In The Cavity of a Rock

In The Cavity of a Rock
Father Lehi

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hugh Nibley and the Sacred Hopi Stone Tablets

Old Oraibi
This post is out of the Neal A. Maxwell Institutes publication by Hugh Nibley entitled, "Promised Lands".  This is an exerpt directly from that
publication in regards to the times in which Hugh was honored to have been shown the sacred Hopi Stone Tablets.  This is a rare thing even for most Hopi let alone any Pahana (white people). Off of the top of my head I can only think of two other people that I know of who have seen them, one being Lance Richardson author of "The Message" and the other was an early LDS missionary who was a friend of Chief Tuba back in the early 1900's (1921 to be exact) named Elder C.L. Christianson.  Nibley also offers his thoughts on what they are and because I completely agree I will leave it at that and let the reading commence....enjoy I know I did.

One evening as it was getting dark I was passing by their (John and Mina Lansa) house, the northernmost
house in Old Oraibi, when Mina came out and beckoned me vigorously to come in. I wondered what I had done wrong, because new infringements of the whites were causing considerable tension. In the house the chief elders were seated all around the room. A small kitchen table and chair were in the middle of the room and a coal oil lamp was on the table. Mina told me to sit on the chair; then she went out of the room and soon returned with a bundle, something heavy wrapped in a blanket. She put it on the table and then unwrapped it. It was the holy tablet, the Hopi Stone, no less, the most sacred possession of the people. I knew what I was expected to do and started talking.

Anasazi Stone Tablets found at Mesa Verde
By an interesting coincidence I had spent the previous week in Cedar City with President William Palmer, a patriarch as well as stake president, who taught anthropology in the college there. He had been initiated into the Paiute tribe, and took me out to their sacred place in the plain southwest of Parowan. The building of the highway had put an end to the rites of initiation that once took place there, but President Palmer described the teachings and ordinances as far as was permitted. In particular he told the story of the descent of the Lord from heaven as if at that place, an event much like that described in 3 Nephi.

Tobats was the God of all Creation; his son Shinob was the peacemaker full of love and eternally young. One day the Evil One Un-nu-pit killed Shinob. At once a great darkness fell upon "Tu-weap," the whole earth. It was absolute blackness for three days. In this chaos and confusion everyone was groping around in howling and lamentation. Finally, a voice from the top of the mountain spoke; it was Tobats the Father. He told them to move about with outstretched arms, calling out to each other, and joining hands with whoever one touched. Thus they formed lines, and the lines were instructed to join with each other; people in the lines were to cry out for husbands and wives and children until all families had reformed. Then the noise ceased, and a voice told them to climb the mountain or mesa where Tobats was. They worked their way up the mountain, toiling in human chains and finally forming a huge circular formation on the top, with Tobats in the middle. Well, Tobats said he would shoot an arrow straight up (this is the well-known Indian and world-wide theme of the arrow chain to heaven). His arrow produced a tiny spark of light; but the second arrow brought light, which grew like an explosion until it flooded all the land. The blackbird and the flicker have been honored ever since because their feathers were used for the arrows—they are perpetual reminders of the great event. And thus the Indians typically reedit, according to the tribe and the land, those stories whose origin is lost in a distant past.

Hugh Nibley

There were many things on the Hopi Stone that are never shown in the sketchy reproductions of it, but the main items were the wanderings of the people and upheavals of nature, the arrow-chain to heaven and the light descending from the clouds. I started to explain things in terms of what I had learned from President Palmer a few days before. As I talked the elders began whispering among themselves with some animation. Suddenly Mina snatched the stone from the table, clutched it tightly, and said excitedly, "You are a smart man—but you don't know everything!" Was I on the right track? I suspect so, because some years later, in 1965, when I was wandering in the sad desolation of Oraibi, now emptier than ever, I was approached again with an invitation to come to the house and see the Hopi Stone again. When I got there, there was confusion and excitement; something had happened. We would have to call it off. Everyone was going to where the meeting of the Tribal Council had just been held. The Tribal Council was a creation of the BIA, compliant to the will of the powers of the East, whose authority the traditionalists had never recognized. They had just that day leased a tract of the sacred Black Mesa to the Peabody Coal Company. The company had generously offered to provide trailer houses for the entire tribe if they would move to Los Angeles. A more colossal culture gap could not be imagined.

Here it is necessary to speak of that strange passion for the land with which all Indians seem to be obsessed. This state of mind can best be explained by reference to the Book of Mormon. In his great sermon to the Nephites the Lord declares, "Behold, the covenant which I have made with my people is not all fulfilled" (3 Nephi 15:8). "And behold, this is the land of your inheritance; and the Father hath given it unto you" (3 Nephi 15:13). Again he tells them to "write these sayings after I am gone, . . . that these sayings which ye shall write shall be . . . manifested unto the Gentiles, that through the fulness of the Gentiles, the remnant of their seed, who shall be scattered forth upon the face of the earth because of their unbelief, may be brought in" (3 Nephi 16:4). We are to take note of what they have written, and it is this: "Verily, Verily, I say unto you, thus hath the Father hath commanded me—that I should give unto this people this land for their inheritance" (3 Nephi 16:16). The Hopi Stone, beautifully done on highly polished porphyr, is such a writing as the Nephites were ordered to make—a deed to the land. The Lord concludes with a final repetition: "And the Father hath commanded me that I should give unto you this land, for your inheritance. . . . And if the Gentiles do not repent . . . after they have scattered my people, . . . the sword of my justice shall hang over them at that day" (3 Nephi 20:14—15, 20).

What could be clearer? This land has been given to that particular branch of Israel as an inheritance for their children in perpetuity—it is their sacred obligation to hold it for their children; they cannot possibly sell it or allow it to be taken from them. That would be unthinkable, and that we never seem to understand.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Who were the Jaredites?

The Brother of Jared or Mahonri Moriancumur
I have been reading in the book of Ether lately and a long with that have been reading up on the Jaredites through miscellaneous articles.  A few that I have been particularly impressed with have been by Grant Hardy via Meridian Magazine and another was by David Stewart entitled "Jaredites: The First Americans".  The Jaredites fit in the Book of Mormon timeline roughly 1500 BC-400 BC.  This time period fits nicely with the Olmec civilization commonly known by their giant rock head sculptures found roughly in southern Mexico in the Vera Cruz and Tabasco area.  One question that usually comes to mind when looking at those giant headsculptures is, who were these people?  Who were the Olmecs?  Who were the Jaredites?

If the Jaredites were the Olmecs then what can we gather about the Olmecs that corresponds with what we know about the Jaredites?  First if we follow the lines that David Stewart put forth we will see that Carlos de Siguenza y Gongorra [1645-1700] gave us some interesting information about the original settlers of Mexico.  David suggests that he would have had access to ancient Aztec records that were later burned by "zealot Catholic padres" because they spoke of Christianity which was not known to Rome and therefore considered heretical.  Gongorra said that he "arrived at the curiously definite result that the original settlers were descended from Naphtuhim, son of Mizraim and grandson of Noah, who left Egypt for Mexico shortly after the confusion of tongues"
Naphtuhim is the plural form of "nephet" which means honeycomb.  It means the honeycomb people, or in other words, the beekeepers, or the people of Deseret.  In Ether 2:3 when speaking of the Jaredites preparations to go to "the promised land" it states,

Olmec Head

And they did also carry with them deseret, which, by interpretation, is a honey bee: and thus they did carry with them swarms of bees and all manner of that which was upon the face of the land, seeds of every kind.

Thus we see that both the Olmecs or original settlers of Mexico and the Jaredites were known as keepers of bees.  But lets take a further look at who the Naphtuhim where.  As descendents of Ham they were a mixture of Egyptian, Hittite, Phoenician, Libyan and other Hamitic tribes but were primarily Naphtuhim or honey raisers.  Josephus calls the Naphtuhim the Nedim.  He admits that nothing is known of these people except for the name, as their Old World cities were overthrown in the Ethiopic War during the times of Moses.  Also of note is that all Jaredite kings descended from the first pharoah of Egypt, called Menes by the historian Manetho and AHA in the heiroglyphs.  This name Aha is what Menes translates into from Greek.  Aha or Ahah is also the name of a Jaredite king. (Ether 11:10-11)

Stewart than goes on to point out that these Hamatic tribes or people were from North Africa.  As seen on the Olmec statues, they had broad, flat, Negroid noses, this lips and eyes closer to the horizontal with an epicanthic fold of the upper eyelid like many modern East Asians.  It would be through these linages that the ancient empires such as Cush came to their great status. So the question arises, how did these Jaredites or Olmecs gain the knowledge needed to become one of the greatest civilizations the world has "never" known?

Stewart points out that certain vocations were held in expertise in the ancient world, such as shipbuilding and sailing.  The Phoenicians and Egyptians were the experts in that catagory as well as glassmaking or glassworks.  The Hittites were the expert metallurgists during this time and bee keeping was extremely important as noted earlier to the Egyptians and the Ethopians, so much so that they would even pay their tribute in honey.  What do all these nations (Egypt, Phoenicia, the Hittites, and Ethiopia) have in common? They are all descended from Ham.  Stewart also points out that Ironworking, and glassworking expertise acutally go further back to Tubal Cain, "an instructor of every artificer in glass and iron" (Genesis 4:22).  Hebrew tradition as recorded in the Genesis Rabba midrash and eleventh century Jewish commentator Rashi maintains that Naamah, sister of Tubal-cain was taken by Noah as a second wife to preserve Cain's posterity, and that she became the mother of Ham.  All these expertises and knowledge being found among the Jaredites litteral descendents of Ham would not only follow ancient customs of the transmission of knowledge and techniques of trade but also answers the above question of, how did these Jaredites or Olmecs gain the knowledge needed to become one of the greatest civilizations the world has "never" known? This also explains the scripture in Ether 1:43 were the Lord states while speaking of the Jaredites,

And there will I bless thee and they seed, and raise up unto me of thy seed, and they who shall go with thee, a great nation. And there shall be none greater than the nation which I will raise up unto me of thy seed, upon all the face of the earth. 

So basically we end with a great Hamatic civilization in the Western Hemisphere (Southern Mexico and Guatemala) that originated in Africa.  This group was known as the Jaredites in the Book of Mormon or the Olmecs to the rest of the world.  They are of the lineage of Ham in the Bible and apparently mastered the many trades that were practiced by its brother and sister tribes.  The fact that they had acquired this knowledge along with being highly favored of the Lord (mainly due to the righteousness of the brother of Jared also known as Mahonri Moraincumur) allowed them the ability to avoid the confounding of tongues at the tower of Babel, also allowed them to be lead to the "promised land" by the hand of the Lord thus being assisted by many mighty miracles, and also be considered a "great nation" in the sight of God.  Of course many of these things apply to the Nephites and modern day America so needless to say much can be learned by looking and the growth and demise of these two great civilizations.