High and handsome, with legal counsel’s practiced authority, Ferguson trusted that the various tools of technology could persuade the realm of the facts associated with the Book of Mormon. Quickly after he completed university, he began looking for clues in colonial documents that recorded a number of Latin America’s native traditions. One, written around 1554 by way of band of K’iche’ Mayan villagers into the Guatemala highlands, claimed that their ancestorsвЂ””sons of Abraham and Jacob”вЂ”had sailed across an ocean to achieve their homeland. The K’iche’ had been beaten by Spanish conquistadors in 1524, while the biblical recommendations had been likely the product of connection with Catholic priests, whom enthusiastically converted allies and former foes alike.
But Ferguson, who’d developed in a Mormon household in Idaho, eagerly took syncretism that is such proof that Israelites had when settled into the Americas. He had been also taken by the misconception of QuetzalcГіatl, the feathered serpent deity that some colonial priests called a bearded man that is white. Ferguson figured he had been Jesus, showing up in Bountiful after their resurrection just like the Book of Mormon recorded. Their collection research spurred their hunt that is first for proof, in Campeche in 1948.
Ferguson recognized , nevertheless, that colonial sources represented evidence that is circumstantial most readily useful. Nor had been it sufficient to get ruins of previous civilizations much more or less just the right location, while he’d done in Campeche. To persuade and transform outsidersвЂ”a concern for MormonsвЂ”he desired items mentioned when you look at the Book of Mormon that archaeologists had not present in Mesoamerica: horses, wheeled chariots, metal swords, and, most crucial, Hebrew or Egyptian script. “the last test of y our views of Book of Mormon geography would be work that is archaeological the bottom it self,” Ferguson composed in 1951 to their buddy J. Willard Marriott, the rich creator of this Marriott hospitality string and a strong figure when you look at the church.
Today Ferguson’s idea that Mesoamerican societies were seeded by Western ones is widely recognized as racist. Nonetheless it fit directly into the archaeological thinking about the time, whenever Mesoamerican archaeologists had been consumed because of the concern of whether civilizations had evolved separately into the Americas or had origins somewhere else. ” In the 1940s and 1950s, these had been the concerns everyone was investigating,” claims Robert Rosenswig, an archaeologist in the State University of the latest York (SUNY) in Albany.
Ferguson never received an education that is formal archaeology. He practiced legislation to guide their growing family membersвЂ”he eventually had five childrenвЂ”as well as their research. However in 1951, he recruited leading archaeologists to explore the foundation of Mesoamerican civilization as an element of a brand new organization, the brand new World Archaeological Foundation (NWAF). First up to speed ended up being distinguished researcher Alfred Kidder of Harvard University as well as the 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 named the greatest [Mesoamerican] archaeologist of this twentieth century,” claims archaeologist John Clark of Brigham younger University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, whom directed NWAF from 1987 to 2009. To obtain Kidder in the task, Clark states, “there isn’t any concern that Ferguson needed to be some charismatic guy.” Also recruited had been Gordon Ekholm, an anthropologist during the United states Museum of Natural History in new york, who believed that Mesoamerican civilizations had their roots in higher level Asian countries.
A ritual figurine through the web web site of Los Horcones is scanned at “” new world “” Archaeological Foundation head office.
Their timing had been good. Radiocarbon relationship had simply come to exist, and Ferguson straight away recognized its prospect of tracing the origins of Mesoamerican countries. “This is the best development considering that the start of archaeology,” he penned to LDS leadership. “we have always been associated with individual viewpoint that god inspired [radiocarbon dating] so it could be utilized effortlessly relating to the Book of Mormon.”
Yet the initial many years of NWAF had been a scramble that is desperate money. Ferguson contributed thousands himself and raised funds from wealthy Mormons additionally the audiences of their lectures about Book of Mormon geography. In 1952, NWAF was able to deliver a few U.S. and Mexican archaeologists to review the drainage basin regarding the Grijalva River in Tabasco and Chiapas, which Ferguson considered to be the Book of Mormon’s River Sidon.
By this point, Ferguson had be more discerning time durations than he previously held it’s place in the jungles of Campeche. The ruins he discovered there have been most most most likely Timeless or post-Classic Mayan, from between 250 C.E. and the Spanish conquestвЂ”much too belated to be Mesoamerica’s earliest civilization or perhaps the period mentioned in the Book of Mormon, considered to be about 2200 B.C.E. to 400 C.E. “We’ll never ever re solve pre-Maya origins by digging up more Mayas,” Ferguson published to Kidder in April 1953. They required Formative duration web sites, 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.
Right right Back on the floor, Ferguson and Sorenson lay out by jeep for the 10-day study to see just what else they are able to find. “we would get from web site to web site, city to city, asking вЂAre there any ruins around here?вЂ™” says Sorenson, whom continued to get a Ph.D. in anthropology from UC l . a . (UCLA) and it is now a teacher emeritus at BYU. Ferguson also asked locals if they had discovered figurines of horsesвЂ”unknown in ancient MesoamericaвЂ”or sources of iron ore, which Sorenson discovered naГЇve. But his or her own archaeological training compensated off, and also at some web web web sites he had been able to determine the polished, monochrome pottery and hand-sculpted, irregular peoples figurines of this Formative duration, so distinctive from the intricate but standardized figurines the Vintage Maya had produced from molds. In most, Sorenson and Ferguson surveyed 22 web web sites on that journey and gathered a number that is astounding of items. ” In my opinion that is humble there little if any question about itвЂ”they are Nephite creating,” Ferguson published to their church funders.