Tapestry of Faith Part 1:
Plymouth, Massachusetts
Pilgrim Fathers and the New England Ancestry of the Prophet Joseph Smith

Replica of the Ship Mayflower in Plymouth Bay, Massachusetts.


The Mayflower replica, Plimoth Plantation, and the Jabez Howland home in Plymouth, Massachusetts, offer modern students a glimpse into the lives of the ancestors of the Prophet Joseph Smith and others. Of particular interest is John Howland, who originally sailed on the Mayflower and survived falling overboard into the Atlantic Ocean during a storm. Many of those living in Plymouth, Massachusetts were Religious Puritan Separatists and brought copies of the Bible with them.

Video Transcript
Continue to learn more in Part 2.

Interesting Facts

• The Prophet Joseph Smith, his brother, Hyrum, and Sidney Rigdon may have visited Plymouth in 1836. During a trip to Salem, Massachusetts, they recorded that they also visited “occasionally, sections of the surrounding country, which are rich in the history of the Pilgrim Fathers of New England.” (History of the Church, 2:463-64)

• The Geneva Bible was the first English Bible with chapters divided into numbered verses allowing for easier referencing and study

• It was the first true “Study Bible” with extensive commentary notes written by prominent reformation leaders such as Calvin, Knox, Coverdale, and Whittingham. These notes and explanations guide the reader to interpret the Bible by 16th century Protestant views rather than Catholic beliefs. The notes contain nearly 300,000 words, comprising nearly one-third of the total print in the Geneva Bible.

Additional Media

John Howland Grave Marker

Frame Home Bedroom

The Jabez Howland House Bible box and Carolion bell brass candle sticks. Both date from the 1600’s

Interesting Facts

• Due to the translation of Genesis 3:7, describing the clothing of leaves that Adam and Eve sewed together as “breeches” (old English for “britches”), the Geneva Bible has been referred to as the Breeches Bible. Later, because it was the Bible brought to America by the pilgrims it has also been referred to as the “Pilgrim’s Bible.”

• The Geneva Bible used italics for words that are not in the Hebrew or Greek Bible manuscripts, but helpful for English understanding. Not only was this ground-breaking, but the use of italics for the interposed words testifies of the translators’ integrity to a truthful translation.

• The later authorized English translation in the King James Bible, published a half-century later, retained much of the exact wording from the Geneva Bible, including the italicized words for English interpolations in the translation.

• William Shakespeare quoted from the Geneva Bible hundreds of times in his plays and it influenced the writings of John Milton and John Bunyan.