2012, Maya experts, Tomorrow’s World, and three bowls of chili

It looks as though the new Tomorrow’s World magazine is out with my article about the “2012 phenomenon” and the Bible: “The Truth about 2012: Hollywood vs. Humanity.”

Tomorrow's World Magazine Cover

We haven’t received ours in the mail, yet, but it is up at the Tomorrow’s World website.  I’ve discussed before some of the Church’s efforts on educating concerning this matter, but maybe this is a good time to summarize, update, and discuss some behind-the-scenes details, especially since I had a wonderful, chance meeting with a Maya expert last night which provided some great confirmation.

It all began when a couple in Arkansas talked to me about the upcoming Roland Emmerich end-of-the-world flick “2012” (Mr. Emmerich seems either addicted to end-of-the-world themes or to the money such movies rake in).  The couple (M&AS) mentioned how many folks they knew were really getting caught up in the 2012 hysteria, as opposed to Bible prophecy and its message of repenting from sin.  It just so happened that the next telecast I was due to tape in Charlotte was scheduled to be broadcast on the very same weekend as the movie’s opening and seemed to me to be an opportunity for “meat in due season” — a chance to educate people about what the Bible says about things like this “2012” business and to point them in the direction of God’s word as a true and dependable authority, versus the superstitions of men (or worse).  So, I tossed out the script work that I had done to that point and refocused on the 2012 phenomenon.

The result has been an internet commentary (“2012: The Hype and the Truth”), the upcoming Tomorrow’s World telecast this month (“2012, Bible Prophecy and You”), the article in this month’s magazine (“The Truth about 2012: Hollywood vs. Humanity”), and an hour-long DVD presentation (“2012: Mystery and Truth”) that may be offered at the end of the year in the semi-annual letter.  Of all the work, the DVD was my favorite, as I had plenty of time to go into the sort of detail that none of the other formats really have room for.

On one hand, it has been a real pleasure to get to serve in this way.  It is an incredible blessing to understand the truth of God’s word and the wonder of biblical prophecy, and it is such a shame that so many can get caught up in the universe of counterfeits out there, including the 2012 hysteria, without really knowing the basis for those counterfeits.  It’s easy to be impressed with mathematical models involving the I Ching (which, as a mathematician, I find particularly detestable), supposed celestial conjunctions, and other such things until you dig deep enough to see what really lies underneath.  Then you see (1) it’s not at all what it is cracked up to be, and (2) God’s word leaves us with very clear instructions regarding such things that most seem to ignore.  (The many History Channel shows on such subjects are laughable and make things generally worse instead of better.  It seems clear that they long ago gave up any goals of being truly informative for the more lucrative approach of being prevocative and sensational.)

On the other hand, I read and digested more 2012-related garbage that I would ever want to do again.  For instance, I’m not sure if it will make the DVD, but we created a clip in which we toss book after book onto a table, each one professing to contain 2012-related wisdom, knowledge and prophecy.  Each of those books were purchased by me and used in one way or another in my research.  (The legitimate Maya-related stuff was not so bad.  One book, in particular — The Ancient Sun Kingdoms of the Americas: Aztec, Maya, Inca by Victor Wolfgang von Hagen — was very educational, even given its age.)  I’ve been aware of speculations concerning 2012 since childhood (reared on “Nova” and PBS, as I was), but I wanted to make sure I understood what was being said today on the matter by those who are driving the current phenomenon.  Truly brain draining, it was, and the sort of stuff that makes you want to shower after reading it.  I also contacted at least one person directly: Robert Bonadurer, director of the Daniel M. Soref Planetarium at the Milwaukee Public Museum, who was kind enough to explain to me the thoughts he had expressed publicly concerning the supposed “2012 alignment.”

Then, last night, I had a very random opportunity to speak at length to a Ph.D. in Mesoamerican cultures who was a Maya expert!  My family and I were at the house of one of our wonderful local elders, using hiding from “trick or treaters” as our annual excuse to hang out together and eat some great chili (I had three bowls!), and there was one guest not from our church — an acquanitance of one of our members — who wanted to speak to me about our church’s religious beliefs.  His field was anthropology and archaeology with a focus on the Mayans and related cultures, though his knowledge of history and other cultures not-so-related to the Mayans was impressive.  After he picked my brain on things biblical for a couple of hours (at least!), I wanted to pleasantly turn the tables and pick his brain concerning things Mayan, which was a real treat.

One small thing (which was a big one for me) that I appreciated was that he confirmed that the pronunciations that I tried to use in my telecast & DVD presentation were accurate.  Since most of my sources were in writing, I was unsure of my pronunciations (e.g., how to pronounce Chilam Balam, baktun, katun, etc.), though Schele & Freidl’s A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya was a big help.  My new aquaintance pointed out that of the modern varieties of Mayan dialect currently spoken, one has real legitimacy in its connection to ancient Mayan “hieroglyphics” (which really aren’t hieroglyphics, technically), and it matched my usage in the videos.  (Or at least my attempted usage; regular viewers will recognize how a touch of Texan tends to creep in here and there, not to mention the camera’s ability to hypnotize you into saying things improperly!)

But there were many other important things he was able to confirm or expand upon.  One was the sentiment of real Maya experts on the 2012 hoopla and supposed “Mayan prophecies” versus what is generally put out before the public (and it’s not looking good for 2012 devotees, I must say).  Another was something I had noticed concerning the Chilam Balam which are generally considered “Mayan” sources but are heavily corrupted by Catholic influence: I had noticed that “law of the katuns” was used by many 2012-ologists to refer to the end of the current baktun (a.k.a., December 21, 2012) when it seemed to me that it did not necessarily have this meaning.  He explained that this, indeed, was the case: the law of the katuns does not refer to the end of this current baktun.  I wanted to discuss with him the origin of Hunab ku in post-classical Mayan culture, but I think I mispronounced it as Hunabpu and we ended up discussed the Hero Twins.  (Actually, Hunab Ku is generally understood to be a Catholic invention meant to help convert the Mayans to the “Christian” faith.)

One of the most interesting things we discussed was the actual dating of 2012 as the end of the Mayan baktun.  He says that while December 21, 2012 is the most popularly accepted end date, actually there is good reason to think that it is later than this and that the commonly accepted correlation (the Goodman-Martinez-Thompson, or GMT correlation) to the Gregorian calendar has a number of faults, including eclipses and celestial events that do not line up — something that would be very odd for a people so devoted to accurately predicting and recording such events.  He mentioned the possibility of, say, 2015 as the true year, at which point I informed him that he could probably make a lot of money publishing a book pandering to those who will be disappointed after 2012 when their New Age predictions don’t pan out.  We both laughed, but mostly out of the sad recognition that it was probably true.

I don’t know how well each of his positions represent the majority of Maya scholarship (some Ph.D.-types can be almost addicted to the rush having independent theories that differ from the mainstream, it seems), but much of it lined up incredibly well with all I have found, myself, and was a nice validation of what we are explaining.  In other research, he had also come to his own conclusions about the identity of the ten “lost tribes” of Israel, which  — though done without contact with our church — correlated incredibly well with exactly what we teach of them and of the United States and Great Britain in the Living Church of God — but that is a tale for another day.  🙂

I will wrap this up here, as I actually planned on spending the day with my family instead of here with my laptop.  But seeing the 2012 article come out on the Tomorrow’s World website was exciting, and with last night’s unexpected opportunity to talk to a real Maya culture Ph.D. last night about the information we are providing the public to replace misplaced 2012 fascination with God’s powerful truth, I felt this would be a nice post to write today.

Look for the Tomorrow’s World broadcast, “2012, Bible Prophecy and You” the same week/weekend as the movie’s release: November 12-18 (our cycle is Thursday to Thursday, I believe, though our programs air on Sunday in most areas, methinks).  To find a television station showing Tomorrow’s World in your area, check out our TV Log.  And don’t fall for the super-hyped counterfeit, when the truth is so much better!

3 thoughts on “2012, Maya experts, Tomorrow’s World, and three bowls of chili

  1. Fred Kellers

    Hello Wallace. I was glad to see your sensible blog on 2012. The tribulation will come as a surprise so I don’t expect to see a movie about it 3 years prior. Since so many are predicting 2012 to be THE year, I feel we can cross off 2012 as having any possibility of being an “end.” Some time ago I was up early on Sunday morning, turned on the TV here in the Nashville area and was arrested by an engaging young man saying some things that made sense. I don’t usually watch “religious” programs, but this making sense was unusual for a religious program. Turned out it was you. I personally know the other men who present for LCG so I didn’t expect to see the program with someone I didn’t know. You really did an excellent job. I’m so glad they’re using a young man. Now, I realize that at one time someone your age, or at least, someone who looks as young as you, would not have been considered to be young. But I’m 69 now, Mr. Meredith will turn 80 next year and Dick Ames isn’t a spring chicken, so you just appear to be young. Just perspective. Again, you’re doing a great job and I’m impressed. Keep it up.

  2. Thank you, sir, and I appreciate your kind comments. Mr. Meredith decided a few years ago that we should add a younger presenter, and I have been blessed to have the opportunity to work on the Tomorrow’s World telecast for about three years, now. I have really appreciated the 2 Tim. 2:2 attitude both he and Mr. Ames have demonstrated.

    Mr. Rod King of Australia (currently serving in England) was added at the same time. Hopefully, God has been able to use the mix we have to achieve a 1 Cor. 9:22 dynamic, and so far the results seem to indicate He’s done just that, as the responses to the telecast have been fantastic. As I’ve often stated, I don’t know how long God plans to use me as a part of the work in this way, but I am enjoying every minute! It truly is a humbling privilege to serve in this manner.

    Thanks, so much, for your encouraging words!

  3. Alan King

    Hi Mr Smith,

    It’s great to see the research you have done backed up by scholars who are experts on the subject. I’ve really enjoyed the articles and telecast you produced on the 2012 hype, and would be very interested in reading what your anthropologist had found in his research on the 10 tribes of Israel. It’d be very interesting to see how someone who has not read the Church’s teaching has come to similar conclusions about the tribes’ location and existance today.

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