Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Industries needed for Nephi to make a Transoceanic Ship

In a recent Mormon Expression podcast, John Larsen and his guests dive into the question of Nephi’s ship and the industries Nephi would have needed to either initiate or invent to build a ship capable of transoceanic travel

Smelting Ovens /Blast Furnaces

01. Charcoal Ovens to make charcoal for fire to make blast Furnace since there was no coal for making coke.
02. Acres of forests to get the wood needed to make the charcoal for blast furnace
03. Thousands of Nails, metal strapping, hand tools i.e. hammers, all’s, saws, sheep sheers etc.
Question: Where did he get tools to access Iron Ore in the first place?

Dry Dock

01. Excavation of earth below water line
02. Gates that hold water back
03. Pumps to keep water out

This alone would take months if not years to complete.


01. Skins needed for bellows
Make a Keel Capable of surviving an Oceanic voyage
01. Forest with trees suitable for making a keel
02. Steam to bend the Keel


01. To make the ship water tight
02. How long would it take and how many trees would one require to collect enough sap to boil down into resin to water proof Nephi's ship?

Rope Production

01. Hemp
02. Flax
03. Animal skin or
04. Wool
05. And all the specialized tools to make rope

Where did any of these materials come from? Did they grow the hemp or flax? This would require seeds and time to grow

Sheep Farming

01. Transoceanic Viking ships had a 100 square meter sail. For every square meter of sail it required 2 sheep fleeces per meter of sail clothe. So a 100 square meter of sail would require a herd of at least 200 sheep. This excludes thread. Note that sheep can only be sheered once per year. So assuming Nephi had reserve sails in case of rough weather, he had to have multiple sails in storage which double or triples the number of sheep needed or extends the time necessary to manufacture multiple sails. If Nephi’s sail was larger…then it would add to these numbers accordingly.
02. Land available for sheep grazing

Did they heard this herd of 200 + sheep from Jerusalem for 8 years through the desert just so they could make sails? If not where did these sheep come from?


01. Needed to create the clothe necessary for make a sale.
The invention of a Rudder with all of its intricacies (something that wasn’t invented 200 years after Lehi)
01. Pullies
02. Ropes
03. Gears

Food Preservation Techniques

01. Pickling
02. Food drying etc.

Water Storage

01. 02. Assuming a total of 30 people in Lehi’s party 15 men and 15 woman this would equal
02. On average a human male or female requires a minimum of 4 liters of water per day. Assuming a group of only 30 people this would require at least 120 liters of water storage per day. If I reduce this to an average need of 100 liters per day for a 200 day journey this would require 20,000 liters of water stored on the boat. There is 1,000 liters of water per square meter. 20,000 meters would barely fit in a 32’ x 64’ area. In a 30 meter ship that would take up 2/3’s of the boats holding area. This assumes they use none of it for washing, bathing or cooking. So more than likely were this boat real, it would have to be larger than 30 meters in length. This reality would increase the size of the boat to allow for more storage capacity and increases all other factors and assumptions needed to make this claimed oceanic voyage possible such as increased sail size, increased number of sheep needed, more time to manufacture ship etc.

If a 30 meter long Viking ship required over 40,000 man work hours to build and this assumes that all of the needed building materials are on site, how long would have taken Nephi?

The FAIR Wiki claims that the boat was built in 1-2 years. Really?

Raw materials needed to build a boat:

01. A forest of trees…but not just any trees tree’s capable of turning into charcoal, trees large enough for both a keep and masts (Nephi was tied to a mast)
02. Iron Ore
03. Animal skins
04. A heard of at least 200-400 sheep
05. Access to hemp or flax
06. Pasture land for grassing
07. Fresh water
08. A heard of goats for their leather needs
09. Land for farming their seeds

One panelist makes an interesting observation…if today you had to go out and make a hammer…a single hammer … on your own…from raw materials…think of all that you would have to do to support the creation of that single hammer. Now turn that thought experiment to the building of an entire transoceanic ship. Yet we are to believe that Nephi and company was able to do build this ship and make the transoceanic voyage within a few short years + maintain food gathering needs and the other random necessities of maintaining life? Ummmm…OK