Monday, March 31, 2014

More Comments from Readers – Part I

We continue to have comments, questions and criticisms being sent in from readers of our blog. Here are a few more with our responses.
     Comment #1: “A Jewish friend sent me this email and I was wondering if it is an accurate criticism of the Book of Mormon. He wrote - “The Book of Mormon, contrary to every precept of the law of Moses, told of temple worship in the new land. Unlike Jews of every time period, your Nephites were never sad about being cut off from the main group and never having looked back to Jerusalem and to God's temple. Even Jews in captivity looked to Jerusalem and God’s temple there, but the Nephites, enjoyed God's presence in a substitute temple in a foreign land. It is obvious that your Book of Mormon portrayed the Nephites as subverting the law of Moses, even though Malachi and Moses commanded the Jews to keep the law until the Messiah should come” Rialto C.
Response: This reminds me a little of an early attack on the Book of Mormon by Alexander Campbell, an Irish-born American minister, who organized the largest Protestant group in the Western Hemisphere called the Campbellites (in Ohio). I seem to recall an article or series of articles he ran around 1830 or so, in one of his newspapers, called the Millennial Harbinger (the other was the Christian Baptist), which had a masthead that included the text of Revelation 14:6-7, about this subject. Anyway, there are a few answers to this: 1) The Nephites did follow the Law of Moses: “And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled. For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments. And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. Wherefore, we speak concerning the law that our children may know the deadness of the law; and they, by knowing the deadness of the law, may look forward unto that life which is in Christ, and know for what end the law was given. And after the law is fulfilled in Christ, that they need not harden their hearts against him when the law ought to be done away” (2 Nephi :24-27);
    2) Nephi did not write about the Jews in Jerusalem because he was more interested in his own people and that preaching of Christ. He said, “For behold, Isaiah spake many things which were hard for many of my people to understand; for they know not concerning the manner of prophesying among the Jews. For I, Nephi, have not taught them many things concerning the manner of the Jews; for their works were works of darkness, and their doings were doings of abominations.” (2 Nephi 25:1-2)
    3) It cannot be said that the Nephites did not look back to Jerusalem and the Lord’s people there. In fact, the Nephites were so concerned about this in Jacob’s time (during Nephi's later years), that he took occasion to settle their fears and concerns about being “cut off” from Jerusalem and the Lord. However, Jacob made it clear that the Lord led them to this new land and that they were blessed. He told them “And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20).
    Consequently, his arguments are ill-founded. On the other hand, it is the nature of today’s Jews (and for millennia) to reject the word of God—they stoned and killed the prophets, they rejected Jesus Christ when he came among them, and they rejected his church that he set up, nor did they accept that Christ came and fulfilled the law. The Jews have always felt that God would do nothing with anyone other than themselves, but when he came to them and they rejected him, he replaced them, something no Jew would ever accept.
    Comment #2: “Why do you keep stressing that Lehi had Beduin-style tents. He was Jewish, not Arabic” Gibby A.
    Response:  The only tents made in the Middle East in Lehi’s time, before and for many centuries afterward, were tents in which a person could live. When they traveled (and only those with purpose, and typically with money), they did so in style. It was not until Roman times that military tents of smaller size came into being, but the type of military or pup tents known today, especially since World War I, are simply a very late developing idea.
The style tents known in Lehi’s time had several rooms, divided by rugs or heavy curtains, so at least Lehi would have slept in a separate area from his sons, and there would have been a living room where the caravan leaders would have sat down for drinks of water and bargaining 
    In the Middle East, the only people who had tents were those who used them—and that typically for use in traveling many days, or traveling to a place and staying for several days, which some claim was Lehi’s occupation in traveling down to the King’s Highway at the base of the hills from Jerusalem, waiting for the Frankincense caravans to pass, trading with them, perhaps using his agricultural products from his own land, and then taking these new products up to Jerusalem (the camels from caravans could not travel into Jerusalem because of the sharp rocks in those hilltop areas), where he sold them to the city merchants. While waiting for the caravans to come by, Lehi and his sons would have lived for a few days in their tents along the trail. They are called Beduin-style tents today, because the Beduins are the only ones who now use them, i.e., Arabs or people of the desert who move about frequently, depending upon the water and grass of each area.
The tents above were drawn by artists who have no idea what middle eastern tents looked like, or their purpose. Both depict a modern style tent and appeared in Church magazines
    Comment #3: “Nephi tells us that when Lehi left his home in Jereusalem, he took nothing with him, ‘save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.’ We were discussing this in a class Sunday and wondered about what provisions would he have taken” Ashira T.
    Response: First of all, Lehi’s home was not in Jerusalem, but at Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:4), meaning he lived in the area outside, and lower, than Jerusalem (1 Nephi 3:16; 3:29). Secondly, the best answer about provisions I know of is what was written by Lynn and Hope Hilton. Lynn Hilton, by appointment of the Church’s Ensign magazine, was called to organize an expedition of discovery to find the trail of Lehi and his family. The results of Hilton's discoveries were first published in the Ensign in the September and October 1976 editions about their research and trip along Lehi’s trail. They said about his provisions, “We know that they included his tents, and probably such food as wheat, flour, barley, dried sour milk, olive or sesame oil, olives, dates, a few cooking utensils, bedding, and weapons such as bows, arrows, and knives. According to our research no spoons or forks were used in Lehi’s day among the Hebrews or the Arabs.” In addition to these provisions the Hopes outlined, we should certainly add the seeds they took from Jerusalem: “we had gathered together all manner of seeds of every kind, both of grain of every kind, and also of the seeds of fruit of every kind” (1 Nephi 8:1), and these seeds were loaded on the ship Nephi built (1 Nephi 18:6), which seeds were brought from Jerusalem (1 Nephi 18:24). Also, it would be obvious that they took what cooking and living items Lehi deemed necessary—when the tents are set up, these pots and other items are placed in baskets that are hung form the tent poles.
They would also have had water skins (left), that were likely made from the skin of a mature, large-sized goat with the front legs sewn together with a rawhide thong to form a handle, and the dorsal opening stitched together with rawhide. These were then filled with water. They would also have had pillows and rugs, a staple of travel in Lehi's time. Also, Lehi had donkeys in Jerusalem (no camels were in or around the city because of the shale-like stone that cut the soft under hooves of camels), in sufficient number to load the tents (typically three donkeys to one tent, which was typically made of heavy, dark goat hair along with lighter sheep skin), along ropes and pegs for the tent, along with feed for the animals and all their seed, no doubt carried in goatskin bags, which are still used by Beduins today. Later, they probably traded the donkeys for camels for the journey along the Red Sea, but especially to cross the Rub’al Khali (Empty Quarter) when they turned eastward. It should be noted that one of the reasons Lehi left all his gold, silver and precious things behind, would have been as protection against marauding desert tribes who would naturally investigate a small caravan displaying many goods--which was the main reason they did not travel across the Empty Quarter cooking their meals each night over a fire, but eating their meat raw (1 Nephi 17:2).

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Look at Phyllis Carol Olive and Her Great Lakes Model – Part VI

Continuing from the last post with Phyllis Carol Olive’s book The Lost lands of the Book of Mormon, in which she makes several comments that obviously need a scriptural reference check, since they have a lot to do with her description of the Great Lakes as the Book of Mormon Land of Promise, and not particularly what the scriptural record actually tells us.
    Resuming with her unbelievable descriptions of Hagoth and his ships and their course, Olive adds: “The fact that Hagoth himself did not travel a great distance from his homeland is made clear to us in Alma 63:7, for the first ship he built left at the end of one year and returned at the beginning of the next. This may have only been weeks or perhaps a month or two later. Hagoth then built other ships to transport the growing nujber of those who wished to lead the land southward for greener pastures.” 
Instead of sailing off in one of his ships, Hagoth, the shipwright, was busy in his shipyard building “other ships” while the first ship was gone somewhere to the north. Nowhere in the scriptural record is there any suggestion that Hagoth ever went anywhere in one of his ships 
    Response: Olive seems to add her own opinion when interpreting the scriptural record. Alma does not say at the end of one year or the beginning of the next year. What the referenced scriptures tell us: “And it came to pass that in the 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. And it came to pass that Hagoth, he being an exceedingly curious man, therefore he went forth and built him an exceedingly large ship, on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation, and launched it forth into the west sea, by the narrow neck which led into the land northward. And behold, there were many of the Nephites who did enter therein and did sail forth with much provisions, and also many women and children; and they took their course northward. And thus ended the thirty and seventh year.” 
    Now, in the following year, it is recorded, “And in the thirty and eighth year, this man built other ships.” Interesting, during the time when the first ship was gone, Hagoth built other ships (not the plural language).  And while he was building other ships, Mormon adds, “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 63:4-7).
    So we see that:
1. In the 37th year of the reign of the judges there were a large number of people who traveled in Hagoth’s ship to the “land which was northward,” suggesting an area beyond the Land Northward.
2. Those immigrants went during the year in which other ships were being built by a man named Hagoth.
3. That year ended with nothing more notable for Alma to include in the record.
4. During the following year, the 38th year of the reign of the judges, Hagoth built other ships.
5. During that year the first ship returned, was outfitted again, and sailed northward again.
6. Also during this year another ship sailed from this same area to an unknown location, i.e., did not take its course northward (Alma 63:8).
7. And in the same year many people went into the Land Northward, not by ship, but overland through the narrow neck (Alma 63:9).
In addition to many entering into ships and heading to a land which was northward, many other Nephites went overland through the narrow neck of land into the Land Northward (Alma 63:9). A few years later, even more Nephites went into the Land Northward (Helaman 3:3)
    There is no suggestion of a short time frame involved here, nor that Hagoth’s ship sailed at the close of one year, and returned at the beginning of the next year as Olive claims. Mormon, in his abridgement, is simply stating events that occurred during these two years, which he goes on in the 39th year to list events that took place in that year, including the death of Shiblon, and Helaman conferring the records on Helaman (Alma 63:10-11). Obviously, at the close of this lengthy record and the end of Alma, Mormon is giving us a very brief compilation of events, while they are obviously by year, we have no knowledge they are chronological within the year.
    The point is that Olive’s reasoning is not consistent with Mormon’s statements and descriptions, which then makes her results questionable, if not outright erroneous.
    Olive’s preface to her book states: “(this) is a work that introduces a setting that meets all the requirements necessary to be the lands of the ancient Nephites and Jaredites.”
    Response: It is sad that Olive feels her many points satisfies all the descriptions of the land and what was in it Mormon mentioned in describing the Nephite Land of Promise and the ancient Jaredite lands. As has been pointed out here in detail, her many statements simply do not meet the requirements of Mormon’s words she actually writes about, and little is devoted to the many things that are written about in the scriptural record that helps poinpoint its location.
    It is also unfortunate that the entire basis of the Great Lakes theory espoused by her and others touting the western New York area, is its proximity to the hill Cumorah, a barrel drumline hill not even in Olive’s Land Northward, where Mormon placed it (in the land of many waters, rivers and fountains) in the Land Northward (Mormon 6:2-4). In fact, her Land of Many Waters is the Finger Lakes Region, which is far to the east of Bountiful, and even to the east of the East Sea, totally in opposition to Mormon’s description. It is even humorous that her map shows Desolation to the east and south of her Narrow Neck, with Bountiful and Desolation NOT separated by the narrow neck.
    We are repeating here the 27 points outlined in a previous series of articles (“So Where is the Land of Promise?” Part I thru XII, beginning December 26, 2013 thru January 7, 2014, complete with full explanations), to show once again that if you are going to locate the Land of Promise, according to Mormon’s description, which is the only foundation anyone can use, these points, and many others have to be within that location now, or at the time of the Nephite occupation. 
1) Mountains, “whose height is great
2) Two unknown animals
3) Two unknown grains
4) Plants that cure fever
5) Land of promise as an island
6) The four seas surrounding the Land of Promise
7) the Climate where Lehi’s seeds grew that he brought to the Land of Promise
8) Roads and Highways
9) Driven before the wind
10) Lehi’s Course to the Land of Promise
11) Both Gold and Silver and Copper
12) Hagoth’s ships went northward
13) Forts, fortifications and resorts
14) Fortified wall
15) Narrow neck of land
16) Defendable narrow pass
17) Sea that divides the land
18) All manner of buildings
19) Great temple tower
20) Directions of the Land of Promise
21) All manner of ore
22) Land of many waters
23) Abundant crop growth
24) No other people in Land of Promise
25) Use of silks and fine-twined linen
26) Metallurgy
27) Volcanoes and earthquakes 
    To ignore any of these is to ignore Mormon’s clearly stated descriptive information, to ignore all of them is to ignore the scriptural record itself. A few of these points can be found in most Theorist models, but none outside Andean South America has all of these (and many others) now or in antiquity—certainly the correct Land of Promise not only should, but must have all of them, or why else did Mormon described them to us? And why would any serious historian, writing about the scriptural record Land of Promise, ignore any of these descriptions that Mormon left for us?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Look at Phyllis Carol Olive and Her Great Lakes Model – Part V

With my internet back up and running after five days living in the black void...

Continuing from the last post with Phyllis Carol Olive’s book The Lost lands of the Book of Mormon, in which she makes several comments that obviously need a scriptural reference check, since they have a lot to do with her description of the Great Lakes as the Book of Mormon Land of Promise, and not particularly what the scriptural record actually tells us.
Take for instance something that none of the Great Lakes Theorists ever talk about is the fact that in the area of Montezuma Marsh, in the northern end of Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes region. In this area, 1,000 workers on the Erie Canal in 1820 died of malaria. Work on the canal stopped for months until winter, when the swamps were frozen, before work could continue, though many suffered from frostbite—it was considered the most difficult part in digging the Erie Canal.
    The Marsh was created by the damming effect of the glacial ice and existed for thousands of years, and would have been there during the Theorists’ era of the Nephites. While Alma talks about many dying of fevers, he also told us: “but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate” (Alma 46:40).
    Malaria, for those unfamiliar with it, has only one natural cure—the bark of the cinchona tree, which naturally produces quinine. No other natural cure has ever been found anywhere in the world—today, we use synthetic quinine, but in the Nephite times, only the natural herbs, plant and roots would have cured Malaria as Alma tells us and, by the way, the cinchona tree is not only indigenous to the Andean area of Peru, it is the only place in the world where it grew before it was transplanted in Indonesia by the Dutch in the 1700s. In other words, the only natural cure for fever, which so happens to be from plants and herbs, during the Book of Mormon time and for more than a thousand years thereafter, grew in South America—not then Great Lakes (nor Mesoamerica). Perhaps that is why no Theorist talking about the location of the Nephite Land of Promise location ever mentions Alma 46:40). In fact, the only place you will ever read about this requirement for the Land of Promise is on this site.
    It might also be noted that this huge marsh area was a barrier to westward travel in colonial times as roads could not be built across it—in fact, the Erie Canal was the first passageway to be built across the marsh.
    Olive’s Comment: “The course of those who journeyed northward may have included three options. The first option would be the simplest and most obvious, for it would have taken Hagoth’s ship northward across the west sea where they would have disembarked on the northern shores of the lake.”
White Arrow shows Hagoth’s direction across the West Sea (Lake Erie) where they would disembark on the north shore (), a distance of only about 25-33 miles, depending on where they launched the ship—a rather costly endeavor to build an “exceedingly large ship” only to travel across a lake for about 30 miles
    Response: Olive continues to ignore the fact that Mormon tells us Hagoth built “an exceedingly large ship.” Granted she tried to downgrade the word “exceedingly,” claiming it was only like our use of the word “very” today; however, in the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, we find that the word exceedingly meant: “To a very great degree; in a degree beyond what is usual; greatly; very much.” This shows us that Olive’s attempt to lessen the value of this adjective is inaccurate and shows us her tendency to try and change the meaning of the scriptural record to meet her own interpretation.
    Thus, we find that Hagoth’s ship was “large to a very great degree,” “it was large to a degree beyond what was usual for the time,” and not just some canoe or raft, but a “ship” of significant or “exceedingly large” size.
    Olive’s Comment: We must remember the land just to the north of Lake Tonawanda included the wide beach strip that lay along the southern shores of Lake Ontario.”
Olive’s Map showing the Land Northward (our green arrow) as a narrow strip of land between Lake Ontario and the area known as ancient Lake Tonawanda
    Response: This is the land that Olive calls the Land Northward, a “narrow” strip of land about ten to fifteen miles from north to south and about 25 to 30 miles from east to west—hardly large enough to house the Jaredite nation with their population numbering in the millions, and then the Nephite nation after 350 A.D., with their population numbering over a million.
    Olive’s Comment: “However, since Hagoth was described as a very curious man, we would have to assume that his journeys took him much farther away.”
    Response: Once again, Hagoth did not sail anywhere in his ships. He remained in his shipyard building other ships (Alma 63:7) while the first one mentioned sailed to “a land which was northward” (Alma 63:4). It is obvious, that the people who entered into Hagoth’s ships were resettling, taking “much provisions” (Alma 63:6-7).
    Olive’s Comment: “A second option would have started out the same way—with Hagoth launching his ship into the west sea by the narrow neck, and then sailing as far as he could northward. 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 just as the early explorers and trappers did—and from there to more distance lands.”
    No early trappers ever carried a “ship” over any portage. They carried canoes. Canoes! And none of their canoes exceeded the cargo of 2 ½ ton and a crew of 12. Olive’s lack of knowledge on such a simple subject shows her lack of interest in both detail and simple research.
Olive’s Land of Promise. Yellow Arrow: 33 miles across the West Sea (Lake Erie); White Arrow: 25 miles across the West Sea; Orange Arrow: The crew and passengers portaging (carrying) the ship across land (25 miles) to the Sea (Lake Ontario)
    Response: In order to reach Lake Ontario after crossing Lake Erie (West Sea), the voyage across the West Sea would have had to be no more than 25-33 miles (depending on where the ship was launched, and in order to reach Lake Ontario, the ship would have to be portaged across land for about 25 miles. One thing we might want to keep in mind is that Mormon tells us: “Many of the Nephites who did enter therein and did sail forth with much provisions, and also many women and children; and they took their course northward” (Alma 63:6—emphasis mine). Women and children along with “much provisions” plus “an exceedingly large ship” being carried across a 25-mile stretch of land—twenty-five miles! Olive is now taking us into the world of the absurd!
    Olive’s Comment: “A third option would have taken them into the east-west channel which would have allowed them to cross the land horizontally. Once they reached the land of many waters other waterways would have been available to them as well. They could have either entered Lake Ontario at that point or traveled down the Mohawk to the Hudson and from there to the open waters of the Atlantic. Any number of destinations would have been possible from there.”
    Response: I wonder what it is about the expression “and they took their course northward” (Alma 63:6) that Olive doesn’t understand? The Mohawk River begins in Lewis County, about 40 to 50 miles east of Lake Ontario, and flows generally east through the Mohawk Valley, passing by the cities of Rome, Utica, Little Falls, Canajoharie, Amsterdam, and Schenectady, before entering the Hudson River at Cohoes, just north of Albany, which is 100 miles to the southeast. Then from there on, the Hudson flows almost due south. So while Mormon tells us Hagoth’s ship took its course northward, Olive feels completely comfortable telling us they sailed east, then southeast, then due south! With that type of thinking, Olive can say “Any number of destinations would have been possible from there” since she doesn’t pay any attention to the scriptural record.
(See the next post, “A Look at Phyllis Carol Olive and Her Great Lakes Model-Part VI,” for more of Olive’s statements that are not supported by the scriptural record, and do not match the descriptions of the Land of Promise as we have them)

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Look at Phyllis Carol Olive and Her Great Lakes Model – Part IV

Continuing from the last post with Phyllis Carol Olive’s book The Lost lands of the Book of Mormon, in which she makes several comments that obviously need a scriptural reference check, since they have a lot to do with her description of the Great Lakes as the Book of Mormon Land of Promise, and not particularly what the scriptural record actually tells us. 
    Resuming the last post’s comments, and running across perhaps Olive’s most ridiculous statement, she writes: “Hagoth’s ship may have been even larger, but may still have been light weight enough for overland portage by a strong crew…”
Portage is carrying a canoe or small boat across land from one water source (river, lake, etc.) to another. The early fur traders made this famous carrying their small canoes from river to river in order to move their fur pelts from the mountains to Rendezvous or trading posts; however, these portages were small boats, something two or three men could carry—and at times a single man, though this was rare. To portage “an exceedingly large ship” is simply out of the questions—no one could carry such a vessel across mountains, through forests, over even or in hilly country—not even by “a strong crew”
    Response: Here again Olive is conditioned to think along her pre-determined location in the Great Lakes causing her to think of Hagoth’s ship as some type of canoe or raft that could be carried or portaged across the land between the many rivers in the area. There is absolutely nothing in the scriptural record to suggest such a thing was done or needed to be done. Hagoth launched his ships into the West Sea—that is not a river or lake, but a sea—and they took their course northward.
    Hagoth’s was a business, and contrary to those who have not run their own business, was in business to make money. Consequently, to build an “exceedingly large ship” to transport people a couple of miles or so would not only be unprofitable, but clearly foolish. In addition, Joseph Smith in 1829 would have known what a canoe was, and also a raft, and no doubt a sailing ship. He chose the word ship and the Spirit allowed that word which should suggest it was a ship—the kind at least known in Joseph’s day.
Horse-drawn packet boat being hauled along the Erie Canal in 1840. These were used primarily to move freight and goods. In a few years, $15-mllion passed over the canal, twice that carried along the Mississippi River
    Olive’s Comment: “By way of comparison—in the 1800s the barges that traversed the Erie Canal were two story, snub nosed boats about 50 to 55 feet in length and carried over four dozen passengers. Today, the vessels that traverse the very same waterways can be as much as 300 feet long and 40 feet wide and can carry burdens of many tons. Such a waterway could certainly carry vessels large enough to carry many to more distant lands.”
The 1850 passenger/freight snub-nosed boats moving along the Erie Canal--this was a leisurely, social event, hardly the description of an emigrant ship as mentioned in the scriptural record
    Response: First of all, the Erie Canal (Clinton’s Big Ditch” and “Clinton’s Folly”), was a hand dug canal forty feet wide and only four feet deep, where vessels were towed with rope by horses or mules—they did not sail because of the narrowness of the way and the lowness of the many bridges spanning the canal. In fact, as one 1836 passenger wrote: “ The Bridges on the Canal are very low, particularly the old ones. Indeed they are so low as to scarcely allow the baggage to clear, and in some cases actually rubbing against it. Every Bridge makes us bend double if seated on anything, and in many cases you have to lie on your back. The Man at the helm gives the word to the passengers: 'Bridge,' 'very low Bridge,' 'the lowest in the Canal,' as the case may be. Some serious accidents have happened for want of caution. A young English Woman met with her death a short time since, she having fallen asleep with her head upon a box, had her head crushed to pieces.” Obviously, it would have been impossible to have a two-story barge as Olive claims. 
Of all the images found showing the barges pulled along the Erie Canal from 1825 onward are open cargo carriers or one level passenger boats. Though passengers would occasionally sit on the roof during open stretches, no two-story boats were ever on the Erie Canal because of the short clearance between bridges and boat
    Secondly, the Erie Canal, like all canals and small rivers, have little or no current to speak of and movement was easy and generally very slow. In the 1800s, a leisurely ride along the Erie Canal was a social delight, a pleasant experience with a striking view. Even today, it takes 8 days to travel the 338 miles of the canal at such a slow pace as to drive modern people to stress after the first couple of days. It is hard to imagine that Hagoth’s immigrants would have been satisfied to take such a leisurely ride to an unknown land where they were interested in starting a new life in a new land.
    Third, the Packet Boats of the Canal were generally 70 feet long, with a kitchen and bar, with the forward part being the ladies’ cabin and separated by a curtain, but at meal time, the curtain was removed and the table was set the whole length of the boat, and at night settees on each side unfolded into sleeping cots with the outside hung by cord.
As described by one passenger in 1836, “When unfolded, the cots look like so many shelves and I was apprehensive upon first seeing them, lest the cords should break; however, I was told such never happened.” Also, the top of the cabin, which formed a sort of deck, was nearly flat, with a six inch rail around it, and was only about four or five feet above the water line
Today, the Erie Canal can carry much larger and heavier boats under their own power, though they have to be less than 300 feet because that is the length of the locks
In the beginning, however, before the opening of the Erie Canal, Genesee Valley wheat took 20 days to reach Albany by wagon. The cost to move a ton of wheat was $100. With the completion of the canal, a ton of wheat could make the trip all the way to New York City in just 10 days for only $5 in transportation charges.  In 1825, roughly 562,000 bushels of wheat, plus 221,000 barrels of flour, 435,000 gallons of whiskey, and 32 million board feet of lumber helped make up the 185,000 tons of eastbound canal cargo. Only 32,000 tons were shipped west, consisting mainly of manufactured goods. The total amount of freight moved on the Erie
Canal increased in volume as the years went by. Although it took until 1845 for annual tonnage to surpass one million, the two-million-ton mark was topped only seven years later. By 1860, freight totals on the canal had increased to 1,896,975 tons eastbound and 379,000 tons westbound.
    In 1862, swollen by Civil War shipments, canal freight traffic exceeded three million tons. This high rate of tonnage continued after the end of the war and during much of the next three decades. In fact, in 1880 the Erie Canal experienced its greatest year, with 4,608,651 tons carried. The huge amount of trade on the canal produced considerable revenue for the state of New York. Tolls collected in 1820 totaled a mere $28,000; four years later, before the canal was officially opened, canal traffic had surged to 10,000 boats paying $300,000 in tolls.
The Erie Canal today. When we speak of very long boats, they are commercial barges under their own power. No boats pulled by horses, mules or oxen in the 1800s and 1900s were very long because of the weight involved in pulling
    However, in the 1800-1900s, the thousands of boats that plied the Erie and other canals in the 19th century fell into two categories: packet boats and freight boats. Packet boats were designed to carry people and had cabins stretching nearly from bow (front section of a vessel) to stern (rear section of a vessel); and freighters generally had two small shelters at either end of the boat. Often family-owned, the freight boat housed people in the stern cabin and stabled horses or mules in the bow cabin. Nonworking animals rested on the boat between towing shifts. The remainder of the space on a freight boat was for cargo. These boats were normally about 75-feet long, and carried agricultural products east and manufactured goods west.
    The point of all this is merely to show that when Olive, or other Theorists begin talking about history to try and substantiate their Great Lakes claim for the Land of Promise, they often talk about matters of which they are truly unfamiliar—some believe no one will check up on what they say, and some simply do not pay a great deal of attention to actual fact. The end result is the continuation of a theory that simply is not defensible according to the scriptural record.
(See the next post, “A Look at Phyllis Carol Olive and Her Great Lakes Model-Part V,” for more of Olive’s statements that are not supported by the scriptural record, and do not match the descriptions of the Land of Promise as we have them)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Look at Phyllis Carol Olive and Her Great Lakes Model – Part III

Continuing from the last post with Phyllis Carol Olive’s book The Lost lands of the Book of Mormon, in which she makes several comments that obviously need a scriptural reference check, since they have a lot to do with her description of the Great Lakes as the Book of Mormon Land of Promise, and not particularly what the scriptural record actually tells us.   
   Olive’s Comment: Even though Hagoth’s ship was described as being exceedingly large it would in no way compare to anything we might consider a large ship today, but was simply a ship considerably larger than those that were the norm for the time.”
(Image A – An exceedingly large ship being built anciently. Modern men try to lessen the abilities of the ancients, but such curious craftsmen have existed in all ages
    Response: The word large is a relative term. Large compared to what? However, we might assume that large in this sense meant as large as, or larger than, other ships of the day—and “exceedingly large” meant much larger than anything they had seen up to that point. This, then, suggests that there had been shipbuilders before Hagoth, and he was not the first to initiate land-to-land shipping. It may well have been going on for some time. What is noted by the Hagoth story, is that he built a different kind of ship than the others—we know it was exceedingly large, which should suggest something out of the ordinary, and we know it was meant to carry immigrant families, along with supplies and equipment to settle in a new land.
A 100-foot ship being built which dwarfs all the other small boats on the beach
    Immigration, it would appear, was the issue and the fact that Hagoth built a very large ship meant to transport large numbers of people to a far off land, launching into the West Sea (Ocean) where deep water waves pounding on the hull and high winds hammering the vessel would require someone like Hagoth, a shipwright extroadinarie to build such “curious” vessels—that is, highly skilled construction.
Left: The Mayflower that brought the pilgrims to Plymouth in 1607; Right: Drake's Golden Hind which sailed around the world in 1577
    The Mayflower, as an example, a ship of 180 tons, about 100 feet long and 25 feet wide, that carried a crew and passengers of about 152 people, along with a large amount of ship’s stores, tools and weapons, including 12 cannon, shot and gunpowder, for the voyage. On that voyage huge waves struck the ship’s topside until a structural support timber fractured and they survived only because the passengers carried equipment to construct homes when they landed. By comparison, Sir Frances Drake's ship, the Golden Hind, which was meant for exploring, not passengers, was 102 feet in hull length and 22 feet in width, with 22 guns and canon and a maximum crew of 95.
    Obviously, sailing in deep water was dangerous and it is just as obvious that Hagoth built ships that could withstand deep water where earlier ship builders probably only built coastal vessels. Certainly, this would have made his shipbuilding effort worth mentioning by Mormon, for these ships went north to “a land which was northward,” and also elsewhere, to an unknown location, and no further word was known from them (Alma 63:8). However, the significance of this singling out of Hagoth’s ship seems lost on Olive.
    As an example, the word ship in 1828 New England meant: “In a general sense, a vessel or building of a peculiar structure, adapted to navigation, or floating on water by means of sails. In an appropriate sense, a building of a structure or form fitted for navigation, furnished with a bowsprit and three masts, a main-mast, a fore-mast and a mizen-mast, each of which is composed a lower-mast, a top-mast and top-gallant-mast, and square rigged”—this pretty much describes the “Mayflower” shown above.
    The point is, this term as used by Joseph Smith, would have meant a ship of some size built along certain lines with sails, etc. Compare that to Olive’s later comment:
    Olive’s Comment: “Most ships traveling th4 waterways in early American history were made of bark and were small enough to maneuver the rivers and creeks with east…”
    Response: A canoe is simply not a ship, is never in any historical report or writing called a “ship,” and certainly would not be capable o carrying a large number of people. What Olive seems not to know is that the maritime world, and the dictionary anciently as today, separate vessels by size and usage, each with its own class name. A ship in Joseph Smith’s day described a very particular vessel (see above).
    Olive’s Comment: “Still others were made from heavier materials such as logs which were lashed together to make flat rafts…”
Left: Depiction of an early log raft with a small cabin; Right: the keel boat which followed, carried more freight and moved downriver with punt poles
    Response: Again, a raft is not a ship and has never been called or referred to or considered a “ship,” not even the more sturdy keep boats were called ships.
    Olive’s Comment: “The boats used to transport furs to various trading posts were the largest of the bark canoes and often carried tons of freight, crew and passengers…”
This painting depicting the large trading canoes of early America shows 17 people in the canoe; however, the largest of the birch bark trading canoes carried only 12 along with 2 ½ tons of cargo. Obviously, these were never called ships
    Response: Actually, during the Coureurs de Bois (runners of the woods)—the fur trade business, or the expansion of the fur trade markets, the canoes became famous because of the voyageurs (hired fur traders) who were trading fur in North America. From 1690 up to 1850, the voyageurs, as well as the canoe, played a very important role in the early American history as the canoe was the principal means of transportation on water. The birch bark canoes were boats created by the North American Indians. It was made from a frame of wooden ribs covered with the bark of birch trees. This type of canoe proved to be the best solution for a long journey: waterproof, resilient and light enough to be easily transported on one’s shoulders across a portage. These boats were capable to carry a crew of up to 12 people and 2400 kilograms of cargo, which is 5280 pounds, or just over 2 ½ ton. Olive’s “Tons of freight” is a poor definition of 2 ½ ton and is a disingenuous expression—in no way would the largest of these trading canoes be able to meet the description of Hagoth’s ships and their immigrant cargo. Nor were they ever called ships.
    Nor were the big packet boats that moved along the Erie Canal ever called ships, though they were the largest of the freight boats in early America.
Top: The 363-mile long Erie Canal built in 1817-1825 to carry freight (center) and transport (bottom), helped New York eclipse Philadelphia as the largest city and port on the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. These barges (or packet boats) were 60-80 feet long and 14 feet wide (about 2/3 the size of the Mayflower)
(See the next post, “A Look at Phyllis Carol Olive and Her Great Lakes Model-Part IV,” for more of Olive’s statements that are not supported by the scriptural record, and do not match the descriptions of the Land of Promise as we have them)

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Look at Phyllis Carol Olive and Her Great Lakes Model – Part II

Continuing from the last post with Phyllis Carol Olive’s book The Lost lands of the Book of Mormon, in which she makes several comments that obviously need a scriptural reference check, since they have a lot to do with her description of the Great Lakes as the Book of Mormon Land of Promise, and not particularly what the scriptural record actually tells us.     Continuing here with Olive’s inaccurate comments about Hagoth, she writes: “But since [Hagoth] was described as being a curious man, he must have wanted to explore those lands that lay beyond the bounds of their normal territory.”
Response: Again, when someone starts writing about the scriptural record without considering the meaning of the words used, we find error after error, which then leads to conclusions that are inaccurate. The word “curious” was defined in Joseph Smith’s day as “Habitually inquisitive; addicted to research or enquiry; having a curious turn of mind; Curious after things elegant and beautiful; accurate; careful not to mistake; to be correct; difficult to please; exact; made with care; artful, diligent.”
    Today, we use the term curious to mean inquisitive, strange or unusual, however, its original meaning and the way it was used in the scriptures the word “curious” meant skilled, typically used to describe something that was skillfully made.
The curious workmanship of (left) Liahona, (center) Ephod, (right) Bezaleel gold workings
    Thus we have David saying he was “curiously wrought” (Psalms 139:15), meaning skillfully made in the womb; and when Lehi found the Liahona, Nephi described it as “a round ball of curious workmanship” (1 Nephi 16:10—emphasis mine), meaning it was very skillfully made, or the curious girdle of the ephod worn by the Israelite high priest, made of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet fine twined linen (Exodus 28:8, 27-28; 29:5; 39:5, 20-21; Leviticus 8:7). Of Bezaleel was described as “filled . . . with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work” (Exodus 35:30-33).
    Hagoth was a curious man, that is, he was a skilled man who did fine, accomplished work. He built “exceedingly large” ships that were exact, artful, and diligently made with care. In Helaman we find that the Nephites were involved in the building of ships and in the industry of shipping (Helaman 3:14)—obviously, the Nephites were a shipbuilding nation, which were involved in the business of shipping, trade and maritime industry. It is interesting in Helaman’s lengthy explanation of what the many Nephite records contained, building of ships and shipping, along with building of temples, were the only businesses described.
    Olive’s Comment: Such an adventure would take more than the small water craft used to transport them over the calm waters of Lake Tonawanda, however.”
    Response: Again, Olive is using her own pre-determined model location for the Land of Promise that results in her limiting her thinking about Hagoth’s ship and where they went. She has him sailing on the “calm waters” of a lake; however, his vessels went into the West Sea, that is an Ocean, and took their course northward.
Lake Tonawanda (yellow arrow) is along and narrow, and Hagoth’s ships went west (white asrrow) where there is no outlet into the West Sea. No “exceedingly large” ship would be needed on such a small lake and would have little purpose, being far too costly to build and navigate on this small and shallow ancient lake bed. To get to the west sea (Lake Erie), the ship would have to navigate Niagara River (where the Falls make navigation impossible)
    No shipbuilder is going to spend his time building ships unless it is a profitable enterprise. Hagoth was obviously a businessman, he built ships and others paid for passage on them, leased them, or bought them. Lake Tonawanda was a very small lake area—why build shipyards on a small lake when the Sea (Erie or Ontario) was close by, which would make a lot more sense (however, there is no narrow neck of land off Lake Erie or Lake Ontario so her scenario is limited).
    Olive’s Comment: “It would take a sturdy ship to travel the greater distances proposed. Since the scriptures tell us Hagoth took passengers along, a ship large enough for many was necessary.”
    Response: Mind-sets are hard to get around. Hagoth was a shipwright—he built ships. He was not an explorer, nor did he go anywhere in his ships as far as the scriptural record tells us. He did not take passengers along. Whoever captained the ship and whoever arranged for the immigrants to board and was responsible for the arrangements of the voyage, we are not told (Alma 63:6). We only know that Hagoth built the ships. It is difficult to take anyone’s idea seriously when they so blatantly disregard, or so obviously do not know or understand, the scriptural record about which they are writing.
    In a rather bizarre twist on the actual scripture in Omni, Olive writes: “It was Hagoth who seems to have initiated the practice of shipping from one land to the other. Up until this time, most of those who came up from the land of Nephi with Mosiah settled in Zarahemla and remained there from that time forth.”
Response: First of all, it was not the Nephites who “remained there from that time forth,” but the Mulekites who we are told “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—emphasis mine). Secondly, the Nephites, once arriving in Zarahemla, began to spread out and settle in various towns and villages. Not long afterward, Alma requests from Mosiah’s grandson, that he be allowed to “establish churches throughout all the land of Zarahemla” (Mosiah 25:19) and Mosiah gave Alma authority over the church (Mosiah 26:8).
    In fact, there were seven churches set up by Alma (Mosiah 25:23), and Mormon talks about matters “throughout all the land,” suggesting the Nephites did not remain in Zarahemla, but scattered all over the land. Shortly afterward, Moroni is moving people into the wilderness areas of the east and west coasts after he drove out the Lamanites living there in tents (Alma 50:7, 9, 11), and built cities along the east seashore (Alma 50:13-15). Consequently, the Nephites did not remain in the city of Zarahemla as Olive would have us believe.
(See the next post, “A Look at Phyllis Carol Olive and Her Great Lakes Model-Part III,” for more of Olive’s statements that are not supported by the scriptural record, and do not match the descriptions of the Land of Promise as we have them)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Look at Phyllis Carol Olive and Her Great Lakes Model – Part I

In the book The Lost lands of the Book of Mormon, Phyllis Carol Olive makes several comments that obviously need a scriptural reference check, since they have a lot to do with her description of the Great Lakes as the Book of Mormon Land of Promise. 
    Olive’s Comment: “Because access to the land northward was so limited, many have wondered how Limhi’s search party made it to the land of many waters undetected by the people of Nephi. Let us address this issue. Their original destination was Zarahemla, which was to the north, but since the Lord fully intended them to retrieve the plates deposited in the land of many waters, he may have simply diverted their sense of direction somewhat and led them to the south instead…”
    Response: Since Limhi and his people were in the City of Nephi (Lehi-Nephi) at the time, which was in the Land of Nephi and that, as Olive comments a little later in her writing (see below), was in the southernmost portion of the land, and both Zarahemla and ultimately, the Jaredite lands which Limhi’s 43-man expedition found, were to the north, it is hardly worth discussing this point of the Lord leading them to the south.”
    Olive’s Comment: “Losing one’s sense of direction is not uncommon in the heavily wooded areas…”
    Response: There is no mention of “heavily wood areas” in the scriptural record relating to this journey. Olive, like far too many Theorists has a place already in mind and is inserting that descriptive area into the scriptural record, which is totally inappropriate and certainly not scholarly. There is no mention at any time of the type of terrain these men encountered—we only know they “took a journey into the wilderness” (Mosiah 8:7). Certainly, these men would have been familiar enough with this land they had been in for three-generations to know in which direction they needed to go from their city walls. After all, Limhi, and evidently some of his people, spent some time outside the city (Mosiah 7:10), and earlier they had rebuilt both the city of Lehi-Nephi (city of Nephi) as well as the city of Shilom (Mosiah 9:8)—both in the area of land that the Lamanite king had covenanted that these returning Nephites could possess (Mosiah 9:6). They would have been familiar enough with their land to know their directions. Any confusion, if such existed, would have occurred long after they left the area of which they were so familiar. 
Even if it was a heavily wooded area, young Boy Scouts today know how to find their way in a heavily wooded area without a compass, and it is not based on a sense of direction, but on understanding the forest, how it grows, and what to look for—certainly men who lived in such lands all their lives would at least know that; and why would the Lord need to confuse direction—everything Limhi’s men were looking for and found was in the same direction—to the north! There would be no reason to head south except in areas Olive is inventing
    Olive’s Comment: “Since the Land of Nephi was in the southernmost portion of the land it would have been easy for the Lord to direct them around the great wetlands to the southeast and from there northward where they ultimately came across the remains of the fallen Jaredite people.”
    Response: First of all, there are no “great wetlands” anywhere in the scriptural record. The only area that could possibly be so described is the “Land of Many Waters,” which was far to the north of where Limhi was located and where his men would have traveled in Olive’s description. It is interesting how Theorists make up situations out of the blue, then build their scenarios around it, and claim it is the Land of Promise. One often wonders if they really ever read the scriptural record at all, or at least gave them more than cursory glance.
    Besides, it is not a problem for the expedition to have passed through the narrow neck of land and not seen the seas on either side, since there was a narrow pass through this neck and a narrow pass suggests a corridor between mountains, cliffs, etc. where vision to right and left would be severely restricted.
A narrow pass by interpretation suggests a narrow area likely with limited view to either side, which would easily hide what lay beyond the cliffs, rocks, hills, etc. Passing through areas such as these two would keep anyone from knowing what was to the right or left beyond the pass
    Olive’s Comment: “Now Hagoth was described as a very curious man. Evidently his curiosity about more distant lands finally got the better of him, for he built a ship launched it forth into the west sea and headed north.”
    Response: Again, one should be more familiar with the scriptural record before one attempts to write about it. At no time does it suggest or indicate that Hagoth sailed anywhere. In fact, Mormon tells us just the opposite: “And behold, there were many of the Nephites who did enter therein and did sail forth with much provisions, and also many women and children; and they took their course northward. And thus ended the thirty and seventh year. And in the thirty and eighth year, this man built other ships. 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 63:6-7).
Mormon tells us he was building “other ships,” that is, Hagoth was evidently a shipwright—a builder of ships—and not an explorer. His was a business, and he built many ships and while the first ship mentioned was sailing to “a land which was northward,” Hagoth was busy in his shipyards building “other ships,” and there he was when the first ship returned, loaded up and sailed again. Mormon makes it clear that the Nephites were involved in shipping and the building of ships (Helaman 3:14). The trouble is, when people pay so little attention to the actual scriptural account, they are more free to create scenarios they want that are not scripturally accurate.
    Olive’s Comment: “Had [Hagoth] only been interested in traveling to the land of many waters he could easily have launched his ship into the sea on the east of the narrow neck…”
    Response: First of all, Hagoth obviously had a shipyard where he built many ships (Alma 63:7). Secondly, that shipyard was just as obviously on the West Sea (Alma 63:5), suggesting that along the west coast there was some type of inlet, bay, or lagoon where it would make sense to build and launch ships that would be protected from the weather that strikes coasts. It might just as obvious to note that since there is no mention of anything on the east coast at this point, that there was no protective harbor there. So it would make sense that Hagoth built and launched his ships in the protective area of such a harbor along the west coast.
    Olive’s Comment: “…and sailed across Lake Tonawanda to that region.”
(Yellow Arrow) Lake Tonawanda; (white arrow) Olive's Sea East; (red arrow) Finger Lakes area, which is Olive's Land of Many Waters. On a map, her directions and statements are out of alignment
    Response: When you have a pre-determined area in mind, then try to make the scriptural record fit it, you end up in trouble. Given the area of their narrow neck of land, it would be interesting to see how one might sail across Lake Tonawanda to reach the land of many waters. It would even be of greater interest to know why anyone would build a large ship to sail across a lake that was only 3 ½ miles across at its widest!
(See the next post, “A Look at Phyllis Carol Olive and Her Great Lakes Model-Part II,” for more of Olive’s statements that are not supported by the scriptural record, and do not match the descriptions of the Land of Promise as we have them)