Jump to content

Is there any evidence that Jesus preached to the Native Americans?


Recommended Posts

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m about 98% certain that the Book of Mormon states that Jesus preached to the Native Americans? Is there any evidence for this outside the Book of Mormon? Are there any Native American religions that resemble Mormonism?

Link to comment

When I read the thread title in the topic list, I asked myself, "Other than the Book of Mormon, you mean?" ;) :D  You may not be persuaded by the evidence, but a number of people who are well-grounded Mesoamericanists post on here who are.  Welcome to the forum.

Link to comment
4 hours ago, AtheistGuy said:

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m about 98% certain that the Book of Mormon states that Jesus preached to the Native Americans? Is there any evidence for this outside the Book of Mormon? Are there any Native American religions that resemble Mormonism?

I’m 33% certain that the Book of Mormon says that, 42% sure that there is evidence, and 3% sure that the now defunct teaching of Blood Atonement comes from Aztec human sacrifice.

Link to comment

He Walked the Americas is a compilation of American Indian oral traditions that seem to be about Christ. From what little I've been able to glean about the author, I do not think that she was a member of the Church.

Link to comment
14 hours ago, AtheistGuy said:

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m about 98% certain that the Book of Mormon states that Jesus preached to the Native Americans? Is there any evidence for this outside the Book of Mormon? Are there any Native American religions that resemble Mormonism?

There are no "native Americans."  All peoples who came to the Western Hemisphere (the Americas) migrated from elsewhere at various times and by various means.

The Book of Mormon (III Nephi) has Jesus Christ visiting and speaking with a group of people at Bountiful, most likely within what is now lower Chiapas State in southern Mexico, in around 30 AD: Or perhaps at Tonalá, Veracruz.  Probably Zoquean-speaking people.

There is actually no religion of "Mormonism," but rather a significant theology preached by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, filled with symbols and cosmology which are fully compatible with the ancient values studied by the late Joseph Campbell, Mircea Eliade, and others.

Mesoamerican culture is not generally similar to ancient Near Eastern culture, but there are a number of ways in which the Judeo-Christian religion would have been interpreted in a New World context:

1. Pictorial Maya funerary pottery as an analog of the Egyptian Book of the Dead (according to Mike Coe), the Maya elite expecting rebirth “as the celestial gods from whom they claimed descent.”  Coe in Visible Language, 5 (1971):293-307 (comparing the Mayan Popol Vuh); Coe, The Maya Scribe and His World (Grolier Club, 1973); Coe, Lords of the Underworld – Masterpieces of Classic Maya Ceramics (Princeton Univ. Press, 1978); cf. J. Zandee, Death as an Enemy, 1,7.

2. A search of native pre-Columbian documents, iconography, and traditions provides some striking instances of the existence of practices and beliefs which are surprisingly congruent with aspects of Christianity.  Norman Hammond and Gordon R. Willey, eds., Maya Archaeology and Ethnohistory, Second Cambridge Symposium on Recent Research in Mesoamerican Archaeology, August 29-31, 1976 (Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1979), xvi, citing J. E. S. Thompson, Maya History and Religion (Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1970).  David H. Kelley, Christian Influences in the Ancient Maya Religion (Calgary: Univ. of Canada, 2004), arguing, by the way, that the Cholula Pueblan / Cholulan Mixtec glyphs are to be dated as early as 200-600 A.D.

3. Allen Christenson says that, among the Maya, “the cross was adopted as the symbol of the pre-Columbian tree of life” (Yaxche).  Christenson, “Maya Harvest Festivals and the Book of Mormon,” FARMS Review of Books, 3/1 (1991):1-31 (Annual FARMS Lecture, Feb 27, 1991); citing (n. 37) Robert Redfield & Alfonso Villa Rojas, Chan Kom – A Maya Village (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1934), 110.

4. John Short, Eugène Beauvois and Peter De Roo each observed long ago that Pre-Columbians possessed a number of Christian elements, including baptism of children, communion, etc.  Short considered Hunab Ku to be Jesus Christ, the Mayan people of transatlantic origin, and Quetzalcoatl a name applied to a foreigner who came ashore in Nahua/Toltec territory.  E. Beauvois, “Les relations précolumbiennes des Gaëls avec le Méxique,” Proceedings of the 5th International Congress of Americanists (Copenhagen, 1883), 74-97, cited in Sorenson & Raish, B-122; P. De Roo, History of America Before Columbus According to Documents and Approved Authors, 2 vols. (Phila.: Lippincott, 1900), cited in Sorenson & Raish, D-098B.

5. President John Taylor said:  

Quote

 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.

Indeed, there was a very ancient resurrection cult built around the original Quetzalcoatl, as L. Sejourne has emphasized.  Sejourne in Revista Mexicana de Estudios Antropologicos, 16 (1960):77-90 (John Sorenson provided this source and its evaluation); Sejourne, Burning Water: Thought and Religion in Ancient Mexico (Berkeley: Shamballa, 1976).  See also David Carrasco, Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of Empire: Myths and Prophecies in the Aztec Tradition (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1982); Burr Cartwright, The Phoenix of the Western World: Quetzalcoatl and the Sky Religion (Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1982).

6. Sacrifice & Communion: Slaughter of an innocent animal (or human) and the sharing of its flesh are central to Judeo-Christian and Mesoamerican tradition.  Nancy M. Farriss, “Sacrifice and Communion in Colonial Maya Religion,” Abstracts of Papers of the 44th International Congress of Americanists, Manchester, England, 1982 (Manchester Univ., School of Geography, 1982), 15, cited in Sorenson & Raish, F-016B.  Cf. T-171.  Miller & Farriss in Hammond & Willey, Maya Archaeology & Ethnohistory, 239, on resurrection.  Farriss herself states: 

Quote

 Despite many similarities noted by Spanish missionaries to Mesoamerica between native and Christian religions, one they failed to note, or chose not to emphasize, was that similar rites of sacrifice and communion constituted the central rituals of both.  Slaughter of a blameless being (animal, human, divine, and combinations thereof) and the sharing of its flesh embodied the principal link between the natural and supernatural orders in both cases.  Farriss in Abstracts of Papers: 44th Congress of Americanists, Manchester Univ., England (Manchester: School of Geography, 1982),15, summarizing her paper on “Sacrifice and Communion in Colonial Maya Religion,” quoted by J. Sorenson & M. Raish, Pre-Columbian Contact with the Americas Across the Oceans: An Annotated Bibliography, 2nd ed., 2 vols. (Provo: FARMS/Research Press, 1996), I:293 (F-016B); and by Sorenson, Images of Ancient America, 230, n. 105.

7. Afterlife: Even if not specifically Christian, Michael Graulich found compelling evidence of Paradise Lost & Regained, along with Death, Rebirth, and Reward or Punishment in Mesoamerican tradition.  Graulich, “Afterlife in Ancient Mexican Thought,” in Bruno Illius and Matthias Laubscher, eds., Circumpacifica: I, Mittel- und Südamerika: Festschrift für Thomas S. Barthel (Frankfort: Peter Lang, 1990), 165-188, cited in Sorenson & Raish, G-195B.  **** De Long notes that the ca. 100 A.D. Pre-Classic murals of San Bartolo, east of El Mirador, have images of birth, death, and resurrection (with the Maize-god), and he suggests comparison with the Popol Vuh.  See Allen J. Christenson, Popol Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Maya, 2 vols. (London: O Books, 2003-2004).

8. Cosmology: “The Popol Vuh is a poetic statement of pre-contact beliefs that show surprising similarities to Biblical cosmology.”  Baity, Current Anthropology, 14:413.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
Link to comment
54 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

There are no "native Americans."  All peoples who came to the Western Hemisphere (the Americas) migrated from elsewhere at various times and by various means.

Is this really a hill you want to defend?

Link to comment
5 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Is this really a hill you want to defend?

Bob can answer for himself, but it is correct that all humans on this continent arrived from somewhere else (starting over 15k years ago).

Link to comment
4 minutes ago, Brant Gardner said:

Bob can answer for himself, but it is correct that all humans on this continent arrived from somewhere else (starting over 15k years ago).

It is correct but no one is going to rename them Bering Straiters or some other appellation. The same statement can be said of virtually every group of people but it would be meaningless pedantry.

In a classroom:

“The French are a people native to a region of western Europe who…”

*Someone barrels into the room panting*

tenor.gif?itemid=4833328

“Calling them French or European is incorrect because all people In Europe if you go back far enough are migrants from other continents.”

Link to comment
3 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Is this really a hill you want to defend?

I am an anthropologist and that is a matter of fact.  Tribal people don't want to hear it, many of them claiming to have originated in the Americas.  I doubt that any of them read this board.  More, they are not interested in DNA or archeology.

Link to comment
3 hours ago, The Nehor said:

It is correct but no one is going to rename them Bering Straiters or some other appellation. The same statement can be said of virtually every group of people but it would be meaningless pedantry.

..............

All humans originally came out of Africa.

Link to comment
1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I am an anthropologist and that is a matter of fact.  Tribal people don't want to hear it, many of them claiming to have originated in the Americas.  I doubt that any of them read this board.  More, they are not interested in DNA or archeology.

It is fact but talking about native Americans as if they aren’t native because of that makes native a meaningless word.

Edit: Also, cool job. I seriously considered going that route.

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

All humans originally came out of Africa.

Almost certainly, yes.

Edited by The Nehor
Link to comment
6 hours ago, The Nehor said:

It is correct but no one is going to rename them Bering Straiters or some other appellation. The same statement can be said of virtually every group of people but it would be meaningless pedantry.

In a classroom:

“The French are a people native to a region of western Europe who…”

*Someone barrels into the room panting*

tenor.gif?itemid=4833328

“Calling them French or European is incorrect because all people In Europe if you go back far enough are migrants from other continents.”

tenor.gif

Link to comment
On 8/5/2021 at 11:10 PM, AtheistGuy said:

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m about 98% certain that the Book of Mormon states that Jesus preached to the Native Americans? Is there any evidence for this outside the Book of Mormon? Are there any Native American religions that resemble Mormonism?

Evidence? Yes.

Proof? Well if there was proof, then everyone would be a Latter-day Saint.

There is a difference between the two. There is evidence for just about everything that is both true and false. But evidence doesn’t equate to proof. If you want proof, wait 80 years or so and you will have your proof.

Link to comment
On 8/6/2021 at 1:43 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

All humans originally came out of Africa.

I always felt, despite my European heritage, that I was an African American

Edited by Fether
Link to comment
On 8/7/2021 at 5:48 AM, Robert F. Smith said:

Would you say then, that John Sorenson's An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon represented a worthwhile contribution to that discussion?

No. John Sorenson is paid from church funds, he only had one option while completing his research. Do you know of any non LDS Scholars who agree with him?

Edited by Warlock
Link to comment
6 hours ago, Warlock said:

No. John Sorenson is paid from church funds, he only had one option while completing his research. Do you know of any non LDS Scholars who agree with him?

Sorenson, who has a masters of science from Cal Tech, and a PhD from UCLA, spent long periods employed by non-LDS institutions, such as General Research Corp in Santa Barbara, and then as head of Bonnevile Research Corp in Provo.  It is true  that, apart from those independent years, Sorenson did build the Anthropology Dept at BYU and headed it, and it is true that BYU is owned and operated by the LDS Church, but that never interfered with Sorenson's freedom to say and do whatever he liked.  The same applies to the biology faculty at BYU, all of whom are evolutionary biologists and have been for over a generation.  Sorenson retired from BYU in 1986, yet continued to publish his independent views same as he always had.  As with any such retiree, he could easily have done something along the lines of Grant Palmer -- the late CES instructor who retired and published anti-Mormon views.

It is a fallacy ("consider the source") to disregard the professional work of scholars based solely on their religious beliefs pro or con.  Their research conclusions are either supported adequately by their footnotes, or they are not.  Indeed, having a real discussion or conversation about some academic subject is not based on apriori agreement on the conclusions to be reached -- so typical of woke demands in academe.  That is what one expects from anti-academic and non-academic circles.

As to non-LDS views by fellow anthropologists, the great Michael Coe of Yale disagreed with Sorenson about the source of diffusion (ancient Near East), opting rather for strong diffusion from Southeast Asia -- Coe had a particular preference for Cambodia (Hindu Angkor Wat, the largest temple complex in the world).  Sorenson's non-LDS colleague from Canada, David H. Kelley, saw strong diffusion from both the ancient Near East and South Asia and published on that at the Univ of California and elsewhere.  See my review of Kelley online at https://drive.google.com/file/d/189xaUctpyy5i0XFaKl0QcHd8Mb4RkcF-/view?usp=sharing

Link to comment
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...