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Lehi’s Transoceanic Voyage

Questions related to Lehi’s voyage, proposed by Dr. John L. Sorenson

Dr. John L. Sorenson is a Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Brigham Young University, and he asked the following questions regarding Lehi’s ocean voyage:

  • What historical and cultural factors led to this voyage?
  • What did members of this party know about destinations, routes, and nautical technology?
  • Was this voyage referred to in later history in the area of origin?
  • What vessel technology was available to the voyagers in this case?
  • Was a suitable vessel procured or procurable without new construction of one?
  • What materials, tools, and knowledge were obtained in order to construct the vessel, and from where and how were they procured?
  • What was the design of the vessel, and how was it constructed?
  • How long did construction take?
  • What supplies and other materials were taken aboard in  preparation for the voyage?
  • What training was necessary to prepare the crew for the voyage?
  • What port facilities were used for all the above actions?
  • What was the ethnic, social, and cultural composition of he group making this voyage?
  • What ritual, spiritual, psychological, ideological preparation of the voyagers was carried out?
  • What seasonal timing was involved in preparation and departure?
  • How was the vessel launched?
  • How was a course laid and maintained, and how was the vessel operated?
  • What route was followed? Were other routes to the destination feasible?
  • What natural conditions were met and would likely have been met on alternate routes?
  • What were living conditions and routine aboard ship?  Did these change during the voyage?
  • What emergencies occurred, and how were they met?
  • What stops were made, why, and for how long?
  • How long did the voyage take?
  • How were the personnel onboard organized?
  • What effects on mortality, health, and psychological and spiritual outlook did life on board have?
  • Where did the vessel land, and what environment did the voyagers encounter at the landing place?
  • What happened to the vessel after the landing?
  • What modifications in their social organization resulted from the party’s moving from ship to land?
  • How did the situation ashore change ethe party’s activity patterns?
  • What elements of the culture of the group’s area of origin were filtered out, newly emphasized, or otherwise modified by the voyage and new settlement?
  • What, if any, other people interacted with the immigrants soon after the landing, and what was the nature of the interaction?
  • Did the newcomers move from the landing site?  If so, when,  why, and to where?
  • What biological effects did the setting in the new land produce in the newcomers, and they in their neighbors?
  • What spiritual and psychological effects did the new scene produce inthe newcomers?
  • What traditions about the voyage did descendants or neighbors maintain or construct in later generations?  Was the landing area later perceived in any special manner?
  • How was voyaging as an activity viewed once the incoming group was settled in the land?
  • How did remembrance of the voyage enter into subsequent  social, cultural, and political life?

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