Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

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~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Life in Guatemala A to Z: Zarahemla: Where was it and does it matter?

Zarahemla is a city of Ancient America, as recorded in the Book of Mormon, a companion book to the Bible. Zarahemla could have been located in Central America, possibly in an area of the United States-- scholars differ on location. Some people believe it is in Guatemala, perhaps the Tikal area.

The people of Zarahemla originally came from Jerusalem right before the Babylonian invasion. They were led to a promised land by the prophet Lehi. Once in the Americas, they spread and grew, creating cities, industry, education and of course governments and nations. The various groups often fought against one another, with wars becoming a defining point in the eventual end of their civilization.

The message of Zarahemla, and of the Book of Mormon, is that living the commandments of God brings peace and happiness, while disobeying God brings sin and unhappiness. It is the message that matters more than the exact geographic location of the areas talked about.

The Book of Mormon stands as another witness of Jesus Christ, as He visited the people in the American continent after His resurrection. “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10: 16)
While my husband and I are living in this area where so many archeological digs have unearthed ancient structures, we appreciate the added insight that comes from the Book of Mormon about these "other sheep." They worshiped God, built temples, kept sacred records, raised families and strengthened their communities through education, religion and industry. 
Visiting the ancient sites helps to bring their stories alive. There's a small one in the Lake Atitlan region. The largest site in Guatemala is in Tikal, the site of numerous cities that have been discovered.

 I discovered the Book of Mormon when I was twenty, and it changed my life. Whether you read it for spiritual guidance and inspiration, or simply to learn about the journey of people from Jerusalem to the Americas, it is well worth the time spent. Zarahemla is just one of the great cities you will learn about in the Book of Mormon.


  1. Congratulations on finishing the A to Z challenge. I enjoyed learning about your life in Guatemala.

  2. The ancient cities are all around-lucky for you. Great ending to your A to Z and congrats-I thoroughly enjoyed all your posts!

  3. I love hearing about other people's trips, both spiritual and temporal! Thanks for bringing us along...

  4. Wonderful post! I thought about using Zarahemla as well. :) The Book of Mormon is such a great blessing.
    Congratulations on finishing the challenge!
    Where Legends Begin

  5. And there are many lost sheep in the world.
    Congratulations on completing the Challenge.

  6. I only know a little about the Book of Mormon but I'd never heard of this city. I've enjoyed your challenge posts.

  7. Karen, I've been on a blog break all month and read only a very few A-Z posts. But I came here almost every day and read all of yours. They were all awesome. I loved learning so much more about Guatemala. Thanks for sharing so much about your new home with all of us. Hugs!

  8. Carol, You are so sweet to let me know that. April is a tough month to take a blog break. The A to Z Challenge posts I think are everyone's best work. They're all so diverse!

  9. How exciting to be living in an area that brings those stories to life.
    Ho'omaika'i (Congratulations) on completing the AtoZChallenge; and Happy "May Day is Lei Day" Hawaii tomorrow! Gail visiting for AtoZ

  10. Congrats on completing the A to Z and thanks for sharing with us bits of your life in Guatemala. It's been fascinating :)
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
    Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

  11. YES. I am deep into bro. John L. Sorenson's An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon. Just read a reference to Lake Atitlan. You're right there. How exciting that must be for you, Bruce, your family. And your A to Z has been a wonderful journey, vicariously, for me. Thanks!

  12. Congrats on finishing the challenge! This has been a really fun theme to read about. I love all the stories and images from Guatemala.

  13. Congrats on making it to Z. Zarahemla sounds like an interesting place!

  14. Hi, Karen,

    Fantastic wind up of the A-Z! Congrats! I really enjoyed learning more about your new home and the adventures you are experiencing....

    Thanks so much for sharing them with all of us!

  15. Ancient ruins always stir my imagination, trying to see the culture that once lived there.

  16. Congrats on completing the A to Z Challenge! So much ancient history yet to be discovered in these places.

  17. Hi Karen .. congratulations on finishing the A-Z and completing it with such an interesting title and post ... I'd never heard of Zarahemia before ... fascinating ..

    Cheers Hilary

  18. DEar Karen, I so like to see photographs of the ruins of ancient cities. Archaeology has always been a favorite subject of mine. Thank you for showing the photos. Peace.