Source:Stewart W. Brewer:JBMS:8:1:1999:Professor M. Wells Jakeman...claimed that the scene carved in bas-relief on the stone was a representation of Lehi's vision of the tree of life

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Stewart W. Brewer (1999): "Professor M. Wells Jakeman...claimed that the scene carved in bas-relief on the stone was a representation of Lehi's vision of the tree of life"

Stewart W. Brewer, "The History of an Idea: The Scene on Stela 5 from Izapa, Mexico, as a Representation of Lehi's Vision of the Tree of Life," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 8:1:

In 1941 Matthew W. Stirling of the Smithsonian Institution of Washington, D.C., conducted preliminary archaeological investigations at the site of Izapa in Chiapas, near Mexico's southern border with Guatemala.1 During his work there, Stirling unearthed a large carved stone monument which he labeled Stela 5. Nearly a decade later, Professor M. Wells Jakeman, founder and chairman of the Department of Archaeology at Brigham Young University, claimed that the scene carved in bas-relief on the stone was a representation of Lehi's vision of the tree of life as reported in the Book of Mormon.2

Since that time Latter-day Saints have either accepted or rejected Jakeman's proposal to varying degrees. Many have enthusiastically accepted his conclusions, while others believe that his claim lay somewhere between tenuous and outrageous. Notwithstanding criticisms from the beginning, Jakeman's thesis gained widespread support in succeeding years from lay people and some scholars. This article presents a historical sketch of the reactions by Latter-day Saints and others to this claim about Stela 5 and discusses some of the historical implications of acceptance or rejection of Jakeman's theory. —(Click here to continue) [1]

Notes

  1. Stewart W. Brewer, "The History of an Idea: The Scene on Stela 5 from Izapa, Mexico, as a Representation of Lehi's Vision of the Tree of Life," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 8:1 (1999)