“Corom Begat Many Sons and One of Them is Kish”

Alan C. Miner

The book of Ether account gives little information about King Kish other than his name. However, it is noteworthy that he was the son of a righteous king named Corom and the father of a righteous king named Lib (Ether 1:18-19; 10:17-19). Thus, King Kish was apparently one of the truly righteous Jaredite monarchs. According to Bruce Warren, there might be evidence of this King Kish on ancient Mesoamerican glyphs. The word "qix" (pronounced "kish") means "feather," and is found in hieroglyphs at the Olmec archaeological site of Palenque in southern Mexico. There is a glyph at Palenque on the Tablet of the Cross which is associated with the calendar name Nine Wind of Quetzalcoatl. The name Quetzalcoatl means "feathered serpent" and is associated with the Mesoamerican white god. On the Tablet of the Cross are found engravings that trace the genealogy of a person named Kan Balam, the son of King Pacal who is buried in the great tomb there. Among the names of Kan Balam's royal ancestors is found what may be the full name of King Kish--U-Kish Kan. U-Kish Kan was apparently an ancient king of the Olmec culture. With this in mind, it is interesting that the name "Kan" means "serpent," and one of the meanings of "kish" is "feathered." Thus, the name of U-Kish Kan has been translated as "he of the feathered serpent." The name "he of the feathered serpent" also suggests a relationship to Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent god of Mesoamerica. The fact that the Jaredite king Kish was a righteous king also suggests that he had such a relationship.

According to the glyphs at Palenque, the Olmec king U-Kish Kan was born on Wednesday, 8 March 993 B.C., and took the throne on Wednesday, 25 March 967 B.C. U-Kish Kan was considered the ancient divine founder of the Palenque dynasty of kings even though he was not from Palenque originally. These dates thus represent a possible chronological correlation between the Olmec kings and the Jaredite kings.

As a further evidence of this U-Kish-Kan, there has been found in the archaeological site of San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan, located about 30 miles west of La Venta, in southern Mexico, an engraved stone known as Monument 47. It depicts a king who has a serpent around his waist and who is holding the head of the serpent in his hands. The serpent has feathers on its head. This monument is Olmec in style and dates to the beginning of the first millennium B.C. The monument's head is missing, but because of the dating and imagery of the monument, it could be a representation of U-Kish-Kan or "he of the feathered serpent." [Bruce Warren] is located in San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan in southern Mexico. This monument is also Olmec in style and dates to the beginning of the first millennium B.C. [Bruce W. Warren, Blaine M. Yorgason, Harold Brown, New Evidences of Christ in Mesoamerica, Unpublished Manuscript]

Ether 10:17 Kish [U-Kish-Kan] ([Illustration]): Tablet of the Cross from the Temple of the cross at Palenque, Chiapas about A.D. 692. This tablet gives much mythological and legendary ancestry for the Maya rulers Pacal and Chan-Bahlum who lived in the seventh century A.D. However, the earliest mythological ancestry dates back into the third millennium B.C. (Courtesy of Linda Schele.) [Bruce W. Warren and Thomas Stuart Ferguson, The Messiah in Ancient America, p. 88]

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