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Meldrum And May'S Recent Conference


nosmelone

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So I recently returned from Rod Meldurm and Wayne N May's Book of Mormon Evidence Conference. Obviously I do not support a Heartland setting but thought that out of the kindness of my heart and because I had a family member who is just crazy about their stuff that I would accompany him to their conference. One of Rod Meldrums recent presentations was about the Phoenician Expedition. It was about the replica 600BC Phoenician boat that was used to sail around Africa from Saudi Arabia to Lebanon just to prove that it could be done. In this expedition it took a little less than a year but they did go around the Horn of Africa from the east side to the west side and while attempting to continue along the west coast actually had the currents pull them in a northwesterly direction. It pulled them in this direction to the point where they litterally could have stopped in Mesoamerica or of course as Meldrum put it, it could have stopped in the Gulf of Mexico towards the North Western portion of Florida. He then proceeded to show a map similar to this showing the currents known throughout the globe.

OceanCurrentsUSNOO.gif

For those of you not familiar with the Phoenician Expedition it can be seen at http://www.phoenicia.org.uk/

They proceeded to show us a couple of short video clips showing the building of the boat which was interesting but they forgot to say it had a small engine to help leave ports and dock which I doubt Nephi or even the Phoenicians had. I have always been under the assumption that Lehi and his family went east from Bountiful and then sailed to the western coast of South or Central America. Where did this common idea originate? Wouldn't it make more sense to have went south west from Bountiful around Africa? I know that Nephi and Lehi's boat was not built after the manner of men and could have had a keel to tack against the wind so that it could have gone either direction but doesn't this at least sound like a decent possibility?

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but they forgot to say it had a small engine to help leave ports and dock which I doubt Nephi or even the Phoenicians had.

I believe they would have used the tides instead.
I have always been under the assumption that Lehi and his family went east from Bountiful and then sailed to the western coast of South or Central America. Where did this common idea originate?

For one thing, Joseph was reported saying that Lehi's family landed in Chile, IIRC.
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I actually enjoy Meldrum. I don't know if any one is correct but I will say that from a Bible view point he makes sense. The whole of the Old and New Testament takes place in a small area. The names have changed over time but the ground is the same. Probably the farthest out of the area are the mountains of Iran where Noah's ark came to rest. But that is also not widely agreed to. So it would not surprise me at all if the ground that the early church had under foot is the same ground as in the Book of Mormon.

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This route makes more sense.

There is more land mass to follow and stop when needed and you don't have that seemingly impossible journey from the Australia area to the Americas.

I agree to me this route makes more sense too. Meldrum also stated that if he would have sailed to the East and attempted to land on the Pacific side that the currents would have been against Lehi and Nephi's ship which it seems is correct. Even during and El Nino year it would have only pushed them in a more south eastern direction. Of course all of this is speculation and he admits it too because we really don't know what design the Lord had in mind for Nephi's ship. Of course with the Jaredite barges he made the wind blow continually in the direction they were sailing which is plausable for Nephi and Lehi's voyage too. I must admit I was surprised what little news coverage this Phoenicia Expedition got in the US. Apparently it got a lot more coverage outside of the states. I was impressed with Meldrums Theory as far although I would use the same route to suggest a Mesoamerican landing, it does work or a Heartland setting as well.

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I believe they would have used the tides instead.

For one thing, Joseph was reported saying that Lehi's family landed in Chile, IIRC.

A close look at the current map shows that there are three equatorial currents. The north and south equatorial currents do indeed flow to the west and would be contrary to the direction that Nephi needed to go. However the equatorial counter current flows to the east and would carry ships to the proposed landing site on the south coast of Mesoamerica. In fact, if one looks closely, when it reaches the coastal area, it joins either the north or south currents returning to the west. The flow of the northern current would carry them up the south coast of Central America to the proposed landing site in Guatemala.

edited to add the following:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equatorial_Counter_Current

Equatorial Counter Current

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Equatorial Counter Current is a significant ocean current in the Pacific and Indian oceans that flows west-to-east at approximately five degrees north. The Counter Currents result from balancing the westward flow of water in each ocean by the North and South Equatorial currents. In El Niño years, this current intensifies in the Pacific Ocean.

This current is over 300 miles wide. With Nephi's ability to control the direction of his ship and the help of the Lord, he would have had no difficulty keeping his ship within the eastern flowing equatorial counter current. This would have brought him to precisely the area on the southern coast of Central America that is proposed by Mesoamerican theories about BofM geography.

Larry P

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That map is missing all of Indonesia - is there more to it?

Yeah, this map is missing that section, I was focusing more on the currents around Africa to the Atlantic and the fact that the S. Equitorial currents push away from S. America rather than into S. America. I suppose that depending on the section that is missing if they were able to catch the west wind drift it would shoot them up into S. America or Mesoamerica on the Pacific coast. It makes for some interesting theories.

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However, the jet streams move from West to East towards the Americas. This is why we have been finding traces of radioactivity all the way over here from the Japan nuclear power plant problem. Personally, I think wind would be more significant in sailing than currents. If you've ever been boating, wind can blow you upstream against the currents in an average boat without sails. If you add sails to the picture you could easily go against the strongest currents. These winds could take a ship from SE Asia to Mesoamerica without any problem.

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I agree to me this route makes more sense too. Meldrum also stated that if he would have sailed to the East and attempted to land on the Pacific side that the currents would have been against Lehi and Nephi's ship which it seems is correct. Even during and El Nino year it would have only pushed them in a more south eastern direction. Of course all of this is speculation and he admits it too because we really don't know what design the Lord had in mind for Nephi's ship. Of course with the Jaredite barges he made the wind blow continually in the direction they were sailing which is plausable for Nephi and Lehi's voyage too. I must admit I was surprised what little news coverage this Phoenicia Expedition got in the US. Apparently it got a lot more coverage outside of the states. I was impressed with Meldrums Theory as far although I would use the same route to suggest a Mesoamerican landing, it does work or a Heartland setting as well.

There is a poster here (Rodheadlee) who actually lived and plans on living on his new boat, he has much experience, and has posted that it is very possible to use the currents (especially w/El-nino) to sail from the East to the Western shore of Central America (my guess, like others is Guatamala). The book of Mormon has Lehi's party heading Southward to the Red Sea then East (not West). We also assume the landing of the Jaredites and Mulekites was on the Eastern side (Atlantic) see Alma 22:29-30. But for Lehi's party I have read experts such as Aston, Brown, Hilton and Nibley, all speculate that Lehi landed on the Pacific side.

Also I remember there used to be in the downstairs of the Visiting Center (SLC) that the church had a possible route of Lehi and showed the path (it was a pacific route). I even recall a diorama of a balsa boat like that of Thor Heyerdahl. Although the church takes no stand I believe this is where the leanings seem to be.

Just speculating

Anijen

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There is a poster here (Rodheadlee) who actually lived and plans on living on his new boat, he has much experience, and has posted that it is very possible to use the currents (especially w/El-nino) to sail from the East to the Western shore of Central America (my guess, like others is Guatamala). The book of Mormon has Lehi's party heading Southward to the Red Sea then East (not West). We also assume the landing of the Jaredites and Mulekites was on the Eastern side (Atlantic) see Alma 22:29-30. But for Lehi's party I have read experts such as Aston, Brown, Hilton and Nibley, all speculate that Lehi landed on the Pacific side.

Also I remember there used to be in the downstairs of the Visiting Center (SLC) that the church had a possible route of Lehi and showed the path (it was a pacific route). I even recall a diorama of a balsa boat like that of Thor Heyerdahl. Although the church takes no stand I believe this is where the leanings seem to be.

Just speculating

Anijen

It would be interesting to hear Rodheadlee's perspective as well. I don't tend to speculate against the likes of Nibley, Aston, Hilton, or Brown so I was just wondering how they came to their conclusions without doing my own research (ok, I'm being lazy). I haven't been to the visitors center for almost a year or so, I wonder if they still have that display? Anyways thanks for the insight.

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It would be interesting to hear Rodheadlee's perspective as well. I don't tend to speculate against the likes of Nibley, Aston, Hilton, or Brown so I was just wondering how they came to their conclusions without doing my own research (ok, I'm being lazy). I haven't been to the visitors center for almost a year or so, I wonder if they still have that display? Anyways thanks for the insight.

That display has been gone for many years. I wonder if there are any here who remember it. It was early 80s IIRC.

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There is a poster here (Rodheadlee) who actually lived and plans on living on his new boat, he has much experience, and has posted that it is very possible to use the currents (especially w/El-nino) to sail from the East to the Western shore of Central America (my guess, like others is Guatamala). The book of Mormon has Lehi's party heading Southward to the Red Sea then East (not West). We also assume the landing of the Jaredites and Mulekites was on the Eastern side (Atlantic) see Alma 22:29-30. But for Lehi's party I have read experts such as Aston, Brown, Hilton and Nibley, all speculate that Lehi landed on the Pacific side.

Also I remember there used to be in the downstairs of the Visiting Center (SLC) that the church had a possible route of Lehi and showed the path (it was a pacific route). I even recall a diorama of a balsa boat like that of Thor Heyerdahl. Although the church takes no stand I believe this is where the leanings seem to be.

Just speculating

Anijen

That is a good point that they were traveling in that direction, but that doesn't mean they couldn't have went West after launching.

Ultimately they needed to get to Bountiful to build a ship and that required an Eastward direction - there were no options West or along the Southern border. They needed wood, ore, food and a launching arena (all found in Bountiful) to make the journey happen then you can go East or West. Who knows, maybe they went west and still ended up on the Western shores of Central America.

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That is a good point that they were traveling in that direction, but that doesn't mean they couldn't have went West after launching.

Ultimately they needed to get to Bountiful to build a ship and that required an Eastward direction - there were no options West or along the Southern border. They needed wood, ore, food and a launching arena (all found in Bountiful) to make the journey happen then you can go East or West. Who knows, maybe they went west and still ended up on the Western shores of Central America.

Either way is problematic. If they headed west they would have had to go south first and around the Southern tip of Africa and if so it would seem to me they would have landed in South America probably modern day Brazil or Argentina.unlabeled-world-map.jpg If east then through the many islands which I believe they might have stopped at some and reloaded... In the end nothing is too hard for the Lord.

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In considering their route, don't forget the tempest in 1 Nephi 18.

Actually, it's been a dream of mine to recreate that portion of the journey ever since I heard about Kon Tiki in grade school. Anyone want to join me?

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Either way is problematic. If they headed west they would have had to go south first and around the Southern tip of Africa and if so it would seem to me they would have landed in South America probably modern day Brazil or Argentina.unlabeled-world-map.jpg If east then through the many islands which I believe they might have stopped at some and reloaded... In the end nothing is too hard for the Lord.

Your right the islands could have served as a reloading zone if need be. One other thing that Meldrum added that was interesting was that Harvest season in Yeman or Oman area would be Sept-Oct, supposing that the journey would have started shortly after harvest season and if they went in the south western direction, we can assume by comparing with the timeframe from the Phoenica expedition which left around that same time and had multiple layover points (total of 71 days not sailing) that when they hit their most westerly point (very near to Florida) it was at June 12th. Deducting layover time taken by the Phoenician crew this would have taken Lehi's party roughly 6 months. This means they would have left at right after harvest season in Yeman and arrived in the New World just in time to plant their crops. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

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Personally, I think wind would be more significant in sailing than currents. If you've ever been boating, wind can blow you upstream against the currents in an average boat without sails.

This reminds me of the canoeing/rafting trip my family took where the wind was blowing so hard that the canoes were traveling backwards up the river....and this was with lowlying canoes and rafts.

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That display has been gone for many years. I wonder if there are any here who remember it. It was early 80s IIRC.

I remember, my grandma used to take us to the Visitor's Center every time we visited her in Provo.

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Personally, I think wind would be more significant in sailing than currents. If you've ever been boating, wind can blow you upstream against the currents in an average boat without sails. If you add sails to the picture you could easily go against the strongest currents. These winds could take a ship from SE Asia to Mesoamerica without any problem.

I would completely agree with you that the wind would be more important than the currents. The problem presented with this is that the Phoenician Ship replica that dates back to 600BC was built with a rounded bottom with no keel after the same manner the Phoenicians built them thus they couldn't tack against the wind and had to rely upon the current. This doesn't mean that Nephi and Lehi's boat didn't have a keel they very well may have and if they did than they could have went any direction they basically wanted if they knew how to use the wind.

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I would completely agree with you that the wind would be more important than the currents. The problem presented with this is that the Phoenician Ship replica that dates back to 600BC was built with a rounded bottom with no keel after the same manner the Phoenicians built them thus they couldn't tack against the wind and had to rely upon the current. This doesn't mean that Nephi and Lehi's boat didn't have a keel they very well may have and if they did than they could have went any direction they basically wanted if they knew how to use the wind.

We cannot assume that Nephi's ship looked like any common boat at the time. The scriptures tell us that "the Lord did show me from time to time after what manner I should work the timbers of the ship. Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men" 1 Nephi 18

While the Phoenicians may have had the best advancements regarding ship building at that time, it would have no bearing whatsoever on Nephi's ship because they would have been different. Whether the Lord wanted Nephi to use sails or not, we will never know, but we cannot compare it to other ships of the time.

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We cannot assume that Nephi's ship looked like any common boat at the time. The scriptures tell us that "the Lord did show me from time to time after what manner I should work the timbers of the ship. Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men" 1 Nephi 18

While the Phoenicians may have had the best advancements regarding ship building at that time, it would have no bearing whatsoever on Nephi's ship because they would have been different. Whether the Lord wanted Nephi to use sails or not, we will never know, but we cannot compare it to other ships of the time.

The following verses fom 1Nephi

1 Nephi

8 And it came to pass after we had

all gone down into the ship, and had

taken with us our provisions and

things which had been commanded

us, we did put forth into the asea

and were driven forth before the

wind towards the bpromised land.

9 And after we had been •driven

forth before the wind for the space

of many days, behold, my brethren

and the sons of Ishmael and also

their wives began to make themselves

merry, insomuch that they

began to dance, and to sing, and to

speak with much brudeness, yea,

even that they did forget by what

power they had been brought

thither ; yea, they were lifted up unto

exceeding rudeness.

13 Wherefore, they knew not

whither they should steer the ship,

insomuch that there arose a great

•storm, yea, a great and terrible

tempest, and we were bdriven back

upon the waters for the space of

three days ; and they began to be

frightened exceedingly lest they

should be drowned in the sea ; nevertheless

they did not loose me

tell us that Nephi's ship was wind driven (verses 8 and 9)and did not necesarily depend on the currents. Verse 13 tells us that the ship was equiped with a means for steering. All of this suggest that the ship had sails and either a rudder or a keel.

Larry P

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The following verses fom 1Nephi

tell us that Nephi's ship was wind driven (verses 8 and 9)and did not necesarily depend on the currents. Verse 13 tells us that the ship was equiped with a means for steering. All of this suggest that the ship had sails and either a rudder or a keel.

Larry P

I am no ship expert, but don't you need to steer anyway even if the ship was made to be dependent on the currents?

Besides the OP map shows "surface currents" that are wind driven.

And let's just say the ship relied on the wind. Why is it so far fetched to think they went West instead of East to South America based on the Atlantic winds? This route seems a lot more realistic than from Indonesia/Australia to Central/South America.

04.jpg

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