Question: Does Gilbert Hunt's ''The Late War'' describe "Boats and barges built from trees after the fashion of the ark"?

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Question: Does Gilbert Hunt's The Late War describe "Boats and barges built from trees after the fashion of the ark"?

Critics' comparison: The presence of the words "barges," "vessels," "windows," "whale," and "ark" are noted in both books [1]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

Ether 2:16-17 states that the Jaredite "barges" were "the length of a tree" while The Late War 52:4 talks of "the barges of the king's ship"

Ether 2:16-17

16 And the Lord said: Go to work and build, after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built. And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did go to work, and also his brethren, and built barges after the manner which they had built, according to the instructions of the Lord. And they were small, and they were light upon the water, even like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water. 17 And they were built after a manner that they were exceedingly tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish.

The Late War 52:4, , (p. 206) off-site

4 Now they sat their engines to work with dreadful violence; but in about the third part of an hour the barges of the king's ship were overcome; and more than three score and ten of the men of Britian were slain and maimed: the loss in the privateer was six slain, and about a score wounded.

Ether 2:24 states that the boat shall be as a "whale in the midst of the sea" while The Late War 15:30 states that the "mighty whales" shall flee from "the noise of the explosion"

Ether 2:24

24 For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth.

The Late War 15:30 (p. 54) off-site

30 And the fish of the sea, even the mighty whales, fled from the noise of the explosion.

Ether 6:7 states that the boats were "tight like unto the ark of Noah" while the The Late War, emulating Genesis, states that the boats were "pitched...within and without with pitch" similar to the ark

Ether 6:7

7 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.

The Late War 27 (p. 98) off-site

12 Howsoever, they cut down the tall trees of the forest, and hewed them, and built many more strong vessels; although they had no gophar-wood amongst them in these days.

13 And they made stories to them, even to the third story, and they put windows in them, and they pitched them within and without with pitch; after the fashion of the ark.

This passage in The Late War is obviously patterned after the account in Genesis 6:14, which talks of making the ark out of "gopher wood" and covering it "within and without with pitch":

Genesis 6:14

14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

So does The Late War talk of "boats and barges built from trees after the fashion of the ark"?

One critic of the Church claims that The Late War and the Book of Mormon share a similarity in that both books mention "boats and barges built from trees after the fashion of the ark." [2] However, the account in The Late War is most definitely patterned after the account of Genesis, with the description of "pitching" the boats "within and without with pitch". The Book of Mormon states that the Jaredite barges were "tight" like the ark of Noah, but does not state how they were made "tight".

With regard to the boats being constructed out of trees, we would venture to say that practically all boats of that era were constructed out of wood. However, the Book of Mormon's mention of "trees" is simply an estimate of the boat's length rather than the material from which it was constructed. The Late War, on the other hand, deliberately uses the Biblical reference to "gopher-wood".


Notes

  1. Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, "A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  2. Jeremy Runnells, "Letter to a CES Director" (October 2014 revision).