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Deification: Divine Inheritance and the Glorious Afterlife in the Book of Mormon and Ancient Mesoamerica

TitleDeification: Divine Inheritance and the Glorious Afterlife in the Book of Mormon and Ancient Mesoamerica
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsWright, Mark Alan
Conference Name2008 FAIR Conference
Conference LocationSandy, UT
KeywordsAncient America – Mesoamerica; Christ the Son; Deification; Deity Complex; God the Father; Godhead; Holy Spirit; King Benjamin; Nephite Kingship; Temple Worship

In this presentation, Mark Wright explores the concept of deification in both the Book of Mormon and ancient Mesoamerican cultures. Wright discusses how the idea of divine kingship and intermediary roles between humans and supernatural beings were present in Mesoamerican societies, drawing parallels with certain passages in the Book of Mormon.

Wright emphasizes the ritualistic aspects of royal gatherings and temple ceremonies in both contexts, highlighting the role of kings as intermediaries and the performance of rituals to establish connections with the divine. He references King Benjamin's caution against viewing himself as more than a mortal man, indicating an awareness of the potential for divine attribution to earthly rulers.

Furthermore, Wright delves into the Nephite deity complex, including Christ the Son, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, as portrayed in the Book of Mormon. He notes that these deities are depicted with distinct identities and various manifestations, akin to Mesoamerican gods. Wright highlights how Christ is portrayed in multiple roles and associations throughout the Book of Mormon, drawing parallels with the diverse attributes and manifestations of Mesoamerican deities.

The presentation aims to shed light on the doctrine of deification, suggesting a belief in humans becoming gods, as taught in the Book of Mormon, within the historical and cultural framework of ancient Mesoamerica.