1 Nephi 18:12; “And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work.”





Here are two examples of this word in the Bible and how they are used.

Exodus 27:5; “And thou shalt put it under the compass of the altar beneath, that the net may be even to the midst of the altar.”

Exodus 38:4; “And he made for the altar a brazen grate of network under the compass thereof beneath unto the midst of it.”

The Hebrew word for compass is: karkob.  It means rim or top margin.  In the New Testament we see it used in Acts 28:13;

“And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli.”

The Greek word is perierchomai.  It means: to come all around, that is, stroll,vacillate, veer—fetch a compass, vagabond, wandering about.

Now let’s look at what 1 Nephi 18:21 says about the word compass which supposedly took place circa 589 BC;

“And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.”

We can see from this passage of First Nephi that they are referring to a navigational device.  After spending about 10 minutes searching on the internet for information on who invented the compass I came upon the website of Smith College History of Science.  Here is what they said about the compass:

“Earliest records show a spoon shaped compass made of lodestone or magnetite ore, referred to as a “South-pointer” dating back to sometime during the Han Dynasty (2nd century BCE to 2nd century CE).”  The report goes on to say; “…By the time of the T’ang dynasty (7-8th century CE), Chinese scholars had devised a way to magnetize iron needles, by rubbing them with magnetite, and then suspending them in water (early 11th century)…during the Sung dynasty (1000 CE) many trading ships were then able to sail as far as Saudi Arabia without getting lost.”

The Europeans didn’t use compasses for navigation until the twelfth to thirteenth century (9), so why did the Nephites have them some 1,800 years before the Europeans and at least 400 years before it was invented by the Chinese?  In addition, why when it broke was no one able to fix it except one person?

You can find the Smith College History of Science website at:

So from what the Bible says about the word compass and its transliterations, and from what we can learn by just reading a history lesson of sorts, we can see there is no way at all the “Nephite” Jews were using a compass to guide themselves around.

Granted, Joseph Smith didn’t have access to the internet back in 1830 but certainly if this was theopneustos (God breathed), Joseph Smith would have had access to God!  Wouldn’t God know when the compass was invented?

9 –