Thursday, June 14, 2007

Who was Quetzalcoatl?

The story of Quetzalcoatl is very compelling and many LDS members have pointed to the legend of Quetzalcoatl as evidence to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.

Who is Quetzalcoatl?

In case you are unfamiliar with pre-Colombian deities, Quetzalcoatl is the most well known Aztec god and is believed by many to be the principal Aztec God. The name itself is a compound formed from the Nahuatl terms for the emerald plumed quetzal and the serpent, or coatl. In other words, Quetzalcoatl means feathered serpent.

Was Quetzalcoatl a Resurrected Jesus?

The crowning event in the Book of Mormon is the story of Jesus Christ himself as a resurrected being visiting the people on the American Continent just after his crucifixion. Many Mormons believe that this event was the basis for Quetzalcoatl and other Native American pre-Colombian deities. But how does a flying snake relate to the same Jesus Christ that walked in Palestine?

Bruce R. McConkie writes in his book Mormon Doctrine regarding Quetzalcoatl:

Lamanitish tradition has preserved the account of the ministry among the ancient inhabitants off America of a white God called Quetzalcoatl...Quetzalcoatl was a favorably disposed man, of grave aspect, white and bearded. His dress was a long tunic...He told them that in time to come,...he would return, and then his doctrine would be received. Almost without exception Latter-day Saints have associated these traditions with the ministry of the resurrected Christ among the Nephites. President John Taylor, for instance, has written: 'The story of the life of the Mexican divinity, Quetzalcoatl, closely resembles that of the Savior; so closely, indeed, that we can come to no other conclusion than that Quetzalcoatl and Christ are the same being. But the history of the former has been handed down to us through an impure Lamanitish source, which has sadly disfigured and perverted the original incidents and teachings of the Savior's life and ministry.'
First, let me start off by saying that I find it confusing that the early prophets and apostles called the pre-Columbian Native Americans "Lamanitish" when most LDS apologists today are saying that the general population of Native Americans are not Lamanites, but that is another topic for another day. If anything, it demonstrates how un-inspired early chruch leaders were.

From a more modern source, LDS apologist John L. Sorenson writes in his book An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon:
Many Latter-day Saints know a little about the ancient Mesoamerican figure known by the name Quetzalcoatl...who bears some striking resemblances to Christ as reported in the Book of Mormon...By some accounts, Quetzalcoatl wore a long white robe...traditional native accounts written down by the Spaniards...document a widely held belief...[of] a sacred being, described as a bearded white man, appeared long ago, taught a demanding set of spiritual principals, then departed mysteriously with the promise that he would return someday.

Problems With a White God in Pre-Columbian America

In the Reader's Digest book Mysteries of the Ancient Americas, it brings up some of the serious problems with placing a white God in Mesoamerica. When talking about Quetzalcoatl as a white God, it says:

There is, however, a serious flaw in the theories of the white-god...It is only after the Spanish Conquest that Quetzalcoatl is depicted as having a white skin, and then only in accounts provided by the Spaniards themselves. In local Aztec art, he is usually depicted as a feathered serpent or as a human wearing a mask or shown to have a black face, sometimes with yellow stripes and a red mouth...Nothing known of Aztec legend, though, implies that he had been a white his human form on earth.

So if we are to believe that Quetzalcoatl was indeed a white God, the only evidence we have to go on is the word of the Spaniards. Quetzalcoatl was never depicted as a white bearded robed man until after the Spaniards came, and only by the Spaniards accounts. All of the local artwork and murals that pre-date Columbus depict him as either a feathered serpent or a dark-skinned man.

Mysteries of the Ancient Americas continues: the lights of native believers, had [not] been expected to "return". These promises were noted, long after the fact, by the Spanish chroniclers with wit enough to see the advantages of being taken as actors in the fulfillment of prophecy...The Spaniards with their cannon and horses and ships...may at first have appeared like supernatural beings...But there is little evidence that the Aztec ruler or anyone else in the land thought that the Spanish invasion was a promised Second Coming of the God Quetzalcoatl.

It appears that all these accounts of a white God promising to return one day were nothing more than Spanish political propaganda. Hernán Cortés was a white bearded man that arrived to the Americas. It was very self-fulfilling for the Spanish chroniclers to portray the Native American deities in a manner that conveniently puts the Spanish in a godlike position over the Native Americans. The only illustrations that depict Quetzalcoatl as a bearded white man are from European documents, like the one to the right taken from a 16th century Spanish manuscript. Notice similar features to Cortés himself.

Chronological Disparity

Another problem when comparing the account of the resurrected Jesus in the Book of Mormon and the legend of Quetzalcoatl is trying to place them on earth during the same time period. The earliest date that Quetzalcoatl could have appeared-as a man- was at least 300 A.D. Biasil C. Hedrick, Director of the University Museum Southern Illinois University said regarding the time period of Quetzalcoatl appearing as a man:
adjusted calendars would suggest a time sometime about 900+ years subsequent to the Crucifixion. It frankly appears to me to be poppycock that the Mormons attempt to tout. They take advantage of similarities and seemingly logical comparisons to support a stand which they wish to take but choose to ignore all types of other information which would lead them to quite the opposite conclusion, if they were totally objective in their approach.

The similarities between Quetzalcoatl and the account of Jesus Christ in America are easily explained as combining early European influence, muddling of the evidence by Spanish chroniclers, coincidence and ignoring facts that conflict with the pre-conceived conclusion.

It is easy for Mormons to simply say that many aspects of the true history of Quetzalcoatl has been disfigured and perverted over time. After all, the name Quetzalcoatl has been confused and often mingled with the historical Aztec high priest Ce Acatltopiltzin Quetzalcoatl. However, this argument has serious flaws. If Quetzalcoatl is in fact the same person as Jesus in the Book of Mormon, then you would see more similarities the further back in time you go. However, we find just the opposite. We find much more similarities in accounts that were only produced post-Columbus, and by Europeans. When we look at pre-Colombian ancient murals and artwork, we see less and less similarities. If anything, the characteristics of Quetzalcoatl that resemble Jesus the most are the parts of the legend that have been disfigured and perverted.

Skeptical Mormon


Bishop Rick said...

When I was on my mission, we showed filmstrips of Quetzacoatl to investigators telling them that this was proof of Jesus in America.

We were unwittingly spreading false doctrine.

nathanielmacrae said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zelph said...

Bishop Rick,

I think I can speak for a lot of Return Missionaries when I say that one of the things I resent the most is that the church not only lied to me, but they made me a liar. No wonder ex-Mormons are the ones that are the most against the church.

Elder Joseph said...

When I ask my Missionaries about the Carthage Incident they are suprised to learn Joseph Smith had a gun and deny it at first actually asking me where did I learn that from an anti site ?

But the most shocking one I reveal to them is probably The Head In A Hat . I don't delight in disrupting someone's religious belief but sometimes my young missionaries are too arrogant without realising it and seem to be labelling everyone outside of Mormonism as liars with an agenda for Satan.

They soon discover that they are the ones who have been lied to and I believe it will be the start of personal progress and growth for them .

I do allow my young missionaries 99% of our discussion time in their favour( which sometimes is nothing more than them spiritually bullying me unfortunatey). But my 1% input is far more powerfull because it's truth !

Nice kids they are though .I always say to them that if their mission was to bring a piece of the Saviour with them as personal individuals to me then they have been successful . If their mission was really only to get me to join the Mormons ...... well probably not then. Let them decide which one is more important .

I'd still like to show them Facsimile 3 from the book Of Abraham and how Joseph Smith got all the characters and descriptions of each totally wrong, although I do usually give it them for a thought at the end of their mission for on the way back home and get their emails ! ...... keep in touch :)

It's my test to see how sincere they really are ,afterall the amount of praise I've had from them is more fitting for a king !

But that was mostly in the beginning when baptism was being thrust upon me . Nowadays I don't get much praise .lol

The 1 Truth said...


FARMS published a report on many of the similarities between Jesus and Quetzalcoatl that pre-date Columbus. They also compare them with the Maya Maize God. There is a role within the Maya and Aztec gods with involvement with the creation, they are both the bread of life, they were both involved in a sacrifice to save humankind. I think the article does agree with you in some areas that we have to be careful in distinguishing between what the natives actually believed and what was influenced by the early Spaniards.

Anyways, it doesn't matter if Jesus was Quetzalcoatl or not. The people in the Book of Mormon were in apostasy by 200 A.D. You know the only real way to know the truth is to ask God.

Elder Joseph said...



I don't know how you manage to survive the church meetings. Each time I hear about him being a Lamb to the Slaughter I can't help thinking about the gun he had and also about The Spirit and Power of God in the translation I can't help thinking about a head in a hat and stone ! and it just doesn't seem to fit somehow .

N8Ma said...


Wow I might even know you personally depending on where you live.

You obviously do not honestly wish all of this could be disproven, because you celebrate and publish your doubts through this website. Your claims to being open-minded and truth-seeking are actually self-serving. Face the fact that you have lost your religion, and leave it.

Ask for your records to be removed from the church, and to completely and totally sever your ties to it. Remove your garments, and acknowledge your covenants to be null and void.

People do it all the time. Reveal your true name and live with the decisions you've made in your life.

Right now you are a coward.

Anonymous said...

Well folks, sorry but I'm not even a Christian. Google brought me here. Zelph - you seem like a pleasant thoughtful chap so for what it's worth - accounts of a white and bearded Quetzalcoatl who had left Mexico vowing to one day make his return appear in no records until at least 30 years after the conquest. Prior to this Quetzalcoatl was 100% Mexican, only occasionally "bearded" with a ceremonial paper beard, and ended his days (having fled Tollan) at some vague location in the east (no sailing away, no raft, no vows to return). In actual fact the bearded Quetzalcoatl is very probably a late indigenous myth - Mexican history served principally to explain the present rather than record the past - hence the similar retroactive prophecies of the arrival of Cortez (none of which appeared until long after Cortez arrived). So although bearded Quetzalcoatl probably was an indigenous myth after all, it was one that certainly would have piqued the interest of the Spanish friars and probably been encouraged.
My best wishes to you all - Yaomitl

Anonymous said...

Dear Friends,

I was scrolling down the web page about Quetzalcoatl.

Let me start out by saying I'm a descendant of the Iroquois Nation.
I have lived with the Navajo Indian a short while, I've talked with Indians, and I am an avid student of history.

I"m also of Scottish, French and English decent. I'm also a descendant of one of the oldest bloodlines of kings on earth.
But my heritage does not matter unless I can in fact see what's in front of my very eyes...... Let me explain.

The word British for those who don't know, means " people of the covenant in Hebrew. This I have confirmed with some good Hebrew people who happen to believe in Jesus Christ. ( This is the simple Explanation )

I mention the word British, only because many people don't know the Anglo words descends from the Hebrew word, even though every day in papers and on TV we see this word, little understanding the origin of the word.

You speak of Quetzalcoatl as if He is some Hoax. Yet everyday, even upon this very website, you see the very illustration of the American Indians symbol of the cross upon the robes of Quetzalcoatl.

In essence you see, but are blinded, you're lied too, but you yourselves only know you've been had. You don't know how deep and how dark the lie goes.

The lie is not the point. The point is around every great truth, there are lies told. Hence the word apostate church.

History always repeats. When the original disciples of Christ arose, going forth to preach the gospel, an apostate church arose to counter their efforts, persecuting them, killing them for their efforts. Yet they kept on and eventually succeeded. Yet many died and still continue to die to this day for the true gospel.

There are only two churches. The church of Jesus Christ, and the church of the devil.

Christ's people will take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ. The Church of the Devil will persuade us to believe that the truth we thought was, never existed.Yet we should note the devil to receive people must tell enough of the truth so people can be deceived. Point being the Mormon church is an apostate church, but so are all the other churches.

Biblical and Book of Mormon Scripture both tell us by their fruits ye shall know them. ( Christ's church)

Christ's people will do good works, in Christ's name so their Heavenly Father will achieve his purposes upon this planet.

That Christ's people will love each other, and take care of each other.

In countering Christ's church, the Devil will erect a church to persuade people to do in opposition to good works.

Yet it is written in the Bible and Book of Mormon, there are men preordained of old, who will tamper and screw with scripture for their own ends, turning the grace of our lord Jesus Christ into lasciviousness. Taking the original doctrine of Christ and twisting it for their own ends.
( book of Jude) ( Also book 1st John) KJV

While it's not my intent to point fingers, I will ask you all this question? Have you found the cross on Quetzalcoatl.

Have you read upon the Internet that there are 6 known places in the world where the worlds oldest forms of Hebrew have been discovered? One is in Peru and the Other in Colorado.....

Did you know that I live in Arkansas, and just west of me in the Spiro Mound Ancient parchment with Hebrew inscriptions have been removed from the mound my University Archaeologists?

Do you know that Phoenician coins have been found in Arkansas? The Phoenicians live in roughly the same area as the tribe of Dan in the Palestine.

Did you know Roman coins have been found in Ohio? That a Roman head Recognized by European archaeologist as having come from the Roman Hellenistic school of art was found in South America?

Did you know the Los Lunas stone Los Lunas New Mexico written in Paleo Hebrew contains the Ten commandants. This stone was found in the 1830's by the towns inhabitants. Almost a decade before Brigham Young made his move to take saints to Salt Lake City?

Are you familiar the State of Kentucky had a large stone fall into Highway 66, with the Paleo Hebrew words, Egyptian Characters pronouncing Jesus Christ being the son of God? That Kentucky has made the rock a protected land mark?

They even built a building and made a black with the rocks words translated.

While it's not my purpose to throw stones, just because someone is lying about the truth does not mean there is no truth.

The Problem with being lied to is it's like being snake bit. Once bit you're always paranoid.

The problem is to see the snake in the grass and avoid him, while keeping your eyes on what you think is true. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.


James Brian Marshall

LifeOnaPlate said...

BoM scholar and anthropologist Brant Gardner has also been explicit in quelling Quetzalcoatl lore.

LifeOnaPlate said...

*the link leads to some of his research. He has also published specifically on Jesus vs. Quet.

Badgerous said...

"Bearded white man"?
I have yet to hear an argument against this Jesus/Quetz business that reminds us that Jesus Christ was highly unlikely to have been white.

Anonymous said...

the only true religion is cristianity. were there is god his present his there.were there is god people in wheel chair get up cancer is cure,aids is cure.I have seen the power of the lore i have heard the word of the lord, He has spoken to me.In the bible speak as the devil turnig or manafesting himself as angel or a god of light. in my opinion the aztec god Quetzalcoat is not jesuscrist becuase remenber that when god a pearce to some one or a group of people you are not the same enemore now starting why did the aztec may more sacrifice if quetzalcoat was jesuscrist wounden he tell them that hi did not like sacrifice of human beings.

also mormen say that they are the only true religone but they are in a mistake. for example the mormne bilieve that if you got to hell you not be there for eternaty but the bible contridice that mormne teaching. if your are moren why do you focus or study a book that a man wrote why don you read the bible instead of a book that a human wrote. you may say well the bible was writen by man well they were man but who inspire and was then was the holyspirit.

the mormen are not the true are the true religon. look i'm a catholic but not catholic how worship idol like virgen mary. i now she was the one was tool for jesucrist to be born but in the bible it does not say that jesucrist told the apostle to worship her the glory and the honor goes to the father,the son and the holyspirit.

ther will be a time were the true power will manafest and the true religion that has been stain will raise one more time with power and the great rivaibel tha jesucrist say the will come to earth are coming soon. then you will see that the mormon,catholic,jehova winess are fall doctrines that man has put on earth with out he guidens of god.

Anonymous said...

Quetzalcoatl no fue un Dios Azteca, los Aztecas entre otros lo persiguieron. Los Aztecas seguian al señor de la guerra Huitzilopochtli (un Demonio-Apocalipsis)

Quetzalcoatl no es un nombre; es un ideograma, una aproximacion seria "el hermoso Dios del cielo resucitado" otro nombre es Nacxit que es una forma de decir el de la Cruz. su manifestacion cosmica es Venus...El lucero del Alba; el principio y el fin.
La Cruz se conocio como el madero ergido o enhiesto, el Uaom Che (mayense);relata Landa "la virtud de un palo que en su lengua llamó UahomChe, que quiere decir palo enhiesto de gran virtud contra los demonios" señal del Dios unico Hunab Ku, El que veneras en el templo de los cuatro rumbos, el que no pide vidas, solo oraciones, flores y mariposas