Proposed Nephite Calendar

BMAF 2004 Fall Conference 31

Proposed Nephite Calendar

John P. Pratt

John P. Pratt writes a monthly column for Meridian Magazine which provides an LDS

perspective on current science. He has a Ph.D. in astronomy and specializes in religious

chronology and ancient calendars. He has authored several articles in the Ensign and

professional journals. The text of his articles is available from his website,,

or a bound volume is now available. His lovely wife Ruth has written books on family history.

They are the parents of five wonderful children.

It’s a pleasure to be here. I keep

changing the title of this talk. Supposedly, you

will all get a handout. It will have a different

title, even than this. On the handout, I call it

“Nephite Calendar Testifies of Christ,” which is

probably closer to what the talk turned into

when I finally finished putting it together.

I am not in archaeology, but I am always

excited about archaeology, and I am glad to

be invited to the conference. I do chronology,

but as far as I am concerned [on overhead]:

Chronology is in Time


Archaeology is in Space

History becomes much more real when it

can be pinpointed on a map.

History also becomes much more real

when you can pinpoint it in time.

To me, I have heard a lot of people ask,

“Why do they do all this Book of Mormon

geography? Aren’t we just supposed to have

faith and believe that it’s true?” Well, of

course you have faith and believe that it’s

true, but it’s so much more exciting when you

know where it actually happened. I remember

hearing the army song I think, where it says,

“From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of

Tripoli.” I won’t tell you how many years I went

without knowing where Tripoli is. I don’t even

know how to say it. Tripoli. Think right now on

a map. Can you all picture where Tripoli is?

I’ll bet, for the ones of you who can picture

that, it is more real for them than it was


I had an experience this week. I have

taught astronomy for 30 years. We talk about

Bernard’s star. It’s one of the fastest moving

stars. You know, I have never known where it

was. This week I saw on a map of the stars

where it is, and then it became much more

real when I could see it on a map.

I’ll do one more. We had a neighbor boy

over for Family Home Evening one time. We

were talking about Moses parting the Red

Sea. And so we tell the story: “And he raised

his staff and the Red Sea parted.”

The neighbor nodded his head, “Uh,


“And they went over on dry ground.”

“Uh huh.”

He was going along, and he is a member

of the LDS Church, and he was seeming to

believe it, and then I opened an archaeology

book, and I said, “Here are the coral-covered

chariot wheels that they have found where

they crossed.”

The neighbor’s eyes got big, and he said,

“What! You mean this is true? You mean the

Red Sea really opened? And they really went


BMAF 2004 Fall Conference 32

And I said, “Yes, there is a shelf at 60

feet down that goes across.”


You know, it made a lot of difference.

So, similarly, with time, we used to say,

“Once upon a time . . .” for fairy tales, but if

you don’t know when it happened in time, it

gets pretty fuzzy. When you talk about Jesus,

if you don’t know the date when He was born,

when He died, when He lived, then it’s all just

“once upon a time. It is important just to

believe in him. It’s all just once upon a time.”

I’m sorry, but for me, that doesn’t cut it.

It’s not good enough. We need to know when

the prophet stands and says that the most

important date in history is the date of the

resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“Great. What was the date?”

It was the most important date in history.

Do we know when that is?

I think chronology is just as important in

its own way as archaeology is. They are both

counterparts. We want to know where it

happened and when it happened, so that we

can tie them together. When you put these

together, you learn things. For example, you

all know about Daniel. You’ve read the Book

of Daniel. We believe in Daniel. You’ve read

about Nephi, you believe in Nephi. They are

both at the same place at the same time.

They were probably schoolmates. Have you

ever thought about that? Daniel and Nephi

probably went to school together. Same time,

same place. I’m saying that it can help our

understanding as well as our belief.

Book of Mormon Anchor Dates

There are three dates in the Book of

Mormon that you can tie to Old World history.

That seems like the logical starting point to try

to track down when events happened in the

Book of Mormon.

The First year of Zedekiah. Right there in

Chapter 1 of 1 Nephi, he gives the year that

some prophets were called of God that his

father Lehi heard preach.

The Birth Date of Jesus Christ. Big

events happened. Light all night, major event.

The Crucifixion date. They give it

according to their calendar right to the very

day. So let’s look at all three of those dates

one at a time.

The First Year of Zedekiah

This is a winner. Nobody has any doubt

what day this is. This is wonderful. I wish it

were this way for all three dates, for this would

have been done long ago. I like to pronounce

his name with a “ch” because there was

another king at the time named Jehoiakim

that people often get confused with him. I am

just going to call him Jeconiah.

King Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) taken captive

Sat 10 Mar 597 BC (Gregorian). Jeconiah was

the king. Nebuchadnezzar comes and takes

him captive and replaces him with Zedekiah.

That date also turns out to be New Year’s Day

on the Hebrew calendar. We know that date

right down to the day for two reasons. One, is

that the Bible says that the year was just

turning, meaning it was New Year’s Day, so

they tell you the exact day if you know the


This undisputed date was recorded in the

Bible and also in Babylonian Chronicles. The

second way -- and here is the wonderful thing.

It turns out that Daniel was over in Babylon. I

don’t know if it was his influence, but for some

reason in the Babylonian Chronicles of

Nebuchadnezzar, they give the exact day that

Jeconiah was taken captive. On their

calendar, it is the second day of the seventh

year of Nebuchadnezzar, I think. I am not

sure of the year, but it was the second of Adar,

I remember. You can look up what day it is in

Parker’s and Duberstein’s Standard Tables,

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and also, I do all my own calendar work. We

agree that it is Saturday, the 10th of March.

That is undisputed. That’s great. That one

was easy.

Two possibilities: Friday 5 Apr AD 30, Fri

1 Apr AD 33. I am going to do Crucifixion

before the Birth of Christ, so this slide is not

out of order. I do this because this is actually

very well established, and the Bible goes to

great pains to tell you exactly when the Savior

was crucified. By the way, I have whole

articles on almost every one of these slides. I

have two or three articles. They are all on the

internet. The references are at the end. I

have them published in the book I have

outside. I also have calendars, and I have all

my articles on CD-ROM, if you are interested,

for a nominal charge. It is cheap. But

basically, all scholars agree that there are only

two possible days for the Crucifixion of Christ.

It is either on Friday, the 5th of April, A.D. 30,

or Friday, the 1st of April AD 33. By the way, I

use only the Gregorian calendar, our modern

calendar. Historians use the Julian calendar.

That would have been fine around the time of

Julius Caesar. They use it for ancient dates


Center of the Aztec Calendar, called the 20 Days of the Sacred Round.

BMAF 2004 Fall Conference 34

like these, which makes no sense to me

because the poor calendar gets way off. Our

calendar is excellent. You can use it back to

Adam and forward it through the Millenium.

It’s great. They fixed it. I use our modern

calendar, so those days will be two days

different from what you read in history books,

for instance.

Both days are on Friday. Those days are

the only choices. Now really, the New

Testament makes it clear that it is the second

date. It is A.D. 33, but because of confusion

about the birth date of Christ, most scholars

believe it is the earlier one. We will get to His

birth in a second, but the second one really

does fit.

There are many reasons they pick the

second date. Turkish history records an

earthquake and the darkening of the sun for

several hours in AD 33. They have the exact

year, and they say that the sun was darkened,

and the stars came out. They mentioned that

the constellation of Orion was visible. That

means whoever wrote that knew enough to

know that Orion is usually a winter

constellation, and he is up here in April at

noon. I mean, when else did that happen in

history, that it is dark for three hours? A solar

eclipse is good for about two minutes, three

minutes, tops. But to have it dark with stars

coming out in the middle of the day and

roosters crowing, he said, and an earthquake

on the same day, and he gives the year 33

A.D.? I’m sorry, that to me is convincing right

there. It is A.D. 33.

There is a new article out in Meridian

Magazine, just last week, on Daniel’s

prophesy of 490 years. That has not been a

well-understood prophesy, as far as I could

tell. He gives a prophesy that it will be 490

years from when the decree goes forth to

rebuild Jerusalem, 490 years until the

Messiah, the Prince, is cut off, and the Savior

is crucified. That prophesy comes out right to

the day. That article is out this month in the

Meridian Magazine. I’m saying that there

have been two choices. Two choices. 20

years ago, I published my paper, saying it’s

the second choice, and I have never deviated

from that. It is clearly the second choice.

The Birth Date of Christ

Has been uncertain to about a decade, 9

BC to 1 BC. His birth date has been totally

unknown. And just very quickly on this, all of

the clues that Luke put in to try and help --

there was an enrollment, and there was the

tax, the star of Bethlehem, who was governor,

all these details he has put in have been

under much dispute.

Often 6-4 BC (based on Josephus’ date

for Herod’s death), now about 2 BC. There are

people who believe everywhere from 9 B.C. to

1 B.C. The standard story is about 6 to 4 B.C.

– all of that is based on Josephus, almost

alone, one source, who gives the year of

Herod’s death, which he gives as 3 B.C., but

people don’t like that. They change it to 4

B.C., and Herod was alive when Christ was

born, so Christ must have been born 6 to 5

B.C. – in that ballpark. Well, sorry, now this is

where I am a physicist and an astronomer – I

don’t care if an historian makes a mistake. I

think historians – that’s all they have is

history, and they can’t go around saying that

this historian is wrong, but I have no problem

with that. I just say, “I’m sorry, Josephus

made a mistake.” I wrote a paper on this, and

I supplied exactly where he made the mistake.

He had two biographies, and he had to choose

between them. He chose poorly. He didn’t

blow up (that was a different film), but he sure

influenced everybody, because his is the only

biography of Herod that we have.

Olmec Sacred Round of 260 days

indicates 5 Apr 1 BC (1 Reed), after sunset.

The big clue on this, and I’m going to give you

something new, is the Olmec Sacred Round.

All my understanding says that the Sacred

Round calendar of the Native Americans,

BMAF 2004 Fall Conference 35

which is used everywhere from Alaska to Chile

– this 260 day calendar – that really indicates

when the birth of Christ was. It was on 1

Reed. One of the names of Quetzalcoatl, the

white and bearded god that they had, was 1

Reed. Children were named from those

calendars according to their birth date. 1

Reed is a date on the Sacred Round. For

example, if his name was 1 Reed, it usually

means that his birthday is 1 Reed. It is at

least a serious consideration. His name could

also be something else like his baptism or

perhaps a rebirth, however, the

straightforward interpretation is that his name

is based on his birthday.

Needless to say, for the LDS people in

the audience, we have had three different

prophets in this dispensation, including

President Lee, President Kimball, and

President Hinckley, who have said that it was

on April 6. April 6 is actually the anniversary.

It actually occurred on the evening of April 5

after sundown, so I say that it occurred on the

evening preceeding April 6. It is like

Christmas now. The standard day to have

Christmas is December 25, but when do you

do the Nativity scene? You do it on the night

of the 24th, called Christmas Eve. That is

really when the baby is supposed to be born.

You have the party the next day. It is the

same thing here. He was born on the night of

April 5th. It has to be this time. It is after

sunset and before midnight, but you have a

party the next day.

I want to show you something new. Most

of what I am doing in this talk has been

published before, if only last week, but I

wanted to give you something new, just for

this conference. You pay your money, you

come out, and you want to hear cutting edge

stuff. All right, I am going to show you


Codex Nuttall Mistec document.

BMAF 2004 Fall Conference 36

something, and there are people who are

more expert than me here on this

subject.[Displays a round Mesoamerican

artifact] It may be difficult to see, but this is

the center of the Aztec calendar. The circle of

the famous Aztec calendar is on everything

you have ever bought from Mexico. If you’ve

purchased a wallet, if you have a briefcase,

gone to a restaurant – you’ve seen this. But I

have only cut out the center. There is a circle

of 20 pictures around here, and those are the

20 Days of the Sacred Round. This doesn’t

have numbers on it that I am aware of, but

you count each picture, one at a time, as you

go around. It starts on 1 Light, 2 Wind, 3

Temple, 4 Dragon, 5 Serpent, 6 Skull, 7 Deer,

8 Rabbit, 9 Water, 10 Dog, 11 Monkey, 12

Grass, and 13 Reed. You count up to 13, and

then you start over and count to 20. 1 Jaguar,

2 Eagle, 3 Condor, 4 Quake, 5 Flint, 6 Storm,

and 7 Flower, 8 Light. You count to 13 and

then to 20 until you come out even, which

won’t happen until you count to 260 days. So

those are the 260 Days of the Sacred Round.

All of my research says that this is one of the

most fundamental calendars. It is as

important as a 7-day week. This thing came

straight from Heaven. This is the Sacred

Round. The universe was designed according

to this calendar. [Nods his head in respect.]

Anyway, it is important. What I want to

show you is that when this comes up to 1

Reed, that will be the Savior’s birthday.

[Displays another Mesoamerican artifact]

Let me show you another slide. I want to

show you how they draw these pictures. This

is the Codex Nuttall Mistec document. Notice

the skull here with all these little balls

attached. The skull is one of the 20 pictures

on the Sacred Round. You count all the little

balls attached, and they do it in all kinds of

designs here. 10 Skull is a date here. Now, I

am not an expert on this part, but some of you

may know more. I am assuming that this

picture here is the fellow’s birthday or it is the

date that something happened that is being

depicted. Whatever it is, it is a date.

Now I want to show you something new.

I want to show you just how they draw these

arrows and shields. Now, what I am about to

tell you I have never told anybody. This is

new, and yet it has been right in front of you

for those who have seen this, but, – drum roll

please – I am trying to give you something

new. See how they draw a shield round? See

these two little feathers here? These are

arrows. There are two arrows, with two points

and two feathers, behind a shield.

[Goes back to the Sacred Round and

traces pictures on the inside of the round.] If

you take the little picture for Quake and draw

it big, that’s what this portion of the round is.

And there are four circles on the calendar

[outlines them for people to see]. This

represents an important date. 4 Quake, or 4

Movement. There are different translations.

These are the words that I have chosen, partly

because they are the best I could do, looking

at 50 different translations, and partly

because they are short, quake is a shorter

word, and it will fit around the circle with the

other words. Also, it is better. It is the

shaking motion that it is about. Anyway, that

is supposed to be the date of the big fifth

world age. OK, everybody knows that.

What about this circle down here? There

is a fifth circle down at the bottom that is just

sitting by itself. It looks like it is part of a date,

and I pondered about that for a long time.

One day I saw it. Now, I will just propose this,

and I have to say it quickly because I have to

move on. This is just a quickie freebie thrown

in. I am just going to say what it looks like to

me. I am not an expert in this area, but that

circle in the center there looks a lot like the

shield that we just saw. The five things there

look exactly like the feathers on the arrows.

This up here, this point, is not really part of the

quake. Sometimes it is drawn that way, and

sometimes it’s not. I would suggest that it is

BMAF 2004 Fall Conference 37

not part of the quake glyph. I will say that this

is an arrow point, and these are the feathers

behind the shield, just like in that other

picture, and this is a date: 1 Reed.

Oh. I didn’t tell you that those arrows are

symbols for reeds. They made their arrows

out of reeds. So, it is that kind of reed. So it

is a date. 1 Reed. It has been in front of us

all these years. Whether that is right or wrong,

it doesn’t matter. They had temples named 1

Reed, and that was the Savior’s name. And

let’s go on. I just wanted to show you

something new.

Book of Mormon Bull’s-eye

Now, we’ve got those three dates of

Zedekiah’s reign, the birth of Christ, and the

death of Christ. How does the Book of

Mormon fit that?

Orson Pratt proposed 365-day

Egyptian/Mesoamerican calendar as that

used by the Nephites. Let’s start out with the

good news. There’s one perfect bulls-eye. If

you assume, as Orson Pratt did, that the

Nephites used the 365-day calendar like the

Egyptian calendar and like the Mesoamerican

calendar – that doesn’t have any leap days –


Nephite Calendar as proposed by Pratt.

BMAF 2004 Fall Conference 38

just straight 365 days – and it is very logical

that Lehi might have used that – then you find

a perfect fit for the life of Christ.

Perfect Fit on Christ’s Life: if Day 1 was

Thu 6 Apr, then 4 One 34 = Fri 1 Apr 33. They

said they re-started their calendar at the sign

of his birth. If you count the sign of his birth

as day 1 of the calendar, named Day 1 of

Month 1 of Year 1, they say that the

Crucifixion happened on Day 4 of the month

One, in the 34th year, which would be 33

years later. That comes out exactly to the day

on Friday, the 1st of April, A.D. 33, one of the

two possible dates for the Crucifixion of Christ.

That precision is strong evidence of

accuracy of both birth and death dates of

Jesus Christ. So there is another bingo. It’s

just a bull’s-eye. It’s right on. It’s a big vote

for the 365-day calendar after the coming of

Christ. Most researchers in this area, I think,

agree on this part, so that is a strong evidence

for both.

[Displays a proposed Nephite calendar] I

have a picture of the Nephite calendar. This

will be the model. There are 12 months. They

each have 30 days. I just named the months

First through Twelfth because I am not very

creative, and then there are five days that are

just tagged on at the end. (They tend to be

unlucky days, but the Book of Mormon doesn’t

say that. In the Egyptian calendar, they were

unlucky days.) That’s the model. Very simple.

The key thing is that there are no February

29ths or leap days ever put in to make it even

with the years. So you just kind of drift

through the year a little bit, but that was the

Egyptian model and that is the model that I

am proposing for the Nephite model.

Book of Mormon Apparent Conflicts

Now, here is the bad news. To me, there

were three very serious problems. I believe I

am the only person who has addressed all

three of these problems. Other authors have

focused on just one. Mostly, they focus the

first one of these problems, sometimes a little

on the second. There are three serious issues

with the Book of Mormon that need to be

solved. I call them problems, because I solve

problems. Let’s look at them one at a time.

Lehi’s 600-year prophecy. There is more

detail on this in your notes, so I am just going

to cheat and give you them here. There are

only 596 years between the date from

Zedekiah’s first year and even as late as 1

B.C. for the birthday of Christ. If you believe in

an earlier 4 or 5 B.C. year for the birth of

Christ, it is even worse. There is a prophecy

by an angel, and they tend to be really

accurate on time. I have noticed this. I don’t

know of any angelic prophecy that is off by a

day. It is quarter-day accuracy on all of them.

And he says it’s going to be 600 years from

the time that his father leaves --not when he

gets ready, you know. They give a precise

time from when he leaves to when Christ

comes -- 600 years. And at first, you think it

is 6 centuries, but then you find out that the

Nephites were counting it very seriously, and

they said whoa, 600 years came and went,

and nothing happened and they were about to

kill the believers, and quite a bit of time went

past 600 years. How can that be that there

are only 596 years at the most between the

two events?

When was Jerusalem destroyed? There

are two different scriptures for these that are

listed on your handout. It was destroyed

immediately after Lehi’s departure (2 Nephi

25:10). In another place (1 Nep. 17:43, 2

Nephi 1:4), you find out that they wandered

through the desert for eight years, they build a

boat, they go over to America – it was

something like 10 years after they leave, a

revelation comes to Lehi, and he says, “I’ve

had a revelation that Jerusalem has been

destroyed,” and it is clear that it happened

then because in another place, Nephi says, “I

know it will be destroyed. But Nephi says that

the destruction has not happened yet. It looks

BMAF 2004 Fall Conference 39

like Nephi is confused. In the one place, he

says it happened immediately after he left,

and in the other, it is going to happen.

How many captives would be taken? The

third problem I think is the most serious. How

many captives are going to be taken? Lehi

starts prophesying with Jeremiah and the

others that many captives will be taken (1

Nephi 1:13). He tells his children, and Laman

and Lemuel laugh and say that nothing could

ever happen to Jerusalem. That’s one

prophesy. In another place, Nephi says, and

this is the same place that is referred to in the

other reference, he says that very few people

will be taken (1 Nephi 17:43).

After Zedekiah began to reign, nobody in

the Old Testament said that many captives will

be taken. Ezekiel said that there would be

very few. What happened? The captives had

already been taken. The serious problem is

that Zedekiah starts after the captivity is all

over. Nebuchadnezzar had already come in

and had taken 3,000 captives before

Jeconiah was put in, and he takes at least

10,000 more captives. The Book of Kings

says, all of the rich, all of the wealthy were

taken. All Jerusalem was taken captive. Only

the poor were left (2 Kings 24:14; Ezekiel 5:1-

12; Jeremiah 21:7, 24:1-10). Then they put

Zedekiah over the poor. You can’t have Lehi

starting to preach and saying, “People, you’re

going to be taken captive,” and you can’t even

have him be wealthy or even being there still.

It doesn’t fit.

Something is wrong with this picture.

The captivity was over. Jeremiah says, and

you may remember this prophesy, “All the

good figs have already been taken.” The only

ones left here are rotten figs, and

Nebuchadnezzar is not taking captives next

time; he is going to kill them.

The Lord tells Ezekiel to lie on the ground

for several days (about a year) and grow a

beard, and then cut the beard. Burn part of it,

blow part of it away, and then chop part of it

up with a knife. The Lord said that is what will

happen to the people who stay in Jerusalem.

Nobody will be taken captive. That is a huge

discrepancy in the Nephite story.

Proposed resolution of all conflicts

The two statements listed here solve all

the chronology problems in the Book of


Nephi referred to Jehoiakim by the name

“Zedekiah.” I propose that Nephi was talking

about the former King Jehoiakim, when he

referred to Zedekiah. I didn’t put together a

nice timeline for you, but I have it in my book.

Jehoiakim starts in 608 B.C., and

Nebuchadnezzar didn’t start until later, in 605

B.C. The Bible specifically says that Jeremiah

was called in the first year of Jehoiakim. He

went around preaching that Jerusalem would

be destroyed. Now, they were currently with

Necho of Egypt, and they thought they were

invincible. Egypt was the largest power, and

the people of Jerusalem were in an alliance

with them. Jeremiah was mocked, and he was

attacked. Another man named Urijah was

called to be a prophet, and he was killed.

They met exactly the same fate that Nephi

describes. Exactly. No one would believe it

because Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t even on the

scene yet. That fits perfectly with the Book of

Mormon story, and that’s what I am going to

say happened.

In 605 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar comes in

and takes the first captives, of which Daniel

was part. He only takes a few in which he

trained to become princes. Nebuchadnezzar

knew what he was doing. He would take

princes from each of the countries and we

even have the date of this, right to the day, of

when this happened. He trained Daniel to

become a ruler, and that’s what he became.

Anyway, this completely gets rid of the

problem of the 600 years. Now you can have

Lehi leaving exactly 600 years before the birth

of Christ. My proposal is that he left to the

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day, to the quarter-day, on the evening

preceding the day of Passover, 600 years

before Christ was born, 5 April, after sunset

601 B.C.

It was also Passover when Lehi and his

family left Jerusalem. That is something that I

usually put in footnotes, which no one has

ever said, to my knowledge. Astronomers

know about a 600-year cycle. Josephus

talked about it. He said that the ancients

knew that there was a cycle of 600 years.

Well, I knew about it too. When I heard about

a 600-year prophesy, the first thing I thought

about was “Whoa! It’s a 600-year cycle!”

What is that cycle? It’s when the Hebrew

calendar’s Passover comes on the same day

as April 6 on the solar calendar. So the day he

leaves is April 6 Passover, and the day Christ

is born is April 6 Passover. Lehi’s leaving was

like a Passover event. Alma talks about it,

and he compares Lehi to Moses, and he said

that when Lehi left it was like the Passover.

Going into the wilderness is the standard thing

to do at Passover.

There were two destructions of

Jerusalem. That has been overlooked. It is

not just speculation. It is in the Bible; we just

never read it. In 2 Kings 24:1-2, it tells the

story. Jehoiakim started in 608 B.C.

Nebuchadnezzar comes in 605 B.C., and

Jehoiakim paid tribute for three years. We

have the record of this in the Babylonian

Chronicles. He paid tribute in 604, 603, and

602 B.C. in November. The tribute, or taxes,

was due once a year.

Then after three years, in 601 B.C., he

rebelled. In the Babylonian Chronicles, it says

that he didn’t pay his dues that year. In the

Bible, it says that he rebelled. In November

601 B.C., it is recorded that there was a big

war, not just with Judah, which wouldn’t be a

very big war, but also with Egypt. In addition,

the Bible says that the vassal states, including

Edom and Syria, united and beat up on Judah.

Judah is destroyed.

In those two verses, it says, Judah was

destroyed so that the prophecies of the

prophets would be fulfilled. What prophets?

Lehi, Urijah, and Jeremiah. As far as the writer

of that verse was concerned, Jerusalem was

destroyed so badly that it fulfilled that

prophesy. Now, Jerusalem goes on after that.

But I’m just saying that we have totally

overlooked that. Jerusalem was destroyed in

November of 601 B.C., and I will say that

that’s immediately after Lehi left in April of

601 B.C.

That was the first destruction, and after

that, many people were taken captive at

different times. Not right then, but in 598 B.C.

and in 597 B.C., basically everyone was taken

captive. Then after Zedekiah – you could call

him Zedekiah II in order to distinguish the two,

but I am going to do what the Bible writers did.

I’m not going to add to the confusion that

happened with Nephi. Jehoiakin was his

name. Jehoiakin was executed by

Nebuchadnezzar in front of everyone. They

put in his son, Jeconiah; then they decided it

would be just as bad with his son, so they take

the son out. Then they put in the one that we

all call Zedekiah. After Zedekiah is in his 11th

year, Jerusalem is again destroyed, and that is

when Nephi is over in the New World, and Lehi

has the vision that they have all been

destroyed. The destruction of 587 B.C. is the

one that everyone knows about.

Nebuchadnezzar would have almost

certainly changed Jehoiakim’s name in 605

B.C. to Zedekiah at that time. The name that

Nephi knew was Zedekiah. If he didn’t change

it, for whatever reason, Nephi knew him as

Zedekiah. It was a family name. There was

another son listed in the Chronicles who was

named that. There is another place in

Jeremiah where they mix up the two names,

Jehoiakim and Zedekiah. But Lehi prophesied

before they were all taken.

Nephi mentioned that Jeremiah was in

prison at this time, and the Bible makes it

BMAF 2004 Fall Conference 41

clear that Jeremiah was in prison in 588 B.C.

It would not shock me if they had imprisoned

Jeremiah twice or many times. So I propose

that Jeremiah was also in prison in 601 B.C.

We don’t have much of Jeremiah’s life. We

just have a few of his prophecies sort of put

together and sort of in random order. We

don’t have his whole life, so I propose that he

was imprisoned twice.

We have already talked about how the

Nephite calendar had no leap days. I want to

talk very quickly about two confirmations, and

then I want to leave a little bit of time for

questions. A note on seasonal warfare. I

really liked the work of John Sorenson, Bill

Hamblin, and others on seasonal warfare.

They produced papers that said, hey, the Book

of Mormon talks about how they only had wars

in certain seasons. Among the Mayans today,

they only have war in certain seasons, and you

can tie those together. It looks like the first

day of the first month of the first year

happened in December. The first day started

when Lehi left, in April 6, but because they

didn’t do leap days, you are going to get a day

off every four years. That is quite a bit. In

600 years, you’re going to get 150 days early.

By the time Christ is born, their year is going to

start in November. The wars happened

starting around 70 B.C. It would have been in

December of that time. It is a perfect fit. And

then the explanation for the delay at the time

of Christ, they thought 600 years was up in

November, and nothing happens. Samuel’s

prophesy came and went, and nothing

happens. They had plenty of time to get

upset. They had about five months there, so

on their calendar, it was 600 years and five

months before Christ was born.

For those who know my work, I have

discovered nine different sacred calendars.

Angels tend to appear on holy days on what I

call the Lord’s sacred calendars. There are

several precise dates given in the Book of

Mormon. For example, Helaman would say, “I

got a letter, and it was dated on this day, and

we did this on this day.” None of those days

are meant to be anything special. I have

checked them all. None of them are anything


However, there are two dates when

angels appear. Amulek records the date that

an angel came to him and commanded him to

return to his house because he was going to

feed a prophet of the Lord, a holy man (Alma

10:6-7). The day that the angel came was a

triple holy day. It was the Feast of First Fruits

on the Hebrew calendar, and also on the

Enoch calendar. It was also the day 1

Malchijah on the Priest Cycle.

King Benjamin gave a marvelous talk,

and at the end, he says that an angel wrote it

for him and gave it to him (Mosiah 3:2), and

he records the day that the angel came.

Because of the work of Jack Welch and other

scholars, we figured out that it was the Feast

of the Tabernacles. From that I could look up

when the Tabernacles were held that year.

The day that this occurred was a quadruple

holy day. It is Tabernacles on two different

calendars, and it was something that was only

once a year on two of the other calendars.

The two angel days work on the calendar

that I developed; therefore, I propose that this

calendar work for all of their days. And I will

close there.


[Question from the audience] If angels

only come on holy days, then can you predict

when the Savior is going to come? [Laughter]

[Pratt] I’m sorry, I’ve just been told that

there’s no time for questions. No -- that is the

standard question. When is the Savior going

to come? I will tell you that I have an answer

to that, finally, because of course, the answer

is I don’t know. But I realized that what I can

do is publish future dates. I don’t know what

is going to happen on those days, but I can

publish a calendar that says, in the next year,

here are the double holy days, and here are

BMAF 2004 Fall Conference 42

the triple holy days. I have done that, and at

that little table out there, I can sell you a

calendar that says when the holy days are

going to be. But, I have no clue what is going

to happen on any of them. My idea is that

you’ll say, “Oh, look! It happened on that


For example, last year two apostles

passed away. If you look on the calendar, they

passed away during the closing week of the

harvest. I don’t know if that is meaningful or

not -- I’m just saying that apostles tend to be

born and tend to die on these days, the

prophets for sure, a lot of them. I mean, I

don’t understand all things, but sacred things

tend to happen on these days. Other things

don’t. I looked up George Washington, the

Constitution, all of those things. I couldn’t find

anything special. Prophets and angels tend to

be on those days. So I have published them

ahead, but I have no idea when the Savior is



Copyright 2005, Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum, a non-profit organization. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Pratt, John P.