Mosiah 6:4 — LeGrand Baker — time in Nephite history
4 And Mosiah began to reign in his father’s stead. And he began to reign in the thirtieth year of his age, making in the whole, about four hundred and seventy-six years from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem.
It had not occurred to me before how much time had passed between Lehi and Mosiah. I thought backwards and found that 476 years ago from where we are is the year 1524 (This was written in Nov. 2000). So if we made a parallel timeline between the Book of Mormon chronology and our own, and set our present (Nov. 2000) on that timeline as mapping to the “now” mentioned here — – that is in the first year of the reign of Mosiah, then Lehi would have left Jerusalem 476 years ago in the year 1524.
In other words if we were to subtract 476 years from 2000, then on our parallel timeline, to give us a sense of how mych time had passed, their 600 BC would map to our 1524 AD.
Thirty years later, Nephi divided the royal power (as Mosiah would also do), kept the kingship for himself and consecrated his brothers Jacob and Joseph that they should be priests and teachers over the land. (2 Nephi 5:28)
On our timeline that would have been 1564, the year William Shakespeare was born, and six years after the accession of Elizabeth I to the throne of England.
Nephi gave the small plates to Jacob 55 years after they left Jerusalem (Jacob 1:1). On our timeline that would have been 1579. Between 1578-80 Francis Drake was circumnavigating the globe. He was the first Englishman to do so, and his exploits would be one of the causes of the Spanish Armada. Nine years after that would be 588. On the Book of Mormon timeline, if Nephi had lived that long, he would have been about 74 when the Spanish Armada was blown away from English shores.
Jacob’s son Enos calls himself “old” 79 years after they left Jerusalem (Enos 1:25). That would be 1603 on our timeline. Queen Elizabeth died that year. By then the official English translation of the Bible was well on its way. When it was finally published in 1611, it was called the King James Version. Three years after Elizabeth died, 1606, King James awarded the first charter to Englishmen to settle Jamestown, Virginia. The Puritan Pilgrims would not come to Plymouth for nine more years, 1620.
The next sure date we have in the Book of Mormon is this one in Mosiah 6:4 which says the first year of the reign of Mosiah was “about four hundred and seventy-six years from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem.”
On our timeline that first year of the reign of Mosiah is now, 2000 AD. There is a point to all this. So on that timeline, everything that happened between Enos and Mosiah in the Book of Mormon took about the same time as everything that happened in America from the time of the English settlements to the present. We know almost nothing about Book of Mormon history during those years. In terms of our side of the timeline it would be like detailing the stories of King Henry and Queen Elizabeth, mentioning some Englishmen came to America, skipping over the Glorious Revolution in England, the American Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and both world wars with “we had wars and rumors of wars”; then passing over the Restoration of the gospel like “And King Mosiah I discovered the people of Zarahemla”; then beginning mid story with the year 2000.
I thought that was interesting comparing histories and realizing how much time has passed. In the history, we have only glimpsed the 476 years we have sped through in the history of the Book of Mormon peoples. I thought you might find it interesting also.