Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Mulekite Homeland in the Land of Promise – Part I

To begin with, as most everyone knows, there is no mention of the Mulekites in the Book of Mormon. The Mulekites, or descendants of those who came with Mulek from Jerusalem in the last days of king Zedekiah, Mulek”s father, and are known to us in the scriptural record as the People of Zarahemla.
    Secondly, while the Jaredites came to the Land of Promise about 2100 BC, at the time of the fall of the Tower of Babel, and Lehi, the progenitor of Nephites and Lamanites, came to the Land of Promise 1500 years later, in 600 BC (actually arriving around 590 BC, after 8 years in the desert and a couple of years in Bountiful and building Nephi’s ship), there are many theorists who claim there was an overlap between the two groups.
    However, in the scriptural record, from Nephi to Mormon, there is not a single word, suggestion or even intimation that the Jaredites were living at the same time as the Nephites. Yet, scholars like John L. Sorenson and Hugh Nibley who insist that there were others in the land when Lehi arrived, again, there is not a single suggestion that would lead one to suggest this point.
Coriantumr the last Jaredite King

On the other hand, the last Jaredite king, Coriantumr just before his death (Omni 1:21). That is, there is no indication that the Jaredites and their culture overlapped the existence of either the Mulekite or Nephite culture in the land of promise. We are not told at what point in time Coriantumr arrived among the Mulekites, whether it was close to the traditional date of 600 B.C., or the 200 B.C. date some scholars claim—though the events suggest the former and not the latter, a fact that even Sorenson acknowledges, stating, “A reasonable conclusion is that the most likely date for the end of the Jaredite people falls not earlier, and not much later, than 580 B.C.” This work suggests the date to be closer to 567 BC.
    The important thing is, we do not know how long the Mulekites had the stone Coriantumr engraved his brief record upon before it was shown to Mosiah in about 250 B.C. (Omni 1:20), who interpreted it because the Mulekites had no idea what was written upon it (Omni 1:22). We only know that he carved the stone while among the Mulekites during the nine months before his death, and that it remained among the people of Zarahemla until Mosiah arrived.
    Another important point is, as Sorenson put it, “Also the fact that the Mulek group “discovered” Coriantumr, rather that the reverse,” suggests another one of these erroneous ideas—that the Mulekites were in the Jaredite Land Northward and ran across Corianturmr, or were out looking for Jaredites. The fact is, nothing could be further from the truth—that is, first, the Mulekites were never in the Land Northward as is attested by Amaleki’s statements in the Book of Omni, and second, it seems just as likely, that Coriantumr was wandering in the Land of Zarahemla when the Mulekites ran across him, or he was “discovered” in their land.
    As Amaleki said, the People of Zarahemla gave “an account of one Coriantumr, and the slain of his people. And Coriantumr was discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons” (Omni 1:21). Two points should be kept in mind from this comment.
Coriantumr wandered into the Mulekite settlement of Zarahemla

1) Coriantumr was discovered by the Mulekites;
2) Coriantumr lived with the Mulekites for nine months.
Now, the comments in the scriptural record place no time frame or events between Coriantumr’s discovery and living with the people of Zarahemla, which should suggest that these events were concurrent; that is, wherever the Mulekites were living at the time is where Coriantumr was discovered. This means, according to Amaleki that Coriantumr wandered into the settlement of the people of Zarahemla along the coast where the Mulekites landed. And since Amaleki tells us that they “journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth” (Omni 1:16), we can know that Coriantumr wandered into the Mulekite settlement where Mosiah later discovered the Mulekites to be.
    While many theorists claim the Mulekites landed in the middle of the Jaredite civilization in the Land Northward long before the last, devastating wars and were absorbed by the Jaredites until they could affect an escape which is when they migrated south and established the land and city of Zarahemla (Michael M. Hobby, The Mulekite Connection, Zarahemla Foundation Press, Salt Lake City, 1992, p 62) and eventually migrated into the Land Southward and inland to the area of Zarahemla (Joseph L. Allen, Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, S.A. Publishers, Orem, Utah, 1989, p 26; Michael M Hobby, The Mulekite Connection, Zarae Foundation Press, 1992, pp 16-17).
A vast civilization called the Jaredites had once lived far to the north of the Mulkeites, wo wanted to know who those people were

In addition, Sorenson claims that the reason the Mulekites in the land of Zarahemla were so anxious to have the Jaredite record interpreted was because they knew of the Jaredites and considered them their relatives (John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City UT, 1985, pp86,215). Joseph L. Allen (p7) claims that King Zarahemla knew of the history of the Jaredites before Mosiah arrived. And finally, Hugh Nibley (p248) writes that the Nephites and Mulekites knew of the Jaredites and were heavily influenced by them during a long cultural overlap between the two peoples, and (pp243-244) that the existence of Jaredite names among Mulekites shows that the Mulekites and Jaredites were culturally connected.
    However, all of this would be inconsistent with the scriptural record, for we find that the Mulekites had no idea who the Jaredites were as shown in king Limhi’s statement in Zarahemla “I am desirous that these records should be translated into our language; for, perhaps, they will give us a knowledge of a remnant of the people who have been destroyed, from whence these records came; or, perhaps, they will give us a knowledge of this very people who have been destroyed; and I am desirous to know the cause of their destruction.
    Another theorist claims that Coriantumr was discovered by the Mulekites while in the Land Northward (14 F. Richard Hauck, Deciphering the Geography of the Book of Mormon Lands, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 1988, p105). Hobby claims the Mulekites knew of the Jaredite people, and both co- mingled and intermarried with them, even adopting Jaredite customs, language and religion. Still another theorists claim that Coriantumr died in the Land Northward and the Mulekites later migrated from there into the Land Southward, bringing with them Coriantumr’s stone. Sorenson (p120) adds that the Jaredites were in such a weakened condition from the many wars by the time the Mulekites arrived among them in the Land Northward, that the Mulekites easily subdued them.
    It would seem unlikely, given all this, to think that the Jaredites and Mulekites intermingled at any time, and far more likely that the Mulekites knew only one Jaredite, and that was the last king, Coriantumr, who lived among them for only nine months, and the Mulekites knew nothing of his language, could not interpret a simple few statements the Jaredite left on stone, and in reality, knew nothing of the Jaredites at all, other than they were completely annihilated.
(See the next post, “The Mulekite Homeland in the Land of Promise – Part II,” regarding the Mulekite homeland, where they landed, where they settled, and who they were)


  1. Del, you have gone over this before of course. Since you are so obviously correct according to the BoM text, how on earth do such outlandish ideas get any traction?

    I suspect it ties back to the fact that the only way the Mesoamerican model can work is if there were many other people in the land that for some strange reason the BoM never clearly mentions.

  2. Hi Del. I think you are missing some words at the end of the first sentence below. Thanks, Dave

    “ On the other hand, the last Jaredite king, Coriantumr just before his death (Omni 1:21). That is, there is no indication that the Jaredites and their culture overlapped the existence of either the Mulekite or Nephite culture in the land of promise.”

  3. George: It is hard for people, once committed to one idea to change and replace it with another idea. Moses found that in the desert trying to eradicate the Egyptian learning from his people; Joseph Smith found that trying to change people’s views of the Godhead, and that revelation from God still existed. People believe what they are comfortable with and new or different ideas have a hard time working into their conscious.
    Because of all the hype, books, believed backing by BYU, the Church, etc., regarding Mesoamerica, they find any other idea difficult to grasp. To change their minds is to change human nature. But still we try.

    David: It should have read: On the other hand, the last Jaredite king, Coriantumr just before his death (Omni 1:21), considered himself the last of his people, and stated that “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,” tells us that the Jaredites ended with him, for the bones of his people (from their first parents to his time) lay scattered in the land northward” (Omni 1:22).
    That is, there is no indication that the Jaredites and their culture overlapped the existence of either the Mulekite or Nephite culture in the land of promise.”