Monday, September 4, 2017

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

Continuing from the previous post regarding the legend that ties in South America to Mesoamerica and shows that the Peruvian Andes were the Book of Mormon home of the Nephites and that those who went north in Hagoth’s ships traveled to Mesoamerica.
Hagoth’s ships of immigrants “took their course northward” (Alma 63:5)

This first century B.C. existence of metallurgy in Mesoamerica coincides perfectly with Hagoth’s immigrants who set sail from the land of promise in 55-54 B.C. (Alma 63:5-8). And since Nephi taught metallurgy to his people as early as about 575 B.C. (2 Nephi 5:15) and Nephites were practicing the trade as late as 25 B.C. (Helaman 6:9), Hagoth’s immigrants would have been fully knowledgeable and experienced in such crafts. Rather than try to spend time explaining away why no record of metallurgy is found in Mesoamerica before the last century B.C., perhaps Mesoamerican Theorists and scholars would do well to find a different setting for their models—one that fits all the scriptural references of Lehi’s land of promise.
    Such lack of metallurgy in Mesoamerican suggests that the area was not actually settled by Nephites until around the time of Christ or a little before. This coincides with the time frame when Hagoth’s emigrants would have reached their northern port and began colonizing the area of their new lands (Alma 63:4). These Nephite immigrants would have brought with them:
1. Available records and books of the Nephites (Helaman 3:15);
2. A knowledge and understanding of Creation down through their present time, including a history of the Jews and their customs (1 Nephi 5:11-12);
3. Memory, tradition and written records of the Lamanite-Nephite wars, including the history of the Nephite, Lamanite, Mulekite and Jaredite origins (Alma 63:12);
4. Knowledge of priesthood leadership and democratic government (Mosiah 29:25-38; Alma 51:7);
5. Righteous attitudes, well founded in the gospel;
6. Artistic ability, written language and engraving techniques;
7. Agricultural plants (seeds), domestic skills and abilities, including great skill in weaving (Alma 4:6; Mosiah 10:5);
8. Building skills, crafts and trades, including a knowledge of metallurgy and the working of precious ores (Helaman 3:7; 6:11, while speaking of the Nephites who remained in the promised land, shows the skill level of the Nephites in general, and the type of skill no doubt possessed by Hagoth’s emigrants in their new lands).

Top: Peruvian buildings of antiquity; Bottom: Later Mesoamerican buildings
One of the interesting evidences that shows up in Mesoamerica to support Central America as a later immigrant occupation area rather than the original landing site is found in the custom of naming places after the original founder or ruler that settled there. Ixtlilxochotl, writing around the end of the 16th century and speaking of the original peoples, the Chichimecatl, from whom, he claims, all others in Mesoamerica descended, says:
    “In each place where the Chichimecatl settled, whether it be a large city or a small village, it was their custom to name it according to the first king or leader who possessed the land. This same custom prevailed among the Tultecas. The general area was called the Land of Tullan, after the first king who was so named.”
    According to Ixtlilxochotl, Chichimecatl, the first settler from the Tower of Babel, called the land originally after his name. This same custom is found among the Nephites:
    Now it was the custom of the people of Nephi to call their lands, and their cities, and their villages, yea, even all their small villages, after the name of him who first possessed them; and thus it was with the land of Ammonihah. (Alma 8:7)
    To put this in perspective, the Jaredites came from Mesopotamia around 2116 B.C., long before Abraham’s time. Yet it was after Abraham before Hebrews and Arab culture began. And it was Hebrew-Arabic tradition that began the practice.
    “It was an ancient Hebrew-Arabic practice in the Near East to name places after the original settler, lord or king” (T. Canaan, Studies in Topography and Folklore of Petra, Journal Palest Or Society, Vol 9, 1929, pp 138-218; E. H. Palmer, The Desert of the Exodus, 1871, Vol 1, p 20).
    Consequently, any mention of this custom in Mesoamerica associated with the first peoples to come into the land could only be naming later Nephites since the Jaredites would not have known or used this custom and passed it on to their followers. By way of explanation, in the Beginning of Jaredite times in the Book of Ether, Nimrod was in the land of Shinar, and named his first cities Babel, Erech, Addad, and Calneh—none had to do with his own name. It was the Lord that called the valley he sent Jared and his brother to with their friends, the Valley of Nimrod, which may or may not have been the actual name it was known by to Nimrod and his people—obviously, it was not the practice of the people in Mesopotamia in Jaredite times to call lands, cities, or buildings after a leader (the Tower was never known as Nimrod’s Tower, but rather, the Tower of Babel, or the Babylonian Tower)
Left: Chan Chan, the largest city of the pre-Columbian era in South America near Trujillo, Peru; Right: Paquime, Casas Grandes, in northern Mexico, which reached its apogee in the 14th and 15th centuries A.D. Note the similarity in construction
This again supports the Hagoth emigrants, bringing Nephite customs and culture to Mesoamerica, not Jaredites—Chichimecatl from the Tower of Babel, or any other Jaredite.
    If Mesoamerica was really settled by Hagoth’s immigrants in the first century B.C., where is Lehi’s land of promise? Obviously, we need to look south of where Hagoth’s ships would have landed, since they “set their course northward” (Alma 63:6) upon leaving the west coast of the narrow neck of land. South of Mesoamerica, of course, is the continent of South America which, as has been pointed out, was not always as large, with most everything to the east of the Andes mountains underwater at one time.
    It should also be kept in mind that while Mesoamerica researchers struggle to find support of dates before the time of Christ, in South America “hard” evidence dates are much older. At Paloma, just south of Lima in the Andean foothills of Peru, archaeologists have discovered remnants of the oldest known village in the Americas and the remains of ancient Peruvian peoples have been found along many water courses across the desert, the arid sands preserving their fascinating artifacts (Cothe A. Burland, Peru Under the Incas, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, N.Y., 1967, p96).
Kotosh: an archaeological site near Huanuco, Peru, containing a series of buildings with six periods of continuous occupation, dating from 1200 B.C.
Stone buildings were erected at Kotosh, with a highly developed culture evident by 900 B.C. (Earl H. Swanson, Warwick Bray, and Ian Farrington, The Ancient Americas, Peter Bedrick Books, N.Y., 1989, pp121-122).
    The Book of Mormon describes extensive migration north of the narrow neck (Helaman 3:3-4), but there is no mention of such a major migration recorded by Ixtlilxochitl in the “so-called” Mesoamerica land northward (An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, p175).
    It would appear, then, that the Nephite emigrants in Mesoamerica, obviously made up of Nephites and Lamanites during the peaceful years between them, repeated the same dissension-contention-war cycle that plagued the Jaredites (Ether 7:5, 20; 8:5; 9:6,12; 10:9, 32;), Mulekites (Omni 1:17), and the Nephites in the land of promise. In the case of the Jaredites and Mulekites, as with the Mesoamerica emigrants, there was no “other” people to create this contention. It may have been over political issues as with the king-men (Alma 51:5) or unwillingness to accept the will of the people as in the case of the Amlicites (Alma 2:7-8) and Paanchi (Helaman 1:7), or it may have been over the same righteous/evil differentiation which split the Nephites after over 200 years of peace when a “great division among the people” occurred (4 Nephi 1:35), which was over those who were not part of the Church calling themselves Lamanites and those who were loyal to God, calling themselves Nephites (4 Nephi 36-38).
Another split among the Nephites, with those declaring Nephite descent and those declaring themselves Lamanites

Whatever the reason, Ixtlilxochitl states that the immigrants that came from Bountiful-land were forced by their enemy to migrate from place to place during the 4th century A.D., which he claimed was “an era of war.” During this time, many new cities and lands were occupied, some near the seashore “lands of the coast and arms of the sea.”
    Like all histories dependent upon both fact and legend, Ixtlilxochitl mixes both the histories of the immigrants and their stories of their ancestors’ experiences in the land of promise. His writings are full of a mixture of Nephite-Lamanite wars set in the land of promise, but occasionally confused with settings inconsistent with Book of Mormon geography and events.
    He describes a great astrologer (a word meaning philosopher anciently) by the name of Hueman, who Hunter and Ferguson suggest might be Mormon, who negotiates a treaty between seven tribes “two principal leaders and five minor ones” because it was not wise to stay so near their enemies.
    He found in his astrology that the land to the east was extensive and prosperous and they traveled to some islands and seashore by canoe and boats and remained celibic for 23 years, sacrificing young maidens—which is obviously not an act of the prophet-warrior Mormon.
(See the next post, “A Peruvian -Mesoamerican Legend: Leaving Tulan Bountiful –  Part XI,” for more on this original legend and the tie-in to Peru)


  1. So all of this begs the question. Who came? Were they Nephites, Lamanites, or both? When the Spanish came the people were Lamanite. Did they destroy the Nephites as they did in South America? Interesting questions. Do the legends say anything about this?

  2. I remember seeing a mural depicting both light and dark skinned people. I believe it was found in MesoAmerica. Does this ring a bell with anyone? I suspect both Nephites and Lamanites came. If so what happened to the nephites? Or were they simply integrated into the Lamanites after 1500 years in MesoAm.

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  4. @ Iterry,

    "I remember seeing a mural depicting both light and dark skinned people".

    I remember seeing the mural you mentioned. I do not remember what site I saw it on, but I do remember it.

    The mural is in a national museum in Mexico City I think. Going by memory so no one hold me to it.


    Iterry- here's a link to many murals from buildings and codexes from mesoamerica showing both white and dark skinned people. (I know the link looks cut off, but it is correct). (First I've ever seen this web site but it's pretty good. He leans toward a mesoamerican model but correctly points out that the church has not taken a position and does include some South American evidences of the Book of Mormon as well).

    As for who was on the ships- I don't think we know for sure beyond what is in Alma 63:4 which says people came north from the land of Zarahemla (although assumed it does not say they are the ones that went on Hagoth's ships). Nephites were on the first boat. Then other people went- it does not say who. It's probably safe to assume that all were Nephites and not the warring Lamanites they were trying to get away from. Del mentioned once before that there were converted Lamanites (the people of Ammon) living in the land of Zarahemla at this time. It is feasible that at least some of them came north and entered Hagoth's ships. They had already fled their homeland once when they followed Ammon. they may be at least as willing as others to go establish a new home.

    Alma 63: 4 And it came to pass that in the thirty and seventh year of the reign of the judges, there was a large company of men, even to the amount of five thousand and four hundred men, with their wives and their children, departed out of the land of Zarahemla into the land which was anorthward.

    5 And it came to pass that Hagoth, he being an aexceedingly curious man, therefore he went forth and built him an exceedingly large ship, on the borders of the land bBountiful, by the land Desolation, and launched it forth into the west sea, by the cnarrow neck which led into the land northward.

    6 And behold, there were many of the Nephites who did enter therein and did sail forth with much provisions, and also many women and children; and they took their course northward. And thus ended the thirty and seventh year.

    7 And in the thirty and eighth year, this man built aother ships. And the first ship did also return, and many more people did enter into it; and they also took much provisions, and set out again to the land northward.

    1. That's it David, those are the murals I remember. Thanks for finding them.