In the 8th chapter of Ether, we find an interesting statement. In attempting to overthrow king Omer and establish her father on the throne by subversive means, the daughter of Jared says to her father:
Whereby hath my father so much sorrow? Hath he not read the record which our fathers brought across the great deep? Behold, is there not an account concerning them of old, that they by their secret plans did obtain kingdoms and great glory?
According to Bruce Warren, although this account is more particularly addressing records of secret societies or secret combinations, all of which were ruled by shamanistic priests or "medicine men," there can be little doubt that such records also contained shamanistic calendars. A few years ago, David H. Kelley (1969, 143-94) analyzed the workings of some Old World lunar zodiac calendars that were widespread across Europe, the Near East, and northern and southern Asia. He concluded that the earliest evidence for a 364-day sidereal (measured by means of the stars) lunar zodiac calendar was from Semitic-speaking peoples of Mesopotamia early in the third millennium B.C. (Kelley 1969, 148-49). What is very interesting is that Kelley also found such calendars in Mesoamerica. Thus there might be a calendar and cultural link between the ancient people of Mesopotamia and the ancient people of Mesoamerica. [Bruce W. Warren, Blaine M. Yorgason, Harold Brown, New Evidences of Christ in Mesoamerica, Unpublished Manuscript]
“They by Their Secret Plans Did Obtain Kingdoms and Great Glory”
In the book of Ether, the daughter of Jared2 apparently revived the practice of secret societies by saying,
Hath [my father] not read the record which our fathers brought across the great deep? Behold, is there not an account concerning them of old, that they by their secret plans did obtain kingdoms and great glory? (Ether 8:9)
According to John Sorenson, in the Book of Mormon there definitely was historical continuity from the Old World to the New World in the origin of Jaredite secret societies. The secret societies began only a few generations after the immigrants arrived in the new land from the Mesopotamian area. Historian Nesta Webster points out that, "the [Near] east is the cradle of secret societies," however Mesoamerican secret groups were up to the same tricks and operated according to similar rules. But were these practices really ancient in America, or were they late developments? Professor Coe maintains that a similar institution was vital in Olmec civilization before 1000 B.C. J.A. Bennyhoff has interpreted masks recovered by archaeologists as indications of the presence of secret societies anciently. These ritual artifacts are present from about 1200 B.C. to 600 B.C. in the valley of Oaxaca (a proposed Jaredite land of Moron).
Interestingly, the masks again are found in large numbers during developed Teotihuacan times, for a few centuries after A.D. 300. This happens to be just the period when Mormon reports the rise of the secret society that was instrumental in the downfall of the Nephites (Mormon 2:8, 10, 27-28; Ether 8:19-21). [John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, pp. 305, 308-309]