Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Four Brothers That Came to South America – Part I

We have written about this before, but the history of the different locations for the Book of Mormon are secular in nature and rely more on assumptions and opinions than fact. The problem is, even in the secular area, theorists neglect or ignore the history of the area they promote.
    Take North America, as an example. There are no ancient references of the history or origins of the earliest people. Their stories of origin are deeply based in nature and are rich with the symbolism of seasons, weather, plants, animals, earth, water, fire, sky and the heavenly bodies. Some myths are connected to traditional religious rituals involving dance, music, songs, and trance. Those that mention human beings are closely connected to animals, including birds and reptiles, and often feature shape-shifting between animal and human form.
    Modern man refers to such early civilization as archaeological and anthropological patterns of development, but no references to such things as original beginning. Ancient legends and myths a people have, of course, are often inaccurate, having been expounded upon over the lifetimes of those who pass it along by word of mouth. Yet, each legend or myth is generally founded on some factual events. A good example of this is the belief among ancient cultures was a great Flood that ended the world—each culture has its own version of that event, but each culture knew of the event and passed it on to subsequent generations.
    In South America there is a legend among the peoples of Andean Peru, that four brothers came into the land generations before to people the area. The actual legends of these four brothers suggests a similarity to the Book of Mormon.
As Nephi said, “my elder brothers, who were Laman, Lemuel, and Sam” (2 Nephi 1:5), indicating the original four brothers of Lehi’s family. In South America, there is a legend among the ancients, as recorded by several Spanish chroniclers at the time of the conquest, of the ancient Peruvian beginnings involving these four. Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, Juan de Santa Cruz Pachacuti, Miguel Cabello Balboa, Pedro de Cieza de Leon and Juan de Betanzos, as did Garcilaso de la Vega, Alonso Ramos Gavilan, and Martin de Moru. In fact, almost every chronicler has some reference to the story of the Wandering and the Four Brothers that settled the Andes. They wrote of these legends referred to in the early 1500s as the “Mists of pre-Inca history,” covering four successive Peruvian epochs, beginning with the people of the First Age (Pacarimoc Runa) who were white, agriculturists, and strong in their religion for they worshipped Viracocha, the Creator of all things, as the one and only God.
    According to the foremost legend, there was originally four sons who were sent by their father to administer in his name and were perceived as propagators of the truth and militant soldiers of a new and exclusive gospel. These four brothers led a large group of people who wore fine clothes and carried seeds with them, and emerged near Cuzco. and there were four "sisters" with them.
Each of these original brothers was married to a "sister-wife" and they had a golden staff of "peculiar properties" which "informed them when their mission was at an end" by remaining fixed on an "unknown promised land toward which they were journeying."
   This golden staff or rod was to show these eight and their followers where they should seek their homeland. Enroute "difficulties developed with the oldest and most troublesome of the brothers," who had been prevailed upon to return "to the place of origin to retrieve some golden vessels they had failed to bring with them." And when one of the brothers was near death, he designated his grown son as his heir and successor.
    This legend dates to a people who spoke a pre-Quechua language and considered themselves indigenous to the valley of Cuzco—later given Quechuan names by the Inca, they were never part of the Inca, a people who considered themselves “unwarlike,” but chose leaders who were "war-leaders" and whose services were not hired or paid. The leading brother of the four was elected to be the war-leader and his great successes earned him the coveted title of capac—or chieftan, which was an honorific title of true eminence. Later, this brother moved further away and appointed one of his brothers to be the "field guardian" of the community.
    Three brothers became the leaders of three groups or tribes who called themselves by separate names but were united and had to escape into the Andes with some of their people. There was a brother who did not combine with the league of three, and a long-lasting dualism occurred between the two groups, with each group cherishing a separate history, which carried down even into Inca times.

One brother led his people into the wilderness where the "warlike orientation of these footloose people was evidenced" and became adept at raiding the valley below," and perfected the ritual huarachicoy or breechcloth ceremony.
    One brother was so brave and strong and skilled with weapons that the other two brothers were affronted and humiliated at not being able to match his feats. They were galled by envy and they sought to kill their brother.
    It should be noted that though the earliest repetition of these legends have been badly eroded by time, what remains has been faithfully recorded. Obviously, the legends have been enhanced with exotic additions, had survived more than a thousand years by the time Sarmiento and others recorded them, yet enough remains to draw some interesting parallels with the Book of Mormon.  Taking each point one at a time, we find:
1)  Four sons left Jerusalem -- Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi (1 Nephi 2:5);
2)  Sent by their father -- Nephi and his brothers were twice sent by their father Lehi back to Jerusalem, first for the brass plates (1 Nephi 3:4, 9) and secondly for Ishmael's family (1 Nephi 7:1-2);
3)  Propagators of the truth and militant soldiers of a new and exclusive gospel -- obviously, Nephi, Sam, Jacob, and Joseph were teachers of the truth and expounded on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Nephi, himself, called Jacob and Joseph to be teachers and priests to his people (2 Nephi 5:26);
4)  Each brother was married to a sister-wife -- Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi each married a daughter of Ishmael (1 Nephi 16:7), thus each wife was a sister to each other wife. In addition, these wives were also descendants of Joseph as were Nephi and his brothers (1 Nephi 5:14; 6:2; 2 Nephi 3:4), thus making the daughters of Ishmael and the sons of Lehi cousins, or brothers and sisters in the tribe of Joseph;
5)  A golden staff of peculiar properties which informed them when their mission was at an end by remaining fixed on an unknown promised land toward which they were journeying -- this part of the legend should be broken down into the following parts: 
The Liahona, a round ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness 
a.  Golden staff – the Liahona was a ball of fine brass of curious workmanship (1 Nephi 16:10);
The Liahona, a round ball of curious workmanship and fine brass, And within the ball were two spindles; an the one pointed the whether we should go into the wilderness

b.  Of peculiar properties – the Liahona had spindles that pointed in directions (1 Nephi 16:10), with words that appeared written on it (1 Nephi 16:27), and worked by the faith of those who used it (1 Nephi 16:28; 18:21).  The instrument also stopped working in the face of wickedness (1 Nephi 18:12);
c.  Fixed on an unknown promised land – the Liahona was used by Nephi to guide him across the seas to the Land of Promise (1 Nephi 18:21-23).  About 500 years later, Helaman, while instructing his sons, reminded them that the Liahona pointed the Lehi colony on a straight course to the promised land (Alma 37:44);
d.  It showed them when their journey was complete – the 8 to 10 year journey through the wilderness and across the many waters culminated when the Lehi Colony finally reached the Land of Promise (1 Nephi 18:23). Evidently, later it showed Nephi where to settle after fleeing from his two older brothers (2 Nephi 5:6-7);
6) They led a large group of people who wore fine clothes and carried seeds with them – When Lehi left Jerusalem, he “gathered together all manner of seeds of every kind, both of grain of every kind, and also of the seeds of fruit of every kind” (1 Nephi 8:1, 18:6) and planted them in the Land of Promise (1 Nephi 18:24). Also, they were dressed in the cothing of their day, which was far more advanced than typical of an advanced civilization (Jerusalem) than what the natives wore who promoted this legend; 
7)  The oldest and most troublesome of the brothers – time and again the oldest son, Laman, caused problems from the moment they left Jerusalem (1 Nephi 2:12) to the time they reached the Land of Promise (1 Nephi 18:11, 18; 2 Nephi 5:2-4), many times threatening to kill Nephi (1 Nephi 7:16; 17:48) and return to Jerusalem (1 Nephi 7:7);
(See the next post, “The Four Brothers That Came to South America – Part II,” for the rest of this ancient legend and its application to the Book of Mormon story of Lehi and Nephi settling in the Land of Promise)

No comments:

Post a Comment