Bruce W. Warren discusses the Mesoamerican context for the secret combinations as described in the Book of Mormon.

Bruce W. Warren

Bruce W. Warren, “Secret Combinations, Warfare, and Captive Sacrifice in Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon,” in Warfare in the Book of Mormon, ed. Stephen D. Ricks and William J. Hamblin (Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1990), 225-36

Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, Deseret Book
Bruce W. Warren
Reading Public

In some ways, the rise of secret combinations described in the book of Ether and their relation to warfare and the subsequent captivity of kings parallel the Maya traditions and customs relating to myths of origin, secret combinations, sacral warfare, and the capture and sacrifice of divine kings in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. Just as the Jaredite record states that certain patterns of warfare originated with the organization of secret combinations, the Maya derive their customs of ritual warfare from ancestral gods, practices that they place in the third millennium B.C. The fact that some Olmec figurines were reused by the Proto-Classic Maya, who added Maya hieroglyphs dealing with royal accession, indicates some form of continuity with these traditions.

This basic set of closely related themes, myths, and rituals can be found in various Maya materials, especially in the Quiché Maya sacred book, the Popol Vuh; the three famous hieroglyphic panels of the Cross, Foliated Cross, and Sun at Palenque, Chiapas; Classic Maya painted ceramic vases; Mixtec codices; and Maya stone monuments and stelae. Although clearly the sources and diffusion of the mythology of Mesoamerica are very complex, some of the items the Mayan material discuss may be manifestations of later forms of historical, religious, and ritual events described in the Book of Mormon.

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