Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Look at Phyllis Carol Olive and Her Great Lakes Model – Part I

In the book The Lost lands of the Book of Mormon, Phyllis Carol Olive makes several comments that obviously need a scriptural reference check, since they have a lot to do with her description of the Great Lakes as the Book of Mormon Land of Promise. 
    Olive’s Comment: “Because access to the land northward was so limited, many have wondered how Limhi’s search party made it to the land of many waters undetected by the people of Nephi. Let us address this issue. Their original destination was Zarahemla, which was to the north, but since the Lord fully intended them to retrieve the plates deposited in the land of many waters, he may have simply diverted their sense of direction somewhat and led them to the south instead…”
    Response: Since Limhi and his people were in the City of Nephi (Lehi-Nephi) at the time, which was in the Land of Nephi and that, as Olive comments a little later in her writing (see below), was in the southernmost portion of the land, and both Zarahemla and ultimately, the Jaredite lands which Limhi’s 43-man expedition found, were to the north, it is hardly worth discussing this point of the Lord leading them to the south.”
    Olive’s Comment: “Losing one’s sense of direction is not uncommon in the heavily wooded areas…”
    Response: There is no mention of “heavily wood areas” in the scriptural record relating to this journey. Olive, like far too many Theorists has a place already in mind and is inserting that descriptive area into the scriptural record, which is totally inappropriate and certainly not scholarly. There is no mention at any time of the type of terrain these men encountered—we only know they “took a journey into the wilderness” (Mosiah 8:7). Certainly, these men would have been familiar enough with this land they had been in for three-generations to know in which direction they needed to go from their city walls. After all, Limhi, and evidently some of his people, spent some time outside the city (Mosiah 7:10), and earlier they had rebuilt both the city of Lehi-Nephi (city of Nephi) as well as the city of Shilom (Mosiah 9:8)—both in the area of land that the Lamanite king had covenanted that these returning Nephites could possess (Mosiah 9:6). They would have been familiar enough with their land to know their directions. Any confusion, if such existed, would have occurred long after they left the area of which they were so familiar. 
Even if it was a heavily wooded area, young Boy Scouts today know how to find their way in a heavily wooded area without a compass, and it is not based on a sense of direction, but on understanding the forest, how it grows, and what to look for—certainly men who lived in such lands all their lives would at least know that; and why would the Lord need to confuse direction—everything Limhi’s men were looking for and found was in the same direction—to the north! There would be no reason to head south except in areas Olive is inventing
    Olive’s Comment: “Since the Land of Nephi was in the southernmost portion of the land it would have been easy for the Lord to direct them around the great wetlands to the southeast and from there northward where they ultimately came across the remains of the fallen Jaredite people.”
    Response: First of all, there are no “great wetlands” anywhere in the scriptural record. The only area that could possibly be so described is the “Land of Many Waters,” which was far to the north of where Limhi was located and where his men would have traveled in Olive’s description. It is interesting how Theorists make up situations out of the blue, then build their scenarios around it, and claim it is the Land of Promise. One often wonders if they really ever read the scriptural record at all, or at least gave them more than cursory glance.
    Besides, it is not a problem for the expedition to have passed through the narrow neck of land and not seen the seas on either side, since there was a narrow pass through this neck and a narrow pass suggests a corridor between mountains, cliffs, etc. where vision to right and left would be severely restricted.
A narrow pass by interpretation suggests a narrow area likely with limited view to either side, which would easily hide what lay beyond the cliffs, rocks, hills, etc. Passing through areas such as these two would keep anyone from knowing what was to the right or left beyond the pass
    Olive’s Comment: “Now Hagoth was described as a very curious man. Evidently his curiosity about more distant lands finally got the better of him, for he built a ship launched it forth into the west sea and headed north.”
    Response: Again, one should be more familiar with the scriptural record before one attempts to write about it. At no time does it suggest or indicate that Hagoth sailed anywhere. In fact, Mormon tells us just the opposite: “And behold, there were many of the Nephites who did enter therein and did sail forth with much provisions, and also many women and children; and they took their course northward. And thus ended the thirty and seventh year. And in the thirty and eighth year, this man built other ships. And the first ship did also return, and many more people did enter into it; and they also took much provisions, and set out again to the land northward” (Alma 63:6-7).
Mormon tells us he was building “other ships,” that is, Hagoth was evidently a shipwright—a builder of ships—and not an explorer. His was a business, and he built many ships and while the first ship mentioned was sailing to “a land which was northward,” Hagoth was busy in his shipyards building “other ships,” and there he was when the first ship returned, loaded up and sailed again. Mormon makes it clear that the Nephites were involved in shipping and the building of ships (Helaman 3:14). The trouble is, when people pay so little attention to the actual scriptural account, they are more free to create scenarios they want that are not scripturally accurate.
    Olive’s Comment: “Had [Hagoth] only been interested in traveling to the land of many waters he could easily have launched his ship into the sea on the east of the narrow neck…”
    Response: First of all, Hagoth obviously had a shipyard where he built many ships (Alma 63:7). Secondly, that shipyard was just as obviously on the West Sea (Alma 63:5), suggesting that along the west coast there was some type of inlet, bay, or lagoon where it would make sense to build and launch ships that would be protected from the weather that strikes coasts. It might just as obvious to note that since there is no mention of anything on the east coast at this point, that there was no protective harbor there. So it would make sense that Hagoth built and launched his ships in the protective area of such a harbor along the west coast.
    Olive’s Comment: “…and sailed across Lake Tonawanda to that region.”
(Yellow Arrow) Lake Tonawanda; (white arrow) Olive's Sea East; (red arrow) Finger Lakes area, which is Olive's Land of Many Waters. On a map, her directions and statements are out of alignment
    Response: When you have a pre-determined area in mind, then try to make the scriptural record fit it, you end up in trouble. Given the area of their narrow neck of land, it would be interesting to see how one might sail across Lake Tonawanda to reach the land of many waters. It would even be of greater interest to know why anyone would build a large ship to sail across a lake that was only 3 ½ miles across at its widest!
(See the next post, “A Look at Phyllis Carol Olive and Her Great Lakes Model-Part II,” for more of Olive’s statements that are not supported by the scriptural record, and do not match the descriptions of the Land of Promise as we have them)

No comments:

Post a Comment