The Jaredite People of The Book of Mormon
The Jaredites were a people whose history is given in the Book of Mormon, an ancient record kept by the people of the Americas and then later translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Jaredites were descendants of Jared, his brother, and other righteous people of their family. They were led to the Americas, by God, at the time of the Tower of Babel. Their history is found in the book of Ether in the Book of Mormon. Following is a short chronology of their history. The civilization existed roughly between 2700 B.C. and 600 B.C. In the chart there are some gaps because no information is given in the Book of Mormon about that time.
- 2700 BC Jared and his friends and family travel to the Americas
- 2630 BC City of Moron is established
- 2430 BC Population of Moron is decimated because of wars, thirty survive
- 2290 BC Built Cities
- 2160 BC Drought cuts down the population
- 1070 BC Civil war divides the kingdom
- 1010 BC Wars, famine, pestilence
- 740 BC Civil War
- ~600 BC Final Battle, Ether & Coriantumr only survivors
The Jaredite Survivors
After the final battle of the Jaredites, only two men are recorded has having survived: the prophet Ether and the military leader Coriantumr. Ether recorded the history of his people and wrote of their eventual destruction. There is no record of his death.
Before the final battles of the Jaredite civil war, Ether went to Coriantumr and prophesied that unless he and his people repented before God, he (Coriantumr) would witness the destruction of his people. Ether also told him that he would live to see the Lord bring new inhabitants to the Promised Land they would be the ones who buried him. Though wounded, Coriantumr did survive the final battle. In the book of Omni, it is recorded that the people of Zarahemla (a people referred to as Mulekites who joined themselves with the Nephites) found Coriantumr and that he stayed with them "nine moons."
A group of Nephites eventually found Ether's record of the Jaredites and these records were kept with the records of the Nephite people. Later, the last Nephite prophet, Moroni, abridged the record of the Jaredite people and included it in his record. Hundreds of years later, the Prophet Joseph Smith was visited by the angel Moroni and told where to find these records. Joseph found the records and translated them. These records are now known as the Book of Mormon.
The Jaredites and the Olmecs
There are a number of similarities between the Jaredite civilizations and the civilization called the Olmecs by archeologists:
Until about 2000 B.C. the Jaredites struggled to establish survival. Archaeological findings support that the Olmec people until this point were unsophisticated.
From 2000 to 1500 B.C. the Jaredites made significant advances, built many cities, and a highland capital called Moron. A site with similar characteristics exists in the valley of Oaxaca and archeology has found such things as pottery, farming areas, and settled villages from this time period.
In 1500 the Jaredites built up a city called Lib. Olmec archaeological finds have discovered a city near San Lorenzo beginning at the same time with the same social organization and the makings of monuments that coincide with the account in the Book of Mormon.
In 1070 there was a civil war in the time of Com mentioned in the Book of Mormon. This coincides exactly with a civil war that archaeologists say destroy the city at San Lorenzo.
The following years of the Jaredite culture were decadent and wicked. The Olmecs during this time period developed a culture focused on riches and wealth. They enslaved many people to build massive monuments.
By 600 B.C. the Jaredite culture was destroyed in one last battle. Archaeologists put the destruction of the Olmec people at 601 B.C.
The last battle of the Jaredite people is described as being on a hill. The last battle of the Olmecs was at Cerro Vigia and is consistent with the description of the site given in the Book of Mormon.