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Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Latest From Cumorah's Hill

     As I write any Tennis Shoes book, I try to be aware of the most up-to-date research from scholars as it relates to topics discussed within a given chapter. Volume 12, tentatively titled Thorns of Glory, Pt. 1 (although I may go with Drums of Desolation) has presented opportunities to dredge up some unique information. Since this book may be the last time that I approach the Hill Cumorah in a fictional venue, the fact that such information is available now may be fortuitous.
     
      My notes to Chapter 15 in Sorcerers and Seers offered a detailed review of some of the problems associated with the 35-(plus)-year-old proposal that the Hill Cumorah mentioned in the Book of Mormon is the Hill Vigia in the Tuxtla Mountains of Veracruz, Mexico. This hill was first proposed as the site of the Hill Cumorah back in the 1970s by Dr. John Sorenson Ph.D. Dr. Sorenson's research became the basis for the structure of my second novel Gadiantons and the Silver Sword. No worries. This remains one of my favorite novels that I have written, even if I might have Cumorah in the wrong location. 

Now in retirement and having published his final opus of Book of Mormon research, entitled Mormon's Codex: An Ancient American Book (available at Deseret Book and Amazon), Dr. Sorenson has achieved something of a "Mensa" status among enthusiasts of Book of Mormon geography and anthropology. Some might consider it disrespectful during his waning years to question a fundamental tenet of Sorenson's research. However, the world continues to turn and the problems in the Vigia/Cumorah scenario remain. (If it's any consolation, problems correlating the Hill Cumorah in New York with the Hill Cumorah where the Nephites' final battle was fought seem much more problematic.) For a review of the problems associated with Vigia/Cumorah the author directs the reader to his "Notes to Chapter 15" in Sorcerers and Seers or to a more detailed exposition on the subject compiled for this blog here

While highlighting problems with the Vigia/Cumorah proposal when contrasted with descriptions in the Book of Mormon, the challenge has been finding an adequate alternative. In Sorcerers and Seers' "Notes to Chapter 15" the work of Dr. Lawrence Poulsen, Ph.D, was highlighted. Dr. Poulsen is a retired professor of biochemistry from the University of Texas who has spent a number of years studying satellite imagery in his quest to find an alternative site that meets the internal Book of Mormon criteria for Ramah/Cumorah. Because satellite imagery has only been readily available to researchers through sites like Google Earth for the past decade or so, this seemed like a new and potentially promising approach for investigation.

For review, in order to meet the qualifications of the appropriate hill where the final battle between the Nephites and Lamanites, as well as the final battle between factions of the Jaredites, this hill must be east of another hill called Shim where the Prophet Ammaron temporarily hid up the sacred engravings of the Nephites (see Morm. 1:3) and west of a land called Ablom (in Jaredite times) that was near the seashore (see Ether 9:1-3). It must also be north of the Land of Zarahemla and south or west (southwest?) of the waters of Ripliancum (Eth. 15:7-11). Ripliancum appears to be a Jaredite word meaning "large or to exceed all" (Ether 15:8). Cumorah must also be in a land of many waters and rivers and fountains and in the general area where Mormon grew up as a child.

In Sorcerers and Seers the Notes to Chapter 15 explored the possibility that the Hill Cumorah might be a hill near Tepetzintla, Veracruz, Mexico, not far south of Tampico on the Gulf coast. This hill today is called Otontepec.

One reason that the Hill Vigia was considered a candidate for Cumorah was because of its proximity to a hill called Cintepec, a word interpreted in the Nahuatl language (Aztec) as Maize Hill. The Mayan word for Maize is shim or ixim, prounounced "eesheem." Cintepec in Mayan has essentially the same meaning as Shim. However, Book of Mormon descriptions in Ether 9:1-3 indicate that the Hill Shim should be west of the Hill Cumorah. Cintepec is east of the Hill Vigia.

Tepetzintla can be demonstrated to have the same ancient meaning for maize hill, and unlike Cintepec, it is located west of the Hill Otontepec, which is the correct direction. Other features of Otentepec were also attractive, particularly a U-shaped bowl or valley facing south that is surrounded on three sides by a ridge. This ridge could have provided Mormon with a potential military advantage.

Notes to Chapter 15 also discussed certain problems with the Hill Otontepec as Ramah/Cumorah because of its long distance from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, which is generally agreed upon by most scholars as the narrow neck of land mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Other problems were that the Hill Otontepec is a bit high in altitude—some spurs rising above sea level over four thousand feet. Although this may not seem that high, it's position so close to sea level would make it appear as high as many mountains along the Wasatch Front. No standard is given in the Book of Mormon for how a mountain is defined as opposed to a hill, but if any proposal for Cumorah qualified in the former category, it would have been Otontepec. Locally it's known as Sierra de Otontepec or Bird Hunter Mountain. Also, its qualifications as a place of "many waters, rivers, and fountains", which is a critical description for the land of Cumorah provided in Morm. 6:4, is difficult to verify without further investigation, perhaps onsite.

In the interim after Sorcerers and Seers was published Dr. Poulsen doggedly pursued a better alternative for Ramah/Cumorah and happened upon what may be a more logical candidate. He found a hill closer to the narrow neck of land and better suited to other scriptural parameters. This candidate is near the town of Misantla in southern Veracruz, Mexcio.

Misantla is an ancient city dating back to the earliest days of the Spanish conquest. About five

Looking north from Misantla
miles north rises a series of hills, the most central and prominent called Omitepetl. The etymology of Omitepetl is perhaps more interesting than any other hill that has been proposed as Ramah/Cumorah. Whereas El Cerro Vigia means "lookout hill" and Sierra de Otontepec means "bird hunter mountain," the Nahuatl or Aztec meaning of Omitepetl is "bone hill." The correlation is immediately obvious. Since Ramah/ Cumorah is a place where two nations were destroyed, a reputation as a place of scattered bones might persist through the centuries. The background for this name obviously needs further investigation, but it's reasonable to imagine that an area full of millions of festering bodies would have been abandoned for a time. As people eventually returned, encountering the bones of Nephite, Lamanite, and Gadianton soldiers would have been a common occurrence for at least another next generation or until these remains had fully decayed. In such a wet, humid climate there is little reason to believe that bones would have survived to the present day unless they were buried in dry earth or stored in a cave.




Looking south, aerial view of
"Bone Hill" or Omitepetl
Like Otontepec, a line of ridges and hills surrounding Omitepetl creates a bowl that seems ideal for defense works and fortifications. The total area is about nine square miles with a more protected inner valley of about two square miles, which could have supported the Nephite population as it compressed near the start of the battle. Unlike Otontepec, the bowl at Omitepetl is directed eastward rather than southward. The land is reasonably more level in this bowl and shaped a bit like the claw of a crab. There is an impressive vantage point of the region atop a mesa in the central "crook" of that claw. Additionally, Omitepetl and its surrounding spurs never rise to more than about 2000 feet above sea level, which may seem a more reasonable height for "hill." Omitepetl sits near the center of two rugged mountain ranges and serves as a natural route of travel from the highlands of Puebla in Mexico's interior, as suggested by the journey of Omer and his family in the Book of Ether, and also for the movements of the Jaredite armies of Shiz and Coriantumr.

Dr. Poulson says extensive information is available about the Misantla region, although most is still in Spanish, which may explain why it has remained in relative obscurity. Perhaps the most interesting feature of Omitepetl and the surrounding basin is its hydrology. It supplies approximately 80% of all water to the Misantla region.

Shortly after the Spanish conquest the Viceroy of Mexico requested an extensive report about all the locations of Mexico still inhabited by Mesoamerican natives. The report about Misantla, which is still found in the Royal Archives of Spain, was retranslated, updated, and published in 1962.

In Spanish this report states, "Unos de los aspectos mas prominentes de la region de Misantla, es la abundancia de agua, pues es un distrito, humedo por naturaleza, donde jamas han existidos los problemas dificiles de otros lugares.

"En todo su jurisdiccion abunden manantiales, lagunas, y arroyos.Los grandes rios forman una verdadera red hydrographica, y es notable que aun en los cerros, se encuentran pequeños fuentes."

A rough translation is: “One of the aspects most prominent of the region is the abundance of water; yes, it is a district, humid by nature, where never have existed the difficult problems of other places

In the entire jurisdiction, there are abundant springs, lagoons, and streams. The great rivers form a true hydrographic net, and it is notable that even in the hills, little fountains are found.” The surveyor then goes on to describe the sources and effects that this abundance of water has on the area and its inhabitants. (Diego Perez de Arteaga, Relacion de Misantla , 1579, updated trans. by David Ramirez Lavoignet, 1962, pgs. 70-76.)

It may be that no researcher attempting to find a geographical correlation with Mormon 6:4 and its statement about "waters, and rivers, and fountains" can claim to have found a more analogous description. Remember, this source is nearly 500 years old. What was obvious to Mormon was also obvious to surveyors in the 16th century.

Like Vigia and Otontepec, the area of Misantla also has a nearby hill called "maize hill." However, in the case of Misantla, the association with maize may be stronger than either of the other proposals mentioned in this article. Calling a hill "Corn Hill" or "Maize Hill" is almost a throwaway name for local farmers in ancient America and doubtless applies to countless spurs and hummocks where the crop was cultivated. However, there is a hill about ten miles west of Omitepetl whose ancient name is Paxil (pronounced pa-sheel). The translation of this word from the Totonac language is, again, "Maize Hill." An archeological ruin is found at the base of this hill that is also called Paxil.
 
The word Paxil and its association with maize resonates in the Popal Vuh. The Popal Vuh is considered the oldest sacred record of the Mayans and its religion and mythology. As it reads: These four animals gave tidings of the yellow ears of corn and the white ears of corn, they told them that they should go to Paxil and they showed them the road to Paxil. And thus they found the food, and this was what went into the flesh of created man, the made man; this was his blood; of this the blood of man was made. So the corn entered [into the formation of man] by the work of the Forefathers. (Delia Goetz and Sylvanus Griswold Morley, Popal Vuh, Part III, Chapter 1, 1954.) The locals of Misantla still celebrate this site as the place where corn was first given by the gods to man for him to cultivate.

Mormon did not necessarily consider Shim or Cumorah to be significant landmarks. It may have simply been a coincidence that these hills happened to be located in the region where he was raised as a boy. Remember that Ammaron originally hid up the sacred records in "a hill which shall be called Shim" (Morm. 1:3, emp. added). Later Mormon would recover the records from Shim and hide them again, this time in the Hill Cumorah. It's never explained why Ammaron's original repository was no longer adequate. For some reason Mormon decided that hiding the plates at Cumorah was more expedient.
 
It's interesting that Ammaron referred to the name of Shim in a future tense, as if this hill was not yet known by this appellation. This may be because, in the days of Ammaron, Shim was generally unfamiliar to most Nephites, but would become familiar decades later as they gathered in the region to make their final stand. A more colorful interpretation is that Ammaron knew that Shim would later be associated with maize and that by calling it "Shim" the prophet was offering Mormon a bit of foreshadowing regarding this future association. The name of Shim is mentioned one other time by Mormon when he recovers the records (Morm. 4:23) and once by Moroni in his abridgement of Ether's record as "the hill of Shim" (Ether 9:3) which Omer passed on his way to Cumorah before he went on to Ablom by the seashore.

It may surprise some to learn that the land of Cumorah is mentioned slightly more often in the Book of Mormon than the hill of Cumorah. It may also be surprising to learn that the name Cumorah is only used in the Book of Mormon in six verses. The name of Ramah is used but once, in Ether 15:11 where it reads: ". . . the army of Coriantumr did pitch their tents by the hill Ramah; and it was that same hill where my father Mormon did hide up the records unto the Lord, which were sacred." In Morm. 6:6 we learn that Mormon hid up all the sacred records ". . . save it be these few plates which I gave unto my son Moroni." This appears to mean that all the sacred records were hidden up in Cumorah except the plates which were to become the Book of Mormon. Whether Moroni later hid up the plates of the Book of Mormon in the same hill—and particularly whether this hill is the same hill where Joseph Smith recovered these plates 1400 years later—is a long-running debate between those who support the two-Cumorah theory and those who do not.

Omitepetl and Misantla are approximately 200 miles north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, or the narrow neck of land as proposed by many LDS scholars. Lastly, in order to qualify as Cumorah there must be a "large" body of water to the north or east that was called Ripliancum. Directly north and east of Omitepetl lies the gulf of Mexico (because the coast here is slanted westward). For further details regarding Dr. Poulsen's proposed location for Cumorah and Shim as well as somewhat larger satellite images and more details about Omitepetl and the Misantla region go to: http://www.bmaf.org/node/389.

The reader is reminded that this is a relatively new theory. Whether it stands the test of time and further scrutiny is yet to be determined. An immediate question always asked by amateur scholars (like myself) is whether there are any archeological ruins in the vicinity that date to Book of Mormon times or perhaps whether ancient fortifications or earthworks can be found on or near Omitepetl that might have been constructed by the Nephites.

Merely asking if there are archeological sites in Misantla, or really anywhere in Mesoamerica, is a bit like asking if there are boulders in southern Utah. There is hardly a patch of ground between Mexico City and Costa Rica that lacks in archeological evidence. The ruins of Paxil, of course, are a minor tourist site, but structures excavated thus far date between 400 AD and 1500 AD. It is reported that only 11 of 577 known archeological sites in the area have been excavated. (http://www.arduinna.com.mx/en/arq_ver_en.html)

If this site is Cumorah, what the kinds of ruins we might expect to find? The answer to this is not exactly clear. We presume that we might find defensive earthworks of some kind because Mormon described in detail the earthworks of other Nephite generals in his abridgement, and since he had four long years to prepare for battle against the Lamanites. However, the Book of Mormon does not describe what particular fortifications Mormon might have erected or what materials he used to build them, whether of stone or perishable wood.

As always, it is hoped that proposals of this nature will encourage the next generation of LDS researchers to pursue a more detailed and rigorous survey of such sites. If  other correlative evidence can be found tying this region to the Hill Cumorah, it's probable that Misantla and Omitepetl might tell us more about the Book of Mormon than the Book of Mormon can tell us about them.

Copyright 2013 by Chris Heimerdinger

Friday, October 25, 2013

Muckwhip on Kindle for $2.99

Okay friends and readers,

I pulled out the stops on my latest book (and ebook) Muckwhip's Guide for Capturing Latter day Souls to offer it on Amazon/Kindle for $2.99. This is frankly a way of sustaining my bill-paying abilities until I finish Tennis Shoes Book 12.

Muckwhip's Guide may be my finest work. I suppose we'll let the critics decide that in the end(presuming any critics will even care after I'm dead and gone). Any fan of my books should take the opportunity to own Muckship's Guide for this price. The offer at $2.99 stands until Nov. 1. Give yourself an early Christmas present by clicking here.

Unfortunately, I can't offer the hardcopy book at that price. And I've sold so few books for the Nook that I didn't see a reason to even bother to change the price there. If anyone feels differently and wants to purchase it for that price for the Nook, lemme know.

Many have begged me to offer some kind of time estimate for the release of Tennis Shoes Book 12, which will either be titled Thorns of Glory, Pt. 1 or Drums of Desolation. I predict that I'll actually finish writing it early in 2014. But as to when the publisher makes it available, I have no control over that. In any case, I just wrote the scene where Harry gets into a scape with ten thousand Lamanites in an effort to defend Huracan. When the book is finally out, you'll all know what that scene is.

Thanks for your readership!

Stay Close to the Lord,
Chris Heimerdinger

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Favorite New Tennis Shoes Excerpt (So Far!)


This is a fun excerpt. I hope readers enjoy it. I'll continue to offer the full Prologue and Chapter 1 from Tennis Shoes 12 as attachments to any new orders placed on frostcave.com or my FrostCave products on Amazon. Two posts ago (Sept. 10) I provided links to the Tennis Shoes book and audio Gift Sets, for which FrostCave offers the best price. All items autographed for Christmas!

I have an announcement. For months I've told fans that the new Tennis Shoes book would be called Thorns of Glory. Most know that this book is long enough that my publisher will likely divide it into two books. I've presumed it would be Thorns of Glory Part 1 and Thorns of Glory Part 2, sort of like the Feathered Serpent books. HOWEVER, I think I've come up with a better title for the first of these 2 books:

Drums of Desolation

Let me know what you think. Just know that Book 13 is likely still called Thorns of Glory. Nothing is set in stone until you see it on the shelf. The following excerpt is told from the POV of Marcos.


Marcos

"Stop!" I screamed. "Muskah, halt!"

No more than eighteen inches stood between me and those gargantuan tusks, capped with metallic, jagged edges, as the mammoth pulled to a halt.

It hadn't wanted to stop. I wasn't certain how it physically managed to stop. Its inertia should have crushed me like a rolling pin. I don't know what compelled me to leap in its path. What authority did I think my voice would carry with this house-sized wrecking ball? I acted on impulse. On instinct. Nothing more.

And it worked! By God's grace, it worked! Nothing explained it except divine intervention. Muskah, roared again; I felt the heat of its breath. My face was sprayed with spittle from its mouth and trunk. To my consternation, I heard a question in that roar. At first I rejected this, convinced it was all in my mind.

The question was: "Why should I?"

Another impulse compelled me to reply. "Because I am your master now. And you must obey me with the same devotion."

The mammoth seemed to glower at me. It shook its helmeted head from side to side, flapping its ears like triangular flags. It grunted and chuffed—still in agitation, but in a tone much more civil. Again, I swore I heard a message in these sounds.

The creature seemed to say, "I've never known another master. My master commanded me to kill. To destroy everything I see. Especially him."

The beast had meant King Omer. Still with dominance in my voice, I repeated. "I am your master. And I say halt. Do you really want to maim and kill?"

Its agitation persisted. It stomped several times with its front pads, then made another chuff. "I want to please my master."

"Then please me," I replied. "Do as I say and be calm. Be at peace, gentle Muskah. You are mighty and strong. But you are not threatened. I mean you no harm. No one here—" I particularly indicated King Omer. "—means you any harm."

The people were hushed, breathless. They were dumfounded. Any why not? This whole confrontation seemed insane. I was talking to a mammoth! And as God is my witness, the brute was communicating back. We understood each other the same as two human beings. Unquestionably, it was some kind of miracle. But was it a new miracle? Something hinted that I'd possessed this ability all along. I'd just never had cause to exercise it.

The creature stopped swinging its head and tusks. It ceased stomping the ground. Only its ears continued flap, like oversized butterfly wings.

"Are you going to obey me, Muskah?" I demanded. "What are you going to do?"

It stood its ground another few seconds, still heaving its warm breath in my face, which smelled like cut grass, a little rancid. It began to turn, making one final snort I interpreted as, "I'm going to eat."

As Omer's company gawked in amazement, Muskah lumbered back to the place where it had been happily grazing. It resumed yanking leafy vines from the dune, unconcerned over whatever else had occurred. What's that old adage? An elephant never forgets. Maybe this also applied to mammoths. But not this mammoth. It had forgotten everything and returned to doing what it had preferred all along.

Joshua sidled up beside me, staring at Muskah, shaking his head in admiration. "You're a man of unseen talents, Marcos. Mammoth whispering. Who'd've thought? If we ever go back to an era that has television, you should have your own show."

I grunted. "Sure. If only mammoths and television existed in the same century."

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Another Happy Excerpt from Tennis Shoes 12!

Hey Tennis Shoes Fans!
 
Here's another excerpt from Tennis Shoes 12: Thorns of Glory. I hope I'm offering readers more than I've ever offered before the actual completion of a new Tennis Shoes book. But I have to be careful not to post spoilers. Just enough to tease with savage cruelty.
 
To read about free books and chances to receive the opening chapters from this novel until Oct. 1, read the previous post:
 
This excerpt is also from the perspective of Joshua:

Marcos added, "Asherah is dead."

"Good riddence," I replied too quickly. It was callous. Partly, I was just welcoming a change of subject. Then I became genuinely curious. "What happened?"

"I shot her," said Marcos. His tone was emotionless, subdued. "She tried to kill the newborn babe."

"Elorah had her baby?"

"Yes. It happened not long after we separated. He was born that night."

"'He'?"

"A boy. They named him Emer. Prince Emer."

"And Asherah tried to kill him?"

"She made the attempt just before we entered the cavern. She'd have likely killed Queen Elorah as well, if I hadn't acted." He sighed drearily, then said, "Teshebel is dead too. They . . . executed her." I could tell he'd wanted to use a harsher word, but couldn't think of one.

"Who executed her?"

"The women," said Marcos. "She was executed as a traitor."

I let all of this sink in. A lot had happened. Marcos's life since we'd parted had been almost as eventful as mine. At least more eventful than I'd imagined.
 
"The women executed her?" I asked again.

I could feel Marcos shudder in the darkness. Whatever he had witnessed, it wasn't a good idea to ask for details.

"What about Uguleth?"

"She's around," said Marcos, almost casually. "Actually, this is the kind of place that I expect to run into her again someday: Somewhere in the pitch darkness."

"You bested her once," I replied.

An instant later I realized it was a strange thing to say. Not only because it suggested Marcos might be afraid of Uguleth, but because the kind of revenge that Marcos anticipated did not particularly require any skill. Just surprise. Audacity. And Uguleth had plenty of that.....
 
That's it for now. My special thanks to all my readers, and all the recent orders received on Amazon and FrostCave.
 
Sincerely,
Chris Heimerdinger

@ Copyright 2013, Chris Heimerdinger

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chapter 1 Notes from "Thorns of Glory"

Greetings Tennis Shoes Fans!

It occurred to me many readers enjoy the chapter notes in the various Tennis Shoes books. Thorns of Glory will be no different in providing occasional scholarly disgressions. I thought fans might enjoy the Notes from Chapter 1.

Until October 1 those who purchase any Tennis Shoes Gift Set off Amazon or www.frostcave.com will receive a free copy of two BOOKS: Passage to Zarahemla and Escape from Zarahemla (the Gift Sets total 1-5 or 6-10 in book in audio or book form. The free copies are books, not audio books.) NOTE: Book 11, Seers and Sorcerers, is still only offered independently of the Gift Sets. I offer these two free books from the "Passage Series" because many readers still aren't aware that the "Passage Series" and "Tennis Shoes Series" are interconnected. One must read Passage and Escape before diving into Tennis Shoes Book 12: Thorns of Glory. ALL my books, audio books, DVDs, etc., are AUTOMATICALLY AUTOGRAPHED. For links to purchase various Gift Sets from Amazon, see the end of this post.

And shucks, I'll offer ANOTHER perk. Times can be financially challenging for authors between books, so for all customers of Amazon or Frost Cave who purchase anything, I will obligingly send them (via email attachment) a copy of the Prologue and Chapter One of Thorns of Glory. But there's a catch. Unlike the first offer of automatically sending two free books with the purchase of a Tennis Shoes Gift Set, to receive the Prologue and Chapter One of Thorns of Glory, after buying any product you must send me an email request for the chapters at cheimerdinger@gmail.com, basically saying, "Hey, I bought one of your books or DVDs today! Please email me the Prologue and Chapter One." I have to do this because many customers have never read my books and aren't even LDS, so they wouldn't appreciate (and might even be put out) seeing a Tennis Shoes chapter in their inbox. Thanks to everyone for their support!

Here's the Chapter Note:

Notes to Thorns of Glory Chapter 1:

There are three separate and distinct records mentioned in the Book of Mormon that were written in the era of the Jaredites, or those people who came to the New World shortly after the Lord confounded the languages of humankind at the Tower of Babel, or as it's simply called by Ether (and by Moroni in his abridgement of Ether) the "great tower" (Eth 1: 3, 22).

The best known of these records is the "Book of Ether." This record is an abridgement of what was surely a much longer record compiled by Ether, the last great prophet of the Jaredites. The Book of Mormon tells us that the Book of Ether first came into Nephite hands in the days of King Limhi in about 122-121 B.C. It was found by 43 explorers who had been dispatched by Limhi to find their land and city of origin called Zarahemla. Limhi's objective was to beseech their brethren in Zarahemla to liberate them from a bitter slavery that had been inflicted upon them by the Lamanite tribes who dominated that territory. Instead of finding Zarahemla, these explorers found a northern landscape covered with dry bones, cankered armaments, and ruined buildings. They also discovered 24 gold plates with engravings that no one among the people of Limhi could read. We later learned that these 24 plates contained the history of the Jaredites authored by the Prophet Ether (Mosiah 8:7-12, 21:25-29, Ether 1:1-2).

When Ammon stood before King Limhi, he assured him that his own King Mosiah in Zarahemla was endowed with the gift of seership, as well as possessing sacred interpreters that could decipher the 24 gold plates. It is likely that after King Mosiah completed his translation that the unabridged Book of Ether was as sacred and important to Nephites and other Christians of that generation as the Book of Mormon is to us.

The least known of the Jaredite records is a large stone, or stelae, that was carried to the land of Zarahemla, possibly from former Jaredite territories along the Gulf Coast, in the days of King Mosiah I. The engravings on this stone told the story of the last surviving Jaredite king, whose name was Coriantumr. It also offered a short history of those who had "come out from the tower at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people." The scriptures tell us that this Jaredite record was interpreted by King Mosiah I using the "gift and power of God" (Omni 1:20-22). It's a strong presumption, based on later statements by Ammon in Mosiah Chapter 8, that God's gift and power came from the "Interpreters," which we know today as the Urim and Thummim. It's possible that these "Interpreters" were different seerstones, but it seems unlikely.

The most fascinating record of the Jaredites is undoubtedly the record that has come to be known as the book or vision of Mahonri Moriancumr. The name of the prophet from the Book of Ether—Mahonri Moriancumr—is not mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Instead, the Book of Mormon only refers to him as the brother of Jared (Jared being the first king of the Jaredites after his group of ocean voyagers arrived in the New World, and after the brother of Jared and all his sons had refused the monarchy). The name Mahonri Moriancumr was mentioned by Joseph Smith, Jr. as the name of the brother of Jared in Kirtland, Ohio while he was giving a name and a blessing to the newborn son of Elder Reynolds Cahoon ("The Jaredites," The Juvenile Instructor, [1 May 1892], p. 282 n.).

The vision and words recorded by Mahonri Moriancumr have long been identified as the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, or that portion of the Book of Mormon which Joseph Smith was commanded not to translate, and which is generally believed to have comprised approximately two-thirds of the width of the gold plates that were recovered by Joseph Smith from the Hill Cumorah. In other words, comparatively few people in world history have ever read this volume. According to the scriptures, the brother of Jared was given this great vision because of his exceeding faith—a faith so powerful and unique that information could not be kept from him. Jesus Christ Himself visited Mahonri Moriancumr and gave him very specific instructions regarding the vision he had seen:

             Beyond, thou shalt not suffer these things which ye have seen and heard to go forth unto the  world, until the time cometh that I shall glorify my name in the flesh; wherefore, ye shall treasure up the thing which ye have seen and heard, and show no man.
            And behold, when ye shall come unto me, ye shall write them and shall seal them  up, that no one  can interpret them; for ye shall write them in a language that they cannot read.
            And behold, these two stones which I give unto thee, and ye shall seal them up also with the  things which ye shall write.
            For behold, the language which ye shall write I have confounded; wherefore I will cause in my own due time that these stones shall magnify to the eyes of men these things which ye shall write. (Eth 3: 21-25)

 The stones in question are undoubtedly the Urim and Thummin which Joseph Smith found buried with the plates of the Book of Mormon. Again, to suggest that the Lord was referring to other stones seems unnecessary, and produces far more questions than it answers. Such as, where and when would Mosiah have received these other interpreters? If Moroni had two sets of interpreters—those used by Joseph Smith and Mahonri, as well as a second set used by Mosiah I and handed down through the generations of Nephite prophets, what happened to them? Why would God offer up two sets of interpreters to the Nephites? Where did Moroni leave Mosiah's other interpreters, if not with the gold plates? It seems clear that the same "interpreters" are being referred to in both the Doctrine and Covenants and the Book of Mormon.
 
The subject matter of Mahonri's vision may not be unique in its nature compared to visions given to other great prophets in the history of the world. But the brother of Jared was granted the unique privilege of permanently recording this vision, whereas other prophets, including John the Revelator, were forbidden to write it so that it might one day come down to future generations. What John wrote in his book Revelation was also written by commandment, but a portion of John's vision was withheld from the world to be revealed at a later time, according to the faith and preparation of the children of men (D&C 93:6-7).

Even so, it seems that only Mahonri Moriancumr was entrusted to write a complete vision containing the detail and breadth of his subject matter. Even from the brief description provided in the Book of Mormon, we are given only a hint of the overpowering glory of its contents:

             (The Lord) showed unto the brother of Jared all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and  also all that would be; and he withheld them not from his sight, even unto the ends of the earth (Eth 3:25).

Lehi's son, Nephi, added this description of the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon while explaining the words on this subject found in Isaiah 29:11-12: 

            And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall bring forth unto you the words of a book, and  they shall be the words of them which have slumbered. And behold the book shall be sealed; and in the book  shall be a revelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the ending thereof. . . .Wherefore the book  shall be kept from them. . . . For the book shall be sealed by the power of God, and the revelation which was  sealed shall be kept in the book until the own due time of the Lord, that they may come forth; for behold, they  reveal all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof (2 Nephi 27:6–8, 10). 

The brother of Jared and his descendants were expressly commanded to safe keep his written record, but forbidden to ever read it. It was not to come forth "unto the children of men until after that (Jesus Christ) should be lifted up upon the cross; (Eth. 4:1)." It is humbling to imagine the overpowering curiosity of so many generations of faithful Jaredites, and later Nephites (who presumably came into possession of the record, and its interpreters, in the days of King Mosiah I, likely by the hand of the Jaredite prophet Ether in his old age), who apparently never succumbed to a temptation to read or examine its engravings, but instead preserved it carefully and passed it down until after Jesus Christ showed himself to the Nephites in the flesh. At this point it was translated in the Nephite language, probably by Nephi the son of Nephi, one of the Savior's special disciples and the presiding High Priest of the Nephites, using the Urim and Thummin. We are told that:

             (The Savior) did expound all things, even from the beginning until the time that he should  come in his glory—yea, even all things which should come upon the face of the earth, even until the elements should  melt with fervent heat, and the earth should be wrapt together as a scroll, and the heavens and the earth  should pass away; And even unto the great and last day, when all people, and all kindreds, and all nations  and tongues shall stand before God, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil. (3 Nephi 26:3–4)

The original record of Mahonri Moriancumr, as well as the translation of Nephi, was then passed down by prophets until it came into the hands of Mormon and his son, Moroni, who were the last men in the Nephite dispensation to read this vision. We are told that Moroni transcribed the vision word for word onto the gold plates of his father, and then sealed them within the record by some mechanism (often presumed to be a surrounding sheet of gold alloy). And there they remain, and will remain, until the world is ready to receive them.
 
I'm still writing away on this behemoth novel called Thorns of Glory. Look for more excerpts in the near future!

To purchase anything from Frost Cave, go to www.frostcave.com. (Note: You must register before making a purchase. This is turned around from Amazon where you can basically order something and THEN register in the process. Register FIRST, then order on www.frostcave.com.) ALL BOOKS AUTOGRAPHED, but signed to the name of a specific buyer only if indicated on order (or via email). For all FrostCave stuff on Amazon ORDER HERE.

For the Amazon link for Tennis Shoes Gift Set 1-5
For the Amazon link for Tennis Shoes Gift Set 6-10.
For the Amazon link for Tennis Shoes Gift Set 1-5 AUDIO
For the Amazon link for Tennis Shoes Gift Set 6-10 AUDIO

 @ Copyright 2013, Chris Heimerdinger

Saturday, August 24, 2013

NEW Tennis Shoes Excerpt

Hi Tennis Shoes Fans!

Yes, I'm still hard at work on the next Tennis Shoes adventure, Thorns of Glory. To prove it, here's another excerpt.

I can't stress enough the importance of reading (or watching the movie for) Passage to Zarahemla and Escape from Zarahemla before diving into Book 12, Thorns of Glory when it's finished. IN FACT, for those who order any single set of five books (1-5 or 6-10) or the audio sets (1-5 or 6-10) directly from me at FrostCave, either through Amazon.com or by calling me directly, I will offer a free copy of the book (or movie) of Passsage to Zarahemla PLUS a free copy of the book Escape From Zarahemla. Yes, until Oct. 1, 2013 both of these will be sent with your Gift Set package at no additional cost.  NOTE: ONLY the two books OR a DVD and a book. NOT the audio books. (Can't afford that.) Unless you email me at cheimerdinger@gmail.com and indicate that you want the movie along with a book for Escape, I will send the 2 free books automatically with your order.

For the Amazon link for Tennis Shoes Gift Set 1-5
For the Amazon link for Tennis Shoes Gift Set 6-10.
For the Amazon link for Tennis Shoes Gift Set 1-5 AUDIO
For the Amazon link for Tennis Shoes Gift Set 6-10 AUDIO

Or if you want to order by calling me directly at 801-870-2070, I have a secure merchant account for Visa or MC. In the meantime, here's the new Tennis Shoes excerpt. This is from the perspective of Joshua:
 
 
The tunnel opened into a very unusual room. Shafts of sunlight pierced various holes in the ceiling. The openings might have been fifty feet overhead, impossible to reach without the ladder from a fire truck, but it was a welcome relief for our claustrophobia to know that daylight still existed.

Hamira dodged the stones and boulders that littered the floor and wandered into one of the light shafts. She shut her eyes, breathing deeply and basking like a lizard. I found my own conduit of dusty sunlight and sat upon a stone.

"We can't stay long," said Hamira, more to herself. "We don't know when Nimrah and the sons of Mizerath may find us."

"They may be headed in an entirely different direction," I said.

"If, like us, they are searching for a way to Ablom and a return to our lands, they will arrive here eventually."

"Do you recognize this room?" I asked. "Did you and King Omer pass this way before?"

She nodded hesitantly. "I believe so. But it may have been night. There was no sunlight shining through openings above."

"What will happen if your brother finds us?"

She said softly, "He would kill us both."

"You're his sister," I said, wondering if this would affect her opinion.

She pondered this. "He would kill you," she said. "Me?" She sat heavily on a broken stone across from me. "I'm not sure."

Something fell from above. Something small. I watched it drop through the through the light shaft, which bent at an angle, so it disappeared into shadow neared the floor. I heard a squeal as it hit. I presumed it was a field mouse. Or a chipmunk. It was a fifty-foot drop, but such animals didn't weigh much, so perhaps it survived. It always seemed odd when such creatures made a mistake. I mean, animals were all instinct, right? They didn't normally have such accidents. A thought struck me—so fleeting. I wondered if other types of creatures might have fallen into this pit.

Suddenly I heard Hamira cry out.
 
@Copyright 2013 by Chris Heimerdinger

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Settled in Providence/ Tennis Shoes Excerpt

Hello Everyone!

We are now officially settled in Providence, Utah. I have my new office set up and I'm back to furiously writing the next Tennis Shoes book. So far we sincerely love Cache Valley. It's a peaceful place to write, and I hope to complete Book 12: Thorns of Glory, much faster.

For those who haven't heard, this is a looong book. Chances are that my publisher will break it into two parts. But I don't want to turn over the manuscript until the story is finished. That way "Part 2" can be released 3-6 months after "Part 1," rather than making fans wait another 3 years.

Other news...Hmmm. My son, Chris Ammon, continues to enjoy his mission in Medellin, Columbia. We have two new kittens--one that definitely needs to be de-clawed. You can still purchase Muckwhip's Guide to Capturing the Latter-day Soul as an e-book from Amazon. Or any other novel or DVD of Passage to Zarahemla by contacting me directly at cheimerdinger@gmail.com. Post your phone number and I'll call back (personally. I'm not that famous).

In the meantime, here's an excerpt of "Thorns of Glory." I'll try to make such posts regularly. I won't give away much of the surrounding information about the excerpt. But you can know that the character speaking is Joshua:

There was a thin, golden "sheet" encasing the top that hid the engravings, much like the "seal" that would protect the same record when it was later translated into Nephite characters and would comprise two-thirds of the Book of Mormon. Images from the movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark" flashed in my head. I couldn't say if the movie's climax was based on any kind of doctrine, but I couldn't help but imagine that anybody who removed that golden layer to see the engravings would experience the same fate as the evil Nazis who'd peeked inside the Ark of the Covenant. Their faces would melt away, revealing white skulls, and then every part of them would disintegrate and blow away as dust. Hollywood, I scoffed to myself. But the image was unforgettable—and intimidating.

 I rechecked the Liahona. The spindles still seemed to point at the book. Hamira refolded the copper-colored material over the plates and handed it to me. I took it, my expression still puzzled because I wasn't sure what she expected me to do with it. Then I realized she also studied the Liahona. I turned to see what she was seeing. The pointers changed before our eyes. Now that I held the book of Mahonri Moriancumr, the Lord seemed ready to reveal new instructions. The spindles directed us to go southward, deeper into the tunnel.

"This appears the be the only record we must worry about for now," said Hamira.

"What are we supposed to do with it?" I asked.

She shrugged. "Take it with us on our journey, I presume. That's what your oracle seems to be saying. We'll leave the rest of the records for King Omer and the others."

"You think we're supposed to carry this through the cavern?"

She glanced at the Liahona again. "Do you interpret it differently?"

I lowered my voice darkly. "I've already lost one sacred book, Hamira. You think I can be trusted not to lose another?"

"I don't think anyone can be trusted." She indicated the pointers. "But your God seems to trust you."
 
That's it for now. As I promised, I'll post more as time goes on. Remember that you MUST READ Escape From Zarahemla to fully follow the next Tennis Shoes book. Thorns of Glory is a sequel to Escape From Zarahamla AND Sorcerers and Seers, like two branches joining in the same trunk. All my best!
 
Stay close to the Lord,
 
Chris Heimerdinger
 
@ Copyright Aug 2013, Chris Heimerdinger

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June Signings at Costco: The Conclusion

I've ordered a 30-day selldown in Costco of my book, Muckwhip's Guide to Capturing the Latter-day Soul. I've asked my distributor not to replenish stocks. Costco is always a temporary gig and well...it's just time to move on. After June, look for the book at Deseret Book, Seagull, Kindle, Nook...and directly from me. Costco is a wild ride for authors. I've met more readers and fans in the past five months than in the previous 10 years. Maybe I could've kept it going thru the summer, but Jim and Harry and Gid and Meagan and Apollus and Josh are jealously demanding all my attention.

If you want to get Muckwhip for less than $10 at a retail store, Costco's still the place--that is, until June 30th. I'm very grateful for all this retail chain has done for us. Here are the final signings:

Monday, June 3..............................................................Murray Costco
Thursday, June 6............................................................Sandy Costco
Friday, June 7.................................................................Pocatello, ID Costco
Monday, June 10............................................................Ogden Costco
Thurs, June 13................................................................Lehi Costco
Friday, June 14...............................................................St. George Costco
Monday June 17.............................................................Bountiful Costco
Thurs June 20.................................................................Spanish Fork Costco
Fri June 28......................................................................Bountiful Costco

My next posting will come from my new residence in Providence, Utah!

Stay close to the Lord,
Chris Heimerdinger

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Book Signings in May

For those who want signed books, I'm getting toward the END of the Costco tour. It's just that this little Muckwhip book keeps selling very well, and it's difficult to say "no" to needed funds. It's a challenge for any book to stay in Costco for more than a month or two. Stiff quotas to meet. So we've been fortunate.

However, I have many things on my plate for this summer and this year (think Tennis Shoes), and it's time to switch gears. There's also a move on my family's agenda in June or July--to Cache Valley (Providence) Utah. I hope to soon finish the audio version of Muckwhip's Guide to Capturuing the Latter-day Soul.

You're totally welcome to bring Tennis Shoes (or other) books to Costco to have them signed. Please take advantage if you wish.

Monday, May 6............................................................Ogden Costco
Wednesday, May 8........................................................St. George Costco
Thursday, May 9............................................................Murray Costco
Friday, May 10...................................................      ....West Valley Costco
Saturday, May 11.........................................................Bountiful Costco
Monday, May 13..........................................................Sandy Costco
Thursday, May 16.............................................   .......Pocatello, ID Costco
Saturday, May 18.........................................................Ogden Costco
Monday, May 20..........................................................Lehi Costco
Thursday, May 23........................................................Murray Costco
Friday, May 24............................................................Sandy Costco
Saturday, May 25.......................................................West Valley Costco
Wednesday, May 29...................................................Bountiful Costco
Thursday, May 30........................................................Lehi Costco

Sincerely,
Chris Heimerdinger

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Book Signings in April

Yeah, yeah. More signings for Muckwhip's Guide to Capturing the Latter-day Soul. The number of events is decreasing. I've got another Tennis Shoes book to write.
 
Sincerely,
Chris Heimerdinger
 
MONDAY, April 1st______________________________SPANISH FORK COSTCO
WEDNESDAY, April 3rd_________________________BOUNTIFUL COSTCO
THURSDAY, April 4th ________________________POCATELLO, ID COSTCO
FRIDAY, APRIL 5th---------------TWIN FALLS, ID COSTCO
MONDAY, April 8th______________________________SALT LAKE CITY COSTCO
WEDNESDAY, April 10th_____________________OGDEN COSTCO
THURSDAY, April 11th_______________________ST GEORGE COSTCO
MONDAY, April 15th_____________________________LEHI  COSTCO
WEDNESDAY, April 17th______________________BOUNTIFUL COSTCO
THURSDAY, April 18th________________________MURRAY COSTCO
FRIDAY, April 19th_____________________________POCATELLO COSTCO
MONDAY, April 22nd___________________________SANDY COSTCO
WEDNESDAY, April 24th____________________SALT LAKE CITY COSTCO
THURSDAY, April 25th_______________________SPANISH FORK COSTCO
FRIDAY, April 26th_____________________________LEHI COSTCO
SATURDAY, April 27th________________________WEST VALLEY COSTCO
MONDAY, April 29th__________________________BOUNTIFUL COSTCO

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Signings in March

Fri, March 1............Lehi Costco
Mon, March 4........Bountiful Costco
Tues, March 5........Spanish Fork Costco
Wed, March 6........Sandy Costco
Thurs, March 7.......Murray Costco
Friday, March 8.....Boise, Idaho Costco (NEW SIGNING LOCATION!)
Sat, March 9..........Twin Falls, Idaho Costco (NEW SIGNING LOCATION!)
Mon, March 11.......Lehi Costco
Tues, March 12......Ogden Costco
Wed, March 13......Sandy Costco
Thurs, March 14....St. George Costco
Fri, March 15..........Henderson, Nevada Costco (NEW SIGNING LOCATION!)
Sat, March 16..........Summerlin, Nevada Costco
Mon, March 18........Spanish Fork Costco
Sat, March 23..........West Valley City Costco
Tues, March 26........Ogden Costco
Wed, March 27........Murray Costco
Thurs, March 28......Lehi Costco
Sat, March 30...........Sandy Costco