“Nephite Daykeepers: Ritual Specialists in Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon”

“Nephite Daykeepers: Ritual Specialists in Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon” July 27, 2020


Where the Maya were
A Wikimedia Commons public domain map of Maya domains in Mesoamerica


New on the website of the Interpreter Foundation, a piece by Mark Alan Wright:


“Nephite Daykeepers: Ritual Specialists in Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon”

Abstract: Mark Alan Wright describes a common type of ritual specialist among the Maya called a “daykeeper.” He discusses similarities and differences with descriptions of ritual specialists in the Book of Mormon, including those who used the Urim and Thummim, performed rituals of healing, experienced near-death episodes at the inauguration of their calling, kept track of calendars, mastered astronomy, and invoked God to bring rain. He finds several intriguing similarities, but also differences — the most important one being that the Nephites understood that the people to do all these things came from the God of Israel rather than the local pantheon.

[Editor’s Note: Part of our book chapter reprint series, this article is reprinted here as a service to the LDS community. Original pagination and page numbers have necessarily changed, otherwise the reprint has the same content as the original.

See Mark Alan Wright, “Nephite Daykeepers: Ritual Specialists in Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon,” in Ancient Temple Worship: Proceedings of The Expound Symposium 14 May 2011, ed. Matthew B. Brown, Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Stephen D. Ricks, and John S. Thompson (Orem, UT: The Interpreter Foundation; Salt Lake City: Eborn Books, 2014), 243–58. Further information at https://interpreterfoundation.org/books/ancient-temple-worship/.]




If I were to put together a list of my ten favorite hymns, or even of my top twenty-five, “Have I Done Any Good?” wouldn’t make the cut.  A handful of my critics would — trust me on this — have a ready explanation:  I don’t do any good, and I hate those who do.  (Seriously.  One of them in particular has been posting such things, anonymously of course, almost every day for the past fifteen years.  I’m not making this up.)  However, I can’t give any better reason than that one for my failure to like the song, so maybe they’re right.  Anyway, several years after it first appeared, I finally saw a music video of “Have I Done Any Good?” by Alex Boyé and Carmen Rasmusen Herbert that I quite enjoyed.  You might want to take a look:


“Have I Done Any Good? Official Music Video ft. Alex Boye & Carmen Rasmusen Herbert”


Carmen Rasmusen Herbert, incidentally, was the narrator or host for the Interpreter Foundation’s first venture into filmmaking, Robert Cundick: A Sacred Service of Music If you haven’t seen it yet, I hope that you’ll find time at some point to watch it.  It’s twenty-five minutes long.


Posted from Breckenridge, Colorado



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