Saturday, September 4, 2010

Another Great Lakes Theory

One of these Great Lake theories (see last post) has the histories of the Jaredite, Nephite and Lamanite civilizations taking place in a small area of southern Ontario and western New York. The seas surrounding the land are said to be Lakes Huron, Ontario, and Erie. Looking at the map, however, one can hardly believe that at least four million people (Jaredites) lived in the area shown as the Land Northward. It would also be difficult to find the area of the Land Southward that was completely surrounded by water. The Land of Desolation seems to be to the east of the narrow neck of land, and Cumorah is beyond the east sea. In addition, Bountiful is at a higher elevation than Desolation though the scriptures suggest otherwise.

None of this matches the Book of Mormon descriptions of the Land of Promise.

As an example, one can claim that a river is the boundary of the Land Southward, but a river is hardly described as a sea—in fact, nowhere in scripture is a river described as a sea.

Great Lake Theorists claim that the Book of Mormon does not say that the Lehi Colony sailed across the ocean and landed on the west coast of the Land of Promise. However, the scriptures do say that the ship Nephi built in 600 B.C., a weather driven (sailing) ship, was “driven forth before the wind.” One cannot discount that the winds from the southern coast of Arabia blow in only one direction through the Indian Ocean, Southern Ocean, across the Pacific and up the west coast of South America. In order to reach the Great Lakes, Nephi would have had to sail his ship across the Atlantic.

Two problems with that. 1) the scriptures clearly lead the Lehi Colony to the southern coast of Arabia, and 2) the winds and currents along the eastern coast of Africa, Madagascar, and around the Cape of Africa do not blow toward the west. They blow toward the east. In fact, the early Portuguese sailors who discovered Africa and sailed into the Indian Ocean, followed the winds and currents south from Portugal, south along the African west coast, east below the Cape, and down across the Southern Ocean toward Australia before turning upward (north) and into Indonesia. When they tried to sail east into the winds and currents across the northern portion of the Indian Ocean, they were met with terrible sailing conditions and took months to cover a week’s journey. Not until they discovered the southern route did they find travel to Indonesia, India and China worthwhile.

In fact, Vasco de Gama had to swing wide out into the Atlantic to eventually pick up the southern ocean or circumpolar currents that brought him around the Cape and into the Indian Ocean. In order to return, ships had to hug the coast where the opposing currents were less and it was possible to make headway—de Gama’s journey back took three months just to recross the Indian Ocean, after taking only 23 days sailing with the wind in his eastward journey. So many men died of scurvy on this extensive return voyage that one of the ships, the Sao Rafael, was burned for lack of a crew. The four month journey with the winds and currents going eastward, took nine months to return sailing westward with considerable loss of life.

Again, modern man loves to say people traveled here or there without giving any thought to the manner of transportation available to them. From the first sailing vessel ever built until sometime in the 18th century, sailing into the wind was simply not possible. Consequently, to say the Lehi Colony, driven forth before the wind, sailed westward from Arabia, around Africa, out into the Atlantic, up the coast of North America to a river, then inland for approximately 1575 miles across the St. Lawrence Gulf and then down the St. Lawrence River, through Lake Ontario and into Lake Erie (West Sea), to finally land in the area described in scripture. Such a voyage against currents and winds was simply not possible in 600 B.C. for a ship “driven forth before the wind” to the Promised Land.

1 comment:

  1. Here are errors:

    1. The Jaredite war population does not reflect the limited geography population. It took years to gather the large number from outer lying areas.

    2. The Land Southward was not "completely surrounded by water." (Alma 22:32)

    3. Bountiful was higher than Desolation. (Mormon 3:7)

    4. The scriptures do not say "clearly lead the Lehi Colony to the southern coast of Arabia." (1 Nephi 17:1, 'nearly eastward' could mean northeast, to Lebanon, sailing out the Mediterranean)

    5. Your take on wind currents needs some elastic: