From the book: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith
by Michael R. Ash
During the Lehites sojourn through the Arabian wilderness, Lehi was given a device called the Liahona, which helped guide them on their journey. Nephi described the Liahona as round, made of brass, and containing two spindles or arrows. Nephi called the ball a “compass” and mentions that there were things written in the Liahona which gave them instructions.
While critics often claim that the compass was unknown in Lehi’s day, it’s important to note that the function of magnetic hematite –the principle core or iron– was well understood in both the Old and New Worlds before Lehi left Jerusalem. Magnetite, or Lodestone, is, of course, naturally magnetic iron, and the word magnetite comes from the name of a place in which it was mined in Asia Minor by at least the seventh century BC, namely Magnesia.
Michael R. Ash is the author of: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting The Prophet Joseph Smith. He is the owner and operator of MormonFortress.com and is on the management team for FairMormon. He has been published in Sunstone, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, the Maxwell Institute’s FARMS Review, and is the author of Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt. He and his wife live in Ogden, Utah, and have three daughters.
Julianne Dehlin Hatton is a broadcast journalist living in Louisville, Kentucky. She has worked as a News Director at an NPR affiliate, Radio and Television Host, and Airborne Traffic Reporter. She graduated with an MSSc from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2008. Julianne and her husband Thomas are the parents of four children.
Music for Faith and Reason is provided by Arthur Hatton.