Friday, April 1, 2011

The Great Lakes Myth and the Scriptural Record – Part I

To understand the archaeology of the Great Lakes one needs to understand its climate. Temperature wise it has more in common with modern day Oslo, Scandinavia, or Beijing, China than it does with the warmer western Europe. And over the past 6,000 years the climate in the Great Lakes region has changed very little—and is a climate that can be very harsh, with howling winters bringing snow as early as October and as late as April. In Toronto on the northern end of Lake Ontario, the average 24-hour temperature for January is -5 degrees Celsius. To put that in perspective the average for London, England, in that same month is positive 4.9 degrees Celsius.

Weather Map showing snow over the entire proposed Great Lakes Land of Promise. Weather here is severe in the winter months.

• Compare that to Alma 46:40 in which there were such hot seasons that fever was rampant among the Nephites and would have killed many except for the marvelous herbs the Lord had provided.

In the Great Lakes region, the climate makes basic survival, not to mention agriculture, very difficult. A hunter-gatherer must find or build adequate shelter to survive the long winter months, and also construct tough, winter-resistant clothing from animal hides. A family dependent on agriculture faces great challenges for without enough food grown during the summer months, a family living off the land can easily starve or succumb to the elements.

• Compare that to the fact that Nephi tells of crops growing exceedingly and providing abundance for them (1 Nephi 18:24; 2 Nephi 5:11), and Zeniff, who planted corn, wheat, barley and two other grain crops, as well as all manner of fruit, that obviously grew exceedingly for the Lamanites raided their crops (Mosiah 9:9,14).

The people who arrived in the Great Lakes were hunter-gatherers. It’s believed that they traveled in small groups, and spent their time hunting migrating caribou herds.

• Compare that to the fact that Nephi immediately taught his people how to build buildings and work with metal (2 Nephi 5:15), and built a temple that rivaled the one built by Solomon (2 Npehi 5:16). The Jaredites built all types of impressive buildings (Mosiah 8:8), and the Nephites built the “great cities” of Zarahemla (3 Nephi 9:3), of Moroni (3 Nephi 9:4), and of Moronihah (3 Nephi 9:5).

The tools the initial settlers of the Great Lakes region used were flint arrowheads, spear points, stone axes, flake knives. Eventually, they eventually learned to cold-hammer copper into tools or heated it over fire.

• Compare that to the Jaredites who “did work in all manner of ore, and they did make gold, and silver, and iron, and brass, and all manner of metals; and they did dig it out of the earth…ore of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of copper. And they did work all manner of fine work. And they did have silks, and fine-twined linen; and they did work all manner of cloth, that they might clothe themselves from their nakedness” (Ether 10:23-24). “And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance. And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon's temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands” (2 Nephi 5:16-17)

In the Great Lakes region, those far to the south in the southern states area were far ahead of those in the Great Lakes, developing pottery and other methods long before the Great Lakes people, who received most of their crops and materials from the south.

• Compare that to the Nephites who were far more advanced in all things than the Lamanites, the latter occupying the southern lands. As Enos wrote of the Lamanites in the south: “their hatred was fixed, and they were led by their evil nature that they became wild, and ferocious, and a bloodthirsty people, full of idolatry and filthiness; feeding upon beasts of prey; dwelling in tents, and wandering about in the wilderness with a short skin girdle about their loins and their heads shaven; and their skill was in the bow, and in the cimeter, and the ax. And many of them did eat nothing save it was raw meat” (Enos 1:20)

(See the next post, “The Great Lakes Myth and the Scriptural Record – Part II,” for more comparisons between the Great Lakes region and the scriptural record)

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