Hello! Shalom! Aloha! Mabuhay!

If this is your first visit to Modern Apocrypha, I have only two recommendations for continuing on with minimal confusion:

1) Please begin with the first introductory post (found HERE) and work your way forward. Almost all the posts on this blog flow chronologically and will make more sense with the background and context of previous ones. Jumping in anywhere might be disorienting.

2) Please read along in the texts posted off to the right. I try not to summarize too much in the commentary and discussion, and being at least somewhat familiar with what we're discussing or I'm commenting on will be most beneficial and edifying for all involved. Plus, going along with the theme of this blog, any hidden truths to be brought to light will be found within the text itself and not necessarily within my ramblings.

Okay, fine, three recommendations:

3) Please read with an open heart, mind, and spirit. See what truths you can find in these works--ones which speak to you. Namaste : )

Thursday, June 30, 2016


Sometime following his encounter with the angel, Ahkman again calls upon the Lord on a mountain top to pour out the desires of his heart, namely that the Lord will remain with him and his descendants for all generations. This desire and request is the same as all righteous patriarchs throughout history and is echoed in specific language at the end of the LDS endowment ceremony.

After two days of continual prayer (LDS readers can't not think of Enos, right?), God speaks to Ahkman, telling him he has been heard because he has come before the Lord in much sincerity and patience. Because of this act of faith, He makes a covenant with Ahkman, again the same as other righteous patriarchs throughout history (e.g., Abraham, Lehi, etc.). It's a powerful and overarchinig covenant, yet its requirements, blessings, and curses are laid out in the most basic of terms:
- If you remain righteous, God will remain with, protect, and bless you.
- But if you become wicked and forget God, you will lose that promise.
- Yet if you repent and turn to God, those blessings will return.

On an individual level, Ahkman is blessed as Abraham was, to be the righteous father of a blessed nation whose seed will become more numerous than the stars in the sky or sands on the seashore, and they will revere him as father and head.  This Abrahamic covenant made to Ahkman then will be passed on through his generations contingent upon their faithfulness with more specific language:
- If his descendants remain righteous, no enemy will prevail against them, nations will tremble before them, and they will have power over all who dare oppress them.
- But if they forget God, they will be cast asunder and trampled upon by all nations.

Learning about, remembering, and fulfilling these patriarchal covenants in the last days is part of what Malachi was prophesying at the end of his book. These covenant blessings were and are available to all -- Abraham's children, Nephites and Lamanites, scattered Israel -- and the Lord wishes all to receive them. Moroni quoted Malachi's words to Joseph Smith:
Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.
When the Lord appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and accepted the Kirtland Temple and Moses, Elijah, and Elias verbally committed keys and dispensations, the purpose of the Lord's work in the latter days became clear -- to gather His children together and remind them of who they and their ancestors are so they can receive all of the covenant blessings rightfully belonging to them. The Lord is performing this work throughout the world, wherever the righteous hearken to His voice.

Thursday, June 9, 2016


What we have here in Ahkman 4 is a second, more-detailed, first-person account of Ahkman's conversion to Suran's teachings (see Suran 4)--Suran teaches his family; Shurak doubts, thinking Ngameke was strange and delusional; Ahkman prays about it and receives an answer. Ahkman's actions and what he learns about God are of instructional importance to any seeker of truth.

Ahkman heads off on his own to "consider the meaning" of what Suran taught, chooses a sacred, solitary place in the forest where his father would go to worship the ancestral gods, and begins to pray to those gods for knowledge. And as he prays (note, not after), an angel descends from heaven and speaks in a loud voice, which frightens Ahkman into falling backward (the ubiquitous human reaction to divine messengers : ) The angel tells him to not be afraid (the ubiquitous angelic response...) but that through his faith he's proven himself. The angel also testifies of the truth of Suran's words and of his foreordination and role as prophet to and father of a righteous people (the same thing the voice taught Suran in Suran 2).

Ahkman confesses he worships the gods of his family and has never heard of a Lord (I wonder if they're using the word Jehovah, here, but not writing it down, following the Hebrew biblical tradition), but to his credit, asks who the Lord is that he might worship him. Fortunately for Ahkman, his question, "Who is the Lord that I might worship him?" is asked in faith and acceptance, like the man born blind in John 9, rather than in doubt or rejection, as with Cain (Moses 5) or King Noah (Mosiah 11).

Because he's asked in faith, the angel teaches Ahkman that there's only one God, the Eternal Father, the master and ruler of everything, and that Ahkman's ancestors had been misled to follow after false gods. But the idolatry of Ahkman's ancestors is not counted against him because he knew no better, worshipped with full purpose of heart, and his heart was open to receive new truth. This is key--though children may suffer consequences from their parents' actions, they are not punished for their parents' sins but for their own desires and actions.

Even though he prayed to false gods, the True and Living God heard Ahkman's prayer. God knew the intent of his heart, that he didn't know any better, and that if he did, he would've prayed to Him. Even though Ahkman didn't know everything, he stepped into the dark, prayed in faith, and was blessed for his righteousness by gaining greater knowledge directly from the Lord. From Ahkman's experience with prayer, we learn that the intent of our heart is more important than where (though he finds a sacred, solitary place) or how we pray (though he prays in faith). As we pray and worship with full purpose of heart and are true and faithful to the light and knowledge given us, the Lord will visit us according to our faith and openness, softness, and brokenness of heart. As we act in faith in this way, He will reveal greater truth and a better way to worship and draw nearer to Him. Step by step, line upon line, rung by rung, we progress up the ladder from our fallen world into His celestial presence.

The angel departs, and Ahkman is left alone to ponder on this experience and the things the angel spoke. After taking some time to recover, he realizes he now knows his father's words are true and leaves the grove of idol worship to return home. What a deep and profound analogy to apply to ourselves that last sentence is. As we come to a realization of God's truth, we leave behind our idolatry, and make our way home.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


We're finally done with Suran! On to Ahkman, who now takes over as narrator and begins with describing who he is and where he comes from. This is a type of colophon (similar to what we see in 1 Nephi), a literary device used in ancient times where the author or scribe gives useful or relevant information about himself, often as a stamp of authenticity to their account. (Ruman does something similar in his introduction to Suran.)

Ahkman 1-3 lays out the generations of Suran, Ahkman's father, who had appointed him to administer the rites of the temple as its high priest. Ahkman states that his father was a direct descendant of both Semitic ("those... led out of captivity") and Levitic ("those who did journey to this land") lines as described earlier, and that he's recording this history for the benefit of future generations. (Also, I laughed at first when Ahkman said he was a direct descendant of his father, but then thought it would be important for him to state he was neither adopted nor illegitimate, and thus a rightful inheritor of his birthright.)

Suran had his children relatively late for a male within a hunter-gatherer or early agricultural society (Ahkman at 31, Shurak at 33, Kodal at 34, and Gura at 37), which usually marry young (and often, as marital laws and bonds are more relaxed and easily broken). Maybe their tribe had special norms or taboos. Here is the list of his 24 grandchildren:

Ahkman (5 children)
sons: Arakim, Laran, Subal
daughters: Seliam, Yaman

Shurak (4 children)
sons: Shuran, Shukar, Rakaal
daughter: Karila

Kodal+wife 1 (6 children)
sons: Telemek, Telakem, Barame, Kumalek
daughters: Terilan, Lorenu

Kodal+wife 2 (4 children)
son: Doronam
daughters: Dorima, Doruma, Rekel
(We'll get into Kodal's revelation and polygamy among Suran's people later in Ahkman 18-22.)

Gura (5 children)
sons: Kuman, Gavor, Rubak
daughters: Saram, Rabala

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


At the end of Suran's life, he calls all his family together to bless them, in the same vein as the Patriarchs. Now, Ngameke had initiated him into the Patriarchal Order of God and appointed him as prophet, priest, and king (in similitude of Christ), but here, Suran divides those appointments up equally among his sons. Ahkman is now high priest over the temple, Shurak king over the people, and Kodal prophet of the Lord. While all three sons were originally ordained to that same Order and seem to have been righteous enough to continue each as prophet, priest, and king in their own right, this seems to be more of a division of labor issue, with Suran's people growing larger every generation, rather than a breaking up and separation of the priesthood, as with Melchizedek, Aaronic, and Levitical orders. "And... after many days Suran died... and was buried in a place near the temple."


Let's take a break to talk about this "great abomination" for a moment. Here's what we know about it from Suran 11:
- It rises up sometime between the US Civil War and World War I.
- From context, it seems to begin in the US.
- The plural "they" is used when a pronoun replaces "abomination", meaning its comprised of several individuals or entities. (Nephi does this too in 1 Nephi 13 when describing the "great and abominable church".)
- Its purpose is to take power from the American people. (I think it's interesting the focus is on wresting power from the people. In a democratic republic like the US, that is ultimately where power resides.)
- It doesn't want to lose power over nations, so it causes the US to fight foreign wars and hate and kill foreigners.
- At the same time, it turns on and brings evil and destruction to the US in order to increase its power over the people through favorable legislation and manipulating public perception.
- After taking power, it ultimately brings about the destruction of the US.
- Through all this, the people remain oblivious (well, except for the conspiracy theorists ; )

In a Q&A session last year (discussed HERE), Elisha stated:
As I understand, the abomination is the secret corruption of powerful families that gained power in the United States. They gained power over the political, financial, and business landscape of America. Today, their influence is felt in all aspects of the United States and even around the world in other nations. This corruption will devour itself, taking with it any who remain associated. This corruption reaches into the Philippines, which is one reason the Kingdom of Maharlika must be established as quickly as possible.
So, tinfoil hat time. Suran and Elisha are saying there are kernels of truth to all the New World Order-type conspiracy theories surrounding secret societies of international elites (e.g., Bilderberg Group, Bohemian Club, Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, Skull and Bones, etc.) (even the Pentaverate ; ) But this shouldn't come as much of a surprise to readers of 1 Nephi and Revelation. The "great abomination" is simply a different perspective on the same "great and spacious building", "great and abominable church", and "great whore" motifs. Also, the Book of Mormon often equates abominations with secret combinations (see 3 Ne 3:11; 5:6; Ether 8:18).

In 1 Nephi 13-14, Nephi is shown the formation of a "great and abominable church" by the devil among the Gentile nations, which tortures, kills, and enslaves the Lord's people for the praise of the world and the gain of worldly things (the 4 Ps: power, profit, popularity, passion). They take away the plain and precious parts and covenants of the Gospel in order to pervert the right ways of God and blind the eyes and harden the hearts of mankind. Eventually, they gain dominion over all the earth, make all nations participate in their abominations, choke out the dominion of the few saints of God left, and gather multitudes upon all the earth among all the Gentile nations to fight against the Lamb. However, the great and abominable church falls as the wrath of God is poured out. They begin to war among themselves (see 1 Ne 22:13-14), are consumed by devouring fire (D&C 29:21) as tares (D&C 88:94), and fill the pit they dug for the saints.

John the Revelator also sees a vision of this corrupt confederacy in Revelation 17. Similar to Nephi, he sees this same "great whore" seated on many waters, representing her dominion over all nations and their leaders, whom she has made drunk with her abominations. The end of the chapter says she is the personification of the great city that rules over the leaders of the world. (If it was Rome in John's day, there's really only one, maybe two, candidates today.) John sees her dressed in the richest clothes and jewelry, drunk with the blood of the saints and witnesses of Christ, and seated on a 7-headed, 10-horned, scarlet beast.

The beast, heads, and horns are separate entities but tied to and outgrowths of one another. The scarlet beast is full of blasphemy, both by speaking against God and demanding worship. John says it once existed, then didn't, and it would soon come up from the underworld but ultimately go into destruction/perdition, meaning this is a revival of an ancient fallen empire or system (e.g., secret combination). Rev 13 describes this beast in further detail and says it has received power from the devil (dragon) and that a second beast makes the world worship this first beast.

The seven heads represent leaders and locations/dominions--five past, one present, and one future--the reign of the final one being brief. The beast itself is an 8th leader and dominion connected to and associated with the other seven. The 10 horns represent 10 leaders without any dominion, who receive power to reign with the beast. This coalition of beast, heads, and horns makes war against the Lamb, but the Lamb overpowers them. Instead, they turn on and destroy the great whore whom they hate (maybe because she's using them and taking their glory), stripping her naked, consuming her flesh, and burning her with fire. The wicked destroy the wicked.

Sunday, June 5, 2016


Suran 11 comprises a vision of the future of the United States, "the nation of the eagle." Again, the interpretation of the various segments of the vision seems pretty self-evident, but there hasn't been any confirmation from Elisha regarding it, aside from a quick explanation of "the great abomination". What is written here are my opinion and conclusions.

Suran begins by seeing America centuries in the future ("a great nation in a distant land") and the American Revolution against Great Britain ("children rebell[ing] against the mother") whereby the United States gains its independence ("gain[ed] much liberty from their fight") and becomes "the nation of the eagle." (The bald eagle was adopted as the national bird and symbol of the US toward the end of the Revolutionary War.)

He then sees "three great wars" during the lifetime of the US. The first is the Civil War, which divides the nation and pits "brother... against brother." Following this war, "a great abomination rise[s] up" and "take[s] power away from the people." We'll talk more about this "great abomination" in the next post, but in Book of Mormon speak, it's a large, worldwide secret combination and the equivalent of Nephi's "great and abominable church".

The second great war is World War I, in which the US fights in and aids Europe ("a distant land"). This flows right into the third great war, World War II, when Hitler ("the son of the second great war") rises up to "do great evils." But it's the abomination which is pulling the strings and pushes the US into the war (e.g., Pearl Harbor, etc.) because it doesn't want "to lose power in that nation" (whether Germany or the US or both).

Skipping forward a few decades, Suran now sees the abomination "caus[ing] much evil to come against the [American] people," beginning with the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001. He sees planes ("great and lesser birds") crashing into ("attacking") the Twin Towers ("mountains") of New York City's World Trade Center, the Pentagon ("large house") in Washington, DC, and the ground in southern Pennsylvania. It's interesting to note, too, that Suran correctly observes the seemingly insignificant detail of only two towers being attacked directly but three falling (Towers 1, 2, & 7).

Now, the great abomination does this to subjugate and gain more power over the American people by taking liberties away from them and putting new laws into place (e.g., Patriot Act) that give greater freedom to the abomination. A major catalyst in this process is George W. Bush ("leader of the nation of the eagle") and his administration declaring war on Iraq ("another nation") due to its alleged store of "weapons of mass destruction", which then causes the American people to believe that the people of Iraq (and Muslims at large), are their enemy and should be killed. But the abomination causes these things to be believed so they can gain power over the US. And in the end, the US falls because of the abomination, which had sought power over it only to destroy it. Sobering thoughts for anyone, not just Americans.


Suran 10 comprises a vision of the future of Suran's descendants. The interpretation of the various segments of the vision seems pretty self-evident, but there hasn't been any confirmation from Elisha regarding it. What is written here are my opinion and conclusions.

The first segment describes events surrounding Ferdinand Magellan's (a white-skinned man "from a far away land") 1521 arrival in the Philippines on his voyage to circumnavigate the earth. Within a month, he has allied with several datu (chiefs of the Visayas and Mindanao regions) and converted them to Catholicism. However, Lapu-Lapu ("descendant... of Ahkman"), datu of Mactan island off of Cebu, who is not on the best of terms with the other datu, rejects conversion and the authority of the other datu, thus becoming a target of military attack in what is known as the Battle of Mactan. The battle is a complete failure for the superior Spanish weaponry and armor, and Magellan and several of his crew are killed. (You can check out the details HERE.)

However, as the text states, "this victory [is] not enough to stay the power" of Spain, which will rule the Philippines (named after Philip II of Spain) for the next 350 years (though not peacefully--see HERE, for example). Suran sees that the Spanish will "destroy much of the history of [his] people," which echoes the destruction of records and artifacts by Spanish conquistadors all throughout the Americas.

In 1898, conflict between Spain and the United States ("land of freedom") in the Caribbean escalated into the Spanish-American War, which spilled over into the Philippines. The US navy destroyed the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay and took Manila. However, the US didn't recognize the Philippines declaration of independence on 12 June 1898, and "many [rose] up against these new conquerors" in a three-year--and much more costly--Philippine-American War. The result is the Philippines becoming a US territory, then a commonwealth in 1934, and finally gaining independence in 1946.

Now, I'm not a scholar of modern Filipino history, and these last two segments are kind of tricky. Again, what follows is my current understanding of which historical facts fit the textual evidence. I think the next segment describes the Marcos regime from 1965-1986. After being elected then declaring martial law, Ferdinand Marcos "gather[ed] the treasures of [the] people" through kleptocracy and "deliver[ed] them to a woman," his wife, Imelda. Ferdinand accumulated over $10 billion during his presidency, while earning an annual salary equivalent to $13,500. I also remember hearing about Imelda's extravagant lifestyle on TV and in the news when I was younger. She, in turn, "deliver[ed] them up unto her children," who have become powerful politicians and businessmen themselves.

This last one is the most vague and difficult for me, but I think it might depict the presidency of Joseph Estrada. He was elected in 1998 due to overwhelming support from poor Filipinos. The text says "he shall gain much power through his armies." This could mean his army of poor supporters, but it might also reference his popular military opposition and eventual defeat of militant Islamic terrorists. Also, in 2001, Estrada was the first Filipino president to face impeachment due to allegations of corruption. But the text says he is "cast down" because of "many lies... spread by his enemies" and "people who are yellow." While the protests and trials that caused Estrada to leave office are viewed in a generally positive light, the whole situation was not beyond criticism and suspicion. The protests were coordinated by political, business, military, and church elites displeased with Estrada's policies; there were questions surrounding the constitutionality and impartiality of the trials; etc. The mention of "yellow" participants, seems to insinuate that other interested Asian parties (i.e., Chinese) were involved, as well. Finally, Suran sees that his people will remain subjugated until they unite and "cast out the evil among them."

Friday, June 3, 2016


Before he died, Ngameke also taught Suran a very basic, but standardized, system of measurement based on body parts that is similar to those found worldwide. A "taka" is equivalent to a cubit, or the distance from elbow to fingertips. A "butar" is equivalent to a span, or the width of a hand. The modern standard cubit is 18 in, with a span half of that. There are some differences, however, in how a span is measured, whether from thumb-tip to pinky-tip or simply across the palm, and Suran doesn't specify.

With this system of measurement in place, Suran, his family, and those from their tribe who wish to help begin gathering necessary items to build a temple and associated sacred articles according to the ancient records. They weave and dye cloth (the Old Testament speaks of purple, blue, and scarlet dyes), cut trees for timber, trade for a bunch of gold, etc. It's interesting, though, that Ruman says they're building this temple after that of the Order of Shem/Enoch and not after Solomon's temple. There's no real description anywhere that I could find of a "patriarchal temple".

Ruman notes that Suran's family didn't need to heed every part of the Law of Moses that was given to the children of Israel after coming out of captivity in Kemet (again, Egypt) and preserved through the Levitic line. The descendants of Ophir were not bound by that law, only that which was given to their fathers through Shem, since their ancestors hadn't sinned like the children of Israel. However, because of this distinction, the descendants of Ophir were considered Gentiles to the Levites when they first came together on the islands, which caused much contention.

This is quite an understatement, especially knowing what we do about the Mosaic prohibitions and taboos concerning Gentiles and the later Pharisaic amendments present during Jesus' time. It's amazing these two groups joined together at all. It's also interesting, and a little disheartening, that these Israelites still couldn't let go of their lesser law and traditions even when a greater, purer (and actually probably simpler) system of worshiping Jehovah that preceded their own is right in front of them. Hopefully, we can learn something from this when it comes to letting go of our lesser, more complicated traditions for something greater, purer, and simpler.

After two years, the temple is completed, and Suran takes his sons and son-in-law to purify them to serve as priests in the temple. This is done by cleansing them with water, putting priestly garments on them, and sacrificing a young water buffalo. As per the records, the sacrificial blood is painted on the horns of the altar and poured out by the altar, and the various parts of the sacrifice are burned on the altar. Once this purification ritual is complete, Suran and his sons return to the repository at Mt Genas to retrieve the sacred articles, records, and treasures for safekeeping in the temple.

Thursday, June 2, 2016


With Suran learning of his genealogy, Ruman (remember, the final compiler, editor, and sometime narrator) decides this would be a good place to insert Suran's paternal lineage. Working backward, it looks like this:


David, a Levite through Libni, escaped into the wilderness sometime during the First Temple Period, but probably later around the time of the final Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem. The primary piece of evidence pointing to this conclusion is the fact that writings of Isaiah are already included in their Record of the Ancients, so the escape would have to be sometime after Isaiah's ministry. Secondarily, the noble and priestly classes were singled out by the Babylonian conquerors as prime candidates for execution or deportation, so Levites would've been on high alert. There's no detailed account yet published of David's travels, but his group made their way from Israel to the Philippines comparatively quickly, and his son, Yosef, was his firstborn on the islands.

Ruman also mentions that an account of the travels of Shem's descendants is given elsewhere (in the History of the Ophir) but gives a quick synopsis here. Basically, two brothers, Ophir and Havilah, a few generations removed from Shem, leave their homeland (probably somewhere in the Middle East) for a new place of residence and desiring to discover where their distant relatives have been dispersed. They travel many years until they come to the land of Kemet, which is one of the primary names of ancient Egypt in their own language. It literally means "Black Land" due to the black fertile soil of the Nile Valley in contrast to the barren, desert "Red Land" (Deshret) on either side. Here is Kemet depicted in Middle Egyptian hieroglyphs:

km + m + t + city/inhabited land determinative

After spending many years in Egypt, this group makes their way west across northern Africa to the Atlantic Ocean, which they decide to cross (because Morocco wasn't good enough for them or something ; ) And after crossing the Atlantic and coming to another land (America), they wish they would've stayed in Morocco because they're captured, enslaved, and forced to "labor much under the yoke of [a population of] large men." There are a lot of fun Native American traditions and folktales of ancient giants (as there are in pretty much every culture), but there could be a seed of truth here. Also, this fits the Book of Mormon time frame of the Jaredite empire across the Land Northward. Contemporaries of Joseph Smith say the breastplate, which accompanied the interpreters that had been passed down from the brother of Jared, was too large and cumbersome for a 6'2" 200-pound Joseph to wear comfortably.

After many years in captivity, the Lord finally leads them out of the land and across the "great deep" to the west (Pacific) to the islands, which they name after themselves--Lekas, Ofir, Tarsis, Mindan, etc.--like any good explorer or colonizer. (Remember, we discussed the names and significance of these islands in Suran 1, aside from Mindan, which equates to Mindanao.) Over time, they eventually mix with the indigenous inhabitants of the islands.

Again, Ruman mentions that he's only paraphrasing the story here in order to establish the genealogy of Suran, "the father of [his] people". During this incredibly long, multi-generational journey, Ophir's son Seldam is born in the land west of Kemet, Seldam's son Yursal is born in captivity among the large men, and Yursal's son Enos is born on the voyage to the islands. They are all Suran's ancestors as well because Yosef of the Levitic line marries a descendant of Enos of the Semitic line. Their son Josu-a, then, becomes the literal merging of these two lines and two distinct priesthood Orders. Josu-a is the first in the islands authorized to administer the rites of both Orders, and thus Suran also is authorized by lineage to continue administering the requirements of both Laws and Orders as contained in the records he has found. (We'll talk more about the distinction between these two Laws and Orders in Suran 8.)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


Suran next searches for the other records Ngameke had spoken of which were hidden there at the waterfall and finds many that contain the genealogy of their ancestors and stories of the Lord leading them out of captivity to these islands. (More on that later.)

There is also a mysterious inscription on a piece of bamboo that describes the location of a repository containing many sacred items and great riches. They recognize the location as being far from home, and Suran speaks with his family to see if they should journey to investigate this repository. He confesses to his wife, Tinal, that he really wants to find this repository to "prove" to himself that this is all real and finally put his mind at ease. (Again, this depiction of Suran seems very authentic. Even after all that he's experienced, there's still that sliver of uncertainty that's eating at him.) Tinal faithfully and lovingly supports her husband by testifying that the things he has taught are true and that the Lord will guide them in recovering these sacred artifacts, and she encourages him to do the will of the Lord. What a wonderful example of a faithful, believing woman--and loving, humoring wife. (Though, I think it would've been nice if this turned into a family road trip : )

So Suran and his three sons journey southeast into the mountains and, after many days, come to the foot of the mountain called Genas, as indicated by the inscription. As they are looking around, Ahkman sees a large stone with engravings matching those on the bamboo and begins removing stones from the side of the mountain, revealing a cave. (An echo of Elisha in Visions 2.)

Suran sees this and tells his sons to go gather wood to build a fire so they can see into the cave. They see it goes back farther than the light can reach, so they each take a torch and journey into the cave. (This begins an amazing parable of walking by faith into the dark.) After a while, Kodal's torch is extinguished, but they press forward into the depth of the cave. Soon all their fires go out, and they're left in perfect darkness to ponder which way to go. Kodal sees a faint light shining ahead of them (maybe his eyes adjusted faster than the others' to the darkness), and they make their way toward it. As they reach the light, they realize just how truly bright it is, and that it is coming from a room whose walls are lined with luminescent stones. The light from these stones is brighter than fire, and they are able to see the interior of the cave as if it were day. (Immediately, LDS readers will think of the brother of Jared lighting his group's barges with God-touched stones, but there are also older traditions hinting that Noah's ark was lit by such items, too. It's possible Jared's brother was simply following an earlier pattern.)

The room itself contains a great treasure of gold and silver objects, ancient records, bronze artifacts, and fine swords and weapons that seem to have been there for years and years. Suran instructs his sons to take what they can carry and hurry home so they can construct a temple as described in the records in which to place the relics and treasure and offer sacrifice in the way instructed by the Lord. The sons only take what is needful (noteworthy), seal up the mouth of the cave, and return home.

Now back to the parable of walking by faith. How often is our life, or portions of it, like walking into an unknown cave with only the light of our little fiery sticks to guide us--our previous knowledge, understanding, beliefs, preconceived notions, even whole worldviews and paradigms. In the grand scheme of spiritual things, those possessions of our own creation and experience can only get us so far before their usefulness is extinguished or snuffed out (or even sometimes they become detrimental to progression). When (not if) that happens, we are left alone in complete darkness to ponder our path. The engulfing, overwhelming, claustrophobic blackness of a cave is a perfect metaphor for those times of doubt, despair, emptiness, loss, abandonment, loneliness, betrayal, etc. that we all endure. This dark night seems like a world-shattering crisis while we're in it, but ends up becoming an essential step toward illumination and union with God. Either we can retreat to the comfort of our former life and self, or we can realize and recognize that the end goal--the whole reason we entered the cave in the first place--can only be achieved by laying aside everything we brought with us, giving ourselves over to God, and relying on Him to guide our path. It is within that utter darkness, that wretched state, that we can then see the faint glimmer of God's immense, beautiful, pure, and self-luminescent light in the distance that had been previously upstaged by our small, dancing, flickering, and easily extinguished flame. At the end of that journey into and through the darkness is God's gifts and treasures, whatever they may be--enlightenment, knowledge, love, peace, joy, life, etc.

(What's kinda cool, too, is there's an apocryphal text from the 4th century AD called "The Cave of Treasures" that talks about Adam and Eve living in a special cave after their banishment from Paradise. There are many Jewish and Christian traditions and folklore depicting sacred caves serving as burial places and/or containing records and treasure.)