2017 Expedition
In May of 2017 a group of seven flew
to the Yucatan of Mexico, then drove
down through Belize and into
Guatemala to further the ongoing
project of Book of Mormon
archaeology. The team was looking
to visit sites they had been
researching concerning the powers
behind the beheading of King
Anti-Nephi-Lehi. The research
guided the team to the Guatemala
sites of
Seibal, Dos Pilas, Cancuen,
Altar de Sacrificios, Aguateca and
Naranjo.


The team first visited Seibal where
they were introduced to a theme for
the area--defensive measures taken
by the inhabitants of the cities to
protect themselves from invading
forces. There were defensive walls
built nearly fifty feet tall at Seibal
and it ran for about 100 meters.
Next to this wall was a stela of a
zoomorphic man with a monkey
head. We know that there are Mayan
references to Captain Moroni as
Captain Kan Tok, and also as Red
Monkey. It appears that due to the
position of this stela, this "monkey"
may be an allusion to our Captain
Moroni who worked tirelessly to
fortify the Nephite cities along the
Lamanite borders.

A day later the crew ventured south
where they encountered the
Hermounts before they turned east
and then north to visit the site of
Cancuen. Here they found an
excavated "cistern" or ritual bath
where the bodies of 31 members of
royalty were buried after they had
been murdered and laid in this
makeshift grave with a sense of
honor. Ironically, this grave was at
the foot of a temple that contained
architectural features very similar to
Canaa (Sky Place) at Caracol. The
teaching panels in mural rooms, the
stairway counts to upper levels and
the highest point capped with three
temples to allude to the glories of
afterlife are found here at Cancuen.
And, when it is the rainy season, the
city of Cancuen no longer sits on an
oxbow, but it becomes an island--a
unique defensive measure indeed.

The team then visited Dos Pilas the
next day. It was a very hot day in the
jungle of the Peten, and it tested our
ability to ration water and conserve
our strength. But, the payoff was so
worth it. There were several stelae
found here at Dos Pilas that refer to
shielding, or protecting. The
principle plaza has four large stelae
that oppose the glyph writings on
the hieroglyphic stairways. This
positioning is critical because the
hieroglyphic stairways recite how
the king of Dos Pilas took control of
Tikal with lots of blood shed and
heads removed. These images on the
stelae in the plaza stood to oppose
this action recorded on the
stairways. They hold spears and
shields to oppose this action. Then,
about a kilometer to the east we
found two stelae that hold images of
Quetzal priests who hold shields and
are being asked to protect those
"fish" who have just been harvested.
We suspect that these two stelae are
a reference to the meeting of Alma
and the Sons of Mosiah when the
converted Lamanites are asking
entrance into the land of Zarahemla
for protection. And, it is at the right
location for this to take place.

We spent the next day researching
Altar de Sacrificios where we met a
wonderful Guatemalan Site Director
who was gracious enough to share
her mosquitoes with us while she
suggested another site to visit. Based
on her suggestion we visited
Aguateca. This is a sister city site to
Dos Pilas and it contained the
features of a converted Lamanite
city. Temples with specific
numbered steps and doorways;
rooms for mural teaching, and
directional orientation that aligned
with life/death and light/darkness. It
appears that the defensed city of
Aguateca was a gathering of the
converted Lamanites from Dos Pilas.
Their leader was a daughter of the
ruler of Dos Pilas and her name was
"Lady Six Sky." She relocated a
group of followers to revitalize the
city of Naranjo. We feel certain that
this "daughter" is actually a symbol
of the church (bride) who had
received the gospel message of a
coming Messiah and were "fertile"
with the fruits of the Spirit.

This year's expedition yielded
information that helps flesh-out the
unknown aspects of the history
pertaining to the converted
Lamanites, the commercial
connections that bonded the
Lamanites with the Kings-men
(Mulekites) and created this strange
social mix that we find in the Book
of Mormon.
Zoomorphic Monkey-man
Seibal with smoke to thwart mosquitoes