“A New Star Did Appear”

Alan C. Miner

According to Ammon O'Brien, an abundant source of information relative to the appearance of "a new star" (3 Nephi 1:21) in the Americas is Anales del Museo Nacional de Mexico. The 7 volume work, published in 1902 contains a valuable collection of writings and monographs from various archaeologists and ethnologists concerning the ancient civilizations of Mexico. Several archaic manuscripts written by Spanish clergymen who assisted in the colonization of Nueva Espana are also printed therein, as well as facsimiles and reproductions of certain ancient Mexican codices . . .

Included in the work is Professor Alfredo Chavero's brilliantly executed monograph entitled La Piedra del Sol (The Stone of the Sun) In his extensive researches into the ancient mythical history of the Mexicans, Chavero continually discerns the meanings of their legends and hieroglyphs to involve some inexplicable cosmic miracle involving a great star, the sun and the moon. Speaking of the cosmology of the ancient American nations referred to as the Nahuas and Toltecas, Chavero writes: "The Nahuas were naturally fond of the symbol Quetzalcoatl-Venus. We see in fact (in the Mexican hieroglyphics) Quetzalcoatl, king and master living in his palace as the Star of the Evening . . ."

Extracts of Chavero's work (chapters 23 and 26) further demonstrate that in all his observations, the prevailing elements in the Nahua myth structure continually point to some phenomenon involving the Moon, the Sun, the dividing of Day and Night, Venus, and the birth of a star. All of which, is unmistakably linked to Quetzalcoatl. . . . Professor Chavero also states directly that the "Medium Sun" which we have discussed (see the commentary on 3 Nephi 1:1) is Venus.

Considering the term "new star" (3 Nephi 1:21) as applied to this orb in the Book of Mormon, we must observe that according to man's historical knowledge, Venus was apparently already in its orbit long before the birth of Christ which is when the "new star" is supposed to have arisen. On this premise, for us to recognize Venus as the "new star" we must suspect that the planet underwent some sort of metamorphosis or convulsion at the time of this event, causing it to flare up and become extremely brilliant temporarily.

A distant voice of support for this idea comes to us through Brasseur de Bourbourg who records a peculiar observation from the astronomer St Augustine, saying that in some remote ancient time, the planet Venus underwent certain changes in size and color. [Ammon O'Brien, Seeing beyond Today with Ancient America, pp. 291-293] [See the commentary on 3 Nephi 1:1]

3 Nephi 1:21 A new star did appear: [A Star of David] symbol from Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico about A.D. 1000. [Bruce W. Warren and Thomas Stuart Ferguson, The Messiah in Ancient America, p. 173]

Question: If the Star of David represents the Urim and Thummim (two connected triangles); and if the Urim and Thummim represents God revealing himself to man--Does the Star signaling Christ's birth represent the same thing? [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]

3 Nephi 1:21 A new star did appear according to the word ([Illustration]): The New Star. "And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word." Artist: Robert T. Barrett. [Thomas R. Valletta ed., The Book of Mormon for Latter-day Saint Families, 1999, p. 500]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary