By Cordell and Janice Vail
02 May 2004
A weekly email gospel message for the descendents of Ammon and Winona Vail
Ether 2:16 - 21
16 And the Lord said: Go to work and build, after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built. And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did go to work, and also his brethren, and built barges after the manner which they had built, according to the instructions of the Lord. And they were small, and they were light upon the water, even like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water.
17 And they were built after a manner that they were exceedingly tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish.
18 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, I have performed the work which thou hast commanded me, and I have made the barges according as thou hast directed me.
19 And behold, O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer? And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save it is the air which is in them; therefore we shall perish.
20 And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air. And if it be so that the water come in upon thee, behold, ye shall stop the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood.
21 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did so, according as the Lord had commanded.
The Lord told them very clearly what to do with the hole in the top, "and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air." But what about the hole in the bottom. What was it for? Why didn't the Lord tell us what that hole was for? He told the Brother of Jared to put it there. Have you ever wondered what the second hole was for? I had never even thought about it until a couple of years ago in a Book of Mormon class taught by my friend Brad Holt in the deaf branch. I was astonished that I would have over looked a point like that after having read the Book of Mormon so many times.
So think about what was going on inside the barges. They took all manner of food and grain. Even bees. They took animals of every kind... even fish. WHY? Because they were the first ones to live in America after Noah and the flood. So there would be no animals, birds or even fresh water fish in America. Those things could only be found in the land where the Ark landed. (Why on earth did the Brother of Jared bring those mosquitos and flies too ha ha ha just kidding)... The salt water of the ocean flood killed everything on the land. I assume that meant even vegetation???? Have you ever thought about that? What the land even looked like when they got here. Much different than when the Nephite's came I am sure.
So why the hole in the bottom of the barge?
This will make a wonderful family home evening lesson for your kids. Make two paper cones out of wax paper. You may want to let the smaller kids even put some paper people and pictures of animals and plants inside so it seems more real to them.
Now before you seal it up, put 8 or 10 very small round objects that will roll but not be too heavy (dry peas or small round beads). Use Duct Tape that will make the seams water proof and air tight (Tight like a dish). You can even add wax from a candle to make them air tight (IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT THE BARGE BE AIR TIGHT AS WELL AS WATER PROOF). When you seal the two cones together it will make a kind of small boat with points at each end (we do not of course know what the barges look like except they were tight like a dish so we will pretend like they were oblong like two cones.
Now cut a small hole in the top and in the bottom. Then put some duct tape over both holes and place the "BARGE" on a dish pan of water. Ta Da... it will float even with the little people and the round balls inside.
(There are lots of other ways you can make an air tight barge. You can go to Good Will or DI and actually get two old wooden dishes (make sure the dish is rounded in the bottom not flat... you will see why later)...and tape them with Duct Tape all around the seams where the two dishes fit together to make them air tight and water tight. Now drill the holes in the top and bottom then make wood pegs that fit air tight or just use Duct Tape to seal the holes. That will make it air tight. (the wood dish method of course looks the most realistic because the Book of Mormon uses the phrase "tight like a dish). You can even do it with a medium size plastic ball by just cutting a hole in each end and sealing it back up with Duct Tape.(a plastic ball works better than rubber because it sinks when not filled with air and is easier to drill a hole in)
Now unstop the top hole so air can get in like the Lord told the Brother of Jared to do when they needed air and place your barge on the water. Ta Da... still floats.
Now for the teaching moment!
Think about what was going on here. People were living in those barges. Animals were living in there. They were eating and drinking.... AND.... well it is a common part of life for people and animals to have to go to the bathroom when they eat and drink. So what do they do with that? Did you ever think about that. Maybe you have never even thought about that when the astronauts went to the moon. They were in the space suits for days at a time. How did they go to the bathroom? NASA just never mentions that. People don't ask. So you see we are no different than the Book of Mormon people. We did not write anything about astronauts going to the bathroom in the records of the men going to the moon either, just like the Lord did not mention it in the book of Mormon. When these people and animals were inside those barges for over a year you know that is a part of living but there is no mention of it. Or is there?
So now STOP UP THE TOP HOLE SO NO AIR CAN GET IT AND UNSTOP THE BOTTOM HOLE. Now put the barge back on the water being careful not to let the beads, marbles, peas, mustard seeds or what every you used that was round inside, fall out until you place the barge upright on the water ...... and watch what happens... TA DA... it still floats because no air can get in even though there is a hole in the bottom because the air can not get out and the water can not get in.
That is how a divers or a submarine gets out of the bottom of a ship while the ship is still sailing along. They just open a hatch in the belly of the ship that is in an air tight room and no water can get in but the divers or the submarine can get out or back in. Once in and the water tight, air tight hatch is closed in the bottom of the ship, then they can open the AIR TIGHT (or tight like a dish) door back up into the ship and get back out into the fresh air part of the ship.
But something else happened when you placed the barge back on the water with the bottom hole unstoped and the top hole stoped up. All the small objects rolled to the hole and out into the water out of the barge. (That is why you don't want to use a dish that is really flat on the bottom. The objects need to roll to the hole. so you can see this action.)
THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF THIS LESSON.
Do you think maybe that is why there was a hole in the bottom of the barge? Easy way to get rid of the waste rather than having to shovel it up out of the top hole where they got air (and just think of the trouble it would cause if they spilled that on the sides of the top air hole while shoveling it out that hole. It would have made for stinking fresh air.
Do you think that they may have used the hole to put waste out of the barge? Having a hole in the bottom might have been pretty handy for fishing for salt water fish too just like ice fishing. If they ate all the fresh water fish they brought with them and even the animals for food, on the way over, then there would not be any to put in the lakes and on the land when you got there. So I assume they caught fish to eat too along the way.
Now just to get an understanding of the knowledge of physics what is happening here try to put the barge on the water with both holes unstopped at the same time. Ta Da it will sink.
I would say the Lord understood the laws of physics pretty well. Petty smart, wouldn't you say? I guess those barges could be slated as the first one hole out houses ever built... ha ha ha.
So now you have something else to think about.
NOTE: Nothing in any of these Sunday Sermons is intended to represent the official doctrines of the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are strictly instructions and teachings from Cordell and Janice Vail to their family.
Back to Epistles