Source:Reexploring the Book of Mormon:Ch:14:3:Lehi's voyage: Duration

Lehi's ocean voyage: Duration

Lehi's ocean voyage: Duration

John L. Sorenson:

From Tonga to the Marquesas is about 30 percent of the distance from the Bismarck Archipelago to Central America. [Professor Ben] Finney [an authority at the University of Hawaii on Pacific Island voyaging] figures it could have taken about thirty days to sail this distance under El Niño conditions. Thus, the whole Pacific distance might be four or five times that, or, in other words, a little less than half a year; the entire journey from Arabia to Central America might have taken from one to two years, depending on the route and time allowed to stop for food, water, and repairs.

Of course, Nephi could not have explicitly planned such a voyage. He indicates that his group was guided by God through the Liahona (see 1 Nephi 18:12, 21-22). Divine knowledge of wind and sea conditions, within the range we now know to have existed, could indeed have permitted the successful crossing of two oceans—more than halfway around the earth—in a plausible period of time.[1]


  1. John L. Sorenson, "Winds and Currents: A Look at Nephi's Ocean Crossing," in Reexploring the Book of Mormon, edited by John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1992), Chapter 14, references silently removed—consult original for citations.