Ship drawing

11 Things I’ve learned from Luddington

Here are 11 things I’ve learned while writing this book about Elam Luddington’s mission to Siam:

1  Nephi has been to Southeast Asia.


2  Nauvoo is land that Luddington’s relatives sold to Joseph Smith.


3  Another man turned down the mission call to Siam before Luddington was called.


4  New Haven is a dangerous city.


5  Queen Victoria started the trend in the English speaking world to have Christmas trees in the early 1800s.


6  Burmese also practiced polygamy.


7  Thailand/Siam didn’t allow foreigners to enter it’s borders for over 100 years before Luddington arrived.


8  The emperor in China during the Opium Wars was a foreigner himself.


9  Mormon pioneers enjoyed Sweet Pickle and Pinto Bean pies.


10  Reefing the Sails is a death wish for mariners in the 1800s.


11  In 160 years Barren Island only erupted once in recorded history and the Mormon missionaries witnessed it in 1853.

Here is a video from the Neal A Maxwell Institute. In minute 1:15 (towards the end) is the discussion of Nephi (and Lehi and the family) in Southeast Asia. JoAnn Seely (in the video) is my aunt.  (

Here is an image of the Christmas tree of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The German Prince Albert and other Germans brought the Christmas tree to England but it was Queen Victoria who adopted it and started the trend in the English speaking world for Christmas trees.

Prince Albert-Christmas Tree

Here is a drawing of seamen reefing the sails.

Reefing the Sails


[Update 1/21: Barren Island may well have erupted other times but was not recorded.  The next interesting research question is why it was not recorded.]

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