Thursday, August 31, 2017

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

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. 
    In the summer months a low mist envelops the top of the hills in the Andes. In fact, six to eight months of overcast skies and frequent dense fogs are the rule over much of the Peruvian coast. In the north, warm currents called the El Nino change the water temperature which causes rainfall and an increase in rain in the highlands and stretching to the rain forest, which adds to the fog shrouded hills and mountains, and a dense fog develops along the coast—this generates a system of “fog catchers,” screens set up all over the hills and mountains to harvest the mist into liquid form. Generally speaking, Peru is considered to have a wet climate throughout the country.
Peruvian Fog Catcher Screens cover the hills and mountains made of special nets within frames designed to catch the moisture and provide precious water

Even very early accounts show that Peru was often covered with a water mist due primarily to a broad mass of cold water, the Peru or Humboldt Current, which makes its way out of the Antarctic up along the South American coast as far as the continent's western jut near Ecuador, and then sweeps off into the Pacific. This current chills and draws moisture out of the winds from the Pacific, and makes itself a roof of clouds and fog that covers the entire coast.
The Humboldt (or Peruvian) Current swings up the coast of South America and is then forced out into the Pacific around southern Peru to become part of the Southern Equatorial Current gyre
As soon as the sun moves north of the equator, damp but rainless clouds and mists cover the dried up coast lands. The southern half of Peru is covered by a heavy fog, which is frequently accompanied by a light, drizzling rain during the months of June to September. While this coastal stretch of land is covered with mist in the summer months, it rains frequently in the Andean mountains along the entire chain. In the rainy season the atmosphere is lead-heavy from the almost constant downpour, and along the Pampa de Anta, it always rains. The rain is so heavy in the central area of the old Inca empire of Cuzco, the grounds becomes a quagmire, and the severe rains in Ecuador fall in zones that are sharply cut off one from another, and frequently dense masses of clouds and mist gather. The coastal valleys are nearly always overcast in the winter months and often filled solid with fog. As Darwin sailed off the coast of South America, he wrote that he saw the mountains, behind Lima in Peru, only once in sixteen days because of a constant layer of mist and fog.
    The famed explorer Hiram Bingham, who discovered Machu Picchu, spent four days in the mountains above Choqquequirau where the humidity was usually 100% and spent the entire time in clouds, mist, or rain. In Chile, the rain is so heavy that ten feet of rain falls in a five month period, and in Peru, torrential rains bring on landslides that destroy whole villages in the highlands, and it has been noted that the summer rains in the highlands of Peru were heavier than they are now, and the snow line was lower, with even the dry deserts of Peru had more rainfall anciently. But always, this annual sequence has been a climatic and phytogeographic peculiarity of Peru.

The Peruvian Jaguar (Panthera onca) native to the Americas, and larger than a leopard—it’s true name is yaguareté, and is considered panther, meaning predator of all, having been driven by man now into the Peruvian Amazon but once roamed in vast herds over the Andean area
10. Where jaguars dwell. A jaguar, of course, is a predatory cat, and is of the same family as panthers, leopards, cougars and pumas. Both the jaguar and the puma are indigenous to Peru, as well as Ecuador and Colombia. These cats roamed the lands of Peru and Ecuador and are the most frequent and central figures on the stone carvings in Peru along with hawks and eagles. The puma often appeared as the face on ancient Peruvian carvings and is considered a sacred emblem, and the entire feline symbol is well known as intimately associated with the creator-god and the Viracocha worship in all parts of early Peru. Since early centuries B.C. until Inca times, the puma, at least as a symbol, has been the object of reverence among the high-cultures throughout Peru and depicted as stylized designs and ideograms in paintings and relief.
11. Naming the same name three times along the coast. It is possible that the voyages of emigrants that reached the land to the north (Mesoamerica) might well have landed at three different places, naming each the same in their meaning. When Europeans came to America, they frequently called new places after those of the Old Country. The entire Central American area was referred to as New Spain by the early Spanish Invaders, and places like New York, New Jersey, New Haven, New Brunswick, etc.
    In Sahagun’s account in Spanish, the Historia General, he writes of the amoxoaque, whom he describes as adivinos (wise men). 
    “Amoxoaque means men who were versed in the ancient painted documents. These left their companions behind in Tamoanchan and went off by boat to the east. It was the command of neustro Senor Dios (God) that the others should stay behind.”
    Not all of the tlamatinime (wise men) departed. Obviously, many were left behind. And finally, the sons of Ixtac Mixcoatl gave Olmecatl-Xicalancatl and Mixtecatl as the progenitors of two distinct tribes, which might tie into the legend/history of the Nephites and Lamanites, the progenitors of these immigrants that might have landed in Mesoamerica. In support of this possibility, we find: 
    “The Nonoalcas at the fall of Tollan were highly civilized, whereas the Popolocas who had already settled in the new Nonaolca habitat were nearer the aboriginal level of that region. From the cultural point of view, they were at best poor relations of the Nonoalcas” (Nigel Davies, The Toltecs, University of Oklahom Press, Norman, 1977, p 109).
    This certainly sounds like the division of the Nephites and Lamanites mentioned in the Book of Mormon scripture, yet none of these points are conclusive, even if they do fit the written record of history and certain events outlined in the Book of Mormon scripture.
• Verification by Ancient Writings: Another interesting point is found in Sahagun’s account given him by “the old men in whose possession were the writings and memories of ancient things,” when the 16th century chronicler wrote:
    “Those who first came to settle this land of New Spain came from the north in search of the earthly paradise.”
    Since none of the Book of Mormon people strayed far from the place of their first landing (Jaredites [Ether 10:19-21], Mulekites [Omni 1:16], Lamanites [Alma 32:28]) except the Nephites who were driven away from their first landing site (2 Nephi 5:5-6), then later their second place of habitation (Omni 1:12) because of Lamanite aggression, it is not realistic to think these first settlers landed somewhere and migrated southward as scholars have interpreted Sahagún’s writing to mean. More likely, the term “came from the north” refers to Hagoth’s immigrants who “came from the north” in the land of promise.” 
    The Nephites who traveled north to the Land which was Northward, came from the north of the Land Southward in the land of promise. 
    By 55 B.C., the Nephites were occupying the land from Zarahemla north to Bountiful, that is, the land of Mulek (Helaman 6:10), or the land north (Helaman 6:9, 12). In terms of the land southward, that is, south of the narrow neck, they came from the north, or more appropriately, they came from the “Land North” (compare 3 Nephi 4:1). Obviously, the statement “they came from the north” would have been an important historical and cultural differentiation, made to separate themselves from the term “coming from the south” which was the land of their hereditary enemy, the Lamanites.
(See the next post, “A Peruvian-Mesoamerican Legend: Leaving Tulan Bountiful –  Part VI,” for more on this original legend and the tie-in to Peru)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

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

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.
In addition to where we left off in the previous article, a quote from an ancient 17th century text reads: “Out of the land of rain and mist come I, Xochiquetzal, out of Tamoanchan” (Domingo Francisco de San Anton Muñón Chimalpahin Cuahtlehuanitzin, Memorial Breve, [Brief memorial about the foundathon of the city of Culhuacan], National Autonomous University of Mexico publs, 1991). This Memorial Breve speaks of Tamoanchan as “where the jaguars dwell,” and within the Andes of South America the puma and jaguar are among the natural fauna of the Peruvian highlands.
    Another evidence of similarity can be found regarding a people moving from one place to another in three or four different excursions or groups, where the name Xicalanco or Xicalango (Motalinia in its modern form) as the third place of the same name, as if all three were known on the same coast (Edward P. Lanning, Peru Before the Incas, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1967, p 16).
    All of this boils down to supposition, of course, but consider the interesting points that seem to match Book of Mormon possibilities. Four groups traveled from one point to another and back. Perplexing to the archaeologist who expects to find constant and continuous development, which they interpret this recorded event as one group moving from Point A to Point B and back again, then moving from Point A to Point B and back again four different times. But this idea should not be perplexing when one understands the Hagoth Affair. Consider these points of the ancient text:
• Four Groups: If these were the emigrants in Hagoth’s ships, then there were four distinct groups that left the shipyards near Bountiful and sailed north:
1. The original ship (Alma 63:6);
2. The original ship’s second voyage (Alma 63:7);
3. The other ships built that went forth (Alma 63:7);
4. The ship that carried Corianton (Alma 63:19).
    Each time except the last, the ship returned for more immigrants (the last time was Corianton who was not heard from again). And, of course, the same general course was followed (Alma 63:6-7) coming and going, and each group departed from the same location—Hagoth’s shipyards on the west sea at the narrow neck of land (Alma 63:5).
Four voyages to the Land which was Northward, both in the Book of Mormon and in Sahagun’s account. The fourth voyage did not return to the homeland, but stayed in the new land
• Abandoned the Land: While many emigrants went north in these four voyages, more were left behind in the form of the Nephite nation.
• Additional Peoples: On the second trip additional peoples are mentioned. These could have been Lamanites (Ammonites) who we are told moved into the land northward along with the Nephites about this same general time or a little later (Helaman 3:12). Obviously, some of those converted Lamanites might well have joined the voyages north.
• Law Reestablished: After arriving in this new land northward (Mesoamerica), the Nephites would have reestablished their laws and customs. We are told by Mormon that around this general time there was so much strife and contention that a lot of people went northward to avoid the problem. By 59 B.C. the long war with the Lamanites had ended (Alma 62:39), but within a few years (53 B.C.) the Lamanites were on the warpath once again (Alma 63:15).
    Between these wars the emigrants sailed north (55-54 B.C.) and a little later (49-46 B.C.) contention and its resultant strife began again in the land of promise (Helaman 3:1,3) and “an exceeding great many went forth into the land northward.” They went to inherit the land (Helaman 3:3) and obviously to escape the civil unrest, thus it can be seen that they would have reestablished their laws in this new land northward—laws that had been trampled under in the land of promise by both the Lamanites and the Nephite dissenters.
• Offerings and Leaders Selected: The Nephites were both religious and a free people (Mosiah 29:25-26). It would have made sense that they offered their thanks to God for a safe voyage and finding a new home away from the strife and conflict in the land of promise. It is also consistent with a free people to elect their leaders, which, throughout the Book of Mormon during the time of the judges, the Nephites did (Mosiah 29:39; Helaman 5:2).
• Built Pyramids to the Sun and the Moon: The Nephites were temple builders. Nephi himself tells us he built a temple much like Solomon’s Temple soon after arriving in the land of promise (2 Nephi 5:16). We know that later generations fell away (Alma 31:24-25; Halaman 12:2) and obviously, apostate or ignorant people would direct their religious attitudes toward objects of man, such as Golden Calves or objects of nature, such as the sun and moon. Of course these early temples might not have been built to the sun and the moon, but to God and His Son, then later given the names sun and moon during a time of apostasy.
• Tamoanchan: If this were the place or land where the Nephite emigrants left (Hagoth’s shipyard near Bountiful), then certain consistencies exist:
1. The ships left from a place on the west coast (place of descent of the sun, or going down of the sun);
2. The ships originated from a land to the south, and south of Mesoamerica is Ecuador and Peru;
3. This origination was the land of the Nephites’ birth or beginning— not the beginning of the fathers, who came from Jerusalem 550 years earlier, but the beginning or homeland, or birthplace of the Nephites after 550 years. Literally, the house or land of their birth;
4. The Nephites always traveled away from Bountiful by ship. There is no record of Nephites traveling to this place, except the return of the ships to start out again toward the north;
5. “We seek our home” would be a good slogan or attitude for the Nephite emigrants who were escaping from the strife and contention of the land of promise after a 12-year war, let alone a 500-year history of war—obviously they would be seeking a place of safety and liberty;
6. Split tree or broken tree or number of branches emerging. This concept is an old one to Latter-day Saints who understand the prophecy of Jacob to his son Joseph regarding branches that over flow a wall and spread across the well (regarding Joseph’s lineage coming across the well or ocean to settle the Americas). Obviously, this fits right into another branch spreading out across the water (from the land of promise) to the north to settle a new land (Mesoamerica);
    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.
7. House of the Lord. Obviously, the land of origin (Bountiful; Land of Promise) was the place where the Lord dwelt with his people, the Nephites, and had for several hundred years;
8. Place of water, or richness and water. The Land of Promise was a land of richness, both in crops and in precious metals and ores. The place of sailing, the shipyards along the west sea near the narrow neck of land by Bountiful, was obviously a place of water;
9. Out of a land of rain and mist. Central Peru is a land of dense air (Edward Alsworth Ross, South of Panama, The Century Co., New York, 1915, p 51) and heavy, winter fogs that creates fog vegetation known as lomas. The mist from these fogs cover much of the terrain in the wintertime, and from April to August frequent, light northerly winds are common, and are generally accompanied by thick fog or dark, lowering weather (South American Pilot, vol 3, United States Government Printing Of ce, Washington D.C., 1928, Third Edition, p 44).
(See the next post, “A Peruvian -Mesoamerican Legend: Leaving Tulan Bountiful –  Part IV,” for more on this original legend and the tie-in to Peru)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

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

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.    Now the actual legend is found within the Florentine Codex, one of the few surviving books or codexes of the Spanish occupation, which resulted in burning vast deposits of ancient Indian writings of Mesoamerica (Fray Bernardino de Sahagun, Florentine Codex, General History of the Things of New Spain, Book X, Ch 29, p 190, the School of America Research and the University of Utah, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1950-1963).
This 16th century codex is an ethnographic research study in Mesoamerica by the Spanish Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagún (a book made of thin wooden strips coated with wax upon which one wrote), was originally titled La Historia Universal de las Cosas de Nueva España, that is, The Universal History of the Things of New Spain. Sahagún in partnership with Nahua men who were formerly his students at the Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco (College of Santa Cruz in Tlatelolco, Mexico), conducted research, organized evidence, wrote and edited his findings, working on the project from 1545 until his death in 1590. The work consists of 2,400 pages organized into twelve books with more than 2,000 illustrations drawn by native artists. It documents the culture religious cosmology and ritual practices, society, economics, and natural history of the Aztec people, and speaks of a group of people who reached Mesoamerica from a place called Tamoanchan, a city or location unknown to translators, but given a wide berth of areas and meanings.
    The Codex speaks of “the grandfathers and grandmothers, those called the ones who first arrived, the ones who came over the water in boats, along the coast and landed at Panotla, meaning “where they crossed the water.”
    The story that is recorded has perplexed archaeologists and anthropologists for decades because Sahagún paints a story that runs contrary to the continuous habitation model of the scholar. Sahagún wrote: “To take this account as a continuous story, it would have to suppose that the same or similar groups of people were constantly, on repeated occasions, starting out from Tamoanchan, and after a rather illogically planned peregrination, returning only to set forth again from precisely the same point and then follow a somewhat similar route, once more ending up where they started. Indeed, the story is told no less than four times of people departing from Tamoanchan, and on each occasion it can be shown that part of the previous version of events is repeated” (Sahagan, pp190-191).
    The text in question, which Sahagún translated from the original Nahuatl language, is agreed by all who have researched it to be the same story told in different ways. However, another explanation, and a far simpler one, is available to us though it would not be considered by the Mesoamerican researcher. This, of course, is the story of Hagoth’s immigrants.

Those who boarded Hagoth’s ships to travel and immigrate to “a land which was northward” first traveled to Hagoth’s shipyards from Zarahemla; a long trek by foot before boarding the ships
Consider the events listed in the ancient text:
1. Four groups came from a place called Tamoanchan;
2. Basically, the trip or trips covered the same directions and results;
3. The groups started from the same place and ended up in the same place;
4. Each group followed the same or similar route.
    Could this be four of Hagoth’s ships taking emigrants to the same place in that unknown land to the north from an area on the west shore of the narrow neck of land? (Alma ch63) Could this shipbuilding area be Tamoanchan? If so, each ship returning for the next group of emigrants and then returning to the same area of colonization would certainly be the listing of Sahagún’s ancient text. But that is not all. Further points are made about these emigrants from Tamoanchan (Sahagan 191-194):
1. Certain people abandoned the land of Tamoanchan and others were left behind;
2. On the second trip, additional peoples are mentioned;
3. After arriving at their destination in Teotihuacan, the law was reestablished;
4. Upon arrival the people made offerings and leaders were elected, and they built the pyramids of the Sun and Moon.
    Certainly sounds like what Hagoth’s immigrants would have done and accomplished once landing in “a land which was northward.”

With all this in mind, let’s consider another point and that is the meaning of the word or name Tamoanchan, which has escaped the scientific explanation for some time. In fact, Tamoanchan is a name or concept open to such divergent interpretations that ample authority may be cited for practically any conceivable ubication or etymology. Still, most interpretations have a few ideas in common regarding the name Tamoanchan:
• The region where the sun sets—Nahautl for west (Herman Beyer, Obras Completas, Mexico Antiguo, vol X, 1965, p 39)
• Connected to the name Tlacapillichihuaualoya which means “the place where children are born” or “the land of birth”;
• Synonymous with the word Xochicahuaca which means, “where the owers stand erect,” which is another name for south (Diego Munoz Camargo, Historia de Tlaxcala, Mexico, Publicaciones del Ateneo de Ciencias y Artes de Mexico, 1947, p 155)
• Always named as the point of departure, never as the point of destination;
• Literally means “we seek our home” in the Nahuatl language;
• The name is correctly rendered in Nahuatl as quitemoa tochan (temo = to go down, or sun sets in the west; and chan = home), literally, “the house of descent,” or “house of birth” (Eduard Seler, Gesammelte Abhandlungen zur Amerikanischen Sprach-und Altertumskunde, 5 volumes, Akademisch Druck Anstalt, Graz., 1960, vol 2, p 33);
• Connected with a split tree in Mexican migration—as described in the Codex Boturini (Eduard Seler);
• Found in the codices as a broken tree from whose stout trunk a number of short branches emerge, bearing a ower at each end (Herman Beyer, p40);
• Means the house of the Lord (Luis Reyes Gracia, Ordenanzas Para el Gobierno de Cuauhtinchan, ano 1559, Estudios de Cultura Nahuatl, 1972, vol X, pp 245-314).
• Means a place of water—or richness and water (Angel Maria Garibay, Veinte Himnos Sacros de los Nahuas, Universidad 29 Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico, 1958, p 158).
(See the next post, “A Peruvian -Mesoamerican Legend: Leaving Tulan Bountiful –  Part IV,” for more on this original legend and the tie-in to Peru)

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)

Sunday, August 27, 2017

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

Continued from the previous post regarding a legend of Mesoamerica and to see how this ties into the legends of South America) 
    Ross T. Christensen continues his comments (“The Seven Lineages of Lehi,” The New Era, May 1975: p. 40): “The time range covers most of the 1,000 years of Nephite history, suggesting that the seven lineages were a stable feature among the posterity of Lehi. Notice also that the Lord still recognized their existence some 1,400 years later in the present dispensation” (D&C 3:17-18).
The problem with this statement is that the scripture Christensen is quoting does not say thatit says that the knowledge of the Nephites and Jacobites and Josephites and the Zoramites, through the testimony of their fathers..." i.e., meaning that the written words of these ancients in the form of the Book of Mormon, will come forth to the Lamanites, and the Lemuelites and the Ishmaelites, which is the verse following: "And this testimony shall come to the knowledge of the Lamanites, and the Lemuelites, and the Ishmaelites..." (D&C 3:18). 
    Christensen go on to claim that this seven tribes concept stems from Lehi himself: “One of the many enduring legacies of Lehi’s last will and testament appears to be the organization of his descendants into seven tribes...Lehi spoke first to Zoram (2 Nephi 1:30-32), second to Jacob (2 Nephi 4:10), and seventh to Nephi and Sam together (2 Nephi 4:11)...the sevenfold division of the people was an important feature of Nephite civilization. It may even have set a pattern for other Nephite organizations.”
The blessing of children by a father, especially sons, by a father in Israel is an age old custom dating back to the beginning of time and recorded in several places in the scriptural record. It was not unique to Lehi and had nothing to do with organizing sons into tribes or divisions
 However, we do not find this occurring in the scriptural record for the purpose of organizing tribes. The area of Lehi speaking to his children, found in 2 Nephi 1:2 through 2 Nephi 4:12, beginning with his speaking to Zoram in 2 Nephi 1:28, and Jacob 2 Nephi 2:1, is not an organizing process, but one of a father, near death, leaving a blessing on his children. In fact, Lehi clarifies why he is speaking to his sons and the others: "I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning" (2 Nephi 2:14), and he is speaking to them collectively, "And now, my sons, I would that ye should look..." (2 Nephi 2:28), and also "I have spoken these few words unto you all, my sons, in the last days of my probation" and he does so for "the everlasting welfare of your souls" (2 Nephi 2:30). He then goes on to speak to Joseph, his last-born (2 Nephi 3:1) and ending his speaking to Joseph with "And now, blessed art thou, Joseph. Behold thou art little..." (2 Nephi 3:25). At this point, Nephi injects a short comment about Joseph, who was sold into Egypt, then Lehi continues with speaking to Laman and his sons and daughters (2 Nephi 4:3) for the purpose of "I cannot go down to my grave save I should leave a blessing upon you" (2 Nephi 4:5); following this Lehi spoke to "the sons and daughters of Lemuel" (2 Nephi 4:8-9), followed with the sons of Ishmael and all his household (2 Nephi 4:10), then Sam, and Nephi then states: "After Lehi had spoken unto all his household...he died and was buried" (2 Nephi 4:12). None of this suggests that Lehi was organizing his posterity into seven tribes, but merely giving them a father's blessing before he died, as any parent might do, even today.
    The Mesoamericanist goes on to say: "After all, Alma established seven churches in the land of Zarahemla” (Mosiah 25:23), and traditions claim that ancient Mesoamericans sprang from seven ‘caves’ (houses) or lineages.” Christensen concludes by saying: “We don’t know exactly where the seven lineages are...but they exist somewhere because the Lord promised in 1828 to bring them to a knowledge of the Savior.” As stated above, those lineages making up the Nephites of old do not exist as far as we know, they were annihilated in 385 B.C. at Cumorahwe only know of three of those lineages, Laman, Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael, that made up the Lamanites overall. Again, Christensen injects his own opinions despite contrary information found in the scriptural record.
    Returning to the original concept of Tulan, there is additional corroborating data from another pre-conquest Quiche-Maya source that links the seven tribes and their landing site in Mesoamerica at Tulan: 
“...The Xahil family, one of the royal lines of the Quiches of the highlands of Guatemala, left an account in the Maya tongue entitled Annals of the Xahil, which according to ethnologist, Daniel G. Brinton, are better known by the Spanish titles Anales de los Xahil, Memorial de Tecpán-Atitlán or Memorial de Sololá, is a manuscript written in Kaqchikel by Francisco Hernández Arana Xajilá in 1571, and completed by his grandson, Francisco Rojas, in 1604 (The Annals of the Cakchiquels, Philadelphia, 2007, pp54-55,59, originally written in 1845)
    It is stated by Hunter and Ferguson:  “We were brought forth, coming we were begotten by our mothers and our fathers, as they say...They say that the seven tribes arrived first at Tullan, and we the warriors followed, having taken up the tributes of all the seven tribes when the gate of Tullan was opened,’” It is also observed by them that the Xahila record likewise indicates a departure from an old world “Tullan” (Bountiful) and the settlement of seven tribes in a principal homeland, “Tulan,” in the new world (p87). It should also be noted, as Edwin M. Woolley stated in “Tulan: Tulan Means Beautiful,” that it is common in the Maya language to find variant spellings of one word, thus Tulan sometimes appears as Tullan, with two l’s instead of one.
    Mesoamerican theorirst claims that there is a hint in this Xahil account that their landing site at Tullan was in the vicinity of Guatemala: “...It would be noted that the Xahila account indicates that the seven tribes, whose center was Tullan, were required to pay tribute to the Quiche warriors of the Guatemala highlands” (Bruce W. Warren, “Stela 5: Nephite or Lamanite?” The Book of Mormon Archaeological Digest, No. 1, Fall 1991, p12).
    Woolley also states: “In 1991, an interesting bit of archaeological evidence from the site of Bilbao, Guatemala (about 50 miles down the coast from Abaj Takalik and 85 miles from Izapa), appeared in this same article by Dr. Bruce W. Warren” (Bruce W. Warren, Stela 5: Nephite or Lamanite?” The Book of Mormon Archaeological Digest, No 1, Fall 1991, p12)
The bottom-right area of monument 21 portrays the “seven lineages” theme with a depiction of the birth or emergence of the seven tribes. The seven name-glyphs are inside the U-shaped element which, in Mesoamerican art, is considered the symbol of the womb (Diane E. Wirth, A Challenge to the Critics - Scholarly Evidences of the Book of Mormon, Salt Lake City, Utah: Horizon Publishing, Salt Lake City, 1986, p127).
    In her article, she points out that “The central figure of this illustrated story in stone is, significantly, not of so-called Indian stock; his features are those of a Caucasian. 
Yellow Circle: Caucasian features: Blue Circle: Umbilical-type serpent rope

“Tied to his leg is an umbilical-type serpent rope which shows, in symbolic language, an ancestral tie-or bond—to the personage portrayed as a small head. This head which is one of seven, in a U-shaped enclosure that may represent a boat...water is seen spewing from a hole in the side of the vessel, almost certainly depicting the ancestral womb from whence these tribes emerge.”
    In addition, “In Mesoamerican art the U-shaped element is regarded as the symbol of the womb, and consequently represents not only birth but the place of emergence...the U-shaped element…containing the seven heads, has a spongy-looking texture composing the sides of this design and is representative of a mother’s womb...Four of the heads within the womb/boat enclosure are no doubt portrayed with symbols identifying their lineage."
(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)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

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

In 1950, Elder Milton R. Hunter wrote that Tula or Tulan was Maya for “bountiful or abundance.” The literal translation of Tula is, “place of reeds or land of abundance.” 
In support of Elder Hunter’s statement, the 1953 English translation of the Annals of the Cakchiquels by Recinos and Goetz said, “...that from the other side of the sea we came to the place called Tulan.”  The following year, Elder Hunter used the above quote by Recinos and Goetz in General Conference and announced to the Church as a whole that Tullan (variant spelling) could be interpreted as “Bountiful.” 
    The import of this statement in 1954 was generally not appreciated by the LDS population at large. It has taken some time to sink in. Today we are beginning to realize the implications and starting to appreciate what Elder Hunter was excited about over four decades ago.    
    As Edwin M. Woolley (Tulan: "Tulan Means Bountiful") states: "In the Summer of 1994 a friend and Book of Mormon scholar, Clate Mask, was doing some independent research in Guatemala when he made an exciting discovery as he happened upon a Maya document entitled, “Anales de Los Xahil de Los Indios Cakchiqueles,” which just happened to be the Spanish translation of the 1620 Maya-Cackchiquel manuscript. It is likely that this document or one like it, is the one Elder Hunter refers to in his writings." Woolley goes on to add, "The Cakchiquel author recorded the oral traditions of origins that had come down through the Xahil family from the lips of their fathers and their grandfathers: “We came from the west, from the Lugar de la Abundancia from the other side of the sea.” 
    It should be stated that the authenticity of the Book of Mormon is reinforced by this semantic construction. It should also be noted that in the Spanish  translation that rather than retain the original Cakchiquel Tulan, the translators rendered it “Lugar de la Abundancia” meaning Place of Abundance (Miguel Angel Asturias and J. M. Gonzalez de Mendoza (translators) “Anales De Los Xahil de Los Indios Cakchiqueles.” Guatemala City, Guatemala: The National Press. 1934: p. 10).
Lehi arrives at Khor Rori on the Salalah Plain, in Oman

Arriving at the seashore along the Arabian coast where Nephi would built his ship, Lehi said: “And we called the place Bountiful, because of its much fruit” (1 Nephi 17:6). Again, it should be noted that in the Spanish Edition (1992) this line is rendered as “...y llamamos al lugar abundancia...” that is, "we called the place Abundance.” And in the preeminent authority in bilingual Spanish-English dictionaries, the word Abundancia is defined as “abundance, opulence, fertility, plenty” (Velázquez Spanish and English Dictionary, Valáquez Press [D. Appleton and Company, New York], 1900, p5)
    Elder Hunter, therefore, and the Church translation are on solid ground in saying that Lehi’s party came from Bountiful (English), Abundancia (Spanish). Mesoamericansts add that Tulan would then be Mayan, which we will deal with later, along with another interesting point which is that another answer for leaving Arabia and landing in Mesoamerica would be that numerous immigrants left Bountiful in the Land of Promise on Hagoth’s ships and sailed “to a land which was northward” and settled there, outside or beyond the Land of Promise, and “were never heard of more” (Alma 63:5-6, 8).
    Now, with all this in mind, the Astons and FARMS favored Wadi Sayq as the “most probable site for Lehi’s Bountiful.”  It is a location on the Arabian Peninsula, south of the area of ancient Babylonia. On the other hand, most Book of Mormon theorists, as does this blog, favor the site of Khor Rori, first suggested by Lynn and Hope Hilton (In Search of Lehi's Trail, Deseret Book, 1976), which first appears in the Ensign Magazine, Sept-Oct 1976, and shows that this area fits all the requirements of the statements made in the scriptural record.
    In any event, at this Bountiful, the Lehites planted seeds, raised crops, built a ship and eventually set sail into the Irreantum Sea, or the Sea of Arabia and the Indian Ocean.   
    After some two years or so, leaving this beautiful area described as “abundance or bountiful,” must have been both difficult and exciting as they launched their ship out into the unknown. Regarding this, the ancient historians among the Maya-Quiche wrote that the people, “...wept in their chants because of their departure from Tulan; their hearts mourned when they left Tulan.” The question is, was this referring to leaving the Bountiful of Arabia for the Land of Promise, which may not have elicited any sadness at all, or was it referring to leavint the Bountiful of the Land of Promise and heading into an unknown land "which was northward"?
    Now it is important to understand that in the Maya legends, they say that the ancients also called the west sea landing site in the New World Tulan. The Maya Cakchiquel historians of Guatemala wrote that “From the west we came to Tulan, from across the sea; and it was at Tulan where we arrived.” 
As Woolley points out: In 1950, Milton R. Hunter and Thomas Stuart Ferguson pointed out that some ancient Maya writings said that their ancestors came from Tulan (Bountiful) near Babylonia and that they landed in the Americas at Tulan and that “The Lord supplied the giron-gagal (director) and led the colony across the sea ‘...because they were the sons of Abraham and of Jacob’” (Milton R. Hunter and Thomas Stuart Ferguson, Ancient America and the Book of Mormon, Kolob Book Co., Oakland, 1940, p66) 
    Elder Robert E. Wells also mentioned the giron-gagal at the 1991 Sperry Symposium held at BYU:  “If Lehi brought the Liahona to the Americas, can we find any trace of such an instrument in the legends of the Lamanites before Columbus?...Well, almost...On page 157 of the book In Search of Cumorah, we read:  ‘The concept of a sacred ball was not unique to the Tarascan Indians; and the Guatemalan Quiche and Cakchiquel histories mention a sacred ball or rock in connection with their legend of migration across the sea...before leaving, the main leader was given a present by the god Nacxit. It was called the giron-gagal, or sacred bundle. Taking it with him, by miraculous balam-quitze, he was able to lead his people across the sea’ (Adrian Recinos, 1991 Sperry Symposium, 1991, p15). Over the years in South America, numerous legends have covered a similar tale of an ancient spiritual compass, including the legend of The Wandering, covered here recently in this blog. 
    According to Clark V. Johnson, “God gave the Quiche lords a gift before they left their ancient homeland in the East and crossed the sea (Popol Vuh p205; The Popol Vuh comes from the Quiche Indians, a tribe of Mayan people who lived in the southern highlands of Guatemala, and written shortly after the Spanish conquest of Guatemala in 1524). This gift from God was a stone which was “the symbol of his being,” the Pizom-Gagal (Popol Vuh 205 fn 3). The author of Totonicapdn called it the Giron-Gagal (Totonicapdn 170). Delia Goetz explained that, “‘The great father Nacxit [God] gave them a gift called the Giron-Gagal.’ Giron, or quiron, is derived from quira, ‘unfasten,’ ‘unroll,’ ‘to preserve’ a thing” (Popol Vuh 205fh3).
Again, Woolley states: "In another Maya-Cakchiquel document, Annals of the Xahils, the Chay Abah, we learn that the “obsidian stone,” speaks and tells them to go across the sea where they will find their hills and plains, their riches and their government. The translator says that the real meaning of “obsidian stone” is “stone that speaks” or “oracle stone.” He calls the Chay Abah “obsidian stone” because the Quiche-Maya mistakenly called it that, and he decided to use “obsidian stone” to avoid confusion. This same account of Annals of the Xahils, the Chay Abah, it tells that their ancestor was referred to by the others as “our younger brother” (Miguel Angel Asturias and J. M. Gonzalez de Mendoza (translators) “Anales De Los Xahil de Los Indios Cakchiqueles,” The National Press, Guatemala City, 1937, p12). 
    “Then we arrived at the border of the sea. All the warriors of the tribes met together at the border of the sea. Then the hearts of many were consumed in anguish. We can’t cross, and isn’t it said that we have to cross the sea, said all the warriors of the seven tribes.
    ‘Who will tell us how to cross the sea? Oh, our younger brother, you are our hope,’ they all said. We told them, “Go, oh, our older brothers. Yes, how are we going to cross this?” We all said. Then they all said, “have pity on us, oh our younger brother because we are spread along the seashore and can’t see [the promised] hills and plains. As soon as we went to sleep, we were defeated, we the two firstborn sons, we the hill tops, we the heads, we the first warriors of the seven tribes, oh my younger brother...don’t kill us.”
    According to Maya scholars, it is a traditional belief that the Maya descended from seven tribes or lineages, as is found in the Book of Mormon, which also describes seven tribes or lineages descending from Lehi. Ross Christensen explained  that there were not just two groups descended from Lehi, but seven in an article in the New Era in 1975. “These lineages are listed in three different places in the Nephite record and they are always given in precisely the same order. They appear a fourth time in the Doctrine and Covenants.”
These seven lineages are: Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites and Zoramites, known collectively as Nephites; and Lamanites, Lemuelites and Ishmaelites, known collectively as Lamanites. These are found in Jacob 1:13 (about 543 B.C.), 4 Nephi 36-38 (231 A.D.), Mormon 1:8 (323 A.D.), and in D&C 3:16-18 (1828 A.D.)  
(See the next post, “A Peruvian -Mesoamerican Legend: Leaving Tulan Bountiful –  Part II,” for more of this legend in Mesoamerica and to see how this ties into the legends of South America)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Understanding Tulan and Bountiful – Part II

Continuing form the previous post regarding an indepth understanding of the term “Tulan” and “Bountiful,” as used in Mesoamerica and in the Land of Promise. 
    Like the Popol Vuh, the Título de Totonicapán describes how the ancestors of the K'iche' travelled from a mythical location referred to as Seven Caves, Seven Canyons, or ravines (Siwan, as in Tiqajunamaj k’a ruqasaxik siwan, tinamït is translated as “ravine”), to another place called Tulan Suywa (Chi q’equ’m, chi aq’a;, xepe ul Tulan Suywa’, cha: “Out of blackness, out of night, they came from Tulan Suywa, it is said”) in order to receive their gods. According to the Título the Pa Tulán, Pa Civán (seven caves, seven canyons) was "in the other part of the ocean, where the sun rises," i.e., the East. They were the "descendants of Israel, of the same language and the same customs." 
    When they rose from Pa Tulán, Pa Civán the leader of the three tribes was Balam-Qitzé. The great father Naxit gave them a present called Giron-Gaga—meaning the "Bundle," a symbol of power and majesty, the carefully kept stone which made peoples fear and respect the Quichés (Popul Vuh, p205). When they arrived at the edge of the sea, "Balam-Quizé touched it with his staff and at once a path opened, which closed up again for thus the great God wished it to be done, because they were sons of Abraham and Jakob.”
The paraíso terrenal (Terrestrial Paradise, or the Garden of Eden) named Wuqub’ Pek Wuqub’ Siwan, lists Siwan Tulan, Panparar, Panpaxil and Panc’aeala’, i.e., Split Place and Bitter Water Place where they were told about the center of the earthly paradise and their being formed there by God the great lord, that is, in the Garden of Eden (Robert Carmack and James L. Mondloch 1983: p174) – people (of all seven nations of Tecpan) with great capacities arrived ch’aqa choo ch’aqa palow “across the lake, across the sea” from Tulan Siwan.
(This was their arrival, across the lake, across the sea, from Tulan, from Siwan—but it does not specify where this Tulan or Siwan were located).
    One of the translators of this original Mayan work is James L. Mondloch, an adjunct professor at the Latin American and Iberian Institute at the University of New Mexico, and a linguistic anthropologist whose areas of specialization include the K’ichee’ Maya language and culture. He founded the K'iche' Maya Oral History Project, a digitized collection of more than one hundred oral histories gathered in the municipios of Nahualá and Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán in Sololá, Guatemala, during the 1960s and 1970s. He is the author of several books and articles on the subject, including Basic Quiche Grammar (Centro Indígena, 1973) (Central Native), and he has translated and annotated three sixteenth century K’ichee’ documents in collaboration with Carmack. “The K’ichee’ Language of the Popol Wuj: Challenges It Presents to Translators and Students of This Document.” He has co-translated and annotated several sixteenth century K'ichee' documents, including El Título de Totonicapán, El Título Yax, and El Título K'oyoy in collaboration with Robert Carmack of BYU.
Carmack is an ethnohistorian with an area specialization in Mesoamerica, and especially in the K’ichee’ Maya region. Currently Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York at Albany, he is the author of numerous books and articles on the subject, including Quichean Civilization (University of California Press, 1973) and The Quiché Mayas of Ututlán (University of Oklahoma Press, 1982).
    These professionals have given us a rare understanding of the actual wordage, complete with a thorough understanding of metaphoric linguistics of native K’ichee’ that enables us to fully understand what is written in the native documents. As an example, in the Memorial de Sololá, it reads: “It was four where people come from Tulan’ in the east is one Tulan’ another one there in Zinb’alb’ay; another one there in the west, and the one where we come from is in the west; another one there in K’ab’owil. (Memorial de Sololí transcription Irma Otzoy Tekum Umam, University of Caliufornia Davis, 1999, 4, p155).
    It is important to note that the “where they came from,” i.e., those who landed in Tulan (Bountiful), came from the Tulan in the West—not the east, i.e., Bountiful in Arabia. In the West Tulan has been identified as that area of Bountiful that was the landing site of the West Sea—that is, the West Sea of the Land of Promise—and that Tulan or Bountiful was in the Land of Bountiful where Hagoth built and launched his ships.
The Memorial de Sololá differs from the other sources, but mainly from the Popol Vuh, in that it relates that the Kaqchikel progenitors came to Tulan ch’aqa lalow “across the sea” from r(i) uqajib’al q’if  “where the sun descends, the west” (Frauke Sachse, University of Bonn, and Allen J. Christenson, BYU, Tulan and the Other Side of the Sea: Unraveling a Metaphorical Concept from Colonial Guatemalan Highland Sources, Mesoweb Publications; with translation of K’iche’ text by James L. Mondloch).
    So those who landed in the Mesoamerican area (Guatemala), came from the site of Bountiful along the West Sea, or in Hagoth’s ships. In fact, it should be kept in mind that these immigrants who went in Hagoth’s ships with much provisions and supplies to resettle elsewhere headed for “a land which was northward,” and carried with them their scriptures, which, after eleven hundred years (from 421 A.D. to 1540 A.D.) would have changed considerably through the generations, for at one point, their ancestors obtained the book (or some section of it) on a pilgrimage that took them down from the highlands to the shore, and they called it "The Light That Came from Beside the  Sea," because the book told of events that happened before the first true dawn, and of a time when their ancestors hid themselves and the stones that contained the spirit familiars of their gods in forests, they also called it "Our Place in the Shadows." And because it told of the rise of the morning star and the sun and moon and foretold the rise and radiant splendor of the Quiche lords, they called it "The Dawn of Life."
    Such are what myths and legends are made of—one time truths that did not weather time accurately, but as images and ideas, opinions, and falsehoods crept into the jargon that was passed on from one generation to the next.
    In this series that follows, “A Peruvian -Mesoamerican Legend: Leaving Tulan Bountiful for Where?” we will take at an indepth look at what is meant by the Popol Vuh and the Book of Mormon regarding the Land of Promise and where Lehi landed.