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COREY - In reference to Ether 6:11, I read in a pocket missionary reference it takes the pacific current 344 days to go from Asia to America, Are the jaradites Asian?
JOEL - The Tower of Babel was probably located in western Asia in ancient Mesopotamia; the point from which the Brother of Jared and his followers left the tower. They then traveled from west central Asia through China; crossed the water—very probably the North Pacific(Ether 2:13)—to the New World which apparently took them 344 days.
The prevailing opion is that the Jaredites were either of Asian origin or closely related. According to the Biblical record Shem, a son of Noah, was the original forefather of the west and east asian people. The reasoning as to how the Jaredites fit in to his line is as follows, from Smith and Sjodahl's commentary on the Book of Mormon:
"Moroni begins his abridgement of the Book of Ether by saying that he is omitting those parts of Ether's record that are found in the Bible; he says he will begin where the biblical record leaves off. Moroni then begins with a genealogy, going from Ether back to Jared (Ether 1: 6-33). This may imply that his point of departure from the biblical record is also a genealogy.
In the Bible, Genesis 10 lists the descendants of Shem (Shem - Arphaxad - Salah - Eber). Shem's great-grandson Eber (or, Heber) is said to have two sons, Peleg and Joktan (or, Yoktan), noting that in their day, the earth was divided. The record briefly lists Joktan's children but then his line dead-ends. The record returns to Peleg and follows his line after telling the tower of Babel story.
Some have interpreted "the earth was divided" to mean the covenant line was divided into two groups, one of which went to America. They note that one of Joktan's sons is named "Jerah," which is similar to Jared. They propose that Moroni's genealogy of Ether begins where Genesis 10 leaves off." (Smith and Sjodahl's commentary on the Book of Mormon)
And according to Hugh Nibley:
"The book of Ether is a typical ancient chronicle, a military and political history relieved by casual references to the wealth and splendor of kings. . . The whole structure of Jaredite history hangs on a succession of strong men, most of them rather terrible figures. Few annals of equal terseness and brevity are freighted with an equal burden of wickedness. The pages of Ether are dark with intrigue and violence, strictly of the Asiatic brand.
The Jaredites left their homeland driving great herds of cattle before them in the immemorial Asiatic manner, and even if they had never been nomads before, they certainly lived the life of the steppes during those many years before they set sail (Ether 3:3), and when they embarked, they crammed all they could of their beasts into their small boats, "flocks and herds" and other beasts (Ether 6:4), and upon reaching the New World continued to cultivate "all manner of cattle, of oxen, and cows, and of sheep" just as their ancestors had in the old country" (Ether 9:18).(Collected Works of Hugh Nibley)
The heavy presence of Asian genes found in Native Americans today could be compatible with the apparently Asian origins of the ancient Jaredites, whose descendants may have escaped the bloody civil war that Ether described and later mixed with the Lamanites.
None of these references provides solid proof that they were of Asian origin but still interesting nevertheless.