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Re: [aymara] Aymara and Western Culture

----- Original Message -----
From: "Alex Condori" <lista2@iname.com>
To: <aymaralist@aymara.org>
Sent: Friday, February 23, 2001 10:54 AM
Subject: RE: [aymara] Aymara and Western Culture

> > In reply to book of Mormon translation in Aymara,  Yes is the answer, at
> > least in part.  I was serving as a missionary in the altiplano of
> > Achicachi) while portions of the Book of Mormon were being translated by
> my
> > fellow missionaries and later published before I came home  ( Oregon)
> > September 1978.  The translation was very arduous and a very serious
> > undertaking by hand with much personal "research" in the form of
> consulting
> > with very old Aymaristas to seek out "correct form and grammar
> > etc." in old aymara form.  I brought back home a copy of that book.  I
> > not know if the translation was ever completed on the whole book
> I'd love to know such translation. We are not very plenty of
> written texts in aymara.

I will see if I can locate a source of a copy,  Are you in Bolivia or ?  We
had free copies for those who wanted them in our apartments and at the
Mission office in LaPAz.  I also have a small selection of Hymns translated
into Aymara.  I could probably scan and e-mail those if you wish..

> > I was taught Aymara in LaPaz.
> Certainly? Is there any institution that teaches it?

   No, no institution per se,  We as missionaries taught each other.  Not
sure the exact year it started. early 70's.  We used the peace corps lesson
booklet I mentioned  vocabulary word sheets we made ourselves and personal
experience,  We trained under those that had already mastered the language
as missionaries in a 2 month long class 6 days week, 10-14 hours a day.  As
we rotated through our 2 year missions, those that learned the best taught
the next group of elders and hermanas.  When we "graduated"  the class we
rotated to many campo locations,  Achicachi, Santiago de huata, (sp?) other
locations around Lago Titicaca etc.   As I said earlier,  they attempted to
have a formal class in Provo for those assigned to the Aymaras before
arriving.   But, you really had to be there, had to be imersed in the
people, the language, hear it, try to speak it in person to get it down.  I
became quite comfortable speaking in only Aymara my last year there but
never became an awesome linguist as some did.  It was really a treat to go
to the Mercado Negro in La Paz for supplies once each month.  The cholitas
would talk among themselves about the virahochas, gringos in aymara feeling
completely secure in saying anything about us.  We would then break into
their conversations at some convenient point and all have a great laugh!

 I am bad at names,  I believe an Elder Lyman was my teacher,  He was the
very most fluent in Aymara and was the one that began the Book of Mormon
translation in his last few months in Bolivia by assignment.  Elder James
Webster then was assigned to assist in Bolivia as Elder Lyman returned home
and continued to work with others in Provo.  Elder Webster was the person
who could go to the Aymara people and ask questions of grammar and best way
to convey the points and to use old aymara words and forms not those mixed
in from castillano etc.  They worked very long and hard to "preserve the
oldest knows forms of aymara to make the translation."   We received our
first copies of the sectional translation about 6 months before I returned
home.   I will look up to see if any of these missionaries are registered on
the LDS missions Bolivia web page  http://www.inconnect.com/bolivia/

> Since you seem to be a LDS (a Mormon, for outsiders),


> I'd like to cast a question in the air, you don't
> have to answer if you don't want to:

happy to attempt it......  this may take a while.......I will condense and
over simplify but try to get the gist across.

What is
> the position we aymaras have in the history of the
> Americas, according to the latter-saints view?

We believe, as outlined in the Book of Mormon that the Aymaras are direct
descendants of  ancient prophets that sailed from the biblical lands to the
Americas.  We believe they were directed to build ships and sail to the
Americas by revelation before destruction and captivation of their native
lands.  There are two of these crossings of the ocean in the Book of Mormon.
One by the Jeraditedes that date back to the time of the Tower of Babel.  It
is recorded that the language of the Jeridites was not confounded as were
the other languages at that time.   ( I read in an earlier message that
someone cited Aymara as the closest thing to the Adamic langrage?  Certainly
have no proof by me but if aymara is a remnant of the jeradite language,
and it was not confounded at the time of the tower of Babel then
maybe?......  This small group sailed on "barges" to the Americas ( the
"barges" appear to be somewhat cigar or submarine shape  and water tight)

The other migration is later, about 600 bc where the prophet Lehi sees in a
revelation, the destruction of Jerusalem and captivity by Babylon.  He takes
his family and a few other families into the wilderness past the red sea to
the ocean where his son  Nephi is directed to build and builds a ship by a
"curious design"  " neither did I build the ship after the manner of men;
but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me"
1Nephi Chapter 18 verse 2.  Nephi had two older brothers, Lamen and Lemuel
who did not agree with their fathers teachings nor Nephi  the ;younger
brother leading them.    Anyway the families sailed and landed  on the west
coast of South America, I believe in the area of Northern Chile  ( will have
to look that up to be sure).  I find it interesting to note that the
scriptures make great pains to reference that both groups took written
records with them to 1. preserve Gods commandments, 2. keep their
genealogies and 3. to preserve their LANGUAGES.  I find that last one
interesting in light of the ongoing discussion of the perfect language
question here in this discussion.

There is great growth of these peoples in the new land but splinter groups
break off from the "righteous"  Lamen and Lemuel being two of these.  The
people spread out all over the land and even the "Islands of the seas".
There are many periods of growth and prosperity and wars and destruction
from infighting of the groups.  We believe tat following the crucifixion of
Christ, Christ indeed himself came to the Americas and taught them and
established his law on that content, organized 12 Apostles etc.  The people
here experienced the three days of darkness,  devastation, earthquakes etc.
at the time of the crucifixion.  When we were translating the book of
Mormon into Aymara we found as we searched for proper wording and
translations of these passages,  the Oldest Ayamaristas could relate very
curious stories or legends with great detail and resemblance to those in
the Book of Mormon that had been passed down verbally generation to

Again there is great prosperity in the lands, cities grow and appeared.  But
over time  the natural tendency is for the generations to "loose track" or
go away from the commandments and wars and bloodshed follow.  Mormon was
one of the last prophets of  that era to live,  He and his son Moroni
compile much of the written records of the previous 1000 years (600
B.C. -421
A.D.) into what we know as the Book of Mormon.  The book ( gold engraven
plates ) is buried in a hillside before the last great battle where they,
the last of the prophets are killed.  In the year 1823  we believe Moroni, a
resurrected being or if you like the term Angle appeared to Joseph Smith,
directed him to the Gold plated and over time turned them over to Joseph for
later translation and publishing.  Because we believe the Book of Mormon to
be truly the history of the true Americans, there is great motivation and
desire that it be translated into all languages especially those of the
Ancient Americans.... it is their history and book after all.....

Therefore we believe the Book of Mormon is a scriptural history and
compilation of the peoples of the ancient Americas just as the bible is the
record, history and book of commandments of the Jews.  We believe the
inhabitants of the Americas ( Aymaras esp included) to be direct descendants
of those ancient prophets led out of the biblical lands by God.

While serving my mission, it was commonly stated that Aymara is the closest
existing language to that which Lehi and Nephi spoke.  Of course such a
thing is easy to say but how could it be proven?  I have never been able to
find anyone who could document any such statement nor would I know how, nor
do I really trouble myself with such pursuits.  I do fully believe that the
native Americans such as the Aymaristas are truly a special branch of the 12
tribes of Isreal and their lnaguage is indeed special.  Again no proof or
documentation but a sincere belief.   I am so gald I had the opportunity to
serve and learn from the aymaristas my time there.

To most this is likely to sound as a total fabrication, a silly legend or
maybe even evil by some.  I have of course left out so much detail but would
be willing to discuss points of interest or curiosity if the interest is
sincere.  I feel great confidence these things are true by my own personal
study and prayer, soul searching and invite anyone else to do the same if
interested.  I have no desire or goal to "convert or conquer the world" but
am willing to attempt to discuss and clarify beliefs to the best of my
ability if asked,  I will NEVER push or bash points on anyone....

Is this at least close to what you were asking?  if not let me know and I
will try to stay on topic.

Aymara is a wonderful language,  Wish I could still speak and use it.  I
have lost that ability being away for so many years.  It is interesting to
follow your musings and refresh my Spanish at least on this group.  thank
you for allowing me to participate!