Tall and handsome, with legal counsel’s practiced authority, Ferguson trusted that the equipment of technology could persuade the global realm of the facts associated with Book of Mormon. Quickly after he completed university, he began trying to find clues in colonial documents that recorded a number of Latin America’s native traditions. One, written around 1554 by a combined number of K’iche’ Mayan villagers into the Guatemala highlands, claimed that their ancestorsвЂ””sons of Abraham and Jacob”вЂ”had sailed across a ocean to achieve their homeland. The K’iche’ had been beaten by Spanish conquistadors in 1524, plus the references that are biblical most most likely the merchandise of connection with Catholic priests, whom enthusiastically converted allies and previous foes alike.
But Ferguson, that has developed in a Mormon family members in Idaho, eagerly took such syncretism as evidence that Israelites had as soon as settled when you look at the Americas. He had been additionally taken by the misconception of QuetzalcГіatl, the feathered serpent deity that some colonial priests referred to as a bearded white guy. Ferguson figured he had been Jesus, showing up in Bountiful after their resurrection in the same way the written Book of Mormon recorded. Their collection research spurred their hunt that is first for proof, in Campeche in 1948.
Ferguson understood, but, that colonial sources represented circumstantial proof at most useful. Nor had been it sufficient to get ruins of past civilizations much more or less just the right location, while he had done in Campeche. To persuade and transform outsidersвЂ”a concern for MormonsвЂ”he desired things mentioned into the Book of Mormon that archaeologists had not present in Mesoamerica: horses, wheeled chariots, metal swords, and, most significant, Hebrew or script that is egyptian. “the last test of y our views of Book of Mormon geography are going to be work that is archaeological the floor it self,” Ferguson published in 1951 to their buddy J. Willard Marriott, the rich creator of this Marriott hospitality string and a robust figure when you look at the church.
Today Ferguson’s idea that Mesoamerican societies were seeded by Western ones is widely recognized as racist. However it fit directly into the archaeological thinking about the time, when Mesoamerican archaeologists had been consumed by the concern of whether civilizations had developed individually when you look at the Americas or had origins somewhere else. ” In the 1940s and 1950s, these had been the concerns everyone was investigating,” states Robert Rosenswig, an archaeologist during the State University of the latest York (SUNY) in Albany.
Ferguson never received a formal education in archaeology. He practiced legislation to aid their family that is growingвЂ”he had five childrenвЂ”as well as his research. However in 1951, he recruited leading archaeologists to explore the origin of Mesoamerican civilization included in an institution that is new this new World Archaeological Foundation (NWAF). First up to speed ended up being celebrated researcher Alfred Kidder of Harvard University together with Carnegie organization for Science in Washington, D.C. Kidder thought Mesoamerican civilizations had developed individually, but he and Ferguson had met at a museum in Guatemala City in 1946 and hit up a communication.
Kidder “is thought to be the most effective [Mesoamerican] archaeologist associated with the 20th century,” claims archaeologist John Clark of Brigham younger University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, whom directed NWAF from 1987 to 2009. To have Kidder regarding the task, Clark claims, “there is no concern that Ferguson must be some charismatic man.” Additionally recruited had been Gordon Ekholm, an anthropologist in the United states Museum of Natural History in new york, who believed that Mesoamerican civilizations had their origins in advanced cultures that are asian.
A ritual figurine through the site of Los Horcones is scanned at “” new world “” Archaeological Foundation head office.
Their timing ended up being good. Radiocarbon dating had just come to exist, and Ferguson instantly recognized its possibility of tracing the origins of Mesoamerican countries. “this is actually the best development because the start of archaeology,” he composed to LDS leadership. “we have always been regarding the opinion that is personal god inspired [radiocarbon dating] so it could be utilized effortlessly relating to the Book of Mormon.”
Yet the initial several years of NWAF had been a scramble that is desperate money. Ferguson contributed thousands himself and raised funds from rich Mormons and also the audiences of their lectures about Book of Mormon geography. In 1952, NWAF were able to deliver a small number of U.S. and Mexican archaeologists to review the drainage basin associated with Grijalva River in Tabasco and Chiapas, which Ferguson considered to be the Book of Mormon’s River Sidon.
By this true point, Ferguson had are more discerning time durations than he previously held it’s place in the jungles of Campeche. The ruins he discovered there have been likely Timeless or post-Classic Mayan, from between 250 C.E. plus the Spanish conquestвЂ”much too belated to be Mesoamerica’s civilization that is earliest or the duration mentioned in the Book of Mormon, thought to be about 2200 B.C.E. to 400 C.E. “We’ll never ever re re solve pre-Maya origins by digging up more Mayas,” Ferguson penned to Kidder in April 1953. They required period that is formative, dating from about 2000 B.C.E. to 200 C.E., approximately matching the times from the Book of Mormon.
In May 1953, Ferguson found its way to Chiapas to help.
Straight straight straight Back on the floor, Ferguson and Sorenson lay out by jeep for the survey that is 10-day see just what else they are able to find. “we would get from web site to site, city to city, asking вЂAre there any ruins around here?вЂ™” says Sorenson, whom proceeded to get a Ph.D. in anthropology from UC Los Angeles (UCLA) and it is now a teacher emeritus at BYU. Ferguson additionally asked locals whether or not they had discovered figurines of horsesвЂ”unknown in ancient MesoamericaвЂ”or resources of iron ore, which Sorenson discovered naГЇve. But his or her own training that is archaeological off, and also at some web web web sites he had been in a position to recognize the polished, monochrome pottery and hand-sculpted, irregular peoples figurines associated with the Formative period, therefore distinctive from the intricate but standardized figurines the Timeless Maya had made of molds. In lutheran dating only consumer reports every, Sorenson and Ferguson surveyed 22 web web sites on that journey and gathered a number that is astounding of items. ” In my modest viewpoint there clearly was little if any concern about itвЂ”they are Nephite creating,” Ferguson wrote to his church funders.