Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Legends of Peru—Four Brothers First Settled the Andes, Part III

Continuing with the recorded legend of the Four Brothers told to the early Spanish conquerors by the Incas, and faithfully recorded by at least eight well-known historians of the period, the first twelve points were covered in the last post, the next 12 will be covered here:

Taking each of the 24 points of the Legend one at a time and comparing each with the Book of Mormon:

13) One brother moved further away -- Nephi was told by the Spirit to escape his brothers (2 Nephi 5:5-7) which he did, and settled in the land of Nephi;

14) The leading brother of the four was elected to be the war-leader and his great successes earned him the coveted title of capac--chieftan which was an honorific title of true eminence -- Nephi was loved by his people (Jacob 1:10), was elected by them to be their king (2 Nephi 5:18), defended them against the Lamanites (2 Nephi 5:34, Jacob 1:10); and achieved high eminence among them (Jacob 1:11);

15) Appointed one of his brothers to be the "field guardian" of the community -- Nephi appointed his two younger brothers, Jacob and Joseph, as teachers and priests over the land (2 Nephi 5:26) and later, one of them, Jacob, was called to be the prophet (Jacob 1:1, 4);

16) Three brothers who became the leaders of three groups who called themselves separately but were united as one people -- The Nephites were called Nephites, Jacobites, and Josephites (Jacob 1:13).  The Zoramites mentioned were descendants of Zoram, Laban's servant, and not a brother to Nephi.  Sam's descendants were never called by a separate tribal name, but were joined with Nephi's descendants from the beginning (2 Nephi 4:11).  Yet all were called Nephites (Jacob 1:14);

17) The three brothers had to escape into the Andes with some of their people -- After Lehi died, Nephi was told by an angel to take as many as would go with him and flee into the wilderness (2 Nephi 5:5).  That Nephi went into a highland or mountain valley can be seen in the numerous references to the Land of Nephi, which he founded at this time (2 Nephi 5:8), was up in the hills or mountains or highlands from the land of Zarahemla for the Lamanites always went down to fight with the Nephites after taking over the Land of Nephi;

18) A long-lasting dualism occurred between the two groups -- The Nephites and Lamanites separated (2 Nephi 5:5) and fought many battles (1 Nephi 12:19) until the Lamanites conquered the Nephites (1 Nephi 12:20; Mormon 8:7), lasting from about 580 B.C. to 385 A.D.—about 965 years, or about 99% of the time they were in the Land of Promise;  

19) Each cherished a separate history -- The Nephite history was well documented throughout the written records, and the Lamanite history was retained through word-of-mouth for nearly 600 years (Alma 54:17, 24) and those two histories differed greatly (Alma 54:21; 55:1);

20) There was a brother who did not combine with the league of three and led his people into the wilderness where the "warlike orientation of these footloose people was evidenced" – Laman separated from Nephi, Sam and Zoram and lived in the wilderness. Nephi described the Lamanites as "an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and seeking in the wilderness for beasts of prey" (2 Nephi 5:24), while Enos said they had an evil nature, were wild and ferocious, both bloodthirsty and full of idolatry and filthiness, and that they wandered in the wilderness (Enos 1:20).  He also said the Lamanites were continually seeking to destroy the Nephites;

21) These people of the one brother became adept at raiding the valley below -- Once king Mosiah fled northward to Zarahemla, the Lamanites took over the highland Land of Nephi and from that point on, the scriptures talk of the Lamanites going down to attack the Nephites (Words of Mormon 1:13; Alma 63:15; Helaman 1:15).  Obviously, the Lamanite lands of the Land of Nephi, which was to the south of Zarahemla (Alma 22:28), was in a highland valley at a greater elevation than the land of Zarahemla, thus, the Lamanites continually raided the valley below;

22) These people of the one brother perfected the ritual huarachicoy or breechcloth ceremony -- The Lamanites were described as going naked (Mosiah 10:8) except for a short skin girdle--breechcloth--about their loins (Enos 1:20);  

23) One brother was so brave and strong and skilled with weapons that the other two brothers were affronted and humiliated at not being able to match his feats --  Nephi was the one brother who felt capable of doing whatever was asked of him (1 Nephi 3:7, 15; 16:23; 17:50), was the better hunter for it was he that secured food along the trail when the bows broke (1 Nephi 16:30-31), was skilled with the bow and sling (1 Nephi 16:15), and obviously the most brave in following the directions of the Lord.  And in all this, Laman and Lemuel were affronted that a younger brother should rule over them (1 Nephi 18:10);  

24) They were galled by envy and sought to kill their brother -- Laman, Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael sought to kill Nephi on numerous occasions (1 Nephi 7:16; 17:48).  

Obviously, any hand-me-down legend is going to have a lot of things creep into it over such a long time, but the point is, there is a very consistent story of the events in 1st and 2nd Nephi with this Legend. When the Spanish chroniclers and historians recorded it from various sources, the comparison is remarkable among the separate sources that were not associated with each other in any way, and a remarkable parallel with the story of Lehi and his sons settling in the Land of Promise.

Also,  to be considered, is the fact that while such legends could make their way northward into Mesoamerica, there is no way they could have made their way southward into Peru and the Andes, since no movement is recorded in the annals of historic events, and since Peru and the Andes were settled long before Mesoamerica.

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