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.


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  2. Excellent point that the land was long vertically and narrow horizontally per Alma 50 and Helaman 3. I hadn’t ever connected those dots.
    George W- this could be another point added to your document. One more could be cities with deep trenches or dry moats- see my comment about the ancient city now referred to as Yanyo on Del’s post from about a week ago for details including the scripture references.