Friday, January 16, 2015

The Lord’s Route for the Jaredite Voyage – Part I

So many Theorists have debated the route the Jaredite barges took on their way across the great sea, and even which sea that might have been. The problem, as is often the case, is not studying the scriptural record for answers, but inserting one’s personal views instead. After all, Nibley and others, who have chosen a mid-ocean crossing of the Pacific were trying to get the barges to the Mesoamerican area of Central America. Looking at any map, then, a route from China across the Pacific made sense. 
Once in China, it looks on a map like a simple direct route across the Pacific Ocean to Mesoamerica
    However, getting from Mesopotamia to the Pacific coast along the China shores is not that direct, nor is it that easy, though this, too, on a map seems like a rather direct route across the Steppes.
From Mesopotamia to the Steppes appears as a direct route and a logical one to get to the Asian coastline of the Pacific Ocean
    Again, there are problems with such a route that does not show up on a map but is quite real and would have made it near impossible for the Jaredites in 2100 B.C. to have taken such a route as Nibley and others have championed.
    So let’s take a look at the motive power of the Jaredite barges, which the Lord makes quite clear. To do so, we have to keep in mind that these barges were capable of moving beneath the sea “and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them…whether it was above the water or under the water” (Ether 6:10), for “when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish…therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters” (Ether 6:7), for “they were many times buried in the depths of the sea” (Ether 6:6). Throughout these times of their being buried in the depths of the sea, the Jaredites prayed unto the Lord, for he had told them that “I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea” (Ether 2:24).
    Consequently, we can see this was not a sailing ship with masts and sails, for such external projections would not survive the crashing waves and being buried in the depths of the sea—but it was a type of submersible barge that could survive being plunged beneath the waves and below the surface. Thus is could not be pushed forward by the wind upon sails, or even wind upon the stern (rear) for we are told that both ends were peaked, or pointed (Ether 2:17). Yet, the barges “were driven forth before the wind” (Ether 6:8). So what would the wind drive or move forward, if not the vessel itself?
The simple and obvious answer is that wind drives the ocean from the friction caused by passing over it. The higher the speed of the wind, the greater the friction and the greater the drag on the water—thus the currents move more rapidly. In fact, we are told that “The Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind” (Ether 6:5), and also “many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind” (Ether 6:6), and “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), and because of the harshness and velocity of the wind, “thus they were driven forth, three hundred and forth four days upon the water” (Ether 6:10).
Obviously, then, it was the waves moving in the ocean currents that moved the barges forward across the sea, sometimes crashing down on them so heavily the barges were driven beneath the surface, much like a whale into the depths, only to bounce back above the water again—without damage or losing their watertight integrity like that of a submarine. And like being in a submarine, any sudden or violent movement up or down or sideways is an unsettling experience for the inexperienced seaman. No doubt, like any mariner, the Jaredites eventually became accustomed to abrupt and unexpected movement and over the course of 344 days, earned their “sea legs.” Even animals, as any mariner has found who has ever accompanied beasts on voyages, eventually get somewhat accustomed to such movement.
    Now that we understand what moved the Jaredite barges, we need to look for a sea route where such wave and wind action could move such barges on drift voyages across the sea from the Old World to the Western Hemisphere. And in so doing, we need to keep in mind that we are looking for sea currents that are both high in velocity and controlled in direction, always moving toward the point of landing that equates to the Land Northward in the Land of Promise.
    The scriptural record talks about crashing, mountain waves and high velocity winds that never ceased to blow toward the promised land all year long. There is only one area in which this type of sea exists throughout the year and that is along the Southern Ocean, a route well known for this type of weather and action—in fact, this area is nicknamed the “Roaring Forties,” the “Furious Fifties,” and the “Screaming Sixties,” and has been for centuries by the seamen who have sailed these southern waters.
    These furious winds, gyrating ocean currents, and stormy weather with its huge rolling swells, buffeting waves, and ripping westerly winds that are unhindered and uninhibited because of the absence of continents or mountains that might slow them down via friction, driving currents that have always existed and have been well known by all who have traveled through there—in fact, shipping interests from the 16th to the 19th centuries caught on to these tail winds, and the southern Indian ocean served as a popular navigation route from South Africa to Australia and beyond across the southern Pacific Ocean to the Drake Passage.
    To match even further the constant up and down movement of the barges above, then below, then above the surface again, this area of the Southern Ocean is unique in such action.
According to Matthew England, of the Climate Change Centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, this is a deep area of the Indian Ocean with rapid and complex currents, above an ocean floor marked by “plenty of ridges and canyons—and eddy-rich region, which means that superimposed on the long-term average current are these little eddies that spawn off the current and have a life of their own." That is, they move up and down, and counter to the main flow, bringing about the type of movement of the barges outlined in the scriptural record.
    There are times along this route when the winds which run at 35 to 45 miles an hour, reach even higher speeds, with white-capped waves up to 30 feet high, as storm fronts move through the region, turning the weather turbulent with strong winds, high seas, and low visibility, but always moving in the same, constant direction from west to east around the globe.
    Which brings us back to the Jaredite route. Now, since this Southern Ocean is due south of Mesopotamia, not to the east, then we need to look for a route that the Jaredites would have taken to this ocean. Of the various probable directions out of the Valley of Nimrod discussed earlier, only two were possible: to the northwest and then west to the Mediterranean Sea, or southeast, toward the Persian Sea, then southward to the Sea of Arabia.
    This means that the only possible route out of the area of the Valley of Nimrod, which was northward of the Jaredite homeland (Ether 1:42), the route southeastward, as described previously in this series of posts on the Jaredites, would have taken them to the Sea of Arabia of the Indian Ocean.
Blue Line: The route southeast from Mesopotamia and then south across the desert to Salalah is a far shorter, simpler, easier route and about one-fifth the distance of Nibley’s (Red Line) route to the east
    This is also the only place where the Baobab tree grows, where the honey of the Jaredite bees has been found (along this coast), and matches all the other points that have been brought up here. From this area, then, the Jaredits “got aboard of their vessels or barges, and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God” (Ether 6:4).
While on a flat map, the Blue Line route appears further in distance than Nibley’s Red Line route, it actually is about one-forth the distance because of the curvature of the Earth, and the far shorter distance around the globe at the Arctic and Antarctic regions than across the center bulge of the globe


  1. What about a route through europe to Gibraltar and across the Atlantic to the great lakes as Joseph Smith might have said? Is there any reason why not?

  2. I forgot to tag myself so when you answer i get notified... Please write me back