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Cuicuilco as Jacobugath part Duex


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Mormon 8:12

12)And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these. Behold, I am Moroni; and were it possible, I would make all things known unto you.

In Helaman 3, we read the description of a group of people who migrate to a land that:

1)is an "exceedingly great distance" north of Nephite lands

2)a land of "large bodies of water and many rivers"

3)a place where people are expert in the use of cement.

4)a place that underwent deforestation.

5)a place which had people who hailed from south of the isthmus, Nephites and Ammonites.

6)and whose inhabitants "began to cover the face of the whole earth".

From about 200AD to 600 AD the only area in the Americas that possibly matches these six criteria is the city of Teotihuacan. Teotihuacan is:

1)north of the isthmus of Tehuantepec

2)is in the Teotihucan Valley, a side pocket of the Valley of Mexico. The Valley of Mexico was home to Lakes Xaltocan, Texcoco, Xochimilco and Chalco.

3)Teotihuacanos made extensive use of cement.

4)It has been proposed that the destruction of the surrounding forests nessecary for the burning of the lime which went into building Teotihuacan contributed to erosion and desiccation of the region.

5)There was a strong Southern(Mayan) presence at Teotihuacan

6)Teotihuacan influence extened into the Gulf Coast of Mexico, Oaxaca and as far south as Guatemala.

If the narrow neck of land is the strait of Tehuantepec then the only place that fits this description is Teotihuacan. However, Mormon's account seems anachronistic. Helaman ch. 3 does not describe the Teotihuacan of 50BC, it describes the Teotihuacan of 250AD and beyond. It does not describe the Teotihuacan of Helaman's day, but the Teotihuacan of Mormon's day, 400AD. It does not describe what Teotihuacan was like during the days of the actual migration recorded in Helaman 3; it describes what Teotihuacan was like when Mormon was alive and writing. Mormon "messed up".

The ancient Greek historian Xenophon made this same type of mistake. Xenophon incorrectly records that Cyrus the Great received and distributed gold darics.The daric did not exist until after the lifetime of Cyrus. The daric began to be used during the reign of Darius; the coin(daric) was named after him. Since the daric was used during Xenphon's time, we can see how this mistake was made. As ancient historians, both Mormon and Xenophon took the conditions of their day and incorrectly retrojected them into the past. Mormon may have made a mistake, but it was the kind of mistake other ancient historians made .

Mormon takes the time and effort to describe a migration to what would eventually become Teotihuacan, because Teotihuacan was very much on his mind. The Teotihuacanos of Mormon's day were doing what the Gadianton Robbers of Helaman's day were doing; that is: they were usurping power and disrupting the social order.


The Book of Mormon makes mention on two locales far north of Nephite territory, the first seems to be Teotihuacan, described as it existed during the time of Mormon. The other is Jacobugath.


1)It was a "great city"(3 Nephi 9:9).

2)caused to be burned with fire(3 Nephi 9:9).

3)was at the northernmost part of the land(3 Nephi 7:9,12)


1)Had a population of around 20,000 souls.

2)Destroyed by a volcano at around AD 245-315.

3)Was in the Valley of Mexico,which is north of the isthmus of Tehuantepec.

The interesting thing about this is that like Teotihuacan, Jacobugath does not match the Cuicuilco of 33AD, but the Cuicuilco of 300AD and beyond. If Cuicuilco is Jacobugath thenthe destruction of Jacobugath described in 3 Nephi 9:9 would have to be an interpolation from Mormon's own hand. But why would he do this?

3 Nephi 9:9

"And behold, that great city Jacobugath, which was inhabited by the people of king Jacob, have I caused to be burned with fire because of their sins and their wickedness, which was above all the wickedness of the whole earth, because of their secret murders and combinations; for it was they that did destroy the peace of my people and the government of the land; therefore I did cause them to be burned, to destroy them from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up unto me any more against them."

Like his mention of Teotihucan, an anachronistic placement of Cuicuilco/Jacubagath's destruction suites the purposes of Mormon's meta-narrative. By doing so, Mormon is able to connect the secret combinations of his day, with the secret combinations that existed preceding the cruxifiction cataclysm. He can connect his people's destruction in the early 400's, with their earlier destruction in 33AD. It was Mormon's way of connecting his present with the past. There is another possibility.

3 Nephi 8:1

And now it came to pass that according to our record, and we know our record to be true, for behold, it was a just man who did keep the record

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  • 3 weeks later...

The benefit this idea has is that it recquires the Nephite historians to treat Cuicuilco the way the treated Teotihuacan. The further the distance, the further away in time, the less reliable their reporting would have been.

Quite ingenious!! May I raise a question, however, about the nature of the name and a further geographical correlation.

As you may know, the earliest form of the city name is Jacob Ugath (Pinter's MS). Later, Oliver Cowdery added a hyphen, giving us Jacob-Ugath. The current spelling was adopted in the 1830 edition, and has remained thus ever since. Royal Skousen argues for a return to the hyphenated form of the name, and I agree. Of course, if someone wanted to remove the hyphen, that would be fine too. The connection with King Jacob must be part of the rationale for the name, but what of Ugath??

Regardless of how we etymologize that final part of the name (could it be Sumerian U-GID-DA "Long-Grasses"), it is at least interesting to speculate on what may have been the source of it. Could it be that Jacob Ugath was built on the ruins of the ancient Jaredite (Olmec?) Ogath?? The change of O to U for euphony.

Both Ogath and Jacob Ugath are in the land northward, near Ramah (Ether 15:10). However, the Valley of Mexico and John L. Sorenson's Hill Ramah (Cerro el Vigia) are not in the same neighborhood. Not even close.

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