Sunday, June 9, 2013

About the Mulekites Among the Olmec - Part I

There have been several questions and comments regarding the Mulekite-Jaredite-Olmec theory sent to our website that deserves a continuity of answers, which are stated and given below:
Comment: “According to ancient Indian legends a people, which I believe were the Mulekites, came from the east. Quoting Bernardino Sahagun, an early Spanish historian: From what can be gathered from probable conjectures, the people first came to settle this land from the direction of Florida, and came coasting along the coast disembarking in the port of Panuco which they call Panuco, which means 'place where those arrived who crossed the water.' Khariton.
Response:  Fray Bernardino de Ribeira de Shagun was a Franciscan friar, missionary priest and pioneering ethnographer who participated in the Catholic evangelization of colonial New Spain, now known as Mexico. He was born in Sahagun, Spain, in 1499 and came to Mexico at the age of 30. He spent more than fifty years studying the Aztec beliefs, culture and history. Though primarily a missionary, he documented indigenous Aztec worldview and culture, which earned him the title “the first anthropologist.” He is perhaps best known as the author of Historia general de las cosas de la Nueva EspaƱa (General History of the Things of New Spain) usually referred to as Historia General. While certainly an educated guess, his “probably conjecture” of the Olmec arriving via Florida is still little more than a guess, or one of the probabilities of his studies of ancient Indian legends.
Continuing comment: “The (Mulekite) people came across the Gulf of Mexico in search of the terrestrial paradise and they had as a family name Tamoanchan, which means 'we are looking for our home.' They landed at Panuco, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, they would have found themselves among, or adjacent to, groups of Jaredites.
Response: First of all, Shahagun would never have heard of the Mulekites, would not have known Mulek escaped from Jerusalem, or any arriving group on the coast of Mexico from Florida would have involved Jewish refugees escaping the Babylonian war—this idea belongs to the reader, not Sahagun.
Top Left: The Dung Gate of the city of Jerusalem around 1940 before it was enlarged in 1952, and again in 1967 (Right). The Gate is on the southside of the Old City, and originally was a small, unimportant gate dating back to at least 638 B.C. Directly behind the gate lies the entrance to the Western Wall compound. It was originally called Sha’ar Ha’ashpot (Nehemiah 3:13-14). It may have been the portal of escape for Mulek and his entourage in 587 B.C. Bottom: Note the gate in the middle of the image, though it is on the eastern end of the wall…to the southeast was open ground in the time of Mulek, with Hezekiah’s Tunnel to the east outside the gate, all of which would have facilitated an escape in that direction toward the Red Sea
Secondly, there is no reference to the Mulekites having been in, around, or from Florida—we know absolutely nothing about them except “the people of Zarahemla came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon. And they 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 1:15-16). And where Mosiah found them was in the Land Southward, south of the Land of Bountiful, a great distance from the land of the Jaredites. Thus, they were neither among or adjacent to the Jaredites.
Continuing Comment: “In such a situation, it is likely that there would have been conflict. The scripture mentions that ‘they had had many wars and serious contentions, and had fallen by the sword from time to time.’ This may have occurred among themselves, but it is just as likely that it would have been at an earlier time and with outsiders.
Response: First, the Mulekites were never around the Jaredites as Amaleki tells us that they settled in the land (Land of Zarahemla) where Mosiah found them. Second, had Mulek and those who came with him landed among or near the Jaredites, one would think it would have been mentioned in the record of Ether. Still, the handful of Mulekites, not numbering more than 100 and probably less, would have been annihilated by the warring Jaredites who were a powerful people, large of stature “and mighty men as to the strength of men” (Ether 15:26).
Continuing Comment: “I suspect that they were a minority among a majority population of Jaredites.”
Response: They would have been less than a hundred people in the midst of a nation numbering in the millions. There is no suggestion from the Jaredite history that this nation of millions would have tolerated the presence of another people in their midst—especially one of such a puny status. Jaredite history was rampant with aggression, murder, wars, stealing and taking back empires, etc. They were not a tolerant people, nor did they delight in sharing their kingdom, even among themselves, let along with outsiders.
Continuing Comment: “In such a case they would have been required to learn the Jaredite language and may have even been under tribute or worse still, servitude.
Response: There is no possibility they had anything to pay any tribute, and if spared, obviously would have been enslaved.
Continuing Comment: “This would have been their lot for 200-300 years. The new generations would have learned the dominant language, gradually losing the old.”
Response: If the Mulekites had learned the Jaredite language (and losing their own), they would have been able to understand Coriantumr, and be able to interpret his stone engraving. Obviously, they had to have Mosiah interpret it and, just as obviously, by default, show they did not know the Jaredite language.
Continuing Comment: “This would have gone on until the final Jaredite wars, about 300-200 BC. At that time some, or all of them, escaped the chaos and fled to the safe haven of Zarahemla in the wilderness.”
Response: With several million dead already, and with both Jaredite armies spending four years gathering to them every soul in the land (Ether 15:12-14), including all their wives and children (Ether 15:15), the Mulekites, after 200 to 300 years of increasing their numbers, would have been pressed into the war, and certainly not allowed to escape into the wilderness. Nor would they have been able to get past millions of military warriors, including armed men, women and children (Ether 15:15) searching for people, to escape to the south!
Continuing Comment: “Their leader at this time was Zarahemla, a descendant of Mulek.  Although he was their nominal leader, he doesn't appear to have been regarded as a king.”
Response: Nephi refused to be called king, but there is no question he was the powerful leader of the Nephites during his lifetime (2 Nephi 5:18), and those who followed him were called kings (Jacob 1:9). In addition, we do not know what the name Zarahemla means—it could have been the Mulekite equivalent of King, like Rome adapted Caesar as their term for king or ruler. There is also nothing in the scriptural record to suggest that Zarahemla was a weak or nominal leader. This was an idea first suggested by John L. Sorenson, and since adopted by other Theorists.
(See the next post, “About the Mulekites Among the Olmec-Part II,” for more information regarding questions and comments sent to our website and their answers)

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