Dr. Einar C. Erickson
Ancient Document Mormon Scholar
Main Menu
Articles View Hits


There is a successive putting on and off of garments or animal skins, the soul after death had to ascend to the highest heaven and passing through the gates, every gate being watched by a warder. The ascent motive only occurs in a continuated form, they will bear it the soul to the eternal rest.




For nearly 1500 years the Empty Land, from eastern California to the Rio Grande,  occupied by the various Numic tribes and the Anasazi groups, was cultivated, hunted, and provided a reasonable life for all the occupants. From pit houses to multi-stored pueblos, the Anasazi experienced growth, and development towards a metropolitan culture, while the Numic tribes remained hunters and gathers, but all of them continued to elaborate on their ceremonies and conduct their day to day activities, sometimes involving raids and skirmishes to take away wives and slaves. But changes were in the future, great and grievous changes. It began with Columbus as noted at the end of PART 2. If one wants to know where the Book of Mormon people were located one need only recall the reference to the ships and the man that would come and would see the people of Nephi, in l Nephi 11:12. Check any history of the life of Columbus and note the lands he saw and where he made land fall. (Landstrom pp. 148, 166-167) The maps on those pages “Shows the coasts discovered by Columbus.” (Landstrom p. 167)  They were from Yucatan to Barbados. It was he who gave the name Maya to the peoples of the Yucatan. The coasts are essentially Middle America, or Central America and northern parts of South America. Columbus completed his fourth voyage in November of 1504, he spent most of 1505 following the Spanish courts around, and in the spring of 1506, on May 20, he dies at Valladolid. His entire adventure was accomplished in less than fifteen years. He was born at Genoa in 1451 and lived only 55 years, little knowing how he had changed the world. Except for perhaps the relatively short lives of Christ and Joseph Smith, probably one of the most important fifteen years in the life of the world.

About the time Columbus was finishing his preparations with his three ships to make the voyage to the unknown, Santiago, the Spanish military leader, in January 1492, after a ten year campaign, won the final battle against the Muslims breaking Moorish stranglehold on Spain. (Wepman p. 14) On November 7, 1504, Columbus returned from his fourth and last voyage, having discovered Honduras and Puerto Bello. He was disheartened and in poor health and had failed to obtain the recognition and compensation he felt his due. For more than a year he futilely followed the court from Seville to Segovia and then to Valladolid where he dies. He had served God’s purposes in having opened up the Western Hemisphere. In 1542 they removed his remains from a monastery near Seville to the Dominican Republic, (Kornfuehrer p. 50) one of his first discoveries. History has made him famous. Less than twenty years after his death, many nations and many ships were making land fall up and down the east Coast of the New World. But it would still take three hundred or more years to prepare the Western Hemisphere for the restoration. We will follow some of this history with attention to the HOPI people.  


Lured by tales of adventure and the promise of gold, [Hernan] Cortes left Spain in 1504 too seek fame and fortune in the West Indies. (Wepman p. 13) He achieved both, but not after considerable debate, intrigue, cunning and subterfuge. (Castillo p. 31-68) He was a brilliant man, with a partial University education, which served him well when he became master of a great kingdom. Actually, after three years of carousing and nearly getting killed when caught with another man’s wife, his parents, to get him out of the house and their dependence, packed him, at age twenty, up and off to the New World. (Wepman pp.16-19)  Castillo was an officer who accompanied Cortes. He became a fleet Captain and wrote a detailed dairy. “On Holy Thursday, in the year 1519, we arrived with all the fleet [eleven ships, horses and men] at the Port of San Juan de Ulua…ordered to drop anchor where the ships would be safe.” (Castillo p. 69) Soon after this Cortes allied himself with some of the coastal Indians and Indians of the interior, then he began his famous ‘March’ inland, and the conquest of Mexico was under way. The rest is history, not a pretty one at that.  Five years later in the summer of 1524 Giovanni da Verazano, an Italian working for the French, explored the coast from the Carolinas northward. Estavao Gomes, a Portuguese working for the Spanish, followed him. In 1526 Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon settled a place on the coast of South Caroline, then abandoned it. In 1527, John Rut took an English ship along the coast from north to south, reversing the route of Verrazano, finally returning to England in 1528. Now the English became involved in the New World, they would compete with the Dutch and the French.


In 1528 Panfilo de Narvaez attempted to explore Florida. The treasurer of his fleet was Alvar Nunez, Cabeza de Vaca. The life of this man was also to change the world. He was born in 1490 at Frontera, near Seville, Spain, the grandson of the conqueror of the Canary Islands. He fought in Italy in 1511-12, in the Spanish civil strife in 1520, and against the French in Navarre. On February 15, 1527 he was appointed Treasurer to the fleet of Panfilo de Narvaez, later he became commander of the Fleet. They went ashore near Tampa Bay in 1528. During a huge storm they lost contact with their ships and were left to explore along the coastal plain in northwestern Florida. They sacrificed their metal weapons, spare clothes, and even their horses, to build on the spot five makeshift barges, and headed for Mexico. (Barclay p. 16) They followed the Gulf Coast south. (Keating p. 6) A fierce storm dispersed the boats, Narvaez and many of his men were lost. One surviving boat carrying Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca [head of a cow] and a few others, made it to the shore of an island, probably Galveston Island, with out food, weapons or clothes. (Barclay p. 16) There had been a total of 80 survivors, hardship reduced these to 15. The captives were dispersed among the Indians who were hardly capable of taking care of them, most of the miserable castaways died of hunger, cold and despair, those who survived wish they had not, because they were reduced to the status of slaves in the service of half-starved natives. Says Alvar: “My life had become unbearable. In addition to much other work, I had to grub roots in the water or from underground canebrakes. My fingers got so raw that if a straw touched them they would bleed. The broken canes often slashed my flesh; I had to work amidst them without benefit of clothes.” (Barclay p. 16)  

Then began a seven year involuntary entrada across the deserts starting with the Charrucos Indians, they just missed being captured by the Karankawas a few miles farther south who, known for their cruelty, would probably have tortured and killed them. (Keating p. 98; Thrapp p. 106; Officer p. 25) During Alvar’s captivity, he crossed most of Texas. Near San Antonio before October 1534, a Moor from Africa, Estaban (‘Estabvan), or Estevanico, little Steven [though he wasn’t so little], Andres Dorantes, an officer of the expedition, and Alonso del Castillo, another officer, joined him (Barclay pp. 16-17) in trying to find a trail westward. They crossed the Rio Grande near New Mexico, having gone far enough north to have seen some of the Pueblos. The impression they got of the Pueblos would become exaggerated and their tale would change the history of Mexico and southwest America. Finally on April 1, 1536, they reached Culiacan on the western coast of Mexico, a jump off place for Coronado at a later date. They came limping into the Mexican outpost eight yeas after they were shipwrecked. (Coe pp. 20-21)

Early in his journey, Alvar, because of his war experience, performed an operation on a wounded Indian and saved his life, so they gave him some respect as a healer, but they were still treated as slaves. As they traversed the continent, from tribe to tribe, they were known as healers, but gradually gained respect as traders. They were the first to go from sea to sea. A most remarkable journey, the first crossing of the American Continent, only taking eight years. Alvar reported to the Viceroy on July 25, 1536, and shortly returned to Spain. His detailed account, Los Naufragios, was published in Zamora in 1542. But, he had sailed for Brazil in 1540, there he obtained recognition and glory as an administrator in Paraguay and La Plata, but was caught up in a rebellion, spent a year in chains in prison, then was returned to Spain and tried before the Council of the Indies, then exiled in Oran, North Africa and finally exonerated with the magnificent royal grant of a copper coin, the Maravedi, worth just $120.00. He died as a clerk in the Casa de Contractacion at Seveille, September 15, 1556. (Thrapp p. 208)  But he had left behind the tale of the Gold Cities of Cibola. A tale that was embellished over a short duration of time; it captured man’s imagination. The tale had tremendous effect in certain circles of Mexico. It would affect all the Indian tribes of the Southwest. It would change history even for the HOPI.


Among those who heard and were stirred by the tail of Alvar, “was Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza. He authorized Fray Marcos de Niza to go north and verify the rumors of cities and riches swirling in the wake of Alvar’s return from the void.” (Barclay p. 45)  Fray Marcos de Niza, of the order of St. Francis, left the town of San Miguel, in the province of Culiacan, on Friday, March 7th 1539. He wrote: “I took with me as companion Friar Honoratus and also Stephen of Dorantes (Estaban), a negro, [Alvar had not taken Estaban Back to Spain with him] and certain Indians, which the said Lord Viceroy bought for the purpose and set a liberty.” (Barclay p. 47) The expedition was guided by Estaban, the Moor. Who was footloose, always a day or so ahead of Marcos, this attitude and constant effort to stay ahead of Marcos would cost him his life. Estaban left a trail of crosses, every increasing them in size implying things were looking richer and richer.(Barcley p. 45)   Four days after Easter. Marcos learned that the Seven cities of Cibola were yet another 30 days away and beyond Cibola there were three other kingdoms. (Barclay p. 49)  Stephen or Estaban, was five days ahead of Marcos when he and his company of more than 300 men and some women arrived at the first city of Cibola, the village was Zuni Pueblo. Estaban had a messenger present his calabash, or staff of authority, not knowing that the person who had fabricated it had done so with snake rattles that would offend the Zuni Chief, which it did, and the Chief ordered the extermination of the entire group, which was carried out, Estaban was killed with all but two of his group who wounded and bloody were found a few days later by Marcos who heard their tragic story. Marcos turned back but retained the idea of the Seven Cities of Gold, which he conveyed to Coronado. Marcos earned a spot on the Coronado Expedition, but was devastated when they captured Zuni Pueblo that the wonderful city of myth was just an adobe pueblo inhabited by a few hundred Indian farmers. Rather than remain with an army of disgruntled gold-seeker, Marcos returned to Mexico where he died in a monastery near Mexico City in 1558. (Barclay p. 46, 51-53)  His perpetuation of the Golden Myth had cost him a dear friend, his self respect, changed the lives of many men and changed the world forever, particularly for the Southwest Indians.

Estaban was the first non-Indian of record to visit the Pueblos in western Arizona. (Officer p. 25)  Since he was black, it could not be said he was the first white man to see the eastern Anasazi. Now the full prophetic wrath spoken of again and again in the Book of Mormon would be coming to all the Indian tribes.


Caught up in the fever of the tale of the Seven Cities of Cibola, was General Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, former governor of a Mexican Province. He left from his assembly point at Compostela with 200 horsemen, 70 foot soldiers, 1,000 Indians and servants, droves of cattle, sheep and swine, late in February and reached Zuni Pueblo in July, 1540. (Barry p. 1) Also “Three hundred settlers came with their wagons or belongings and seven thousand animals-horses, cattle and sheep. A hundred soldiers came to guard them and a few priests to build churches and teach Native Americans the right way to live.” (Baker p. 57) “The priests wanted the pueblos to give up all their ceremonies. Dances were stopped, the kivas destroyed and ceremonial equipment burned. Leaders were taken to the plazas and whipped until their backs were bloody. The shame was as great as the pain…’Teaching’ native Americans really meant making them do all the work.” (Baker pp. 58-59) When the inhabitants of Acoma Pueblo Village resisted, among them were two HOPI men, they had their hands cut off and sent home as a warning. (Baker p. 59) For the summer Zuni Pueblo was his headquarters, but one of his officers, Alvarado returned from his eastern exploration to the Rio Grande River to report that there was more plentiful food supply in the Rio Grande Valley, so Coronado moved his headquartrers to there for the winter. From there he made his northern exploration to the land of the Wichitas. The first Spanish Colonial capital in New Mexico was established at ‘San Gabriel del Yunge’, across the Rio Grande River from San Juan Pueblo in 1598, then moved to Santa Fe in 1610. (Cardell p. 14)

When Coronado stopped at Zuni Pueblo in 1540 he sent General Pedro de Tovar and a Franciscan friar, Juan de Padilla, to the HOPI villages. But it was not until 1629 that a mission was established at the HOPI villages of Awatovi, the easternmost Hopi village on Antelope Mesa, at Shongopavi, on Second Mesa and at Oraibi on Third Mesa. (Cordell p. 154; see MAP 1) Coronado was the first to pioneer the southwest. He left Pecos in the spring of 1541. As always his objective was The Seven Cities of Cibolo, gold and precious stones. However he was first to explore the lower Colorado River, the lower Grand Canyon, and portions of eastern Arizona. Members of his Army passed through Arizona no fewer than twelve times, six of them in 1540 alone. (Officer p. 25) His efforts to subdue the natives often resulted in huge slaughters, after one such encounter during a 55 day siege of the Tiquex Pueblos on the Rio Grande, ending the last day of March 1541, he was enticed again by the claims of TURK and YSOPETE, Indian guides to take his army north 37 days into the Plains of Mid America to hunt for the gold of the QUIVIRA. Finally realizing TURK was misleading them they put him in chains, but at the insistence of YSOPETE they continued on. Coronado split his Army and continued on alone with thirty horsemen and some foot soldiers. After 48 days they arrived at QUIVIRA, home of the Wichitas, the heart of the Buffalo plains. Nearly three hundred years later for a period of twenty years some 90,000 Mormons with their wagons, horsemen, and hand carts, would cross these same plains on their way to a destiny that would also change the world.

The Indian leader of the Wichitas only wore a copper plate. No gold. They realized the Indian slave, TURK, had lied to them, it was his country and he was involved in a conspiracy to destroy the army. So they garroted him. (Barcley pp. 55-77)  Coronado spent 25 futile days looking for gold in the land of the Wichitas, visiting many villages, but found nothing. (Barry pp.1-2) Bitterly disappointed, they returned to Tiguex. All Coronado had found was the land of the Pueblos, and the vast plains of the Quivira. He returned an extremely disappointed man, bringing back only some turquoise, little compensation for the gold he had expected. He left the southwest in turmoil and fear but aroused lasting Spanish curiosity. (Thomas p. 6)  A lengthy account of Coronado’s adventures and his own, was written some 20 years later by one of the soldiers, Pedro de Castaneda, of Najera, his closing entry was prophetic: “This will suffice for the conclusion of our narrative. Everything else rests on the powerful Lord of all things, God Omnipotent, who knows how and when these lands will be discovered and for whom He has guarded this good fortune.” (Barclay p. 77)


Father Juan de Padilla, outfitted by Coronado, returned to the Quivira Indians in the spring of 1542 as a missionary, along with Andres do Compo, Lucas and Sabasitian, two Indian assistants, some servants, and six Quiviras who had guided for Coronado. He spent some time at the Village of the Wichitas where Coronado had planted a Cross, near Lyons on Cow Creek. Later he set out to do missionary work to the east in the Guas Country. They had not gone far when hostiles attacked them, killing Padilla, Compo and the two assistants escaped, but returned, with permission of the murderers, to bury the Priest, the first Christian Martyr. It was probably in 1544. Then Compo and the two assistants left the country. (Barry p. 3) The Indians may have not liked Padilla.

For forty years interest waned. Then Spanish interest were revived again in 1581, when Francisco Sanchez Chamuscado led a small party of soldiers and priests northward into pueblo country, a tragic journey, leaving one of the priests dead and two others to their fates when he returned in 1582. (Coe p. 21) Another group of Franciscan Priests attempted to reach Chihuahua and the upper Rio Grande Valley, the Valley of the Pueblos; it ended in the death of three more priests. (Officer p. 27) The initial movement leading to colonization of New Mexico and Arizona were the expeditions of Rodriguez and Espejo in 1581-83 looking for the surviving priests. They learned they were dead, so Espejo turned his efforts to prospecting [good choice]. (Coe p. 21)  Espejo got as far west as the silver-copper deposits of Jerome, he returned with high grade silver samples, kindling renewed interest of King Felip II who looked for a leader who could pacify and settle the region. (Officer p. 27) Juan de Onate, son of one of the wealthiest men of the realm, won out in a competition. After many delays Onate finally reached the San Juan area, and established the first permanent European settlement of New Mexico. (Officer p. 27). “Three decades after establishing the New Mexico Colony, Franciscan missionaries initiated a Christianizing program among the HOPI Indians, with the assignment of three priests to the mesa-top villages…until the Pueblo Revolt in 1680, the missionaries maintained a presence in HOPI country…[they were] expelled during the rebellion, never successfully to return.” (Officer pp. 3-4)


At about the same time, Sosa, an impatient explorer, reached Taos, but he was arrested by the Viceroy. Three years later, Francisco Levya de Bonilla and Antonio Guterrez de Humana, defied the authorities and lost their lives on the plains. The combined reports of frontiersmen, missionaries, the raids of Drake and Cavendish in the Pacific, prodded the authorities into action to take possession of the land. As noted, the winner of a competition to colonize the Northwest, was Don Juan de Onate. But it took him three years to prepare for the adventure. Then he was on his way north. In the fall of 1598 he had taken a party westward to the HOPI region, he then sent Captain Marcos Farfan to search for the mines Espejo had discovered, they never found the silver mines,  but ended up in the Prescott area, way north of Espeyo’s discovery,  where they found new veins of ore, mostly copper. (Officer p. 27) Soon Onate was exploring beyond the Pecos, way to the east. (Thomas pp. 6-7)  Two years of exploration to the west and east net him very little, so he turned to the plains. Leaving Pecos about 1601 he advanced to the present Texas-Oklahoma boundary, then turned north to the Arkansas, then further north to the land of the Wichitas, first seen by Coronado from where he returned to Santa Fe; like others, disappointed. He had some battles with the Indians and later he also explored some Apachi lands. But gold and silver eluded him.

During the next three years Father Perea was the first to explore beyond the New Mexico line. Father Fray Bartolome Romero and Fray Barolome Fomero were the first to reach the Apachi and preach to them, finding them, at that time, responsive and many were baptized. (Thomas p. 7) It is not known if the ordinance took or if it was the freebees they got. Onate further explored the east borders of the Colorado River. On October 7th 1604 with thirty soldiers he penetrated deep into Arizona exposing the region to the Spaniards more than any other taken before or until long afterward. By following the lower Colorado River, he had reached the Gulf of California, returning to New Mexico in late April 1605. Then in 1606 he learned about the head waters of the Colorado and the Utes who were equated equal to the Apachi. Zarate Salmeron, twenty years later encountered the Utes as did Father Posadas. In historic times, the Utes “Occupied the mountains and valleys of Colorado, Utah, parts of New Mexico and Arizona….they thought of themselves as “NUCHE” which means the people…the Spanish called them “YUTAS” [hence UTES} as they are called today.” (Pettit pp. 4-5)

Onate had reported favorable possibilities of Gold in the San Juan Mountains, but the Spanish would not explore this area until 1770’s where they made significant discoveries. Later this northern area was known through the exploits of Dominguez and Escalante. (Thomas pp 6-11) They followed trails laid out by Spanish geologists who were working in the San Juan Mountains during the summers then searched for a easy crossing across the Colorado River during winter time; they had blazed the way so two trails could be followed. Dominguez did not know of the first trail, the record he had was for the second, and so history was changed again. His trip was to be a failure, and the Spanish would not have an intended trade route through to the coast from Santa Fe to Monterey, they might have had they taken the first trail. The San Juan Mountains was the scene of many gold deposits for the Spanish and later others. I have visited most of the mines and followed parts of the trails of the old Spanish geologists.  In all of the above the greatest riches, that of the land itself, was ignored, they never officially took possession of the Land. Gold and silver deposits were found in various places in Nevada clear to Idaho, forced Indian labor produced bullion from such mines. I have seen two of these mines. The Spanish would use slave Indians to remove the waste and through it around to the opening of the mine could not be seen nor easily found.   


The Franciscan Friars spent frustrating years attempting to convert the HOPIS, they only accumulated martyrs, among them Father Francisco de Porras who was poisoned in 1633. (Officer p. 27)  The Priest; Eusebio Francisco Kino, a native of Segno in the Italian Tyrol, was sent from Baja, California, to do missionary work in the northern reaches of the Pimeria Alta. Working in southern Arizona, gave him considerable fame, but he was only partially successful with the Pima, and Indians in the Gila and Yuma regions. Kino Spent twenty four years putting the Pimeria Alta on the map; Father Agustin de Campos spent forty three years keeping it there. (Officer p. 30) But the Friars just couldn’t lay off their oppressive subjugation of the Indians and efforts to totally suppress their religion; this led to the Pima revolt of 1751. (Officer p. 31)  After the 1740’s the Jesuits renewed attempts to convert the HOPIS. (Officer p. 35) By the end of the century they were no more successful than the early years after the Pueblo revolt of a century before. The first real success of converting Indians to a Christian religion was by the Mormons in the mid 1800’s.  The Mormons continue to be successful with Indians of North America and especially of Mexico and South America, because the Book of Mormons is about them, and many have retained traditions linked to that Book.   


Before 1700 the Spanish were confronted with the fur trading French, the first contacts were mutually profitable, then it went down hill. Some of the fur traders had brought their goods each year to Santa Fe exchanging them for silver, then they would collect another baggage of fur on their way back north. But in 1700 the authorities of Santa Fe confiscated the furs of one French group and imprisoned them for a short time. They left without their furs and their silver, never to return, a grievous loss for the Spanish. From 1696 to 1727, there was frequent Franco-Spanish conflict west of the Mississippi. In 1706 a Spanish expedition to eastern Colorado found evidence of French visitors and trinkets among the Indians there. (Thomas pp 12-13) Frequent wars with the Navajos erupted, and finally the French advance westward and to the south became a real threat.


While friendly at first, Onate and other Spanish religious leaders eventually brought the Pueblos under excessive oppressive control. So much so, the Indians rebelled. They were treated as sub-humans. The first unrest broke out in 1664 at Taos, the cruelty of the oppression and the suppression of their religion gradually increased resulting in a general revolt by the Pueblos in 1680. Twenty-one friars, out of thirty-three and 380 Settlers out of 2500 were killed, the survivors fled to an area south of modern El Paso. Contrary to the Spanish disposition, the Indians were compassionate and let the others go, though they could have killed them all. (Dozier p. 59) Despite several armed attempts, the Spanish were kept out of New Mexico until 1692-1693, when the re-conquest under Diego de Vargas was initiated and then finalized in 1696. However, neither the Zuni nor the HOPI were effectively brought under this mission system. (Cardell p. 14) The HOPI, being so distant and remote from the other Pueblos, remained largely outside the control of the colonial government. In 1700 renewed missionary activity at Awatovi prompted HOPI Indians to destroy that village, along with believers and priests, one of the few references to violence in the history of the HOPI. The suppression of their religion was worse than being killed. Brought to extremes, the HOPI took extreme measures, more so during the encroachment of the white men than at any other time in their history after they had left their original homeland. Did they enlist for this violence those in the villages who may have not been tied to the original oath and covenant not to use their weapons again?  Too late to ask, all those who participated are dead.

During the next 30 years the Franciscan Priests tried at least eight times to reestablish themselves in HOPI land but utterly failed. (Officer p. 28). The HOPIS reverted back to their ancient traditions unimpeded. They rebuilt their sacred Kivas and renewed their ceremonial apparatus. Today the HOPI represent a “purer” version of Pueblo traditional life. (Cordell pp. 14-14)  This account of how the Hopis have been preserved and how resilient their traditions and ceremonies may be, uncontaminated by the incursions of the Spanish and White men, will be explored by examining more of their traditions. How complete and accurate ancient teachings and traditions have been preserved is part of this exciting search. The HOPI, as one can gather so far, are the best to start with. 


When the United States annexed the Southwest in the Mexican War of 1847-48, and the Treaty of Hildalgo-Guadalupe was ratified, it found an attenuated array of stubborn Pueblo villages scattered in the same crescent from Taos to the HOPI, the western most Pueblos, as Coronado himself had found. (Trimble p. 64) But it is the HOPI which interest us. The United States ratified no treaties with the Pueblos, rather, in 1858 they recognized the Spanish Land grants which “gave” the Pueblos their lands, thus creating a difficult situation, and began a long struggle for land rights, which for the HOPIS is still in progress, even with the additional land recently given them in the San Francisco Mt. near Flagstaff, Arizona. Some 8,000 strong in 1864, they have not added to their numbers very much, but with new ground their numbers may increase: more land, more people.

Coronado, relying on misinformation about the Lost Seven Cities of Cibolo, had identified the Zuni pueblos as “Totonteac, larger and better than all the Seven Cities put together, and that it has so many houses and people that it has no end.” (Bolton p. 36) Then Totonteac was identified with the HOPI Pueblos, which stretched out on mesas for seventy miles. “Totonteac, seven short days from [the pueblo of Cibolo, had twelve towns.” (Bolton p. 89)  The HOPI were some 120 miles from the Zuni. Of all the once magnificent seven cities of the Zuni, only that of Zuni remains. A monument to what?


Coronado had failed to find the gold and precious stones in the first of the seven cities he had discovered and subdued. What remained now was the territory of Tusayan, [HOPI] but earlier reports were not encouraging. The first pueblo there was called Tucano, hence Tusayan, which name was later applied to the whole group of eight villages. (Bolton p. 134) A few archaeologists have used that name, but it never caught on. Then and now, it was the HOPIS.  MAP 1 shows the three main mesas with the main named village on them. The one I am most familiar with and where I spent some time and experienced the snake dance is Walpi on the first Mesa. (Erickson L.H., pp.141-150)  

Captain Pedro de Tovar, in the summer of 1540, with seventeen mounted men and four walking, with himself making 22, went forth to subdue the HOPI and to check out the report of a great river. They snuck in close at night, but were discovered, but they were prepared to meet the Hopi warriors. They tried to communicate first. The Hopi came out to meet them in a strange formation. For moments it seemed things would work out. Unfortunately, a HOPI hit the head of a horse, which reared up, triggering a charge by the small Spanish group killing several natives, some were taken captive, but losing none of their own. A conference then followed, the village surrendered, and all the other villages followed, giving gifts of cloth, hides, turquoise, pine nuts and corn meal. (Bolton p. 135-137) They knew the whites could overwhelm them. Tovar had reported that the Hopi verified to him of a mighty river to the west, with some giants living on the river.

Captain Cardenas was then sent to find the river and other settlements to the west the HOPI told him about. On August 25, 1540, they were the first to reach and explore the Colorado River near Grand View. They tried for three days to climb down, but never made it, they continued westward to find the so called ‘giants’, [the Havasupai] but ran short of food and water, and finally were forced to return. (Bolton pp. 138-141)  Cardenas never stopped at any of the Hopi villages which stretched westward for some seventy miles. (See MAP 1) From there it had taken him 22 days to reach the river. And grand it was! But he could have followed the Little Colorado River down into the big river, but the sacred sipapuni, or emergent location of the HOPI into this fourth world was there and the HOPI didn’t want him close to that sacred ground, so he went the long way.  

RESOURCES OF THE HOPI                          

Mining was well known to the Pueblo inhabitants. Salt was sought by most of them, and large salt mines were known near the Muddy River junction with the Colorado River, and in bottom areas of the River itself. “At St. Thomas, Nevada [a major salt source] the old caverns extended for 100 yards or more into the sides of the mountain. When discovered, the floors were covered with debris, torches and other refuse. Without roof supports, these tunnels often had collapsed. The mines were known to have been worked between A.D. 900 and 1200, possibly even hundreds of years earlier.” (Sloane p. 6) Coal was especially mined by the HOPI. “The only prehistoric coal mines known in the United States were in the sandstones of Arizona where the HOPI …learned to burn the black rock they found in beds of various thicknesses. The HOPIS used coal for baking pottery. Evidence of their coal mines is so extensive it would seem each family had its own coal deposit….in 1697 Fray Agustin de Vetancurt wrote about the mission at Awatobi … noting that the HOPIS had “stones which served for coal but the smoke is noxious in its strength.” (Sloane pp. 4-5) The coal beds eventually became a huge source of coal for the power plants near Page, Arizona, creating employment and income for HOPIS and NAVAJOS. But like all natural resources constant mining soon exhausts the resource.

“Turquoise…the favorite of both ancient and modern Indians, and found only in the southwestern United States [and parts of the Great Basin]….used as a medium of trade, was made into mosaic inlays for bone, stone, shell and wood objects, as well as fabricated into breads and pendants, not unlike that found in Central America. Ancient turquoise mines have been found in Colorado…New Mexico border line, New Mexico, Arizona, California (near the Nevada line) [and in central and southern Nevada]. Most of these deposits are quarries, with the turquoise appearing in fissures and joint planes in hard crystalline rock…which they mined with crudely shaped deer horn mauls and picks. [They mined copper the same way] Like copper, the turquoise was first heated by fire…sudden pouring of cold water over the heated rock caused it to crack releasing, though often damaging, the turquoise.” (Sloane p. 4) “Los Cerrillos, New Mexico was the largest turquoise area, where one mine was excavated to a pit 200 feet deep and more than 300 feet wide. Tunnels were sometimes dug twenty or thirty feet into the rock.” (Sloane p. 4) Most of the turquoise ever mined is probably still being worn by some Indian, of course I have some of it too. I was trained in silver smithing by the same specialist who trained the HOPI and NAVAJO. Over the centuries, the Indians surrounded everything they did, every activity in which they engaged, ever product obtained by whatever effort, with ceremony, especially a gratitude blessing for all resulting product, be they animal, plant, or mineral, they celebrated by a ceremony. In some of these ceremonies, and in particular their attitude, they express the Book of Mormon sense of gratitude in all things, and humility before their creator of all things.  Modern agribusiness could learn something about the Hopi strategy of maintaining heterogeneity in their approach to agriculture. They have sustained themselves for more than 2000 years. Most of everything else that has happened to the HOPI is now part of history. Like other Pueblo peoples they have incorporated change in order to remain the same. (Cordell p. 169)   

The HOPI are still there, waiting for the events foretold to happen. They are patient.


Various HOPI spokesman considered to have a knowledge of HOPI history and traditions, derived from Oral traditions handed down for nearly 2000 years, had their knowledge recorded by another HOPI, White Bear, who was especially qualified to record and translate this source material. He was a full blood HOPI born in Oraibi, a member of the Cayote Clan, and a nephew of the late Wilson Tawakwaptiwa, the Village Chief of Oraibi. He attended Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas and Bacon College in Muskogee, Oklahoma. The compilation of his data, arranged chronologically by Waters, was a sacred task, reflecting the history and religious beliefs of the HOPI, as if the traditions came by way of the dictate of fate and fortuitous chance. (Waters pp. xx-xi) From Water’s book we have made a few selections and compare them with Mormon Doctrine. The ancient traditions are very compressed but often embellished with stories that have been added from time to time. There are six sources we use to compare with the ancient traditions:  Genesis, Book of Moses, Book of Abraham, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, (TPJS), Joseph Smith Inspired Translation of the Scriptures, (JST), and the Temple Ceremony (TC), which will not be directly quoted. Quotes from the HOPI traditions are in bold and highlighted characters, Mormon doctrine and commentary remain normal.  Nearly all of the brackets and bold capitals are for emphasis.  


The first world was Tokpela. [Endless Space]

“And the light which shineth which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understanding; which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to FILL THE IMMENSITY OF SPACE.” (D&C 88:11-12)

But first they say, there was only the Creator, Taiowa.

There evidently was a credible source for this Tradition. But the “they” who seemed to have higher knowledge and sacred knowledge had passed down at least this much information. Somewhere there must be a more complete story?

In the SONG OF CREATION, translated by White Bird, TAIOWA is called OUR FATHER. (Waters p. 7)  He should be so designated in all the translations, but White Bird often uses a HOPI endearment using UNCLE that HOPIS would understand, but the white man would be a little confused.

Taiowa, in the Beginning was a lone god. “A Lone God in the universe can not find great joy in his power.” (Widtsoe 1952 pp. 27)

All was endless space.

There was no beginning and no end, no time, no shape, no life. Just an immeasurable void that had its beginning and end, time, shape, and life in THE MIND of Taiowa the Creator.   

ItwasthedesignintheMINDOFGODand in the councilsofHeavenbeforetheworldwas.” (TPJS p. 308; Andersen p. 30)

I am the beginning and the end, the Almighty God; by my only begotten I created these things; yea in the beginning I created the heaven and the earth.” (Anderson p. 35; Gen. l:l, Moses 2:25; Abraham 4:1-5)

The great and glorious PLAN …wrought out in THE MIND and purpose of God.” (Dahl p. 55)  

Then he, the infinite, conceived the finite.

“To determine this relationship between God and man, it is necessary to know…why…[God] is the supreme intelligent Being in the universe, with the greatest knowledge and the most perfected will, and who, therefore, possess infinite power over the forces of the universe…In some manner, mysterious to us, he has recognized and utilized the laws of the universe of which he is the chief intelligence…God must have been engaged from the beginning.” (Widtsoe 24)  It is Mormon Doctrine that there is ‘no beginning and no end’. 

“In ‘the beginning’ which transcends understanding, God…exercised his will vigorously, and thus gained experience of the forces lying about him. As knowledge grew into greater knowledge, by persistent efforts of will, his recognition of universal laws became greater until he attained at last a conquest over the universe, which to our finite understanding seems absolutely complete…Thus he became God…His intelligence is as the sum of all other intelligences…His Godhood, however, is the product of simple obedience to the laws of the universe…God offered to help some of the waiting intelligent being secure the knowledge that he had already gained, in such  a manner that they need not traverse the road that he had traversed…He devised plans of progression whereby the experience of one person might be used by an inferior one…A LONE GOD IN THE UNVERSE CAN NOT FIND GREAT JOY IN HIS POWER.” (Widtsoe 1952, pp, 25-27)  

“GOD [is] the Supreme Intelligence…God [is] The Highest Intelligence. (D&C 76:92, 93; 88:40; 109:77)  The foremost intelligence in the universe is God, Him whom we address in our prayers as Father. (D&C 20:17)…God, the highest Intelligence, possesses supreme knowledge and power…His knowledge is the sum of the knowledge possessed by all existing personal intelligences.” (Abraham 3:19; Widtsoe 1937 pp. 195-199)

To some degree, most of the ideas above are reflected in the succinct but extremely abbreviated traditions of the HOPIS and appear as a golden thread in the vast tapestry of their ancient traditions.  

First he [TAIOWA] created Sotuknang to make it manifest [REAL]. saying to him. “I have CREATED YOU, the FIRST POWER and INSTRUMENT as a PERSON , to carry out my PLAN for life in ENDLESS SPACE. I am your Uncle [father]. You are my Nephew [son] (In the HOPI traditions and social interrelationships, Uncle and Nephew are frequently used for Father and Son)

“When Christ says, ‘all things came by me,’…he is speaking by divine investiture of authority…the great labor of creation rested with Christ…Christ was the firstborn of all the spirit children of our eternal Father. (D&C 38:3; McConkie p. 278)

Here the HOPI traditions suggest a pre-existence and at least two beings occupied it. “The organization of the spiritual and heavenly worlds, and of spiritual and heavenly beings, was agreeable to the most perfect order and harmony, their limits and bounds were fixed irrevocably, and voluntarily subscribed to in their heavenly estate.” (TPJS p. 325)

“God and the Plan of Salvation…God is the author of the full plan.”  (Widtsoe p. 202; Moses l:39)  There is one Universe, our Father is the God of the Universe. (Hinckley in July Ensign Editorial, 2007)


All of the above is a preamble to the creational narrative, which begins when TAIOWA gives instructions, perhaps even a command, to SOTUKNANG:

GO now and LAY out these UNIVERSES [worlds] in proper order so they may work harmoniously with one another according to MY PLAN.

White Bird’s use of the word UNIVERSES seems to mean WORLDS as becomes clear from parts of the context. However, in light of new cosmological discoveries, it could mean more, especially if his ancient ancestors had access to the Brass Plates and those plates had the more complete ancient records of Moses and Abraham, with much more detail than we have.  In which case we might have to consider a duel meaning here and consider White Bird’s use of the words INFINITE and  FINITE, they could, applied to the single world on which we live, or all the worlds within the confines of the finite BIG BANG, or all the BIG BANGS, that constitute the limitless immensity of space. The Mormon’s take on this is based on Moses 7:30, which requires multiple BIG BANGS to account for all the worlds demanded in that reference. Recently cosmologists are coming around to the reality that because they can measure to some degree the finiteness of our BIG BANG, and give it a time limit of 100 Billion years, this would then suggest an INFINITE UNIVERSE and thus allow for many BIG BANGS necessary in order to accommodate GOD’S creations and his “curtains stretch out still” and that is only the “beginning.” (Moses 7:30-31)  “The visible universe seems the same in all direction around us, at least if we look out to distances larger than about 300 million light years. The isotropy is much more precise (to about one part in 10-5) in the cosmic microwave background...this radiation has been traveling to us for about 14 billion years, supporting the conclusion that the universe at sufficiently large distances is nearly the same in all directions. It is difficult to imagine that we are in any special position in the universe, so we are led to conclude that the universe should appear isotropic to observers throughout the universe. Conditions must be the same at the same time ….at any points that can be carried into each other by a rotation about any typical galaxy….observers in all typical galaxies are the same time see conditions pretty much the same” (Weinberg p. 1) But here this eminent cosmologists has defined a small finite BIG BANG in time and space, and concludes that “Almost all of modern cosmology is based on this Robertson-Walker metric, at least AS A FIRST APPROXIMATION.” (Weinberg pp. 1-2)  Thus, Moses 7:30 and the HOPI traditions are, at this time, until further revelation, just ‘FIRST APPROXIMATIONS’ and things are really much larger than anyone can suppose. The point to be made is that ancient Indian traditions may be based on something more, much more, than we can imagine!  But follow the intent and content of Mormon cosmology.

In the Beginning, the Head of the Gods called and brought the Gods together in the Grand Council. And they came together and developed a PLAN to create the world and people it. Then they organized the heavens and the earth. (TPJS, pp. 348-349; Anderson p. 35)

“And WORLDS without number have I created, and I also created them for MY OWN PURPOSE; and by the SON I created them, who is my Only Begotten, And by the WORD OF MY POWER have I created them, who is my Only Begotten son.” (Moses 1:32-33) Anderson p. 28)

“He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all tings, and is through all things, and is rouind about all tings; and all things are by him, and of him, even God forever and ever.” D&C 88:41)

Sotuknang did as he was commanded.

God “is the creator who created all things through His Beloved Son.” (Anderson p. 336)

“By the word of my power have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth. And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them.” (Moses 1:32-33)

From endless space he gathered that which was to be manifest as solid substance MOLDED it into forms and arranged them into nine universal kingdoms: one for Taiowa the Creator, one for himself, and seven universes for the life to come.

Yonder it matter unorganized, we shall take of it and organize it into a world. (TC)

No explanation of the source or how or when, the heavy elements that comprise the earth were put into the “yonder place” is given. Whatever time it took and the process involved, the heavy elements required for life on earth as we know it, were now ready for assembly into an earth. The sun and moon came on the third day. (TC)  This System was now a unique assembly of sun, earth, moon for seasons, and stars set also for season.

And the earth was without form. And then I, God said: let us go down.’ And we went down at the beginning, and we the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.”  (Anderson p. 35; Gen. l:l, )  “And the earth, after it was formed, was empty and desolate, because we had not formed anything but the earth.” (Anderson p. 36) “andbytheSon I createdthem” (Moses 1:33)

SOTUKNANG reports back to TAIOWA

  Finishing this, Sotuknang went to Taiowa and asked., “Is this according to YOUR PLAN?”

“IT IS VERY GOOD,” said Taiowa.


 Now I want you to do the same thing with the WATERS. Place them on the surfaces of these universes [WORLDS] so they will be divided equally among all and each.

So Sotiuknan gathered from endless space that which was to be manifest as the WATERS and placed them on the universes [WORLDS] so that each would be half solid and half water.

And again, I, God of the Gods, also said: ‘Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and it shall divide the waters from the waters.’ (Gen l:6; Joseph Smith Translation l:9; Moses 2:6; Abraham 4:6)

And I, God of the Gods, ordered the expanse, so that it divided the waters, yea the great waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse, and it was so even as I spoke and as we ordered.” (Andersen p. 36)

Going now to Taiowa, he said. “I want you to see the work I have done if it pleases you.

“It is very good” said Taiowa.


“The next thing now is to put the forces of air [heavens]  into peaceful movement [sun, moon and stars] about all.  This Sotuknang did. From endless space [heavens] he gathered that which was to be manifest as the airs, made them into GREAT FORCES, and arranged them into gentle ORDERED MOVEMENTS AROUND EACH UNIVERSE [WORLD]. The sun and the moon, in ordered movement around the earth.

“And I, God of the Gods, organized the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night; and the greater light was the sun and the lesser light was the moon; with the lesser light we set the stars also.” (Andersen p. 38; TC)

This is an extremely astonishing confirmations of doctrine and religious parallels in ancient doctrines and ancient traditions. Almost all other accounts, Genesis, Moses, Abraham, etc., recount how on the third day, the plants are organized (Abraham 4:11-14) This contradicts the law of photosynthesis, which is not a theory, but an establish fact, making it most difficult to reconcile and for scientists to accept the religious account because it cannot be justified, and no one seems to know how to get the original author to rewrite those verses.  But the Temple Ceremony changed the sequences, but who notices? There the creation story is consistent with other factual knowledge of our world. In other words, Joseph Smith in the Temple Ceremony account got the sequence right the first time, and the HOPI have it right also! However, Joseph says he got the Temple Ceremony from the records of Abraham (See Abraham Facsimile No. 2) which could have been in the Brass Plates as well! Wherever Joseph got the sequence, the TC is correct, then sun, moon, stars and earth are configured on the third day, that leaves day four and five for creation of the plants and animals in all their diversity. Then on the sixth day-man and woman were put on the earth! How? By birth! (Abraham l:3)

Taiowa was pleased. “You have done a great work, according to MY PLAN, Nephew [Son]. You have created the universe and made them manifest in solids, waters, and winds, and put them [sun, moon, stars] into their proper places.  But your work is not yet finished. Now you must create life and its movement to complete the four parts, Tuqaquachi, of my UNIVERSAL PLAN.

At this juncture, White Bird’s translation introduces the Story of Spider Woman and the Twins. Most of this story as we will soon see has to do with the creation of humans. Sometime in the past 2000 years, the Spider Women tradition apparently were inserted and complicates the CREATION NARRATIVE. As pointed out above there is no longer any syncretism between the accounts of the HOPI and those found in Genesis, Moses, and Abraham, instead the account now parallels and has some parallels to items found in the TJS and the JST, but essentially that found in the TC account.


This is your voice, Uncle,” Sotuknang said to TAIOWA. “Everything is tuned to your sound [command].”

“It is very good,” said TAIOWA

…then created from the earth trees, bushes, plants, flowers, all kinds of seed-bearers and nut-bearers to clothe the earth, giving to each a life and name.”  (Waters p. 5)  

“And I, God of the Gods saw that all things which I had made were good.” (JST 1:16)

“And I, God of the Gods, said: ‘Let us prepare the earth to bring forth vegetation, plants producing seed, the fruit tree bearing fruit, after its own kind, and the tree bearing fruit, whose seed should be in itself producing its own likeness upon the earth,’ and it was so, even as we ordered.” (Anderson p. 37, V. 11)

The food chain of plants before animal life is preserved in the Hopi Account.


“In the same manner…created all kinds of birds and animals-molding them out of the earth…indicating how they should be spread to all four corners of the earth to live.

Sotuknang was happy, seeing how beautiful it all was-the land, the plants, the birds and animals, and the power working through them all. Joyfully he said to TAIOWA, “Come see what our world looks like now!”

“It is very good,” said TAIOWA.  “It is ready now for human life, the final touch to complete my plan.” (Waters pp. 5-6)

And I, God of the Gods, said: ‘Let the waters bring forth moving creatures abundantly that have life, and fowl which fly above the earth in the open expanse of heaven.(Andersen p. 38, V. 21)

And I, God of the Gods, said: ‘Let the earth bring forth the living creatures after their kind, cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind, and it was so, as we had said; (Andersen p. 39, V. 24)


SOTUKNANG went to the universe [world] wherein was that to be TOKPELA, THE First World, and out of it he created her who was to remain on the earth and be his helper. Her name was KOKYANGWUTI, Spider Women.

When she awoke to life and received her name, she asked “Why am I here?”

“Look about you answered SOTUKNANG. “Here is this earth we have created. It has shape and substance, direction and time, a beginning and an end. But there is no life upon it. We see no joyful movement [agency]. We hear no joyful sound. What is life without sound and movement. So you have been given the power to help us create this life. You have been given the knowledge, wisdom and love to bless all the beings you created. That is why you are here.  

There then follows the Story of Spider Women and the Twins, the Creation of Mankind, the Creation Song, and a long philosophical discussion of the Nature of Man. (Water pp. 4-14) How much of this is White Bird’s interpretation of the accounts he had gathered is unknown, though other accounts by other HOPI interpreters somewhat differ in detail. So we shall only excerpt a few statements from White Bird’s account, the underlying doctrinal parallel should be obvious to informed Mormons. .

Colors play a considerable role, the origins of some play a role in the daily life and prayers of the HOPI, there are parallel treatments of colors found in the Aztec accounts.  The four main colors are the colors of the cardinal directions, yellow, red, white, and black, compare these with Central American colors. These colors are most exact and are set up in the complicated Pipe Ceremony for Healing used by a number of Indian groups. I was taken through the entire ceremony by a well trained Medicine (Man) They do not call them “Man”, just Medicine. I was permitted to ask questions at any time, so I came to thoroughly understand the ceremony and its deep content. There is also a “‘time’ of the dark purple light, QOYANGNUPTU, the first phase of the dawn of Creation, which first reveals the mystery of man’s creation…the time of the yellow light, SIKANGNUQUA, the second phase of the dawn of Creation, when the breath of life entered man…the time of the red light TALAWVA, the third phase of the dawn of Creation , when man fully formed and firmed, proudly faced his Creator.” (Waters p. 6)  The sun was the introduced as a symbol of your “FATHER THE CREATOR. You must always rememberthese three phases of your CreationThese comprise the Creator’s PLAN of life for you as sung over you in the Song of Creation: …The Perfect one, TAIOWA, our Father, The perfect one creating the beautiful life…The perfect one laid out the perfect plan and gave to us a long span of life…On this path of happiness.” (Waters pp. 6-7; 2 Ne 9:6, 9:13, 11:5, Jac 6:8, Jar l:2, Al 12:25, 12:26, 12:30, 32, 33, 17:16, 24:14, 29:2, 34:9, 34:16, 39:18, 42:5, 8, 11, 13, 14, 16, 31, Moses 6:32)

SOTUKNANG was summoned because the humans could not speak.

So SOTUKNANG gave them speech…He gave them wisdom and the power to reproduce, so that they may enjoy their life and give thanks to the Creator…I have given you this world to live on and to be happy…one thing I ask of you…respect for the love of the Creator who made you…So the First People went their directions, were happy, and began to multiply.” (Waters p 8)

The HOPI knew they had a heavenly Mother, the symbol for her was the earth, in many ceremonies the reference is to FATHER SKY, and MOTHER EARTH, but they “Knew their mother in two aspects which were often synonymous-as MOTHER EARTH and the CORN MOTHER.”  (Waters pp. 8-9)  The personification of the same two identical aspects the Aztecs called TONANTZIN, which means “Our Mother”. (Waters p. 9) As we have quoted elsewhere in this study, the Aztec’s knew more about Mother.


To close PART 3 of this series, we might turn to the ancient traditions of South American Indians. A friend of mine, David G. Calderwood, after 30 years as a Foreign Service Office, and other specialized experiences in South American affairs, assembled a unique collection of more than 70 old chronicles in Spanish and Portuguese which he translated and published in a book in 2005. From the copy he gave me a few sources might be of some interest. If the Book of Mormon is fiction there should be no parallels at all.


Vasco Nunez de Balboa had discovered the Pacific, by 1511 Spanish settlers in Panama circulated rumors of a fabulous country of untold riches several days journey to the south of the isthmus. Balboa took up the Challenge. The invading Spanish soon learned that the Inca reigned over a vast mosaic of peoples they had subjugated. How the Inca built up such a vast empire so quickly remains an enigma. The legends tell how they arrived on the coasts from the north by boats. But the time of their arrival does not fit any Book of Mormon chronology. The enigma is made all the more insoluble by the fact that the history of the successive dynasties and their victories verge on legend. (Bernand p. 22)  Their legends may provide a clue of who they were and where they came from.

Pedro de Cieza de Leon had a great thirst for knowledge and wrote detailed accounts of everything he observed from Columbia to Bolivia and all his side trips. From 1535 until 1546 he was in Columbia, then with others of the Spanish knights of Columbia, was ordered to Peru to put down the rebellion of Bonzalo Pizarro. Pizarro, in 1545, and many who had become wealthy land owners, objected to the new laws designed to free the Indians. Pizarro and his followers declared their independence from Spain. King Phillip 11, within a year, organized an army to put down the rebellion. It was a long march from Quito, Ecuador, taking nearly two years, arriving in 1548 on the Plains of Cuzco where Pizarro was defeated. Impressed by Pedro de Cieza, the Military Leader Pedro de La Gasca appointed him Conista de Indias(Official Chronicler of the Indies), with letters of authority to travel throughout the Andeans. He continued to learn and write about everything. He introduced the European world to the coca leaf, the source of cocaine and coca-chocolate, “coca could keep both hunger and fatigue at bay,” (Bernand p. 62) most importantly Pedro interviewed many of the ‘big ears’ [pendants in their ears so heavy that they stretched the ear], the Inca nobility who were still alive, learning not only about the Incas but about those who had lived in Peru and the Andes long before.

With all that he learned, “he highlighted the following as the single most significant event: Before the Incas came…these Indians tell a thing that far exceeds all else they say…a long time went by in which they did not see the sun, and …they suffered great hardships from this lack…they made great prayers and vows…to…their gods imploring of them the light that had failed…there came and appeared among them a white man, large of stature, whose air and person aroused great respect and veneration…he had great powers, making plains of the hills, and of the plains, high mountains, and bringing forth springs in the living rock….they called him the Maker of all things, their Beginning, Father of the sun, for he called into being men and animals…great benefits came to them from his hand….they had heard from their forefathers, who in turn had heard it in old songs that had come down to them…and they never saw him again…He is called TICICI VAROCOCHA. (Calderwood p. 121-123) The ninth, and greatest, sovereign [of fifteen, five were of the Hurin and eight of the Hanan, dynasties] of the Inca was PACJACITI, (meaning ‘inversion of the world order’) the first historical Inca, rebuilt Cusco, built the many roads, and promoted the cult of VIRACOCHA. (Bernand p. 23, 25)  He indeed inverted the Inca world order, for that matter, South America, as well as the Spanish and Portuguese. One can understand why VIRACOCHA is equated by some with Christ.


Are we justified in making the jump from Central America to South America? The archaeologists Lanning and Patterson have tried to make sense of the utterly complicated and proliferated cultures of eastern South America where every archaeologist makes his own dig the culture to be recognized. They organized the pre-ceramic cultures of the whole of South America. (Lanning pp. 26-27)  For our purposes we note that they have identified an INITIAL PERIOD, from 1800 to 900 BC. They have a pre-ceramic PERIOD VI, dating back to 2500 BC. These periods adequately cover the Jaredite Time Period. We have already noted that Michael D. Coe is an expert on the OLMEC civilization, so when he identified “An Olmec Design on an Early Peruvian vessel” could we make the connection with these periods of Lanning and Peterson, (Lanning p.100) with the Central American Olmecs? Lanning had recognized at least seven geographical and culture areas for the Coastal area of Eastern South America, and eight geographical and culture areas for the Highlands. (Lanning pp. 26-27)  Their Early Horizon is given the years 900 BC to 200 AD, and their Early Intermediate is from 200 BC to 600 AD CHART 1 is a more recent summary of cultures. (Moseley pp. 22-23) Time is the most important item. Do these dates let a Mormon feel comfortable about some comparisons?

The CHAVIN CULTURE, essentially begins about 900 BC and ends about the 200 AD., certainly embracing portions of the Late OLMEC and most of the main Nephite Cultural periods. Recent studies indicate that “regular intervals throughout the centuries, brilliant all conquering civilizations arose on the Cordillera. Thus, more than 500 years before Christ, the culture of the Chavin emerged in the Central Andes, and extended its influence as far as the coast.” (Bernand 23) Could Nephite colonists have traded with earlier Jaredites in the area making up the CHAVIN CULTURE? Somebody was in Ecuador around 3,000 BC, (Moseley p. 107) They even left carved stone elephants (Ether 9:19). Elephants are not mentioned anywhere else in the Book of Mormon, but are referred to as present in some areas of the Jaredite world. Is there a connection here? How far north and south did the Jaredite spread? They were not present in the western hemisphere that early, are the dates correct? Farming took hold about 1800 BC. By 1600 BC agropastoralism was present in the high Andes. (Moseley p. 107) Can a connection be made between these early cultures and the Olmecs? Would this then be interpreted as a link to the Jaredites? All of South America needs a restudy.

From the 10th century onward, both TIWANAKU on the shores of Lake Titicaca, and WARI, in the reign of Ayacucho, underwent considerable expansion (Bernand p. 23) under the Inca who had arrived by boats, coming down the coast from the North. Where had this contingent of invaders from the north been for 400 to 600 years? The question arises because their Tradition of the days of darkness and the destruction of the cities, with the advent of the white God, with his unique teachings, could have only come from the passing on down of the experiences of someone who had been there in reality when Christ had come as described in 3 Nephi? A future study will appear on this Web site that will discuss more details of this interesting subject. The several times that I have stayed and studied archaeological sites around lake TITICACA have provided a file of data to pursue because this is an exciting subject to explore.

Fourteen years later another conference was held in 1982, Dumbarton Oaks Conference on the Chavin culture, additional data was added on this complex culture over the decades since. (Donnan p. 269) Burger saw some very important relationships between the monumental remains of Mesoamerica and the Chavin periods. (see CHART I) “Mesoamerica, long thought to be the precocious child of the Americas, was still confined to the Mesoamerican village during the time we are talking bout, and monumental architecture in Peru was a thousand years old when the Olmecs began their enterprise.” (Burger in Donnan p. 273) In Central America it may be that they have not as yet found the oldest Olmec remains. Lathrop also steers ones thinking about the relationships of culture in Mesoamerica and Peru. “The deep involvement of the cayman in Olmec as well as Chavin iconography has been demonstrated repeatedly…the frame of the Izapa Stela is the loop, the rope of supernatural power controlling the rain cycle…Stela No. 5 is iconographically the most complex of Izapa stelae…the top…is…the upper jaw and face of the jaguar. The opulate U, which forms the rest of the frame, has pyramids in its base so the whole frame explicitly became a plan of a ceremonial center…the jaws of the Great Cayman.” (Lathrop in Donnan pp. 256-259)  Stela No. 5 was found on Mound 56 at Izapa. (Lowe pp, 158-164) This Stela was reproduced by Jakeman making a latex rubber replica and then reproducing it on Linen. He handmade 20 copies; as one of his students, I obtained one of those copies. There are more than 100 parallels on that Stela to the Vision of Lehi. (Jackman p. 1-28) It all makes South America an interesting place to expand one’s research.  We will have to expand all of this elsewhere.


Humbolt and Prescott had left their monumental legacies, early in the 1900’s, Max Uhle was the first to stress stratigraphic relationships and changes layer by layer. Later, an Indian scholar, Julio C. Tello, directed the National Archaeological Museum in Lima, followed by Luis E. Valcarcel in 1930, both worked for decades to promote archaeology of the region. By 1941 serious work was being done by archaeologists; Kroeber in 1944 defined the Horizon Style, which was enlarged on in 1945 and 1948 by Willey,  and later Bennett, Martin and Rinaldo and Rouse contributed, along with many others to understanding Peruvian archaeology. (Willey pp. 204-205)  But they were hampered by the fact that the conquering forces soon learned after 1532 that great stores of precious metal existed in the ground, and not in a geological context, but the tombs of lords and nobles, which contained enormous stores of gold and silver. At the town of Cajamarca, the Inca Emperor, by the subterfuge of Francisco Pizarro with 260 Spanish mercenaries, and 198 foot soldiers, enticed the Inca Emperor to a peaceful meeting, then kidnapped and ransomed him for a room full of gold and two rooms full of silver. After payment of about $50 million by today’s bullion standards, the soldiers garroted the monarch, and marched to Cuzco to set up a Spanish Empire. (Moseley p. 7)  Within a generation of the conquest, looting operations grew so large and rewarding they became legally synonymous with mining. Ancient cities or cemeteries were divided into claim areas with titles registered in notarial archives. Title holders established chartered corporations to mobilize massive work forces to quarry the ruins. As with mines, the Castilian king was entitled to a 20 percent tax, so a royal Crown smelter was established in the Moche Valley because of the great wealth coming from the royal mausoleums of Chan Chan and the nearby Pyramid of the Sun, by melting and pouring the extravagant golden treasures into bullion, the Crown was ensured of the royal tax.

For just short of 500 years, the exploitation of antiquities has remained a large-scale business, and the Andean Cordillera is probably the most intensive looted ancient center of civilization in the world. In the 1960’s while plowing a field, workers found the deep tombs of the Loma Negra, soon 800 looters were amassed to pillage the graveyard. Grave robbing is a national pastime, reverently pursued by multitudes at Easter and others days of the religious calendar. Families regularly go to the countryside to picnic atop ancient cemeteries where child and adult alike dig about searching for treasures. Other than the gold and silver vast quantities of artifacts have also accumulated, with little information as to where they were found and with what monuments or other materials with which they were once associated; a terrible loss of archaeological data. (Moseley pp. 17-18) “Looting of such sites is akin to tearing pages out of a literary book: If you rip out enough pages, pretty soon the book doesn’t make sense.” (Kloor p. 254)


Miguel Cabello Valboa in his Miscelanea Antartica, Una Historia del Peru Antigiuao, recorded an incident in 1586 and published in Lima, Peru in Spanish in 1951, as follows:  ‘There is a story, passed down by tradition…that one day, all of sudden, the earth shook, and the sun was darkened and the rocks were broken up by making…and many graves of men dead since many years earlier were seen open…this appears to have taken place on the holy day of the crucifixion and death of our Redeemer Christ because it was also said that within a few years there were seen in some areas of Peru certain men of venerable presence and appearance…they preached ideas of a new, more saintly way to live.” (Calderwood pp. 124, 553)  Did all of these guys get together and compare notes?

Father Francisco de Avila, assigned to the Curate at Huarochiri in 1598, compiled information about  Andean Religion into a book published in 1598, entitled the Huarochiri Manuscript, A Testament of Ancient and Colonial Andean Religion, which included the following:  “In ancient times the sun died. Because of his [the sun’s] death it was night for five days. Rocks banged against each other. Mortars and grinding stones began to eat people. Buck Llama started to drive men.  Avila inserted his opinion of the event…We think these stories tell of the darkness following the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Maybe that is what it was.” Avila’s works were published by the University of Texas Press, Austin in 1991 (Calderwood p. 125, 551) In various traditions the days of darkness varies from three to an unnumbered period of days, perhaps modified by time.

Juan de Betanzos, married into the royal line of Lord Inca Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui and took advantage of his Inca contacts to provide a history of the Incas in an oft quoted work: Suma  y Narracion de los Incas, in 1557, but it was never published until 1880’s…”Betanzos was considered the best linguist in Peru, Francisco Pizarro…took Betanzos …in the capacity of ‘official interpreter’ during…numerous trips…even after Pizarro’s death in 1541, he continued as the Spanish colonial government’s official translator…Betanzos began…by referring to ancient legends of time when…Peru was dark and neither firelight nor daylight existed, and Peru was peopled by individual whose name had long been forgotten. …the legend is indicative of the importance the natives placed on this event of total darkness when there was neither sun light nor apparently fire of any kind…Betanzos emphasized that there was no light from any source…Betanzos  then relates that during this time of total darkness, the people were visited by a lord whose name was Contiti Viracocha [Tiucci Viracocha] who went to the area known as Tiahuanaco…in their language [the name] means “God, maker of the world.” (Calderwood pp. 125-126) Note the accounts are nearly in all cases similar to the 3 Nephi account, and less close to the prophetic accounts of Zenos and Samuel the Lamanite.

Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala in his Nueva Coroica y Buen Gobierno, finished in 1605, published in Englishin1936, wrote about a terrible disaster that occurred among the Indians, though he did not mention the episode of darkness.  He wrote that the disasters “took place during the reign of the Lord Inca Sinche Roca Inca…Jesus Christ was born during the eightieth year of the reign of this Inca Sovereign, so Felipe dated the destructions to a period close to the death of Jesus Christ: ‘God punished them by sending down fire…to burn them, mountains fell upon them…covered them…villages were covered with water…villages were swallowed up by the earth…all as punishment…during the time of the Incas…mountain fell down, rocky cliffs and crags were brought down…volcanoes erupted…rained fire…sand flattened a city…earthquakes killed many…tidal waves hit the coastal regions killing many… plagues… pestilence… hail storms…heavy snows killed many people and animals’.” (Calderwood pp. 126-127, 560) It is significant that such accounts and traditions of total darkness and destruction appear both in North and South America?  Does this suggest that natives in both continental areas were privy to those events and maintained traditions about them, and kept them alive for 1500 years or more wherever they wandered?  Is there a better explanation than the Book of Mormon? 

Don Felipe Huaman Poma de Ayala, in a letter about 1557 to H.M. King Philip 111 of Spain included a brief analysis of THE FOUR AGES AMONG THE INDIANS, 1. Gods and White People wrote the following, the content of which has eluded most readers:

  “The first white people in the world were brought by God to THIS COUNTRY, They were DESCENDED FROM THOSE WHO SURVIVED THE Flood in NOAH’S ARK.” (In Dilke, p. 24) 

There is nothing like this in any Christian document or teaching. Only in the Book of Mormon is there the story of the Jaredites, the descendants of Shem who had recently survived the Flood, and were being redirected by God to some place else to dwell. Note that the “white people were descended from those who survived the Flood IN Noah’s Ark.” If I read this sentence correctly, it is a reference to a white people, descendants of those who survived the flood, who were brought by God to this, the Western Hemisphere, even eastern South America!  If that is so, it is astonishing, because as noted above, there is available evidence that links the Olmecs-Jaredites account with the story of the origin of the Incas. That is one of the reasons we have bade this digression in our study.

Huaman Poma also includes a strange prayer, where the ancient ones prayed unto their god in a prayer repeated three times:  O Lord, where are you? In the sky or on earth? Here in this place or somewhere beyond? Where are You? Hear me, creator of the world and mankind. Hear me, O God! (Dilke p. 25)  Poma also describes the Inca ancestors as Wanderers, “A Wandering People.” (Dilke p. 25)  But there is much, much more, the quotes included here are merely to draw attention to what is available. More will be provided in PART 4 of this series.


ANDERSEN, Todd G., Genesis Made Whole, Best Books Publishing, Provo, Utah, 1989

BAKER, Betty, Settlers and Strangers,  MacMillan Publishing co., New York, 1977

BERNAND, Carmen, The Incas, Empire of Blood and Gold, Thames and Hudson, 1996

BARCLAY, Donald a., et al. Ed., Into the Wilderness Dream, University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, 1994

BARRY, Louise, The Beginning of the West, Kansas State Hist. Soc. Topeka, 1972

BOLTON, Hebert E., Coronado, Knight of Pueblos and Plains, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1949

CASTILLO, Bernal Diaz del, The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico, Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, New York, 1956

COE, Michael, America’s First Civilization, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, 1968

COE, Michael, Dean Snow and Elizabeth Benson, Atlas of Ancient America, Facts on File Publications, New York, 1988

COE, Michael & Richard Hook, Encyclopedia of Native Tribes of North America,Firefly Books, Buffalo, New York, 2007

CORDELL, Linda S., Ancient Pueblo Peoples, Smithsonian Books,Washington D.C., 1994

…………………… Prehistory of the Southwest, Academic Press, Inc., San Diego, 1984

DILKE, Christopher, Letter to a King, by Huaman Poma, E.P. Dutton, New York, 1978

DONNAN, Chistopher B., Early Ceremonial Architecture in the Andes, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C., 1985

DOZIER, Edward P., Pueblo Indians of North America, Stanford University, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., San Francisco, 1969

ERICKSON, Lynn H., In Search of Kokopelli, Moroni’s Legacy, Historical Publications, Inc., Austin, Texas, 2007

JAKEMAN, M. Wells, The Complex “Tree-of-life” Carving on Isapa Stela No. 5, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 1958

KEATING, Bern, Gulf of Mexico, The Viking Press, New York, 1972

KLOOR, Keith, Roundup of Utah Collectors Stirs a Debate on Enforcement, Science, Vol. 325, 17 July 2009

KORNFUEHRER, Heinz, Columbus’ Letter of 1494, Heinz Kornfuehrer Company, Hopkins, Minnesota, 1955

LANDSTROM, Bjorn, Columbus, McMillan Company, New York, 1966

LANNING, Edward P., Peru Before the Incas, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 1967

LOWE, Gareth W., Thomas a Lee Jr., Edwardo Martinez Espionosa,  Izapa: An Introduction to the Ruins and Monuments, New World Archaeological Foundation, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 1982

McCONKIE, Joseph Fielding,  & Craig J. Ostler, Revelations of the Restoration, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2000

MOSELEY, Michael E., The Incas & their Ancestors, Thames & Hudson, London 2001

OFFICER, James E., Hispanic Arizona, 1536-1856, University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1989

PETTIT, Jan, Utes, CenturyOnePress, Colorado Springs, Col, 1982

SLOANE, Howard N., & Lucille L., A Pictorial History of American Mining, Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, 1970

THOMAS, Alfred B., After Coronado, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman 1935

THRAPP, Dan L., Encyclopedia of Frontier biography, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Vol. 1, 1988

TRIMBLE, Stephen, The People, Indians of the American Southwest, School of American Research, SAR Press Santa Fe, 1993

WATERS, Frank, Book of the Hopi, Ballantine Books, New York, 1970

WEPMAN, Dennis, Herman Cortes, Chelsea House Publishers, New York, 1986

WEINBERG, Steven, Cosmology, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008

WIDTSOE, John A., A Rational Theology, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City 1952

…………………….Program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Department of Education of the Church of Jesus Christ of LatterDay Saints, 1937  

WILLEY, Gordon R., & Jeremy A. Sabloff, A History of American Archaeology, W. H. Freeman and Company, New York, 1993

All research and opionions presented on this site are the sole responsibility of Dr. Einar C. Erickson, and should not be interpreted as official statements of the LDS doctrine, beliefs or practice.
To find out more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, please see their offical websites at LDS.org and Mormon.org