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Christ's visit to the Americas


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As those of you who have read along with come follow me know, we just finished reading about Christ's visit to the Americas. In reading this, I am curious if anyone more knowledgeable than myself is aware of any studies done on archeology, folklore, or other cultural contexts that would indicate some kind of evidence that Christ came to the Americas. Obviously there won't be a smoking gun, but I have heard it mentioned about beliefs of a "white bearded God" here and there, but I want to get some more concrete information. Thanks in advance

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Check out Brant Gardner.  

Much of the stories/myths appear to be the Spanish and others reading their own beliefs into the traditions of the indigenous Americans.

Sorry, don't have time to post more at the moment.  You probably can find his stuff on this at BoM Central, maybe FairMormon (I know we have talked about it extensively as people have asked questions over the years, but not all answers get added to the FM wiki or whatever it is called now).

He has also posted here, you might use google to find his posts as more than likely over a year ago.

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5 hours ago, boblloyd91 said:

As those of you who have read along with come follow me know, we just finished reading about Christ's visit to the Americas. In reading this, I am curious if anyone more knowledgeable than myself is aware of any studies done on archeology, folklore, or other cultural contexts that would indicate some kind of evidence that Christ came to the Americas. Obviously there won't be a smoking gun, but I have heard it mentioned about beliefs of a "white bearded God" here and there, but I want to get some more concrete information. Thanks in advance

Over the years there LDS folks have associated Quetzalcoatl with Christ's visit in the BOM, but I think that has been discredited by LDS scholars lately.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quetzalcoatl

 

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Belief in Cortés as Quetzalcoatl[edit]

220px-Quetzalcoatl_Ehecatl.jpg
 
Quetzalcoatl in human form, using the symbols of Ehecatl, from the Codex Borgia.

Since the sixteenth century, it has been widely held that the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II initially believed the landing of Hernán Cortés in 1519 to be Quetzalcoatl's return. This view has been questioned by ethno-historians who argue that the Quetzalcoatl-Cortés connection is not found in any document that was created independently of post-Conquest Spanish influence, and that there is little proof of a pre-Hispanic belief in Quetzalcoatl's return.[29][30][31][32][33] Most documents expounding this theory are of entirely Spanish origin, such as Cortés's letters to Charles V of Spain, in which Cortés goes to great pains to present the naive gullibility of the Aztecs in general as a great aid in his conquest of Mexico.

Much of the idea of Cortés being seen as a deity can be traced back to the Florentine Codex written down some 50 years after the conquest. In the Codex's description of the first meeting between Moctezuma and Cortés, the Aztec ruler is described as giving a prepared speech in classical oratorial Nahuatl, a speech which, as described in the codex written by the Franciscan Bernardino de Sahagún and his Tlatelolcan informants, included such prostrate declarations of divine or near-divine admiration as:

You have graciously come on earth, you have graciously approached your water, your high place of Mexico, you have come down to your mat, your throne, which I have briefly kept for you, I who used to keep it for you.

and:

You have graciously arrived, you have known pain, you have known weariness, now come on earth, take your rest, enter into your palace, rest your limbs; may our lords come on earth.

220px-Quetzalcoatl_telleriano.jpg
 
Quetzalcoatl in feathered-serpent form as depicted in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis

Subtleties in, and an imperfect scholarly understanding of, high Nahuatl rhetorical style make the exact intent of these comments tricky to ascertain, but Restall argues that Moctezuma's politely offering his throne to Cortés (if indeed he did ever give the speech as reported) may well have been meant as the exact opposite of what it was taken to mean: politeness in Aztec culture was a way to assert dominance and show superiority.[34] This speech, which has been widely referred to, has been a factor in the widespread belief that Moctezuma was addressing Cortés as the returning god Quetzalcoatl.

Other parties have also promulgated the idea that the Mesoamericans believed the conquistadors, and in particular Cortés, to be awaited gods: most notably the historians of the Franciscan order such as Fray Gerónimo de Mendieta.[35] Some Franciscans at this time held millennarian beliefs[36] and some of them believed that Cortés' coming to the New World ushered in the final era of evangelization before the coming of the millennium. Franciscans such as Toribio de Benavente "Motolinia" saw elements of Christianity in the pre-Columbian religions and therefore believed that Mesoamerica had been evangelized before, possibly by Thomas the Apostle, who, according to legend, had "gone to preach beyond the Ganges". Franciscans then equated the original Quetzalcoatl with Thomas and imagined that the Indians had long-awaited his return to take part once again in God's kingdom. Historian Matthew Restall concludes that:

The legend of the returning lords, originated during the Spanish-Mexica war in Cortés' reworking of Moctezuma's welcome speech, had by the 1550s merged with the Cortés-as-Quetzalcoatl legend that the Franciscans had started spreading in the 1530s. (Restall 2001 p. 114)[full citation needed]

170px-Quetzalcoatl%2C_a_Major_Deity_of_t
 
Quetzalcoatl as depicted in the post-Conquest Tovar Codex.

Some scholarship maintains the view that the Aztec Empire's fall may be attributed in part to the belief in Cortés as the returning Quetzalcoatl, notably in works by David Carrasco (1982), H. B. Nicholson (2001 (1957)) and John Pohl (2016). However, a majority of Mesoamericanist scholars, such as Matthew Restall (2003, 2018[34]), James Lockhart (1994), Susan D. Gillespie (1989), Camilla Townsend (2003a, 2003b), Louise Burkhart, Michel Graulich and Michael E. Smith (2003), among others, consider the "Quetzalcoatl/Cortés myth" as one of many myths about the Spanish conquest which have risen in the early post-conquest period.

There is no question that the legend of Quetzalcoatl played a significant role in the colonial period. However, this legend likely has a foundation in events that took place immediately prior to the arrival of the Spaniards. A 2012 exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Dallas Museum of Art, "The Children of the Plumed Serpent: the Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico", demonstrated the existence of a powerful confederacy of Eastern Nahuas, Mixtecs and Zapotecs, along with the peoples they dominated throughout southern Mexico between 1200–1600 (Pohl, Fields, and Lyall 2012, Harvey 2012, Pohl 2003). They maintained a major pilgrimage and commercial center at Cholula, Puebla which the Spaniards compared to both Rome and Mecca because the cult of the god united its constituents through a field of common social, political, and religious values without dominating them militarily. This confederacy engaged in almost seventy-five years of nearly continuous conflict with the Aztec Empire of the Triple Alliance until the arrival of Cortés. Members of this confederacy from Tlaxcala, Puebla, and Oaxaca provided the Spaniards with the army that first reclaimed the city of Cholula from its pro-Aztec ruling faction, and ultimately defeated the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City). The Tlaxcalteca, along with other city-states across the Plain of Puebla, then supplied the auxiliary and logistical support for the conquests of Guatemala and West Mexico while Mixtec and Zapotec caciques (Colonial indigenous rulers) gained monopolies in the overland transport of Manila galleon trade through Mexico, and formed highly lucrative relationships with the Dominican order in the new Spanish imperial world economic system that explains so much of the enduring legacy of indigenous life-ways that characterize southern Mexico and explain the popularity of the Quetzalcoatl legends that continued through the colonial period to the present day.

Contemporary use[edit]

Latter Day Saints movement[edit]

220px-Quetzalcoatl_Mural_in_Acapulco%2C_
 
Quetzalcoatl Mural in Acapulco by Diego Rivera

According to the Book of Mormon, the resurrected Jesus Christ descended from heaven and visited the people of the American continent, shortly after his resurrection. Some followers of the Latter Day Saints movement believe that Quetzalcoatl was historically Jesus Christ, but believe his name and the details of the event were gradually lost over time.

Quetzalcoatl is not a religious symbol in the Latter-day Saint faith, and is not taught as such, nor is it in their doctrine that Quetzalcoatl is Jesus.[37] However, one president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, John Taylor, wrote:[38]

The story of the life of the Mexican divinity, Quetzalcoatl, closely resembles that of the Savior; so closely, indeed, that we can come to no other conclusion than that Quetzalcoatl and Christ are the same being. But the history of the former has been handed down to us through an impure Lamanitish source, which has sadly disfigured and perverted the original incidents and teachings of the Savior's life and ministry.

 Mediation and Atonement, p. 194.

Latter-day Saint author Brant Gardner, after investigating the link between Quetzalcoatl and Jesus, concluded that the association amounts to nothing more than folklore.[39] In a 1986 paper for Sunstone, he noted that during the Spanish Conquest, the Native Americans and the Catholic priests who sympathized with them felt pressure to link Native American beliefs with Christianity, thus making the Native Americans seem more human and less savage. Over time, Quetzalcoatl's appearance, clothing, malevolent nature, and status among the gods were reshaped to fit a more Christian framework.[40]

 

 

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I’m not sure of the scholarship of the book, but I have an old copy of “He Walked the America’s” by L. Taylor Hansen. It’s an interesting read if nothing else.

Greg

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13 minutes ago, gurn said:

I’m not sure of the scholarship of the book, but I have an old copy of “He Walked the America’s” by L. Taylor Hansen. It’s an interesting read if nothing else.

Greg

Scholarship is poor Iirc.  Think of the book as more entertainment. 

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I think prior to the Information Age, authors and church leaders jumped to conclusions much more frequently, and this is one of those areas where this happened.  The ability to collaborate and evaluate data better has made some of these sure evidences/claims of the BoM look not so sure.  I remember teaching people about Quetzalcoatl using the old film and cassette that beeped when you had to turn the slide.  I don’t think that story is held as “evidence” any more.

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The San Blas Islands off the Atlantic coast of Panama were part of my Central American mission. Some of the islands are inhabited by the Cuna or Guna Indians. They were never subjugated by Spain or Panama. They preserve their history in the form of songs that certain select men learn from memory. It takes several days to sing it completely.

Missionaries were sent there from our mission. They usually stayed between six months and a year because they had to learn to speak the language. Our mission president Teddy Brewerton was very interested in their legends and religion. He met with a number of their leaders and collected stories and anecdotes from the islands.  One story involves their "founder," Ibeorgun. At the time we were there, it was strongly suggested that Ibeorgun was Jesus Christ. He taught them how to live together and prosper. Like other Native American stories, this may have kernels of truth, but who knows? Before his death, the twelfth and last nele supposedly prophesied the arrival of white men with a book that would tell the people their story. It was believed that for this reason there were some remarkable conversions on the islands, often related to the Book of Mormon. Their tribal leadership is similar to a "first presidency and quorum of twelve," or so it was said. 

Once when President Brewerton was visiting the islands in  December (1967?), he and the missionaries thought it would be a good idea to present the Christmas story as told in the Book of Mormon. They and some members read and dramatized the story for some of the leaders and residents on one island. After their presentation, a leader said something like, "That is a good story except you have the time wrong. It happened in the Spring."  

There is an instruction house in which the people are taught important concepts. (see the article quoted at the bottom).

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The second culture hero was IBEORKUN, who descended to earth on a sundisk.  With him are associated most of the moral and ethical teachings of the Kuna people, including repetitions of the teachings about the female cycle ceremonies.  All Kuna religious specialists agree that Ibeorgun it was who taught the Kuna people how to have chiefs and that before Ibeorgun the leadership was in the hands of Neles (shamans) not chiefs.  The gathering house is also known as the house of Ibeorgun. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g298434-c2329/San-Blas-Islands:Panama:Kuna.Cultures.html

Each year there was a week-long celebration in memory of Ibeorgun. Many thought it came from the sacrament initiated by Jesus, except they got to drink lots of chicha and were not held responsible for what they did during the week. This was a major impediment to missionary work and member retention.

I wish I had access to President Brewerton's writings, but I don't know where they might be. I will ask on our mission Facebook page if anyone knows about them.

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Religious Beliefs.Aboriginal religion emphasized animal souls. Ibelel, or Ibeorgun, was and is today the most important culture hero, the one who introduced social life and material culture to the first Cuna Indians. Besides Ibelel—who lives in the sun observing human behavior—the twelve neleare important personages who helped the Indians. The Cuna know the particular life history of each nele, and it is passed on during the onmaket sessions. Contact with missionaries has led to belief in a big god (Paptumat) and a little god (Papmachi) corresponding to the Christian Father and Son. Paptumat is thought of today as a Supreme Being, but probably it is not a native belief. He created the universe and left it; afterwards, he sent Ibelel to educate the Cuna people and to teach cultural norms. In addition, there are animal owners and animal souls: the latter are called purba.Generally, each animal possesses several purba that may be transmitted to men and their families through hunting. The animal owners live in kalu(mountain refuges), and they decide about the population of its species.

Religious Practitioners.Aboriginally and today, shamans have been religious, medical, and political officers. In the past, the most prestigious sailas were shamans. There are three kinds of shaman: nele, inatuledi,and absogedi.The nele have the highest position, obtained by ascription; one cannot become a nele voluntarily. They are truly experts in myths, history of the ethnic group, and curing of illness. Commonly, they have the capacity of taking political decisions above civil sailas and sakka. Inatuledi provide medical care; generally they must learn their skills. Absogedi apparently prevent illness by magical ways. Curing frequently means a struggle between two inatuledi.

Ceremonies.The Cuna have traditionally celebrated, since pre-Columbian times, the female condition and her puberty. At the age of 2, the shaman or other man who knows the oral tradition, inserts a golden ring in the girl's nose. This is the first ritual ceremony for her. Inna, a drink made from sugarcane, is offered by the parents to relatives and friends who may come from other communities. At about the age of 12, the girl is confined to a small hut and her hair is cut. Her menstrual blood is gathered in a hole and during some months, her mother teaches her the duties of an adult woman. At the end of confinement, a second inna (feast) is offered. For the following three years she must cover her head with a red-and-gold-decorated cloth. Finally, the third ceremony is conducted. The kantule, or ceremonial singer and ritual flute players, narrate the tradition of the ceremony. Other men smoke ritual cigars, and the girl is painted with sapturor genipaon her face. On some occasions, picture writings on a board or on paper relate the stages of the ceremony. In San Blas, a native festival that memoralizes the Cuna Revolution of 1925 is performed, which somewhat resembles the Panama City carnival, except that the Cuna express certain traditional traits, like shamanistic exorcism, to expel, symbolically, the strangers and government rulers.

Arts.Wood carving of mythical personages and picture writing of historical and ceremonial events are very important artistic expressions.

Medicine.In the traditional medicine of the Cuna, the ponis, or spirits of illness, enter the body and the inatuledi, or medicine man, must expel them with the help of nuchuor good spirits, represented in wood carvings. The Cuna are known for their magical cure of difficult childbirth, practiced by the inatuledi or by a nele.

Death and Afterlife.Aboriginally, the Cuna buried the dead under the place where they slept, with their hammock. Nowadays, they have cemeteries as a result of missionary influence. The afterworld is regarded as a modern city with urban commodities, all of them of gold, a primal symbol One reaches this golden and modern paradise if one works actively at traditional tasks. If not, one goes to a type of hell, surrounded by a putrid river and many ponis.



Read more: https://www.everyculture.com/South-America/Cuna-Religion-and-Expressive-Culture.html#ixzz6c2Asu4ha

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RELIGION: The kuna religion consists of a complex system of chants and other gestures of appeasement used by the medicine man and by a group of people to control evil spirits. The evils are thought to reside in storms, rocks, and animals. People possessed by these spirits must be overcome by magic chants from the medicine man. There is also much reliance on inumerable small wooden dolls which are carved in human form and animal form, of different sizes, specialized in treating disease. Althought their use antedates the introduction of Christian concepts among Kuna Indians, such concepts have, to some extent, influenced their desigh. The symbol of the cross, however, appears to have been original in Kuna culture and the cross refers to the four cardinal point has served to strengthen their culture cohesion and has given them stability in a day when neighboring peoples have lost their traditions without development a new cultural identity. 
  
In the gathering house ( ONMAKET NEGA ) or Kuna Congress House the chief instructs his people about the creation of the world in the sence that all parts of the world as well as the whole actively belong to Paba (God), and that his actions guide it.  In Kuna daily lives, "Pab nug ki anmar di mala"(We go around in the name of God alone). While shamans may look into the future a little, and laymen see things in dreams, read sighs, or make minor divinations, ultimately "only God Knows" (Pab Tummat bi wisi) what will happen, and everything that does happen was preordained by him. Concerning individuals, the doctrine states that the great grandmothers (Mu Tummagan) put a spiritual "hat" (kurguin), headdress on each person at birth that predetermines all the events and actions of his or her life. More generally, for every future circumstance, from the strenght of alcoholic beverage in the ritual ceremonies to the ultimate end of Kuna Yala, the Kuna take pains to stress that they follow God's will, which men cannot know until after the fact. 
  
Orator in the gathering house preach that one's daily support and all good things come from Paba Tummat (God) and his spouse (Nan Tummat). "All of us today, as we began the day, drank the breast milk of the Great Mother. When we drank our coffee, we were drinking Great Mother's milk. Great Mother left a fine river for us, and as the sun began to rise, that was what we drank." 
  
         The Kuna people praise the bounty of Pab Tummat and Nan Tummat and they deny that either of them has ever been selfish to their human children. According to the doctrine, the world is a working place(arpaet nega). "Truly God said, son, you will go around for a while (i.e. live your life) to work hard for me". Nan Tummat likewise gives women their task in life. In working for Pana Tummat and Nan Tummat, people go with the rest of creation, even being and objects in the natural world, such as rocks, rivers, and wind. Part of the job proper to many parts of the world is to provide sustenance and support for the Kuna people, and conversely, "Truly the Great Father brought us here to care for the Earth". Just how the Kuna "care for", "look for" or "maintain" all the part of the world that singers list, such as rivers, mountains, sea, and wind, never became clear, neither in the arkar's (interpreter) interpretation or in the one brief discussion I had with an informant on the subject. 
  
A favorite theme of the chant is the briefness of life and the inevitability of sickness, and death. God sends people to earth for only a short stay, and there we live amidst a sickness (ponigan), in order that we should die and go to heaven. "Truly later on I will give you plenty of sickness", God said. "When you come to me, there you will find rest and joy". 

BASIC CONCEPTS OF THE KUNA PEOPLE 
  
CONCEPT OF GOD (Paba Tummat) 
Kuna people conceive of God as the highest unity from which all the other things (man, animals, things, and nature) are derived, emanated. 
  
In the gathering house, the chief (sahila) of the island acknowledges that Paba Tummat (Kuna God) created the world; that all part of it as well as the whole continue actively to belong to him, and that God keeps watch over our daily actions.  " We go around in the name of God alone" (Pab nugqui an mar gudii).  While shamans may look into the future a little and laymen see things in dreams, read sighs, or make minor divinations, ultimately "only God knows" (Pab Tummat bi wisi) what will happen, and everything that does happen was preordained by him.  Concerning individuals, the doctrine states that God`s spirit is with us at every moment; the Great Grandmother" put a spirit kurguin "hat" headress (es) on each person at birth that predetermines all the events and actions of his or life. 
  
More generally, for every future circumstance, from the strength of alcoholic chicha in the ceremonies to the ultimate and of Kuna Yala, the Kuna take pains to stress that it follows God's will, which men cannot know until after the fact. 
  
The chief in the gathering house preach that one's daily support and all good things come from God and his spouse. 
  
"All of us today, as we began the day, drank the breast milk of Great Mother. When we drank our coffee, we are drinking Great Mother's milk. Great Mother left fine river for us, and as the sun began to rise, that was what we drank" 
  
The Kuna people praise the bounty of Pab Tummat (God) and Nan Tummat (Great Mother) and deny that they have ever been selfish to their human children. According to the doctrine, the world is a work place. "Truly" God said, "son, you will go around for a while (i.e. live your life) toiling for me".  Nan Tummat (God's spouse), likewise, gives the women their task in life. In working for Pab and Nan Tummat, people join with all the rest of creation, even being and objects in the natural world, such as rocks and rivers.  Part of the job proper to many parts of the world is to provide sustenence and support for the Kuna, and conversely, "truly the Great Father brought us here to care for the mother land", said the chief Horacio. 
  
CONCEPT OF NATURE 
Nature has never more praised than in the Kuna oral literature.  The Kuna ancestors were more identified with nature than today`s Kuna.  They left the music of the winds, the murmur of rivers, the laugh of the Ocean waves. 
  
"When I descended to this mother-land, brother river bathe me, brother wind dry me up, brother sun showed me immensity of the sky full of cloud dancing with the sound of music, and told me that Pana Tummat (Kuna God) made this earth for his golden people" 
  
The Kuna people tried to seize this melody and inner rhythm and outpoured this in their mythical chants, curings, and counseling.. 
  
Nature for the Kuna People means happiness and daily lesson, 
  
"Sonny, there is rainy season, dry season, sunrise and sunset; is happiness and sadness; there is light and darkness, triumph and failure.  See, my son, our life is programmed like nature.  God made this way, nature is our moral guide.  Our purpose on this coveted land is to take care of God-made things.  Therefore, they are your brothers.  Take care of them and you will be rewarded in the eight layer" 
  
To Kuna people man and nature are considered parts of a whole. The Kuna ancestors identified themselves with nature.  They saw in nature a guide for ruling their lives, and they loved nature more than society, because they said that God, happiness, and wisdow were in nature. 
  
The Kuna people admired nature with supreme delight.  In the presence of nature, they claim that a wild delight runs through man, in spite of great sorrows; not only do they admire the beauty of the landscape, but also the inward and outward senses because they are truly adjusted to each other.  The Kuna people love nature with a consuming passion, a love that they show in their majestic oral poetry.  Even death is a return to nature for the Kuna people, a return to the "divine entity". Indeed, nature is expressed, exalted and praised in every chief`s chants. 
  
CONCEPT OF KUNA COSMOLOGY 
Kuna cosmological thought draws together medicine, religion and government.  This logical integration is achieved by means of a doctrine or origins, which may be summarized as follows: Knowing the origin of a thing allows the knower to manipulate the power of that things.  Mr. Julio López and Mr. Eulalio López, religious specialists, identified two layers in the Kuna cosmological traditions.  They stated that the Earth-Mother features of the system (expressed most clearly in the female rites of passage, in childbirth medicine, and in the old death rited) "came before" the religious practices which are associated with the sun.  However, in any particular ritual or legend the two are usually interwined. 
  
What Kuna religious specialists see as a historical sequennce in their tradition is associated with two culture heroes.  Both of them have sun atributes, but there is considerable difference in emphasis in the legenday materials associated with each.  The first of these culture heroes was IBELER also know as Olowaipipile.  Most of the detailed legends having to do with the earth mother are associated with Ibeler. 
The second culture hero was IBEORKUN, who descended to earth on a sundisk.  With him are associated most of the moral and ethical teachings of the Kuna people, including repetitions of the teachings about the female cycle ceremonies.  All Kuna religious specialists agree that Ibeorgun it was who taught the Kuna people how to have chiefs and that before Ibeorgun the leadership was in the hands of Neles (shamans) not chiefs.  The gathering house is also known as the house of Ibeorgun. 
  
A layering of influences in the Kuna cosmological tradition is also evident with regard to their myths of origin.  Every Kuna legend or myth has a literal or surface meaning.  These esoteric meaning taken together present a sexual interpretation of the cosmos which is the basis of the doctrine of origins.  The meaning of the legends has been disguised by symbols, but the process of symbolic translation has remaired conscious and is carried in the esoteric lore of religious specialists. These symbolic transformations include the identification of the sea with the amniotic fluid of mother Earth; of the tree of life creation symbol with fetal membrane turning into the water of  life. (amniotic fluid), and of the corn and sugar cane juices used in the chicha making with semen and vaginal secreations. 
  
Related to the individual symbols covering the true meaning of the traditional cosmology is the language style used by the chief in their chanting.  The chants preserve archaic and esoteric vocabulary; in addition, the thematic material of the chants makes regular use of metaphor. The Kuna term for metaphoric speech is purba sunnmaquet(e.g., Adan and Eve ate apple; that represents the first time they had intercourse).  That is a purba sunnmaquet(soul talk).  Words and the abilitymto speak well are highly valued by the Kuna and are attributes of leadership. Metaphor is a major component of formal speaking style. Beside to the conventionalized metephor used by the chief in his chanting of the legends, individual speakers in the gathering house (orgun nega) make use of purba sunnmaquet as a stylist device.  https://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g298434-c2329/San-Blas-Islands:Panama:Kuna.Cultures.html

 

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This sort of question makes me beg the question, why should we expect there to be any evidence? He visited a small group and there was a brief 200 year history of peace and then it all fall apart. All those who adhered to this religion were destroyed along with their culture and their written record. I wonder if any connections we make are more likely coincidences or wishful thinking. One of my German family lines lived in an isolated community in  Ireland for 200 years, coming to Canada in the early 1800s. There is no evidence they were ever there other than a graveyard. Their religious practices, language and traditions are long forgotten. The only reason we know they were there is due to modern civilizations propensity to the written record. In fact, they abandoned their religion and language within one generation of living on this continent.  

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21 hours ago, Freedom said:

This sort of question makes me beg the question, why should we expect there to be any evidence? He visited a small group and there was a brief 200 year history of peace and then it all fall apart. All those who adhered to this religion were destroyed along with their culture and their written record. I wonder if any connections we make are more likely coincidences or wishful thinking. One of my German family lines lived in an isolated community in  Ireland for 200 years, coming to Canada in the early 1800s. There is no evidence they were ever there other than a graveyard. Their religious practices, language and traditions are long forgotten. The only reason we know they were there is due to modern civilizations propensity to the written record. In fact, they abandoned their religion and language within one generation of living on this continent.  

Yes. From Mormon 8:

“10 And there are none that do know the true God save it be the disciples of Jesus, who did tarry in the land until the wickedness of the people was so great that the Lord would not suffer them to remain with the people; and whether they be upon the face of the land no man knoweth.”

 

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On 10/26/2020 at 7:51 PM, Bernard Gui said:

The San Blas Islands off the Atlantic coast of Panama were part of my Central American mission. Some of the islands are inhabited by the Cuna or Guna Indians. They were never subjugated by Spain or Panama. They preserve their history in the form of songs that certain select men learn from memory. It takes several days to sing it completely.

Missionaries were sent there from our mission. They usually stayed between six months and a year because they had to learn to speak the language. Our mission president Teddy Brewerton was very interested in their legends and religion. He met with a number of their leaders and collected stories and anecdotes from the islands.  One story involves their "founder," Ibeorgun. At the time we were there, it was strongly suggested that Ibeorgun was Jesus Christ. He taught them how to live together and prosper. Like other Native American stories, this may have kernels of truth, but who knows? Before his death, the twelfth and last nele supposedly prophesied the arrival of white men with a book that would tell the people their story. It was believed that for this reason there were some remarkable conversions on the islands, often related to the Book of Mormon. Their tribal leadership is similar to a "first presidency and quorum of twelve," or so it was said. 

Once when President Brewerton was visiting the islands in  December (1967?), he and the missionaries thought it would be a good idea to present the Christmas story as told in the Book of Mormon. They and some members read and dramatized the story for some of the leaders and residents on one island. After their presentation, a leader said something like, "That is a good story except you have the time wrong. It happened in the Spring."  

There is an instruction house in which the people are taught important concepts. (see the article quoted at the bottom).

Each year there was a week-long celebration in memory of Ibeorgun. Many thought it came from the sacrament initiated by Jesus, except they got to drink lots of chicha and were not held responsible for what they did during the week. This was a major impediment to missionary work and member retention.

I wish I had access to President Brewerton's writings, but I don't know where they might be. I will ask on our mission Facebook page if anyone knows about them.

 

You were so blessed to serve your mission in there. When we sailed to Panama from Florida we had the opportunity to go to the islands but the Christmas Tradewinds got started and we tired of beating to weather so we didn't go. 

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On 10/25/2020 at 7:19 AM, boblloyd91 said:

As those of you who have read along with come follow me know, we just finished reading about Christ's visit to the Americas. In reading this, I am curious if anyone more knowledgeable than myself is aware of any studies done on archeology, folklore, or other cultural contexts that would indicate some kind of evidence that Christ came to the Americas. Obviously there won't be a smoking gun, but I have heard it mentioned about beliefs of a "white bearded God" here and there, but I want to get some more concrete information. Thanks in advance

I will say this, although it is not much. The natives of NE America were not idolatrous... Curious.... The natives of Central America certainly were idolatrous. For the most part the Natives of NE America believed in "the great spirit." Why is that? Almost all other aboriginal peoples are idolatrous, and made statues of their gods. 

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11 hours ago, rodheadlee said:

You were so blessed to serve your mission in there. When we sailed to Panama from Florida we had the opportunity to go to the islands but the Christmas Tradewinds got started and we tired of beating to weather so we didn't go. 

To be clear, I did not get to serve in San Blas, but I did get to tour once with our President Mitt Smith, youngest son of Joseph Fielding. Some of my best friends served there and shared their experiences with me. It was a phenomenal place to serve.

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On 10/26/2020 at 7:51 PM, Bernard Gui said:

Once when President Brewerton was visiting the islands in  December (1967?), he and the missionaries thought it would be a good idea to present the Christmas story as told in the Book of Mormon.

Ted Brewerton was my father-in-law's cousin.   He was a wonderful man whom I met on a few family gatherings

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3 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Ted Brewerton was my father-in-law's cousin.   He was a wonderful man whom I met on a few family gatherings

Wow! He was like a second father to me. Full of faith, optimism, love, trust, testimony. Plus he was Canadian!

Edited by Bernard Gui
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2 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Wow! He was like a second father to me. Full of faith, optimism, love, trust, testimony. Plus he was Canadian!

Yes, so was my FIL- they played together as kids.   Great folks!

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6 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Wow! He was like a second father to me. Full of faith, optimism, love, trust, testimony. Plus he was Canadian!

Ted was a visiting general authority when I was a missionary in the late 80s. We as a mission had a very troubling encounter with another general authority who was Teds senior and was also also the area president, Ted a councilor. The more senior GA was at a regional conference and he looked out in the audience and called out two sister missionaries and asked where their investigators were. They advised that they did not have investigators with them. He ordered them out of the meeting and ordered them not to return until they had investigators. They were humiliated and left in tears. Me and my companion took of our badged and moved apart.  We reported this encounter with the blessing of our mission president to Ted. Ted listened intently with a knowing smirk on his face and carried on with his training. A month later the other general authority returned to our mission and gave a forced apology for his  actions. A sweet victory. Years later I met him again and I called him Elder Brewerton. He said, please, we are among friends, call me Ted. 

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2 hours ago, Freedom said:

Ted was a visiting general authority when I was a missionary in the late 80s. We as a mission had a very troubling encounter with another general authority who was Teds senior and was also also the area president, Ted a councilor. The more senior GA was at a regional conference and he looked out in the audience and called out two sister missionaries and asked where their investigators were. They advised that they did not have investigators with them. He ordered them out of the meeting and ordered them not to return until they had investigators. They were humiliated and left in tears. Me and my companion took of our badged and moved apart.  We reported this encounter with the blessing of our mission president to Ted. Ted listened intently with a knowing smirk on his face and carried on with his training. A month later the other general authority returned to our mission and gave a forced apology for his  actions. A sweet victory. Years later I met him again and I called him Elder Brewerton. He said, please, we are among friends, call me Ted. 

Yes, that Pres. Brewerton! It’s a mystery to me why some people in authority unfortunately act like you witnessed. He was most gracious and patient and could be intense at times. Once a couple of elders went on an unapproved “paseo”. As they were returning they were shocked to see President Brewerton seated in front of them in the plane. They slunk down to avoid being  seen. He got up to get a magazine and as he walked past them he said, “Hey, Elder Jones! Who is that Peace Corps worker next  to you.” 

Which mission was this, if you don’t mind saying?

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On 10/28/2020 at 11:47 PM, Bernard Gui said:

Yes, that Pres. Brewerton! It’s a mystery to me why some people in authority unfortunately act like you witnessed. He was most gracious and patient and could be intense at times. Once a couple of elders went on an unapproved “paseo”. As they were returning they were shocked to see President Brewerton seated in front of them in the plane. They slunk down to avoid being  seen. He got up to get a magazine and as he walked past them he said, “Hey, Elder Jones! Who is that Peace Corps worker next  to you.” 

Which mission was this, if you don’t mind saying?

San Bernardino

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