Friday, July 17, 2015

A Legend of Ancient Peru—The Four Brothers Part III

Continuing with the legend from the previous two posts in which the legend itself was covered in the first post. Below is the explanation of that last post, and the connection to the Book of Mormon and the events listed there with Lehi arriving in the Land of Promise and how this legend grew out of the interaction of his four sons.
   The first fifteen points were covered previously. Below is the sixteenth point onward:
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 (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). These wars covered almost 1,000 years;
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" -- 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 vacated highland homes of the Nephites in the Land of Nephi.  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 22:28-34), 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 all the bows broke or lost their spring (1 Nephi 16:30-31), was skilled with the bow and sling (1 Nephi 16:15), and obviously the most steadfast and brave in following the directions of the Lord.  And in all this, Laman and Lemuel were affronted that their 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 several occasions (1 Nephi 7:16; 17:48)
    It is also interesting that often in this legend, though speaking of the four brothers, only three are mentioned—typically the good one and the two not-so-good ones. This parallels the situation with Nephi and his two wayward brothers, Laman and Lemuel, with Sam, the fourth brother hardly mentioned, if at all in the entire scriptural record.
    It should also be noted that of the several legends surrounding ancient Peru, even those later adopted by the Inca to promote their manufactured history, there is frequent mention of four brothers, and sometimes three brothers.
We should also keep in mind that just before his death, Lehi blessed his children (2 Nephi 1:1 to 2 Nephi 4:11).  A careful reading of the order will show that at this time Father Lehi organized his posterity into tribal groups, like Father Jacob had organized ancient Israel into 12 tribes.  These seven tribes were:  Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites, Zoramites, Lamanites, Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites (Jacob 1:13; 4 Nephi 1:38; Mormon 1:8).  In this manner Lehi organized a household of God (2 Nephi 4:12) like Jacob (Genesis 49).  Father Lehi was to the Nephites what Father Abraham was to Israel (Enos 1:25; Mosiah 1:4; 2:34; Alma 9:9; 18:36; 36:22; 56:3; Helaman 8:22; 3 Nephi 10:17).  Thus there were actually 7 tribes in the land of promise throughout, yet there were, originally, ten heads of households (adding Lehi, Sam [which was joined tribally with Nephi] and the two sons of Ishmael, though both occupied one tribe).  It should be noted that there was never, at any time, a tribe of Mulek or Mulekites--these were adopted into the Nephite lineage as were Sam's descendants.
    Thus, in these legends, we find a comparison with the groupings of the scriptural record with that of handed down histories (legends) over the centuries of early Peruvian occupants found within seven distinct tribal categories. 
    These tribal groups in the scriptural record are: There were ten men who stood as heads of families:  Lehi, Laman, Lemuel, Sam, Nephi, Jacob, Joseph, Zoram, and the 2 sons of Ishmael; however, only seven as heads of tribal groups: 1) Laman, 2) Lemual, 3) Ishmaelite sons, 4) Nephi, 5) Jacob, 6 Joseph, and 7) Zoram. This seven parallels an ancient myth of Manco Capac. In fact, the Inca, in their formulating their early legends, always dealt with brothers, typically four, but sometimes seven, and especially “four brothers accompanied by their four sisters-wives.”
    In repeating what was written earlier, it is interesting that, despite these numerous and documented matches to the scriptural record listed here in the last five posts, John L. Sorenson and other Mesoamerican theorists claim that there is “no other possibility for the Land of Promise other than Mesoamerica.” In fact, Sorenson claims that:
    “Ingenious and impassioned arguments have been mustered in support of other theorized areas (from the Great Lakes to Peru or encompassing the entire hemisphere) as the scene for Nephite history. But every proposed geographical setting other than Mesoamerica fails to meet the criteria established by the text of Mormon's account.”
    It is hard to believe anything could be found to match the scriptural record more than what has been listed in these five posts regarding Andean South America.


  1. Why was Sam not established as a tribe?

  2. I can only guess that he had daughters only (?)

  3. David: Good question. We are not told. Sam was in the same type of roll that was Hyrum Smith. A good, stalwart, upstanding brother that willingly took the background and supported his brother in all things, including martyrdom. Lehi understood Sam's nature and heart and realized he would be in the background to Nephi, and folded his posterity into the same line as that of Nephi, giving in a greater status than that of a mere brother, perhaps to keep later generations from claiming the birthright over Nephi's posterity.

  4. Paulo: An interesting thought. For some reason, Nephi did not give us mention of any of his children, other than they existed, and not of those of any of his siblings. We know very little of his sisters, except that they existed, any actually not even the number.