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Mulekite: Beginnings to 1920


 

Alan C. Miner

November 26, 2004

 

 

A Detailed Chronology of LDS Thought on the Geography of

the Mulekite Journey to the New World

 

Beginnings -------------> 1920

 

 

     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]

     Notes*

 

 

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.

 

     There were a number of books and articles that were written prior to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon concerning the New World being inhabited by the ten tribes of Israel. However, these books have been treated in the volume concerning "Indian Origins and the House of Israel." While this volume will specifically focus on the chronological development of ideas concerning the geographical route of Mulek, I will preliminarily assume that Mulek and his group took a Mediterranean route and availed themselves of Mediterranean navigational sophistication. Thus before treating the LDS ideas, I will present a collection of pre-1830 ideas concerning Indian origins from the Mediterranean area because they might have had some influence on how early members of the LDS Church viewed the Mulekite journey to the New World.

 

     In 1930, an LDS student at BYU named Alvah Fitzgerald would submit a Thesis dealing with the overall "Progressive Opinion of the Origin and Antiquity of the American Indian." In his Thesis (see the 1930 notation) Fitzgerald defined, evaluated, and listed the books published about, the evidence cited in support of, and the credence given to the various different theories which were advocated in succeeding periods from the time of the discovery of America by Columbus until 1930. In regards to the pre-1830 Mediterranean theories he writes:

     [pp. 7-8] The Mediterranean origin theory of the American Indian is herein used to include the territory and peoples, excepting the [Lost Ten Tribes], surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.

     Adventurous Phoenicians were credited with the discovery and settlement of America by an enthusiastic group of writers. A tradition was current during the seventeenth century that the Phoenicians whom Solomon, king of Israel, and Hiram, king of Tyre, employed to navigate their fleets, reached America and returned after a three-year voyage. Early legendary tales of other voyages were believed. Garcia and De Laet gave many pages to the discussions of this theory. George Horn claimed in 1652 that three Phoenician expeditions reached America.

     Carthaginian and Phoenician theories are closely related in origin and development. Aristotle tells of a voyage westward by Carthaginian merchants to an uninhabited island of great mineral wealth and natural beauty. To prevent knowledge of this island from reaching other peoples, the senate of Carthage prohibited further navigation, and the manner of reaching the island was lost. Carthaginian contact with the Canary islands, also stimulated inventive minds to wild speculation. . . . In a public address President Styles of Yale in 1783 declared his conviction that in the main the Indians were the descendants of the Canaanites expelled by Joshua.

 

 

 

 

 

1866^      Orson Pratt            "Sacred Metalic Plates," in The Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star 28

                       (1, 8 December 1866): pp. 761-64, 777-81.

     In the first year of the captivity, the Lord led forth another small company from Jerusalem, under the leadership of Mulek, one of the sons of Zedekiah. Mulek was consequently a descendant of Judah, through the lineage of king David. This last company landed in North America, some distance North of the Isthmus of Darien, and soon after, emigrated into the northern portions of South America, where they dwelt, until they were discovered by the Nephites . . .

 

 

1868^      George A. Smith            "Ancient American History," in The Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star,

                              Vol. XXX.3, No. 2, January 11, 1868, pp. 22-23.

 

[We commend the following synopsis of ancient American History no less to the perusal of our general readers, than to all historians, antiquarians, and ethnologists, who have from time to time manifested an interest in the history of the American Aborigines, but who, in their varied speculations, have surrounded the subject with doubts which have hitherto remained undispelled from the popular mind. Elder Smith's diligent research has rendered him familiar, not only with modern history, but with ancient American Records, and is an authority upon this subject. It is the most comprehensive compend of ancient history of the American continent we have ever seen--Ed(itors).]

 

     SEVENTIES' HALL LECTURES.--Yesterday evening (Dec. 4th), Elder George A. Smith delivered a most interesting lecture in the Seventies' Hall, on the Ancient History of this Continent.

     After some preliminary remarks, he entered upon the history of the Jaredites . . . They landed on the west coast of Mexico, and they called North America the land of Moron. . . .

     The next race of people who appear in the history of this continent reached it by two ways. Lehi and those with him left Jerusalem in the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, took a south-easterly direction, until they reached the Persian Gulf, built a ship, and crossed the ocean, landing on the west coast of Chili, near the place where Valparaiso now stands. After time they separated, a portion of them who desired to live righteously going over the mountains and settling in Bolivia. . . .

     They went north and settled in New Granada, but in going north they found a people calling themselves the people of Zarahemla, who had no written language, but from tradition it was learned that their father, Mulek, had also come from Jerusalem, having travelled north from that city until he reached the Black Sea, where he built a ship and, after passing through the Dardanelles, down the Mediterranean and the Straits of Gibraltar, he reached this continent form the east and landed not far from where the city of Carthagena now stands, near the Magdalena river, called in the Book of Mormon the Sidon, which empties into the Caribbean Sea. . . .--Deseret Evening News

 

 

 

1868^            Orson Pratt            Journal of Discourses (Liverpool) 1869, vol. 12, pp. 340-342

 

     In a discourse delivered in the "Old Tabernacle" in Salt Lake City on December 27, 1868, Orson Pratt said the following:

     After the destruction of the Jaredites, the Lord brought two other colonies to people this land. One colony landed a few hundred miles north of the isthmus on the western coast: the other landed on the coast of Chili, upwards of two thousand miles south of them.

 

 

1870^      Orson Pratt            "Discourse delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, April 10, 1870.

                        Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot,

                       1854-1886, vol. 13, p. 130.

 

     Pratt writes:

     Eleven years after the Lord brought this first colony of Israelites from Jerusalem, He brought another small colony, headed by one of the sons of Zedekiah, a descendant of King David. They left Jerusalem the same year that the Jews were carried away captive into Babylon, were brought forth to this continent and landed somewhere north of the Isthmus. They wended their way into the northern part of South America.

 

 

1875^      G. M. Ottinger            "Old America," in Juvenile Instructor 10-11 (9, 23 January, 6, 20 February, 6,

                        20 March, 3, 17 April, 1, 15, 29 May, 12, 26 June, 10, 24 July, 7, 21 August,

                        4, 18 September, 2, 16, 30 October, 13, 27 November, 11, 25 December

                        1875; 1, 15 January, 1, 15 February, 1, 15 March, 1, 15 April, 1, 15 May,

                        1, 15 June 1876.

 

     [The Mulekites] eventually landed somewhere north of the Isthmus of Darien, and journeyed southward into the country now called the United States of Colombia. There they built their capital city Zarahemla near the Magdalena river, called by them the river of Sidon.

 

 

 

1876^      G[eorge] M. O[ttinger]            "Old America," in The Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star, Vol. 38,

                             No. 33, August 14, 1876, pp. 517-519.

 

     Conclusion: . . . Without following the many minor facts, or tracing out and analyzing the numerous circumstantial evidences comparing so harmoniously between the writers of the Book of Mormon and the old historical records and traditions of America, we have aimed (and we hope successfully) to establish the following great points of indisputable evidence:

     First, that the deluge as described by Moses, the greatest and oldest writer we possess, is entertained on record or in traditionary belief, by nearly every tribe or nation of Old America. . . .

     Second, that although the Quiche records do not give us a clear record of jared's settlement in the country, we may reasonably infer from the account given of Votan that such an event had taken place. In fact the Votan of American tradition may have been the Jared of Mormon; but we are inclined to the belief that Votan was Mulek, who left Jerusalem 589 years before the coming of Christ, during the reign of Zedekiah, or about the time that king was taken a captive to Babylon. It was one of the sons of Zedekiah who commanded this colony, and they eventually landed somewhere north of the Isthmus of Darien, and journeyed southward into the country now called the United States of Colombia. There they built their capital city Zarahemla, near the Magdalena river, called by them the river of Sidon. Jared's people landed on the coast of Mexico. They named the country (North America) the "land of Moron." they flourished on this continent for at least 1800 years . . .

 

 

1879^      Orson Pratt            Book of Mormon (Geographical Footnotes), 1879-1920

 

 

     14. The footnote states that the Lord brought Mulek into North America and Lehi into South America. (Helaman 6:10)

 

 

 

1879^      G. M. Ottinger            "Votan, the Culture-Hero of the Mayas," in Juvenile Instructor 14

                       (1 March 1879): pp. 57-58.

 

     George Ottinger writes:

     In the year 1857, in the city of Vienna, a book now generally known under the title of Popol Vuh (national book) was first placed before the public in its modern translation, under the following heading: "A History of the Origin of the Indians of the Province of Guatemala, Translated from the Quiche Language by R. P. F. Francisco Ximenez," etc. . . .

     The learned Abbe, Brasseur de Bourbourg, dissatisfied with the translation, settled himself, in 1860, among the Quiches, and, helped by the natives and his own practical knowledge of the language, he elaborated a new and literal translation which was published in Paris, in 1861.

     From this and other important works relating to the ancient Americans, written by Bourbourg, whose indefatigable researches and labors deserve the greatest praise, we are indebted for much of our knowledge relating to the American culture-hero and voyager, Votan.

     "By some writers this early colonizer is said to have been a descendant of Noah, and to have assisted at the building of the Tower of Babel. After the confusion of tongues he led a portion of the dispersed people to America. There he established the kingdom of Xibalba, and built the city of Palenque." (Bancroft, Native Races, Vol. 5, 27)

 

     Ordonez, a native and resident of Chiapas, [and using another document purported to be a copy of a work written by Votan] says Votan proceeded to America by divine command and apportioned out the land, or laid the foundation of civilization. He founded the city of Nachan, or Palenque. . . . The name Tzequils, applied to Votan's followers by the aborigines, or families who joined him after his arrival is said to mean, "men with petticoats," from the peculiar dress worn by the newcomers. . . .

     The personage whose name appears first in [another] Maya tradition is Zamna, who taught the people writing (the hieroglyphic alphabet) and gave a name to each locality in Yucatan. "His role, so far as anything is known of it, was precisely the same as that of Votan, in Chiapas. (Bancroft, Vol. 5, p. 224) . . .

     Sahagun, justly esteemed one of the best authorities, says: "Countless years ago the first settlers came in ships, by sea, from the east. They had with them their wise men and prophets." The first homes of these colonizers are located by Sahagun in the province of Guatemala. The arrival Gucumatz and his companions and their settlements somewhere near the Usumasinta river agrees with the founding of Xibalba and the Votanic empire as related in the other narrative. . . .

     We find here in these secular histories and traditions a remarkable confirmation of the historical portion of the Book of Mormon. A careful reading of the Book of Omni (Book of Mormon) will give a correct version of the early settlement of Yucatan by the colony led by Mulek (Votan, or Zamna) from Jerusalem, and we see plainly wherein modern writers become confused, by confounding the two histories, that of the people of Zarahemla and that on the engraved stone, recording the history of the Jaredites who came to America shortly after the confusion of tongues at Babel, which is fully related in the Book of Ether (Book of Mormon) . . .

     Here also rises an important question from the definite location given by the secular narratives of the ancient city of Zamna. Is it not possible that the great Rio Usumasinta, "flowing north into the sea," may be the ancient river Sidon. Those remarkable and world-famous ruins known under the name of Palenque may yet be proven to be the remains of that "great city and religious center" of the aboriginals, called Zarahemla. "This city may have been identical with Xibalba; the difficulty in disproving the identity is equaled only by that of proving it." (Bancroft, Vol 5, p. 295.)

     The ruins are found on a branch or tributary of the Usumasinta, and their extent is undefined. Several travelers have written descriptions of these remarkable ruins. Possibly the best are by Waldeck, with drawings, who visited the ruins in 1832, and that of Stephens, with Catherwood's drawings, who visited and explored the ancient city in 1840.

     All the old traditions and records relating to the early colonizers are unamious [sic] in describing them as white men with beards.

     But the so called Palenque is not the only city in the old Maya dominion; the whole country is dotted with ruins, and there are unmistakable evidences of its having at one time been inhabited by a dense and industrious population.

 

 

1886^            ??            Plain Facts for Students of the Book of Mormon with a Map of the Promised

                       Land, SLC: N.p., 1886.

 

     John Sorenson writes:

     Plain Facts for Students of the Book of Mormon, with a Map of the Promised Land. n.p., n.d. (A four-page pamphlet preceded by an "Outline Map of the Occidental Promised Land." A photocopy of the dog-eared original exists at BYU.) The text cites a letter from President John Taylor, dated 1886, to a nameless addressee in Logan, Utah, giving permission to undertake missionary work among Maya Indians but warning that only a single wife was to accompany anybody going. The text, which emphasizes the importance of preaching to the "genuine" Lamanites found in Yucatan, indicates that Pres. Taylor was alive at publication; since he died in 1887, the pamphlet is taken as published that year. (John L. Sorenson, The Geography of Book of Mormon Events: A Source Book , Provo: FARMS, 1992, p. 137)

 

     Although the details of this "model" are not plainly spelled out, and although it might seem to be (at least in the beginning) somewhat similar to the 1880 Heber Comer and Karl G. Maeser, which follows a somewhat traditional hemispheric model--see notation and map), nevertheless there are some huge implications--implications that are revolutionary. For the first time, the site of the hill Ramah in Palmyra, New York is challenged. The author moves the final battles of the Jaredites to Central America. By implication, if the hill Ramah was "that same hill where [Moroni's] father Mormon did hide up the records unto the Lord" (Ether 15:11), and if Mormon hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to [him] by the hand of the Lord" (Mormon 6:6), then this also is the first time that the site of the hill Cumorah in Palmyra, New York is challenged. It should be noted that while the author does not come right out and say as much, there are implications in the scriptures he quotes. There is also an implication that Lehi's landing is just south of the Isthmus of Panama. This is implied because of the author's location for the "Land of the First Inheritance," which he places just south of the Isthmus of Darien (the Cauca Valley) on the map. This "Land of First Inheritance" is placed directly south of the landing site for Mulek (which is on the Atlantic side of northern South America at the northern mouth of the Magdalena river.

     The "model" also seems to emphasize Mesoamerica as the "land of many waters" to which many Nephites and converted Lamanites migrated in the times of Helaman-- a region bordering on a land of desolation, a region that was surrounded by four seas (Helaman 3:3-8), and a region in which this people became industrious, building many cities and temples of cement and wood. (Helaman 3:9-14). Thus, although the text is somewhat hard to understand, I will include a good share of it so that readers might be able to judge for themselves as to what is implied. The author writes:

 

     The preceding outline map [see map below] is chiefly intended to bring to mind two very remarkable places. These are the Bountiful and Four Sea Regions, where at many of the most important events recorded in the Book of Mormon occurred, and are in no few respects in accordance with general history and late official surveys and reports.

 

     There is also an implication that Lehi's landing is just south of the Isthmus of Panama. This is implied because of the author's location for the "Land of the First Inheritance," which he places just south of the Isthmus of Darien (the Cauca Valley) on the map. This "Land of First Inheritance" is placed directly south of the landing site for Mulek (which is on the Atlantic side of northern South America at the northern mouth of the Magdalena river.

 

 

 

1888^      George Reynolds      The Story of the Book of Mormon, SLC: J. H. Parry, 1888.

 

     Weak from the loss of blood, [Coriantumr] staggered on, placing as great a distance as his failing powers would permit between himself and the horrors of the last battle ground. . . . How long he thus wandered to and fro, wretched, comfortless and forlorn, we know not; but at last he reached the southern portion of the northern continent, thousands of miles from Ramah [in New York], and there, to the great astonishment of both, he found the people of Mulek, who had been led by the hand of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Chap. 79, pp. 1-2)

     With regard to the course of Mulek and his company we are left entirely in the dark; all we are told is that they landed in the northern continent. There is an understanding among the Latter-day Saints that this party traveled westward from Jerusalem. Some think they went first to Egypt under the guidance of the Prophet Jeremiah; then by the Mediterranean Sea either to Spain or Morocco, thence by ship across the Atlantic. Others fancy they went direct by ship from Palestine. (Chap 69, p. 2)

 

 

1889^      B. H. Roberts,            Moroni, A Sketch of the Nephite Republic," in The Contributor Vol. 11, Junius

                        F. Wells, ed. Published by the Contributor Company. Salt Lake City, Utah:

                        Printed by the Deseret News Company, 1890. No. 1, November, 1889, pp.

                        15-18; No. 2, December, 1889, pp. 54-58; No. 3, January, 1890, pp. 81-85;

                        No. 4, February, 1890, pp. 131-136; No. 5, March, 1890, pp. 164-168; No. 6,

                        April, 1890, pp. 227-231; No. 7, May, 1890, pp. 262-266; No. 8, June, 1890,

                        pp. 293-296; No. 9, July, 1890, pp. 335-340; No. 10, August, 1890, pp. 385

                       -388; No. 12, October, 1890, p. 449.

 

     Roberts's comments on Book of Mormon geography seem to partially follow those footnoted by Orson Pratt in the 1879 Book of Mormon. He writes as follows:

     The information contained in the Book of Mormon in regard to their colony [the ancestors of the people of Zarahemla--the Mulekites] is very meagre. It is known, however, that Mulek's company landed somewhere in North America, that by his followers the land was called Mulek, that they discovered Coriantumr, the last of the Jaredites, a people who in very ancient times had been led from the Tower of Babel to America . . .

 

 

1896^      Franklin D. Richards      "Origin of American Aborigines," in Contributor 17 (May 18896): 425-28. Also

                        in Millennial Star 58 (22 October 1896): 683-87. Also published as "Origin of

                        the American Aborigines," in Liahona 14/20 (1916-1917): 305-8; and

                        "Ephraim and Manasseh In America," in The Utah Genealogical and

                        Historical Magazine 23 (April 1932): 66-71.

 

     Among the latter colonists was Mulek, a son of Zedekiah, who escaped the massacre and, being of royal blood, the country where the newcomers landed was named after him. This was in the southern part of North America. Their descendants were discovered by Mosiah and his people when they fled from the land of Nephi and settled in Zarahemla. The whole of North America was afterwards called Mulek by the Nephites, and South America was called Lehi. Particulars will be found in Omni 1:15-22; Helaman 6:10; and 2 Kings 25:1-7. . . . F. D. Richards, Historian

 

 

 

1898      RLDS            A Report of the Committee on American Archaeology, 1898

 

     Glenn A. Scott writes:

     After much time and labor, members of the RLDS Committee on Archaeology reached conclusions which they considered to be substantially correct. From these conclusions, G. F. Weston of Buchanan, Michigan prepared six maps of Book of Mormon lands for the committee. A Report of the Committee on American Archaeology which included the maps was published in 1898 with a second printing in 1902, and revised and published again in 1910. Although the church never officially endorsed the maps, the proposed geographical locations of Book of Mormon cities and lands on the maps made a lasting impression which has been difficult to correct.

     Unfortunately, the committee made the easy assumption that the Isthmus of Panama was the "narrow neck of land" so frequently referred to throughout the Book of Mormon. This critical decision inevitably led to the conclusion that Lehi and his colony had to have landed in South America, because the book's narrative makes it very clear that the lands of Nephi and Zarahemla were south of the "narrow neck." This assumption was widely accepted, perhaps in part because of the legends and ruins of the Inca and pre-Inca people in South America.

     The committee equated the City of Nephi with Cuzco, Peru, and another city, identified as the city of Lehi-nephi, is shown as a separate entity more than 500 miles northwest of the City of Nephi.

     

Source: ^Glenn A. Scott, "Locating the Land and City of Nephi," in The Witness, Winter 1991, no. 75, pp. 6-7.

 

 

     The 1898 report by the RLDS Committee on American Archaeology represented the most extensive efforts by any LDS group to date to correlate published scholarly ideas with the Book of Mormon story. It also represented the most scholarly approach ever attempted to support a North America-South America setting for Book of Mormon geography. A number of maps by George F. Weston were included. The maps reflect a Hemispheric perspective. However, there is one map in particular worthy of note. It illustrates the Mulekite journey parallelling that of Lehi through Arabia, and then crossing the Pacific to land in Central America. Interestingly, this represents the only example to date of the Mulekites taking this route.

     Some of a multitude of excerpts which I have found pertinent are the following:

 

 

[1898      Map #1: Map of the World Showing Probable Course of the Ancient Colonies Across the Ocean. Drawn for the Archaeological Com. by G. F. Weston, Buchanan, Mich. Report of the Committee on American Archaeology: Appointed by the General Conference of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1894. Lamoni, Iowa: Herald Publishing Co., 1898.]

 

[1898      Map #2: Map of the Eastern and Western Continents Showing Ocean Currents and General View of the Ancient Lands. Drawn for the Com. on Archaeology by G. F. Weston, Buchanan, Mich. Report of the Committee on American Archaeology: Appointed by the General Conference of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1894. Lamoni, Iowa: Herald Publishing Co., 1898.]

 

 

1902^      William H. Kelley            Presidency and Priesthood, Lamoni, Iowa: Herald Publishing House

     (RLDS)                   and Bookbindery, 1902, p. 253.

 

     Still a third colony came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive to Babylon, one of Zedekiah's sons, named Mulek, being among the number. They also settled in the country now known as Eastern Central America.

 

 

1903      B. H. Roberts            1903-1906 YMMIA Manual, No. 7, New Witnesses for God, Vol. II, Part 1,

                       (3 Volumes), Salt Lake City: General Board of the YMMIA, Deseret

                       News Press, 1903. Copyright Joseph F. Smith, Church of Jesus Christ

                       of Latter-day Saints.

 

 

     III. Mulek's Colony

           

      . . . It is learned by an incidental remark in the Book of Mormon that the colony of Mulek landed somewhere in the north continent of the western hemisphere; and for that reason the north continent was called Mulek, by the Nephites; and the south continent, Lehi; and this for the reason that the Lord brought the colonies bearing these names to the north and south land (Omni 1:14-17) respectively. How many years the colony of Mulek traveled, and in what direction, cannot be learned from the Book of Mormon. But it is quite evident that they landed in the north continent of the western world, most likely in the southern part of that continent, say in the region of what is known in modern times as Central America. (Helaman 6:10) Thence they drifted southward to the valley of the Sidon, . . .

 

 

1904      M. W. Mansfield            "Jacob's Isle: Views Held in Chapter XI of Manual Modified

                              Concerning This Subject," in the Improvement Era, vol. 7, no. 4,

                              February, 1904, pp. 264-267

 

     In February 1904, an article by M. W. Mansfield would be published along with a following article by B. H. Roberts entitled "Remarks on the Foregoing Article." In essence, the articles focused on the meaning "isle of the sea," a term used by Jacob in referring to the New World in which the Nephites lived. Mansfield would present arguments that caused Roberts to change his point of view on Book of Mormon geography, especially cataclysmic changes at the time Christ. Mansfield's arguments are worth noting. He writes:

 

     In the days of Heth, a king of the Jaredites, poisonous serpents drove the flocks of that people through the narrow neck of land into the land known as Zarahemla; later, from this north country. Clearly showing that the land of North and South America was at that time joined by the narrow neck of land. The flocks of the Jaredites could not pass a strait connecting the sea and the ocean, if one existed at that time. The people of Mulek landed first in the north land, and subsequently moved southward into the land of Zarahemla, and no mention is made of any water which they crossed in that journey. . . .

 

 

1904^      Joel Ricks      Brigham Young College, Bulletin: Society Report: Book of Mormon Geography,

                 Logan: Brigham Young College, vol. III, No. 2, December 1904, pp. 1-19.

 

     In a very detailed and textually referenced report on Book of Mormon Geography by the Brigham Young College Society of American Archeology at Logan, Joel Ricks, the Society Secretary and Chairman of the Book of Mormon Geography Committee laid out a specific hemispheric plan based on exploration of some of the areas involved and intensive study of the text itself. He writes:      From the descriptions, given, all students [of the Book of Mormon] are able to identify the Land Northward as North America, and the Land southward as South America, and the narrow neck of land as the Isthmus of Panama. In Nephite times, the Land Northward was called Mulek, it being the place where Mulek and his people disembarked. The Land Southward was called Lehi, because Lehi and his colony landed there. (Helaman 6:10)

 

     It is certain that Guatemala and Honduras were populous Jaredite lands. Here we wish to say that while it is usually thought that the Jaredites reached this region from the west, it has always seemed to us that the strongest reasons exist for believing that they came from the east and landed on the east coast, just as Mulek did. The comparatively short journey to be made and the prevailing winds and currents are all in favor of this idea.

 

[1904      Illustrated Model      Joel Ricks      HEMISPHERIC]

     Page #1      Page #2 Page #3

L.S.=Western S. Amer. / N.N.=Pan. / L.N.=North of Panama / H.C.= N.Y.      

Sources: Brigham Young College Society of American Archaeology. Society Report: Book of Mormon Geography. Brigham Young College Bulletin 3 (2) December 1904 (Logan, Utah). Ricks wrote this report as chairman of their Committee on Book of Mormon Geography; the two maps are specifically "by Joel Ricks." The model is essentially unchanged in Joel Ricks, Helps to the Study of the Book of Mormon, 1916. Also the same as in Ricks' The Geography of the Book of Mormon, n.p., (1939, 1940). See also Ricks' Whence Came the Mayas?, n.p., 1943.

 

 

 

1907      Eld. F. A. G.            The Liahona "Question-book," May 18, 1907

 

     Eld. F. A. G., of Winnipeg, Can., asks where the colony of Mulek, that left Jerusalem about 598 B. C., and went to South America, landed. Students of the Book of Mormon are of the opinion that Mulek's colony landed "at some point on the northern coast of South America, in what is now Venezuela"

 

 

 

1907^      Walter W. Smith      "Normal Lessons on the Book of Mormon-Part 2" in "The Religio's Arena" in

     (RLDS)             Autumn Leaves, Elbert A. Smith ed., Vol. 20, No. 9 (Sept), pp. 425-427      

 

     [p. 425] During this time [around 600 B.C.] two colonies of Israelites, one led by Lehi, the other led by Mulek, son of Zedekiah, left Jerusalem and emigrated to America, most likely by way of the Pacific Ocean, the former landing southward and the latter northward, from the "narrow neck of land,"--the Isthmus of Panama.

     [p. 426] They were led by the hand of the Lord and brought to America, landing in that part of the country now called Central America. From there they moved probably gradually into the northern part of South America, occupying what is now the United States of Colombia, and by them called Zarahemla.

 

 

 

1909^            B. H. Roberts                  New Witnesses for God , Vols. II & III (3 Volumes)

                                   Deseret News: Salt Lake City, 1909

III. Mulek's Colony

           Note* This section is essentially the same as the 1903 edition.

 

     It is learned by an incidental remark in the Book of Mormon that the colony of Mulek landed somewhere in the north continent of the western hemisphere; and for that reason the north continent was called Mulek, by the Nephites; and the south continent, Lehi; and this for the reason that the Lord brought the colonies bearing these names to the north and south land (Omni 1:14-17) respectively. How many years the colony of Mulek traveled, and in what direction, cannot be learned from the Book of Mormon. But it is quite evident that they landed in the north continent of the western world, most likely in the southern part of that continent, say in the region of what is known in modern times as Central America. (Helaman 6:10) Thence they drifted southward to the valley of the Sidon, . . .

 

 

 

1910^      RLDS      Report of the Committee on American Archaeology, Lamoni, IA: Herald House, 1910.

 

     This 191 page update of the 1898 report by the RLDS Committee on American Archaeology represented the most extensive efforts by any LDS group to date to correlate published scholarly ideas with the Book of Mormon story. It also represents the most scholarly approach ever attempted to support a North America-South America setting for Book of Mormon geography. A number of maps by George F. Weston are included. The maps reflect a Hemispheric perspective. However, there is one map in particular worthy of note. It illustrates the Mulekite journey parallelling that of Lehi through Arabia, and then crossing the Pacific to land in Central America. Interestingly, this represents the only example to date of the Mulekites taking this route.

 

 

 

1915^      Janne Sjodahl            Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, Lliverpool: Millennial Star Office, 1915?,

                        p. 21

 

     Eleven years after the departure of Lehi from Jerusalem, another small company, a son of King Zedekiah being among the number, emigrated from that city and landed somewhere ont he coast of America, north of the Isthmus.

 

 

 

1916^      Joel E. Ricks      Helps to the Study of the Book of Mormon, Independence, MO, Zion's, 1916

 

     In addition to the text, this publication included photos, maps, and a chronology. Joel Ricks writes:

     The colony led by Mulek came from Jerusalem westward, and landed on the northern coast of South America, near the mouth of the Magdalena river. Down to the time when they were joined by the Nephites, this colony had gradually occupied the Magdalena valley and the plains extending westward to the isthmus.

 

 

1916^      T. J. Smith            "Objections to the Book of Mormon Answered By Its Own Evidence--No. 3,"

     (RLDS)             in Saints Herald Independence, MO: The Reorganized Church of Jesus

                        Christ of Latter-day Saints, December 27, 1916, pp. 1264-1266.

 

     Note* This is the third article in a series of articles defending the Hemispheric Theory of Book of Mormon Geography against "difficult and seemingly impossible, or at least improbable, statements" found in the book itself.

 

 The people of Zarahemla were often called by that name from the time they landed in Central America (as in Alma 13:74) and Coriantumr might have been discovered by them in that country; but we have no means of knowing.

 

 

1917^            Louis Edward Hills            The Geography of Mexico and Central America from 2234

                                   B.C. to 421 A.D. (Independence, Missouri)

 

     A member of the RLDS Church, Louis Edward Hills is credited with being the first to develop a Book of Mormon geography model that was strictly limited to Mexico and Central America (see illustration below). He apparently seems to correlate Lehi's landing with the Nahuas and Mayas on the Pacific coast of El Salvador. It is also interesting the he apparently correlates the Jaredites with the Quinames and the Mulekites with the Olmecs and has them both coming across the Atlantic Ocean and landing in the Veracruz area of Mexico bordering the Gulf of Mexico. He wrote a number of books which derived their geography from the traditional histories of the ancient Americans written by Ixtlilxochitl and others, and the Popol Vuh. For him the hill Cumorah was in central Mexico, the first place ever suggested other than New York. In the preface of his book he states the following:

     after years of teaching and defending the Book, I am convinced that the geography, taken from a close study of location as found in the record itself, is the very best evidence that can be furnished to authenticate the record. Confident that the record gives a true history of ancient Americans who once lived upon this Western Continent, I have tried to make the Book itself give to us the much-to-be-desired map. To God be the honor.Place of Landing of People of Zarahemla

 

     Note the names in the beginning of the following quotation, and the history that follows, and notice that this is the place of the landing of Mulek and his people, later called "the people of Zarahemla."

     The Olmecs and Xicalancas [Ze-cal-an-cas], who were sometimes represented as two nations, and sometimes as a division of the same nation, and regarded by all authorities as Nahuas . . . Tabasco was the region traditionally settled by them. They are regarded as the first of the Nahua nation in this region and are first noticed by tradition on the southeast coast, whither they had come in ships, from the east . . . Their national names are derived from those of their first rulers, Olmecatl and Xicalancatl." ("Native Races," vol. V. p. 195)

 

     Two ancient cities called Xicalanco are reported on the Gulf coast, one on a point of land just below Vera Cruz, the other on the point of land at the entrance to Laguna de Terminos. The two Xicalancos may be the two landing-places of the people of Zarahemla. Xicalanco derived from Zarahemla, X having the sound of Z.

     Itz-lil-xochitl tells us they occupied the land in the third age [which may mean the third colony], landing on the east coast as far as the land of Papuha [muddy water] or in the region about the Laguna de Terminos.

     The Olmecs [Mulkes], seem to have been a very ancient people, bordering on, or mixed with the Xicalancnas [Ze-cal-an-cas]. The name Olmec seems to have been the designation of a phase, or era, of the Nahua [Nephite] civilization preceding that known as the Toltecs. . . .("Native Races," vol. II, p. 113)

 

     After the people of Zarahemla (Ze-cal-an-cas) were discovered by the Nephites, they became people of Nephi, or Nahuas. The people of Zarahemla, before Zarahemla's time, were called the people of Mulek (Olmecs).

 

 

[1917      Illustrated Model      Louis E. Hills      LIMITED MESOAMERICA]

L.S.=South. & East. Mesoamerica / N.N.=Tehuantepec / L.N.=Northern & western Mesoamerica / H.C.= in Valley of Mexico      

Sources: Louis Edward Hills, Geography of Mexico and Central America from 2234 B.C. to 421 A.D., n.p.: Independence, Missouri, 1917. Also Hills' A Short Work on the Popol Vuh and the Traditional History of the Ancient Americans by Ixt-lil-Xochitl, Independence, MO; Also A Study of the Geography of the Book of Mormon, n.p., 1920. Also A Friendly Discussion of the Book of Mormon Geography, n.p.: Independence, Missouri, 1924. See also Hills' Historical Data from Ancient Records and Ruins of Mexico and Central America, 1919.

 

[1917      Illustrated Map      Louis E. Hills      Probable Course of the Ancient Colonies across the Ocean]

Source: Louis Edward Hills, Historical Data from Ancient Records and Ruins of Mexico and Central America, 1919, p. 6.

 

 

 

1919^      C. W. Clark            "Book of Mormon Evidences - Part ," in Autumn Leaves, Elbert A. Smith ed.,

     (RLDS)             Lamoni, Iowa: Herald Publishing House, Vol. 32, No. 8 (Aug), pp. 349-352

 

     Part 9      

 

     . . . The Nephites and the people of Zarahemla became one people. They were not two civilizations, both having arrived from Jerusalem, but the people of Zarahemla when they landed on the northeastern coast of South America about where Venezuela is located, did find a man whose name was Coriantumr who was the last of a race that had preceded them. . . .

 

     Note* Here the Nephites are identified with the Mound Builders. Before this time the Mound builders generally were identified with the Jaredites.

 

     Note* Clark has the people of Zarahemla landing "on the northeastern coast of South America about where Venezuela is." This would probably indicate an Atlantic coast crossing.

 

 

[1919      Illustration: Maps of Jaredite and Nephite Migrations. The above maps were used to illustrate an article by the author appearing in the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society Publications for April, 1917, on "The Mound Builder and the Indian." C. W. Clark, "Book of Mormon Evidences," in Autumn Leaves, Elbert A. Smith ed., Lamoni, Iowa: Herald Publishing House. Vol. 32, No. 4 (April), p. 171.]

 

 

 

     NOTES