Friday, May 15, 2015

What is in a Scriptural Description? So Far Northward; Rivers and Fountains

Geologists claim that a series of glacial flows began advancing and retreating across what is now New York state flowing south, carving deep trenches in the earth, grinding across valleys, gouging the land as they marched past existing, north-flowing streams and rivers—massive continental glaciers leaving long, narrow, high-walled lakes and deep gorges in their wake.    This Ice Age, which is said to have occurred is believed to have ended around 10,000 years ago, and is believed to have covered one-third of the present land surface which melted northward, releasing huge volumes of meltwater, completely melting away in Canada abut 7000 years ago. What are now the Finger lakes lie in these former river valleys carved into U-shaped troughs, which eventually filled with water.
The Finger Lakes near Lake Ontario in upstate New York 
    The eleven lakes that formed as rivers, today make up a watershed encompassing 8,896 miles of freshwater rivers and streams, including the Oneida and Clyde rivers totaling 3,960 miles; and Cayuga and Seneca tributaries, adding another 2,740 miles. In addition, there are 76 significant freshwater lakes, ponds, and reservoirs covering 189,722 acres, including the Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka and Canandaigua lakes covering 158,866 acres.
    These eleven finger lakes were originally formed as ancient rivers, filled by the melting glaciers as they retreated northward, forming beautiful waterfalls and spectacular gorges.
Deep gorges were cut into the rock by the glaciers advance, and when they subsided, the deep gouges filed with melting glacial water 
The uneven movement of the glaciers resulted in magnificent waterfalls along the rivers that formed when the glaciers retreated 
    Glacial debris left behind created distinctive landforms, such as drumlins, which are cigar-shaped hills of till that are steeper on the upstream end and rarely exceed 200 feet in height. The hill Cumorah, in upstate New York (where Joseph Smith found the buried plates), is one of these drumlin hills.
Top: Yellow Arrow: A typical (horizontal-facing) drumlin hill, this one in the Eureka Drumlin Field in Montana; Bottom: Yellow Arrow: The vertical-facing hill Cumorah in New York 
    While these rivers are called lakes today by tourism promotions and map makers, they are not lakes, but rivers that formed after the last Ice Age. The two largest, Cayuga and Seneca, are both close to 40 miles long and never more than 3 ½ miles wide. The Seneca today is the feeder lake for the Seneca River, however, in the past, this was a river that flowed into Lake Ontario, but the debris left behind by the retreating glacier blocked this passage.
    With the help of historical maps, however, it can be seen how map makers have actually changed the flow of the Seneca River; on early maps of New York State, the outlet of Seneca Lake was called the Scayace River. This was later changed to the Scawpace, and in either case, was considered separate from the Seneca River, which flowed from the northern end of Cayuga Lake. Over time, the Seneca River, including the part formerly called the Scawpace, was dammed, channelized, and locked until it is hard to determine today where parts of it are or were.
    Much of what we see today and refer to as lakes, were initially and actually until quite recent times, rivers flowing into the Great Lakes watershed.
NASA image from Outer Space showing three of the Great Lakes and the very narrow, almost imperceptible Finger Lakes 
    All of this, in conjunction with the nearby location of the hill Cumorah where Joseph Smith found the buried plates, has given cause for much speculation over this being the location of the Book of Mormon Land of Promise. Yet, as we follow Olive’s rationale and her maps, we find they do not agree with the scriptural record and Mormon’s many descriptions and placements. As an example, Mormon tells us that this area of many waters was full of rivers and fountains, yet, the numerous lakes and rivers found in her area of the land of many waters simply do not meet that criteria. 
    As an example, a fountain (which Mormon mentions) is the source of water, an upwelling from underground pools, water table, etc. However, the Finger Lakes were formed by glacier melt, which is not a source nor a fountain. All this area, as filled with water as it is, does not meet the description Mormon gave us about rivers and fountains.
    Perhaps we should look at Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language to see what might have been meant by the word “fountain” in Joseph Smith’s time. It is described as the source of water, or “Properly, the spring or fountain from which a stream of water proceeds, or any collection of water within the earth or upon its surface, in which a stream originates. This is called also the head of the stream. We call the water of a spring, where it issues from the earth, the source of the stream or rivulet proceeding form it. We say also that springs have their sources in subterranean ponds, lakes or collections of water. We say also that a large river has is source in a lake. For example, the St. Lawrence has its source in the great lakes of America.”
    The Finger Lakes do not qualify for that description, but even if they did, Olive has them in the Land Southward, far to the east of her Sea East, and far south of the Land Northward, completely out of the location that Mormon tells us the Land of Many Waters was located.
    On page 58 under the heading of “Mapping the Land Northward,” Olive continues to show that the Land of Many Waters, where the rivers and fountains were located (Mormon 6:4), was in the Land Southward, far from where Mormon places it. Not only that, but she shows a Land Northward that is very narrow above the Land Southward, with little distance between the Narrow Neck of Land and the Waters of Ripliancum (Lake Ontario). In fact, Olive writes (pg 193) that “the western extension of the land northward was rather narrow, but the eastern regions wrapped around Lake Ontario further to the east providing more territory for those who left the land southward for “greener pastures.” However, there is not a single reference, hint, or suggestion in the scriptural record to support such a belief. There is no mention of the Land Northward being irregular shaped, having a large extension to the east and being very narrow in the west. Olive has to say this, because in her model, that is the way it is shaped. However, Ether and Moroni do not suggest such a thing.
Red Arrows: Land Northward. Green Arrow: Land Southward; Blue Arrow, Land of Many Waters. It can also be seen that her (Brown Arrow) Hill Cumorah is not located in the Land Northward, nor in the area of the Land of Many Waters where Mormon places it 
    It cannot be stressed enough that Olive’s map shows an erroneous view of Mormon’s descriptions—placing the Land of Many Waters, and thus, the hill Cumorah in the Land Southward, far to the east (beyond her East Sea), and her Land Northward, very narrow to the west, and extremely large in the east, yet shows no Sea East or eastern seashore which is mentioned in the Book of Ether (9:3; 14:12, 26).
    Once again, we find Theorists working their models and writing about the scriptural record without really paying attention to what Mormon is describing, especially when it does not agree with their pre-determined location and model. Evidently, then, at least to Olive, there is not much importance in the scriptural record!

1 comment:

  1. Note that to find "fountain" in the 1828 dictionary online you have to search for "fount" which then lists both fount and fountain and gives the definition Del indicated. If you search for "fountain" it comes up blank.