Friday, March 21, 2014

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

Continuing from the last post with Phyllis Carol Olive’s book The Lost lands of the Book of Mormon, in which she 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, and not particularly what the scriptural record actually tells us.     Continuing here with Olive’s inaccurate comments about Hagoth, she writes: “But since [Hagoth] was described as being a curious man, he must have wanted to explore those lands that lay beyond the bounds of their normal territory.”
Response: Again, when someone starts writing about the scriptural record without considering the meaning of the words used, we find error after error, which then leads to conclusions that are inaccurate. The word “curious” was defined in Joseph Smith’s day as “Habitually inquisitive; addicted to research or enquiry; having a curious turn of mind; Curious after things elegant and beautiful; accurate; careful not to mistake; to be correct; difficult to please; exact; made with care; artful, diligent.”
    Today, we use the term curious to mean inquisitive, strange or unusual, however, its original meaning and the way it was used in the scriptures the word “curious” meant skilled, typically used to describe something that was skillfully made.
The curious workmanship of (left) Liahona, (center) Ephod, (right) Bezaleel gold workings
    Thus we have David saying he was “curiously wrought” (Psalms 139:15), meaning skillfully made in the womb; and when Lehi found the Liahona, Nephi described it as “a round ball of curious workmanship” (1 Nephi 16:10—emphasis mine), meaning it was very skillfully made, or the curious girdle of the ephod worn by the Israelite high priest, made of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet fine twined linen (Exodus 28:8, 27-28; 29:5; 39:5, 20-21; Leviticus 8:7). Of Bezaleel was described as “filled . . . with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work” (Exodus 35:30-33).
    Hagoth was a curious man, that is, he was a skilled man who did fine, accomplished work. He built “exceedingly large” ships that were exact, artful, and diligently made with care. In Helaman we find that the Nephites were involved in the building of ships and in the industry of shipping (Helaman 3:14)—obviously, the Nephites were a shipbuilding nation, which were involved in the business of shipping, trade and maritime industry. It is interesting in Helaman’s lengthy explanation of what the many Nephite records contained, building of ships and shipping, along with building of temples, were the only businesses described.
    Olive’s Comment: Such an adventure would take more than the small water craft used to transport them over the calm waters of Lake Tonawanda, however.”
    Response: Again, Olive is using her own pre-determined model location for the Land of Promise that results in her limiting her thinking about Hagoth’s ship and where they went. She has him sailing on the “calm waters” of a lake; however, his vessels went into the West Sea, that is an Ocean, and took their course northward.
Lake Tonawanda (yellow arrow) is along and narrow, and Hagoth’s ships went west (white asrrow) where there is no outlet into the West Sea. No “exceedingly large” ship would be needed on such a small lake and would have little purpose, being far too costly to build and navigate on this small and shallow ancient lake bed. To get to the west sea (Lake Erie), the ship would have to navigate Niagara River (where the Falls make navigation impossible)
    No shipbuilder is going to spend his time building ships unless it is a profitable enterprise. Hagoth was obviously a businessman, he built ships and others paid for passage on them, leased them, or bought them. Lake Tonawanda was a very small lake area—why build shipyards on a small lake when the Sea (Erie or Ontario) was close by, which would make a lot more sense (however, there is no narrow neck of land off Lake Erie or Lake Ontario so her scenario is limited).
    Olive’s Comment: “It would take a sturdy ship to travel the greater distances proposed. Since the scriptures tell us Hagoth took passengers along, a ship large enough for many was necessary.”
    Response: Mind-sets are hard to get around. Hagoth was a shipwright—he built ships. He was not an explorer, nor did he go anywhere in his ships as far as the scriptural record tells us. He did not take passengers along. Whoever captained the ship and whoever arranged for the immigrants to board and was responsible for the arrangements of the voyage, we are not told (Alma 63:6). We only know that Hagoth built the ships. It is difficult to take anyone’s idea seriously when they so blatantly disregard, or so obviously do not know or understand, the scriptural record about which they are writing.
    In a rather bizarre twist on the actual scripture in Omni, Olive writes: “It was Hagoth who seems to have initiated the practice of shipping from one land to the other. Up until this time, most of those who came up from the land of Nephi with Mosiah settled in Zarahemla and remained there from that time forth.”
Response: First of all, it was not the Nephites who “remained there from that time forth,” but the Mulekites who we are told “journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth” (Omni 1:16—emphasis mine). Secondly, the Nephites, once arriving in Zarahemla, began to spread out and settle in various towns and villages. Not long afterward, Alma requests from Mosiah’s grandson, that he be allowed to “establish churches throughout all the land of Zarahemla” (Mosiah 25:19) and Mosiah gave Alma authority over the church (Mosiah 26:8).
    In fact, there were seven churches set up by Alma (Mosiah 25:23), and Mormon talks about matters “throughout all the land,” suggesting the Nephites did not remain in Zarahemla, but scattered all over the land. Shortly afterward, Moroni is moving people into the wilderness areas of the east and west coasts after he drove out the Lamanites living there in tents (Alma 50:7, 9, 11), and built cities along the east seashore (Alma 50:13-15). Consequently, the Nephites did not remain in the city of Zarahemla as Olive would have us believe.
(See the next post, “A Look at Phyllis Carol Olive and Her Great Lakes Model-Part III,” 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)

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