Monday, July 25, 2016

Coriantumr’s Stone History

One of the problems we find with the Mesoamerican theory, is that the theory drives the scriptural record, rather than the scriptural record driving the history. Take for example Coriantumr’s Stone, on which he engraved a brief history of his people during his nine month stay among the Mulekites in the area of Zarahemla. In one Mesoamerican article, it states that “When the people of Zarahemla met the elder Mosiah, they showed him a “large stone … with engravings on it” which stone, of course, is described by Amaleki, but instead of “showing it to Mosiah,” it was brought to Mosiah, which is not quite the same.    First of all, something shown to another person gives no idea of its size, portability, or weight. On the other hand, something brought to a person suggests, despite how it is described, it was small enough to be portable, and though it might have taken more than one person to carry it, it was carryable! And even thought Amaleki described it as a “large stone” it was still portable!
(LtoR) Stela 5 Ixkun at Peten, Guatemala 8.7 feet high and 3.3 feet wide; stela 2 Ixtgonton at Peten, 6.9 feet high by 3.9 feet; Stela E at Quiriguá, 35 feet high, weighing 60 tons—none of which could be carried
    Is this important? Well, let’s take  Mesoamerica for a moment. In this civilization, the cultures engraved large stones, called stela (stelae plural) that were 20-feet, 23-feet, 26-feet, etc. The point is, to equate the stone Coriantumr carved upon as a stationary stela, it suggests a connection to the huge stone stelaes of the Mayan. So in bringing Coriantumr’s stone to Mosiah, it dispels any such connection and suggests a smaller stone upon which the Jaredite wrote down his brief history.
    However, that is not the entire story. As Great Lakes people point out, while Mesoamerica is a culture that throughout writes their history on stone, the Nephites did not, neither did the Jaredites. Both recorded their histories on metal plates. In fact, Nephi tells us quite plainly that "if my people desire to know the more particular part of the history of my people they must search mine other plates." And King Benjamin told his sons that were it not for the history on plates they would have dwindled in unbelief. The Nephites did not write on stones or stelaes, or record their history on such, yet in Mesoamerica, that is all they used—there are no metal plates found there or even metal work of any kind prior to about 900 A.D.
An artists’ rendition of Coriantumr writing on stone; however, the size of the stone would not have been that large. The point is, he had to write on stone because he did not have access to metal plates
    Consequently, when Coriantumr reached the Mulekites, an illiterate people with no written records, therefore, no metal plates on which they engraved, the Jaredite survivor was left engraving his brief history on stone. It is the only example of writing on stone found in the entire scriptural record of the Book of Mormon. It is interesting that while Mesoamericanists consider the writing on stone stelaes as proof of their matching the scriptural record, as Brant A. Gardner writes in Second Witness: Gardner explained, “Mesoamerica is unique in the Western Hemisphere for its writing systems. … Part of that tradition includes inscriptions on stelae, or large stones” (Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City, UT: Greg Kofford Books, 2007–2008), 3:64)
    As though Nephi had not spoken of where to find the information about Nephite kings, John L. Sorenson writes that “most stelae [in Mesoamerica] were meant to memorialize the king and his accomplishments,” which rather than support the Book of Mormon, actually runs contrary to it as mentioned above when Nephi says the story of their kings would be found on the large plates. 
In fact, it is claimed that “The impetus to erect stelae first came in the Middle Formative (900–300 BC) among the Olmec, when efforts to record history also developed. Stelae at La Venta depict historical rulers attired in regalia that symbolized and reinforce the office and power of an early king” (Miller and Taube, An Illustrared Dictionary of the God andsumbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya, p157), and by 400 B.C., stelae typically focused on a king or ruler depicting him as a warrior, providing a record of his actions, and listing of the ruler’s ancestors. However, as late as Amaleki we have an unbroken record (Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Omni) by several recorders that were obeying Nephi’s injunction to write on the plates—so why would we feel that writing about the kings on rock stelae would be consistent with the scriptural record?
    It is also interesting that the author of the website calls attention in a footnote to the fact that Kerry Hull, “War Banners: A Mesoamerican context for the Title of Liberty,” p109: “The seemingly uninspiring description of the monument as simply a ‘large stone’ may actually be significant. The ancient Maya word for “stela” was lakam-tuun, literally translated as ‘large stone.’ While possibly merely coincidental, that the precise designation of ‘large stone’ for a carved monument with writing on it would be given in the Book of Mormon as well as in myriads of ancient Maya texts is further indication of a shared cultural and linguistic origin” (Hull, “War Banners, 117 n.107 credits Mark Wright with first making the observation in a 2006 Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum Conference).
Flags, hanging banners and other such patriotic or inspiring insignia has as much more in common with lakam-tuun than does the term ‘large stone’ 
     First of all, the term “lakam-tuun” literally means “banner stone,” and can actually mean “flag,” “standard,” which in reality is far more suggestive of a banner or flag depicting an event or patriotic meaning than “large” for stone. Secondly, the problem with Hull’s thinking is that the term “large stone” is just about all that could be said in any language of a stone upon which someone is to carve or engrave a history of his life, thus we find making a correlation between two events that are neither remarkable nor out of the ordinary in any way and trying to tie them together to reach a correlation.
    As Hull writes of his own idea: “The possibility remains that the stela glyph literally reads “banner stone.” That is, stelae were conceived as standards made of stone. We can easily imagine large flags and banners decorating plazas and architecture (as graffiti at Tikal and elsewhere explicitly shows).” Consequently, rather than be a tie in for Mesoamerican connection between history and the Book of Mormon, the idea actually separates the two, since unlike the Book of Mormon who engraved on metal to record their histories and especially the record of their kings, the Mesoamerican cultures engraved on huge stones where not a single instance outside Coriantumr is recorded or even suggested in the scriptural record.
    However, true to his Mesoamerican stand despite no scriptural support, Hull goes on to say: “The more scholars learn about Mesoamerican stelae, the more comfortably Coriantumr’s stela fits the description,” yet, actual banners and flags among the Aztecs at the time of the Spanish invasion were both common and extensive. According to John Pohl and Charles M. RobinsonI II, Aztecs and Conquistadores: The Spanish Invasion and the Collapse of the Aztec Empire (Osprey Publishing, Great Britain, 2005, p75) banners and flags were described in great detail and were used by the Aztec warrior and “essential to coordinating troop movements.” According to the Codex Mendoza (History of the Aztec rulers and their conquests, and description of daily Aztec life in traditional Aztec pictograms with Spanish explanations, 1535), the quaxeletl banner was umbrella-like in shape and was produced in yellow, blue and green.
Top Left: Aztec battle line with the (yellow arrow) tlescocomoctli raised to signal formations; Top Right: Aztec battling Spaniard with a club in one hand and the (yellow arrow) battle flag in the other; Bottom: Aztec warrior wearing a vexiloid, or flag. The veiloid were the ancestor of what we know as flags (vexilloid) 
    The point is, inaccurate statements or misleading ideas have no place in writing about the scriptural record. The stelae found in Mesoamerica were not “large rocks” but “banners and flags” meant to convey a message, and among warriors, formations and battle messages, as well as pomp and ceremony for battle preparation.

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