In The Cavity of a Rock

In The Cavity of a Rock
Father Lehi

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Maintaining Faith by Scott Gordon President of Fair Mormon

This is Scott Gordon's address he gave in Sweden titled "Maintaining Faith". There has been a bit of controversy or backlash from John Dehlin in regards to how he was addressed in this video.  I for one am a fan of this video and feel that Scott who is the President of Fair Mormon did a great job addressing some contoversial issues.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Uto-Aztecan vs Egyptian and Hebrew

This is a video of Brian Stubbs recent talk at the Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum Conference.  His insights and comparison on the Egyptian and Hebrew languages and the Uto-Aztecan language found in the Southwestern United States down through parts of Mexico is amazing.  Although he only briefly touches on this it is in my opinion one of the most exciting new evidences for the Book of  Mormon.  This study is still in its infancy and will be needing much more research but the possible conclusions are thrilling.

Here is a 16 page excerpt from Brian Stubbs and Jerry Grover's book Exploring the Explanatory Power of Egyptian and Semitic in Uto-Azteca.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Book That Holds the Truth, Hopi Prophesied Book of Truth and the Book of Mormon

In the history of Hopi prophecy there is a story of the white man’s book of truth.  This book is said to hold many things.  It has been said that it holds the history of the Hopi people and their ancestors.  It is said that  if the Hopi learn the truths of this book they can compete with the white man.  It is a story that has been handed down from generation to generation.  When this prophecy originated is unknown but seems to have been known on different Hopi Mesas.

  In my research I have been able to collect two accounts of the prophecy of the “Book of Truth” the first one is contained in the life story of Helen Sekaqueptewa called, “Me and Mine”.    She tells of when she was living in Hotevilla (Third Mesa) during the winter time her father would share the teachings of the kiva to pass the long hours.  She described her father’s teachings as such, “You are young now and may not be interested, but I must teach you now while I am here with you.  As you grow older then you will learn to understand and know it is the truth.” (Helen said “this has come to pass”).  He taught, “The white man has kept a written record of the history of the people from the beginning, while the Hopis have passed their history from one generation to another by word of mouth.  With the telling over the years, some of it has been omitted or misunderstood, and changes have been made.  The written record is more accurate and true.  There will come a time when the written record will be brought to the Hopis by the white man.  There will be many religions taught.  You will need to be wise to recognize and choose the right church.  It will teach you to be humble and will not try to force you into it.  When that time comes we should all forsake our native religion and join this true church.  There will come a time when all the people of the earth will belong to the one true church, and we will all speak the same language and be as one people.” ( Me and Mine: the Life Story of Helen Sekaquaptewa as to Louise Udall pg. 234-235.)

Helen Sekaquaptewa
Helen advised that her father shared these teachings many times stating, “I tell you this because you are my own blood.  I want you to take it to heart and teach it to your children.  I want you and your children to live by those teachings and benefit by what I have said.”( Me and Mine: the Life Story of Helen Sekaquaptewa as to Louise Udall pg. 234-235.)  These teachings were shared with her and her husband Emory long before they had ever heard of the Book of Mormon.  In addition she said “the traditionals would now deny that this is what their father’s used to teach.  When we heard of and read the Book of Mormon it sounded like a familiar story.  Reading the Bible and the Book of Mormon has helped us to understand the Hopi traditions, and the Hopi traditions helped us to understand these books of scripture.

She also related the following story, “When the Mormon missionaries came to Second Mesa, they taught the first chapters of the Book of Mormon, telling of a prophet named Lehi who was told by the Lord to take his family, a wife and four sons, and leave Jerusalem because that city was going to be destroyed because of the wickedness of the inhabitants (this in the year 600B.C.), how they journeyed many days in the wilderness on their way to the sea, how Lehi sent his sons back to Jerusalem to get their records of their forefathers and the teachings of their prophets, how they were led to a land that was choice above all other lands, having crossed the mighty waters and landed in America.

The head priests of the Hopis at Second Mesa, hearing these things, accosted the Elders and angrily said, “How come you know these things? You are not old enough to know it.  Who told you these things? Only older men, high in the priesthood, know that.  You keep your mouths shut.”( Me and Mine: the Life Story of Helen Sekaquaptewa as to Louise Udall pg. 241-242.)

Helen admits that these teachings were given to her from her father before she had ever heard of the Book of Mormon or was ever baptized in to the LDS church but readers of this article may assume that this is a biased opinion of Helen influenced by the LDS teachings and history of the Book of Mormon.  As I have stated in earlier blog posts my uncle served as missionary to the Hopi in the 1950’s under president Golden Buchanan and knew Helen personally and spoke highly of her and her family so I believe her account of these teachings.  With that in mind I still continued to search for any other teachings of this record of the white man with the truth or history of the people that may have been shared to other Hopi’s as a traditional prophecy.  In my research I came across the book “Born a Chief” the story of Edmund Nequatewa.  This story moves us from the Helen’s village of Hotevilla on Third Mesa to Mishongnovi of Second Mesa.  This is the same mesa that Helen recounted the story of the Hopi Elders being angry at LDS missionaries for sharing the story of Lehi and his family because it was a sacred story only to be known by Hopi Elders.

Edmund Nequatewa
Edmund Nequatewa was a young man in line to be an Elder on Second Mesa and because of this his grandfather made the decision to send him to school and even farther away to Phoenix to boarding school.  Before doing so he gave him some instruction advising that he wants him to learn as much as he can at these schools and to learn the ways of the white man.  He also advised that the white man had a book of knowledge which holds the truth.  He stated, “The book that holds the truth is a black book, and it is about that thick.  The white people keep it at the bottom of the pile, where Hopis cannot see it.  If we ever learn the truth of this book, then we can compete with the white man.  This is why he is afraid to teach us right now.  This is the truth that I want to know.”( Born a Chief: The Nineteenth Century Hopi Boyhood of Edmund Nequatewa, as told to Alfred F. Whiting pg. 111.. )

He further advised, “…Don’t forget what I am sending you down there for.  And if that book really contains the truth, you will surely learn something.”  He also advised for him to learn as much as he can from the different Kachina ceremonies but added, “We told you that the Kachina are supernatural beings, but they’re not, and all the ceremonies are like that.  In a way, every ceremony is devious.

The different clans who have taken up these ceremonies have passed away, one after another.  The day will come when all my relatives will vanish.  When that day comes, no matter where you go-to Walpi, Second Mesa, Third Mesa-you will find that clans that support different ceremonies will be vanishing.  If this was the true way, the clans that have carried these ceremonies should be the only ones to prosper, and the poor people who never had any ceremonies would have vanished long ago because they would have had no god.  But this is not the way it is.  All these traditions have been handed down during many, many years from one generation to the other, and up to this day all these things are all vague in our minds.”( Born a Chief: The Nineteenth Century Hopi Boyhood of Edmund Nequatewa, as told to Alfred F. Whiting pg. 112-113.)

Edmund later recognized the mysterious book as the Bible and applied its teachings to his life.  I find it interesting that we have a second witness (non LDS) to these traditional teachings of a mysterious book that would be had by the “white man” that has a hidden truth or history of Hopi and their ancestors that would be shared with the Hopi at a later date to bring truth and understanding.  Although Edmund recognized the book as the Bible and Helen recognized it as the Book of Mormon (and the Bible) we see that the connection to applying this prophecy to ancient scripture is the current thought process.  I would agree with both of them in their understandings and applaud Helen Sekaqueptewa’s conclusion because when comparing Hopi traditional migration stories with migrations of the Lamanite and Nephite populations found in the Book of Mormon there seems to be a correlative connection to be had.  Current studies are being held in regards to the Uto-Aztecan language spoken by that of the Hopi (and many other native tribes from Utah south to Northern Mexico) and the Egyptian and Hebrew languages. These studies are still in their infancy so more will be forth coming in the future.  Until then I add the "Book of Truth" as one more interrelationship between the Hopi and the Nephite/Lamanite populations of the Book of Mormon.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Pistis Sophia and the Book of Mormon

The Pistis Sophia is a Gnostic document that surfaced in 1773 and was purchased by the British Museum in 1795.  It is part of the Askew Codex named after Anthony Askew.  It was originally written between the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D.  It was written in Coptic but would have been a copy of an original text still missing written in Greek.  The text is broken into four sections and relates the teachings of Jesus to his disciples which included his mother Mary, Mary Magdalene and Martha during an 11 year time period after his resurrection.  The teachings cover the mysteries of descending and ascending through the different levels and hierarchies of Heaven, important figures in the Gnostic cosmology and the Gnosticism aspect of Sophia a female divinity which ties to many capacities including a mother on high, revealer of perfect mysteries and even the Holy Spirit itself.  I know it sounds interesting…and it is but this post will be focused on the correlations of the teachings and dealings of Jesus to his disciples found in the Pistis Sophia and the Book of Mormon.  
According to Pistis Sophia 3, there was, at the time of Jesus' ascension into heaven, a great earthquake that lasted for three hours. An alternate view given in the manuscript is that the earthquake lasted from the third hour on the fifteenth day of the month Tybi until the ninth hour the following day. This accords with the statement in 3 Nephi 8:19 that "the quakings of the earth . . . did last for about the space of three hours; and it was said by some that the time was greater."For three days after the earthquake and other agitations of nature, the Nephites were "howling and weeping" in the darkness and lamenting the destruction of the people in a number of cities (3 Nephi 8:23-25; 10:8). In Pistis Sophia 4, we read that "the disciples sat together in fear and were in exceedingly great agitation and were afraid because of the great earthquake which took place, and they wept together, saying: "What will then be? Peradventure the Saviour will destroy all regions?' Thus saying, they wept together." During this time, the heavenly host "all sang praises . . . so that the whole world heard their voices" (Pistis Sophia 3). Among the Nephites, after the quaking had stopped, "all the people of the land" heard the voice of Christ (3 Nephi 9:1-10:8).

Christ descending in the Americas
On the day following the earthquake, according to Pistis Sophia 4, as the disciples "wept together . . . the heavens opened, and they saw Jesus descend, shining most exceedingly . . . so that men in the world cannot describe the light which was on him." Joseph Smith used similar terminology to describe the brilliant light that surrounded the Father and the Son when they appeared to him in the Sacred Grove in the spring of 1820 (Joseph Smith-History 1:16-17). We are also reminded of Joseph Smith's description of Moroni on the night of his first appearance, 21/22 September 1823: "his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person" (Joseph Smith-History 1:32). The gradients of light are features shared by both Jesus and Moroni. Of Moroni's departure, Joseph Smith wrote, "I saw the light in the room begin to gather immediately around the person of him who had been speaking to me, and it continued to do so until the room was again left dark, except just around him; when, instantly I saw, as it were, a conduit open right up into heaven, and he ascended till he entirely disappeared, and the room was left as it had been before this heavenly light had made its appearance" (Joseph Smith-History 1:43).

In Pistis Sophia 6, the apostles, unable to withstand the brilliant light, asked Jesus, "withdraw thy light-glory into thyself that we may be able to stand. . . . Then Jesus drew to himself the glory of his light." The opening of the heavens and the drawing of the light to the person of the heavenly visitor is a feature shared by both stories.

Part 2

The Book of Mormon does not say that Jesus was surrounded by light when he descended from heaven to visit the Nephites after his resurrection, but it is significant that he introduced himself by saying "I am Jesus Christ. . . . I am the light and the life of the world" (3 Nephi 11:10-11). The Book of Mormon text notes that Jesus appeared to the Nephites "after his ascension into heaven" (3 Nephi 11:12), while in Pistis Sophia 3-4 the reappearance of Christ to his apostles occurred the day following his ascension. The apostles were frightened, so Jesus reassured them by saying, "Take courage. It is I, be not afraid" (Pistis Sophia 5). To the Nephites, who had fallen "to the earth" (3 Nephi 11:12), he said, "Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet. . . . And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet" (3 Nephi 11:14-15). In Pistis Sophia 6, "all the disciples took courage, stepped forward to Jesus, fell down all together, adored him, rejoicing in great joy."

In both stories, Jesus then teaches the people, though the contents of his teachings are not identical. To the Nephites, he delivered the sermon he had previously given to his disciples in the Old World. To the apostles of Pistis Sophia 6-7, he told of the preexistent world from which they had come and of his return to his Father after the resurrection to receive his heavenly garment. One passage is of particular importance because it, too, has a parallel in the Book of Mormon. Jesus told the twelve apostles, "when I set out for the world [from the preexistence], I brought from the beginning with me twelve powers, as I have told you from the beginning which I have taken from the twelve saviours of the Treasury of the Light, according to the command of the First Mystery [i.e., God]. These then I cast into the womb of your mothers, when I came into the world, that is those which are in your bodies today" (Pistis Sophia 7).

This scene is like one from Lehi's vision, in which "he saw the heavens open, and . . . God sitting upon his throne," then "he saw One descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day. And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament. And they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth" (1 Nephi 1:8-11). The brilliance of Christ and his twelve apostles, as described by Lehi, reminds us that, in the Pistis Sophia, they are said to have come forth from "the Treasury of Light."

Nephi, having asked to see what his father had seen in vision, was also shown Christ and his twelve apostles (1 Nephi 11:27-29). Like Lehi, he "saw the heavens open" and was shown Jesus' mother Mary, "a virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins," who became "the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh" (1 Nephi 11:14-21). Similarly, in Pistis Sophia 8, Jesus, speaking of the preexistence, says, "I looked down on the world of mankind and found Mary, who is called "my mother' according to the body of matter," into whom his spirit was then placed when the spirits of the apostles were placed inside their mothers.

Part 3

Christ and his Disciples in America
A number of Latter-day Saint practices and beliefs introduced by Joseph Smith are also found in the Pistis Sophia. In one scene (Pistis Sophia 136), the apostles and their wives stand around Jesus dressed in linen as he prays for them at the altar, reminiscent of the prayer circle. The words spoken by Jesus are unintelligible and are hence merely transliterated (and not translated) in the English text. This reminds us that, in the Book of Mormon, when Jesus prayed for the Nephites, his words were so great that they could not be recorded (3 Nephi 17:15-17). In Pistis Sophia 141-43, as the apostles stand around Jesus with the "cipher" of "the name" in their hands, Jesus tells them about the power he has given them to seal on earth and in heaven, so they can perform the mysteries for men, and mentions anointing and the mystery that leads into the Holy of Holies, in  connection with the ciphers and names. In several passages of the Pistis Sophia (128, 130, 146-47), Jesus talks about baptism for the dead and indicates that the living must perform for them that which they can no longer do for themselves. Did Joseph Smith get his ideas for the temple from this ancient document that was unknown in his day?
There are other parallels as well. In Pistis Sophia 7-8, Jesus speaks of the "soul of the rulers" in the premortal existence, in terms reminiscent of Abraham 3:23 in which, in the premortal world, God stood among a group of spirits and declared, "These I will make my rulers." The following is an interesting comparison between part of a revelation received by Joseph Smith and a section of the ancient Coptic text:

D&C 18:15-16--
And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the
kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!

Pistis Sophia 104 (Mead's translation)--
Amen, amen, I say unto you: He who shall keep in Life and save only one soul, besides the dignity which he possesseth in the Light-kingdom, he will receive yet another dignity for the soul which he hath saved, so that he who shall save many souls, besides the dignity which he possesseth in the Light he will receive many other dignities for the souls which he hath saved.