Jaredite Barge Contest Winners

“Jaredite Barge Contest Winners,” New Era, July 1975, 13

Jaredite Barge Contest Winners

The New Era proudly announces the winners of the Design-a-Jaredite-Barge Contest. There were many interesting and beautiful entries from many parts of the United States and from other countries. Although the three winning models shown here do not pretend to show what the Jaredite barges actually looked like, they do show thought and care in design and a firm understanding and reading of the Book of Mormon scriptures that describe the Jaredite barges. We wish to compliment all those who participated and who learned from this experience.

First Place:

Arnold J. Amenda
Austin, Texas


Michael Sneddon
Lincoln, Nebraska

Jerome Horowitz
Ogden, Utah

Honorable Mention:

Brad Wooding
Hacienda Heights, California

Scott Wedekind
Manhattan, Kansas

Charles Magyar
Van Nuys, California

Dan Stone, Jr.
Riverside, California

Enros W. Nielson
Smithfield, Utah

Norman Stewart
San Diego, California

Wayne De Vincent
Fairfield, Connecticut

B. Hasselbach
Braunschweig, West Germany

Timothy Van Dustin
West Glacier, Montana


In Michael Sneddon’s carefully designed model, he faced many problems, such as deciding just how small is small, and what the length of a tree would have actually been. From his initial figuring, Michael decided that since people would have to stand inside, a minimum height would have to be 8 feet. To conform with proper ship proportion, the beam would have to be approximately 20 to 24 feet long. The length of the barge would need to be approximately 3 to 3 1/2 times larger than the beam length, or from 60 to 95 feet. Working in reverse, Michael decided he could find the approximate “length of a tree.” Asia and India have many kinds of trees. Average length was found to be anywhere from 60 to 120 feet. Michael decided that the average of the average was 90 feet. Therefore, using this method, the beam would be approximately 30 feet.

First Place

Arnold J. Amenda’s first place entry in the Design-a-Jaredite-Barge Contest was a masterful study, not only of the design and building of the barge, but also of the entire journey of the Jaredites to the American continent. In this view of Arnold’s model, which measures nearly four feet, you can see the wonderful detail the builder included in his barge.

Arnold’s explanation of the hole in the top and the bottom of the barge is most interesting. He says, “No doubt about it, there were holes in the top and the bottom. Some people suggest two holes were called for because the barges sometimes turned over. In my opinion this would have been catastrophic, especially when you consider that the barge was full of people, food, water, and animals. The hole in the top of the barge could be opened for light and circulation and would be closed by a special counter balanced weight. The bottom hole would flow into a stoppable basin.”

Arnold studied many different kinds of vessels, including Phoenician ships, Babylonian gufa, Egyptian barges, and even what Noah’s ark might have been like. From studying these vessels, Arnold decided that the watertight door would be possible by the use of very good, close workmanship and some kind of carefully fitted gasket, probably leather coated with beeswax.

In Arnold Amenda’s opinion, some kind of steering provision was necessary to keep the vessel safe and on the right path. Even if the winds blew continuously in the proper direction, a vessel “light upon the water” needed to be properly guided over the waves of a rough ocean.


In the barge designed by Jerome Horowitz, we find another interesting design. It is simple and clean in appearance, with few embellishments. Perhaps it is a design similar to this that would have been most practical for the Jaredites. The ends of the barge are peaked, as described in Ether 2:17, and the holes in the top and bottom are present. Jerome’s barge would also be about 90 feet long, with a beam of about 30 feet. Jerome notes, as described in the scriptures, that there was a door, two luminous stones in each barge for light, and no windows.


First Place