Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Go West, Mulek, Go West

We are often told that it would be much harder to get to the Americas to go south from Salalah, Oman, to the Southern Ocean than to go west from Jerusalem through the Mediterranean and directly across the Atlantic Ocean. 

However, that is like saying, it is much harder to go south or north from Salt Lake City to get to Denver than going directly east. The only trouble with that is, the roads don’t go from Salt Lake City eastward to Denver, they either go north into Wyoming then over to Laramie and then south down to Denver, or they go south to Green River, then pick up Interstate 70 eastward to Denver.

Wide Rivers, Tall Cliffs and Mountains among the natural topography which limited the direction of travel before trains and then cars and the building of large bridges


In the period before wagons and then cars, you could still not travel directly toward Denver from Salt Lake City, since there are mountains, cliffs, canyons, etc., in between, forcing you to go where the terrain allowed. In fact, all ancient travel was dependent upon the topography of the land. Cliffs, mountains, wide rivers, all blocked direct travel, requiring routes wound around such obstacles. Not until the coming of the railroad did man find the need to establish more direct routes that took him across rivers and canyons.

This is seen in the travel across the Atlantic. Ships had to drop south down to the Canary Islands from Portugal or Spain before they could turn west to cross the Atlantic, pointing out that all ships were subject to the ocean currents and winds. The return trip required a ship to go north in the Gulf Stream along the American coast until the current turned east and ran into the North Atlantic Drift and across the Atlantic toward Europe.

As we have pointed out many times we need to understand that in sailing as Lehi did in 600 BC “driven forth before the wind” (1 Nephi 18:8-9), one had to sail where the winds and ocean currents took them. There were and are no currents and winds leaving the south coast of Oman (around Salalah) that go east through Indonesia, since the winds come off the Pacific Ocean from the east and head west through Indonesia into the Indian Ocean—preventing sailing with the wind to the west.

The Indonesian Throughflow is the largest movement of water on the planet. Its yearly flow of 15 sverdrups of Pacific Ocean water—more than 49 million feet per second—flows through Indonesia to the Indian Ocean, blocking movement through the archipelago heading east


The route required would be to going south to the Southern Ocean with the winds and currents of the Indian Ocean gyre, then picking up the West Wind Drift (the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, which moves only from west to east around the Southern Ocean) and the Prevailing Westerlies (a very strong wind that blows from west to east through the Southern Ocean), to reach the south Western Hemisphere.

Another comment often received by those who promote the Atlantic Ocean route is that “Why did the Lord take the Jaredites west, but the Nephites he took east? To get to the same place? I don’t think so... “

The Lord never took the Jaredites west. There is no suggestion in all of the scriptural record of any direction either Lehi or the Jaredites traveled across the Great Deep or oceans. In fact, the word “West” does not appear in the entire Book of Ether. East is mentioned only twice, and that is in relation to travel within the Land of Promise. So any suggestion as to direction of travel has to do with the opportunity to travel in a direction based on the overland terrain, and the ocean winds and currents.

Consequently, for the barges to flow across the ocean, or great deep, the Lord tells the Brother of Jared “ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?” (Ether 2:25),

Now the waves of the sea were established at the time of the formation of the Earth (Ether 6:5), which were driven by the constant winds, (Ether 6:8) and the floods had to do with the seas that at times would cover their barges (Ether 6:6), which the Lord told the Brother of Jared that the they would be protected by the means of the barges he told them to build (Ether 6:7).

The scriptural record on all this is quite clear, and frankly, it doesn’t matter what a person thinks about the scriptural record, what matters is the factual basis of it and the historical writing that supports it.

This is seen with the Jaredite barges. They were subject to the currents that the winds pulled across the ocean, and “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), that is, pulled across the ocean, and 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).

Another comment received over time is “Why would the Mulekites have gone east, there is no, even semi logical, explanation why they would have gone east.” One very compelling reason is that any escape route to the west would have been blocked by the Babylonians who had laid siege to Jerusalem. Anyone attempting to leave Jerusalem would have been stopped by the Babylonian army that nearly surrounded the city and taken directly to Nebuchadnezzar, who was so interested in setting an example to discourage future rebellions in his empire as Judah had done, that he killed all of king Zedekiah’s sons and blinded the king himself, jailed him back in Babylon. After all Nebuchadnezzar controlled all of the eastern Mediterranean, including the coasts.

Babylonians controlled the coast of the eastern Mediterranean: Red Line: Babylonian control; Yellow Line: the only way out of Jerusalem during the siege: Maroon Line: The siege line against Jerusalem


The Egyptians, Palestinian coastal groups, and the Phoenicians were under attack by the Babylonians and would not, and could not, have sailed away with someone of the Jerusalem royal family or any other Jews.

In addition, Mulek could not have gone north, since that was directly into the Babylonian army and the huge Empire, and could not have gone south into Egypt since the Babylonians controlled those routes, blocking their enemy to the south from aiding those in Jerusalem.

They could not have gone due east, for that was into the stark desert where no travelers went and no water holes existed for travel.

Their only course was the inland Frankincense Trail that Lehi had earlier taken, going southeast and then down toward the Gulf of Aqaba, far to the east of Egypt. That would have taken them to the same location of Bountiful where Lehi went and from which both departed by ship.

In evaluating trips like this, it helps to know something about geography, history, and the conditions between nations at the time. Also, at the time of Lehi, Nephites did not originate until a year or two after Lehi reached the Land of Promise and Nephi escaped from his brothers mentioned in 2 Nephi. When determining matters like where the Mulekites went, we need to understand where Lehi went.

1 comment:

  1. God could find a way to bring the Mulekites to the Americas going West. Maybe sneaking them into Egypt and then onto some ship.

    But if the Lehites were in the Andes and found the Mulekites not that far from the City of Nephi in the place were they the Lord bought them (Omni 1:16) then it would make no sense for them to come across the Atlantic.

    Rather, it makes sense that the Lord would take them along the same natural path of ocean winds, currents and gyres that the Lehites sailed over.