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Saturday, June 9, 2007

LDS Scholars find parallels between the Book of Mormon and Mesoamerica

What does it mean when LDS scholars find circumstantial parallels between the Book of Mormon and Mesoamerica? For example, as John L. Sorenson points out in his book entitled An ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, he says:


we have no reason to expect scholars to find traces of Egyptian speech in the New World...But as we have seen , the glyphic writing...in...Mesoamerica is identical in principle to Egyptian writing.
Identical in principal to Egyptian writing? Identical in what way? If we compared the Mesoamerican glyphic writing to other scripts besides Egyptian, like Chinese for example, could we find the same similarities?

Other circumstantial parallels

Another parallel that most LDS scholars like to bring up is Quetzalcoatl. Most of the parallels between Jesus and Quetzalcoatl are circumstantial as well. I will talk into more detail about my findings of Quetzalcoatl and how I don't think it is the same person as described in the Book of Mormon in a later post.

Another perfect example of circumstantial parallels is the discovery of temples in Mesoamerica. The Book of Mormon speaks of temples, but none of the Mayan or Aztec temples are closely related to what is described in the Book of Mormon. They might find a temple that was destroyed around the birth of Christ, like the one in Chiapa de Corzo, however when you take a closer look, there is no way it could be a Nephite City because the city was first occupied in 1,400 B.C. and the writing script they used in that temple was based on a late Olmec script.

They also say that an Elephant as described in the Book of Mormon could be a Mammoth as found in Mesoamerica. However, the Mammoth became extinct in that region around 10,000 B.C.

They will mention that the Book of Mormon describes secret societies, and there is evidence to support secret societies within the Aztecs called the "nahualistas". I would venture out to say that you could find secret societies in just about ANY society.

New World Order Archaeological Foundation

It got me thinking: The LDS church has spent millions of dollars funded through BYU and the NWAF as well as countless man-hours searching through archaeological digs trying to find any evidence to support the Book of Mormon, but the best they can come up with is a few circumstantial parallels.

What about control groups?

It makes me wonder if the only reason that LDS scholars find parallels from the Book of Mormon and Mesoamerica is because that is the only place they look for them. In other words, to find out just how relevant and meaningful those parallels are, we could have a couple of "control groups". We would take a couple of completely unrelated cultures, say Chinese and Africans for example. We would then send out archaeologists and anthropologists to specifically search and look for ancient literary forms, ancient names, records made on tablets, any Hebrew origins, metal swords and overall ancient cultures of these areas. Their specific goal is to search for anything that could be considered evidence that would support the Book of Mormon.

We would then look at the data after years of research and determine if Mesoamerica has substantially more, less, or an equal number of parallels than the other "control groups" with the Book of Mormon culture. If the other cultures have equal or more parallels between them and the Book of Mormon, it would seriously question just how meaningful the parallels are between the Book of Mormon and Mesoamerica. It would also give us an idea of how many "coincidental" parallels one could expect when trying to place the Book of Mormon with ANY culture.

It is unlikely such a study will ever be done

Such "control" studies have not been performed because obviously such an undertaking would require a lot of money, and most importantly, there is no incentive for anyone to take on such a huge task. The LDS church has a vested interest in Mesoamerica, but would have absolutely no interest in looking at other cultures. Not only that, but the LDS church has been actively looking since the 1950's. It is doubtful that anyone would spend that kind of manpower and money just to prove a point.

Parallels Between Other Cultures and the Book of Mormon

Regardless of the fact that this kind of study will never be done, I can already see more parallels between Chinese and African cultures and the Book of Mormon simply with what we know already.

We know that the Chinese started using cast Iron during the Zhou Dynasty of the 6th
century B.C. The Native Americans didn't use metal until 600 A.D. and only gold and silver for artwork. pre-Colombian Native Americans didn't use metal weapons.

The word "Mormon" is used in the ancient Chinese language for various meanings (pronounced mo-man) . There could be other similar names to ancient Chinese words. There aren't any names in the Book of Mormon that are similar at all to any Native American script.

There are some African tribes of Hebrew origin, whereas there is not a single Native American to be found of Middle Eastern decent.


What this demonstrates to me is that one could find parallels between the Book of Mormon and ANY diverse culture. In fact, I see more parallels between Chinese and African cultures than any Native American culture. It just demonstrates to me how readily parallels occur strictly by chance alone.

Skeptical Mormon.

22 comments:

Elder Joseph said...

Just been reading my July, 2007 Ensign", article that talks about how to approach things you might come across about the church that don't make sense and might make you realise its not true after all and that we have been duping you all along .

It sounds so cheesy . We have supposed prophets and apostles yet no one has any answers to anything .. Lds Theology brings more questions than it does answers .. And really there is a simple answer to all the problems about the church " it isn't what it claims to be " . Once you consider and realise this then you are free to discover and wonder in amazement about the world and its diverse religions ...

I think its undignified to believe in these leaders as the only men who are officially authorised to be communicating with God .Worse still the last 170 years proves that they haven't been led by God or Jesus.

Slagging Black skin and other churches as of the devil / Polygamy with vulnerable young teens / Teaching Adam is God , Mary 'shagging'a Mormon to concieve Jesus ,Jesus and his followers hated for being polygamists . Members to come to Zion for the conclusion of all things i.e. return of Christ, NOW stay where you are and build Zions all over unless we call you.

Dedicating Temples , telling Lamenties they are Lehi's descendants and they are not ! lol

Sending out missionaries having withheld true information about the church's history and Head In A Hat Translation method especially and everything else .

Changing the original Book Of Commandments two years later .

The list goes on and on ..

Why can't Jesus communicate clearly with his church ? It's supposed to be RESTORED and can't Falter or lead anyone astray ! hahaha

The Real Answer may be too uncomfortable for some .

still firm said...

Dearest elder joseph,

I worry that you are hung up on the same things all the time. Are you still searching for answers or have you come to a conclusion? It sounds as though you are done looking, that your mind has reached an end. If that is the case, what is your goal? You continue to mention the same things...post after post...are you looking into these topics which Zelph is posting? Or are you just venting?

Who ever said that individuals could not be led astray? I can name several instances where the prophets have done as man wanted and not as God wanted... does that fault the GOSPEL?

Why do you continue to read LDS magazines if you have determined it is not right for you? Are you a Christian? How would you define your spiritual stand-point? What do you think about those other religions in the world? Just curious, but what is your ethnicity? And why do you think that the only individuals who would convert to the gospel are lonely, hungry, stupid, etc? I could say that I was none of those when I converted... I knew the gospel was true from the very beginning, but I read everything I could get ahold of... I watched various anti-mormon movies... and ultimately, my baptism was between me and the Lord...

I guess I am really interested in your continuous use of the same arguement...

still firm

Elder Joseph said...

still firm ,

Its wrong to mislead and lie to people for religion . The LDS Church sends out young missionaries to teach us a whitewashed and innacurate version of events .

We are told Joseph Smith Used an Urim and Thummim . He used a Hat and Stone and The Urim and Thummim is not true .Its a lie perpetrated by Joseph Smith to make things sound biblical.Similarly Oliver Cowdery was a Dowser , he used a dowsing rod to find things ( found nothing as its complete bullsh**).

In D&C 8:6 it talks about Oliver Cowdery having the gift of Aaron ... In the original Book Of Commandments the same passage ( 7:3 )reads Gift of the rod , the rod of nature ...( in other words HIS DOWSING ROD!)

Another example of palmimg off wierd false practices of the time as biblical.

What you felt at the beginning is the same thing people feel when they attend an AMWAY conference or any other get rich scheme .. Its an emotion based on false premises ..

What are the instances where the prophets have done as man wanted? are they
polygamy ?
false doctrine i.e. the church is true foremostly ?
Blacks priesthood ban ?
lying about polygamy ?
lying about Lamenites being The American Indians ?
lying about being Prophets and apostles ?


I read LDS magazines to see how they keep people held in psychologically and through fear .

There is no real happiness in this church , I see much depression , worry , fear etc .... and peoples knowledge of things are based on lies and deception .Its a farse really ...

I see similar parallels as I saw with JW's ..

But what Gospel are you talking about , because you believe in a Jesus Christ that commanded Joseph to have sex with young teens . A Jesus Christ who threatened Emma to obey this practice and accept Josephs already married wives without her permission . A Jesus Christ of Joseph Smiths imagination .

If the church was honest about itself I wouldn't have a complaint but it isn't .It misleads people about its past for the very reason that no one would join if they knew it was a hoax in the beginning . But the longer they spend believing the whitewash, the more conditioned they become to accept the things of the past as they find out about them .

what anti mormon things have you read then ?
Journal Of Discourses
The Seer
Times and Seasons
Millenial Star
or books by Joseph Fielding Smith or Bruce McConkie

I'm white and was told by my bishop not to show the Journal of discourses to black brothers in the church ....amazing what gets hidden from them .

Elder Joseph said...

still firm

you said "Who ever said that individuals could not be led astray? I can name several instances where the prophets have done as man wanted and not as God wanted... does that fault the GOSPEL? "

But you know thats not what I meant ! Thats typical Mormon apologist twisting . I meant the prophets leading the members astray .

"The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray."

President Wilford Woodruff (considered scripture as it is canonized at the end of the D&C)

He led them astray he taught if polygamy ends then we will do away with prophets and apostles too ..

Brigham Young taught Adam was God , he was leading the church astray on doctrine ..

The polygamy was false and leading members astray .. you just haven't admitted that yet but you will in the future .

they are always leading you astray because its all false .

Zelph said...

Still Firm,

I can not speak for Elder Joseph, but I would assume that the reason he is hung up on those topics is because he hasn't been able to get a satisfactory answer. This is very disheartening for many people, including myself. The church proclaims to be directed by God and has all the answers to life, salvation and the fullness of the gospel, yet it can't answer simple straightforward questions.

What I have come to find out is the reason why nobody has answers to many questions is because there are no answers. Most times, the answers people do come up with directly contradict the official church positions and contradict many teachings of Joseph Smith as well as other prophets. That is what has led to my skepticism of the church.

I don't think God would deceive us just to test our faith. I believe that Satan is the father of deception. E. Joseph, care to comment on the subject? If we are to believe that the prophets were called by God, but we are also forced to reconcile with the fact that they got so many things wrong, that leads me to wonder why would God use prophets in the first place? Obviously they don't have a good track record of getting his correct message across.

I am going to stop typing right now, because I am going to get carried away if I keep typing. I will save my other thoughts for another discussion.

still firm said...

Dear elder joseph,

Have you ever considered that people are able to know about history and not become angry or bitter about it?

I suppose I have failed to communicate that I have absolute faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ... but I still know that men an err (sometimes big-time).

Personal revelation is incredible... unfortunately, the ability to receive it from the Lord does not happen when one harbors hatred and anger.

I just want to let you know that I am not a psychological bimbo... and I do see something wrong with your bishop telling you not to share the Jornal of Discourses with individuals who are black. I do see something wrong with hiding from the truth and pretending like nothing wrong or inappropriate has ever happened.

Can you prove that Joseph Smith did not use a Urim and Thummim? What about the Gift of Aaron? I guess many things are left open for interpretation... but I find your version fascinating. =)

Let's, for the record, identify that I believe in Jesus Christ, who created our world (along with many others) under the direction of our Father in Heaven, a Christ that was betrayed by Judas (one who lied - even in the presence of the Lord), the Christ who healed the sick and raised the dead, the Christ who suffered for our sins (and boy am I grateful for that... I sure need His help), the One who died on the cross and was willing to forgive those who really did not understand, and He who overcame death... providing us with the opportunity to do the same.

The characteristics you say you see in the church... well, I see those everywhere. Overall, I think people are more depressed, worry and fear today... for more than they have been in the past. I could speculate on those reasons but that would be just my opinion.

KUDOS on your rationale for continuing to read LDS literature... I think that we have a similar feeling on that one... I continue to read anit-mormon literature to determine the reasons for individuals falling away from the Gospel (but I have some close friends who are angry with many of the same points as you, but still firmly believe that the Gospel is true)...

As far as anit-mormon literature, and your snide remark about what I have read... lead me the way to something you would like me to read... I will read it!

I am not sure that your assessment, about people who know the history of the Church being unwilling to still join, is correct. I knew the history and I still joined...

Sincerely,
Still Firm

still firm said...

Zelph,

Can you name prophets who started our following Jesus Christ and then strayed?

You are very luck to have an understanding spouse. My first husband became angry because I would not fight about our fundamental differences... he was willing to shoot me (literally) to stop me from believing! Needless to say, that destroyed our relationship... it is nice to hear that your wife is supportive during your quest.

I guess I don't know what to say about the lack of a satisfactory answer... I have asked questions to which I, too, was unable to get an answer... I took it to the Lord. Some answers I have received, others I am still waiting for...

Again, I guess I can only say that the Gospel put in place from our Lord, Jesus Christ... humans make mistakes.

still firm

Zelph said...

still firm,

I think it is fantastic that you knew the church history, knew there were flaws and believe regardless of those problems because of your faith in Jesus Christ. The truth of the matter is that most Mormons DON'T know about church history. If they do know some things, it is very little, or the only information they get is one-sided from the LDS church.

I would say that most converts have heard both sides of the story, but most BIC's have lived a more "sheltered" life. It is this group of people that are set up for the biggest downfall. It is almost like people are set up by the church for disappointment.

One thing I want more than anything else out of this blog is awareness. I want the members to be aware of the flaws and issues facing the church.

If you believe, by all means, I think it is great. Still Firm, it sounds like you went into the church with both eyes open. My wife is still a believing member, and I think that is the main reason I still go. I think the difference is that I had a very “black and white” view of the church and my wife has always seen things differently.

I also wish the church was more open and honest about the flaws. I don't want the church to continue using cult-like practices of deceiving it's members while controlling information and not telling them the whole story. I understand that the church can and I think it should tell the story in a spiritually-uplifting way, but I wish they were more honest about it.

Perhaps the church will never change unless the members demand change. Maybe I can do a lot more good by influencing people in small ways within the organization.

Just some thoughts on my mind.

Zelph said...

Still Firm,

If I understood your question correctly, I think you were asking what prophets started out following the Lord and then strayed later in life?

If that is your question, I can think of a few examples. Judas is the first thing that comes to mind. The second that jumps in is King David when he fell into temptation by having an affair with Bathsheba, then ordered her husband’s death on the front lines of battle so he could be with her. Although he spent the rest of his life repenting, LDS sources say that his only hope is the Telestial kingdom.

Then, there are most of the original 12 Apostles under Joseph Smith that branched out into different sects. There are the apostles that broke off to continue practicing polygamy after it was renounced.


This draws into question the validity of the quote by Wilford Woodruff “The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty”

So if we are to believe that the Official Declaration 1 is canonized scripture, then to say that the Lord’s prophets have lead people astray in the past contradicts official doctrine. These are some of the paradoxes that I am faced with that make it very challenging to believe that we are in “the one true church”.

I appreciate your responses and insights.

Bishop Rick said...

Personal revelation is not proof. It is nothing more than a good feeling.

I believe that following the teachings of Christ as outlined in the NT is should be enough.

I also believe that it is the intention of your heart that will condemn/save you in the end, not what church you belong to or what "saving" ordinances you have participated in.

To believe that only followers of a certain religion will make it to the best Heaven has to offer is simply rediculous. What loving father (God) would condemn 99.999% of his children?

And this nonsense of work after death makes no sense either. Why bother at all here on earth if it will all be sorted out after death? That is just rediculous...IMO

still firm said...

bishop rick,

I agree with you that in the end, no loving Heavenly Father would condemn one who truly believes in Jesus the Christ... =) Thanks for that comment.

Still Firm

Alex said...

I’m going to change the subject back to that of the first posting. Ancient Mayan is VERY similar to ancient Egyptian in the fact that they are both phonetic, a discovery only made about thirty years ago. David Stuart, a friend of mine, made an interesting discovery about 10 years ago: the “it came to pass” glyph. It is the most used glyph in Mayan writing. Likewise the Maya used a style of writing that closely resembles that used in the Book of Mormon. Likewise Mayan culture actually emerged about the same time as the Book of Mormon was winding down. The last few chapters of the Book of Mormon, starting with 4 Nephi, accurately describe this. The final split between the Nephites and Lamanites is evident with the sudden surge of Teotihuacan culture in the Maya lands. Linda Schele speculated that there was probably a religious war fought during the late preclassic. The building “up” of many churches, including one that denied Christ: This would have been the rain cult of Tloloc, before Tloloc the preclassic maya believed in only one God and his son, who together created the world. More than likely the Teotihuacan Mesoamerican culture whose influence reached as far south as Copan was in fact the Nephite culture right before the final split. The connection between Copan and Teotihuacan is a discovery made only 5 years ago. We don’t know everything. Only 10% of sites have been dug up. You can walk into the jungle and discover a new city, or make an outstanding discovery, like the murals of San Bartolo, 3 years ago. I think when everything is know there will be a lot more “circumstantial” evidence.
-Educated Believer

Zelph said...

Alex, thank you for your insight and I will consider all your points. I am not an expert on the subject, but from what I have gathered so far, there is no connection with Mesoamerican writing with Egyptian texts. As I said before, there is no control group, so if we were to compare the writings with other texts, would we find the same similarities? That I couldn't tell you, and will probably take more study.

The other problem I have is that the Mesoamerican scripts date back thousands of years before the Book of Mormon times. If the Book of Mormon influenced the alteration of text in any way, we should be able to see some Hebrew or Egyptian influence, but I don't see any more or less "similarities" than the scripts we find before 600 B.C. The "and it came to pass" translation is interesting. I have heard that before and wonder 2 things: can that phrase be found before 600 B.C.? And: could it be a "loose" translation? It is worth looking into.

People point to the Olmecs as existing the same time as the Jaredites. The script test doesn't work there either, because Egyptian was not a written language during the Tower of Babel times. The only script that was used during that time period is known as Cuneiform, and there are no similarities with Cuneiform with any of the pre-600B.C. scripts either.

The biggest problem for the script test and the Book of Mormon is that the Book of Mormon describes the use of writing on metal tablets, but we don't find the use of writing on metal in pre-Columbian America. They etched on stone and drew murals on cave walls. The Book of Mormon doesn't mention any of that. The only time the Book of Mormon mentions engravings is in the context of writing on metal plates.

One other thing, I would like to know where you got that statistic that only 10% of the sites have been dug up. It is the first I have heard of it, so it is worth investigating further.

I will also look into the Teotihuacan culture, Copan and Tloloc. Thank you for bringing those to my attention. I will see what I can find out about the cultures.

Skeptical Mormon

Chareth Cutestory said...

I may be backing the conversation up a bit here, but I thought it was interesting that StillFirm's response to Elder Joseph's post/rant was the to ask this: "Why do you continue to read LDS magazines if you have determined it is not right for you? Are you a Christian? How would you define your spiritual stand-point? What do you think about those other religions in the world? Just curious, but what is your ethnicity?"

StillFirm, what is the relevance of these questions? How would any of this information change the validity of Joseph's points?

I may be reading too much into this, but by asking Joseph's ethnicity, you seem to be saying that unless he is of African descent, he really doesn't need to worry about the priesthood ban.

I just found your questions very jarring.

The 1 Truth said...

There is plenty of evidence to support the Book of Mormon. I am not going to go into it all, but as Alex pointed out, they are finding new discoveries all the time. Just because they haven't found everything doesn't mean it isn't around. For example, just recently they found chicken bones. Nobody thought there were chickens in Native American cultures, but they just recently found it. The Book of Mormon also mentions chickens. Anti-Mormons often questioned why Jesus brought up chickens if they didn't exist in that culture. Now we know they did exists, so Jesus bringing up chickens is relevant.

Anyways as you know, the only real way to know if something is true is to ask God.

Elder Joseph said...

the 1 truth

You mention chickens and the relevance to Jesus bringing them up in his quote from the New testament ..I never heard that anti mormons brought that up before and i've been anti searching for two years !

What about Matthew 5:42 KJV: And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

Found also in 3 Nephi 12;41 surprise surprise .. :)

Would this make sense to the Nephites because it's a Roman Law where a Roman Centurion could compel an Israelite to carry his load for a mile ...

Did the Nephites have this Roman Law also then ?

Bishop Rick said...

1 truth,

I don't know that chickens existed then. I only have your word. Please give a reference. Same goes for Alex.

still firm said...

Dear Chareth Cutestory,

You are right, you were reading too much into my question about ethnicity. I was simply curious... and to me it doesn't matter what ones ethnicity is when he/she is concerned about an issue. I too found the ban on priesthood disturbing (if you had read some of my other comments), as I have also found other areas of concerns in the LDS church... my point, however, was that those issues do not change the truthfulness of the GOSPEL.

The 1 Truth said...

Bishop Rick,

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,278083,00.html

You can copy and paste the link that talks about a recent discovery about chickens that were found in South America. The point is that they are making new discoveries every day. Up until a few months ago, nobody knew that chickens existed in the Americas. Now they know. Who knows what they will un-earth tomorrow. We have only uncovered 10% of the ruins, and they are making new discoveries every day.

Elder Joseph said...

Here is a clipfrom the news on the chicken bones find and the dates are well after the Book Of Mormon times !! For goodness sake how can this be evidence of Jesus In America talking about chickens when he was suposedly there about 1300 years before this ...

Quote

"We had the chicken bone directly dated by radiocarbon. The calibrated date was clearly prior to 1492," Matisoo-Smith told LiveScience, adding that the date-range window was from 1304 to 1424. "This also fits with the other dates obtained from the site [on other materials], and it fits with the cultural period of the site."

This shows chickens in approx 1300 to 1400 ad and not in the Book of Mormon times ..

This seems to be typical of mormon so called evidences ..

E J

Elder Joseph said...

still firm ,

you said

"as I have also found other areas of concerns in the LDS church... my point, however, was that those issues do not change the truthfulness of the GOSPEL. "


I agree that the Gospel is true .. but the point is the version you are advocating is actually false and history shows that the LDS Prophets and Apostles are no more inspired that the average agnostic.

You can't get any worse then Brigham Young teaching WRONG things and ERROR and same with the other crackpot leaders ....

The only concern you should have concluded by now is that you might be in a man made cult !

B. Kawamax said...

Just to add some of the inconsistencies mentioned in the book of Mormon:

1.- Language
2.- Writing
3.- Animals
4.- Chariots
5.- Cities Names
6.- Geography
7.- Artifacts
8.- Culture
9.- Time and Age
10.- Calendars

And the most powerful evidence of all: DNA

By the way: my ancestry is Mayan in my mothers side, my grandma did get married to a Spaniard [Sephardi-Hebrew: my grandpa] in 1927, so I have both genes in my veins, the Mayan and the Hebrew.

Anyway, DNA studies has proven that THERE'S NO RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HEBREW DNA AND NATIVE AMERICAN DNA, not even a group, or a trace.

So...