He walked the Americas
Book review by Bette Stockbauer

From the Polynesian Islands to the eastern seaboard of the United States, from Canada to South America, they called him by different names — the Healer, the Prophet, the Miracle Worker, God of the Dawn Light, the Wind God, the Teacher, the White-Robed Master.

Although the names were different, the legends are sung the same:

In Polynesia they tell of three great ships that sailed from the West. Moving across the water there appeared a fair-skinned man in a long white garment, brown hair and beard glowing gold in the morning sun. When He reached land the people saw that His robe was dry. Thus they knew He was a God. Scholars ascribe this legend to the 1st century AD.

Among the Toltecs of central Mexico there lived a Prophet with gray-green eyes and golden sandals. With 12 disciples He taught the people His religion of peace.

The Mound Builders of North America told of a great Healer who could raise the dead and heal the sick. He walked among the people, hands raised in blessing. A mysterious cross graced each palm. Such are the stories whispered by the Holy Men and Keepers of the Legends for nearly 2,000 years.

Revealing the holy legends

In 1918, L. Taylor Hansen was a college student, spending her summer vacation with the Chippewa Indian tribe in Michigan. Her interest in their life was more than scholarly. Their language and dances, their culture and religion struck a richly harmonic chord in his soul. Dark Thunder, the chief, shared much of the tribal knowledge and one day told her of a Holy Man who had visited the tribe in distant times. This man came to the Indians when their empire was united, and great cities stretched for miles. Wherever He went the miracles followed, and always He spoke of the Kingdom of His Father.

In this brief story, Hansen sensed the germ of one much greater. That summer a council of many tribes was called to tell the young student the holy legends. Her own gift to the council would be a book that would preserve their words for future seekers. Thus was born He Walked the Americas, a book pursued over two continents, during the course of 45 years. What follows is the story Hansen gathered of those early times — at its heart a Miracle Worker, pale of feature, white-robed, and with gray-green eyes that gazed into the future.

Dawn of the Christian era

Many scholars agree that the Americas were 1,000 years ahead of their European counterparts at the dawn of the Christian era. The picture that Hansen offers of those days is a shining one. Most of North America was united, the common language Algonquin or Puan. Its capital was at present-day St Louis, its sacred city in Michigan. These were the Mound Builders, whose artifacts and history were preserved in the earth. Their streets and temples were lined with the rich green carpets of strawberry vines. Their copper mines supplied three nations with a metal that was harder than steel.

In Central America, the Toltec Empire flourished. Its capital was Tollan (believed to be present-day Teotihuacan). Its sacred city was Cholula. The Toltecs were master craftsmen. They constructed magnificent temples and palaces, and understood the sciences of the earth and heavens. They were exquisite artists; the walls of their buildings were murals of splendid color.

The high Andes of South America boasted a similarly advanced culture. Their gigantic and mysterious pictographs, so remarkable when seen from the air, are thought to originate from this time.

Evidence suggests that these empires were connected by trade. Great highways crossed the land and navigation of the oceans was well understood.

As advanced as these cultures were, two practices threatened their stability — slavery and human sacrifice. These evils, with their attendant war and thievery, brought fear to the lives of the people. It was this great wound the Prophet had come to heal.

Journey through the Americas

His journey began in Polynesia, where He appeared in the first glimmer of dawn. In this war-torn land He admonished the people to forsake their weapons and resolve old enmities. Ashamed that the first words from this God should be words of anger, they humbly bowed before Him. From island to island, He spread His religion of love. When He left, the people were united; today they remain united by culture and tradition.

From the islands He sailed East to Pachacamac in Peru. There He found a jealous priesthood who plotted His death. But wherever He went, He was protected. He cleansed the temples and won the hearts of the people. Many mourned when He left to teach the warring tribes of Brazil, but gently He said: "If you had a herd of llamas upon a hillside, and one little lamb fell into the canyon, would you not go down to still its crying? So I go to save my llamas, for that is my Father’s business." Many years later, as ruler of Tollan, He would return to Peru to renew His temples and teachings.

From Brazil He traveled north through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, docking at seaports along the way. Here He received one of His many names — Hurukan — when He calmed the winds of a deadly storm sweeping the land.

At first the leaders were afraid of His power, but as He traveled His legend grew. Merchants would tell of His works. Traders would speak of the God who walked the earth, healing the sick and taming the fiercest beast. Soon His name was whispered everywhere, and many anticipated His coming long before His sandalled feet had touched their land.

His trail ran north, up the Mississippi to Canada. Today the tribes He saw remember His coming — the Cherokee, Chippewa, and Cree, the Algonquin, Dakota, and Shawnee, the Pawnee, Choctaw, and Seneca. Still they see His long white robe with black crosses at the hem. Fondly they recall how He always blessed the little children.

It is said that He knew 1,000 tongues, for everywhere He went, first He learned the language. In the cities, He refashioned the temples, decorating them in the rich colors and symbols of the four directions. He renewed as well their ancient ceremonies. Child sacrifice became infant baptism. Their pole dance became the sun dance, a ritual of penitence and expiation. He gave new meaning to the sweat lodge, the medicine lodge, and the smoking of the pipe. He taught the Golden Rule and the Our Father, sung in a cadence that echoed through the temples: "Do not kill or injure your neighbor, for it is not him that you injure; you injure yourself. Do good to him, thus adding to his days of happiness even as you then add to your own."

Wherever He stayed He chose 12 disciples and carefully trained them in this new dispensation. The symbols and ceremonies remain deeply interwoven in Native American life, a daily reminder of His teachings.

In the little villages He gave the people seeds He had brought and showed them new ways of planting. He told them: "When the people are hungry, instead of making war, pray to the Father, that your needs be provided."

Every morning before the dawn star appeared, it was known that the Healer would be silently praying, awaiting its light. This became His special star, and around its cycles He fashioned a calendar for the people. In the early West, the settlers knew the Indian tribes would never fight while Venus lit the sky.

His many names

As His fable grew, so did His names, for always He let the people choose what to call Him. He was Wakea or Wakan — ‘Wah’ meaning water — a name to honor His mastery over water. To the Hopi He was Tah-co-pah — the Healer, to the Seri, Tlazoma — the Miracle Worker. The Cherokee called Him Ee-me-shee — the Wind God, and the Papago, E-see-cotl — Great Healer. The Algonquins would not give Him their own name, and asked instead for His childhood name when He lived across the ocean. So they called Him Chee-Zoos — God of the Dawn Light.

In Central America, His affectionate name was Kate-Zahl, but His most celebrated name was Quetzalcoatl — the Plumed Serpent. The Quetzal was a rare and vivid green bird. ‘Co’ stood for serpent, a symbol for water, and ‘tl’ meant Lord. So He was known as the Lord of Wind and Water. Each high priest who carried forth the teachings assumed His name as well.

He traveled west through Canada to the Yakima at the Pacific Ocean. So greatly was He revered that they called their highest mountain Tacoma to honor His name — Tla-acomah, Lord Miracle Worker. Turning south, He visited the Yaqui and Zuni, the Havasu and Acoma. The Seri of Baja California still tell of the time that Tlazoma healed a blind man by placing wet sand on his eyes. As one they fell in worship before Him.

Entrance into Tollan

When the Prophet came to Tollan, capital of the Toltec Empire in central Mexico, His fame had come like a ghost before Him.

"Already everywhere the people were waiting, covering the land up to the mountains, lining the highways, singing and chanting. The stories had brought out the masses from a thousand miles far-distant, and emptied all the towns and villages.

"Long had they known that He loved flowers, and now they filled the air with perfume, raining blossoms down upon Him. This rain grew thicker as He moved toward Tollan. Heavy flower-carpets paved the highway ... As soon as He walked over the blossoms, the people ran out and scrambled for them, hoping to keep a single petal which might have born His weight for a moment.

" ... At the gateway He paused a moment to gaze upon its fabulous beauty. Then He passed through the ponderous portals of metal, encrusted with their pearls and emerald, and from the throats of a million people came a roar like to an ocean, bursting through the mouths of the Toltecs as the Monarch bowed low before Him, and escorted Him into Tollan, the Golden.

" ... when He started to speak, a miracle happened. Never before to a great distance could the voice of one man be carried, but from the hilltop to beyond the city, to the wall and on to the mountains went forth His beautiful voice, His musical voice, speaking in Toltec."

He told them of His travels — the friends He had won and the enemies He had reconciled through love and understanding. He asked the leaders to honor the Sacred Way by renouncing slavery and sacrifice.

Thus He spoke that first day in Tollan, and one by one every proud head was bowed. His stay with the Toltecs lasted many years. It is thought that the Temple of the Sun at Teotihuacan and the Sacred Pyramid at Cholula were His special shrines where He taught the priesthood the ancient rites of initiation. His words and miracles wove a common pattern through the thoughts and customs of the land. In peace and reconciliation, the Toltecs found their true power as a nation.

When He left Tollan, He journeyed East through the Yucatan, and spent His last days in this hemisphere on the island of Cozumel. In a magnificent redwood ship He sailed into the sunrise, bound for Tla-pallan, His homeland across the sea.

Legends in the Americas

He departed, but the legend He left has taken many forms. Some have called it myth, but others are convinced of His historical identity. Dr Frank Buck, a late Hawaiian scholar, thought His clothing and the type of vessel He rode pointed to a Red Sea origin. He cited similar stories of a pale-skinned Teacher in the fables of China, India, and Japan. Wakoyama mountain in Japan is said to be named for a white God who taught there.

The Book of Mormon records events in the Americas between BC 600 and AD 421. It has prophecies of Christ’s coming and several chapters about His appearance in the Americas after His Resurrection. As in the Bible and the Indian legends, He performs miracles and chooses 12 followers to continue His work. (3 Nephi 11-28)

Hansen himself thought the Teacher must have been a member of the Essenes, a religious sect of early Christian times. Essenes wore a toga-like garment and always spoke of God as "My Father". Native Americans he interviewed knew the word Essene, and their names for the Prophet, E-see-cotl and Ee-me-shee, may have been derivative of it.

Visions of the future

Throughout His travels, Kate-Zahl, as he was known in Central America, had sometimes foreseen a grim and woeful future for the people of these lands. To Mount Popocatepetl, above Tollan, He often went to pray. One day, high on that white-clad mountain, His own hair turned white at the visions that He saw.

Gazing onto the plain below, a curtain opened and He saw a future Tollan. Strange revelries filled the streets and unholy rituals gripped the temples. Gone were the brilliant flowers and birds of rare plumage. Gone were the laughing smiles of the people. Gone was His carefully tutored priesthood chanting the ceremonies. Forgotten was Kate-Zahl, His teaching a dim memory.

As He watched, the mighty Popo itself began to tremble. A shattering earthquake split the land, and Tollan the Golden lay twisted and dying. A ravaging fire consumed the last bits of life. Another curtain opened to vast waves of migration sweeping the land, as plunderers arrived to despoil the kingdom. These invaders brought their wars and desecrated the temples, each band more powerful than the last. Human sacrifice became their cornerstone of culture and belief.

As He watched in horror, another cycle opened and clearly He saw the date. It was the year Te-Tec-Patl — 1519. On the eastern shore were pale-skinned men with suits of armor and rods that kill at a distance. Though they carried His cross, clearly He saw that all they loved were weapons and war. Sadly He watched as these men spread so quickly and so cruelly that the face of the land was changed for ever. For five cycles (520 years) He saw the invaders play out their greed, making weapons ever more destructive, seeming even to challenge the Gods.

As He viewed these things, all that He had built seemed useless and futile. Where were His sparkling cities with their frescoes of many colors? Where were those who joyfully followed His law, where the happy children delighting in His touch? With mournful cries He prayed for His people.

When Kate-Zahl departed Tollan, He told the people of His visions. He warned them to preserve their sacred writings in hidden caves so that future generations could treasure the words. He told them to tell their children that Mount Popo would foretell the coming times with its stern rumblings. He warned them to stay true to His ways to avert these disasters.

Then He fashioned a giant rock, intricately carved with the future cycles of the Dawn Star. Upon it He placed the time of warning — so that all would beware of the pale-skinned marauders.

Some did not believe these things; some wept because they did believe. All were distraught that the beauty around them could so easily fall. But high on Mount Popo, a further cycle had been revealed to the Prophet. The year was 2039, and as He looked into the valley, a golden beam of sun illumined a land reborn. Ended at last was mankind’s age of carnage, outgrown the wars of its childhood. All before Him lay in beauty.

Large centers of learning with books from all nations dotted the land. Inscribed on their walls were His words for all to see. His sacred temples were lovingly restored: once again the priesthood kept the Sacred Way. This cycle, too, He revealed in Tollan, and His parting words that day were an invitation, a gift to hold through the coming years:

"Walk with Me through this age of the future. View the shining buildings of unknown material, the new forms of transport moving through the land. Walk with Me the parkways with their birds and flowers and look deeply into the faces of the people, no longer shrouded by fear, but shining with My light. Gaze into this time as mankind walks full-statured towards its destiny — into the Golden Age of Learning. Carry this vision on through the ages, and always remember Kate-Zahl, the Prophet."

In the pueblos of the American desert live some who remember these words, for here too He promised to come back in some distant time. Patiently they wait and every night they burn a candle to hasten His return. "If to my teaching you are faithful, and to show that you have lived each day rightly, leave a light at night burning against the time I will return through the Dawn Light, and lead thee unto My Father’s Kingdom."

And deep in the jungles of the Yucatan is hidden a people, a sacred priesthood, who has kept His way for many centuries. It is said that in their temple, too, there burns a light, as it has constantly — for 2,000 years — since that day the Prophet first gave it flame.

(L. Taylor Hansen, He Walked the Americas, published by Amherst Press, Amherst, Wisconsin, 1963, still in print. Readers who know of similar legends from any country are invited to share them with Bette Stockbauer at: POB 26, Red Rock, TX 78662, USA.)

(Editor’s note: Benjamin Creme’s Master has confirmed that the Master Jesus did indeed teach for many years in Polynesia and North, Central and South America in the 6th and 7th centuries.)

The Finding of the Ten Commandments

"About eight miles southeast of Newark ... imbedded in the clay was a coffin, dug out of a burr-oak log, and in a pretty good state of preservation. In the coffin was a skeleton with quite a number of stone ornaments and emblems and some open brass rings suitable for bracelets and anklets. These being removed, the men then dug deeper and discovered a stone dressed to an oblong shape about 18 inches long and 12 wide, which proved to be a casket, neatly fitted and entirely watertight, containing a slab of stone of hard and fine quality, an inch and a half thick, eight inches long, four and a half wide at one end tapering to three inches at the other. Upon the face of the slab was the figure of a man, apparently a priest, with a long flowing beard and a robe reaching to his feet. Over his head was a curved line of characters, and upon the edges and back of the stone were closely and neatly carved letters. The slab, which I saw myself, was shown to the Episcopal clergyman of Newark, and he pronounced the writing to be the ten commandments in Ancient Hebrew."

(Quoted in He Walked the Americas, and taken from Bancroft’s Native Races, vol. V, pp. 94-95, published about 1860, quoting his father, A.A. Bancroft, who made the discovery.)

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