There are 7 thoughts on “Nephite Daykeepers: Ritual Specialists in Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon”.

  1. Mark, great article! I enjoyed your insights on the role of glass or clear stones to obtain revelatory information, possibly related to the Nephite and Jaredite interpreters. Since shamans not only could seek revelation, but could also implore the gods for rain, could widespread existence of goggles in Mesoamerican lore, especially associated with the Aztec Storm God, Tlaloc, possibly point to some connection between Mesoamerican goggles and the “spectacle”-like interpreters that Joseph received? I’ve previously raised the possibility of some kind of cultural influence, either from Mesoamerican culture to the Jaredites and Nephites in terms of how to frame and consider the interpreters, or as a source of inspiration for the divine vision themes associated with mythical goggles in Mesoamerica. See related posts at and

    Also, regarding the mystery of how Mosiah I obtained the interpreters, the very recent publication of Don Bradley’s book may offer a solution. His proposal, drawing largely upon information from an interview by Fayette Lapham of Joseph Smith Sr., makes an intriguing case that Mosiah I found the sealed record of Jared and the interpreters on his exodus from the Land of Nephi to Zarahemla. I discuss this possibility at

    • Jeff:

      Mark is still battling his illness, so I’m responding for him, based on a couple of notes he gave me. The rings around the eyes are found on a lot of different figures, and there is never any indication that anything should be set in them. Apparently, the best current guess is that they represent drops of rain.

      The stones he mentioned are not used in pairs, or in any other device. They are used as they are.

  2. I find the connection between the BoM peoples’ beliefs and rituals and those of other groups in the same geographic area a further proof of the truthfulness of the BoM record. Cultures do not develop in a vacuum; they are shaped and informed by the experiences and beliefs of cultures around them, as well as their own experience. Even groups that end up in isolation for a long period of time will carry traces of their original cultural influences. Thank you for an enlightening read.

  3. Do you think any of your non-believing anthropologist colleagues would see the comparisons that you portray in the article? Have you shown the article to them for review? If so, what were their comments/criticisms? Or is this especially tailored to an LDS audience?

    • Steve, Mark may not be able to respond, but I will try to answer for him. In general, non-believing anthropologists are interested in other things, and this type of analysis simply isn’t something they would spend time on. Having noted that, however, you will notice that Mark uses professional sources, and is not warping the information or the data. While I wouldn’t expect non-believing anthropologists to care to respond, I would suspect that they would have to admit that the logic uses the best information available (at the time–things always get better).

      I certainly hope that every reader gives the article the serious attention it deserves. Check out the references. You will find that the arguments are made by using anthropology and archaeology rather than ignoring or excusing it.

      • Brant:

        Thank you for the reply. However, wouldn’t it be a boon to missionary work if a non-believing anthropologist at least said there was a possible connection to the Maya of today and what we find in the Book of Mormon? Why wouldn’t Mr. Wright put this in front of one of his colleagues if the connections are clearly there? What harm would there be? It certainly wouldn’t take that long for an anthropologist well-versed in Mayan culture to read the article and weigh in on the subject. Perhaps a conversion could result and another PhD could be added to the many believing PhD’s? Anyway, thanks again.

        • Steve,

          Of course it would be wonderful if non-members would endorse the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately, that simply isn’t the reality we face in the field.

          Besides, the paradox is that if one did support it–and then believe–then they would no longer count as a non-member and still wouldn’t be believed. Can’t win.

          I do reiterate, however, that the sources used in the article are good quality, mainstream, and relevant.

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