Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Problems With The Malay Theory

The Malay Theory for the location of the Land of Promise in the Book of Mormon postulated by Ralph Olsen asserts that a 4,000 mile journey to the Malay Peninsula, with appropriate winds and currents from the Middle East, would have been much easier for Nephi and his party to travel than a 16,000 mile voyage across the Indian and Pacific Oceans (with no appropriate currents) to the Americas. Olsen claims there are 220 advantages as to why he thinks his theory is better than ones proposed in the Americas.

By the Americas, Olsen is speaking of John L. Sorenson’s Mesoamerican Theory, against which he makes most of his comparisons.

Before getting into Olsen’s theory, we need to cover some basic information that should eliminate the Malay Theory at the outset.

“This Continent” In 1829 the Western Hemisphere was known as a single continent. Even today out of 17 geographical encyclopedias, 9 continue to call North and South America as the American Continent

Joseph Smith wrote regarding the angel Moroni: “He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang.” (Joseph Smith History, verses 33-34).

However, Ralph Olson emphasizes it differently, saying: “and the source from whence they sprang is the Malay Peninsula.” And that is how to overcome this apparent discrepancy. At best this is a fallacious argument, since the scriptures clearly tell us where the Jaredites, Nephites/Lamanites and Mulekites originated and from “whence they sprang.”

Jacob, speaking of the Jews at Jerusalem, said, ‘The Lord has shown me that those who were at Jerusalem, from whence we came, have been slain and carried away captive” (2 Nephi 6:8; see also 9:5). In addition, speaking of Lehi’s descendants, the Apostle James E. Talmadge in “Jesus the Christ,” wrote: “Those other sheep who were to hear the Shepherd's voice and eventually be made part of the united fold, were the descendants of Lehi who, with his family and a few others, had left Jerusalem 600 B.c. and had crossed the great deep to what we now know as the American continent, whereon they had grown to be a mighty though a divided people.”

From this and the scriptures we learn:

1. Moroni said: “This continent.” In Joseph’s day, that was the entire Western Hemisphere, both the North and South American lands (now referred to as two continents).

2. Moroni said: “And the source from when they sprang.” This obviously has reference from the lands from which came Jared, Lehi, and Mulek.

3. Nephi says “my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days” (1 Nephi 1:4).

4. Lehi told his sons that they “should again return unto the land of Jerusalem, and bring down Ishmael and his family into the wilderness” (1 Nephi 7:2).

5. Regarding the Mulekites: “Mulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah; for the Lord did bring Mulek into the land north, and Lehi into the land south.” (Helaman 6:10).

6. Jacob said the Nephites came from Jerusalem.

7. Talmadge referred to the travels of Lehi being from Jerusalem to the American continent.

8. Ether (and Moroni) wrote: “Jared came forth with his brother and their families, with some others and their families, from the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people” (Ether 1:33)

Consequently, these references easily and unquestionably show that the Book of Mormon Land of Promise is in the Americas, and that the early inhabitants of the land of Promise came from the areas of Mesopotamia and Jerusalem—and obviously not from the Malay Peninsula as Olson so irrationally claims.

(See the next post, “Problem With The Malay Theory – Part II,” to see how the Malay Peninsula does not match the scriptural record irrespective of where Malay is located)


  1. Who is kidding who about Malaysia? No one in their right mind could possibly conceive that the scriptures support such an outlandish idea.

  2. Sharon, you are right on. I was through Malaysia some years ago and not much there but jungle. Can't image growing European and U.S. crops there like wheat and barley. Certainly no tourist stuff like ruins, walls, temples, etc., dating to B.C. times.

    1. Did you not see the largest temple complex in the world? Angkor Wat was preceded by the Kingdom of Zhenla and the Kigdom of Funan, which was founded by a foreigner that received a divine vision that he should cross the seas. Sounds similar to the Book of Mormon account.

      And read the comment below linking to an article demonstrating archaeological evidence of advanced cultures in Malaysia dating back to BC era.

  3. Now.. not that I support the Malay Theory.. because I don't. However, in all fairness I think it should be pointed out that there is another way to look at this. As pointed out.. Moroni told Joseph:

    "giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang."

    I think Brother Olsen is saying that Lehi traveled to Malay.. and then a remnant of his seed then became the "inhabitants of this continent".

    Just as we know that the former inhabitants that were in Meso.. came from Peru which came from Israel.

    It is just another way of looking at it. What it important is that we are not concerned with where the inhabitants or the remnant lived.. but where were the people written about in the Book of Mormon actually living. What ground did they stand upon. And we know that it was Peru.

  4. http://syburi-times.blogspot.com/2014/01/sungai-batu-tamadun-melayu-di-bongkar.html

    1. Thank you for sharing this Anko Leko. Has there been any new research done on this finding?