https://journal.interpreterfoundation.o ... of-Mormon/Mark Alan Wright describes a common type of ritual specialist among the Maya called a “daykeeper.” He discusses similarities and differences with descriptions of ritual specialists in the Book of Mormon, including those who used the Urim and Thummim, performed rituals of healing, experienced near-death episodes at the inauguration of their calling, kept track of calendars, mastered astronomy, and invoked God to bring rain. He finds several intriguing similarities, but also differences — the most important one being that the Nephites understood that the power to do all these things came from the God of Israel rather than the local pantheon.
It feels like another exercise in "how could Joseph have known?". In similar vein to the Dales number crunching farce it fails just as badly. Here's one example...
But perhaps there's another explanation that Mark fails to acknowledge. The Native Americans living in the vicinity of the Smiths and with whom Joseph was familiar, and in whom he was very interested (he thought them Lamanites), also had "day keepers".Calendar Specialists
Another role of ritual specialists beyond that of healer is that of calendar priest. Modern daykeepers are concerned with keeping track of the solar calendar and knowing when to sow and when to reap, but more importantly, they keep track of the count of days relating to the 260-day sacred calendar and determining whether a particular day is auspicious or not. Knowing the omens of each day enables them to guide people as to when to perform particular rituals, when to bless their child, or knowing whether one’s day of birth was a good day or a bad day.21
It appears that there were calendar specialists in the Book of Mormon as well. In 3 Nephi 8:1-2 we read, “And now it came to pass that according to our record, and we know our record to be true, for behold, it was a just man who did keep the record—for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus; and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity—And now it came to pass, if there was no mistake made by this man in the reckoning of our time, the thirty and third year had passed away” (emphasis added). The implication is that there was one particular individual who was responsible for the “reckoning of [their] time,” and this man was also a healer and a record keeper. This complex of roles mirrors that of Maya “daykeepers.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_countWinter counts (Lakota: waníyetu wówapi or waníyetu iyáwapi) are pictorial calendars or histories in which tribal records and events were recorded by Native Americans in North America. The Blackfeet, Mandan, Kiowa, Lakota, and other Plains tribes used winter counts extensively.
Given his interest in the indigenous populations existing in his area during the period leading up to the production of The Book of Mormon, I find it highly likely he was familiar with the "winter counts" and would have inserted such a tradition into a fictional book about Native American ancestors.Most winter counts have a single pictograph symbolizing each year, based on the most memorable event of that year. For Lakota people, years ran from first snowfall to first snowfall. Kiowa winter counts usually feature two marks per year – one for winter and one marking the summer Sun Dance. The glyphs representing significant events would be used as a reference that could be consulted regarding the order of the years. More extensive oral histories were passed down using the winter counts as guide posts.
Traditionally each band would choose a single keeper of the winter count. Until the 20th century, these keepers were always men. They would consult with tribal elders to reach a consensus for choosing a name for the year. The keeper chose his successor in recording the count, who was often a family member.
Until the late 19th century, winter counts were recorded on buffalo hides. When buffalo became scarce, keepers resorted to using muslin, linen, or paper. The annual pictographs began on either the left or right side of the drawing surface and could be run in lines, spirals, or serpentine patterns.
Articles like Wright's aren't scholarship, they're simple cherry picking exercises with heavy dollops confirmation bias.