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The Cross at Palenque


poulsenll

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This Mayan drawing has been interpreted, as I remember, as showing Pakal being led down into the afterlife.

This Catholic article on the cross

http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/chap/cross.html

Suggests a similar function for the Christian cross.

But now, since that day when, in our madness, we crucified the Prince of Life, each of us knows that someone has gone before us on the road we all must travel--a road marked not just with our thousand-and-one small crosses, but which henceforth and of necessity passes through his Cross. In bearing it for you, Jesus has made it your road to glory. He has nailed there the debt of our sins. From his open side flows a spring of living water, and what was the dry tree of the cross on Golgotha has now become the Tree of Life. The whole earth is invited there, to find the way through the narrow door leading, as promised, to Paradise. Rather than carry your daily cross alone, will you now carry it after Him? If you take it up in love and accept it in freedom, you can be sure it will become for you and many others a path of hope and the passover from bondage to the freedom of True Life.

from World Youth Day 1993 Pilgrim

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Is this just coincidence or did the Mayans have a remnant of a knowledge of Christ?

It's just a coincidence. <_<:unsure::ph34r:

That's the (Maya) Tree of Life. Its roots extend into the underworld, and its canopy is in Heaven. The cross (symbolizing the Tree) was an important symbol in Meso-American art, and indeed was noticed at the time of the Conquest. If it's evidence of Pre-Columbian Christianity, then what about Norse mythology- they had a Tree of Life too, and their God was crucified on it and rose from the dead! :P

He Walked Among the Swedes!!!

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Well, uh, actually there RC the LDS believe that Christ visited others besides the people in the BoM. The other records are still to come forth.

Not that I don't trust you, oh stranger on the internet, but may I ask if other Latter-day Saints agree with that statement? I've never heard that before, but hey, life is for learning...

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I'm with A Random Catholic on this one. It is coincidence. There is a large complex of things associated with the Mesoamerican tree of life and I see parallels to the Asian trees most directly. The tree mythology is very old and quite complex. Nevertheless, the parallels go to a much older layer than Christianity.

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I'm with A Random Catholic on this one. It is coincidence. There is a large complex of things associated with the Mesoamerican tree of life and I see parallels to the Asian trees most directly. The tree mythology is very old and quite complex. Nevertheless, the parallels go to a much older layer than Christianity. 

I agree. Nonetheless, tree mythology in the BOM is very important; it is certainly a broad parallel.

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Not that I don't trust you, oh stranger on the internet, but may I ask if other Latter-day Saints agree with that statement?  I've never heard that before, but hey, life is for learning...

Neal A. Maxwell in Chapter 2 ("A Miraculous Miracle") of "A Wonderful Flood of Light" @ http://gospelink.com/library/doc?doc_id=313108 stated:

Many more scriptural writings will yet come to us, including those of Enoch (see D&C 107:57), all of the writings of the Apostle John (see Ether 4:16), the records of the lost tribes of Israel (see 2 Nephi 29:13), and the approximately two-thirds of the Book of Mormon plates that were sealed: "And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth" (2 Nephi 27:11). Today we carry convenient quadruple combinations of the scriptures, but one day, since more scriptures are coming, we may need to pull little red wagons brimful with books.

BTW, you can listen to the March 26, 1989 BYU Devotional by Maxwell entitled "A Wonderful Flood of Light" that apparently preceded his book @ http://byubroadcasting.org/devotionals/aud.../devo032689.asx or http://byubroadcasting.org/devotionals/aud.../devo032689.ram

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Thanks, Pseudogratix. I'm afraid that I already knew that the LDS Church anticipated a great deal more Scripture, though. I was intrigued by the assertion that there were more than two Christophanies. If you spent more than fifteen minutes Googling for that Neal Maxwell cite, you may utter a mild profanity...

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Bill Hamblin:

I agree. Nonetheless, tree mythology in the BOM is very important; it is certainly a broad parallel.

Very broad. However, there is a better parallel in the text to the Middle East than to the Mesoamerican Tree. There are some interesting East/West divisions in the development of religion in the Old World. The New World appears to follow the Eastern branch. The Bible and Book of Mormon follow the Western. So yes, there is a parallel and it is the right kind of parallel. It just isn't very closely related to the Mesoamerican tree - very distant cousins.

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Brant,

I tend to agree that it goes way back before Christ but not necesarily before Christianity.

My next question is:

Why the change from a distinct tree as portrayed in the Izapa stone, about 600 BC to a distinct cross as portrayed at Palenque, at least 600 AD.

A similar change occurred in the old world that is from a distinct tree anciently to a cross, the rose cross, as reported by the Societas Rosicruciana.

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/2092/paper3.htm

Larry P

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Larry:

I haven't seen any speculation on the shift in form. One expects that the process moves from representation to stylization. Why the stylized form settled into a cross would be an interesting research topic. I don't know if there are many intermediate forms.

The tree in Izapa was already moving away from strict representation. A different stela has the tree sprouting from the the tail of a crocodile whose head and feet form the roots and the vertical body becomes the tree.

One of the essential aspects of the Mesoamerican tree that parallels the Asian version is the conception of the tree as a conduit. The emphasis is on conceptual movement rather than on the fruit which is at least the Levantine version of the tree. The earth monster/crocodile at the bottom and bird at the top are the indicators of the movement. The tree crosses continue those elements of the represtational tree.

As a quick guess, I would say that the cruciform tree developed out of the confluence of the conduit from underworld to heaven and the conception of 4 world directions. The cross becomes symbolic of the directions and therefore the world and places this particular tree at the center. That is my guess, anyway.

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As a quick guess, I would say that the cruciform tree developed out of the confluence of the conduit from underworld to heaven and the conception of 4 world directions. The cross becomes symbolic of the directions and therefore the world and places this particular tree at the center. That is my guess, anyway.

This aspect of the directions is one of the concepts portrayed by the symbology of the Rosicrcian "Rose Cross", as pointed out in the discussion on the previously quoted web site.

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/2092/paper3.htm

The idea of the cross as a conduit expressed by the Catholic web site quoted above is what struck me as being similar, to what you point out, is the Mayan concept.

Next question:

What is the relationship, if any between the Fierce Bird of the Mayan concept and the Cherubims (Birdlike winged guardians of the Tree of Life and the Arc of the Covenant)? The Izapa Stela 5 appears to have both. Incidently, Lehi and Nephi mention no chubims in their dream of the Tree of Life (angels are not cherubims).

Larry P

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(angels are not cherubims).

Larry P

Perhaps cherubim can be angels? Perhaps not to the same level as men*, but is it possible that angels may include heavenly 'beasts'?

*-Is Angel duty a priesthood assignment, or are women messengers just not written about?

Thanks,

Shuriken.

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