Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Believe What the Natives Tell You?

In an article sent to me recently, the first question startles the imagination when looking at the descriptive scriptural record left us by Mormon regarding the geography of the Land of Promise.

The question posed was: "Have we overlooked the obvious?" Which is followed with two startling rules: "First, believe the Book of Mormon; and second, believe what the natives tell you."

The article then goes on to tell us that "this is a puzzle to be solved. The solution does not belong to the archaeologists alone, not to the anthropologists alone, not even to the epigraphers alone, not to the molecular biologists who are tracking DNA of the human family, and not even to the Book of Mormon scholars alone. Anyone who is too proud to admit evidence from each of these camps will be boxed out of the complete solution space and meet with failure in trying to unravel the past."

Drawing upon a work entitled "The Lords of Totonicapan, written in 1554 A.D., in the Quiche language claimed to have been done by 15 elders of the Quiche Indians, it was later translated using Spanish characters, and then in 1834 A.D. into Spanish by the Catholic Father Dionisio Jose Chonay and added to the court's register of public instruments. In 1860 Abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg came across the translation and recognizing its value, made a copy, which he used in his work. This copy, after his death, was acquired by Alphonse Pinart and later passed to Comte de Charancey who translated it and published it in French and Spanish. This material was later collected and published by E. Renault de Broise at Alencon in 1885.

Kaqhikel Mayans--the Mayan branch of the Mexican family. Their language is closely associated with the Quiche language. The Kaqhikel Chronicles consist of rare highland Maya texts, which trace the oral Kaqchikel Maya history from their legendary departure from Tollan/Tulan through their migrations, wars, and Spanish rule

Today, the whereabouts of the original Quiche text is unknown. Recinos made his translation in 1953 A.D. from Chonay's translation. The original transmittal letter for the translation was signed by Dionisio Jose Chonay. In it, he said: "Translation of the attached manuscript, written in the Quiche language by those who signed it in the year 1554, in accordance with the tradition held by their ancestors."

This writing contains a history of the creation, the posterity of Adam, following in every respect the same order as in Genesis, and the sacred books and many events down to the captivity in Babylonia. Chonay writes in his letter, quoting Recinos (1953), that the people of Mesoamerica were descendants of Israel, leaving there sometime after Shalmaneser was king (727-722 B.C.), and being reduced to perpetual captivity and who, finding themselves on the border of Assyria, resolved to emigrate.

The rest of the history deals with three Quiche tribes that "came from the other part of the sea, from the East, from Pa-Tulan, Pa-Civan. They came from where the sun rises, descendants of Israel, of the same language and the same customs." While the writing is of interest, the subject is thoroughly covered in the author's book, Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica, in which the names, travel, and existence of these "Israelites" in Mesoamerica is clearly answered, along with those of Fernando de Alva Cortes Ixtlilxochitl--who, by the way, erroneously claimed 5229 B.C. for the Creation date, 3513 B.C. for the Flood, 3097 B.C. for the departure date from the tower (by the Jaredites) and their arrival in 2993 B.C.--and other early writers of the Conquest to show how these ancient traditions of ancestors coming from the East fits in with the South America landing and location of the Book of Mormon Land of Promise, and that those in Mesoamerica were their descendants who came north "to a land which was northward," in Hagoth's ships in the last century B.C.

The point here is that Mesoamerican Theorists so often want to marginalize the scriptural record by using in their place the writings of men which do not predate the 1400s A.D., especially writings that have been based solely on the traditions of their ancestors passed down orally for a thousand years or so.

Let's take, for example, all of these writings and lump them together to show the type of credibility they should be given. Ixtlilxochitl was one of the first, himself an indigenous Mexican nobleman, historian and author, who lived from around 1570 to 1650, the son of Ixtlilxochitl II, who Herman Cortes placed on the throne of Texcoco in 1520, and who was the great grandson of Ixtlilxochitl I, who was the tlatoani, or ruler, of the central Mexican city-state of Texcoco from 1409 to 1418. Upon the death of his eldest brother, Fernando de Alva Cortez Ixtlilxochitl, acquired the names, titles and possessions of his family.

(See the next post, "The Writings of Ixtlilxochitl," to see where they  belong when comparing them with Mormon's scriptural record--and whether or not we should "believe what the natives tell us")

No comments:

Post a Comment