Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 63:5
"And it came to pass that Hagoth, he being an exceedingly curious man, therefore he went forth and built him an exceedinly large ship, on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolations, and launched it forth into the west sea, by the narrow neck which led into the land northward."
The chapter begins still in the 36th year of the judges. Sadly I learn Moroni has died. He had a very short retirement. He was only 43 years old when he died. I wonder if it was war injury? I look back and see it said "He retired to his own house that he might spend the remainder of his days in peace." He must have been dying. How sad. That made me cry.
In this chapter I can see how peace in the land now gives people the opportunity to prosper and be innovative. Hagoth takes 5,400 men and their families and migrate northward. He builds many ships and they sail northward going through the west sea. I had to sit and ponder on this. In the Book of Mormon there are references to a Sea North, Sea South, Sea West and a Sea East.
I pondered on what someone once told me about this. Looking at the layout of the holy land, I would have never thought to call the Sea of Galilee, or the Dead Sea a sea. To me they are lakes because I see them surrounded by land. If you look at the great lake region in the United States that include Lake Ontario, Erie, Huron, Superior, and Lake Michigan you can see why I use the terminology of calling them lakes. Given the size these bodies of waters are, I can understand how ancient Israelites coming to the Americas might call my great lakes the Sea North, Sea South, Sea West and a Sea East in the Book of Mormon.
I don't really know which one would be which because I suspect given this verse being before the changes made on the land at the coming of Christ to the Americas, some of those lakes might of once been joined together. The narrow neck of land could be just about anywhere between those lakes. I just need to look at seas and lakes as a Israelite might have. I know its totally possible to sail from the great lakes out to the Atlantic Ocean. So Hagoth might have been on one of the great lakes when he and thousands of people sailed northward.
I wanted to find a nice photo to show the comparison of the great lakes in the United States to the seas in the Holy Land. Then I got caught up in all this discussion online about Hagath and the Mesoamerica theories, and the people of Polynesia being descendants of Hagath. I saw something in myself and these theories that made me stop and ponder. Was I going off on a tangent? Was I speculating and missing something very important in this chapter of the Book of Mormon? How can all this things make sense? Would finding a theory I believe in proven false shake my faith of the Book of Mormon? Of course not. There are gospel truths in there that speak to my soul. It matters not if theories are struck down. If fact I came up with a few new ones myself.
No where does it say who Hagath is? Where did he come from? I can't just assume he was a Nephite. The Book of Mormon comes from the spiritual record of the Nephites not the record of their history. Not everything historical is mentioned because it didn't matter spiritually. I wondered if Hagath was already an explorer before this event or did he meet an explorer from somewhere else? What if Hagath was a Viking that sailed in and captured the Nephites imaginations and they built more ships to sail away to new lands. What if Hagath was from Asia? He very easily could have populated the Polynesia island before sailing around the Americas to where the Nephites were. The possibilities are endless, because we know other people were lead to the Americas at different times. The Jaredites and Mulekites are just some of them mentioned. The people of Zarahemla were already there when king Mosiah and his people joined with them. Having mixed races of people in the Americas is nothing shocking. People leaving America to other lands we know from this verse happened too.
As I sat here pondering all this I realized I am late in reading the lessons for church today. I have wasted time on things that make no difference in the scheme of things. The beauty of the Book of Mormon is it being a second witness of Jesus Christ. In the Bible the Lord said he had sheep of other folds and he would visit them after his death. The Book of Mormon testifies that the house of Israel was scattered on the isles of the sea and they are numbered unto him. The most important thing today is that I am one of his sheep. The eternal truths contained in the Book of Mormon help me enter into his fold. Having physical evidence of the Book of Mormon will never do that for me. Focusing on the gospel message is what brings me peace.
Day 337 Tami Fitzgerald Harris