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Showing posts from January, 2016

Do You KnoWhy? Book of Mormon Central, Month 1

Book of Mormon Central officially launched on January 1, 2016, and with the publication of KnoWhy 22 yesterday, BMC completed its first month’s publication cycle.  Each KnoWhy is about some particular detail in the Book of Mormon—all but the first 2 this month, on something in 1 Nephi—and at least one reason why that detail is, or should be, interesting. Hence, it is about knowing why Joseph Smith was martyred, or Nephi wrote in Egyptian, or Lehi compares his sons to a valley and river. So on and so forth. You can read about the reasoning behind this name at Why KnoWhy, if you would like. Here, I simply present all 22 of the KnoWhys published in this last month.

“A Fountain of Pure Water”: Lake Atitlán

After several days visiting various ruins and ancient cities, we spent our final day in Guatemala soaking in the natural beauty of Lake Atitlán! In some ways, I was more excited about visiting this place than I was about many of the ruins. For one thing, it is a very plausible candidate for the Waters of Mormon, a designation I strongly favor. But beyond any Book of Mormon connection, I had heard and read in many different sources that this was one of the most beautiful places in the world. And now, having been there, I must agree. This place was absolutely gorgeous!

"Look Over All the Land Round About": El Mirador!

Not all the sites out here are easy to get to. Some are very remote and isolated. El Mirador is one of those sites. There are two ways to get there. One is by foot—a two-day trek 40+ miles through the jungle. While this could have been a great way to better understand the Book of Mormon and their tendency to get lost in the wilderness, we opted for the other route: flying in on a helicopter!

The Land of Blue/Green Water: Yaxha

Kicked off 2016 by going to Yaxha, the third largest city known in the region. The thing about Yaxha is that it has a lengthy occupation history and was already a large site during the Early Pre-Classic, with construction of some buildings beginning in the 8th century BC. From about the 4th century BC to 3rd century AD, Yaxha (meaning “blue/green water”) was the largest city in the Petén, though it didn’t reach its peak size until the Early Classic (ca. AD 250–600). It was eclipsed in size around AD 600, but continued to be dominant and had continuous occupation into the 9th century AD, before being abandoned. Like Tikal and other sites in the region, it shows influence from Teotihuacan starting around the 4th century.

Tikal, AD 378, and Book of Mormon Warfare

Each day of this trip just keeps getting better and better! To close out 2015, we went to Tikal, one of the most famous and recognizable sites in Mesoamerica. Tikal is massive! At it’s peak, it had a population of about 125,000–150,000 people. It is also one of the more excavated sites in the region (though still only about 20% of it has been excavated), and is home to some of the largest structures known in ancient Mesoamerican. In fact, Temple IV, standing at 231 feet, is the tallest pyramid thus far discovered in Mesoamerica.