Tuesday, August 27, 2013

THE WHITE INDIANS OF THE AMERICAS: DO THEY PROVE THE BOOK OF MORMON?

In 1947, Mormons, Dewey Farnsworth and his wife Edith published an impressive book that is still in print, “The Americas Before Columbus.” The authors, without stating their Mormon affiliation, hoped to manipulate the public into believing that the story in the Book of Mormon is true that tells of a white Hebrew family, generally referred to as Nephites, coming to Ancient America from Jerusalem in 601 BC. Farnsworth quoted Indian legends about a pre-Columbian white race and used pictures of Central and South American ruins hoping to prove their connection to the Book of Mormon people. He also included photographs of the white Chepu Tule Indians discovered deep in the Amazonian jungle, three of which were brought to the U.S. in 1924. Experts examined them and concluded they were not albinos but a throwback to a white race. Mormons were elated. This confirmed to them that the white Nephites (even the earlier Jaredites from the Tower of Babel) were not only the pre-Columbian white race mentioned in the legends of the indigenous people but insisted that the Chepu Tule Indians were the descendants of the Nephites. All in all, the Book of Mormon was validated. Even today, Mormons refuse to consider the real identity of the white visitors who came to this continent.

The objective of this article is to present archaeological evidence that negates the Mormon claim, and suggests who the white visitors really were. 

This is a Christian blog with biblically-themed articles. It also includes respectful articles on the errors of Mormonism. If you would like to be automatically notified each time a new article is posted (once a month), please contact me at janishutchinson@comcast.net (NEW EMAIL ADDRESS). Last month's article, "LDS Deception in Latin America," appears directly below this one.

SOME PHOTOS OF THE DARIEN INDIANS

FATHER AND HIS 2 WHITE CHILDREN

INDIAN MOTHER AND HER 2 WHITE CHILDREN

(more further down in the article)




First, important notes before you start (hang in there, we'll get to the good stuff soon).
  • “LDS” and “Mormon” will be used interchangeably. Both will refer to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members.
  • BC and AD will be used instead of BCE and CE.
  • No racial offense is intended by referring to dark-skinned and white-skinned people.
  • Mention of artifacts and mummies that indicate a pre-Columbian white presence may be refuted by a few archaeologists because they cannot bring themselves to embrace the idea that the dark-skinned indigenous people were taught civilization skills by superior whites. A good example of this bias is the attitude toward Thor Heyerdahl’s statements about Polynesia being inhabited by Caucasians with blue eyes, red and blonde hair (mummies were found). He was met with opposition because it was considered racially biased.
  • The word “Indian” may be used when referring to the indigenous people of the Americas, but be aware that when used today the term is not considered politically incorrect by the people themselves. They do have, however, their preferred terms: 
North America: The United Nations Conference on Indians in the Americas, in 1977, chose “American Indian” instead of “Native American,” rejecting the latter because of political reasons. Nevertheless, they state that using the single term, “Indian,” does not bother them and is acceptable; as also with the preferences below.
    • Latin America:Aboriginal Natives
    • SOUTH AMERICA: “Indigenous people”
    • Guyana:Amerindians” or “Amerinds
  • "Indigenous people" will refer to the descendants of the ancient Olmecs, Mayans, Toltec and Aztecs.
  • Reference to the "3 Americas," or "Americas," will refer to North, Central, and South America.
  • “MesoAmerica” will refer to the regions in the Americas extending from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and northern Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries. The earliest cultures were the pre-Olmecs (2600-2500 BCsome say 2500-2100 BC), Olmecs (1600-400 BCsome say 1400-200 BC), Mayans (2,000 BC), Toltecs (800-1000 AD) and Aztecs (1000 AD-1697 AD).
Now, on to this exciting subject . . .

There will be 3 parts, each appearing in successive blog posts. I have deliberately done this so as to keep each article short—although I know this one isn’t any shorter than previous ones, but considering the subjects I cover require such an in-depth examination it almost can’t be helped. Nevertheless, I’m trying. For example, just think—I almost included Parts 2 and 3 in this article! You’re getting off easy.

For a preview, here is what each part will cover:

Part I (this article): Presents archaeological evidence coupled with Indian legends, to show that a white, pre-Columbian people did indeed inhabit the 3 Americas. These white people taught the indigenous people civilization skills. Also presented will be the white Chepu Tule Indians of Darien, discovered as early as 1542, some of whom were brought to the U.S.  and examined in 1923, and the possible Book of Mormon connection.

Part 2 (my next blog) Covers the white Gaunche Indians, the settlers of the Canary islands; also, Polynesia and Easter Island, and how these white settlers connect to the white race in pre-Columbian America.

Part 3:  Addresses the dark-skinned indigenous people of pre-Columbian America, where they came from, whether they predated white visitors, and if the evidence proves the LDS claim of the Book of Mormon that indigenous people today are of Hebrew lineage. DNA studies will be presented.

Special note: While this article focuses on the Mormon belief that MesoAmerica was the site for the Book of Mormon people, I am also aware of the new theory some LDS scholars are promoting called the Heartland Model Geography. Promulgated approximately in 2003 by Rod L. Meldrum (LDS author and lecturer) and published in his 2009 book, Rediscovering The Book Of Mormon Remnant Through DNAit is in direct opposition to the MesoAmerican location, locating the scenario in the Midwestern United States instead. He derived his new geography from the DNA Haplogroup X studies of the Hopewell culture in North America. In view of this new North American location Meldrum also promotes a new sailing route for Lehi—an Atlantic Ocean crossing that Milton R. Hunter proposed earlier

LDS Church leaders have not endorsed the proposed geography, saying only that Book of Mormon geography is located in the “Western Hemisphere” (http://tinyurl.com/metgcjw).The Heartland Model Geography and DNA connection to the Hopewell culture is presented more fully in Endnote No. 1.

This article will cover the following:

  • What is the Book of Mormon?
  • Is there any archaeological evidence for a white race in ancient America?
  • Were the Book of Mormon Nephites really white?
  • Who came first to the Americas, white or dark-skinned people?
  • What do Mormon scholars say about indigenous people being on the American continent before the Nephites’ arrival in 601 BC, or even the Jaredites at time of Tower of Babel?
  • Does the date of the Mayan culture coincide with the Book of Mormon?
  • What do Mormon scholars say about Farnsworth’s book, The Americas Before Columbus?
  • Do the dates of the Olmec culture (predecessors of the Mayans) coincide with the Book of Mormon?
  • Who were the bearded white-skinned, blonde and red-haired people who arrived by boat and taught high civilization skills to the indigenous, dark-skinned people of the Americas?
  • Have ANY archaeological finds in MesoAmerica corroborated the Book of Mormon?
  • Are the white Indians of Darien throwbacks from white pre-Columbian progenitors, or even from the Book of Mormon people?
  • The new theory of the Heartland Model for the Book of Mormon's geography and the DNA connection to the Hopewell culture or North America.


    THE WHITE INDIANS OF THE AMERICAS: DO THEY PROVE THE BOOK OF MORMON?
    PART I

    SOUTH AMERICAN RUIN
When I was a Mormon (over 40 years ago) and teaching the Gospel Doctrine class on the Book of Mormon, I referred to Farnsworth’s book, The Americas Before Columbus, the pictures of the ruins and photos of the white Indians. There was no question that what he projected in his book “proved” the Book of Mormon as an account of the original peopling of the Americas. Excited to believe that there was now archaeological proof, I exhibited slides of the ancient ruins and quoted his book almost as if it were scripture.

Today, the majority of Mormons still believe that the ruins of MesoAmerica relate to the Book of Mormon people; also, that the North American Indians, as well as the indigenous people of Central and South America, are the descendants of the Lamanites (offspring of Laman, the brother of Nephi, both sons of Lehi). In 1999-2000 at temple dedications in Central and South America, the late Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley continually referred to native LDS members as “Children of Lehi.”(2)

Even though Farnsworth’s book has since been discredited by the scientific community because of his improper dating of archeological periods, many in the LDS Church are still influenced by it because of their predisposition to the MesoAmerica location and ruins. But now, in the light of archaeological and paleoanthropological discoveries, I felt the subject an important one to address.

First, a brief summary of the Book of Mormon.

What is the Book of Mormon?
The Book of Mormon is a religious text of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that claims to be the history of the progenitors of the indigenous people of the Americas. It describes a “white” Lehi and his Hebrew family sailing from Jerusalem and arriving in the Americas about 601 BC. Two of Lehi’s sons are Nephi and Laman. Nephi and his followers are righteous, and followers of Laman, unrighteous. Later, the skin of Laman and his followers are turned black by God because of their evil ways. (See Endnote #3 for new interpretation of “black” by LDS Church)(3)

The Nephites and Lamanites battled constantly until the Lamanites overcame the white Nephites in 421 AD. The last two surviving Nephites, Mormon and his son Moroni, compile the record of their people on gold plates and bury them. In 1823, Joseph Smith claimed that the resurrected Moroni delivered the plates to him and after they were translated took them back to heaven. The Book of Mormon also tells of two earlier migrations, the Mulekites (589 BC) and the Jaredites, the latter coming to the Americas at the time of the Tower of Babel. Both groups died out due to civil wars.*

*The date  of the Tower of Babel is difficult to determine. Some have figured the event occurred 2269-2030 BC. Regarding the Book of Mormon Jaredites, John L. Sorenson, BYU Professor of Anthropology and Sociology did a study and concluded that the story of the Jaredites started 3100 BC and ended 580 BC, but said this could be off by several centuries. (See “The Years of the Jaredites” by Sorenson, http://tinyurl.com/k6knzh8)

Is there any evidence for a white race in ancient America?
Yes. Both legends of the indigenous people and archaeological evidence state that a white race founded their cultures and taught them civilization skills, and that later the dark-skinned aborigines drove them out.

Indian Legends of a white race:

Here are the legends:
"White-skinned bearded men [American Indians lack enough facial hair to grow beards] had come over the sea once before, with large parties of astronomers, architects, priests, musicians, agronomists and sages…and bringing with them many of the secrets of civilization. They had mingled with the aboriginal population and taught them how to build adobe houses, weave, live in towns, erect pyramids, write on paper and stone, as well as the science of metallurgy." (The White Indians of Nivaria by Gordon Kennedy, p. 68. Underlining and brackets mine)
The Incan Empire, from Bolivia to Peru and Ecuador, tell the same story:
"Civilization was brought to them at the dawn of history by white and bearded men, under the leadership of the sun king Con-Tici Viracocha, who had arrived on reed boats, settled on the Island of the Sun in Lake Titicaca, then later sailed away from there to the south shore and constructed the sun pyramid, the massive megalithic walls and all the monoliths that can still be seen among the ruined city of Tiahuanaco." (Kennedy, op cit, p. 68. Underlining mine)
Peruvian Indian traditions say that the buildings on Titicaca were not built by Pre-Incas but way before by white bearded men who had sex with local natives, and their children became the Incas.  (Paraphrased from Thor Heyerdahl’s book, American Indians in the Pacific. 230-233. Underlining mine.)
"Legends of the primitive races of Yucatan and portions of Mexico tell of the coming in ships of a fair-skinned race of men who became the rulers and the leaders of the dark-skinned aborigines." (Edward H. Thompson, archaeologist, People of the Serpent, 75. Underlining mine.)
"In ancient times,” said Ah Kin Chan, “my fathers, the Chanes of Nonoual, the People of the Serpent, found the dark skinned savage Mayas living in damp caves and forests, eating roots and crawling things, more like beasts than men. Then my fathers, the light-skinned Wise Men, took the dark forest people and bound them with fetters of fear and love, raised them to the light of day. Even the Chanes, the wise men of Nonoual, led the Mayas in their advances." (Thompson, op cit., p. 228. Underlining mine.)
"Who were these fair-skinned people, tall of stature and strangely clad, sailing through unknown seas to an unknown land? The answer to this question has been lost in the passing of the ages and the destruction of the ancient records and now we know only that they came and that until after the arrival of the Spaniards, the place where they landed was known as Tamoanchan, which means, in the native language, the place where the People of the Serpent landed." (Thompson, op cit., p. 78. Underlining mine.)
The above legends give an additional bit of intriguing information—the color of their hair, indicating they were not part of the dark-skinned indigenous race.
The Paiute of Nevada have a legend of "exterminating" a light skinned red haired tribe who spoke a different language than themselves. In this area [Nevada], red haired, Caucasoid mummies have been found in caves. These remains have been determined Caucasoid by archaeologists and are over 9,000 years old. . . . [R]ed headed mummified remains [also] exist in the Paracas region of Peru, and these remains have (HLA - Human Lymphocyte Antigens) markers commonly associated with Europeans.  (Underlining and brackets mine.)
The Aztec god Quetzalcoatl was considered to have a beard, light hair and white skin. Their legends stated that he came from across the oceans and taught the Aztecs how to farm and build. In South America, the white skinned tribe known as the Chachacoyas lived in Peru for thousands of years before being conquered and destroyed by the Inca in the late 1400′s, approximately 10 years before the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors. (“Paleolithic Giants in America” by Soren Dreier. (http://tinyurl.com/l69u4oz and http://tinyurl.com/lq3wnx7)
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) locations have microfilm on the Indian rolls and also other materials. These World War I Draft Registration cards from the NARA Atlanta branch Special Collections show two SMISER brothers in 191 (Garnett and Ira Smiser). Garnett listed Caucasian and his older brother is listed as Indian for race, but both are described as having red hair and blue eyes! (http://www.archives.com/genealogy/family-heritage-native-american.html
Archaeological evidence of a white race
Pre-Columbian sculptures at Izapan (Chiapas, Mexico), as well as wall paintings at Chitzen Itza (Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico), show fair-skinned, bearded, yellow-haired figures that depict
…a series of relating episodes concerning a fair-skinned people with flowing yellow hair, defeated in battle and subsequently sacrificed by conventionally equipped black-skinned warriors.” (Kennedy, op cit., p. 74)
Modern studies have established that these white founders who taught civilization skills were intellectual giants; architectural and scientific wizards who excelled in art, sculpture, pyramid building, mummification, astronomy, calendars and road building. Years ago, scientists had said that no such white race ever introduced that kind of knowledge or skills to the indigenous people—their skills simply “evolved” to that level. However, they now sing a different tune. Excavations from Mexico to Peru show that wherever high culture flourished, it was never due to evolution:
… no trace of gradual evolution from primitive society to civilization has been discovered anywhere within the New World. Wherever archaeologists have dug, they have found that civilization begins at a peak and shows a decline rather than progress through the centuries leading to the arrival of the first Europeans. (Underlining mine. http://tinyurl.com/m55p7gw)
The Book of Mormon connection to the white race
According to the book, Lehi’s family claimed to be white, as can be seen in this passage where Nephi relates a vision of the future about the eventual colonization of America:
And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain. (1 Nephi 13:15. Underlining mine. See Endnote No. 4 regarding the skin color controversy of Hebrews)(4)
And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. (2 Nephi 5:21)
And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites. (3 Nephi 2:15) See LDS Church’s change of “white” in this Endnote.(14)
Mormons believe that the white Nephites (and the white Jaredites*), were the first settlers because the Book of Mormon does not mention that any dark-skinned indigenous people were already on the continent when they arrived.
*Some Mormons claim that the Jaredites were black, descendants of Ham. See the Black Mormon Home Page at http://tinyurl.com/l5q5yh5

Who came to the Americas first, the white or dark-skinned people?
Archaeology has already established that the dark-skinned aborigines resided in the Americas thousands of years before any pre-Columbian white race ever came to the continent.

Mormon apologists, now conceding to this possibility, excuse the Book of Mormon by saying that just because it doesn’t mention any, does not mean they weren’t here. Apologist, BYU Professor of Anthropology and Sociology, John L. Sorenson, now admits there were probably other people on the continent, stating that the previous assumption that there were not is because readers failed to observe what is “implied.” To back his statement up, he says that the Book of Mormon says they ate corn (maize), and since maize is a Native American plant, Lehi could not have brought it with him from Jerusalem. He concludes that this indicates others were there who showed them how to cultivate it.(5)  

The archaeological evidence has influenced church leaders to accept that other people were here before the Nephites landed. As a result, they changed one word on the Introduction page of the Book of Mormon:

Original: “After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.”

Revision: “After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.”

Does the date of the Mayan culture coincide with the Book of Mormon?
Farnsworth was determined to make a connection to the pre-Columbian cultures of MesoAmerica, especially to the Mayan culture. While the time periods do not match, he chose it because Mormon scholars at the time did. Why? Because the Mayan people were literate and culturally sophisticated. (They certainly would not want to claim a backward society for the Book of Mormon people!)

One should be able to see that the date of the Nephites’ arrival in 601 BC, their extermination in 421 AD, and the continuance of the Lamanites from AD 421 on, called “Indians,” can’t possibly coincide with the Mayan culture that started ca 2,000 BC. Farnsworth, determined to make them match, used the mostly abandoned Spinden correlation of the Mayan calendar (instead of the Goodman-Martinez-Thompson), saying, it was “found . . . to be more to my purpose.” So intent was he to prove the Book of Mormon and link to the Mayans that he also transposed the dates of the archaic, pre-Maya period (2000 BC to 300 AD), with the Maya’s Classic period (300 AD and 1000 AD) and also their Final period (1000 AD to the Spanish conquest), all of which helped him prove an (erroneous) time-line correlation to the Book of Mormon people. (For new archaeological findings on the origins of the Maya civilization, see http://tinyurl.com/lvs8c6u)

What do Mormon scholars say about Farnsworth’s book?
LDS scholars immediately detected Farnsworth’s errors. Bruce W. Warren, BYU Professor of Archaeology commented:
By calling the Classic the Archaic and the Archaic the Classic and having Vie-Maya come later than the Maya, Farnsworth is able to quote enough authorities, without correcting his chaotic terminology, to attribute any feature to any time. Thus we learn that Jaredites [who, according to the Book of Mormon arrived in the New World at the time of the Tower of Babel, ca 2200 BC] were at Chichen Itza, (actually the ruins date after 900 AD); while Tikal, a Classic Maya site (300-950 AD), is termed the oldest city in Central America; and Vila (900-1200 AD, according to excavations) is said to be “in harmony with Central America’s Golden Age of the Mayas.” These are a sample of the many statements which no responsible American archaeologist could support. The errors of dating in Peru, the Eastern United States in the Southwest are equally incredible. (Italics and only brackets are mine; parentheses with dates are Warren’s. Cited at http://tinyurl.com/q3g75vo.)
What do other Mormon scholars say about Farnsworth’s book? With the exception of Warren, one would have expected high praise because of the prevalent belief in the church about the MesoAmerican location. But John L. Sorenson, besides lumping Farnsworth’s book with others in the LDS book market that he calls, “swashbuckling,” says it contains “na├»ve use of sources, logical inconsistencies, cut and paste quotations,” and that such a project required “two prerequisites” (below) of which Farnsworth lacked.
…a thorough, systematic knowledge of the Book of Mormon, and an equally thorough, systematic knowledge of American archaeology. Unfortunately, Farnsworth displays serious deficiencies in both fields . . . (http://www2.ida.net/graphics/shirtail/john.htm)
Although he spoke out against Farnsworth’s book, it’s important to understand that Sorenson still believes that Meso-American archaeology ties in with the Book of Mormon people—after all, he authored the book, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon. His personal bias in his book makes it just as problematic as Farnsworth’s, as one Amazon viewer noted:
Rather than start with evidence and trying to reach a conclusion, Sorenson starts with a conclusion and selects the evidence that supports it. Though this method may be acceptable for some people, academics will likely find it reprehensible. (Amazon reviewer)
In other words, some LDS authors’ faith in the Book of Mormon is so strong, that they are determined to engage in whatever kind of academic gymnastics they can in order to tie in ancient MesoAmerican ruins and archaeological finds with the Book of Mormon, even if it doesn’t fit. They start out assuming the truthfulness of the book, then try to force things to fit. It’s like trying to put a square peg into a round hole. (See humorous 1-1/2 min video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2YZnTL596Q)

Do the dates of the Olmec culture (predecessors of the Mayans) coincide with the Book of Mormon?
John L. Sorenson, in his book, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, suggests that the time-line of the Jaredites (who supposedly sailed to America from the Old World to the New World around 2200 BC) equates better to the pre-Olmec and later Olmec civilization. But archaeologist and Mesoamericanist, Dr. Karl Taube, negates the idea of anyone coming from the Old World to the New:
Mesoamerican scholarship does not support any proposal that allows for the presence or influence of Old World cultures in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. No accepted material evidence [e.g., iron, silk, elephants mentioned in Book of Mormon] has been found that would indicate contact between Mesoamerica and Old World cultures.(6) (brackets mine) 
Michael D. Coe, Yale University Professor of Anthropology and eminent Mesoamericanist archaeologist agrees:
There is an inherent improbability in specific items that are mentioned in the Book of Mormon as having been brought to the New World by Jaredites and/or Nephites. Among these are the horse (extinct in the New World since about 7,000 B.C.), the chariot, wheat, barley, and metallurgy (true metallurgy based upon smelting and casting being no earlier in Mesoamerica than about 800 A.D.). The picture of this hemisphere between 2,000 B.C. and A.D. 421 presented in the book has little to do with the early Indian cultures as we know them, in spite of much wishful thinking.(7)
This now leaves us wondering about the white race that came to the Americas as told in legends and discovered in archaeological excavations.

Their presence can no longer be disputed, especially with the particular exciting discovery of the Chepu Tule Indians found in 1920 in the jungles of Darien, an eastern province in Panama, south of the Columbia border. However, as we will see, others discovered them long before that.

Who were the white-skinned, blonde-haired bearded people who arrived by boat and taught high civilization skills to the indigenous dark-skinned people?

THE WHITE INDIANS OF DARIEN

MOTHER WITH WHITE AND DARK CHILDREN

MOTHER AND 3 CHILDREN; ONE WHITE


PARENTS AND THEIR CHILDREN; 2 WHITE


First, it’s worth mentioning that numerous sightings of white Indians in the Amazon Rainforest, at the time called “Amazonian Indians,” occurred as early as 1542 and extended into the 1930s. In 1542, the Spanish Dominican missionary, Gaspar de Carvajal, encountered a white tribe. He wrote in his book of seeing Amazonian women who were “very white and tall,” and had “long hair, braided and wound about their heads.” British Journalist Harold T. Wilkins in his Mysteries of Ancient South America (1945) compiled more accounts of such sightings from the 16th to 19th century by other Jesuits and explorers.(8) Alexander Hamilton Rice’s expedition, published in the New York Times in July 1925, gave a physical description of the ones he saw:
Then two Indians who were bleached white by the sun, but of pure Indian blood, came out from the forest to greet the party. Dr. Rice described them as being undersized and undernourished. Their faces were streaked with pigments so that it was difficult to discern the features, but they were undeniably white. . . . When the two received presents of beads and handkerchiefs they yelled to their companions and other soon emerged and joined the group, making in all twenty men and two women.
The Ache Indians (or Guayaki) of Eastern Paraguay had “white skin, light eye and hair color, heavy beards [and] Asiatic features.” Their neighboring groups looked “Japanese,” showing “no evidence of any European or African admixture.(9)
Robert O. Marsh’s account of the Darien Indians in Panama is more detailed; plus, he took pictures:

In the early 1920s, Marsh was hired by Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone to look for rubber lands to offset the market’s English and Brazilian monopoly. He explored Darien, where the locals told him of rumors that in the jungles behind the mountain there was a white race called Chepu Tules (or San Blas) Indians. An airplane pilot in the Canal Zone who flew to an army wireless station confirmed this. He reported that he “passed over a village in the interior which was inhabited by white-skinned people, living like Indians.” (Marsh, pp. 37-38.)

Marsh chartered a boat and found some. He recounts the following:
Across the narrow clearing were walking three young girls, perhaps fourteen to sixteen years old. They wore nothing but small loin-clothes. And their almost bare bodies were as white as any Scaninavian’s. Their hair, falling loosely over their shoulders, was bright gold. (Marsh, op cit., 25-26)
To make Marsh’s long story short (see full story and more pictures at http://tinyurl.com/nekor6u) he found their village. They were friendly to him, no doubt because he was white. He tried communicating in Spanish, English, French and German, all to no avail. He also said:
I examined their skin closely to make sure it was not colored artificially. It was not. I looked at their golden hair, which was of a much finer texture than the coarse hair of other Indians. Their eyes were hazel or bluish-brown (Marsh, 27-28)
SIBLINGS

After returning to the U.S., he returned later, bringing Prof. John L. Baer, Anthropologist and Ethnologist of the Smithsonian Institute of WA DC; also a Naturalist from the American Museum of Natural History, a Geologist representing the Univ. of Rochester, NY, and others. (The other names are listed in Marsh’s book, p. 40).

Speculation by them was whether the white Indians were (1) a form of mutation, (2) interbreeding in historic times with a white race, (3) a form of evolution, or (4) albinos. Therefore, Marsh brought to a Waldorf Astoria reception in New York, 3 Indians, a 16-year-old white girl, Mimi (pictured below), and two boys from her tribe, ages 14 and 10, where experts examined them. 


MIMI

The experts concluded that they were definitely not albino, especially when considering the hair and the eyes. If they had been albinos, the eyes normally would have been pale blue, red, pink or purple, but instead varied from blue-green to brown, and the hair was golden-blonde instead of white.

Three leading scientists and linguists, one of whom was an expert on the Mayan language, recorded the Indians’ language on a Dictaphone and made detailed studies of their ethnology and language. 

MIMI AND 2 INDIAN BROTHERS SPEAKING INTO DICTAPHONE


From this study, the experts produced 6,000 Chepu Tule words for analysis. A head priest had also submitted to Marsh a book of their hieroglyphics. They concluded that the Tule language had a Sanskrit or Aryan structure, not mongoloid, like the aborigines, and contained over 60 words that were identical with early Norse.

The linguists reported to Marsh:
“The anthropologists can tell you what they please, Marsh, but some ancient Norse people certainly taught the Tule people their language.” (Marsh, 20)
Norsemen? Well, this is plausible because we know that Norsemen came (via the North Atlantic and Canary currents) and established settlements in the Northeast and Midwestern part of North America (especially the Great Lakes region) as early as 985 ad. There is evidence that the nearby Hopewell culture (the Mound builders; 200 BC-500 AD) in North America (close to the Norse settlements) traded with the ancient cities of Latin America. Therefore, it would not be improbable that many Norsemen permanently moved from the Great Lakes region to the place where the trade was occurring and mixed with the indigenous race, and while there also taught them skills. Further, since the Canary current also moves on to Mexico, some Norsemen may have sailed directly to Mexico even earlier than 985 AD.(10)

The many natural currents easily explain visitations of world travelers to pre-Columbian America and the South Pacific Isles. Thor Heyerdahl, believing that ancient people from the Americas were crossing the world’s oceans long before Columbus, proved this in 1947 by successfully sailing his reed craft, the Kon-Tiki, across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Tuamotu Islands (French Polynesia) using the natural ocean currents.
To see the fascinating currents that make this possible, not only to the Americas but all over the world, see this intriguing map of the currents here: http://tinyurl.com/2cusxz.

Unfortunately, theories about Norsemen in Central or South America have to remain “theories” because there is as yet no hard scientific proof. But as time goes on, who knows? Nevertheless, the pure white Indians of the Americas, with their red and gold-blonde hair, brown and blue-green eyes, strongly suggest Nordic progenitors.

The Phoenicians may also figure into the white race presence. We know they used the natural ocean currents and sailed across the Atlantic ocean to the west coast of South America and evidence shows conclusively that they used Brazil as a naval base for 800 years. However, whether they were white or black remains controversial.(11) (See endnote No. 11)

Have any archaeological finds in MesoAmerica corroborated the Book of Mormon?
No. This is the major problem for the Mormon Church. No Book of Mormon archaeology exists. No cities, names, artifacts, or inscriptions have ever been uncovered (compare that with the Bible). But beliefs persist. John E. Clark, LDS archaeologist gets around the missing archaeology by insisting:

Book of Mormon cities have been found, they are well known, and their artifacts grace the finest museums. They are merely masked by archaeological labels such as “Maya,” “Olmec,” and so on. The problem, then, is not that Book of Mormon artifacts have not been found, only that they have not been recognized for what they are.(12)
           
On the other hand, LDS Anthropologist, D.F. Green takes the opposite view, very aware that the Book of Mormon cannot be proved by archaeology:
Finally, I should like to lay at rest the myth that by scurrying around Latin America looking for horses and wheels we can prove the Book of Mormon.  The mention of the wheel in the Book of Mormon and finding wheeled toy vehicles in Mexico is not proof of the Book. The mention of horses in the Book of Mormon and finding petroglyphs of horses (especially the ones with Spanish saddles) carved on stone in the southwestern United States is not proof of the Book. The mention of "fine linen" in the Book of Mormon and finding beautifully woven textiles in Peru is not proof of the Book. The mention of roads in the Book of Mormon and the finding of the YaxunaCoba sacbe [a causeway] in Yucatan is not proof of the Book. I sometimes get the depressing feeling that every member of the Church who has taken a Cook's tour to Latin America, seen three pyramids, read two travel guides, and unlimbered his 35mm camera on some unsuspecting "Lamanite" returns as an expert on Book of Mormon archaeology with pocketsfull [sic] of "proof" seen by his own eyes. Rest assured that we are not accumulating a great flood of "proof" or "evidence" which will in a few years burst the dam of secular resistance to the Book of Mormon and flood Zion with hordes of people demanding baptism.(13) (brackets mine) 
SUMMARY 
  • Mormons believe that the Book of Mormon is the record of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas, specifically that a colony of white Hebrews arrived in 601 BC on the coast of Guatemala (some LDS say Panama, or in keeping with the "Heartland Model," the east coast of the U.S.); also, that the dark-skinned descendants of Laman killed off the white Nephites in 421 AD and became the progenitors of today’s indigenous people of the 3 Americas. 

  • The majority (not all) of Mormons believe that Lehi’s group was the first settlement to people the Americas. But archaeological excavations reveal that dark-skinned aborigines already resided in the Americas long before 601 BC. (More in Part 3). Therefore, in view of the latter, the LDS Church made accommodations by changing the wording of the Introduction page of the Book of Mormon to indicate that possibly others were already here. 

  • Mormons believe that the skin color of Lehi, Nephi and their families was “white” rather than the usual dark Mediterranean complexion with dark hair and eye color that would naturally be expected. Therefore, members believed that the white Indians of Darien were throwbacks to Lehi’s stock, thus proving the Book of Mormon as true. 

  • Farnsworth, in his book The Americas Before Columbus, purposely or unknowingly did not give the correct dates of the pre-Columbian cultures (Olmec, Mayan, etc), which helped him prove an erroneous time-line correlation to the Book of Mormon. The scientific community, as well as Mormon scholars, have since discredited his book because of his inaccurate dating. 

  • Despite attempts to connect the Book of Mormon people with the Mayans, the date of the Nephite landing of 601 BC does not coincide with the Mayans (2000 BC). 

  • LDS scholars claim that, date-wise, the earlier Jaredites in the Book of Mormon (3100 BC or 2269 BC Tower of Babel time) coincide better with the pre-Olmecs and Olmecs (2600 BC). MesoAmerican scholars have dismissed this claim because no Old World evidence for that time period has been found in the Americas such as the horse, which was extinct in the New World since ca 7,000 B.C., elephants, which became extinct in the Americas 12,000 years ago in the late Pleistocene era, metallurgy, which occurred no earlier than about 800 A.D., also the Book of Mormon’s mention of chariots, wheat, barley iron and silk. 

  • Indian legends, archaeology and cave wall paintings in Central and South America, confirm that a bearded, white-skinned race with red and gold-blonde hair occupied the pre-Columbian Americas and taught the indigenous people civilization skills. Church members believe that they relate to the Book of Mormon people. 

  • Norsemen settled for sure in North America in the Great Lakes region as early as 985 ad. Some of them, as did the Hopewell culture, may have migrated to Central and South America because of trade opportunities. There may also have been earlier and more direct voyages to Mexico since the Canary current the Norse came in on also flows there. 

  • When Dewey Farnsworth’s book displayed Robert O. Marsh’s 1923 photos of the white Indians of Darien, Mormons became convinced they were throwbacks to the Lehi Hebrew stock and that their existence proved the Book of Mormon true. 
  • The white Indians of Darien were examined and declared “not albinos,” but as throwbacks to ancient white forefathers. But their Tule language revealed a Nordic influence, not Hebrew. 

  • Since no Book of Mormon archaeology has ever been found in Central or South America, a new theory called the “Heartland Model Geography” is now being promulgated (unofficially) in the LDS Church. It suggests that rather than a Central or South America landing by Lehi’s group, the Book of Mormon account took place in North America in eastern Tennessee, and spread from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Rod L. Meldrum and Bruce H. Porter favor this location because it appears logical since, from their LDS perspective, it is the area where (1) the Pilgrims came, (2) the supposed gold plates were dug up, (3) the New Jerusalem will be built, and (4) the area was occupied by the Hopewell Indians in which DNA studies placed them under a different genetic category (Mediterranean) than the other indigenous people of the Americas (Mongoloid). (See Endnote No. 1). The majority of Mormons still believe in the connection of the Nephites, Lamanites and Jaredites to the MesoAmerican ruins, but a growing number are adopting the Heartland Model Geography. 

Conclusion

Were the Nephites really white?
Lehi’s group, if it existed at all, could not have been “white,” nor have had gold-colored, blonde hair and blue or green eyes. Why? The Ancient Semite Hebrews, having relations with their neighbors the Phoenicians, Canaanites, and Syrians, often intermarried, keeping the dark type of skin prevalent. Although centuries later—especially after the DiasporaHebrews spread throughout the world and undoubtedly, over time, intermarried with those of other races with fairer complexions. Today, there are blonde, blue-eyed Jews. But in Lehi’s time this would not have been the case, especially considering he was devout in his Old Testament faith and would have kept the line as pure as he could by not marrying outside his race. His family’s dark Mediterranean complexion would not produce the Nordic-kind of fair coloring found in the white Indians of Darien.

Thus, the white Amazonian Indians do not prove the Book of Mormon is true. While there is no question that they were indeed throwbacks to some white race, they certainly were not Hebrew. Their fair-colored features were closer to Nordic. And the results of experts who studied the Darien Indians’ ethnology and language concluded that their Tule language had a Sanskrit or Aryan structure, not mongoloid like the aborigines of the Americas. Plus, they found over 60 words identical with early Norse, not Hebrew.

All in all, there have been no archaeological finds in MesoAmerica or anywhere in the Americas that corroborate anything in the Book of Mormon. 

What’s coming up next on this subject?
In my next blog, Part 2, we will take a look at the white Gaunche Indians, the 3,000 BC settlers of the Canary Islands; also, the white Indians of Polynesia (200-500 AD) and Easter Island (500-1200 AD) with their famous red-headed, monolithic statues.  Although these islands are not in the Americas, there is a significant connection you won’t want to miss!

Until next time!
Janis
(endnotes are below)

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ENDNOTES
1.  The new theory on Book of Mormon geography—the Heartland Model and the Hopewell culture by Rod L.  Meldrum. Promoted by Mormons, Rod Meldrum (lecturer and host of pro-Mormon websites) and Bruce H. Porter (PH.D in History of Religions) it has gained acceptance by some members, but the majority of members still cling to the MesoAmerican location, and Church headquarter leaders only saying the geography is in the “Western Hemisphere.” Enthusiasts of this view now disregard Central and South America altogether.

In the face of overwhelming archaeological evidence proving there were no Nephites in Central or South America, the Heartland Model provides an “out” for the church so it can bypass the MesoAmerican location theory and still maintain the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The theory, of course, is a last-ditch effort to save the veracity of the Book of Mormon.

Many criticize Meldrum’s theory and the books and articles he’s written, as Gregory L. Smith does in a FARM review, “Often in Error, Seldom in Doubt: Rod Meldrum and Book of Mormon DNA.” His review, as well as comments of others, state that (1) there are no geneticists who back up Meldrum’s DNA theory (2) BYU’s “Neal A. Maxwell Institute” claims his work is inaccurate (3) Meldrum makes claims without supporting documentation, and those that have citations are lacking in page numbers so one can check them out. http://tinyurl.com/l692kd9

Nevertheless, it is a fascinating theory. Here it is:

The Heartland Model: The events in the Book of Mormon did not take place in Central or South America, but in North America, “near the southern foothills of the Appalachian mounts in eastern Tennessee, east of the Mississippi River from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.” (Rediscovering The Book Of Mormon Remnant Through DNA By Rod L. Meldrum, 2009) The confirming satisfaction is the thought that where better than in the Promised Land where God led the Pilgrims, the gold plates were dug up, and where the New Jerusalem will be built in the last days. (“Book of Mormon Geography Stirring Controversy” by Kristen Moulten, March 26, 2010 at http://www.sltrib.com/faith/ci_14750506. See also, http://tinyurl.com/nxwm2je.

The Hopewell culture DNA
Meldrum, in his article, “Rediscovering The Book Of Mormon Remnant Through DNA”, states that after admitting “there is simply no genetic evidence in Mesoamerica in support of the claims of the Book of Mormon” but, rather, only Asian-based bloodlines (the latter discussed in Part 3), this pushes one to seek another geography for the Book of Mormon that is more limited to a specific area rather than being hemispheric.

Meldrum claims the following:
DNA studies conducted in Native American populations were categorized into 4 primary Haplogroups, identified as A, B, C and D. These 4 groups corresponded to native populations in Asia, bearing out the Bering Strait land bridge theory (discussed in Part 3). There was, however, a Haplogroup “X” unrelated to A,B,C and D that researchers had to identify as “other.” For the indigenous people In all 3 Americas it only occurs at a frequency of about 3%, but it is bigger in northern North America. A few Mormon scholars, knowing that DNA studies had shown that the Book of Mormon characters weren’t from Asia, jumped on this.

Meldrum focused on the Hopewell culture, a non-Indian, mound-building culture that existed 12,00 years ago (1825-1625 BP which correlates to 183 AD and 383 AD respectively.The more advanced Hopewells were between 300 and 200 BC. They abruptly ended between 400 and 500 AD.)

It was not a single culture or society but a set of related populations with a common network of trade routes. It consisted of 7 unrelated language groups that bore no evidence as being from Asia. Instead, European—and way before European exploration and Nordics came to North America. However, mound complexes have been found dating to 3500 BC, and in other parts of North America, 4,000 BC. Meldrum, in stating his case for a Book of Mormon correlation, chose the 200 BC-500 AD population because the “higher advanced” existence of the Hopewells was between 300 and 200 BC.

 Meldrum says:

This corresponds closely to the time-frames recorded in the Book of Mormon, with the exception that the Book of Mormon history began in the Americas somewhat earlier [601 BC]. (“Rediscovering the Book of Mormon Remnant Through DNA” by Rod L. Meldrum, 2009; np. Brackets mine)

While the Hopewell culture’s time period, and their DNA indicating a European origin, coincides with the time frame of the Nephites; nevertheless, it is far from being proof of the Book of Mormon, to which proponents admit. To prove a connection to the Hopewell culture via DNA, there would have to be DNA samples from the founding members of Lehi’s group for comparison in order to “prove” the Book of Mormon’s historicity.

He admits that the Haplogroup X DNA of the Hopewells does not “prove” the Book of Mormon, but that it offers “plausible evidence” and “probably” supports the Book of Mormon. He believes the Haplogroup could have included a migration such as the Nephites from the Mediterranean area. (Meldrum, op cit, np)

2.  Simon G. Southerton. 2004. Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church. Signature Books, P. 38-39. Cited at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Mormon.

3.  The skin of the Lamanites turning dark was taken literally for years by the church until LDS leaders saw that unrighteousness just doesn’t do that to people’s skin. Now, they claim that it wasn’t meant to be literal but a metaphor for evil. Therefore, in 1981 they changed the word from “white” to “pure,” but still claim the dark-skinned indigenous people of the Americas are the descendants of the dark-skinned Lamanites.

4. There is a strong possibility that Hebrew were not white. A majority of scholars believe Jews from Jerusalem were black. (See http://majorityrights.com/weblog/comments/are_jews_white)

5. “When Lehi's Party Arrived in the Land, Did They Find Others There?” John L. Sorenson, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: Volume - 1, Issue - 1, Pages: 1–34, Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute, 1992. Cited at http://tinyurl.com/kpunw77.

6.  “Pre-Columbian Art at Dumbarton Oaks,” No. 2. Washington, DC, P. 17: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Harvard University, P. 17. Cited at http://tinyurl.com/45dutr.

7.  Michael D. Coe, "Mormons and Archaeology: An Outside View". Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (Summer 1973) pp.40–48. (Stanford, CA: Dialogue Foundation) 8 (2) Cited at http://tinyurl.com/kq4j3hn.

8.  Wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Amazonian_Indians.com

9.  en.wikipedia.org/wiki-White_Amazonian_Indians.com

10.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-Columbian_trans-oceanic_contact#Ecuador-East_Asia_contact and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norse_colonization_of_the_Americas)

11.  We can’t disregard the Phoenicians who came via the Brazilian and other currents. Whether the Phoenicians were black or white is still a hotly debated subject. The Phoenicians were actually Canaanites so many assume they were black; although others say they were brown or even lighter. Nevertheless, after centuries of migration and integration they have since officially become classified as “white” to satisfy certain political, social, economic and racial agendas. They traded all over, from Italy all the way to the African Coast, England’s Tin Islands, and were already influential in 2,000 BC (during the Mayan period). Their writings have been found on the coast of Brazil; also in expressions and words used by the Tirios Indians in Northern So. America, plus Phoenician shipyards, tools, inscriptions in the Amazon such as hieroglyphics and rock characters have clearly demonstrated its origin from Aramaic, Syriac and even Sanscrit scripts. Austrian Professor Ludwig Schwennhagen believes “the Phoenicians used Brazil as a base during at least 800 years,” leaving behind, “besides material evidence, an important linguistic influence among the natives.” Brazilian Indians have thousands of Arabian words in their vocabulary whose origins are Phoenician. (http://phoenicia.org/brazil.html)

12.  “Archaeology, Relics, and Book of Mormon Belief” by John E. Clark. http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=14&num=2&id=376

13.  Book of Mormon Archaeology: The Myths And The Alternatives. Round Table: New World Archaeology, D.F. Green. http://tinyurl.com/mg9nuyb.

14.  The skin of the Lamanites turning dark was taken literally for years by the church until LDS leaders saw that unrighteousness just doesn’t do that to people’s skin. Now, they claim that it wasn’t meant to be literal but a metaphor for evil. Therefore, in 1981 they changed the word from “white” to “pure,” but still claim the dark-skinned indigenous people of the Americas are the descendants of the dark-skinned Lamanites.
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