Back in 2012, I wrote a post on this blog about Christ visiting the ancient Myans and Aztecs. Today's post focuses on the Incas. I believe that in the near future, I'll write a post about the Olmecs - this is fascinating stuff!
Non-Mormon scholars believe that Jesus Christ visited the ancient Incas of Peru, based on records that were revealed to the world in the late 1800's - well after the publication of the Book of Mormon. Was this timing a coincidence? I believe not. God's timing is always impeccable. The Inca's recorded history supports the entire book of 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon, which tells of the account when Jesus Christ visited his "other sheep"(John 10:16) on the American Continent after his Resurrection.
Let's talk a little bit about "Viracocha" the Inca God. According to the cronistas (Catholic historians, mostly priests, arriving in Peru shortly after Francisco Pizarro and the cronistas in the 1500s), he was called the "creating God of the Andes." Viracocha is seen as the creator of all things, or the substance from which all things are created. Viracocha created the universe, sun, moon, and stars, time (by commanding the sun to move over the sky) and civilization itself.
Viracocha was described as a white bearded man of medium height (as full facial hair was not common among their genetics, beards were generally unknown to the Incas until the Spanish arrived), blue eyes, dressed in a white robe secured round the waist, had marks in His hands, and carried a staff and a book in his hands.
He was a man who walked on water and was known as the "Weeping God" because he wept over his people. He was a God who created by his word. He could speak all languages even more perfect than the natives. He warned them that some would come in his name, falsely claiming to be the Viracocha. Then He promised to send them true messengers and servants in future ages to teach and support them. After leaving the Incas, He promised He would again return one day.
In this 1500's published account of Pedro De Cieza De Leon, a Spanish conquistador and chronicler of Peru, we learn about Viracocha:
"Before the Incas ruled, or were even heard of in these kingdoms, these Indians speak of another thing much greater than all others which they tell, because they affirm that they went for a long time without seeing the sun, and, that, suffering tremendously with this deficiency, they raised great prayers and supplications to those they revered as gods, asking them to restore the light they lacked; and in this manner, there arose from the island of Titicaca, which is in the great lake of Collao, the sun shining brilliantly, which made them all very happy. And afterwards, they say that from the land of the noon sun, there came and there came forth a white man of great stature, who called forth great veneration and obedience. This man who thus appeared had great power, insomuch that He could change plains into mountains, and great hills into valleys, and make water flow out of stones. As soon as such power was beheld, the people called Him Maker of creative things, the Prince of all things, Father of the Sun. For they said He performed other wonders, giving life to men and animals, so that by His hand, marvelous, great benefits were conferred upon the people...In many place He gave orders to men how they should live, and He spoke lovingly to them and with much gentleness, admonishing them that they should do good, and no evil or injury one to another, and that they should be loving and charitable to all...And such was the story of the Indians who told it to me, say that they heard it from their ancestors, who on like manner heard it in the old songs which they received from very ancient times...Besides this, they say that, a long time having passed,they saw again another man resembling the first, whose name they did not mention; but they received it from their forefathers, as very certain that wherever this personage came and there were sick, he healed them, and where there were blind he gave them sight by only uttering words. Through acts so good and useful he was much beloved by all. In this fashion, working great things by his words..."
This account is very similar to the Book of 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon. There was darkness on the land (American Continent) for the space of three days (Jesus has been crucified on the other side of the earth) and the people cried out. Then the resurrected Jesus Christ visited them and restored the light. He taught them, healed them, announced the end of the law of sacrifice, prayed for them, set up His church among them, provided bread and wine and administered the sacrament, prophesied, and left, telling them that He would again one day return.
Many of the Spanish cronistas, believed that Viracocha was a Catholic Saint who had visited the Incas to prepare them to receive the gospel. Padre Blas Valera however, beleived that Viracocha was not a saint, but none other than Christ Himself.
The Incas were documented as practicing ceremonies of the Passover, Sacrament, Confession, Atonement, and Baptism, as well as the Resurrection.They also built temples and worshiped in them, in which they were very similar to Egyptian temples and practices. It was clear that they had been taught in the same manner that the Nephite people had been taught by Jesus Christ. As many scholars agree with Padre Blas Valera, that it was Jesus who visited and taught these people in South America, we receive an additional witness that the Book of Mormon is true. As ancient Nephite prophets were prompted and commanded to recorded these events, and centuries later Spanish cronistas felt prompted to record the oral histories of the Incan people which became public in the late 1800's, after the publication of the Book of Mormon, we can see the wisdom in God's plans and in His timing. Amazing!
References from this blog post can be found in this 1984 Ensign article, Four Peruvian Versions of the White God Legend as well as in this conference video The Great White God of Ancient America -- BOM Lands Conference 2014 -- Scott Hoyt