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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Fresh Perspective on Cahokia Mounds: Mayans in Our Midst?

Cahokia Mounds Aerial Illustration

Since I visited Cahokia Mounds in 2012, I've been fascinated by many parallels between what I witnessed as a missionary in Guatemala and as a tourist in the Yucatan and what I saw at Cahokia. Check out this article on Cahokia Mounds. It goes into how the Cahokia civilization just up and abandoned their urban project, and for a lot of the same reasons for which Mayan civilizations abandoned their urban centers and lifestyles.
Sacred meetings and ceremonies – the city’s purpose – took place on the plazas and in buildings inside the palisade. “There was a belief that what went on on Earth also went on in the spirit world, and vice versa,” says James Brown, a professor emeritus of archaeology at Northwestern University. “So once you went inside these sacred protocols, everything had to be very precise.”
Further, the article states,
...it appears the Mississippians may have conducted ritual human sacrifices, judging by what appears to be hundreds of people, mostly young women, buried in these mass graves. Some were likely strangled; others possibly died of bloodletting. Four men were found with their heads and hands cut off; another burial pit had mostly males who had been clubbed to death.
Did post-Book of Mormon era Yucatecan Mayans travel northward across the Gulf of Mexico, or along its Western coast, to the Mississippi river and influence or even directly establish the Mississippian cultures, urban centers, and places and methods of worship and sacrifice?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

I'm leaving the church...

The following is my attempt to put into context...a wider context than is currently available in the public debate...about what it means when a person joins the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I do not mean it as a trivialization of the struggles of those who choose to later leave the Church of Christ. I mean it only as a way of linking back to the principles taught in the Book of Mormon and to provide more sure footing for those who are thinking about running away from the faith they once embraced. The arms you're running into by fleeing the Church of Christ are not arms that will love you. They are not arms that will save you. Please stay. If you've left us, please come back.


I'm leaving the church...the church of the devil.

There. I've said it. I feel much better now. For years I've been suffering in silence, not knowing whether my stance on that church's definition of morality would put me in a bad light with its members. I knew their beliefs and they didn't know mine. But it's finally out in the open, and I feel better for saying it.

I will teach openly that the doctrines of that church are completely false. They were based on a lie by a person who sought to become God. He claimed to have authority and that he would save everyone, but that was also a lie. He had no such power, even though he claims to this very day, by twisting scripture, to be able to achieve a false form of collective salvation.

I know that I'll be excommunicated from the church of the devil for my belief that that church is in error. I'm 100% fine with that. The truth is, it always has been in error. I know that the high priests of that church will come after me and put me into disciplinary councils to shame and even force me into continuing to follow their perverse doctrines, but I will not comply.

I will shout from the rooftops how wrong it is to believe in gay marriage and its opening the door to purposely denying children the love of both a father and a mother in the bonds of eternal marriage. I will teach that the "fluidity of sex and gender" (as that church defines it) is a false doctrine. I will actively fight against the moral relativism its adherents seek to promulgate. I will not fall victim to its rites and ordinances of earth worship, committing murder to get gain, pornography, abortion on demand for purposes of convenience, gossip, drug use, and adoration of celebrity, among many, many other sins, none of which are new under the sun.

Many will tell me I'm a fool for leaving that church. I guess I can't blame them. That church offers many enticing things: sex without consequence, murder without reprimand, hate sanctioned by a politically correct ideology, disobedience to parents, maligning of good men and women, and enmity toward commandments of God and toward His Christ.

Indeed, the church of the devil has taught me many things against Christ. In my disciplinary council, which will go on and on and on for the rest of my life until that blessed day when I return to my Heavenly Father, I'll be told the following:


I make no apologies for my stance. It's been a long time coming and the world deserves to hear of an alternative lifestyle to what it has accepted all these centuries. The world deserves to know that the church of the devil will not be standing when Christ comes.

When that day comes, the existence of my God will no longer be denied. In the meantime, I will have a voice and my voice will be in service of my God, the one and only True God of Israel.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Yes, There Is Such A Thing As Reformed Egyptian

Some who have approached the Book of Mormon with the assumption that an ancient Israelite text could only be written in Hebrew have found the notion of reformed Egyptian to be a stumbling block in accepting the Book of Mormon's claims to be scripture.

However, many samples of a form of shorthand script based on Egyptian hieratic script have been found to be used in and around Israel, by Israelites, dating back to the time Lehi left Jerusalem (600 BC).

BookOfMormonCentral.org publishes regular KnoWhy articles to dig deeper into Book of Mormon topics. Today's KnoWhy explains the Book of Mormon prophet Moroni's claim to be writing in "reformed Egyptian". Nephi also mentioned using a form of writing based on Egyptian writing when he said, "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."

Here are three of seven points mentioned in the KnoWhy article, just to whet your appetite. I strongly recommend you visit the newly-launched BookOfMormonCentral.org to really dig into the Book of Mormon text and research.

First, Israelite texts at the time of Lehi employed numbers and signs from an ancient Egyptian script called hieratic.1  There are over 200 samples of hieratic found in the regions of Israel and Judah.2 
Second, LDS scholars John A. Tvedtnes and Stephen D. Ricks3 collected examples of texts written in a Hebrew-related language being transcribed in hieratic Egyptian dating to 600 years before Lehi.4 They also shared an example of Psalms 20:2–6 written in Aramaic translation using Egyptian characters. This example dates to about 400 years after Lehi’s time.5 
Third, archaeologists have also found Egyptian hieratic writing on broken pieces of pots from an Israelite city dating to Lehi’s time. As scholars explain, “the text … is written in a combination of Egyptian hieratic and Hebrew characters but can be read entirely as Egyptian.”6
See Did Ancient Israelites Write In Egyptian? for more!