2010 Research Expedition
In January of 2010 a group of fourteen
Book of Mormon believers embarked
on a research trip to Mexico. The
purpose of the trip was to help solidify
current theories concerning the gaps
found in Olmec history. The itinerary
of this trip was to visit the various sites
in the heart of the Olmec culture
region along the Gulf Coast of Mexico
from El Tajin south through Veracruz
then east to LaVenta. It also included a
trip to the Xalapa Museum which has
the most extensive Olmec collections
in the world. And, then venture to
some of the early Nephite sites located
in the southern Chiapas region of
Mexico.

The first site the team visited was El
Tajin and it was here that some very
wonderful concepts were discovered.
This metropolis was a center of Golden
Age blending. Architectural influences
are incorporated from several different
areas; Huastec, Comalcalco, Totonoc
and Teotihuacán. These influences are
blended artfully into the structures
and testify to the solidarity of the
social fabric where there was no
diversity as we know it for no structure
is solely one style, but rather a unity
with honor for all cultures as each
structure is a blend. There is some
speculation that the Huastec influence
here is part of the Hagoth migration
that took place some 50 years prior to
the birth of Christ. The team was
overwhelmed with this concept and
this set the tone for the rest of the trip.

The team then traveled to the Xalapa
Museum and took thousands of photos
of the artifacts there, then traveled to
Tres Zapotes and Santiago Tuxtla.
Here the team studied the Colossal
Heads and began a photo journal of all
of them. The team moved on to
LaVenta where more Colossal Heads
were photographed along with Altar #
5 and other artifacts that are rife with
Married Ogam markings. The team is
making an effort to collect photos of all
of the known Married Ogam marking.

Comalcalco was a site that was a
marvel to research. This site has both
Roman and Sri Lankan architectural
and technological influences unlike
any other in Mesoamerica. Clay tiles
and fired bricks in Roman styles and
Roman measurements, fired in kilns
found in Sri Lanka in addition to
burial styles found in the same region.
This too was a city built from Golden
Age influences.

LaVenta Park provided opportunities
to film and photograph Neil on top of
the Colossal Head that he studied and
published on thirty years ago in a
journal that announced the discovery
of Married Ogam in Mesoamerica. It
was here that Neil found the same
gentleman that assisted him in getting
those photographs thirty years ago; it
was an amazing God-incidence.

The team then traveled to Palenque for
a quick stop to view the thrones in the
Palace then it was off to Tonina to
gather information and see if this site
can be validated as the ancient city of
Ammonihah. Here the team found
several very interesting items. A maze
or labyrinth similar to the one found
at Yaxchilan; room designs similar to
the small temples at Rio Bec and
Calakmul; layering and tiered plazas
similar to Yaxchilan; but here was an
unusual addition of plaster friezes that
were still intact. One illustrated a rat
character holding a head; is this an
illustration of the lawyers who tried to
have Alma and Amulek killed? This
site certainly seemed to have many of
the same architectural influences
found at other Book of Mormon sites.
Could this be the city that was
destroyed by the Lamanites because of
the wrath of justice they brought on
themselves for rejecting the gospel?
This certainly needs more study.

The team made the final major stop at
Chinkultic which many believe to be
the City of Nephi. The
trip report tells
much more of the incidents
surrounding the site, but here the
group was able to see for themselves
and walk the pathway behind the
temple where it is reported that King
Limhi and his people slipped out from
under the grip of the Lamanites by
night. Here were stelae that testified of
the many events that make this site the
City of Nephi; Abinadi being burned
by fire; discovery of the 24 Golden
Plates; the twenty-four Lamanite
women pleading for the life of their
husbands; Nephi changing the social
landscape by converting the
Lamanites. It is all here and ready to
change your faith into knowledge.

That really was the theme of our trip;
God's goodness to provide knowledge
for those who venture and seek to find
it, all the while unifying the hearts of
those who venture in His work. We felt
the power and influence of the Spirit
of God so strongly on occasions that it
was hard to believe that the fourteen
of us came from different backgrounds
and different families. There were no
barriers; being involved in something
substantial for Christ has erased them
all. We could not have asked for
anything greater than that. Our faith
in practice has become knowledge
indeed.
2010 Research Team
Looking through the Secret Pass behind the hilltop temple at Chinkultic
A team discussion with the temple of Chinkultic in the background
Neil Steede giving a lesson on the temple at Chinkultic aka the City of Nephi
The eastern stairway to the high temple at Tonina
A view of Tonina from the platform of the high temple
Neil and his old friend viewing the Serpent Stela at LaVenta Park
The main temple at Comalcalco
The Colossal Head at Tres Zapotes
The team arrives at El Tajin to begin their 10-day journey
The structures of El Tajin from ball courts to the Pyramid of the Niches
A team discussion at El Tajin
Neil teaching the finer points of the images found on the stela at Chinkultic