Unknown in the New World, smallpox was introduced by the Spanish and Portuguese conquistadorsEdward Jenner and the history of smallpox and vaccination Stefan Riedel, MD, PhD1

Smallpox keep out of this house by order of board of health

            The history of smallpox provides evidence to support the Book of Mormon narrative about the peoples who were discovered by Columbus.  The twentieth century discovery  that human to human transmission was necessary for smallpox to spread and infect the world was only recognized in my lifetime.

Eire 1985 stamp 11 Diothu na Bolga Country doctor vaccination of child

Way back in the day,  the Saints believed Indians (Columbus gave this name) or Native Americans (indigenous  pre Columbian folk  post Vietnam  War era term) and Polynesians were the descendants of the Lamanites,  as described in the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  Which Book records their ancient ancestors immigrating by  ship, sailed[i] by the Lehites about 592 BC, who included Lehi and his wife and sons, including Nephi and Laman,  Lemuel and Sam, and Zoram, a freed slave of Laban, and the family and daughters of a neighbor, Ishmael.  Nephi wrote they were lead by the hand of the Lord.  After 4 centuries, Lehi’s descendants discovered the Mulekites, descendants of Mulek, son of the King of Jerusalem, and   who also fled about the same time, 6th century before Christ, and survived the ocean voyage, again as directed by the Lord.  Previously, perhaps 2 millennia before or earlier, at the time of the confusion of tongues and the tower of Babel, the Jaredites, as directed by the Lord, sailed their ships to the Land of Promise, established cultures and civilizations, only to wipe themselves out with war, just before their discovery by the Nephites.

Mummy with pox marks on jaw Egypt WHO CDC

3000 year-old-mummy pox face visible World Health Organization CDC 

 I’m trying to condense thousands of years of history, and the lives of tens or hundreds of millions of people into a paragraph, to show that the continents which would become known as America (named for Americo Vespucio an Italian and Castilian explorer  about 1507 AD), were the Land of Promise.  Americo is credited for the term ‘new world’ in a letter about 1501, as he was the first to recognize these were unexplored continents, at least by Europeans, and not Cathe or China or India. His story is most interesting. The land of promise was reserved for arrival of a select relatively few, dozens, even dozens of dozens perhaps, but certainly not hundreds nor thousands. 

De Bry’s 1592 print of Vespucio meeting new world people in 1497

 de Bry’s 1592 print of  Americo Vespucio meets new world natives circa 1497.

            Furthermore, there was no frozen Bering strait crossing 10,000 or  300,000 years ago of migrants from a frozen  Asia, who made there way down the Pacific ocean west coast, to then spread out and become the cultures discovered by Columbus. 

 Christopher Columbus was lead by the hand of the Lord, as he is identified by Nephi 2,000 years earlier, in vision.

‘’12 And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.’’ 1 Nephi 13 (see the Great Prologue by Mark E Petersen).

Egypt World Health Day Smallpox constant alert 1970

Egypt World Health day Smallpox constant alert 1970

            So, since my college years, some claim there were more immigrations than recorded, or even many,  to populate the Americas, before Columbus. To the extent this speculation is intended to water down and dilute the concept of the Promised Land, it is unsubstantiated.  The migrants needed  the hand of the Lord to cross thousands of miles of open ocean and surviving the trip, and surviving the land fall and colonizing and flourishing. [ii]   

Face to face transmission

Interestingly, in my life time, proof  substantiates the Land of Promise epoch.  In  that, smallpox requires human to human transmission, only. [iii] And is highly contagious. And the smallpox virus is not preserved nor transmitted in water,  such as Cholera or dysentery, nor by a vector such as a mosquito, as in Yellow Fever, nor by a tsetse fly, such as sleeping sickness,  nor by animals, such as rabies, nor by animals skin or fur, such as anthrax, nor by milk, such as Bang’s  (brucellosis, undulant fever,  or contagious abortion disease), nor by sewage (E coli),  nor rotten food (Staph or Strep, fungi), nor any other preserver or transmitter of disease.  The discovery of strict and only human to human transmission for smallpox, was fundamental. That knowledge  was huge. The knowledge lead to the effort to eradicate smallpox from mankind, make it extinct. Shots were given around the world, one at a time, to remove any active smallpox infection. Eradication was successful by 1977.[iv]

Global smalllpox eradication map. 6 continents, Australia not endemic, North America 1952, Europe 1953, South America-Ecuador 1962, Brazil 1971, Asia-Bangladesh 1975, Africa – Somalia 1977. Natually acquired cases. CDC

Europeans brought Smallpox to the New World, 

Sixteenth century

            Back up! Why discuss smallpox? What makes it special?  When Columbus landed his ships in 1492, the natives were smooth skinned.  Not just the children, but adults and aged.  When The English settled Jamestown in 1607, the natives were smooth skinned.  Pocahontas, circa 1610, the Powhatan princess who married John Rolfe, had a child, and went to England, where she soon died of disease, as reported. When the Europeans arrived in Mexico, with Cortez, the natives, indigenous Aztecs were smooth skinned.

            Who was smooth skinned, scar less, in Europe in 1492, the time of Columbus voyage?  The answer was children, adults who had not had smallpox, and milk maids in Switzerland.   

L’Origine de la Vaccine. A Paris chez Depeuille Rue de Mathurins Sorbonne aux deux Pilastres d’Or – The Origin of the Cow cut, At Paris house of Depeuille on the Street of Mathurins in the Sorbonne at the two Gold Columns. Milk maid whos cowpoxed hand to physician, farmer offers inoculatio to dandy, ca 1800 Wellcome Collection, London.

 Adults who had avoided the disease,  royal or common, were at risk the rest of their lives. Physicians would take pus from the infected boils and scrape it into cuts of the uninfected patients to transmit the disease.  The mortality for the pus induced smallpox, was only one in twenty, which was better than one in four during an epidemic. Records show that in 18th century colonial America parents (or at least John Adams) would expose their children to the cowpox while quarantined in homes, with the expectation they would get the disease but in a mild enough form  to avoid death, and survive with  a life time immunity. (See John Adams’ biography by McCullough).

Greece, variolation smallpox pus induced immunity

The ‘pox’ was recorded by the ancient Greeks, and was lumped into the diseases which would be called plagues, which was something to look for arrive every generation.   Diagnosis was simple, with fever, an outbreak of boils  on the skin all over the body, including palms and soles of the feet, and a twenty five percent mortality rate, higher among children and the elderly who had not previously had it.  The pox was non discriminatory, poor and rich alike were targets.  The word variola, for [small]pox, for stained or marked skin, was used by Bishop Marius of Avenches Switzerland in 570 AD. 

Republic of Iraq 1978 smallpox International Annoucenment for the Eradication of the smallpox Backing Nursing

 Iraq 1978 smallpox

Some medical sleuthing discovered ways to survive the smallpox.  The NIH article noted  as early as 430 BC,  it was known that survivors of  [small]pox  were immune from a second infection, so they could nurse active disease patients.  So to become a [small]pox survivor,  pus from [small]pox patients was cut into the arms or legs of a nonimmune person, which cut was called inoculation, or variolation, a name from the 6th century.  Perhaps practiced in Asia or Africa, variolation came to Europe in the 17th century.  

England and the New World Variolation or  

Inoculation, Eighteenth century

Travelers observed variolation and so reported to the Royal Society of London at the time of Queen Anne Stewart, 1714.  Variolation use expanded thru the 18th century and  came to the New World in 1721.  A smallpox epidemic, perhaps from a  West Indies ship, hit Boston, and became an incentive to try variolation.  Mather and Boylston promoted inoculation be showing statistics, that random contraction of smallpox killed one in seven,  but only one in fifty who had variolation.  General George Washington had small pox scars and he remarked that he suspected  it caused his infertility. But who is to know now? However in 1766 Washington’s  British troops suffered a smallpox epidemic in the Quebec campaign, so a decade later, Washington’s troops were variolated.  In 1757 Edward Jenner was inoculated by variolation.

Dr. Jenner’s 1st Vaccination 1796 Ernest Board 1912 Wellcome Collection London

Dr. Jenner’s 1st Vaccination 1796 Ernest Board 1912 Wellcome Collection London

The Old Testament  Exodus speaks of blains and boils, as plagues, the names of which come from Hebrew words to describe burning.  It noted the blains occurring on men and animals.  The smallpox does not affect animals, but the cow pox does. Could the two have been lumped together? Possibly.  Could the boils’ burning be described by fever? Perhaps. While in American Samoa in 1973, I observed skin boils which were caused mostly by the staphylococcus aureus bacteria, infecting cells at the base of a hair follicle, most often on the legs and arms. But those boils are not related to fever or burning and don’t normally affect soles of feet nor palms of hands, nor does the chicken pox affect the soles and palms  So note this quote of Job’s sole having boils. 

Job 2:7 ‘’So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.’’  

Sounds like a description of the smallpox to me.  See the photo below in the small pox section.

Great pox arrives in Europe by 1515

By 1515 or so, another pox arrived in Europe which became known as the Great pox,  soon thereafter to be renamed syphilis.  The great pox was painful, with open sores on the skin. The Great pox marks were similar to smallpox.  But it was a different malady, in that unlike the ‘small’ pox, this new pox was soon associated with sexual transmission, and  was not  immediately deadly.  So the previous pox of ancient date, became known as the ‘smallpox,’ to distinguish the size of the boils or pustules or pimples on the skin. The great pox was not deadly, as it was supposed. Whereas the smallpox was deadly within days of symptoms.

Neither pox were active in the Land of Promise. [v]

Jenner,  milk maids, and cowpox vaccination 19th century

The Cow Pock or the wonderful effects of the New Inoculation! Vide the publication of ye Anti-Vaccine Society

Edward Jenner, 1749-1823, the English physician observed that milk maids were fair skinned. Meaning they did not have smallpox. He discovered they would be infected by a cow pox, which was enough to prevent the smallpox, and keep their faces clear or fair.  Jenner demonstrated if patients were pricked through their skin with cow pox blood or pus from a patient with cow pox, the patient would develop the cow pox, survive, and avoid the smallpox. 

Jenner smallpox beastly cure 1st vaccination 1796 granger

 This became known as vaccination, from vacca, Latin for cow.  Jenner didn’t know how or why it worked, but it helped.  Vaccination replaced variolation (inoculation) within a few decades, and variolation was banned in England in 1840.


Edward Jenner portrait National Library of Medicine, source CDC.

Pasteur explains the germ theory of disease.

Later, about 1840, Pasteur explained the germ theory of disease, which germs could be seen in microscopes (the moving wiggly vermicular or whatever they were called, were noted from 1600, from the invention of the microscope), and these caused spoilage,  and rot, and sourness,  and disease.  Pasteur also supposed something he could not see caused rabies , and developed a treatment, which worked. Would we say Pasteur discovered viruses when he could not see them, but only see their symptoms? Lister took this information and developed anti-septic treatment such as alcohol and peroxide and chlorine to kill disease.  Pasteur used heat and chemical to kill disease.

Before Pasteur, preservation of food was known. Methods to keep food edible, such as for winter use were vinegar, salt, sugar, smoking (heat),  wine or beer (alcohol), oil, ice and cold, and dryness.  Exodus records the command of using fire to treat homes with leprosy and other plagues, so as to cleanse the home.

 The Good Samaritan  (Luke 10 verse 33) treated the wounds of the victim with oil (presumably olive oil) and wine  (both good to impede bacteria and viral disease on skin and in a wound).  The oil draws out the water from the bacteria by a form of osmosis, wherein the water molecules naturally try to equalize the solvent concentration inside the bacteria and the liquid oil next to it. The water passes through the extremely thin bacteria membrane, and dries up the bacteria.  Or so it has been explained, anyway oil works to kill microbes.  The alcohol in wine is also a germicide, killing bacteria on contact, and preventing bacteria or viruses from reproducing.

Yellow Fever, Mosquitoes and the Panama canal

  150 years before Pasteur’s work, in 1699, the Scots attempted to settle Darien, which eventually  became known as the Isthmus of Panama.   The design was to trade between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans with the narrowest land portage.  The Spanish had not occupied it, nor the natives.  For good reason – yellow fever.  The Scots failed because of yellow fever and disease.  The French attempted a canal in the same location in the late 1800s, and failed for the same reason. Then  America stepped into the French project about 1900, and Colonel Walter Reed, following up on a Cuban Scottish physician’s suggestion, demonstrated that mosquitoes were the vector to transmit the yellow fever, instead of the ‘bad air’  which had been blamed by science, as then known, and accepted by many.   With this knowledge, the Americans wiped out the mosquitoes in the canal area, so the workers could  dig the canal.  It worked.

As an aside, yellow fever break outs in the summers of  1788 to 1792 kept Philadelphia from becoming the capitol of the new United States.  The Philly fathers hoped that setting up the government would make it defacto as opposed to the District of Columbia down on the Potomac.

Malaysia Global Eradication of Smallpox

Lamanites and Mulekites did not bring the smallpox

So, it is a logical conclusion, that among the ship travelers from the Jaredites to Mulekites, to Lehites, none brought the smallpox with them, and thus the scourge with losses of a third of the children was avoided for thousands of years, making and fulfilling the land of promise.  It is possible other groups came, as two thirds of the gold records in the Book of Mormon Another Testament of Jesus Christ were sealed, left untranslated.  Thus leaving the above list of immigrants to be represented in only the third of the plates translated by Joseph Smith. 

 Even if other groups came, each would have to be lead by the hand of the Lord, to keep these diseases out of the general population of the Book of Mormon peoples and descendants. If  there were multiple visits, the smallpox  would most certainly and eventually have deposited in the Americas, as it was by the Spanish and Portuguese in 1492 and in the decade thereafter.

Land of  Promise 

Think of the Land of Promise. No small pox, no great pox.  The absence of these, alone, would be a blessing throughout the land.  You can’t have boat loads of people wandering over the oceans to the Americas, blown off course, struggling onto land and surviving and not have the smallpox at least coming to infect and kill.  As it did with the arrival of the Spanish and Portuguese and English (and presumably French and Dutch).  Once established, smallpox would not be eradicated until after the landing of man on the moon and his return safely to earth.  The natives would have the pox mark.

Nigeria Global Crusade for the Eradication of small-pox 1978, Group of Children being eaccinated 18K

 Here is what the Lord said, or the prophets wrote, of the Land of Promise. 

3rd millennia BC 

          Jared The Guide to the Scriptures. A Book of Mormon leader who, with his brother, led a colony of people from the Tower of Babel to a promised land in the western hemisphere (Ether 1:33–2:1).

   7 And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people. 8 ***t whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, ***, that it is a land of promise; *** Ether 2:7-9

 5 *** the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.  *** 12 And they did land upon the shore of the promised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, ***. 16 And the friends of Jared and his brother were in number about twenty and two souls; and they also begat sons and daughters before they came to the promised land; and therefore they began to be many. Ether 6:5, 8, 12, 16

   27 *** the Lord had done for his fathers in bringing them across the great deep into the promised land; ***. Ether 7:27 

Nigeria 12k Global crusade for the eradication of small-pox 1978

6th century BC

20 ***keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands. 1 Nephi 2:20

         14 *** keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise. 1 Nephi 4:14

5 But behold, I have obtained a land of promise, *** we journeyed in the wilderness towards the land of promise. 1 Nephi 5:5, 22

13 *** we shall obtain the land of promise;*** 1 Nephi 7:13

13 *** we should be led with one accord into the land of promise, ***. 1 Nephi 10:13

         1 *** And I looked and beheld the land of promise; and I beheld multitudes of people*** on the face of the land of promise; ***1 Nephi 12: 1, 4

Nations Unies Eradication Mondiale de la Varioe stamp red pox blue globe

[The Christopher Columbus prophecy] 12 And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land. 14 *** I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; *** 1 Nephi 13:12,14

2 ***, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel; and they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land forever; ***  1 Nephi 14:2

13 *** ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led. 14 ***: After ye have arrived in the promised land, ye shall know that I, the Lord, am God; *** 1 Nephi 17:13,14

8 And it came to pass after we had all gone down into the ship, and had taken with us our provisions and things which had been commanded us, we did put forth into the sea and were driven forth before the wind towards the promised land.  22 *** we sailed again towards the promised land. 23 *** after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, *** we did call it the promised land. 25 *** we did find upon the land of promise, *** beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men. *** all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper. 1 Nephi 18:8, 23, 25

3 *** the land of promise*** we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands***, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord 2 Nephi 1:3, 5,

   9 Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, *** they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves***   precious land of promise—***   hands of God, in bringing us forth into the land of promise; *** 2 Nephi 1:9, 10, 24

12 *** a land of promise unto you and to your seed, ***. Jacob 2:12

15 *** arrived in the promised land, *** Mosiah 10:15

2nd century BC

45 *** by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise. Alma 37:45

1st century BC

7 *** joyed with him in the promised land;   Helaman 7:7

Pilipinas Manila Global Eradication of Smallpox target zero 30x 1.50 24 October 1978

19th century AD

18 *** even a land of promise, a land flowing with milk and honey, upon which there shall be no curse when the Lord cometh; Doctrine and Covenants 38:18

2 Wherefore, this is the land of promise***. Doctrine and Covenants 57:2


President Marion G. Romney presented an address entitled  America’s Fate and Ultimate Destiny in 1976 for the nation’s Bicentennial. He gave a sweeping history of sacred America.  He does not mention smallpox, but he does describe the Garden of Eden and Enoch’s Zion down to the Noah’s flood. 

And then some six hundred years thereafter this land was deluged by the Flood and left uninhabited, so far as human beings were concerned, until the Lord led to this land from the tower of Babel a colony of people, the Jaredites, declaring as he led them that he was bringing them to a “land of promise, . . . choice above all other lands,” and “that whoso should possess this land . . . from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them” (Ether 2:7­8). They dwelt here for some two thousand years. Finally, however, they ripened in iniquity and were, pursuant to God’s decree, swept off the land in a fratricidal war.

Six hundred years B.C., as time was running out for the Jaredites, the Lord brought to this land Lehi and his colony. Finally the Nephite branch of those people, having ripened in iniquity, was destroyed by the Lamanites, who, under the curse of “their unbelief and idolatry,” were scattered and became the people discovered by Columbus when he was led here in 1492 (see Mormon 5:15).

Saint George Utah Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints circa 2000

You, of course, know that the facts I have just recited are not to be found in profane history books. Nowhere in all secular history is mention made of America before Columbus. Why? Because this land has been from the beginning reserved by the Lord for those whom he himself would lead here. ***

This promise Lehi received for his own descendants and for the Mulekites who also came from Jerusalem. (Mulek was the son of Zedekiah–Mosiah 25:2; Helaman 6:10; 9:21.) He followed it, however, with this solemn warning and prophecy:***

And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise[among them the Puritans in New England, the Quakers in Pennsylvania, the Catholics in Maryland, the Huguenots in Virginia and the Carolinas, and the Lutherans in Georgia]; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten. [1 Nephi 13:12­14]***

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them[the thirteen original colonies].

Jenner smallpox vaccination. Cowpoint.

Jenner smallpox vaccination.

Columbus, of course, knew nothing about this record of Nephi’s vision. Nevertheless, he corroborates it. He put on record his convictions that he was divinely led to America. Elder Nephi L. Morris supports this conclusion with quotes from Washington Irving’s The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus:

“In the latter part of his life, Columbus, when impressed with the sublime events brought about by his agency . . . looked back upon his career with a solemn and superstitious feeling, he attributed his early and irresistible inclination for the sea, and his passion for geographical studies, to an impulse from the deity preparing him for the high decrees he was chosen to accomplish” (See Irving, p. 18, vol. 1).

“When [Columbus] had formed his theory, it became fixed in his mind with singular firmness, and influenced his entire character and conduct. He never spoke in doubt or hesitation, but with as [such] certainty as if his eyes had beheld the promised land. No trial or disappointment could divert him from the steady pursuit of his object. A deep religious sentiment mingled with his meditations, and gave him at times a tinge of superstition, but it was of a sublime and lofty kind; he looked upon himself as standing in the hand of heaven, chosen from among men for the accomplishment of his high purpose. . . .”

Republique TogoLase eradication mondiale de la variole

In the royal presence of Isabella, Irving [his biographer] says “He unfolded his plans with eloquence and zeal for he felt himself, as he afterwards declared, kindled as with a fire from on high, and considered himself the agent chosen of heaven to accomplish the grand design . . . .”

His son Fernando, in the biography of his father quotes him as saying on one occasion: “God gave me the faith and afterwards the courage so that I was quite willing to undertake the journey.”

And the will of Columbus reads thus:

“In the name of the most holy trinity, who inspired me with the idea and afterwards made it perfectly clear to me that I could navigate and go to the Indies from Spain, by traversing the ocean westward.” [Nephi Lowell Morris, “Columbus and the Book of Mormon,” an address delivered over KSL Radio, Sunday, 1 July 1928, and printed in the Deseret News,Saturday, 7 July 1928, section 3, p. VI]***

Republique du Senegal Eradication Mordiale de la Variole Jenner O.M.S. Postes 1978

Although the foregoing references to America’s past are brief and sketchy, they clearly show that she is now and has been from the beginning a favored and choice land in which the Lord has taken a personal and peculiar interest. *** (see J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Stand Fast by Our Constitution [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1973], p. 183). ***

Summary smallpox left behind. 

            The four thousand year recorded history of smallpox is consistent with the Book of Mormon’s record of colonizers. who were limited in number to dozens of voyagers. These ocean voyagers made a one way trip, as opposed to round trip, until  Columbus made his voyage of discovery in 1492.  Smallpox was unknown in the land of promise.  Those that made it over, did not bring smallpox with them.  The means of transmission of infection, face to face, was not known until the twentieth century. Who knew?   But when smallpox face to face was known, it  proved to be smallpox’s vulnerability by which it could be eradicated.  Once again the land of promise is free of smallpox.

 The Vaccine, Louis Leopold Boilly, 1806, French,
a pen ink version in National Gallery of Art


End Notes for further reflection

[i]  The Book of Mormon mentioned sailing,  because the ship was not built ‘after the manner of men’ in the 7thcentury BC, First Book of Nephi 18 verse 2, 17 verse 8.  At that time, boats were propelled by oarsmen in galleys, to wit man power, or pulled along from shore by animal power. Galleys were sufficient for the Mediterranean and ships following coastlines. Galleys were insufficient for open ocean travel.  The French were using Galleys well into the 16th century, 50 years after Columbus demonstrated that sails were sufficient.   Row boats are still used for  trips  short enough to succeed before the rower is exhausted. Nor did the Book refer to galleys.  Sails are a reasonable inference. But the form of the ship is irrelevant to a trip which crossed the ocean.

[ii]  The Ensign 1975- Lamanites of today *** are the descendants of Lehi, Ishmael, and Zoram (see D&C 3:17–18); they are the descendants of Mulek and the others of his colony (see Hel. 6:10Omni 1:14, 15); and they may also be descended from other groups of whom we have no record. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1975/12/who-and-where-are-the-lamanites?lang=eng

The differences among the American Indians and the bewildering variety of Indian languages make this clear.  *** So it is impossible to claim that all American Indians are Lamanites. The Book of Mormon itself makes no such claim; it is only some Latter-day Saints who have done so. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/new-era/1975/05/the-seven-lineages-of-lehi?lang=eng [There was a variety of languages, it is true. But one similarity among the variety of languages was there was no written alphabet or language extant in the western hemisphere among the  native indigenous people until after 1820, when Sequoyah created an alphabet for the Cherokee people.]

The following references show that the Lamanites have Jewish ancestry: Omni 1:12–17Mosiah 25:1–2Helaman 8:213 Nephi 2:14–164 Nephi 1:17. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/manual/doctrine-and-covenants-student-manual/section-57-independence-center-place-of-zion?lang=eng

The Book of Mormon 1981  states in part: “After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.” The 2006 edition,  stated that “the Lamanites…are among the ancestors of the American Indians.”

 President  Anthony W. Ivins (1852-1934) in 1929  “We must be careful in the conclusions that we reach. The Book of Mormon teaches the history of three distinct peoples … who came from the old world to this continent. It does not tell us that there was no one here before them. It does not tell us that people did not come after. And so if discoveries are made which suggest differences in race origins, it can very easily be accounted for, and reasonably, for we do believe that other people came to this continent.” https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/book-of-mormon-seminary-teacher-manual-2017/lessons-1-5/lesson-1-title-page-introduction-and-testimonies-of-the-three-and-eight-witnesses?lang=eng

Ezra Taft Benson in a 1987 address, said, ““For centuries the Lord kept America hidden in the hollow of His hand until the time was right to unveil her for her destiny in the last days.” 2 Nephi 1:8 

Malaysia Pembasmian Penyakit Cacar
sedunia Global eradicatio of smallpox


Spencer W. Kimball at a 1971 Lamanite Youth Conference, said, “With pride I tell those who come to my office that a Lamanite is a descendant of one Lehi who left Jerusalem six hundred years before Christ and with his family crossed the mighty deep and landed in America. And Lehi and his family became the ancestors of all of the Indian and Mestizo tribes in North and South and Central America and in the islands of the sea, sea, for in the middle of their history there were those who left America in ships of their making and went to the islands of the sea. *** Now the Lamanites number about sixty million; they are in all of the states of America from Tierra del Fuego all the way up to Point Barrows, and they are in nearly all the islands of the sea from Hawaii south to southern New Zealand. *** Your father is Joseph who was sold into Egypt, the virtuous man who went to prison rather than yield to the seduction of a queen. Your father was Jacob, the father of twelve sons. You came through one of them. One of the great prophets of all times, your father, was Isaac. Another great prophet, your father, was Abraham, than whom there were no greater ones. Abraham was a great man who walked and talked with God. He is your father back those many generations. Be proud of him and know that you are of royal blood; with your royal blood you can achieve, rising to the top.” https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1971/07/of-royal-blood?lang=eng

 Electron microscope view of Smallpox virus, circa 1978, 13c 31c Global Eradication of Smallpox United Nations

[iii] https://www.cdc.gov/smallpox/transmission/   How does Smallpox Spread? Before smallpox was eradicated, it was mainly spread by direct and fairly prolonged face-to-face contact between people. Smallpox patients became contagious once the first sores appeared in their mouth and throat (early rash stage). They spread the virus when they coughed or sneezed and droplets from their nose or mouth spread to other people. They remained contagious until their last smallpox scab fell off. Smallpox can be spread by humans only. Scientists have no evidence that smallpox can be spread by insects or animals.

[iv] In the 1950s a number of control measures were implemented [to wit vaccination], and smallpox was eradicated in many areas in Europe and North America. The process of worldwide eradication of smallpox was set in motion when the World Health Assembly received a report in 1958 of the catastrophic consequences of smallpox in 63 countries (Figure 5). In 1967, a global campaign was begun under the guardianship of the World Health Organization and finally succeeded in the eradication of smallpox in 1977. On May 8, 1980, the World Health Assembly announced that the world was free of smallpox and recommended that all countries cease vaccination. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1200696/

[v] This is from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1200696/

Edward Jenner and the history of smallpox and vaccination, Stefan Riedel, MD, PhD1

The origin of smallpox as a natural disease is lost in prehistory. It is believed to have appeared around 10,000  BC, at the time of the first agricultural settlements in northeastern Africa (34). It seems plausible that it spread from there to India by means of ancient Egyptian merchants. The earliest evidence of skin lesions resembling those of smallpox is found on faces of mummies from the time of the 18th and 20th Egyptian Dynasties (1570–1085 BC). The mummified head of the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses V (died 1156 BC) bears evidence of the disease (5). At the same time, smallpox has been reported in ancient Asian cultures: smallpox was described as early as 1122 BC in China and is mentioned in ancient Sanskrit texts of India.

[Small]pox was recorded in Europe around the fifth and seventh centuries and was an epidemic during the Middle Ages. The disease greatly affected the development of Western civilization. The first stages of the decline of the Roman Empire (AD 108) coincided with a large-scale epidemic: the plague of Antonine, which accounted for the deaths of almost 7 million people (6). The Arab expansion, the Crusades, and the discovery of the West Indies all contributed to the spread of the disease.

Unknown in the New World, smallpox was introduced by the Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors. The disease decimated the local population and was instrumental in the fall of the empires of the Aztecs and the Incas. Similarly, on the eastern coast of North America, the disease was introduced by the early settlers and led to a decline in the native population. The devastating effects of smallpox also gave rise to one of the first examples of biological warfare (17). During the French-Indian War (1754–1767), Sir Jeffrey Amherst, the commander of the British forces in North America, suggested the deliberate use of smallpox to diminish the American Indian population hostile to the British. Another factor contributing to smallpox in the Americas was the slave trade because many slaves came from regions in Africa where smallpox was endemic.

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