Not that they were trying. My phone blipped my picture, but at the exhibit there is a “Wooden Submarine” designed by Leonardo. The man was a mad genius as he also had diving suits, hang gliders, wooden tanks, etc.
Now, this was an idea so revolutionary 500 years ago, that the council he designed it for rejected it (they were going to be besieged by a foreign power by sea, and da Vinci thought they could sneak up and cut holes in the other side’s boats).
So let’s go to the brother of Jared. Remember the subs there? The point is that the submarines are not contemporary technology, but are off by about 3700 years.
I’m going to repeat that for emphasis. God, in the Book of Mormon, handed man technology from 3700 years in the future.
So just for comparison, let’s list some other technologies that were 3700 years (or so) in the future that God didn’t give man:
- Boiling water and germ theory: 32 years after Joseph Smith’s leg operation.
- Egyptian language translation so that more than one person could read the golden plates, or at least work on them: Within Joseph’s lifetime (First Rosetta stone translations were in 1841).
- Motor Engines: 60 years after the Pioneers crossed the plains.
- Printing Press: 1400 years after Christ spoke, when the message could have been mass distributed and errors easily corrected.
- Blood Transfusion: really, this would have been great to share at any time.
- Rockets and gunpowder for the Nephites to win the war: from 1400s (Spanish arrival) to 600 B.C. (Nephi’s departure) it is only a 2000 years difference in technology. 3700 years would put the Nephites building an A-bomb and F-22s.
Whenever you hear a member saying that, “God works by natural means,” remind them of the fucking submarine sitting in the beginning of Ether that pretty much disproves that.
TL;DR: da Vinci’s one-man submarine plans were amazingly advanced for his day, illustrating exactly how far out of time the brother of Jared’s submarine in the BOM is, and that honestly God’s choice about what He reveals just kinda shows He’s a dick.
Ether 6:11 – And thus they were driven forth, three hundred and forty and four days upon the water.
My father served in the Navy. He took a string, followed the currents, and determined it would take three hundred and forty six days to follow the currents from the place FARMS said that the brother of Jared left from to reach America.
Of course, the trick, after having lived for a while, was that FARMS did the same thing to determine the possible places for the brother of Jared to leave from… and so it matched.
But yes, one could do so, if one had a way to store food.
Of course, Even da Vinci’s sub would have sunk without modifications… that’s what happens when you design something you’ve never built.
Could a craft be built that matches the description of the text that could be launched from the Old World and arrive in the New World without being steered?
Yes, but it couldn’t take a person. The simple amount of water, food, and waste disposal would be difficult to get right on the first try.
Let alone 8 boats, with elephants and bees on board, for a trial run.
Imagine Mythbusters doing it, and sinking the first thirty times. It’s something on that scale.