I planned on joining Warren Aston and his 2016 Ramah/Cumorah Expedition for the Tuxtlas portion of their exploration. Then a family tragedy struck and I stayed home. Wishing to contribute to the effort, I wrote the article Ramah/Cumorah which was of some use to the team in the field. I concluded in that article that Cerro San Martin was the most likely candidate for hill Ramah/Cumorah.
|Possible Hill Ramah/Cumorah in the Tuxtlas of Southern Veracruz|
The Olmecs revered San Martin Pajapan as the place of original creation, a notion that persisted through Aztec times as documented in Bernardino de Sahagun's "La Historia Universal de las Cosas de Nueva Espana" now commonly called the "Florentine Codex" because the best preserved original is in the Laurentian Library in Florence. From ca. 1,000 BC to AD 1968 San Martin Pajapan Monument 1 stood atop the summit with a cache of jade objects buried directly beneath it.
|San Martin Pajapan Monument 1, Museo de Antropologia de Xalapa|
The three most important Olmec sites: San Lorenzo, La Venta, and Tres Zapotes are precisely equi-distant from San Martin Pajapan.
|Three Key Olmec Sites Relative to San Martin Pajapan|
|Linda Schele's Drawing of La Venta's Artificial Mountain,|
an Effigy of San Martin Pajapan
|Tres Zapotes to La Venta & San Martin to San Lorenzo Transects|
- Why did Mormon move the Nephite record archive from hill Shim to hill Cumorah against Ammaron's explicit command to leave the repository where he hid it Mormon 1:4? With the alliance between Matacapan & Teotihuacan, the Nephites no longer controlled the area around hill Shim.
- Why did Mormon believe the Nephite records would be more secure in hill Cumorah Mormon 6:6? Cumorah was widely revered as a sacred place, unlikely to be disturbed. San Martin Pajapan Monument 1 stood for nearly 3,000 years before modern archaeologists removed it to the museum in Xalapa.
- Why did Mormon choose Cumorah as the place for the final battle Mormon 6:2? Stories of the Jaredite demise could have been motivational to his people and de-motivational to the Lamanites. Some Lamanites may have refused to fight in a place many regarded as holy.
|San Martin Pajapan in Southern Veracruz|
Photo by Warren P. Aston
|San Martin Pajapan From the Air Looking West|
View of the San Martin Pajapan summit.
|Heavily Fluted Ridges Rising to the Summit of San Martin Pajapan|
- Cerro Vigia was the source of some of the boulders the Olmecs used to carve their colossal statues, including stone heads. Another source was Cerro Mono Blanco 24 kilometers east of Cerro Vigia and 3 kilometers NNW of the town of Catemaco.
- Cerro Mono Blanco is strongly associated with witchcraft in contemporary Mexico. Mormon decried occult practices Mormon 1:19, Mormon 2:10.
- At least 40 extinct volcanoes in the Tuxtlas have crater lakes. There are many springs and some spectacular waterfalls. These may be part of the many waters Mormon described Mosiah 8:8, Mormon 6:4.
- The natives hunt, fish, and farm. The presence of all three forms of subsistence may have been part of the advantage Mormon hoped to achieve in the area Mormon 6:4.
- These volcanic mountains are full of caves. Ether's cavity of a rock Ether 13:13-22 may have been a lava tube or collapsed lava tube.
- Many natives are herbal healers recalling Alma 46:40.
- Natives gather honey on the slopes of San Martin Pajapan. The Book of Mormon mentions honey among the Jaredites Ether 2:3.
- Natives fear a bad wind as in Mosiah 7:31.
- The four cardinal directions are central to the local worldview as they were in the Book of Mormon Mosiah 27:6.