In The Cavity of a Rock

In The Cavity of a Rock
Father Lehi

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Incursion of Foreigners

Ariel View of Guatemala City
In the Book of Omni in the Book of Mormon (Omni 1:12) Abinadom gives a quick history of Mosiah I who was made king of the Land of Zarahemla.  Before Mosiah I became king of Zarahemla Abinadom advised that Mosiah had been forewarned by the Lord to flee out of the Land of Nephi and take as many people as would follow and flee into the wilderness.  At this time Mosiah was more than likely the king of the Nephites and resided in the Land of Nephi which was south of Zarahemla.  The Book of Omni states that the events contained in that book take place between 323-130 BC.  So if the Book of Mormon is an actual history of the Nephite and Lamanite civilizations and actually took place in Mesoamerica than there should be historical events that coincide roughly with that time period.

Now the Book of Mormon does not say what the reason for fleeing was other than being warned of the Lord but we do know that shortly thereafter the Land of Nephi was inhabited by the Lamanites as the largest population in that area even after Zeniff leads a party of Nephites to return back to the Land of Nephi which is later referred to as the Land of Lehi-Nephi.

Ruins at Kaminaljuyu
John Sorenson has proposed the most feasible and popular attempt at establishing a Book of Mormon geography.  He sets his perimeters in Mesoamerica mainly focusing on Guatemala and Southern Mexico.  He sets the Land of Nephi roughly in the area of modern day Guatemala City which does cover ancient ruins of a city known as Kaminaljuyu that dates to Book of Mormon timeframes.  Brant Gardner in his book, "Traditions of the Fathers" has noted,

"It is plausible that Mosiah and his people fled from Lamanite invasion.  Around 200 B.C., there was a massive incursion of people into highland Guatemala (Sorenson's land of Nephi) from the northwest.  They were likely Quichean peoples.  Julia Guernsey indicates that these Quicheans' appear to have moved south and eventually invaded such places as La Lagunita and Kaminaljuyu.  They displaced much of the local population and replaced the elites, which, in the case of Kaminaljuyu, were likely Cholan speakers.  The displaced inhabitants of Kaminaljuyu fled the area with the arrival of these people.  Both Quichean and Cholan are different Mayan language groups, as Spanish and French are both Romance languages.  Thus, at the right time and in the right place, we have an incursion of foreigners that created an exodus of residents." (Traditions of the Fathers pg. 214-215)

Although we don't have specific evidence that this incursion of foreigners were indeed the Lamanites of the Book of Mormon we do know that the right activities are happening right where and when they should be happening if Sorenson's educated guess for the Land of Nephi is correct.