Monday, August 28, 2017

A Peruvian -Mesoamerican Legend: Leaving Tulan Bountiful – Part III

    Mesoamericanists claim a flint knife and a bat are two examples of these symbols. According to Zelia Nuttall, the flint knife, or Tecpatl, was the symbol used to represent the supreme pontiff, or religious leader, of one of the seven tribes” (p126-129). Also, Dr. Warren has suggested that the seven tribes were separated by the birth-water glyph with three tribes on the left and four tribes on the right-hand side. One of the name-glyphs identifying a tribal chief is the flint knife, or Tecpatl. He has singled out this section of the monument and observed: “The highlighted portions illustrate seven tribes or lineages.  
    Mesoamericanists also claim that the word for flint in Hebrew is Zoram” (p8), that is, the actual word for flint in Hebrew is challamish (klal-law-meesh’), which means “flint” or “flinty” and is so translated as flint, usually “rock of flint” or “my face like flint” or “flinty rock” in five passages in Deuteronomy, Job, Psalm and Isaiah. However, zoram does not mean “flint,” but is the Hebrew word ṣûr, meaning "rock, cliff face.” The vocable ṣûr also appears in several biblical personal names, such as Zur ṣûr "Rock" (Numbers 25:15), Zuriel, ṣûrî-ʾēl "El (God) is my rock" (Numbers 3:35). Thus zoram means “the Rock is the divine kinsman,” “Rock of the people,” and “Their Rock.” It is claimed that zoram also means “The one who is exalted,” and “[The diety] has flooded forth.” It is most closely related in a name to Aminadab in the Book of Mormon. It should be noted that of the numerous words and meanings associated with zoram, the word “flint” is not one of them.
Left: Dark Blue Circle: Flint Knife; Light Blue Circle: Depicted in the larger image to the (right) which shows the seven tribes or heads and the water flow between them

Mesoamericanists ask if the flint glyph “Zoram” is one tribal head. Could the other three glyphs possibly represent Nephi, Jacob and Joseph? One of the other three glyphs on the right side is a bat glyph.  Diane Wirth informs us: “Ixtlilxochitl, a Chichimec king, claimed he was born in the Cave of a Bat. The Cakchiquel Maya were also descended from the tribe of the bat; it was their tribal totem. The symbol is said to have been the tribal emblem in Chiapas (Mexico) from ages past” (p129). Consequently, we need to keep in mind that this assumption or claim is not justified by connecting zoram to the word flint.
    The seven tribes in the Book of Mormon were divided on almost every issue before they ever arrived in the Promised Land. For example, while crossing the sea, it was Laman, Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael and their families who bound Nephi with cords (1 Nephi 18:11-17). A Maya tribe in highland Guatemala seems to be saying that they weren’t descended from the rebellious three tribes. In an address by Elder Milton R. Hunter in General Conference, November 1954, we read the following quote from the Annals of the Cakchiquels: “I shall write the stories of our first fathers and grandfathers...that from the other side of the sea we came to the place called Tulan (Bountiful)...Thus, then we were four families who arrived at Tulan, we the Cakciquel people, our sons! So they told us” (Hunter, 1954: p. 916. Emphasis added).
    In recording information about their people and where they came from, the Maya left us clues that connect them with the saga of the Book of Mormon. They claim these connections are clear and undisputable, however, as we read further in this series we will see that not all their claims ring true.
    As the startling fact that in their histories, the Maya used the word Tulan which meant abundance or bountiful to describe the place of their ancestors’ departure from the earlier world. 
The Book of Mormon also calls the place they left from on their voyage to the Land of Promise was Bountiful. The travelers brought that name (bountiful) with them and continued to use it to identify places in their promised land until one of the major divisions of their home land bore the name Bountiful. In modern Mesoamerica one need only look at a map to see the remnants of this root word Tulan, still being used today. There are many Tulans or Tulas still in this land, locations designated as a place of abundance or simply bountiful. More on this later.
    The tradition that these native people of Central America originally came from the old world near Babylonia is a profound correlation as well. Learning more about the Maya language and the stone monuments uncovers additional information about their beginnings that link them to Book of Mormon names and characters. This is impressive circumstantial evidence supporting the historicity of the Book of Mormon and, when added to the growing volume of like material being proposed by LDS Mesoamerican researchers, the accumulating mountain of evidence in support of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon is very compelling
    In fully understanding this legend of Mesoamerica, we need to look further into its meaning that just the surface level of which Christiansen, Hunter, et all have done. As an example, we know that Lehi left Bountiful and sailed for a New World, or the Land of Promise. We also know that the Land of Promise had a city named Bountiful in it. However, what seems to be forgotten by Mesoamerican theorists, is that we neither have a name for Lehi’s landing site in the Land of Promise, and that Bountiful in the Land of Promise was far to the north of where Lehi landed and the area Mormon referred to as the Land of First Inheritance (Alma 22:28). 
    In taking this further, there is no reason why Lehi would have named his landing site Bountiful—there is no indication that this landing site in the Land of Promise was full of honey and fruit, as Nephi tells us the area along the shores of Irreantum in Arabia contained.
    Yet, Mesoamerican theorists, misunderstanding the full meaning of this legend, fail to recognize the actual origination site of the ones who sailed to Tulan from Bountiful. They claim this land of first inheritance was a land of bountiful, quoting Nephi in his planting and harvesting of his seeds he brought from Jerusalem, therefore, they say, “the new land also was (Tulan) a place of much fruit and honey, a bountiful land, a land of abundance. The name stuck and they continued by tradition throughout their history to name some of their most productive and blessed areas after their beloved old world place of departure, bountiful.” However, this is simply not reasonable. 

Images of the Pacific coast coastal area of Guatemala where Mesoamericanists claim Lehi landed, and if so, there would have been no abundance or bounty of fruit, honey or plants since the entire area is a jungle, with mangrove swamps, and dense foliage
First of all, the Mesoamericanists claim the area of First Landing was along the Guatemala coast, which is a jungle area, where no seeds from Jerusalem would have grown then or grown today.  There is simply no way this first location would have been considered in Mesoamerica as a bountiful area. Second, there is no indication anywhere in the entire scriptural record that any place other than the City of Bountiful in the northern extremes of the Land Southward ever was called bountiful in any way.
    In fact, we have no indication that Bountiful in this northern area was called such until we hear it from Mormon’s insertion into the book of Alma, which covered a period around 77 B.C. (Alma 22:29), and not from any mention in the regular narrative until when the land of Jershon was being set aside for the people of Anti-Lehi-Nephi (Alma 27:22). Nor do we know why it acquired that name, since no special bountiful properties are identified with that city or land.
(See the next post, “A Peruvian -Mesoamerican Legend: Leaving Tulan Bountiful –  Part III,” for more on this original legend and the tie-in to Peru)

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