In The Cavity of a Rock

In The Cavity of a Rock
Father Lehi

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pueblo and Mayan art of "caching" provides insights into the People of Ammon burying their weapons of war

People of Ammon burying their weapons of war
There are a handful of stories in the Book of Mormon that the average reader can read and say these just don't seem to make much sense...or these just don't sound right.  Both Brant Gardner and John E. Clark authors on Book of Mormon evidences and geography have pointed out that these stories as outlandish as they may seem are the best to use as evidence for the books authenticity.  The reason being that when something is so out of place that there is no way that it could possibly fit or possibly be correct or true and then evidence shows that sure enough it is correct or understandable than you have little room for disputations in regards to that evidence.

This is just the case with the "people of Ammon" who in Alma 23-25 come to an understanding of their Savior and a knowledge of their wrong doings and bury their weapons of war as a token or covenant to never shed blood of mankind again and dedicate their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.  For such a blood thirsty war mongering people to do such a 180 degree turnaround may seem unheard of.  Especially to bury their weapons of war in order to covenant with their Lord that they have had this change of heart and will never take up their weapons to war matter the circumstances.  When this practice of burying their weapons of war is compared to the practice of "cache or caching" pottery performed by the Anasazi or their modern day counter parts the Hopi and other Pueblo tribes we can gain a better understanding into this exercise.

Anasazi Pottery Shards (cache)
The practice of "cache or caching" was to break or bury something upon the beginning or ending of something such as an event.  This would explain the burring of the weapons of war by the Anti Nephi Lehites better known as the people of Ammon.  This would explain why they couldn't just dig up their weapon of war once they were needed again.  They had actually destroyed them, thus rendering them useless.  This is still a common practice by the Pueblo Indians. These caches of partially buried pottery shards can still be seen at almost all Anasazi ruins including Mesa Verde, Canyonlands, Chaco Canyon, Keet Seel, Awatovi and numerous others.  In the history of the Hopi or Anasazi upon leaving a village they break lots of pottery and either bury it or spread it in the direction they will be migrating. This not only showed the next group of migrating tribes the direction that the previous tribe exited the premises but also caused the need for new pottery upon arriving at the new village plot, deterring the thought of returning to the previous village. The Mayans would cache pottery and other relics in the same manner.

Thus we see that something as out of place as a once blood thirsty people who buried their weapons of war upon making a covenant or promise to never go to war or shed the blood of mankind again actually is not out of place and makes complete sense when viewed with the understanding of caching or rendering something useless especially in helping to separate ones self from that item or what it represents.  This also made keeping the covenant that much easier to keep by eliminating the temptation of being able to dig up the weapon or item at a later date if need be.  To this day it is still a major offense and extremely looked down upon at ruin sites to take or mess with these pottery shards or cache due to the sacred nature involved in the practice of caching the pottery that was performed by their ancestors.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Do the Mayan and Hopi traditional stories support the idea that the Nephites and Lamanites remembered Bountiful the point of departure?

Wadi Sayq possible location for place
of departure (Bountiful)
In 1950 Elder Milton R. Hunter wrote that Tula or Tulan was Maya for "Bountiful or Abundance".  The literal translation  of Tula is "place of reeds" or "land of abundance". When compared there are obvious correlations between having an abundance or bountiful amount of something. There are two seperate recordings of the Quiche-Maya that make reference to their ancestors' old world point of departure.  These Quiche-Maya historical documents are, "The Title of The Lords of Totonicapan" and "The Popol Vuh".  The Quiche-Maya say that the old world point of departure  was Civan-Tulan, or as rendered in English, "Bountiful-in-the Ravine".  The Maya Cakchiquel, a close brother tribe of the Quiche-May also claim that their ancestors came from Tulan in the west.  The west correlation could be the direction that was traveled by Lehi and his family upon leaving Tulan or land of abundance better known as Bountiful. 

As we learn upon reading the Book of Mormon there was a land of Bountiful and a City of Bountiful that were made by the Nephites.  It was at the temple grounds in this city where the Savior descended in 3 Nephi 11.  The fact that these lands and cities were named after the original point of departure shows that the Nephites remembered and held the name and the original land of Bountiful in high esteem.  The links between some one having abundance or bountiful to me is an obvious correlation between the two words.  Also in L. Taylor Hansen's "He Walked The Americas" there are numerous traditional stories from many Native American tribes speaking of the great bearded one (that went by many names) visiting Tula or Tulan.
Masau Kachina Doll
I personally find the correlation between the other meaning for Tula "The place of the reeds" very interesting when compared to Hopi traditional stories.  In the Hopi traditional stories the creation to some degree began when the 3rd world was corrupted due to the actions and beliefs of the people.  When that world was destroyed the righteous people went to live with the ant people (this part of the story changes depending on what Mesa and who is telling the story). Eventually the world was flooded and destroyed and the righteous people sent a bird up out of a reed to get permission to live with Maasaw in the new world. They eventually were given permission and had to climb out of the reed into the new world.  Upon exiting the reed into the new world (The reed through which they emerged into this world is called the sipaapuni and is said to exist and be marked by a shrine along the Little Colorado near the Grand Canyon.  Symbolic sipaapunis are part of every kiva in each village.) the great Maasaw laid out multiple forms of corn on the cobb and had the different tribes of people pick one cobb.  It was at this point that there seem to have been some sort of confounding of races including caucasions which may directly have affected their languages.  The Hopi were given the last pick for corn and took the smallest and shortest corn on the cobb.  At this point they were given many promises due to their humble pick by the great Maasaw. 

That was obviously a very abbreviated version of the creation story to some degree but it seems to have ties to Bountiful due to the people climbing out of the reed as a beginning of their world or people.  This seems to have a possible tie to Bountiful or place of reeds and the beginning of the Nephite and Lamanite people.  The Hopi creation story also has ties to the Jaredite confounding of the tongues or creation of multiple races of people.  One can't help but picture people climbing out of a reed that is rounded like the inside of a plant and be able to compare that shape to a sphereical shape of the tower of babel that the people were attempting to climb when their languages were confounded in Jaredite times.  For more on the sphereical shape of the temples in Mesoamerica see the video by Jerry Ainsworth called, "Finding Moroni".  It seems that a sliver of truth can befound in many Native American traditional stories..the problem can be trying to decypher the myths that have created an apostate version of these stories.  Athough that can be a problem the more important thing is recognizing that there is truth in these stories that have been passed down from generation to genertion for hundreds upon hundreds of years via word of mouth.  I find that even more amazing.