathers kingdom (presumably moron) so we’re still close to land of inheritance.
– Ether 8:21 shows that the Nephites are already destroyed when the Book of Ether was written.
– Omer is warned in a dream and so “departed out of the land with his family, and traveled many days, and came over and passed by the hill of Shim, and came over by the place where the Nephites were destroyed, and from thence eastward, and came to a place which was called Ablom” with all his family & royal household. (Ether 9:3)
– A small number of men “flee out of the land, and came over and dwelt with Omer” (Ether 9:9)
– Civil war results in the “destruction of nearly all the people of the kingdom, yea, even all, save it were thirty souls.” So Omer was “restored again to the land of his inheritance”, which we presume is Moron (Ether 9:12–13)
– After 62 years, Omer’s son Emer rebuilds a kingdom (with what people?) who become rich and have all sorts of cloths, metals and animals including; silks, gold, silver, cows, goats, horses, elephants, cureloms and cumoms. (Ether 9:14–19)
– Emer’s son Coriantum “builds many mighty cities”, lives to 142 and under his son “people spread again over all the face of the land” then there’s a dearth and their flocks began to flee [from Moron or Desolation] before the poisonous serpents, towards the land southward, which was called by the Nephites Zarahemla” (Ether 9:20–31)
– Note these references. Land of Desolation. Alma 22:30–32Mormon 3:5Ether 7:6.
– Ether 9:32 says, “many of [their flocks] did perish by the way; nevertheless, there were some which fled into the land southward.” Ether 9:34 says serpents “hedge up the way that the people could not pass,” and “the people did follow the course of the beasts.. and devoured them all” This suggest the Land Southward/Zarahemla is really far away from Moron/Desolation. Alma 22:30 sounds like that as well. Most people die, and Shez begins to “build up a broken people” (Ether 10:1)
– Shez “did build up many cities upon the face of the land, and the people began again to spread over all the face of the land.” Ether 10:4
– Morianton sounds like an outsider from a different land (although it doesn’t specify) who “gathered together an army of outcasts, and went forth and gave battle unto the people; and he gained power over many cities” until he “gain power over all the land, and did establish himself king over all the land” and then he “built up many cities” (Ether 10:9–12). He could easily be from far away like Watson Break or Poverty Point.
– ONLY after Lib (how many generations/years later? 4?) do they “go into the land southward, to hunt food for the people of the land, for the land was covered with animals of the forest.” Once again this sounds like the Land Southward is really far away from the Kingdom at this point. Has it shifted to the Eastern US by now? It’s here that Lib “built a great city by the narrow neck of land”. BUT NOTE THE LOGIC!!!! Moron and the Jaredite Land of Inheritance was “near [but not in?] the land which is called Desolation by the Nephites” (Ether 7:6). But now Lib builds a city by the Narrow Neck, and makes the Land Southward a hunting ground like its somewhere far away! Leaving “whole face of the land northward covered with inhabitants“. (Ether 10:21) Note we seem to have switched to THE LAND NORTHWAD. Really this part doesn’t make much sense if the whole last chapter was on the Narrow Neck in the Olmec lands. And it is a poor fit archaeologically since there’s just as many cities south near Izapa & Mirador as north in the Mexican Highland at this point (date?).
– During Libs time there’s a LOT of mining and manufacture again with silks and gold, sliver, iron and copper from mines casting up “mighty heaps of earth” (Ether 10:23). Hard pretend that Lake Superiors copper mines aren’t included in this such as Isle Royale Copper Mines dated from 4-5000 BC.
– After several generations during the reign of Shiblon there’s “a great destruction, such an one as never had been known upon the face of the earth” (Ether 11:4–8). We have no clue if this is in Moron near desolation or somewhere else in ‘The Land Northward’ of Ether 10:21.
– The King Moron of Ether 11:14–18 probably has some association to the ‘Land Moron’, but we can’t be sure.
– Coriantumr “was king over all the land”, perhaps suggesting he rules like Lib all the way from the Land northward to the Narrow Neck (Ether 12:1)
– Ether prophesies that “this land” was “the place of the New Jerusalem”, possibly suggesting that he lives in the Land Northward maybe near Independence somewhere. (Ether 13:2–4,6)
– Since he “hid himself in the cavity of a rock by day, and by night he went forth viewing the things which should come upon the people… viewing the destructions which came upon the people, by night.” (Ether 13:13–14) we know he lived near the Jaredite heartland which had somewhere with caves he could hide in. (The ozarks?)
– The final battle between Coriantumr & Shared starts in the Valley of Gilgal (Ether 13:27). Apparently by the Jaredite heartland, the only indication of its location is still Ether’s prophesy suggesting he’s probably somewhere close to the future New Jerusalem or Independence MO.
– They go back and forth between the Valley of Gilgal & plains of Heshlon. (Ether 13:27–30)
– War moves to wilderness of Akish. (Ether 14:3) And then into the Land of Moron where he “placed himself upon the throne of Coriantumr”. (Ether 14:6). THIS IS HUGE. We are back now to the Jaredite land of inheritance. HOW? Is there a different land or moron? Did we move back at some point? Did we ever leave?
– Note a Shared’s ‘High Priest’ is murdered in a “Secret pass”. Does this suggest Moron is near mountains where “passes” exist? The Olmec lands have few passes. Could be a “secret pass” in the town though?
– More battles occur in Land of Moron, and then “upon the seashore” showing Moron is near the sea (Ether 14:11–13)
– They head back to the wilderness of Akish, showing it’s close to the Land of Moron (Ether 14:14)
– Then on to new & different plains (plains of Agosh) “taken all the people with him as he fled before Lib in that quarter of the land whither he fled.” v. 15, and then he “overthrows many cities, and he did slay both women and children, and he did burn the cities.” v.17
– There is then a long “flock[ing] together of armies” and long march “from the shedding of blood to the shedding of blood,” just like the Nephites (Ether 14:18–22) THIS IS WHERE THE MARCH TO NEW YORK WOULD HAPPEN.
– After a long period of gathering and war (it uses the words “great and lasting” in Ether 14:21), It says “Shiz did pursue Coriantumr eastward, even to the borders by the seashore”. We have no idea exactly how long or how far the armies have traveled at this point, but the 2 MILLION casualties from Ether 14:24–31 & Ether 15:1–3 suggest it could be a long time and a long ways until they finally end up near “the waters of Ripliancum, which, by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all” (Ether 15:8) which is NORTH (Ether 15:10) of, and “by” the hill Rama which is “that same hill where my father Mormon did hide up the records unto the Lord” (Ether 15:10)
– It then says they spend 4 years doing a final gathering for war (same as Nephites?). It suggest that gathering happens in tents near the hill, but its not specific so it could also be in the Adena lands of Ohio and northeast Penn “by” Cumorah.
– After it all Ether “hid [his record] in a manner that the people of Limhi did find them.” (Ether 15:33)

Overview. Although the Jaredite story beings in Moron, near the land which is called Desolation by the Nephites (Ether 7:6). Note that Ether 10:21 suggest the Jaredite heartland moves from Desolation and the Narrow Neck to ‘The Land Northward’, somewhere seemingly distant from the Land Southward which is made a hunting ground with a ‘Great City’ guarding it. However, by at least Ether 14:3 it has moved back to the Land of Moron (although its possible it never left). The final retreat and battle however is “great and lasting” and takes the armies through many lands until finally going “eastward” to Ripliancum, which, by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all” (Ether 15:8) which is NORTH (Ether 15:10) of, and “by” the hill Rama which is the Cumorah of the Nephites.

Outline of places

Establishment of Moron & the divided kingdom
–Moron & Nehor
Possible movement to Land Northward
–Lib’s city built by narrow neck, land southward preserved
Back at Moron by final war
–Valley of Gilgal (Ether 13:27)
–Plains of Heshlon
–Back to Moron (Ether 14:6–11)
–the seashore (v. 12-13)
–wilderness of Akish
–plains of Agosh (v.15)
–Shiz burns and overthrows many cities (v.17)
march forth from the shedding of blood to the shedding of blood (v.22)
–Shiz did pursue Coriantumr eastward, even to the borders by the seashore (v.26)
–Note there’s NEVER a north or westward flight (as you’d expect from olmec lands)
–Shiz fled to the land of Corihor (v.27)
–Shiz pitched their tents in the valley of Corihor (in the land of Corihor v.28)
–Coriantumr pitched his tents in the valley of Shurr… near the hill Comnor (likely near Valley of Corihor chasing Shiz)
–They have 2 “sore” battles on Hill Comnor.
–2 Million now dead. (men, women & children)
–They flee to waters of Ripliancum (Ether 15:8))
–Flee “southward, and did pitch their tents in a place which was called Ogath” (v.10)
–Coriantumr pitches his armies tent at Hill Rama (which is same as Cumorah) in pursuit.
–Spend 4 years gathering for final battle.

Those who say is desolation the use of cement is Teotihuacan need to make up their minds. Was Desolation North Tehuantepec where the Olmec ruins are, south Tehuantepec before the ‘pass’ or the Mexican Highland where the building of cement was? But note those apartments are from after the time of Christ, so we essentially have to assume they just continued the same practices (which might make sense given 3 Ne. says the land northward had all its buildings destroyed at the death of Christ – ref). But then it doesn’t make sense if your reasoning is that it was called desolation because of the defor (work this out more)