Saturday, March 29, 2014

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

With my internet back up and running after five days living in the black void...

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.
Take for instance something that none of the Great Lakes Theorists ever talk about is the fact that in the area of Montezuma Marsh, in the northern end of Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes region. In this area, 1,000 workers on the Erie Canal in 1820 died of malaria. Work on the canal stopped for months until winter, when the swamps were frozen, before work could continue, though many suffered from frostbite—it was considered the most difficult part in digging the Erie Canal.
    The Marsh was created by the damming effect of the glacial ice and existed for thousands of years, and would have been there during the Theorists’ era of the Nephites. While Alma talks about many dying of fevers, he also told us: “but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate” (Alma 46:40).
    Malaria, for those unfamiliar with it, has only one natural cure—the bark of the cinchona tree, which naturally produces quinine. No other natural cure has ever been found anywhere in the world—today, we use synthetic quinine, but in the Nephite times, only the natural herbs, plant and roots would have cured Malaria as Alma tells us and, by the way, the cinchona tree is not only indigenous to the Andean area of Peru, it is the only place in the world where it grew before it was transplanted in Indonesia by the Dutch in the 1700s. In other words, the only natural cure for fever, which so happens to be from plants and herbs, during the Book of Mormon time and for more than a thousand years thereafter, grew in South America—not then Great Lakes (nor Mesoamerica). Perhaps that is why no Theorist talking about the location of the Nephite Land of Promise location ever mentions Alma 46:40). In fact, the only place you will ever read about this requirement for the Land of Promise is on this site.
    It might also be noted that this huge marsh area was a barrier to westward travel in colonial times as roads could not be built across it—in fact, the Erie Canal was the first passageway to be built across the marsh.
    Olive’s Comment: “The course of those who journeyed northward may have included three options. The first option would be the simplest and most obvious, for it would have taken Hagoth’s ship northward across the west sea where they would have disembarked on the northern shores of the lake.”
White Arrow shows Hagoth’s direction across the West Sea (Lake Erie) where they would disembark on the north shore (), a distance of only about 25-33 miles, depending on where they launched the ship—a rather costly endeavor to build an “exceedingly large ship” only to travel across a lake for about 30 miles
    Response: Olive continues to ignore the fact that Mormon tells us Hagoth built “an exceedingly large ship.” Granted she tried to downgrade the word “exceedingly,” claiming it was only like our use of the word “very” today; however, in the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, we find that the word exceedingly meant: “To a very great degree; in a degree beyond what is usual; greatly; very much.” This shows us that Olive’s attempt to lessen the value of this adjective is inaccurate and shows us her tendency to try and change the meaning of the scriptural record to meet her own interpretation.
    Thus, we find that Hagoth’s ship was “large to a very great degree,” “it was large to a degree beyond what was usual for the time,” and not just some canoe or raft, but a “ship” of significant or “exceedingly large” size.
    Olive’s Comment: We must remember the land just to the north of Lake Tonawanda included the wide beach strip that lay along the southern shores of Lake Ontario.”
Olive’s Map showing the Land Northward (our green arrow) as a narrow strip of land between Lake Ontario and the area known as ancient Lake Tonawanda
    Response: This is the land that Olive calls the Land Northward, a “narrow” strip of land about ten to fifteen miles from north to south and about 25 to 30 miles from east to west—hardly large enough to house the Jaredite nation with their population numbering in the millions, and then the Nephite nation after 350 A.D., with their population numbering over a million.
    Olive’s Comment: “However, since Hagoth was described as a very curious man, we would have to assume that his journeys took him much farther away.”
    Response: Once again, Hagoth did not sail anywhere in his ships. He remained in his shipyard building other ships (Alma 63:7) while the first one mentioned sailed to “a land which was northward” (Alma 63:4). It is obvious, that the people who entered into Hagoth’s ships were resettling, taking “much provisions” (Alma 63:6-7).
    Olive’s Comment: “A second option would have started out the same way—with Hagoth launching his ship into the west sea by the narrow neck, and then sailing as far as he could northward. Once he reached the northern shores of the lake, the crew and passengers may have disembarked, unloaded and then carried their craft over the hills of the escarpment and into the waters of Lake Ontario just as the early explorers and trappers did—and from there to more distance lands.”
    No early trappers ever carried a “ship” over any portage. They carried canoes. Canoes! And none of their canoes exceeded the cargo of 2 ½ ton and a crew of 12. Olive’s lack of knowledge on such a simple subject shows her lack of interest in both detail and simple research.
Olive’s Land of Promise. Yellow Arrow: 33 miles across the West Sea (Lake Erie); White Arrow: 25 miles across the West Sea; Orange Arrow: The crew and passengers portaging (carrying) the ship across land (25 miles) to the Sea (Lake Ontario)
    Response: In order to reach Lake Ontario after crossing Lake Erie (West Sea), the voyage across the West Sea would have had to be no more than 25-33 miles (depending on where the ship was launched, and in order to reach Lake Ontario, the ship would have to be portaged across land for about 25 miles. One thing we might want to keep in mind is that Mormon tells us: “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” (Alma 63:6—emphasis mine). Women and children along with “much provisions” plus “an exceedingly large ship” being carried across a 25-mile stretch of land—twenty-five miles! Olive is now taking us into the world of the absurd!
    Olive’s Comment: “A third option would have taken them into the east-west channel which would have allowed them to cross the land horizontally. Once they reached the land of many waters other waterways would have been available to them as well. They could have either entered Lake Ontario at that point or traveled down the Mohawk to the Hudson and from there to the open waters of the Atlantic. Any number of destinations would have been possible from there.”
    Response: I wonder what it is about the expression “and they took their course northward” (Alma 63:6) that Olive doesn’t understand? The Mohawk River begins in Lewis County, about 40 to 50 miles east of Lake Ontario, and flows generally east through the Mohawk Valley, passing by the cities of Rome, Utica, Little Falls, Canajoharie, Amsterdam, and Schenectady, before entering the Hudson River at Cohoes, just north of Albany, which is 100 miles to the southeast. Then from there on, the Hudson flows almost due south. So while Mormon tells us Hagoth’s ship took its course northward, Olive feels completely comfortable telling us they sailed east, then southeast, then due south! With that type of thinking, Olive can say “Any number of destinations would have been possible from there” since she doesn’t pay any attention to the scriptural record.
(See the next post, “A Look at Phyllis Carol Olive and Her Great Lakes Model-Part VI,” 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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