Thursday, December 31, 2020

Reading Between the Lines

In any writing, either intention or accidental, there are cues, keys or tip-offs that can lead the reader to a deeper understanding of the subject being presented. This can be found throughout the Book of Mormon relating to the geography or events being discussed.

Take for example, Nephi’s simple statement found near the beginning of his record: “And my father dwelt in a tent” (1 Nephi 2:15). First of all, there seems to be no apparent reason for the comment, coming between Lehi chastising his older two sons (verse 14), and Nephi describing himself in size and desire.

Why Nephi made that statement is unknown. However, whether intended or not, it tells us a great deal about Lehi if we are looking for clues to deepen our understanding or provide a more complete meaning to what we are reading. In the case of “living in a tent,” we need to combine this with “And it came to pass that he returned to his own house at Jerusalem; and he cast himself upon his bed, being overcome with the Spirit and the things which he had seen” (1 Nephi 1:7, emphasis added), and the parenthetical comment “my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days” (1 Nephi 1:4), where both comments tell us that Lehi and his family had lived in their house outside of Jerusalem from the time Lehi was young. Thus the comment about living in a tent not only has to do with the fact that though having had a house as a family home near Jerusalem, he was now living in a tent in the wilderness “ 2 Nephi 5:7)

But the deeper meaning, and probably the most important meaning is that Lehi was at home living in a tent; he was familiar and comfortable living a Bedouin-style life.

There was no room in the city of Jerusalem for unnecessary equipment


That leads us to question, as numerous critics have pointed out—if Lehi, living in a house in Jerusalem all his days, why would he have tents, seeds and provisions sufficient for a lengthy trip into the wilderness.

Well, if he had lived in Jerusalem, where space was limited and houses barely had room for the necessities of living, including household stables for a sheep, goat, and donkey, and maybe a cow, there would be no room for the Bedouin-style tents that took three donkeys to carry. Nor would there be sufficient seeds to start a new life far from any previous agricultural growth, or traveling provisions, both food and kitchen equipment, as well as bedding for the entire family, blankets, cushions, etc.

Certainly, none of this could have been purchased, drawing attention to Lehi, who was being sought by those in the city in order to take his life (1 Nephi 2:1).

However, living “at” Jerusalem, not “in” Jerusalem, answers all those questions. On a farm outside Jerusalem, all of these extra items would be available (1 Nephi 2:4).

All of this becomes understandable by looking deeper into the single statement that “My father lived in a tent.”

In fact, Lehi lived in a tent for the next 8 years by the time they reached the seashore (1 Nephi 17:4).

Another example is when Nephi is told by the Lord to go up to a mountain, where he is told to build a ship. The first thing Nephi says after that pronouncement was: “And I said: Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me? And…the Lord told me whither I should go to find ore, that I might make tools” (1 Nephi 17:9). Critics have asked, “How did Nephi know to make metal tools out of ore?” and Theorists claim that Nephi’s occupation was that of a blacksmith.

Nephi already knew how to build and use a bellows—something unlikely had he been living inside of Jerusalem


Neither are correct. While it is true that Nephi knew how to build a bellows (1 Nephi 17:112), it was just one of many skills a person living on a farm needs to develop in order to build or repair essential parts of the structures and equipment. In addition, while the Lord showed Nephi the design of the ship to be built, and how to work the timber different from the method then known and used, he would have had a rudimentary knowledge of construction. In fact, working on a farm requires that a person learn many necessary skills. This is borne out when Nephi’s grandnephew wrote: “We multiplied exceedingly, and spread upon the face of the land, and became exceedingly rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things, and in fine workmanship of wood, in buildings, and in machinery, and also in iron and copper, and brass and steel, making all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground, and weapons of war” (Jarom 1:8). These areas were skills taught by Nephi to his people, “And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance” (2 Nephi 5:15).

The problem lies in two areas: 1) People fail to look into the meaning of words, and 2) People make up their mind to a point or belief and then interpret words and phrases in the scriptural record or comment by a General Authority to support those beliefs.

However, many people ignore the scriptural references or try to bend or change them and their original meaning, or try to cloud the issue by introducing information that has nothing to do with the scriptural record, or they become so convinced of a particular location that they pass over all those references that do not agree with their location, or try to restrict the understanding and intent of the scripture to make it fit their predetermined ideas.

The Jaredite wars resulted in the demise of more than two million people


As an example, take the insert by Mormon “And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, it being the place of their first landing” (Alma 22:30, emphasis added).
Grammatically, the term it being the place of their first landing, belongs to the modifier which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken, or in other words, the place of first landing refers to those people who had lived and died. This is borne out by Amaleki’s comment about the people of Zarahemla or the Mulekites, an eye-witness, “And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth” (Omni 1:16. Emphasis added).

However, Theorists ignore the Omni statement, which does not agree with their beliefs and models, and concentrate and write about the statement in Alma, which they misinterpret.

Thus, there is only one way to determine the location of the Land of Promise, and that is to go over in great detail the scriptures, accepting them as written, and seeing where those clues/statements take you without trying to alter them or think you know more than those who wrote them. Also, to look closely and make sure what the words mean and how they are used; also to verify or compare other verses that involve the same thought or terminology,

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Other People in the Land of Promise

No matter that there are numerous statements in the scriptural record that the Land of Promise was reserved for Lehi and his posterity and that any comment about others being led to that land all made in the future tense—meaning beyond the time of Lehi—nearly all Theorists claim that there were others in the Land of Promise when Lehi arrived. Some claim it was surviving Jaredites, and still others claim it was an unknown people who occupied the land.

Were there others in the Land of Promise watching as Lehi landed?


As an example, Mesoamerican guru John L. Sorenson of BYU states: “A number of statements in the Book of Mormon text indicate the presence in Lehi’s promised land of peoples other than those descended from Lehi’s party. Reasons the topic is not addressed more explicitly in the record include a focus on the Nephites (and not on other people), a generic treatment of Lamanites, and a desire not to waste space on something obvious or insignificant.

Another theorist, Joseph Allen, former director of LDS Institutes and CES Instructor, also of BYU, makes a similar comment: “Perhaps a better question is, does the Book of Mormon allow for people being in the promised land when Lehi arrived?  Under normal circumstances it is genetically impossible for the numbers of people mentioned in the Book of Mormon to stem from two families (Lehi and Ishmael) in such a short period of time.  Within 30 years after the arrival of Lehi in the New World, there were major divisions, many wars and contentions, and a substantial amount of building. Furthermore, Jacob’s statement in 545 B.C. suggests that there were a vast number of people living in the New World at the time.  “I shall call them Lamanites that seek to destroy the people of Nephi and those who are friendly to Nephi I shall call Nephites…” (Jacob 1:14).

Michael R. Ash for the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR) has said: “Such statements do not preclude the possibility that others already lived in the land of promise. The Lord promised that other nations—which up till this point had referred to Old World nations—would not know about and overrun their land. (Imagine the changes that may have happened had the New World been common knowledge among European and Old World nations of Lehi’s day!)

Or the statement by another theorist, Matthew Roper, also of BYU: “Latter-day Saints have long been open to the idea that peoples not mentioned in the Book of Mormon may have migrated to the Americas either before, during, or after the events described in the Book of Mormon and that these various peoples intermingled with those of Israelite or Jaredite descent.”

Another Theorist has weighed in with: “It seems highly probable that when Lehi and his family arrived in the Promised Land they found a fairly significant but scattered people already inhabiting the land. A people without government, without religion, and perhaps with but minimum language skill. The core of their culture had been destroyed. While once a great and cultured people, they by the time of Lehi's arrival had been scattered and divided. Had they by that time degenerated to a level of mere subsistence? Our record gives us few clues.”

Another people in the land when Lehi landed?


However, it seems the authors of these comments intended the information to be about another people who were “a fairly significant but scattered people already inhabiting the land.” Obviously, not the Mulekites—so who were these people to which this article draws our attention?

On the other hand, the scriptural record, unchanged and unaltered, tells us another story. According to Lehi, there should have been no people in the land, for it was intended as an inheritance for his family and their descendants, “A land which the lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed, yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever” (2 Nephi 1:5; 3:2; 10:10). It was also “covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever” (2 Nephi 1:8) and “that they may possess this land unto themselves” (2 Nephi 1:9).

It should also be noted, for those theorists who like to point out that others could be led to the Land of Promise, that the Lord covenanted with Lehi that the Land of Promised would be “a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed” (2 Nephi 1:5, emphasis added); also, “that the Land of Promise was for any “who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord” (2 Nephi 1:8, emphasis added).

Note the important phrase “should be.” which is a future tense statement. That is, the Lord was promising Lehi that the land would be reserved for him and his posterity because “it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations” (2 Nephi 1:8, emphasis added)—again, a future tense statement. In addition, the Lord told Lehi “Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring” (2 Nephi 1:7).

Again the Lord said, “Wherefore I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land” (2 Nephi 1:9, emphasis added).

Thus, there can be no question that shortly after Lehi landed, the Lord promised him that the land would be kept for his posterity free of others until such time as the Lord would lead others there. And the others the Lord was commenting about were the Gentiles coming to this land as Nephi saw in his vision—which was the coming of Columbus (1 Nephi 13:12), the Spanish conquistadores (1 Nephi 13:14), and the Gentiles coming out of England (1 Nephi 15-19) and the establishment of the Constitution of the United States and, in fine, not utterly destroy the descendants of Lehi (1 Nephi 13:30).

Lehi and Nephi’s vision


All these things both Lehi and Nephi saw in their visions before ever setting sail for the Land of Promise. At that time there were no other people in the Land of Promise and would not be, other than Lehi’s combined family, for some 2000 years when Columbus discovered the Western Hemisphere and later the English and Spanish settled the land.

To claim that “It seems highly probable that when Lehi and his family arrived in the Promised Land they found a fairly significant but scattered people already inhabiting the land“ and to claim that the Land of Promise was covered or scattered with people when Lehi landed is neither “highly probable,” nor “consistent with the Book of Mormon record” of the Land of Promise, and certainly is in opposition to the several promises the Lord gave to Lehi for himself and his descendants.

As for groups or people not mentioned in the Book of Mormon, such as Nephi’s sisters until toward the end of his record—however, they were eventually included! The Mulekites, not necessary for the Nephite storyline, were also mentioned! We never know which of Ishmael’s daughters married Nephi, or the names of his children, or the son who was the second Nephite king. Even so, they are all alluded to in the scriptural record (1 Nephi 7:19; 16:7; 18:19; Jacob 1:15). Even though some of these very briefly mentioned, the Theorists would have us belief the land was filled with other people not only not mentioned, but not even suggested or to which a single writer alludes.

It is completely unrealistic to believe that not a single writer, nor Mormon in his abridgement, nor Joseph Smith in his translation gives even one name or word to suggest another people inhabited the Land of Promise when either the Jaredites landed or when Lehi reached the land.

The problem with theorists is that they depend upon the writing of men and not the scriptural record. Take for instance, Anthropologists who claim that the Olmec proceeded the Maya in Mesoamerica, and that numerous other cultures existed at the same time in Mesoamerica: Zapotec, Chalcatzingo, San José Mogote, Monte Albán, Matacapan, Copán, Teotihuacan, and Tikal. In order to accommodate these cultures, the scriptural record has to be altered to include people in the land when Lehi arrives or people in the land during the time of the Nephites. Either way, there is no scriptural record indication that such is factual.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Four Peruvian Versions of the White God Legend - Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding additional information about these “White God” legends of Peru, dating back more than two thousand years.

The fourth and last Chronicler, the legitimate grandson of Don
Gonzalo Pizarro—his work is not well known—was an Indian from the southern sector of the Inca empire who prided himself on having been “Christianized.” He wrote under the lengthy name of Don Juan de Santacruz Pachacuti Yamqui Salcamaygua, and his manuscript, Relationship is a curious mixture of Spanish and Quechua words, remained unpublished until 1880.

The manuscript is a unique colonial text and one of the few to tell Andean pre-Hispanic history by the hand of a member of an indigenous community. However, while giving rise to a fairly large number of studies and reviews, it has not yet reached a full consensus whether its contents are authentically Andean or the result of a process of acculturationassimilation to a different culture, typically the dominant one.

In this article, we re-examine this monumental work from a less studied viewpoint, that is, the possible posture adopted by Pachacuti Yamqui to write his Relationship and that he let appear through the use of discursive traditions and the subject of enunciation of the work.

Santa Cruz Pachacuti was the Viceroyalty of Peru in the late sixteenth century and a indigenous Peruvian author and chronicler of the work Relationship of the antiquities of this Reyno del Peru, of short length but of great value for the information ethnohistorical type—the study of cultures and indigenous peoples customs by examining historical records as well as other sources of information on their lives and history. It is also the study of the history of various ethnic groups that may or may not still exist.

He was born in Layo in the department of Cuzco towards the end of the 16th century, and based on his writing, he was a descendant of the local Aymara nobility,in an area in which the Aymara language was spoken until well into the 18th century. On the other hand, the ancestors of the Aymara never knew that they were called that. The Incas called them Collas, until the mid-sixteenth century when Juan Polo de Ondegardo y Zárate, a chronicler, trusted encomendero, and office viceregal Spanish, and second Corregidor de Charcas of Potosi, called them "Aymara" from the linguistic information obtained in Collao from a small colony of "Quechua" mitimaes or resettlements.

The actual Aymara originally called their language jaqi aru (meaning "humanity") and later they applied that name to those who spoke that language, who called themselves Jaqi.

Many critics have insisted on pointing out his primitive style, careless, incongruous in fact and even inconsistent in the reflections that accompany it; However, its importance as a historical and linguistic document is undoubtedly due to the profuse and valuable information it contains. For Luis Alberto Sánchez, Luis Alberto Félix Sánchez Sánchez was a Peruvian lawyer, jurist, philosopher, historian, writer and politician, writes that “the work of Santacruz Pachacuti has, indeed, documentary, but not literary, validity.” According to Raúl Porras Barrenechea, diplomat, historian, professor, lawer and essayist of Peru, says of Santacruz Pachacuti, that it is "the simple translation into Spanish of the historical songs of the Inca people about the exploits of their monarchs."

Sir Clements R. Markham (left), an English geographer, explorer, and writer, and the secretary, then President of the Royal Geographical Society, highlighted the Quechua hymns that appear in the play written by Santacruz Pachacuti. In particular, the "hymn of creation" or "creation of man" stands out, and which includes “Ah Uiracochan, or Viracocha, the maker and Lord of all beings, the supreme god.” He was also known as Huiracocha, Wiraqoca and Wiro Qocha, and  considered the creator god, the father of all other gods—it was he who formed the earth, heavens, sun, moon and all living beings.

Santacruz Pachacuti’s version of the white god tradition, though, is most interesting:

“Some years after the devils had been cast out of this land, there came to these provinces and kingdoms of Tabantinsuyo a bearded man of medium build with long hair, wearing a rather long tunic, and they say that he was more than a youth. He had white hairs, was slender, walked with a staff, and he taught the people with great love, calling them all his sons and daughters. But, he was not always listened to nor obeyed by all the people, and when he journeyed through the provinces he performed many miracles visibly: he healed the sick by touching them with his hands, and he didn’t bring belongings, nor did he have herds of animals. This man, they say, spoke all of the languages of the provinces better than the natives, and they called him Tonapa or Tarapaca Viracochanpa Chayachicachan or Pacchacan and Bicchhaycamayoc Cunacaycamayoc—He chastised the people with great love by the apotampo, [inn or lodging house], and they listened to him with rapt attention, receiving the stick from his hand, such that in a stick they received what he preached to them, indicating and emphasizing each chapter of the discourse. This man called Thonapa, they say, journeyed through all the provinces of the Collasuyos, preaching tirelessly. This Thonapa they say cursed a certain city to be drowned, and today it is called Yamqui Capacocha, the lake, which all the Indians say was anciently a principal city, and now it is a lake. Another thing they say is that on top of a high hill called Cachapucara there was an idol in the form of a woman, and they say that Tunapa hated this idol, and afterwards he caused fire to come down and burn the hill and the idol, destroying and melting the hill as if it had been wax, and even today there are remnants of that awesome miracle, never before heard of in the world. They say that Tunapa continued his course by the river Chacamarca until he came to the sea, and from there he crossed the strait to the other sea. This has been verified by extremely ancient Incas.”

Looking at all four Peruvian versions of the omnipotent white god tradition into one composite description, an interesting portrait of the god Viracocha emerges. He was a creator god who came to visit the men he had created, to instruct and organize them. With white skin and a medium to large build, he wore a white tunic girded at the waist that hung down to his feet. Past his youth, he was slender and had white hair. When he walked, he carried a staff and a book in his hands, and sometimes he was seen with a crown on his head. He demonstrated supreme authority, yet spoke with love and humility, calling everyone his sons and daughters. He left and eventually lesser gods were appointed to look after specific areas, but he watched over everything from afar.

Appearing long before the time of the Inca empire, the coming of this Viracocha constituted the single most important tradition of the Andean Indians. Does any of  the following sound familiar?—For many days prior to his coming, the sun was darkened and the people suffered tremendous privations from lack of sunlight. Only after intense praying and supplication was the light restored, after which Viracocha appeared. Everywhere he went in the mountains of Peru, he performed miracles. He lowered the hills and raised up the level places to become mountains. He drew water from rocks, gave life to animals and men, and walked on water. He healed the sick with only a touch of his hand, and spoke all the diverse languages of the region with equal fluency. Viracocha cursed one city so it was covered by a lake and all the inhabitants drowned. A hill he cursed, and it was consumed by fire from heaven. Speaking to a large congregation, he told them of events to come, warning them that some would come in his name, falsely claiming to be the Viracocha. Then he promised to send them true messengers and servants in future ages to teach and support them. Having no earthly possessions, Viracocha went off into the ocean after concluding his visit, and the people never heard from him again.

It is not difficult to understand why some people claim a strong correlation between the numerous versions of the white god legend found among the indigenous peoples of America and the account of the visit of the resurrected Christ to America as recorded in the Book of Mormon. Many of the details of these Peruvian versions of the legend seem to substantiate that claim. In fact, it seems to me that the Peruvian Indians who recounted it to the first Spanish historians seemed to remember the story rather well.

In addition to these four chroniclers, there are several other colonial authors, such as Garcilasso de la Vega; Bernabé Cobo; Juan Polo de Ondegardo; and Felipe Guamán Poma de Ayala, an Indigenous Quechua nobleman. We should also keep in mind that prior to the Inca there were the Chimú (900 AD); Huari (500 AD); the Tiwanaku (300 AD), Moche and the Nazca (100 AD;) Chachapoyas, or the 'Cloud people' (200 BC); Chavin (900BC); Caral and Valdivia (before 2000 BC).

All of this shows that the Inca were a late-comer in the pantheon of Peruvian cultures that dominated Andean Peru. These are the cultures, especially the earliest, were the ones that built the famed structures and buildings that now appear as ruins all through Peru and Ecuador.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Four Peruvian Versions of the White God Legend - Part I

Four chronilers who wrote about the White God; LtoR: Pedro Cieza de Leon; Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa; Juan de Betanzos; and Don Juan de Santacruz Pachacuti Yamqui

Four Spanish 16th Century Chroniclers have left us a nearly complete record of the history of Andean Peru. And specifically a record of the “White God” legends. According to Kirk Magleby on the LDS Church website, “It is well-known that almost all Indian tribes in the Western Hemisphere preserve oral traditions about the ancient appearance of a White God who came down from heaven to instruct and organize his people. Some of the most interesting versions of this widespread tradition come from Peru, where this legendary deity is known variously as Kon-Ticci, Viracocha, Tunupa, Pachacamac, Tarapaca, or Arnauan, depending on the region of the country being considered.

Four of the more highly acclaimed Peruvian historians, Pedro Cieza de Leon, Sarmiento de Gamboa, Juan de Betanzos, and Santacruz Pachacuti, have written especially interesting accounts of this white and bearded god, and when considered together, they give us a reasonably detailed description of the traditional hero’s physical appearance, personality, and activities among the ancestors of the Andean Indians.

Pedro Cieza de León was a Spanish conqueror, outstanding for his work as a chronicler and historian of the Andean world. The scholar Marcos Jiménez de la Espada called him "the prince of the Spanish chroniclers


The first of these four was Pedro Cieza de León, a Spanish shopkeeper’s son, who as a Spanish Conquistador and chronicler, he arrived in Peru in 1546 as a simple 16-year-soldier who was immediately sent to quell an uprising that had turned into a civil war between the Spanish rulers of the country. He was with Francisco Pizzaro in the conquest of Peru, and remained in that country until 1550, during which time he visited almost every part of the newly conquered land, observing and recording descriptions of the terrain, the plants, the customs of the natives, and the major facets of their history.

He is known primarily today for his history and description of Peru, Crónicas del Perú. A book he wrote in four parts, but only the first, which he wrote upon entering was published during his lifetime; the remaining sections were translated by not published until the 19th and 20th centuries.

Cieza had been keeping a journal of his observations ever since beginning his travels in Colombia. Later, he became fascinated with the idea of writing a history of Peru and its peoples. After completing his military duties, he interviewed the Peruvian amautas (teachers) and orejones (Inca nobility), the surviving wise men and noblemen of the Incas, as well as qualified Spaniards to learn all he could about the history and traditions of the conquered Inca empire.

“These things that I write here are true, and things of importance and benefit,” he wrote in the foreword of his first book, “because many times while the other soldiers slept, I wrote into the night until I wearied.” Cieza’s first work, La Cronica del Peru, was originally published in Seville in 1553, while the later El Senorio de los Incas remained unpublished until 1880. In chapter five of his Senorio, Cieza recorded the followingent legend about the appearance of a white god to the forebears of the Incas:

“Before the Incas ruled, or were even heard of in these kingdoms, these Indians speak of another thing much greater than all others which they tell, because they affirm that they went for a long time without seeing the sun, and, that, suffering tremendously with this deficiency, they raised great prayers and supplications to those they revered as gods, asking them to restore the light they lacked; and in this manner, there arose from the island of Titicaca, which is in the great lake of Collao, the sun shining brilliantly, which made them all very happy. And afterwards, they say that from the land of the noon sun, there came and appeared to them a white man of large build whose aspect and person showed great authority and veneration, and this man had such supreme power that he levelled the mountains and raised up the plains into large hills, making water flow from boulders; and since they recognized his supreme power, they called him the creator of all things, their originator, father of the sun, because even this notwithstanding, they say that he did many greater things, because he gave life to men and animals, and from his hand, they received notable benefit. According to the Indians who told it to me, who heard it from their fathers, who also heard it in the songs they preserve from antiquity; this man went towards the north, working many miracles in his journey through the mountains, and they never saw him again. In many places they say that he gave commandments to the men about how to live, and that he spoke with love and much humility, admonishing them to be good and not cause harm or injury to one another, but instead, to love each other and have charity. Generally they call him Ticiviracocha, even though in the province of Collao, they call him Tuapaca, and in other places he is known as Arnauan. Many temples were built to him in different places, where they erected stone statues in his likeness before which they offered sacrifices. The large stone figures in the city of Tiahuanacu are said to date from that era, and even though by tradition inherited from the past, they recount this that I tell of Ticiviracocha, they say nothing else about him, nor that he ever returned to any part of this kingdom.

Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, was a Spanish explorer, author, historian, mathematician, astronomer. At the age of 18, Sarmiento de Gamboa entered the royal military in the European wars. Between 1550 and 1555 the future navigator fought in the armies of Emperor Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon, as well as titular Duke of Burgundy


The second of the Chroniclers was Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, who was a celebrated navigator and captain in the Spanish army. While stationed in Cuzco, Peru, he was ordered by the Viceroy, Francisco de Toledo, to compile a history of the Incas. Summoning some of the oldest wise men still living in the ancient Inca capital, Sarmiento interviewed them individually, then compared their testimonies to draw his conclusions and make his compilation. The manuscript he prepared was called Historia de Los Incas, La Segunda Parte de La Historia Llamada Indica, the second of what was originally projected to be three separate books. The manuscript remained unpublished in the custody of the Spanish crown for many years, finally finding its way by sale to the library at the University of Göttingen, [Germany], where it was discovered and published in 1906. Sarmiento’s version of the white god legend states:

“All the Indians agree that they were created by this Viracocha, who they believe was a man of medium height, white and clothed in a white robe gathered around his body, and that he carried a staff and a book in his hands. After this, they tell a strange story; that is, that after this Viracocha created all the people, he came walking to a place where a large group had congregated … Viracocha continued his journey, doing the works of piety and instructing the people he had created … and wishing to leave the land of Peru, he gave a speech to those he had created, advising them of things which were to happen in the future. He warned them that people would come saying that they were the Viracocha, their creator, and that the people should not believe the impostors, but that in the coming ages he would send his messengers to teach and support them. And having said this, he and his two companions went into the ocean and walked away over the waters, without sinking, as if they had been walking on land.”

Juan de Betanzos or the art of mediation in the first Andean colonial society (1530 – 1570)


The third Chronicler was Juan de Betanzos, who was among the first conquistadores who invaded Peru with Francisco Pizarro. Immediately upon entering the country, he began studying Quechua, the language of the Incas, until he became proficient enough to be named official interpreter for the royal court. He was skilled enough in the native language that his first publications were Spanish-Quechua dictionaries. Betanzos married one of the former Inca princesses and lived in Cuzco, compiling data and observations first hand until 1551, when his major treatise on the traditions and history of the Andean Indians, Suma y Narracion de Los Incas, appeared. He took special care to preserve the “order of speaking of the natives” in his writings. This is Betanzo’s description of the god Viracocha:

“Asking the Indians what idea or figure they had of this Viracocha when the ancients saw him according to their traditions they had received, they told me that he was a man of tall stature, and that he had white clothing that came to his feet, and that this robe he had drawn at the waist, and that he had short hair, and that he had a crown on his head like a priest would wear, and that he walked with his head bare, and that he had a certain thing in his hands that looked to them like the small religious books the priests carry around with them today. … I asked them the name of this person in whose honor the stone monument was erected and they told me that he was called Con Tici Viracocha Pachayachachic, which in their tongue, means, ‘god, creator of the earth.’”

(See the next post, “Four Peruvian Versions of the White God Legend  - Part II,” for more information regarding These “White God” legends of Peru, and specifically a description of the fourth chronicler)


Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Landing of the Mulekites – Part III

 Continued from the previous post, “The Landing of the Mulekites – Part II,” for more information on where the Mulekites landed and subsequently lived. Continuing with an understanding of an accurate discussion about Alma 22:30-31.

Left: The People of Zarhemla originally came from Jerusalem just like Lehi, landing around Lima at a place now called Pachacamac, where they spent all their days until Mosiah discovered them; Bottom: Partial ruins of an entrance to Pachacamac


Now, for further evidence, we need only take a look at another scripture, rarely quoted by the Book of Mormon scholars, which makes this understanding quite clear.  It is found in Omni, and was written by Amaleki who was a first-hand witness to the events he described for he lived in the days of Mosiah, saw his death, and the reign of King Benjamin (Omni 1:23). He was part of the group of Nephites that escaped to the city of Zarahemla and knew the Mulekites first hand. He wrote:

 “Behold, it came to pass that Mosiah discovered that the people of Zarahemla came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon. And they journeyed in the wlderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth." (Omni 1:16-17)

That is, the Lord led the Mulekites across the great sea to land in the area where Mosiah discovered them, i.e., Zarahemla. And they had lived there ever since their landing. 

Theorist Joseph Allen attempts to change this simple understanding of Amaleki's statement by saying: "The forefathers of the people of Zarahemla journeyed in the wildereness and crossed the great waters and that subsequently a colony of Mulekites migrated to an area they called the Land of Zarahemla." But Amaleki does not say that—he says:  and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them" which is quite different. 

Allen tries to instill a belief that the Mulekites, once having landed in the Americas, spent some time somewhere, then subsequent to that, migrated into the land where Mosiah found them.  This is the type of thing that Book of Mormon scholars try to do to alter or change the scriptural record so it meets their specific models and beliefs.  But Amaleki does not say they landed somewhere and subsequent to that landing they migrated somewhere. He says quite simply that the Lord brought Mulek across the great waters and into the land where Mosiah found them, and that they had dwelt there from that time forth. 

There is nothing complicated about this scriptural statement. The Mulekites landed in the north of the Land Southward, in the land they called Zarahemla, where they had always dwelt and where they were when Mosiah found them around 200 B.C.  Thus, they never subsequently migrated anywhere for they lived in that land where they first landed up until the time Mosiah found them. And since Amaleki was an eye-witness to the events at Zarahemla and the uniting of the Nephites and Mulekites, and the first-hand recounting of Zarahemla of his genealogy, which was written down but not on the plates from which Omni has been abridged (Omni 1:18), his account should be quite convincing. 

Despite this simplicity, Book of Mormon scholars, insisting that the Mulekites landed in the Land Northward to satisfy their Mesoamerican or other model, say: "It is possible to draw an incorrect conclusion from vs. 16—Alma may appear to believe that the people of Zarahemla had arrived in the Land Southward and remained there ever since."

Alma may appear to believe? Alma? Appear? The funny thing is, Alma did not write that! Amaleki did (which Mormon abridged), and he was an eye-witness to the first meeting between the Nephites and the Mulekites in Zarahemla. Consequently, whatever Amaleki wrote, he not only believed it to be true, he had Zarahemla and the other Mulekites to ask for clarification if there was any doubt! It seems the only incorrect conclusion drawn in this question is by the Book of Mormon scholars themselves—appear indeed! As if to support this thought, the same author wrote: "Yet nowhere does the Book of Mormon identify any other Mulekite city as such." (Michael M. Hobby, The Mulekite Connection, Zarahemla Foundation Press, Salt Lake City, 1992, p 13).

It is interesting that Theorists like to make light of the scriptural record and of Mormon’s descriptions. Hobby states that a prophet and writer of information in the scriptural record is inaccurate, or unaware, or deceived by appearances. When one understands the writing of the record, the abridgement and the interpretation, and the involvement of the Spirit, one recognizes both the accuracy of the writing and the accuracy of Joseph Smith’s interpretation, which was accepted by the Spirit. There are no errors in the Book of Mormon other than a few grammatical changes that have been made.

Thus, when you look at the two scriptures typically quoted by Book of Mormon scholars to claim the Mulekites landed in the Land Northward and eventually migrated southward until they reached the land of Zarahemla, the oft-cited scriptures actually say nothing of the kind—especially when compared with the statement made in Omni.

Taking a blinded Zedekiah back to Babylon where he was imprisoned for the rest of his life


Actually, the Mulekites left Jerusalem sometime at the end or possibly after the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. In some way, Mulek escaped detection by the Babylonian King Nebekenezer, who captured and killed all the sons of Zedekiah and took the blinded Hebrew king back to the Akkadian-speaking and cultural state of Babylon based in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and Syria).

It is quite likely that Mulek, the undisclosed son of Zedekiah was just a babe, or young child, when he was taken out of Jerusalem, since the Hebrew king was only 32 when he was captured and taken to Babylon. Thus Mulek was taken by palace retainers, family, mother, or servants, or a combination of these, as they fled into the wilderness.

Friday, December 25, 2020


For they traveled by night and they slept by day for their guide was a beautiful, wonderful star that hung over Jerusalem where they found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manager.

May the Spirit of Christmas infuse your life and that of your family members with hope, positivity, and joy.


(Today's blog will be found below)

The Landing of the Nephtes - Part II

 Continued from the previous post, “The Landing of the Mulekites – Part II,” for more information on where the Mulekites landed and subsequently lived. Continuing with an understanding of an accurate discussion about Alma 22:30-31.

(Alma 22:31)  And they came from there up into the south wilderness. Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful, it being the wilderness which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind, a part of which had come from the land northward for food.

Landing on Santa Elena Peninsula, the Jaredites moved up into the highlands in the south wilderness


Reading this correctly, one finds:

And they (Jaredites) came from there (place of first landing) up into the south wilderness (the southernmost part of the Land Northward, just north of the narrow neck). Thus the land on the northward (just north of the narrow neck) was called Desolation (after the Jaredite bones), and the land on the southward (south of the narrow neck) was called Bountiful, it being the wilderness (uninhabited land at the time of the Jaredites) which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind (at the time of Mormon), a part of which had come from the land northward (north of the narrow neck) for food.

With this in mind, then, we can restate this scriptural statement so it is not quite so confusing upon first reading:  "And the land of Bountiful (just south of the Narrow Neck) bordered upon the land which they called Desolation (just north of the Narrow Neck), the land of Desolation being so far northward that the land of Desolation came into the land which had been peopled by the Jaredites who had been destroyed and their (Jaredite) bones were left scattered on the land (which we have already mentioned).  This land northward of Desolation, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, was the place where those that had been destroyed first landed (Jaredites first landing."

Consequently, the scripture in Alma cannot be used to show that the Mulekites landed in the land northward. Nor can the second scripture cited in Helaman be used for this purpose. Consider the following:

In 73 B.C., before the Nephites had migrated into the Land Northward, Alma says:

Moroni and his Flag of Liberty that he made


1) That is, Moroni was naming the land of promise south of the land of Desolation, i.e., the Land Southward, as a chosen land, and the land of liberty.  He called the land south (the land of Nephi, then held by the Lamanites, separated from the Nephites by a Narrow Strip of Wilderness) and the land north (Zarahemla to Bountiful, then held by the Nephites) as the chosen land, the land of liberty.  Here we find Moroni (or Alma the recorder or Mormon the abridger) naming the Land Southward having two divisions—a land north and a land south.

2) In 30 B.C., Helaman, referring to the peace that then existed among the Lamanites (in the south—Land of Nephi) and the Nephites (in the north—Zarahemla to Bountiful) referred to this unprecedented peace.  He said: "...they became exceeding rich, both the Lamanites and the Nephites; and they did have an exceeding plenty of gold, and of silver, and of all manner of precious metals, both in the land south and in the land north.  Now the land south was called Lehi and the land north was called Mulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah; for the Lord did bring Mulek into the land north, and Lehi into the land south."  (Helaman 6:9-10, emphasis added).

Again, we find a separation of the Land Southward, which was fully occupied by Lamanites in the south and Nephites in the north, following this natural social division that had existed for nearly 500 years at this time.  To make sure he gets his message across, Helaman mentions the difference between the land north and the land south, yet both having the same in common, i.e., the Lamanites in the south and the Nephites in the north of the Land Southward were rich, were in communication with one another, intermingled, raised crops, had gold, etc.  This was an unprecedented time of peace in the 500-year history of the land of promise (Helaman 6:11-12).

Separation of the Nephites and Lamanites


3) In about 18 B.C., the Apostle Nephi described the Nephites in the Land Southward who abandoned their land and withdrew to Bountiful, which was on a line with the Land of Desolation, and gave the Gaddianton Robbers the land to their south, and "the Robbers gained the Land South and the Land North" as they came down out of the hills and took over the land south of the Nephites (3 Nephi 4:1). Here the term Land North is given but the Robbers were not in the Land Northward—only in the northern part (Land North) of the Land Southward” Desolation (3 Nephi 3:23-25).

To get a proper perspective, the elements of the land are listed as (working from the south to the north):

• Land Southward (Alma 22:32):

Land South: (Lehi)

1.  Land of First Inheritance (First Landing)

2.  Land of Nephi

Land North: (Mulek)

3.  Land of Zarahemla (Alma 22:29)

4.  Land of Bountiful (Alma 22:29)

Area of Separation or Debarkation (Alma 22:32)

5.  Narrow Neck of Land (Alma 22:32)

Land Northward (Alma 22:32)

6.  Land of Desolation (Alma 22:30)

7.  Site of Last Jaredite Battle (Alma 22:30)

8.  Land of Large Bodies of Water (Helaman 3:4-5)

Now, for further evidence, we need only take a look at another scripture, rarely quoted by the Book of Mormon scholars, which makes this understanding quite clear.  It is found in Omni, and was written by Amaleki who was a first-hand witness to the events he described for he lived in the days of Mosiah, saw his death, and the reign of King Benjamin (Omni 1:23). He was part of the group of Nephites that escaped to the city of Zarahemla and knew the Mulekites first hand. He wrote:

(See the next post, “The Landing of the Mulekites – Part III,” for more informqtion on where the Mulekites landed and subsequently lived).

Thursday, December 24, 2020

The Landing of the Mulekites – Part I

Few things have altered the theorists’ claims regarding the matching of their Land of Promise models and theories with the scriptural record than their claims of where the Mulekites landed and lived. This because many place the Mulekite landing in the Land Northward and therefore claim there was interaction between the Mulekites and the Jaredites—this led to all sorts of scenarios, from the Jaredite landing on the shore of the Sea East to the Mulekites conquering and subduing the Jaredites to living together in peace, to the Mulekites eventually migrating from the Land Northward to the Land Southward where Mosiah found them.

All of these theories are wrong since they do not match the scriptural record of the Mulekites as recorded by Amaleki.

Theorists’ views of where the Mulekites landed in Mesoamerica and North America


As an example, theorist Joseph L. Allen claims that the Mulekites were  living among the Jaredites, and eventually migrated into the South Wilderness of the Land Southward where he claims Mosiah discovered them (Joseph L. Allen, Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, S.A. Publishers, Orem, Utah, 1989, p 7).

This belief is taken from two scriptural statements that apparently describe the land northward as the one-time home of the Mulekite, and the area of first landing:

• And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolaton, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, it being the place of their first landing (Alma 22:30)

Here, the term “people of Zarahemla” refers to those who originally came out of Jerusalem with Mulek, only surviving son of king Zedekiah and have been referred to in modern times as Mulekites. In addition:

Now the land south was called Lehi and the land north was called Mulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah; for the Lord did bring Mulek into the land north, and Lehi into the land south (Helaman 6:10)

At first glance, it would appear that these scriptures are self-evident and unarguable.  However, upon closer examination, we get a clearer understanding: In Alma, the author is talking about the boundaries of both the Nephite and Lamanite lands in conjunction with a proclamation of Lamoni's father, the king of the Lamanites, sends throughout his kingdom (Alma 22:27). 

In this side discussion which Mormon enters into the record, he interjects the fact that the Nephites were nearly surrounded by the Lamanites (Alma 22:29), however, the Nephites had taken possession of the land northward, "even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful."  Then, in describing Bountiful, Mormon adds that it bordered on the land of Desolation. 

The breakdown of the land of Promise and the placement of the Land North and Land South within the Land Southward


A reading of Alma 22:30, and recognizing the various clauses it contains, shows that it reads:

And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken, it being the place of their first landing.

The mention of the people of Zarahemla in an adjective clause with a prepositional phrase, is meant to modify part of the earlier compound adjective clause.  Or, stated differently, that portion of the verse should read:

Of whose bones we have spoken, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla.

That is, the land was so far north that it came into the land (adverbial clause) of the original inhabitants, the Jaredites (compound adjective clause).  The bones of these Jaredites were earlier mentioned (still part of the compound adjective clause), and were the same bones found by the people of Zarahemla (adjective clause).  This location, where the bones were found in this land far to the north, is where the Jaredites first landed (modifying phrase regarding the land northward). 

This long and convoluted scripture has been given to several English teachers, including the Department Chair, who were asked to diagram it and show relationships. Each teacher came up with the same understanding of the sentence as indicated above.

In addition, taking a look at the actual scripture meaning:

And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation...

In this case, the word “it” refers to Bountiful;

...”it” being so far northward that “it” came into the land...

In this case, the word “it” (used twice) refers to the Land of Desolation;

...which had been peopled and been destroyed...

That is, this land of Desolation had been full of people and the people had been destroyed;

...of whose bones we have spoken...

That is, the destruction of this people and the finding of their bones had been discussed earlier in the scriptural record;

...which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla...

Limhi sent 43 of his peopleº from the city of Lehi-Nephi in search of Zarahemla and they stumbled on the destruction of these bones and Ether's 24 plates of gold; being the place ...

In this case, the word “it” refers to the land northward (or more precisely, the land of Desolation)

...of their first landing.

In this case, the word “their” refers to the people who had peopled the land and who were destroyed (the Jaredites).

Limhi’s forty and three man rescue party sent to find Zarahemla


It should be kept in mind that Limhi's people were originally from Zarahemla. Whether or not they were Mulekites or Nephites we are not told, but Zeniff led his party south into the land of Nephi and his grandson, Limhi, was desirous to escape the Lamanites and lead his people back to Zarahemla, to he sent a party of 43 men to find Zarahemla and enlist them in their salvation.

Thus, the scriptural record shows that the place of their first landing is referring to the Jaredites (people of the bones) and not the Mulekites (those of Zarahemla who found the bones). With this understanding, we are ready to look at the next verse.  Here, another mistake is often made by thinking that Mormon is writing about the Mulekites when in reality he is still talking about the Jaredites.

(See the next post, “The Landing of the Mulekites – Part II,” for more informqtion on where the Mulekites landed and subsequently lived