01 August 2016

The legendary origins of yerba mate

Because of his time as a missionary in Argentina, Daniel was introduced to the practice and culture of yerba mate, a type of tea infused from a South American plant. It's now something that we all enjoy. Many legends exist to explain the ancient origins of this drink, known to indigenous peoples of the areas that are now Argentina, Paraguay, and southern Brazil. A list of some of them is found on the website for Guayakí, a brand of mate that is based in northern California. One comes from the Guaraní people:

...the ancestors of the Guarani at one time in the distant past crossed a great and spacious ocean from a far land to settle in the Americas. They found the land both wonderful yet full of dangers; through diligence and effort they subdued the land and inaugurated a new civilization. There were two brothers that vied for leadership of the people: Tupi and Guarani. Eventually they feuded and divided the people into two separate nations. Each nation, or tribe, adopted the name of the brother who was its leader.

The Tupi tribes adopted a more fierce, nomadic lifestyle, rejecting the agricultural traditions of their fathers. They engaged in the practice of drinking large quantities of a caffeine-containing drink prepared from the guarana tree.


The Guarani tribes became a stable, God-fearing people who worked the land and became excellent craftsmen. They looked forward to the coming of a tall, fair-skinned, blue eyed, bearded God (Pa'i Shume) who, according to legend, eventually did appear and was pleased with the Guarani. He imparted religious instruction... 


The similarities to major events in the Book of Mormon are remarkable: crossing an ocean, two competing brothers, nations named after them, nomadic vs. agricultural cultures, and looking forward to the arrival of a fair-skinned god. Admittedly, there is no information for the source of this legend and it is quite vague. But perhaps there is something at its foundation and the similarities can't all be coincidences. So how do we explain this? We very much doubt that that the writer of Guayakí's website chose to use the Book of Mormon as source material for this legend.

Click here to read more about this and other legends at Guayakí's site.
Click here for information on the Guaraní.

05 May 2016

Other ideas about horses in Ancient America

Much of Daniel's recent work and research has been in checking out evidence of horses in Ancient America. This is undoubtedly a controversial topic and one that many critics use against the Book of Mormon. His recent paper published in BYU Studies Quarterly shows some strong support for the validity of the Book of Mormon's claims and examines several possibilities that explain the apparent lack of horses as noted by the first European explorers. Some of this information is also in An LDS Guide to the Yucatán.

While we don't have the final answer, it's nice to know we aren't alone in suggesting that horses actually could have lived in the Americas and were known to ancient people, although that knowledge has been lost. Some indigenous cultures claim not to have lost this knowledge, but to have had it all along. The website Tuesday's Horse has an article examining Native American claims that they have always had horses, even contradicting the standard story we all know. It also mentions several legends of ancient explorers from the Old World that found their way to the Americas and mentioned large animals such as horses among peoples in this new land. While these accounts are not fully supported, there are quite a few from all over the world. The scientific community has finally accepted that others from Europe beat Columbus across the ocean and some of these other accounts are gaining greater acceptance, even among the mainstream. The Book of Mormon's claims about three separate groups traveling across the oceans to the Promised Land seem much more plausible.

Click here to read Indian Horses Before Columbus

18 January 2016

Changes to the Lift event

Lift: A Conference to Lift the Human Spirit is still going on, but with a change of venue. The event is now scheduled to be held at the Sleepy Ridge golf club house, still on the same date, 20 February. This new location should be easier to get to, especially if there are any storms coming and it's a beautiful setting.

There has also been a slight change in the lineup of presenters. Daniel will be speaking at 2:40 in the afternoon. Tickets will now be $250 at the door, but $199 by registering early. As an added bonus, if you register this month and type in 'Daniel' as the promotional code, you will save an additional $100. So for a limited time, the entire conference cost is only $99. 

06 January 2016

Big events coming this year

Because of the new article in BYU Studies, we have been involved in more PR for the books recently. Daniel and Ironrod Media have been planning some events this year and he has been asked to be one of the authors speaking at Lift, a Conference to Raise the Human Spirit. It will be held on 20 February at Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley.

Tickets include access to 15 speakers' presentations, refreshments, and a formal lunch at the lodge. Register by 10 January to save $100 on the tickets.

Click here for more information on Facebook.
Click here to register and buy tickets.

07 November 2015

Daniel's article on evidence for horses in Ancient America has been published by BYU Studies!

It has taken a lot of time, research, editing, revision, and revisiting, but Daniel's article on horses in Ancient America has officially been published by BYU Studies Quarterly, entitled "Hard" Evidence of Ancient American Horses. It is in their latest issue, vol. 54, no. 3. Initially, the editors objected to the original title, saying that the evidence wasn't all that hard. Daniel explained that it really was a play on words, since the evidence presented consisted of bones and teeth, which are hard substances. Putting the word in quotes finally satisfied them.

We are very excited to have this information available to a wide audience. Some of it comes from the chapter on the Caves of Loltún from An LDS Guide to the Yucatán, which was further refined in Daniel's presentation on the subject at one of the Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum's annual conferences. More information was gathered during the research and preparation of this final paper, which contains images of rarely-seen artifacts from various museum collections and a graphic prepared by Daniel that visually explains the surprising findings of stratigraphic digs from sections of the Loltún Caves. We wish to thank Jack Welch for the initial suggestion and for all those who participated and assisted in bringing all this information together in final form for the publication of this article.

Click here to read the full article online from BYU Studies.

18 September 2015

New YouTube content

Daniel has been figuring out how to organize his YouTube channel recently, and our videos are now organized in playlists. His presentations at the BMAF conferences are available, as well as videos of our first trip to the Yucatán Peninsula. He has been working lately on editing videos from our trip to Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras to format it for YouTube. That work is still in progress, but should be up soon.

Watch Daniel's presentations on metals/plates and ancient horses.
Watch a video of our 2006 trip to the Yucatán.