Thursday, May 21, 2015

What is in a Scriptural Description? The Land Northward

When it comes to the Land Northward Phyllis Carol Olive takes an interesting, but non-supportive view of this in her diagram map. First of all, the one separately published does not show the full extent of her Land Northward. As can be seen from the map below, it would appear that the Land Northward was simply north of her Lake Tonawanda and, though quite narrow, appears to at least be placed in a correct north position from the rest of her map, i.e., the Land Southward, Bountiful, Zarahemla, etc.
Olive identifies the (white arrow) Land Northward in her model
However, the problem arises when we look into her book at a full map of her Land of Promise and see that she has added a very large extension of her Land Northward to the northeast of her other map. In this case, the land extends in a very narrow sliver to the south of her Sea North (Lake Ontario), then curves around the east of the lake and continues north and east.
Yellow area is her Land Northward. The Red Arrows point to her labels of Land “Northward,” and the green arrow points to her extension to the north and east of her Land of Many Waters
    Again, the problem arises when we try to match this to the scriptural record. First of all, her Land of Many Waters is not in her Land Northward, and is to the east of her East Sea, both of which are inaccurate according to Mormon’s descriptions. He, of course, places the Land of Many Waters far to the north in the Land Northward, where the final battle between the Lamanites and Nephites took place (Mormon 6:4). She also places her Land of Many Waters far to the east of her Land Southward, again in violation of Mormon’s very clear description of the Land of Zarahemla being in the south, the Land of Bountiful to the north of that, the narrow neck of land to the north of that, and the Land of Desolation to the north of that in the Land Northward (Alma 22:27-34).
Blue Arrow points to the Land of Many Waters, which is directly east of the Sea East, which is directly east of the Land Southward—none of which agrees with Mormon’s descriptions
    Now we come to the placement of the Sea East, which Olive correctly places in the diagram below to the east of the Land Southward; however, her Sea East ends south of her Land Northward, and does not continue to the east of her Land Northward as Ether so obviously describes when Omer departs out of the land and “traveled many days, and came over and passed by the hill Shim, and came over by the place where the Nephites were destroyed (hill Cumorah) and from thence eastward, and came to a place which was called Ablolm, by the seashore, and there he pitched his tent” (Ether 9:3, emphasis mine).
    Thus, there is an East Sea to the east of the Land of Many Waters (where the Nephites were destroyed) in the Land Northward, but Olive shows no East Sea to the east of either the Land Northward or the Land of Many Waters.
Blue Arrow: the East Sea, and the Orange Arrow: There is no East Sea in her Land Northward
    In addition, there were many Nephite cities built along the eastern seashore (Sea East), beginning with Moroni in the far south, near the Land of Nephi and the Lamanite lands (Alma 50:13), and those cities, as they went northward from Moroni, were Nephihah, Lehi, Morianton, Omner, Gid, and Mulek (Alma 51:24, 26); however, Olive places them from south to north: Mulek, Moroni, Nephiha, Aaron, Antionan, Morianton, Jershon, Lehi, Omner, Gid, and Bountiful (map below from her book, p 317).
    The important thing, other than these being inaccurately place, she has Mulek in the far south, in fact south of the narrow strip of wilderness, which puts it in the Land Southward (Alma 22:27), whereas Mormon places the city of Mulek along the east sea to the east of the city of Bountiful, in the far north, where Teancum marches to the west of Mulek (Alma 52:22), toward the city of Bountiful (Alma 22:27), but when Moroni’s army attacked from one side, with Teancum;’s army on the other, the Lamanites retreated toward Mulek (22:34). After the battle, with Moroni wounded and Jacob killed (Alma 22:35), Moroni then went to the city of Mulek (Alma 53:2) while the captured Lamanites were set to labor digging ditches around the city of Bountiful (Alma 53:3).
Left: Red Arrow: Land of Bountiful; Green Arrow: Land of Zarahemla; Orange Arrow: Land of Nephi; Blue Arrow: City of Mulek; Brown Arrow: City of Moroni. Note that Moroni is north of Mulek, and Mulek is far south of Bountiful in opposition to Mormon’s descriptions; Right: Red Arrow: City of Bountiful; Green Arrow: City of Lehi; Brown Arrow: City of Moroni; Blue Arrow: City of Mulek
    Thus, quite contrary to Olive’s placement of the Sea East and the cities along it, Mulek is in the extreme south in the Land of Zarahemla and Bountiful is in the extreme north of the Land of Bountiful.
    It seems unnecessary, if not downright fallacious to place cities, lands and seas in such outlandish positions when Mormon has taken the time to place them in relationship to one another for us, inserting the information for his future reader (Alma 22:27-34), and then listing those areas as they related to the events as they unfold in the words of the original writers, so that their information will make sense to us with Mormon’s mental map. What, then, is the purpose of rearranging the lands and cities and seas?
    Obviously, because in Olive’s map, the placements are made for her once she chose to use the area around the Great Lakes as the land of Promise. And just as obviously, her land and map simply do not agree with and follow the descriptions Mormon left us so we could better understand the events in the scriptural record as they unfolded. When Theorists go so far afield in their models and writing, one can only wonder why Mormon went to the trouble of trying to give us a clear picture of the events he describes in the first place.


  1. Quite often as I read some of the things that the theorist have to say concerning their models and how hard they pound the round pegs into those square holes.. and pound the square pegs into round holes. They just want it so bad they will blind themselves to the truth.

    But then this is the same that happens when people look at other faiths. They need theirs to be the right one that they will forgo new information to retain the old.

    I actually feel very sorry for Olive. You can see she is a very bright and passionate woman and she wants her theory to be the right one. How hard it is to let go.. to dismiss the obvious. Same goes for MesoAmerica and the east/west direction of their "narrow neck" They somehow rationalize data that common sense would say is not applicable.

    I admire you for taking the time to show many the common sense approach to looking at all of these Land of Promises and to realize that there can only be ONE.

  2. Unfortunately, many mistaken models are not going away anytime soon because peoples' livelihoods depend on them--not just the amateur hucksters like the Meldrums of the world, but the institutional, professional ones like those pushing MA. Those are the worst because because they have the appearance of quasi-legitimacy. Institutionalized ignorance is the worst because it's entrenched and gets passed on.

  3. Thank you both for your very astute comments.