Waves of Gentiles

The prophecy by an angel to Nephi mentioned three waves of Gentiles and other details.

1st Wave – One Gentile

Before reading the prophecy it’s important to keep in mind Book of Mormon lands were “hidden,” not along established trade routes, and not bordered by any oceans. The Liahona was required to locate them. 

12 And I looked and beheld A MAN among the GENTILES,
who was [which were] separated from the SEED OF MY BRETHREN by the many waters;
and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon THE MAN;
and he went forth upon the many waters,
who [which] were IN the PROMISED LAND. (1 Nephi 13)

Modelers with lands south of the United States border attribute this prophecy to Christopher Columbus, but he doesn’t fit it. The man in the prophecy will precede those of the 2nd and 3rd wave prophecies and will be led to (hidden) BoM lands (see likely candidates at the end).

2nd Wave – Other Gentiles

13 And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God,
that it wrought upon other GENTILES;
and THEY went forth out of captivity, UPON THE MANY WATERS. (1 Nephi 13)

Wave 2 does not say “unto the seed of his brethren” or “in the promised land”; it only states they were seen upon the “many waters” (ocean). They were explorers of which there were over 600 including Columbus (1492), John Cabot (1497), Jacques Cartier (1534), Samuel de Champlain (1603), Henry Hudson (1609)

3rd Wave – Many Multitudes

14 And it came to pass that I beheld MANY MULTITUDES of the GENTILES
and I beheld the WRATH of God,
and they were SCATTERED before the Gentiles and were SMITTEN. (1 Nephi 13)

Those 600 explorers were followed by millions of immigrants (pop. in 1790: 3,929,214) to America, and wars with the Indians followed, and they were “smitten” and “scattered” as foreseen (e.g., Beaver Wars 1609Sullivan Expedition 1779Indian Removal Act 1830, Sheridan’s campaigns, etc.).

French and Indian War Map
French and Indian War Map

Gentiles Obtain [Buy] BoM Lands

15 And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord,
that it was upon the Gentiles, and
I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain.

See: Phelps and Gorham Purchase (1788)

Gentiles Humble Themselves

16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi,
beheld that the Gentiles who [which] had gone forth out of captivity
did HUMBLE themselves before the Lord;
and the POWER of the LORD WAS WITH THEM. (1 Nephi 13)

See: Great Awakenings One (1730–1755) & Two (1790–1840)

Gentile Wars, God Delivered

17 And I beheld that their MOTHER GENTILES
were GATHERED together upon the WATERS,
and upon the LAND also, to BATTLE against them.

18 And I beheld that the POWER of GOD was WITH THEM,
and also that the WRATH of God was upon all those that were GATHERED together AGAINST them to battle.
19 And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles
that [which] had gone out of captivity
were DELIVERED by the POWER of GOD
out of the hands of ALL other NATIONS. (1 Nephi 13)

See: French and Indian War (1754–1763), American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), and War of 1812


Taken as a whole, those prophecies find fulfillment in only one place, and that is Colonial America. Any model with lands outside of Colonial America doesn’t work.

Possible Man Candidates

12 And I looked and beheld A MAN among the GENTILES,
who was [which were] separated from the SEED OF MY BRETHREN by the many waters;
and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon THE MAN;
and he went forth upon the many waters,
who [which] were IN the PROMISED LAND. (1 Nephi 13)

We have three clues from the above prophecy:

1) He had a love for God and was worthy of His Spirit (like Jared, Nephi, and Mulek).

2) He preceded the wave of the Gentiles mentioned in the Second Wave prophecy.

3) The Promised Land was Colonial America, so we’re looking for explorers to or towards it.

Earliest Explorers

The earliest known explorers capable of journeying to North America were the Norsemen:

The Norse [Swedes, Danes, Norwegians, Faroe Islanders, Icelanders, and others;] colonization of North America began in the late 10th century CE when Norsemen explored and settled areas of the North Atlantic including the northeastern fringes of North America. [fn. Hermann Pálsson, The Vinland sagas: the Norse discovery of America, Penguin Classics, 1965, p. 28] Remains of Norse buildings were found at L’Anse aux Meadows near the northern tip of Newfoundland in 1960. This discovery aided the reignition of archaeological exploration for the Norse in the North Atlantic. The Norse settlements on the North American island of Greenland lasted for almost 500 years” (Wikipedia/Norse colonization of North America). 

500 years was more than enough time to explore Colonial America from Greenland. 


“According to the sagas, the Icelanders had exiled Erik the Red for three years for committing murder, c. 982. He sailed to Greenland, where he explored the coastline and claimed certain regions as his own. He then returned to Iceland to persuade people to join him in establishing a settlement on Greenland. The Icelandic sagas say that 25 ships left Iceland with Erik the Red in 985, and that only 14 of them arrived safely in Greenland. Radiocarbon dating of remains at the first settlement at Brattahlid (now Qassiarsuk) have approximately confirmed this timeline, yielding a date of about 1000. According to the sagas, in the year 1000 Erik’s son, Leif Eirikson [Erikson, Ericson, Ericsson ref], left the settlement to explore the regions around Vinland, which historians generally assume to have been located in present-day Newfoundland” (

From this we learn Erik the Red discovered Greenland in 985 and his son Leif Ericsson discovered Newfoundland in 1000. This is the ancestry of Leif Erikson:

Thorvald Asvaldsson

“Thorvald Ásvaldsson (Old Norse: Þórvaldr Ásvaldsson; fl. 10th century; died before 980) was the father of the colonizer of Greenland, Erik the Red, and grandfather of Leif Erikson, who visited North America centuries before Christopher Columbus. Thorvald’s father was Ásvald Ulfsson, whose father was Ulf Oxen-Thorisson, whose father was Oxen-Thorir, brother of Naddodd, discoverer of Iceland” (

Erik the Red

Erik Thorvaldsson (c. 950 – c. 1003), known as Erik the Red, was a Norse explorer, described in medieval and Icelandic saga sources as having founded the first settlement in Greenland. He most likely earned the epithet ‘the Red’ due to the color of his hair and beard. According to Icelandic sagas, he was born in the Jæren district of Rogaland, Norway, as the son of Thorvald Asvaldsson. One of Erik’s sons was the well-known Icelandic explorer Leif Erikson.” (

Leif Erikson

“(c. 970 – c. 1020) was a Norse explorer from Iceland. He is thought to have been the first known European to have set foot on continental North America (excluding Greenland), approximately half a millennium before Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. According to the sagas of Icelanders, he established a Norse settlement at Vinland, which is usually interpreted as being coastal North America. There is ongoing speculation that the settlement made by Leif and his crew corresponds to the remains of a Norse settlement found in Newfoundland, Canada, called L’Anse aux Meadows and which was occupied c. 1000.”

“This would make Leif the first Christian missionary to the New World” “Nothing is mentioned about his death in the sagas—he probably died in Greenland some time between these dates. Nothing further is known about his family beyond the succession of Thorkell as chieftain.”

Leif’s successful expedition in Vinland encouraged other Norsemen to also make the journey.

The Norse were the first Europeans to colonize the Americas.

“Knowledge of the Vinland journeys spread around medieval Europe although to what extent is unclear; writers made mention of remote lands to the west, and notably the medieval chronicler Adam of Bremen directly mentions Vinland (c. 1075) based upon reports from the Danes.”

It has been suggested that the knowledge of Vinland might have been maintained in European seaports in the 15th century, and that Christopher Columbus, who claimed in a letter to have visited Iceland in 1477, could have heard stories of it.

“Another instance of exchange between the continents occurred in 1420, when Inuit captives were taken to Scandinavia. Their kayaks were put on display in the Tromsø’s cathedral.” (

Leif Eriksson Statue by Anne Whitney, erected in 1887 at the west end of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall in Boston
Leif Eriksson Statue by Anne Whitney, erected in 1887 at the west end of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall in Boston

Art & Statues

  • The first statue of Leif (by Anne Whitney) was erected in Boston in 1887 at the instigation of Eben Norton Horsford.
  • Another casting of Whitney’s statue was erected in Milwaukee.
  • A statue was also erected in Chicago in 1901, having been originally commissioned for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition to coincide with the arrival of the reconstructed Viking ship from Bergen, Norway.
  • Painting Leiv Eiriksson oppdager Amerika by Christian Krohg; also made for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Was in possession of the Leif Erikson Memorial Association in Chicago before being given back to the National Gallery of Norway in 1900.


Book: Saga of Erik the Red

“It also details the events that led to the banishment of Erik the Red to Greenland and the preaching of Christianity by his son Leif Erikson as well as his discovery of Vinland after his longship was blown off course.”

“In Norway, Leif becomes part of the court of King Olaf Tryggvason, who charges him with preaching Christianity when he returns to Greenland. On the return voyage, storms take him to an unknown land where he discovers wild wheat, vines, maple trees (and in one version of the saga, very large trees). Leif also rescues shipwrecked sailors, whom he looks after and converts to Christianity. Back in Greenland, he converts many people, including his mother, who builds a church, but not his father Erik, as a result of which Erik’s wife leaves him. His brother Thorstein then organizes an expedition to explore the new country.”

Book: Saga of the Greenlanders

“Like the Saga of Erik the Red, it is one of the two main sources on the Norse colonization of the Americas. The Saga of the Greenlanders starts with Erik the Red, who leaves Norway and colonizes Greenland. The Saga also describes the expeditions of Leif Erikson.”


The above highlights inform us that Leif Erikson is a good candidate for the prophesied “man among the Gentiles” as he spent time in Norway among the Gentiles, was taught the gospel there and then taught those in Iceland and Greenland, and was perhaps providentially “blown off course” to new lands (Newfoundland or the St. Lawrence River, etc.).

Which will have meant it was 1000 years from the coming of Jesus when a Gentile would return with the gospel.

The Norse Discovery of America

by Arthur Middleton Reeves,
North Ludlow Beamish,
and Rasmus B. Anderson

The Norse Discovery of America

by Arthur Middleton Reeves,
North Ludlow Beamish,
and Rasmus B. Anderson

This is a collection of texts relating to the voyages of the Norse west to America. A thousand years ago, nearly half a millennium before Columbus, the Norse extended their explorations from Iceland and Greenland to the shores of Northeastern North America, and, possibly, beyond.

This volume from the Norroena collection contains all known sagas and documentary fragments which relate to this legendary exploration. It also contains analysis of the texts which should be read with a critical eye. While it is now certain that the Norse reached Nova Scotia, the claims in this book that they reached as far south as Boston–not to mention Georgia or South Carolina–are still controversial. There is also tangential discussion of whether the Irish managed to get to America prior to the Norse, an even more contentious assertion.

Regardless, the texts in this three-part volume open up a window into a vivid era, and give glimpses of religion, society and travel in the period when the Norse were actively exploring the North Atlantic. They contain one of the only detailed descriptions of a pagan women’s divination ritual, and deal with the expansion of Christianity from both sides. There are bone-chilling stories of disease, murder and jealousy in the small communities on the leading edge of Viking colonization. Reading these sagas inspires deep understanding of the life and motivations of the Scandinavian sea rovers and respect for their accomplishments in the field of exploration.

Title Page
List of Photogravures

Book I. Arguments and Proofs That Support the Claim of Norse Discovery of America

Chapter I. Early Fragmentary References to Wineland
Chapter II. The Saga of Eric the Red
Chapter III. The Wineland History of the Flatey Book
Chapter IV. A Brief History of Eric the Red
Chapter V. Wineland in the Icelandic Annals
Chapter VI. Notices of Doubtful Value; Fictions
Chapter VII. The Publication of the Discovery

Book II. Icelandic Records

Arguments and Evidences Respecting the Wineland Discovery
Introduction to a Study of Icelandic Records
Second Period
Third Period
Last Period
Saga of Erik the Red
Voyage of Leif Erikson
Saga of Thorfinn Karlsefne
Voyage of Freydis, Helgi and Finnbogi
Geographical Notices in Ancient Icelandic Manuscripts
Monuments and Inscriptions
Minor Narratives
Voyage of Gudleif Gudlaugson to Great Ireland

Book III. The Norsemen in America

Chapter I. Norumbega
Chapter II. Norse Voyages In The: Tenth And Following Centuries
Chapter III. Columbus and the Norsemen
Chapter IV. Discovery of America by the Irish


Reference Sources

The National Library of Canada maintains a site at with information on the Vikings excursions to North America.

The Parks Canada website for the National Historic site of L’Anse aux Meadow at contains useful background information on the history of Norse exploration where you can learn more.

The Viking Network, at maintains a website that provides maps, background information, and data about the literary and archaeological evidence of Norse settlement in North America.

The Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History offers an online exhibit at called “Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga” which contains photographs of the L’Anse aux Meadows site and artifacts unearthed there.

Librarian Steve Smith maintains “VNLND: The Online Bibliography, Materials On & About the Norse Discovery of North America” at which not only lists additional sources but also describes their history and contents in some detail.

Additional Reading

Adam of Bremen:

Icelandic Saga Database:

Mapping the Icelandic Sagas:

Evidence Outside The Sagas:

Harmony Of The Vinland Voyages:



Concordance to the Proverbs and Proverbial Materials in the Old Icelandic Sagas