Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Mulekite Homeland in the Land of Promise – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding the Mulekite homeland, where they landed, where they settled, and who they were
    The only important factor in determining the answers to the many questions that theorists raise through their opinions, is the scriptures themselves. Following are scriptural responses to these points raised in the previous post.
1. The Mulekites landed on the east coast in the Land Northward and eventually migrated into the Land Southward and inland to the area of Zarahemla.
Joseph Allen, who earned his degree at Brigham Young University in Ancient and Modern Scripture with an emphasis in Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon, erroneously states that Zarahemla and his people had lived in the area of the Jaredites and eventually migrated into the South Wilderness where Mosiah discovered them (Joseph L. Allen, Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, S.A. Publishers, Orem, Utah, 1989, p7). This belief is taken from two scriptures that theorists like Allen and others use to claim that the land northward as the Mulekite area of first landing:
    And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, it being the place of their first landing” (Alma 22:30). Also, “Now the land south was called Lehi and the land north was called Mulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah; for the Lord did bring Mulek into the land north, and Lehi into the land south” (Helaman 6:10).
    At first glance, it would appear that these scriptures are self- evident and unarguable.    However, upon closer examination, we get a clearer understanding, and even though this has been covered quite thoroughly in Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica (complete with correct English grammar and sentence structure), it bears a brief repeating here because it is at the very heart of where the Mulekites landed and, therefore, what involvement, if any, they would have had with the Jaredites.
    Before doing so, we might add that several erroneous ideas have been set forth by theorists that suggest various places where the Mulekites landed. One of those is that they landed on the shores of the Sea East since a city there is named Mulek (Alma 51:26) even though this city was not built until 67 BC, about 150 years after the Nephites discovered the people of Zarahemla. The theorists go on to claim the Mulekites eventually moved from there across the entire land to the area of Zarahemla, where they eventually settled. However, the city of Mulek was not even built until 150 years after they were discovered, which was about 550 years after the Mulekites landed (Omni 1:14). Surely if such was the case, there would be no reason to call a second city in the area of that landing by the same name.
    On the other hand, there is scriptural reference regarding where they landed and where they settled.
The boundaries within which Mormon describes the lands of the Book of Mormon held by the Lamanites in the south and the Nephites in the north 

Looking at the First of These Two Scriptural Accounts: The first, in Alma, the author is talking about the boundaries of both the Nephite and Lamanite lands in conjunction with a proclamation from Lamoni’s father, the king of the Lamanites, that he sends throughout his kingdom (Alma 22:27). In this side discussion, which Mormon enters into the record, he interjects the fact that the Nephites were nearly surrounded by the Lamanites (Alma 22:29), however, the Nephites had taken possession of the land northward, “even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful.” Then, in describing Bountiful, Mormon adds that it (Bountiful) bordered on the land of Desolation.
    The statement as it appears in Alma: “And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, it being the place of their first landing” (Alma 22:30).
The lands around the Narrow Neck as described by Mormon

The statement is here shown with grammatical meaning is: And it (Bountiful) bordered upon the land which they (Nephites) called Desolation, it (Desolation) being so far northward that it (Desolation) came into the land (Old Jaredite Domain) which had been peopled (Jaredites) and been destroyed, of whose bones (Jaredites) we (Limhi’s people) have spoken, which (bones and land) was discovered (found) by the people of Zarahemla (Limhi’s people) it (this northward Jaredite land) being the place of their (Jaredites) first landing.
    In this passage, Mormon’s insertion is meant to show the geographical relationship of the land controlled by the Nephites, in follow-up to his previous statement: “And thus the Nephites were nearly surrounded by the Lamanites; nevertheless the Nephites had taken possession of all the northern part of the land bordering on the wilderness...” (Alma 22:29)—and goes on to describe it, ending with the above verses.
    In this, Mormon is not describing the Mulekites (people of Zarahemla) nor their lands, nor where they landed. He is describing the Nephite lands, which around 70 B.C. extended from the Land of Nephi, which bordered on the land of Zarahemla, clear into the Land Northward, which had been peopled by the Jaredites, and where these Jaredites had first landed.
    With this in mind, then, we can restate the scripture so it is not quite so confusing upon first reading: “And the land of Bountiful bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, the land of Desolation being so far northward that the land of Desolation came into the land which had been peopled by the Jaredites who had been destroyed and their bones were left scattered on the land (which we have already mentioned.) This land northward of Desolation, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, was the place where those that had been destroyed first landed,” or where the Jaredites first landed.
    Continuing on, we can add in the next verse:
    And they (Jaredites) came from their (place of first landing) up into the south wilderness (the southernmost part of the Land Northward, just north of the narrow neck). Thus the land on the northward (just north of the narrow neck) was called Desolation (after the Jaredite bones), and the land on the southward (south of the narrow neck) was called Bountiful, it being the wilderness (uninhabited land) which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind, a part of which had come from the land northward (north of the narrow neck) for food (during the famine and poisonous serpents).
     Thus, reading the entire two verses (Alma 22:30-31) stated in simpler form:
Where the Jaredites landed and later settled; Green Circle: Jaredite lands; White Dotted Line: Jaredites came up into the South Wilderness of the Jaredite lands

“And the land of Bountiful bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, the land of Desolation being so far northward that the land of Desolation came into the land which had been peopled by the Jaredites which Jaredites had been destroyed and their bones were left scattered on the land (which we have already mentioned). This land northward of Desolation, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, was the place where those that had been destroyed, first landed. And these Jaredites came from their place of first landing up into the south wilderness, just north of the narrow neck. Thus the land on the northward, just north of the narrow neck, was called Desolation, and the land south of the narrow neck was called Bountiful, it being the wilderness of uninhabited land, which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind, a part of which had come from the land northward—north of the narrow neck, for food.”
    Consequently, the scripture in Alma cannot be used to show that the Mulekites landed in the land northward.
(See the next post, “The Mulekite Homeland in the Land of Promise – Part II,” regarding the Mulekite homeland, where they landed, where they settled, and who they were)

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Mulekite Homeland in the Land of Promise – Part I

To begin with, as most everyone knows, there is no mention of the Mulekites in the Book of Mormon. The Mulekites, or descendants of those who came with Mulek from Jerusalem in the last days of king Zedekiah, Mulek”s father, and are known to us in the scriptural record as the People of Zarahemla.
    Secondly, while the Jaredites came to the Land of Promise about 2100 BC, at the time of the fall of the Tower of Babel, and Lehi, the progenitor of Nephites and Lamanites, came to the Land of Promise 1500 years later, in 600 BC (actually arriving around 590 BC, after 8 years in the desert and a couple of years in Bountiful and building Nephi’s ship), there are many theorists who claim there was an overlap between the two groups.
    However, in the scriptural record, from Nephi to Mormon, there is not a single word, suggestion or even intimation that the Jaredites were living at the same time as the Nephites. Yet, scholars like John L. Sorenson and Hugh Nibley who insist that there were others in the land when Lehi arrived, again, there is not a single suggestion that would lead one to suggest this point.
Coriantumr the last Jaredite King

On the other hand, the last Jaredite king, Coriantumr just before his death (Omni 1:21). That is, there is no indication that the Jaredites and their culture overlapped the existence of either the Mulekite or Nephite culture in the land of promise. We are not told at what point in time Coriantumr arrived among the Mulekites, whether it was close to the traditional date of 600 B.C., or the 200 B.C. date some scholars claim—though the events suggest the former and not the latter, a fact that even Sorenson acknowledges, stating, “A reasonable conclusion is that the most likely date for the end of the Jaredite people falls not earlier, and not much later, than 580 B.C.” This work suggests the date to be closer to 567 BC.
    The important thing is, we do not know how long the Mulekites had the stone Coriantumr engraved his brief record upon before it was shown to Mosiah in about 250 B.C. (Omni 1:20), who interpreted it because the Mulekites had no idea what was written upon it (Omni 1:22). We only know that he carved the stone while among the Mulekites during the nine months before his death, and that it remained among the people of Zarahemla until Mosiah arrived.
    Another important point is, as Sorenson put it, “Also the fact that the Mulek group “discovered” Coriantumr, rather that the reverse,” suggests another one of these erroneous ideas—that the Mulekites were in the Jaredite Land Northward and ran across Corianturmr, or were out looking for Jaredites. The fact is, nothing could be further from the truth—that is, first, the Mulekites were never in the Land Northward as is attested by Amaleki’s statements in the Book of Omni, and second, it seems just as likely, that Coriantumr was wandering in the Land of Zarahemla when the Mulekites ran across him, or he was “discovered” in their land.
    As Amaleki said, the People of Zarahemla gave “an account of one Coriantumr, and the slain of his people. And Coriantumr was discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons” (Omni 1:21). Two points should be kept in mind from this comment.
Coriantumr wandered into the Mulekite settlement of Zarahemla

1) Coriantumr was discovered by the Mulekites;
2) Coriantumr lived with the Mulekites for nine months.
Now, the comments in the scriptural record place no time frame or events between Coriantumr’s discovery and living with the people of Zarahemla, which should suggest that these events were concurrent; that is, wherever the Mulekites were living at the time is where Coriantumr was discovered. This means, according to Amaleki that Coriantumr wandered into the settlement of the people of Zarahemla along the coast where the Mulekites landed. And since Amaleki tells us that they “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), we can know that Coriantumr wandered into the Mulekite settlement where Mosiah later discovered the Mulekites to be.
    While many theorists claim the Mulekites landed in the middle of the Jaredite civilization in the Land Northward long before the last, devastating wars and were absorbed by the Jaredites until they could affect an escape which is when they migrated south and established the land and city of Zarahemla (Michael M. Hobby, The Mulekite Connection, Zarahemla Foundation Press, Salt Lake City, 1992, p 62) and eventually migrated into the Land Southward and inland to the area of Zarahemla (Joseph L. Allen, Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, S.A. Publishers, Orem, Utah, 1989, p 26; Michael M Hobby, The Mulekite Connection, Zarae Foundation Press, 1992, pp 16-17).
A vast civilization called the Jaredites had once lived far to the north of the Mulkeites, wo wanted to know who those people were

In addition, Sorenson claims that the reason the Mulekites in the land of Zarahemla were so anxious to have the Jaredite record interpreted was because they knew of the Jaredites and considered them their relatives (John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City UT, 1985, pp86,215). Joseph L. Allen (p7) claims that King Zarahemla knew of the history of the Jaredites before Mosiah arrived. And finally, Hugh Nibley (p248) writes that the Nephites and Mulekites knew of the Jaredites and were heavily influenced by them during a long cultural overlap between the two peoples, and (pp243-244) that the existence of Jaredite names among Mulekites shows that the Mulekites and Jaredites were culturally connected.
    However, all of this would be inconsistent with the scriptural record, for we find that the Mulekites had no idea who the Jaredites were as shown in king Limhi’s statement in Zarahemla “I am desirous that these records should be translated into our language; for, perhaps, they will give us a knowledge of a remnant of the people who have been destroyed, from whence these records came; or, perhaps, they will give us a knowledge of this very people who have been destroyed; and I am desirous to know the cause of their destruction.
    Another theorist claims that Coriantumr was discovered by the Mulekites while in the Land Northward (14 F. Richard Hauck, Deciphering the Geography of the Book of Mormon Lands, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 1988, p105). Hobby claims the Mulekites knew of the Jaredite people, and both co- mingled and intermarried with them, even adopting Jaredite customs, language and religion. Still another theorists claim that Coriantumr died in the Land Northward and the Mulekites later migrated from there into the Land Southward, bringing with them Coriantumr’s stone. Sorenson (p120) adds that the Jaredites were in such a weakened condition from the many wars by the time the Mulekites arrived among them in the Land Northward, that the Mulekites easily subdued them.
    It would seem unlikely, given all this, to think that the Jaredites and Mulekites intermingled at any time, and far more likely that the Mulekites knew only one Jaredite, and that was the last king, Coriantumr, who lived among them for only nine months, and the Mulekites knew nothing of his language, could not interpret a simple few statements the Jaredite left on stone, and in reality, knew nothing of the Jaredites at all, other than they were completely annihilated.
(See the next post, “The Mulekite Homeland in the Land of Promise – Part II,” regarding the Mulekite homeland, where they landed, where they settled, and who they were)

Monday, February 17, 2020

The Young Age and Nature of Moroni

Mormon writes: “And Moroni took all the command, and the government of their wars. And he was only twenty and five years old when he was appointed chief captain over the armies of the Nephites" (Alma 43:17).
    At first glance, it would seem that a man as young as Moroni would never be the top officer of a large army. Yet, Moroni, who was appointed when he was only twenty-five was the chief captain of all armies of the Nephites. He took all the command, and the government of their wars (Alma 43:17).
    In fact, Moroni’s genius is covered more thoroughly, and in greater depth, than any other individual in the Book of Mormon, except for Nephi. As Mormon wrote of Moroni: “if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men” Alma 48:17). To make sure his readers understood that the military man was a man of God, Mormon added, “Behold, he was a man like unto Ammon, the son of Mosiah, yea, and even the other sons of Mosiah, yea, and also Alma and his sons, for they were all men of God” (Alma 48:18). In fact, Mormon goes on to measure Helaman and his brethren to Moroni (Alma 48:19).
Mormon continued with Alma’s counsel to his three sons, then picked up where he had left off in giving his historical narrative report “of the wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites” (Alma 43:3)—nearly all of the remainder of the book of Alma (Chapters 43-62), covers one detailed account after another of battles and strategies used during a period of extensive warfare. At the head of the armies at this pivotal time was Moroni, the Nephite chief captain, who took command of all the armies of the Nephites, in the eighteenth year of the Nephite reign of the judges.
Despite his youth, Moroni proved to be a very effective military commander. There seem to be two reasons for Moroni’s success:
(1) he implemented innovative defensive measures;
(2) he sought and followed prophetic counsel.
    Effective military leadership and innovation, is seldom seen in leaders of the past. Most men in that era simply fought with brute force or overwhelming numbers, as did the Lamanites. We see this in a Chinese emperor during the Xia Dynasty, who controlled the largest armies of the ancient world—a force of 12,000 in 2000 BC. In 1250 BC, the Egyptian pharaoh Ramasses II had an army of 100,000 men, in which he easily conquered the Huttites, Nubians and the Libyans by overrunning their smaller forces. In 500 BC, Cyrus the Great fielded an army of 500,000 men, conquering almost half of the known world at the time. Other great empires had forces of 500,000 in India and 475,000 in the Roman legions.
    Much later, in the13th Century AD, Genghis Khan fielder an army of one million warriors that conquered much of the world at the time.
    Douglas J. Bell, a former BYU professor and officer in the U.S. Army, succinctly listed Moroni’s innovative leadership practices, saying: “he creatively fortified his cities, designed body armor, and motivated every city with the Title of Liberty” (Douglas J. Bell, Defenders of Faith: The Book of Mormon from a Soldier’s Perspective, Cedar Fort, Springfield UT, 2012, p135).
Lamanites preparing for attack without armor of any type 

While those earlier-mentioned massive forces never used armor, but fought in simple clothing, the first of Moroni’s innovations was the protective armor with which he equipped his men (Alma 43:19), which is a considerable difference from the previous conflicts where the Lamanites were “naked, save it were a skin which was girded about their loins” (Alma 43:20). No doubt, the Nephites before Moroni went into battle without any protective measures. In fact, according to anthropologist Ross Hassig, from University of Stanford and a specialist in Mesoamerican history, as well as a scholar-in-residence of Pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, “other cultures of the time throughout the regions of Mesoamerica did not use armor” (Ross Hassig, War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica, University of California Press, (Berkeley CA, 1992, p73).
    Consequently, earlier examples of armor are rare and vague, with a comment on Laban’s armor (1 Nephi 4:9); Jaredite “breastplates” (Mosiah 21:7); armor of the Limhites (Alma 3:5), but the Lamanites were without any protective covering until after they saw the Nephites full armored army. It seems likely, according to William J. Hamblin, that this resulted in uneven or inadequate armor for the rank-and-file (William J. Hamblin, “Armor in the Book of Mormon,” in Warfare in the Book of Mormon, ed. Stephen D. Ricks and William J. Hamblin Deseret Book, Salt Lake City and FARMS, 1990, pp404–410).
Moroni equipped his soldiers with protective armor 

On the other hand, under Moroni’s command, each soldier was equipped with a full ensemble of protective gear, which included breastplates, arm-shields, head-shields, and thick clothing.
    In addition, it would appear that prior to this time, individual soldiers were evidently responsible for arming themselves (David E. Spencer, Captain Moroni’s Command: Dynamics of Warfare in the Book of Mormon (Cedar Fort, Springville, UT: Cedar Fort, 2015). Obviously, such armor would have been limited and therefore less protective before Moroni introduced the full ensemble of armor (Alma 43:19), which consisted of head gear, breastplate, gauntlet (heavy gloves), leg covering and foot gear. In fact, anciently in the Near East, only privileged leaders owned and used protective metal armor. Thus, we see that Moroni was a man long before his time, and because of him, the Nephites were able to stave off the repeated Lamanite attacks, even though they had overwhelming numbers to send against the Nephites.
    It should also be noted, that part of Moroni’s very successful innovations, was in his building extensive fortifications, with ditches, earthen walls, and palisades (Alma 49:2,4,8,13-15,18; Alma 50:1-6), erecting fortifications had been known among the Nephites at an earlier time, but they are only briefly mentioned and only in the Land of Nephi. Mormon reported that Moroni’s fortifications were “in a manner which never had been known among the children of Lehi” (Alma 49:8). Keep in mind that this statement covered a period of war between the Lamanites and Nephites for over 500 years.
In addition, Moroni also rallied the people behind a righteous cause, and raised a battle standard upon a pole to represent this title of liberty (Alma 46:13). Using a battle standard allowed for greater cohesion and unity on the battlefield and a lack of evidence for battle standards as a lack of previous formal military units and formations (Ross Hassig, War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica, University of California Press, Berkeley CA, 1992 pp64,97). In fact, never before had there been a use of a battle standard mentioned among the Nephites. 
    It should also be noted that in addition to the physical preparations, Moroni sought and followed the guidance of the Lord. As an example, before going to rally the people with his battle standard, “he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God” (Alma 46:13). In the first battle under his command, he “sent certain men” to the prophet, Alma, “that he should inquire of the Lord whither the armies of the Nephites should go to defend themselves against the Lamanites” (Alma 43:23). As a result, the Lord revealed the activities of the Lamanite army, and Moroni was able to cunningly put his troops in place to cut off the Lamanite soldiers.
    Of course, Moroni was not the first to draw on the prophet for guidance in wartime (Alma 16:5-6), but was part of a long-standing Israelite and ancient Near Eastern tradition (Hugh Nibley, “Since Cumorah,” The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, vol.7 (Deseret Book and FARMS, Salt Lake City and Provo, UT, 1988, p242).
    There can be no question that Moroni was extremely innovative in so many ways on the battlefield, he proved willing to continue on in righteous traditions, much to his benefit and success.
    Moroni’s young age likely played a crucial role in the Nephites’ military successes. As a young military captain, he was particularly open to applying and adapting military technology present or emerging; as an example, Moroni’s preparations for war “had [never] been known among the children of Lehi” (Alma 49:8). Similarly, younger leaders may have an advantage in using innovative technologies to further the Lord’s work since they are not programmed to use the standard manner of earlier generation
    Moroni followed divine counsel in wartime preparations and by so doing succeeded in the face of impossible odds. He not only preserved the Nephite people from a dangerous adversary, but he also secured his place in Nephite history.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Understanding the Word “to”

Quite often those who read the scriptural record skip right over what appears as inconsequential words, like “this” and “that,” “in” and “to.”
One example is the word “at” as opposed to “in,” when Nephi writes: “my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days” (1 Nephi 1:4, emphasis added). The word “at” means “nearness” or “towards” (Noah Webster, 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language). Thus, in thinking about the word “in” as we read this passage we get the understanding that Nephi is telling us his father, and therefore himself, lived near Jerusalem, not inside the city walls. This can be quite important as we realize that inside the city in 600 BC, there was no room for gardens, animals, nor the storage of tents, etc. So Lehi, living outside the city walls, had some type of farm where he could grow his own crops, have animals present, as well as the big Bedouin tents (the only tents known in that age). This means that when the Lord told Lehi to “take his family and depart into the wilderness” (1 Nephi 2:2, emphasis added), he was telling him to leave the developed land, his homeland, and civilization and go into another, quite different land.
Another word that is sometime overlooked, is the word “to.” Mormon gives us a double meaning when he writes: “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 63:7, emphasis added).
He also wrote: “In the thirty and ninth year of the reign of the judges, Shiblon died also, and Corianton had gone forth to the land northward in a ship, to carry forth provisions unto the people who had gone forth into that land” (Alma 63:10, emphasis added).
In addition, Mormon writes of large numbers of Nephites who: “departed out of the land of Zarahemla into the land which was northward” (Alma 63:4)
First of all, the word “into” means entrance or a passing from the outside of a thing to its interior parts. Thus, these Nephites went from outside the land which was northward, into that land, and did so by ship. Or, more importantly went from the Land of Promise and into another land.
Also, we can take a look at the word “to.” This word is used in several similar ways, as in “and set out again to the land northward” and “Corianton had gone forth to the land northward in a ship.” In both these cases, in the first ship’s second voyage (Alma 63:7), and later in Corianton taking supplies (Alma 63:10), the word to is used to indicate their destination. These two instances, connected with Hagoth’s ships, is a rare reference to a land northward. Perhaps a look at the word to will help us better understand these destinations.
As an example, when a person is at home, they go into the bedroom, but to another person’s house; they go into the back yard, but to the park and play; they go to work before they enter into the office.
There is a difference to traveling into a land and traveling do a land

This means that while in the promised land you go into the land northward, but to a disconnected land that is northward. Thus, references of Nephites entering into the land northward which is beyond the narrow neck is stated as into the land northward, but in the case of Hagoth’s immigrants, they went to a land which was northward i.e., they went to a land, which land was northward. 
    It is also important to keep in mind, that if these emigrants merely went into the land northward, they would have later been encountered by Nephite emigrants, especially those indicated who spread from sea to sea throughout the land northward (Helaman 3:8), and over the entire face of the earth—yet, there is no mention regarding them after their emigration by ship.
    Even when Mormon, who had read all the records (Words of Mormon 1:3), and abridged the main chronological history of the Nephites, needed assistance to fight the Lamanites in the land northward, he said nothing about this earlier group of some 20,000 to 30,000 emigrants, who by this time 500 years later would have numbered in the millions.40 Thus, it can likely be concluded that they were not in the land northward and never had been.
    The Book of Mormon scholar’s view that these were merely those who filled up the land northward from sea to sea and were later called back (3 Nephi 3:13) to fight the Lamanites, is weak since there is no tie-in account given. That is, surely, had the former group been intended, there would have been some indication that those who had gone into the land northward by ship, were in the land northward and part of those who came to fight robbers, or even later to help fight the Lamanites in the final days. But there is no indication.
The Nephites traveled to a land “which was northward,’ separate from the Land of Promise

Theorists try to claim that this was merely a movement of Nephites into the Land Northward, but since Mormon wrote that one ship had never been heard from again, it would be unlikely he would later talk about those in the Land Northward without making some remark or some connection with those earlier thought to have been lost at sea.
    Thus, as Mormon states they were never heard from again, it must be assumed they went elsewhere and never returned and neither they nor their ship ever returned to the Land of Promise. Thus, they were elsewhere and not available to the Nephites later on to combat the Lamanites in the final wars of annihilation, and thus not mentioned by Mormon. Consequently, they did not just go into the Land Northward. Nor was there anywhere in the Land Northward not later occupied as Helaman writes (Helaman 3:8).
    Nor could it be said that neither they nor other ships did not reach their destination “to the land which was northward,” disconnected from the Land of Promise—surely had that first ship of immigrants not achieved its goal, it is highly unlikely another ship would have been sent, especially when men traveled with their wives and children.
    Yet, the scriptural record gives no indication that there was any hesitancy on the part of the second and third set of emigrants for they sailed northward also (Alma 63:6-7)—and at least one group in the same ship as had first sailed north. In addition, enough was known a year or more after the first ship sailed that Corianton boarded a ship and sailed northward carrying supplies to the immigrants. However, Mesoamerican theorists and scholars claim that Corianton was merely taking supplies to those who had gone into the land northward through the narrow neck.
    If that was the case, then why not send for him to return and take over custody of the records.
    In fact, the theorists’ idea of Corianton’s supply voyage simply going to the area just beyond the narrow neck has two things working against it:
1) to make a supply voyage worthwhile, the destination and point of use of the supplies would have to be on or close to the coast, yet those who went into the land northward filled up the land from sea to sea; and
While in the Land of Promise those in the Land Southward and those in the Land Northward would have had easy contact with one another; however, those who went in Hagoth’s ships “to a Land which was Northward” would not have had contact with those in the Land of Promise

2) a careful understanding of the subsequent events should indicate that Corianton did not go to the Land Northward, for his name or heritage is never mentioned again—and as the youngest son of Shiblon, and to whom the records would have rightfully gone had he remained in the land of promise—he was not available when the time came to pass on the records (Alma 63:10). The fact that he had left, and there seemed no chance he would be returning to the land of promise, nor could he be contacted to do so, Shiblon gave the records to his nephew, Helaman (Alma 63:11).
    These facts can hardly be ignored, and they certainly throw great doubt upon the idea that these emigrants merely went into the Land Northward.
    Another important point is that no one knew where the immigrants in the first and third ships went. There is no indication they reached any objective, nor how they interacted with other Nephites in the Land Northward, even though the first ship returned for a second group of immigrants? This is easily answered if Hagoth’s first ship (and subsequent ones) went so far north that they reached another land that had no intercourse with the land of promise. If Jacob knew what he was talking about when he said, and Nephi understood what he wrote—that the Lehi colony was led across the ocean and landed on an island (2 Nephi 20:10)— then this picture makes a great deal of sense. Frequent mention of a land nearly surrounded by water (Alma 22:32), of a north, south, east and west sea (Helaman 3:8) also suggest an island.
    Thus, the word to denotes motion toward a place. That is, the Nephites on the second voyage, which “set out again,” suggesting the same destination as the first voyage, went to the land northward. The ship was heading toward a place, not by, through or past the land northward, but to a land that was northward. This obviously suggests separation. Therefore this land which was northward was not connected to the land northward beyond the narrow neck of land mentioned in vs. 5. These two voyages of the first ship and at least the voyage of Corianton’s ship later that took supplies to the immigrants, went to a land which was northward.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

An Easy Reading of Alma Chapter 63

In an effort to put all this of the previous seven posts into the right perspective, let us take a closer look at Alma 63 and Mormon’s meaning of the words he chose in abridging Alma’ record (meaning is inserted within the text to make its reading more accurate and more understandable without changing anything Mormon wrote.
The first part of this chapter covers the period of 55 B.C., or the year that Moroni died, and which was the commencement of the thirty and sixth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, Alma’s second son, Shiblon took possession of the sacred things [the records from Nephi down to the present, including the brass plates, and Urim and Thummim] which Alma had entrusted to Shiblon’s older brother, Helaman. Now Shiblon was a just man, who walked uprightly before God, and observed to do good continually, to keep the commandments of the Lord his God, as did his brother, Helaman.
In the following year, 54 BC, or  thirty and seventh year of the reign of the judges, there was a large company of men, even to the amount of five thousand and four hundred men, with their wives and their children, departed out of the land of Zarahemla into the land which was northward [this amounted to 5,400 men + 5,400 wives + 5,000 to 10,000 children = 15,000 to 20,000 people overall], departed out of the land of Zarahemla into the land which was northward, [that is, a land beyond the Land Northward, across the North Sea, to a relatively unknown land].
A shipwright named Hagoth, an exceedingly curious man who was an artisan, and expert in his trade, built the first of several ships which was an exceedingly large ship [No ship he built could have held 15,000 to 20,000 people, plus their provisions; therefore, he built several ships—we know of six, but far more were probably constructed]. He built these ships on the northernmost point of the Land Southward in the borders of the land Bountiful by the land Desolation, which was the southernmost point of the Land Northward, where he launched his ships into the west sea by the narrow neck that separated the land Southward from the land Northward. Many of the 5,400 Nephites, along with their wives and children, including their provisions, who entered the ship, and took their course northward in this thirty and seventh year, or 54 B.C.
In the following year, 53 B.C., while Hagoth was building other ships, the first ship returned, after leaving off those emigrants carried northward earlier. And many more people went aboard, along with their wives, children and provisions, and they also sailed northward; however, they were never heard of more, and it was supposed that they were drowned in the depths of the sea, evidently because this ship never returned, and the land “that was northward,” was not part of the Land of Promise, and not in contact with the Land of Promise so no contact was forthcoming. In addition, another of Hagoth’s ships sailed in that year, only this one took a course that no one knew about, that is, the destination of this ship was unknown, because it also never returned to tell the tale.
    Obviously, this ship did not sail north to the land which was northward [beyond the North Sea] as the others had done. Nor would it have sailed south, since that would have been toward the Lamanite lands which were completely populated. They could not have sailed east from the west sea, where Hagoth’s shipwright business, docks, and boat launching facilities were located. That left only sailing west. The currents from Mexico would take a ship westward to the Philippines; from Central America to Indonesia; but from Peru/Ecuador would take the immigrants to the South Sea Islands of Samoa and much of Polynesia.
During the following year, 52 B.C., many people went into the land northward overland, on foot, and in 51 B.C., during the thirty and ninth year of the reign of the judges, Shiblon died and Corianton had gone forth to the land northward in a ship to carry forth provisions unto the people who had gone forth into that land, and was unavailable to receive the sacred records, therefore it became expedient for Shiblon [before his death, and as the custodian of the sacred records] to confer those sacred things upon his nephew, the son of Helaman who was also called Helaman.
    Prior to this time, the first Helaman had all those engravings which were in his possession written and sent forth among the children of men throughout all the land, save it were those parts which had been commanded by Alma should not go forth—no doubt, that part of the record which was sealed as indicated in the Book of Ether [This might suggest that the 5,400 men, along with their wives and children, had access to the records Helaman had written down and distributed to all the Nephites, thus, they would have taken such records with them as they emigrated to other lands].
 
Now, in 51 B.C., all the sacred records were entrusted to Helaman the younger, including the sacred, sealed portion. Also, during these years, there were some who dissented and apostatized from the Church and left the community of the Nephites and aligned themselves with the Lamanites, and stirred up the Lamanites [Apostates from the true church, in every age, have always stirred up anger and created persecution for the true believers (the Saints of God] making them angry with the Nephites, which led to the Lamanites invading Nephite lands with a large army. The invasion was met by Moronihah and the Nephite army which defeated the Lamanites in a lengthy war that stretched into the following year, killing many Lamanites in the process and finally driving them back into their own lands.
    And thus ended the account of Alma, the Younger, and his son, Helaman, and also Shiblon.
    Now, it might be of interest to know that from all of this, there is very little written about the man Hagoth. We only know that he built ships, at least one of them exceedingly large, and while his ships sailed to their destinations, Hagoth remained in his shipyard building more ships. To lay claim, as so many theorists have done, that Hagoth sailed away in one of his ships is neither substantiated or even suggested by the scriptural record. This leads one to realize that other points made by theorists may as well be untrue, or at least not included in the Book of Mormon.

Friday, February 14, 2020

What Does the Record Tell Us About Hagoth? – Part VII

Continuing from the previous post regarding Hagoth and how Mormon’s description of the man, his work, and results have been misunderstood by Mesoamerican, Heartland and other theorist, and misrepresented him in their writing.
    Consider the need for early Nephite shipping. First of all, the general shape of the Land of Promise island seems to have been long and narrow judging by frequent north-south movement, but little east and west migrations except to fortify Nephite borders with the Land of Nephi and the Lamanites as in the case of building the city of Moroni (Alma 50:13). And when east-west direction is given, the dimensions appear to be minimal—which is suggested by the wars in the east and west in which Moroni, Lehi, Teancum, and Helaman were involved.
We especially see this later when the invader, Coriantumr (left), headed up the center part of the land, passing through the more “capital parts” on his way from Zarahemla to Bountiful (Helaman 1:27). At this time Moronihah had his armies placed round about in the borders, to the east and the west, anticipating attacks along the east or west wilderness and coastal areas as had always been done before (Helaman 1:26; compare Alma 50).
    As soon as Moronihah gets word of the Lamanite invasion, he dispatches Lehi with an army to intercept Coriantumr on the north while he, Moronihah, comes up with an army on the south to catch the Lamanites in between (Helaman 1:29-30) in a typical military maneuver. Both these armies started out in the east and west coastal wilderness, and could hardly have cut off Coriantumr in time had the land of promise been very wide, certainly not the dimensions shown in Mesoamerica.
    Another confirmation of this is found in a statement made by Mormon regarding when the Nephites first began to move into the Land Northward. He states: “In the forty and sixth [year], yea, there was much contention and many dissensions; in the which there were an exceedingly great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and went forth unto the land northward to inherit the land.” He then tells us, “And they did travel to an exceedingly great distance, insomuch that they came to large bodies of water and many rivers” (Helaman 3:3,4).
   The point is, in a long, narrow land (long, narrow island), being able to move from one area in the south to another areas in the north, would have required at least coastal ships as well as river craft. Mormon later writes of this Nephite occupation, that of ship building (Helaman 3:14).
Hagoth’s ships sailing northward up the coast

Returning to the ln of Promise island , Hagoth’s first ship would have set a course northward from the narrow neck (Alma 63:5), traveling up the west coast of the land northward (Old Jaredite domain), entered the North Sea and spotted a land beyond, perhaps across a somewhat narrow stretch of ocean. That these were voyages of immigration and not discovery suggests this land had been spotted earlier by voyagers or Nephite explorers. This may have even been the reason why Hagoth built so many ships and why so many people were eager to immigrate
    In this land “which was northward,” the immigrants found a land to their liking where Lamanites could not reach them, disembarked, and within short order, the Hagoth ship returned to the port from which it had been launched—being gone about a year (Alma 63:7). A second voyage was undertaken (Alma 63:7), and perhaps a third, for Corianton went north to carry supplies (Alma 63:10), suggesting that he did so some time after the first two voyages, for the immigrants of both the first and second voyage took supplies with them (Alma 63:6-7). Since Corianton is not mentioned again in the record, and the emigrants’ whereabouts were unknown 400 years later when Mormon abridged the record. It might be assumed that the ships and crews of the last voyages stayed in the new land, therefore, their specific or exact whereabouts remained unknown to those back in the Land of Promise (Alma 63:8).
    It could also be argued that even when Hagoth’s first ship(s) returned, the crew(s) did not know exactly where they had been, except to say northward. If the land of promise was, in fact, an island as Jacob claimed, and Hagoth’s ships traveled across an intervening ocean stretch to a land beyond, the returning crews would have had no name for this new land, except a land which was northward. One mistake Book of Mormon readers often make is believing that the term land northward or land north always referred to the land north of the narrow neck. However, the scriptures tell us a different story.
Some theorists claim that the immigrant who went in Hagoth’s ships landed in the same vicinity that those who traveled by land, mentioned in Helaman 3:3-4, reach? The immigrants who traveled into the land northward of the land of promise mentioned in Helaman went far to the north. The scriptural account says: “There were an exceeding great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and went forth unto the land northward to inherit the land. And they did travel to an exceeding great distance, insomuch that they came to large bodies of water and many rivers” (Helaman 3:3-4)
    Now, to “inherit the land” is a significant term suggesting an inheritance right within a land already promised to them. Since the land northward was connected to the land southward (land of First Inheritance) by a narrow neck, the Nephites rightly concluded that this land northward was also part of the land of promise and, therefore, part of their inheritance, as promised to Lehi by the Lord (2 Nephi 1:3,5). Thus, at this time (about 46 B.C.) the Nephites decided to go north and “inherit the land.” It might be kept in mind that this land had been known for about 200 years before this time, but while guarded so the Lamanites could not enter it, had not been open to colonization for some reason.
    When Morianton tried to move his people into this land, Moroni sent Teancum to cut him off and do battle with him to preserve the land and keep it from their enemies. Thus, the land northward was known and understood as part of their land of promise from the beginning, but it was not until 46 B.C. that the Nephites decided to go into this land and inherit it. Note that about 8 years earlier, emigrants who went northward in Hagoth’s ships, had no such “inheritance” thought in mind when they immigrated to a land which was northward
    These were the old Jaredite lands as is indicated in the following account: They did spread forth into all parts of the land, into whatever parts it had not been rendered desolate and without timber, because of the many inhabitants who had before inherited the land. And no part of the land was desolate, save it were for timber, but because of the greatness of the destruction of the people who had before inhabited the land it was called desolate” (Helaman 3:5-6).
    This is not the land that Hagoth’s emigrants populated, since the Helaman Nephites never encountered these emigrants, yet they spread out all over the land (Healamans 3:8).
    Thus, it must be concluded that the Hagoth immigrants did not settle in the same area which those mentioned in Helaman occupied. And since this latter group spread throughout the entire face of the earth, “from the south sea to the north sea, from the west sea to the east sea,” it can only be concluded that the Hagoth immigrants settled in an area not physically connected to the land northward.
    Thus, Hagoth evidently responded to the need for travel by sea and built “exceedingly large” ships to accommodate this need. This would suggest that Hagoth was an entrepreneur providing an important service and product to the Nephite people.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

What Does the Record Tell Us About Hagoth? – Part VI

Continuing from the previous post regarding Hagoth and how Mormon’s description of the man, his work, and results have been misunderstood by Mesoamerican, Heartland and other theorist, and misrepresented him in their writing.
Hagoth built exceedingly large ships, a type of ship that is not typically used for short distance trips but for long voyages

One of the things that almost all theorists ignore, especially those who claim the voyages were very short distances, is that moving people by ship even only a couple of hundred miles would be a very expensive way to emigrate—it would take some time to recoup the cost of building the ship, let alone make a profit. The cost to the immigrants might be exhorbitant for their meager means, having just survived a lengthy war. We should not lose sight of the fact that free enterprise and free markets have basically always existed among the people of God. It is claimed that Lehi was a merchant, as would his sons have been (Hugh Nibley, Lehi in the Desert, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City. 1952, p36). There is simply no reason to believe that the land of promise was any different. Hagoth would have built his ships only if there was some profit reward in doing so since there is no record that he personally sailed anywhere as a discoverer or explorer.
    It should be noted that some scholars claim that this was a venture sponsored by the government to get colonization moving into the land northward, but under the circumstances of a just-concluded lengthy war with the Lamanites, it is unlikely that the government would have the funds to sponsor such emigration, or even want its people to leave. After all, at this point in time, the Lamanites had been attacking and warring with the Nephites for around 500 years. No matter how badly the Nephites might defeat the Lamanites in any one of these ongoing wars, the Lamanites always came back for another war later on. The Nephite government, knowing this, would not want to move their military strength (people) away from the battle area of the Land Southward and weaken their future defense against another Lamanite attack. Scholars might claim the government sponsored emigration away from battle zones, but that seems highly unlikely.
    In connection with this, it should also be concluded that there would have been no value in having people in the land northward from a governmental or military point of view. With the numbers of Nephites that were killed in this lengthy war, it is doubtful there would have been an over-population of the lands of Zarahemla and Bountiful. Nor could they have needed people in the land to the north to secure that land, since it was easily secured by defending the narrow neck of land as is seen much later in the Nephite-Lamanite wars. No, it would have made more sense for the government to get people to stay rather than emigrate elsewhere.
Left: As is today; Right: During the time of Hagoth and the Nephites, showing the Central American Seaway that passed through between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea before the Isthmus of Darien (Panama) formed and rose out of the water from the development of volcanoes, sediment, and mountain buildup—anciently this seaway provided access by ship of Hagoth’s vessels to reach “a land which was northward” before the forming of the Isthmus of Darien (Panama)

Thus, we can only conclude that the Nephite emigrants went north in Hagoth’s ship through some private enterprise endeavor and in such case, it would had to have been profitable to someone. Obviously, the people who went north by ship would have paid for their passage, and that of their family, provisions, and possessions. Such a cost, following a lengthy war, might seem out of the ordinary had they also been able to merely move overland into the land northward without incurring the cost of sea passage. For these reasons, it seems obvious that the migration by ship was to a land different than the scriptural “land northward.” A land that could not easily have been reached overland, or not reached at all. Given the land of promise being an island like Jacob said and Nephi recorded (2 Nephi 10:20), it can be suggested that this land to which they emigrated was not connected physically to the land of promise.
    People going into the land northward went to inherit the land within the land of promise (Helaman 3:3-4), and are singled out separately than those who went by ship. In Alma 63:9 and Helaman 3:3 we find the terms “went forth into the land northward” and “went forth unto the land northward” used to describe land migrations. Helaman 3:4 clearly illustrates such a land migration, penetrating the interior of the land northward all the way to the area of many waters and rivers which describes the Old Jaredite lands. We get an even clearer picture of this by defining the key words used—the word into means passing from the outside of a place to its interior; specifically noting penetration; on the other hand, the word unto, which is a compound of un (on) and to, meaning simply to—which was an obsolete word even in the days of Noah Webster, whose definitions are being used from his 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language. Thus, those Nephites left the land southward and went into, or penetrated, the land northward. This can only describe a land migration.
    Now in Alma 63:4, preceding the description of Hagoth’s ships and the ocean migration north, we find the rare term “into the land which was northward.” A definition of this key word shows a different process. That is, the word which in this case is a substitute, as it supplies the place of a noun, or of an adjective, or a sentence or a clause. Thus, the term “into the land which was northward” would be more appropriately written as “into the land, which land was northward.” That is, there was a land northward from the narrow neck area, a land that could be reached by sea, a land that was relatively unknown or at least not connected to the land northward that was known. This separation of terms is extremely important when we see where Hagoth’s immigrants may well have gone.
Understanding the use of the term which can also be helpful to describe in clearer fashion the narrow neck area. Therefore, the term “by the narrow neck which led into the land northward” should actually be rendered “by the narrow neck, which narrow neck led into the land northward.” From this we see that the narrow neck was some type of division between the two lands and provided the only passage between them, signifying a narrow neck that obviously suggests some area smaller than the Isthmus of Tehuantepec as the Mesoamerican theorists propose.
    It would seem logical that if he went by ship, that he was following those others who went by ship, not by land. So it would seem that he went to bring supplies to those who migrated by ship because they could not have taken as much by way of supplies as those who traveled by land. They would have been short of supplies and Corianton, Helaman’s son and a righteous man (assuming he repented of his earlier transgression while on a mission). Obviously, Corianton went somewhere where he was never heard from again, because when it came time for him to inherit by birthright the records from his prophet-father, his older brother had already died and Helaman was the youngest of the three boys, Corianton could not be reached in order to bestow the records on him, so Helaman gave them to his youngest son, Helaman.
    Now, if Corianton was in the Land Northward, which had both intercourse and interaction with the Nephite capital in Bountiful, why was he not called home by his prophet- father to take over the most sacred and important responsibility of the records? Obviously, he was not anywhere where he could be reached. He was in the land which was northward, which had no intercourse with the Land Northward because it was separated by a large body of water. Nor can one consider that he went north to take supplies to those who went by land into the Land Northward, since a ship is extremely limited to a coastal port and the Nephites inheriting the Land Northward, had expanded into large areas where a ship would be a poor method of transporting supplies to them (If people migrated from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, you would not take supplies to them by boat, even though Los Angeles is a coastal city—and even using a Mesoamerican Model, you would not take a ship from the Gulf of Tuehuantepec (Mesoamerican West Sea) to settlers in the Oaxaxa area—Sorenson’s Land Northward, or Desolation, or Cumorah, etc. It simply does not make any sense at all if you think about it. Another rather obvious point is “why would the people in Mesoamerica need timber Mesoamerica is mostly a jungle!
Hagoth’s shipyard

So Hagoth is relatively an unknown figure in the scriptural record. He built many ships, thus would have been a shipwright. He was a curious man, meaning he was “Habitually inquisitive; addicted to research or inquiry; after things elegant and beautiful; curious of antiquities; accurate; careful not to mistake; solicitous to be correct; careful; exact; and artful.
He was not an adventurer, explorer or migrant/immigrant. According to the scriptural record, he neither went anywhere on his ships nor even left his shipyard.
    To claim he did is to ignore the scriptural record and insert one’s own opinions instead. 
(See the next post, “What Does the Record Tell Us About Hagoth? – Part VII,” regarding this continuing article about Hagoth and the role he played in the Nephite immigration)

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

What Does the Record Tell Us About Hagoth? – Part V

Continuing from the previous post regarding Hagoth and how Mormon’s description of the man, his work, and results have been misunderstood by Mesoamerican, Heartland and other theorist, and misrepresented him in their writing. 
Phyllis Carol Olive’s (white circle) Narrow Neck of Land
 
In continuing with Phyllis Carol Olive’s comments about Hagoth and the land in which he built his ships and the sea over which his ships sailed, she tries introducing an area that now lies between the Niagara River and Rochester, a distance of 74 miles, 23 miles short of the hill Cumorah, as an ancient lake called Tonawanda, (p187) a sea which she claims Hagoth could have sailed eastward down its length to settle along its shore. However, though this ancient site is about 74 miles long (west to east), it was only two miles wide, and quite shallow, the water along the eastern shore at Rochester, New York was only four feet deep.
    It might be of interest to know that while this lake was only two miles across
    It is important to realize that sailing with or across or against winds makes a huge difference in sailing during the Age of Sail, as well as before that time. As an example, an excellent case in point was the voyage from Alexandria to Rome in a period long after Lehi’s voyage, in which it would take as much as five times as long as the return voyage with the wind (E. H. Warmington, The Commerce Between the Roman Empire and India, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK, 1928, p51). It should also be kept in mind that: “The same winds prevail today as in the days of the ancients” (Lionel Casson, Speed Under Saiasl of Ancient Ships, vol.82, New York University, New York, 1951, p136-148).
    This is because a sailing vessel travels best under a wind that is blowing from some point abaft the beam, as was Nephi’s ship since it was “driven forth before the wind” (1 Nephi 18:8-9). This allows the ship to move at its fastest directly toward its destination. Such a wind, whether blowing directly over the stern or over the quarters (i.e., from a point on either side of the stern) is a favorable wind. Unfavorable or "foul" winds are those that blow from some point ahead. These force a vessel to tack—sail at an 80 degree angle to the wind, a procedure that is uncomfortable, wearisome, and slow—as the vessel heels heavily, the decks are forever wet with spray, and the sails are constantly being reset (requiring a large crew with a great deal of experience).
When the destination lies 80º to the right or left of the direction from which the wind is blowing, a vessel can head directly for it. However, if the destination lies 80º or right in the eye of the wind and then the ship must tack back and forth in zigzag fashion. This is the most time-consuming course of all since it forces the vessel actually to cover far more distance than a straight line to its goal would measure, and can more than double the time necessary to reach its intended destination.
    This is also seen when Columbus crossed the Atlantic, he had the current with him and the wind at his back, making for a swift voyage. Later, when he sailed against the winds down to South America, he barely made 1 mph. In the Pre-Age of sail a maximum of 5 miles per hour, would be the highest plausible speed; during the Age of Sail, a Galleon could reach 5-8 miles per hour, and later the Clipper 14-17. In fact, the fasted American Clipper ever recorded was 22 mph.
    Thus, the distance north and south across Lake Ontario, or across Lake Erie, is fairly minimal, and reachable overland at a far less cost, plus the fact that a voyage could encounter. While we might think of the Great Lakes as calm and serene, but on Lake Erie the winds can get so fierce, everything on deck is swept clear. In fact storms have been encountered on all of the Great Lakes, some so devastating many lives have been lost. 11 Storms alone have been recorded on Lake Erie, two on Lake Ontario so fierce that all hands on ships were lost. Many of the ships lost in these storms were metal paddle wheelers—one can only wonder how wooden sailing ships would have fared.
    In addition, Olive suggests that Hagoth’s ships could have sailed the length of the ancient Lake Towanda—however, this ancient lake is really considered to have been a wetlands by the State of New York.
Example of wetlands. Note the lack of a clear waterway in which to sail a vessel of any size, which Olive claims Hagoth could have sailed through

In other words, the area of what is referred to as Lake Tonawanda was anciently a land area, such as marshes or swamps, that were covered often intermittently with shallow water or had soil saturated with moisture (Gerry Rising, “Lake Tonawanda,” Geological History of Amherst State Park, June 27, 2004).
   It might be of interest that in the same article, it states: “Glacial Lake Tonawanda was created with the retreat of the last Wisconsin Glacier. The lake was located east of the Niagara River. It covered the area between most of western New York and Rochester. It might also be of interest to note that in 1829 when Joseph Smith was translating the plates, the word “wetlands” did not exist in the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language.
    Olive also states (p189) that Hagoth, “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…and from there to more distant lands. Now when Olive compares (p185-186) early trappers portaging their canoes overland, they were carrying light weight, narrow canoes often made of birch bark.
An early French Trapper portaging, or carrying his canoe across land to another river

These canoes, called canot du nord ("canoe of the north"), a craft specially made and adapted for speedy travel, was the workhorse of the fur trade transportation system that could be carried bottom up by two men, with another two men carrying the cargo. They were about one-half the size of the Montreal canoe, and could carry about 35 packs weighing 90 pounds and manned by four to eight men (“Portage Trails in Minnesota 1630s-1870s,” National Register Document, United States Department of the Interior—National Park service, 1992).
    These were hardly a comparison to Hagoth’s “exceedingly large ships” that he built that Olive claims could be portaged across land.
    As has been previously noted, the Mesoamerican guru, John L. Sorenson has written of Hagoth: “What about the LDS tradition that Hagoth, the Nephite shipbuilder who failed to return home as an ancestor to the Polynesians?” He then adds, “The Book of Mormon itself, of course, says only that the man and his mates disappeared from the knowledge of the people in Zarahemla. For all they knew, he might have died at a ripe old age on the west Mexican coast without a suitable vessel in which to make the return voyage” (Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City,1985, p269).
    It is interesting that Sorenson claims the Book of Mormon says that Hagoth sailed away, however, the scriptural record does not say that at all. In fact, we know nothing about Hagoth other than what is contained within the scriptural record that he was a curious man and built an exceedingly large ship, then while it had sailed away, he built other ships before the first ship returned all within only four verses, and not a single suggesting that Hagoth sailed anywhere.
(See the next post, “What Does the Record Tell Us About Hagoth? – Part VI,” regarding this continuing article about Hagoth and the role he played in the Nephite immigration)