by Roy Weldon
Chapter 1. The God of Ancient America
Chapter 2. The Mystery of the "Lost Book of God"
Chapter 3. The Lost Tribe of Joseph Found
Chapter 4. A Hebrew Nation in America
Chapter 5. Modern Miracle Reveals America's Past
Chapter 6. God at Work in the Western Hemisphere
Chapter 7. The Golden Age of Ancient America
Chapter 8. A Modern Prophet's Words Proved True
Chapter 9. The Amazing Book of Mormon
Chapter 10. The Christian Church in Ancient America
Chapter 11. The American Dark Ages
Chapter 12. Ancient Gospel of Jesus Christ Restored
BIBLICAL EVIDENCE POINTING TOWARD THE BOOK OF MORMON
BIBLE AND ARCHAEOLOGY SUPPORT OF BOOK OF MORMON
Chichén Itzá--Chee-chen' Ect-zah'
La Napana--Lah Nah-pah'-nah
Machu Picchu--Mah-chew Pee-chew
Monte Albán--Mon-tay Ahl-bahn'
Piedras Negras--Pecay'-drahs Nay'-grahs
Popul Vuh--Po-pool Voo' (ancient record)
Tehuantepec, Isthmus of--Tay-ooahn'-tay-peck
Tula (or Tullan)--Too'-lah
THE GOD OF ANCIENT AMERICA
In John 10:16, Jesus gives expression to one of the most significant statements to be found in the Scriptures: "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
It is recorded in the fifteenth chapter of Matthew that a woman of Canaanite descent followed Jesus and cried to him in behalf of her child. It was only after persistent and continued effort that Jesus was persuaded to minister to her child. Jesus explained his slowness to respond to the Gentile woman's cries with this terse but very significant statement: "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep) of the house of Israel" (Matthew 15:23,24). A candid, open-minded, truth-seeking approach to the meaning of John 10:16 leaves no alternative but to look somewhere (Africa, Australia, Siberia, America, or elsewhere) other than Jerusalem for evidence that the Good Shepherd had another flock of sheep (House of Israel) whom he visited and who heard his voice.
A survey of the history, legends, and archaeology of various nations quickly reveals that one does not have to be a detective to recognize that in Quetzalcoatl of the Aztecs we have a clue of the first order.
COURTS AND TEMPLE OF QUETZALCOATL AT TEOTIHUACAN
About thirty-five miles northeast of Mexico City lie the famous pyramids of Teotihuacan. In prehistoric times, Teotihuacan was a great city that filled a large area in the valley. The dwelling places of the people have long since disappeared, but broken pieces of pottery and other evidences of ancient occupation are numerous. According to Robert Marett, the great government and religious structures of the city occupy an area four miles long by two miles wide.1 Among the most imposing structures are the huge Pyramid of the Sun (twelve acres) and the awe-inspiring courts and temple of Quetzalcoatl. Paul found on Mars' Hill an altar dedicated to an unknown God. In contrast, we find at Teotihuacan a temple dedicated to a mysterious prehistoric personage (Quetzalcoatl) which with its impressive courts and priest's quarters occupies many acres.
THE DIEGO RIVERA MURALS OF QUETZALCOATL
Diego Rivera, a full-blooded Indian artist of outstanding ability, has recently completed a history of Mexico. This history is painted in murals on the expansive inner walls of the presidential palace in Mexico City. The history starts with the depiction of the presence in ancient Mexico of the white god, Quetzalcoatl. He is shown seated on a throne surrounded by a worshiping throng of brown-skinned Aztecs. In another scene he is shown seated on a white cloud ready to depart over the sea toward the rising sun from whence legend says he came. Before his departure he is said to have promised to return. In both scenes he is depicted holding in his right hand a scepter strongly resembling a shepherd's crook. United States historians also recognize Quetzalcoatl. In an eminent textbook, Epic of America, which is used in colleges and universities in the United States, James Truslow Adams introduces the student to the history of the United States with the story of Quetzalcoatl.
Mr. Lewis Spence, well-known English anthropologist, in a comparatively recent book (1923) sums up the Aztec legends of Quetzalcoatl from several trustworthy Mexican codices: "A god of the name of Citallatonac ... sent an ambassador from heaven on an embassy to a virgin of TULAN called CHIMALMAN . . . to whom the ambassador announced that it was the will of this God that she should conceive a son . . . she conceived a son without connexion with man, who they call QUETZALCOATLE."2
"They say that it was he [QUETZALCOATLE] who effected the reformation of the world by penance, since as, according to his account, his father had created the world and men had given themselves up to vice, on which account it had been frequently destroyed, CITINATIONALI sent his son into the world to reform it."--Ibid., page 131.
"He alone had a human body like that of men; the other gods were of an incorporeal nature."--Ibid., page 128.
"Quetzalcoatl was a white man . . . with long black hair and a beard heavy and round."--Ibid., page 120.
"He instituted fasting and mortification, and never married."--Ibid., page 127.
"He forbade all war and disturbance."--Ibid., page 127.
"The arts had their inception with Quetzalcoatl."--Ibid., page 123.
"As they considered him their advocate, they celebrated a solemn festival and fasted during four signs."--Ibid., page 132.
"They adored him as a god,... for they believed it certain that he had ascended into heaven. "--Ibid., page 131.
"He desired of them at the time of his departure to restrain their grief and to expect his return, which would take place at the appointed time."--Ibid., page 130.
"When he died he was not visible for four days, during which period he tarried in the underworld."--Ibid., page 132.
"He had priests who were called QUEQUETZALCOHUA, that is to say, 'priests of the order of Quetzalcoatl.'"--Bancroft, Native Races, Volume 3, page 259.
Paul found an altar on Mars' Hill dedicated to an unknown God. In Mexico we find the largest pyramid in the world dedicated to Quetzalcoatl as the "Author of Light."
Gregory Mason comments on the size of the pyramid of Cholula in Mexico:
The greatest Toltec pyramid is the one at Cholula.... It is inferior to the more famous work of the Egyptians in height, although its summit was more than two hundred feet above the surrounding level.... But the base of this Cholula pyramid averages more than one thousand feet on a side, and the structure has three times the volume of the pyramid of Cheops.3
Such was the impression left on the native mind by this mysterious person (Quetzalcoatl) that notwithstanding the centuries had rolled away since his appearance, the Aztecs thought he had reappeared when Cortez and his followers landed on their coast.
Brinton says: "Therefore when they first beheld the fair complexioned Spaniards, they rushed into the water to embrace the prows of their vessels, and dispatched messengers throughout the land to proclaim the return of Quetzalcoatl" (Brinton, Myths of the New World, page 203).
The impact of the personality of Jesus Christ on the course of history in the Old World has been tremendous and incalculable. When we pick up the evening paper or write a letter or look at the calendar, we are confronted with the evidence of the impression of the personality of the "Good Shepherd." Every time we write the date or look at the date, we honor the Savior from whose birth time is measured.
One biographer has said,
I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as has that One Solitary Life.--Author Unknown; quoted in Reader's Digest, January 1954, page 36.
The impression of the personality of Quetzalcoatl on the legends and temples and minds of the Aztecs is of such proportions that the identity of this white God born of a virgin in the distant East cannot be reasonably interpreted as being other than the Good Shepherd of Israel.
Manly Palmer Hall in his book, Twelve World Teachers, published in 1937 by the Philosophical Research Society of Los Angeles, includes Quetzalcoatl along with Confucius, Mohammed, Jesus Christ, et al, in his work on "the twelve" great teachers of history.
The evidence that Quetzalcoatl was Jesus Christ is not complete until we add to the impact of his personality on prehistoric America the traditions which link and weld the history of Quetzalcoatl with the story of the Good Shepherd.
Briefly, and in addition to the excerpts quoted by Mr. Spence, we present further milestones in the life of Quetzalcoatl:
Mr. Paul Radin, anthropologist of the University of California who has made a special study of the reliability of Aztec traditions, says, "Many oral myths give us such details which not only look historical but have so often been subsequently proved to be correct that there is a certain presumption of their being correct whenever we find them."7
Quetzalcoatl, the God of the Aztecs, was not himself an Aztec. The Aztecs were preceded in Mexico by the Toltecs.
Nadaillac says that the Toltec era "is enshrined in the memory of the Nahuas as their golden age."8
Brinton says, "In Mexican legends the early Toltecs were of fair complexions."9
As we travel farther south in Mexico we come to the state of Oaxaca. Eighty per cent of its inhabitants are Indian, mostly Zapotecs. Nine miles above its capital city by mountain road are found the ancient mountaintop ruins of Monte Alban. Its ruins are estimated to spread over an area of 24 square miles. Again and again the archaeologists have found the picture of a bearded god carved on the stones of the principal buildings. One of the finest of these stone portraits shows the figure in an attitude of prayer.
Only a stone's throw away from the figure of a bearded god in prayer is a large tomb in the form of a cross. Two other large cruciform tombs constructed of fine-cut stones and adorned with mosaics and inscriptions are to be found at Mitla and El Garron also in the state of Oaxaca. In August of 1953 my son Ward and I visited the mountaintop tomb of El Garron. We measured one of the largest stones in the cruciform and found it to be roughly twelve feet long, three feet wide, and four feet high.
South of the state of Oaxaca is the frontier state of Chiapas. Chiapas borders on Guatemala. Vast areas of its southern reaches are unexplored and still occupied by the wild, uncivilized Lancadone Indians, many of whom wear animal skins and hunt with bows and arrows. For twenty-eight miles along the eastern base of the mountains of Chiapas lie the ruins of the Mayan city of Palenque. Here explorers and archaeologists were amazed to find a temple containing a large tablet, in the center of which was a cross. This famous temple is now known as the "Temple of the Cross."
On the Isthmus of Yucatan many ancient Mayan cities have been found. Perhaps the greatest of these is Chichen Itza. As at Monte Alban so at Chichen Itza we find portraits in stone of a bearded white god. Explorers and writers have referred to this figure as a "Jewish caste face." The Mayans call their god Kulculcan. They tell the same kind of story about him that the Aztecs tell about Quetzalcoatl. He was a white man born of a virgin and came from the distant east beyond the sea. When he departed from them he promised to return.
The Book of Mormon is the only book ever published which claims to contain the history of the visit of Jesus Christ to ancient America.
This book records that after his resurrection, Jesus Christ came to America and fulfilled his pledge found in John 10:16, to visit other sheep of another fold. The evidence appears to indicate that the place of his visit was in Central America or in southern Mexico.
The dramatic appearance of Christ to the ancient Americans came when a large group of the people were gathered together at the temple in the Land Bountiful. The Book of Mormon tells us that the people, gathered together at the temple, heard a voice.
And it came to pass as they understood, they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a man descending out of heaven;
And he was clothed in a white robe, and he came down and stood in the midst of them, and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.
And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand, and spake unto the people, saying, Behold I am Jesus Christ, of whom the prophets testified should come into the world.--III Nephi 5:9-11.
In the great assembly at the temple where Quetzalcoatl or Jesus Christ made his appearance, there were present not only the ancestors of the Aztecs but also the ancestors of the Mayas and other Indian tribes. After his first appearance, he announced that he would return and meet the people again on the morrow. His appearances were continued over a protracted length of time. The startling news that Jesus Christ the Shepherd of Israel was making appearances at "the temple in the land Bountiful" spread like wildfire. It is indicated in the Book of Mormon that great numbers of people traveled all night as well as by day to reach the temple in the Land Bountiful (III Nephi 9:3).
It is also recorded (IV Nephi 1:3) that within two years of his visit, the entire population of ancient America was converted to Jesus Christ. This means that not only were ancestors of the Aztecs converted to Jesus Christ, but ancestors of every tribe had been gathered into the fold of the Good Shepherd. Consideration of Quetzalcoatl's counterpart among all the tribes of the New World would require a volume or series of volumes. It is within the scope of this presentation to offer only a few brief references.
Both the Book of Mormon and Aztec traditions tell us that Jesus
Christ or Quetzalcoatl appeared in ancient America dressed in a
long white robe.
Although bearing various names and appearing in different countries, the American culture heroes--all present the same general characteristics. They are all described as white, bearded men, generally clad in long robes; appearing suddenly and mysteriously upon the scene of their labors, they at once set about improving the people by instructing them in useful and ornamental arts, giving them laws, exhorting them to practice brotherly love and other Christian virtues, and introducing a milder and better form of religion; having accomplished their mission, they disappear as mysteriously and unexpectedly as they came.10
The story of a blond bearded god descending out of the sky to visit the ancient Americans is not only told in legend, pictograph and ceramics, but in recent findings carved on temples in the remote fastnesses of Quintana Roo. In August 1953, through the kindness of the Mexican air force, I was able to land with an air force pilot in a light plane in a small clearing near the fabled ruins of Tuluum overlooking the picturesque Caribbean Sea. In the ancient ruins of Tuluum is a temple called by archaeologists, "The Temple of the Descending God." Over the entrance to the temple there is clearly carved on the façade a personage descending. His feet are upward and his arms and legs extended downward.
Mr. Brinton says,
Many of the great gods of the race, Quetzalcoatl, Viracocha, and Ioskeha, were at times said to have been born of a virgin. Even among the Indians of Paraguay the early missionaries were startled to find this tradition of the maiden mother of the god. . . .
Quiche legends of earliest men say they were white children, white sons, leading a white life beyond the dawn. Creation itself is attributed to the dawn, the white one, the white sacrificer of blood.11
If it is true as the evidence seems to strongly indicate that Jesus Christ visited ancient America in person, then we should expect to find not only the evidence of his person but also the evidence of his teachings.
Mr. P. De Roo says, "The first missionaries of the fifteenth century were greatly astonished to find them [Peruvians] in possession of several tenets of Christian doctrines and practicing a number of Christian rites."12
Mr. Brinton says,
These reformers [Quetzalcoatl, Votan, Virachocha, etc.] were credited with an ethical elevation in their teachings which need not blush before the loftiest precepts of the Old World moralists. According to the earliest and most trustworthy accounts, the doctrines of Tonapa were filled with loving kindness and the deep sense of duty which characterize the present Christianity. Nothing was wanting in them, says a historian, save the name of God and his Son, Jesus Christ.13 (Words in brackets by R. W.)
William Prescott says, "They [Spanish missionaries] could not suppress their wonder, as they beheld the Cross, the sacred emblem of their own faith, raised as an object of worship in the temples of Anahuac. . . . Their surprise was heightened, when they witnessed a religious rite which reminded them of the Christian communion. On these occasions, an image of the tutelary deity of the Aztecs was made of the flour of maize, mixed with blood, and after consecration by the priests, was distributed among the people, who, as they ate it, 'showed signs of humiliation and sorrow, declaring it was the flesh of the deity.'"14 (Words in brackets by R. W.)
In his ministry at Jerusalem, Jesus heated the sick, the blind, and the lame by touching them with his hands.
Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them, saying, There is no need, for Jesus hath said, Such shall be saved. But Jesus said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.--Matthew 19:13-15, I.V.
And they [his disciples] shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.--Mark 16:18.
Now, when the sun was setting, all they who had any sick, with divers diseases, brought them unto him, and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.--Luke 4:40.
If the Good Shepherd brought blessings to his flock in the Old World by placing his hands upon them, why should it not be reasonable that he should pursue the same course in bringing blessings to his flock in the New World? The Book of Mormon records that during the appearances of Jesus Christ at the temple in the Land Bountiful, all who were sick or lame or blind or afflicted in any manner were brought to Jesus, and he healed them (III Nephi 8:6-10).
The open human hand has been found extensively among the ruins of prehistoric America. At Copan, Honduras, there is a large beautiful specimen of the open hand sculptured out of stone. Channing Arnold says that the human hand is found extensively on ruins at Chichen Itza, island of Cozumel, and other Maya ruins.15
Mr. Bancroft says, "Another form in which we may recognize Zamna is the image of Itzamat Ul, or the 'dew of heaven' who is said to have been a great ruler, the son of god, and who cured diseases, raised the dead and pronounced oracles."
Mr. Bancroft also says, "This class of devotees generally resorted to the temple where he [Zamna] was represented in the form of a hand, Kab Ul, or working hand, whose touch was sufficient to restore health."16
Henry Clyde Shetrose, director and archaeologist of Ohio State Archaeological Association, says that the human hand is found in the Hopewell Mounds and is related to the hand design of middle America.17
The golden text of all Christendom says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Did God give his Son to the Old World only? It is estimated that at the time of Christ the civilizations of ancient America were in full bloom with a culture as great and in some respects superior to the civilizations of Rome, Greece, Babylon, and Egypt. Estimates of the population in Mexico, Central America, and the Andean region at the time of Christ run as high as three hundred million people. Did God respect the Old World above the New World that they should enjoy the priceless benefits of Christ's personal ministry while great civilized nations in America should be left to go it alone without a personal visitation and ministry of God's Son?
Jesus said, "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: ... and they shall hear my voice" (John 10:16).
Were these sheep in America? The last verse of the Four Gospels in the New Testament says, "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written."
If the Book of Mormon is true, there is a fifth gospel--Nephi's eyewitness account and record of Christ's ministry among the ancient Americans. Is it possible that one of the "many other things which Jesus did" that is not written in the Four Gospels was a visitation to the New World?
It is perhaps well to close this chapter with an answer to the questions from the legends of the Chibchas Indians of Colombia, South America.
Kathleen Romoli, noted authority on the cultures of South America, sums up the Chibcha story of the coming of the white god to America.
Bochica must have really existed. He came to Cundinamarca from the east, from the direction of the Orinoco, and when his mission was over he returned, alone as when he came. . . . He leant upon a shepherd's crook and his long white beard fell to his waist. (This beard is one of the most curious features of the Bochica legend. It is extremely hard to imagine whiskers of which you have never heard, and the Chibchas were beardless.) The Messenger of God was dressed in long robes, and a mantle covered his shoulders; his skin was fair, and on his forehead was the sign of the cross. He went up and down the land, teaching, and wherever he stopped the people crowded to hear him. He preached of the resurrection of the body and of the Last Judgment, of the afterlife and the immortality of the soul, and of the beneficent power of God; he enjoined his followers to practice good works and charity.... The children of Bachúe said that Bochica lived with them fourteen centuries before the Conquistadores--whose coming he foretold;..... the Spaniards believed he was St. Bartholomew.18
The last statement in this legend of Bochica is remarkable. Fourteen centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards in the New World puts us back to the very time when Jesus said, "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: . . . and they shall hear my voice."
(All italicizing is by the author for emphasis.)
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.--John 10:16.
Wherever or whenever in the Old World the words of the Good Shepherd or his undershepherds were heard, there was an urge to write them down that they might be preserved for the inspiration and salvation of coming generations.
From the time the Lord instructed Moses to write the Book of Genesis and the other books in the Pentateuch until He instructed John on Patmos to "Write the things which thou hast seen" (Revelation 2:19), books and instructions about writing are mentioned no less than 175 times in the King James Version of the Scriptures, according to Young's Analytical Concordance.
The urge of prophets, patriarchs, and holy men to write down the words of life that came when they heard the voice of the Good Shepherd is well illustrated in the Book of Job:
Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.--19:23-27.
In the Old World they wrote down the words when they heard the voice of the Good Shepherd. It is reasonable to assume they would do the same when the Shepherd of Israel visited his sheep in the New World, and they heard his voice.
In the previous chapter, we found evidence from the Aztecs that Jesus Christ visited prehistoric America. Let us further examine this evidence from Mexico that the Good Shepherd visited them, and that his voice was heard.
Because of the many similarities to Christianity which the Spanish priests found in the native religion, they thought that the Devil had attempted to build a counterfeit church here in America.
Father Duran at the end of his Historia Antiqua de la Nueva España (1585) wrote, "I verily believe that the evil spirit himself must have somehow supplied these poor people with a spurious edition of the Bible." (Quoted from Jesus Christ Among the Ancient Americans, by Paul M. Hanson.)
The Catholic priests thought they could destroy this socalled spurious work of Satan by destroying the ancient writings.
Immense masses of such documents were stored in the archives of ancient Mexico. Torquemada asserts that five cities alone yielded to the Spanish governor on one requisition no less than sixteen thousand volumes of scrolls. Every leaf was destroyed.1
Archaeologists and students of ancient America greatly regret this wanton destruction of such a priceless treasure. Without question, these vast libraries of Mexican documents would have cleared up many mysteries and questions which now baffle the academic and scientific students of prehistoric America.
There is one man who was acquainted with the contents of the libraries who has given us an inkling of what these ancient volumes contained. His name is Ixtlilxochitl. He was a grandson of the king of Tezcuco. Tezcuco, a small kingdom allied with the Aztecs, was situated on the west of Mexico City. Ixtlilxochitl wrote a history of prehistoric Mexico.
The Book of Mormon contains the words which the ancient Americans wrote when they heard the voice of the Good Shepherd. It also contains the history of the end and total destruction of the white cultured Nephites by the barbarous Lamanites (Indians). After the Nephites were wiped out in the final battle, the last prophet, Moroni, inscribed the concluding paragraphs of the history of his people and hid the sacred book in a stone box with the Urim and Thummim. It remained lost from the knowledge of men until it was divinely revealed to Joseph Smith and later translated by him with God's help into the English language.
From the works of Ixtlilxochitl, Bancroft gives us this story of the Teoamoxtli:
Returning now to the other version of Toltec history we learn that after the death of the first king of Tollan, his son Ixtlilcuechahuac mounted the throne. His reign, like that of his predecessor, was peaceful and prosperous; but the only event recorded was a meeting of all the sages under the direction of the aged Hueman which took place only a few years before the end of the second king's term of office. At this assembly there were brought forward all the Toltec records reaching back to the earliest period of their existence, and from these documents, after a long conference and the most careful study, the Teoamoxtli, or 'book of God,' was prepared. In its pages were inscribed the Nahua annals from the time of the deluge, or even from the creation; together with all their religious rites.2
TEOAMOXTLI AND BOOK OF MORMON COMPARED
Ixtlilxochitl's account of the end of the prehistoric Toltecs is startling in its similarity to the story in the Book of Mormon. Those who have read the Book of Mormon will instantly recognize the similarities.
According to the Book of Mormon, the golden age of peace and prosperity in ancient America lasted for about two hundred years after the visit of Christ. About the beginning of the third century after the appearance of Christ, a war broke out between the Nephites and the Lamanites.
Three hundred and five years later, when the empire had been long at peace, a revolt broke out (Native Races, Volume 5, pages 210, 211).
After several years of war, the Book of Mormon records that a treaty was reached in which the Lamanites would not come again in battle against the Nephites for ten years.
From the account in Bancroft's Native Races, we find a similar story.
Unable to resist this formidable army, the Toltec king was compelled to send ambassadors bearing rich presents to sue for peace....A truce . . . was concluded . . . to the effect that the Toltecs should not be molested for ten years.--Volume 5, page 279.
After the expiration of the ten-year period of truce, the Book of Mormon and Ixtlilxochitl tell a similar story in their accounts, the one of the end of the Nephites, and the other of the end of the Toltecs. The points of their similarity include:
The Book of Mormon tells us that the Lamanites "were not numbered because of the greatness of their numbers." In the last day of battle after years of conflict, 230,000 Nephites perished. From the Book of Mormon account, there must have been millions of men engaged on each side during the long death struggle of the Nephites.
It is difficult to credit the statements of the old authors respecting the number of Chichimecs that espoused Xolotl's cause. Ixtlilxochitl and Veytia state that no less than three million, two hundred and two thousand men, women, besides children rallied to his standards.3
It should be noted that the works of Ixtlilxochitl were not available to Joseph Smith, since the Spanish colonial manuscripts were not collected and translated and published to the English-speaking world by Bancroft until several decades after publication of the Book of Mormon.
In the previous chapter, we found that ancestors of the Aztecs were not the only ones who were present in that great day when the Good Shepherd appeared; likewise we find that other tribes besides the Aztecs had a knowledge of the existence of a prehistoric sacred record.
The story of the Popol Vuh, like the story of the Teoamoxtli, comes from the writings of a native author. The original Maya Quiche text was translated into Spanish in the early days of colonial history.
The manuscript, however, remained in obscurity in Catholic archives in Guatemala until it was discovered by Doctor Scheizer in June, 1854, and translated and published in the English language. Like the Teoamoxtli of Ixtlilxochitl, the Popol Vuh of the Maya Quiches could not have been known to Joseph Smith.
Concerning the Popol Vuh (Book of God) Bancroft says:
I pass next to the tradition of the Quiché nations as preserved in the Popol Vuh . . . These traditions, the authenticity and general accuracy of which there is no reason to doubt . . . with apparent, although vague references here and there, to actual events in the primitive history of the people whose descendants were the Quichés.4
Bancroft continues with an excerpt from the Popol Vuh:
The Popol Vuh, the national book, is no longer visible, in which it was clearly seen that we came from beyond the sea . . . It is the first book, written in olden times, but its view is hidden from him who sees and thinks.
Wonderful is its appearance, and the narrative of the time when he (the Creator) finished everything in heaven and on earth.5
Like Quetzalcoatl, Votan was the first historian of his people, and wrote a book on the origin of the race.6
At Copan, Honduras, there is a temple containing large tablets of hieroglyphics. The stairway which leads to the entrance of the temple is literally covered with hieroglyphics. At the base of the stairway stands an imposing figure of a man holding in his hand a king's escutcheon. I had the good fortune to visit Copan, Honduras, in 1941, in company with a group of archaeologists from the United States. As we approached the entrance to the mysterious temple of the hieroglyphics with its prehistoric figure in stone standing guard, someone asked the leading Carnegie Institute archaeologist as to the identity of the imposing statue. His answer was, "Your guess is as good as mine." Similar answers were given to other questions regarding the elegant ruins of this very ancient city. There is very much that science does not know about the ancient Americans. Archaeology has not yet scratched the surface. Much exploration is yet to be done.
There are, however, some conclusions that can be drawn about Copan as well as other archaeological sites. The people who built Copan were a religious people. The presence of temples and beautiful altars attests this fact. They had a system of writing as is attested by the abundance of hieroglyphics. If the Good Shepherd of Israel visited these people and they heard his voice, why would it not be possible that they would inscribe his words on temples and tablets of stone? If guessing is in order, why not venture the guess that the tablets of hieroglyphics (as yet undeciphered) in the temple of the hieroglyphics may contain words of Jesus Christ.
According to the Book of Mormon, when the Lord led Lehi and his colony from Jerusalem to America about 600 B.C., they brought with them a record of God's dealings with their fathers (the Bible up to 600 B.C.). This record was inscribed on brass plates and contained, among other things, Genesis and the other books of Moses, as well as Scriptures down to and including the Book of Isaiah.
We have already noted that the name "Toltecs" is identified with Quetzalcoatl and the golden age of prehistoric America. We have also noted that the Toltecs were a white race.
Dr. Eduard Seler says:
In the traditions of the Mexican and Central American races, there is mention of a civilized nation, said to have been in the country before all others, which was the originator of all arts and sciences. This was the Toltec nation. Among other things, the invention of the calendar is ascribed to this nation, and we are told that they carried their books with them on their migrations.7
If the Toltecs were of Hebrew origin and had brought the Hebrew Scriptures with them in their migration from the Old World to America, the evidence should be readily discernible in the creation legends of the Indians.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.--Genesis 1:2.
From the Popul Vuh:
And the earth was without form, and void: and darkness was upon angle and alignment, and its boundaries fixed towards the four winds by the Creator and Former, and Mother and Father of life and existence--He by whom all move and breathe, the Father and Cherisher of the peace of nations and of the civilization of his people. . . .
Behold the first word and the first discourse. There was as yet no man, nor any animal, nor bird, nor fish, nor crawfish, nor any pit, nor ravine, nor green herb, nor any tree; nothing was but the firmament. The face of the earth had not yet appeared--only the peaceful sea and all the space of heaven. There was nothing yet joined together, nothing that clung to anything else; nothing that balanced itself, that made the least rustling, that made a sound in the heaven. There was nothing that stood up; nothing but the quiet water, but the sea, calm and alone in its boundaries: nothing existed; nothing but immobility and silence, in the darkness, in the night. . . . And on the instant it was formed, like a cloud or a fog was its beginning.8
MIXTEC CREATION LEGEND
"In the year and in the day of obscurity and darkness, yea, even before the days or years were, when the world was in a great darkness and chaos . . ."9
According to Genesis, creation involved a period of seven days and was accomplished by the word of God's power.
The Aztec book, The Anales de Quauhtitlan, states that the world and all therein was created in seven days. "In the sign Tochtli the earth was created, the firmament was erected in Acatl, animals came into being in Tecpatl, and man was made out of dust or ashes on Ehecatl, the seventh day."10
CREATION LEGENDS OF PERU
All things emanated from Pachacamac, the all-pervading spirit, the maker and molder of matter. Pachacamac it was who breathed the breath of life into man.
"By means of his word, the creator, a spirit, powerful and opulent, made all things." The formula of his words in Peruvian prayers: "Let the earth and heaven be," "Let there be night," "Let the light shine."11
Lewis Spence says that Tezcatlipoca deceived the first woman who committed sin. Ixnextli is the name of an Eve who sinned by plucking forbidden roses and was cast out of a paradise with her husband.12
Consideration of the scriptural analogies contained in the legends of all the Indian tribes of the New World would be a very large undertaking. We therefore conclude the subject with a statement from the well-known English nobleman, Lord Kingsborough:
It is impossible when reading what Mexican mythology records of the war in heaven and the fall of Zontemonque and other rebellious spirits; of the creation of light by the word of Tonacatecotle; and of the division of the waters, of the sin of Xztiacoliuhqui, and his blindness and nakedness; of the temptation of Suchiquecal and her disobedience in gathering roses from a tree and the consequent misery and disgrace of herself and all her posterity not to recognize scriptural analogies. But the Mexican tradition of the deluge is that which bears the most unequivocal marks of having been derived from a Hebrew source.13
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the entire question of whether Jesus Christ visited the ancient Americans in person and they heard his voice lies in the fact that the Aztecs, Mayas, and Incas pictured their God as a white man with a full beard and a Hebrew caste face so unlike the physiognomy of the native Americans. The Aztecs, Mayas, and Incas have no beards and appear incapable of raising one.
When Christianity was carried to China, their artists (unless trained otherwise) pictured the Savior as a Chinaman. The same is true of the artists of India and Africa where the Savior has been pictured as a Hindu or a black man. But in Mexico the most beloved of their gods was Quetzalcoatl, white and bearded.
In the face of these facts how can anyone conceive of the Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas depicting their God as a white man with Hebrew caste face and a beard unless they had seen him in person and heard his voice?
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.--John 10:16.
We have found strong evidence that the Good Shepherd visited America. We have also found substantial evidence that his sheep in America heard his voice and wrote down his words and had a sacred book. We are now confronted with the question of the origin of these sheep (house of Israel).
There is much in tradition and in ancient pictographs about the ancestors of the Indians migrating over seas and through vast forests and deserts. As already noted, the Toltecs are said to have carried their books with them.
Bancroft's works tell us:
The Chileans assert that their ancestors came from the west. The Chepewyans have a tradition that they came from a distant land.... The Algonquins preserve a tradition of a foreign origin and a sea voyage. For a long time they offered an annual thank offering in honor of their happy arrival in America. According to Careri, the Olmec traditions relate that they came by sea from the east.1 [For original Thanksgiving Day, see Mosiah 1:30 in Book of Mormon.]
In the Popol Vuh, we are told that the Lost Book of God shows clearly "that we came from beyond the sea."
Mr. Bancroft says, "According to the Quichés' tradition, the primitive portion of the Nahoas, or ancestors of the Toltecs, were in a distant East, beyond immense seas and lands."2
Gregory Mason says that there are many legends along the west coast of South America concerning the remote arrival on rafts, of a very learned and powerful people.3
Brinton says, "The Aztec priests never chanted more regretful dirges than when they sang of Tulan, the cradle of their race."4
Sahagun (pioneer traveler among Aztecs) was asked by the natives if he came from Tlapallan. He had crossed the sea to their country; and the inquisitive natives wanted to know if he came from the same place their ancestors did.5
The evidence in the New World points across the sea for the origin of the ancient people. Since Christ himself is the Holy One of Israel and said he was "not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel," it appears that the Bible might be the most likely place to look for the origin of the flock of sheep who were led to America.
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.--Psalm 80:1.
Where did the Shepherd of Israel lead the flock of Joseph? Let us trace the movements of Joseph and see if the Bible will not give us a plain, clear-cut answer. Jacob's blessing to his son Joseph says:
Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall;
The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him;
But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the of shepherd, the stone of Israel:)
Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:
The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.--Genesis 49:22-26.
The next lead we get as to the destiny of Joseph is found in Deuteronomy. Moses gives a description of Joseph's land to which we shall make future reference.
And of Joseph he [Moses] said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,
And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon,
And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills,
And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush; let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.--Deuteronomy 33:13-16.
Let us continue to trace the movements and destiny of the tribe of Joseph.
And in Jerusalem dwelt of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin, and of the children of Ephraim, and Manasseh.--I Chronicles 9:3.
For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.--Isaiah 37:32.
Just before Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem to sack the city and carry the survivors away into captivity, the Prophet Jeremiah, who lived in Jerusalem at that time, delivered a prophecy to someone, instructing them to flee and get far away.
Flee, get you far off, dwell deep, O ye inhabitants of Hazor, saith the Lord; for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon hath taken counsel against you, and hath conceived a purpose against you.
Arise, get you up unto the wealthy nation, that dwelleth without care, saith the Lord, which have neither gates nor bars, which dwell alone.--Jeremiah 49:30,31.
Let us sum up our biblical clues so far. The blessing of Joseph was to be unto the "utmost bound of the everlasting hills" (Andes or Rockies). Joseph's land was to be blessed with many specific things as mentioned in Deuteronomy. We shall soon search for that part of the earth which best meets the requirements of this prophecy. The flock of Joseph settled in Jerusalem. Someone was to escape from Jerusalem before the king of Babylon destroyed the city. The "zeal of the Lord of hosts" was to do this. In other words, the Shepherd of Israel would lead Joseph like a flock (Psalm 80:1). Jeremiah delivers the prophecy to those that are to flee and offers some hints as to where they are to go. It was to be far off. It is to be a "wealthy nation which have neither gates nor bars, which dwell alone." All the cities of the Old World had walls, gates, and bars, and no nation dwelt alone.
We found strong evidence in the New World, pointing back across the sea as the place "from whence they came." Now, in the Old World and from the Bible, we find clear-cut evidence pointing across the sea to the New World as the place to which the flock of Joseph was led.
Psalm 80:1, 8, 11 says:
O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock.
Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.
She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river.
For the fields of Heshbon languish, and the vine of Sibmah: the lords of the heathen have broken down the principal plants thereof, they are come even unto Jazer, they wandered through the wilderness: her branches are stretched out, they are gone over the sea.--16:8.
O vine of Sibmah, I will weep for thee with the weeping of Jazer: thy plants are gone over the sea, they reach even to the sea of Jazer: the spoiler is fallen upon thy summer fruits, and upon thy vintage.--48:32.
We have already had strong indications that the Shepherd of Israel led his flock of Joseph away from Jerusalem down "through the wilderness" and "over the sea" "to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills."
Moses in the thirty-third chapter of Deuteronomy names eight specific points for which Joseph's land is to be noted. If America is Joseph's land and the choice pasture to which the "Shepherd of Israel" led "the flock of Joseph," then we must expect that America will meet the requirements of Moses' eight points better than any other country in the world.
Blessed of the Lord be his [Joseph's] land, for the precious things of heaven.
Peter says, "Unto you . . . who believe, he [Christ] is precious" (I Peter 2:7). Without question, the Savior is most precious. Joseph's land was to be blessed because of the precious things of heaven. In other words, Joseph's land was to be blessed by the presence of the Holy One of Israel. In our first chapter, "The God of Ancient America," we found that evidence of Christ's visit to Joseph's land (America) is indeed great.
Moses used the word "things" (plural), so Joseph's land is to be blessed with more than one precious thing of heaven. Next to the presence of the Good Shepherd himself, his words or a holy record takes second place as a precious thing of heaven. (See I Samuel 3:1.)
We found evidences on both sides of the sea that the ancestors of the Indians came from ancient Israel. Also, we find evidences on both sides of the sea (Old and New World) that Joseph's land was to be blessed of a second thing of heaven--a holy book.
The Prophet Ezekiel tells us:
The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
And join them one to another into one stick: and they shall become one in thine hand.
And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?
Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.--37:15-19.
According to Ezekiel, Judah was to have a book (the Bible), and Joseph was also to have a book. Where is the Book of Joseph? If America is Joseph's land, then we ought to find evidence of Joseph's book on this side of the sea. Among the Indians' writings and legends as already noted, we find evidence that the ancient Americans, had a Holy Book of God. The seeker for truth asks, "Where is the book now?"
Joseph Smith, the eighteen-year-old son of a New York farmer, was divinely led to an ancient record deposited in a stone box close to the top of a high hill near Palmyra, New York. In the box was a volume of thin gold plates inscribed with ancient hieroglyphics. Also in the box was the ancient Hebrew instrument known as the Urim and Thummim. By means of this remarkable instrument, Joseph Smith was able to translate the ancient record into English. It bears every earmark and every evidence of being Joseph's book, the lost sacred record of the ancient Americans. It tells how the Good Shepherd led the flock of Joseph from Jerusalem to the New World. It records the words of the prophets here in America and the ebb and flow of history among the ancient Americans. It reaches its grand climax in the story of the appearance of Jesus Christ to the people at the temple in the land Bountiful and the subsequent golden age of America when all the people were converted to the gospel and lived together in a great brotherhood. This was the great era of art, architecture, and high achievement in every field. The Book of Mormon also records the eventual termination of the golden age and the gradual decline of morals until the Nephites were entirely wiped out. The last prophet hid in the earth the record which eventually came forth in 1830.
Among the precious things of heaven possessed by the Israelites in Old Testament times was the Urim and Thummim. It is mentioned first in the twenty-eighth chapter of Exodus as being worn in the breastplate of the high priest. It was consulted to obtain the will and counsel of the Lord. David used it a number of times. (See I Samuel 28:6; 30:1-8; I Chronicles 13:3; Leviticus 8:8; and Numbers 27:21.) After the departure of the colony of Joseph from Jerusalem in about 600 B.C., it disappeared from Old Testament history. Ezra (2:63) and Nehemiah (7:63-65) later looked for it, but no mention of it is again made in the Bible. After the colony of Joseph reached America under Nephi's leadership, the Urim and Thummim, or interpreters as they are called in the Book of Mormon, are mentioned several times.
There is also evidence from archaeology that the ancient Americans knew about the Urim and Thummim or Holy Stones.
While digging about the base of the great pyramid, El Castillo, at Chichen Itza, archaeologists found a large stone box, similar to the one Joseph Smith found. Inside this box was a priceless mosaic of precious stones and a Sac-tun or "Holy Stone." Another stone box was found in the temple of the warriors by Morris and Morley. In describing the contents of the box, Ann Axtell Morris says, "At the center of the cavity lay a large spherical ball of dark jade polished glass. This was one of the Sac-tuns or 'light stones' which the old priests had used for prophecy."6
In another place in the book quoted above, Mrs. Morris refers to the Holy Stones as "peep stones."
Not only does it appear that the ancient people knew of the Urim and Thummim, but they also knew of thin gold plates with hieroglyphics.
A Spanish colonial history states:
The Mexican Indians sold to some European antiquarians very thin plates of gold, evidently worked with a hammer, which their ancestors had been able to preserve, and on which were engraved ancient hieroglyphics.7
In April, 1949, the author in company with Francis Anderson of Holden, Missouri, visited the awe-inspiring Museo de Oro or Museum of Gold in the Bank of the Republic at Bogota, Colombia.
The Museo de Oro contains by far the largest and finest collection of ancient gold artifacts the author has seen in the Western Hemisphere. Among the fabulous arrays of jewelry and golden artifacts, there is one showcase devoted to numerous rolls of thin gold paper. On the wall of the showcase are a number of specimens of the thin gold plates or paper on which there are inscriptions.
We have given consideration to the first of eight different things for which Joseph's land was to be blessed. Let us briefly consider the seven remaining points.
Blessed of the Lord be his [Joseph's] land, for the dew and for the deep that coucheth beneath.
For great rivers, fountains, and lakes, America is far ahead of any other part of the world.
According to Hendrick Van Loon's Geography, the Mississippi-Missouri River is the longest river in the world (4,221 miles). It is navigable 3,550 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, a distance greater than from New York to London.
The Yukon, known as the "Wandering River," rises within fifteen miles of the Pacific, flows 2,300 miles, then empties into the Pacific. Steamboats cover all but fifteen miles of it. Next to the Mississippi-Missouri River, the Amazon is the longest river in the world (3,900 miles). For volume of water, no river can compare with the Amazon. During the wet season, the mouth of the river is said to be fifty miles wide. The Amazon River drops only one inch each five miles in its last seven hundred miles and flows only two and one quarter miles per hour, yet its current is felt two hundred miles at sea.
And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun.
The agricultural fruits of America are indeed precious now. Because America is so far ahead of the rest of the world in agricultural resources, it is helping greatly to feed the world. Countless millions across the sea depend upon the world's bread basket (Mississippi Valley) for their food. In statistics published in 1938, before the war had upset the world's economy, the United States (only one of the nations living in Joseph's land) was producing 60 per cent of the wheat and cotton of the globe.
And for the precious things put forth by the moon.
It is well known that the moon as well as the sun plays its part in influencing and wooing plant life into maximum activity.
Mr. Nadaillac says:
In no region of the globe has nature been more prodigal than in the vast districts stretching from Guiana to Uruguay, from the Atlantic to the forest spurs of the Andes, forming the empire of Brazil. The fertility of the soil, under the double influence of heat and moisture, is wonderful; forest trees grow in great variety everywhere; valuable medical plants spring up in profusion which are not to be met with in any other climate; and vegetables, good for food, or fruits pleasant to the palate of man, with flowers of the most brilliant colors. Fifteen thousand vegetable species peculiar to Brazil have already been recognized.8
And for the chief things of the ancient mountains.
There are no forests in the Old World that begin to compare with the vast forests of the United States and Canada. "Founder's Tree" on the Eel River in northern California is the tallest tree in the world (364 feet). In the Sequoia National Forest in California, there is one tree which contains enough lumber to build fifty-five five-room homes. Hooker's Oak, near Chico, California, is the largest oak tree in the world. There are trees in California with a circumference of ninety-eight feet.
In the Kansas City Star for March 24, 1949 is a feature article about three giant cypresses in a valley in Mexico. The largest of these trees has a circumference of more than 114 feet. Its age is estimated as high as 10,000 years.
And for the precious things of the lasting hills.
The United States possesses (1938) almost $11,000,000,000 in gold, or nearly half of the world's monetary metal. It has two thirds of civilization's banking resources. The purchasing power of the population is greater than that of the 500,000,000 people in Europe and much larger than that of more than a billion Asiatics. These figures are to be found in the record. They are the envy of the world. Turning to one of our journals, The United States News, we find more statistics concerning automobiles. This country has 22 to every 100 persons. Canada has 11; France, 5; United Kingdom, 5; Germany, 2; and Italy, 1.
The United States produces 50 per cent of the copper and pig iron, and 40 per cent of the lead and coal output of the globe.9
These figures are taken from an article published in 1938. The title of the article is "America Has Highest Living Standard of the Nations."
According to a recent chart prepared by the National Federation of Small Business in Washington, D.C., the United States has one auto for each four persons, Britain one auto for each twenty-two persons, Sweden one for twenty-nine persons, Italy one for ninety-three persons, and Russia one auto for two hundred and fifty-two persons. And though only possessing 6 per cent of the world's land area we possess 40 per cent of the world's telegraphs and 30 per cent of its railroads.
And for the precious things of the earth and fullness thereof.
The United States, exclusive of the other countries of the New World, produces 70 per cent of the world's oil (1937-38).
The United States contains 6 per cent of the world's area and 7 per cent of its population; but because of its wealth, based on the richness of its vast natural resources, it consumes 48 per cent of the world's coffee, 53 per cent of its tin, 56 per cent of its rubber, 72 per cent of its steel, 36 per cent of its coal, and 42 per cent of its pig iron.
And for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush.
A great mass of evidence discloses that the ancient Americans had prophets and a Sacred Book, and that Jesus Christ visited them. In what other part of the world (Europe, Siberia, India, Australia, Africa) is there such evidence of having "the good will of him that dwelt in the bush"?
If we take Moses' eight points in Deuteronomy as the determining factor in identifying Joseph's land, there can be no other conclusion than that America is Joseph's land and that it is the place where the Good Shepherd led the flock of Joseph (Psalm 80:1).
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.--John 10:16.
In the previous chapter, we gave consideration to evidence from the Bible that the Shepherd of Israel led the flock of Joseph to America. We found that the Bible promised to Joseph a special land, a promised land (Deuteronomy 33:13-16; Genesis 49:22-26), a land abounding in precious things. This promised land was to be "afar off," "across the sea," and "unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills." All this involved a great migration or movement of a colony of people from ancient Israel to America. Before giving direct consideration to archaeological evidence that the Shepherd of Israel established a fold (Hebrew social order) in ancient America, let us examine some of the American Indian origin legends.
Paul Radin says,
The Mexicans came from Aztlan. They carried with them an idol called Huitzuilopuchtli. They affirm it was this idol that had commanded them to leave the country, promising them that they would be rulers and chiefs of all the provinces which had been settled by the other six tribes; of a land greatly abounding in gold, silver, precious stones, feathers, rich shawls, and every costly thing conceivable. Thus did the Mexicans set out just as the children of Israel had done in search of the promised land, taking with them their idol enclosed in an ark made of rushes just as the others had taken with them their ark of the covenant. They took with them four principal priests who made their laws, instructed them in their rites and sacrifices, etc. They traveled with their ark wherever their idol bade them go.1
Mr. Radin says the Mexicans came from Aztlan.
Mr. Baldwin quotes from E. G. Squier: "In the map of their migrations presented by Gemelli, the place of the origin of the Aztecs is designated by the sign of water (atl standing for Aztlan), a pyramidal temple with grades, and near these a palm tree."2
We shall soon give consideration to the pyramidal temple with grades as one of the signs of the origin of the Aztecs. Another symbol of the origin of the Aztecs is the palm tree. Concerning this palm symbol, Mr. Baldwin says, "In history Jerusalem has been sometimes referred to as the City of Palms."3 In I Kings 6:29-36, the walls of Solomon's Temple are described as being decorated with palm trees carved in wood and overlaid with gold.
Concerning the origin legends of the Maya Quichés (Guatemala), Lewis Spence says, "The truth is that the conditions of migration undergone by the Maya were similar to those described in the Scriptures."4
According to Mr. Nadaillac, "The people of Yucatan believed that their ancestors had come from the East, across a great body of water."5
Did the Shepherd of Israel establish a fold for his sheep here in America? If he did, the first evidence we should look for will be a temple of Hebrew design. Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem was the center of the Good Shepherd's fold in the Old World. We have also a second strong reason to look for a temple of Solomon in the New World. The "stick of Joseph" (Book of Mormon) which contains the record of the Good Shepherd's dealing with the flock he led to America contains the story of the erection of a temple after the manner of Solomon's Temple. "And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon. . . . and the workmanship thereof was exceeding fine."--II Nephi 4:22,26.
Solomon's Temple was composed of three courts, the innermost being called the Holy of Holies.
A. Hyatt Verrill says, "The great temple of Pachacamac, Peru, is composed of courts in the center of which is the Holy of Holies containing the image of their great God."6
The Book of Mormon records that as their civilization developed, the Nephites gradually spread northward (into Central America and Mexico). It is also recorded that they continued to build temples, sanctuaries, and synagogues after the manner of the Jews (Alma 11:22, etc.).
Mayan temples were usually composed of an outer corridor and an inner sanctuary surmounting a more or less lofty pyramid.7
In Bancroft's Native Races, Volume 4, page 332, is a drawing of the ground plan of the Temple of the Cross at Palenque. This drawing shows an outer court or corridor and an inner corridor and a Holy of Holies. In a tablet on the wall of the Holy of Holies was found the great symbol (cross) of the Shepherd of Israel.
Solomon's Temple was very large. The temple of the thousand columns with its courts at Chichen Itza covers five acres. The north colonnade extends across the north side of the court. It is a spacious hall 463 feet long.8
Nephi says the temple he built (after the manner of Solomon's Temple) was of "exceeding fine workmanship."
Besides its three courts, its size, and fine workmanship, the Temple of Solomon was noted for other things:
A. Hyatt Verrill says,
Taken all together the gold of the Incas was probably the greatest accumulation of the precious metals the world has ever known prior to the time of the Conquest. . . . It is obvious that the Incans, finding the temple ready made, repaired it, added to it and made use of it as their own place of worship. Although the Spaniards transformed the temple to a Christian church, and added a deal of European embellishment and adornment to it, yet the greater portion of the structure still remains that of the prehistoric unknown inhabitants of Peru.
Architecturally this Temple of the Sun is one of the most remarkable buildings in the entire world. It is built of immense blocks of amazingly fitted stone, no two of which are exactly alike in size or shape, but which are so accurately designed and cut that the circular interior with its radii is mathematically and geometrically perfect. . . .
In the days when the Incas held sway this temple presented a sight which would have made Aladdin's cave look tawdry by comparison. The walls, outside and inside, were completely covered with plates of burnished gold. The gardens were filled with trees, shrubs and plants of silver and gold. Among the leaves and branches of precious metals were birds, animals, and insects of gold and silver, and even the fountains, the tools and the implements of the gardener's trade were of the same metals. . . .
The woodwork of the temple of the sun at Pachacamac was fastened together with gold nails and when, at Pizarro's orders, these were removed, they were found to weigh more than thirty-two thousand ounces, roughly a value of over half a million dollars in our money.9
During the months of July, August, and September, 1953, in company with Ronald Anderson of Rich Hill, Missouri, Joseph Anway of Independence, Missouri, and my son, Ward, I visited and photographed two temples in Copan, Honduras, each having outer, inner, and innermost divisions. We also visited an ancient temple in the ruins of Zacaleo in the mountains of northern Guatemala. Our pictures, both Kodachrome and third dimension, clearly show the three divisions of the temple.
Archaeology underwrites the Book of Mormon claim of temples in ancient America built after the manner of the Temple of Solomon.
We have discovered that the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and Indian traditions all indicate that the Shepherd of Israel led some of his sheep of the flock of Joseph to the new world. The Bible and Book of Mormon agree that this "remnant escaped from Jerusalem" just before Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city (about 600 B.C.). The children of Israel of that day practiced the Mosaic Law.
The Temple at Jerusalem and the Mosaic Law went hand in hand. They were two parts of a whole. Together they comprised the Shepherd's fold for ancient Israel. If the Shepherd of Israel established part of his fold here (Hebrew temples), then it is logical to look for evidence of the prehistoric existence of the other part (the Law of Moses).
The Book of Joseph (Book of Mormon) tells us the ancient Americans kept the law of Moses.
And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord, in all things, according to the law of Moses.--II Nephi 4:14.
The prophets, and the priests, and the teachers, did labor diligently, exhorting with all long suffering, the people to diligence; teaching the law of Moses, and the intent for which it was given.--Jarom 1:24.
H. H. Bancroft says, "Circumcision was practiced upon all Aztec male children."10
Theodore A. Willard says,
It is a curious fact that the ancient Itza-Mayas had many habits and customs similar to those of the Jews. Many have remarked that some of the faces carved on the walls and stones are of a Jewish caste.... Both the Itza-Mayas and the Jews venerated one God, of whom they made no image. Both worshiped toward the east; and both burned incense in the four directions. The confession of sins and atonement were common to both peoples. Both believed in devils. The Maya like the Jew was punctilious about washing and in making ablutions.11
Concerning the discovery of the great stone heads of La Venta in 1946 (Mexico), Mr. Miguel Covarubbias says,
On stele C two impressive chieftains stand face to face, surrounded by lesser men suspended in space. The face of the man on the left is smashed, but the other is untouched and represents a stern, fully bearded man with an enormous aquiline nose, totally different from the flat-nosed people of La Venta...a personage with surprisingly pronounced Semitic features.12
Altars for sacrificing are a common discovery in unearthing the temples of ancient America.
In the National Geographic for July, 1931, is a picture of what is reputed to be the largest and finest altar yet discovered (found at Uaxactun, Guatemala).
The Book of Mormon says, "And they also took of the first lings of their flocks, that they might offer sacrifice and burnt offerings, according to the law of Moses" (Mosiah 1:30).
Concerning the similarities between the Mosaic and Aztec systems, Lord Kingsborough says, "There was much in connection with the sacrifices that was common to Mexicans and Jews."13
The Mexicans applied the blood of sacrifices to the same uses as the Jews; they poured it upon the earth, they sprinkled it, they marked persons with it, and they smeared it upon walls and other inanimate things (Ibid., page 154).
No one but the Jewish High Priest might enter the Holy of Holies. A similar custom obtained in Peru (Ibid., page 156).
Both Mexicans and Jews regarded certain animals as unclean and unfit for food (Ibid., page 273).
It was customary among the Mexicans to eat the flesh of the sacrifices of atonement (Ibid., page 176).
Mr. C. Reginald Enoch says,
Cloths of vicuna wool, which were interwoven with gold and silver filaments (Peru), have come down to us today in all their primitive freshness.... An art which passed in remote times from Babylon to other cities and which is first mentioned as employed in the Ephods of Aaron.14
According to the law of Moses (Leviticus 25), the Hebrews made a new start every half century. This was called the Year of Jubilee. Mortgages and debts were canceled and all the land returned to the original tribal inheritance. It was a time of celebration and rejoicing.
Thus far we have found evidence of the existence in ancient America of much that the Good Shepherd had in his fold at Jerusalem in Old Testament times. Let us see if there is evidence that the Year of Jubilee was known in ancient America. Mr. José Jiminez Gomez says, concerning the Aztec calendar stone, "The snake scales are supposed to represent centuries of fifty-two years and on the upper side of the body of the serpents can be seen blazes of fire which means that at the beginning of every century they kindled the new fire."15
In the Mexican National Museum in Mexico City there are numerous bundles (stone) of roped years. Manly P. Hall says concerning these bundles of roped years, "The Mexicans had periods composed of what they called the binding of years. These bindings contained fifty-two years and constituted a cycle."16
Concerning the volador, a religious ceremony of the Totonacs of Mexico, Dr. Alfonso Caso says, "The four macaws descending from the pole and taking thirteen turns are symbols of the 52 years of the Indian cycle, that is to say, of the movement of the sun in 13x4 which gives the 52 years figure."17
Patriarchy, genealogy, and totemism were all part of the Old Testament system and found within the Good Shepherd's fold in ancient Israel. Stephen D. Peet says,
The prevalence of Totemism in the Old Testament is shown by the dying words of Jacob, for in them he described the animal figures which were shown on the escutcheon of each tribe. The lion on the escutcheon of Judah, the serpent on that of Dan, the wild ass on that of Issachar, and the bird on that of Naphtali.
How the patriarch came to use this language is a mystery. . . . Whatever the explanation is, the passage furnishes a good illustration of a custom which was common among the uncivilized races, and is still prevalent among the aborigines of America; namely, the custom of giving the names of animals and plants to children and making these serve as emblems of the clan or tribe.
Herrera remarks of the Mayas, "They were wont to observe their pedigree very much and therefore thought themselves all related and were helpful one to another. They did not marry any who bore the same name as their father . . . this shows that the patriarchy existed among the Mayas."18
There are a number of theories as to the origin of the American Indian (Mongoloid, Hebrew, Phoenician, Egyptian, indigenous, etc.). Concerning the Hebrew origin theory, Mr. Bancroft says, "The theory that the Americans are of Jewish descent has been discussed more minutely and at greater length than any other. Its advocates, or at least those of them who have made original researches, are comparatively few, but the extent of their investigations and the multitude of parallelisms they adduce in support of their hypothesis, exceed by far anything we have yet encountered."19
While traveling in South America in 1949, I had a thrilling experience. A young archaeology student at the University of Trujillo in northern Peru was guiding me through the large Museum of Larco Hoyle at Chiclin, Peru. The museum contains the world's finest collection of the ceramics of the ancient Chimus. Instead of painting pictures on canvas the Chimus molded pottery of the object they desired to picture, then painted the pottery. The museum seems to picture all the objects and activities connected with ancient Chimu life. One section is devoted to warriors and war, others to fruits and vegetables, another to various diseases. Finally, we came to a section devoted to crimes and punishments where my guide pointed out a large specimen of pottery. A man and a woman were tied to a post.
There were many specks on the ceramic. My guide pointed out the spots as rocks flying through the air. The crime was adultery punished by stoning to death. This is of course a part of the Mosaic Law, well illustrated by the woman brought to Jesus who was accused of adultery.
The British scientist, F. A. Mitchell Hedges, says,
The modern theory is that the Mayas appeared in Central America sometime between 1,000 B.C. and the Christian Era, and that their civilization was derived from Egypt, from which they came across the vast Pacific. The points of resemblance between the Maya and the Egyptian civilizations are too numerous and peculiar to be explained by some imaginary impulse in all prehistoric people to develop along the same line.20
The question may well be asked: If the Shepherd of Israel led the flock of Joseph to America in 600 B.C., and established a fold for his sheep here, why is it that both Egyptian and Hebrew evidences are met with? Joseph was governor of the land of Egypt. He was second to Pharaoh himself. He married an Egyptian woman. His sons were raised in Egypt. The Bible says, "Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years" (Exodus 12:40). As slaves in the land of Egypt, the children of Israel built pyramids and obelisks, and inscribed hieroglyphics on Egyptian monuments.
The Prophet Nephi in the very first verse in the Book of Mormon says, "I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians" (I Nephi 1:1)
Nephi was the prophet who wrote the first chapter in the "stick of Joseph" (Book of Mormon). Mormon and his son Moroni wrote the last chapters. The "stick of Joseph" (Ezekiel 37:16-22) was named after the Prophet Mormon.
Mormon says, "And now behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge in the characters, which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech" (Mormon 4:98).
The Egyptian Tau or letter T has been found at Palenque, Copan, and in Peru. Mr. Nadaillac says of the palace at Palenque, "Numerous masonry niches in the wall merit special attention on account of their resemblance to the letter T or rather the Egyptian Tau."21
There are two major theories in the world today concerning the origin of the American Indian and the ancient civilizations of the Americas. The Mongoloid theory taught in our school books is based upon the supposition that thousands of years ago uncultured tribes crossed from northern Siberia to Alaska over the frozen Bering Sea which is only twenty miles across. The other major theory is the Book of Mormon theory. The Book of Mormon records that the American Indian is of eastern Mediterranean or Hebrew origin.
If the Mongoloid theory is correct, how account for so much eastern Mediterranean influence in America (Hebrew style temples, Jewish caste faces, Egyptian pyramids, hieroglyphics, obelisks, etc.)? Another serious question arises. Ancient crude Eskimo type people living in the arctic northern Siberia region would have a tremendous adjustment to make between their native frozen north and the torrid tropics where ancient American civilization reached its heights. Which is the more reasonable--that Mongoloid people gradually scattered over Canada and the United States and down into Central America there to establish themselves and develop a great civilization, or that people from the eastern Mediterranean already adjusted and acclimated to the warm regions migrated to similar regions here in the New World?
We make one more observation. The Lord told Abraham, "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 22:18). It is both historical and remarkable that the four civilizations of the Old World sprang up immediately adjacent to the Promised Land of Abraham--Egypt to the southwest, Babylon to the east, Greece to the north, and Rome to the northwest. Is it unreasonable that ancient American civilization sprang from this same cultural hotbed?
The greatest Egyptian discovery in America is not pyramids, stelæ (obelisks), hieroglyphics, or mummies. It is the Aztec calendar stone. It is a huge round stone, twelve feet wide, four feet thick, and weighs 57,000 pounds. It is on exhibit in the Mexican National Museum in Mexico City. It has eighteen months of twenty days each, with five complementary days and six hours for the measurement of a year's time. This is similar to the calendar possessed by the ancient Egyptians.
Stephen D. Peet says, "The year in common use, called the vague year, began at different times of the true year through a long cycle. Here we find the analogy between the Egyptian and the American systems very startling."22
John Delafield comments:
I have also recognized in your memoir on the division of time among the Mexican nations, compared with those of Asia, some very striking analogies between the Toltec characters and institutions observed on the banks of the Nile. Among these analogies there is one which is worthy of attention. It is the use of the vague year of 365 days, composed of equal months, and of five complementary days, equally employed at Thebes and Mexico, a distance of 3,000 leagues.... Now, it is remarkable that the same solar year of 365 days, six hours, adopted by nations so different, and perhaps still more remote in their state of civilization than in their geographical distance, relates to a real astronomical period, and belongs peculiarly to the Egyptians . . . The fact of the intercalation [by the Mexicans] of 13 days every cycle, that is, the use of a year of 365 days and a quarter, is proof that it was either borrowed from the Egyptians, or that they had a common origin.23
The works of H. H. Bancroft also touch on this point.24
The barbaric religious systems that led to the downfall of ancient Israel were sun worship (Jeremiah 8:2; 7:18, etc.), human sacrifice and serpent worship (II Kings 18:4). These three abominations wrecked the Good Shepherd's fold in ancient Israel and scattered the sheep on a thousand hills.
We have found abundant evidence that the Shepherd of Israel set up his fold in ancient America. Now we are confronted with evidence that similar idolatrous abominations wrecked the fold in ancient America. Stephen D. Peet says,
The most remarkable fact which is brought out by this study is that the aboriginal religions of America correspond to the earliest forms of religions which prevailed in the East. The system of sun worship which prevailed among the agricultural tribes of the gulf states closely resembled that which existed in Egypt and Babylonia at the opening of history and many of the same customs were observed.25
The significance of these different works (mounds) will be understood if we compare the rites and ceremonies of the sun worshipers of this district with those which prevailed in Syria and Phoenicia in Old Testament times.
It is recorded in the Book of Mormon that because of the practices of Solomon the Nephites attempted to introduce polygamy (Jacob 2:35-43). The Lord's declaration against this is very revealing--"Wherefore, I, the Lord God, will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old" (Jacob 2:35). It seems evident that the barbaric beliefs and practices of the American Indians show decided indications of having "done like them of old" in similarities to the eastern Mediterranean of ancient times.
The Book of Mormon history tells us that soon after the colony of Joseph arrived in America, in about 580 B.C., it divided. One group was faithful to God and kept the law of Moses (Nephites). The other group reverted back to the idols and religious vices which led to the downfall of ancient Israel. This group (the Lamanites) was cursed and their skins were darkened so there would be no intermarriage between the white, cultured Nephites and the lazy, idolatrous Lamanites. Eventually, and after the Golden Age of ancient America which followed Christ's visit here, the entire population gradually drifted away from the Good Shepherd's fold. A war of extinction broke out between the Nephites and the Lamanites, and both nations turned from the gospel of Christ to idolatry and human sacrifice.
Yea, the more part of them [Nephites] had turned out of the way of righteousness and did trample under their feet the commandments of God, and did turn unto their own ways, and did build up unto themselves idols of their gold and their silver.--Helaman 2:158.
And they [Lamanites in last war] did also march forward against the city Teancum, and did drive the inhabitants forth out of her, and did take many prisoners, both women and children, and did offer them up as sacrifices unto their idol gods.--Mormon 2:16.
The prophets of ancient Israel warned the people if they did not cease from worshiping the sun and moon and offering their sons and daughters up as sacrifices to the idols of Baal, that the Lord would destroy them and leave their cities desolate. When Columbus discovered America, the words of the prophets against ancient Israel could just as appropriately have been spoken against the Aztecs for human sacrifice to idol gods or against the Mayas for snake rites (II Kings 18:4) and against the Incas for sun rites.
Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods,... they have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal,... therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter.... And I will make this city desolate, and an hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and hiss because of the plagues thereof.--19:4, 5, 8.
And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.--Jeremiah 9:11.
The facts indicate that the God of Israel established his fold in America. His sheep prospered and enjoyed a Golden Age as long as they listened to the voice of the Good Shepherd. The day came (third century after Christ) when they turned away from their Shepherd's fold and reverted back to the abominations which destroyed the fold in ancient Israel. Now the fold the Good Shepherd established in America is desolate and the words of Jeremiah to Jerusalem and the cities of Judah are startlingly applicable.
Chan Chan, Kabah, and Sayil are "desolate without an inhabitant." Piedras Negras, Tikal, and Uaxactun are "desolate" "and a den of dragons." Monte Alban, Teotihuacan, Copan, and Chichen Itza, glorious cities of ancient America, are "heaps" and "an astonishment to all that pass by."
Now, from the pages of the Book of Mormon, the warning comes to us and to our cities:
And now we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise, and whatsoever nation shall possess it, shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fullness of his wrath shall come upon them.
And the fullness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity; for behold, this is a land which is choice above all lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God, or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God.
And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God, that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fullness come, that ye may not bring down the fullness bf the wrath of God upon you, as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.--Ether 1:31,32,34.
Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles, except they repent, for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots, and I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds:
Thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands.--III Nephi 9:101,103.
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.--John 10:16.
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.--Psalm 23:4.
In previous chapters, we have presented evidence that the Good Shepherd visited America, that the Good Shepherd's voice was heard in America, that the Good Shepherd led the flock of Joseph to America, and that the Good Shepherd had a fold for his sheep of the house of Israel in America. We shall now give consideration to the Good Shepherd's rod in America.
When Moses met God at the burning bush, the Lord told Moses to cast his rod (shepherd's rod) on the ground. It became a serpent, and Moses fled from before it. The Lord told Moses to pick it up by the tail. As he did so it turned again to a shepherd's rod. It was by this selfsame rod that Moses turned the rivers of Egypt into blood.
And thou shalt say unto him [Pharaoh], The Lord God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear. Thus saith the Lord, In this thou shalt know that I am the Lord: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.--Exodus 7:16,17.
It is very evident that the power to do miracles is the rod of the Shepherd of Israel:
And the Lord said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life. And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon on ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand. And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in thine hand.--Exodus 4:19-21.
The greatest miracle of history transpired when all the sheep of the house of Israel stood together in the valley of the shadow of death. Before them was the Red Sea, and behind them were the armies of Pharaoh. Then Moses stretched out the rod of the Shepherd of Israel over the Red Sea and it divided. It is little wonder that the Psalmist said, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4).
From the story of the striking of the rock from which the water flowed to the story of the three Hebrews and the fiery furnace, and the story of Jonah and the fish, the Old Testament almost seems to be one continuous relation of miracles.
The life of Christ in the New Testament from the virgin birth to the resurrection morn is also one continuous relation of miracles. To unnumbered millions of followers of the Good Shepherd it is the miraculous story and hope of the resurrection that comforts them as they pass through the valley of the shadow of death. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:... thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
Zechariah says, "And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, and said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein" (Zechariah 2:3,4).
This prophecy clearly deals with events lying in futurity. It indicates that the contents of the prophecy were to be announced by an angel to a "young man." It clearly was to be fulfilled in the latter days!
In the early part of the nineteenth century, Joseph Smith, a young man of the state of New York, says he was visited by an angel who revealed to him the hiding place of the sacred record of the ancient Americas near the top of a near-by hill. It was only a comparatively short time after this (1856) that Jerusalem for the first time in history, commenced to be inhabited as a town without walls.
Canon Hanover says, concerning Jerusalem, when he moved there in 1853, "The gates were closed each day from sunset to sunrise. No one could leave the city or get into it without a special permit from the Turkish Government. Large areas within the walls were unoccupied by buildings and were used for agricultural purposes.
"A change for the better came in 1856. People then began to have courage to build outside the city walls."1
According to Zechariah an angel was to speak to a young man before Jerusalem was to be inhabited as a town without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein. This prophecy is now fulfilled.
The modern and largest part of Jerusalem is now built outside the walls. Joseph Smith stands pre-eminently as being the young man who meets the requirements of this prophecy.
The angel who came to Joseph Smith not only revealed the hiding place of the Sacred Book but also gave instructions as to its translation into the English language.
A vast amount of recently unearthed scientific evidence supports the Book of Mormon. Someone has said that if the Book of Mormon had been found while plowing a field, the world would have accepted it. The reason the world does not accept it is because it has an angel and other miraculous things connected with its coming forth. Paul says, "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of hearings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues" (I Corinthians 12:28).
In his famous sermon on the day of Pentecost, Peter says, "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know" (Acts 2:22).
In biblical times prophets were approved by miracles. The seal and test of the Savior himself was in his shepherd's rod. When John the Baptist was in prison, he sent his disciples to inquire of Jesus whether he was the Messiah or not.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.--Matthew 11:4,5.
The Prophet Joel in a prophecy applying to the last days says:
I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.--Joel 2:28,29.
Joel says young men will prophesy in the last days. Zechariah indicates that an angel would go and speak to a young man before Jerusalem was built without the walls. Where is the consistency of a generation that rejects the young man Joseph Smith, the boy prophet of the nineteenth century, because he testifies of angels, gifts of prophecy, healing and miracles?
It is a strange fact that though the modern world claims to be Christian and to believe the Bible, yet many reject Joseph Smith because of his claims of the miraculous.
They do this in the face of the inescapable fact that the miraculous is associated with the prophets of biblical times.
After the body of Jesus had been placed in the tomb, the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate and asked that a watch be set over the tomb so that his followers could not steal the body and then claim he had risen. Under Pilate's authorization the tomb was sealed with the great seal of Rome and Roman soldiers stood guard. Then came the hour of the resurrection morn. There was a great earthquake, and an angel from heaven descended and rolled away the great stone from the door of the tomb. The Roman soldiers fled to the city in terror. They went to the high priests and Pharisees and told their story.
And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.
So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.--Matthew 28:12,13,15.
There were two stories about the resurrection of Jesus. One was an angel's story. The other was the story of the Roman soldiers. For generations only a few people believed the true story. It was hundreds of years before the angel's story, the true story of the Resurrection, was generally accepted.
There are two stories about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. One is an angel's story. The other is the Solomon Spaulding story.
The Roman soldiers' story of the Resurrection was a product of the enemies of Christ (high priests and Pharisees). The Solomon Spaulding story about the Book of Mormon is a product of the enemies of Joseph Smith.
Inez Smith Davis says that in 1834, E. D. Howe published the first rabid exposé of Mormonism, led on by his indignation because his wife and other members of his family had united with the church. In this book he first published to the world the theory that the Book of Mormon was derived from a romance written by one Solomon Spaulding in the year 1812.2
The original Spaulding romance manuscript was lost between the time Howe published his book and the time it was discovered among a large quantity of old Ohio documents in 1884. Concerning this famous manuscript which the world had supposed was the basis for the Book of Mormon, Mr. J. H. Fairchild, president of Oberlin College in Ohio, and member of the Ohio Historical Society says,
There seems no reason to doubt this is the long lost story. Mr. Rice, myself, and others compared it with the Book of Mormon, and could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or in detail. There seems to be no name or incident common to the two. The solemn style of the Book of Mormon, in imitation of the English Scriptures, does not appear in the manuscript. The only resemblance is in the fact that both profess to set forth the history of lost tribes. Some other explanation of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required.3
The demise of the Solomon Spaulding Romance as the origin of the Book of Mormon leaves the angel's story standing alone as the only explanation of this remarkable book.
The manner of discovery and translation of the Book of Mormon is extraordinary and remarkable. The contents of the book are also very extraordinary and remarkable as we shall presently see.
The Book of Mormon records that when Jesus was born at Bethlehem there was a day and a night and a day in America when there was no darkness (III Nephi 1:12-17). Some forty years after the Book of Mormon was published, H. H. Bancroft published his books containing the work of Ixtlilxochitl who had recorded the same event:
The next event recorded, although Veytia makes it precede the hurricane, is the stopping of the sun for a whole day in his course as at the command of Joshua as recorded in the Old Testament.4
This event is supposed to precede the hurricane which is also in harmony with the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon records that thirty-three years after this remarkable event there arose a great hurricane and earthquake and geologic upheaval. It lasted for three hours (while Christ was on the cross at Jerusalem). There are one hundred and eighteen descriptive phrases in this eyewitness account recorded in the Book of Mormon. Here are a few excerpts:
And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year, in the first month, the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the land;
And there was also a great and terrible tempest; ...
And there were exceeding sharp lightnings.
And the city of Zarahemla did take fire; and the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned.
The whole face of the land was changed.
And many smooth places became rough.--III Nephi 4:6,7,8,10,11.
One of the Book of Mormon prophets declares in his prophecy of the upheaval,
And behold there shall be great tempests, and there shall be many mountains laid low, like unto a valley, and there shall be many places, which are now called valleys, which shall become mountains, whose height is great.--Helaman 5:79.
There are numerous prehistoric cities in the New World which have been discovered on the tops of mountains. Xochicalco and Monte Alban in Mexico are notable examples of this.
If it is true that during the great upheaval where there were valleys "there became mountains whose height is great" it must be expected that we should find evidence of prehistoric ruins on the mountains, because cities are usually built in valleys. It is necessary to travel a steep mountain road for nine miles in order to get from the valley floor at Oaxaca to the great prehistoric city of Monte Alban on top of the mountain. Some say these cities have been built on tops of mountains for military reasons. However, when we consider the cities on tops of mountains in Peru, a new factor enters the equation.
C. Reginald Enoch, F.R.G.S., says, "It is known that portions of the Andes and the North American Cordillera have been raised and that other parts have sunk. It is even conjectured that the highland region of Peru and Bolivia may have been elevated since the building of the megalithic structures of the preInca people; and one of the arguments adduced is that these buildings exist in a region where now timber does not grow and where maize will not ripen."5
Lewis Spence says, "The greatest mystery of all regarding the ruins of Tiahuanaco is the selection of the site. For what reason did the prehistoric rulers of Peru build here? The surroundings are totally unsuitable for the raising of such edifices, and the tableland upon which they are placed is at once desolate and difficult of access. The snow line is contiguous, and breathing at such a height is no easy matter."6
After the great upheaval, the Book of Mormon indicates that many of the devastated Nephite cities were "renewed" (IV Nephi 1:9,10). In the case of Tiahuanaco there is no evidence of repairing or rebuilding.
When the author visited Tiahuanaco in 1949, he was greatly impressed with the evidence of prehistoric upheaval. The immense cut stones (up to two hundred tons) of which Tiahuanaco was built lie scattered about in all sorts of positions just as the ancient upheaval left the ruins. The wreckage was never cleaned up or the city repaired for the very apparent reason of the height to which the upheaval had elevated it.
In 1953 in company with three others I climbed remote Mount Giengola on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Our guide told us it was three miles from the foot of the mountain to the ruins on top. Mount Giengola is a ruin few white men have visited. The mountain has a broad, extensive upper area covered with dense forest which in turn covers the ruins. There are two walls surrounding the ancient mountaintop city. On this same trip in 1953 we visited extensive mountaintop ruins at Cayo in the interior of British Honduras.
Nadaillac quotes the Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg as saying, "If I may judge from allusions in the documents that I have been fortunate enough to collect, there were in these regions, at that remote date convulsions of nature, deluges, terrible inundations, followed by the upheaval of mountains accompanied by volcanic eruptions. These traditions, traces of which are also met with in Mexico, Central America, Peru, and Bolivia, point to the conclusion that man existed in these various countries at the time of the upheaval of the Cordilleras and that the memory of that upheaval has been preserved."7
Mr. Nadaillac says: "Other traditions allude to convulsions of nature, to inundations, and profound disturbances, to terrible deluges, in the midst of which mountains and volcanoes suddenly rose up" (Prehistoric America, page 527).
These references and quotations were not available to Joseph Smith in 1830.
Mr. Nadaillac says further concerning the great upheaval, "In the Sierra Nevada region, at various localities on the Pacific coast, numerous traces of the presence of man are met with. The discovery of implements or weapons at a depth of several hundred feet, in diversely stratified beds showing no trace of displacement, simply implies that the country was peopled many centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards, and that the inhabitants were witnesses of the convulsions of nature, of the volcanic phenomena, which brought about such remarkable changes." 8
The Book of Mormon says that during the great upheaval many great and notable cities were sunk. Some of these cities listed (III Nephi 4:32) were along the west coast according to descriptions in the Book of Mormon.
Here again we are confronted with the remarkable fact that although it was absolutely unknown in 1830 that there were cities beneath the sea, yet the Book of Mormon contained the information that cities had been sunk beneath the sea in this general region.
Johnston's Universal Encyclopedia says concerning the west coast of South America, "The whole region is subject to earthquakes, one of which in 1822 destroyed several cities, and raised the coast four feet above its former level, which change of level proved permanent."9
Let us now consider a remarkable discovery made thirty years after the Book of Mormon had been published. Mr. Baldwin says that James S. Wilson, Esq., in 1860 discovered on the coast of Ecuador "ancient or fossil pottery, vessels, images," and other manufactured articles, all finely wrought. Some of these articles were made of gold. The most remarkable fact connected with them is that they were taken from "a stratum of ancient surface earth" which was covered with a marine deposit six feet thick....
The ancient surface earth or vegetable mold, with its pottery, gold work, and other relics of civilized life, was, therefore, below the sea when that marine deposit was spread over it. This land, after being occupied by men, had subsided and settled below the ocean, remained there long enough to accumulate the marine deposit, and again been elevated to its former position above the sea level. In 1862, at a meeting of the Royal Geological Society, Sid Roderick Murchison spoke of these discoveries as follows:
The discoveries Mr. Wilson has made of the existence of the works of man in a stratum of mould beneath the sea level, and covered by several feet of clay, the phenomenon being persistent for sixty miles, are of the highest interest to physical geographers and geologists. The facts seem to demonstrate that, within the human period, the lands of the west coast of Equatorial America were depressed and submerged, and that after the accumulation of marine clays above the terrestrial relics, the whole coast was elevated to its present position.10
The weird phenomena which accompany major earthquakes were absolutely unknown in 1830. There was no science of seismology at that time, yet the Book of Mormon records in their proper sequence the phenomena that accompany the great upheavals.
In its eyewitness account of the great upheaval, these three terms are used concerning the quake: "rocks did rend," "dreadful groanings," "tumultuous noises" (III Nephi 4:62).
Mr. E. J. Houston says, "After the actual quaking of the earth, the most wonderful and impressive thing is the great variety of sounds and noises. These occur not only while the earth waves are passing through the crust at any place, but also long before the principal shocks reach the place as well as long after they have passed."11
After the great upheaval attending the crucifixion of Jesus had ended, we find these remarkable words in the Book of Mormon:
Nevertheless, all these great and terrible things were done in about the space of three hours; and then behold, there was darkness upon the face of the land. And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen, could feel the vapor of darkness;
And there could be no light, because of the darkness; neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceeding dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all.--III Nephi 4:17-19.
Let us summarize:
These statements sound fantastic and do not make sense except to seismologists. However, in 1830 there were no seismologists. The science of seismology had not yet been born. In an interview with a Berkeley, California, professor of science and authority on earthquakes, the author was informed that no one on earth in 1830 could have written an accurate account of the phenomena that attend major earthquakes in their proper sequence. The weird facts of seismology were unknown then.
Here are the facts every student of seismology now knows: In a major earthquake, the earth opens up and closes again. Immense quantities of carbonic and sulphurous gases are released from the interior of the earth. These gases cause immediate darkness. The gases are thick or heavy and can be felt. These gases do not support combustion, and therefore no fires can be built in their presence. Because the gases are heavy they cling close to the ground. If a person will stand or otherwise keep his head above the gases, he can breathe; otherwise he will be overcome and suffocate.
Dr. Hartwig says, "Carbonic gas and carbureted hydrogen are two gases that often proceed from the earth's crust at various places. The former comes forth in incredible quantities in certain regions.... A light dipped in carbon gas is immediately extinguished and every animal inhaling it is liable to instant suffocation."12
From a newspaper account published in the Oakland (California) Tribune, July 4, 1945:
Corpus Christi, Texas, July 4, 1934.--Fishermen who ventured out to Padre Island for a day of sport on the Fourth of July were confronted by the sight of thousands of tons of dead fish, washed up on the shores of the island. Nauseating fumes, identified as sulphur dioxide, rose from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, so strong that persons walking on the beach found it difficult to breathe. The great piles of dead fish extended for about 40 miles along the shoreline. . . . In some places the fish were stacked three feet deep. Sharks, kingfish, mackerel, trout, and every other kind of sea life in the region fell victim to the strange condition. Experienced fishermen estimated that 40,000 tons of fish lay on the beach with more being washed up all the time. Some of the fish were still alive when washed ashore, but were so overcome by the deadly fumes that they could not swim.13
Let us look at the facts squarely. We have two alternatives. We can believe the angel's story about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon or we can try to account for how an unlearned youth in 1830 could have written of a terrible prehistoric upheaval with cities sunk beneath the sea, valleys that became mountains, and an earthquake that produced such apparently fantastic results as have been enumerated above and then have this tale substantiated in every detail by scientific exploration and archaeological investigation from thirty to one hundred and fifteen years after the book containing this strange tale was published.
From the beginning of God's dealings with man, the work of the Lord has always been characterized by the remarkable, the marvelous, and the miraculous.
If the story of the Book of Mormon is true, then we should expect that the contents of the book itself in its relationship to all known facts will manifest the qualities of the remarkable, the extraordinary, and the marvelous.
Let us summarize the evidence presented thus far:
We shall now give consideration to the evidence of the Good Shepherd's staff in America.
What is the staff of the Shepherd of Israel? Wheat has been called the staff of life. Isaiah says, "For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, dloth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole staff of bread and the whole stay of water" (Isaiah 3: 1, Inspired Version). Bread is the staff of life to the physical man, while the word of the Lord is the staff of life to the spiritual man. Moses said, "Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord cloth man live" (Deuteronomy 8: 3). (See also Luke 4: 4, John 6: 26-41.) There are a number of Scriptures that clearly indicate that the word of the Lord is the bread and staff of life of the spirits of men.
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water; but of hearing the words of the Lord:
And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.--Amos 8: 11, 12.
As the physical man is dependent upon the stalks of grain to bring forth the precious wheat, so also the spiritual man is dependent upon the prophets of the Lord to bring forth the precious words of the Lord.
If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.--Numbers 12: 6.
Where there is no vision, the people perish.--Proverbs 29: 18.
Biblical history and the history of civilization go hand in hand to indicate that human progress has been directly related to prophets and to the staff (visions) of the Shepherd of Israel. Where there has been no vision, the people have perished culturally, intellectually, and even physically. There have been six major civilizations. All of these have had direct relationship to prophets and visions.
Egypt produced a major civilization. Joseph, who was sold into Egypt as a slave, became the prophet of the Lord in Egypt. He was inspired to foresee the great famine and was made governor over all of Egypt. He was able to supervise the storing up of vast reserves of grain so that the people would not perish.
Babylon also benefited from the presence of Hebrew prophets in its courts. Daniel occupied the same position in Babylon that Joseph filled in Egypt.
Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days.--Daniel 2:19,28.
The Greek and Roman civilizations also had the benefit of direct contact with prophets and visions and the word of the Lord. Paul and Barnabas and numerous other prophets and missionaries of New Testament times established branches of the church among the Greeks and Romans. In the Bible there are entire books (Romans, Corinthians, etc.) containing the word of the Lord to Greeks and Romans.
The tides of history and human progress have risen and fallen as men have either turned to or turned away from the teachings and words of the Shepherd of Israel and his servants, the prophets.
The power and authority of the Good Shepherd in the Old World centered in the Shepherd's rod (miracles) and the Shepherd's staff (prophets, visions, word of the Lord). If everything pertaining to the Shepherd's rod (the miraculous) and the Shepherd's staff (the prophetic) were removed from the Old and New Testaments, there would scarcely be a dry skeleton left.
Previous articles have strongly indicated that the Good Shepherd came to America, that he led the flock of Joseph to America and set up his fold here in America. We also considered equally strong evidence that his sheep in ancient America heard his voice, and that he exercised the Shepherd's rod of his power in their behalf.
The four major civilizations of the Old World had direct contact with the prophets of Israel. Shall we say that the ancient civilization of America was an exception, and that it was able to reach its great height without benefit of the Shepherd's staff (prophets, visions)?
The doubting soul may question the relationship between major civilizations and the prophets of Israel, yet the indisputable fact still remains that the four great civilizations of the Old World each had Hebrew prophets in their midst, and without them nations have not been able to attain equal heights.
The great biblical covenant and promise to Abraham that "in thee and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth he blessed" (Genesis 22: 18) is strikingly substantiated by the historical facts involved in each of the Old World civilizations.
The Book of Mormon (stick of Joseph) is like the Bible. If everything miraculous and prophetic were deleted there would scarcely be anything left.
One of the Book of Mormon prophets looked down the long vista of time. In the vision which he saw of the future this prophet (Nephi) says:
And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.--I Nephi 3: 147.
When Columbus sought to persuade Ferdinand and Isabella to back his plans to sail west across the sea, the king ordered the most learned astronomers and cosmographers to examine Columbus' theories and then report their findings to him. This conference took place at the great seat of learning, the University of Salamanca. Washington Irving gives us an excerpt from this report:
Is there anyone so foolish ...as to believe that there are antipodes with their feet opposite ours; people who walk with their heels upward, and their heads hanging down; that there is a part of the world in which all things are topsy turvy . . . where it rains, hails and snows upward!1
The determination and faith of Columbus in his lone course against every known precedent and against the persuasions of all authorities of his time has been the puzzle of historians as well as the inspiration of poets. ("Sail on, sail on and on."--Joaquin Miller.)
The historian, Mr. P. De Roo, says:
There is no sense in ascribing Columbus' admirable achievement merely to his enthusiasm or his genius. Foolhardiness would in this case be the more correct expression.
Divine revelation only, or scientific acquirements could entitle him to predict with assurance as he did, the success of his undertaking. We may well ask whether Divine Providence traced beforehand those guiding lines on Columbus' charts.2
The Book of Mormon prophet in a vision saw the Spirit of God descend on Columbus. Columbus in a letter to the king and queen of Spain (1503) narrated a dream he had and in which he heard a voice say, "He [the most High) gave to thee [Columbus] the keys of those great gates of the ocean . . . which fast closed with such mighty chains."3
THE VISION OF LEHI
As the Bible starts with Moses (Pentateuch), so the Book of Mormon starts with Lehi. Moses had the vision of the burning bush. Lehi had a vision of a pillar of fire. It was in this vision that the Hebrew prophet Lehi first learned that the Lord had chosen him to lead a colony of Joseph from Jerusalem to a promised land.
The Book of Mormon records that the Nephites measured their time from when they left Jerusalem, about 600 B.C. This was published in the Book of Mormon in 1830, nearly one hundred years before Morley and Spinden deciphered the Maya dates which revealed that the Maya calendar started from an original date in the sixth century B.C. Mr. Spinden says, "the Venus Calendar of the Mayas proceeded from an original inauguration in the sixth century before Christ."4
Gregory Mason says the date Mr. Spinden and Mr. Morley deciphered, which went back to the sixth century B.C., "took its origin from certain celestial events."5 According to Mr. Webster, a celestial event is a heavenly vision.
The material presented in the preceding paragraphs appears to be well authenticated. However, in view of an earnest desire to give full recognition to all available evidence, I feel I should call attention to the fact that three scientists--Goodman, Hernandez, and Thompson--have worked out a new correlation of the date referred to. This correlation places the date about 260 years later, which would give us 353 B.C. instead of 613 B.C.
Recently, a new factor has entered the equation in regard to the two systems of reading Maya dates. The new factor is the development by the University of Chicago of carbon 14 as a means of determining the age of ruins. Carbon 14 appears to be supporting the original Morley correlation of 600 B.C.
Ann Axtell Morris says:
It was far more accurate, indeed, than the system under which the so-called civilized world operated until about a century ago, when the revised Gregorian calendar was put into effect. Such a calendar was not invented in a week. Untold years of laborious calculation, coupled with inspired vision, must have been necessary to bring it to the finished state where we find our first date.6
In biblical times it is indicated that among other things men became prophets by fasting, prayer, and going alone into the wilderness. Moses went up into the mountain and fasted alone forty days on two different occasions. Daniel fasted two weeks, after which he had visions which extended down to the last days. Christ after his baptism went alone into the desert for forty days where he fasted and prayed and obtained the powers of his ministry.
The Book of Mormon records the same kind of procedure (Enos 1: 4-8). The Book of Mormon prophet, Alma, says: "Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days, that I might know these things of myself" (Alma 3:79)
Alma 12: 4, 5 states:
For they were men of a sound understanding, and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.
But this is not all: they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting, therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority, even as with the power and authority of God.
The ancient Book of Mormon concept of fasting, prayer, and prophecy has apparently persisted through the centuries in perverted form as have other vestigial fragments of Christian beliefs and practices.
A. Hyatt Verrill says:
Among our North American Indians a man usually becomes a shaman or medicine man by fasting, prayer and seeing a vision.
Somewhat similar is the method followed by the Tegualas and Tupitowalis of Central America. When a man of these tribes thinks he should become a medicine man, he goes alone into the jungle and fasts alone for several days.7
Kingsborough says the Mexicans believed that Quetzalcoatl "united in his own person the character of a king, a priest and a prophet."8
The following excerpts are from Aztec ritual prayers as found in Bancroft's Native Races which indicate belief in prophets and prophecy.
With great thirst I await thee and demand urgently thy word and inspiration, which thou didst breathe into thine ancient friends and acquaintances that have ruled with diligence and rectitude over thy kingdom. This is thy throne and honor, on either side whereof are seated thy senators and principal men, who are as thine image and very person. They give sentence and speak on the affairs of the state in thy name; thou usest them as thy flutes, speaking from within them and placing thyself in their faces and ears, opening their mouths so that they may speak well!
I desire to say that I unworthily represent thy person, and thy image, that the words I shall speak have to he esteemed as thine, that my face has to he held as thine, mine eyes as thine, and the punishment that I shall inflict as if thou hadst inflicted it. For all this entreat thee to put thy spirit within me, and thy words, so that all may obey them and none contradict.9
The Bible contains internal evidence of its own authenticity. The prophecies and visions of its prophets have been fulfilled and are still being fulfilled.
Consideration of the question of the presence of prophets and visions in ancient America cannot be complete until we examine some of the Book of Mormon's internal evidence of its authenticity.
Like the Bible, the Book of Mormon contains numerous prophecies which have been fulfilled.
In this article we shall limit ourselves briefly to several prophecies the Book of Mormon contains relative to certain things which were to happen after the book should be published.
All Bible students know that the Scriptures are replete with prophecies concerning the restoration of the Jews to their ancient homeland.
In 1830, there was no outward indication that these ancient prophecies were about to be fulfilled. The Roman Emperor, Titus, sacked Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and banished the surviving Jews to other countries. From A.D. 70 until 1830, the Jews lived as foreigners without citizenship rights in the various countries of Europe.
Dr. Hollis M. Read says:
It must be evident to any common observer that there is a great movement among them. This wonderful people, who for 1800 years remained unaltered, have undergone a marvelous revolution within the last forty years, especially the last twenty.10
Mr. Read's book was published in 1870. He says the marvelous revolution undergone by the Jews took place "within the last forty years." This would place the beginning of this great change in the year 1830.
The Book of Mormon which was published in March, 1830, contains the following prophecy:
And now I would prophesy somewhat more concerning the Jews and Gentiles. For after the book of which I have spoken [Book of Mormon] shall come forth, and be written unto the Gentiles . . . the Lord God shall commence his work, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, to bring about the restoration of his people upon the earth.--II Nephi 12: 79, 80, 87.
Dr. Hollis M. Read says further:
There is much at present in their civil condition that indicates the returning favor of heaven. Nothing decisive or permanent was done to remove the disabilities of the Jews until the beginning of the present century. . . . In England a single ray of light darted above the horizon, but was soon extinguished. An act passed in Parliament  in favor of the Jewish Emancipation, but was repealed the next year; and not until the year 1830 was the question renewed and then only to be lost. Yet in the same year a bill in their favor was carried in France.11
The Book of Mormon contains a prophecy that after its publication the Lord would commence his work among all nations, looking to the restoration of his people to the land of their inheritance. It is significant that the first permanent grant of civil rights to the Jews in 1,500 years was passed by the French Parliament in 1830, a mere few months after the Book of Mormon was published. It is more significant that within a period of a half century after the French acted in favor of the Jews, every nation in the civilized world except two had passed similar enactments.
In an issue of the Prophetic News, published in 1887, we find the following statement:
The only countries in which, half a century ago  the Jews enjoyed full and integral equality of rights, are France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United States of America. At present  except Russia and Roumania, the constitutions of all countries of the civilized world guarantee civil and political equality of rights to the Jews.
Let it be borne in mind that in repealing the disqualifications of the Jews, all those countries to which we are referring have had to do with a state of things that had lasted for 1,500 years.
It is not easy to explain away the prophecies in the Book of Mormon in their relation to subsequent events.
The Book of Mormon contains a prophecy by Christ which gives the time when the Jews should gather to Jerusalem. The time was to be very soon after the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.
Then shall the covenant which the Father hath covenanted with his people, be fulfilled; and then shall Jerusalem be inhabited again with my people, and it shall be the land of their inheritance.
And verily, I say unto you, I give unto you a sign, that ye may know the time when these things shall he about to take place, that I shall gather in from their long dispersion, my people, O house of Israel.... And behold, this is the thing which I will give unto you for a sign, . . . these things which I declare unto you . . . shall be made known unto the Gentiles [coming forth of the Book of Mormon].--III Nephi 9: 85-87.
The Book of Mormon was published with a prophecy that its coming forth would soon be followed by the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies (restoration of Israel) which had stood with no sign of fulfillment for 2,000 years.
In an article published in the National Tribune in 1889 (June 15), Mr. F. G. Carpenter says:
At present the Jews are coming here by the hundreds . . . a half century ago  there were only 32 Jewish families in all Jerusalem and the number in Palestine was only 3,000, Now  there are nearly 50,000 in the Holy Land.
In 1830, there was only a handful of Jews in all Palestine. In 1889, there were 50,000. In 1935, 61,541 Jews returned to Palestine. Today "Israel" is an independent nation with a population of close to two million.
In 1830, there were very few Jews in Palestine, and the country itself was desolate. The restoration of the Jews involves more than people. It involves the land also.
An old encyclopedia gives us the situation in Palestine in the early part of the eighteenth century.
Eighteen centuries of war, ruin, and neglect have passed over it. Its valleys have been cropped for ages without the least attempt at fertilization. Its terraced walls have been allowed to crumble, and its soil has washed down its ravines, leaving the hillsides rocky and sterile. Its trees have been cut down and never replaced. Its fields have been desolate. Its structures pillaged and all its improvements ruthlessly destroyed. A land of ruins without man or beast. Everywhere, on plain or mountain, in rocky desert, or on beetling cliff the spoiler's hand has rested.--McClintock and Strong's Encyclopedia, Article on Palestine.
The twenty-ninth chapter of Isaiah prophesies of a book to come forth. This is followed by this significant declaration:
Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field; and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest?
And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book.--Isaiah 29: 17, 18.
Both the Book of Mormon (II Nephi 12: 79-87) and the Bible (twenty-ninth chapter of Isaiah) agree that the restoration of Israel is to follow the coming forth of a book. The Book of Mormon goes a little further than the Bible and identifies itself as being the book whose coming forth is to precede and herald the restoration of Israel (II Nephi 12: 79-87).
When the Book of Mormon was published in 1830, Palestine was an unproductive wilderness.
In a book published in 1935, Mr. George T. B. Davis says:
The change that has taken place in Palestine . . . is almost unbelievable, and well nigh beggars description. Swamp lands have been reclaimed, and have given place to waving fields of grain. Sandy wastes have been turned into beautiful orange groves. Desert places have been turned into a veritable garden of Eden. Indeed it is quite probable that such a sadden change from a waste wilderness to a land blossoming as the rose has never before been witnessed in the history of the world.12
Our Good Neighbor magazine for October, 1952, contains some interesting information about Palestine.
Israel is planning 66,000 farm units by the end of 1954 with the rural population to be doubled within three years to reach 600,000 people living and working in farm areas or about 30 per cent of the population. More than 950,000 acres, which is almost 18 per cent of the territory of the state and well over one third of the total cultivable land in the country, is now under cultivation in Israel.
In addition to its agricultural wealth recent surveys indicate there may be rich oil deposits in Palestine. Its phosphate deposits are fabulous. There are also rich manganese deposits as well as other valuable minerals.
When Paul went up on Mars' Hill, he found an altar "To the Unknown God."
Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, . . .
And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
That they should seek the Lord, if they are willing to find him, for he is not far from every one of us.--Acts 17: 23-27, Inspired Version.
By means of the word of the Lord (prophets, visions) the Shepherd of Israel has "determined the times before appointed and the bounds of their habitation." He raised up Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon. At the time before appointed, he revealed himself by a vision to Paul on the road to Damascus, and Paul carried the blessings of the Shepherd to two more civilizations (Greece and Rome). At the time before appointed, the Lord revealed himself by vision and dream to Columbus, and the New World was discovered. At the time before appointed, the Good Shepherd revealed himself by vision to the boy prophet of the nineteenth century (Joseph Smith). At the time before appointed (1823-1830), Joseph Smith was divinely led to bring forth the Book of Mormon with its prophecies of imminent fulfillment of the ancient promises to the house of Israel.
It is a matter of history that the five previous major civilizations (Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Rome, and prehistoric America) were all directly associated with and influenced by prophets and the word of the Lord.
The coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the restoration of prophets, visions, and the word of the Lord in our day has been followed by the greatest era of scientific, social, and intellectual progress the world has ever known, and the nation (United States of America) that has nestled the return of an authoritative religion (prophets, visions) has become the heart and center of our great twentieth century civilization.
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd.--Isaiah 40:11
In one of the beautiful shepherd chapters of the Bible, Jesus says, "I am come that they [the sheep] might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10: 10).
In a previous chapter, we discussed the fact that the mountain peaks of great achievements in the history of the world (Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Rome, prehistoric America, and modern civilization) have all had direct contact with the servants (prophets) of the Good Shepherd (Joseph, Daniel, Paul, Barnabas, Nephi, Joseph Smith, et al.).
From the beginning, the purpose of Jesus Christ has been to lead them out of the valley of ignorance, sin, and inferiority. From the beginning, the influence of Christ and his teachings has moved men to climb upward toward better things.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.--Psalm 23:1, 2.
They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.--Isaiah 49: 9.
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheepfold. . . . I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.--John 10: 7, 9, Inspired Version.
Mr. Robert E. Speer says, "Christ is the worlds' life."1
Wherever the Christian influence goes and to the measure it is accepted, men "have life and have it more abundantly." The reverse is also true. When men turn away from the Christian influence, selfishness, materialism, and even barbarism quickly manifest themselves. Nazi Germany is a classic example. Hitler and his followers turned away from Christ and his teachings. In a few short years, Germany descended to barbaric practices that shocked and appalled the civilized world.
The facts of history unequivocally indicate that the finer things of life are directly traceable to Jesus Christ.
Kenneth Scott Latourette says:
We have, and properly, had much to say of the effects of Christianity upon the collective life of communities, nations, and mankind as a whole. Here has been the most potent force which mankind has known for the dispelling of illiteracy, for the creation of schools, and for the emergence of new types of education. From Christianity have issued impulses for daring intellectual and geographic adventures. The universities, centers for pushing forward the boundaries of human knowledge, were at the outset largely Christian creations. Music, architecture, painting, poetry, and philosophy have owed some of their greatest achievements to Christianity. Democracy as it was known in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was in large part the outgrowth of Christian teaching. The abolition of Negro slavery was due chiefly to Christianity. So, too, were the measures taken to protect the Indians against the exploitation of whites. The most hopeful movements of the regulation of war, for the mitigation of the sufferings entailed by war and for the eventual abolition of war, owed their inception chiefly to the Christian faith.
The elevation of the status of women owed an incalculable debt to Christianity. No other single force has been so widely potent for the relief of suffering brought by famine and for the creation of hospitals and orphanages.2
THE GOLDEN AGE OF ANCIENT AMERICA
The finest workmanship of our twentieth century civilization is traceable to the influence of Jesus Christ. "The fine workmanship" of prehistoric America is also traceable to the Good Shepherd's appearance and influence among the ancient Americans.
Lewis Spence says:
Immediately prior to the discovery there was in America a widely disseminated belief that at a relatively remote period strangers from the east had visited American soil, eventually returning to their own abodes in the Land of Sunrise. Such, for example, was the Mexican legend of Quetzalcoatl. . . . He landed with several companions at Vera Cruz, and speedily brought to bear the power of a civilizing agency upon native opinion.3
The Book of Mormon ascribes the golden age of ancient American civilization to the fact that all the people had become "the children of Christ."
And surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God: There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.--IV Nephi 1:19,20.
Hezekiah Butterfield says:
The greatest legend, so full of noble suggestions, relates to Quetzalcoatl, who came from the eastern world to Guatemala, and the Golden Age that arose under his preaching, when the birds sang never before so sweetly, when the flowers bloomed never before so brightly, and a single ear of corn taxed the strength of a man, and no violence was allowed to bird, beast or man.4
J. Leslie Mitchell says:
They worshiped at first one God. . A divine being, Quetzalcoatl, descended to earth, revived ancient ways of life and brought new secrets of power. It was the Golden Age of Anahuac.5
H. H. Bancroft says:
Quetzalcoatl was very rich; he had all that was needful both to eat and to drink; maize was abundant, and a head of it was as much as a man could carry. . . . Pumpkins measured a fathom round ...cotton was sowed and gathered of all colors.... The vassals or adherents of Quetzalcoatl were also very rich and wanted for nothing. . . .
The people had at least three reasons for the great love, reverence and devotion with which they regarded him: first he taught them the silversmith's art. . . . He prohibited and forbade all war and violence.
. . . He taught only virtue, abhoring all evil. . . . He himself ordained and appointed many new rites, ceremonies and festivals for the adoration of the gods. . . . He had priests who were called quequetzalcohua, that is to say, "priests of the order of Quetzalcoatl."6
The twenty-ninth chapter of Isaiah deals with the coming forth of a book. The statements of the prophet indicate that the book would come out of the ground and that the wisdom of the wise men would perish.
And she [Ariel] shall be brought down, and shall speak out of the ground, and her speech shall be low out of the dust; and her voice shall be as one that bath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and her speech shall whisper out of the dust.--Isaiah 29: 14.
The archaeologists of the early part of the nineteenth century had no understanding of America possessing a rich pre-Columbian history and conceded only a meager archaeology of clay pots and bone awls. The prehistoric inhabitants of America were referred to as stone-age men. Stone implements and flint arrow points comprised the cultural achievements of the pre-Hispanic inhabitants.7
The wise men of the early part of the nineteenth century did not believe there were great pre-Columbian American nations. In 1830, a book was published, giving the history of two great pre-Columbian civilizations. This book (the Book of Mormon) literally fulfills Isaiah's prophecy about "speaking out of the ground" and "whispering out of the dust." It came forth out of the ground and was published to the world (1830) nine years before the first pre-Columbian city (Chichen Itza) was explored and publicized to the English-speaking world.
Before the facts were known, the Book of Mormon told the story of Christ's visit to ancient America and of the fine workmanship accomplished by the ancient Americans.
We will now give the reader the facts and let each one judge for himself as to whether "the wisdom of the wise men" has perished.
Before science had discovered positive evidence of one civilization the Book of Mormon was published containing the story of the two great civilizations and their "fine workmanship" in hundreds of details.
It is now common knowledge that there was more than one major civilization in ancient America as well as lesser cultures.
Remains have been found of ancient people in America which are classified as "archaic," and there are remains of civilizations left by the pre-Incas, Incas, Nahuas, Mayas, Olmecs, Aztecs, et al.
Gregory Mason says:
But we must remember that there seems to have been a great gap between the sort of life these later nations led and the existence of the "archaic" people; the relics of the two eras which have come down to us show scarcely any similarity and many divergencies. . . . It is quite possible that the Mayas, Aztecs, and Peruvians, were just about as ignorant of these "archaic" people as we are.8
J. Leslie Mitchell says, "Whatever the origin of the Maya people of the Old Empire, that origin is connected only remotely with the origin of the area's antique civilizers."9
Thomas Gann writes about the Mayas being archaeologists and collecting figurines, etc., of the civilization which had preceded them.10
According to the Book of Mormon, the first people came to America from the Tower of Babel (2200 B.C.), and the second people from Jerusalem (600 B.C.).
Thomas Gann says that the archaic era dates back some 3,500 years while the Old Empire civilization dates back 1,500 years.11
The Book of Mormon records the history of the two oldest and greatest civilizations of America. After the demise of the second great civilization (Nephite), the records were deposited in the earth by the last prophet in the early part of the fourth century after Christ. After the close of Book of Mormon history, several lesser civilizations arose, such as the Inca, the Maya new empire, the Aztec, et al,
Before archaeology and scientific research brought the facts to light, men of learning used such terms as "stone age men" and "no pre-Columbian history."
The Book of Mormon contains many statements about fine workmanship in great temples and palaces. Here is a sample statement:
And it came to pass that King Noah built many elegant and spacious buildings.... And he also caused that his workmen should work all manner of fine work within the walls of the temple.--Mosiah 7: 11, 13.
No attempt is made here to apply any specific statement in the Book of Mormon to any particular archaeological site. The point to be borne in mind is that the Book of Mormon, published in 1830, records the existence in America (before the arrival of Columbus) of great palaces and spacious temples. These statements were published to the world before such buildings as the House of the Governor at Uxmal, the Temple of the Warriors at Chichen Itza, the Palace at Palenque, or the Palace of the Mosaics at Mitla, et al., were known to exist.
Concerning the House of the Governor at Uxmal, Yucatan, Gregory Mason says:
This building is 320 feet in length, and is said to contain two hundred thousand cubic feet of masonry not counting the massive substructure. Wonderfully designed and constructed, its façade is covered with most ornate sculpture. . . .
In the application of beautiful sculpture to the façades of buildings, the Mayas have never been equalled.12
S. G. Morley says, "Façades were treated with a sculptural decoration which for intricacy and elaboration has rarely been equaled by any people at any time."13
In 1940 a group of eight of us visited the ball court and Temple of the Bearded White God at Chichen Itza, Yucatan. Our guide divided the party one half at one end of the structure and the other half at the other end. We whispered back and forth, a distance of well over three hundred feet. In the St. Louis Globe Democrat for December 12, 1948, there is an article describing the remarkable acoustics of this ancient building. A Mayan quartet accompanied by violin and guitar softly played and sang, and though they were 493 feet away every note of the music and blending of the native voices floated perfectly through the tropical air.
The Yale expedition to Machu Picchu in 1912 uncovered stone buildings of master artists in masonry. The precision, symmetry of construction, and gradual graduation of the tiers combine to produce an effect which is a joy to behold.14
Archaeologists marvel at the way huge stones weighing many tons are fitted together with such accuracy that not even a knife blade can be inserted between them. With some of the finest work at Ollantaytambo, Peru, the joints are too fine to be seen with the naked eye. It is necessary to use a lens to be sure there is really a seam and not a false joint.15
Some learned men of the nineteenth century thought the prehistoric Americans were a stone-age people. The Book of Mormon, however, told the world a different story when it was published in 1830. Here is asample of numerous statements found in the book:
And we multiplied exceedingly, and spread upon the face of the land, and became exceeding rich in gold, and in silver, and precious things, and in fine workmanship of wood in buildings, and in machinery, and also in iron, and copper, and brass, and steel, making all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground, and weapons of war.--Jarom 1:19.
J. B. Baldwin says of ancient American metallurgists:
They had great skill in the art of working metals, especially gold and silver. Besides these precious metals, they had copper, tin, lead, and quicksilver. . . . Their goldsmiths and silversmiths had attained very great proficiency.16
Specimens of metallic plating have been found. The only way we could duplicate this work is by electroplating. How the ancient Americans accomplished it is unknown.
Clark Wissler says:
Metal work was praiseworthy, especially at Cartago (Colombia). Skillful casting ... has been noted, and good examples of soldering, plating, and even gilding have been collected. Different colored alloys were produced of gold, silver, and copper.17
In the "treasure room" of the Mexican National Museum in Mexico City and in the state museum at Oaxaca, there are dazzling displays of jewelry and necklaces of gold, silver, and precious stones found at Monte Alban.
The Book of Mormon says the ancient people wore all manner of gold and silver jewelry and even pearls (III Nephi 1: 27).
Dr. Alfonso Caso found more than five hundred articles from tomb seven (Monte Alban), including necklaces of gold, pearl, and turquoise composed of hundreds of beads each.18
According to the Book of Mormon, the ancient Americans were well advanced in their knowledge of the movements of the stars and planets: "all the planets which move in their regular form, doth witness that there is a Supreme Creator" (Alma 16: 55).
"And behold there shall be a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld."--Helaman 5: 59.
Before the great mounds of the prehistoric cities of Central America were opened up, learned men thought that the prehistoric Americans were unlearned barbarians. They have now revised their concepts. No revisions are necessary for the Book of Mormon.
Herbert Spinden, Ph.D., says:
When the most of our ancestors were untutored barbarians, the Mayan-Priest astronomers had developed their science to a mathematical precision.... They could tell the exact number of days between the recurrence of any phenomena.19
The Mayas in their knowledge of the movements of the heavenly bodies--the sun, moon, Venus, and probably other planets as well, far excelled both the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians. Their mathematical system included the use of the abstract mathematical quantity of zero which is recognized as one of the outstanding achievements in the history of the world.20
The Book of Mormon gives numerous instances of proficiency in the cultivation of all kinds of agricultural products. (See Mosiah 4: 9; Enos 1: 34, etc.)
Archaeologists have found that to reclaim a single acre of Mountainside land in Peru involved the laying of approximately seven hundred perches of stone and the transportation of nearly five thousand tons of soil. The staircase farms built by prehistoric man in Peru involve the moving of millions of tons of earth and the cutting and transportation of millions of perches of stone.21
For their fine developments in the field of agriculture, we owe the ancient Americans a tremendous debt of gratitude.
Herbert J. Spinden says, "We owe to the Indian well over half of our agricultural wealth."22
It is estimated that the world's annual production of one of these products alone (the potato) is of greater value than all the gold the Spaniards obtained from the New World.
Maize, or Indian corn, a second valuable product that has come down to us from prehistoric America via the Indian, produces more than $300,000,000 worth annually.
Other products for which we owe the fine agricultural work to the prehistoric Americans include pineapples, squashes, pumpkin, strawberries, sweet potatoes, alligator pears, cascara sagrada, kidney beans, persimmons, tomatoes, cocaine, peanuts, lima beans, peppers, quinine, turkeys, tobacco, and rubber.
The Book of Mormon says:
And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year was very frequent in the land; but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared, to remove the cause of diseases to which man was subject by the nature of the climate.--Alma 21: 75-77.
Mr. Nadaillac says, "To them [Toltecs] popular gratitude attributes the invention of medicine, and the vapor bath. . . . Certain plants to which curative properties were attributed were the remedies mostly used."23
Donald Cadzow says:
The red medicine man, as known to the average tribe was the one who treated his patient by the use of herbs, barks, and roots of certain trees and shrubs, the knowledge concerning the use of which has been handed down through the ages.24
Herbert J. Spinden thinks that quinine is perhaps the most valuable medicine in the world for its assistance in reclaiming the fever-ridden tropics.25
Archaeologists believe brain surgery was practiced to a considerable extent because of the large number of trepanned skulls found.26
In Time magazine for October 26, 1953 ("Echo of the Incas"), there is a write-up concerning two of Peru's leading surgeons who have been studying and experimenting with ancient brain surgery instruments and methods. They performed a brain surgery with the ancient Inca instruments which was entirely successful. Dr. Graña, one of the surgeons, declared that the ancient's tools and methods were as good as the modem's and in some ways perhaps better. (Modern brain surgery was made possible by the discoveries of Pasteur and Lister and dates back only about fifty years.)
Donald Cadzow says:
Dental surgery was also practiced in ancient times by the people of some parts of South America. Occasionally skulls have been found by explorers with the enamel of the front teeth very skillfully scraped off and round solid gold discs inset.27
A. Hyatt Verrill says:
Cups, vessels, utensils, and many other objects were highly and beautifully embellished with colors applied like lacquer or enamel. Even today, after a lapse of centuries, the colors upon these are bright and fresh. Chemicals have little if any effect upon the pigments used, and they resist the action of all ordinary known solvents. No one has yet been able to learn the secret of their composition or to duplicate them, and we may consider the work as a true lost art.28
In the field of textiles, the contrast between the Book of Mormon and the learned men of the nineteenth century stands out in bold relief.
The expression "bone awls" describes the achaeologist's concepts. The Book of Mormon used the expression, "fine twined linen."
"Behold, their women did toil and spin, and did make all manner of cloth, of fine twined linen, and cloth of every kind."--Helaman 2: 133.
"And they did have silks, and fine twined linen; and they did work all manner of cloth, that they might clothe themselves from their nakedness."--Ether 4: 73 (Jaredites).
Exploration has now brought the truth to light. In an American trade journal, Mr. Walter Beasley sums up the facts for us:
A new and noteworthy movement, in fact, an accomplished and successful work of far-reaching interest to the textile industries, is the creation of fresh artistic designs by making use of the antique patterns of prehistoric fabrics found in the burial places of the new world. The most wonderful textiles in the world, showing the highest artistic skill in weaving and decorative art, are now determined to have come from ancient Peru, and these fabrics are beyond all question the most interesting technical and artistic record of textile history--indeed in some of their techniques and color combinations, they far surpass the best modern work.29
In an advertisement in the Kansas City Star for April 13, 1947, the Jones Store advertised its "First Lady" bed sheets with 140 threads to the inch as the best in Kansas City.
Concerning the best fabrics of prehistoric America, Mr. Beasley says:
In harmony of color, the beauty and fastness of dyes, and the perfection of spinning and weaving, place these fabrics in a class by themselves, not only as compared to the other textiles of this land but as regards those of any other people. Many contain nearly 300 weft yarn to the inch. Mr. Crawford, in order to obtain exact information of the fineness of the weft in a fragment of tapesty, found it was impossible to count the weft with the testing lens ordinarily used in textile analysis. It was necessary to clamp an inch of the cloth on the platform of a dissecting microscope and pick off the weft yarn with a needle. The operation took three hours and a half.--Ibid.
Archaeologists tell us that during the past fifty years scientific exploration and excavation have gathered together a considerable mass of information, and here and there it is commencing to be possible to fill in the background of the ancient American picture.30
Edward Herbert Thompson says:
I wish I might impress upon the readers of this book the fact that despite all that is said, done, or written to the contrary, most of the sciences are today in a state of flux. If this be so, even with what we have hitherto regarded as the exact sciences, how much more must it be the case with those which are acknowledged to be yet in their swaddling clothes, archaeology, ethnology, and other ologies that follow in the wake of anthropology.31
Archaeology is in a state of flux. During the past fifty years it has amassed some information by which it can now commence to block in the background of the ancient American picture.
Over a hundred years ago the Book of Mormon was published with a verbal picture of ancient America blocked in with hundreds of details. Science's unearthing of facts has not made it necessary to revise one single word of detail in the Book of Mormon. The scientists on the other hand have been forced to revise their concepts continuously. Truly the words of the Prophet Isaiah have been fulfilled--"The wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid."
The only logical explanation of the Book of Mormon is that it is a genuine history of the ancient Americans and contains the real secret of ancient America--Jesus Christ and his prophets were here in America and led at least two great civilizations to high levels of accomplishment.
Other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.--John 10:16.
The prophets of biblical times were undershepherds. The test of their divinity was in the time factor.
And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.--Ezekiel 33: 33.
Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.--Isaiah 42: 9.
Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.--Amos 3: 7.
And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.--John 14: 29.
According to the Bible, in the "last days" there will be both false and true prophets.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.--Acts 2: 17, 18; and Joel 2: 28, 29.
When Jesus was telling his disciples about the last days, he issued a very clear-cut warning:
Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many.--Matthew 24: 4, 5, 11.
The Scriptures indicate that God expects men to study and use intelligence and the utmost precaution before accepting or rejecting the claims of prophets.
Paul says, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (II Thessalonians 5: 21 ).
Jesus says, "For every tree is known by his own fruit" (Luke 6: 44).
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:15, 16).
The translation of the Book of Mormon is the fruit of Joseph Smith. As already indicated, the test of the prophets, in biblical times was the time factor.
Then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.--Ezekiel 33:33.
Before they spring forth I tell you of them.--Isaiah 42: 9.
And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.--John 14: 29.
The revealment of truth and facts (crucifixion, resurrection, etc.) beforehand was the basis (John 13:18,19) upon which Jesus asked his disciples to believe in him. The same is true of the prophets. A prophet is ahead of his time or he is not a prophet.
Can the fruit of Joseph Smith (the Book of Mormon) meet the acid test of the "time factor"?
I was born and reared in a Latter Day Saint home. From infancy I was taught to believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God just as Isaiah and Paul were prophets of God. The questioning age arrived, and suddenly it occurred to me that possibly the reason I was a Latter Day Saint was because I just happened to have been born into a Latter Day Saint home instead of a Methodist, Mohammedan, or Buddhist home. I was a product of my environment. My religion was a mere happenstance in the lottery of life.
Let no one be afraid to examine the foundation of his religion. To question, investigate, and search into the reason of things is far more healthful, wholesome, and progressive than to accept everything without question. Columbus questioned the traditions, precedents, and concepts of his time and discovered a new world.
The balance of this book is the story of my personal experience in questioning the prophetic claims of Joseph Smith.
Sometime after I got the idea of questioning my religion, I noticed a news article about the discovery of an important prehistoric city in Central America. The article went on to state that Chichen Itza was the first of these cities visited and publicized to the English-speaking world by Stephens and Catherwood in 1839. Since then over one hundred prehistoric Mayan cities have been found in the jungle.
When I read this news article, I got my clue. The Book of Mormon, published nine years before Chichen Itza was found by Stephens and Catherwood, had described Central America as the center of the Nephite empire.
Nine years before Stephens and Catherwood explored Chichen Itza, the Book of Mormon was published containing statements about great cities and population.
And it came to pass that I [Mormon], being eleven years old, was carried by my father into the land southward, even to the land of Zarahemla; the whole face of the land having become covered with buildings, and the people were as numerous almost, as it were the sand of the sea.--Mormon 1: 7.
And there began to be much peace again in the land; and the people began to be very numerous, and began to scatter abroad upon the face of the earth; yea, on the north and on the south, on the east and on the west, building large cities and villages in all quarters of the land.--Mosiah 11:156.
S. G. Morley describes Chichen Itza as a great city.1
The Book of Mormon (1830) says that this region (Central America) was covered with buildings and the people were nearly as numerous as the sands of the sea.
After a great amount of exploration and discovery in this same region, one of the scientists, Mr. Thomas Gann, tries to picture prehistoric America.
This region, now overgrown with a dense tropical forest, had been cleared and put under an intensive cultivation. Great cities had flourished on every side. Lofty pyramids, temples, and splendid palaces of cut stone, spacious plazas, and courts filled with elaborately carved monuments, of strange yet imposing dignity, market places, terraces, causeways were to have been counted, not by tens and scores, but by hundreds and thousands.
Indeed it is not improbable that this was one of the most densely populated areas of its size in the world, during the first five centuries of the Christian Era, the seat of a mighty American empire.2
Having noted that Joseph Smith was ahead of his time in translating the Book of Mormon in 1830, committed to great cities and vast populations in prehistoric America, I determined to read the Book of Mormon very carefully and note down numerous points upon which science and exploration might now have something to say.
I found over four hundred points. These points involve various exact sciences and fields of study.
In order to apply the acid test of the time factor (biblical test of prophets) to the fruit of Joseph Smith (Book of Mormon) it was necessary for me to read numerous scientific books, histories, and treatises. All this involved years of fascinating investigation as well as four thrill-packed trips into Mexico, Central America, and South America (nearly forty thousand miles of travel) in order to study and photograph at firsthand the archaeological evidence pertaining to the Book of Mormon.
Briefly, we present a few of the numerous points above mentioned and the evidence pertaining to each.
The Book of Mormon tells us that the Hebrew colony from Jerusalem (600 B.C.) was led by four brothers (Nephi, Sam, Laman, Lemuel). See I Nephi 1: 47-55, 90-95.
From the findings of anthropologists and explorers, none of which were available to Joseph Smith, we present a few excerpts.
Lewis Spence says that the great Kiche and his three brothers, according to the Mayas, led the first people to Southern Mexico.3
Mr. Brinton says:
The Tupis of Brazil claim a descent from the four brothers. The fourfold division of the Muyscas of Bogota was traced back to four chieftains created by their hero God Negumsteba.
Hardly a nation on the continent but seems to have had some vague tradition of an origin from four brothers, to have at some time been led by four leaders or princes, or in some manner to have connected the appearance and action of four important personages with its earliest traditional history.4
From Bancroft's works we learn that the Popol Vuh told the story of the four brothers.
Now it came to pass that the time of the death of Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Agab, Mahucutah, and Iqi-Balam, drew near . . . Then they called their sons and their descendants round them to receive their last counsels....
Thus died and disappeared on Mount Hacavitz Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Agab, Mahucutah and Iqi-Balam, these first men who came from the east from the other side of the sea. Long time had they been here when they died; and they were very old, and surnamed the Venerated and Sacrificers.5
Rivero and Tschudi Tersherdi say:
Peru was populated about five hundred years after the deluge. Its first inhabitants flowed in abundantly toward the Valley of Cuzco, conducted by four brothers, Ayar-Manco-Topa, Ayar-Cache-Topa, Ayar-Auca-Topa and Ayar-Rica-Topa, who were accompanied by their sisters and wives. The youngest of the brothers according to the tradition was at the same time the most skillful and hardy.6
J. D. Baldwin says:
The youngest of these brothers assumed supreme authority, and became the first of a long line of sovereigns.7
The youngest brother, Nephi, received from the Lord a ball with spindles called liahona (compass). With it, Nephi directed the course of the colony's journey to America (Alma 17: 71-77).
Mr. Bancroft says:
According to the Quichés' traditions, the primitive portion of the Nahoas, or ancestors of the Toltecs, were in a distant east, beyond immense seas and lands. . . . The supreme command was in the hand of a chieftain, whom history calls Quetzalcohuatl, that is to say, Lord par excellence. To his care was confided the holy envelope, which concealed the divinity from the human gaze, and he alone received from it the necessary instructions to guide his people's march.8
The Book of Mormon describes the Nephites as a white and delightsome people and the Lamanites as a dark, lazy race who lived in tents and hunted beasts in the forest (Enos 1: 29-34).
Daniel G. Brinton says:
Just as, in Mexico, the natives attributed the erection of buildings, the history of which had been lost, to the white Toltecs, the subjects of Quetzalcoatl, so in Peru various ancient ruins, whose builders had been lost to memory, were pointed out to the Spaniards as the work of a white and bearded race who held the country in possession long before the Incas had founded their dynasty.9
In the state museum at Merida, Yucatan, there are ancient pictographs showing red men bowing down to white men.
H. H. Bancroft quotes from the Popol Vuh, "All seem to have spoken one language, and to have lived in great peace, black men and white together."10
According to the Book of Mormon, there were great wars between the dark, barbarous Lamanites and the white, cultured Nephites. From among the Nephites there arose a great military genius by the name of Moroni, who fortified the line between the two nations (Alma 22: 8-14).
This line was fortified "from the west sea, running by the head of the river Sidon."
It should be a matter of more than passing interest that 103 years after the Book of Mormon was published, the world should be amazed by the discovery of a great prehistoric Maginot line in America.
Mr. Robert Shippie, aviator archaeologist for the National Geographic, discovered the Great Wall of Peru in 1993. This wall runs from the Pacific Ocean (West Sea) by the head of Santa River.11
In the National Geographic for January, 1933, are several pictures of this great wall which runs unbroken for forty miles at one place. The Book of Mormon says the line was fortified, "from the west sea, running by the head of the river Sidon."
It is interesting that the great wall of Peru runs from the Pacific Ocean by the head or delta of the River Santa. This wall may or may not be the wall referred to in Alma 22: 8-14, as much exploration needs to be done and other great walled fortified lines may be found. The significant thing is that the Book of Mormon describes a fortified line one hundred years before such a wall was discovered.
The Book of Mormon says considerable about their forts, which were constructed with towers and surrounded by moats (Alma 21: 170; 22: 1-7).
American archaeological expeditions to Peru (1915, 1916) revealed that the prehistoric fortifications were built with salient and re-entrant angles to permit crossfire. Dry moats were also found.12
After the Book of Mormon was published in 1830, a great deal of fun was made of it because it described a prehistoric race in America who used elephants and other huge beasts in their industries.
And they also had horses, and asses, and there were elephants, and cureloms, and cumoms; all of which were useful unto man, and more especially the elephants, and cureloms, and cumoms.--Ether 4:21.
The early elders of the church could not meet the sarcasm and criticism directed at them by their enemies because of elephants as well as numerous other items mentioned in the Book of Mormon.
Time and exploration have changed the concept about elephants as it has other concepts. Of the great La Brea tar pits, deathtrap of prehistoric beasts, near Los Angles, Mr. E. Richmond Thomas says:
Between the years 1906 and 1913, out of the black night of the tar, were brought imperial elephants, mastodons, saber-toothed tigers, camels, bisons, ground sloths . . . and extinct beasts in skeletal form almost intact. [Now on exhibit in Los Angeles Southwest Museum in Los Angeles.]13
Recent discoveries in Pershing County, Nevada, by a scientific expedition of western scientists (headed by James W. Calhoun, director of Nevada State Museum, and Phil C. Orr, director of the Speleological Institute and archaeologist for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History) prove according to the statements of the scientists that man was in this region at a time when now extinct species of horse, camel, ground sloth, and mammoth lived (See Oakland Tribune for August 16, 1953).
Mr. Nadaillac says:
The first Americans too were contemporary with gigantic animals which, like their conquerors of Europe, have passed away never to return. They had to contend with the Mastodon, the Megatherium, the Mylodon, the Megalonyx, the elephant, with a jaguar larger than that of the present day, and a bear more formidable than that of the caves.--Prehistoric America, page 15.
In addition to the point about elephants, the science of paleontology has come to the aid of the Book of Mormon on another of the numerous points previously mentioned.
It is well known that when America was discovered there were no horses in the New World. It is recorded in the history of the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards that in their first battle with the Indians the natives fought very well until Cortez introduced a cavalry unit. The Indians thought horse and rider were all one animal and fled in terror at the sight. (See Prescott's Conquest of Mexico.)
The American Encyclopedia (article--"horse") now says:
Its fossil remains (horse) have been so frequently found, especially in the southern and western states, and in South America and have been so carefully examined by competent paleontologists, that no doubt can remain of the former existence of the horse on the American continent, at the same time with the mastodon, and that man was probably his companion.
In a previous chapter comment was made as to how the prehistoric Peruvians cut and moved the huge blocks of stone.
Of the fortress of Sascahuaman near Cuzco, Stephen D. Peet says, "The largest stone in the fortress has a computed weight of 361 tons."15
It would take nine freight cars to carry the weight of this one stone. At Tiahuanaco and also at Ollantaytambo there are huge stones computed to weigh two hundred tons or more which, it is claimed, were transported as far as seventeen miles over mountainous country.16
In 1949 Francis Anderson and I visited the prehistoric ruins at Ollantaytambo, Peru. On a mountain shelf estimated by Francis to be four hundred feet above the valley floor we photographed remains of an ancient temple constructed of beautifully cut pink granite brought from a quarry on the opposite side of the Andean Mountain valley. The largest blocks are estimated to weight two hundred tons.
In the Kansas City Star for May 1, 1950, there is a description of the very great difficulties involved in the moving of a 156-ton transformer by the Kansas City Power and Light Company.
In 1945 my brother, Walter Weldon, and 1, after an arduous mountain hike, visited and photographed the largest single ancient relic yet found in North America. It is a stone idol estimated to weigh not less than three hundred tons. It is located in a remote, uninhabited mountain region about seventy-five miles from Mexico City.
The Book of Mormon says the elephants and the cureloms and cumoms were especially useful to them. It says further, "And they did make all manner of tools with which they did work their beasts." (See Ether 4: 20, 21, 75.)
Samuel Hubbard, curator of archaeology at the Oakland, California, Museum shows rock pictures (article in Travel Magazine, October, 1929) of Imperial elephants, mammoths and other animals which prove that prehistoric Americans had a knowledge of these beasts. (Found in the gorge of Havasupai River in Arizona.)
In a summary of explorations recently carried on by Dr. Byron Cummings, head of the Department of Archaeology of the University of Arizona, and Dr. Mark Harrington of the Los Angeles Southwest Museum, Mr. G. K. Spencer says of paintings found in Gypsum Cave and other caves, "Some of the drawings, made with colors the weather of ages has not erased, show huge palanquins on great beasts which somewhat resemble our elephants. They may have been great sloths, but they tend to indicate that the ancient men had tamed some of the bigger animals."17
The Book of Mormon says the first people who came to America (Jaredites) from the Tower of Babel were "large", "mighty" and of "great stature." (See Ether 6:16,44,73,99.)
Bancroft says, "The Quinames or giants are mentioned as the first inhabitants of Mexico."18
Mr. Charles Holloway describes an archaeological find in the state of Sonora, Mexico, in December, 1930:
Five large skeletons, the first evidences that a race of supermen once roamed this vast wasteland, were unearthed today by an international expedition of scientists.19
Need we remind our readers that this first discovery of skeletons of giants came a full one hundred years after the Book of Mormon had told of "large and mighty men" of "great stature."
This is just one more of the parade of points which proves that Joseph Smith was ahead of his time. This is just another instance of how the fruit of Joseph Smith meets the biblical test for those who claim to be prophets.
The discovery of giant bones above mentioned stimulated further exploration in the same region. Stewart Robertson in the magazine, Family Circle, for May 13, 1938, shows pictures and describes the discoveries of Paxton Hayes. The pictures show mummies of giants over seven feet tall which have blond hair.
The Sacramento Union (California) for November 26, 1950, has an article about the latest excavation in the Barranca de Cobre area of northern Mexico. Thirty-four human remains were found, nine of which were mummies. When laid out properly for measurement the specimens measured from seven feet six inches in most cases to the largest one which measured eight feet. They are referred to as "blonde giants."
And it came to pass that there were many cities built anew, and there were many old cities repaired, and there were many highways cast up, and many roads made, which led from city to city, and from land to land, and from place to place.--III Nephi 3:8.
F. A. Stahl says:
The Spaniards found throughout the empire (Incan) a system of highways in which the engineering difficulties overcome were worthy of a Goethals, mighty chasms were spanned, deep crevices walled, mountains tunneled, passageways cut through solid rock, drifting sands overcome, morasses bridged, and some of these great roads, despite the corroding influence of the conquerors, still exist.20
Eunice R. Blackburn says, "Some of the old Mayan roads, built 1,500 years ago, still serve for local transport and for automobiles."21
The Book of Mormon indicates a great deal of commerce and trade were carried on over these highways.
During our 1953 expedition our party of four visited Ake, a hacienda and archaeological site in Yucatan. The ruins of this ancient city are the terminus of a prehistoric highway which runs across the country by way of the Mayan village of Citilcum. While in Merida, Yucatan, I conferred with a young archaeologist who walked along the highway for twenty-two miles with a compass and found the entire distance to be straight as an arrow with no deviations.
Gregory Mason says that there were lovely turquoise inlays in Peruvian temples, while the nearest turquoise deposit now known is two thousand eight hundred miles away at Santa Fe, New Mexico .22
A. Hyatt Verrill says, "Objects of red pipestone, which occurs only in the vicinity of the Great Lakes, are found in ancient graves as far south as Chile."23
And there being but little timber upon the face of the land, nevertheless the people who went forth became exceeding expert in the working of cement: therefore they did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell.--Helaman 2:7.
The finest specimen of cement the author has seen in Mexico was excavated by the Mexican government at Tula in 1944. The cement is on the interior of the wall which surrounds the pyramid. Mr. J. Alden Mason in his article, "The Egypt of America" in the Journal of the American Museum of Natural History for July and August of 1928, also comments on cement at Tula. Mr. Nadaillac describes highways with a layer of cement two inches thick as well as other constructions of cement.24
According to the Book of Mormon, before Christ was born the ancient Americans were so far advanced in their knowledge of astronomy that they knew it was the earth that moved and not the sun.
For sure it is the earth that moveth, and not the sun.--Helaman 4: 62.
All though Galileo constructed a telescope in the year A.D. 1581, earth's rotation was not positively proved until Bradley discovered the aberration of light in A.D. 1727.25
There was no scientific basis for a statement in 1830 that the ancient Americans two thousand year ago knew it was the earth that moved and not the sun. It was not until I nearly one hundred years after the Book of Mormon was published that archaeologists dug into the great mound at Chichen Itza known as "El Caracol" and discovered the now famous Mayan astronomical observatory.
The very first point of the many points by which the Book of Mormon can be tested on the "time factor" is found in the first verse in the Book of Mormon.
I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; ... therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days; yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.--I Nephi 1: 1.
Mormon and his son, Moroni, the last writers in the Book of Mormon, also commit the book to the existence of a form of Egyptian hieroglyphic writings in ancient America.
And now behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge in the characters, which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.
But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language, and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof.--Mormon 4: 98, 100, 101.
The Columbia Encyclopedia (1945) in defining the word "hieroglyphic" says:
A type of writing used in ancient Egypt; because of the similarity to Egyptian hieroglyphics of inscriptions found in Crete (of Minoan civilization), in northern Asia Minor (Hittite), in Mexico and Central America (Maya, Aztec, and Toltec), and on Easter island, these Pictographic styles are called hieroglyphic. . . . Two of the most celebrated modern students of hieroglyphics are H. J. Spinden and Friedrich Hrozny (of Praha), who writes in German and French.26
Mr. Nadaillac says, "There is a very distinct resemblance in some of these hieroglyphics to those of Egypt."27
F. A. Mitchell Hedges says:
The modern theory is that the Mayas appeared in Central America some time between 1,000 B.C. and the Christian Era, and that their civilization was derived from Egypt, from which they came across the vast Pacific. The points of resemblance between the Maya and Egyptian civilization are too numerous and peculiar to be explained by some imaginary impulse in all prehistoric people to develop along the same line.28Webster's New International Dictionary says:
Hieroglyphic 1--A sacred character; a character in the picture writing of the ancient Egyptians, or by extension of other people, as the Mexicans, etc.29Funk and Wagnalls New Standard Dictionary says:
Hieroglyphic I--A picture writing (literally a sacred writing) primarily designating, especially in the plural, the picture writing of the ancient Egyptians; hence any kind of writing in which the figures of objects take the place of conventional designs, as in that of the Chinese, Aztecs.30
The first Mayan city (Chichen Itza) was not explored and publicized to the world until nine years after the Book of Mormon was published. Quirigua, in Guatemala, which abounds in Egyptian influence (hieroglyphic inscriptions, obelisks, Egyptian faces, symbols) was not discovered until 1845.
It is remarkable that the Book of Mormon should commit itself to Egyptian influence and Egyptian writings here before they were discovered. Before the hieroglyphics were found, the Book of Mormon records that the Egyptian had been altered by them and no other people could read their language. While progress has been made in deciphering the date glyphs, the hieroglyphic writing itself continues to remain undeciphered.
In conclusion, I desire to bear my testimony. In this book it has been possible to present only a small fraction of the hundreds of points and the supporting facts from numerous fields of science and research. It is my testimony that not as much as one single point in the Book of Mormon needs to be revised to meet the facts of subsequent discovery. In contradistinction, the scientists have been under the necessity of continuous revision.
Mr. Nadaillac says:
America does not stint her surprises for those who study her ancient history. . . . Here, too, we are in the presence of nameless people, of races without a written history; and to add to our difficulties new discoveries are daily made, upsetting preconceived hypotheses, breaking down earlier theories, and completely destroying what had appeared to be the best founded conclusions.31
Over one hundred years after the Book of Mormon was published, Mr. F. A. Mitchell Hedges said, "The entire scientific conception of the aboriginal races of Central America and a large portion of South America will have to be revised."32
There can be only one answer for such a marvelous array of facts. A. Hyatt Verrill, a widely known archaeologist, gives us the answer. I wrote a letter to Mr. Verrill about the Book of Mormon. He responded very kindly and at some length. Dated June 27, 1946, at Lake Worth, Florida, his letter has this to say about the Book of Mormon:
"My archaeological studies convinced me that the Book of Mormon was inspired, for it contained many archaeological and historical facts which were absolutely unknown at the time it was written."
Mr. Verrill judges the Book of Mormon to be genuine and authentic because of the "time factor."
This same factor is winning additional recognition, and irrevocably the day must come when this book will take its place beside the Bible as one of the great books of all time.
Napoleon Hill says:
It was faith which revealed to Joseph Smith fragmentary evidences of a civilization which preceded the American Indians on this continent at least a hundred years before positive evidence of such a civilization was unearthed on the North and South American continents. Incidentally, the revelations wrought by this faith led to his assassination at the hands of a mob whose leaders resented this modern day revelation of "miracles" through faith, thus indicating how doggedly mankind has fought all who dared to turn the spotlight of understanding on the principle of faith.33
Henry A. Wallace, former vice-president of the United States, said in an address before the New York National Book Fair in New York City:
Of all the American religious books of the nineteenth century, it seems probable that the Book of Mormon was the most powerful. It reached perhaps only 1 per cent of the United States, but affected this 1 per cent so powerfully and lastingly, that all the people of the United States have been affected.34
Surely the Lord God revealed his secret of ancient America to his servant the prophet, Joseph Smith (Amos 3: 7).
Jesus said, "And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe" (John 14: 29).
Before it came to pass that the facts were known about ancient America, the Lord revealed the entire story to Joseph Smith that the world might have reason and faith to believe the rest of the work of Joseph Smith and the prophets of his line which occupy after him.
To Joseph Smith was not only revealed the secret of ancient America but the secret of future America--a Zion, a social order based upon the gospel of Jesus Christ where regenerated men and women gather together to build a regenerated social order. To this end, the Lord restored to the earth through his servant Joseph Smith the Old Jerusalem Gospel and church complete with twelve apostles, prophets, and with the gifts of the spirit, as they were in the church Jesus established in New Testament times.
I examined the work of Joseph Smith and discovered the biggest, most satisfying thing in my life. I invite you to do the same.
In our story about the Book of Mormon and the appearance of Jesus Christ among the ancient Americans we have dealt with an entire series of fascinating as well as remarkable facts. As we continue our investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding the coming forth of the Book of Mormon we find that the element of the remarkable and the marvelous continues to persist.
In the flyleaf of every Book of Mormon there is the printed testimony of three men that an angel from God came down from heaven in their presence and allowed them to handle the thin gold plates upon which the ancient record was inscribed, and instructed them to bear witness of these facts to the world.
Here is the testimony of these three men:
Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken; and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety, that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shewn unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvelous in our eyes, nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.
Without doubt the average man of the world considers this testimony a difficult thing to believe. However, as we turn the spotlight of analysis and further investigation on this testimony we find some remarkable facts that corroborate it. Perhaps the one most remarkable thing about the Book of Mormon is the fact that regardless of what angle of approach or what line of analysis one's investigation may take, invariably there are remarkable facts which dovetail with and corroborate and substantiate this marvelous book.
It is a known fact that Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer--who lived to be old men--died renewing their testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon. A study of the psychology of the deathbed reveals that when men realize their time has come, they are moved with an urge to set themselves right to meet their Creator. This is a time when frauds and hypocrisies are dropped and even self-styled atheists call upon God to forgive them.
If these three men had entered into a plot with Joseph Smith to bear a false testimony about the Book of Mormon, it seems utterly inconceivable that all three of them would have renewed their fraudulent testimony on their deathbeds.
The Bible contains internal evidence of its own authenticity. The prophecies and visions of its prophets have been fulfilled and are still being fulfilled. Like the Bible, the Book of Mormon contains numerous prophecies which have been fulfilled.
We now present briefly two prophecies from the Book of Mormon relative to certain things which were to happen after the book should be published.
The Book of Mormon contains a prophecy concerning its own reception. Book publishers tell us that public response to a new book is a difficult thing to predict. The Book of Mormon prediction that there would be many who would believe the book has been vindicated.
For after the book of which I have spoken shall come forth, and be written unto the Gentiles, and sealed up again unto the Lord, there shall be many which shall believe the words which are written; and they shall carry them forth unto the remnant of our seed.--II Nephi 12: 80.
Within fourteen years after the publication of the Book of Mormon over 200,000 people had united with the church. Today there are over a million people who pledge belief in the Book of Mormon. Millions of copies have been printed, and it is predicted that the time will come when it will receive world-wide recognition as a genuine history of God's dealings with ancient America and will be published in greater numbers than any other book excepting the Bible.
When the Book of Mormon was published in 1830 it contained predictions that the church would be persecuted and "the blood of the saints shall cry unto the Lord" (Mormon 4: 35). In 1830 there was no apparent basis for such a prediction. America was largely founded by people seeking religious freedom, and before 1830 there had been no major public uprising against any religion or church. Nevertheless these predictions were graphically fulfilled in the shameful persecution, pillage, and murder of the Latter Day Saints by mobs at Kirtland, Independence, Far West, and finally Nauvoo, where Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum paid with their lives for bringing forth a book claiming to be a record of God's dealings with ancient America and for initiating a new church claiming to be a restoration of the old Jerusalem church and gospel.
In previous chapters we have offered comparatively recent unearthed archaeological facts as well as biblical and historical matter which support our claim that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is an authentic record of the ancient Americans.
It is well that we now give consideration to the great high point of Book of Mormon history--the dramatic appearance of Jesus Christ to the people of the New World.
As indicated previously, while Jesus was on the cross in Jerusalem there was a great hurricane accompanied by a major earthquake and geologic upheaval in America. Many of the Nephite cities were completely destroyed. Others were severely damaged. Only the more righteous part of the population survived. After this great storm, the Book of Mormon records the first visit of Jesus Christ to his people in the New World:
And now it came to pass that there were a great multitude gathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land Bountiful; and they were marveling and wondering one with another, and were shewing one to another the great and marvelous change which had taken place; and they were also conversing about this Jesus Christ, of whom the sign had been given, concerning his death.
And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice, as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice, nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice, it did pierce them that did hear, to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts io burn.
And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not; and again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it;
And their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came; and behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them, Behold my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name, hear ye him.
And it came to pass as they understood, they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe, and he came down and stood in the midst of them, and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.
And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand, and spake unto the people, saying, Behold I am Jesus Christ, of whom the prophets testified should come into the world: And behold I am the light and the life of the world, and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things, from the beginning.
And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, the whole multitude fell to the earth, for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should shew himself unto them after his ascension into heaven. And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them, saying, 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, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.
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;
And this they did do, going forth one by one, until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes, and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety, and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, should come.
And when they had all gone forth, and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying, Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.
And it came to pass that he spake unto Nephi, (for Nephi was among the multitude,) and he commanded him that he should come forth. And Nephi arose and went forth, and bowed himself before the Lord, and he did kiss his feet. And the Lord commanded him that he should arise. And he arose and stood before him.
And the Lord said unto him, I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people, when I am again ascended into heaven. And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize.--III Nephi 5: 1-22.
It is very interesting to note that the very first act of the Savior in the New World was the calling and empowering of men to establish his church in America.
He chose twelve men from among the Nephites and instructed them how to set up his church. The Book of Mormon then records the following:
Behold, now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, he looked round about again on the multitude, and he said unto them, Behold, my time is at hand.
I perceive that ye are weak, that ye can not understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time;
Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand; and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again.
But now I go unto the Father, and also to shew myself unto the lost tribes of Israel, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them.
And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him, as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them.
And he said unto them, Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you: Have ye any that are sick among you, bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner, bring them hither, and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you;
My bowels are filled with mercy; for I perceive that ye desire that I should shew unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that your faith is sufficient, that I should heal you.
And it came to pass that when he had thus spoken, all the multitude, with one accord, Siad go forth, with their sick, and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their blind, and with their dumb, and with all they that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him;
And they did all, both they who had been healed, and they who were whole, bow down at his feet, and did worship him.--III Nephi 8:1-10.
The Book of Mormon story of the dramatic appearance of Christ in America and the setting up of his church and the healing of their sick is abundantly corroborated by the customs, archaeology, and mythology of the New World.
The success of the work of Jesus Christ and his disciples in both the Old World and the New centered in the miraculous and prophetic powers of the church. Peter in his great sermon on the day of Pentecost convinced several thousand Jews that they had crucified their Messiah. Peter declared (Acts 2: 22): "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know . . ."
In his first letter to the Thessalonians Paul declares: "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance" (I Thessalonians 1: 5).
The Scriptures indicate that the miraculous powers that accompanied the ministry of the early church were directly responsible for its rapid spread and growth.
The remarkable healing of the crippled man at the gate of the temple (Acts 3:1-10) through the ministry of Peter and John resulted in the conversion of five thousand souls to the church (Acts 4: 4).
During the Dark Ages in the Old World, these miraculous and prophetic gifts and powers gradually declined and finally disappeared.
Paul prophesied that in the last days they shall have a form of godliness but shall deny the power thereof:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.--II Timothy 3:1-5.
There is abroad in the Christian world today a movement known as Modernism in contradistinction to so-called Fundamentalism which would remove the last vestige of the miraculous and prophetic from the life and message of Jesus Christ--the virgin birth and the Resurrection.
The Book of Mormon contains a most significant message to the world in witnessing that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God. It is a second and conclusive witness to his virgin birth and resurrection.
The Indian legends themselves bear witness that a Divine Being visited ancient America who was born of a virgin and was resurrected after his death.
Mr. Daniel G. Brinton, authority on American Indian legends, says, "many of the great gods of the race, Quetzalcoatl, Viracocha, and Iskeha, were at times said to have been born of a virgin. Even among the Indians of Paraguay the missionaries were startled to find this tradition of the maiden mother of the god."1
Lewis Spence, leading authority on American Indian mythology, says that Quetzalcoatl died and was invisible for four days, after which he was resurrected and ascended his throne.2
The purpose of the Book of Mormon as stated in its flyleaf is to convince Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ.
As time moves on and the Book of Mormon continues its march toward world-wide acceptance, the day will come when this remarkable record of the ancient Americans will stand like a great Gibraltar to turn back the tides of unbelief, rationalism, and materialism which threaten the foundations of Christianity.
The greatest mystery of prehistoric America appears to center in the identity, person, and influence of the bearded white god who came from the distant east and under whose preaching and teaching there arose the great golden age of peace, art, and high attainments. Despite the entire disappearance of the peoples and civilizations with which Quetzalcoatl and Kukulcan were identified and despite the unnumbered centuries of dark ages that intervened between the downfall of these civilizations and the arrival of Columbus, so great was the influence and impact of this so-called Divine Being on the ancestors of the American Indians that the shadow of his personality looms across the entire horizon of ancient America. His symbol and influence have permeated the mythology, archaeology, ceramics, art, and customs of practically all the Indian tribes of the New World.
Second only to the mystery of this ancient American personality is the mystery of the disappearance of the civilizations with whom he was associated.
Robert Marett, in his archaeological guidebook published by the Mexican government, says:
Up to the seventh century, Maya culture centered in Guatemala where more than half the cities found are situated; but after that time the old Empire, as this first phase of Maya culture is known, suddenly came to an end. It is one of the most inexplicable things in pre-history. The people just seem to have walked out of their beautiful cities, leaving their temples and palaces to crumble and rot as if they preferred to trust themselves to an inhospitable jungle. Disease, earthquakes, war, climate change, exhaustion of soil, and superstition all have been suggested to solve the mystery, although none of them can quite explain such a dramatic exodus.1
Professor C. Reginald Enoch, F.R.C.S., after spending a lifetime studying the riddles of America's past history says,
How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people; how is she become a widow, might indeed be the lamentation of some unchronicled prophet about these perished empires of the Aztecs and the Incas, whose pathetic story, still unread, lies before the traveler today.2
American Indian legends and the Book of Mormon agree that the great upsurge of art, architecture, and civilization among the ancient Americans is directly traceable to the preaching and influence of this Divine Being who came from the distant east. The Book of Mormon identifies this Divine Being as Jesus Christ who said, "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: . . . and they shall hear my voice" (John 10:16). Jesus said, "I am come that they [the sheep] might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).
The Book of Mormon states that after the appearance of Jesus Christ among them, all the people, both Nephites and Lamanites, were converted to the Lord and for two hundred years there was a golden age of peace, brotherhood, and cultured progress (Book of Mormon, pages 681, 684--authorized edition). In the third century after Christ the Book of Mormon records that because of the abundance of their material possessions some of the people commenced to be proud and vain. During the third and fourth centuries after Christ a great falling away took place. The people gradually became selfish, sensual, and materialistic. They refused to give heed to the warnings of the prophets who were among them, and persecuted and killed many of them. The Nephites and Lamanites (Indians) again became two separate peoples and a war of extinction broke out between them which ended in the complete destruction of the Nephite civilization. One lonely Nephite prophet remained to record the sad end of his people and to bury their records in a stone box to come forth fourteen centuries later as the Book of Mormon.
Archaeologists and explorers have puzzled over the cause of the disappearance of this great ancient American civilization. Inasmuch as the rise of this civilization is directly traceable to the influence and teachings of Jesus Christ among them, it would seem entirely reasonable to assume that their downfall came when they drifted away from the teachings of the Lord and turned their backs on his gospel.
History reveals that the tides of civilization and progress have ebbed and flowed as men and nations have either accepted or rejected the teachings of the Good Shepherd who said: "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
The Dark Ages in the New World were preceded by a great falling away from the teachings of the Divine Being who came among them. Both Aztec and Maya legends and the Book of Mormon agree on this. Robert Marett of the London Archaeological Institute, in his archaeological guidebook (page 74) prepared for the Mexican Government, tells the story of an Aztec emperor who, deploring the bloody, barbaric, religious practices of his people, made a concerted attempt to restore the simple faith that had once been among them.
It is a very interesting fact that the Dark Ages of the Old World like the dark ages of the New World were preceded by a great failing away from the teachings and doctrines of the church Jesus set up. The prophets and apostles of biblical times were keenly aware of the coming danger and again and again they issued graphic warnings about the approach of a dark age.
The prophet Micah says:
Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.
Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God.--Micah 3: 6, 7.
Jesus himself said:
Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.--John 12: 35.
Paul in his letter to Timothy says:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears:
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.II Timothy 4: 3, 4.
Paul wrote the Thessalonians that before the second coming of Christ there would come a "falling away."
That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.--II Thess. 2: 2, 3.
In the last words of his ministry in Asia Minor, Paul issues a graphic warning at Ephesus.
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Also of your own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.--Acts 20:28-31.
John Wesley says: "We seldom hear of them [manifestations of the gifts] after that fatal period when the Emperor Constantine called himself a Christian. . . . From this time they almost totally ceased. . . . The cause of this was not (as has been vulgarly supposed,) 'because there was no more occasion for them,' because all the world was become Christian. This is a miserable mistake; not a twentieth part of it was then nominally Christians. The real cause was, 'the love of many' . . . was 'waxed cold.' The Christians had no more of the Spirit of Christ than the other heathens. . . . This was the real cause, why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian church; because the Christians were turned heathens again, and had only a dead form left."3
While, as John Wesley says, the Christians turned heathen during the Dark Ages in the Old World, the people in the New World reverted to idolatries and religious abominations once known in Old Testament times.
It seems significant that a dark ages should transpire in both the old and new worlds at approximately the same time and for the same reason--that the Christians had turned heathen again. It is even more significant that in both the old and new worlds there were prophecies of a restoration and the return of the Divine Being who said, "I am come that men might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
The early discoverers and explorers of the New World were again and again amazed as well as puzzled by the reception they received at the hands of the red men. Not only were they honored and worshiped as returning "deities," but they were also received as long-awaited guests.
In addition to Quetzalcoatl's promise to return, the Indians had prophecies among them that white men would come from the East and subjugate them.
In his widely read book, Old Civilizations of the New World, A. Hyatt Verrill says:
Among other things he [Quetzalcoatl] prophesied that long after his departure, white strangers would arrive from oversea and would overthrow the Aztec kings and enforce another religion, but that eventually he would return to re-establish the Aztecs and their faith. . . . It is a remarkable and indisputable fact, borne out by contemporaneous written records, that the Aztecs were not at all surprised when Cortez and his followers arrived at Vera Cruz, and that many of the natives mistook the conqueror for Quetzalcoatl. Moreover, the legend of white men visiting America, and later going back to the "Land of Sunrise" whence they would again return, was widely disseminated prior to the Spanish conquest. The Maya priest, Chilám Balám, prophesied that, at the end of the thirteenth age, white men would arrive in Yucatan; and the Peruvian Inca, Atahualpa, told Pizarro that his father, Huayna-Kapac, had prophesied on his deathbed that, in the reign of the thirteenth Inca, white men would come from the sun and subjugate the Peruvians. Perhaps the most remarkable and inexplicable features of all these prophecies or legends are the recurrence of the mystical number thirteen in such widely separated localities as Yucatan and Peru, the fact that the Spaniards arrived at the time foretold, and the amazing similarity of the myths with our own story of Christ with its promise of His return. At any rate, the natives' implicit belief in these legends was a large factor in their comparatively easy conquest by the Europeans, for the Aztecs, like the Peruvians, felt that they could not escape their predestined fate.--Pages 180, 181.
In Ixtlilxochitl's account of the end of the Toltecs, according to H. H. Bancroft's Native Races, Huemac, the last great Toltec ruler and prophet, in listing the disasters to overtake his people says,
For such as escaped these disasters, or for their descendants, another visitation of divine wrath was reserved in the form of a foreign people from the east, who ten cycles later were to take possession of the country in fulfillment of the words of the ancient prophet Quetzalcoatl.--Volume 5, page 252.
We now quote from the Book of Mormon the words of one of the ancient American prophets concerning the arrival of Columbus and the subjugation of the red race.
And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.
And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.
And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise;
And I beheld the wrath of God that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles, and were smitten.--I Nephi 3: 147-150.
According to Aztec Indian legends, Quetzalcoatl predicted the arrival of white men who would subjugate the natives. According to the Book of Mormon, Jesus Christ predicted the arrival of the Gentiles or Europeans and that they would be a scourge to the Lamanites or Indians. (See Book of Mormon, page 660.)
According to the Book of Mormon, Jesus Christ and his prophets not only prophesied of the arrival of Gentiles from over the sea, but they also prophesied a restoration for the people of the New World and that a New Jerusalem or a Zion was to be established in America. (See Book of Mormon, pages 659, 663, 664 and 750.)
Concerning the Aztec legends or prophecies about the arrival of white men from the East, Mr. Verrill in his book, Old Civilizations of the New World, says,
The Aztec legend or prophecy went much further than the others, however, and foretold that eventually the old gods and the old rule would be re-established. . . . Unquestionably much of the unrest in Mexico during the past few years is due to the fact that thousands of the Indians still have faith in their, ancient tradition and, with few exceptions, the descendants of the Aztecs are still looking forward to their millennium and the re-instatement of their ancient gods.--Pages 181, 182.
Both the Indian legends and the Book of Mormon agree that the golden age of ancient America was directly related to the Divine Being who came from the East across the sea. According to the Book of Mormon all the people were converted to Jesus Christ, following his personal ministry among them. For two hundred years there was no war; and art, culture, and society progressed. A Zionic type of social order was established. The Book of Mormon says, "And they had all things common among them, therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift" (page 682). In Peru we find striking evidence that such a Christian stewardship social order existed in ancient America.
Mr. F. A. Stahl in his book, The Land of the Inca, says, "The Spaniard found a system of government that furnished employment for every man, woman, and child in the empire, and provided plentifully for the sick, the infirm, the incapacitated. He found that crops, lands, and clothing were so conserved, stored and divided, that no one was in want" (page 19).
William Prescott in his Conquest of Peru says, "If no one could become rich in Peru, no one could become poor ... no man, however humble, suffered from the want of food or clothing" (pages 36, 37, 103).
The science of archaeology proves there was once a high state of civilization in ancient America. The Indian legends and the Book of Mormon both associate these high tides of blessing and welfare with the Divine Being who came to them. The legends and the Book of Mormon also agree that this Divine Being promised a restoration and a New Jerusalem for his people on the American continent. It is a remarkable fact that biblical prophets also believed in, looked for, and promised a restoration of the Jews to Jerusalem and a Zion. The prophets clearly indicate two holy cities--Jerusalem in the Old World and Zion or a New Jerusalem in the New World.
For Zion's sake I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.--Isaiah 62: 1.
Joel in a prophecy about the last days says,
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. . . . And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.--Joel 2: 28-32.
The prophet Isaiah indicates that Zion and Jerusalem are two separate holy cities--"Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation" (Isaiah 64: 10).
Isaiah also indicates that the rise of Zion and Jerusalem shall come in the last days:
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.--Isaiah 2:2,3.
The prophet Isaiah agrees with the Book of Mormon in indicating that Christ will come to Zion in America:
So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. . . . And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.--Isaiah 59:19, 20.
After the long period of dark ages which followed the collapse and destruction of the ancient civilization in America the native American, surviving descendants of a once golden era, yearned for the return of their white hero god and a restoration of the ancient order of things. The arrival of Cortez in Mexico therefore was greeted with rejoicing and high expectancy as the natives thought Quetzalcoatl had returned in accordance with the promise he had made.
Following the medieval Dark Ages in the Old World the so-called period of the Reformation was ushered in. The reformers as evidenced from their own writings looked forward with expectancy to a day of restoration, a day when the old Jerusalem church with apostles, prophets, and the gifts and powers of the early church would again be set up on the earth. Alexander Campbell, founder of the Christian Church, says,
Some new revelation or some new development of the revelation of God must be made, before the hopes and expectations of all true Christians can be realized or Christianity save and reform the nations of the world. We want the old gospel back and sustained by the ancient order of things, and this alone by the blessing of the Divine Spirit is all we do want, or can expect, to reform and save the World. And if this gospel as proclaimed and enforced on Pentecost cannot do this, vain are the hopes, and disappointed must be the expectation of the so-called Christian world.--Christian System, page 250, published at St. Louis, Missouri.
John Wesley says,
The times which we have reason to believe are at hand (if they are not already begun) are what many pious men have termed the time of "the latter day glory"--meaning the time wherein God would gloriously display his power and love, in the fulfillment of the gracious promise that, "the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea."--Seventy-first Sermon, Volume 2, pages 95-98.
Roger Williams said, "There can be no recovery out of that apostasy till Christ shall send forth new apostles to plant churches anew" (Knowles History, page 172)
Reorganized Latter Day Saints believe that we are living in the last days and that the Lord, through the instrumentality of Joseph Smith the boy prophet of the nineteenth century, has restored the ancient order of things--a church complete with apostles, prophets and all the officers and gifts and powers of the church Jesus established in New Testament times. Reorganized Latter Day Saints also believe that Joseph Smith was divinely led to find and divinely empowered to translate the Book of Mormon which contains the history of God's dealings with two civilizations which were divinely led to America long antecedent to the arrival of Columbus. In accordance with prophecies and promises found both in the Book of Mormon and the Bible, Latter Day Saints believe in and are preparing for the establishment of a Zion in America. They believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ was meant to regenerate society as well as the individual.
In the Lord's Prayer we are instructed to pray, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven." Reorganized Latter Day Saints therefore believe in gathering together regenerated men and women to form a regenerated social order in which shall be a social demonstration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.