Lecture 108:
Mormon 9

Semester 4, Lecture 108
Mormon 9
The Book of Mormon and the Ruins
With Moroni’s comment in Mormon 9:26 we’ve got to wind that up. “Who will rise up against the almighty power of the Lord? . . . Who will despise the works of the Lord? Who will despise the children of Christ? Behold, all ye who are despisers of the works of the Lord, for ye shall wonder and perish.”

Why that word despise? What does despise mean? Despicio, which means look down upon, hold as inferior, hold yourself as above that sort of childish nonsense. That’s what despise means, and that’s the only way you can reject the word of the Lord. You can’t be neutral. You can’t laugh it off exactly, and you can’t argue with it and get angry. No, just despise it. We don’t even consider that stuff. That’s for children; that’s guff [you might say]. And as I say, the only way you can reject it is to despise it, so that’s why he’s talking this way. Then “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.” This is the great issue, the fearsome decisions we have to make here. Notice how personal it is.

Verse 28: “Be wise [the opposite of despising] in the days of your probation [and then he says an interesting thing]; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.” That’s an important statement there. What does it mean by “consume it on your lusts”? Yield to the natural man. What limit is there to justifying behavior as natural? Cannibalism is natural behavior, your might say, and orgies certainly are—delighting in the shedding of blood, rape, and all sorts of things that excite people. They get great interest in shows, games, etc. Those things are perfectly natural. Can you justify them because they’re natural? You actually have to resist them—they’re such a strong natural drive. So he says “ask not, that ye may consume it”—that is, consume your desires, fulfill your life and your wishes on whatever you want to do if it feels good. That’s your lust. If it feels good, go right ahead [the world says].

Don’t do that, he says, even though it is a natural temptation. But ask [for help]. You have to ask. You must have support in resisting it. Your nature isn’t going to be enough to get through with it. You must have support there. “Ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.” You don’t mitigate daily vices by visits to the confessional or the chapel or the temple or anything like that. In verse 29 he says, “See that ye do all things in worthiness,” your whole life. There was a lot of talk about that in the conference yesterday and the day before. This very thing—do all things in worthiness.

Verse 30: “Behold, I speak unto you as though I spake from the dead; for I know that ye shall have my words. Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, . . . but rather give thanks to God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.”

Notice why the Book of Mormon is also taken up with crime and folly and war. It’s an account of follies and calamities. It’s for our benefit, that you may be wiser. There’s a way of avoiding these things he’s been talking about. First you don’t despise; you take these things seriously. Then you’re naturally tempted—everybody is. He says resist that; ask for the Lord to assist you in that, and that will go. Then you can learn from our imperfections. For heaven’s sake don’t do the silly things we did—our follies and calamities. Of course, we are doing them. Then he ends up saying it’s in reformed Egyptian, a language which has changed completely. Verse 34: “None other people knoweth our language.”

There are a lot of problems in the Book of Mormon that should be touched on, but we don’t have time for them. So I have gathered some sources and comments here, and I’ve got another photocopy to inflict on you. This is eight pages long, and it will cost you 25 cents for this. You should have this; it will help you. I’m going to pass them around right now, and you can keep it if you want. If you want to keep it, you can pay 25 cents. There are some important notes here. This is a spiel I had to give down at Mérida in Yucatan ten years ago. In the process I gathered a lot of interesting notes which you might find useful. Here are some more I had from another class. While we’re handing those out, we can talk about Brother Kimball’s speech. You notice that Brother Kimball made three points here. We should all note how he starts out. He talks about the marvelous earth we find ourselves on and the dark and threatening clouds. The Lord gave us a choice world, but he expects us to be righteous and obedient to his commandments. That’s what we’ve just been talking about. “But when I review the performance of this people in comparison to what is expected, I am appalled and frightened.”

He starts out that way, and then he talks about three things. The first one is the deteriorating environment. We’ve noticed that’s become much more serious since. The second is the quest for affluence. That’s the next subject he talks about. And the third is our trust in deadly weapons, in military power and military solutions. All these, of course, are fundamental in the Book of Mormon. Look how far ahead of its time the Book of Mormon was in talking about ecology—the destruction of forests making it necessary for people to use cement, etc. These things are talked about on this thing that’s being handed out now. Do you all have one of these called “The Book of Mormon and the Ruins”? They’re cruising around and certainly taking their time. I should have distributed them in smaller bundles, shouldn’t I? Efficiency is not our strong point in this life. But read and notice the Book of Mormon quotations, when he quotes Mormon, etc., in Brother Kimball’s speech. It may give you some ideas for the paper we’re going to ask for.

Now this one. There are not enough? That’s odd. I had a huge pile of them. This is strange. Well, then, pay attention. Do you have one, Sister de Castillo? How many don’t have them? Oh, that’s not bad—you won’t miss much. These references are very useful, though. First of all we have the ruins. This was the thing that challenged Joseph Smith. We’ll go through this fast. Mexico is the one place where a student need not apologize for being ignorant and being a tourist. From the first beginning to the present, all who have examined the ruins in the New World (that includes our own Brother Ray Matheny who wrote a cover-page article in the National Geographic a short time ago [September 1987] on the excavations he is doing down there) have been nothing but tourists. They view, they wonder, and they guess. We’ll see why. One asks, can anybody account for the ruins here? So there are certain questions you must ask yourself, as Peter Thompkins says in his work on the Mexican pyramids. The first one: what about accounting for these ruins? This was a new book at the time, Mexico antes de los Aztecas by Anguiano. “The discussions concerning the settlement of America are very far from over,” he wrote. He noticed that “countless theories . . . are circulating about the origins of the Olmecs. The physical appearance of the Olmecs is unknown. The great carved heads remain a mystery.”

You’ve seen them down in La Venta—these huge heads with the headbands on them. They’re a complete mystery, he says. “La Venta is disconcerting . . . by the mystery of the mental processes of these strange monuments.” What are they doing there? The same holds all the way to the Old Kingdom of Egypt. No one to this day has [the answer]. There are all the arguments and theories about the pyramids, but nobody has a real answer to that. So here we are talking about a mysterious world very far removed from our own. That great monument called the King’s Stela: “Who was it? What is it trying to say? The necessary information is missing for venturing even the most minimal speculation!”

In other words, we don’t know a darn thing about the monuments, the most impressive ones. He says, “No one knows what became of the Olmecs.” From the 14,000 years of Pre-Classical occupation “not a single item of clothing has been found.” Now that’s interesting, because in Egypt out of Seila, where BYU is excavating, you can walk for miles kicking up the sand, and you’ll kick up bones and pottery—and big pieces of cloth, two, three, and four thousand years old, in good condition. On the second level of the Cairo Museum, there are whole garments of cloth from the predynastic times made out of the most beautiful linen, gorgeous—as good as any linen they could make today. How did those prehistoric people ever find out that you could take a blue flower and make a fine, tough white cloth out of it? But they knew, and it’s as good as ours. But in the New World we don’t find any [cloth], and of course it’s because of the moisture. Out there in the Libyan desert, you dig into a grave or a passage (they’re all over the place), and among other things that get in your way are pieces of cloth—some of it rough, some of it fine. And those we found in the pre-Christian graves were magnificently dressed in cloth that is still brilliant. Some people were wearing four and five different complete costumes at the same time. That would keep them warm. But what an amazing contrast. We have no cloth here at all, and cloth is one of the big things over there.

[Quoting again from Anguiano:] “Why were wheels never used [they had wheels] for transporting people and merchandise in a very active trade and commerce?” We know from their toys that they had toy animals and wagons that moved around on wheels, but they never used them in active trade. Why would that be? Well, you can account for that. The Arabs will never use the wheel. They were acquainted with the wheel for thousands of years, but they say, “Satan is in the wheel. He makes it go.” It’s a great mystery to them how a wheel can work. I had a very good Druze friend, a very learned man, a thirty-second-degree Mason. He was very suspicious about riding in a wheeled vehicle. He walked everywhere; he didn’t like it. Well, why do people do it? Why don’t we ride buffalo and oxen? You never see one of us riding a cape buffalo or a water buffalo. They are dangerous things that would kill one of us, but we see little skinny kids in Southeast Asia riding them all over the place. See, we have these customs, and they stick with us. So you can’t argue about these on the evidence of what’s missing in Book of Mormon archaeology—if you can call it that. He says, “Why were wheels never used for transporting people and merchandise and a very active trade and commerce? There is no explanation for these things,” says Mr. Anguiano.

“It is a mystery how they were able to perforate hard stone using the stone tools of the time.” Well, the hardest and the best and the most perfect stonework in Egypt is found at a time when [scientists] say they didn’t have metals. How did they do it then? They had these marvelous polished surfaces and cut great blocks out of the Tura quarry there. I mean it’s on a scale you can’t conceive of. I’m not talking about the pyramids. I’m talking about thousands of other buildings far under the ground and superb structures. Doing all this in this hard, hard rock without any tools at all? Something is missing here, you see. It’s the same thing here [in Mesoamerica]. “How and to whom did the idea occur of erecting these prodigious structures?” He’s talking about more pyramids, the pyramids of Teotihuacan. “Nobody has the least idea,” he says, and the same thing applies to Egypt. What a world we live in. “Nor has anyone an idea what the stone mosaic faces were for. . . . How they were able to erect an idol so huge that Europeans were unable to tear it down is a mystery.”

That’s a thing where the Egyptians fool us all the time. Our engineers are completely baffled. A couple of Egyptians will get to something with sticks and a little sand and do a thing that we could never do. It’s a marvelous thing. They wanted to raise this gigantic statue of Ramses II up to the second floor of the Cairo Museum and didn’t know how to do it. They brought in engineers from Manchester and all sorts of tools and machinery, and they couldn’t do it. Then they got about half a dozen skinny little Egyptians with a big box. They put some boards around it, filled it with sand, and started ramming with sticks. The thing started to move, and in a couple of days they had it up on the second floor. All it took was a few sticks and a little sand, and our engineers couldn’t do it without tearing down the building. Well, these things are quite surprising. The solution always turns out to be something absurdly simple, but we miss it. Just like the gospel there.

“Neither the Aztecs of the 16th century nor their predecessors, the Toltecs, knew anything at all about the people of Teotihuacan. They knew only the ruins of a fabulous city.” We get that in the Book of Mormon—because of the former inhabitants upon the land. He was not referring to the Jaredites; they knew about the Jaredites. There was complete deforestation of central Mexico, or whatever it was, because of the former inhabitants upon the land. We’ll get a reference to that here. And referring to various practices of building one expensive structure over another, “the reason for this practice is unknown.” They would build a whole new building over the other one at particular times. And the ubiquitous geometrical designs—you find them everywhere. “Nobody knows for what purpose they were worked out.” The “yoke” and the ax stones: “the purpose of these objects is not known. . . . Up to the present time the cause for abandoning Monte Alban [the most impressive ruin of them all, next to Teotihuacan—and many other places] has not been determined.”

Why would they abandon it? The big thing is why it fell, why they disappeared all of a sudden. They didn’t leave anything behind. This is a characteristic of the Book of Mormon—swept from the face of the land with no record of them at all. They just go. “So far Zapotec writing has not been deciphered. . . . [Regarding Mayan origins] there are theories for every taste. [The three Mayan codices—that’s all we have, just three books, and he says they] are still a long way from being completely deciphered.”

That sounds rather discouraging, doesn’t it. Then we have recurring patterns which come throughout the Book of Mormon. When I gave this speech, Culbert had just written this book, The Classic Mayan Collapse, to explain why the Mayans and various people suddenly collapsed. It was edited at the University of New Mexico, and a number of contributors wrote for it. Culbert says, “We will probably never really and fully identify the relative significance of the various historical forces, their causes and consequences, to everyone’s satisfaction. . . . Since we are in fact frequently unable to resolve these questions with respect to literate civilizations of the recent past [where we actually have written records] archaeology cannot expect to succeed in endeavors fraught with even greater problems [much more ancient and no writing]. Succeeding fashion will necessarily favor other causes and types of explanation; the chief result will be to provide endless occupation for intellectuals so concerned.” They’ll go on arguing this ’til the end of time. Egyptology has been busy for 200 years now, and they still haven’t agreed on a single thing. There’s not one single word, the pronunciation of which we actually know. As to the great southern collapse [in Mesoamerica], “no solution acceptable to the majority of students has yet appeared.”

Here’s Madame Sejourne’s work, In the Universe of Quetzelcoatl: “Every changing attempt to know the home of the progenitor of Nahuatl culture [that’s the Quetzelcoatl people] is irredeemably doomed to failure.” We’ll never know where these people came from, she said.

Michael Coe, who is the man at Yale and the big wheel in this field, says in The Mayan Scribe and His World, “Unhappily, our knowledge of Mesoamerican ethnoastronomy is abysmal. For this . . . the major fault lies with ethnologists and social anthropologists more involved with lightweight ‘problems’ such as acculturation [the things that anthropologists like to do—oh they fiddle around] while major segments of Mesoamerican mental life perish under their very noses.”

Well, for four years at Claremont I shared an office with Morris Opler, who was president of the American Anthropology Association, and that’s what he did. Every Thursday night Hoyer would come in from UCLA and we’d have big discussions about things, and they never got any deeper than the most superficial study of a tribal dance or something like that. Remember what Warren Wheeler says about science really applies all the way. Science does not explain; science only describes. You describe a thing in science; you never explain it. We’ve gone through that before. Gravity’s never been explained. You just describe its workings.

Now there is argument of origins that they use so much in trying to attack the Book of Mormon. Where did these people come from? The answer is, “Nobody knows.” Krickenberg, who’s done a lot on Mexican culture, says, “Present evidence is totally inadequate to explain how these advanced cultures arose. [Did they arise on the ground? Where did they come from?] Apparently without roots,” he says. You can’t say, well they evolved in this evolution of thousands of years. No, the primitives are one thing, and these people are something else. The one does not evolve into the other. There’s no stage of transition visible at all. “Apparently without roots, without any preparation the earliest American civilizations appear ready on the scene: in Mesoamerica, the Olmec; in the Andean lands, the Chavas. These remarkable phenomena can perhaps only be explained satisfactorily by assuming one or more drives influencing ancient America from the outside. Otherwise it is difficult to understand how primitive conditions, which varied little during 15,000 to 20,000 years of persistence, could suddenly experience a violent surge of progress, passing through the whole scale of advancing culture to a full-blown civilization. Such a thing is utterly out of the question.” Of course, they were migrants. We know there was much more migrating in the ancient world than we ever believed before, but the Book of Mormon tells us that. Of course, the book of Ether, which we come to next, is a prime example of how such a thing can be brought. “Such a thing is utterly out of the question in the case of the two oldest American civilizations. All of a sudden they are simply there,” he says.

Well, how do you account for that? Ten guesses. Somebody must have brought it—the most obvious thing in the world. “Until the present time, the Archaic and Olmec antiquities are the oldest remains of the former inhabitants of central and southern Mexico.” Where do we trace them up? Where do we look for them? In Utah, of all places. “Excavations in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico reveal two higher cultures: the Anasazi [we all know them] and the Hohokam on the Gila and Salt rivers. They were the basketmakers without the bow or the tomahawk or pottery [well, what did they have?]. Predecessors of the Pueblos, they also occupied northern Mexico from A.D. 100 to 500 [but] it is, of course, completely unthinkable that these civilizations suddenly emerge, so to speak, out of nothing, which is what it amounts to if one takes the primitive culture forms of the Cochise and the Basketmaker levels as the ‘nothing’ in question [they were the ones]. There are Paleolithic [he calls them] findings in Oaxaca, Yucatan, and Guatemala.” The trouble with the most primitive stone forms of all is that they’re the latest—they come last. It’s the same thing in Egypt, too. You get Achellean, Chellean, Abbevillian, and points, and all sorts of cu de prain lying around on the ground. They were the last things to be made. They come at the top of the strata, not at the bottom where they should. Yes?

“Were there any records of a mass extinction, such as all the bones of the Nephites?”

In one place? That’s interesting. You don’t find them at all anywhere, unless they’ve been preserved—even in Asia. We’ll mention that next time when we get to Ether. But what about these Paleolithic findings in Oaxaca, Yucatan, Guatemala? They are very late and belong to a time when the great Classical and Post-Classical cultures of [Mesoamerica] had long passed away. They don’t fit in. It’s funny. The oldest, most primitive forms of artifact are usually found in the very latest strata, after all the rest had gone. Well, we have that, too. Now it’s very well known that the people anthropologists visit as primitives are just people who had declined from former civilizations. They’ve gone out hiding in the woods.

[Quoting from Krickenberg:] “Not only are we completely ignorant of where the Olmecs got their highly developed technique of working jade, their astonishing skill as sculptors handling enormous stone blocks, and their high art of portraiture, . . . but the greater riddle still remains to be answered: where does their sophisticated system of writing and calendar-reckoning come from—. . . the oldest known in Mesoamerica?”

So we have a problem here. Then Anguiano says, “The Aztecs and Toltecs knew nothing about the people who had occupied the land before them.” Remember, Aztecs and Toltecs came later. They came after the time of Christ, eighth and ninth centuries. So this is not going to answer the problem. It doesn’t answer the question at all.

Were there people before the Nephites? (the third item in the speech). Well, there certainly were, according to the Book of Mormon. Latter-day Saints are disturbed when we read that remains much older than the Book of Mormon are found on the continent. Well, of course, they are. We assume that everything that’s found is either Nephite or Jaredite. But read Helaman 3:4-5 where he says, “And they did travel to an exceeding great distance, insomuch that they came to large bodies of water and many rivers. Yea, and even they did spread into all parts of the land, into whatever parts had not been rendered desolate and without timber, because of the many inhabitants who had before inherited the land.” A very interesting thing. There were lots of people there before them. They’d wiped out all the timber, and when they wipe it out, it stays that way.

We’ll read the rest of that [from Nibley’s speech]: Here we learn how the Nephites pushing up from the south “an exceeding great distance [if they were from Guatemala and went to the valley of Mexico, it’s more than 1,200 air miles from Guatemala to Mexico City. That’s a long way to push, you see—if it was that, of course] in a major infiltration settled a clearly defined territory. As the Book of Mormon describes it, there was a sea to the north [we should put a map up here, I suppose—there’s a map in here, so you can see that] and south as well as the east and west can. This can only be found in one region in the Western Hemisphere—that’s Mesoamerica and Central Mexico. You see, the Isthmus of Panama curls back on itself so that the eastern mouth of the canal is in the Pacific and the western mouth of the canal is in the Atlantic. It reverses itself and for 120 miles it goes east and west. So there’s a sea north of it, a sea south of it, a sea east of it, and sea west of it. This will only pertain to that particular part. That may be a clue. We’re not going to argue Book of Mormon geography, but that’s certainly so. The expressions referring to the seas were ancient, east and west, etc. In the Codex Ramirez, which is published in Mexico City, we are told how the first Montezuma conquered almost from sea to sea and he ruled to the sea southward, and in another direction to the limits of the great sea, 300 leagues to the south. So he ruled almost from sea to sea. There was the sea on all sides there. The Central Highland of Mexico is described in all early accounts as a land of many waters. (That’s what is in the back there. I don’t know how it got in, but it might be useful.) There are many waters and streams here, and, of course, there was much more water at that time. As you all know, Mexico City was built over the water. Edward Seler wrote the old four-volume classic on early Mexico; he collected more data than anybody else. It was in the early part of the century, but he did a great work. Seler maintains that the name usually translated as “Highlands,” Anauac, really meant “land of many waters.”

The complete deforestation of the land doesn’t suit the vast forests of the north, but was a very serious problem in ancient Mesoamerica, as it is today in Mesoamerica. Those are the jungles that are coming down, and we refer to these statements in Helaman with [reference to] the condition of the valley of Oaxaca in the fifth to ninth centuries. We’re told that in the valley of Oaxaca over-population “created a growing shortage of timber for construction and firewood and for cooking, apparently reaching such an alarming extent that the hills were completely stripped of forest.” Now in the Book of Mormon they made a rule, remember, that they were not to cut down a single tree. It was so strict. They had denuded the whole thing. Nobody worried about deforestation in Joseph Smith’s day. They thought the woods were endless—inexhaustible, they used to say when I was a kid, chopping down all the trees in Oregon. Inexhaustible. Well, they weren’t, but they still act as if they were.

So the hills were completely stripped of forest. According to W. T. Sanders, among the major causes contributing to the rapid decline and collapse both in the highlands of Mexico and the Mayan country was the necessity of bringing more land under cultivation with “a corresponding decline in forest products.” So they had to build with cement, it tells us in the Book of Mormon. It’s very interesting. Peter Thompkins quotes Katherwood about the mortar that was used at Labna, where that beautiful gate is and quite a bit of highway. These ancient highways are way up in Yucatan, not down in South America. Labna has a beautiful ceremonial gate and a highway leading to it. But there is lots of concrete used, and it was analyzed. Katherwood found that it was the very same mortar that was used in Puzzawoelana by the Romans with such effect in building with concrete. But there’s a more recent study in the August 1980 National Geographic (page 216), quoting S. J. K. Wilkerson. He says, “In the use of poured concrete, says my engineer colleague David Hyman, El Tajín’s builders excelled at a technique remarkably similar to today’s.” So it wasn’t just mortar between bricks or stones; it was poured concrete. When they say it was cement, it was real cement—which comes as a surprise. It was a Roman-type cement.

[Quoting from Culbert:] “In addition, the expansion of land clearance . . . might have reduced availability of forest resources, . . . accelerated in high population areas where potential fodder was gathered for fuel . . . as the expansion of Maya agriculture in the Late Classic became more costly and less reliable.”

Instead of reporting spectacular ruins, the new settlers in the land in the Book of Mormon find only depleted resources with timber all used up for housing and fuel. Since such forests never return, the damage could have been exceedingly ancient. (Do you know that Provo Canyon used to be heavily timbered? Then there was a great forest fire in 1915. It never grew back again, so those things are remarkably permanent.) The inhabitants had disappeared though the entire land which had once been occupied by a vast population. For the Nephites, they were simply “the former inhabitants of the land.” The noncommittal term and the failure to mention Jaredites, even by way of speculation, make it clear the new pioneers had no idea who those people might have been, only that they had been there a long time—long enough to clean out the forest—and also that they had filled the land. They were very numerous. They were not Lamanites, for Lamanites were contemporary savages, not a lost civilization. So the moral is, [you can answer] this stumbling block by saying, oh yes there were people here a millennium before. Well, you’re going to have a book of Ether for that.

Then this question about the racial issue. Were the Lamanites a single racial stock? Well, we’ve mentioned that enough to show how mixed up these people were, but here are some interesting quotes anyway. The racial issue is confusing because through the years [we have given] this simplistic explanation that you either had to be a Lamanite or a Nephite, and the Jaredites were completely extinct. That was it. Well, we’ve always been so simplistic. On the other hand is the equally naive doctrine that everything that ever came to the Western Hemisphere entered by way of the Bering Strait. That was [one man’s idea], and they still cling to it. That was the famous anthropologist Hrdlika, who came to Harvard and started working on this. He devoted his whole life to proving a passage along the Alaska land bridge, the Bering Strait. It’s shallow there, and when the ocean goes down you can cross—people have. Well, there’s no objection to their coming in that way at all. The Hopis call that “coming in by the back door.” They were aware of that tradition. Those people came down. See, the Athabascans were different people. So we have here this business of [how they came in].

This theory of the Mongolian extraction and passing over the Alaska land bridge is in Josiah Priest’s American Antiquities. I have an original first edition of this, incidentally. Everybody in Joseph Smith’s day said that’s the way. All you have to do is look at the map, and you can see they came over the Bering Strait. That’s what they’ll tell you in the National Geographic, or anywhere you go to read it. It’s so neat, but it’s simplistic. It’s as if nobody else came, and this is why. Anguiano says, “There are among the Indians Mongoloids, . . . Negroids. . . . [There certainly are] Southern European types [many of them], . . . giants [Semitic types, Mediterranean types], pygmies [Venezuela and Brazil]. Many anthropologists consider it impossible that all these types should be traced to a single Bering Strait route from Asia. South American skulls and dialects both have strong Oceanian resemblances and indicate a Pacific crossing.”

This is what the famous Edward Seler says: The two main native traditions have the ancestors coming from the east by sea and from the west by sea. They all agree that their ancestors came in boats. Well, if they keep saying that, shouldn’t we pay some attention to their traditions? No, no, they crossed the land bridge across Alaska there [people claim].

Then those favoring the single shot explanation (the land bridge) of everything have been significantly silent on the subject of blood types. G. A. Matson is a member of the Church, and he is the director of the National Blood Bank in St. Louis. So all the types, all the data, passes through his hands. He administers it, and he’s aware of all these things. He’s kept careful check on this. We do have a national blood bank there, and that’s where Brother Matson is. They find at the blood bank that the dominant type among the American Indians is type O, though some tribes like the Blackfeet are 100 percent type A, as are the Hawaiians. Now Mongolians, on the other hand (people tell us that Indians are all Mongolians) are almost exclusively type B. You won’t find type B among the Indians—it’s very rare. And if there’s anything that’s conservative, it’s duck lice and blood types. Those things never change through millions of years, they tell us. So, this question of race should be pretty well settled, if the issue hadn’t been carefully avoided. They never mention that blood type business, but you almost never find a blood type B [among Indians], though there were Mongols who came from the north. There’s a mixture there, but the dominant is A, which is the same, incidentally, as the Arabs and Jews. I mean the dominant type of the Indians is type O. The same combination of O and A is found in the same proportions among the Arabs and Jews as is found among the Indians. We’re talking about rough proportions here. But the one thing that’s missing is the Mongol type, which is exceedingly rare, the type B.

Now related to the problem of race is that of migration. There the experts have recently been bold to speculate, and it’s been crippled by the doctrine that the first people to come were the only comers. Why can’t people come after that? The only condition the Book of Mormon lays down to people coming to this continent is that they come with the knowledge and approval of the Lord. That’s it. They could have come before Lehi or after Lehi. “The Ten Tribes theory is demonstrably false,” Anguiano says, but nothing would keep people from coming over. We have nothing against Egyptian or Phoenician or Viking landings. There’s no trace of surviving racial types. In each case, how can we be sure? Many have noted that the great ceremonial centers of Mesoamerica . . . Now this is interesting. When you see them, what are you reminded of? You’re reminded of Southeast Asia—that heavy ornate decoration, the towers, the great detail, the overdressing, and all the rest of it are “reminiscent of Angkor Wat [the great temples in Burma and Siam] and the Khmer civilization of Southeast Asia,” as Donald Coe says. Robert Heine-Geldern, an Austrian who has spent many years on this particular subject, calls attention to the often stunning resemblances between the exotic remains of Cambodia, India, Mexico, and Guatemala (they all look just alike in their way); the impressive number of Chinese elements in Olmec—the tiger cult, the bronzes, the jade carving, etc. You’d think you were in China there. Contacts must have been by sea, not directly across the Pacific, however, but using the Kuroshyo-Drift, which follows along the coast. Remember the shortest distance between Japan and California—the channel islands off Santa Barbara—is a great circle in sight of land all the way. It’s the shortest distance, and many junks have drifted there. The introductory chapters of Clellan’s history of California recount junks, Chinese coins, fans, and other things that have been found. Bronze handles and the like have been found in the channel islands along the California coast because junks have drifted there.

Richard Halliburton, the sensation writer and sensation seeker of the thirties and forties decided to imitate that. He started out in a junk, but his junk was badly built. He was never seen again. He was going to follow that drift to California. The people were all waiting, but the ship never came in. “Oh lang, lang may the ladies stand, wi’ their fans into their hand, Or e’er they see Sir Patrick Spens come sailing to the land.” Well, not him.

There is something seriously wrong here, for the whole Southeast Asia complex doesn’t arise until the ninth and tenth centuries after Christ. Well, we’re way off on our schedule here. It’s supposed to come from them, and yet they’re much much later than these. So how do we account for that? They could not have inspired American cult centers built a thousand years earlier. The only explanation, he says, is to look for a common source. And where do you find it? In the Near East. They both got their ideas from the Near East at a much earlier time. It is there, according to Heine-Geldern, that we must find the originals, of both the American and the East Asiatic forms. That’s why they look alike. They had common origins. That happens to be where the Book of Mormon people came from.

But if the people came from Asia, there’s a puzzling lack of cultivated plants and domestic animals of the Old World in the New World. We don’t find in the New World the plow, the potter’s wheel, the bellows, glass, iron, stringed instruments, and the true arts. We don’t find any of those, as well as certain cultivated plants. Well, Heine-Geldern said that accounts for the nature of the migration that was made. It was a small group of people seeking religious asylum, apparently, which is what Lehi’s group was. It wasn’t people bringing a whole culture with them in a mass migration. This is more than out-balanced by the more important cultural items such as political patterns, which you can bring with you in your baggage, even if it’s just one family. Cosmology, art, religion, symbolism, ceremonial architecture, etc., are far too much alike in the two hemispheres to be explained by the recent far-fetched theory of conversion. Now the point is here, we don’t have certain things at all. Yet these other things are even more fundamental, because they’re mental and intellectual property. They’re full blown here. The solution is the type of migration indicated. The people who crossed the sea were not artisans or technicians but cultivated folk of religious, intellectual and priestly persuasion. Well, that’s Lehi’s family, and the people who went with him. What is indicated, according to Heine-Geldern, is “carefully planned and prepared undertakings primarily with missionary goals.” Well, look at Alma and Nephi. He thinks of himself and leaves his pious community. That’s what they’re doing. They’re spreading the gospel—not to natives in the land, but among themselves. They go out into the desert just like the people at Qumran in the Dead Sea Scrolls. They go out to live a proper religious life and expect the coming of the Messiah—to live the plan of salvation as the Lord laid it down for us. That’s what they’re doing here—not necessarily missionary goals but religious goals. They set up their own community of saints.

Then why no trace of Southeast Asiatic religious teachings in America? Why no Hinduism and Buddhism? The answer again is to look to the Near East, where the Spanish priests and Puritan divines instantly detected so many resemblances between the rites and teachings of the Old World and the New. Things were very different when they first came here. Things had a different appearance. Judging today, you’d never guess it, but everyone was enormously impressed by these people living just like the Jews. They even thought they spoke Hebrew. And these parallels—of course, they were conditioned to see that. Nevertheless, if you read a book like Boudinot’s Star in the West, written in 1820, and you’ll see how much these resemblances were [evident]. People like Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin were absolutely convinced that the Indians were of Hebrew descent. Joseph Smith could have got it from them, eh? Then the problem would be to write it up.

Well, we give some examples here from the Mississippi Valley. Holmes collected extensive parallels from the Mississippi Valley to Mexico and Mesoamerica. He showed that at the time of the Conquistadores there was a massive movement of tribes from the north to the southeastern United States. They were moving again, just as in the Book of Mormon there is that massive movement toward the north and east. The Cherokee came from Lake Erie, for example. The platform mounds of the Mississippi Valley are right out of Mexico. Well, I guess the best town to see it in would be Hotevilla, where you have five kivas that are built just on the model of Mexican temples with towers.

We have to hurry on here. [Then there’s the question of] whether they were migrating too far. (There’s this map given here.) He tells us here: “A superficial concept of distances . . . reinforced by a false perception of present-day boundaries of the Americas is one of those things, perhaps the most popular, . . . which absolutely refuses to admit cultural contacts and derivations.”

What he’s showing is the distance from one end of the Inca Empire [to the other], which runs all through the Andes and through which the Incas made a daily milk run with goods and military inspections every day. They wouldn’t take more than a day, but the length of that Inca Empire is greater by far than the distance from Mexico City to New York. It’s by far greater, and it was a regular run, you see. But here he takes it as far as from Columbia to New York. It goes through Yucatan and all these others. Of course, that’s a longer way around, but it’s the same air distance. It’s even shorter as to the question that they couldn’t negotiate those great distances; they couldn’t go that far.

Well, the moral teaching is the most important here. Now this is what happened. People often ask, “Where are the great heaps of evidence that would confirm the Book of Mormon.” As Bullard says here in Culbert’s book, “The old Classic culture with its social controls was completely sundered and swept away [that’s a favorite expression in the Book of Mormon: they shall be swept away as soon as they’re ripe in iniquity—they shall be swept from the face of the land]. The Post-Classic is a new chapter, if not indeed a new book. . . . The fabulous cities of the Puuc were totally and finally abandoned.” [L. Sejourne:] “Not only the Maya country but the Atlantic Coast, Oaxaca, and the Central Highlands of Mexico were all deserted at once.”

This is an astounding thing to tell us. Ether 2:8-10 says, “Whoso should possess this land of promise . . . should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them. . . . And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land that they are swept off.”

How do the horrendous excesses indicated [happen]? Some of the paintings and carvings match with the Book of Mormon. Well, the fulness of iniquity describes them. This takes us to the dark side of early American civilization. A sixteenth-century Spanish description of rites and ceremonies employed by the Indians of New Spain is quite terrifying. Moroni 9:19: “And they have become strong in their perversion and they are alike brutal, sparing none.” The Book of Mormon says they had perverted the right ways of the Lord. They had the religion and the ceremonies, but they perverted them to an extreme extent. We mentioned this before.

Here we have Quetzlcoatl, the great prophet and savior, departing with a promise to return. The other was the cult traced to the time of King Uemac, “at which time the people turned to war and human sacrifice.” We’ve seen that. The evil has two aspects in the Book of Mormon: (1) General corruption and licentiousness, with frequent mention of “delight in the shedding of blood.” (2) The domination of secret societies with their oaths, signs, insignia, etc. These last were very much in evidence in Post-Classical art. This is what did it, you see. For example, the vast display of overwhelming symbolism, especially the lion or jaguar, the eagle and snake motifs. They are society members and various clans which subject everybody to terror, and these still exist among certain Indians. In the Book of Mormon the ubiquitous eagle, lion, and snake motifs are only hinted at, but in the correct context. Nephi tells people how “upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceeding high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them” (2 Nephi 4:25). It was not permissible. He comes as near as permissible to hinting at the sort of thing that was perverted.

There’s a parallel here beginning on page 7. After all, the purpose of his study was to say why did this all collapse? “Oversuccessful, overstrained, and probably overbearing, Tikal would have been at the mercy of ecological, social, and political catastrophes” [Culbert].

“You have obtained many riches. . . . Ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts. . . . God . . . condemneth you, and if ye persist, . . . his judgments must speedily come upon you (Jacob 2:13-21). See, there’s the Book of Mormon speaking the same language.

“As civilization becomes more complex, it becomes more vulnerable—as we are discovering to our increasing horror in recent years. . . . The problems of maintenance and unity increase geometrically” [E. W. Andrews].

[Other factors are] the rise of population density, militarism, and a shift from egalitarian to ranked and stratified society [W. T. Sanders]. On the Book of Mormon side, there were many merchants, many lawyers, and many officers, and the people were distinguished by ranks. The people became as numerous as the sands of the sea, and there began to be a war between the Nephites and Lamanites. Notice [Sanders mentions] militarism and a shift from an egalitarian to a ranked and stratified society. Well, the Book of Mormon says there were many officers, people began to be distinguished by ranks, and thus “there began to be great inequality . . . insomuch that the church began to be broken up.” And so it goes. All of these are matched here.

There was “an increasing distance between the peasant and noble” [according to Sanders], and Alma says, “And thus we see how great the inequality of man is because of sin and transgression. . . . Will ye persist in supposing that ye are better one than another?”

Then there was “migration, stimulated by peasant dissatisfaction and permitted by the breakdown of the political system” [Sanders]. They got more than they could take, and they would simply migrate. And Alma says, “We who are despised . . . shall not be trodden down. . . . I shall stir up insurrection. . . . I do not fear your power nor your authority.”

These parallels go on. You may check them and find them very instructive. Rivalry over trade and commercial war [were important]. They had free intercourse to buy and sell, but to get gain they began to commit secret murders and to rob and plunder.

Then a general summary includes a sharp differentiation, a class of bureaucrats, craft specialists, [civilization] integrated at the elite level, signs of regionalism, fighting among cities and inner cities.

Helaman says, “There were wars throughout all the land among all the people of Nephi.” There were great swellings, envyings, strife, malice, persecution, and murder. As they sum it up, this is what accounts for the disappearance of these people, and it’s exactly what the Book of Mormon says happened, right down the line at every point. Well, we don’t have time to analyze this.