Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Landing of the Jaredites

When did the Jaredites land in the Land of Promise? This is a question that has caused many theorists problems trying to matach their models and theories with the scriptural record.

The Maya Calendar, a system used during the Mayan civilization period

In his 1984 book, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, Theorist John L. Sorenson, using the Maya Mesoamerican calendar, has the earliest date of the Jaredites landing in the land of promise which is not after 3000 BC (John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 1985, pp 116-117)

If the interpretation of the Mesoamerican calendar is correct and used as the base, the landing would be in 3113 BC. 

Another theorist, Joseph Allen, places the flood at 3114 and the Jaredite arrival at 2700 BC bases his dates for the Jaredite arrival on both the dating of the tower and archaeological and traditional evidence coming out of Mesoamerica in relationship to the first settlers (Joseph L. Allen, Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, S.A. Publishers, Orem, Utah, 1989, p 20).

While many speculate on this landing date, often to justify or match the existence of Olmec La Venta in Mesoamerica, the fact is Ether gives us some clear insight into the time frame in which the Jaredites landed. Ether outlines his genealogy, dating backward from himself to Jared (Ether 1:5-33), in which he lists 29 direct generations plus one descendant generation (Not father to son generation but that a son was a descendant of a progenitor which could indicate several generations). 

Book of Mormon scholars often mistakenly use the figure of 30 generations to describe this genealogy, when in fact it would include a few more generations.  Others, like Nibley, mistakenly believe there were three descendant generations, not just one (Hugh Nibley, Lehi in the Desert and The World of the Jaredites, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, 1952, p148).

However, again, this is in error for while Ether is listed as a descendant of Coriantor (Ether 1:6), he is later listed as his son (Ether 11:23), and the same is true of Aaron who is listed as a descendant of Heth (Ether 1:16), but later given as his son (Ether 10:31). 

To cloud this issue and, therefore, make it seem like there were many more generations involved, Nibley suggests that the Hebrew word ben, which is usually interpreted to mean "son," can actually be translated as either son or descendant

Nibley even shows that a modern person may be called a son of an ancient progenitor, like Abraham, as well as the actual son, in this case Isaac, and that the same word would be used for both. However, the contextual use of that word is self-evident, and is not descriptive of the genealogy use found in the Book of Ether. In addition, we have no idea what word was used in the text, for Moroni translated the Jaredite character or glyph, by the use of the Urim and Thummim, found in the Ether record

In addition, Joseph Smith translated Moroni's Reformed Egyptian, by use of the Urim and Thummim, and in both cases we do not have the slightest idea if either of those two words (the language of Jared or the Reformed Egyptian) can be translated as both son and descendant.  But even if that were so, and there is no reason to believe it was, the use of the Urim and Thummim is a specific process in which the user figures out what the inscription is, then seeks validation from the Spirit (D&C 8:1-2; 9:7-9). 

So, if there is any error in the scriptural translation, as Book of Mormon scholars continually try to intimate, either by Mormon, Moroni, or Joseph Smith, one can only say that they and the Spirit were wrong. And we know that this is a false assumption.

All but two of the list of generations of the Jaredites are one generation, two skip one or two generations


The only descendant listed that is not also given as a son is Morianton, who is listed in two places as a descendant of Riplakish (Ether 1:23, 10:9). In this instance, Riplakish dies and his "descendants" are driven out of the land, but after the space of "many days," Morianton, a "descendant," gathers together an army of "outcasts" and went forth to battle, eventually conquering the entire land and becoming king (Ether 10:8-10). 

In this case a nominal number of generations would be involved since these descendants were still considered outcasts by the time Morianton leads them to maximum of four generations which would be from 50 to about 100 years.  A case could even be made that Morianton was Riplakish's son.  This suggests perhaps two to a no scriptural evdience can be cited to support that.  So, for the sake of argument, we can say that Morianton was at least Riplakish's grandson, or even second-great-grandson, though the shorter generation gap seems more likely than a longer one in this case.

So we are dealing with anywhere from 31 to 33 generations of Jaredites in the land of promise by the time Coriantumr, who was king in the days of Ether, winds up the Jaredite civilization.  For the sake of discussion, we will pick the middle number of 32 generations from Jared to Ether and Coriantumr.  Now, can this number be justified by scriptural evidence?

The Genesis and Book of Moses accounts, based on the placement of Peleg in the scriptural record, claim that the flood ended in 2343 BC. We can safely assume from the scriptural record that the tower was probably built within 100 years of the landing of the ark and no more than about 150 years. 

This gives us an approximate date of 2200 BC.  Consequently, Jared and his party left Mesopotamia around that time and after a handfull of years, reached the land of promise. Thus, for the sake of calculations, we will use 2200 B.C. as the landing time of the Jaredites. If the Jaredites were annihilated in 600 BC, this means they were in the Land of Promise about 1600 years.

1600 years divided by 32 generations equals 50 years per generation.  Given the fact that in some cases a son was born in the father's old age, such as Kim having Levi in his old age (Ether 10:14), an average of 50 years per generation might be reasonable, though today we figure about 25 years per generation.

The tower of Babel built some 100 years after Flood


If the tower was built later than about 100 years after the ark landed, or the confounding of the language was later than assumed based upon Biblical dating, we might even arrive at a landing date of 2000 B.C. for the Jaredites.  In this case, the generation average would be reduced to about 44 years which is even more reasonable.  But in both cases, the annihilation date is 600 C.

However, if we use the Book of Mormon scholar's figures of a 3000 B.C. landing date and a 200 B.C. annihilation date, we have the Jaredites in the land of promise for 2800 years.  Actually, Sorenson claims it would have been in the 3300 to 3000 BC range, so if we use the high end, we have 3100 years in the Land of Promise.

Using the lower figure, 2800 years divided by 32 generations equals about 87½  years per generation. That obviously means that some of these generational lengths would be more than 87, even more than 100, etc.  That is, the father would have been at least 87 years old on the average, and some would have been older—if we use a 20-year swing on both ends, the minimum age for a father would be 67 years of age and the maximum would be 107 years of age.  This is so far out of the range of generational computing that such dates are ridiculous to even suggest.

If we use the 3000 BC landing date and a 600 BC annihilation date, the figures get a little better—but still over 75 years per generation.  Looking at the various Book of Mormon scholar's figures, and they all promote a 200 BC annihilation date, the generation gap would be:

If we use the 3000 BC landing date and a 600 BC annihilation date, the figures get a little better—but still a little over 75 years per generation. Looking at the various Book of Mormon scholar’s figures, and they all promote a 200-year annihilation date, the generation gap would be:

• Sorenson 3300 BC  3100 yrs overall  96.8 yrs per generation

• Sorenson  3000 BC  2800 yrs overall  87.5 yrs per generation

• Joseph Allen 2700 BC  2500 yrs overall  78.1 yrs per generation

• Richard Hauck  2500 BC  2300 yrs overall  71.8 yrs per generation

• Michael Hobby 1850 BC  1650 yrs overall 51.5 yrs per generation

• Author  2200 BC  1600 yrs overall  50.0 yrs per generation

• Author  2100 BC  1500 yrs overall  46.8 yrs per generation

• Author  2000 BC  1400 yrs overall  43.7 yrs per generation

Thus, from the above figures, it seems far more likely that the landing date of the Jaredites was around 2000 to 2200 BC which is consistent with the Biblical and Book of Moses dating.  While the 1850 BC landing and a 200 BC annihilation date appear to be within an acceptable generation range (51.5 years), the dates do not coincide with the scriptural record since, in this case, the tower would have been built approximately 500 years after the ark landed and 146 years after the birth of Abraham! 

The earth was divided in Peleg’s time, after 2247 BC


In addition, the scriptures tell us the earth was divided in Peleg's time and he lived between 2247 B.C. and 2008 BC.  This means, since the Jaredites crossed the great sea to reach the land of promise≠, that they did so after the earth was divided, or after 2247 BC. The only way the Book of Mormon scholars with their 2500 BC to 3000 BC landing dates and 200 BC annihilation date could be correct is if the Bible and Book of Moses accounts of the generations are wrong.  And since Joseph Smith used those exact dates, after having translated them in the Book of Moses, to teach the second lesson in the School of the Prophets, spending the entire lesson and giving a test afterward on these dates to the brethren in attendance, it seems likely that the scriptural dates are correct.

This means, then, that the landing date was very close to 2200 BC and unless we want a generation age of 62 1/2** years per generation resulting from a 200 BC annihilation date, we can also feel safe in understanding that the Jaredites were destroyed around 600 BC, despite what the so-called learned professors want to claim.


  1. Very interesting comments. I have two ideas to consider. First is the earths rotation was faster before the flood and that accounts for the long ages. It slowed down after the flood and continued to slow into Roman times. The Romans added two months to the calendar - July and August named after the emperor. So this would account for the longer age for the time between generations.

    I used to believe that the literal earth was divided in the days of Peleg. I don't believe that is the case now after studying the flood over the years. The literal earth was divided during the flood when the violent dynamics were
    taking place. What I think now is the earth or the people were divided in the days of Peleg. Therefore the Jaredites as well as the dispersion from the tower of Babel would have occured at some point during his days.

    ICR did some calculations on the idea of the continent splitting and moving apart during the days of Peleg. What they found was that there would be continental size tsunamis would roll over the earth. So it doesn't look like the earth literally could have been divided then, but the people were. Would love to hear your thoughts about this.

    One other thing for the Heartland folks. The earth was plunged into an ice age at the end of the flood. Some calculate it lasted 500 years. The Irish chronicles say it lasted a thousand years. In either case there is no way the Jaredites landed north of the Heartland theorists narrow neck. Ecuedor on the other hand was right on the equator which was the perfect place during the ice age.

    1. If you want another scientific look at the aging differences, post flood...

      Telomeres in our DNA are considered the "wick" that determines the pace of aging. Damaged telomeres equate to a shorter lifespan.

      Telomeres are directly effected, in terms of damage, by cosmic ray bombardment. This is known through studies of astronauts exposed to increased cosmic rays outside of the earth's shielding.

      Thus, higher exposure to cosmic rays equates to a shorter lifespan. Ever since we've been measuring cosmic ray levels at ground level (after those high energy particles pass through the earth's protective magnetic field and atmosphere) those levels have been rising. This is at least in part due to the Earth's weakening magnetic field over the last several decades.

      All that needed to be changed during the flood for aging to take a turn toward shorter lifespans is for the cosmic ray filter to change. Given the extent and catastrophic nature of the flood, it is not difficult to see how the magnetic field and atmosphere of the planet could have been dramatically altered during the event. Man's exposure to cosmic rays and resulting long-term damage to the telemeres of our DNA would have eventually shortened our lifespan.

      Interestingly enough, a lower exposure to cosmic rays before the flood also means that the levels of Carbon 14 in the atmosphere would have been much lower to non-existent, since it is cosmic ray bombardment of the atmosphere that forms carbon 14. That would mean that atmospheric equilibrium was never the case, and all carbon dating is dramatically flawed, the further back it attempts to date (exaggerating the age of samples).

      Once again, it is the assumption of equilibrium (a scientific method based on a uniformitarian mindset) that makes us blind to changes surrounding the flood. Scriptural catastrophism is the antidote to our lack of insight about more than just the geological landscape.

  2. I find a problem with the idea that the tower of Babel was built only 100 years after the flood. Unless, of course, the flood was not an earthwide flood, and there were people besides the 8 on the ark-- which we have no scriptural evidence of.

    100 years is simply way to short of a time for the 8 souls coming off of the ark to develop into a population large enough to build a humungus tower. They estimate 20,000 people worked to build the great pyramid, and the tower of Babel probably was an even greater project and would have needed at least that many workers.

    The lectures on faith were mainly written by Sidney Rigdon. The fact that Joseph used them in the School of the Prophets to me does not prove that they cannot have errors in them.

    I have yet to be convinced that we can throw off the different dates given in the Septuagint, Josephus and the Samaritan text. The fact that these dates are different in the Masoretic text by exactly 100 years in six cases is a clear evidence of tampering-- one way or the other. But we have three against one, so I am not going to assume the Masoretic is bound to be correct.

    Were the Pyramids Built Before the Flood?

    1. no way were the pyramids built before the flood. The limestone bedrock that the pyramids were built on has marine fossils that were deposited during the flood.

      It is possible that the controversy over the dating regarding Shem's long life has some validity. So that could be the source of the problem. But certainly not the pyramids being built before the flood.