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Jaredite: 1981—Present


Alan C. Miner

September 29, 2006



A Detailed Chronology of LDS Thought on the Geography of

the Jaredite Journey to the New World


1981 -------------> Present



     Copyright 2003 by Alan C. Miner. All rights reserved


     Statements by Church Authorities

     Significant Books, "Articles," & Events

     [Significant Theoretical or Illustrated Models, or Illustrations Related to Book of Mormon Geography]




YEAR1            PERSON                  PRIMARY SOURCE2



Note 1: The mark ^ after the year is purely a research tool indicating that a copy of the article or book is on file in the author's personal library.


Note 2: The year (listed on the left) for the event or quote is not always the same as the date of the primary source (listed on the right) from which the information was taken. If the source information (the later publication of the information) was significant, in and of itself, to the later time period in which it came forth, there will also be a separate listing for that later year. When appropriate, additional sources will be listed.




1981^      Sherrie D. Smith            "Chinese Civilization and the Book of Mormon," in the Zarahemla

                              Record 13-14, Summer, Fall 1981, pp. 1-4. Reprinted in Recent

                              Book of Mormon Developments: Articles from The Zarahemla

                              REcord. Independence, MO: Zarahemla Research Foundation, 1984,

                              pp. 34-37


     In this article Sherrie Smith discusses a number of similarities between the Chinese culture and that of Mesoamerica, with the implication being that the Jaredites went eastward across Asia through China on their journey to the New World. The first similarity that she explores is that between the Chinese Dragon and the Mesoameriacan Quetzalcoatl. She writes:

     In Zarahemla Record #12 Raymond Treat writes "Miguel Covarrubias, the late, brilliant, Mexican art historiana nd archaeologist, once demonstrated in a lecture that the Chinese dragona nd the Mesoameriacan feathered serpent were the same." An article on simllar traites of the Ollmec and the Shang dynasty of China says, "Serpents and birds were also emphasized and features of these animals were sometimes combined in the iconography of both cultures to produce a dragon." Verneil Simmons has said that the forerunner of the dragon was two intertwining feathered serpents. Evidecne seems to suggest that tthe dragon is similar or the same as Quetzalcoatl. If FQuetzalcoatl represents Jesus Christ perhaps the dragon does also. The Book of Mormon gives us some further clues with which to work. But first let's looka at what the dragon means to the chinese.

     The dragon is the sacred symbol of the East and is the symbol of the oldest and greatest of Chinese deities, the sky-god, T'ien-Rain Spirit. He is the gatherer of clouds, the bringer of new life. (note 5) He represents the forces of nature and is the essence of strength and beauty. (Note 6) "It is common opinion that the dragon, being a divine animal, dies of its own accord." (Note 7) Jesus certainly chose to die for us and is the bringer of new life and is associated with the East in His second coming. These we know from the Bible.



     Another of the similarities she writes on has to do with the nature of the sacred stones used by the Jaredites to light their barges and sacred stones of the Chinese. She comments:

     As Verneil Simmons pints out, we can only guess what type of substnace was used for the stones. I would like to speculate that they were made of jade. One's first reaction tot his idea is that it can't be jade becaused jade is green and is certainly not transparent. The description of the stones in the Book of Mormon is this: " . . . did moulten out of a rock sixteen small stones; And they were white and clean, even as transparent glass . . ." (Ether 1:60,61)

     I favor jade being the substance from which the small stones were made for several reasons, one being it seems logical to me. Jade is a "sacred substance" not only to the Chinese but to all the Indians of Mexoamerica. (Note 11) The Chinese believe that jade possesses magical qualities; that the stone contains the vital energy of the yang principle. (Note 12) It was by far more important and of more value than even gold. Because this stone is conisdered sacred by bothe the Chinese and Olmecs, I believe there must have been some incident which prompted this belief.

     As I researched more about jade, the more convinced I became that it was possible that the stones in the barges were of jade. I knew jade came in many different colors, white being one of them. One one of our trips to Singapore we bought my husbands sister a ring on whcih were sevearl stones of jade, each a different color. One of them was white. So I knew jade could be white but I was puzzled that it could be clear and transparent. However, I found an interesting comment in The Olmec World by Ignacio Bernal. "Even after the Spanish conquest a certain jade figure of a bird-serpent was so precious that, it is said, it looked like a transparent . . . emerald . . . which shone from its depths." It goes on to say taht jade in Mesoameraica was not only valuable simply because of its raritya nd beauty but because it also had a symbollic value. (NOte 13) Again I was filled with joy as the Spirit bore witness taht it was possible to ahve transparent jade.

     Jade occurs naturally in deposits on the ground and in rivers, but is also found in large veins on the mountain slopes. "And it came to pass that the Brother of jared . . . went forth unto the mount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height, and did moulten out of a rock sixteen small stones." (Ether 1:60) The Brother of Jared took his sixteen stones from the mountain.



Note* See the follow-up article on jade in the 1992 notation. See the 1956 Nibley notations.



1981      Shirley R. Heater            "Chinese Stone Anchors in the New World," in the Zarahemla

                              Record 15, Winter 1981-82, pp. 1-3. Reprinted in Recent Book of

                              Mormon Developments: Articles from The Zarahemla REcord.

                              Independence, MO: Zarahemla Research Foundation, 1984,

                             pp. 34-37



     In this article Shirley Heater discusses a number of discoveries concerning ancient Chinese ships and the Americas, with the implication being that the Jaredites went eastward across Asia through China on their journey to the New World. She writes:

     [pp. 38-39] In October, 1981, headlines appeared in various newspapers relating discoveries of ancient Chinese anchors in waters along the California coastline . . . Because of the 2-3 millimeter thickness coating on all stone artifacts found, the age is estimated in the range of 2-3000 years old.

     Stylistic comparisons with historical, archaeologiocal and ethnologiocal data indicate great antiquity for the anchors. Geologic studies show taht the stone from which they were made is not of California origin. Circumstances such as the covering layer of manganesesa and the physical conditions, point to great antiquity for both sites. It seems clear to us that Asiatic vessels reached the new World iln Pre-Columbian times (Pierson & Moriaty 198:22).


     . . . These conclusions are meaningful to Book of Mormon believers. Evidence is accumulating that he Jaredites were responsible for Chinese civilization (See Peoples, Places and Prophecies, pp. 27-33). Their route from the great tower eastward across Asia snd through China is becomiong better understood.



     Because the Jaredites built "after the manner which they had hitherto built" (Ether 1:43-46) let's look at some fo the styles of shlips from the areas whre they lived--Mesopotamia and China. Do any of them fit the description in Ether of tight like unto a dish and with peaked ends?







1981^      David A. Palmer      In Search of Cumorah, Bountiful: Horizon Publishers, 1981,


     Based on direct statements from the text of the Book of Mormon, and in a few cases, strong inferences drawn from statements in the text, Palmer develops a list of topographic and geographic criteria for Mormon's Cumorah (which is also the Jaredites' Ramah). According to some, the reason that the location of this hill might be important has to do with Omer's journey described in Ether 9:3. If the origin of that journey (Moron) was not a great distnance from the landing site (Pacific Ocean), and "the place where the Nephites were destroyed" was the hill Cumorah, then for some the description in Ether 9:3 is plausible. According to Palmer, the Cerro Vigia in Veracruz, Mexico meets all of these cultural criteria.


[1981      Illustrated Model (10 Maps)      David A. Palmer      LIMITED MESOAMERICA]

L.S.=S. of Isth. of Tehuan. to El Salvador / N.N.=Isth. of Tehuantepec / L.N.= N. of Isth. of Tehuan. to Valley of Mexico / H.C.=Cerro El Vigia, Veracruz, Mexico / Sid. R.=Grijalva

Source: David A. Palmer, In Search of Cumorah: New Evidences for the Book of Mormon from Ancient Mexico, Bountiful: Horizon, 1981.




1982^      Joseph L. Allen            Mexico: Do You KNow Who You Are? Orem: Author, 1982. Fourth

                              printing September 1983.


     Allen's Chapter 3 is entitled "The First Civilization in Middle America (c2700 B.C. to c550 B.C.) On page 37-38 he writes:

     The very first people to establish a great civilization in Middle America came from a palce called Babel. Babel was located where the country of Iraq is now locasted. The peole of Babel were trying to build a large tower to reach high into the heavens. . . .


Note* No specific details are given on the journey to Moriancumer, but regarding the ocean voyage he writes:

     "After almost a whole year they arrived on the beach in Vera Cruz, Mexico, where we are now standing."


Note* If they landed in Vera Cruz, Mexico, then the implication is that they traveled westward from Babel and crossed the Atlantic Ocean. Allen apparently will change his position in his 1989 book--see notation.



1983      V. Garth Norman            "San Lorenzo as the Jaredite City of Lib," in SEHA Newsletter 153,

                              June 1983, pp. 1-9.


     Agrees with archaeologist Michalel D. Coe that there are no direct arechaeological evidiences of the Book of Mormonl. Proposes that the Olmec civiliaation corresponds to the Jaredite nationa nd that present San Lorenzo ils located at the site of the Jaredite city Lilb. [D.M.]



1983      Randall K. Mehew            Historical Outline of the Book of Mormon. Orem: Millennial Press,



     Although Mehew has a diagram of the Old World and the New World relative to the Book of Mormon, he fails to note the dorigin or direction of travel of the Jaredites from the Old World. On the New World map he circles Mexico, Central America, and the northern tip of South America. He labels this with an arrow coming from the west with the following words: "Jaredites (2200 B.C.)--from Tower of Babel to America. . . . " Whether this implies a Pacific Ocean crossing is uncertain as the other identifying arrows (Nephite & Mulekite) come from that direction also.



1983      Vernal Holley            Book of Mormon Authorship: A Closer Look. Ogden, Utah: Zenos

                        Publications, 1983.


     In this anti-Mormon book, Holley theoriezes that Joseph smith took the names and geography from his area and incorporated them into the Book of Mormon story. Altlhough in his external model he places the Land Northward in lower Ontario, Canada, and the land of Moron a little north of Lake Ontario, he fails to specify the landing site of the Jaredites.



1984^      Shirley R. Heater            The Chinese Jaredite Connection, Independence, MO: Foundation

                             for Research on Ancient America, 1984.


     This is a reprint of the 1981 article--See the 1981 notation



1984^      Ralph Lesh            "Development of the Map," in Recent Book of Mormon Developments;

     (Niel Steede)             Articles from The Zarahemla Record, Raymond C. Treat ed. Independence,

                        Missouri: Zarahemla Research Foundation, 1984, pp. 81-82.


     According to Ralph Lesh, in his 1984 article, in 1975 a book was published by Alexander Von Wuthenau on transoceanic evidences or influences on pre-Columbian cultures of the Americas. As part of that book, Von Wuthenau cites a fellow student named Neil Steede (RLDS) in regards to the stories contained in the Book of Mormon. He quotes Steede in regards to the three migrations from the Old World and includes some maps by Steede illustrating these journeys. Apparently Steede based his maps on research by Verneil Simmons. (see the 1977 Simmons notation.) In turn, Steede is credited by Lesh with being the prime inspiration (c. 1975) for Ralph Lesh's 1980 model (see notation)

     According to these maps, the Jaredites traveled eastward from Sumer, traversing the vast plains of China and finally arriving at the coast. From there the Jaredites journeyed across the Pacific Ocean, first in the northward sweeping arc of the Japan current and then southward until finally landing on the west coast of Mexico near the border of Guerrero and Oaxaca.


     In his 1984 article Ralph Lesh writes the following:

     A short time later [after the spring of 1972] I went to hear an old friend preach. His name was Neil Steede and he was studying archaeology in Mexico. Neil bore a testimony in which he descriabed seeing and speaking to one of the three Nephites. . . . Part of Neill's teestimony involved a new way of looking at the geography of the Book of Mormon--the very thing that had been bothering me. . . .

     I began a notebook of Mesoameirccna archaeology and made many tirps to local librareis. I wanted to determine if Neil Steede's theory (which he had based on Verneil Simmons' research) could be supported on a scientific basis. . . . Neil Steede stayed in Independence taht summer and I called him many tiems, asking many questions which he patiently attempted to answer. . . . On Thanksgivving week-end, 1975, I . . . [determined] to make a map of Boo of Mormon lands, incorporating the things I had learned. . . .

     On the same day that I completed my skektch maps, I learned of a new book on the archaeolgoy and geogrpahy of the Book of Mormon entitled Peoples, Places and Prophecies by Verneil Simmons.


[1984      Map: Routes to the New World. Alexander Von Wuthenau, Unexpecteed Faces in Ancient America, 1500 B.C. - A.D. 1500; the Historical Testimony of Pre-Columbian Artists. New York: Crown, 1975]


[1984      Map: Jaredite Group. Alexander Von Wuthenau, Unexpecteed Faces in Ancient America, 1500 B.C. - A.D. 1500; the Historical Testimony of Pre-Columbian Artists. New York: Crown, 1975]


[1984      Map: Meso-America. Alexander Von Wuthenau, Unexpecteed Faces in Ancient America, 1500 B.C. - A.D. 1500; the Historical Testimony of Pre-Columbian Artists. New York: Crown, 1975]


Note* See the 1975 Von Wuthenau notation.




1984^      Mark E. Petersen            The Jaredites. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1984.



     For the most part, Mark E. Petersen simply tells rephrases the story of the Jaredites from the Book of Mormon without adding any commentary. However, the following is worth noting:

     [pp. 5-7] Following the Flood, the descendants of Noah multiplied rapidly. They drdifted east from the resting place of the ark and found a plain in the land of Shinar, where they settled down. The Bible tells us:

     They said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.

     And they said, Go to, let us build us a bcity and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

     And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men buildled. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not undenrstand one another's speech.

     So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abrtoad upon the face of all the earth." (Genesis 11:2-9)


     In the Prophet Joseph Smith's revision of this paassage, the latter part of it reads:

     And the Lord said, Behold the people are the same, and they all have the same language; and this tower they begin to build, and now, nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined, except I, the Lord, confound their language, that they may not underfstand one another's speech. So I, the Lord, will scatter them abroad from thence, uon all the face of the land, and unto every quarter of the earth.

     And they were confounded, and left off to build the city, and they hearkened not unto the Lord, therefore, is the name of it call Babel, becasue the Lord was displeased with their workds, and did there confound the language of all the earth; and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face thereof." (JST Genesis 11:5-6)


     In regard to the name Babel, the Jewish Masoretic text says, "Therefore the name of it was called Babel because the Lord there confoundedc the language of all the earth, and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth."


     The rendering by the Roman Catholic Jerusalem Bible is very interesting:

Throughout the earth men spoke the same language, with the same vocabulary. Now as they moved eastward they found a plain in theland of Shinar where they settled. They said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and bake them in fire."--For stone they used bricks, and for mortar they used bitumen.--"Come," they said, "let us build ourselves a town and a tower with its top reaching heaven. Let us make a name for ourselves, so that we may not be scattered about the whole earth.

     "Now Yahweh came down to see the town and the tower that the sons of man had built. "So they are all a single people with a single langauge!" said Yahweh. "This is but the start of their undnertakings! There will be nothing too hard for them to do. Come, let us go down and confuse their language on the spot so that they can no longer understand one antoher." Yahweh scattered them thence over the whole face of the earth,a ndthey stopped building the town. It was named Bable therefore, because there Yahweh confused the language of the whole earth. It was from there that Yahweh scattered them over the whole face of the earth."


[Note* Why is the Jerusalem Bible passage "very interesting" as opposed to the others? Elder Petersen fails to say.]


     The name Babylon is derived from Babel. Well-known throughout both modern and ancient scripture, it is synonymous with evil, confusion, and "the great and abominable church."

     The ancient city of Babylon suppposedly was located beside the Euphrates River about 55 miles south of modern Baghdad. It is believed to have existed from the fourth millennium B.C. Under Hammurabi (1950 B.C.), the old Babylonian empire reached its zenith.

     The plain of Shinar, whered the tower was built, is sometimes called the plains of Babylonia.

     Zikkurats, or stage towers, were characteristic features of the architecture of both Assyria and Babylonia in ancient times. ruins of such towers have been found at Borsippa, near what is believed to be the site of oldl lBabylon. Efforts have been made through tradition to associate these ruins with the tower of Babel, but such efforts have been unsuccessful.      


     [p. 12] The Jaredites' journey to the Promised Land over both land and sea would be a long and tedious undertaking. The sea voyage alone was to last 344 days.

     Jared made preparations very much as did Noah . . .

     The journley was divided into two stages. The first part took the people to the seashore, where they awaited further instructions from the Lord, who would tell them how to cross the ocean.







1984      David Grant Steward            The Jaredites Were Black. United States: National Translator

                              Certificaation Service, 1984.


     Written as a discussioin between three friends. It iws proposed taht the Jaredites were descendants of Nqaphtahim, son of Mizraim, grandson of Noah who left Egypt shosrtly after the confusion of tongues. They were black and had no priesthood, but were highly blessed of the Lord. It is thought that they were Olmecs who occupied Mexico. [J.W.M.]



1984      John Sorenson            "Digging into the Book of Mormon: Our Changing Understanding of Ancient

                        America and Its Scripture" The Ensign 14, Part 1, September 1984, pp. 26-

                       37; Part 2, October 1984, pp. 12-23


     After the 1974 Non-Conference on the Book of Mormon, John Sorenson continued to expand and revise the manuscript which he had presented. David Palmer made contacts in the Church office building in Salt Lake City which resulted in a series of weekly presentations which Sorenson made over the fall months to a varying group of people from the magazines, curriculum, education, etc. As a result, Jay Todd, managing editor of The Ensign invited Sorenson to prepare a series of articles for the magazine--a project which Sorenson completed by 1976. For the next nine years they worked together trying to find a style and range of content acceptable for publication in that Church magazine. The delays were on account of reluctance manifested by various constituencies that would be affected by such a discussion appearing in the Church periodical. Ultimately it was decided to publish a condensed version of the series.

     "Digging into the Book of Mormon" contained a brief section on "The Nephite and Jaredite Lands," which gave the basic arguments favoring a limited-scale model and recapped a little of the history of LDS study of geography. Most importantly, this article represented the first printing of any information about external models in a Church magazine for many decades. As a consequence of Sorenson's already established working relationship with Church authorities, when he presented his full manuscript to Deseret Book it received little or no opposition. And from that the major publishers to the LDS trade decided that they had received a green light from Church headquarters to publish on the geography of Book of Mormon events where before they wouldn't.


Source: John L. Sorenson, The Geography of Book of Mormon Events: A Source Book. Provo: The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1990, and personal communication.






1984      Raymond C. Treat      Recent Developments in Belize, Independence, MO: Foundation for Research

                        on Ancient America, 1984.


     According to some Book of Mormon scholars, Belize is the most likely location of the Jaredite civilization. Archaeologists have found evidence to validate Book of Mormon historical references there.


Source: Jeanette W. Miller, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 534.




1984^      Shirley D. Smith            "Jade: Stones of Light," in the Zarahemla Record, #24, 25, 26, 1984.

                              Reprinted in Recent Book of Mormon Developments: Articles from

                              the Zarahemla Record, Volume 2., Independence, MO: Zarahemla

                              Research Foundation, 1992, pp. 125-127


     In this follow-up article to her original article in 1981, Sherrie D. Smith gives many more interesting details on why jade would fit the criteria for the "sixteen small stones" which the brother of Jared "did moulten out of rock," whcih "were white and clear, even as transparent glass." He then carried these stones "upon the top of the mount." (Ether 1:60-61) She writes:

     This establishes certain criteria for the substance used for the stones:

           1. Must be found in or near mountains

     2. Must be possible to "moulten" the substance out of a rock.

3. Must be white

4. Must be clear, even as transparent glass.


     Jade, a term used loosely to describe two similar minerals, jadeite and nephrite, fits the criteria listed above. . . .


     After giving many details she writes:

     While jade fills all of the criteria listed, there is one that has not been mentioned and is not presently substantiated. If the Jaredites came across Asia and set forth on the Pacific from the China coastline (which is the current accepted theory) then the brother of Jared's mount Shelem must be in China. At this time, scholars say there is no apparetnt evidence that jade was ever found in china. It has all been imported from other areas of Asia, i.e. Turkestan and Burma (Louie 1978:10).

     This does not trouble me. Just because we have not yet found evidence of its presence in some of the mountains or rivers of China does not meean that it wasn't there at one time.

     While all these facts support the hypothesis that jade could be the mineral used for the sixteen stones in the Jaredite barges, what really convinced me were the intangible "evidences." . . .

     Jade is a sacred substance to botht he Chineses and Mesoamerican. . . .

     The Chinese believe that jade possesses magical qualities and that the stone contains the vital energy of the Yang principle which should triumph over the Yin (Carter 1977:19) . . .

     "Once the Chinese believed that jade reflected light" (Louie 1978:76)



1984^      J. N. Washburn            The Miracle of the Book of Mormon. Orem: Book Production Services,



     [pp. 43-48] The Jaredites, chronologically the first of the Book-of-Mormon peoples (though in last place in the record), originated at, and traveled from, the Tower of Babel, perhaps shortly before the date 2200 B.C. . . .

     The jaredites followeds a course which brought them into contact with a number of large bodies of water. After leaving Babel they went northward, down into the Valley of Nimrod.

     They had not gone far twoard the north when they had to turn either east or west in order to reach what is now America. After changing direction, they encountered alarge body of water.

     To the east they might have come to what is now the Caspian Sea.

     In any case, to Cross the water they made a nulmber of ingenious boats or barges. Following the route to the east they would eventually have come to the Pacific.

     On the other hand, had they turned to the west, they would have come to the Mediterranean, or perhaps, the Black Sea, and in the end to the Atlantic.

     To carry this speculation even farther, if the jaredites took the eastern route, they would have landed on the west caost of waht is now America. Conversely, if they went west, they would have reached America on the east. . . .

     For many years the commentators appear to ahve favored the Pacific scenario. Representative of this point of view is a footnote on page 572 of the large 1888 edition of the Book of Mormon, a reference by Orson Pratt, which says: "The Lord borught them [the Jaredites] upon the western coast of North America."

     There have been some, however, who favored the arrival upon the east. Among them were Messrs. Hunter and Ferguson, as puit forth in Ancient America and the Book of Mormon. On apge 35 this is found.

     In view of the fact that the vessels were without saisl, a period of 344 days would seem to be a reasonable time for the crossing of the ocean, probabbly the Atlantic. If the landing took palce at Panuco, near Tampico, Memxico, on the Gulf Coast, it would necessarily have been the Atlantic that was crossed.


     And on page 183 I find this: "It is on the Gulf of Mexico side of Tehuantepec."

     I have always favored the Atlantic crossing, for reasons which will appear later.

     Since I have always favored the western voyage (the eastern landing), I shall pursue the idea, for a time, in the process calling attention to a nubmer of seemingly unrelated passages.


Note* Here Washburn quotets Ether 13:20-21 regarding the final battles and the survivor Coriantumr. Then he quotes Omni 1:20-22 regarding the people of Zarahemla finding Coriantumr. Then Alma 22:30-31 regarding the first landing of the Mulekites (or people of Zarahemla) in Desolation, and that Desolation bordered on Bountiful. Then Alma 51:26 regarding Amalickiah's invasion along the east borders by the seashore, taking many cities, among them being the city of Mulek. He then cites a symposium presentation by Callis R. harms to the point that the Mulekites came to America by way of the Phoenicians, implying that the Mulekites came by way of the Atlantic ocean. He then writes, "We can now bring our detour to a close by quoting this paragraph by Moroni, in Ether 9:3," which tells of Omer's journey from Moron passing by the hill Shim and the "place where the Nephites were destroyed, " and then eastward to Ablom by the seashore.


     Washburn concludes:

     Thus the Jaredites occupied the eastern part of their homeland. I do not find anywhere any indication that the jaredites were accquainted witht he western aprt, and the west sea. And, of course, where the Jaredites landed, there the Mullekites went ashore also.




1985^            John L. Sorenson            An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon.

                                         S.L.C.: Deseret Book and Provo: FARMS, 1985


     This book detailed and supported a cultural and geographical setting in Mesoamerica for all the events of the Book of Mormon. It followed in the same pattern as Palmer's book in proposing an altered directional system (In actuality, Palmer followed Sorenson's ideas but published earlier.)

     According to Joseph Allen, John Sorenson opened the door for further research by presenting the Book of Mormon in relation to Mesoamerica archaeological sites. His detailed analysis culminated a lifetime of work as an anthropologist and a Mesoamerican scholar. His scholarly work set the stage for additional study on the subject. Sorenson served as chairman of the Department of Anthropology at Brigham Young University from 1978 until 1986, when he retired.

     Unfortunately, Sorenson does not give us any detailed reasoning regarding the Jaredite journey to the Americas. He does however provide one map which notes the Jaredite landing on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the Guerrero-Oaxaca area. This would imply a Pacific Ocean crossing.



[1985      Map 5: Plausible Locations in Mesoamerica For Book of Mormon Places. John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, S.L.C.: Deseret Book and Provo: FARMS, 1985, p. 37]



Note* See the notation for 1974.



1985      Gail B. Porritt            "The Jaredites" Unpublished manuscript, 1985????


     In this 42-page manuscript, Gail Porrit presents reasoning for the Jaredites traveling westward from Babel to the Mediterranean Sea, then a voyage to Iberian peninsula, then across the Atlantic. In chapter one ("And There Were Giants in Those Days") Porrit cites biblical refernces to early "giants" (Numbers 13:32-33; Deuteronomy 2:11, 19-21; Joshua 12:4, 13:29-31; Genesis 21:32-34). He then writes:

     [p. 2 ] Before the flood, "There were giants in the earth in those days, and also after that" (Gneesis 6:4). A general belief in the existence of vairous races of gaint peole seems to be universal and almsot as old as humanity. The Brother of jared awas a "large and mighty man" (Ether 1;34). The forty-three scouts of Limhi who discovered the battle site of the Jaredites at the Hill RAmah, 'brought breastplates which are large, and they are of brass and copper" (Mosiaih 8:10). So we conclude tht the Jaredites, or at least a part of them, were very large in stature.


     He then gives some interesting informationa bout the Patagonian Giants first reported by Magellan after encountering them on the southern tip of South America in 1520. He then links this information to the account by Ixtlilxochitl. He writes that "Ixtlilxochitl states plainly that the 'ancient ones,' or first colonizers of Mexico, came from the great tower of Babel at the time of the confusion of tongues, and he refers to these first colonizers as 'giants.' Porrit also links "giants" to reports of large skeletons uncovered in North American Adena mounds. He writes:

     The important thing for our purposes is that the earlier mounds contianed the remains of tall, pwoerfully built peole with massive skeletons . . . Quoting from America's Fascinating Indian Heritage published by Reader's Digest, page 35,

     It seemed vey lmuch like the Adena--A band of strikingly different poele of great presence and majesty, with may women over six feet tall and men approaching heights of seven feet--had forced their way into the Ohio Valey from somewhere else about 2,500 eyars ago. But from where? Some Archaeologists believed they were emigrants from Mexico, where some customs simliar to those of the Adenas were practiced.

     . . . The Reader's Digest assignment of an arrival date of somewhere aroudn 500 B.C., probably from Mexico, certainly permits the association of the Adenas with the Jaredites, and the size of the peole would provide further reason to believe that the Jaredites, ahving landed and settled in Mexico, branched out and colonized areas from New England to the Straits of Magellan during the several thousand years of their existence in America.



     [pp. 13- 15 ] Jared and his broher were, no doubt, descendants of Shem, speaking the pure Adamic langauge and were the covenant peole of God. But they lived in a city that was founded by Nimrod, a grandson of Hama nd Egyptus and a descendant of Cain. . . . It is likely that Jared and his brother, and their families, were the strain of a very large people who were the progenetors of the early American giants. There is the distinct possiblity that some of Jared's and his brother's friends were the progeneitors of the negroid people who obviously lived in Southern Mexico thousnads of eyars ago. There is also a possibility of other races accompanying jared to Ameraica. We should never, however, assume that all of the early Ameriacans arrived here with the three coloniees mentioned int he Book of Mromon. I accept the probability that some Asians did indeed cross the Bering Strait land bridge or ice bridge. I also accept the possiblity of other colonies to America in prehistoric times besides the three mentioned tin the Book of Mormon.



     [pp. 16-19] According to the Book of Mormon, the Lord led a band of peole away from Babel, and eventually across the sea to America. This account is confirmed by the Jewish Historian, Flavius Josephus, who wrote:

     After this, they were dispersed abroad, on account of their langauges, and went out by colonies everywhere; and each colony took possession of that lalnd which they did light upon and unto which God led theml; so that the whole continent was filled with them, both the inland and the maritime countirse. There were some also who passed over the sea in ships, and inhabited the islands, and some of those nations do still retain the denominations which were given them by their first founder. . . .(Antiquities of the Jews, vol. 1, page 80)


     . . . The Jaredite colony wetn northward from Babel into a valley, which was called Nimrod. In the Valley of Nimrod the Lord talked with the Brother of Jared and commanded taht they should go forth into the wilderness "into that quarter where there never had man been" (ether 2:5) Now where could that be? Some area where no man had been before. They could go northward for aways, but before long, they would have to turn east or west because Ararat was north and people had been there before. North adn west of Ararat were the descendants of Japheth. West was Egypt and Canaan, and there were peope living there.

     This has led some to conclude that their journey from the Valley of Nimrod was eastward because there is no record of any of the descendants of Noah living in Asia at that time. But there is evidence that peol;e (probably the family of Japheth) spread into Asia very soon after the flood. Chinnese claim to be able to trace their history back to 3,000 B.C. Excavations at Yang Shaa indicate that people made pottery, farmed the land, domesticated animals, and used bronze implements as early as 2,200 B.C. Excavations in India "have laid bair well-built and well-planned cities, and substantial evidence of a highly organized and artistic civiliziation dating back to 3,000 B.C." (World Encyclopedia, vol. 10, page 2517)

     Some believe tthat the Lord was here ["that quarter where there never had man been"] referring to Central America, their eventual settling place, but I believe the Lord led them through unpopulated portions of the Middle East when He said they should "go forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been." I prefer the latter alternative because verse six of Ether 2 says, "And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build bargbes, in which they did cross many wates, being directed continaully by the Lord." The wording indicates that the wilderness where no man had been before was traversed before they built barges and made their first voyage over many waters.

     The many waters they crossed on their firsts voyage is referred to as a sea in verse seven. Some have chosen the Black Sea or Caspian Sea for this first water crossing. The Caspian Sea is not logical. From anywhere on the Caspian Sea, they couldhave walked around the sea in about three weeks; much less time than it would have taken them to build ships to cross it. Crossing the Caspian Sea would have also required a second intermediate voyage through the Mediterranean or else a ninethousand mail land journey across China. Neither fits the story.

     The Black Sea is a possibility, but not the best chosie. A voyage thorugh the Black Sea would have still required continuatioin through the Mediterranean Sea to reach the great sea which divided the lands, which they crossed four years later. A wilderness journey to the Mediterranean Sea would have reduced their land journey be several hundred miles, and their first sea journey by as much as a thousand miles. I suggest that they journeyed from the Valley of Nimrod, which was somewhere north of Babel, to the Mediterranean coast of what is now Syria, skirting the populated areas of Canaan, and building their barges on the northeast corner of the Mediterranean Sea.

     "It came to pass that the Lord did bring jared and his breethren forth even to that great sea which divideth the lands. And as they came tot he sea they pitched their tents; . . . and they dwelt in tents upont he seashore for the space of four eyars" (Ether 2:13).

     After one intermediate, or preliminary voyage through the entire length of the Mediterranean Sea, the Jaredites arrived at the Great sea which divided the lands. This could be none other than the Atlantic Ocean, for that is the sea that divided the land portion of the earth in the days of Peleg. Before the days of Peleg, all of theland was in one place and all of the water in antoher place. Even scientists agree that the continents were once all one land mass. The separation, which they call the "continental ddrift," separated the Western Hemisphere from the Eastern Hemisphere creating the Atlantic Ocean.

     Peleg was the fifth generation down from Noah, and the fifth generation back from Abraham (Genesis 11:9-32). Abraham lived about 2,300 B.C. and the flood was about 3,200 B.C., so we conclude that the earth was probably divided about 2,800 B.C., or just shortly before the Jaredsites left Babel approximately 2,700 B.C. Thus, the casual statement in the Book of Mormon stating that the Lord led the Jaredites thorugh the first sea to the shores of that great sea which divided the lands, takes on great significance and helps identify the route of the Jaredites.







     [pp. 27-29] If the Jaredites launched their ships intot he Atlantic Ocean off the southern coast of Portugal, as I propose, they would immediately encounter the ocean currents known as the North Equatorial Currents. These currents would carry them southwest down the coast of Africa for a ways and then west across the Atlantic toward Mexico. It has been reported that if you were to throw a float into the Atlantic Ocean off southern Portugal, in about 344 days that float would show up int he Gulf of Mexico along the east coast of Mexico. I cannot confirm this, but if it is true, ti is interesting because Ether says that the Jaredite ships were carried by the winds and currents for 344 days. It is a fact that if you divide the distance of 6,000 miles between Portugal and Southern Mexico along the North Equatorial Currents by 344 days (the time the Book of Mormon says the Jaredites were on the water), you come up with 17.5 miles per day, whic is exactly the average rate of drift provided by these currents.

     Bernardino Shagun was born in Spain in 1499. He lived in Mexico from 1529 to 15990. During that time, he wrote an imortant and scholarly work which is considered one of the most reliable and comprehensive histories of ancient Middle America. This history was lost and unknown for 300 years, but finally disscovered in a convent in Spain and was published in the Nineteenth Century. Sahagun wrote:

     Concerning the origin of these peoples, the report the old men [of Mexico] give is that they came by sea from the north [down the Gulf coast] and true it is that they came in some wooden boats, but it is not known how they were hewn, but it is conjectured by a report found among these natives that they came from seven caves, and that these seven caves are the sesven ships, or galleys in which the first settleers of this land came . . .

     The people first came to settle this land from the direction of Florida, and came coasting along the coast disembarking int he port of Panuco, which they call Panco, which means "place where those arrived who crossed the water."


     Arriving in the Gulf of Mexico on the North Equatorial Currents, the Jaredites, upon sighting land and briefly investigating the area, decided to explore southward down the caostline to determine the best place to disembark and settle. They found an attractive port at a palce called Panuco. Panuco is the name of a river which empties into the Gulf of Mexico at Tapico. Anciently it was called the port of Panuco. Whether the Jaredites sailed on soutward down the caost from Panuco or migrated overland is not certain, but the earliest and greatest ruins and evidences of the Jaredite civilization are considerably south of Panuco in the Veracruz area, and in the Central Highlands.

     It is interesting that the ancient native historians referred tot he wooden ships of the first colonizers as "caaves." This is not a bad description since their ships were completely enclosed, very tight, and artificially lighted. Ixtlilxochitl also said they came in boats that were enclosed.

     The account of Sahagun says thatt hey arrived in sesven ships while the Book of Mormon says they departed inh eight ships. I can only guess at the reason for the differenece in number. There is a possibility that one ship never made it. Another possibility is that one ship may have been for freight or animals and all of the peole may have come in seven ships. I suspect, however, that the reason is because sesven was a magic number among ancients of both the Middle East and America. Everything was done in sevens. I suspect that, as the story was passsed down from one generation to antoher, someone decided that the number should be seven instead of eight.

     Ixtlilxochitl also wrote that the first colonizers came from the tower of Babel at the time of the confusion of tongues, as did others such as Ordonez Aquiar in Probanza de Votan (Proof of the Genealogy of Votan), but neither pinpoints a landing site. . . .

     Ixtlilxochitl said that it took 104 years for this first colony to arrive at their final capital settlement.

     The Book of Mormon calls this final capital settlement Moron. This time span is interesting because we generally assume that Moron was built a few years after they arrived in America.

     The first mention of the City of Moron is in chapter seven verese five, where Corihor came up to Moron with an army and conquered his father Kib, who was king at Moron. Verse four states taht Corihor went over and dwelt in Nehor (presumlably from Moron), so Moron eixisted at the time of Kib, but we do not know how much earlier. Orihah, son of Jared, begat Kib in his old age after having thirty other children (7:2-3). IT is logical to assume that Moron was built in the days of Orihah, which could easily have been 104 years after the colony left Babel, having spent probably a year in the wilderness and building their first ships, five years on the Mediterranean and on the shore of Iberia, a year on the Atlantic, and two generations in America.


     [pp. 30-32] Speaking not as an authority, but strictly from a oint of logic, it appears to me that probably some years afteer their initial landing on the Gulf Coast of Mexico, somewhere between TAmpico and Yucatan, the Jaredite colonists multiplied rapidly and began to spread out over the land as the Book of Mormon declares (Ether 6:13-18). . . . It appears that the desendants of Jaerd and his brother, who were Shemites, eventaully found their way into the Central Highlands where they built the City of Moron. The other factions scattered to other areas and the Hamites eventually ended up iln the coastal plains just north of tghe Isthmus of Tehuantepec. . . .

     If indeed Jaredites started building Moron about 104 years after they left Babel, my calculations indicate that Moron was built between 2,500 and 2,600 B.C. Thus, if pottery found in the Central Highlands dates to 2,400 B.C. as has been determined, then that part at least workds out fine.






1986^      Randall Spackman            "The Jaredite Journey to America: A Pilgrimage of the 2nd Millenium

                              B.C., Unpublished manuscript, 1986.


     In this manuscript, based on much research, Randall Spackman proposes a Jaredite journey to America in the 2nd Millennium B.C.



Ether 1:33 Jared Came Forth . . . from the Great Tower (Chronology):


     According to Randall Spackman, there were numerous Mesopotamian towers, built and destroyed one by one over thousands of years, that could have been Jared's "great tower." In Mesopotamia, such a tower was called a ziqqurat, the word being derived form an Akkadian verb zaqaru meaning "to rise up high." As Sarna stated, the word was used "specifically for the great towers constructed at the holy places."

     It is interesting that in the writings on the Title Page of the Book of Mormon, a reference to the tower says that it was "a tower to get to heaven." The builders of the towers did not expect to create a tower for their troops to storm heaven by force. Rather, the ziqqurat was the material and symbolic "mountain of God: where God could come down and his worshippers could climb up to make contact with each other. Indeed, the Akkadian name for Babylon was babilum, meaning "the gate of God" referring to the role of Babylon as the religious center of lower Mesopotamia. Consequently, Moroni's comment on the Title Page complements both the Biblical version and the ancient Mesopotamian view of the ziqqurats as binding places of heaven and earth. [Randall P. Spackman, "The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 7-11, unpublished] [See Appendix A]


Ether 1:33 Jared came forth . . . from the great tower (Illustration): Sites of Mesopotamian ziggurat towers. [The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Vol. 1, p. 156]




 Ether 2:1 Jared . . . Went down into the Valley Which Was Northward [Valley of Nimrod]:


     Nibley has suggested that the valley of Nimrod known to the Jaredites is "the great valley system due north of upper Mesopotamia," in the region of Lake Van in eastern Turkey. In this area, the explorer and scholar Emin found the name of Nimrod attached to many legends and place names during the late 1800's. According to Randall Spackman, the huge valley system of the Euphrates-Murat Rivers, referred to by Nibley, is north of Mesopotamia . . . (see illustration). Near both ends of the valley system, approximately 225 miles apart, there are mountains known today as Nemrut Dagi or "Mount Nimrod." The Jaredite travellers could have gone "down" into this great valley system if their route from Babylonia took them along the favored nomadic route, the pastoral corridor. . . Following the pastoral corridor away from lower Mesopotamia, their route would have run roughly parallel to the Tigris River for nearly 500 miles before crossing over the Eastern Taurus Mountains and down into the Murat River valley. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 34-36]


Geographical Theory Map: Ether 2:1 Jared Goes down into the Valley of Nimrod (Year )


Ether 2:1 Jared . . . went down into the valley which was northward (Illustration): Map II The uprooting of the Jaredites should not be viewed as a unique phenomenon, but as part of a much larger scattering of vast numbers of people in ancient Mesopotamia. Map II shows three established trade routes along the Euphrates River or from Asshur on the Tigris River across northern Mesopotamia to Harran and Carchemish (the land northward). [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 27-29, unpublished]


Ether 2:1 Jared . . . went down into the valley which was northward (Valley of Nimrod) [Illustration]: Map III, A proposed Jaredite route from Babylonia] [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America,, p. 37, unpublished]



Ether 2:2 Fish:


     It is interesting that the people who followed Jared and his brother "did also prepare a vessel in which they did carry with them the fish of the waters" (Ether 2:2). According to Randall Spackman, more than fifty different types of fish were known to Mesopotamian fishermen, but it is not known how many freshwater varieties the Jaredites were able to carry in their specially constructed, watertight containers. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, p. 30, unpublished]

     Note* Considering the fact that water weighs approximately eight pounds per gallon, some form of heavy transport would have been required--Nibley speaks of the cultural heritage of large wagons for land transport. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]


Ether 2:2 They did carry with them (Illustration): Rock carving of a wagon from Syunik Region, Western Armenia, 2nd Millennium B.C. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, p. 31, unpublished]



Ether 2:3 They Did Also Carry with Them Deseret, Which, by Interpretation, Is a Honey Bee:


     In Ether 2:3, mention is made that the people of Jared and his brother took with them the "honey bee." According to Randall Spackman, honey was rare and expensive in Babylonia; so, the transportation of honey bees by the Jaredites indicates that they carried the luxury items with them as well. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, p. 30, unpublished]




Ether 2:3 Seeds:


     The people who followed Jared and his brother took with them "all manner of that which was upon the face of the land, seeds of every kind" (Ether 2:3). According to Randall Spackman, the Jaredite inventory of seeds certainly would have included barley and onions, the staples of the Babylonian diet. Other plants represented could have been wheat, millet, rye, lentils, beans, garlic, turnips, peas, cucumbers, cabbage, lettuce, apples, pomegranates, figs, apricots, grapes, pears, plums, cress, cumin, coriander, and mustard. Nuts such as pistachios and almonds could have been gathered from the foothills. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, p. 30, unpublished]



Ether 2:5 They Should Go Forth into the Wilderness, Yea, into That Quarter Where There Never Had Man Been:


     The Lord commanded Jared and his brother that "they should go forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been" (Ether 2:5).

     According to Randall Spackman, the "wilderness" or "quarter where there never had man been," into which the Jaredites moved from the valley of Nimrod, may be the vast mountainous region around Lake Van and Mount Ararat. This region had been populated prior to 2000 B.C., but the area was basically deserted for about 500 years. Perhaps this depopulation was connected with the tremendous climatic changes that resulted in the diminished flows of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and the warm sub-Boreal period across all of Asia. . . . The phrase "quarter where there never had man been," as a description of this area, may be reflected by the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser I (1115-1077 B.C.) who campaigned in these Armenian highlands. His annals record: "By toilsome paths and arduous passes, through which no king before me had gone, by hidden tracks and unmade roads I led my armies . . ." [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, p. 35, unpublished]


[Note* The Book of Mormon student might wonder if the definition of the term "wilderness" here in Ether 2:5 gives the reader any help with understanding that term as it is used in other parts of the Book of Mormon story. If we were to go strictly by the text, then the term "wilderness" would apparently refer to a region where "there never had man been." However, by placing the story in a real-world Mesoamerican setting, the term "wilderness" might also imply a mountainous region. ]




Ether 2:7 The Lord Would Not Suffer That They Should Stop beyond the Sea in the Wilderness:


     According to Randall Spackman, the Jaredites, having entered "that quarter where there never had man been," first traveled through "wilderness," and then built "barges" and crossed "many waters," including a body of water large enough to be referred to as "the sea in the wilderness" (Ether 2:7). A northeasterly journey up the Murat River valley would have led the Jaredites into the depopulated region near Lake Van, past Mount Nimrod, and onto the vast empty plain at the foot of Mount Ararat. Not far from this plain, there was a passable route leading southeast toward the Caspian Sea and another route leading northward toward the Black Sea. Because of the ease of the water route using barges, the journey to "the sea in the wilderness" probably would have led toward the Caspian Sea, although a route to the Black Sea cannot be ruled out. . . . Hugh Nibley stated that his own "guess" was that the Caspian Sea was the Jaredite "sea in the wilderness." Upon reaching the Caspian Sea, the Jaredites would have encountered the largest landlocked body of water in the world, a great salt lake lying below sea level. Virtually surrounded by desert areas, the Caspian Sea's major sources of water were the Volga and Ural rivers (see illustration). The sea may have been shrinking because of the diminished flow from the rivers, creating salt flats near the shoreline. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 41,45, unpublished]


Ether 2:7 The sea in the wilderness (Illustration): Map IV, Possible Jaredite routes near the sea in the wilderness. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, p. 47, unpublished]


Ether 2:7 The Lord Would Not Suffer That They Should Stop beyond the Sea in the Wilderness, but He Would That They Should Come Forth:


     According to Randall Spackman, there were a number of alternative routes that the Jaredites may have taken "that they should come forth" (Ether 2:7) and reach the borders of East Asia. The northern routes assume that the nomadic community traveled via the broad highway of the steppes of inner Asia. Based on the available information, this steppe highway would have been the most traveled and, therefore, most likely route. Whether they reached this highway through the Black Sea or the Caspian Sea, they would have moved eastward along a well-traveled trade route, through hospitable grasslands and across the "many waters" of southern Siberia. Eventually, the Jaredites would have been required to choose whether they would follow the trade route that led into the mining areas of the Altai Mountains or the less traveled route that led to Lake Baikal. These northern routes eventually would have led the wanderers through the mountains north of the Mongolian plateau and into the river valleys and grasslands of the plateau (see illustration).

     It is interesting to note that several modern communities in northern Mongolia are named Moron, the same name given by the Jaredites to the first land they settled when they reached America. In Mongolian the word moron means river, and it would not seem unlikely that the steppe valleys of the Mongolian plateau were known as the land of rivers. It is certainly too bold to assert that the name given by the Jaredites to their American land of Moron (Ether 7:5) may have been taken originally from the beautiful river valleys of Mongolia where they attempted to stop; however, the exact correspondence of the names is intriguing. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 50-52, 62, unpublished]


Ether 2:7 The Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but He would that they should come forth (Illustration): Map V, Possible Jaredite routes from the "sea in the wilderness" toward the "great sea which divideth the lands." [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America,, p. 51, unpublished]


Ether 2:7 The Lord did bring Jared and his brethren forth even to that great sea which divideth the lands (Illustration): Map VI Three probable routes of the Jaredites into East Asia from the Mongolian Plateau] [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, p. 56, unpublished]



Ether 2:16 Jared . . . Built Barges after the Manner Which They Had Built:


     According to Randall Spackman, the Jaredite watercraft are described in the book of Ether as "barges" (Ether 2:16). Barges are normally defined as flat-bottomed cargo vessels used chiefly for canal and river navigation. In addition, the Jaredite record implies a box-like form by its references to the top, bottom, sides, and ends of the barge (Ether 2:17). Both the definition of "barges" and the implied box-like form are in harmony with the eminent nautical scholar Casson's representation of the earliest Egyptian and Mesopotamian planked boats as square-ended and flat-bottomed, "more barge than boat, a form that might have been chosen because it involved simpler carpentry." These vessels were common on the rivers and canals of lower Mesopotamia and would have been familiar to the Jaredites. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, p. 64, unpublished]



Ether 2:16 They Were Small:


     According to Randall Spackman, as to the size of the barges, the Book of Ether states simply that they were "small" (Ether 2:16) and "the length of a tree" (Ether 2:17). The barges may have been small in comparison with typical sea-going craft from lower Mesopotamia. Casson reported that the capacity of Mesopotamian vessels ranged from an extremely large ship of 300 gur or approximately 31 tons, to a normal vessel of 60 gur, about 6 tons, to the smallest craft which only carried a single ton of cargo. Casson estimated that a small barge carried about 30 gur or 3 tons of cargo. Several sea-going junks were described by Donnelly, ranging from 30 to 70 feet in length. Thus, the declaration that the Jaredite barges were small could reasonably mean that they were approximately 30 to 40 feet long and capable of carrying about 3 to 5 tons of cargo.

     It is interesting that the Jaredite record speaks of the barges as "small" in direct proximity with references to the vessels being "light upon the water" (Ether 2:16). A small barge may have been more seaworthy than a larger vessel. Heyerdahl's experience with small craft is instructive: "Speaking of aboriginal watercraft, safety at sea does not increase with the size of the vessel; indeed, numerous experiments in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans have convinced the writer and others of the fact that primitive vessels less than thirty feet in length have a greater chance of survival in stormy seas than similar vessels of larger dimensions. It is a great advantage to a vessel to be small enough to move freely between and over the swells, since a boat much over thirty feet long will either be forced to bury bow or stern into surrounding waves, or will bridge two waves simultaneously with the risk of breaking amidships."

     An alternative meaning of the word "small" may mean that the barges were overcrowded when they were loaded. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 74-76, unpublished]



Ether 2:16 They Were Light upon the Water, Even Like unto the Lightness of a Fowl upon the Water:


     According to Randall Spackman, the Jaredite record describes the barges as "light upon the water, even like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water" (Ether 2:16). For a hull to be "light upon the water" indicates that the boat had a shallow draft. The barges sat on the water rather than in it. This type of displacement pattern is typical of vessels with wide flat bottoms. . . . It might be well and good to have a shallow draft, but how do you get a wide barge to slip through the water as efficiently as possible, or with the "lightness of a fowl upon the water"? In the western world, the mould of the hull was patterned after a fish, with the greatest fullness towards the bow or the front. However, in East Asia, the hull was molded after the outline of a swimming bird, with the widest part of the boat towards the stern or towards the rear. The first European to observe and write about this difference was Admiral Paris in 1840: "For our best hulls we have taken the fishes as models, always larger at the cephalic end, but the Chinese, who also copied Nature, imitated the palmipeds, which float with the greatest breadth behind . . . In this they were acute, for aquatic birds, like boats, float between the two media of air and water, while fish swim only in the latter." [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 69-71, unpublished]



Ether 2:17 The Ends Thereof Were Peaked:


     According to Randall Spackman, in what is a striking modern parallel to the Jaredite description of the "lightness" of the barges and their "peaked" ends (Ether 2:16-17), Laechler and Wirt wrote of the Chinese junk, "It does not cut through the water but skims across its surface . . . It is modeled after water birds, and its stern resembles their upswept tails in form." Commenting on this quality in sea-going junks, Donelly wrote: "The stern is always higher than the bow . . . The vessel will more easily lie head to wind in a gale, and . . . stands a better chance against being 'pooped' by an overtaking wave in a heavy sea. Also from this point of vantage on the high poop where he works the unwieldy tiller, the steersman commands a good view over the bow of the boat." [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 71-73, unpublished]


Ether 2:17 The Length Thereof Was the Length of a Tree:


     According to Randall Spackman, Worcester has written that "most of the timber" used in East Asia for boatbuilding was pine. This "light, soft and tough" wood was obtained from trees that were cut for sale when they were "over 20 years old and about 50 feet high." If the same sort of materials were used by the Jaredites, then the phrase "the length of a tree" (Ether 2:17) might simply mean that the barges were about 50 feet long or less.

     On the other hand, the phrase "the length of a tree" could also be interpreted as a reference to the Jaredites' use of a particular method for constructing their barges. Unlike modern boatbuilding techniques, which involve the creation of a keel and frame before the planking is applied, Mesopotamian boatbuilders first created a box-like hull of edge-joined planks into which they inserted frames, a central shelf or spine, and deckbeams. For the greatest rigidity and strength, a single beam made from one large tree was required for the central shelf of the vessel. . . . Thus it would seem logical to assume that "the length of a tree" had some direct connection with the extreme tightness of the Jaredite hulls. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 76-77, unpublished]


Ether 2:17 The length thereof was the length of a tree (Illustration): Figure 11, Mesopotamian And Egyptian Boatbuilding System, The Jaredite Journey to America, p. 78, unpublished]


Ether 2:17 The Door Thereof, When It Was Shut, Was Tight Like unto a Dish:


     According to Randall Spackman, each vessel had a "door" (Ether 2:17) which, "when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish." The Jaredites would have required some means of putting their provisions into the barges; so, at least one opening of some kind may be assumed. That this opening was merely a hatch is unlikely. Pictures and models of ancient barges nearly always show a deck house of some type. Furthermore, a flush-decked vessel with one or more hatches would provide no protected area from which the helmsman could steer the vessel during storm conditions. There was such an area because the brother of Jared complained about it: "O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer?" (Ether 2:19) That is, with the door closed and without a window or opening in this protected area, the helmsman either could not tell where to steer or could not steer at all. Thus it seems that there must have been some form of deck house with a door, but no windows, covering at least part of the stern of the vessel. Of course, there may have been several additional hatches through which the Jaredites loaded their provisions and animals. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, p. 86, unpublished]


Ether 2:17 Tight Like unto a Dish:


     Noah, the first shipbuilder of Biblical record, was commanded to make an ark of "gopher wood" and to coat it inside and out with pitch (Genesis 6:14-16). According to Randall Spackman, pitch is also mentioned as material for coating boat hulls in documents from the 3rd Dynasty of Ur, about 2000 B.C., and it is clear from Mesopotamian records during the 2nd millennium B.C., that it was standard practice in Jared's Babylonia to coat the outside of the vessel with pitch and the inside of the planks with fish oil. In northern China, however, the ancient waterproofing technique was to coat the hulls with tung oil, sometimes mixed with fish oil or lime, a practice which one early European traveller noted "suffereth no wormes, which is the occasion that one of their shippes doth twice last out one of ours."

     Thus, the use of pitch, fish oil or tung oil for waterproofing and protection from worms may have been comprehended in the words "tight like unto a dish" (Ether 2:17). [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 79-80, unpublished]




Ether 2:19 Whither Shall We Steer?:


     According to Randall Spackman, the book of Ether contains only four brief references to the technology used by the Jaredites for the propulsion and control of their barges. First, the complaint of the brother of Jared, "O Lord, . . . whither shall we steer?" (Ether 2:19) indicates that the vessels had some method of steering which was interfered with by the enclosed deck house. Second, after the vessels were loaded, the Jaredites are said to have "set forth into the sea" (Ether 6:4). Presumably, they did not attempt to drift away from the seashore, but used some means of propulsion. Third, the record states that "they were driven forth before the wind" (Ether 6:8) implying that some form of sail may have been used when weather conditions permitted it. Finally, the Book of Ether says that "they did land upon the shore of the promised land" (Ether 6:12). This is not very helpful, but it does not say their barges were "wrecked" upon the shore. It would seem, therefore, that they used some method to control their landing, probably similar to what they used to "steer" and to "set forth" in the beginning. Hence, it would not be contrary to the record to assume that the barges had one or more forms of propulsion and control.

     Mesopotamian carved seal stones from the 4th millennium B.C. show reed craft with a man "at the stern, either paddling or steering, while another man stands in the bow holding a forked stick for punting or sounding the river bed." In Mesopotamia several hundred years before the time of Jared, the single steering oar attached to the stern of the vessel (see illustration) was common. . . . Because of the size of the barges and their use at sea, long oars manned by a standing oarsman must have been considered a key element in the propulsion and control system for each barge. There may have been some type of steering oar which could be manned during good weather, but which was impossible to use from within an enclosed deck house. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 86-89, unpublished]


Ether 2:19 Wither shall we steer? (Illustration): Egyptian steering oar attached to the vessel's stern] [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, p. 90, unpublished]



Ether 2:20 Thou Shalt Make a Hole in the Top, and Also in the Bottom:


     According to Randall Spackman, in certain types of Asian vessels, the foremost (and less frequently the aftermost) compartment is made free-flooding. Holes are placed in the planking; however, the vessel does not sink because the watertight compartment bulkhead keeps the remainder of the vessel dry. According to Chinese tradition, a free-flooding compartment reduces the vessel's resistance to water to a minimum and cushions the shocks of pounding when the vessel pitches in rough water. The vessel acquires and discharges water ballast just at the time when it is most desirable to counteract the buffeting at the bow or stern.

     Assuming that the Jaredites used extremely tight construction methods, placing holes in the tops of the free-flooding compartments would have been required for the free movement of the water ballast. The illustrations below show the "normal" and "submerged" conditions of such theoretical free-flooding compartments. While there is no way of determining that the Jaredite devices were like those proposed, this interpretation is much more simple than one requiring submarines and compressed air devices and it is based upon East Asian technology. Except for an occasional stoppage due to "mountain waves," the air supply could have been continuous. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey To America, p. 96-97, unpublished]


Ether 2:20 Thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom (Illustration): Free-flooding compartment under normal conditions [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, p. 98, unpublished]


Ether 2:20 Thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom (Illustration): Free-flooding compartment under submerged conditions [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, p. 98, unpublished]




Ether 3:1 Jared . . . Did Molten out of a Rock Sixteen Small Stones; and They Were White and Clear, Even as Transparent Glass:


     Why did Joseph Smith use the word "molten out of rock" in Ether 3:1, when obviously the word should have been "quarry"? According to Roy Weldon, the brother of Jared made sixteen small stones out of one large rock. The fact that they lost their consistency and became clear like glass shows that they were melted and not quarried. The early Babylonians in Sumer and Akkad knew the art of smelting both ores and stones. [Roy E. Weldon, Book of Mormon Deeps, Vol. III, p. 303]


     According to Randall Spackman, a common technique for refining glass in the latter half of the second millennium B.C. was to melt the raw materials in a crucible and let the crucible cool. When the glass had hardened, the crucible and all scum and sediment were then knocked off, and the refined glass was crushed and re-fused. . . . The earliest glass was always opaque, like stone. . . however 2nd millennium B.C. glasswork reached a significant level of art . . . with the refinement of transparent glass and, on rare occasions, colorless glass. Thus the simple description in Ether 3:1, "Jared . . . did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones, and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass," could not be more in context. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, p. 101, unpublished]


Ether 3:1 Transparent Glass:


     Ether 3:1 states that the stones were white and clear, even as transparent glass." According to Randall Spackman, any given glass composition "can exist in different energy states dependent upon its structure." . . . Williams has noted that "one of the most striking features of luminescent emission [is] that it occurs for most substances in the spectral region where the crystal or glass is transparent." Whatever the physical properties of the sixteen small stones, through the faith and action of the brother of Jared and the intervention of the Lord, the stones shone in the dark with sufficient luminescence that the Jaredites were willing to enter the barges and set forth across the Pacific. [Randall P. Spackman, "The Jaredite Journey to America, p. 130, unpublished]




Ether 3:24 These Stones Shall Magnify to the Eyes of Men These Things Which Ye Shall Write:


     Ether 3:24 states that the stones (or Urim and Thummim) given by the Lord to the brother of Jared would "magnify to the eyes of men these things which ye shall write."

     According to Randall Spackman, one of the most attractive, recent suggestions is that Urim is derived form the Assyrian u'uru, meaning "to send forth" and related to the noun urtu, meaning "a divine decision." Thummim may be related to the Assyrian noun tamatu, meaning "an oracle." Therefore the two terms might constitute a Hebrew hendiadys, a combination of "two formally co-ordinate terms--verbs, nouns, or adjectives--by 'and,'" which terms "express a single concept in which one of the components defines the other." The order of the terms is immaterial. Given the foregoing approach, the phrase "Urim and Thummim" could read as meaning "a divine decision in answer to a question" or "sacred answer," denoting the use to which the object was put. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, p. 127]



Ether 6:2 [The Stones] Did Give Light unto the Vessels:


     According to Randall Spackman, the Babylonian deluge story has been preserved in three similar stories . . . all of which appear to have been known in Mesopotamia by the middle of the 2nd millennium B.C. The Babylonian "Noah" was called Utnapishtim. In his boat were carried "stone things" which protected it. These miraculous stones also may have had special light-giving functions. The Babylonian story of Utnapishtim related his boat to the moon, a crescent-shaped vessel which sailed safely through the dark heavens illuminated by a miraculous source of light.

     The deluge of the Bible came when "there were giants in the earth" and "God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth" (Genesis 6:4-5). Warned by God of the impending flood, Noah, his sons, and their wives built an ark, loaded various creatures into it, and survived the great flood in safety. The biblical story refers to a special light source, tsohar, which is translated "window" in the King James Version of Genesis 6:16. Von Rad acknowledged that the meaning of tsohar was not certain, but he accepted the word "roof" as the "best translation." Speiser's translation attempted to reach a middle ground; he read the word as "sky light." Despite this confusion, Nibley has noted that hundreds of years ago, a number of rabbis concluded that tsohar was a light-giving stone. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 101-104, unpublished]



Ether 6:5 They were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind (Illustration): Map VIII presents a simplified view of the ocean currents of the North Pacific. Map IX shows the course of the Tai Ki and how seriously it was affected by the storms encountered in the western North Pacific. As can be seen, the ocean currents provided only the barest of outlines for the course of a small boat across the Pacific. The severe North Pacific storms drive a small craft at their whim and have a dramatic effect on the ultimate course. However, Map X shows the typical wind patterns and storm tracks for the North Pacific that would be expected during a year-long voyage beginning in the East China Sea in autumn. . . . As can be seen from comparing Maps VIII and X, these storm tracks virtually parallel the North Pacific currents that wend their way from China to America. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 155-158, unpublished]




Ether 6:6 Great and Terrible Tempests:


     According to Randall Spackman, when the Lord described the conditions to be faced, the word "floods" was used (Ether 2:24), but when the actual conditions were described, the words used were "great and terrible tempests" (Ether 6:6). The Jaredites, who may have viewed their voyage in a sense as a re-creation of Noah's voyage, knew of the great flood as a violent downpour of rain which resulted in the inundation. Similarly, the word tempest refers to a windstorm that is usually accompanied by rain, hail, snow, or thunder. In Hebrew, a Semitic language like Akkadian, the word zerem means a gush of water, a flood, or a tempest; indeed, in Isaiah 28:2, zerem appears in both senses as a tempest and a flood. Hence, it is not surprising that the storm conditions are referred to both as tempests and floods.

     Heyerdahl described this mixture of sea, wind, and rain: "The crests blew away as they broke, and the spray stood like salt rain over the sea. When the tropical rain poured over us in horizontal squalls and whipped the surface of the sea, making invisible all around us, . . . we crawled about the deck, naked and frozen, seeing that all the gear was in order to weather the storm." Knoble wrote: "the storm is mixing salt and water, water and air into a new element that makes breathing difficult." [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 136,139, unpublished]


Ether 6:6 Tempests Which Were Caused by the Fierceness of the Wind:


     In describing the sea voyage of the Jaredites, mention is made of "tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind" (Ether 6:6). According to Randall Spackman, despite the tremendous destruction that wind and rain can cause on land, the principal danger of heavy weather at sea is normally from the seas produced by the wind. . . . Captain Harding, U.S.N., emphasized that a wind increases its force upon a solid object in proportion to the square of the wind velocity. "A wind that doubles its speed increases its force four times. A 60-mph wind exerts 15 pounds per square foot pressure; a 125-mph wind exerts 78 pounds. . . . [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 138-139, unpublished]



Ether 6:7 They Were Tight Like unto the Ark of Noah:


     Randall Spackman notes that Hugh Nibley wrote at some length about the features of the Jaredite barges, comparing them to the description of Noah's ark as found in the Sumerian version of the Deluge story from Nippur in lower Mesopotamia, dated to before 3000 B.C. Nibley's analysis, however, relied in part on a questionable reading of a phrase in the Jaredite record describing the watertight nature of the barges at sea as "tight like unto the ark of Noah" (Ether 6:7). Nibley read this as referring to "the submarine nature of Jared's ships" and he concluded that "Jared's boats were built on the same pattern as Noah's ark."

     According to Spackman, such a reading is much too broad. The Jaredite barges could have been watertight like Noah's ark, without ever being the same pattern or design, without ever using the same construction methods, and certainly without ever being classified as submarines! Nevertheless, Nibley's review of twelve items of correspondence between the book of Ether and the ancient Sumerian Deluge story does indicate, as Nibley concluded, that Joseph Smith hardly could have invented the story.

     The Jaredites would have been familiar with the Deluge story and its similarities to their own situation; so, their earliest records of the barges and the sea voyage may have played upon such similarities. Nonetheless, in order to evaluate the description of the barges in the book of Ether, it might be better to compare the boatbuilding techniques of the ancient Mesopotamians and Chinese with what the Jaredite record actually says about the shape, displacement, size, and tightness of the hull. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 63-64, unpublished]


Ether 6:8 They Were Driven Forth before the Wind:


     Randall Spackman notes that on the question of wind propulsion, Hugh Nibley stated his opinion that the Jaredites "apparently did not use sails: the almost perpetual hurricane conditions would have made sails impossible even if they had them." (The World of the Jaredites, p. 176) John Sorenson seems to have assumed from the length of time the crossing took that the barges merely drifted and were "sailless." (An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, p. 111) Nonetheless, according to Spackman, the Book of Mormon does not support the idea of a completely sailless barge. The Lord commanded that the barges be built in the manner "hitherto built" (Ether 2:16); so, it may be assumed that the Jaredites, at a minimum, attempted to make use of common propulsion technology in the new barges. Such technology included sails. Furthermore, the Book of Mormon records the travels of Lehi and his family, who came to America in the 6th century B.C. They are said to have "put forth into the sea and were driven forth before the wind toward the promised land" (1 Nephi 18:8). These are identical phrases to those used to describe the voyage of the Jaredites. Ether 6:8 similarly states that "they were driven before the wind." The Book of Mormon also notes that after some difficulties, Lehi's family "sailed again towards the promised land" (1 Nephi 18:22). Hence, the phrase "driven forth before the wind" (Ether 6:8) has a textual connection with Lehi's sailing vessel and cannot be cited without question to refer merely to drifting with the wind. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 89-91, unpublished]




Ether 6:8 Driven Forth before the Wind:


     According to Randall Spackman, so long as there is sufficient sea room to avoid being driven onto a shore, drifting with the storm may be the safest tactic for surviving extreme weather conditions, particularly for a vessel built in the manner of the Jaredite barges. Drifting or "hulling" or "lying a-hull," as the tactic may be referred to in different nautical works, is a desirable storm tactic when "the boat has a high range of stability, . . . is light but strongly built," and "the keel is of such shape and depth that it permits ample leeway when the boat has no headway." In other words, a wide, low, barge-like hull, which is light and watertight, with no keel to resist the drift of the barge with the wind, is the best form of vessel for drifting safely through a storm at sea. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, p. 144, unpublished]


Geographical Theory Map: Ether 6:8-12 Driven before the Wind 344 Days to the Promised Land (Year )


Ether 6:10 No Monster of the Sea Could Break Them, Neither Whale That Could Mar Them:


     In Ether 6:10 it states that in the Jaredite travels across the great sea, "no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them" (Ether 6:10). According to Randall Spackman, this brief statement when combined with what is known about storms at sea, suggests that there were times when the Jaredites could remain on deck and view the sea life that surrounded them. The Jaredite record points to the most frightening meetings between men and these huge creatures, when vessels and leviathans encounter each other close up and occasionally collide. Heyerdahl reported that one day on the Kon Tiki, while the crew ate by the side of the raft, "we started when suddenly something behind us blew hard like a swimming horse and a big whale came up and stared at us." Knoble described an incident when the whale disappeared momentarily, then "the deck began to tremble, and a scraping sound rose up from below the ship. The whale was scratching its back . . ."

     Heyerdahl also found monsters in the sea at night when the stars twinkled in the dark sky and the sea was phosphorescent with glowing plankton. The visitors were big squids which came to the surface and floated near the raft, their "two round shining eyes" a "devilish green" color like phosphorus. On several occasions, "the black water round the raft was suddenly full of round heads two or three feet in diameter, lying motionless and staring at us with great glowing eyes. On other nights balls of light three feet and more in diameter would be visible down in the water, flashing at irregular intervals like electric lights turned on for a moment." [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 146-150, unpublished]




Ether 6:12 They Did Land upon the Shore of the Promised Land:


     According to Randall Spackman, when Jared, his brother, and their families and friends "did land upon the shore of the promised land" (Ether 6:12), they had come to the end of a journey of immense hardship and length. They had trekked and barged more than 5,000 miles across Asia. And then from their temporary home on the East Asian seashore, they had voyaged over 8,000 miles at sea, across an ocean infamous for its typhoons, freezing winter storms, and hurricanes. Finally, they arrived in America, their promised land, full of faith in the goodness of the Lord. [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, p. 163, unpublished]





1987      Bruce L. Warren asnd Thomas Stuart Feguson      The Messiah in Ancient America, Provo: Book of

           (Map)                               Mromon Research Foundation, 1987.


     On pages 120-123, Warren and Ferguson write:

     Ixtlilxochitll's history was organized around the four world-age system, a period lasting 1716 years and consisting of a water age, a wind age, an earth age, and a fire age. (see Table II) Because it is linked directly to the Long Count calendar (this calendar system counts days from a base date of August 13th 3114 B.C.) of the Maya, it is possible to assign dates with consierable accurace.

     Thus, the Water Age, which begins with the creation in 4829 B.C., lasts until the great flood in 3113 B.C. After his brief account of these events, Ixtlilxochitl introduces the second world age:

     And how afterwards men, multiplying, made a very tall and strong Zacuali, which means the very high tower, in order to shelter themselves in it when the second world should be destroyed.

     When things were at their best, their languages were changed and, not understanding each other, they went to different parts of the world; and the Tultecas [the elders], who were as many as seven companions and their wives, who understood their language among themselves, came to these parts, having first crossed large lands and seas, living in caves and undergoing great hardships until they came to this land, which they found good and fertile for their habitation. (12)


     These details resemble the Book of Mormn account of the journey of the Jaredites to the New World. [Ether 1:33-38 is then quoted]


     Thus the ancestral group consisting of as many as seven men and their wives left the Old World 416 years after the Deluge (2697 B.C.), travled 104 years, and settled in southern Mexico at a place called Huehuetlapallan (2593 B.C.). A parallel Book of Mormon event states:

     And when Corihor was thirty and two years old he rebelled against his father, and went over and dwelt in the land of Nehor; and he begat sons and daughters, and they became exceedinglly fair; wherefore Corihor drew away many people after him. (Ether 7:4)


     There is general agreement among Mesoamerican scholars that this land of Huehuetlapallan is located in southern Veracruz (Jimenez Moreno 1094). See Table II for a chronology of Ixtlilxochitl's even sequences.


[1987      Table II: Tultec Four-Solar Age System. Bruce L. Warren and Thomas Stuart Ferguson, The Messiah in Ancient America, Provo: Book of Mormon Research Foundation, 1987, pp. 121-122].



Note* There is a map of "Mesoamerica & Book of Mormon Lands: Possible Book of Mormon Locations" on the inside cover. (see below) On this map the Jaredites are shown to have crossed the Pacific Ocean and landed on the southwestern coast of Oaxaca, Mexico. Interestingly, Hunter and Ferguson (1950) cited the same Mesoamerican legends in their book (see the 1950 notation) but favored an Atlantic crossing for the Jaredites, and their place of landing at Panuco near Tampico, Mexico on the Gulf coast of Mexico.

     Signicantly, Warren and Ferguson correlate the settlement of Huehuetlapallan 104 years after the landing with Corihor and the land of Nehor. Whereas ____________ has the Jaredites coming across the Atlantic and landing on the east coast of Mexico. He correlates Huehuetlapallan with the highlands of Mexico and the land of Moron (see the ______ notation). FIND THIS NOTATION Additionally, Warren and Ferguson say the following about Huehuetlapallan: They had an important capital city, "Ancient Place of the Red" -- Huehue meaning "ancient" and Tlapallan meaning "place of the red."



[1987      Map:Mesoamerica & Book of Mormon Lands: Possible Book of Mormon Locations. Bruce L. Warren and Thomas Stuart Ferguson, The Messiah in Ancient America, Provo: Book of Mormon Research Foundation, 1987, inside cover].




1988^      Gerry Avant            "The Lord Directs Jaredites on Journey to a New Land," in Church News 58,

                        November 19, 1988, p. 14.


     Gerry Avant begins his article on the Joaredite journey with the following: "The Jaredite story begins in the Middle East at the time the Lorld confounded the langauge of the peole at the tower of Babel (about 2200 B.C.) . . ." He then proceeds to tell the story from a strictly internal perspective.



1988      Charles H. Quilter            (Untitled Manuscript). Salt Lake City, in FARMS archives, 1988


     Has the Jaredites landing near the mouth of the Coatzacoalcos River on the Gulf of Mexico which implies an Atlantic crossing.




1988^      F. Richard Hauck            Deciphering the Geography of the Book of Mormon. Salt Lake City:

                             Deseret Book Company, 1988


     On page 6 Hauck writes:

     The geographic model of the Book of Mormon developed in the following chaptesr places the Jaredite homeland directly withint the heartlkand of the Olmec civilization on Mexico's gulf coast. The Jaredite area of occupation, as demonstrated in the model, extended from the general locality of Jalapa southeastward past Veracruz and the Tuxtla Mountains to the gneeral locality of the modern city Coatzacoalcos in the Isthmlus of Tehuantepec. The Jaredite peoples probably landed their barges and waded ashosre somewhere along this Gulf coastline.


Note* This model presumes an Atlantic crossing



[1988      Figure 1: Modern Map of the Book of Mormon Area. F. Richard Hauck, Deciphering the Geography of the Book of Mormon. Salt Lake City:Deseret Book Company, 1988, pp. 4-5.]



1988      Andrew C. Skinner            "Promises Fulfilled," in Sudies in Scripture: Alma 30 to Moroni, edited

                              by Kent P. Jackson. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988, pp. 259-70.


     Discusses the law of witnesses and the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, the idea of kingship in Jaredite history, and the effect of secret combinations. The exodus of Jared is lilkened to Noah's ark. "When the Lord makes a prophecy or proimise it muist surely come to pass." [J.W.M.]



1988^      Kent P. Jackson            "Christ and the Jaredites," in Studieis in Scriptuare: Alma 30 to

                              Moroni, edited by Kent P. Jackson, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book,

                              1988, pp. 245-58.


     Kent Jackson reviews the Jaredite journey from strictly a scritural basis. However, on page 248 Jackson writes:

     The record does not give much specific information about the route of the group's travels from the valley of Nimrod to Moriancumer. Elder George Reynolds suggested: "It is evident that they first traveled northward, but whether they turned east or west is not so apparent. The general idea is that they turned eastward and crossed Central Asia." (Juvenile Instructor, May 1, 1892, p. 284, note. Elder Reynolds also wrote: "We have no direct information in regard to the locality of Moriancumer, but those who believe that the Jaredites traveled eastward through Central Asia, are of the opinion that it was near the mouth of one of the great rivers that flow though the Chinese empire into the Pacific Ocean." (Juvenile Instructor, May 1, 1892, note.)


Note* Why would Kent Jackson choose to cite George Reynolds from 1892 when many other more recent works, including those of Hugh Nibley, were available? Reynolds was influenced by the 1879 Book of Mormon footnotes of Orson Pratt. In his 1888 The Story of the Book of Mormon, Reynolds writes: "It is generally understood that the place where they [the Jaredites] landed was south of the Gulf of California and north of the isthmus of Panama," implying a link to Pratt's footnotes, a Pacific crossing, and a journey eastward through Asia..





1988^      Hugh Nibley            Lehi in the Desert / The World of the Jaredites / There Were Jaredites : The

                        Collected Works of Hugh Nibley: Volume 5 The Book of Mormon,

                        SLC:Deseret Book Company and Provo: FARMS, 1988







     Hugh Nibley reports that [EDIT & EXPAND]

+6       [p. 177] Eusebius in his Chronicon, which has surprisingly proved one of the most reliable sources of early oriental history, cites the Sibyl to the effect that "when all men were of one tongue, some of them built a high tower so as to mount up to heaven, but God destroyed the tower by mighty winds.". . . The Book of Jubilees (second century B.C.) tells how "the Lord sent a mighty wind against the tower and overthrew it upon the earth, and behold it was between Asshur and Babylon in the land of Shinar, and they called its name 'Overthrow.'". . .


     [173] This [the Jaredite journey] was no normal crossing and no brief passing storm . . . "the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters" (Ether 6:8) . . . "there were terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind" (Ether 6:5-6). . . .



     [175] The Way Out

     From the plain of Shinear (the location of the tower), the Jaredites moved northward into a valley named after Nimrod, the mighty hunter, and thence "into that quarter where there never had man been." (Ether 2:5) This would take them into the land of great broad valleys where the Tigris, Euphrates, Kura, and Araks rivers have their headwaters, a "hub of radiating valleys and routes to which the Euphrates owes its importance as a highway of commercial and military penetration. The frequent occurrence of the name of Nimrod in this area may not be without genuine significance, for no historical phenomenon has been more thoroughly demonstrated than the extreme tenacity of place names. . . .


     [p. 158] In the book of Ether the name of Nimrod is attached to "the valley which was northward," . . . at the end of the last century the explorerr and scholar Emin found that name attached to legends (mostly of the Mad Hunter variety) and palcel names in the region of Lake VAn, the great valley system due north of upper Mesopotamia. (N. Emin, Izslyedovania i Statyi

 (Moscow, 1896), pp. 301-3)


     [175-176] Whether the party moved east or west from the valley of Nimrod is not a major issue, though a number of things favor an eastern course. (A. Moret, Histoire de l'Orient I, 306) For one thing, there is the great length of the journey: "for this many years we have been in the wilderness" (Ether 3:3). Such a situation calls not only for vast expanses to wander in, but a terrain favorable to cattle-raising nomads and a region "in which there never had man been" (Ether 2:5), conditions to which the Asiatic rather than the European areas conform. But most revealing is the report that "the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land, while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind." (Ether 6:8) Now whether the Jaredites sailed from eastern or western shorses, they would necessarily have to cross the ocean between the thirtieth and sixtieth parallels north, where the prevailing winds are westerly right around the world. Since the cause of these winds is tied up with the revolution of the earth and the relative cooness of the polar regions, it may be assumed that the same winds prevailed in Jared's time as in ours. Of course, one cannot be too dogmatic on suich a point for weather has changed through the ages, and freak storms do occur; yet the extreme steadiness of the wind strongly suggests prevailiing westerlies and a North pacific crossing, since it would have meant a headwind all the way hadd the voyagers attempted the Atlantic. The length of the sea journey, 344 days, tells us nothing, since the vessels, though driven before the wind, apparently did not use sails: the almost perpetual hurricane conditions would have made sails impossible even if they had had them. But the fact that the part spent almost a year on the water even with the winds behind them certainly suggests the Pacific, and recalls many tales of Chinese junks that through the centureis have been driven helplessly befored the wind to end up after a year or so at sea stranded on the beaches of our West Coast. (See Chas. E. Chapman, A History of Callifornia: The Spanish Period (N. Y.: Macmillan, 1928), Ch. III, pp. 20-31.) Then too, we must not forget that a mountain of "exceeding heihgt" stood near the point of Jaredite embarkation (Ether 3:1), and that there is no such mountain on the Atlantic seaboard of Europe, as there are at many oints on the Asiatic shore.


Note* The above text has not only been edited, but the bolded part was added to the original 1951-52 Improvement Era articles.


     [p. 177] The crossing of many waters under continual direction comes as a surprise, "the sea" iln question being apparently but one--though the most formidable--of many waters to be crossed. Now it is a fact that in ancient times the plains of Asia were covered with "many waters," which have now disappeared but are recorded as existing well down into historic times; they were of courses far more abundant still in Jared's time. Even as late as herodotus, the land of the Scythians (the region into which jared's people first advanced) presented formidable watere bariers to migration: "the face of the country may have differed considerably from what it is now," says Vernadsky, " . . . the rivers were much deeper and many lakles were still left from the glacial age which later turned into swamps. (Geo. Vernadsky, Ancient Russia (New haven: Yale Univer., 1934) p. 6. ) . . . The steady and continual drying up of the Asiatic "heartland" since the end of the last ice age . . . is a relatively recent discovery. Whoever wrote the book of Ether showed remarkable foresight in mentioning waters rather than deserts along the migrants' way, for most of the deserts are of very recent origin, while nearly all the ancient waters have completely vanished.


Note* The maps illustrating the direction of the Jaredite journey which were present in the Improvement Era articles are absent from the book!



Ether 1:38 He Will Drive Us out of the Land:


     [pp. 175-180] Hugh Nibley reports that Eusebius in his Chronicon, which has surprisingly proved one of the most reliable sources of early oriental history, cites the Sibyl to the effect that "when all men were of one tongue, some of them built a high tower so as to mount up to heaven, but God destroyed the tower by mighty winds.". . . The Book of Jubilees (second century B.C.) tells how "the Lord sent a mighty wind against the tower and overthrew it upon the earth, and behold it was between Asshur and Babylon in the land of Shinar, and they called its name 'Overthrow.'". . . These are interesting statements in view of the fact that in Ether 6:8, in referring to the Jaredite journey, it says that "the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters" (Ether 6:8) and "also there were terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind" (Ether 6:5-6). . . .

     In so many words, the book of Ether tells us that at the time of the dispersion (from the tower) the world was swept by winds of colossal violence. . . . The weather of Asia is the great central driving mechanism of world history. The blowing sands of Asia have brought mighty empires to ruin, and buried great cities almost overnight, and have scattered the tribes in all directions. [Hugh Nibley, The World of the Jaredites, pp. 175-180] [See the commentary on Ether 6:8]




Ether 1:41 And Also Thy Friends and Their Families, and the Friends of Jared and Their Families:


     According to Hugh Nibley, here in Ether 1:41 is another striking contrast between the Jaredite story and the Lehi story. Unlike Lehi's people of the sands, these ancients in the Jaredite story do not form their societies on the basis of blood relationship. The friends of Jared and the friends of his brother are two separate groups, as they would not be if they were relatives. Apparently whoever is a friend is a supporter and member of the tribe, and this rule, significantly enough, has been a basic law of Asiatic society from the earliest recorded times. [Hugh Nibley, The World of the Jaredites, p. 185]



Ether 2:1 [They] Went . . . with Their Flocks . . . Fish . . . Bees . . . All Manner of That Which Was upon the Face of the Land:


     In relating the account of the Jaredites, Moroni writes:

     [They] went . . . with their flocks which they had gathered together, male and female, of every kind. and they did also lay snares and catch fowls of the air; and they did also prepare a vessel, in which they did carry with them the fish of the waters. And they did also carry with them deseret, which, by interpretation, is a honey bee; and thus they did carry with them swarms of bees, and all manner of that which was upon the face of the land . . . (Ether 2:1-3)


     According to Hugh Nibley, it is a remarkable thing that the mention of flocks of any kind is conspicuously absent from the story of Lehi's exodus to the promised land. What an astonishing contrast from the story of the Jaredites! The one group hastening away from Jerusalem in secrecy to live a life of hunting and hiding in the desert and almost dying of starvation, and the other accepting volunteers, as it were, from all sides, moving out in a sort of massive front, driving innumerable beasts before them and carrying everything from libraries to hives of bees and tanks of fish! It would be hard to conceive of two more diametrically opposite types of migration, yet each fits perfectly with the customs and usages recorded throughout history for the part of the world to which the Book of Mormon assigns it.

     But how could the Jaredites have carried all that stuff with them? The same way other Asiatics have always done--in wagons (see illustration). And such wagons! "Measuring once the breadth between the wheel ruts of one of their carts," William of Rubruck reports, "I found it to be twenty feet over . . . I counted twenty-two oxen in one team, drawing a house upon a cart . . . the axletree of the cart was of huge size, like the mast of a ship. "

     It is generally agreed that ox-drawn vehicles were older than horse-drawn, but both go back to the fourth millennium B.C. [Hugh Nibley, The World of the Jaredites, pp. 187-189]




Ether 2:3 They Did Also Carry with Them Deseret, Which, by Interpretation, Is a Honey Bee:


     The word "deseret" is evidently transliterated from the original record, but fortunately the interpretation is included in Moroni's abridgment: "a honey bee" (Ether 2:3). This is one of the few Jaredite words transliterated in our present Book of Mormon; therefore it is of special significance to the scholars.

     Dr. Hugh Nibley has written extensively on the background of this word, including the following ideas:

     By all odds the most interesting and attractive passenger in Jared's company is deseret, the honeybee. We cannot pass the creature by without a glance at its name and possible significance, for our text betrays an interest in deseret that goes far beyond respect for the feat of transporting insects, remarkable though it is. The word deseret we are told (Ether 2:3), "by interpretation is a honeybee," the word plainly coming from the Jaredite language, since Ether (or Moroni) must interpret it. Now it is a remarkable coincidence that the word deseret, or something very close to it, enjoyed a position of ritual prominence among the founders of the classical Egyptian civilization, who associated it very closely with the symbol of the bee. The people, the authors of the so-called Second Civilization, seem to have entered Egypt from the northeast as part of the same great outward expansion of peoples that sent the makers of the classical Babylonian civilization into Mesopotamia. Thus we have the founders of the two main parent civilizations of antiquity entering their new homelands at approximately the same time from some common center--apparently the same center from which the Jaredites also took their departure. The Egyptian pioneers carried with them a fully developed cult and symbolism from their Asiatic home. Chief among their cult objects would seem to be the bee, for the land they first settled in Egypt was forever known as "the land of the bee," and was designated in hieroglyphic by a picture of the bee, while the king of Egypt "in his capacity of 'King of Upper and Lower Egypt'" bore the title, "he who belongs to the sedge and the bee."

     From the first, students of hieroglyphic were puzzled as to what sound value should be given to the bee-picture. . . . We know that the bee sign was not always written down, but in its place the picture of the Red Crown, the majesty of Lower Egypt was sometimes "substituted for the superstitious reasons." If we do not know the original name of the bee, we do know the name of this Red Crown -- the name it bore when it was substituted for the bee. The name was dsrt (the vowels are not known, but we can be sure they were all short). The "s" is dsrt had a heavy sound, perhaps best represented by "sh," but designated by a special character -- an "s" with a tiny wedge above it by which the Egyptians designated both their land and crown they served. . . . The bee symbol spread in other directions from its original home, wherever that was. . . . In all of these the bee is the agent through which the dead king or hero is resurrected from the dead, and it is in this connection that the bee also figures in the Egyptian rites. Now the original "deseret" people, the founders of the Second Civilization, "the intellectuals of On," claimed that their king, and he alone, possessed the secret of resurrection. That, in fact, was the cornerstone of their religion; it was nothing less than "the king's secret," the power over death by which he held his authority both among men and in the hereafter. . . . I am personally persuaded that the archaic and ritual designation of the bee was deseret, a "word of power" too sacred to be entrusted to the vulgar, being one of the keys to "the king's secret." [Hugh Nibley, The World of the Jaredites, pp. 191-192]


Ether 2:3 Deseret (Illustration): The Red Crown (Dsrt Crown) is clearly depicted on a prehistoric potsherd from Nakada, thus placing it among the oldest known symbols of royalty. It is the crown of the Lady Neith and is often substituted for the sign of the bee. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 9, Plate XX (after Wainwright). [Hugh Nibley, There Were Jaredites, p. 321]



Ether 2:5 They Should Go Forth into the Wilderness, Yea, into That Quarter Where There Never Had Man Been:


     According to Hugh Nibley, from the plain of Shinar (the location of the tower), the Jaredites moved northward into a valley named after Nimrod, the mighty hunter, and thence "into that quarter where there never had man been." This would take them into the land of great broad valleys where the Tigris, Euphrates, Kura, and Araks rivers have their headwaters, a "hub of radiating valleys and routes to which the Euphrates owes its importance as a highway of commercial and military penetration. The frequent occurrence of the name of Nimrod in this area may not be without genuine significance, for no historical phenomenon has been more thoroughly demonstrated than the extreme tenacity of place names. [Hugh Nibley, The World of the Jaredites, p. 181] [See the commentary on Ether 2:1]


Ether 2:5 Into that quarter where there never had man been (Illustration):

     A. The Land of Shinear, where the Great Tower was (P. Dhorme, in Rev. Biblique (1928): 509-511). Ether 1:33.

     B. "The valley which was northward" (2:1). (The northern headwaters of the Euphrates "command a hub of radiating valleys and travel routes, to which the Euphrates owes its importance as a highway of commercial and military penetration." A. Moret, Hist. de l'Orient 1:306).

     C. "And the name of the valley was Nimrod" (2:1). Nimrod country: home of Nimrod place-names and legends. (N. Emin).

     D. "That quarter where there never had man been" (2:5). Anau, once thought to be the oldest city in the world, was originally built in a wilderness.

     E. "The sea in the wilderness" (2:7). Both the Aral and Caspian Seas were much larger in ancient times than they are today.

     F. "Many waters" (2:6). The Turanian plain was anciently full of lakes, marshes, and streams. The Oxus Delta was a vast lake.

     G. Ancient course of the Oxus (as recently as the time of Alexander), now dried up.

[Hugh Nibley, The World of the Jaredites, p. 202]




Ether 2:6 They Did Cross Many Waters:

While traveling in "the wilderness," the group who followed Jared and his brother "did cross many waters" (Ether 2:6). According to Hugh Nibley, it is a fact that in ancient times the plains of Asia were covered with "many waters," which have now disappeared but are recorded as existing well down into historic times; they were of course far more abundant in Jared's time. . . . "The face of the country may have differed considerably from what it is now," says Vernadsky, "the rivers were much deeper and many lakes were still left from the glacial age which later turned into swamps." . . . The steady and continual drying up of the Asiatic "heartland" since the end of the last ice age . . . is a relatively recent discovery. Whoever wrote the book of Ether showed remarkable foresight in mentioning waters rather than deserts along the migrants' way, for most of the deserts are of very recent origin, while nearly all the ancient waters have completely vanished. [Hugh Nibley, The World of the Jaredites, pp. 183-184]



Ether 2:23 Ye Cannot Have Windows for They Will Be Dashed in Pieces:


     According to Hugh Nibley, for some it might be perplexing that the reference in Ether 2:23 to "windows . . . [that] will be dashed in pieces seems to refer to glass windows, since no other kind would be waterproof and still be windows, and the windows would have to be brittle enough in order to be dashed "in pieces." Moreover, Moroni, in actually referring to "transparent glass" in Ether 3:1, is probably following the words of Ether.

     This would make the invention of glass far older than anyone dreamed it was until the recent finding of such objects as Egyptian glass beads from "the end of the third millennium B.C." Nevertheless, "very little . . is known," writes Newberry, "about the early history of glass," though that history "can indeed be traced back to prehistoric times, for glass beads have been found in prehistoric graves." We need not be surprised if the occurrences of glass objects before the sixteenth century B.C. "are few and far between," for glass rots, like wood, and it is a wonder that any of it at all survives from remote antiquity. . . . The finding of the oldest glass and ironwork in Egypt is not a tribute to the superior civilization of the Egyptians at all, but rather to the superior preservative qualities of their dry sands. [Hugh Nibley, The World of the Jaredites, pp. 216-217]

     Windows were also a part of Noah's ark: "A window shalt thou make to the ark" (Genesis 6:16).




Ether 3:1 Shele(M):


     According to Hugh Nibley, Jaredite proper names have a peculiar ring of their own. Their most characteristic feature is the ending in "m". This is called mimation and is actually found among the most ancient languages of the Near East, where it was followed by the later nunation, or ending in "n," the most characteristic feature of classical Arabic and also of Nephite proper names. The correct use and sequence of mimation and nunation in the Book of Mormon speaks strongly for the authenticity of the record, for the principle is a relatively recent discovery in philology. It may be illustrated by the only Jaredite common nouns known to us, curelom and cumom, and the only adjective, shelem, applied to a mountain 'because of its exceeding height" (Ether 3:1). It is interesting that the original meaning of the best known of Semitic roots, SALAM, may be "a high place" (Arabic sullam, ladder, stairway, elevation) with the idea of safety, and hence peace, as a secondary derivation. [Hugh Nibley, The World of the Jaredites, p. 242]


Ether 3:1 The mount which they called . . . Shelem because of its exceeding height (Illustration): One of the major clues to the location of the Jaredites on the coast of East Asia is the reference to a mountain of "exceeding height." There appear to be many such peaks along the Chinese coastline, virtually all of which are located either around the Gulf of Chihli or south of the Yangtze River. Map VII identifies these peaks and shows their proximity to the proposed routes of the Jaredites into East Asia] [Randall P. Spackman, The Jaredite Journey to America, pp. 57-58, unpublished]



Ether 3:3 And for These Many Years We Have Been in the Wilderness:


     According to Hugh Nibley, one of the things that argues for an eastern course of travel for the Jaredites is the great length of the journey: "for this many years we have been in the wilderness" (Ether 3:3). Such a situation calls not only for vast expanses to wander in, but a terrain favorable to cattle-raising nomads and a region "in which there never had man been" (Ether 2:5), conditions to which the Asiatic rather than the European areas conform. [Hugh Nibley, The World of the Jaredites, p. 181]


Ether 6:6 They Were Many Times Buried in the Depths of the Sea:


     In Moroni's telling of the Jaredite crossing of the ocean, he writes that "they were many times buried in the depths of the sea" (Ether 6:6). According to Hugh Nibley, these experiences at sea sound very reminiscent of Noah's ark. In the Babylonian versions of the Great Flood, Ut-Nepishtim (Noah) built a magur boat to survive the flood. A magur boat was written ideographically MA-TU, literally "a deluge boat," not because it was a sailing boat driven by the wind or rather the hurricane (abubu, shubtu), but because it possessed certain qualities which rendered its use especially effective during the deluge, when its exclusive purpose was to carry the remains of life and to protect men and beasts against the waters from below and the pouring rains from above. . . . "It shall be a house-boat carrying what is saved of life," says the Nippur version, its purpose being to reserve life and offer full protection "against the waves washing overboard." [Hugh Nibley, There Were Jaredites, pp. 361-363]



Ether 6:8 The Wind Did Never Cease to Blow toward the Promised Land:


     According to Hugh Nibley, in relationship to what direction the Jaredites traveled, one thing that is most revealing is the report that "the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land, while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind" (Ether 6:8). Although weather has changed through the ages, and freak storms do occur; the extreme steadiness of the wind strongly suggests prevailing westerlies and a North Pacific crossing. [Hugh Nibley, The World of the Jaredites, p. 182]




Ether 6:11 They Were Driven Forth Three Hundred and Forty and Four Days upon the Water:


     Ether 6:11 records the fact that the Jaredites "were driven forth three hundred and forty and four days upon the water." According to Hugh Nibley, the fact that the party spent almost a year on the water even with the winds behind them certainly suggests the Pacific, and recalls many tales of Chinese junks that through the centuries have been driven helplessly before the wind to end up after a year or so at sea stranded on the beaches of our West Coast. [Hugh Nibley, The World of the Jaredites, p. 182]





     "Thank you for getting us back to the subject so tactfull. The Gilgamesh Epic as you know is the great Babylonian epic . . .

     "I mention this epic with a purpose," said Black. "Everybody knows how in his wandering the hero Gilgamesh visited Ut-Napishtim, the Babylonian Noah, who told him the story of the flood." . . .

     "The original story of the flood, by the way," F. commennted with devastating emphasis. But Professor Schwulst shook his head.

     "For forty years," he said, "scholars were convinced that the Babylonian flood story found by Layard in the library of Assurbanipal at Nineveh was just what you say-the original version of the Genesis flood story. But they were very wrong. Many of the texts found in that seventh-century library contained statements to the effect that they were merely copies of muich older originals reposing in a far older temple library at Nippur. When the University of Pennsylvania finally got around to digging at Nippur, they immediately discovered a vesion of the flood story some fifteen hundred years older than the Assurbanipal text, and this Nippur version 'differs fundamentally from the two Nineveh versions, and agrees most remarkably with the biblical storyo in very essential details both as to contents and langauge.' (Note 28) For a generation the educated had proclaimed in oud and strident voices that the Nineveh finds had debunked the flood story once for all, but when the later discoveries debunked them in turn everyone was expected to preserve a polite silence. . . .


     "With your permission (NOte 30) I would like to place side by side befoe you two descriptions of a remarkabl type of boat, the one is from the book of Ether, the other from Professor Hilprecht's study of the 'ark' as depicted in three versions of the Babylonian flood story, to which we add a fourth text (No. xvi in Gadd's Reader). First let me present a list of some dozen peculiar features of a jaredite ship in the words and roughly in the order in which they are given in the second and sixth chapters of Ether [Also a reference to the Babylonian descriptions of the magur boat that Ut-Napishtim bujilt to survive the flood]:


     "First, they were bulit 'after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built' (Ether 2:16). That is, except in some particulars these boats were not a new design but followed an established and familiar patter-there really were such boats.


     "One, 'This class of boats [we are quoting Hilprecht], according to the Niippur version [the oldest, ca. 2100 B.C.], [were] in use before the Deluge.' In histoirc times the archaic craft was preserved only in ritual, . . . the Babylonian canals serving as means of communication for the magur boats of the gods betweeen their various temples at certain festival days. . . Billerbeck and Delitzch show taht a certain class of boats really had such a shape."


     "Second, they were built 'according to the instructions of the Lord' (Ether 2:16).


     "Two, 'In all three versioins of the Deluge Storyo Utnapishtim receivs special instructions concerning the construction of the roof or deck of the boat. . . .


     "Third, ' . . . they were exceedingly tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the sides thereof were tight llike unto a dish' (Ether 2:17).


     "Three, there was 'of course a solid aprt, strong enough to carry a heavy freight and to resist the force of the waves and the storm.'


     "Fourth, '. . . and the ends thereof were peaked' (Ether 2:17).


     "Four, 'Jensen explains MA-TU as a "deluge boat," . . . adding, that when seen from the side it probably resembled the cresent moon. . . . Moreover, the representations of the sea-going vessels of the Tyrians and the Sidonians show that a certain class of boats really had such a shape.'


     "Fifth, '. . . and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish' (Ether 2:17).


     "Five, '. . . the princpcal distinguishing feature of a magur boat (was) . . . the roof or deck of the boat. . . . We notioce that in the Biblcical as in the Babylonian version great streess is laid on the preparation of a proper "roof" or "cover," . . . "Cover it with strong deck," (Nippur Version, line 9). "With a deck as strong as the earth" or "let its deck be strong like the vault of heaven above" '(Second Nineveh Version, lines 2-3)


     "Sixth, '. . . and the length thereof was the length of a tree' (Ether 2:17), 'And they were small, and they were light upon the water, even like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water' (Ether 2:16). It is quite pllain from this emphasis that the usual type of vessel in those days was some sort of raft, designed simply to float, not to keep out water.


     "Six, the lines containing 'a breif statement concerning the measures of the ark' have been effaced in the Nippur version. The First Nineveh text says simply: 'Its measures be in proportion, its width and length shall correspond.' Since only one ark was built, as agaianst eight Jaredite vessels, one would hardly expect the dimensions to be the same.

     'Seventh, '. . . and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish' (Ether 2:17).


     "Seven, 'Furthermore in the First Nineveh Version the boat . . . has a door to be shut during the storm flood.' . . .


     "Eighth, 'And the Lord said . . . thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air. And if . . . the water come in . . .ye shall sto the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood' (Ether 2:20).


     "Eight, '. . . the boat has . . . a door to be shut during the storm flood and at least one "air-hole" or "window" (nappashu, line 136).'


     "Ninth, '. . . ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you' (Ether 2:24)


     "Nine, 'The vessel built by Ut-napishtim being such a "house boat" or magur, this word could subsequently also be rendered ideographically by MA-TU, a "deluge boat." . . . A magur boat, then is a "house boat" in which gods, men and beasts can live comfortably, fully protected agaisnt the waves washing overboard, the driving rain from above and against the inclemencies of wind and weather.'



     "Tenth, ' . . . the Lord caused stones to shine in the darknesss, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they mgiht not cross the greast waters in the drkness' (Ether 6:3).


     "Ten, '. . . Sin's magur boat is called "A bright house" (esh azag) . . .


     "Eleventh, '. . . their flocks and herds, and whatsoever beast or animal or fowl that they should carry with them . . . got aboard of their vessels or barges' (Ether 6:4).


     "Eleven, in a magur boat 'men and beasts live comfortably. . . .


     "Twelfth, '. . . the Lord caused that there should be a furious wind' (Ether 6:5). '. . l. tlhey were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind' (Ether 6:5). 'The wind did never cease to blow . . . and thus they were driven before the wind' (Ether 6:8).


     "Twelve, . . . Jensen explains MA-TU as a "deluge boat," seeing in it "a boat driven by the wind," "a sailing vessell." . . . Though driven by the storm it had 'nothing in common with a boat in full sail, (and) nowhere . . . is a sail mentioned, nor would it have been of much use in such a hurricane as described. . . . A magur boat was driven by the wind, but not with sails.


     "Thirteenth, '. . . they were many times buried in the depths of the sea' (Ether 6:6). 'When they were gburied in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah' (Ether 6:7). 'And no monster of the sea could break them, neighter whale that could mar them' (Ether 6:10).


     "Thirteen, 'It shall be a house-boat carrying what is saved of life,' says the Nippur version, its purpose being to pressereve life and offer full protection 'against the waves washing overboard.'" (Note 31)



     "Nothing is more remarkable in my opinion," said Blank, "than the specific statement of Ether taht the submarine natue of his ships made them 'likle unto the ark of Noah,' since that aspect fo the ark has never been rightly understood."


     "That is quite right," Dr. Schwulst volunteered. "Ancient, medieval, and modern Bible illustrators have made it perfectly clear that they have not the remotest idea what the real ark was like. The window and the door are the only peculiarities mentioned in the brief three verses in Genesis (6:14-16). Old pictures depict the ark either as nothing but a big box or chest or as a regular boat: attempts to combine the two forms lead to comical combinations that show plalinly enough how inadequate information ahs been on the subject. I think it is remarkable that the word for window int he Babylonian texts, nappashu, means literally breather or ventilator. This is also the interpretation in Ether, whereas the window in the ark is called a tsohar in Genesis, that is a shiner or illuminator."



     "Which do you think is the older version" F. asked, "the air hole or the skylilght?"


     "That would be hard to say," was the reply, "since botha re found int he Babylonian textws. As a matter of fact, the rabbis could never agree as to just what the tsohar was."


     "What did they say it was?"


     "Some said it was a window, but tohers maintained it was some kind of luminous object by which Noah could tell night from day." (Note 32)


     "Why would he need a gadget to tell night from day?" Blank asked with interest.


     "Because according to some, the ark was completely covered lilkle a tightly shut box, and according to tohers, it was under the water a good deal of the time."


     "Hol on!" said F. with a laugh. "Aren't we getting mixed up with Mr. Jared's ships?"


     "And why not?" Blank replied. "Ether himself says the two types of ship followed the same model."


     "As a matter of fact," said Professor Schwelst half to himlself, "there may be something to that. Now that I think of it, that luminous object int he ark was supposed to have been some sort of shinign stone."


     "So that's the source of yhour jaredite story!" F. creid with satisfaction.


     "Not at all," the Professor rejoined. "The Ether version I believe is a much fuller one than that of the rabbinical tradition and contains some very archaic and signfiicant material that is not found in the other. It has been many years ago, but I am almost sure I once saaw some important studies on shining stones." . . .


     "Do you mean that the shining stone episode is found in the Gilgamesh epic?" Blanik asked with suprise.


     "No, no! At least not directly. . . .


     ". . . Let us begin by considering the Jewish sources that worried us yesterday, going from the latest to the earliest. The Midrash Rabbah tells us that the various conflicting opinions of the rabbis as to the true nature of the tsohar, the light in the ark, simply demonstrates the fact that none of them knew what it was. (Note 34) Rabbi Akiba ben Kahmana, for example, says it means a skyllight, while R. Levi says it was a precious stone. R. Phineas, quoted by R. Lehi, explains that 'during the whole twelve months that Noah was in the Ark he did not require the light of the sun by day or the light of the moon by night, but he had a polished gem which he hung up: when it was dim he knew that it was day, and when it shone he knew it was night.' (Note 35) To ilustrate this odd arrangement, Rabbi Huna tells a story: 'Once we were taking refuge from [Roman] troops in the caves of Tiberias. We had lamps with us: when they were dim we knew that it was day, and when they shone brightly we knew that it was night.' (Note 36) The reference to hiding from the Romans shows that this tradition is at least two thousand years oldl. But all such stoires seem to go back to a single soursce, a brief notice in the Jerushalmi or Palestinian Talmud, which reports that Noah was able to distinguish day from night by certain precious stones he possessed, which became dim by day and shone forth by night." (Note 37) . . .


     "What is so inaccessible about the Palestinian Talmud?"


     "Everything. One might have been reading sometime in the Babylonian TAlmud, but in the Jerusalelm Talmud? Never!-only eminent rabbbis ever read or cite it. (Note 38) Do youj see these four modest volumes? They represent all the printed editions of the Palestine Talmud that have ever appeaered/1 Two fo them came out after 1860, and could not have been used by the author of Ether; the other two are the Bomberg edition of 1523 and 1524 which as you see contians no commentary, and the Cracow edition of 1609, with a very short commentary on the margin."


     "Even worse. IN 1781 a small section was translated into German-it was not the section in which our story occurs, by the way-and there was nothing after that until t he German translation of 1880. . . . But no translation was available in any modern language in 1830, and who could read the originall? (Note 39) Who can read it today? . . . The scholars and ministers who studied Hebrew in America in the 1830s knew rabbinical Hebrew no better than they do today; their whole interst was in the Old Testament, and if any of them ever looked in to Talmud, you can be sure it was not the Jerushalmi. Then too we must not overlook the fact taht the Jewish accounts do not say that Noah used the gems for illumination, but only to distinguish day from night." . . .


" . . . the brother of jared made some transparent stones by 'moltenilng' them out of rock, a process requiring a very high temperature indeed. Now the oldlest writings of India, reporting her oldest traditions, have a good deal to say about a particular stone that shines in the dark (Note 41) . . .


     "And what," said F., "has that to do with the shining stones of the ark?"


     "A great deal, if you will follow me. The stone was known to the Greeks and hence to the Middle Ages as Pyrophilos or 'Friend of Fire,' aned is most fully described in the Indian sources which say it was a perfectly transparent crystal and also went by the name of 'Moonfriend' and Jalak-anta or 'that which causes the waters to part.' For among all its marvelous properties, such as protecting its bearer from poisons, lightning, fire, and enemies, its most particular power and virtue was that it enabled its possessor to pass unharmed through the depths of the waters." (Note 44)


     "Dear me!" Blank interrupted. "That is surelly something of a coincidence: a transparent stone formed with fierce heat that shines in the dark and guides and preserves its owner beneath the waves! Where do you think the Indians got all that?"


     "That has been the subject of conisderable search," Schwelst repolied, "and it is quite clear that the tradition did not originate in India, though it may have been brought theree at a very early time by an offshoot of the same Indo-European peole to whom the tory has been traced far to the north. But it has been so traced only by following a trail that led tot he earliest Babylonian accounts of guess what-the deluge! . . .


     "Let us sum up this business of the shining stones as it stands,," Blank suggested.


     "A good idea," replied the Orientalist, "especially since I have led you on such a tortuous way. Well, then, first we found, tucked away in the corner of an old, obscure, and completely neglected jewish writing, a very breif passage taht suggested, along with alternatives, that Noah had shining jewels or stones in the ark, which he used for telling night from day rather than as illumination. That is all the Jews tell us, so far as I can find out, andit is not much. Next we found some traditions about the forming of shining stones by a heat proces, and noted that the world-wide dispersion of those traditions indicated their great antiquity. We found then that the shining stone thus proeduced everywhere went by the same name and was thought to possess the same marvelous properties and woers, the most remarkable of which was its power to enable its owner to pass through the depths of the water. . . . Next it was easy to identify this stone with . . . a central occurrence in the Gilgamesh epic: the loss of the plant of Life whcih had once belonged to Ut-napishtim, the Babylonian Noah, who alone could tell the hero Gilgamesh where and how to obtain it.











[pp. 445-449]      Appendix 1

     East Coast or West Coast?


[Note* This appendix was not a part of either Nibley's 1952 book which included The World of the Jaredites, nor the series of articles entitled "There Were Jaredites" which appeared in the 1956 The Improvement Era. Nothing is said in this 1988 edition as to when this article was written or when it was published. since the article was a rebuttal to ideas brought forth in Hunter & Ferguson's 1950 Ancient America and the Book of Mormon, and since the article contains a footnote citing the 1953 Oxford English Dictionary, it was probably sometime after 1953. Whether it was ever published, I have no idea at this time.]


     Nibley writes:

     Whether the Jaredites crossed the Atlantic or the Pacific is not fundamental to the thesis of their Asiatic origin, since in either case their culture was fully developed at the time they left their homelanld. President Milton R. Hunter has kindly called the writer's attention to certain statements in the writings of Ixtlilxochitl and Sahagun that seem to cast ligiht on the subject of the Jaredite landingi. The pertinent passages as given in Hunter and Ferguson, Ancient America and the Book of Mormon, are as follows:

     Sahagun's comment on the remarks of Ixtlilxochitl:

     It is the common and general opinion of all the natives of all this Chichimeca land . . . that their ancestors came from Occidental parts, and all of them are now called Tultecas, Aculhuas, Mexicanos; and other nations that are in this land say that they are of the lineage of the Chichimecas, and are proud of it; and the reason is, according as it appears in their histories, taht the first king theey had was called Chichimecatl, who was the one who brought them to this New World where they settled, who, as can be iferred, came from the great Tartaryi, and theyh were those of the division of Babylon. . . . And they say that they traveled for 104 years through different parts of the world until tlhey arrived at Huehue Tlapallan their country."


     Sahagun further says:

     Concerning the origin of these peoples, the report the old men [of central Mexico-where Sahagun lived many years] give is that they came by sea from the north [i.e., down the Gulf Coast of Mexico]. . . . It is conjectured taht ehey came from seven caves, and that these seven cavesa re the seven ships or gtalleys in which the first settlers of this land came. . . . The people first came to settle this land from the direction of Florida, and came coasting along the coast disembarking in the port of Panuco which they call Canuco, which means "place where those arrived who crossed the water." This pepole came in search of the terrestrial paradise and they had aas a family name TAmoanchan, which means "we are looking for our home."


     And again: "and this . . . king, as he traveled on witht hem through the greater part of the world, arrived in thisland."


     Here two distinct phrases of the Jaredite migration are indicated. Firsts, there is the original exodus of the ancestors from Occidental parts under their first chif, "Chichimecatl, who was the one who brought them to this New World where they settled who . . . came from great Tartary, and they were those of the division of Babylon." Tartary is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as "the region of Central Asia extending eastward from the Caspian Sea." i.e., the very area to which we have assigned our Jaredite wanderings in the Old World. When Sahagun, writing in Mexico in the sixteenth century, speaks of Occidental parts, he means regions to the West. In those days the word Occident was useds in its literal sense, and Jesuit missionaries, writing their reports from Mexico in the time of Sahagun, refer to Asia as the Occident, since it was Asia and not Europe that lay to the west of them. The writer was puzzled when, in an early and premature attempt to translate certain Jesuit letters, he first came uon this natural but unfamiliar use of the word Occident. Sahagun removes all ambiguity on the subject by specifically mentioning Babylon and great Tartary, neither of which ws "Occidental" in the European sense, as being the very "Occidental parts" from which the settlers came.


[Note* Check the translations of Sahagun]


     Then there is a second landing, that of the people who reached Huehue Tlapallan after 104 years of wandering. These people, specifically described ast he first settlers of Mexico, came "by sea from the north," coasting along the Gulf of Mexico "from the direction of Florida." We are not told where they came from nor are we told taht they had just crossed the ocean, but wew are told that they landed in Mexico over a century after the great migration began, i.e., long after the Jaredites had arrived in the New World. Moreover, a moment's reflection will make it apparent that the landing at Panuco can hardley have been the original Jaredite debarkation. After 344 terrible days at sea the Jaredites, or anyone else, would waste no time in stepping ashore on the first land that offered. Indeed it is clearly implied in Ether 6:12-13 that they did just that, and only later continued their expansion and exploration (Ether 7:4-11). But the Panuco people "came coasting along the coast," sailing, perhaps fro many days, in full sight of land, Either they had not been at sea very long or they had already landed somewhere, else in their dire need for fresh meat, fresh water, and fresh fruit, they would have landed immediately instead of "coasting along the coast." Had they sailed into the gulf from the Atlantic, they could hardly have avoided sighting islands and touching at them. There is no mention of any terrible storm that might have kept them from landing, and at any rate, people do not "coast along the coast" in terrible storms. The statements that they "come from the north," and "from the direction of Florida" are strangely localized. If the Panuco peole had just crossed the ocean, they certainly would have known it, and it would have been the main part of their legend, but no Atlantic crossing is mentioned.


     The landing in Mexico is obviously one of the later develpments of the great Jaredite migration, which, ass we have often noted, did not come to an end with their landing in the New World but continued in many direcitons. We know that the Jaredites in their wanderings crossed many bodfies of water and so made many landings like the one at Panuco, which need not be described in the Book of Mormon.


     Furthermore, Sahagun tells us that the original migrants under their first chierf had traveled "through the greater part of the world," and that those who landed in Mexico had "traveled for 104 years through different parts of the world." If they had passed from the Nea East into the valley northward, across Asia and the Pacific, and then traversed this continent to reach the gulf coast in Florida or at the mouth of the Mississippi, hence following the gulf coast to Mexico, this would certainly be true. On the other hand, a journey westward from Babylon tot he Mediterranean and out over the Atlantic dos not take one through the greater part of the world and is far harder to visualize than the eastern route.


     In the writer's opinion, the most attractive interpretation of the evidence is this: From Babylon at the time of the great dispersion came a group of wanderers under their first king. They wandered "through different parts of the world" (taht is important for our Old World background) and then left "great Tartary" (Asia) and crossed "from Occidental parts" to the New World, where they presesntly continued their exploration (Ether 7) by land and water, one family or tribe of them, the Tamoanchan, coming cautiously down along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico to land, over a hundred years after the departue from the tower, on the east of Mexico. Such a view is by no means the only possible one to be taken from Sahagun's evidence, but it seems to reconcile all the known facts, while the assumption that the original landing was at Panuco overlooks some imiportant things, to wit, (1) that the original settlers came to the New World from the west, not from the east, (2) that they apparently had been in great Tartary, or Asia east of the Caspian, (3) that they had traveled through many lands-through most of the world, in fact, (4) that they were anxious to land, whereas the Panuco people were coasting, (5) that the Mexican party is not said to have crossed the ocean on this occasion-a thing that would certinly have been recorded were it the case-but only to ahve come "from the direction of Florida" and from the north-which definitely localizes the picture, and above all (6) that the landing at Panuco took place 104 years after the beginning of the geat migration, whereas the Jaredites landed well within one generation after leaving the tower.


     The problem is a fascinating, but not a vital one. The writer's opinion on the matter, excluded as he is from any deeper knowledge of the subject by an invincible ignorance of any of the native langauges of lCentral America, must continue to be regarded as pure, unalloyed specualtion, at best a particle of truth-not an article of faith.







1988      Delbert W. Curtis            the Land of the Nephites. American Fork, UT: Author, 1988.


     In this 40 page work the author proposes a Limited Great Lakes geography for the Book of Mormon. Altlhough he does not specifically propose where the Jaredites landed, he has Jared's Land of Promise located above Lake Ontario in Canada.has some


Note* See the Delbert Curtis notation for 1993.



1988      Michael M. Hobby      "A Model for Nephite Geography," in Zarahemla Quarterly 2(1), 1988,

                       pp. 4-14. See also "The Mulekite Connection," in Zarahemla Quarterly 2(1),

                        1988, p. 36. See also The Mulekite Connection, SLC: Zarahemla Foundation

                        Press, 1992.


     On page 16 of The Mulekite Connection, there is a map which has the Jaredites landing in the Gulf of Honduras on the border between Belize and Guatemala, somewhat close to the Rio Dulce. (The identifying line traverses the coast of northern Honduras so it is hard to tell) Whatever the case, this this implies an Atlantic crossing.


[1992      Map: Book of Mormon Lands. Michael M. Hobby, The Mulekite Connection, SLC: Zarahemla Foundation Press, 1992, p. 16]



1989^      Joseph L. Allen            Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, Orem: S. A. Publishers,

                              Inc., 1989.


     In chapter 21: "The Voyage of the Jajredites" Joseph Allen lays out his reasoning on the Jaredite journey to the promised land as follows:

     [pp. 257-258] Tower of Babel

     Perhaps if we can determine where the Jaredites launched their eight barges, we may have some idea oas to the side of the American continent on which they landed. The Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the 16-th Century Mexican writers all reference a great tower. . . .

     Shinar [Genesis 11:1-9] is the name of the place gilven where the great tower was built. Sinar was located in the Valley of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. This location is in the same area where the ancient City of Ur was located, the birthpalce of Abraham of old. It is generally accepted that Shinar was in the area of ancient Babylon, about 60 miles south of where the present-day city of Baghdad, in the country of Iraq, is located.

     The Tower of Babel was probably a multi-storied temple-tower, or ziggurat, similar to those developed in Babylonia in the early 3rd millennium BC. (Alexander and Alexander 1974:135) . . .

     The Book of Mormon refers to the Tower of Babel as "the great tower" or just "the tower" in describing what apparently is the same event mentioned in the Bible. . . . (see Ether 1:33; 1:3,5; Omni 1:22; Mosiah 28:17; and Helaman 6:28)

     Ixtlilxochitl referred to the event as both "the very high tower" and the "tower of Babel." (Ixtlilxochitl:6, 21) He reported that after the flood:

     . . . the earth began again to be populated, [and] they built a Zacualli, very high and strong, which means "The Very High Tower," to protect themselves against a second destruction of the world.

     As time elapsed, their langauge became confouded, such that they did not understand one another, and they were scattered to all aprts of the world. (Ixtlilxochitl: 6-7)




     1. Traveleing in the Old World

     The Book of Mormon provides us with the following evidence, which may give us a hint about where the Jaredites set sail. Perhaps if that can be determined, we can at least surmise as to which side of the Americas the Jaredites landed on--that is, the Atlantic or the Pacific.


     Ether 2:1--The Valley Which Was Northward

     . . . They went down into a valley that was northward of Shinar (Ur, Babylon, Baghdad). This direction took them away from the Persian Gulf and led them in the direction of the present-day country of Syria. . . .      


     Ether 2:5--The Wilderness

     . . . With the limited information available in the Book of Mormon, we have difficulty claiming accuracy from this point on. We do not know how much distance the Jaredites covered or how long they took to travel from Shinar to a place where they launched their barges to cross "many waters." Assuming they traveled in a northward direction, we are still left to speculate whether the direction was northeast or northwest.

     If the Jaredites were still traveling northward, they may have launched barges in the Euphrates, althoguh this lcoation is unlikely as it would be upstream and would lead them only into the mountains of modern-day Turkey. Neither would it qualify for the statment of "mlany waterfs." If they reached the coastlline in a northerly direction from Shinar (Iraq), they would needs to launch barges on the Black Sea north of Turkey or the great Mediterranean Sea located on the western borders of Lebanon and Israel.

     Of the two options, because the movement was toward the Promised Land (the Americas), the Medidterranean is apparently the most likely. This direction would carry them toard Spaina nd would be reminiscent of Paul the Apostle's journeys over 2,000 yearse later, as recorded in the New Testament.

     Both the Book of Mormon and the Spanish Chronicles inform us that the Jaredites traveled great distances over both land and water. Ixtlilxochitl wrote the following about the peole who came from the Tower of Babel:

     . . . they came to this land [Mexico], having first crossed many lands and waters, living in caves and passing through great tribultions. . . . (Ixtlilxochitl:8)


     Ether 2:7--. . . And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness . . .

     The only sea in the vicinity of the Middle Eastern World, other than the ones mentioneds above, is the REd Sea. However, the Red Sea does not seem to be a likely candidate because it is in the wrong direction from the initial movement of the Jaredites and because that direction eventually would have taken them into the same oceaan (Arabian Sea) that was already near the Persian Gulf from whence they originally left. In addition, the Lord ". . . stood in a cloud,a nd gave directions whither they should travel." (Ether 2:5)

     If the jaredites crossed the Mediterranean and eventually ended up in, let us say, Morocco or portugal, they would then be on the borders of the great Atlantic Ocean. The mountains of Spain may have been the area described as "Beyond the Sea [Medsiterranean] in the Wilderness." At this point this alternative lacks creditibility.


     Ether 2:13--The Great Sea Which Divideth the Lands

     . . . If we follow this line of reasoning [westward journey] then the Great Sea Which Divideth the Lands is the Atlantic Ocean, which divides the European and American continents. The Jaredites called the name of the place by the seashore "Moriancumer," after the brother of Jared. A Mesoamerica (New World) tradition was to name the p;alce of settlement after the person who first possessed it. (See Alma 8:7 and Ixtlilxochitl:22) Joseph Smith identified the name of the brother of Jared as Mahonri Moriancumer.


     Ether 3:3-- . . . for these many years we have been in the wilderness; . . . suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness . . .

     . . . The above scripture reports that many years had elapseds from the time Jared and his group had left the area of the grfeat tower (Shinar). The Lord reminded the brother of Jared that the Jaredites had not completed their journey, as they still needed to cross the ocean to theland of promise (America).


     2. Crossing the Ocean

     Geographical hints relevant to crossing the ocean are as follows:

     Ether 3:1 . . . And it came to pass that the brother of jared, (now the number of the vessels which had been prepared was eight) . . .


     . . . The colony needed eight vessels to transport its people, provisions, and animals to the New World. Furious winds drove them across the ocean tot he Promised Land. . . .

     To justify an Atlantic crossing, we need to allow for a considerable amount of lost time, as only two to four months are normally required to cross the Atlantic from Morocco to Veracruz.

     Thosw who favor an Atlantic Ocean crossing quote Sahagun as a source for the first settlers' landing on the shores of Veracruz, Mexico. His statement, however, may have been referring to the Mulekites or to some other group. Sahagun states:

     Concerning the origin of these people, the report the old lmen give is that they came by sea from the north, and true it is that they came in some wooden boats but it is not known how they were hewn, but it is conjectured by a report found among all these natives that they came from seven caves, and taht these seven caves ared the seven ships or galleys in which the first settlers of this land came, as gathered from likely conjectures.

     The people first came to settle this land from the direction of Florida, and came coasting along the coast disembarking in the port of Panuco, which they call Panco, which means "place where those arrived who crossed the water." This people came in search of the terrestrial paradise, and they had as a family name Tamoanchan, which means "we are looking for our home." (Sahagun, Introduccion al Primer Libro)


     . . . The Atlantic Ocean is proposed by some to be the same great water path that the colony of Jared traveled for a period of 344 days, around 2700 B.C.


     [pp. 260-262] A CASE FOR A PACIFIC CROSSING

     The following logic suggests that the Jaredites may have crossed the Pacific Ocean:


     1. Quarter of Land Uninhabited

     The Book of Ether states that the colony of Jared traveled in a northward direction from the Great Tower (Iraq). The record also states taht after they left the VAlley of Nimrod, they went forth into the widerness to " . . . that quarter where there never had man been." (Ether 2:5)

     Well-documented historical evidence shows that people were living in Egypt, Israel, and the countriews around the Mediterranean at the time in question. The northward direction apparently would then take them through the great Asian continent itot he borders of the Pacific Ocean by China.


Note* See the GAil Porrit arguments tot he contrary in the notation for 1985.


     2. Length of Time to Arrive at City of Moriancumer

     The Pacific route justifies Moroni's statement taht the Jaredites traveled many years in the wilderness (Ether 3:3) and Ixtlilxochitl's statemetn that they traveled a great distance, crossing a large part of the world.


Note* See the Gail Porrit arguments tot he contrary in the notation for 1985.


     3. Number of DAys to Cross the Ocean

     The Book of Ether reportrs taht the Jaredites took 344 days, almost one year, to travel from the point of departure to the Promised Land. If the Jaredites left from the ATlantic side, near Morocco, they would have [needed to] travel iin circles for 8 or 9 months. Thor Heyerdahl made the trip on a raft from Morocco to the Caribgbean in two months. The scripture says, ". . . the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land. . . ." (Ether 6:8) . . . The distance from the Pacific by China to the Gulf of Tehuantepec in Mesoamerica is more than twice the lAtlantic's crossing distnace, thus placing us closer to the required time for the Jaredites to travel from the Old to the New World.


Note* See the Gail Porrit arguments to the contrary in the notation for 1985


     4. The First Settlers Came to Mesoamerica from China

     According to Ixlilxochitl, the first migrants to Mesoameriaca, who came from the great tower, arrived in Mesoamerica from the west, from the Tartary area. Tartary is the traditional name of the vast region of Asia, including present-day China, Mongolia, and the southern aprt of Russia. The name is derived from linguistic tribes called Tartars. The statement of Istlilxochitl is as follows:

     The ancestors of the natives of this land that is now called New Spain, according tot he commona nd general opinion of everyone, as well as that which appears demmonstrated in their apintings, came from the Occidental . . . [All the people in this land] boast and affirm that they are descendnats of the Chichimecas. The reason, according tot their history, is that their first king, whose name was Chichimecatl, was the one who borught them to this new land where they settledl. And it was he, as can be deduced, that came from the great TARTARY, and was part of those who came from the division of Babel. . . . (Ixtlilxochitl:20-21)


     5. The Mesoamerica and Book of Mormon Settlement Patterns Favor a Pacific Crossing

     The Book of Mormon, the archaeological pattern of Mesoamerica, and the traditional hsitory of Mesoamerica all affirm that the early Preclassic Jaredites (2700 BC-2000 BC) did not live along the eastern (Atlantic) sea coast.

     Five generations elapsed from Jared to Omer, at which time Omer, much ikke the latter Book of Mormon propohet Nephi, was warned in a dream to leave his homeland. He and his family travleed many days and passed over by botht he Hill shim and the Hill Cumorah eastward to the seashore, where they settled. [see Ether 9:3]

     Prior to this time, the headquarters of the Jaredite kingdom were in the Land of Moron. The Land of Moron was near the are that the Nephties called Desolation. (Ether 7:6) Desolation was the area where the Jaredites were destr5oyed and was also near the seasore. (Mosiah 8:8; Helaman 3:5; Mormon 4:3)

     In summary, the Jaredites lived in a region called Moron during the administration of the fgirst five kings, namely, Jared, Orihah, Kbi, Shule, and Omer.

     This text proposes, as shown in Figure 21-1, that the Valley of Moron is the isolated Oaxaca Valley of Mexico. The State of Oaxaca borders the State of Veracruz, which is "eastward" from Oaxaca, "by the seashore." During the reign of King Shule (Xul in the Quiche language), the headquarters of the kingdom were transferred to the region along the coast. I propose that the time period when the Jaredite kingdom was transferred to the caost was the same time period when the Jaredites settled along the Gulf of Mexico. This proposal merely suggests that the Jaredites probably did not cross the tlantic Ocean but rather crossed the pacific Ocean. lAnd five kingships later, they migrated along the Gulf of Mexico.


[1989      Figure 21-2: Proposed landing site of the Jaredites and proposed location of the Land of Moron in the Oaxaca Valley and the movement of King Shule to the Gulf of Mexico. Joseph L. Allen, Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, p. 63]



Note* This is different reasonging than what was proposed by his 1982 publication--see notationn. Additionally, see the Gail Porrit arguments tot he contrary in the notation for 1985.


     The archaeological evidence supports earlier settlement pattersn in the Oasxaca VAlley. This sdettlelment was followed by strong Olmec settlements on the Gulf Coast. The latter reached a classic period from 1200 BC - 600 BC. The eearly Oaxaca Valley (possibly Moron) is srepresented by such sites as San Jose Magote, dating to 2000 BC. The Gulf Coast (King Shule forward) is represented by the Olmec sites of San Lorenzo, La Venta, and Ters Zapotes. Both the Oaxaca Valley and the Gulf Coast show remarkable Olmec influence.

     The traditional history of Mexico reports taht 104 years elapsed from the time of the arrival of the firstt settlers to Mesoamerica before they settled in Huehue Tlapallan, along the Gulf of Mexico. (See Ixtlilxochitl:8-9).


Note* See the Gail Porrit arguments tot he contrary in the notation for 1985.


     [p. 262] CONCLUSION


     From the evidence we have available to us today, we can deduce that the Jaredites apparently crossed the Pacific Oean and landed in the area of the Gulf of Tehuantepec. From there, they settled inland in the 5,000-foot-elevation Valley of Oaxaca. Subsequently, the heartland of the Jaredites became established along the Golden Land Gulf of Mexico. The reasons for these conclusions are the following.

     1. The movement of the colony of Jared was from the Great Tower (Babylon) northward to "that quarter where there never had man been" (parts of Asia). This movement placed them in a position to cross the pacific.

     2. The Jaredites traveled 344 days on the ocean, which more closely approximates a Pacific crossing as opposed to an Atlantic crossing.

     3. The writings of Ixtlilxochitl and modern histoires of the Chinese proclaim an Asian settlement from the great tower.

     4. Ixtlilxochitl reports that the first settlers, who originated from the great tower, travled to Mesoamerica from the west.

     5. The settlement patterns described in the Book of Ether corresond with the geographical and traditional patterns of Mesoamerica, indicating an initial settlemthn in the Oaxaca Valley and a subsequent migraiton to the Gulf of Mexico.




[pp. 62-63] Ether 1:33 Jared Came Forth . . . from the Great Tower:


     The Book of Mormon reader should remember that when king Limhi's 43 men were sent to find the land of Zarahemla, they found instead the destroyed Jaredite civilization. When they tried on the rusted breastplates which they found, they said they were "large" (Mosiah 8:10). Readers should also recall that there was a large stone which was brought to king Mosiah, with engravings on it: "And they gave an account of one Coriantumr, and the slain of his people . . . It also spake a few words concerning his fathers. And his first parents came out from the tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people; and the severity of the Lord fell upon them according to his judgments, which are just; and their bones lay scattered in the land northward. (Omni 1:20-22). This passage undoubtedly has reference to the Jaredites, for in Ether 1:33 we find that "Jared came forth . . . from the great tower."

     According to Joseph Allen, it is interesting that the first settlers in Mesoamerica, whom archaeologists call Olmecs, also came from a tower. A history of Mexico was written in 1568 by Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl. He wrote that after the flood, the people: "built a Zaucalli very high and strong, which means 'The Very High Tower,' to protect themselves against a second destruction of the world. As time elapsed, their language became confounded, such that they did not understand one another; and they were scattered to all parts of the earth." (Ixtlilxochitl:6-8)

     The Spanish Chronicles, and archaeologists all bear witness that the first civilization of Mesoamerica was also a large people. The 16th-Century Spanish writers who recorded the Olmec's history called them "giants." The archaeological record sculptured them as large people. Ixtlilxochitl wrote the following about these people who lived along the Gulf Coast of Mexico:

     "In this land called New Spain there were giants, as demonstrated by their bones that have been discovered in many areas. the ancient Tulteca record keepers referred to the giants as Quinametzin; and as they had a record of the history of the Quinametzin, they learned that they had many wars and dissensions among themselves in this land that is now called New Spain. They were destroyed and their civilization came to an end as a result of great calamities and as a punishment from the heavens for grave sins they had committed." (Ixtlilxochitl:25).



Ether 1:33 Jared came forth . . . from the great tower (Illustration): Olmec (Jaredite) archaeological sites along Mexico's Gulf Coast [Joseph L. Allen, Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, p. 63]



[p. 55] Ether 6:8 The Wind Did Never Cease to Blow toward the Promised Land:

     According to Joseph Allen, from a monument discovered at the Olmec site of La Venta in the state of Tabasco, Mexico, we have a hint of the first settlers crossing the ocean. The monument is labeled Monument No. 12, and is located today at the outdoor La Venta Museum in the city of Villahermosa, Tabasco. According to a resident archaeologist there at the park, the lines flowing from the back of the individual's head represented sun rays -- suggesting that the first settlers came from the west where the sun sets. He noted that the footprints suggest that the people traveled great distances to arrive at their destination. And he pointed out that the sculpture's giant sea monster with jaws opened together with the main character's warding off of the sea monster suggests that the people crossed the ocean in their journeys.


Ether 6:10 And no monster of the sea could break them (Illustration): Monument No. 12 at La Venta Museum, Villahermosa, Tabasco.] [Joseph L. Allen, Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, p. 57]






1990^      John L. Sorenson            Pre-Columbian Contnact with the Americas across the Oceans: An

     Martin H. Raish             Annotated Bibliography, 2 vols. (Provo, Utah: Research Press, 1990.





1990^                  "The Jaredites Leave Babel," Friend 20, April 1990, pp. 20-21.


     An illustrated story for children from a strictly internal perspective about the Jaredites leaving Babel and preparing to cross the sea.




1990^      Bruce W. Warren             The Jaredite Saga, unpublished, 1990.

     David A. Palmer


     The King James translation of the Holy Bible places this tower at about 2200 B.C. with Noah's flood at about 2300-2400 B.C. However, the Holy Bible translation used by Christ's first apostles was the Greek Septuagint which has a much earlier chronology. It would place the Great Flood between 3100 B.C. and 3200 B.C. From Mesoamerican data, mentioned later, it would appear that the actual date was August 13, 3114 B.C. (Gregorian calendar system). These dates are consistent with historical and archaeological data from Egypt, Ebla, India, and Mesopotamia. These include flood levels at four Mesopotamian cities that date to about 3100 B.C. In addition, the Septuagint dating is confirmed by Mesopotamian king lists, and the biblical connection to Nimrod. Thus, a date of 3114 B.C. appears reasonable.

     Working from that date, using the Greek Septuagint account of the Old Testament, it would appear that the great tower episode occurred at close to 2700 B. C. Chinese sources and the works of the native American prince Ixtlilxochitl both appear to agree on an exact date of 2697 B.C. for the time of the dispersion.

     The natives of Mesoamerica also had traditions concerning the destruction of the world by a flood. An excellent study of the Maya Codex Dresden, plus geological information, has given Nancy K. Owen a better understanding of this flood and its dating. According to her report: "Thompson believes that (page 74 of the Maya codex Dresden) represents destruction of the world by flood. According to him 'the painting depicts floods of water pouring earthward from the open mouth of a celestial dragon with subsidiary streams flowing from sun and moon cartouches suspended from the underside of the creature's body'" (1972:88-9).

     The Maya used a "Long Count" calendar which kept track of every day from a specific base date. Many people have tried to correlate just what day that base date would have been. Perhaps the primary correlation was accomplished by Goodman-Martinez-Thompson (GMT), and was apparently confirmed by the use of calibrated radiocarbon dating. They came up with a base date of 3114 B.C. (Gregorian calendar system). It seems likely that this base date refers to the time of the great destruction of the world by water. [Bruce W. Warren and David A. Palmer, The Jaredite Saga, ch. 2-3, unpublished]



[1990      Illustration: The Maya Codex Flood Scene. Bruce W. Warren and David A. Palmer, The Jaredite Saga, unpublished]



     According to Warren and Palmer, it is interesting to note that the text of the Book of Mormon does not mention the word "Babel." As pointed out by Andre Parrot (1955b:16) although the writer of the account in the Book of Genesis called the city "Babel," this probably comes from the Akkadian bab-ilu. That means "gate of god." It certainly does not come from the city that was constructed many centuries later. Nevertheless, one of the early Sumerian cities was probably the scene of that biblical story. So what is the significance of the term "Babel" and what does it have to do with the "great tower" as mentioned in the Book of Mormon? Parrot very carefully points out that the "tower" was no doubt a Mesopotamian ziggurat. There were 34 known ziggurats in Mesopotamia at the time of his book in 1955, and more have no doubt been discovered since that time. According to Parrot these structures represented the temples of antiquity. They were in his words, ladders up to heaven, with the temple on the top representing the "gate of God."


[1990      Map #4-1: Mesopotamia in the Near East. Bruce W. Warren and David A. Palmer, The Jaredite Saga, unpublished, 1990]


     The Sumerian city of Nippur was the center of political influence for some important centuries. The Ziggurat of Enlil at Nippur could possibly have been the tower of the dispersion, or the biblical "tower of Babel" (3rd millennium B.C.). Enlil was the patron god of all of Sumer. His temple was the "most Sumerian of all Sumerian temples." The mound of Nippur rises more than five stories high and spreads nearly a mile across. This possibility was suggested in a book review by M. Wells Jakeman (1959).


[1990      Map #4-2: Ancient Ruins between the Great Rivers of Mesopotamia. Bruce W. Warren and David A. Palmer, The Jaredite Saga, unpublished, 1990]


     According to Warren and Palmer, in the Sumerian culture from which the Jaredites came, model boats have been found in excavations of houses in various places. A model boat (see illustration) gives some idea concerning typical Mesopotamian water-borne commerce. Such a boat could have been a major mode of transportation by the Jaredites on the first part of their journey up the Euphrates River. The Jaredites also built large "barges" (Ether 2:6) to cross the inland seas ("many waters"--"the sea in the wilderness"--Ether 2:6,7) and "barges after the manner which they had built" (Ether 2:16) to cross the ocean ("that great sea which divideth the lands"--Ether 2:16) In the Sumerian culture, commerce extended throughout the Persian Gulf and even outside of it into Oman and Pakistan. Ocean-going vessels were constructed from wood in large shipyards.

     It is also clear that large barges were constructed in Mesoamerica subsequent to 1500 B.C. They would have been used among other things to move enormous Olmec heads over long distances in the state of Veracruz. [Bruce W. Warren and David A. Palmer, The Jaredite Saga, ch. 4, unpublished]


Ether 2:6 They did build barges, in which they did cross many waters (Illustration): A model boat that gives some idea concerning typical Mesopotamian water-borne commerce. [Bruce W. Warren and David A. Palmer, The Jaredite Saga, ch. 4, unpublished]



     In Ether 2:1 we find the name "Nimrod." According to Warren and Palmer, after the Flood, in 2811 B.C., a king by the name of Etana ruled in the city of Kish, in Mesopotamia. The same individual is in the list of kings at the city of Uruk under the name of Lugal-Banda in 2805 B.C. (Warren, B.S., and Tvedtnes, J.A., 1983). Warren and Tvedtnes have concluded that not only are Etana and Lugal-Banda the same individual, but also that their description contains many elements which are similar to the famous Nimrod of the Old Testament account. Specifically, Lugal-Banda was known earlier as the Lord of Marad (Semitic word) or Martu (Sumerian word), meaning the Lord of the West. The consonants of that title (NMRD) are consonants in the name, NiMRoD. In the Semitic scripts from the ancient Near East, only the consonants were included, not the vowels. Thus, it was concluded that Lugal-Banda was the best candidate for the Nimrod of the Genesis account. He ruled until about 2797 B.C. [Bruce W. Warren and David A. Palmer, The Jaredite Saga, ch. 2, unpublished



Note* According to Warren and Palmer, "The route taken to the New World by the Jaredites could have been across either the Atlantic or the Pacific Ocean." In Chapter 5, "Crossing the Atlantic," David A. Palmer details a possible westward journey including a Mediterranean and subsequent Atlantic crossing for the Jaredites. In Chapter 6, Bruce Warren would give the details of an Asian and subsequent Pacific crossing.


     Chapter 5

     Possible Migration Route across the Mediterranean and Atlantic

     David Palmer


     There are a number of significant reasons to prefer an Atlantic crossing. It is the easiest; there is no transcontinental journey required before the ocean voyage. The use of two sets of barges is more easily explained. The first set was needed to cross the Mediterranean, and the second set was needed for the trans-Atlantic crossing. It is possible to easily explain the mountain climbed by the brother of Jared. It was either the Rock of Gibraltar or another nearby mountain. Intermediate stops, during the ocean voyage, to obtain food and water for the people and their animals would have been possible.

     It has been argued that the time taken for the crossing, 344 days, would not have been needed for an Atlantic crossing. However, a careful charting of the probable course from Gibraltar to Veracruz suggests that it would have required 7200 miles! That computation is based on detailed surface current information from the Oceanographic Atlas of the North Atlantic Ocean. This assumes surface currents carried them to America since they had no sails or rudders on their vessels. That is similar to a Pacific Crossing, and is consistent with the ocean current speeds in the Atlantic. Computations based on ocean current speed data over fourteen sections of the probable route suggest that 351 days would normally be required. As the margin of error in this computation is at least twenty days, the time reported in the Book of Ether is reasonable.

     Finally, Mesoamerican archaeology and historical accounts place the initial inhabitation of the Jaredites primarily on the Gulf Coast, not on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.


     Crossing TO the Mediterranean

     The distance from the big westerly curve in the Euphrates River to the shores of the Mediterranean is only 125 miles. At the place where the river curves there is a large depression or valley. Today, it is the area of a large lake, formed from construction of a dam at Tabaqah. The northwestern end, by this hypothesis, would have been known to the Jaredites as the "valley of Nimrod." These and the subsequent locations mentioned are shown on Map #5-1.


[1990      Map #5-1: Northern Mesopotamia Connecting to the Mediterranean. David A. Palmer & Bruce W. Warren, The Jaredite Saga, unpublished, 1990]


     One they had provisioned themselves from the abundance of the river valley, they headed westward. Presumably, they took advantage of wheeled carts to transport some of their baggage. It included a fish tank (Ether 2:2), the earliest recorded aquarium. also, "swarms of bees", "seeds of every kind", and even birds. The use of bird cages, a portable aquarium, and beehives would seem inconsistent with an extensive overland trek across Asia.

     Their journey no doubt took them past the ancient settlement of Aleppo. (The great city of Ebla--see map--built to the southwest was not yet under construction.) [See Map #5-2] It was necessary to go through a gap in the mountains, to arrive at the coast. After going through the pass at Reyhanli, they had to go around another mountain. They passed through a place later built up and known to Bible scholars as Antioch (today Hatay), and from there southwest through the valley to the coast. At a place known today as Samandagi, but then unoccupied, they constructed barges. About forty miles to the south along the coast they would have encountered people at Ras Samra, a very ancient settlement. Overall, however, few people would have been encountered during their crossing to the Mediterranean. They could have easily bypassed the village of Aleppo en route.


[1990      Map #5-2: Northern Mesopotamia Connecting to the Mediterranean. David A. Palmer & Bruce W. Warren, The Jaredite Saga, unpublished, 1990]


     The First Set of Barges

     We are told little about the first set of barges directly, but a considerable amount, indirectly. The direct reference says that "they . . . did build barges, in which they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord" (Ether 2:6). However, we can deduce the manner of construction from the description of the second set of barges. "And the Lord said: Go to work and build, after the manner of the barges which ye have hitherto built" (Ether 2:16). If that is true, which we can assume, they would be described as having a "small" size, about the "length of a tree." That would be between 100 and 150 feet long. They were tightly constructed so that they did not leak, a possible suggestion that they were caulked with asphalt. Sumerians were acquainted with the use of asphalt for caulking. A model Sumerian boat is shown in Figure# 4-2.

     The barges were peaked at the ends. That fact is significant, as Thor Heyerdahl learned. He failed to catch the significance of peaking the ends of his vessel, Ra I, and it subsequently did not survive all the way to the Americas. Later, in his book, The Tigris Expedition (1981) Heyerdahl describes a large black canoe that he saw on the Tigris river:

     While formerly built of their own reeds, they are now pegged together from imported wood and covered, like their reed prototypes, with a smooth coating of black asphalt. Prow and stern soar in a high curve like the Viking ships, following the five thousand-year-ole lines of their Sumerian ancestors (p. 11)


Heyerdahl himself measured a reed raft in Mesopotamia that was 112 feet long, about 16.5 feet wide, and 10 feet deep (1981:15).


     It is unlikely that the first set of Jaredite barges was completely enclosed, because enclosure posed added construction challenges. Thus, we can assume that the first set of barges was a rehearsal for the construction of the second set. The first set of barges probably had a rudder. When the second set was built, totally enclosed, they asked how they could steer (Ether 2:19). . . .

     The first set of barges was constructed according to the knowledge of the people, in large measure. They drew on their experience with barges and boats commonly used on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. They had also seen the large boats constructed for foreign trade down the persian Gulf. On that basis, they probably added the specific instructions received from God through his prophet.


     Crossing the Mediterranean Sea

     The "barges" used for traversing the Mediterranean Sea were probably called barges because they lacked an independent source of power. In other words, they had no sails and there was no formal method of rowing them. Rather, they were carried by the surface currents. The attached map of the Mediterranean (Map #5-3) illustrates one of the likely directions taken by the barges, following surface currents almost the entire way.


[1990      Map #5-3: Possible Route of the Jaredites in Crossing the Mediterranean. David A. Palmer & Bruce Warren, The Jaredite Saga, unpublished, 1990]


     The current runs due west from the launching point at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. It probably took the jaredites north of Cyprus. As shown on Map #5-3, that journey would have avoided any contact with people living in Palestine, or the great Egyptian culture which is not mentioned in this record. Their northerly route also avoided travelling along the African coast where there are contrary currents.

     The Jaredites probably passed by the north side of Crete and from there northwestward along the coast of Greece. Nearing the heel of Italy's "boot" the currents swing down in a southwesterly direction toward the toe of the boot. From there the currents apparently carried them through the hazardous Strait of Messina. Then they may have followed along the coast of Italy, following the currents to what we now know as the Riviera.

     Finally, the Jaredites followed the currents along the shores of Spain until they had almost reached the Strait of Gibraltar. They may have been able to go as far as Gibraltar, but might have had to abandon their vessels a few hundred miles from their destination because of unfavorable currents rushing into the Mediterranean. That would have been at the Gulf of Almeria or closer to the Strait of Gibraltar at Malaga. This route, leaving their vessels some 200 miles from their destination, would have led them altogether 3400 miles from their launching point, and taken roughly 226 days. The travel time is deduced form published information ont he current speeds in the Mediterranean as a function of position.

     If they in fact abandoned their vessels some 200 miles from Gibraltar, it would have necessitated some overland travel to arrive at the strait. It would explain the need to start from scratch on reconstruction of barges. However, we are given a little information in the Book of Mormon:

     they did build barges, in which they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord. And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people . . . [commentary by the abridger of the record . . . the Lord did bring Jared and his brethren forth even to that great sea which divideth the lands. And as they came to the sea they pitched their tents; and they called the name of the place Moriancumer; and they dwelt in tents, and dwelt in tents upon the seashore for the space of four years. (Ether 2:6,7,13)


     Presumably, the Jaredites camped at or near the Rock of Gibraltar. The most likely spot was on the bay of Algreciras, just to the west of the famous rock itself. No mention is made of encounters with other people. Indeed, the possibility of such encounters was exceedingly low. The book by Colin Renfrew (1979:64) indicates that there were no farming communities in Spain at the time of the Jaredite visit. In fact he indicates that "there were no Spanish dates before 2500 B.C. (p. 66)


     The Second Set of Barges

     The Jaredites rested for four years after arriving at the shores of the ocean, "that great sea which divideth the lands." Then . . . the Lord . . . commanded them to build a new set of eight vessels. . . .


     Sixteen Stones of Light

     . . . [The brother of Jared] went up on the nearby mount, "which they called mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height." (Ether 3:1) There he "did molten out of rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass, and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount. . ." If the mount was in fact the famous Rock of Gibraltar, its height is exactly 1,3989 feet. The rock itself is porous, and contains many large caves (La Fay, 1966: 102-121) The would have provided ample possibilities for the brother of jared to approach the Lord in complete privacy. It is quite possible that the Greeks knew of that great rock and considered it to be the "god Atlas." Of course, Shelem could also have been the other mountain in the vicinity of the strait of Gibraltar which is 2,742 feet high. . . . The principle upon which the stones were made luminescent could be the subject of interesting speculation.

     The Jaredite boats could have actually been as long as double the length of the ships sailed by Christopher Columbus when he discovered the New World. However, they were probably single or two story vessels. It is probable that the Jaredites built flat floors and sleeping quarters for convenience and comfort. . . .


     Boats without Rudders

     An interesting description of those vessels survived to the time of the Conquest. It was recorded by the early and generally reliable historian, Mariano Veytia. he was familiar with the writings of primary historians, and had seen for himself numerous documents no longer available or even in existence. [He writes]:

     The way that they used to cross the straits, arms of the sea, and rivers which are shown, was on square rafts, made from reeds or light sticks. The also came in flat bottomed canoes, called Acalli, which means "house of water." Thus they are painted, and the people making the crossing on top of them, some seated but with others laying down. But on none of the many maps I have seen show the way that they were steered. One does not see anyone steering them, nor oar nor paddle with which they could be governed from above. On this point I have not found any information in the manuscripts. (Veytia, 1836:22)


     Crossing the Atlantic

     Sea Currents

     Crossing the Atlantic by unpowered and unsteered barges would require rather consistent ocean currents that could carry them to the New World. It would be like putting a floating bottle in the water at Gibraltar and pulling it out at Veracruz 344 days later. In effect, the Atlantic provides two enormous rivers that circle around. In the North Atlantic, off the coast of Portugal is the Canary Current. It goes past the Madeira, Canary, and Cape Verde islands in its southward track. It has a relatively slow speed. Then it turns westward, becoming the broader North Equatorial Current. That current combines with the South Equatorial Current and passes into the Caribbean. As shown on Map # 5-4, the southerly portion of the Caribbean Current passes the northern part of South America, curves past Honduras, and angles up the Yucatan Peninsula. It then passes between Cuba and Yucatan, and splits into two parts. The part of most interest to us is the section that follows along the coast of Yucatan and Mexico up towards Texas. This was undoubtedly the route taken, if the Jaredites crossed the Atlantic. That route would require that they travel about 7200 statute mils from Gibraltar. A detailed computation of trip time has been made using the published surface current information. It is estimated to be 351 days, within a week of the 344 days reported in the Book of Mormon and easily within the accuracy of the ocean current speeds reported.

     The currents spoken of turn into the Gulf Stream, which moves much more rapidly past the eastern seaboard of the United States. Part turns into the North Atlantic current going northward, and the other part turns south and forms the Canary current. In the middle is a large and almost motionless area crossed by Christopher Columbus on his first voyage. That area is known today as the Sargasso Sea.


[1990      Map #5-4: Possible Route of the Jaredites across the Atlantic Ocean. David A. Palmer & Bruce Warren, The Jaredite Saga, unpublished, 1990]


     Leaving Gibraltar

     It may have been possible to travel from Gibraltar into the Canary current using the natural currents. Five hours before high tide a current sweeps counterclockwise in the bay of Algeciras at a speed of 72 miles per hour. It then rushes westward through the strait for a period of three to five hours, with velocities gradually decreasing. That period of flow counter to the normal eastward current of the strait would have provided the window of opportunity for escape to the west.


     Ocean Crossing

     The trip across the ocean was not to be without difficulties, in spite of the fact that they would be following the normal currents: [Ether 2:24-25 is then quoted]

     Later, during the actual voyage, the waves are described in this manner: [Ether 6:5,6,8 is then quoted]

     The record does not reveal how the boats managed to keep together during this voyage. Were they connected by long ropes, either in parallel, or bow to stern? They were probably not connected directly. It is of course possible that they were simply watched over by God, as was the family of Lehi some two thousand years later.


     The Ra Expedition Experience

     [The difficulties with ocean storms is detailed.] Eventually, the sail-powered Ra II reached Barbados after fifty-seven days.


     The Jaredite Journey

     The ocean crossing of the Jaredites would prove more difficult than indicated in the few words recorded by the prophet. Overall, the journey took "344 days upon the water." Whether or not that included intermediate stops we are not told. It would be difficult to carry sufficient water and food for all the people, some 40-50 people per vessel, plus birds and animals.

     At this point we need to ask ourselves about the quantity of water that would be needed on such a journey as carried out by the Jaredites. . . . A simple computation of the water need would be 2 1/2 quarts/day X 344 days X 24 families X 15 people per family = 77,400 gallons of water. That would represent about 10,000 gallons per vessel, which would be 83,000 pounds per vessel. It would take up a fair amount of room: a room 10 feet by 15 feet by nine feet high. . . . if the vessels were over 100 feet long, and fifteen feet across, and twelve to fifteen feet high, there might indeed have been sufficient room to contain that cargo. We cannot rule out the possibility of rainwater collection through the hole ont he top of the vessel. Nevertheless, it seems more likely that there were several landfalls. An Atlantic crossing would have provided a number of possible opportunities.


     Madeira Island

     The Jaredites were undoubtedly forced out to sea by the recorded fact that "the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the water, towards the promised land." That no doubt helped them to pass through the Strait of Gibraltar and venture into the Canaries Current. The force of the wind might have been very strong. Though it seems a short distance on a map, the distance to Madeira Island may have seemed to be almost a lifetime. It might have been their first landfall, a place to obtain food and water. It has been called a "garden paradise . . . a lush setting . . . abounding in all kinds of fruit" (Mertz, 1964:70) . . .

     . . . However, it is possible that the Jaredites did not stop until they came to the Canary Islands.


     Canary Islands

     Another very logical refueling stop would be the Canary Islands. They are off the shore of Africa, and 640 miles from Spain, which is the owner of the Canaries. It is actually an archipelago, comprised of seven major islands. Amazingly, the islands have no less than five climatic zones. thus many different crops can be grown. Three crops of many products can be grown each year.

     The islands have virtually every type of topography, ranging form sandy beaches to a 12,162 foot high peak on the island of Tenerife. The Grand Canary Island is lush, while the island of Lanzarote is rainless. The Jaredites, if they crossed the Atlantic, might have stopped for several days at one of the greener islands to fish, hunt, and restore their supply of food and water. It would not have been difficult. . . .


     Cape Verde Islands

     The next logical stop would have been the Cape Verde Islands. Not as luxurious, they still would have been a source of pure water plus some food. They are in the direct path of a vessel traveling in the Canary current, and are located about four hundred miles west of the African country of Senegal. . . . Cape Verde islands are generally dry, but storms could have provided sufficient water for the venturing explorers. . . .

     It is possible that the uninviting nature of these islands limited the travellers' stop to an acquisition of water. In fact, they may have simply observed them, and then passed on by. We must remember that they had no way to steer, and were simply powered by the ocean currents.



     The crossing of the Mid-Atlantic comprised one third of the distance covered in this voyage. The Jaredites would have been carried westward by the current, as shown on Map #5-4, and headed straight for the West Indies. They would have encountered the same magnitude of enormous waves seen by the crew of the two Ra expeditions. Eventually, they had sight of land at one of the southerly islands. Those include Trinidad, Grenada, Barbados, Saint Vincent, or Martinique. They might have taken the opportunity to refresh themselves before continuing on.


     Caribbean Passage

     The currents through the Caribbean pass in a relatively straight line heading westward between the northern coast of South America and the major Caribbean islands such as Jamaica, as shown on the map. The Jaredites were probably close to the coast of South America. Then their route moved northerly and would have passed by Honduras. There is a very slight possibility that they may have had a landfall on the eastern side of the Yucatan peninsula. If so, it is possible that several families decided to stay. There is a very interesting ruin near the coast of Belize, called Cuello. Today it can be recognized by a multi-step platform. However, its origins might go back to a time consistent with this voyage.

     Cuello has been excavated by Norman Hammond and others. In a very interesting study, Hammond made the following observation: "The new dates indicated sedentary occupation by people with a developed ceramic technology before 2500 B.C." He then noted that there may have been even earlier human use of the site. (Hammond, 1977) Michael Coe disputes this claim . . . (Coe, Michael: 1986:93).


     The Landing in Veracruz

     The Jaredites then passed through the strait separating the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico from Cuba. Finally, the coastal currents would carry them to their landing place near Veracruz. From here, they would be able to explore the wonders of the new world that they were to inherit. In fact, this was the very area where the earliest settlements in the New World were apparently constructed. . . .



     Chapter 6

     Possible Migration Route Across Asia and the Pacific Ocean

     Bruce W. Warren


 Note* Bruce Warren generally follows the theoretical and evidenciary outline of Hugh Nibley in proposing this route, thus I will only quote some additions or perspectives that he has made. Warren does provided a nice detailed map (see below)


     The Sea in the Wilderness to That "Great Sea"

     . . . The hypothesis that we are using is that the "sea in the wilderness" was the Caspian Sea. They built their barges to cross that sea. Thereafter, they travelled into the steppes of central Asia. Map #6-1 shows the route that they may have taken across Asia to the pacific Ocean.


[1990      Map #6-1: Possible Asiatic Crossing by Jaredites. Bruce W. Warren and David A. Palmer, The Jaredite Saga, unpublished, 1990]


     Ether 3:3 tells us that the Jaredites were in the wilderness for many years . this again suggest that they are crossing Asia rather than crossing Europe or areas around the Mediterranean Sea if they had gone westward from the Valley of Nimrod. It would not have taken that many years to cross that westward area.


[Note* The chronological setting of Ether 3:3 is at Moriancumer, where they spent 4 years. This weakens or invalidates the above argument. The verse reads: "Behold, O Lord, thou hast smitten us because of our iniquity, and hast driven us forth, and for these many years we have been in the wilderness . . . suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deepd in darkness; but behold these things which I have molten out of the rock." ]


. . .


     A recent book called The Discovery of Genesis by C. H. Kang and E. R. Nelson (1979:Chapter 10) talks about the tower after the Flood and the migration of people from the tower into north China:

     It is likely, since their historical date of origin corresponds closely with this point in time, that the ancestors of the Chinese people left the valley of Shinar (Mesopotamia) in the great migration and journeyed eastward, and soon settled in the fertile land of China . . . Perhaps, the wise old sage who was given an assignment by his king of inventing a written language for the new nation had even been present as a young man at the tower of Babel and had witnessed the profound effect onthe confedereate rebels whren their common mother tongue was confused and communications were broken down (1979:109)


     The date of this apparent migration into China was placed at 2697 B.C.

     In ancient Mesoamerica the writings of Ixtlilxochitl speak of the date fo the Flood being about 3113 B.C. (Julian) and that 416 years later was the confusion of languages. This date from Ixtlilxochitl would be 2697 B.C., a remarkable coincidence and correspondence.


[Note* In Chapter 3 Warren and Palmer write: "The departure of the Jaredites from Mesopotamia could have been in 2697 B.C., when Gilglamesh took the throne. The overall journey took an absollute minimum of six years and as many as twenty. That would place the arrival in the new world some time between 2680 and 2690.]


     The Great Sea to the Shore of the Promised Land

     . . . Finally, the 344 days upon the waters that were required before the eight barges landed upon the shores of America implies a Pacific crossing. Probably, they were on the Japanese current of the North Pacific which heads northward, then eastward, but south of the Aleutian Islands. The current then turns south to pass by parts of Alaska, Canada, and North America, and then Mesoameica before the currents turn outward into the Pacific.


[1990      Map #6-1: Possible Asiatic Crossing by Jaredites. Bruce W. Warren and David A. Palmer, The Jaredite Saga, unpublished, 1990]


     We have the example of the Ra expedition of Thor Heyerdahl whcih crossed the Atlantic ocean in just six weeks. This is far short of the time specified in the Book of Ether for the crossing by the Jaredsites of the Great Sea to arrive on the shores of the promised land. There is an account of Japanese fishermen being caught in a storm taking them across the North Pacific and arriving as far south as Ecuador (Evans, 1966:63-67). In this case they were upon the waters 377 days, some 33 days longer than the time stated in the Book of Ether.


     Returning to the writings of the ancient Mexican historian Ixtlilxochitl, he states taht his distant ancestors traveled a great distance, living in caves, suffereing many hardships, and going through the "great Tartary." That is a name for the steppes of central Asia. Then they crossed the Great Ocean and arrived in America in the area of present day Mexico (Ixtlilxochitl I:16). He also appears to state that 104 years after landing, they were led by their great king, Chichimecatl, to settle by the East Sea or Gulf of Mexico. That was an area they called "Huehuetlapallan" (Ibid., 41) We know from various documents from ancient Mexoamerica that Huehuetlapallan is located in the area of Central and Southern Veracruz. In time the area was expanded to include the Gulf Coast states of Tabasco and CAmpeche.



     In an unpublished manuscript, Bruce Warren cites Edwin Doran, Jr., who while investigating early trans-Pacific voyages cited the following:

     Of the sixty cases of inadvertent drifts of Japanese junks into the Pacific, at least a half dozen reached the coast of America between Sitka and the Columbia River and another half dozen were wrecked on the Mexican coast or encountered just offshore. Survivors of such drift voyages were not uncommon, and Japanese slaves were held by Salmon Indians of the northwest coast of America when they first were visited by Whites. . . .

[Bruce W. Warren, unpublished Manuscript]













1992^      Melvin S. Draper            Babel to Cumorah and Beyond, Huntsville, AL: B2CAB Research,



This manuscript is a collection of material, much of which comes from Hunter & Ferguson'sAncient America 1950. CHECK THIS MANUSCRIPT AGAINST HUNTER & FERGUSON'S ANCIENT AMERICA




1992      William McKeever            "Columbus or Mahonri Moriancumer?" Mormonism Researches, Fall

                              1992, pp. 3-4, 8.


     Quotes from Ether and Orson Pratt to discuss the impracticalities of Jaredite barges. [A.C.W.]



1992^      Raymond C. Treat            "Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon: Outlines Compared" in

                              Recent Book of Mormon Developments: Articles from the Zarahemla

                              Record, Volume 2. Independence, MO: Zarahemla Research

                              Foundation, 1992, pp. 121-124.


     Raymond Treat writes:

     We are going to compare the major points in the outline of Mesoamerican culture history with the major points in the outline of Book of Mormon culture history (Figure 1).

     We will see the remarkable fit between these two distinct culture patterns which will cause us to conclude that the matchup of these two long histoires goes far beyond the realm of chance. . . .

     This archaeological evidence given here is greatly simplified. However, it is a fair representation of the available archaeolgical record.


Jaredites Arrive--First Pottery Appears

     Based on Old World evidence, the Jaredites arrived in the New World sometime between 2500 and 2200 B.C. as an already civilized people (see Simmons 1986:24-26). We know that they were settled village farmers with flocs and herds and brought the knowledge of pottery making with them from the Old World.

     Lookiing to the first appearance of pottery in Mesoamerica we find a type of pottery called Pox identified at Puerto Marquez on the Pacific coast near Acapulco. This pottery has been dated about 2300 B.C. (Brush 1965). Very similar pottery has also been found in the Tehuacan Valley southeast of Mexico City and given a similar date (MacNeish et. al 1970:21-25). Thus, from the present evidence, we can safely say that pottery began to appear in Mesoamerica sometime between 2500 and 2200 B.C.


Note* Although the author correlates the earliest pottery with Puerto Marquez on the Pacific coast near Acapulco, he does not make any definite statement about the direction from which the Jaredites might have come from the Old World. He cites Verneil Simmons (Peoples, Places and Prophecies. 3rd ed. 1986, pp. 24-26). In that book Simmons proposes a journey through Asia and a Pacific crossing.



1992^      Shirley D. Smith            "Jade: Stones of Light," in Recent Book of Mormon Developments:

                              Articles from the Zarahemla Record, Volume 2. Independence, MO:

                              Zarahemla Research Foundation, 1992, pp. 125-127.


     This article was originally published in the Zarahemla Record, #24, 25, 26, 1984. See the 1984 notation.




1992^      F. E. Butterworth            "Jaredite Barges," in the Witness 21, Spring 1992, p. 3.

                             Reprinted from Butterworth's Pilgrims of the Pacific. Independnence,

                              MO: Herald House, 1974.


     "Possible design of the cross section of the Jaredite barges according to F. Edward Butterworth. Reprinted from Pilgrims of the Pacific (1974:65) with permission from herald Publishing House and F. Edward Butterworth."


Note* See the 1974 Butterworth notation for an explanation of his theory regarding the Jaredite journey to the New World and examples of the two proposed Jaredite barge illustrations featured here.



1992      Morgan W. Tanner            "Jaredites," in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, edited by Daniel H.

                             Ludlow, New York: Macmillan, 1992, Vol. 2, pp. 717-20 (5 vols)



     The Jaredites date to the time of the great tower mentioned in the Old Tesetament (Gen. 11:1-9), which was built in or around Mesopotamia. . . .

     The Jaredite origin in the Old World probably dates to the third millenniium jB.C., which due to the scarcity of historical materialk presents obstacles to the use of comparative literature or archaeology. . . . no artifacts or writings identifiable as Jaredite have ever been found outside the Book of Mormon. . . .

     The Jaredites crossed the sea to the New World in eight "barges" in 344 days, driven by currents and winds. Their route is unknown. Perhaps, coincidentally, the North Pacific current takes about the same time to cross from Japan to Mexico (Sorenson, p. 111). The question of ancient long-distance sea travel has been much debated, but extensive indications have been found of pre-Columbian transoceanic voyaging (Sorenson and RAish). The Bering land bridge "is no longer recognized as the onlyl scientifically acceptalbe theory to explain the means and timing of human entry intot he New World" (Dixon, p. 27) . . .

     Ether compared the barges with Noah's ark (Ether 6:7). Thus it may be relevant that Utnapishtim, the Sumerian Noah in the Epic of Gilgamesh, similarly is said to ahve built his boat with a ceiling and water plugs, and to have waterproofed the entire inside with bitumen. Utnapishtim's story also recounts the raging winds that slammed water into the mountains and peole, vividly paralleling the Jaredites' experience of being driven by a furious wind (Ether 6:6)

     Stones were made to shine by the touch of God's finger to light these barges. Shining stones are not unique to the book of Ether. One reference to a shining stone in Noah's ark appears in the Jerusalem TAlmud, stating that a stone in the ark shone brightere in the night than in the day so that Noah could distinguish the times of day (Pesachim I, 1; discussed in CWHN 6:337-38, 349).



Note* See the 2000 notation.



1993^      Hugh W. Nibley      Teachings of the Book of Mormon: Semester 4: Transcripts of lectures

                        presented to an Honors Book of Mormon class at Brigham Young University

                        1988-1990. Provo: FARMS, 1993.


     On pages 253-254 we find the following:

     So they "went down into the valley whwich was northward," which ws the vallely of Nimrod. It's very interesting that in the north end of Mesopotamia all the places bear the name Nimrod. There's Bir Nimrod and dozens of Nimrod names up north in Mesopotamia where you go through. Then you go east and what do you do? You cross many waters. . . .

     It 's a very interesting thing. You remember there were no bees in the New World. There were no bees in Mesopotamia until quite late. Bees were first found in Palestine and Egypt. They're not spread around universally, as you might think. In the Chilam Balam you'll find them in the New world when they were brought here. It's very interesting, the distribution of bees. There's been a good deal written about that.

     But anyway, the Lord talked with the brother of jared, and they went "forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been." Well, you get the idea that there's quite a world population at this time, but they went into virgin territory where there'd never been anyone. As they traveled in the wilderness, they built shallow barges. A very recent National Geographic which I wish I'd brought along, shows the shrinking of the great Aral Sea in Central Asia. It's just east of the Caspian, which is practically shrinking to nothing. That's a huge sea. There were these huge shallow seas. Then you go further west, and there are many seas. All of western Asia was drying out at this time. In 1906 Raphael Pompelli--we have his vast work published by the Smithsonian here--made an exploration of those central Asiatic regions, and it was all shallow water. It was all under water. Well, they still tell you in documentaries about a wandering lake in central Asia. Because of the winds the lake actually wanders around. It's so shallow. It was full of shallow water, and at the time of the Jaredites, just after the flood, the seemed to be much deeper but they built these barges of shallow draft because they had to cross a lot of water on their passing. Then when they got to the ocean they had to build a different type of boat entirely. But all these things that he's talking about are geographically correct. You get Pompelli's book. I might put it out.

     . . . they built their many barges. . . . But you'll notice (verse 7), he "would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness." They had to cross the Caspian, which was a vast sea at that time, twice as large, at least 2,000 miles long. It was huge, and after they'd crossed it, he said they had to keep going. They hadn't arrived yet. So that's the picture we get.



1993^      Delbert W. Curtis            Christ in North America. Tigard, OR: Resource Communications, Inc.,



     In his proposed Limited Great Lakes model of Book of Mormon geography, Delbert Curtis says the following:

     [p. 28] As we proceed, four facts will become clear:

1. The logical landing site for Jared, Lehi and Mulek was North America. . . .


     [p. 38] The book Ancient Amerifca and the Book of Mormon by Milton R. Hunter and T. S. Ferguson, comapred Workds of Ixtlilxochitl with the Book of Mormon. Here again, many clues to the landing site [of Lehi and Mulek] are found. "They arrived in the land [from where the sun comes up]. They settled the greater part of it, especiallly that to the north." "They arrived on the shore of a small lake and there they found a great abundance of small gamlel." (Hunter and Ferguson, pp. 39, 64). Workds of Ixtlilxochitl was written by an Aztec prince near Mexico City about A.D. 1600. He also told of the Jaredites and that they came to the land of promise from the east. This all p;oints to northeastern North America.


     [p. 39] Alma goes on to describe the Nephite and Lamantie holdings on the east of the Rjiver Sidon. He wrote about the peole of Zarahemal finding the remains of the Jaredites. AS Alma was talkinga bout the lands on the east of the River Sidon, this tells us that the Hill Rmaah/Cumroah was on the east of the River Sidon. Alma also leaves a question, "It being the place of their first landing." Whose first landing is he referring to? The people of Zarahemla, or the Jaredites? We know that the people of Zarahemla landed at Zarahemla (Omni 1:165). If Alma was saying that the Jaredites landed at Ramah/Cumorah land, this would be in line with what was written by Ixtlilxochitl, when he said that the Ancient Ones "came to this land across the sea from the east" (Hujnter p. 42) This would mean that Jared, Lehi and Mulek all landed on the shore of the Sea East. [Note* Curtis' Sea East is Lake Ontario.]



1994^      E. L. Peay            The Lands of Zarahemla: Volume Two: Nephi's Promised Land in Central

                        America, Provo, UT: E. L. Peay, 1994, pp.259-275


     E. L. Peay writes:

     Leaving the Tower of Babel area, jared, his brother and their friends and families were led north . . . They probably followed the Tigris or Euphrates River northward through the more fertile parts of the land for a constant supply of fresh water, a very important commodity for man and beast, and plenty of fodder for their animals. . . . It appears they had very large animals with them, probably elephants to carry vessels of water for their fish. [see Ether 9:19] . . . Being led north, they probably arrived at the Black Sea where barges were used to travel west and south to the Mediterranean Sea and on to the place where the land divides the two seas at the Straits of Gibraltar.


[1994      Illustration: The Jaredites Built Barges. E. L. Peay, The Lands of Zarahemla: Volume Two: Nephi's Promised Land in Central America, Provo, UT: E. L. Peay, 1994, p. 261]


     The Lord guided them to the edge of the great sea where they paused for four years (v. 13), but the Lord would not allow them to stay there. . . . Just after they cleared the Straights [sic] of Gibraltar they went ashore and camped for four years. They knew they were not in the Land of Promise for they lived in their tents. . . .

     The Lord sent forth the winds and the storms that carried them across the sea to the Promised Land. The winds and the storms were important factors of their survival--the winds to push them along, and the storms to give them water to drink. The Gulf Stream current flows clockwise from western Europe to the Caribbean area [see illustration below] Thus the sea current carried them the same route that Columbus followed many hundreds of years later.



[1994      Illustration: They Were Carried Westward By Atlantic Ocean Currents. E. L. Peay, The Lands of Zarahemla: Volume Two: Nephi's Promised Land in Central America, Provo, UT: E. L. Peay, 1994, p. 272]



     In order for them to keep all their vessels together they probably had sails and rudders in order to maneuver their ships.

     Evidence indicates that the Jaredites landed on the north western coast of the Yucatan Peninsula which was a dry arid land similar to that of Babel from whence they came.


[1994      Illustration: The Jaredites Arrived in the Promised Land. E. L. Peay, The Lands of Zarahemla: Volume Two: Nephi's Promised Land in Central America, Provo, UT: E. L. Peay, 1994, p. 274]





1995^      Thomas R. Valletta            "Jared and His Brother," in The Book of Mormon: Fourth Nephi

                              through Moroni, from Zion to Destruction, edited by Monte S. Nyman

                              and Charles D. Tate, Jr. Provo, Ut: Religious Studies Center, 1995,

                              pp. 303-22.


     In this article Thomas Valletta details the symbolic patterns and types contained in the story of the Jaredite journey. He writes:

     The story of Jared and his brother is cut from the same pattern as the accounts of the fall of Adam and Eve and their subsequent search for truth, Noah's escape from a decadent civilization and voyage to the top of Mt. Ararat, the Israelites' exodus from their bondage in Egypt and their eventual crossing of the Jordan into the land of milk and honey, as well as Lehi's deliverance from a dark and dying Jerusalem to ta new world of promise. The chronicle of Jared and his brother, like these other accounts, reveals a pattern and type testifying of Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation.




1996^      Glenn A. Scott            Voices from the Dust: New Light on an Ancient American Record,

     (RLDS)             Independence: School of Saints, 1996


     Chapter One: Assumptions

     Glenn Scott notes [pp. 8-9]:

     In the course of nearly every Book of Mormon class, the question arises, "What was the date of the earliest event recorded in the Book of Mormon?" Almost invariably someone will answer, "2200 B.C., at the Tower of Babel." Now it is perfectly true that Moroni notes, in reference to the record of Ether (the Jaredite prophet and historian) that "the first part of this record . . . speaks concerning the creation of the world . . . even to the great tower" (Ether 1:3) It is also true that Ether, and subsequently Moroni, wrote that, "Jared came forth with his brother and their families . . . from the great tower when the Lord confounded the language of the people" (Ether 1:33). It is also true that for a long time, many [latter-day saints] have assume that this event took place in 2200 B.C. But where did this easy assumption come from?

     The usual response is, "Well, isn't it in the [Book of Mormon] itself?"

     The confusing answer is yes and no.

     The no part of the answer means that although the authors of the Book of Mormon did give some dates in the text, at no time did any of them say that the date of the great tower was 2200 B.C.!

     The yes part is more complex. As early as 1888, LDS publishers began adding estimated dates in the margins of their editions of the Book of Mormon. Some of those dates were modified in 1906 and again in 1920. (Stanley Larson 1984, "I Have a Question," FARMS paper ENS-84). [The present edition does not contain the footnote date of 2200 B.C.] Apparently there were no marginal dates from the 1830 through the 1837 editions of The Book of Mormon. However, at the printing of the RLDS large-type 1943 edition, the publisher added estimated dates to the margin of many pages. Some of those dates were those recorded by the original authors, but many are simply editorial "guesstimates." In 1948 and later printing of the 1908 RLDS edition, footnotes on pages 715-727 indicated that the events recorded there occurred 2200-2000 BC. Our question is: Where did the publisher get those dates---especially the 2200 B.C. date? Very few Book of Mormon readers know, so let's dig in and see what the facts reveal.

     Those dates are based on the calculations of James Ussher, an Archbishop from Armagh, Ireland, who in 1654 published a two-volume work, Annales Veteris et Novi Testamenti (Annals of the Ancient and New Testaments). In this work, Archbishop Ussher claimed that the Creation took place in 4004 B.C. . . .


     We wonder how Ussher . . . could presume to be so precise because determining exact dates of ancient events from the Bible alone is virtually impossible. Let us review just two of the reasons why this is so:

     [1] The accuracy of biblical genealogies are dependent on the skill and judgment of the translator, e.g., in the original Hebrew, both son and descendant were written by the same word, BN (vowels were not introduced until the sixth century A.D.). Thus, in translating from the ancient Hebrew, there is no way to be sure whether the relationship expressed as BN originally meant son or descendant. To further confuse the situation, even if the term descendant is known to be correct, there is no way to know how many generations (nor their length) passed between the ancestor and that descendant.

     [2] Another situation which baffles attempts to set definite dates is where various scriptural sources disagree with one another. For example, Genesis (7:85 IV) indicates that Shem was born 108 years before the Flood, but Genesis (11:7 IV; 11:10 KJV) indicates it was 98 years. Also the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 10:15 IV; 10:24 KJV) shows Salah as Arphaxad's son, but the Greek Version (Genesis 10:2) shows he was his grandson. Now, it would be easy to dismiss the Greek version, except for the fact that an ancient Hebrew midrash, The Book of Jubilees (codified in the third century B.C.), also lists the name of this extra generation, as does the Testimony of St. Luke (3:43 IV; 3:36 KJV). Since is would be easier for any of a series of scribes to lose a name, than for three separate records to invent and insert the same name (Cainan), we accept this additional generation.


[1996      Illustration: Archbishop James Ussher (1561-1656) Glenn A. Scott, Voices from the Dust: New Light on an Ancient American Record, Independence: School of Saints, 1996, p. 10]


     Since it would be easier for any of a series of scribes to lost a name, than for three separate records to invent and insert the same name (Cainan), we accept this additional generation.

     Finally, Matthew (1:3-4 IV; 1:6-16 KJ) lists 27 generations from King David to Jesus, but the Testimony of Luke (3:30-38 IV; 3:23-31 KJ) lists 41, and two of them are identified as descendants rather than sons. Henry Halley explains, "Many genealogies illustrate the habit of omission." (Halley, 1965, Halley's Bible Handbook, 32) The point is to show that such differences make it impossible to establish a specific time frame.


     [p. 11] A striking example of how new developments can require us to scrap old assumptions regarding dates was the excavation of the ancient city Ur (home of the biblical patriarch Abraham) by British archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley in 1929.

     After six years of digging down through many layers of Ur (each representing hundreds of years of occupation), Woolley found under the lowest level of that city, a deep bed of silt which he assumed represented the earliest occupation at that site. However, curiosity impelled him to dig into that mysterious deposit, which proved to be more than ten feet deep. Such a thick layer of silt could only have been deposited by a stupendous flood! To his astonishment, he found under the silt not the virgin soil he had expected, but rubble with thousands of sherds of handmade pottery and implements of flint from the (preflood) stone age. Clearly this deep bed of silt separated two distinctly different epochs of human culture and represented "a sudden and drastic break in the continuity of history."

     To confirm that this flood was no local phenomenon, Woolley sank a series of shafts at intervals approximately 1,000 feet apart with the same results, (a) city pavement, (b) silt bed, and (c) Stone Age rubble.

     Other archaeologists found similar beds of silt under the ancient cities of Kish, Erech, Shuruppak, Lagash, and Nineveh far to the north in Assyria. The layer of silt was thinner as it approached the mountains around Nineveh, being eight-feet-deep there.

     Halley's Bible Handbook tells us that the Armenian mountain region is like an island, with the Black Sea and Caspian Sea to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, the Red Sea and Persian Gulf to the south. Therefore, a cataclysmic subsidence (sinking) of this region would have caused the waters of the surrounding seas to pour in at the same time that the forty-day rain poured down from above. This may be what Genesis (8:36 IV; 7:11 KJV) means, "the same day were all the fountains of the deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened." Subsidence is the only logical answer to how the forty-day Flood could have covered those 5,640-foot mountaintops.

     Werner Keller summarized it, "a vast, catastrophic inundation (assumed by skeptics to be a fairy tale or legend), an event within the compass of history . . . it happened about 4000 B.C."

     We know that toward the end of the fourth millennium B.C. several bona fide civilizations arose in widely scattered areas of the world: Mesopotamia, Egypt, Crete, India, China and two separate areas of the New World. In the first two of these have been found continuous lists of kings--dating to c. 3100 B.C.

     Thus, we now have not only solid physical evidence in support of the biblical narrative of the Flood, but a date which enables us to establish a more realistic chronology of biblical events, and discard the naive guesstimates of Archbishop Ussher.


[1996      Illustration: Projected Schedule of Dates from the Flood to the News World. Glenn A. Scott, Voices from the Dust: New Light on an Ancient American Record, Independence: School of Saints, 1996, p. 10]


     Chapter Two: Noah to Nimrod

     [pp. 13-15] . . . In our imaginations let us try to envision Noah and his family disembarking from the Ark after the Flood waters began to recede down the sides of the Ararat mountain range. The Book of Jubilees states that the specific peak was Mount Lubar near the headwaters of the Euphrates River, although Josephus says that it was Mount Baris, and the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, calls it Mount Nisir.

     Genesis (8:36-37, 55-56 IV; 7:11-13; 8:13-14 KJ) indicates that one year and ten days after the Flood began, Noah, his wife, three sons and their wives, left the Ark . . .

     Events between the Flood and the great tower are summarized in the Bible (IV) in only fifty verses, so to fill in the spaces from Noah to Jared we will refer to other ancient sources such as The Torah (Hebrew Old Testament) possibly dating to 457 B.C. when Ezra is thought to have codified the Scriptures; The Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) dating to at least 285 B.C.; The Book of Jubilees (an ancient Hebrew midrash) dated third century B.C.; The Book of Jasher (mentioned in Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18 IV; KJV); Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews; etc.

     Jubilees 7:1 tells us that Noah "planted vines on the mountain on which the Ark rested, named Lubar, part of the Ararat range, and they produced fruit in the fourth year." Genesis 9:27 IV; 9:20 KJV) says "And Noah . . . planted a vineyard, and he drank of the wine and was drunken; and was uncovered within his tent," which led to the tragic incident of Noah cursing his son, Ham, causing Ham's youngest child, Canaan, to be born with a skin "of darkness" (Genesis 9:30 IV). . . .


     Josephus 4:1 tells us that after the death of Noah, Japheth, Shem, and Ham "descended to the plains, which they called Shinar, and fixed their habitation there." They persuaded others to follow them though many were reluctant fearing another great flood. . . .


     Jubilees 8:6 provides more detail by relating that . . . Salah [the great-grandson of Shem] had a son named Eber (Heber), . . . [and Eber] had a son whom they named Peleg. Yes, this is the famous and controversial Peleg, of whom Genesis 10:16 IV; 10:25 KJV says, "in his days was the earth divided," which brings us to another easy assumption.



[1996      Illustration: Conceptions of Noah's Ark Glenn A. Scott, Voices from the Dust: New Light on an Ancient American Record, Independence: School of Saints, 1996, p. 12]



     [pp. 17-18] According to Scott, there has been, in the church, the assumption that the continents were physically torn apart in the days of Peleg. He writes:

       Let's see why that assumption doesn't fit the facts.

     Most scientists agree that the surface of the earth is made up of tectonic (rocky) plates, miles thick, that float on the earth's molten core and that at some time in the remote past all of these plates were clustered together in one super-continent, which they call "Pangea." Tectonic geologists R.D. Nance, T. Worsley, and J. Moody have written that these plates "will move back together eventually, reforming the super-continent." Thus, scientific evidence supports the Doctrine and Covenants 133:24 which says, "He shall command the great deep and it shall be driven back into the north countries, and the islands shall become one land . . . and the earth shall be like as it was in the days before it was divided."

     So far so good--all of the above is true. However, the problem arises when one makes the easy assumption that the above truth, and the truth recorded in Genesis 10:25 KJV, refer to the same event. In other words, making the unjustified assumption that the division referred to in the Doctrine and Covenants is the same division mentioned in Genesis 10:25, [which reads: "And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan."]

     If the serious student looks to science for support, he should realize that the division of the continents has been going on for a very, very long time. In fact, they are still being divided today, at the rate of about four inches a year.

     An excellent example of how unrealistic a vast wrenching apart of the continents would be was the great Alaskan earthquake of March 27, 1964, which registered 8.3 on the Richter scale and has been classed as "one of the most violent ever recorded in North America."

     That tremendous quake was cased by the Pacific plate shifting a mere ten feet to the northwest as it bumped along the western edge of the North American plate. Now if entire coastal communities were wiped out by a shift of a mere ten feet, try to conceive the immeasurable destruction that would result if the continents were suddenly torn apart by thousands of miles! Life on earth could not survive such a sudden and catastrophic division!

     However, such a drastic explanation is not required. If the serious student will read on to Genesis 10:32, he will find the real explanation, "These were the families of the sons of Noah . . . and by these were the nations divided on the earth, after the flood."

     If that is not clear enough, Jubilees 8:8 is more explicit, "For in the days when he [Peleg] was born, the children of Noah began to divide the earth among themselves; for this reason he called his name Peleg." Josephus says that Heber's son Phaleg (Peleg) was so named because "Phaleg among the Hebrews signifies division."

     Hugh Nibley wrote, "It is legitimate to think of the days of Peleg as the time when as the old Jewish writers describe it, the children of Noah began to divide the earth among themselves, without the least authority to visualize the rending apart of the terrestrial globe" (Nibley 1988, World of the Jaredites, 173)

     Jubilees 8:10 continues, "And it came to pass . . . they divided the earth into three parts, for Shem and Ham and Japheth, according to the inheritance of each." Jubilees 8:12-20 tells more:

     To Shem . . . the whole land of the Red Sea, and the whole land of the east and India . . . all the land of Lebanon . . . and the mountains of Ararat" [obviously the Middle East].

     And for Ham came forth the second portion beyond the Gihon [Nile] towards the south . . . and toward the west to the Sea of Atel [the Atlantic], towards the north to . . . the Great Sea [the Mediterranean] of God [Sythia] and to all of the country east thereof . . . This is the land which came forth for Japheth and his sons . . . for their generations forever . . . a great land in the north but it is cold [obviously Asia].



     The Book of Jubilees spells out further subdivisions: for Ham's children 9:1, for Shem's children 9:2-6, and for Japheth's children 9:7-13.

     The Book of Jasher 7:23 continues: "And Cush, the son of Ham the son of Noah, took a wife . . . in his old age, and she bare him a son and they called his name Nimrod, saying at that time, the sons of men again began to rebel and transgress against God, and the child grew up and his father loved him exceedingly, for he was the son of his old age."

     Clement of Rome, in his Homilia (9:3) wrote, "Noah's descendants waged bitter war among themselves, after his death, to see who would possess his kingship; finally one of the blood of Ham [Nimrod] prevailed." (Nibley 1988 World of the Jaredites, 165)

     Genesis (10:5,6 IV; 10:8-10 KJ) tells us, "He [Nimrod] began to be a mighty one in the earth. . . . And he began a kingdom, and the beginning was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar [Sumer]. Out of that land went forth Asshur [son of Sheml], and builded Nineveh, and Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen."

     Other early cities after the flood were Ur, Eridu, Lagash, Larsa, Fara (Shuruppak), and Jemdat Nasr (traditional city of Noah, burned by fire about 3500 BC). (Halley 1965, Halley's Bible Handbook, 49) In its ruins Dr. Stephen Langdon of Oxford University found pictographic inscriptions suggesting early monotheism followed by a decline into polytheism and idolatry. (Ibid., 62)

     The Book of Jasher 7:34-46 continues with more details which are not common knowledge concerning the mighty Nimrod:

     And when Nimrod was 40 years old . . . there was a war between his brethren and the children of Japheth. . . . And Nimrod . . . assembled all the sons of Cush . . . about 460 men, and hired . . . about 80 men and . . . went with them to battle . . . against their enemies, and subdued them. And he took some of their children as security [see Niblely's World of the Jaredites on Asiatic customs]. (Nibley 1988, 205-7) And when Nimrod had joyfully returned from battle . . . all his brethren . . . assembled to make him king over them. And whilst he was reigning . . . he advised with his counsellors to build a city for his palace and they did so. They found a large valley . . . to the east, and they built him a large . . . city and Nimrod called [it] Shinar [possibly the site of Kish, said to be the first city on the plain after the Flood]. (Halley 1965, 78) And Nimrod dwelt in Shinar . . . and his kingdom became very great. All nations and tongues (Book of Jasher 1954, 18) heard of his fame and . . . bowed down . . . and he became their lord and king. And Nimrod reigned . . . over all the sons of Noah . . . And all the earth was of one tongue.


[The word "tongues" as used here hints at a separation of peoples before the great tower, whereas the confounding of languages occurred after the tower. Of course, dialects may have been called tongues. See Genesis 10:3 IV; 10:5 KJ]


     Nimrod did not go the ways of the Lord and he was more wicked than all the men . . . before him, from the days of the Flood. . . . He made gods of wood and stone and bowed down to them and he rebelled against the Lord, and taught all his subjects . . . his wicked ways.


     Josephus reminds us the Lord had commanded Noah and his descendants to be fruitful and to fill the earth. He continues:

     But they were so ill instructed that they did not obey God. . . . Nay, they added to this their disobedience to the Divine will, the suspicion that they were therefore ordered to send out separate colonies, that, being divided asunder they might be more easily oppressed. Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. . . . He persuaded them . . . to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness. He . . . gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God but to bring them into a constant dependence on his power. He also said . . . if [God] should have a mind to drown the world again . . . he would build a tower [ziggurat] too high for the waters to be able to reach." (Whiston, trans. n.d., Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews, 39)


     The translator of the Book of Jasher, in a footnote, suggested that Nimrod's desire to teach idolatry and to raise the tower was a means of uniting all peoples under his standard. It was the families of the sons of Ham (Cush, Mizraim, Phut and Canaan) who were the most enthusiastic supporters of this impious course. According to Jasher, "Out of all the families then existing, not of Ham only, but the impious of all the families that assembled to the task, were 600,000 men; and they chose a valley, two days walk [20 miles?] from Shinar." (Book of Jasher 1954, 18)

     Could the ruins at Borsippa in a valley twenty miles from Kish, have been the site of the great tower? There, henry Rawlinson found a cylinder inscribed, "The tower of Borsippa, which a former king erected, whose summit he did not finish, fell to ruin in ancient times. The great god Marduk urged me to restore it. I built it anew, as it had been ages before . . . as it was in remote days." (Halley 1965, Halley's Bible Handbook, 83).

     Or was it at Babylon, as the Bible indicates? There , thirteen miles from Kish, George Smith of the British Museum, found an ancient tablet inscribed "The building of this illustrious tower offended the gods. In a night, they threw down what [was] built. They scattered them abroad and made strange their speech." (Ibid., 84)

     Jubilees 10:18-21 continues the narrative:

     Peleg took . . . a wife, whose name was Lomna . . . and she bare him a son . . . and he called his name Reu [evil]; for he said: "Behold the children of men have become evil through the wicked purpose of building . . . a tower" . . . for in his days they built . . . the tower . . . they made brick with fire, and the bricks served them as stone they cemented them together [with] asphalt which comes out of . . . fountains of water in the land of Shinar. . . . Forty and three years were they building it [the only reference known of time required]; its height amounted to 5433 cubits and 2 palms, and the extent of one wall was thirteen stades and of the other thirty stades.


     In common Israelite measure, a cubit is 17.5 inches, a stade is 215.5 yards. (Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, s.v. "Weights and Measures," 837) The unequal length of the walls suggest a temple complex, rather than a tower. Even so, it obviously is greatly exaggerated. Halley wrote, "The ancients in speaking of their prehistoric times fell into the temptation of exaggerating,, to vast dimensions . . . their primeval world." (Halley 1965, 72) That is obviously true, for those dimensions would translate to a mind-boggling 8,404 by 19,395 feet by 7,923 feet in height. However, archaeologists report, after examining the ruins of Babil that the base was about 330 feet square, and the height about 300 feet. (Haley 1965, 84)

     [p. 21] Josephus (4:2) indicated that the original purpose of the tower of Babel was to unite the people in a vast project of constructing a refuge in case of another flood. That was to them a real and terrifying prospect in view of their recent past. The construction of such an artificial mountain on the flat alluvial plain, was an understandable response by those former hill people.

     However, through the years, the emphasis shifted to a "Mountain of God" or "Hill of Heaven" concept, perhaps from placing a temple on its summit, which permitted them to worship their God (or gods) on high places as they had traditionally done. Thus, the original name of Babylon was the Akkadian word, Bab-ilim, which meant, "Gate of God."

     The Jews later referred to that site as Babel from the Hebrew word Balal, meaning "mixing" or "confusion." (Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible 1980, s.v. Babel, 1:334)

     Each major city after the Flood had its own tower (ziggurat), (Ibid., (map), 156) and the story of the great tower was recorded on clay tablets as early as the first dynasty at Sumer (3100 BC). (Wooley 1965, The Sumerians, 21-26)


     . . .


     [p. 22] Josephus too, quoted the Sibyl:

     When all men were of one language some of them built a high tower, but the gods sent storms of wind and overthrew the tower and gave every one his peculiar language. After this, they were dispersed abroad on account of their languages, and went out by colonies everywhere; each colony took possession of that land which they did light upon and unto which God led them. There were some who passed over the sea in ships. (Whiston, trans. n.d., 4)


     [p. 23] . . . History supports that picture by recording that suddenly, around the latter half of the fourth millennium BC, new civilizations were springing up in widely separated parts of the world--the Cretans, west to the Mediterranean Sea; the Egyptians southwest to the Nile Valley; the Sumerians, south to the head of the Persian Gulf; the Harappans, southeast to the Indus Valley; the Jaredites, across Asia and the Pacific to Mesoamerica; the Valdivians to South America; and no doubt many others of whom we have no record; all parts of a vast outward expansion from a common center, to fill the earth as God had commanded. . . .



     [p. 25] We do not know what kind of transportation (if any) Jared's colony employed as they departed the city. Carvings from the ancient time do show carts, with four solid wooden wheels drawn by oxen or onagers (wild asses), and also pack-asses. However, there is no indication of any historical reference to mounted riders for another 1000 years. So it is almost certain that Jared's followers must have made most of that long, long migration on foot, driving their flocks before them.

     Hugh Nibley says they may have used huge wagons, up to twenty feet wide, as the Tartars did centuries later on the vast steppes of central Asia. (Nibley 1988, 188) However, wagons would not seem practical in the mountainous terrain into which the Lord directed them saying "Go . . into the valley which is northward . . . there will I meet thee" (Ether 1:17 [1:42])

     If they did use huge wagons, they must have built them after they crossed the sea in the wilderness, and used them only on the plains between the many mountain ranges they would have to traverse . . .


     As Jared's colony traveled northward, they probably followed the course of the River Tigris because had they followed the other great river, the Euphrates, they would have been diverted far to the west of the mountain valley named for Nimrod (Ether 2:4). It would also have added some 270 miles to their journey, only to bring them to the same area near Mount Ararat.

     Following the Tigris River, at about 260 miles north of Babel, they would reach one of the major cities of that distant time. Originally named Calah, it is said to have been built by Asshur, one of the sons of Shem (Genesis 10:11). Later it was renamed Nimrud, no doubt by (or in honor of ) the mighty hunter who unified the cities of Mesopotamia under his rule.

     Another 180 miles north they would pass a mountain called Nimrut Dagi and a small lake called Nimrut Golu, just west of a much larger lake named Van Golu or Lake Van. . . . Lake Van may have been the first of the "many waters" they crossed on their long journey (Ether 2:6) Today Lake Van is some seventy miles wide at its waist, and may have been much larger so soon after the Flood.


[1996      Map: The Initial Migration Route of the Jaredites. The Jaredites left the site of the Great Tower and traveled north to the valley called Nimrod. Sometime thereafter they crossed the Sea in the Wilderness beginning their long, long migration across central Asia Glenn A. Scott, Voices from the Dust: New Light on an Ancient American Record, Independence: School of Saints, 1996, p. 26]


     [p. 27] To cross such large bodies of water, they "did build barges . . . being directed continually by the hand of the Lord" (Ether 1:28 [2:6]). . . .

     After crossing (or skirting) Lake Van, they most likely followed the Araxes River valley down to the shore of a really big sea in the wilderness, the Caspian. We believe that this great sea, some 190 miles across at its narrowest, was the "sea in the wilderness" which Ether mentioned (1:29 [2:7]), for the Lord had told them "they should go forth . . . into that quarter where there never had man been" (Ether 1:26 [2:5]) which seems an appropriate description of the vast empty steppes and mountains of central Asia, east of the Caspian Sea.



     There are many reasons for concluding that as Jared's colony "traveled in the wilderness" (Ether 2:6) from the Valley Nimrod, they probably traveled east rather than west.

     First, had they gone west, they would likely have encountered other peoples (from the great tower) known to have appeared in Europe in the latter part of the fourth millennium B.C.

     Second, was the extreme length of their migration as indicated by the Brother of Jared's cry to the Lord, "thou . . . hath driven us forth, and for this many years we have been in the wilderness" (Ether 3:3).

     Third, the customs of the Jaredites, as described by Ether, were remarkably like those of the Mongol tribes of east Asia.

     Fourth, "the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land" (Ether 3:3). From the rotation of the earth, the prevailing westerlies blow around the earth from west to east.

     Fifth, the extreme length of their sea voyage (344 days) could only have been across the Pacific which covers one-third of our world, and is many times wider than the Atlantic.

     We have no way of knowing exactly how many years Jared's colony may have wandered on their long migration across the uncharted steppes and mountains of Asia. Ether 3:3 records the brother of Jared as saying, "O Lord, thou . . . has driven us forth, and for these many years we have been in the wilderness . . ." For an idea of the length of their journey, let us make a comparison. The famous Lewis and Clark expedition went a straight line distance of approximately 1,800 miles, but by following the winding rivers and mountain valleys from St. Louis to the Pacific coast, they actually travelled about 4,000 miles.

     By the same ratio, the roughly 7,000-mile airline distance from Babel, north to Valley Nimrod then east to the Pacific coast of China, would represent over 15,000 rugged land miles.

     Another factor for consideration is that Jared and his brother were contemporaries of the biblical patriarchs, Peleg and Reu, who lived 239 or 339 years. Thus, they must have lived considerably longer than today's normal lifespans. If their wives were of childbearing age when leaving the great tower, and [if] apparently soon after arriving at the land of promise, Jared and his brother "began to be old . . . and must soon go down tot he grave" (Ether 3:21 [6:19]), the obvious conclusion is that their migration must have been very long indeed!

     A Toltec legend says "men built a zacualli [tower] very high to shelter themselves . . . should a second world be destroyed. They travelled for 104 anos [years] through different parts of the world until they arrived at Huehue Tlapalan" [their first inheritance]. (Kingsborough 1848, "Ixtlilxochitl," Antiquities of Mexico 9:321-322)


[Note* Bruce Warren (1990) says that scholars generally accept the fact that Huehue Tlapalan is located along the Veracruz region, yet that region, according to many Mesoamerican theories, was NOT the land of first inheritance.]



     [p. 29] Ether's account contains a hint that Jared's followers (after struggling through the Armenian mountains) might have been satisfied to settle permanently just beyond the sea in the wilderness. Indeed they may have done so for some time, for Ether wrote (1:29 [2:7]) "the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond [that] sea" for it was not the land he had promised them.

     As they traveled . . . they undoubtedly made many semipermanent camps wherever they found fresh water and fertile soil in which to grow the food needed to feed themselves over the next stage of their journey. Considering the whims of nature, they may well have stayed more than one season at many of those camps. . . . [Jared's] colony may have averaged about 120 miles between encampments, covering twice that distance on the steppes but probably half of that in the mountains.

     Ether's reference to many waters calls attention to a surprising fact recently researched from ancient records and not common knowledge in our day. Vast areas of central Asia, now dry desert, were once covered by water left over from the glacial age but which long ago has disappeared into the sands. One of those anceint records was written in the fifth century B.C. by Herodotus, who explored the land of the Sythians between the Caspian Sea and Lake Balkhash. Even as late as his time, the land presented formidable water barriers to travel.

     Chinese records tell of "expansive bodies of water, of which Lop Nur and other shrunken lakes and brackish tarns, are but withered survivors." (Nibley 19889, 183-4) which means those waters were far larger at the time of Jared's migration (see Map 4, pp. 30-31) and would have been impassable barriers to the huge Tartar wagons which Marco Polo reported seeing in Mongolia around AD 1300. (Ibid., 188) . . .

     This brings us to a basic question regarding the probable jaredite route through the wilderness. . . . From a study of the physical characteristics of the terrain which the Jaredites traveled and from records brought back by later travelers through Asia, the only practical route for them must have been very close to one which, centuries later, was named the "Silk Road"


[1996      Map 4: The Most Probable Route Taken By the Jaredites Across Central Asia. The proposed route of the Jaredites shown on this map, stretching from the Great Tower to camp Moriancumer, is the most likely of the very few practical routes across central Asia. That route is basically the same as the one which, centuries later, became known as the "Silk Road," over which silks and spices were brought from the Far East to Europe. Glenn A. Scott, Voices from the Dust: New Light on an Ancient American Record, Independence: School of Saints, 1996, pp. 30-31]



     [pp. 32-33] Of course, that famous route over which were carried spices and silk from China (mentioned as early as 302 B.C. by the Greek historian Megasthenes) did not yet exist in Jared's time. So the Jaredites had to break the trail (led by the Lord) from oasis to oasis.

     History records that from 206 B.C. to A.D. 220, there were more than forty intermediate caravan stops along that famous road. It is worth noting that many of those still bear the same or similar names which have come down to our time after more than 2,200 years.

     Where the steppe (grassland) and the mountains meet is the ancient Silk Road caravan stop named Alma Ata, one of the most beautiful sites in Kazakhstan, with meadows in the foothills and snowcapped mountains beyond. From there, the Jaredites would have entered the region named by the Chinese, Xinjiang (New Marches), a vast empty land of steppes, desert, and mountains, which seem to have been designed by nature as a barrier between east and west.

     This route led them along the northern foothills of the Tian Shan (Celestial Mountains), a majestic range with peaks rising to thirteen thousand feet and extending east for 1,850 miles, separating the Xinjiang region into two natural basins. South lay the forbidding Tarim basin ringed by high mountains on the west, north and south.

     North lay the Dzungarian basin mostly covered by grassland which throughout history has been the route of merchants and invaders.

     On the steppe, the Jaredites walked beside their pack animals by day and slept under the stars by night. In the mountains they suffered frostbite and in the desert heat and thirst. We can see the Lord's wisdom in telling them to take their flocks, not only for food but for wool and leather to survive in the mountain winters. The Chinese call this area Tian Shan Pei Lu (Road north of the Celestial Mountains)--more practical than crossing the higher range to the south.


     The Miracle at Mount Zerin

     As the long miles were traversed and the months and years slipped away [in vast wilderness country of Asia] (Ether 3:3), the faith of Jared's people must have been sorely tried. Consider for example their frustration at finding their way blocked by a mountain they called Zerin. Try to imagine yourselves in their place. One day as they drove their flocks along the foothills of an arm of the Tian Shan (now named the Kapchagayskoye range) to their right, they skirted the southern edge of the great Peski Sary Ishikotrau depression (surely flooded at this early date), and arrived at what appeared to be a dead end.

     Ahead lay the cold waters of Lake Alakol and beyond that were more mountains (the Khrebet Tarbagatay) rising against the sky. To make matters worse, the mountains to their right seemed to merge in the distance with those ahead. Thus, they found themselves in a narrowing pocket from which their only exit was to go back the way they had so arduously come. They must have thought that the cloud from which the Lord had been directing them must be wrong.

     "O Lord," the Brother of Jared must have cried, "we have led this people whithersoever thou has directed us, for these many years in the wilderness, but now we have nowhere to turn. Wilt thou now suffer us to perish here in this wilderness?" (compare Ether 2:18-19; 3:3-4)

     The answer must have been, "What will ye that I should do for you? Have I not promised to go before you into a land which is choice above all the land of the earth?" (compare Ether 2:7). Then the Brother of Jared upon receiving direction from the [Lord] understood as Moroni later described, "O Lord . . . I know that Thou workest unto the children of men according to their faith," [and] the brother of Jared said unto the mountain Zerin, Remove--and it was removed." . . . This miracle is believed to have happened at the remarkable pass known today as the Dzungarian Gate.

     As they emerged from this new pass, the now had stopped. Ahead lay a spectacular view across a seemingly endless plateau with the snowcapped Celestial Mountains fading off to the right. Behind them was the most difficult part of their journey. They had crossed some of the most desolate country in the world. Behind them were the steep sided valleys with towering pines veiled by snow flurries. The worst was over and their route led to an oasis later to be named Urumqi. It is the farthest point on earth from all of its oceans.

     The route ahead would lead past the eastern foothills of the Tian Shan range tot he oasis now called Turfan. Then along the edge of the strange Tulufan depression, a ninety-mile-long basin between two arms of the mountains. The surrounding land was surprisingly verdant being watered by glacier fed streams from the distant Tian Shan peaks.

     Skirting the southern edge of the great Gobi Desert, their route led eastward to the ancient oasis of Anxi; through the Yumen Pass (The Chinese would later call this the Jade Gate); and southeast through the 740 mile Gansu Corridor, a natural link between western China and the Hunag Ho (Yellow) River valley (thought to be the birthplace of Chinese civilization). It was in this region of northern China, that neolithic farmers discovered how to raise silkworms for thread (based on ancient silk remains, found near lake Tai, which archaeologists say date back to the fourth millennium BC). (Cambridge Encyclopedia of Archaeology 1980, s.v. "Yang-shao," 156. Then crossing the fertile Shanxi plain, they reached the oasis of Xian, which for a thousand years would be the eastern terminus of the Silk Road.

     Recent archaeological evidences confirm that East Asia was indeed a land through which the Jaredites might have migrated. This evidence appears in reports by Dr. Nobuhiro Yoshida, vice president of the Japanese Petrograph Society, in which he describes petroglyphs found in north central China and southwest Japan which indicate that early Chinese ideograms evolved out of proto-Sumerian glyphs. About 200 of these petroglyphs have been found in China on Mount Garan (Sacred Horse) in the Quwu mountain range (less than ninety miles from the Huang Ho River and the ancient Silk Road site of Lanzhou), and on the west coast of Kyushu Island facing the China Sea, dating to the Jomon period..

     The most remarkable thing about these inscriptions is that they can be deciphered by using proto-Sumerian glyph codes very similar to those in use at the ancient Mesopotamian cities of Ur and Uruk about 50,000 years ago and to others found along routes where Sumerian peoples are known to have traveled. Dr. Yoshida's reports were printed in the Japanese science magazine, The Moo, for March 1990. . . .



     [p. 37] . . . Some Book of Mormon scholars have suggested that Jared's colony may have followed the Yellow River to its mouth, then the north coast of the Shandong Peninsula to its eastern tip, where they presumably set up camp. Problems with that location are: (a) Ether (1:60 [3:1]) said the Brother of Jared "went forth unto the mount . . . called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height." The nearest mountain to the mouth of the Yellow River is more than fifty miles inland and behind them the way they had come. Even it is only about 3,000 feet above sea level; (b) if the Jaredites had embarked from that point [the mouth of the Yellow River] their fleet would have had to detour more than 500 miles to the south before turning east toward the Americas. Otherwise, they would have run aground on the coast of Korea, or of Japan, neither of which they knew existed (see Map 4, pp. 30-31). There is no mention in the record that they encountered, or even sighted any land between leaving the Old World and arriving at the land of promise.

     However, hypothesizing that the Jaredites took a more southerly route from Xian, following the Chang Jiang River, to Lake Poyang Hu, then east to the Bay of Hangzhou, they would have reached China's most eastern point (at the 30th parallel), where the Zhoushan Archipelago projects into the Pacific Ocean. Here the coast is very mountainous with several peaks rising to more than 7,000 feet.

     Regardless of what point on the Pacific coast they reached, their many years in the wilderness were finally at an end!

     The exhausted Jaredites sank down on the shore overlooking "that great sea that divideth the lands" (Ether 1:36 [2:13]) and began to set up their last encampment in the Old World.


     [p. 38] Now what kind of oceangoing vessel would be built intentionally, with "a hole . . . in the bottom" (Ether 2:20)? Edward Butterworth (Pilgrims of the Pacific, 1974, pp. 64-65) has suggested what is probably the most logical solution to this intriguing problem.

     He may have reasoned that the barges the Jaredites had built in the wilderness were most likely a kind of raft, consisting of a simple platform supported on two large logs. They would have built them as simple and easy to construct as possible for they had to build them again and again as they crossed many waters in the wilderness. That concept certainly agrees with the description given Butterworth by two elderly Tahitians, of the great oceangoing catamarans in which the ancient Polynesians sailed the Pacific (Pilgrims, pp. 56-59).

     Those long-distance vessels were basically two long, hollow logs, connected by a platform which might explain the Lord's instruction to build them "after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built" (Ether 2:16). Those Polynesian catamarans were up to one hundred feet long, and the platform sometimes had a double-deck superstructure. The largest Polynesian oceangoing catamarans carried more than 200 warriors or migrating colonists, for thousands of miles across the Pacific.

     Figure 8 shows how the Jaredite barges may have looked based on Butterworth's concept of seagoing Polynesian catamarans. (Staff 1974, "Discoverers of the Pacific," National Geographic, December supplement)

     The most convincing reason for accepting this design, is that it provides a reasonable solution for a ship; having a hole in the bottom. His concept would in all but the roughest weather have kept the hole above the water and at the same time provided means for air circulation, fishing, and disposal of refuse. When the weather became rough, the holes could be sealed by doors making them as watertight.

     Some have suggested that the Jaredite barges may have looked like a submarine (essentially a tube pointed at both ends), but that would not fit the description of being "light . . . like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water" (Ether 2:16). Neither would it explain how they could have had a hole in the bottom without sinking. . . .



     [p. 39] Glass windows had not been developed at this early date, though the Chinese did, very early, have windows of oiled silk. Fire obviously would have been a hazard in rough weather and of course would have rapidly depleted the oxygen in those closed vessels.

     Thus the Brother of Jared needed to exercise faith and ingenuity. To his credit, he responded with an impressive demonstration of both. He climbed nearby Mount Shelem and found a stone, probably quartz (basically silica), and "did moulten" sixteen small lumps which were "white and clear" (Ether 1:60-61 [3:1]) . . .


     [p. 40] The largest Polynesian oceangoing catamarans carried more than 200 warriors or migrating colonists, for thousands of miles across the Pacific. (op. cit.) However, since Ether wrote that the Jaredites took "flocks and herds, and whatsoever beats, or animal, or fowl that they should carry with them" (Ether 3:4 [6:4]) it is not likely that there were half that many persons in each barge. . . .


     [p. 41] . . . Ether described those vessels as small, but that term is relative. They probably seemed huge to the woodsmen who had to cut down sixteen tall trees with trunks more than 100 feet long. They may have seemed even larger to the chiselers who had to hollow out the great logs and peak their ends and to the carpenters who had to build the platforms and double-deck cabins (for people above, animals below) and also to those who had to seal everything with pitch to make them tight as a dish.

     But think how small each vessel must have seemed when occupied by three large families plus their animals. The decks could not have been much more than 75 feet long or 25 feet wide . . .


[1996      Illustration: Figure 8: Jaredite Barges. These illustrations show how the Jaredite barges may have looked based on F.E. Butterworth's concept of seagoing Polynesian catamarans in his book Pilgrims of the Pacific. Glenn A. Scott, Voices from the Dust, Independence: School of Saints, p. 42]


     [p. 43] . . . Among the most urgent tasks was keeping the little fleet together. What kept them from being scattered during the inevitable storms? Were they tied together in a convoy by strong ropes? if so, what kept them from crashing into one another in rough seas? The logistics of such a voyage boggles the mind. Louis Hills proposed a unique solution.

     According to the Indians, the Jaredites crossed the sea in a raft composed of eight barges fastened together. . . . The Jaredites sailed together and landed at the same time. . . . There is no question but what the Indian records are correct; these eight barges were fastened together with great trees or timbers. (Hills 1924, New Light on American Archaeology, 39)


     This is not to suggest that we must accept Hill's solution. The only certain answer is that they were in the hand of the Lord! . . .


     . . . We do not know what part of the long [Pacific] coast of the American continent that the Jaredites first sighted, but after 344 days at sea, they must have been desperate to stand on dry ground again.

     Here we come to a place where the world of science can help. Charles and Ellen Brush found the earliest evidence (so far) of Mesoamerican civilization in middens (refuse heaps) at Puerto Marques, near Acapulco in the state of Guerrero, on the Pacific coast of Mexico. The evidence is an early type of fiber-tempered ceramic, called Pox pottery. Richard Adams says, "A date on material from the shell midden has been read as about 2900 B.C."

     However, this Pox pottery is only the earliest evidence found to date, and whoever made this pottery did not develop such a complex skill immediately upon arrival, nor overnight! Also pottery (similar to the Jomon period [of China]) was found at Valdivia, Ecuador, dated at least as early as 3000 BC. This tells us that in addition to those recorded in The Book of Mormon) the Lord scattered people to many parts of the world in the late fourth millennium BC.

     Thus, evidence indicates that perhaps the Jaredites "did land upon the shore of the promised land" (Ether 6:12) in the vicinity of Puerto Marques at the southeastern corner of the Bay of Acapulco, a natural bay, one of the few on the west coast of Mexico. In fact this very bay was used as a harbor for Spanish galleons sailing to and from the Far East from A.D. 1531 and for more than 200 years.


     Ether wrote that when the people of Jared "set their feet upon the shores of the promised land, they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land . . . and did shed tears of joy before the Lord." (Ether 3:14 [6:12]). And what was the date of that momentous event?

      There is substantial evidence that the date was August 13, 3114 B.C.

      Why August 13, 3114 B.C.? This was the zero date of the Olmec/Maya Long-count calendar. Pottery has been found in the very area in which the Jaredites must have landed (near Acapulco in the state of Guerrero, Mexico). This pottery is the earliest evidence of Mesomamerican civilization found so far, dated within 200+ years of that zero date. It closely fits the chronology table (see illustration). What could have been more appropriate than for them to commemorate the first day of a new life, in a new land, than by making it the first day of a new calendar? Michael Coe has written:

     The Long-count calendar was a refinement, by the Maya, of a much older Calendar Round of 52 years, used by all Mesoamerican peoples and undeniably of very great age. It is generally agreed that the Long-count calendar was developed after the inception of the Calendar Round, but by how many centuries of millennia archaeologists are not sure. Since the oldest Long-count dates appear on monuments outside the Maya area it can be concluded that it had reached its final form by the first century B.C., among people who were under powerful Olmec influence . . . probably not the Maya.


[Note* For evidence of early civilization in Mesoamerica, see John Sorenson's comments in "Viva Zapato . . . " --- He writes:

     According to John Sorenson, Ether's account does not make logical or anthropological sense unless we suppose that his Jaredite line lived among other groups, both other lineages from the original barges and different groups, too. There is no doubt whatever that many--perhaps most--aspects of culture in both the First [Olmec-age] and Second [Nephite-age] Traditions clearly did not come from the Old World. A unique configuration of distinctive, ancient patterns or life and thought characterizes this area of Mesoamerica at a fundamental level; no later introductions by diffusion (as those brought by Jaredites, Mulekites, or Lehites) would have changed those much. Rather than exactly equating the Jaredites with the Olmecs, the Jaredites can be seen as one social element in a complex situation that included cultural, ethnic and linguistic variety--some immigrant and some "native."

     The Olmecs were bearers of an especially interesting early culture centered in tropical lowlands near the Gulf of Mexico. But the Jaredite lineage inhabited an area in the highlands (Moron, their continuing ruling seat, was "up" from the coasts). As far as the brevity of the record allows us to judge, Ether's lineage dwelt in Moron all along. My judgment was that this place was located in the state of Oaxaca (alternatively, I would now say that portions of Guerrero, Puebla or Veracruz might qualify). In those areas there were cultures related to but earlier than the coastal Olmec development, although scholars do not have a convenient cover term comparable to "Olmec" for the highland group(s). I have used the term "Olmec Tradition" to encompass the whole Early and Middle Pre-classic development, lowland and highland, which culminated in the classic gulf Coast Olmec manifestation. Eventually Jaredite rulers and their rivals were also active in the east sea lowlands, where their extinction finally occurred. I suppose that Ether's lineage, originating with Jared, held a significant measure of rulership while "involved in" groups bearing Olmec-period cultures. [John L. Sorenson, "Viva Zapato! Hurray for the Shoe! in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 6, Num. 1, p. 356]


     John Sorenson notes that new physical and statistical procedures have expanded the possibilities of C-14 dating, but they also necessitate correcting the "radiocarbon years" in order to fit our normal calendar. Calibrated dates can be expressed only as statistical ranges, not as single years; this means that there is a 95% chance that the real age falls within the indicated range. A few of the dates that apply to early Mesoamerican pottery-users, and presumably to agriculture-based villages, are listed below. These are sufficient to show that village life and ceramics were widespread in Mesoamerica during the period that John Sorenson assigns to the early Jaredites:

     Puerto Marquez, Guerrero (Brush): 3765-3000 B.C.,+ 140 years.

     Zohapilco, D.F. (Niederberger): 4085-3645 B.C. + 110.

     Cuicuilco, D.F. (Heizer and Benyhoff): 3160-2635 B.C. + 120

     Teopantecuantitlan, Guerrero (an "Olmec city") (Martinez Donjuan): 2115-1640 B.C. + 110

     San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan, Veracruz (Coe and Diehl): 1910-1435 B.C. + 120

[John L. Sorenson, "Viva Zapato! Hurray for the Shoe! in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 6, Num. 1, pp. 317-318]



Note* The "Brush" evidence was influential in Wuthenau's writings(and subsequently Neil Steede's hypothesis for a Pacific coast Jaredite landing near Acapulco--see the ???? notation)




1996^      Allen J. Christenson            Review of Quest for the Origins of the First Americans, by E. James

                              Dixon, BYU Studies 35/3 (1995-96): 178-80.


     See the 1996 and 1999 notations.



1996^      Allen J. Christenson            FARMS Update in Insights (Februrary 1996):2.


     This is basically a reprint (in slightly different wording) of Christensen's Review of E. James Dixon's Quest for the Origins of the First Americans published in BYU Studies in 1996 (Vol. 35, 1995-96, Number 3-Spring).

     Traditionally, most anthropoloigsts have accepted the theory that the ancestors of all Native Amerifca cultues in the New World migrated by foot from Asia during the Pleistocene Era when the sea level was lower and a narrow strip of land called the Bering Land Bridge connected the two continents. But as a review in BYU Studies shows, (NOTE 1) Dr. E. James Dixon, in Quest for the Oriigns of the First Americans, challenges this tradiitonal model. (NOTE 2)

     Dixon is a leading authority on the archaeology of eastern Beringia, the chain of islands that once formed the ancient land bridge connecting Asia with present-day Alaska. although no one doubts the existence of this land bridge, or its potential as a conduit for human migration, Dixon demonstrates that this could not have been the sole mechanism for populating tghe Americas. He presents impressive and compelling evidence that suggest that the first, or at least early, inhabitnats of ancient America actually arrived on ocean-worthy vessels.

     The geology and paleoecologyo of the Beringia region suggest that it was not until about 9500 B.C. taht the Bering Land Bridge became passable for human overland migration. Consistent with this date, there is no documented evidence of human occupation anywhere in the Beringian corridor until about 9000 B.C. Yet there is ample evidence of early occupations along the west coasts of both North and South America that date at least two or three thousand years and in some cases many thousands of years before that. Since it appears that there was no way of crossing overland at such early dates, Dixon asserts that these settlements must have been founded by seagoing peoples.

     It is well documented that the Pacific coasts of Asia were dotted anciently with numerous settlements. Dixon suggest that shortlly before 12,000 B.C. the sea level rose rapidly as the climate became abruptly warmer and the sesa engulfed communities around the Asian Pacific rim (something like Pleistocene Waterworld) This could have triggered eastward migraitons following prevailing currents into the New World. By the time the Bering Land Bridge became passable, the descendnets of these early traveleres haed already settled over much of the western coastline of North And South America and had even moved inland in some areas.

     LDS scholars have long been interested in the issue of transoceanic crossings to the ancient New World, (NOTE 3) but they have found scant support among the prevailing experts. Dixon himself was at one time criticized by several of his colleagues for suggesting the possibility of transoceanic migraitons and was counseled to drop the subject for fear of losing crediiblityh within the profession. (NOE 4) Dixon beliefves taht the idea of pre-Columbian transoceanic contacts between the New and Old Worlds iws not poular because of the tendency of some individuals outside the field to go too far in explaining all simlarities between the two great cultural regions indiscrimiately on the basis of diffusion across the oceans.

     But carefully presented research finding like Dixon's (and those from an increasing nubmer of others) make it clear that humans anciently were capable of long-distance voyages across the oceans to visit or colonize parts of the New World. By extension, it is reasonable to conclude that small colonies of jaredites, Lehites, and Mulekites could have made such trips as well.




1998^      Phyllis Carol Olive      The Lost Lands of the Book of Mormon. Springville: Bonneville Books, 1998.

                        Reprinted in 2000.


     On pages 49-51 she writes:

     The Jaredites most liikely landed on the southern shores of Lake Ontario since the lands they occupied seem to ahve filled the north countries during the Book of Mormon era. Now, since the Mulekites found their bvoenes as soon as they disembarked from their journey, we would have to assume they landed in the same general area. The Nephites, on the other hadn, may have used the same route and then traveled a short distance inland to the regions they settled, or perhaps up other waterways which allowed them to enter their homeland from the south. . . .

     Four major coursese would have been available to those coming from across the Atlantic. Three by water and one overland. The St. Lawrence Riverf would seem the most likely route taken for it led directly to the lands surround the Hill Cumorah. STill antoher may have been up the Hudson River and from there to several reivers which would have taken theml inland. A third option would have taken them from the Gulf of Mexico up the Mississippi and from there northward through other waterways to their new homeland. And number of routes were available. But we mustr remember, the Lored held their course in his hands.

     For thoses who spesculate that they may have lalnded along the coast and traveled inland, there is also evidence of ancient overland pathways leading into the interior of the land from the eastern seaboard. The journals of pre-Civil War days tell of usch well marked trails which were once thought to belong to the native Indians in the area. But in more recent years the conclusion is that "the pathways from the east coast across the mountains to the west were not those of an historic Indian but bespoke of a darkly veiled past completely lost in history."


[1998      Map: Possible water routes from the Atlantic Ocean to the Book of Mormon lands. Phyllis Carol Olive, The Lost Lands of the Book of Mormon. Springville: Bonneville Books, 1998, p. 50]


     On pages 68-71 we find the following:

     What little information we ahve about the Jaredite nation began at a time, shortly after the Universal Flood, when the earth began to be filled up with people again. The flood was still fresh in their memories however, for they soon became restless and feared lest the Lord God would send down another flood upon them. Thus, they proceededs to build the great Tower of Babel in an effort to thwart the supposed designs of the Almgihty. . . .l During that terrible time of confusion, the brother of Jared pledl with the Lord to spare his family and friens from that awfuol edict - and the Lord heard his prayers. Thus their languagge was not confounded, and the brother of Jared, along with his friends and family, would ultimatelly be taken to a new land; a promised land; a land held in reserve for a righteous people.

     The journey was destined to be a difficult one, however, for not only were they to take their own belongings with them, but they were commanded to take along their flocks and other animals as well - both male and female. Perhaps the larger animals migrated to all corners of the world before the earth was divided int he days of Peleg. Thus, only those the Lord selected would be taken to the promised land, such as birds and fiszh and even swarms of bees - each of which needed enclosures of various kinds. . . .

     After a journey of nearlly a year, we can certainly understand the tears taht were shed as they viewed the scene befoe lthem. The land was still in its pristine state so soon after the flood . . .

     The lands they first settleed appear to ahve been along the southern shores of Lake Ontario.



[1998      Map: The land northward during the Book of Mormon era. Phyllis Carol Olive, The Lost Lands of the Book of Mormon. Springville: Bonneville Books, 1998, p. 58]



1999^            Allen J. Christensen      "By Land or By Sea? Revisiting the Bering Straits," in Pressing

                              Forward with the Book of Mormon, John W. Welch & Melvin J.

                              Thorne eds. Provo: Farms, 1999, 256-258


     This is basically a reprint (in slightly different wording) of Christensen's Review of E. James Dixon's Quest for the Origins of the First Americans published in BYU Studies in 1996 (Vol. 35, 1995-96, Number 3-Spring).--see notation.



1999^      John A. Tvedtnes            "The Jaredite Ocean Voyage" in The Most Correct Book, Salt Lake

                              City: Cornerstone Publishing, 1999, pp. 285-290


John Tvedtnes writes:

     In Ether 2:24-25, it is evident that the Jaredite crossing of the ocean to the New World was accompanied by rains, winds, and heavy wave action. This is reiterated in Ether 6:5-8 . . . The comparison with Noah's ark ["tight like the ark of Noah"] is significant because traditions about both stories associate the ocean voyage with mountainous waves and glowing stones to provide light within the ark.

     Speaking of the flood of Noah's time, an Ethiopic Christian text says,

     But when the windows opened wide, all stores [of water] and depths were opened, and all the stores of the winds, and the whirlwinds, thick mist, gloom and darkness spread abroad. The sun and moon and stars, withheld their light. It was a day of terror, such as had never been. Then the sea all round, began to raise its waves on high like mountains; and it covered the whole face of the earth. (NOTE 1)


While the Bible says the flood waters covered the mountains (Genesis 7: 18-19), the story in this Ethiopic document makes the waves high like mountain, which closely parallels the wording in Ether 6:6 ["the mountain waves"].

     The Jaredite account makes it clear that the high waves resulted from intense winds that came from the Lord. A number of early traditions indicate that the tower of Babel--from which the Jaredites fled (Ether 1:33)--was destroyed by strong winds sent by God. (NOTE 2) Some texts speak of the "flood of wind" that followed the flood of water. (NOTE 3) Hugh Nibley has suggested that this time of great wind is what produced the stormy seas crossed by the Jaredites. (NOTE 4)

     The book of Mormon describes how the brother of Jared prepared sixteen crystalline stones . . . This story, too, is reminiscent of stories about the ark of Noah. Several early Jewish sources indicate that God told Noah to suspend precious stones or pearls inside of the ark to lighten it; in some traditions, it is a jewel-encrusted heavenly book. The gems would glow during the night and dim during the day so Noah, shut up in the ark, could tell the time of day and how many days had passed. (NOTe 5) This was the explanation given by the rabbis for the sohar that the Lord told Noah to construct in the ark. The word is rendered "window" in the King james version of Genesis 6:16 but "light" in some other translations. (NOTE 6)

     A similar tradition is found among the Arabs, who may have borrowed it from the Jews. Al-Kisa'i reported that when Noah made the ark, he put the name of one of the prophets (including those yet to be born) on each of the pegs, "and they shone like the stars, except for the one with the name of Muhammad, which shone as brightly as the sun and the moon together." (NOTE 7)

     Rabbi Eliezer tells a similar story about the "great fish" that "the Lord had prepared" to swallow Jonah (Jonah 1:17). He notes that Rabbi Meir spoke of a pearl being suspended inside the fish to give light to Jonah like the noonday sun,a nd by which he was able to see all that was in the sea (Pirqe de Rabbi Eliezer 10).


     Possible Routes

     According to Ether 2:25, the Jaredite barges were driven by the wind. Some critics have noted that strong winds would have enabled them to sail to the New World in less than the 344 days indicated for the voyage in Ether 6:11. But the Jaredite vessels were not sailing vessels and hence would have depended on ocean currents to cross the ocean, most likely the North pacific.

     In 1964 two prominent non-Mormon scholars, Clifford Evans and Betty J. Meggers noted that a boat caught off the coast of Japan would be carried by the North Pacific reaching land in about 11 months (330 days), which corresponds closely with the time frame given in the book of Ether. They wrote:

     If a boatload of Early Middle Jomon fishermen left the sheltering bays of Kyushu and went out into the sea off the southeastern coast in October or November, they would have entered a zone with some of the strongest currents in the Northern Pacific, running northeastward at 24-43 miles per day. Records for the 40-year period between 1902-1940 tabulate 802 typhoons, of which 130 were in October and 67 in November. A canoe caught too far from shore by one of these storms might easily be swept by the combined northeasterly pressure of wind and current far out to sea before control was regained. Even if the occupants retained possession of their paddles, they might have been unable to turn back. During the month of November, westerly and northerly winds predominate in the northern hemisphere, and are steadiest and of greatest force between about the 40th and 55th parallels. In addition, the percentage of gales increases during November in high latitudes, occurring at an average frequency of one every 8-10 days over the greater part of the northern Pacific except near coasts. A combination of these forces would have borne a canoe eastward along the great circle route, which on a flattened map curves far north of Hawaii. Records during the past century demonstrate the feasibility of such a drift vessel reaching land with living passengers after a voyage of 11 months. (NOTE 8)


     Another study produced the same year suggests that this current would bring a vessel to land somewhere off the cost of northern or central Mexico, depending on the time of year. (Note 9)



     Conclusion: Several aspects of the story of the Jaredite voyage across the ocean to the New World can be confirmed by ancient traditions that were generally unknown in Joseph Smith's day and by modern research. . . .




1999^      K. Douglas Bassett            Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon. American Fork:

                              Covenant Communications, 1999.


     Starting on p. 485 we find the following:

Ether 1:33            THE TOWER

                       (Lehi in Desesrt, Nibley, p. 154-160; Messiash in Ancient America, Warren

                        and Ferguson, p. 120)


                 "The people being of one langauge, gathered together to build a tower to reach, as they supposed the crystalized heavens. They thought that the City of Enoch was caught up a littel ways from the earth, and that the city was within the first sphere above the earth; and that if they could get a twoer high enough, they might get to heaven, where the City of Enoch and the inhabitants thereof was located." (Orson Pratt - Journal of Discourses 16:50)


                 "The people who built the Tower of Babel are said to have done so in order that its top might 'reach unto heaven.' It was to prevent them from accomplishing this puirpose, that the Lord confounded their langauge. (Gen. 11:1-9) Tradition credites Joseph Smithw ith the statement that the 'heaven' they had in view was the translated city." (Cowley & Whitney on Doctrine, p. 307)


     Ether 1:33-35, 38;      THE DRIVING OUT vs. THE CONFOUNDING

      2:23-25; 6:5, 8      (Lehi in the Desert, Nibley, pp. 167-174)



                       (contrast 1 Ne. 2:4-6 Lehi in the desert, Nibley, pp. 179, 181-182)



                 (Since Cumorah, Nibley, p. 238)


     Ether 2:6-7            BARGES

                       (Lehi in the Desert, Nibley, pp. 177-178)




2000^      Embaye Melekin            Manifestations Mysteries Revealed: An Account of Bible Truth and the

(jar)                               Book of Mormon Prophecies. Toronto: Embaye Melekin, 2000.



     In the Forward Embaye Melekin writes:

     This book is a fulfillment of the prophesies of our forefathers. It analyses the Book of Mormon in its entirety and proves that the provisions in the book were exclusively written to our African ancestors and were meant to reach us through the Gentiles or the white people.



     [p. 262]

     Reading the rest of the Book of Mormon, I was amazed by another link that would make the record more certain that it was written in Eritrea. The Book of Ether, twenty-four plates found by the people of Limhi, was a record of a certain people that first migrated into Africa before the arrival of Lehi and his children. They were called the Jaredites and came to the continent after the fall of Babylon. Not surprising, we have people in Eritrea that could most probably trace their ancestry to the Jaredites. They are called "Dek'i Yared" or the "Children of Yared."


     [p. 263]

     As the Yaredites continued their journey, they arrived at the shores of the great sea which divideth the lands. Here, they pitched their tent at a place they called Moriancumer, and stayed there for four years. Morian-cumer means "Sighting-hill" in Tigre'. . . .

     The record of the Jaredites was an interesting documentation. This is a record of the Jaredites, an extinct people who first inhabited Africa. The narration by Moroni states that, after the required preparation, the Jaredites began their journey on the great sea, the ocean.




2000^      Jerry L. Ainsworth            The Lives and Travels of Mormon & Moroni. U.S.A.: Peacemakers

                              Publishing, 2000, pp. 45-54.


     Jerry Ainsworth basically follows a western route from Babel and an Atlantic crossing that would land the Jaredites on the Gulf coast of Mexico according to Mesoamerican traditions. He also gives reasons why an easterly journey through Asia to the Pacific was not feasible. In Chapter 8 "The Jaredite (Olmec) Civilization" beginning on page 45 he writes:

     One of the best-documented pre-Columbian cultures in Central America commences around 3000 B.C. According to the Aztec historian Fernando de Alba Ixtlilxochitl, the "ancient ones," whom he calls Quinamis, arrived in this land in 2993 B.C. In connection with their arrival int he New World, Milton R. Hunter and Thomas Stuart Ferguson note the following:

     Ixtlilxochitl dates the great flood, it being the first great calamity, at 3513 B.C. (1,717 years after his creation date, 5229 B.C.). The date of the arrival of the first artisans, whom he refers to elsewhere as "the Ancient Ones," in Huehue Tlapallan (ancient bountiful land) int he New World is placed by him at 2993 B.C. Since it had been 104 years earlier that they departed from "the very great tower," the departure date would be 3097 B.C., according to his chronology (Ancient America and the Book of Mormon, 1964, p. 35)


     The time period of arrival of the Quinamis coincides with the Old Testament account of the Tower of Babel, when God confounded people's language nd they were scattered all over the world (see Genesis 11:1-9) The biblical account states, ". . . And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth" (Genesis 11:3-4)




     Friar Bernardino de Sahagun (1499-1590) in his book History of the Things of New Spain quotes Ixtlilxochitl on the arrival of the Quinamis in the New World:

     [The Tulteca history tells] how afterwards men, multiplying, made a very tall and strong Zacuali, which means the very high tower, in order to shelter themselves in it when the second world should be destroyed.

     When things were at their best, their languages were changed and, not understanding each other, they went to different parts of the world; and the Tultecas [the elders], who were as many as seven companions and their wives, who understood their language among themselves, came to these parts, having first crossed large lands and seas, living in caves and undergoing great hardships until they came to this land, which they found good and fertile for their habitation. (Quoted in Hunter and Ferguson, Ancient America and the Book of Mormon, 24, 35)


     Today, in the sate of Puebla, Mexico, there exists a town called Zacualpan (ill. 20), whose name in the language of the Nahuatls, early inhabitants of Mexico, means "City of the People from the Great Tower," Use of the expression "great tower" is significant because identical Book of Mormon terms describe the Tower of Babel (see Ether 1:3, 33). The Book of Mormon speaks of "the building of the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people and they were scattered abroad upon the face of all the earth" (Mosiah 28:17; emphasis added.

     The oral tradition of the Quinamis describes them as living in "caves" while coming to this land, traveling over and under the water (ill. 21)


[2000      Illustration: A representation of the heads of seven families of the Quinamis (Jaredites), traveling to this land through the sea in "caves." From Codex Vaticano A, p.66v. Jerry L. Ainsworth, The Lives and Travels of Mormon & Moroni. U.S.A.: Peacemakers Publishing, 2000, p. 47].


Not having the terminology to express this mode of travel, the term caves most nearly approximated their unique experience. The Book of Mormon has this to say about the Jaredites' crossing the ocean [Ether 6:6-7 is then quoted]

     A point of controversy among readers of the Book of Mormon has been the location of the Jaredites' landing. Some assume they landed on the west coast of Central America, while ancient local traditions indicate they landed on the east coast. The Jaredite account itself doesn't suggest that Jared and his party went eastward from the great tower in order to eventually cross the Pacific Ocean and land on the west coast of Central America. Quite the opposite. The Lord instructed the Jaredites to head northward until they came "down into the valley of Nimrod." (Ether 2:1,4). The Tower of Babel, their point of origin, was situated by the Euphrates River at ancient Babylon, the names Babel and Babylon in Semitic being the same.

     Heading north from the great tower would bring Jared's party into the Tigris River basin. Following the Tigris River northward would bring them into the area of ancient Nimrud (Nimrod). If they then continued following teh Tigris River, it would take them in a northwesterly direction until they came into the vicinity of the Black Sea. Crossing the Black Sea in"barges" (see Ether 2:6), they would come to what is today southeastern Europe. Then traversing Europe in a westward direction would eventually bring them to the Iberian Peninsula into what is today Spain and Portugal.

     If the Jaredites had gone northward from the great tower and then eastward instead of westward, they would almost immediately have faced difficult mountain ranges before having to cross the Caspian Sea. They would then also have had to travel twice as far overland in some of the most inhospitable terrain on earth--the great steppes, huge desserts, and high mountain ranges of Asia--in order to reach the Pacific Ocean. Finally they would have had to travel twice the distance by sea in order to reach Central America. Ocean currents, in fact, would have carried them away from, not toward, Central America itself.


[Note* See Nibley's 1988 notation - "Appendix 1" wherein he gives arguments against a westerly journey and for an easterly journey through Asia and across the Pacific]


     If, however, the Lord led the Jaredites in the more fertile parts of the land, as he later did the Nephties, that would explain why at one point they almost forgot to continue their journey. When they arrived at the "great sea which divideth the lands," they "dwelt in tents upon the seashore for the space of four years" before the Lord chastised them (Ether 2:13-15). Only then did they build the eight barges that took them to the promised land (see Ether 2:16-17). Ocean currents from the Iberian Peninsula would carry them in a southwesterly direction across the Atlantic Ocean and into the Gulf of Mexico. As we shall see later, the Yucatan Peninsula was partly under water at that time.

     Sahagun reports that the wooden boats the Quinamis used landed at the Panuco River by the city of Tampico, which is int he state of Tamaulipas on the east coast of Mexico (quoted in Hunter and Ferguson, Ancient America and the Book of Mormon, 30-31). In the ancient Nahuatl language tam means "roots," while pico means "point." Tampico therefore means "Point of our Roots" (See map 2).


[2000      Map 2: Landing site of Jaredites. Jerry L. Ainsworth, The Lives and Travels of Mormon & Moroni. U.S.A.: Peacemakers Publishing, 2000, p. 49].


     Upon landing at the Panuco River, these early settlers moved quickly to a land in the mountains of Mexico. Sahagun relates:

     The old men used to tell, in a certain time which nobody can count anymore, "By water in their boats, they did come, in many groups. And they arrived at the water's edge, on the north coast, and where they left their boats is called Panutla. It means, 'over where one crosses over the water.' Right away they followed along the coast of the sea and they went looking for mountains, some for white mountains, and the smoking mountains." (Quoted in David Palmer's response to papers by V.G. Norman and J. L. Sorensen, Book of Mormon Geography Symposium, Brigham Young University, April 1975, 11).


     This account appears to describe a contingent of Jaredites moving to the valleys of Puebla and Tlaxcala, in south central Mexico. These valleys are surrounded by four volcanoes that are perpetually capped with snow and intermittently emit smoke. It is the only place in Mexico-or in Central America- where there exist "smoking mountains" capped with snow (ills. 22, 23)


[2000      Illustration 22: The "land of the white caps"--snow-covered volcanoes in Puebla, Mexico (Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl). Jerry L. Ainsworth, The Lives and Travels of Mormon & Moroni. U.S.A.: Peacemakers Publishing, 2000, p. 50].



[2000      Illustration 23: The "land of smoking mountains"--smoking volcano in Puebla, Mexico (Popocatepetl). Jerry L. Ainsworth, The Lives and Travels of Mormon & Moroni. U.S.A.: Peacemakers Publishing, 2000, p. 50].


     Reading about the Jaredites, I was struck at how consistent and emphatic the writers were in mentioning that these people moved to the land of "white caps" immediately upon arriving at this continent. So emphatic were the writers I began to wonder it there were more to this story than just geography.

     I was rereading the account of the Jaredites when Ether 2:2 struck me. While making the eight vessels for traveling to this continent, the Jaredites made one vessel to carry fish, the freshwater variety assumedly. The Flood certainly killed all freshwater fish, and while Noah restocked the continent on which he landed, this continent still had not been restocked. I assume this is why the Jaredites built and filled a boat with fish.

     So when the Jaredites landed, seven of the boats contained people and animals, while the eighth contained freshwater fish. If one were going to restock the rivers of this continent with these fish, where would be the best location at which to do this? Certainly one of the best locations would be the land of teh "white caps," the continental divide, where rivers flow down from the snow-capped mountains in all direction.

     I therefore assume this is the reason the ancient writers were so emphatic about the Jaredites going to the land of the "white caps." The Jaredites were not moving there for personal comforts, but to fulfill their instructions from the Lord to restock the rivers of this continent with freshwater fish.

     Having traveled from the area of Tampico, Mexico, to the valley of Puebla, the land of the "white caps," I know how difficult a journey it is and how challenging it would be to carry a boatload of fish up those steep mountains, trying to keep the fish alive. How could such a difficult task be successfully completed? The secret may lie in Ether 12:30, where Moroni tells us that through faith the brother of Jared moved the mountain Zerin from one place to another.

     So it appears that this story of the Jaredites moving to the land of the "white caps," the continental divide of Mesoamerica, is more than just a recounting of the geographical travels of these people.

     Ruins in the state of Puebla themselves go back to the time of the Quinamis, who were contemporary with the Olmec. The pyramid of Cholula in that area, which is the largest structure in the world, consists of many built-over pyramids. When archaeologists dug tunnels into this structure to document the number of superimpositions, they concluded that the original pyramid in the very center was built by people who lived at the time of the Olmec (jaredites), around 2500 B.C. . . .

     An ancient, though fragmentary, account mentioning the first pyramid at Cholula appears in a plaque on the wall of the mayor's palace in that city. . . . The account at Cholula mentions "seven brothers" who were saved from the waters "in the caves of the mountain." Their leader was "Xelhua the giant," whose name, in the ancient Nahuatl language, means "vomited out of the water." He built the pyramid in Cholula in commemoration of their deliverance (ill. 27)


[2000      Illustration 27: A plaque on the wall of the mayor's palace at Cholula containing fragments of the earliest history of its people. It indicates that people came to this land from where they had tried to build a large mountain. Before they finished the mountain, God became angry and scattered them. When arriving here (being protected in caves), they built the pyramid by passing adobes hand to hand. Jerry L. Ainsworth, The Lives and Travels of Mormon & Moroni. U.S.A.: Peacemakers Publishing, 2000, p. 53].


     This ancient account appears to combine traditions dating back to the Flood with later ones about the Tower of Babel and the migration to this land. Four distinct strands of tradition are apparent: (1) "At the time of the Flood, giants lived upon the earth, and many of them perished, drowned in the waters"; (2) A pyramid was built that "threatened to reach the clouds," at which the "father of all the gods" sent down a "celestial fire" that "killed many of the builders," the rest "dispersing so that the work was not continued"; (3) "Seven brothers were saved in the caves of the mountain"; and (4) "Xelhua the giant went to the site that was later called Chohlollan [Cholula]" and there "started to build the pyramid in memory of the mountain in which he was saved."

     Similarities between this account and scriptural accounts are evident. The old Testament records that giants lived before the Flood and begot "mighty men" (Genesis 6:4). According to the book of Moses, giants dwelt in the land in Enoch's day (see Moses 7:15). Giants also lived after the Flood (see Numbers 13:33). The book of Ether describes the brother of Jared as "a large and mighty man" (Ether 1:34).

     The Genesis account records how people wanted to build a tower "whose top may reach unto heaven" (Genesis 11:4). The Book of Mormon says their purpose was "to build a tower sufficiently high that they might get to heaven" (Helaman 6:28). However, when God scattered them from the tower "they left off to build the city" (Genesis 11:8).

     The "caves of the mountain" spoken of in the Cholula tradition may, of course, refer to literal caves. Other traditions about "caves," however, such as the one by Ixtlilxochitl and the account's own context of a flood of waters, may go back to the Jaredites' surviving their ocean journey. Book of Mormon references to "mountain waves" breaking upon them during that journey and their being "buried in the depths of the sea" (Ether 6:6; emphasis added) may help explain parts of the Chollula tradition.

     As noted, the spiral architecture of the first pyramid at Cholula was likely influenced by the Tower of Babel. The architecture of that pyramid's later superimpositions, on the other hand, are not of the spiral type. The many hundreds of pyramids that dot Central America, in fact, are of a square or rectangular design. Rather than being a later development, however, that rectangular design may actually have predated the first [spiral] pyramid that the Quinamis (Jaredites) built as well as the one in nearby Xochitecatl. Spiral buildings and pyramids are also found on the west coast of Mexico in the states of Colima and Jalisco.

     According to the Prophet Joseph Smith, people lived on the American continent from the time Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden, he declared, stood on the American continent (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. III, 74) The book of Moses records that many nations existed in the days of Enoch, to whom Enoch preached repentance (see Moses 7:9-13). This continent, therefore, would first have been inhabited by people around 4000 B.C.

     The people of Enoch, who built an ideal city called Zion (see Moses 7:19), may, in fact, have influenced the architectural design of later cities built on the American continent. We cannot assume that the city of Enoch did not have a temple or temples and other places of worship. And if they did have such temples, what architecture did they use? Why could not the remains of such structures have survived the Flood? Archaeologists, for example, date the earliest pyramidal structures in the vicinity of Mexico City--which were found underneath layers of lava--to "at least seven thousand years ago" (Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods, 115).



2000^      Morgan W. Tanner      "Jaredites," in To All the World: The Book of Mormon Articles: The Book of

                        Mormon Articles from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. Selected by Daniel

                        H. Ludlow, S. Kent Brown, and John W. Welch. Provo: FARMS, 2000, pp.



     The Jaredites date to the time of the great tower mentioned in the Old Testament (Gen. 11:1-9), which was built in or around Mesopotamia. . . .

     The Jaredite origin in the Old World probably dates to the third millennium B.C., which due to the scarcity of historical material presents obstacles to the use of comparative literature or archaeology. . . . no artifacts or writings identifiable as Jaredite have ever been found outside the Book of Mormon. . . .

     The Jaredites crossed the sea to the New World in eight "barges" in 344 days, driven by currents and winds. Their route is unknown. Perhaps, coincidentally, the North Pacific current takes about the same time to cross from Japan to Mexico (Sorenson, p. 111). The question of ancient long-distance sea travel has been much debated, but extensive indications have been found of pre-Columbian transoceanic voyaging (Sorenson and Raish). The Bering land bridge "is no longer recognized as the only scientifically acceptable theory to explain the means and timing of human entry into the New World" (Dixon, p. 27) . . .

     Ether compared the barges with Noah's ark (Ether 6:7). Thus it may be relevant that Utnapishtim, the Sumerian Noah in the Epic of Gilgamesh, similarly is said to ahve built his boat with a ceiling and water plugs, and to have waterproofed the entire inside with bitumen. Utnapishtim's story also recounts the raging winds that slammed water into the mountains and peole, vividly paralleling the Jaredites' experience of being driven by a furious wind (Ether 6:6)

     Stones were made to shine by the touch of God's finger to light these barges. Shining stones are not unique to the book of Ether. One reference to a shining stone in Noah's ark appears in the Jerusalem TAlmud, stating that a stone in the ark shone brightere in the night than in the day so that Noah could distinguish the times of day (Pesachim I, 1; discussed in CWHN 6:337-38, 349).


Note* See the 1992 notation for the Encyclopedia of Mormonism



2001^      ??            "Jaredties in Arabia?" (htpp://, January



     The Book of Mormon tells of the brother of Jared, who led his peole from the tower of Babel to the New World. From the Book of Mormon account, it seems likely that the Jaredites traveled through Arabia before crossing the ocean. All this supports the idea that the Brother of Jared is the "Ophir" of Genesis 10.


     Summary: This page covers the evidence that the jaredites traveled through Arabia, and not (as is commonlly thought) through Asia. The main points of evidence are:

     1. The uninhabited region suggests Araabia and not Asia.

     2. The mountainous country to the east (and the possible location oof Babel) makee Arabia the obvious route to the ocean.

     3. The "many waters" and reference to "beyond the sea in the wilderness" suggests Arabia and not Asia.

     4. "the great sea which divideth the lands" suggests the Indian ocean, not the Pacific ocean.

     5. The relatively small space devoted to the initial journey suggests it was not across Asia.

     6. The other Book of Mormon exodus, by Nephi, was also via Arabia.

     7. The children of Joktan, who parallel the Jaredites in other ways, went to Arabia.

     8. In the earliest times, the persian Gulf was the center of world shipping.


     Did all the childlren of Joktan gto to Arabia?

     The Book of Mormon talks of the Jaredites, a group who left the Bible record soon after the tower of Babel. On another page I suggest that the Jaredites were none other than some of the childen of Joktan from Genesis chapter 10.

     It is quite possible (even likely) that a righteous man would go in one direction while his brothers went in anotehr. So it is not a problelm if Ophir [the brother of Jared] went east adn the others went south. But is it possible that Jareds took the rest of his family to southern Arabia before going further?


[Question* What is the author trying to say?]


     The start of the Jaredites' journey


     According to the Book oif Mormon (Ether chapter 1), the brother of jared began his journey at the tower of Babel, when he prayed to the Lord that his langauge would not be changed.

     1:40. And it came to pass that the Lord did hear the brother of Jared, and had compassion upon him, and said unto him:

     1:41-42 Go . . . down into the valley [of Nimrod] which is northward. And there will I meet thee, and I wil go before thee into a land which is choice above all the lands of the earth.

     Does this mean that the main journey was in a n ortherly direction? No. The valley of Nimrod was simply a gathering place before the main journey began. It was probazbly chosen for convenience - perhaps even so opponents would not know their true direction of travel? Chapter 2 gives us clues as to their true direction of travel.


     The tower of Babel was at Eridu?

     Where was Babel? This is not crucial to the evidence, as the general location is not in doubt. But the specific location may add more useful infomation.

     It is usually assumled that Babel was the place we now call Babylon. However, the archaeological remains suggest that Babylon is too young to be the site of Babel. The great ziggurat was built in the Old Babylonian period (1667-1362 BC) and the city is only a few centureis older. So what is the answer?

     There is evendence (see the article by David Rohl in the Express, May 13th 1999) that the city of Babel was the city of Eridu. (This was the first city ever built in the world, according to the Babylonians.) The position of Eridu is interesting. In ancient times it was on the western side of the gulf (which is now a little smaller). This makes a southern route away from Babel even more likely.


[2001      Illustrated Map: Ancient location of Eridu.. ??, "Jaredties in Arabia?" (htpp://, January, 2001]


     In which direciton did the Jaredites travel?

     2:5 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded them that they should go forth into the wildlerness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been. This is the onlyl real clue to direction of travel. What direction was the wilderness that had never been inhabited?


Note* The author now displays a map showing the location in the Middle east of the descendnatns of Noah (from Genesis 10). He then asks, Which was the direction "where never had man been"?


[2001      Illustrated Map: Descendnats of Noah (from Genesis 10). ??, "Jaredties in Arabia?" (htpp://, January, 2001]


     * The east? This was already inhabited. JST Genesis 11:1: "And the whole earth was of the same langauge, and of the same speech. And it came to pass, that many journeyed from the east, and as they journeyed from the east, they found a plain in the land of Sinar, and they dwelt there in the plain of Shinar." If the people traveled from the east, then the east was already inhabited.


     * The north? Noah had landed in the mountains of Ararat, to the north, so that was already inhabited.


     * The west? The west from Babel takes us along the fertile crescent to the Mediterranean. Surely this must havbe been inhabited in the time between Noah and Nimrod, and anyway it hardly counts as a "wilderness."


     * The south? This is the onlly direction that makes sense. South of Babel is one of the most uninhabitable areaws of the world - the Arabian desert. Even today a large part of the Arabian peninsula, Rub' Al-Khali, is called "the empty quarter." In ancient times it could perfectly be described as "the widerness . . . that quarter where there never had man been."


[2001      Illustrated Map: "The empty Quarter". ??, "Jaredties in Arabia?" (htpp://, January, 2001]


     "many waters"

     Let us continue with Ether's description:

     2:6 And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges in which they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord.

     It is usually assumed that the "many waters" were lakes that no longer exist. Where would these lakes have been? On the mountaintops? That rules out the east and the north. Unless the lakes were much further off in the Russian Steppes. In which case, it is odd that the account mentions the waters, but not the mountains or the great distance - which would be much greater obstacles. So what are the "many waters"? If you were travelling from Babel to southern Arabia, the sensible route would be to aavoid the wilderness (the deserts and caostal salt plalins) by travelling by sea down the "many waters" of the Persian gulf, and whatever other lakes were present in ancient times.


     "beyond the sea in the wilderness"

     2:7 And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness.

     Note that this refers to many waters, but just one sea. A single sea could be described as "many waters." this agaain suggest that he Jaredites did not travel west, but south. "Beyond the sea in the wilderness" is what you would find it you traveled south down the Persian gulf - yoj eventually hit land againn, further down the Arabian peninsula.


     "that great sea which divideth the lands"

     2:13 . . . the Lord did bring jared and his brethren forth even to that great sea which divideth the lands. And as they came to the sea they pitched their tents; and they called the name of the place Moriancumer; and they dwelt in tents, and dwelt in tents upon the sseashore for the space of four years.

     "The great sea that divided the lands" - which lands? The Jaredites knew there may be a "promised" land somewhere, but the only lands they knenw about so far were Asia, Arabia, Africa, and posibly India. The only great sea they would have khnown of that divided lands was what we now call the Indian Ocean. (The Mediterranean does not count, as you do not cross a sea in the wilderness to reach it.


     The length of the journey

     We are told how long the Jaredites camped on the seashore, and later (Ether 6:11) how long they took on the ocean. But we are not told how long the journey to the seashore took. Presumably the first leg of the journey was not as long.

     The space given to the first part of the journey also suggtest it was not excessively long. The entire first leg of the journey (from the valley of Nimrod to the ocean) is covered in one short verse (Ether 2:6, quoted above).

     Both these facts seem to make a Persian Gulf journey more likelly than a Russian Steppes journey.

     And so it goes on. The only other geographical detail we have is Mount Shelem (the high mountain where the brother of Jared saw the Lord). If my conclusion is correct, the natural candidate for this would be Jabal Ah Sham in modern Oman.


     Nephi: same purpose, same place

     Book of Mormon readers will be familiar with the story of Nephi, . . . He went straight down the Arabian peninsula, paused at the seashore, then crossed the ocean. Those who have followed the FARMS research will know that the southern part of Arabia contains some fertile areas that would provide everything a person might need for a long oceanic voyage. Why shouldn't the Jaredites have done the same thing (althgouh on the other side of Arabia)?


     The Persian gulf colonised the world

     The Persian gulf was one of the earliest trading centers in the world. Any peoples who settled there would have access by sea to the entire old world, and would spread their ideas far and wide in the earliest period.

     Fragments of the world's earliest ocean-going boat were discovered in this region. The boat, discovered in Oman (just where the Jaredites would have been) in 1993, dated from around 2300 BC. (See New Scientist 26 June 93 p. 4 for details). IT appears that regular journeys were made between this region and the Indus valley. This is just what Thor Heyerdahl had been daying for years - that the ancients were capable of ocean voyages, and that the earliest center of world trade was the Persian Gulf.

     According to "Savage Seas" p. 16 (for references, see "Jaredites in the Bible"), the first "modern" navigators we know of were from the Persian Gulf. Scientiests at present date these to 7000 BC.

     Legends suggest that the early Joktanians from Southern Arabia ventured far and wide: to Cush (Africa), and even Chaldea and Assyria before the better known empires arose there. Some evidence says Phoenicians came from soutthern Arabia via Egypt (Wm Smith 1:94).

     This also explains why Jaredite-sounding legends come from as far away as Persia (Ram and Rud, as described by Nibley) and China (the first Chinese emperor and his shining stones from a mountian). The peole of the Persian gulf spread their culture wide.


     Did most of the children of Joktan stay behind in LArabia?

     Given that the journey was so dangerous, it seems likely that some would choose not to finally laulnch into an unknown ocean. This would seem to be born out by Ether 6:16, whcih indicates that 22 people (plus young children) arrived in America. Contrast this with what is implied about the numbers who started the journey from Babel in chapter 1:

     1:41 Go to and gather together thy flocks, both male and female, of every kind; and also of the seed of the earth of every kind; and thy families; and also Jared thy brother and his family; and also thy friends and their families, and the friends of Jared and their families.

     Jared's family, his friends families (plural), Jared's brother's family and his friends families (again, in the plural). At the bare minimum that is five families, probably many more. Are we to believe that each family had only four people? For comparison, Genesis 10 says that Joktan had ten sons. If that is tyical of the time, and peole had an eual number of daughters, thena single family could easily have numbered more than twenty two. And that is before we count grandparents, cousins, etc. So many or most of the five or more families who started the journey from Sinar must have stayed behind.


     Mahonri Moriancumr

     Some LDS readers may know the brother of Jared as Moahonri Moriancumr. But I am going to suggest that he was also known as Ophir. I am not a Hebrew scholar, but it should be noted that this Mahonri Moriancumr may be a title rather than a given name. None of teh other people of this time seem to ahve had two names. . . .

     While it may not be proven, it is highly likely that the Book of Mormon Jaredites and the Bible Joktanians are one and the same.


Note* This is the first time that the theory of Jaredite travel from Babylon south to the southern coast of Oman has been proposed. WHO WROTE THIS ARTICLE? See the 2005 George Potter notation.



2001^      James Warr            A New Model for Book of Mormon Geography,

              , website copyrighted in 2001



     James Warr writes:

     The original landing place of the Jaredites would have been along the Pacific coast of Chiapas, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador or Nicaragua sometime between 2000-15000 B.C. This location correlates with the Ocos and Barra phase archaeological sites which date to the early Formative period (1500-900 BC). The Jaredites (as the Formative and Early Olmec) inhabited Central America from Honduras (I contend from Nicaragua) to Guerrero Mexico.


Note* In 2004 John Clark would critique this model. In talking about the Land Northward (and indirectly about the possible landing site of the Jaredites) he writes:

     12. Jaredites, Olmecs, and occupation in the land southward.

     I have long considered this a possible weakness of the Sorenson model. Many "ifs" are in play with this criterion, however, and it involves a reversal of previous logioc that relies on locating the narrow neck to identify correctly the lands northward and southward. Reversing the logic requires one first to identify the land northward and then use this knowledge to hoome in on the narrow neck. As many Latter-day Saint authors have argued, the Olmecsa re the best candidates for Jaredites. If one assumes that the Olmecs were Jaredites, as Warr does, and if one further assumes that the Jaredites stayed in theland northward and only ventured into theland southward for hunting trips, as the text imples, then the land southward would have to be south of known Olmec occupations. Because Olmecs lived on both sides of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, all the way to El Salvador, it follows that Tehuantepec cannot be the narrow neck of land. I give Warr's proposal the edge on this criterion, as he has set it up. I consider this a serious criticism that needs to be addressed, but it rides on many "ifs." When real-world expectations do not accord with texttual expectations, we can derive one of several conclusions: first, that we have focused on the wrong region or, second, that we pomay be interpreting the text incorrectly. I expect to see some movement on Warr's criticism in the future. (John E. Clark, "Searching for Book of Mormon Lands in Middle America," Provo: FARMS, 2004.)



2001      John Heinerman            Hidden Treasures of Ancient American Cultures, Springville: Cedar

                              Fort, Incorporated, 2001.


Ether 1:33 The Great Tower:


     John Heinerman writes that on August 13, 1521, the last Aztec ruler of Tenochtitlan surrendered to the "bloody butcher" Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes at Tlatelolco in the northern part of the Aztec capital in Mexico. Soon thereafter a determination was made that these heathen Aztecs needed Christianizing in order to save their own poor pagan souls from the devil idolatry in which they were heavily steeped. Between 1524 and 1533, three Catholic orders of friars--the Franciscans, the Dominicans, and the Augustinians--came from Spain to the New World for this very purpose. No slack was cut for any Aztecs who wished to stick with their old heathen beliefs and ways--they were summarily executed on orders from the friars.

     There came also from Spain to Mexico, with one of these missionary groups, a young child, Diego Duran, with his family. His father held a position of some importance in the Spanish colonial government. The boy witnessed numerous Aztec slaves being branded in the homes of his relatives; this event played a great role in his decision to become a priest when he grew up so that he might help alleviate some of the suffering and terrible injustices then being regularly imposed on the subdued natives by their cruel conquerors. In his late teens he entered the Dominican Order as a novice, later to become a deacon int he convent there.

     Awhile after this he was dispatched to the convento at Oaxtepec, where he was influenced by "a most honest priest," who is thought to have been Fray Francisco de Aguilar. Aguilar had been a soldier under Cortes before entering the Dominican Order and had much to tell young Duran about the conquest. Duran speaks frequently of him in his History of the Indies of New Spain. Aguilar himself had experienced a gradual change of heart while still a conquistador and felt sympathetic toward the Aztecs; by entering the Catholic priesthood he hoped it might, in part, atone for some of his previous sins committed against the oppressed people while still a soldier. It was Aguilar, in fact, who helped to greatly expand in young Fray Duran the kindly feelings and respect for the Aztecs which he had felt as a child. Aguilar wisely counseled him to seek out those elderly informants who knew something of the history of these people and interview them with the idea of keeping a written record of what they knew before it became permanently lost upon their deaths.

     Some time later, Fray Duran received an appointment from his superiors in Mexico City to become the vicar in Hueyapan, a town high on the southern slopes of the volcano Popocatepetl; the Dominican convento there dates from 1563 and is still in use today. In that Nahuatl-speaking region Duran found numerous informants for his eventual History. His fluency in the native tongue of the Aztecs was learned as a child and served him well while stationed there. One of the important characteristics of his research is that he ventured into rural areas, questioning the old and young in their own language, observing their customs, and always searching for ancient documents, which he felt could parallel some of the more ancient history of mankind that is found in Genesis of the Old Testament. In his search for such evidence and in concert with his daily missionary work among the native people, he discovered pictorial manuscripts that he incorporated into his history; unfortunately these and old native maps also acquired were not preserved as they should have been. No other friar of the time, not even the more famous Franciscan Father Bernardino de Sahagun, whose own encyclopedic account of Aztec culture is without compare, could match so fully this priest's wide access to the natives or their readily-gained trust.

     One of the traditions that Diego Duran became particularly interested in was the very old Aztec legends having to do with the great Tower. Fray Duran came across one elderly Aztec gentleman who was able to recall with vivid clarity the traditions about the Tower which had been handed down among his people over many successive generations. Here in Duran's own words is a narrative of that amazing account:

     An aged man from Cholula, about one hundred years old, began to describe their [Aztec origins to me. He began thus:

     In the beginning, before light or sun had been created, this world lay in darkness and shadows and was void of every living thing. It was all flat, without a hill or ravine, surrounded on all sides by water, without even a tree or any other created thing. And then, when the light and sun were born in the east, men of monstrous stature appeared and took possession of this country. These giants, desirous of seeking the birth of the sun and its setting, decided to seek [dawn and dusk], and they separated into two groups. One band walked toward the west and the other toward the east. The latter walked until the sea cut off their route; from here they decided to return to the place from which they had set out, called Iztac Zolin Inemian which means 'Where white quails dwell'].

     Not having found a way to reach the sun but enamored of its light and beauty, they decided to build a tower so high that its summit would reach unto heaven. And gathering materials for this building, the giants found clay for bricks and an excellent mortar with which they began to build the tower very swiftly. When they had raised it as high as they could--and it seemed to reach to heaven--the Lord of the Heights became angry and said to the inhabitants of the heavens, 'Have you seen that the men of the earth have built a proud and lofty tower in order to come up here, enamored as they are of the light of the sun and its beauty? Come, let us confound them, for it is not right that these earthlings, made of flesh, mingle with us.' Then swift as lightning those who dwell in the heavens came out from the four regions of the world and tore down the tower that had been constructed. And the giants, bewildered and filled with terror, separated and fled in all directions.

     That is how [this] Indian related[d] the creation of the world with giants and the tower of Babel. Therefore, I am convinced and wish to convince others that those who tell this account heard it from their ancestors; and these natives belong, in my opinion, to the lineage of the chosen people of God for whom He worked great marvels. And so [a] knowledge of the things told in the Bible and its mysteries have passed from hand to hand, from father to son [over many long generations].


     Similar legends exist about the great Tower in other parts of Mexico. Edward King Kingsborough, a British lord and man of some considerable means, spent his entire fortune in publishing over a period of 17 years (1831-1848) a massive nine-volume folio set entitled, Antiquities of Mexico. Unfortunately, Lord Kingsborough died penniless in debtor's prison. The end result of all his efforts was a printing and binding bill exceeding one million dollars and a giant repository of facsimiles of many ancient Aztec scrolls, maps, paintings, and parchments filled with hieroglyphics that were locked away in storage in a number of the world's great museums and private libraries, which the general public and most scholars were denied access to.

     Yet from this huge work (8:25;27) comes the following legend about the great Tower:

     An ancient manuscript of the primitive Indians of that province [the Mexican state of Chiapas], who had learned the art of writing, had retained the constant tradition that the father and founder of their nation was Teponahuale, which signifies, 'Lord of the hollow piece of wood [or barge].' And that he was present at the building of the Great Wall, for so they named the Tower of Babel. And beheld with his own eyes the confusion of tongues. After which event, God, the Creator, commanded him to come to these extensive regions, and to divide them among mankind. They affirm that at the time of the confusion of tongues, there were seven families who spoke the same language, which was Nahuatl, that which is still spoken by the Aztec Mexicans. And since they understood each other, they united and, forming a single company, proceeded on their journey through diverse lands and countries as chance directed them, and without any particular destination in search of a convenient habitation. And having traveled during a century, passing in the interval mountains, rivers and arms of the sea, which they noted down in their paintings, they arrived at the place which they named their first settlement. [It was] in the Northern part of this kingdom, which they named Tlapaln, which signifies red country, on account of the soil being of that color.


     These are but two examples which are typical of the many different Native American legends concerning the great Tower. [John Heinerman, Hidden Treasures of Ancient American Cultures, pp. 95-99]




Ether 1:33 The Great Tower:


     According to John Heinerman, President Brigham Young claimed that,

     "the City of Enoch was caught up a little ways from the earth, and that the city was within the first sphere above the earth. And [Nimrod and his people imagined] that if they could get a tower high enough, they might get to heaven, where the City of Enoch and the inhabitants thereof were located. So they went to work and built a tower.


     But, notes Heinerman, Brigham Young got his ideas from that great earthly fountainhead of eternal knowledge, the Prophet Joseph Smith himself. According to the Nauvoo Journal of George Laub, Joseph gave a discourse on April 13, 1843 in which he stated: "Now I will tell [you] the designs of building the tower of Babel. It was designed to go to the city of Enoch, for the veil was not so thick that it hid it from their sight. So they concluded to go to the city of Enoch, for God gave him place above this impure earth."

     Apostle Orson F. Whitney rightly called the construction of this Great Tower to that suspended city in the atmosphere, "the mightiest engineering feat" ever accomplished, involving very "cunning skills."

     It is also noteworthy that according to the apocryphal Book of Jasher (9:38) it took a man "three days' walk" to completely go around the Tower, obviously showing its enormous circumference. [John Heinerman, Hidden Treasures of Ancient American Cultures, pp. 121, 123]




Ether 1:41 Go To and Gather Together . . . Seed of the Earth of Every Kind:


     John Heinerman reports that above anything else the Sumerians were great agriculturists. It was they who gave us the world's first "Farmer's Almanac" before anyone else did. An American archaeological expedition digging in Iraq in 1949-50, found a three by four inch clay tablet covered with cuneiform inscriptions. After the artifact was baked, cleaned, and mended in a university museum laboratory in Philadelphia, practically its entire text became legible enough to be read and deciphered. Samuel Noah Kramer states in his History Begins At Sumer that the restored document, 108 lines in length, consists of a series of instructions addressed by a farmer to his son for the purpose of guiding him throughout his yearly agricultural activities, beginning with the inundation of the fields in May-June and ending with the cleaning and winnowing of the freshly harvested crops in the following April-May.

     Other inscribed clay tablets of the same period (about 3,500 years ago) speak of planting vegetable gardens and how they should be arranged and laid out. Natural insect and weed control measures ware given, too. Kramer also noted that "one of the more significant horticultural techniques practiced in Sumer from the earliest days was shade-tree gardening-that is, the planting of broad shade trees to protect the garden plants from sun and wind. [John Heinerman, Hidden Treasures of Ancient American Cultures, pp. 107-108]



Ether 1:43 There Will I . . . Raise Up unto Me of Thy Seed . . . a Great Nation:


     In Ether 1:42-43 we find that the Lord promised the brother of Jared that,

     I will go before thee into a land which is choice above all the lands of the earth. And there will I bless thee and thy seed, and raise up unto me of thy seed, and of the seed of thy brother, and they who shall go with thee, a great nation. And there shall be none greater than the nation which I will raise up unto me of thy seed, upon all the face of the earth.


     While a "great nation" implies a righteous nation, it also implies a prosperous nation. According to John Heinerman, the people who followed Jared and his brother truly had access to that cultural knowledge to make themselves into such a "great nation."

     Heinerman notes that Arthur C. Custance was correct when he declared in his book Genesis and Early Man that the technology of the ancient Sumerians "had achieved a level of technical proficiency greater than that to be found in many parts of Europe just prior to the Industrial Revolution." Hans E. Wulff mentioned in Technology and Culture Science that stone and metal tumbler locks are "of great antiquity . . . dating back to about 2000 B.C.," being found even "in the ruins of ancient Nineveh."

     One need look no further than the Sumerian culture itself to find not only an advanced technology but also an equally high social order in place at the time that the Great Tower was under construction. In his book, The Sumerians historian Samuel Noah Kramer discussed the some 360,000 inhabitants of Ur (the capital of Sumer) enjoying "the potter's wheel, the wheeled vehicle, the sailboat," highly developed metallurgy, amazing "architectural techniques" that included 'stone foundations and platforms, niched cells, painted walls, mosaic-covered columns, and impressive facades," not to mention a decimal system of mathematics and a flourishing literary output to rival that of the Greeks at least 1,500 years later. Furthermore, illiteracy was virtually non-existent, as even the most common citizens had easy and ready access to free education from the many libraries, academies and vocational schools that dominated the intellectual and industrial landscapes then.

     The archaeological evidence from Sumer also suggests superb metalworks of gold, silver, copper, and bronze, some iron machinery and tools.

     In an early work by Kramer, History Begins At Sumer are listed "39 firsts in recorded history" accomplished by these people. Kramer described these very gifted, highly talented, and definitely practical people as being the "first true geniuses" upon whose works all later Old World civilizations were built. [John Heinerman, Hidden Treasures of Ancient American Cultures, pp. 102-103, 110]



Ether 2:2 They Did Also Prepare a Vessel, in Which They Did Carry With Them the Fish of the Waters:


     According to John Heinerman, fishing activity and a thriving fishing industry were already in place and served as a major source of Sumer's food supply, especially during construction of the Great Tower on the plains of Shinar. However, it is interesting that the world's first glass fish aquarium was built in Sumer by some unidentified individual, who, according to historian Samuel Noah Kramer, "for one reason or another was an ardent lover of fish." A single cuneiform clay tablet, appropriately called by archaeologists the "Home of the Fish" document, "begins with a reassuring announcement that the speaker has built a house for the fish, large, spacious, and unapproachable, and provided it with fine food and drink, especially beer and sweet cookies." The speaker then urges his friends and acquaintances to join him in his "house of fish" and watch various live specimens swim around, while enjoying the food, snacks, and free beer and wine provided for that occasion.

     The Book of Mormon tells of a similar portable aquarium being constructed by the Jaredites at the time they were told to abandon their residences near "the great tower at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people" (Ether 1:33) and venture forth into the wilderness under the guiding influence of God. "And they did also prepare a vessel, in which they did carry with them the fish of the waters" (Ether 2:2). The ancient "Home of the Fish" tablet mentions sixteen different fish, only a few of which can be described with some reasonable degree of certainty--the carp, the sturgeon, the catfish, and the trout. [John Heinerman, Hidden Treasures of Ancient American Cultures, Springville: Cedar Fort, Incorporated, 2001, pp. 106-107]




Ether 6:2 [The Stones] Did Give Light unto the Vessels:


     According to John Heinerman, the problem with the F.A.R.M.S. article is that it looks at a spiritually generated procedure from an entirely secular point of view. No one has ever considered the priesthood virtue emanating from our Lord constantly as being the TRUE SOURCE for the stones' continuous illumination. Now this virtue is an interesting thing to explore, for it sheds a great deal of understanding on how light came to be in otherwise dull rocks. The Prophet Joseph Smith, who felt this light or power often in his own life, referred to this peculiar virtue of the priesthood as "the spirit of life." It would leave while blessing little children sometimes; and a small portion of it certainly left our Lord when the woman with the blood issue touched the hem of Jesus' garment and was promptly made whole again (Matthew 9:20).

     The virtue of the holy priesthood has been described in different ways by those who've felt it surging through their own bodily systems on various occasions. In his autobiography, Apostle Orson F. Whitney mentioned it "ran like liquid flame to the very tips of my fingers," while in the act of administering to a sick sister, who was instantly healed the moment it surged into her own body from his.

     Consider what happened in ancient times with the Old Testament prophet Elisha. He was a man obviously filled with a great deal of this eternal priesthood element in life, as evidenced by the many great miracles he performed for others. Upon his death, as written in 2 Kings 13:20-21, his body was entombed in the usual sepulcher reserved for such purposes. In time, the elements of nature claimed the flesh of his corpse, leaving only the skeletal remains behind. Now a band of marauding Moabites had invaded the land "at the coming in of [a certain] year." One of their number was slain and in making a hasty retreat "they cast the [dead] man into the sepulcher of Elisha; and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet" on account of the priesthood virtue which still remained in the prophet's weathered bones. [John Heinerman, Hidden Treasures of Ancient American Cultures, pp. 136-137142]


Ether 6:7 [Their Vessels] Were Tight Like unto the Ark of Noah:


     According to John Heinerman, the archaeological evidence from Sumer suggests, among other marvelous inventions, the use of asphalt. In the time of the Great Tower, asphalt was in common use for things such as road making, roofing and waterproofing. According to Henry Frederick Lutz's translation of Sumerian Temple Records of The Late Ur Dynasty, asphalt was a frequent part of temple inventories at the time. And The Septuagint Version of The Old Testament and Apocrypha informs us that "the brick was to them for stone, and their mortar was bitumen," during the construction of the Tower itself. Perhaps that's why one third of it burned so well when the Lord struck it with lightning, while a great earthquake took down another third of it, leaving just a mere third standing in ruble (see Jasher 9:38).

     It isn't unreasonable to assume that Jared and his brother Mahonri Moriancumer and those who went with them across the inland seas of Asia to the coasts of China, took along some of this same bitumen with them to use in their own barges that God inspired them to make with which to cross the mighty oceans. We know for sure that Noah used it extensively when he built the ark. In a rare, out-of-print archaeological magazine called Records of The Past, George Smith presented some new data about Noah that had come from several cuneiform tablets found in the ancient palace library of King Assurbanipal of Nineveh around 660 B.C.

     We learn from these clay documents that the ark was at least as tall as a six-story building. Noah divided "it into seven compartments; [and] its floors [were] divided into nine chambers each." It also contained a short mast and rudder pole with which to give the huge vessel better steering capabilities. Noah gave the ship a trial launch but soon discovered it leaking like a sieve in a number of places. So he, his sons and their assorted servant laborers took buckets of bitumen and coated everything inside and out with several layers of this black gooey stuff; they followed it up with a hard shellac covering for good measure. [John Heinerman, Hidden Treasures of Ancient American Cultures, pp. 110-111]


Ether 6:7 Like the ark of Noah (Illustration): Building the Ark. [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gospel Art, #102]



2002      Terryl L. Givens            By the Hand of Mormon, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.


     On page he quotes Joseph Smth from Dean C. Jessee, ed. The Papers of Joseph Smith, vol. 1, Autobiographical and Historial WRitings (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book 1989, 432-33.) FIND SOURCE AND THEN TRANSFER TO 1830s OR 1840s.




     On page 106 Terryl Givens notes:

     In 1879, [Orson] Pratt prepared a historic edition of the Book of Mormon. It was distinctive for its being the first version organzied into chapters and verses. But it was also significant for its incorporation of some 75 geographical comments and identifications into the footnotes. In these, he [notes] the Jaredites . . . were brought by the the Lord "upon the western caost of North America," "probably South of the Gulf of California."



2003^      Chris Heimerdinger            Tennis Shoes Adventure Series: Tower of Thunder. American Fork:

                              Covenant Communiations , 2003.


     Although this is a fictional novel about the Tower of Babel, among other things, it is based on research by Chris Heimerdinger, which he notes at the end of every chapter. Some interesting ideas which he notes are as follows:


     Notes to Chapter 2 [pp. 44-46]

     The Tower of Babel is one of the least understood subjefcts in the earth's history. All that we know officially of the edifice and the events surrounding it are recorded in the first nine verses of chapter ll in the book of Genesis. Somewhat more can be learned from various tracts of apocryphal literature, including the book of Jasher, the workds of Josephus, the book of Jubilees, and others. But the information is often conflicting and does little to fully illuminate the circumstances and history. . . .

     There are reportedly some six hundred "flood" traditions among peoples as seemingly disparate as the Navajo and the Chinese. For instance, records from Ninevah taht date back to 1700 to 2000 B.C tell the Epic of Gilgammesh, wherein a man named Utnapishtim received divined warnings of a flood, built a huge ark, preserved human and animal life, sent out birds, and offered sacrifices. For many historians this is actually the oldest flood account on record (Jean Bottero, Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia, 214-215 [Johns Hopikins University Press, 2001], 214-15). Like most such traditions, this epic mixes in the people's deities and flavor, but the essesnce of the story--a universal flood whierein a small number of humans and animals were sdaved in a floating vessel--generally remains the same. . . .


     The Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Quiche Mayas, tells of a great flood preapared by "Heart of Sky" to pounish the disobediaent because "they did not remember their Framer or their Shaper. They walked however they pleased." Later it narrates that the langauge of all the families gathered at Tulan was confused and that none could understand each other's speech (Allen J. Christensen Popol Vuh, FARMS, 2000); (Brasseur de Bourbourg, Histoire des nations civilises du Mexique (1857-59), vol. 1, 72).

     A similar Andean tradition was recorded by Sarmiento de Gamboa. Lilke other accounts, it places the confusion of languages after the Deluge (GAmboa, Historia de los Incas, 7).

     From Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl, a Mexican nobleman who wrote the history of his ancestors in spaniksh, we have the following account:

     And it is recorded in the Tulteca history that this period oor first world as they called it, lasted for 1,716 years, after which time great lightning and storms from the heavens destroyed mankind, and everything in the earth was covered by water, incluidng the highest mountain called Caxtolmolicli, which is 15 cubits high.

     To this they recorded other events, such as how after the flood, a few people who had escaped the destrcution inside a Toptlipetlacalli, which interpreted means an enclosed ark, began again to multiply upon the earth.

     After the earth began again to be populated, they built Zacualli very high and strong, which means the very high tower, to protect themselves against a second destruction of the world.

     As time elapsed, their langauge became confounded, such that they did not understand one antoher; and they were scattered to all lparts of the world (Ixtlilxochitl, Obras Historicas, ed., Alfredo Chavero, vol. 1, ch. 1, 1892).


     Notes to Chapter 4 [pp. 91-93]

     Nimrod, the son of Cush, the grandson of ham, and the great-grandson of NOah, has always been a shadowy figure in biblical history. . . .

     It is credit to the Joseph Smith Translation that the classification of "mighty hunter before the Lord" is rephrased as "a mighty hunter in the land" (JST, Gen. 10:5). This is more in agreement with all of the apocryphal literature on the subject, which unanimously defiens him as a figure of great evil. The name actually denotes "one who rebvels" or "come, let us rebel."

     The Jerusalem Targum reads, "He was mighty in hunting (or in prey) and in sin befoe God, for he was a hunter of the children of men in their langauges, and he said unto them, Depart from the religioin of Shem, and cleave to the institutes of Nimrod." The Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel says, "From the foundations of the world none was ever found like Nimrod, poerful in hunting, and in rebellions against the Lord." The Syriac calls him a "warlike giant." The word tsayid, which we render hunter, signifies prey; and it is applied in the scriptures to the hunting of men by persecution, oppresssion, and tyranny. hence it is liikkely that Nimrod, having acquired power, used it in tyrannya nd oppression; and by rapione and violence, he founded the first kingdom since the days before the flood (Clarke, Bible Commentary [World Bible Publishing Co., 1986], 1:86).

     Hugh Nibley points out that in an age when Melchizedek established a Zion after the pattern of Enoch, the prototype of the true city of God, Nimrod established Babylon--a name that would, throughout history, be used to symbolize the prototype of the ikingdom of Satan, the antithesis of Zion (Nibley, Lehi in the Desert [Deseret Book, 1988], 154-64).


     Notes to Chapter 7 [pp. 153-154]

     There have been occasional efforts to try and tie the ancestors of the Jaredites to specific individuals or genealogical lines mentioned in the Old Testament. One suggestion, as noted in Reynlolds and Sjodahl's commentary on the Book of Mormon (Deseret Book, 1961) is to tie jared to a son of the Hebrew patriarch, Joktan, the son of Eber (or heber). Eber is, of course, the source name for the Hebrews. Eber had two sons--Peleg and Joktan. The Bible offers considerable information about the descendants of Peleg, including Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. But on the line of Joktan--one-half of the Hebrew lineage--it names twelve sons and stops. The line comes abruptly to an end. By traditioin this group is purported to have settled in southern Arabia, the smae location where it has been suggested that the Jaredites embarked on the first leg of their journey to the New World (see Ether 2:6-7).


[Note* J. M. Sjodahl first notes this relationship in a 1939 article, "The Jaredite Lands," in The Improvement Era, June, 1939, p. 336. More information is included in Volumes 2, 4, 6 of the Reynolds and Sjodahl Book of Mormon Commentary series, which started in 1955 - one volume being published almost each year. See the notations for these volumes.]


     Among these twelve sons of Joktan is Jerah. "Jared" is proposed by Reynolds and Sjodahl as an alternate pronunciation of Jerah. If this is true, the one of Jaerah's brothers would have to be Mahonri Moriancumr. None of the Twelve sons of Joktan has a name that even remotely resesmbles Mahonri or Moriancumr. However some intersting theings have been proposed about a son of Joktan named Ophir.

     The land of Ophir is mentioned sesveral times in the days of King Solomon as a place where ships were sent to obtain large amounts of gold, gems, and a precious wood called "almug." These itesm were then used in connstructing the pillars and other sections of Solomon's holy temple. . . . There was said to ahve been no wood like it seen in Israel prior to that time (1 Kigs. 10:11-12).

     Scholars are unsure of the location of Ophir. There is a vague reference from a sixteenth-century Spanish invader named Bochart, whcih proclaims that the land of Ophir is in the New World, specifically in Peru. This may have been a pet theory of Bochart that accounted for peru's vast gold treasureies, it may mean that the first generation of conquistadors had information connecting Ophir and the New World taht has since been lost. A twelfth-century Peruvian glylph has also been translated by explorer Gene Savoy as "Ophir" (Gene Savoy, the Esxplorer's Cllub of new York, vol. 76, no. 4, winter 1998/99).

     Other wild speculations have been that the name Yucatan is related to Joktan and that since the Vikings came to America to get wood, why not the ancient Israelites?


     A more reasonable suggestion may be that Ophir was located in India and that almug wood is sandalwood, which is still used to make fine instruments to this day (Bible Dictionary: Almug)


     Some have speculated that Mahonri Moriancumr is a title, and that Ophir was the actual name of the Brother of jared. This inference seems a bit of a stretch. lBut even if theland of Ophir is part of India, this still doesn't diescount the possibility that the name is related to the Jaredites. India could easilly have been the land from which the Jaredites embarked for the second leg of their journey to the New World. (Many forget that the Book of Mormon speaks of two separate water crossing for the Jaredites. See Ether 2:16; 6:4-12)




     In this novel the author has retained the idea that Joktan is an ancestor of Jared becausae of the strong connection between Joktan's descendants and the region of southern Arabia. He has ignored the correlation between Jerah and Jared only because Jerah seems to be assocaiatged with a period somewhat earlier than the Tower of Babel. He has also suggested that Ophir is indeed a name associated with the Jaredites by proposing that Op;hir was jared's grandfather, but such speculations carry no more weight than other specualtions. More research may be done in the future to strengthn this link between jared and the patriarchs of the Bible.



     Notes to Chapter 12 [p. 237]

     Jared's fear that his family might find themselges not understanding one another implies that this phenomenon affected every individual, or at least very small groups. . . .



     Notes to Chapter 18 [pp. 359-360]

     Many of the details regarding the destruction of the Tower of Babel are based upon accounts from sesveral ancient sources. In The Book of Jubilees it reports, "The Lord sent a mighty wind agaisnt the tower and overthrew it upon the earth" (Jubilees 10:26).


     From the Sybilline Oracles we have this account:

     Then the Immortal raised a mighty wind And laid upon them strong necessity; For when the wind threw down the mighty tower, Then rose among mankind fierce strife and hate. One speech was changed into many dialects, and earth was filled with divers tribes and kings (The Sibylline Oracles III, 97-107).


     In the Book of Jasher it reads:

     And as to the tower which the sons of men built, the earth op;ened its mouth and swallowed up one third part thereof, and a fire also descended from heaven and burned another third, and a the other third is left to this day, and it is of that part which was aloft, and its circumference is three days' walk. And many of the sons of men died in that tower, a pepole without number (Jasher 9:38-39)


     The Tractate Sanhedrin of the Babylonian Talmud also states, "A third of the tower was burnt, a third sank [into the earth] and a third is still stnading" (Tractate Sanhedrin XI (fol. 109A) of Seder Nezikin, p. 748).


     If a part of the tower was left standing, it may be unlikely that it resembles a man-made structure. We can speculate that its initial destruction, along with five millennia of natural decay, may have reduced it to rubble and covered it with enough topsoil that it now appears only as a large hill. Its location may still be in northern Iraq. . . .


     Furthermore, we have accounts of its manner of destruction from the new World. One legend recorded by pedro de los Ros concerns the pyramid of Cholula in Mexico. He writes that after the waters of the Deluge receded, one of the survivors began to build a large structure. "It was his purpose to raise the mighty edifice to the clouds, but the gods, offended at his presumption, hurled the fire of heaven down on the pyramid, many of the workmen perished, and the building remained unfinished" (J. G. Frazer, Folk Lore in the Old Testament, Vol. I [London, 1918].) Frazer adds that "It is said that at the time of the Spanish conquest the inhabitatns of Cholula preserved with great veneration a large aerolite, which according to them was the very thunderbolt taht fell on the pyramid and set it on fire" (CF. E. B. Tylor, Anahuac, 277).


     Another Mexican tradition, recorded by Diego Duran in 1579 (Historia de las Indias de Nueva Espana y las Islas de Tierra Firme I [Mexico, 1867], 6ff.) tells of giants who biult a tower that almost reached the heavens, when it was destroyed by a thunderbolt.





2003^      Duane R. Aston            The Other Side of Cumorah, Sacramento, California: American River

                             Publications, 2003.


     In part 2: "The Jaredite & Nephite Voyages to America" Duane Aston writes the following in chapter 13: "Jaredites and the Great Sea"[151-166]:

     The Book of Ether relates that Jared, with his brother and their families, came forth "from the great tower at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people" (1:33). While the exact location of the great tower (of Babel) is unknown, authorities believe that it was close to the ancient city of Babylon. The brother of Jared was commanded, with families and friends, to go "down into the valley which is northward," that was "down into the valley of Nimrod" (1:42, 2:4). Given that the valley of Nimrod was northward, it is possible that the valley referred to was that of the Euphrates River in ancient Mesopotamia. (Note 2)

     While the Jaredites gathered in a valley northward, there is no mention of their traveling northward. they were to merely gather in the valley, probably not far form the city of Babylon. It was there in that valley that the Lord would appear in a cloud to the brother of Jared (2:4).

     The brother of Jared was commanded by the Lord that the Jaredites were to "go forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been," and "they did travel in the wilderness" (2:5,6). Thus, instead of heading northward along a fertile river valley, here taken to be the Euphrates River, the Jaredites were to proceed out into a wilderness.

     The suggested wilderness lay to the west of ancient Babylon and a route across that wilderness leads directly to the Mediterranean Sea.


     The Wilderness Route

     From the map next presented, note that a well-traveled ancient path leading from Mesopotamia to ancient Lebanon would have rimmed the Assyrian Desert on the north, making a sort of semi-circular path that bordered the more fertile parts of the desert. this path thus followed the Euphrates River from Mesopotamia's Babylon, and ended in the vicinity of the ancient city of Palmyra. From there, one path led southwest to Damascus, the ancient city of Aram, of Abraham's time.

     However, instruction from the Lord were for the Jaredites to depart into the wilderness where man had never been. This suggests that instead of traveling the well-traveled river path northward, the Jaredites departed westward out into the Assyrian Desert, which in the days of the Jaredites, must surely have been a place where man had never been, in the sense of having dwelled there.

     The phrase, quarter, is interesting (2:5). The Arabian Peninsula is referred t in terms of "quarters." The southern quarter of Arabia is known as the "Empty Quarter," because of its entirely desolate desert condition. Thus the Assyrian Desert on the north can easily be seen as a "quarter" of what later on became the Arabian Peninsula.

     Why into the wilderness? The ways of the Lord have traditionally involved moving his chosen peoples through the desert. Thus the Jaredites quite possibly traveled from Babylon westward into the Assyrian Desert, traveling to the area of Damascus through the trials of desert travel rather than following the more traveled path through the more fertile parts of the Euphrates River valleys.

     From ancient Babylon a western wilderness journey would bring the Jaredites rather directly to the shores of a large sea, that after crossing, they could reach America.


[2003      Map 13A: Old World and the Jaredites: Their Journey to the Sea. A suggested route to the Mediterranean Sea for the Jaredites after leaving ancient Babylon. Mount Hermon, of biblical significance, lies along the suggested route. Duane R. Aston, The Other Side of Cumorah, Sacramento, California: American River Publications, 2003, p. 154]


     The Great Sea, Which Divideth the Land

     Consulting biblical maps that illustrate the kingdoms of Old Testament times, please notice that these maps identify The Great Sea, lying to the west of bible lands. This great Sea, in later centuries, is recognized as being the Mediterranean Sea. . . .

     Isn't it interesting that a "great sea," mentioned in Ether 2:13 was probably none other than the Mediterranean Sea? This would seem to make it clear that the Jaredites were led to the Mediterranean Sea, by the Lord. . . .


[2003      Map 13B: Jaredites and The Great Sea. Accounts from the Book of Ether mention a Great Sea, seen here as the traditional Great Sea of bible maps, thus suggesting that the Jaredites had reached the Mediterranean Sea. This might seem consistent with the Lord also leading Lehi to ancient Lebanon. Duane R. Aston, The Other Side of Cumorah, Sacramento, California: American River Publications, 2003, p. 156]


     Please refer to Map 13B.

     For the Lord "did bring Jared and his brethren forth even to that great sea which divideth the lands" (Ether 2:13). From the above map, please note that indeed the Mediterranean Sea is geographically a "great sea, which divideth the lands." It is known that the Mediterranean Sea is the world's largest inland body of water, and it divides the land. There is no other such large body of water in the world quite like it.

     It might also be noted that the name "Mediterranean" is derived from the Latin medius, or middle, and terra meaning earth or land.


     They Should Not Stop

     In the Book of Ether a statement is made that further substantiates the above notion. "And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness." It is interesting to analyze this statement. If one were typically sailing in a sea, how would it be possible to do anything except stop after crossing the sea? Does this not suggest that the sea in the wilderness must have been connected to another body of water? As it pertains to the Great Sea, this sea was connected to what we know today as the Atlantic Ocean. . . .


     Building Barges

     The colossal ark built by Noah falls into the category of a barge. It was not a ship, with neither a rudder or a sail, nor slopping sides. It was built to only float and to withstand the impact of being buried in huge waves. it was made of "gopher wood," a wood that authorities interpret to be either cyprus or cedar wood. These woods are of the evergreen family, relatively light in water, strong and mostly knot-free.

     Noah's "barge," is believed to have been made box-like in construction, thus making it almost impossible to capsize. It contained an opening near its roof to let in light, and it had a door on one side, near the bottom. According to biblical specifications, it may have had a cargo capacity of about 14,000 tons. When fully loaded, it sank in the water to a depth of one-half of its full height.

     The eight vessels of the Jaredites are referred to as "barges" in which "they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord" (2:6, 16-18). These barges are described as being "small" and "light upon the water," suggesting that they were built of lightweight wood, here suggested to have been either cyprus or cedar wood. . . .

     The Jaredite barges were tight in that they efficiently kept out water, even "like unto a dish." this does not mean that they were dish shaped, even though "the ends thereof were peaked." The length of the barge was "the length of a tree." Each had a "hole in the top and also int he bottom" (2:17-20). . . . Being small, they could be more simply constructed. Their smallness and lightness would have made them very strong against the forces of the water. . . .

     Although the Jaredite barges were continually "driven forth," all the way to their promised land by "a furious wind," one need not think that there were not periods of calm, perhaps even on a daily basis. Daily access to the outside deck of their barges would seem highly probable. Outside, the people could enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, converse with each other, and allow a fresh change of air to fill the barge.


[2003      Illustration: Jaredite Barge. A sketch of a workman looking down on one of eight wooden Jaredite barges. Sketch from American River Publications. Duane R. Aston, The Other Side of Cumorah, Sacramento, California: American River Publications, 2003, p. 159]


     Assuming that a Mediterranean/Atlantic crossing would involve something like 7,500 miles in the 344 days specified in Ether 6:11, this would mean an average distance of about 22 miles per day. thus even without a sail, 10 hours of high winds could have pushed the light Jaredite barges 22 miles per day, particularly if assisted by favorable ocean currents that also helped carry the vessels along. This is reasonable because a person can easily walk 22 miles in 10 hours.


     Barge Accommodations

     Upon the sea, the wind and waves may have separated the eight barges. thus it seems likely that the people in the barges might have climbed out on deck for the purpose of steering the barges, so that they did not become separated. Thus, it is also possible that some form of oars were also brought along with each barge to help move and guide the barges by manpower, as did the ancient Egyptians with their river barges. Even in high winds in not-so-bad waves, Jaredite sailors could have held on and used oars to steer the barges to remain within sight of each other. . . .


     Barge and Cargo

     Let us imagine that a single Jaredite barge was the size of a small room, with two end walls sloping upward forming a wedge or point, at the top. If the room were only about 18 feet long on the average, 12 feet wide, and 10 feet high, of watertight lightweight wood construction, when completely submerged in seawater it could support a weight of about 50 tons, including the weight of the barge.

     An estimate of the weight of the barge, plus cargo, consisting of people, supplies, and water, can be figured at about 9 tons. Thus, with 50 tons of lift acting against a weight of about 9 tons, the barge would float with more than 75% of the barge out of the water. As such, it would be "light upon the water," as the Jaredite barges supposedly were.

     With the flat end of the barge acting like a sail, 7-8 feet high out of the water, by 12 feet wide, it would offer strong winds a flat surface to blow against, and thus causing the barge to move through the water.

     The Jaredite barge may have been made with its shell made of planking, cut from strong cedar or cyprus wood. Fit tightly together, the planking could have been made waterproof using either tree sap or bitumen or pitch, just as Noah's "barge."


     Mount of Exceeding Height

     In Ether 3:1 it is mentioned that after eight vessels had been prepared, the brother of Jared "went forth unto the mount, which they called Shelem, because of its exceeding height," taking with him 16 small stones. These stones were "white and clear, even as transparent glass."

     These remarkable stones were to be used as sources of light for each of the eight Jaredite barges (Ether 3:1). While remarkable in concept, there are reasons to understand just how such a phenomenon may have been possible. . . .

     Other scholars have noted that in regards to the exceeding high mountain, "there is no such mountain on the Atlantic seaboard of Europe," suggesting that such a mountain could be found on the Asiatic shore of the Pacific. But as has been demonstrated, the Jaredites came to the Great Sea, and there is a mount of exceeding height lying just to the east of the Great Sea.

     Now if Mount Hermon was the place where the brother of Jared received the revelation of Jesus Christ, was it not fitting that this great event occurred on the Mount of Transfiguration? For that same mountain in later centuries would be the mountain whereon the Lord would communicate with Nephi, and even centuries later, where he would be transfigured before Peer, James and John. . . .


     On the Many Waters

     In their voyage to America, it is proposed that the Jaredites crossed both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Such a voyage would have involved 344 days upon the water, being driven by a "furious wind" (5:5,11). This time period seems consistent with a long voyage across the Mediterranean and the Atlantic waters, a possible total distance of about 7,500 miles. Thus the Jaredites would travel about 22 miles per day for these numbers.

     The voyage of Christopher Columbus, covering an estimated distance of about 3,600 miles in 70 days, would amount to an approximate sailing rate of about 51 miles per day, thus moving about twice as fast as assumed for the Jaredite barges. Columbus had his windless days in the Doldrums, but he was typically driven westward by wind.

     The Jaredite vessels were "tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind," and "many times buried in the depths of the sea" (Ether 6:5,6). Such turbulence would naturally cause their rate of travel to be much slower than vessels blown with wind in their sails.

     Once arriving at the shores of ancient North America it is not known just how the Jaredites got to the "narrow neck of land" at Niagara, wherein most Jaredite recorded events took place.

     It is possible that the Lord brought their barges up what is today the St. Lawrence waterway which in Jaredite times may have been navigable as far westward as present-day Lake Ontario. This would have brought the Jaredites in to lands northward to those of the Nephites.



Note* If the Jaredites first crossed the Mediterranean Sea, and without stopping crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and presumably (no mention is made contrary in the text) entered the St. Lawrence waterway, sailing through the Great Lakes before landing, then the Jaredite journey would be much longer than 7,500 miles. It would be more like 10,000 miles.


Note* Aston seems to be the first theorist to reason through a Mediterranean crossing. REVIEW HERE ALL THOSE WHO PROPOSED A MEDITERRANEAN / ATLANTIC CROSSING.



2003^      William J. Hamblin            "Jaredite Civilization," in Book of Mormon Reference Companion,

                              Dennis L. Largey ed., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003,

                             pp 435-436


     William Hamblin writes concerning the geography of the Jaredite record:

     The brtoad outlines of Jaredite geography are relatively clear, although the exact details are open to a range of interpretation. Based on the correlation of place names such as the "great tower" in Shinar/Sumer (Gen. 11:2, 4), and the "valley of Nimrod" (Ether 2:4), the name of a person who is associated with Mesoopotamian cities (Gen. 10:8-12), it is generally assumed that Jared and his brother originally lived in Mesopotamia. From there they migrated northward (Ether 2:1), and probably eastward (though this is ambiguous), crossing uninhabited territory (Ether 2:5) and "man waters" (Ether 2:6). All of this is consistent with migration through Central Asia, broadly following what is now called the Silk Road. From a temporary resting palce (Ether 2:13-14), presumably on the east coast of Asia, the Jaredites crossed the Pacific Ocean, landing on the west coast of the New World. A combination of archaeological and chronological information makes it plausible that the core lands of the Jaredites in the New World could well be equated with Mesoamerica.


     On the Chronology of the Jaredites he writes:

     The book of Ether does not provide sufficient calelndrical information to develop a precise chronology for the Jaredites. All attempted chronologies are founded upon one or more unverifiable assumptions. Nonetheless, a broad outline can be determined, limiting the range of chronological options.

     The beginning of Jaredite history is said to be at the time of the "great tower" described in the Bible (Ether 1:33; Omni 1:22; Gen. 11:1-9). Unfortunately, this great tower cannot be dated with certainty. By synchronizing the origin of Jaredite civilization with the beginning of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, it has been suggested that the Jaredite migration to the New World occurred around 3114 B.C. (John L. Sorenson, "The Years of the Jaredites," FARMS Preliminary Report, 1969, p. 4). Alternatively, if Peleg were the last of the Shemites to have lived before the age of the great tower (Gen. 10:25), and because Abraham lived five generation (191 years) after Peleg (Gen. 11:17-26), it can be speculated that the events surrounding the great tower occurred around two hundred years before Abraham. Because Abraham is generally thought to have lived during the Middle Bronze Age (2200-1550 B.C.), the date of the great tower-and the origin of the Jaredsites-would be somewhere within the range of about 2400 to 1750 B.C. The possible range of dates for the end of Jaredite civilizationc can be more precisely defined. The Jaredite state system had clearly collapsed by the time of Mosiah (ca. 130 B.C.), yet was still in existence after the arrival of the Mulekites sometime following the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. (Omni 1:15-16, 20-21). Thus, the origin and migration of the Jaredites to the New World can be dated some time between roughly 3100 and 1750 B.C. and their collapse some time between approximately 586 and 130 B.C. As noted below, this time broadly corresponds with the rise and fall of the Olmecs in Mesoamerica.




2205?^      George Potter            The Jaredites (Part 1) (Videotape) Produced by George Potter & Timothy



      Based on research by George Potter 7 Richard Wellington. Filmed entirely on location.

     For the first time, there is an evidence-based model for where the Jaredites built their ships and sailed to the Land of Promie. yes, there is collaborating Biblical and historical evidence that apeole called the jaredites crossed Arabia, buit ships and sailed away. This film explores the available evidence that supports this model and shows you the probable course the jaredites would have taken if they launched theird ships from southern Arabia.


     Note* This videotape presentation follows the reasoning outlined in George Potter's article "An Atlernative Model for the Jaredite Trail" (see the 2005 notation). Available through



2005^      George Potter            Driving the Jaredite Trail (Part 2) (Videotape) Produced by George Potter &

                        Timothy Sedor.


     How could the Jaredites have crossed the Arabian Empty Quarter, the world's larges sand desert? Watch our explorers show how they did it, as they drive the actual route they believe the Jaredites could have taken.


Note* This videotape presentation follows the reasoning outlined in George Potter's article "An Atlernative Model for the Jaredite Trail" (see the 2005 notation). Available through




2005^      George D. Potter      "An Alternative Model for the Jaredite Trail,"




     Refer to Map 001 in Map Room


     The purpose of this paper is to suggest a new approach for tracing the Jaredite exodus from Babel (Babylon/Shinar/Mesopotamia) to the New World: a trail through the heart of Arabia. Like the theories that have preceded it, this model is a supposition and should be considered in this light. [Note i] Prior models have been based on limited indirect evidence and have not led to the identification of a specific candidate trail or campsite. In full recognition of its speculative nature, the Arabian trail model will suggest a specific route and point of embarkation for the Jaredites.


     The Current Prevailing Hypothesis

     The common belief among the LDS community is that the Jaredites crossed Asia and embarked from China. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism summarizes the most commonly cited Jaredite model, the one formulated by Dr. Hugh W. Nibley:

     The Jaredites carried on the warring ways of the steppes of Asia "upon this north country" (Ether 1, 3-6). Issuing forth from the well-known dispersion center of the great migrations in western Asia, they accepted all volunteers in a mass migration (Ether 1:41-42). Moving across central Asia they crossed shallow seas in barges (Ether 2:5-6). Such great inland seas were left over from the last ice age (CWHN 5:183-85, 194-96). Reaching the "great sea" (possibly the Pacific), they built ships with covered decks and peaked ends, "after the manner of Noah's ark" (Ether 6:7), closely resembling the prehistoric "magur boats" of Mesopotamia. [Note ii]


     J. M. Sjodahl summarizes the popular version first formulated by Elder George Reynolds:

     According to this theory, which Mr. Reynolds characterizes as a supposition, merely, the Jaredites went in a northerly direction from the Valley of Nimrod as far as the Caspian Sea, which they crossed; then, turning eastward, they journeyed along the Central Asia plateau; thence to the Pacific seaboard, most probably on the coast of China. Elder Reynolds does not state this as a proven fact. What is actually revealed is that their journey was a long one; beyond the limits of the inhabited world at that time. [Note iii]


     The Book of Mormon does not state the direction they traveled from the Valley of Nimrod nor does it describe geographical features unique to Asia. Their journey was not beyond the then inhabited world. These areas were to some degree inhabited, but were simply not known to many in the Near East. The proponents of the Asia model suggest that the "many waters" (Ether 2:5) they crossed were lakes left over in Asia from the ice age. There are no specific words in the Book of Mormon that state they crossed "inland sea". The "sea in the wilderness" might mean that the body of water they came to was in the wilderness, i.e. the Red Sea (not a landlocked sea). This is in the wilderness (Ether 2:5-6), and the "many waters" they crossed might even have been the great rivers of Europe.

     The Asia model is rooted in a set of assumptions that may not be valid. The assumptions are derived from interpretations of verses 5, 6, 7, 13 and 16 of the second chapter of the Book of Ether. Let's review the important ideas in these verses:

     (1)      The Lord commands them that they should go forth in to the wilderness, (v. 5)

     (2)      Into that quarter where there never had man been. (v. 5)

     (3)      They did build barges which they used to cross many waters (v. 6)

     (4)      The Lord would not suffer that they stop at the sea in the wilderness, but they went straight to the promised land. (v. 7)

     (5)      They built barges like those they had previously built (v. 16)

     (6)      The Lord brought them "even to that great sea which divideth the lands. (v. 13)


     Now let's consider the main points of each verse and discuss why they might not fit into an Asia model:

     (1) The Lord led the Jaredites into a wilderness. After leaving the valley of Nimrod and the jaredites crossed only one geographic feature before they built their barges. It was a "wilderness" (Ether 2:5). There is no account of crossing the tropical forests of South Asia, the great mountain ranges of Europe or Central Asia. linguist Hugh Nibley explains "what is meant by 'wilderness'. That word has in the Book of Mormon the same connotation as in the bible, and usually refers to desert country ... in the Bible 'wilderness' almost always means desert". [Note iv] The crossing of a series of inland seas or lakes does not conjure up the image of a desert. Of course, a wilderness could mean uninhabited land. Central Asia and China were highly populated circa 2000 B.C The only desert segment of Central Asia crossing would be the Gobi Desert between Mongolia and China. The Gobi would only represent a small percentage of the entire trail, and certainly not the only geographic feature.


     (2) A wilderness that was a quarter where no man had ever been: Which desert did the Lord the jaredites through? The one where no one had ever been( v. 5). How can a route through Asia be described as a crossing of a land in which no man had ever been?


     (3) Built Barges to Cross Many Waters Shipbuilding with ancient tools was an extremely difficult, arduous and time consuming task. It required a knowledge of shipwright skills that took years to master. Even today, with pre-cut timbers, it takes a team of shipwrights using traditional tools six months build the hull of an average size Arab dhow (ship). [Note v] So, why would the jaredites build a fleet of ships to cross an inland lake? Walking at a pace of 10 miles a day for 6 months, a traveler could walk almost 2000 miles, and do so without risking the dangers of a water-crossing. It seems unlikely that a migrating party would build barges to cross a lake, however large. The words many waters does not necessarily mean that they crossed different bodies of water. Many waters (v. 6) is used as a proper place noun in the Book of Mormon. 'Many waters' is the meaning of the word Irreantum ( 1 nephi 17:5), the name of the ocean beside which nephi built his ship. This is an important linguistic fact. Is it possible that the author of verse 6 wrote 'many waters' assuming that any educated person would know the location of the sea called 'many waters'? Continuing, "They did build barges to cross Irreantum", meaning 'Many Waters', for it is the English translation of the name Irreantum. Verse 6 alludes to the fact that 'many waters' is the name of an ocean and not a series of separate waters or waterways; i.e. they crossed "many waters" (Irreantum), not " the many waters". In addition, verse 7 refers only to "the sea" in the wilderness, not " the seas " in the wilderness. The brother of Jared described ocean waves crashing over their barges as their barge being "encompassed about by many waters (the sea) (Ether 6:7, italics and comment added). The internal logic and definitions in the Book of Mormon point to the Jaredites crossing only one set of many waters (the ocean or sea).


     (4) Suffered not to stop: At the place where the Jaredites built their barges to cross 'many waters', they did so to reach the promised land, not to reach the other side of a lake (v 6, 7). The statement that the Lord suffereth them not to stop at "the sea" in the wilderness but to continue on to the promised land could refer to their final campsite at the seashore, and not an inland sea. Apparently he lord did not want them to settle on the seashore which is in the desert, but to build ships and continue on. The fact that they stayed on the seashore for four years before calling on the Lord to find out what their next step should be tells us that they were reluctant to face the dangers of a transoceanic voyage in ancient ships. ( Ether 2 :13)


     (5) The Jaredites Had Built Ships Before They Reached the Great Sea: The fact that they had "hitherto" built barges probably meant that the jaredites or the friends they bought with them were shipwrights. Shipbuilding is a difficult craft, not a soft skill a family of novices could teach themselves on the shorelines of a wilderness lake. Nephi came from Jerusalem, a land with no shipbuilding lore. He studied the manner in which others built ships and was personally instructed of the Lord from time to time on how to work timbers and build a ship ( 1 Nephi 17:8, 18:1-4). The Jaredites were not told by the Lord " how" to build a ship, only the type of modifications needed to the barges they had hitherto built. Rather than assuming that the Jaredites taught themselves to build ships, it is more realistic to assume that the Jaredites were involved in shipping along the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers and knew shipwright skills. Sailing ships were invented in Sumeria (Mesopotamia) and shipbuilding had been practiced there for at least two thousand years before the Jaredites left Babylon. [Note vi] Two thousand years of building river barges is a very long shipbuilding lore, and this body of accumulated knowledge seems to have been taken with the Jaredites into the wilderness. Thus, the ships "hitherto" built were river barges that they had built while they lived in Mesopotamia (Babylon). The Book of Mormon seems to confirm this view, since the barges they built to cross the great sea were peaked at both ends like the magur ships in Sumeria. Such elaborate ships were probably not built in a short time and then abandoned after crossing a shallow lake. Common sense would have prevailed. The "hitherto" ships they had built to cross the Great Sea must have been similar to the ones they built for commerce in Babylon.


     6. Finally, the Lord brought them to the great sea (v. 13). The Asia model assumes that the Jaredites built ships at least once before they built more barges to cross the great sea. There are at least two explanations as to why the text seems to have the Jaredites building ships twice, once to cross an inland sea and then again when they reached the great sea.

     First, the primary means of long distance travel with provisions in Sumeria was their famous river barges. They were sometimes constructed of reeds, while at other times wood. Wooden vessels were preferred when they crossed open seas. Rather than looking for some great lake or wilderness sea that is distant to Babel, why not consider the sea they were most likely to have crossed, the Arabian or Persian Gulf. Not only is the Persian Gulf salt water (a sea), it is surrounded by desert (wilderness), and is almost entirely land locked except for the narrow strait of Hormuz. Ancient sea routes flourished between Sumeria, White India and the Dilmun Empire on the northeast shore of Arabia near Bahrain. It is feasible that the Jaredites started their journey sailing barges down the Euphrates river to its mouth then crossing the gulf too Arabia, landing near today's Qatif (Dilmun Empire).

     A clue in the Book of Ether suggests that they traveled first in boats. Among their initial provisions were vessels in which they kept fish (Ether 2:2). Donkeys could not carry heavy fish tanks. Oxen with a cart would not only have difficulty pulling such a weight in the desert, but would need a constant supply of fresh water to keep the fish alive. A cart, Oxen and a fish tank requiring regular maintenance would seem a very high investment just to enjoy fresh fish. If they traveled by ship, a specialized river vessel, perhaps even a simple reed cage, could keep fish alive at least until they reached the gulf, at which time they would have needed to convert over to salt water varieties.

     The second, explanation for why there are two accounts of shipbuilding is that the same story is repeated. (The reference to ships they had "hitherto built" (Ether 2:16) referring to their shipwright activities before leaving Babel.) With its rich shipbuilding and sailing lore, shipwright skills would have seemed a common practice in Sumeria.

     A flow diagram of the text of Ether shows that it is likely that the great sea in verse 13 is the same body of water as the "sea in the wilderness" in verse 6. The account of building ships to cross a sea is simply a more detailed description of the same event. Here the brother of Jared used a writing technique Biblical scholars called "doublet." Doublets are found in ancient scriptures of that period, i.e. the same event being told more than once but each time from a different perspective or for a different purpose. Richard Friedman explains:

     A doublet is a case of the same story being told twice. Even in translation it is easy to observe that biblical stories often appear with variations of detail in two different places in the Bible. There are two different stories of the creation of the world. There are two stories of the covenant between god and the patriarch Abraham, two stories of the naming of Abraham's son Isaac, two stories of Abraham's claiming to a foreign king that his wife Sarah is his sister, tow stories of a revelation to jacob at Beth-El, two stories of God changing Jacob's name to Israel, two stories of Moses' getting water from a rock at the place called Meribah, and more. [Note vii]


     The use of doublets in the Book of Mormon attest to the authenticity of its most ancient author, the brother of Jared. He used a common writing technique of the ancient Biblical prophets. In the case of teh Jaredites, the first account of the building of the barges is part of a condensed history of their exodus: - they crossed the wilderness - are not allowed to stay on the sea shore - instructed to build barges cross the ocean to the promised land (Ether 2:5-7). The second account is one of the greatest lessons of faith ever told. It describes a remarkable personal story of how the Lord helped in the building of the barges by touching the sixteen stones which thereafter radiated light, and how, through the faith of the brother of Jared, the Lord appeared to him (Ether 3-, 6:1-3). The first account provides the historical stage for the second account.




     Let's assume for the purpose of this essay a second set of assumptions, and see where they lead.

     Assumption One: The Jaredites only crossed one geological feature, a desert wilderness.

     Assumption Two: The wilderness they crossed was the "quarter where no man had ever been."

     Assumption Three: After crossing the wilderness they reached "the sea" called "Many Waters" (Irreantum), the same ocean where Nephi embarked.

     Assumption Four: The Jaredites were shipwrights, and knew how to construct magur boats, the sailing barges used in the rivers of Mesopotamia (Sumeria).


     The Arabian Trail of the Jaredites Hypothesis: The Jaredites were instructed to go north to the Valley of Nimrod where they would meet the Lord. From the valley, the Lord personally led them south into the wilderness of Arabia, eventually following the Dakaka Trail. The most likely place on the southern Arabian coast they could build their ships was the inlet harbor of Khor Rori, the same place where Nephi probably built his sailing ship. Another possible Jaredite trail through Arabia would have been the inland route to Magan.


     Supporting Evidence for The Arabian Trail Hypothesis:


     1. The Jaredites Crossed the Wilderness, a Quarter Where No Man Had Ever Been.

     The text of the Book of Ether implies that from the Valley of Nimrod the Jaredites were led directly into the wilderness or desert (Ether 2:5). The Tower of Babel is believed to have been within the city walls of ancient Babylon [Note viii] (50 miles south of today's Baghdad). The Valley of Nimrod seems to have been adjacent to Babel. That is, the Jaredites left the urban center of Babel and went only a short distance to the north to a rural area where they could gather food supplies in the Valley of Nimrod. The Bible defines the empire of Nimrod the Hunter as Babel itself, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, "in the land of Shinar" (Genesis 10:10). The LDS Bible Dictionary defines Shinar as "the lower part of the Tigris and Euphrates, and is sometimes used as an equivalent to Babylonia. The only desert proximate to ancient Babylonia is Arabia to the south. It is a land which has, since antiquity, been known as both a geographic and political wilderness. [Note x]


     2. The Ar Rub Khali, (The Empty Quarter):

     The Book of Mormon states specifically that, "the Lord commanded them that they should go forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been" (Ether 2:5). This clue is meaningless to most westerners, but for someone living in the Near East, where the Jaredites started their saga, it is a clear reference to southern Arabia. To an Arab, crossing the quarter where no man has ever been is as descriptive as telling an American that the Utah Pioneers crossed the Rocky Mountains. Arab mythology holds that God created the world, two quarters where people lived, one quarter was the sea and one quarter was the deseret of where no man ever lived. to this day, the great sand desert of southern Arabia is called the Ar Rub Khali, or Empty Quarter. Being larger than the state of Utah, the Empty Quarter of Arabia is the largest sand desert in the world, and no one has ever found evidence that man has ever dwelt in this vast area.


     3. Many Waters:

     If one travels south from the ruins of Nineveh into Arabia they will eventually enter the Empty Quarter. There were two possible roues through the Empty Quarter, (1) the Dakakah Trail through the heart of the Empty Quarter via the wells at Jabrin, Maqainame, Naifa, Shanna, Khor Daliya Mitan, Shis'r to the Salalah coastal plain in southern Oman [Note xi]; and (2) a possible trail paralleling the Arabian/Persian Gulf coast about 200 miles inland via wells at Jabrin, Liwa, Buraymi and ending at Magan near today's capital of Oman, Muscat. [Note xii] I will refer to the second trail as the Magan trail. Both routes were not trails in the traditional sense, i.e. no worn tracks in the sand. The large-scale use of camels as beast of burden, and thus the establishment of the caravans and heavily traveled inland routes do not seem to have appeared in Arabia until the end of the second millennium BC. [Note xiii], considerably later than Jaredite passage. Each trail was a series of distant watering holes, which if found, could support a passage with donkeys through the Empty Quarter. The Dakakah trail ended at the Salalah Coast Plain on the Indian Ocean in Oman, the place where LDS scholars believe Nephi built his ship. It is for this reason that I prefer the Dakakah trail over the Magan trail, it ended at the body of water that Nephi called "Irreantum" meaning Many Waters. It would also be true that if the Jaredites embarked from either the harbor of Khor Rori in Salalah or a harbor in Magan, they would have had to cross many bodies of water to reach the New World (Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, Seven Seas of East Indians and the Pacific Ocean). This would not have been the case if they departed from the shores of the Pacific or Atlantic.


     4. The Lord Led Them in a Cloud:

     The Lord "did go forth before" the jaredites "in a cloud, and gave directions whither they should travel." (Ether 2:6) The Lord led Moses and the children of Israel into Arabia (Midian) in a cloud and a pillar of fire (Exodus 3:1; 13:21) The Lord guided Lehi and his family through Arabia by giving them the Liahona (1 nephi 16:10). What all three of these events have in common is that the Lord led them into a wilderness. We know that int he cases of Mosses and Lehi that the wilderness was Arabia. The reason is simple, it is very easy and yet extremely dangerous to become disoriented in the wasteland deserts of Arabia. At the same time, it is fatal if one gets lost and misses the watering holes, a rule that is never truer than in the Empty Quarter where summer temperatures can climb to 145o degrees F. It must be remembered that the Jaredites traveled in an uninhabited place. There was no one to stop and ask directions to the next well. The Arabs have a name for wide deserts where one can become disorientated, lost his way and perish, a taymla. In the early part of the last century, the crossing of the Empty Quarter was considered as great a challenge as climbing Mount Everest. The first successful westerner to accomplish the feat was Bertram Thomas. Thomas needed the guides from the Murri tribe, the only people who knew how to find the watering holes of the ancient Dakakah trail.

     A possible indicator that the Jaredites crossed a great desert is the fact that the Lord instructed them to take large stocks of provisions with them into the wilderness (Ether 2:1-3). Andrew Taylor writes of Bertram Thomas's difficulties in crossing the Empty Quarter:

     The Dakaka had been composed mainly of sweeping red landscapes of hard sand, with dunes running in all directions, but after they left Suwahib, the colours became more muted, and the terrain softer - "a wide expanse of pale sands in the mood of an ocean calm" - with occasional scrub of nadh bushes. Here, the climate had been less kind: the Murri tribesmen could remember grazing their animals across this region, but now, after four waterless years, Thomas found nothing but "a hungry void, and an abode of death to whoever should loiter there." It was a grim reason for yet more checking of supplies and calculations. [Note xiv] (Taylor. 100)


     There are two more reasons why the Lord would have needed to personally guide the Jaredites through the Empty Quarter. First, donkeys or oxen could not have traversed the soft dunes. The dunes in the Empty Quarter can tower as high as 700-800 feet. Even with his guides, Thomas encountered this problem. He wrote: "Our camels, wretched beasts, climbed arduously up to knife edge summits, and slithered knee-deep down precipitous slopes. Here and there, we turned back for very fear, and tried a better way . . . " [Note xv] There are treks around the soft sands on gravel or hard sand beds that can take the traveler and his animals from one well to the next, but a guide is necessary.

     Second, the need for fodder for their animals. The Jaredites probably used donkeys or possibly oxen with carts [Note xvi] to haul their provisions. They took with them fish tanks, tents, beehives, and seeds. They also took their flocks with them. Without fodder, their animals would have died within days. Bertram Thomas noted of his expedition across the Dakakah trail, "The traveler in the desert soon discovers that the welfare of the camel is the supreme consideration. . . . Fodder is almost more important than water, for the camel can carry a load for a week or more with[out] water, but food is a daily want." [Note xvii]

     From c. 8,000 to 4,000 B.C. the Empty Quarter had marshes, springs and shallow lakes. [Note xviii] Thereafter, the lakes dried up and the land became a great desert. We do not know the exact climatic conditions the Jaredites would have fond if they crossed the Empty Quarter in their era. There might have been more pasture areas then as compared to modern times, but more likely the climate was similar as it is today, and the Jaredites would have needed a guide to find where spotty winter rains had turned patches of the desert into pasturelands. Andrew Taylor writes of Thomas's expedition: "Compared with the privations they had suffered, and those that were still ahead, the trek that followed through Dakakah sounds occasionally like a desert paradise. Thee had been heavy rains, and so there was almost unlimited pasture." [Note xix]

     Why else would the Lord need to personally guide the Jaredites if it were not for the dangers of the trek? Taylor concludes:

     All travelers kept to the side of the great wastes of the Empty Quarter. Traveling into the sands, they were well aware, would mean death just as certainly as swimming out into the ocean. There was no hope of survival, nothing to sustain life - and just as important, no reason to make the journey. The Empty Quarter, they all knew, was just that - empty, barren, and hostile. It was best left alone. [Note xx]


     5. Maritime Resources Needed to Build a Ship:

     The Jaredites needed tools and raw materials to build eight barges. They also required a sheltered harbor to launch the barges. Marine archaeologist, Tim Severins built a medieval replica of an Omani sailing ship and sailed it to China. he wrote that this ship "required a place to build her, a port to fit her out, and a large crew to sail her." [Note xxi] Severin's sailing ship required 400 miles of coconut rope and 140 tons of timber. [Note xxii] These materials would have been available in several locations in the Old World, but in Arabia, only in Oman, and in southern Oman probably only at the inlet known as Khor Rori on the Salalah coastal plain. Khor Rori itself was an excellent harbor. It was later used as an exporting harbor for the frankincense trade. Richard Wellington and I have provided ample evidence that ore, [Note xxiii] large timber (wadi Darbat or imported), and fiber for rope existed in or near Khor Rori in Nephi's time, circa 589 B.C. [Note xxiv]

     Ships require large timbers for structural support. The leading marine archaeologists believe that the shipbuilders of Salalah used imported timbers from Melukhkah (in modern India in lower waters of the Indus river). [Note xxv] We have no documentation that the Salalah coastal plain was trading for shipbuilding timbers as far back as 2,000 B.C. [Note xxvi] However, there are written records that timbers were exported from Melukhkah to Mesopotamia as early as 2520 B.C., [Note xxvii] which suggests that other seafaring ports in the region were doing so, certainly at Magan and possibly at Khor Rori. This supposition might be irrelevant since Tim Sedor and I discovered that large native hardwoods grow in Wadi Darbat just eight miles from Khor Rori. One tree we found had a circumference of 20 feet and was approximately fifty feet tall. The Jaredites had only eight barges for two extended families and their friends and their families, plus water and provisions for a 344 day voyage (Ether 3:1; 6:11) A fifty-foot long tree is probably the approximate length of the Jaredite barges which were the length of a tree. (Ether 2:17) We have no reason to doubt that these large trees grew in wadi Darbat at the time of the Jaredites.


     6. A Mountain of Exceeding Height.

     The brother of Jared met the Lord on a mountain that he described as being of "exceeding height." (Ether 3:1) The great mountain noted by the brother of Jared must have been located near the seashore where they built their ships. Within 20 miles of Khor Rori stands Mount Samban (Sephar), which rises from the sea to a height of 6,000 feet. It is the tallest mountain in all of southern Oman. Mount Samban (Sephar) seems to have been a mountain of extreme religious importance. Not only is it possibly the mountain where the Lord appeared to the brother of Jared, it was probably the mountain where the Lord appeared to Nephi, [xxviii] and is one of the few mountains that is mentioned in the bible where it is known as "Sephar, a mountain of the east." (Genesis 10:30)


     7. White Clear Stones

     The brother of jared molted out of a rock sixteen stones that were "white and clear, even as transparent glass." (Ether 3:1) Arabia is famous for its clear quartz, so transparent that it is cut into semi-precious stones called the "Diamonds of the Sultans" (also known as Desert Diamonds and Qaysumah Diamonds). These clear stones are found throughout Arabia and are minded in the Empty Quarter. [Note xxix] On the western side of the Empty Quarter just south of the town of Bishah is found along the old frankincense trail a two thousand foot-tall pure white mountain made entirely of quartz. [Note xxx] Veins of quartz are found in the mountains of southern Oman. [Note xxxi] Today, Oman exports silicon quartz sand for production in semi-conductors. [Note xxxii] Besides quartz, Oman mines other ophiolites (plagioclase crystals that form augites) and gems. The plagiogranites of Oman are dominated by quartz, plagioclase, albite, muscovite and epilote. [Note xxxiii] The Lord touched the stones and the causing the "stones to shine in darkness" (Ether 3:6; 6:3). One interesting gem of southern Arabia is the "Oman Magic Perfume Gemstone" that soaks up liquids. If the gem is soaked in perfume, the stone remains fragrant for years. [Note xxxiv] If the Creator can make gems that retain fragrances, and quartz sand that can be used for computer chips that process and store millions of pieces of information per second, then why not a small miracle of having these stones retain light?


     8. Honey Bees: Honey bees were not native to much of the ancient world. The earliest Biblical record of honey is when Jacob (Israel) instructed his sons to take a gift of honey to the Egyptian (Joseph) to try to win the release of his two sons (Genesis 43: 11) Yet hundreds of years earlier, the Book of Mormon records that the Jaredites took honey bees with them from Mesopotamia to the seashore where they built their ships. Here the Book of Mormon is in harmony with what is known of the history of Mesopotamia ( Sumeria). From the 21st Century B.C. the cuneiform writings of Sumeria and Babylonia mention honey bees. [Note xxxv]


     What did the Jaredites do with their honey bees when they left for the promised land? When the Spanish conquered Mexico and Central America, they found that native populations of Mexico and Central America were beekeepers. [Note xxxxvi ] Yet, the New World bees were probably not the bees of the Jaredites, rather bees unique to the Americas. [Note xxxvii] The European honey bee which Native Americans called "white man flies" were not introduced in the Americas until 1638. [Note xxxviii] It is likely that the Jaredite honey bees was the warm climate dwarf bee Apis florea. These small wild bees range in the warm climate of southeast Asia. The bees of Mesopotamia could have been native, or brought there from India which had bees at that time and traded with Sumeria. [Note xxxix].


     The wild Apis Florea bees provide an fascinating aspect of the Jaredite trail. Apparently the Jaredites left their swarms of honey bees at the seashore. We can assume this for three reasons,

     (1) there is no specific reference to taking bees aboard their ships (Ether 6:4)

     (2) they were traveling in the hulls of air tight barges where swarms of bees would have been poor shipmates, and

     (3) Old World bees were not found in the New World.

     The Dakakah trail would have led the Jaredites to the most suitable place to build their barges, at the inlet of Khor Rori where Nephi probably constructed his ship. Nephi wrote that "we did come to the land which we called Bountiful, because of its much fruit and also wild honey, and all there things were prepared of the Lord that we might perish" ( 1 Nephi 17:5, Italics add). Nephi seemed to realize that the Lord had prepared Bountiful with wild, not domesticated, honey. Honey bees are not native to Arabia, an area the size of Europe, except in Oman [Note xl]. The honey in Oman is still gathered mostly as wild honey, and the bees are still considered wild, being only "somewhat managed". [Note xli] So how did these wild honey bees originally come to Oman? Did they fly across the Persian Gulf or were they left by the Jaredites?


     9. The Jaredites were "a very large race of men; very large people" [Note xlii]

     In his book Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, Dr. Joseph L. Allen suggests that the pre-Christian era Quinametzin people, the giants which came forth from the great tower, could have been the Jaredites. [Note xliii] The large stature of the Jaredites presents a rather specific attribute for the place where the Jaredites built their ships: it had very large people living there for at least a short period of time around 2,000 B.C. The controlling tribe that lived in the Salalah plain during that time were the Adites. According to local tradition the Adites were giants. [Note xliv] However, the Adites continued to live in that region well beyond the time the Jaredites left for the New World. There are several possibilities here: (1) since there are no giants living in Salalah today, perhaps the very large Jaredites were, over time via the oral tradition so common in Arabia, confused with a group of large people who lived with them while they built ships. (2) Perhaps not all the Jaredites or their friends decided to go to the New World. It should be remembered that the Lord did not suffer that they remain at the seashore, but that they continue to the promised land. Knowing the dangers of ancient seafaring, it is easy to see why some of the party might have stayed behind and intermarried with the Adites.


     10. Arabia Is the Traditional Land For Preparation

     The Jaredites left Babylon bound for a promised land. However, they did not seem overly righteous at the time. The brother of Jared was their spiritual leader, yet at one point he had not prayed for a long period of time (Ether 2:15). The Lord chastised the Jaredites because of their sinning (Ether 2:15). It would seem that a preparatory period was necessary before they would be worthy to enter a covenant land (Ether 2:8) The traditional place for preparing for a promised land has been Arabia. Before entering their promised land, the children of Israel had to wander in the wilderness of northern Arabia and the Sinai peninsula for forty years. The Lehites spent eight years in Arabia before crossing to the New World. The great explorer Sir Richard Burton wrote of his time in Arabia:

     It was a deseret peopled only with echoes - a place of death for what little there is to die in it - a wilderness where, to use my companion's phrase, there is nothing but He, La siwa hu - ie, where there is none but Allah. [Note xlv]


     President David O McKay noted the special significance of this desert peninsula:

     After a few days of fiery disputations in the synagogues, Saul concluded to leave Damascus and go into retirement; so, bidding his new friends good-bye, he went into Arabia in the mountains near the Red Sea. here he received instruction in the School of Solitude.

     "O sacred solitude! divine retreat!

     Choice of the prudent! envy of the great!

     By thy pure stream, or in thy waving shade,

     We court fair wisdom."

     Like Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, and even the Savior himself, Paul now sought to be alone with God, and to learn how to get his spirit in communion with the Holy Spirit.

     How long he remained there, we do not know. All he says about this journey is: "I went into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus." [Note xlvi]


     An indication that the Jaredites needed a preparatory period is that the Lord spoke of a land of promise before the Jaredites left Babylon (Ether 1:42), yet He did not enter a covenant with them until after they crossed the wilderness. (Ether 2:8-10).


Other Points of Interest. Three other aspects of the Arabian Jaredite trail need mentioning. However, at this point I do not consider them supporting evidence.


     (1) The Jaredites, like most ancient seafarers, seemed to have been fearful of whales: "no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them" (Ether 6:10). This fear might have been based in reality if they embarked from Khor Rori in the Indian Ocean. The waters off Oman have 13 types of whales and dolphins, [Note xlvii] and are also the home of the whale shark. [Note xlviii]


     (2) Nephi wrote that the land Bountiful had been prepared with much fruit (1 Nephi 17:5). One possible explanation would be that the Lord had someone plant fruit trees and vines at an earlier time, which were enjoyed centuries later by the Lehites. The people who lived in the Salalah coastal plains at the time of the Jaredites were the Adites. Both the oral tradition of the area [Note xlix] and the Qur'an tells of the Adites having had fruit trees. [Note l] Where the Adites originally acquired the seeds for these trees is not known. The Hanging Gardens provide evidence that the people of Babylon had a long history of horticulture. The Jaredites took seeds with them from Babylon (Ether 1:41; 2:3). However they were camped on the seashore four years before they even started to build their barges. To maintain their food stocks they must have planted the seeds and harvested the vegetables and fruits (melons and other vine crops, and perhaps even trees). If by chance they took seeds to propagate in the promised land, they probably needed to plant them periodically in order to maintain their germination rates. Today, the Salalah coastal plain is the only place in Arabia where a wide variety of fruit trees grow. It is the reason Book of Mormon scholars consider it Nephi's Bountiful. However, unless the climate has changed considerably during the last four thousand years, it is doubtful if the tropical tree varieties growing today at Salalah were introduced by people from as far north as Mesopotamia. It is still possible that the non-tropical trees and vines that grow in Salalah were introduced from the north.


     (3) The Jaredites called the land where they built their ships Moriancumer (Ether 2:13). Tribes in the Near East have the tradition of naming mountains, wadis and other geographical features after themselves. Lehi was no exception naming the valley they camped in after his son Lemuel, and the river that flowed by their tents after another son, Laman. The tribal name of the Jaredites was "Moriancumer." [Note li] The two mountain ranges just to the west of the Salalah coastal plain are called the Marrah mountains and the Qamar mountains, sometimes spelled Camar or Comar. These mountains run parallel to the Indian Ocean and follow each other. It is common to see on maps of southern Arabia the two names written side by side, the Marrah Camar [Note lii] mountains. Of course, Latin spellings of Arabic words change over time. It is also true that Arabic is a vocalized language, where vowels are not written. Removing the vowels we have Mrncmr (Moriancumer, the land where the Jaredites built their ships) and Mrrcmr (Marrah Camar, the two mountain ranges immediately to the west of the Salalah coastal plan).


     The Jaredite Barges Were Sailing Ships

     One might argue that it would have been much easier to cross the ocean in barges if the Jaredites had embarked along the pacific or Atlantic shorelines and drifted ont he currents to the New World. How could the Jaredites have drifted through the Indian Ocean, through the island chains of the East Indies and finally across the Pacific? This is a good point, but invalid for two reasons.

     First, the Jaredite barges did not drift, rather they were under wind power. We know this because a ship cannot be steered unless it is under power. The Jaredites could steer their barges (Ether 2:19). They had to have had an effective way of steering, otherwise, how could they have kept together their eight barges? If they simply drifted they would have been lost form each other within a few days. This meant that the barges probably had a primitive square sail to help them be "driven forth by the wind," (Ether ).

     Second, the Lord commanded them to "Go to work and build, after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built" (Ether 2:16). So what was the "manner of barges" which were built in Mesopotamia in that era? The answer is, river barges that used square sails and had hulls that were "peaked" at both ends similar to the famous Viking long ships. Sailing ships were believed to have been invented in Mesopotamia. Dilmun seals dating back to c.2,500-1,800 B.C., show the ships in the persian Gulf as being under sail. [Note lv] There is even a slight possibility that the Jaredites built reed barges, similar to Thor Heyerdahl's replica of a Tigris boat that he sailed from Iraq to the Red Sea. [Note lvi] Heyerdahl's ship was peaked at both ends. The Mesopotamian ships were directed with steering oars mounted in the bow of the ship. (An illustration of a Sumerian (Mesopotamian) river barge can be seen on the internet at




     The Jaredites had to prepare their ships to cross the rough waters of the mighty Pacific Ocean, not the calm waters of the Euphrates River. They had to cross open ocean waters where waves appear as mountains and crash over the sides of large ships. When in the watery valley between the pacific waves, the ship would be surrounded by walls of water, as if in the depths of the sea (Ether 6:6,7). The traditional design of a Sumerian river barge was far too low in the water to cross an ocean. It would be quickly flooded as waves crashed over its open hull. for this reason, the Lord instructed the Jaredites to build the barges in the "manner" they had in Babylon, but to modify (Ether 2:17) them in three ways:

     (1) The height of the hulls were increased so that the barges rested higher in the water, and made them appear "light upon the water, even like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water" (Ether 2:16).

     (2) Unlike the open hull of the Sumerian river barges, the Jaredites covered the hull of their ships with a full upper deck then sealed them tight against the water. The Brother of Jared write "when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah." (Ether 6:7) Noah's ship had a full deck "finish[ed] above" (Genesis 6:16) and was completely coated in "pitch" (Genesis 6:16) The Utnapishtim, the Sumerian Noah in the Epic of Gilgamesh , is said "to have built his boat with a ceiling and water plugs, and to have waterproofed the entire inside with bitumen." [Note lvii] Both Noah's ark and the Jaredite barges were revolutionary in that they had the sealed decks. However, the shape of their ships were quite different. Consistent with its times, the peaked ends of Jaredite barges (Ether 2:17) suggested that they retained the shape of a Sumerian river barge.

     (3) With a sealed deck that was coated with pitch, the Jaredites needed some way to have air and light. The Lord provided the technical help for both these obstacles. Oxygen was provided by an ingenious system of air holes on the top and bottom of the ship (Ether 2:20), while the light was provided by two stones which the Lord had touched with his finger (Ether 3:6; 6:2, 3). Air holes at the top were open except during storms (Ether 2:20) so the party could breath and see the position of their fellow ships. The brother of jared asked for the illuminated stones so that they could "steer" (Ether 2:19). The stones were placed in the front and the back of the hull (Ether 6:2). Once again, this is consistent with the design of the Sumerian river barges. These ships were directed by oars int he bow of he ship. With a fully decked hull, and a air hole probably in the midsection of the deck (its highest point), there must have been a real need for alight in the front where the handles of the steering oars were mounted inside the dark hulls. To steer the oarsmen needed light in order to align to two oars to the same position and angle.


     The Jaredite barges were "driven forth before the wind." (Ether 6:8) This reference to their source of propulsion is the same as that mentioned by nephi when he wrote of his sailing ship being "driven forth before the wind" (1 Nephi 18:8). It took Tim Severin six months to sail his replica ship from Arabia to China. Severin stopped for repairs and provisions, but undoubtedly had a more sophisticated sailing vessel than the Jaredites. Given the design of the Jaredite barges, the distance they traveled, and the furious winds that prevailed constantly toward the promised land, a 344 day voyage from Arabia to the New World seems an appropriate time interval (Ether 6:5, 8, 11).




     The minimum list of criteria for qualifying any trail as that of the Jaredites should include the following:

     (1) a trail that leads through a wilderness, which probably meant desert;

     (2) a land they passed through should be for the most part uninhabited, a land that was known to have never had a man in it;

     (3) there should be a good reason why the Lord had to personally guide them;

     (4) there should be no other significant geographical features on the proposed trail, i.e., mountain ranges, jungles, forest, since these are not mentioned in the Book of Mormon;

     (5) a shoreline with a protected harbor and all the necessary maritime resource needed to build ships (ore for tools, caulking material, large hardwoods for lumber, cotton or other fiber for sails and ropes, etc.);

     (6) a history of honey bees living at the trail's end;

     (7) an exceedingly high mountain next to the sea;

     (8) the presence of quartz or other white clear stones; and

     (9) an oral tradition that very large people lived there around the end of the trail c. 2,000 B.C.


     An Arabian trail for the Jaredite exodus appears to satisfy these conditions. So far, the evidence for the Jaredites embarking form the harbor of Khor Rori on the Salalah coastal plain is supportive, but the evidence is still not compelling. A similar argument could be made that a Jaredite embarkation could have been made from Magan in northern Oman. Magan fits the above list of criteria, and probably had relatively good or excellent marine resources for the third millennium B.C. [Note lviii] All the same, for the first time we have a model that provides specific candidates for the Jaredite trail and embarking point. If this tentative evidence is one day shown to be fact, then the jaredites built their barges at the same place where Nephi constructed his sailing ship. And why not? If the Lord had reason to lead the Jaredites to a unique place where ships could be built, then why not have Nephi utilize the same resources.






2006^      Captain Richard Rothery, Ret.            "Jaredite's Journey by Sea"

                                    (, 2006


     Richard Rothery is a retired sea captain from Australia with over 40 years of sea service. His experience coversmost types of vessel, tin canoe, skiff, racing yacht, passenger/cargo, bulk carriers to 120,000 tons, oil tankers, Ro-Ro's, coastal and overseas, to Singaore, Japan, Pacific isllands, Canada, USA, South America and the UK. Richard has agreed to share with you his thoughts about the journey and barges of the Jaredites. . . .

     As a forward to my paper on transoceanic migration in general and in particular to the Jaredite voyage . . . We should fully understand that this contribution covers most of the essentials for a successful outcom eof the voyage and will be understood fully only by those with a good understanding of all technical aspects of maritime vovyaging . . .


     Any journey, whether by land, sea or air, just as our journey through mortality, requires careful planning to be succesfully accomplished. Whether as mariners, airline pilots or astronauts, we need to know and implement the natural laws by which we can successfully accomplish the journey.

     As we read the Book of Mormon, we are told in Ether 1:33-37, that Jared and his family and friends "came forth" "from the great tower at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people." ". . . the brother of Jared being a large and mighty man, and a man highly favoured of the Lord . . ." when prompted by jared, called upon the Lord. The Lord had compassion upon him, his brother and friends, and did not confound their language. Verse 38 says Jared prompted his brother to enquire of the Lord whether they would be driven out of the land and that perhaps they could be taken to ta land which is choice above all the eartha nd that by their faith they mgiht receive it for their inheritance.

     The Lord said in verse 41, "Go to and gather together thy flocks, both male and female, of every kind; and also of the seed of the earth of every kind and thy families; and also Jared thy brother and his family; and also thy friends and their families and the friends of Jared and their famileis." And in verse 42, "and when thou hast done this thou shalt go at the head of them down into the valley [of Nimrod] which is northward. And there will I meet thee, and I wil go before thee into a land which is choice above all the lands of the earth." "And thus I will do unto thee because this long timeye have creid unto me." . . .

     At the valley of Nimrod the Lord commanded them to "go forth into the wilderness where there never had man been." The wilderness area of that land lies to the south and west, so they would be virtually doubling back and heading down toward present day Oman, and perhaps, thus avoiding being caugtht by any villains out for their blood.


     2:6 And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges in which they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord.

     2:7 And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness.


     Obviously, Ether 2:6, 7, are describing the journey to the promised land in it's entirety. First they travel in the wilderness, then build barges and travel in them across (the) many waters (oceans and seas being many waters -- see also 1 Nephi 17:5, "irreantum" meaning "many waters"), being directed continually by the hand of the Lord. I itnerpret verse 7 as indicating they were not to stop and settle after crossing any sea but continue on to theland of promise. There would have been great temptation to remain permanently at any one of the stopovers where they replenished stocks of fodder for the animals.

     This feed would be in the form of baales of dried grasses. Most of the food stocks for the peole would consist of sun dried fruit, sun dried meat, grains and also honey, supplemented by fresh fish cuaght every day through the "holeL" in the bottom." Sashimi is a delicacy and a favourite of minee. Fresh fruit and vegetables may also be obtained at the frequent stopovers on the voyage.

     Abundant supplies of fresh water, up to about 10,000 gallons, would be obtained by rain uon the deck, after rinsing the salt away, draining into the sidde tanks through stoppable valves. Replenished every time it rained and washed the deck clean.

     These side tanks are not only important for storing water. They also add tot he overall strength of the vessel. The winging out of weights and raising the centre of gravity by filing the tanks is very important to moderate the rolling period thus dramatically improving the comfort of those on board and helping to ensure the seaworthiness of the vessel. All similar to the principles behind a metronome.


     2:13 . . . the Lord did bring jared and his brethren forth even to that great sea which divideth the lands. And as they came to the sea they pitched their tents; and they called the name of the place Moriancumer; and they dwelt in tents, and dwelt in tents upon the sseashore for the space of four years.

     Ether 2:13-15 says they eventually came to the great sea where they would build their barges. They named the palce Moriancumer.

     In verse 16 they are told to get to work and build the bargeds, to the Lords instrucitons, "after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built." Barges have always been used around Babylon on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers transporting cargoes. These, in aprticular, were small barges, light like fowl, upon the water.

     Verse 17 says they were exceedingtly tight like a dish, top bottom and sides, peaked at the ends to provide more buoyancy lift there in big waves, the length of a tree (about 70 ft) and a door which when shut was tight like a dish. This door would best be located in the bow to provide easy access when the bow is beached while the stern is held out in deep water by the anchors streamed out astern on each quarter and by which they can heave off into deep water upon departure. Like military landing craft. When loaded up the barges are trimmed by the stern. In other words drawing about 2 ft forward and 4 feet aft. This helps them maintain the stern to the weather by providing more windage forward. If all the barges are so trimmed they are less likely to damage each other if they close up to each other at sea.

     In verse 18, the brother of Jared reports back to the Lord that he has done all that; but in verse 19 says there is no light inside the barges and "we cannot breat" that air when all is closed up.

     In verse 20 the Lord tells him to make a hole in the top for air and also in the bottom and if water comes in, in stormy weather, stop the holes that you don't perish in the flood. This indicates the stormy weather would not last long enough for the air to foul too much. In fact the worst of most tropical storms is usually past in about twelve to eighteen hours from my experience.

     Verse 24 suggests to some peeople that these craft werelike submarines. Does "light like a fowl upon the water" sound likle a submlarine? No. However in typhoon conditions the seas would be breaking right over these barges causing those within to think they were under the water.

     In chapter 3, the brother of Jared prepares 16 small stones molten and clear like glass, then expressing his faith, asks the Lord to touch the stones with his finger athat they may give light within the barges.

     In verse 6 the Lord actually touches the stones with his finger. The brother of Jared, through his faith, sees the finger and falls down before the Lord with fear. The stones are used, two to each barge, to give light therein.

     Using my knowledge of ship building and ship stability I have drawn a sketch of the barge providing for all the specificaitons given in the Book of Mormon and suited to the conditions expected on such a voyage. These vessels will provide the occupants with the optimum of safety, comfort and convenience.


[2006      Illustration: Proposed Jaredite Barge. Captain Richard Rothery, Ret., "Jaredite's Journey by Sea"                                     (, 2006]


     The dimensions of each barge are important - length about 70 ft., breadth about 18 ft., depth about 12 ft., giving an inside height of about 10 ft., and an inside breadth about 14 ft. The side tanks are about 2 ft. wide by 10 ft. deep by 40 ft. in length. Total capacity is about 10,000 gals., quite adequate for their health and hygiene nees and providig good stability for a smooth ride. Animal capacity equivalent to about twenty sheep or goats and about ten people. Stock feed storage for about two months max with rationing.

     So fresh air is circulated throughout and plenty of fresh water for all their nees. A couple of holes in the top for air intake forward and egress aft over the livestock space. The hole in the bottom is situated close by the livestock. It has sides like a well extending up to above the outside water level. The hole in the bottom is an imortant aspect of maintaining the freshness of the air inside, in that any animal or human waste must be immediately disposed of down the hole to dissipate into the sea.

     A good supply of fish can be caaught by net or spear or line through this hole so the people should never go hungry. Only in calmer conditions would the people safely go out onto the upper deck with adequate supervision and nets hung over the side in case of accident. Below deck they would need to be assigined dailly chores to maintain hygiene and to give them exercise and entertainment, thus avoiding boredom and maintaining good health and morale. Together with the dreied food provisions etc. the cuisine could be quite enticing. Provision must be made for securely closing the holes (hatches) top and bottom in the event of heavy seas creasing aboard as in a typhon. Ether 2:20

     Most people expect all vessels must have sails or some means of propulsion. In this peculiar case that is unnecessary. Yes, most vessels at that time would have sails, and experienced seamen to control and handle them; but onlly when they have geographical knowledge and therefore courses to steer towards pre-determined waypoints.

     Sails without experienced seamen are a definite hazard at the onset of sudden squalls. If not doused in time they can cause major damage to rigging and often do capsize the vessel. I can assure you that this is true from personal experience and from reports of yachtsmen getting into trouble on long ocean voyages where their yachts do sometimes turn turtle. The ocean currents give adequate speed over the ground to make their destination in time stated- i.e. 344 days. (Ether 6:11) . . . .

     Yes, they would need a rudder to help maintain stern to weather, without broaching, as the winds and currents carried them along as upon a conveyor. This rudder would be essential if the drogue streamed astern breaks up until a fresh one can be streamed. . . . They would have to be provided with oars and maybe a small sail on a demountalbe mast with which to leave or enter a harbour and anchors forward and aft to use when mooring bow in to a beach to afford the means of haulilng away from the beach into deep water for departure. Oars, mast and sail etc. must be securely stowed below deck as the vessel would occasionally be "buried in the depths of the sea because of the mountain waves." (Ether 6:6)

     But, like a bottle drifting on the currents, once these barges were at sea their safety was entirely in the hands of the Lord - "twenty four-seven." (Ether 6:4) The Master would ensure they didn't hit any rocks or snags along the way. Being His plan He will cause the wind to blow them in the right directions around the various land masses. (Proverbs 3::5, 6)

     Ether 6:5 states that the Lord caused a wind to blow across the seas towards the pormised land. Sea currents are caused by the prevailiing wind whihc is seasonal as around Asia and the sub continent. For this reason [and assuming that they traveled first from Babel south to the southern coast of Oman - see "An Alternative Model for the Jaredite Trail" - 2005 notation] their departure would have to be around the commencement of the SW monsoon across the gulf of Arabia, in August. They would have followed the currents from Oman, around India, down the Malacca strait, up the China coast, past Japan, across the North Pacific and down the west coast. The average current speed over the ground is about 1.25 knots. The distance over that route to Guatemala is roughtly 13,800 miles. Barge speed through the water is about 1/2 knot, being pushed by the wind. 12,800 miles @ 1 3/4 knots = 344 days. Calculations are only approximate given the many variables, but close enough to bear out the truth.

     Under the circumstances, I can see no other route possible and it complies with the ancient trading routes. At that speed, the voyage would take approximately 344 days just as Ether 6:11 states (not counting stopovers). If I was a relatively uneducated farm boy writing a novel about such a voyage in 1827, how could I possibly guess such a voyage to ahve taken 344 days except by divine revelation? Nobody, at that time, had such knowledge of the ocean curernts of the world.


     To scoop freseh air down into the vessel to freshen and cool the atmosphere within, the cover on the forward hatch would be hingned on the forward side so the raised cover will form a scoop for the wind to enter. Another hold above the livestock aft where the fouled air would be ejected would have its cover hinged on the aft side to let the stale air out. This together with the trim by the stern (producing more windage forward) and together with the drogue, would maintain a stern to the wind and waves orientation, thus affording the greatest degree of safetya nd comfort for the peole within. A wicker or canvas drogue would be towed on a bight of rope from the stern, fastened on each quarter. These are commonly referred to as sea anchors by the sailiing and fishing fraternity and are part of the required equipment for ship's lifeboats specifically to prevent broaching as they drift. A rudder in case the drogue breaks up would be advisable until a replacement drogue could be streamed just as with lifeboats.

     Transoceanic migraitons and trading have been taking plce for thousands of eyars as indicated by the many foreign artifacts being found on the various continents. Those adventurers and traders gained their skills and knowledge from long experience and skills handed down by elders plus a few mistakekss. They didn't simply rely on the popularly classic so called land bridge to access America from Asia.




2006^      Celso Savelli Gomes      "Bountiful = Lehi's boarding to North America,"


                        August 16, 2006.


     This page has a number of weather maps which relate Lehi's journey to the New World and the Jaredite journey to the New World in relation to temperatures and prevailing winds. at the end of his short article, he writes:

     You can see, on top of this weather map, for January, the route the Jaredites followed, going North of Bahgdad from Tower of Babel, and reaching the North of Russia and there building a fleet of Cargo Sail Ships, and navigated through North Sea (of Russia) and there the weather condition is terrible. They arrived also at the Statue of Liberty, as if a Sanctuary being the land they were to enter: Ameriaca Continent. They were asiatic people. Using not hieroglyphs, but Ideograms like the Chinese and Japanese do, like they do in Guatemala and Mexico.


[2006      Map: Temperaturas: Janeiro / Julho (Temperatures and Winds in January and July as they relect on the Routes of Lehi and the Jaredites) Celso Savelli Gomes, "Bountiful = Lehi's boarding to North America,"                         (, August 16, 2006.]