Friday, May 8, 2015

Light from L.A.

On April 10 - 11, 2015, luminaries from the worldwide fellowship of Mayanists gathered on the campus of Cal State Los Angeles CSULA for a significant conference in honor of Linda Schele (1942 - 1998). Entitled "In the Realm of the Vision Serpent: Decipherments and Discoveries in Mesoamerica, A Symposium in Homage to Linda Schele", the gathering featured presentations from such noted scholars as:
Scholars not on the program but referred to regularly included Nikolai Grube, Stephen D. Houston, David H. Kelley (1924 - 2011), Simon Martin and William Saturno. All were colleagues, students, or friends of Linda Schele. Peter Mathews is the only surviving member of the group of three [Floyd Lounsbury (1914 - 1998), Linda Schele (1942 - 1998), Peter Matthews] whose collaboration led to the magic moment at the first Palenque Roundtable in December, 1973, when modern Mayan decipherment really began. The three identified the names of 8 Palenque rulers in 3 hours and the world has never looked back. In 1984 Matthews was named a MacArthur Fellow and received one of the so-called "genius grants." David Stuart was also named a MacArthur Fellow in 1984 when he was only 18 years old, the youngest person ever to receive the award.

Freidel, Mathews, and Miller co-authored books with Schele:
The Blood of Kings, 1986, Linda Schele and Mary Ellen Miller
A Forest of Kings, 1990, Linda Schele and David Freidel
Maya Cosmos, 1993, David Freidel, Linda Schele, Joy Parker
Hidden Faces of the Maya, 1997, Linda Schele and Jorge Perez de Lara
The Code of Kings, 1998, Linda Schele and Peter Mathews

Everyone had their Linda Schele story to tell. Many presenters said it almost felt like they were back in Austin at Linda's famed Maya Meetings. Video clips of interviews with Schele directed by David Lebrun were interspersed between presentations. Schele signed off on Christenson's PhD dissertation on her deathbed. Stuart was at Palenque on April 18, 1998, the day she died of pancreatic cancer. He planted a ceiba tree in her honor on the plaza in front of the Temple of the Inscriptions. Her remains are interred on a hillside overlooking Lake Atitlan.

An overtone of spirituality pervaded the conference. Aguilar-Moreno was a Catholic priest in Mexico when he began to study with Schele. Her prophetic counsel to him shortly before her death led to his remarkable legacy as an art historian in Los Angeles, including the 2015 conference. There was a time in her life when Schele recognized she was addicted to alcohol. Her journey to sobriety was a spiritual one. When she knew she had only weeks to live, she said, "I am going to become an ancestor" and she seemed to genuinely relish the prospect. David Stuart gave a powerful presentation about the Maya pantheon and suggested that contemporary humans could benefit greatly by learning to think like the Maya thought with the physical and spiritual worlds inextricably intertwined. The vision serpent, for whom the conference was named, was a source of spiritual enlightenment among the Maya.
Vision Serpent from Yaxchilan Lintel 15
Now in the British Museum
After the presentations on Friday, attendees viewed an excellent museum exhibit entitled "Eternal Realms of Revelry: The MAW Collection of Pre-Columbian Art" curated by John M.D. Pohl. Pohl had the same problem museologists all over the world face when dealing with antiquities. Some of the best pieces were looted, offered for sale on the global art market, and acquired by private collectors, so their provenience will be forever tentative.
Teotihuacan-style Ceramic Vessel
I will not summarize the conference proceedings. There was simply too much material presented. I will, however, highlight some data points potentially relevant to the Book of Mormon.

1. Palenque is the most important site in the Maya world.
Palenque is the lodestone. David Freidel.
The Tablet of the Foliated Cross from Palenque depicts death and resurrection, themes of utmost importance to the Maya. Allen Christenson.
Piers B & E from the Temple of the Inscriptions, Palenque, show the god K'awiil being cradled as an infant. The Dumbarton Oaks Tablet from Palenque shows Lord Pakal as a diminutive K'awiil. Jennifer Scheper Hughes, UC Riverside. Some Palenque rulers are shown with an infant K'awiil. David Stuart.
Pakal died as the maize god, K'awiil. He is then shown rising up the life tree. Mary Miller.
God L, the merchant, is represented at Palenque. Andrew Turner, UC Riverside.
Palenque was a society built around art. It was a society where art was central to the existence of the society. We use science to explain reality. Palenque was a society where art explained reality. Linda Schele.
"In 1973 at the mesa redonda (round table) Floyd Lounsbury, Peter Mathews and I deciphered the names of 8 Palenque kings in 3 hours. That was the moment when we began to read Mayan." Linda Schele.
"On my first visit to Palenque, I could sense this site was an especially powerful source of the sacred." Linda Schele. Palenque is noted for the high quality of its glyphic texts.
Some of the figurines found on Jaina Island actually came from Palenque. Mary Miller.
Complex poetical devices such as chiasmus are found in the Popol Vuh and in Mayan texts from Palenque. Jamie Lynn, Texas Tech.
The Palenque cross group (Temple of the Cross, Temple of the Foliated Cross, Temple of the Sun) are the most important structures in Mesoamerica. David Stuart.
Triadic gods (G1, G2, G3) are found at Palenque and Caracol. David Stuart.
Book of Mormon connection 1 a. According to the geographic model developed since 2011 in this blog, Palenque was in the local land of Zarahemla, the Nephite culture core. V. Garth Norman was the first to publish this correlation in 2006.

1 b. Death and resurrection were themes of utmost importance to the Nephites. They appear dozens of times in the Book of Mormon Alma 11:42, Mosiah 15:21.

1 c. Jesus Christ's infancy is attested in the Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 11:20.

1 d. Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon asked men to become like him, to develop god-like attributes 3 Nephi 12:48.

1 e. The tree of life is amply attested in the Book of Mormon Alma 5:34.

1 f. Merchants were prominent in Nephite life 3 Nephi 6:11.

1 g. The records kept by Nephite scribes were an especially powerful source of the sacred 4 Nephi 1:48.

1 h. Complex poetical devices such as chiasmus are found in the Book of Mormon Alma 36.

1 i. For many years the temple at Zarahemla was the most important structure in the Nephite world Mosiah 1:18.

1 j. A triad of gods is mentioned prominently in the Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 11:27.

2. Maya writing is art.
What was said was controlled by tradition. Couplets, triplets and other forms of expression were the real Maya art forms. Linda Schele.
Book of Mormon connection 2 a. What was said in the Book of Mormon was controlled by tradition. The text is highly regular in its phraseology. See the blog article "English in the Book of Mormon," particularly the synopsis of Royal Skousen's presentation.

2 b. Couplets, triplets and other forms of expression are the Nephite art forms that have endured to our day. The Book of Mormon is so rich in parallelism that a new edition was published to highlight its literary structures. See Donald W. Parry, The Book of Mormon Text Reformatted according to Parallelistic Patterns (Provo: FARMS, 1992, 2002).

3. History is treasure.
History is a precious gift.It provides identity, resilience, examples of how to cope. Without the past we don't know who we are. Linda Schele.
Book of Mormon connection 3 a. The Book of Mormon is a precious gift of great worth to the Lamanites 2 Nephi 28:2.

3 b. The Book of Mormon informs Lamanites of their identity Mormon 7:2.

3 c. The Book of Mormon has examples of resilience, of how to cope in difficult situations 3 Nephi 6:14.

4. Science is the method.
Gather data, wait for it to pattern, and when it patterns follow it wherever it wants to go. Let the data drive the model. Linda Schele.
Book of Mormon connection 4. This blog is a reasonably good example of letting the data drive the model. Its approach to the text is highly empirical and data-driven.

5. Humanity is the goal.
To understand humans, we need to understand the New World. Linda Schele.
Book of Mormon connection 5. The Book of Mormon champions the Western Hemisphere among the nations of the world 2 Nephi 29:12-13.

6. Directional cardinality. The Maya and the Olmec before them conceived of a quadrilateral heaven and a quadrilateral earth, each with four sides and four corners, all oriented to the cardinal directions.
Throughout the Maya world we see a four part cosmology, four cardinal directions, and four year bearers. There is a four fold organization of space and time. Julia Guernsey.
West was associated with the color black. Kawak years brought warfare & drought. South was associated with the color yellow and Kan years.East was associated with the color red and Muluk years. Gabrielle Vail.
Among the Ch'orti' the infernal world has four corners oriented to the four cardinal directions with the fifth cardinal direction being the navel, heart, or center. In each of the four directions is a sea. The white sea is represented by milk, the red sea by blood. A fifth sea lies at the center. Hull's diagram of the five seas was a classic quincunx with four points laid out like a cross and a fifth at the center.
Ch'orti' Conception of the World of Spirits
A square milpa (cornfield) represents cosmic space. The Ch'orti' dig a hole in the center of a milpa. The world has four or five pillars and four portals. East and west are the primary points of entry. In their travels, spirits follow the sun. Kerry M. Hull, BYU. For another example of four seas at the four cardinal directions with a fifth sea at the center, see the blog article "Quichean Directionality."
Symbols 19 - 22 of the Cascajal Block have recently been interpreted as motifs representing the four cardinal directions and the sun's path as it crosses the sky.
Cascajal Block with Symbols 19-22 Highlighted
Similar symbols appear in directional contexts in classic Maya art. La Venta is oriented 8 degrees west of north to align with the principal 30 meter high mound shaped like an artificial volcano . Celsiana Gera, UCLA.
Izapa is oriented 21 degrees east of north, but a secondary alignment is 8 degrees west of north to align with Tacana and Tajumulco, the two tallest volcanoes in Central America, which dominate the horizon. V. Garth Norman, BYU.
The Initial Series Group, south of the main Chichen Itza site, is oriented north, south, east and west. Karl Taube.
Teotihuacan is oriented 15 degrees east of north. An azimuth plotted from the Temple of the Sun to the Temple of the Moon is oriented 2 degrees east of north. The city is laid out on a true grid pattern with the east west axes perpendicular to the north south vectors. Matthew H. Robb, de Young Museum. Vincent H. Malmstrom demonstrated in his Cycles of the Sun, Mysteries of the Moon: The Calendar in Mesoamerican Civilization (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997) that Teotihuacan's alignment is based on the August 13th sunset point viewed from the Pyramid of the Sun. August 13th is the day the Maya calendar began. August 13th is one of two solar zenith passage days at Izapa (14.8 degrees north latitude) when the sun casts no shadow at high noon.
La Venta was a four directional symbol of the earth's surface. A four directional diagram of the world with a center was typical of Olmec art. The world tree, four directions, earth platform and sacred mountain are standard Mesoamerican motifs. Carolyn Tate.
Chichen Itza shows the Maya idea of solar-based four directions defining a quadripartite earth's surface. The center was the fifth direction. Cenote Holtun at Chichen Itza has a four-sided opening oriented to the four cardinal directions. This opening is oriented so the sun shines into the cenote on solar zenith passage days. The opening is thus a zenith sight tube. Francesca Vega, Texas Tech.
Book of Mormon connection 6. There are six Book of Mormon geographers whose work I consider serious. They are, in order of publication:
  • John L. Sorenson 1985, 2013
  • F. Richard Hauck 1988
  • Joseph L. Allen & Blake J. Allen 1989, 2008
  • Aric Turner 2004
  • V. Garth Norman 2006
  • Kirk Magleby (this blog) 2011
Five of the six interpret the words "north, south, east, and west" in the Book of Mormon text to mean the four solar-based cardinal directions used by most cultures on earth. John L. Sorenson introduces his own system of directionality in an attempt to justify his placement of Nephite lands and cities in the Central Depression of Chiapas and along the Gulf of Campeche. Every data point that came to my attention during the April 10, 11 Cal State L.A. symposium supports four Mesoamerican solar-based cardinal directions. Nothing presented in my earshot supports Sorenson's fringe interpretation. For more data supporting the mainstream interpretation of Book of Mormon directions see the blog articles "Water Fight on the River - Round Ten," "Test #5 North South East and West," and "Quichean Directionality."

7. Maya descendants. Linda Schele made it a priority to bring living Maya to the Maya Meetings in Austin. In their texts, the Maya are speaking to their posterity, not to us. Allen J. Christenson.
Book of Mormon connection 7. In their texts, the Nephites are speaking to their posterity and to us Mormon 5:10.

8. Polity founding. El Peru, aka Waka, was founded ca. 100 B.C. It was conquered in the fourth century and again in the seventh century. David Friedel.
Book of Mormon connection 8 a. In the Book of Mormon model elaborated in this blog, El Peru is just a few kilometers north of the Nephite land of Sidom.
El Peru aka Waka near the Proposed Land of Sidom
Since Almafounded a church in the land of Sidom ca. 81 B.C. Alma 15:13, the land at that time was probably newly-settled by the Nephites. A 100 B.C. date for the beginning of El Peru works well with our current concept of Nephite settlement in this area.

8 b. Nephite annals record a major war in this region beginning in the fourth century A.D. Mormon 1:10.

9. Dave Kelley. David H. Kelley and Linda Schele were good friends. Peter Matthews was Kelley's student at the University of Calgary, as was Marc Zender.
Book of Mormon connection 9. John L. Sorenson cites David H. Kelley often. See Mormon's Codex: An Ancient American Book pp. 111, 180, and 222-223. Kelley was much more open to the likelihood of trans-oceanic migrations than most other Mesoamericanists, a trait that endeared him to Sorenson. Kelley proposed a relationship between the letters of the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet and the 20 Mayan day names. Stephen C. Compton took Kelley's thesis and developed it further. See the blog article "Book Notice - Exodus Lost by Stephen C. Compton." Compton cites Kelley as he lays out a strong case for Olmec origins in Hyksos Egypt.

10. Cerros. Material symbol systems were elaborated at Cerro Maya (aka Cerros near the mouth of the New River in Belize). David Friedel. Cerros reached apogee in the late preclassic. Ceremonial architecture began about 50 B.C. Structure 5C-2nd contains stucco mask reliefs depicting the hero twins from the Popol Vuh.
Book of Mormon connection 10. In our Book of Mormon model, Cerros is the city of Mulek just south of the city of Bountiful on the Nephite east coast. Joseph L. Allen suggested this correlation in 1989.
Proposed City of Mulek on the Nephite East Sea
The Book of Mormon says Mulek was settled in the first century part of the wave of Nephite expansion that pushed the boundaries of the greater land of Zarahemla east to the sea Alma 51:26. See the blog articles "Expansion of the Nephite Nation," "Sidon East then West," and "Captain Moroni in Space and Time." Mulek did not remain in Nephite hands for more than a few decades. It is last mentioned in the Book of Mormon ca. 30 B.C. Helaman 5:15.

11. Winged Deities. Izapa Stela 4 depicts Itzamna, the creator deity, transformed into a bird with wings. Kaminaljuyu Stela 11 shows rulers dressed as birds. Heather Hurst's drawings of the San Bartolo murals show a twisted serpent bird - Itzamna's avian alter-ego. Justin Kerr's K3413 image shows Itzamna with the wings of a bird. This is the avian Itzamna. Julia Guernsey. The Olmec portray a sky serpent. Jesse Nowak, Texas State.
Book of Mormon connection 11. The Nephite text describes a deity with wings 2 Nephi 25:13 symbolized by a serpent 2 Nephi 25:20.

12. Solar Deities. Itzama, the creator god, and the maize gods were associated with the east and the sun. Gabrielle Vail.
Book of Mormon connection 12. The Nephite creator god was associated with the east 1 Nephi 21:13 and the sun 1 Nephi 1:9.

13. Rain. The annual world renewal ceremony in the spring among the Maya is attested in the Dresden (D25-28), Madrid (M34-37) and Paris Codices. Gabrielle Vail. The purpose of the world renewal ceremony was to bring life-giving rains. Easter is now celebrated as the world renewal ceremony in the Guatemalan Highlands. Allen Christenson. May is when the rainy season generally begins in most of southern Mesoamerica.
Book of Mormon connection 13. The Nephites recorded an instance when divine aid was required to bring life-giving rains at the appropriate season Helaman 11:17.

14. Raised tree. As part of the annual world renewal ceremony, the ancient Maya raised a world tree and made offerings to it. Gabrielle Vail. World trees are called Itzam trees. Itzam trees helped the dry reason transition to the rainy season Dresden Codex 25c. In contemporary Guatemala, the world tree has now become the cross raised at the end of holy week. Anciently a turkey was decapitated to nourish the world tree with its blood Dresden Codex 26c. Modern Maya water their raised cross with turkey blood. Allen Christenson.
Book of Mormon connection 14. The four motifs of raising 1 Nephi 11:33, tree 1 Nephi 11:25, cross 1 Nephi 11:33, and blood 1 Nephi 12:10-11 are conjoined in the Nephite record as well 3 Nephi 27:14, 19.

15. Cradling. The San Bartolo murals dated ca. 100 B.C. show an infant maize deity being cradled. Cradling as a devotional posture or ritual embrace is depicted on Olmec monuments from La Venta, Las Limas, and Rio Pesquero. Jennifer Scheper Hughes. The Las Limas Monument depicts the infant maize deity at the center of a four-sided world with four cosmic corners. J. Grant Stauffer, Texas State.
Book of Mormon connection 15. Nephi saw in vision the infant Christ being cradled 1 Nephi 11:20.

16. Spiritual media. The Ch'orti' Maya associate spirits with fire and water. This makes a lake in the caldera of a volcano a spiritually active place. Kerry Hull.
Book of Mormon connection 16. The spirit is associated with fire Helaman 5:45, 3 Nephi 9:20 and with water 1 Nephi 13:12-13, Mosiah 18:12-14 in the Nephite text.

17. Spiritual healing. Among the Ch'orti' healing consists of sweeping away evil spirits. The wind god can sweep away evil spirits. Kerry Hull.
Book of Mormon connection 17. The Nephites, too, associated healing with casting out evil spirits 1 Nephi 11:31, 3 Nephi 7:22.

18. Traders. The maize god is a hero. God L, a trader, is a toothless, cigar-smoking villain who has access to wealth. The maize god and god L are in eternal conflict. They represent two great forces of power - settled agriculturists and traders. Mary Miller.
Book of Mormon connection 18. Nephite scribes lionized settled agriculturists 1 Nephi 18:24, Mosiah 6:7 and vilified traders Mosiah 24:7, 4 Nephi 1:46.

19. Ditto. Doubling dots on Mayan glyphs mean "ditto." Marc Zender.
Book of Mormon connection 19. There are several places in the text where repetitive phrasing implies the use of a "ditto" character or linguistic function 3 Nephi 2:4, 3 Nephi 5:7.

20. Los Horcones and Fraccion Mujular have Teotihuacan influence in the early classic period. Claudia Garcia-Des Lauriers.
Book of Mormon connection 20. The geographic model developed in this blog since 2011 plots the fortified line described in Helaman 4:7 through the site of Los Horcones. Ric Hauck was the first to propose this correlation in 1988.
Cerro Bernal Sites in Context with Proposed Nephite Locations
We believe Mormon led the Nephites in this area during the early classic period. The Nephite demise was probably due to pressure from Lamanites in the land southward allied with Teotihuacan forces coming from the north and the west.

21. Cacaxtla and its predecessor site, Xochitecatl 1 kilometer to the west, are in southern Tlaxcala in Central Mexico. Cacaxtla is well-known for its colorful murals painted in Maya style. Maya art and iconography 500 kilometers from traditional Maya territory makes Cacaxtla an outlier and something of an enigma. Ceremonial architecture began at Xochitecatl ca. 800 B.C. Occupation at the site was continuous until ca. A.D. 150 when an eruption of the volcano Popocatepetl 38 kilometers to the southwest forced its abandonment. Settlement at Cacaxtla began ca. A.D. 400. Cacaxtla reached apogee ca. A.D. 650 - 900. God L, the aged toothless Maya merchant surrounded by luxury textiles, jade, and jewels, is represented prominently at the site as he is at Palenque and sites in Campeche. Stylistic analysis of the Cacaxtla murals evidence strong cultural affinities with the Tabascan coast. Cacaxtla was also closely connected with Cholula 21 kilometers to the south.Cacaxtla rose to prominence as a long-distance trading center importing luxury goods from the tropics into Central Mexico after the fall of Teotihuacan. The Maya influences at Cacaxtla came from Yaxchilan and the Chontal cities along the Gulf Coast such as Xicalango, Potonchan, and Ahualulco. Andrew Turner, UC Riverside.
Book of Mormon connection 21 a. Lists of luxury goods in the text include textiles among other precious things 1 Nephi 13:7-8, Alma 1:29, Alma 4:6, Ether 9:17. The Maya depiction of God L features costly clothing.

21 b. Yaxchilan we correlate with the land of Melek. Xicalango, Potonchan and Ahualulco we correlate with the central part of land Bountiful.
Cacaxtla in Context with Proposed Book of Mormon Lands
We know that the war begun near the local land of Zarahemla ca. A.D. 322 Mormon 1:10 eventually drove the Nephites into the land northward with the Lamanites in pursuit. That some of those Lamanites could have migrated to Cacaxtla ca. A.D. 400 following the annihilation of the Nephite nation ca. A.D. 385 in the land of Cumorah is not unreasonable. The white line on the map above is the principal modern highway linking Mexico City, Distrito Federal, with Minatitlan, Veracruz. This route has been a trade and travel corridor since Olmec times.

22. The Cascajal Block was discovered near San Lorenzo in 1998. Some considered it an example of Olmec writing. That idea is now largely discredited. It is generally accepted that the Cascajal Block is a series of ideograms where each pictorial element represents a concept. The 62 graphemes include animal pelts, open and closed divining bags, maize ears, jade celts, etc. Aztec-Nahuatl and Mixtec are other systems considered primarily ideographic in nature (although some proper names do have phonetic components). There are three scripts known from Mesoamerica that likely qualify as phonetic writing systems. Mayan is well-known. The others are Zapotec and Isthmian (La Mojarra). F. Kent Reilly, III.
Book of Mormon connection 22. The Nephites had a writing system Mormon 9:32-33 which the Lamanites adopted Mosiah 24:6. The Jaredites also had a writing system Mosiah 8:9 which ordinary Nephites could not read Mosiah 21:27-28, Mosiah 28:11-13. So, the Book of Mormon attests multiple writing systems. If our geographical correlations are correct, the Nephites and Lamanites prior to ca. 55 B.C. lived primarily in the land southward Alma 63:4 which is Maya territory. The Jaredites lived primarily in the land northward Ether 10:21 which is Olmec territory.

23. Birth privilege. Ancestral origin was a powerful source of identity, legitimacy, and right to property. Jesse Nowak.
Book of Mormon connection 23 a. Ancestral origin was a powerful source of identity among the Nephites Alma 10:3, Mormon 8:13.

23 b. Ancestral origin was a powerful source of legitimacy to rule among the Lehites 2 Nephi 5:3, Mosiah 10:15Mosiah 25:13.

23 c. Ancestral origin was a powerful source of right to property among the Nephites Mosiah 10:16Mosiah 11:6, Mosiah 11:13, Mosiah 19:26.

24. Avian serpent wind deity. Ehecatl - Quetzalcoatl is a duck-billed post-classic wind god. The plumed serpent wind god is a fisherman. Ehecatl is a man bird. The plumed serpent is a vision serpent that brings visions during blood letting. Yaxchilan has a duck-billed wind god. Seibal has a duck-billed wind god that is the origin of the central Mexican Ehecatl. San Bartolo depicts a duck-billed wind god. The Olmec had a duck-billed wind god. Ehecatl migrated from the Maya region into central Mexico at a late date. The bird man was born out of a cracked egg. The Madrid Codex shows a man emerging from a cracked egg. Ehecatl lives in a floral paradise. Codex Borgia shows birds diving into floral bowls. Karl Taube.
Book of Mormon connection 24 a. Jesus Christ among the Nephites had avian characteristics 2 Nephi 4:25, 2 Nephi 25:13, 3 Nephi 10:4-6. 3 Nephi 25:2.

24 b. He was represented by a serpent 2 Nephi 25:20, Helaman 8:14-15.

24 c. Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon was also a wind god 1 Nephi 18:21, 2 Nephi 21:15, Ether 2:24.

25. Deity at the ball game. The Gulf Coast is the origin and home of the ball game. The ball game was used in the transfer of power, of political accession to high office. You get a cape and a baton as you accede ot the throne. Ehecatl, the duck-billed wind god, presides over the ball game. Rex Koontz.
Book of Mormon connection 25. The Nephites invoked deity when they transferred power to a new ruler Mosiah 1:10, God himself appointed their new king Mosiah 2:4.

26, Wheels. Tres Zapotes Mounds E & F contained wheeled animal toys in child burial urns. Wheeled figurines were found in Tres Zapotes Trench 23. They are now in the (Matthew W.) Stirling Collection in the National Anthropological Archives at the Smithsonian. Wheeled vehicles are on display in the Museo de Antropologia de Xalapa (MAX) Veracruz. Cherra Wyllie, SUNY FIT.
Wheeled Toy from Classic Veracruz Culture
MAW Collection, Cal State L.A.
Book of Mormon connection 26. The Nephite text mentions wheels in an Old World prophetic context 2 Nephi 15:28 quoting Isaiah 5:28. The word "cart" implies wheels in 2 Nephi 15:18 quoting Isaiah 5:18. Mention of horses and chariots in the New World Alma 18:9-12,  3 Nephi 3:22 means the Nephites and Lamanites used wheels.

27. Beards. Bearded figurines were found in Tres Zapotes, Veracruz Trench 20. Cherra Wyllie. A bearded figure came from Aguateca, Peten. Mary Miller.
National Geographic Society Photo of Olmec Head
Excavated by Matthew Stirling at Tres Zapotes
Book of Mormon connection 27. Beards were endemic in the Old World cultures from which the Jaredites, Lehites and Mulekites emigrated. The word "beard" occurs in the Nephite text in an Old World context 2 Nephi 17:20 quoting Isaiah 7:20. Indigenous New World populations generally have scant if any facial hair and do not suffer from male pattern baldness. The thousands of beards depicted in pre-columbian art are therefore alien to known New World physiology. This anomaly is best explained by ancient bearded foreigners whose biological profile did not survive in the much larger Mesoamerican gene pool due to population bottlenecks. The Book of Mormon describes two such population bottlenecks: one ca. 400 B.C. when the Jaredite nation was annihilated in a massive civil war Omni 1:21-22 and another ca. A.D. 385 when the Lamanites destroyed the Nephites Mormon 8:7.

28. Distances. Jaina is famous for its figurines, but Jaina is a style rather than necessarily a place of origin. Figurines excavated from burials on Jaina Island actually came from Nopiloa, Santiago Tuxtla, Comalcalco, Jonuta, Los Guarixes, and Xcambo. They made their way to Jaina via long distance trade networks. Mary Miller. This map shows known origin sites of figurines found in Jaina burials.
Origin Sites of Jaina Figurines
Book of Mormon connection 28. The 778 air kilometers from Nopiloa to Xcambo is similar to the distances we envision for Nephite and Lamanite fields of action. The distance from our proposed city of Nephi, Kaminaljuyu, to our proposed hill Ramah - Cumorah, Cerro El Vigia, is 664 air kilometers. The distance from our proposed city Bountiful, Bugambilas, to our proposed hill Ramah - Cumorah is 744 air kilometers. The distance from our proposed city of Moroni, Tiger Mound, to our proposed hill Ramah - Cumorah is 750 air kilometers.
Proposed Book of Mormon Cities Relative to Hill Cumorah
29. Slaves. Many female figurines represent captives or slaves. They are bound, they hold un-spun cotton, and they are depicted wearing the same dress that gets recycled over and over. Diego Duran (1537 - 1588) and Bernardino de Sahagun (1499 - 1590) wrote descriptions of slave markets that match what we see in the figurines. Slavery was much more common in ancient Mesoamerica that we have formerly realized. Self-determination was relatively rare. Mary Miller.
Book of Mormon connection 29. Bondage and captivity are common themes in the text. Slavery was much more common in the Book of Mormon world than many have formerly realized.Mosiah 7:22, Mosiah 9:12, Alma 48:11, Alma 53:17. Self-determination was precious Mosiah 29:38, Alma 46:13.

30. Sovereignty. The Maya had their history and mental sovereignty taken away for 500 years. Linda Schele.
Book of Mormon connection 30. The text describes the seed of Lehi being driven and scattered Mormon 5:20, smitten 1 Nephi 13:14, besieged and brought low in the dust even that they are not 2 Nephi 26:15, cast out and trodden under feet 3 Nephi 16:8, and counted as naught Mormon 5:9.

31. Living Maya. Allen Christenson deserves special mention for his sensitive and caring work among the living Maya. Linda Schele.
Book of Mormon connection 31. Allen Christenson first developed his great love for the Maya while serving an LDS mission in Guatemala. Christenson's work partially fulfills 1 Nephi 22:8.

32. Reciprocity. The supernatural and human world co-exist and co-depend. Linda Schele.
Book of Mormon connection 32. King Benjamin agrees Mosiah 2:21-22. So does AlmaAlma 5:15-16, Alma 42:5.

33. Parentage. There is a pattern in the way royal genealogies are recorded in the glyphs. The living ruler references the preceding ruler, usually his father, and a second person, usually his mother. The pattern can be generalized as person 1, relationship, person 2, relationship, person 3. The male/female order can change. The dynastic line goes from male to male, usually from father to son. Chris Jones first noticed this pattern in 1970 at Tikal. It is found at Yaxchilan, Palenque, Tikal, Naranjo, Piedras Negras, Dos Pilas, Copan, El Tortuguero, and Bonampak. Palenque shows a ruler flanked by his parents. Peter Matthews.
Book of Mormon connection 33. Nephite scribes often introduce a new person as the son of his father Omni 1:10, Mosiah 7:9, Alma 10:2.

34. Egyptian analogues. Palenque and Yaxchilan are similar to Egypt in the sense that they had long dynastic king lists carved on public monuments that can be correlated with external timelines. Peter Matthews.
Book of Mormon connection 34. If our geographic correlation is correct, Palenque and Yaxchilan are upstream on the Sidon from the swampy wilderness of Hermounts. Hugh W. Nibley said the term Hermounts was clearly derived from the Egyptian name of the swampy wilderness Per-month, Greek Hermonthis, modern Armant on the upper Nile just upstream from Thebes.
Palenque & Yaxchilan Relative to Proposed Wilderness of Hermounts
See the blog article "Hermounts." See also the Book of Mormon Onomasticon entry for "Hermounts." In the Onomasticon, Robert F.Smith and Paul Y. Hoskisson cite Lawrence L. Poulsen's speculation that Hermounts may be related to the Nahuatl Tehuantepec. That association does not hold up under scrutiny. See the blog article "Isthmuses" for an image of the Oaxacan hill the Aztecs named tecuani tepec and a discussion of the name's origin.

35. Rulers. With the well-established king lists from Palenque and Yaxchilan, 28 years is a good number for the average length of one generation. 28 years works well for Egyptian royal dynasties as well. 15 Maya rulers have both their birth and death dates recorded in the long count. More than 400 other rulers are mentioned, many with father-son relationships specified, but without complete long count dates recorded. Using the derived metric of 28 years per generation, we can infer dynastic dates in the king lists from other sites. This calculation has the Kanul (Kan) dynasty at Calakmul beginning ca. 393 B.C. and extending for 1,300 years with 58 rulers in 46 generations (46 X 28 = 1,288). It has the dynasty at Naranjo beginning ca. 200 B.C. This technique helps establish tentative dates for Nakbe, El Mirador, Dzibanche, Waka - El Peru, and Tikal in addition to Calakmul and Naranjo. Peter Matthews.
Book of Mormon connection 35 a. We know the names of about 425 Maya rulers. We have birth and death dates recorded for 15, or about 3.5% of the total. We know the names of 207 people mentioned in the Book of Mormon text. We have enough information to establish birth and death dates for 4 of them (Alma1 ca. 173 - 91 B.C., Moronica. 99 - 56 B.C., Mosiahca. 154 - 91 B.C., and Jesus Chirst ca. 0 B.C. - A.D. 33), or about 1.9% of the total.

35 b. The inferred dynastic founding dates for Calakmul (ca. 393 B.C.) and Naranjo (ca. 200 B.C.) fall within Nephite times (ca. 592 B.C. - A.D. 385). Nephite chronology is a complex subject. See Randall P. Spackman, "The Jewish/Nephite Lunar Calendar" in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Vol. 7 No. 1, 1998. For purposes of simplicity, this blog uses the approximate dates published as footnotes in the LDS 1981, 2013 editions of the text.

35 c. When we look at inter generational longevity, the Book of Mormon is not even in the same ballpark as the 28 years per generation number that works so well at Maya sites. Our data comes from John W. Welch, "Longevity of Book of Mormon People and the 'Age of Man'" in The Journal of Collegium Aesculapium, Vol. 3 (1985) and John W. Welch & J. Gregory Welch, Charting the Book of Mormon, (Provo: FARMS, 1999). Four genealogies are among those recorded in the text.
  • Lehi's Lineage. If we estimate Lehi's birth ca. 655 B.C. and Amaleki's death ca. 138 B.C. the text records 7 generations spanning 517 years for an average length of 74 years/generation.
  • Mosiah's Lineage. If we estimate Mosiah's birth ca. 230 B.C. and take his grandson Mosiah's known death ca. 91 B.C. the text records 3 generations spanning 139 years for an average length of 46 years/generation.
  • Alma's Lineage. If we take Alma's known birth ca. 173 B.C. and then estimate Ammaron's death ca. A.D. 320 the text records 9 generations spanning 493 years for an average of 55 years/generation.
  • Jaredite chronology is complicated by uncertainty around the Tower of Babel date. Believing scholars place it as early as 3,100 B.C. or as late as 2,200 B.C. Estimates for the date of the Jaredite civil war of annihilation on Hill Ramah - Cumorah range from 550 B.C. to about 200 B.C. This blog generally uses a 400 B.C. date for the Jaredite demise. Students of the text agree that the book of Ether records 30 generations from Jared through the prophet Ether, although some chronological lacunae may be implied by the word "descendant" which occurs 3 times in the king list Ether 1. A maximum longevity would estimate the Tower of Babel ca. 3,100 B.C. and the Jaredite collapse ca. 200 B.C. for an elapsed length of 2,900 years. Dividing 2,900 years by 30 generations equals an average length of 97 years/generation. A minimum longevity would estimate the Tower of Babel ca. 2,200 B.C. and the Jaredite collapse ca. 550 B.C. for an elapsed length of 1,650 years. Dividing 1,650 years by 30 generations equals an average length of 55 years/generation.
Welch offers several additional ideas that could help explain the extraordinarily long-lived generations recorded in the Book of Mormon.
  • Nephite years may have had only 360 days rather than the 365.25 days that approximate a solar year.
  • Some elderly fathers chose younger sons, even youngest sons, as their successors. This is explicit in Ether 7:3, Ether 7:7, Ether 7:26, Ether 9:14, and Ether 10:13-14. Favoring younger sons may have been a cultural proclivity among the  Lehites based on Lehi - Nephi and reminiscent of Jacob - Joseph. The practice would have reduced the likelihood of an older son usurping his father's throne prematurely. 
  • Some men mentioned in the text lived very long lives. Jacob and Enos both lived to be about 95 and Enos was probably born when his father, Jacob, was in his late 70's. Amos was probably about 20 when he took responsibility for the plates and he kept the records for 84 years 4 Nephi 1:10, which means he lived to be about 104. Amos was probably born ca. A.D. 90 when his father was at least 60. Amos, son of Amos, was probably born ca. A.D. 174 when his father was in his 80's. Amosand his brother, Ammaron, both lived to be about 129 years of age. The longest-lived person mentioned in the text, Coriantum, died at age 142 Ether 9:24 after outliving his first wife and then marrying a young maid.
  • Polygamy was more common among the Nephites Jacob 1:15, Mosiah 11:2 than it was among the Lamanites Jacob 3:5.
  • Some kings in the record did not begin having children until they were older. King Benjamin, for example, was in his late 30's when his first son was born. 
  • The words "son" and "brother" may have more expansive meanings than we currently assume. The word "grandson" never appears in the text and the word "nephew" only occurs as a concept 2 Nephi 24:22. See Genesis 29:10-15 for two examples where "brother" actually means "nephew." Biologically, Laban was Jacob's uncle and Rachel his first cousin. 
  • The terse language in 4 Nephi may be Mormon's attempt to shoe horn his history into the 400 year and 4 generation prophetic paradigm foretold by Alma2 Alma 45:10-12 and Samuel the Lamanite Helaman 13:9-10. Language such as 4 Nephi 1:18 and 4 Nephi 1:22 implies Mormon was not counting the next generation until the previous generation had practically all died off.  
On the other hand, looking at the Zeniff colony in the land of Nephi, Zeniff became king ca. 200 B.C. Mosiah 9 and his grandson Limhi re-united with the Nephites in Zarahemla ca. 120 B.C. Mosiah 22. Here we have 3 kings who reigned for about 80 years for an average of 27 years/generation which works well with Peter Matthews' rule of thumb. Furthermore, among the 3, Zeniff died of natural causes, Noah was violently killed, and Limhi abdicated the throne after his kingdom came under the control of a stronger polity. All 3 scenarios occurred in the often turbulent Maya world.

Applying this same formula to Mosiah1's lineage yields results somewhat closer to Matthews' norm. Analysis of Omni 1:23 indicates that Mosiah1 acceded to the throne ca. 210 B.C. Mosiah2 would have anointed his son, Aaron, king shortly after his plebiscite on the matter Mosiah 29:2, so ca. 92 B.C. becomes our end date. 118 elapsed years divided by 3 generations yields an average length of 39 years/generation. Had Mosiah2 transferred power to Aaron ca. 92 B.C., Mosiah2's reign would have lasted for 32 years Mosiah 29:46. Mosiah1 probably reigned for at least 51 years which means Benjamin was likely king for about 35 years.

The reign of the judges during the years of the Nephite republic are quite another matter. Almawas appointed first chief judge ca. 91 B.C. Mosiah 29:42. Lachoneuswas assassinated ca. A.D. 30 3 Nephi 7:1. 13 chief judges served over a 121 year span for an average tenure of 9 years. The judgeship often passed from father to son Alma 50:39, Helaman 3:37 but a normal inter generational succession pattern never developed because 6 of the 13 chief judges were either killed by invaders Helaman 1:21 or assassinated in office Helaman 1:9, Helaman 6:15.

36. Toponyms. Emblem glyph place names first appear in the texts ca. 150 B.C. Carolyn Tate.
Book of Mormon connection 36. The first location in the greater land of Zarahemla appears in the Nephite record ca. 200 B.C. Omni 1:12.

37. Coatzacoalcos. Ann Ciphers has documented 32 archaeological sites along the Coatzacoalcos. One of those is El Manati oriented on the San Martin/Santa Martha volcanic peaks 90 kilometers distant. Jordann Davis, Texas Tech.
Book of Mormon connection 37 a. In our geographic model, the Coatzacoalcos forms a major part of the boundary between the lands northward and southward.

37 b. San Martin/Santa Martha volcanoes are in the Tuxtlas which we correlate with the land of Cumorah. As you drive along Mexican federal highway 145D Santa Martha stands out prominently on the horizon. This prominence when viewed from a distance makes it a candidate for Hill Ramah - Cumorah.
Coatzacoalcos Sites & Tuxtlas Mountains
38. Man Tree. The Xiu Family Tree from western Yucatan shows a man with a tree growing from his body. This man, and the woman nearby, wear symbols of the four cardinal directions plus the center on their apparel. This drawing was done in colonial times based on earlier Mayan glyphic and photographic sources. Francesca Vega, Texas Tech.
Man Tree from Xiu Family Papers, Mani,Yucatan
Book of Mormon connection 38. Lehiused a tree to symbolize people 1 Nephi 10:14 as did Jacob quoting Zenos Jacob 5:3. Alma 33:23 describes an anthropomorphic tree growing inside one's body.

39. Heartlands. Mesoamerica consists of heartlands and hinterlands or periphery. The heartlands are Central Mexico, Olman (the Olmec Heartland), the Maya Lowlands, the Valley of Oaxaca, the Soconusco and the Maya Highlands. These areas were central to the development of classical Mesoamerican civilization. Other regions were periphery. The paradigm of the periphery states that people erected big stelae in the center or heartland and small stelae in the hinterlands. F. Kent Reilly, III.
Book of Mormon connection 39. The geographic model developed in this blog locates Book of Mormon events primarily in the various heartlands. Blank spots on our Book of Mormon map include Yucatan, the Gulf of Campeche, the Central Depression of Chiapas, the Pacific Coast of Guatemala, Western Mexico and the Northern Gulf Coast, all of which Reilly considers hinterlands.
Heartlands in White, Black Pins are Hinterlands
Now we overlay our proposed Book of Mormon lands.
Proposed Book of Mormon Lands in Various Colors
If our Book of Mormon geographic correlation is accurate, areas that were peripheral to the development of classical Mesoamerican civilization were also peripheral to the polities described in the Nephite text. The degree of fit is quite remarkable.

40. Maya gods. David Stuart is perhaps world's greatest living Mayanist. His specialties include Copan, Palenque, Piedras Negras and San Bartolo with emphasis on Palenque. Maya religion is a true theology - ordered and systematic. The Maya said they had 8,000 gods. That is their metric. It is like saying "innumerable gods." For decades Maya scholarship has ignored religion. That is like trying to understand the Greeks without philosophy. We talk about gods A, B, C, D, E, G, K, L, M and O from the Dresden Codex. B is Chac, god of rain and storms. C is god in general. E is the maize god. K is K'awiil.
Maya gods can be classified into four categories:
  • K'uh is God with a capital G. He is holy, the sun, the brilliance of the heavens. K'uh is the word for sun. San Bartolo shows the origin of K'uh in a mural. Divine power is portrayed as wafting scrolls. There is an aura of wafting scrolls. 
  • K'awiil is East West North & South - all four cardinal directions. K'awiil winik or K'awiil person can be an effigy of K'awiil, but it can never capture the essence of K'awiil. K'awiil is never depicted in narrative circumstances. His is a generic or abstract idea of power. He is the force of lightning, a powerful spirit. K'awiil refers to other beings, both divine and human. At Yaxchilan a new king conjures the K'awiil of war.
  • Wahy are demonic beings, spooks. They are not natural. Animals and other transformers represent them. They are the animate forms of diseases. They are the ik blak underworld gods, the death gods. A mosquito can be Wahy. Chac can be Wahy. They represent institutionalized sorcery, the dark side of Maya kingship.
  • Win(i)kiil winiq (Winkil) are sacred beings, divine persona. They have human or semi-human form. They are special persons, abstracted persons.The name is related to the Chorti winkir which is an owner of power, a supernatural patron.
Triads of gods appear at Palenque and Naranjo - G1, G2, & G3. We see different sets of gods at different sites.They are triadic in form but different gods. The triad has a late preclassic origin. We have no name for Palenque G1 yet. He has both K'uh and Winkil attributes.

There are heavenly gods and earthly gods. This dualism is all through Copan. A vessel from Copan has the inscription "8,000 heavenly gods and 8,000 earthly gods."

Gods had personal connections to royals. Rulers had patron gods. Kings could become gods.

There is a vase of the 7 gods and a vase of the 11 gods, both from Naranjo. The list of gods was ordered at the beginning of the long count. The sun god is part of a set of 9 deities. David Stuart.
Book of Mormon connection 40 a. The Nephite religion as described in their text is a true theology - ordered and systematic. Stephen H. Webb explores some of the richness of Book of Mormon theology in his 2013 Oxford University Press book Mormon Christianity. See the blog article "Mormon Christianity" for my notes on a lecture Webb gave at BYU in May, 2014. Jan J. Martin gave a stimulating presentation in March, 2015 about the Book of Mormon's contribution to the Tyndale/More debate that divided English Christianity in the 16th century. A summary of her remarks are in the blog article "English in the Book of Mormon."

40 b. Susan Easton Black wrote an important piece entitled "Names of Christ in the Book of Mormon" that was published in the July, 1978 Ensign. She found 100 different names among the 3,923 references to deity in the text. In the Nephite record, God has many different aspects and attributes.The Book of Mormon also quotes Isaiah and Malachi, calling God "Lord of Hosts" 2 Nephi 23:13, 3 Nephi 24:10. Other biblical translations render this phrase "Lord of Heaven's Armies" implying large numbers of celestial beings. The universal controversy between monotheism and nuanced polytheism is attested in the Book of Mormon Alma 11:35, Alma 14:5. Nephites described Lamanites worshipping multiple deities Alma 17:15, Mormon 4:14.

40 c. Stuart's four categories of supernaturals have clear analogues in the Book of Mormon.
40 d. God appears in the Book of Mormon in triadic form 3 Nephi 11:36, 3 Nephi 28:11.

40 e. Heaven/earth dualism is found throughout the Book of Mormon text. Mosiah 4:9, Alma 22:10, Helaman 10:7.

40 f. The Book of Mormon describes a close personal relationship between humans and deity 3 Nephi 11:14, Ether 3:6.

40 f. In Nephite scripture, humans can become like God 3 Nephi 12:48.

40 g. God in the Book of Mormon is closely associated with the sun 1 Nephi 1:9, Helaman 14:4, Helaman 14:20, 3 Nephi 12:45.

41. Cotton armor. Ancient Mesoamericans in battle used protective body armor made of tightly woven cotton. One name for it was ichcahupilli. This is a modern reconstruction from Oaxaca.
Ichcahupilli, MAW Collection, Cal State L.A.
Book of Mormon connection 41. Nephite body armor included thick clothing Alma 43:19.

42. Prisoners. Enslavery was a prime purpose of military raids in ancient Mesoamerica. Warriors escorted their bound captives on the sad trail to their new homes. This ceramic piece from the Shaft Tomb Culture of Western Mexico shows five soldiers with head dresses and weapons leading four captives in procession.
Warriors with Captives, MAW Collection, Cal State L.A.
Book of Mormon connection 42 a. Alma 57:15 is a written description of the scene portrayed above.

42 b. In Nephite military affairs, it required a great deal of manpower to control prisoners of war Alma 57:16.

42 c. An obvious key difference between captor and captive: captives were unarmed Alma 55:16, Alma 57:14, Alma 62:15.

43. Incensario. This Teotihuacan-style ceramic incense burner is from the Escuintla region in Guatemala.
Classic Period Incensario, MAW Collection, Cal State L.A.
Book of Mormon connection 43 a. The figure wears a large plate hanging from his nose. Nose ornamentation is attested in the Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 13:21 quoting Isaiah 3:21.

43 b. The compass rose on the front of the vessel is a common Mesoamerican motif. Like their contemporaries, the Nephites also divided their world up into four quarters Mosiah 27:6, Alma 52:10 oriented to the cardinal Helaman 1:31 and ordinal 1 Nephi 16:13 directions.

44. Armor. This seated warrior is wearing a barrel-shaped breastplate and protective headgear. He has a weapon in his hand. This hollow ceramic piece is from the Shaft Tomb Culture of Western Mexico.
Late Preclassic Warrior Figurine
MAW Collection, Cal State L.A.
Book of Mormon connection 44. Mormon's Codex mentions breastplates Mosiah 8:10, Alma 43:21, head shields Alma 43:19, and head plates Alma 43:38, Helaman 1:14. It also mentions wounds to legs without protection Alma 49:24.

Conclusion. After spending two exhilarating days rubbing shoulders with some of the best people in the discipline, the Book of Mormon fared pretty well. No glaring contradictions arose and dozens of correspondences emerged that corroborate points in the text.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Iconographic Corroboration of Quichean Texts

Many significant inter textual dependencies exist between precontact Quichean texts such as Popol Vuh, Title of Totonicapan, Kaqchikel Chronicles, and Rabinal Achi. The parallels are so precise and extensive that common originating environments for the various documents are undisputed. Historical references to events after ca. AD 1,300 in this literature have been widely verified by archaeological work done at post-classic sites in the Guatemalan highlands. The keystone text in the group, Popol Vuh, is further corroborated by many artistic representations found across millenia throughout the Maya world.

A major conference entitled "In the Realm of the Vision Serpent, Decipherments and Discoveries in Mesoamerica: A Symposium in Homage to Linda Schele" was held on the campus of California State University Los Angeles CSULA on April 10-11, 2015. Julia Guernsey, a former student of Linda Schele now on the faculty at UT Austin, gave a presentation entitled "Preclassic Sculpture and its Relationship to the Popol Vuh." Guernsey finds a significant continuity of themes and motifs from ca. 300 BC to European contact. She sees Popol Vuh affinities with:
  • Izapa Stela 25
  • Izapa Stela 2
  • Izapa Stela 4
  • Izapa Altar 3
  • Blowgunner Vase, Justin Kerr's catalog number K1226
  • Itzamna Tribute Vase, Justin Kerr's catalog number K3413
  • Kaminaljuyu Stela 11
  • La Mojarra Stela 1
  • San Bartolo Murals
The Izapan monument - Popol Vuh connection has been discussed since at least 1976 when V. Garth Norman analyzed it extensively in his Izapa Sculpture, Part 2: Text (Provo, Utah: BYU NWAF, Papers of the New World Archaeological Foundation, Number Thirty).

As the same CSULA conference, Gabrielle Vail (New College of Florida) and Allen Christenson (BYU) gave a presentation entitled "The Maize God and New World Renewal Rituals among the Postclassic to Contemporary Maya." They see Popol Vuh echoes in:
  • Dresden Codex (Yucatan)
  • Madrid Codex (Chichen Itza)
  • Paris Codex (Yucatan, perhaps Mayapan)
  • Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel
  • Palenque Tablet of the Foliated Cross
with particularly striking parallels in the Madrid Codex.

Mary Miller (Yale) co-authored The Blood of Kings with Linda Schele. In Los Angeles, Miller chaired a panel about Maya figurines. She finds many Popol Vuh allusions in Jaina-style figurines from a number of Maya sites such as Palenque, Jonuta, and Comalcalco in addition to Jaina Island itself.

Not mentioned at the conference, but widely-known among Mayanists, are recently-discovered bas relief stucco panels at El Mirador portraying the same Maya creation myth described in the Popol Vuh.

Justin Kerr illustrates dozens of artifacts that show very arbitrary and precise correlations with the Popol Vuh.

This proliferation of similar themes and motifs across time and space is the reason the Popol Vuh is now regarded as the most important precontact Mayan text extant, an idea that would have been unthinkable in years past.

This map shows some of the locations of iconographic or textual echoes from the Popol Vuh.
Sites with Popol Vuh Themes or Motifs
When we find significant correspondences between precontact Quichean texts and the Book of Mormon (as we do in the blog articles Kaqchikel Chronicles, Rabinal Achi, and Titulo de Totonicapan) we are comparing Mormon's Codex with mainstream, well-attested Mesoamerican counterparts.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Titulo de Totonicapan

Totonicapan is a K'iche' speaking town in the western highlands of Guatemala. The Yax clan is its leading lineage. The Title of Totonicapan, composed in K'iche' using Latin script in 1554, was copied over time as the original deteriorated. It was translated into Spanish by Father Dionisio Jose Chonay in 1834. A copy of Chonay's translation made its way to France and a dual French/Spanish edition was published in 1885 as Titulo de los Senores de Totonicapan. A widely-read edition was published by Adrian Recinos in Spanish in 1950 and English in 1953, bundled with the Annals of the Cakchiquels.

In a once-in-a-lifetime discovery, anthropologist Robert M. Carmack in 1973 found the K'iche' manuscript Chonay had used for his 1834 translation in a strong box maintained by the Yax family in Totonicapan. Carmack and James L. Mondloch authored a scholarly edition of the work in K'iche' and Spanish that was published by UNAM in 1983.
Titulo de Totonicapan 1983 Edition
Mayan decipherment really got underway at the first Palenque Roundtable convened in December, 1973. By the time El Titulo de Totonicapan appeared ten years later, the Maya studies discipline was still very young and fresh with important new discoveries appearing regularly. This volume by Carmack and Mondloch was a significant contribution to that progress. Scholarly versions of other Quichean texts soon followed. These are the editions of important precontact Quichean documents we are analyzing for Book of Mormon correspondences.
  • El Titulo de Totonicapan, translated by Robert M. Carmack & James L. Mondloch, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, 1983
  • Popol Vuh, translated by Dennis Tedlock, Simon & Schuster, 1985, 1996
  • Rabinal Achi, translated by Dennis Tedlock, Oxford University Press, 2003
  • Kaqchikel Chronicles, translated by Judith M. Maxwell & Robert M. Hill II, University of Texas Press, 2006
  • Popol Vuh, translated by Allen J. Christenson, University of Oklahoma Press, 2007
These four post-classic Quichean documents share many names, places, ideas, and narrative motifs. Their content is corroborated by artwork from many Mesoamerican sites. They also have a great deal in common with the pre-classic and early classic Mesoamerican codex called the Book of Mormon. That should not surprise us since the best current Book of Mormon scholarship places the land of Nephi in what would later become Kaqchikel, Quiche, and Rabinal territory in highland Guatemala. Furthermore, the Book of Mormon explicitly says the Lamanites kept records Mosiah 24:6, Helaman 3:15.The blog article "Kaqchikel Chronicles" analyzes 117 correspondences between that text and the Book of Mormon. The blog article "Rabinal Achi" analyzes an additional 91 correspondences between that text and the Book of Mormon, in addition to corroborating 20 of the Kaqchikel parallels. One additional important correspondence (#209) is documented in the blog article entitled "Quichean Directionality." The blog article "Quichean Distance Measurement" expands on correspondences previously identified. A correspondence with the letter "k" means it is found in Kaqchikel Chronicles, while "r" means Rabinal Achi and "t" refers to Titulo de Totonicapan.

1 k r t. Titulo de Totonicapan was written in K'iche' using Latin script, then translated into Spanish (1834), French (1885) and English (1953) (pp.; 9-10).

3 k t. Titulo de Totonicapan focuses on the Cawek lineage (p. 12). Other lineages had their own records (p. 261).

7 k t. Titulo mentions chic'wal abaj meaning precious stones that were part of Quiche regalia brought from the east (pp. 220, 236). They have been interpreted as crystals, diamonds, or emeralds.

23 k r t. The Title has many instances of semantic parallelism (p. 31).

28 k r t. The authors of Titulo enjoined their posterity to remember their linage history (p. 187).

34 k r t. The Quiche god K'ucumats was a plumed serpent (p. 232).

38 k t. The Quiche recognized seven founding clans (p. 234)

39 k t. The post-contact Quiche self-identified as descendants of Israel (pp. 172-173. 176).

43 k r t. The Quiche surrounded their settlements with defensive walls (pp. 187, 236).

44 k t. The Quiche thought they had originally come from across the ocean (p. 173).

47 k t. The Quiche brought writings with them from Tulan (p. 213).

48 k r t. Titulo uses the term "elder and younger brothers" to refer to other peoples (p. 198).

63 k t. The K'iche' term for cotton body armor was Xak' pot (p. 216).

65 k r t. Titulo de Totonicapan mentions slavery (p. 187).

68 k r t. The Title begins many sentences with the words "In truth" or "Certainly" (pp. 176, 212).

92 k t. The Title mentions multiple thrones in the Quiche capital (p. 17).

100 k r t. Honey was a valued commodity among the Quiche (p. 191).

111 k t. The Quiche used traps to hunt animals (p. 236).

114 k, t. Among the Quiche, benches and chairs were symbols of power and authority (p. 197)

123 r t. The Quiche used the phrase "heaven, earth" to invoke deity (p. 190).

135 r t. Titulo de Totonicapan documents spying prior to military conquest (p. 188).

137 r t. Military personnel underwent a nose piercing ceremony with an object inserted that granted them authority (pp. 17, 196).

139 r t. The Title issues the injunctive "Listen" to its readers (p. 171).

149 r t. The Quiche revered a deity they called "four corners and four sides" (p. 233).

185 r t. Quiche lords fasted for the benefit of their constituents (p. 228).

186 r t. Titulo de Totonicapan almost certainly originated as a glyphic text (p. 213).

191 r t. Titulo speaks of hunger and famine (p. 235).

201 r t. Titulo de Totonicapan documents burnt offerings as devotional acts among the Quiche (p. 191).
210 t. When Chonay translated Titulo de Totonicapan from K'iche' into Spanish in 1834, he omitted the first seven folios because they followed the Bible so closely. We now know the author(s) of the 1554 Totonicapan document were copying freely from Domingo de Vico's 1553 Theologia Indorum written in K'iche' as a Dominican missionary tract (p. 13). Vico's book included translations of biblical passages and Catholic traditions such as stories of Santa Ana and San Joaquin (parents of the Virgin Mary). The Book of Mormon also has many significant intertextual dependencies with both the Old and New Testaments. See the blog article entitled "English in the Book of Mormon" for notes from a March, 2015 conference at BYU that explored some of the quotations, allusions and echoes shared between the Book of Mormon and the Bible.

211 t. Titulo de Totonicapan is the most important of a group of at least seven works written in K'iche' using Latin script in the colonial era in and around Totonicapan. Others include:
  • Titulo de Tamub II written in 1567, dealing with the Tamub lineage
  • Titulo de Caciques written in 1544, published in 1925
  • Titulo de C'oyoi published in 1979, dealing with the Cawek lineage in the Quetzaltenango area
  • Titulo de Yax, dealing with the Yax lineage in the Totonicapan area
  • Titulo de Chuachituj published in 1973 dealing with the area northeast of Totonicapan
  • Titulo de Paxtoca published in 1973 dealing with the area southwest of Totonicapan
  • Titulo de Santa Clara published in 1957
The Book of Mormon is the most important result of a literary tradition that produced many works dealing with multiple lineages in several areas Helaman 3:13-15.

212 t. The last page of the Titulo de Totonicapan contains a number of signatures (p. 12). Mormon signed his name at the end of the small plates of Nephi Words of Mormon 1:1. Moronisigned his name at the end of the plates of Mormon Moroni 10:1.

213 t. Old Testament stories reproduced in the first seven folios of the Title end with the Babylonian captivity (p. 10). The brass plates of Laban included Old Testament writings up to the time immediately preceding the exile. The Babylonian captivity was a matter of prophecy among the Nephites 1 Nephi 7:132 Nephi 1:4, 2 Nephi 25:10 until Mosiahdiscovered the Mulekites and it became part of the historical record Omni 1:15, Helaman 8:21.

214 t. The Title is a compound document redacted from multiple sources (p. 13). Ditto the Book of Mormon Words of Mormon 1:3, Mormon 2:17-18, Ether  1:2.

215 t. In their use of the biblical materials from Theologia Indorum, the Quiche authors of Titulo de Totonicapan quoted some passages outright, paraphrased others, and changed others to conform to their native cultural traditions (p. 13). The Book of Mormon quotes many biblical passages outright such as the Isaiah chapters and paraphrases others such as Nephi's glosses on Isaiah in 1 Nephi 22 and 2 Nephi 25. The Book of Mormon also describes a process of interpreting biblical passages in light of readers' or hearers' cultural traditions. The Book of Mormon term for this cultural accommodation is "liken" 1 Nephi 19:23, 2 Nephi 11:2, 8.

216 t. The Title was written by multiple authors, one of whom was a Quiche prince baptized Diego Reynoso (p. 15). Book of Mormon authors included Nephi1 Nephi 1:1, Zeniff Mosiah 9:1, Mormon Words of Mormon 1:9, and MoroniMormon 8:1.

217 t. The authors of the Titulo de Totonicapan as well as the authors of almost all other Quiche titles placed particular importance on the biblical account of the exodus and Israel's 40 year sojourn in the desert (p. 20). The exodus motif is so important in the Book of Mormon that several monographs have been written describing it. See George S. Tate, "The Typology of the Exodus Pattern in the Book of Mormon" in Literature of Belief: Sacred Scripture and Religious Experience, Neal E. Lambert editor, (Provo: Religious Studies Center, BYU, 1981). See also S. Kent Brown, "The Exodus Pattern in the Book of Mormon" in BYU Studies 30:3 (Summer, 1990). See also Bruce J. Boehm, "Wanderers in the Promised Land: A Study of the Exodus Motif in the Book of Mormon and Holy Bible" in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 3/1 (1994).

218 t. Another biblical theme very important to Quiche writers was the genealogical descent from Adam to Jacob (p. 20). Lehi, too, placed high importance on Adam, Jacob and genealogy 1 Nephi 

219 t. Achij, the Quiche military, participated in colonization programs in provinces of the kingdom (pp. 21, 198, 226). We see this pattern in the Book of Mormon as well. The military and settlers worked together to colonize new territory Alma 27:22-24, Alma 50:7-9.

220 t. Tohil, patron god of the Quiche, was conceived as anthropomorphic with a body, hands and vital organs (p. 22). The God of the Book of Mormon is also a corporeal being 3 Nephi 11:14, Ether 3:6.

221 t. Quiche rituals described in Titulo de Totonicapan included (p. 22):
  • plant sacrifices
  • animal sacrifices
  • human sacrifices
  • burnt offerings of copal incense
  • fasting
  • self sacrifice
  • ordeals
  • prayers
  • dances
  • songs
  • investiture of authority
  • funeral rites
  • founding of new settlements
  • emissary journeys to exchange gifts
  • emissary journeys to pay tribute
All of these rituals are attested to some degree in the Book of Mormon:
222 t. Clan structures among the Quiche predate the Spanish invasion. Institutions of civil governance sit atop lineage-based organizations (p. 23). In the Book of Mormon, when institutions of civil government were destroyed, what remained in society were clan structures 3 Nephi 7:2.

223 t. Quiche lineage groups made inter-clan alliances (p. 24). Tribes in the Book of Mormon had alliances and agreements among themselves 3 Nephi 7:14.

224 t. C'amal be is the K'iche' term for clan leader (p. 24). The Book of Mormon term is "chief" or "leader" 3 Nephi 7:3.

225 t. Titulo de Totonicapan is heterogeneous consisting of five different kinds of prose (p. 28):
  • historical narration relating history and the  actions of gods and culture heroes
  • formal prayers petitioning deity
  • final counsel to loved ones prior to a prolonged absence
  • ordinary conversation between mortals
  • archaic historical language
These same five kinds of literature are found in the heterogeneous Book of Mormon:
226 t. The Quiche conceived of a nine-layered heaven (p. 168). The Book of Mormon speaks of multiple heavens 2 Nephi 29:7, Ether 8:14.
227 t. The Quiche conceived of nine levels of angels (p. 168). The  Book of Mormon speaks of numberless concourses of angels 1 Nephi 1:8.

228 t. The first seven folios of Titulo de Totonicapan copy passages freely from Domingo Vico's 1553 Theologia Indorum. See correspondence number 210 t above. Vico, a Dominican priest and gifted linguist, borrowed Quiche concepts, words, names, and phrases as he penned his theological treatise aimed at proselytizing the Maya to Catholicism. Theologia Indorum is clearly based on the Bible and Catholic tradition. It is also clearly influenced by Mayan religious terminology and Quichean mythical-historical narratives. The authors of the Titulo de Totonicapan quote from Vico's K'iche' text but they also paraphrase, embellish, and deviate from it just as the Book of Mormon paraphrases, embellishes and deviates from the Bible. Things get very interesting when Quiche deviations from the Bible are attested in the Book of Mormon text.

Genesis 3:1-6 says the serpent spoke with Eve. In Genesis 3:13 Eve says the serpent beguiled her. Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:3 says Eve was the one beguiled by the serpent. The K'iche' variant of this story says the serpent spoke with both Adam and Eve, both of whom were deceived by the devil who tempted Eve after transforming himself into an angel with the tail of a serpent (p. 170). Jacob's account in 2 Nephi 9:9 is similar to the Totonicapan version. In the Nephite text both Adam and Eve were beguiled by the devil who transformed himself almost but not quite into an angel of light. Abinadi repeated the Nephite tradition that both Adam and Eve were beguiled by the devil in his guise as a serpent Mosiah 16:3. Serpents who can transform are a very Mesoamerican idea. Helaman2 taught that Satan enticed both of our first parents Helaman 6:26. Moroniin his translation of Jaredite records repeated the Nephite tradition that the father of lies beguiled both Adam and Eve Ether 8:25. So, is there a common Urtext from which Jacob, Abinadi, Moroni2, and the Totonicapan authors all derive their story of Adam, Eve, and the serpent? Perhaps. If our geographic model is correct, Jacob and Abinadi were both preaching in or around Kaminaljuyu which is a mere 93 air kilometers ESE of Totonicapan.

The story of Moses parting the Red Sea in Exodus 14 is another example of Quichean biblical deviation showing up in the Book of Mormon. The Bible says God instructed Moses to lift up his rod and stretch forth his hand over the sea Exodus 14:16. Five verses later we learn that Moses lifted up his hand and a divine wind was the active agent that parted the waters Exodus 14:21. This imagery of Moses' hand over the sea is an allusion to the power of God described in Abraham 2:7. Every graphic one is likely to encounter of Moses parting the waters shows the prophet with his hands in the air. This is a promotional poster for Cecile B. DeMille's 1956 epic starring Charlton Heston.
Portrayal of Moses (Charlton Heston) Parting the Red Sea
The precontact Quichean peoples told a slightly different story. Kaqchikel Chronicles (p. 39) says an ancestral Kaqchikel hero used a kaq-a-che' qa-ch'ame'y red-tree staff to stab the sand in the sea which opened up a corridor through the water. Titulo de Totonicapan (pp. 176, 216-217) says culture hero Balam Q'uitse took his staff and struck the sea which opened up a pathway of smooth sand. This Quichean tradition of crossing the ocean on dry ground with divine aid was so well-established that Domingo Vico adopted it when he wrote his 1553 Theologia Indorum. Chapter 63 of Vico's collection of biblical stories in K'iche' says Moses opened the Red Sea by cosij strking it with his ch'ami staff. In the Book of Mormon Nephisaid Moses spoke and the waters divided 1 Nephi 4:2, 1 Nephi 17:26. Lehiemphasized Moses' rod as the prophet's instrument of power 2 Nephi 3:17 since he had a speech impediment. Nephisaid Moses was given power to "smite upon the waters of the Red Sea" Helaman 8:11. Presumably Moses smote the waters with his rod just as he later smote the rock in the desert with his rod to make water gush out 1 Nephi 17:29, 2 Nephi 25:20, Numbers 20:11. When mortals do the smiting in the Book of Mormon, there is almost always a rod 1 Nephi 3:29, sword Alma 19:22, club Alma 17:37, or other physical object Alma 1:22, Alma 27:29Alma 49:20 creating the percussion. Moses foreshadowed Jesus Christ who doesn't need a physical object because his mouth and rod are one and the same thing 2 Nephi 21:4 citing Isaiah 11:4, 2 Nephi 30:9. So what are we to make of this Quichean story of parting the waters by striking them with a rod that differs from the biblical account in precisely the same way the Book of Mormon differs from the Bible? Do the Quichean texts and Mormon's Codex derive from a common source? Possibly. We need more examples of this textual phenomenon before we can posit valid conclusions.

229 t. The K'iche' phrase kachuch, kakajaw meaning "our mother, our father" refers to the ancestral founders of a linage. The related term chuch, kajaw "mother, father" is a ritually androgynous spiritual leader of a linage responsible for mediating between the world of the living and the dead. Father Vico in his Theologia Indorum adopted the words kachuch, kakajaw to mean Adam and Eve, but the term also had additional ancestral referents among the Quiche (pp. 206-207). The Book of Mormon employs a similar term in the same way. Among the Nephites, "first parents" referred not only to Adam and Eve 1 Nephi 5:11, 2 Nephi 2:15,  2 Nephi 9:9, Helaman 6:26; but also to Nephiand his brother, Jacob, and their wives Jacob 4:3; Jared and his brother and their wives Omni 1:22; as well as Lehiand his son, Nephi1 Helaman 5:6.

230 t. Among the 12 sons of Jacob, the authors of Titulo de Totonicapan singled out Joseph for special mention (pp. 171, 173). Joseph was the tribal connection through whom both the Nephites and Lamanites in the Book of Mormon descended 1 Nephi 5:14, Jacob 2:25, 3 Nephi 15:12.

231 t. Domingo de Vico's 1553 Theologia Indorum consists of nearly 700 manuscript pages divided into two parts. The first part, containing 105 numbered chapters, describes God and narrates biblical histories, doctrines, stories and miracles from the creation through the birth of Christ. The second part, containing 110 numbered chapters, begins with the parents of Mary, mother of Jesus, and ends with the final judgment. The authors of Titulo de Totonicapan were highly selective in the citations they chose to include in their text. They were interested in the creation, genealogies, the exodus with its attendant Israelite peregrinations, and the diaspora at the hands of the Assyrians and Babylonians. The summary below of Theologia content in Titulo comes from Garry Sparks' article "Fill in the Middle Ground: Intertextuality and Inter-Religious Dialogue in 16th Century Guatemala" in Journal of Interreligious Dialogue, Issue 5, Part 2 (Winter, 2011). Sparks' 2011 University of Chicago Divinity School dissertation analyzed Vico's Theologia Indorum as an amalgam of Maya and Christian beliefs:
  • seven days of creation and the earthly paradise
  • nine levels of angels
  • creation of first humans
  • creation of Eve out of Adam and the two trees
  • Cain, Abel, Seth and their descendants
  • flood and the children of Noah
  • tower of Babel
  • Jacob and his sons
  • Joseph and the entrance into Egypt
  • Moses in Egypt
  • Moses and Aaron confront the pharaoh
  • crossing the river (Red Sea)
  • journey in the wilderness
  • defeat of Amalech (Amalek)
  • arrival of children of Jacob
  • death of Moses in Moab
  • Jericho defeated and Joseph (Joshua from the tribe of Ephraim) as ruler
  • Joseph's death
  • Samuel and Saul
  • David
  • Solomon
  • listing of prophets (Elijah, Elisha, Daniel, Isaiah, Jonah)
  • arrival of Babylon and Assyria
  • diaspora by Babylon and Assyria
All 24 of these themes are attested in the Book of Mormon. Some are treated cursorily, but most are well attested:
The same things that impressed the Quiche when they read biblical stories in their native language in 1553 had impressed Nephite scribes over 1,000 years earlier.
232 t. The temporal sweep of the biblical themes the Totonicapan authors included in their Titulo extended from the creation of the world to the Babylonian exile. This is precisely the time period covered by the brass plates of Laban 1 Nephi 5:11-12 supplemented with the history of Mulek and his Jewish emigrants to the Americas Omni 1:15, Helaman 8:21.

233 t. The Quiche authors of Titulo were fascinated by Moses. They mention him 22 times between folios 5 recto and 6 recto. The only Old Testament prophet mentioned more frequently is Adam. The Nephite authors of the Book of Mormon were equally impressed with Moses. They mention him 27 times in their various writings and an additional 36 times in connection with the lesser law he brought down from Sinai. The only Old Testament prophet mentioned more frequently in Nephite scripture is Jacob who changed his name to Israel.

234 t. The Quiche believed that anciently, before they migrated to their present home, they spoke the same language (p. 175). The Book of Mormon describes a group of people who spoke a common tongue before they emigrated to the Americas Ether 1:35-37.

235 t. The Quiche believed that anciently they had unity among themselves (p. 175). The Book of Mormon describes a time when all peoples in Mesoamerica were united 4 Nephi 1:15-17.

236 t. The Quiche believed that anciently they migrated to their present home from the place where the sun rises (p. 175). An azimuth plotted from Utatlan, Quiche, Guatemala to Jerusalem, point of departure for both Mulekites and Lehites, falls at 46.92 degrees or ENE, clearly within the eastern quadrant on the Quiche horizon.
46.92 Degree Eastward Vector from Utatlan to Jerusalem
237 t. The Quiche believed their ancestors brought tree and shrub cuttings with them on their migration to their new home (p. 176). The Book of Mormon describes two groups who brought botanical material with them to plant in their new homes 1 Nephi 8:1, 1 Nephi 18:24, Ether 2:3.

238 t. The Quiche remembered a time, during their migrations, when they had neither food nor drink (p. 176). Hunger and thirst while traveling are mentioned several times in the Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 16:35, Mosiah 7:16, Alma 17:5, Alma 37:42.

239 t. The Quiche had a custom of publicly announcing the future date of a battle (p. 178). A similar custom existed among the Nephites and Lamanites Mormon 3:4, Mormon 6:2-3.

240 t. Titulo de Totonicapan documents an instance where foreigners were bound and carried before the king (p. 193). The Book of Mormon records this custom among the Nephites Mosiah 7:7-8, and the Lamanites Alma 17:20. See Jack Welch's excellent book The Legal Cases in the Book of Mormoin for a discussion of the practice of suspects being bound and carried before a civil authority.

241 t. Offensive and defensive armaments used by Quiche warriors included slings, spears, arrows and shields (p. 193). All are attested in the Book of Mormon Alma 17:7, Alma 49:24.

242 t. The Quiche used metal shields (p. 196). King Limhi's explorers found breastplates of copper and brass Mosiah 8:10.

243 t. The Quiche built structures using stones joined with mortar (p. 204). The Nephites built with stone Alma 48:8.

244 t. Titulo de Totonicapan talks of a place called Panpaxil (p. 212). Carmack thinks it was a place of many waters and rivers along the Gulf Coast. Most serious Book of Mormon geographers place the land of Cumorah along the Gulf Coast. Cumorah was explicitly a land of many waters, rivers and fountains Mormon 6:4.
Likely Cumorah on Well-Watered Gulf Coast
245 t. Titulo de Totonicapan talks of writing from a cave (p. 213). The prophet Ether engraved his record while hiding in the cavity of a rock Ether 13:13-14. Mormon retrieved the Nephite archives hidden in Hill Shim Mormon 4:23.

246 t. Titulo de Totonicapan originated as a glyphic codex which is no longer extant (p, 213). The Book of Mormon originated as Mormon's glyphic codex Mormon 9:32, which is no longer extant.

247 t. The post-contact Quiche called their previous religious beliefs "lies" (p. 213). Almaprophesied ca. 82 BC that the Lamanites at some future time would be brought to believe in the word of God and would know of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers Alma 9:17.

248 t. Titulo de Totonicapan mentions a small lake in Nimsoy Carchaq (p. 217). Carchaq is the modern town of San Pedro Carcha, Alta Verapaz, that figures prominently in Quichean literature. Carmack suggests the small lake may be Lake Peten Itza in northern Peten. This seems highly unlikely for two reasons: a) Lake Peten Itza is 168 air kilometers from San Pedro Carcha while San Pedro Carcha is only 105 air kilometers from Utatlan and 128 air kilometers from Totonicapan; and b) Lake Peten Itza is not small in a Guatemalan context. With a surface area of 99 square kilometers, it is the third largest lake in the country next to Izabal (589 square kilometers) and Atitlan (130 square kilometers). A better fit to the text is Laguneta Chichoj on the outskirts of San Cristobal Verapaz, Alta Verapaz. Laguneta Chichoj has a surface area of 500,000 square meters or .5 square kilometers. It is 21 air kilometers SW of San Pedro Carcha.
Laguneta Chichoj in Proposed Book of Mormon Context
If Laguneta Chichoj is indeed the small lake in Nimsoy Carchaq, it is right in the travel corridor we propose between the lands of Nephi and Zarahemla.

249 t. Titulo describes an office called ajq' uix, ajcaj which means sacrificer. This was a person who was simultaneously a political leader and a priest (p. 219). Almaserved as both chief judge and high priest of the Nephite nation for nine years Mosiah 29:42. Alma 4:17-18.

250 t. The Quiche erected statues or idols they called uc'abawil to represent their gods (p. 220). Idols among the Lamanites are attested in the Book of Mormon Alma 17:15, Mormon 4:14.

251 t. In Quichean literature, camasots' is the bat of death, a vampire from the underworld Xibalba (p. 221). In Book of Mormon imagery, the bat is associated with caves or holes in the ground 2 Nephi 12:20 citing Isaiah 2:20. Some biblical translations, for example, render the phrase in Isaiah 2:20 "the caves where rodents and bats live" or "the caves of the moles and of the bats."

252 t. Quiche warriors carried body parts from vanquished victims as tokens of battlefield success (pp. 221-222). Nephites mutilated the bodies of vanquished victims as tokens of battlefield bravery Moroni 9:10.

253 t. The Quiche and their enemies employed sorcery to cast spells upon each other using "words of death" (p. 223). The Book of Mormon associates sorcery, witchcraft and magic arts with evil Alma 1:32 and the power of Satan Mormon 1:19, Mormon 2:10.

254 t. The Quiche had a unit of repetitive time measure they called uk'u tak k'ij which means "every seven days." Nobles bathed themselves every seven days (p. 223). The biblical concept of a seven day week is attested in the Book of Mormon Mosiah 18:25, Alma 31:12.

255 t. In the Quichean vigesimal or base 20 numeral system, 400 and 8,000 are important  numbers because they are multiples of 20 (pp. 225-225). The numbers 20 Alma 50:1, 3 Nephi 4:15; 400 Alma 45:10, Helaman 13:5, Mormon 8:6; and 8,000 Helaman 5:19 appear in the Book of Mormon text as well.

256 t. Among the Quiche, babies born "marked" were reasons for sadness (p. 226). Among the Nephites, babies born with the mark of the Lamanites were considered cursed Alma 3:6-9.

257 t. Quiche military leaders sometimes served simultaneously as judges (p. 226). The Book of Mormon describes chief judges leading military campaigns Alma 2:16, Alma 62:7-8.

258 t. The Quiche had an office among the nobility called atsij winak which means spokesman or speaker for the people (p. 228). The Book of Mormon describes important officials called spokesmen 2 Nephi 3:17-18.

259 t. Titulo de Totonicapan says the heroic founders of the Quiche nation did not die, they just disappeared (p. 234). The Book of Mormon records instances of mortals who disappeared Alma 45:18-19 and who became translated beings 4 Nephi 1:14.

260 t. Several Quiche settlements were divided roughly in half along lineage lines (pp. 234, 240). Zarahemla was divided roughly in half between the Nephites and the Mulekites Mosiah 25:4.

261 t. One of the founders of the Quiche nation, Iqui Balam, died without issue so Ts'utuja' and his family were adopted into the polity. In the Book of Mormon, many people were adopted into other groups. For example, the Zoramites became Lamanites Alma 43:4, many Nephites became Lamanites Helaman 3:16, and some Lamanites became Nephites 3 Nephi 2:14.

262 t. Titulo de Totonicapan describes Q'uechelajil winak people who (pp. 237 - 238):
  • were not governed by Quiche civil authority
  • lived in the mountains
  • hunted game for subsistence
  • wore animal skins for clothing
  • threatened war against the Quiche
The Gadianton robbers in the Book of Mormon
263 t. Titulo de Totonicapan describes a war of annihilation where only two enemy individuals remained alive (p. 239). The Book of Mormon describes a war of annihilation where only Coriantumr and Ether remained alive Ether 15:29-33.

264 t. The Quiche never conquered the Ak'aab of Cawinal. The Ak'aab recognized the Quiche as their superiors and the two groups joined (p. 239). The Nephites never conquered the people of Zarahemla. The Mulekites recognized Nephite superiority and the two groups joined Omni 1:14-19.

265 t. Once the Quiche reached their final destination and founded their penultimate ancient capital Chiismachi near modern Santa Cruz del Quiche, they had nearly continuous warfare with their neighbors (p. 242). Moronidescribes the Lamanites engaged in nearly continuous warfare Mormon 8:8.

266 t. Titulo de Totonicapan mentions children being sacrificed (p. 243). The Book of Mormon mentions children being sacrificed Mormon 4:14-15, 21.

267 t. Titulo describes medicinal plants (p. 243). The Book of Mormon describes medicinal plants Alma 46:40.

268 t. The Quiche marked borders between settlements with symbols that denoted either a state of war or a condition of peace between the polities (p. 245). Military and para-military actions are associated with borders between polities in the Book of Mormon. See the blog article entitled "Borders."

269 t. Food was paid as tribute to the Quiche (p. 245). Food was paid as tribute to the Lamanites in the Book of Mormon Mosiah 22:7.

270 t. The Quiche built with cement (p. 248). The Nephites built with cement Helaman 3:7-11.

271 t. Titulo de Totonicapan mentions capital punishment by stoning (p. 249). Ditto the Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 1:20, 2 Nephi 26:3, Alma 33:17, Helaman 13:24, 3 Nephi 7:19.

272 t. Gems and metals were considered valuables among the Quiche (p. 251). A common Book of Mormon phrase describing valuables is gold, silver, and precious things 1 Nephi 3:22, Jarom 1:8, Mosiah 11:9. Alma 15:16.

273 t. Jades, metals, fabric, and clothing were among the valuables that adorned the Quiche god Tojil (p. 253). The Book of Mormon lists precious things in association with metals, fabrics, and wearing apparel 1 Nephi 13:7-8Alma 1:29, Alma 4:6, Ether 9:17.

274 t/ The Quiche had the notion that the left hand side was inferior to the right (p. 256). The same idea is expressed in the Book of Mormon Mosiah 5:10-12.

275 t. The extant copy of Titulo de Totonicapan was written in different hands by multiple scribes (p. 256). The original manuscript of the Book of Mormon was written in different hands by multiple scribes who included Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer and Emma Smith.

276 t. The Titulo de Totonicapan as well as other Quichean documents shows a great deal of phrase standardization in formal discourse (p. 257). The Book of Mormon has such a strong tendency to use the same word constructs over and over to express standardized meanings in similar contexts that Royal Skousen coined a term for this textual consistency. He calls it "systematic phraseology." See the article "The Systematic Text of the Book of Mormon" in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies Volume 11, Issue 2, Provo: Maxwell Institute, 2002.

277 t. The Quiche remembered a time when inequality entered into society, causing many commoners to become proud and arrogant (p. 258). The pride cycle, driven by the unequal distribution of material goods, is well-known in the Book of Mormon Alma 4:12, Helaman 3:36, Helaman 7:26, 3 Nephi 6:10.

278 t. Titulo de Totonicapan uses K'iche' terms that describe relative proximity between an object and an author or speaker. The degrees of proximity are very close, within eyesight, and beyond view (p. 269). The Book of Mormon uses the terms near, by, not far, and far to express relative distances. See the blog articles "Things Near and Far" and "By and By."

279 t. The authors of Titulo de Totonicapan make editorial promises that they will explain certain points later in their text (p. 272). Mormon and the authors he cites make editorial promises frequently in the Book of Mormon text Mosiah 23:23, Alma 57:8. 3 Nephi 7:1, 3 Nephi 10:18.

280 t. Titulo de Totonicapan, following Quichean literature in general, makes frequent use of quotations within narrative prose (p. 275). The Book of Mormon makes frequent use of quotations in many different literary genres, including narrative prose Alma 9:13Alma 10:1, Alma 30:49-50, Helaman 11:3-5.