Post Mission Journal - H. Clay Gorton

from Buenos Aires to Salt Lake City, 7 January - 8 Feburary 1949

7 Jan. 1949—This morning Elder Sterling Stott And I received our release from the Argentine Mission. President and Sister W. Earnest Young drove us to the Morón Airport where we took off in a DC-3. Stopovers in Córdoba and Tucumán. Arrived in Salta 6 P.M. Registered in Salta Hotel. This hotel has first class accommodations–beautiful decorations, rooms, clean and good service. The cost, with meals, is about 20 pesos— $2.50.

After registering, we visited one of the catholic churches. Very beautiful from the outside. Inside, the woodwork was all covered with gold leaf. Alters made of silver. Then we visited the cathedral of Salta. A guide showed us around, explaining the history of the different idols–some are over 300 years old. Then we walked around town and made a few small purchases.

The people here in Salta seem notably friendly. They are small in stature and their skin is a bit dark–seems as though the greater part have a mixture of Indian blood.

The Argentine government does not permit cameras to be taken from the country. I sold mine yesterday and Bro. Stott is carrying his against his stomach, held in place by a long strip of cloth, to avoid the customs.

It is difficult for me to realize that my mission has now ended and I’m finally on my way home. It all seems yet in the distant future. These two and a half years have gone as a single day; but they have been rich in pleasing and instructive experiences. I definitely feel myself unworthy of the unspeakable rich blessing of the Lord to me during this period. I cannot consider my mission ended. My desire and resolution is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ at every opportunity, honoring and exercising the Holy Priesthood which I bear. May the Lord help me in my endeavors.

8 Jan—Plane detained in Salta 3½ hours due to bad weather over route. Took off at 11:30–diner on plane. Flew at 16,000 feet most of the way. Passenger oxygen was provided by a yellow rubber tube with a clamp on the end. Before using the tubes, the stewardess came down the aisle with a pair of scissors and cut about 2 inches off the end of each tube. When we felt we needed oxygen we could stick the tube in our mouth, release the hose and breathe in.

Mountain peaks, some snow covered, jutted above the layer of white, fluffy clouds. In extreme northern Argentina and in Bolivia the ground was visible. Very arid–practically no vegetation. Rivers and streams, dry except during rain storms, have cut deep gorges in the ground. There is a great deal of yellow and green strata exposed to the surface–probably copper in sulphurous and oxide compounds. Stott and I had the last seats again, which afforded the best visibility.

During the flight I made friends with the purser, a Peruvian, who had a good working knowledge of the Bible and of the biblical history, as well as of the ancient Americas. An interesting gospel conversation arose and I left him with a Nov. Mensajero and the address of the mission office in B.A. so he could get a Book of Mormon there.

We made a 15-minute stop in Oruro, Bolivia–altitude 12,149 feet. Oruro is a small tin mining tow. On the way from the plane and in Oruro we say llamas. We flew from Oruro to La Paz in one hour, landing at the highest commercial airport in the world. The airport is on a the edge of a high plateau overlooking the city, and we descended by station wagon 1000 feet to the city below, passing many natives in their quaint and colorful dress.

Obtained rooms in the Hotel Austria–200 bolivianos a day, with meals. The boliviano changes from the dollar at 92 to 1, one boliviano equaling a little more than one cent.

The city of La Paz is very quaint and interesting. The greater part of the population seems to be Indian–short in stature, flat faces, not too dark–seem to live quite primitively. Their houses–or hovels–are made of adobe, with dark red tile roofing–very colorful when looking down on the city. The streets are all very steep. We dropped in to the Anglo-American Club, met the president, who introduced us to a member of an exclusive riding club, who will present us to an ex-Bolivian general tomorrow at noon to see if we can get a couple of horses for Monday (Cuña is the word).

We exchanged $40 each into 3660 bolivianos–the wad of bills was big enough to choke a horse. After roaming the streets for awhile, we returned to the hotel for supper. This high altitude seems to tire on easily–my legs ache up to my knees and I have a slight headache. We’re probably got the bends...

9 Jan—Up at 8:00 this morning. After a shower and a light breakfast, we left for Church, visiting the Spanish speaking Baptist Sunday School. 250 persons present–among them a few Indian natives. At the end of the meeting we and six or eight other new-comers were asked to stand in front while the congregation sang a “bienvenido” song. We then attended the English-speaking joint protestant service. The pastor gave a very scholarly and flowery sermon, but it ended up being quite superficial. In the afternoon we took a long walk around the town–took a few photos and bought some bananas and mangos from an Indian woman. Then we went to the Spanish-speaking Methodist service–about 30 present. After the meeting we engaged the pastor in a conversation for about an hour, explaining a few aspects of our church.

Listening to the Sunday School lesson and the different sermons today has impressed me with the complete shallowness of the protestant teachings. They seem to be groping in the dark for an anchor for their faith, and not finding it, have lulled themselves into the complacent, negative attitude that having confessed the name of the Savior they are already saved. How thankful I am for a knowledge of the fullness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ!

10 Jan—Today Bro. Stott and I dedicated the day to business and buying. We first bought a vicuña bed cover each, and I bought a little pair of booties made of vicuña for Patti. Then we took them to the customs house to declare and pay the export tax. Together with the tax, the vicuña cost us the equivalent of $21 each. Then we dropped in to a little shop and I bought a dozen dessert spoons and a sugar spoon, handmade of silver filigree, for about $6. We then bought our train tickets from La Paz to Puno to Cusco-return to Punt, and then to Arequipa–cost, $17. After dinner in the hotel, and hour’s reading and a siesta, we went to a small antique shop where I bought two large black and white plates, made from wood carvings, of the city, a set of photos and a rare, old book. This book, written by a Spanish frier, was published in 1773, and is covered with papyrus. It treats the history of the town of Orense from 450 to 1500 A.D.. The book cost about $4. Then we got a hair cut–15 cents.

There seems to be a great amount of German influence in La Paz. Almost every business place we’ve been to is run by Germans. About 90% of the guests at our hotel are German.

11 Jan—This morning Bro. Stott and I walked up to the native market to take some pictures. The natives, seated on the ground by their wares, bartered among themselves. The sold pears, apples, bananas, avocados, mangos, papaya, picantes, cuts of meat spread out on cloths on the ground–sanitation is an unheard of myth. The fruit was wet and dirty–a little child dropped his half-eaten banana on the muddy ground and his mother picked it up and gave it to him again. The women carry their children and everything else in shawls on their backs. We then visited the Catholic Church, “San Francisco”–the oldest church in La Paz. It's like all the rest of the catholic churches, beggars and candle sellers at the door, and inside covered with idols and gold adornments, with signs telling the faithful to give alms to the Lord. Imagine giving alms to the Lord as if He were a beggar, while beggars starve at the church door! On the way back from the market, a man walking at our side spoke to us in English. After a short talk, we learned that he was a school teacher from Oruro, where our plane had stopped. He wanted to be helpful so we made a date with him to meet us at the hotel at 5 PM and we went to the plaza to talk. We found that his mother was pure Aymará–Indian native of Bolivia–his father half Indian and half Spanish. So he was in a position to tell us many interesting things. We questioned him for about two hours and learned the following: the main Bolivian industries are mining–silver, copper, tin, gold and lead. Wool is taken from the llama, vicuña, and sheep. In the lower valleys are grown bananas, pineapple, sugar cane, pears, apples and subtropical fruit. The natives subsist mainly on corn. I Bolivia are two separate and distinct nations of Indians. One, the Aymará, inhabits southwestern Bolivia and northern Chile. The other, the Quechua, inhabit northern Bolivia and Perú. The Aymarás are of more ancient origin, have a guttural language completely distinct to that of the Quechua. They believe in a monotheistic deity, represented by an invisible Supreme Being, whom they invoke as Achachila, meaning Grandfather.

On the tops of the mountains they burn incense to send their prayers heavenward with the smoke. They are smaller in stature and lighter in color than the Quechua, but are more industrious. In the interior of Bolivia live uncivilized tribes of these Indians, each speaking a different dialect–at war among themselves–who hunt and fight with poisoned arrows. I will reserve a description of the Quechua until I learn more about them in Perú.

Our friend, Juan Newton Villanueva, Colegio Juan Misuel Saracho, Oruro, Bolivia, was converted to Protestantism some thirty years ago. We took the opportunity of telling him of our church and the origin of the Book of Mormon, and its connection with the American Indian. He was very interested and so we invited him to our hotel room and presented him with a copy of the Book of Mormon and an issue of the Mensajero Deseret. He said he would write to the Mission Home in B.A. for more information.

I muse upon the singularity of the circumstances under which we met this man, and upon his “theoretical” ability to receive the gospel–Indian blood, Protestant, school teacher, speaks English and Aymará, believes that God is an exalted man, believes that there should be prophets on the earth today, doesn’t smoke or drink— "God moves in a mysterious way.."

Just before noon today we stopped in a native market down town and bought four enormous red bananas and a pineapple. Before leaving in the afternoon, we cut the pineapple in half and ate it–very delicious–one half would have filled a pineapple can. We then left the hotel, caught an omnibus and rode it to the end of the line, then walked on through more Indian markets to the edge of town. From there we climbed to the top of a very steep peak–I would judge 1000 feet above the city. The lower slopes of the peak were covered with adobe hovels with thatched or tile roofs–just a narrow path between the rows of houses–so steep that one would climb the street or walks only with difficulty. From the peak we had an excellent view of the city and the valley below, and could see the high plateaus stretching away in the distance–and beyond them, among the clouds, jagged snow-covered peaks–an awe inspiring sight! Our altitude must have been around 13,200 feet. Needless to mention, I have a few blister on my feet from the hike.

14 Jan—Wednesday morning we paid up, packed, and made ready to leave La Paz. Having one or two hours to spare we went down to the new university building and found the students taking their final exams. We had thought that they were on vacation. So in order to be shown through the school we went into the rector’s office and presented ourselves as North American students of physics, en route from B.A. to L.A. The rector took us to his private office and gave us a lecture on the school in general, then he called the Dean of the School of Exact Sciences to show us through the university. We started at the top of the 14-story building, so new that it’s not all completed yet, and went floor by floor to the bottom. We were very surprised at how modernistic their school was. The used the latest teaching methods–visual aids and wire records of the lectures, to be played over at the students’ convenience. They had ample, modern laboratories and the latest equipment from the States. Their dental equipment was especially modern and ample. This 14-story building is the first in a series of college units that will make the University of La Paz of the North American campus style–probably the first of its kind in South America. We were very much impressed with their school.

At 2 PM we boarded the train–actually it was four electric street cars–which carried us form La Paz to Alto de La Paz, a station on the edge of the plateau, 1300 feet higher than the city. When the conductor came to punch our tickets and check our passports, he found that we didn’t have permission from the police department to leave the country. The travel agency that sold us our train tickets, Exprinter, had neglected to advise us of this detail. The conductor was very kind, however, and made the train to which we were to transfer wait until we ran to the police department there to call up the officials in La Paz to see if we couldn’t get things straightened out without having to return to the city and thereby have to wait another week for the next boat across Lake Titicaca. However, we found that the telephone was out of order because they were working on the line. So the man got the police chief up from his siesta, told him our story, and he consented to stamp our passports. So we received the necessary permission to leave.

So we boarded the train and started for Guaquí, the port on Lake Titicaca. We passed many little villages of Indians. At each one the train would stop and the natives would try to sell us their wares–food, cloth, etc. I bought a billfold woven from brightly colored cloth–10 bolivianos. The station before Guaquí was Tiahuamaca, where we saw the famous Door of the Sun, and other ruins which are purported to be the most ancient ruins in the Americas. At Guaquí we went through the Bolivian customs and they searched our bags very thoroughly. However, they failed to find Stott’s camera, or my light meter, or the silver I bought in La Paz.

A North American doctor, veteran of the war, who couldn’t speak Spanish, showed his movie camera and they confiscated it. So Bro. Stott and I talked to the chief of the customs for about an hour, and he gave it back to him. From then on we acted as interpreters for their group of four, and for two other North Americans and three couples, tourists. We then boarded the Allanta, a not-so-small steam vessel, with first and second class cabin accommodations, and sailed across the highest navigable lake in the world–altitude, 14,000 feet above sea level.

We embarked about 9 PM and arrived in Puno, Perú at 6:30 the following morning. High mountains rose from the lake on the Peruvian side and Puno was a little pueblo nestled between the mountains and the lake–very picturesque. We then through Peruvian customs and declared everything we had. They treated us very well–much different from Argentina and Bolivia, and we were given permission to carry everything we had. In an hour we had boarded the train for Cuzco, 250 miles from Puno, altitude, 13,200 feet. Again at the different stops the natives sold their wares–rugs, brightly colored cloth, all kinds of woven things, pottery, foot, etc. I bought a colorful knit sweater for Podge, $1 American money.

On the train we made friends with a young military officer on vacation, who was stationed in Cuzco. He was very kind and helped us find a hotel and boarding house on arrival. We tried to find Peso Benavente, my university friend from La Plata, but he had not returned from school yet. So our new friend is proving very useful. We arrived in Cuzco at 6:30 and took a taxi to Hotel Modern, and were given a room for 4 soles apiece per day, four soles is 25 cents. However, the hotel is not worth much more–practically no facilities at all. However, it’s “archaic” and we’re really in the true “Cuzco” element.

After getting settled, our friend took us to the boarding house restaurant, where we had a filling meal for 50 soles–18 cents. Then we walked the streets for a while and then to bed. Descriptions of the city will follow. I might add, however, that my arrival in Cuzco is the fulfillment of a childhood dream. I had always thought of Perú as the most romantic and mysterious spot in the Americas–with the old Inca empire–sons of the sun–their temples and fortresses and the piracy of Pizzaro. The riches, gold and silver and were taken from the Indians by the Spaniards–all had aroused in me an intense desire to see and know the country. I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.

15 Jan—Yesterday morning we attended to various matter of business–changed money, 15 to 1–$20 changed, bought film, saw about tours, etc. At noon we met our army friend for lunch, after which we walked around town for awhile with special attention given to the ancient stone walls which are still in use today as the base of more modern buildings. Dewey Farnsworth purports these walls to be nearly 2000 years old. Indeed, in some instances one may note three distinct cultures built one upon the other. First, the superb pre-Inca stone structures, second, rough stones put together with cement, and third, wooden, stone and plaster buildings constructed after the colonization.

These ancient stone walls are of marvelous construction, being polished smooth and cut with machine precision so that each stone fits perfectly against all others touching it–so much so that one cannot even slip a razor blade between the stones. These stones are never of uniform size or shape, some so large the weigh several tons. One stone we noticed, in order to fit perfectly with the others, had 12 corners cut into it. It seems impossible that this could have been done without a rather extensive knowledge of mathematics.

After looking at these structures, we climbed one of the nearby hills, and investigated the Sacsayhuamán ruins. This seems to have been an old fortress and also a religious sanctuary. It was put together, for the most part, with the same precision-cut stones, some of which were fifteen feet high and six to eight feet wide. It had several tiers of walls surrounding the top of the hill. In the walls were doors, and between them stone steps and walks. On the very top of the hill was a curious round structure 03 30 feet in diameter. A detailed description can best be given with the help of the photos we took of the place.

Near the structure were two sacrificial altars. Two hundred yards distant from this hill was another that seemed to have been made by a huge surge of molten lava from the ground. It seems to have solidified as it flowed. There is evidence that many of the stones used in the fortress were cut from here.

18 Jan—Saturday night we attended a demonstration of native dances put on by the American Institute. During the day we visited the library, the cathedral and some of the catholic churches. In the cathedral we saw the cathedral treasure kept in a steel vault. It consisted, among other things, of a crown of thorns made of pure gold, and a heavily jeweled gold coffer about two feet high that had two little boxes built into it–one of which contained a piece of wood from the cross and the other a spine from the original crown of thorns. We listened to the priests the chorus for 45 minutes–they chant the Psalms in Latin. It’s the most repulsive paganistic rite I’ve seen yet. Attendants were holding lit candles and swinging boxes of burning incense.

Sunday we took a tour from Cuzco to Pisac to Ollantaytambo and back to Cuzco. In Pisac we attended the catholic mass held for the Indians. They all came from many miles around–all walking and mostly all barefoot. It was very colorful. They had their market in the square where they bartered, mostly for food. We bought half a large sack of choke cherries to 20 centavos.

Then we went to Ollantaytambo where we investigated the ruins of an old fortress–pre-Inca–most of the ruins here are pre-Inca, being estimated at about 2000 years old. The Incas for the most part built over these ruins.

We returned to Cuzco about 6 PM, changed clothes and went to the Cuzco Protestant church to a big revival meeting. A pastor from B.A. was up and preached the sermon. It was just about as disgusting as the Catholic paganism. The poor people are all deceived into thinking they are saved. The sermon was a masterpiece of psychology, playing on the emotions of those present. I sometimes think the whole business of “pseudo Christianity” is quite diabolic.

We got to bed at 11:30 and got up at 4:00 Monday morning to leave in the “autocarril” for Macchu Picchu. We left Cuzco at 5:30 AM and traveled for three hours through the Inca Sacred Valley, through which flows their Sacred River. IT is a long, narrow valley, bounded by mountains from four t six thousand feet high–some eternally covered with snow, while the valley itself is sub-tropical. Cacti and century plants grow in abundance. The vegetation is very lush. Many parasitical plants grow on the trees. They say that in the valley it is always spring! After 100 kilometers on the “galloping goose” we arrived at Macchu Picchu, where we mounted mules and began our ascent to the top.

On the top of Macchu Picchu we the extensive pre-Inca ruins–a city built on a mountain top that at one time housed about 3000 inhabitants. There were ample terraced gardens, large playas, throne rooms and religious sanctuaries. The construction is absolutely bewildering. Some of the rooms were cut out of a single stone. The government is now reconstructing the ancient city, making a road to the top and putting a hotel at the site of the ruins. Again, the photos we took will aid in a more detailed description of the place.

Stott and I left our mules at the top and walked down the steep mountain side on the ancient trail, probably made by the Nephites, themselves. We’re both quite badly sunburned. We arrived at Cuzco at 7:00 PM and by 8:30 we were in bed. Slept until 9:00 this morning.

18 Jan Evening—Today after dinner we visited another catholic church–one of the oldest in Cuzco. In it was a pulpit hand carved of the piece of wood–highly detailed, very ornate and very beautifully done. In one of its niches near the top is placed the skull of the man who made it! That’s Catholicism for you!

We then went to the art museum and saw paintings from the Cuzco School of Art. Of course they were all religious themes, and like all other catholic works, depicted the suffering saints and the crucified Christ. We then visited the National Archeological Museum of Cuzco. One of the attendants accompanied us around and gave us a very interesting commentary of the specimens on display. Of special interest were the ceramics which showed the art of the different prehistoric cultures. The oldest specimens are for the most part the most artistic, the most highly colored and the better formed. As we advance in time the specimens lose first their color and second their design. The current theory at the museum supports the claim that the pre-Inca became extinct about 600 B.C. and that a subsequent civilization began at about that time.

After several pointed questions on the subject, I told our guide of the Book of Mormon and its archeological value, and expressed our desire to present a copy to the museum library. He therefore presented us to the director of the museum, who treated us very cordially, listened to our story of the Book of Mormon and expressed his desire to see it. We left for the hotel and returned with the Book of Mormon and Stott’s copy of “America Before Columbus,” by Dewey Farnsworth, which we presented to the director. He in return gave us each the yearly publication of the museum and took our names and addresses in order to send us other museum publications.

When we returned to the hotel, a man on the street stopped us, shook our hands and asked us to come in to his little store and chat for awhile. He recognized us from the church meeting Sunday night, as Bro. Stott sung a solo and we were announced, or presented, as missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ. We told him that we had an engagement at the museum, but would be back to talk with him later. When we returned we talked for about two hours explaining the origin and doctrine of our church, using the bible that he had at hand. We learned that he used to be an altar boy in the Catholic Church, but fifteen years ago he became a protestant, and has been studying the bible. He seems to lead a very Christian life, having taken in two orphans besides his own three children, and having desisted from selling alcoholics in his store. He used to make 200 to 300 soles a day from the sale of alcohol. He has family prayer and bible class every morning. He showed a great deal of interest in receiving some of our material, so we gave him our last Book of Mormon, a Mensajero Deserest, three tracts and the address of the mission office in Buenos Aires, in order to get more information.

We then had supper and went to the Hotel Tourista for an orange aide, where we met the guide who had taken us to Macchu Picchu. He also asked for a book of Mormon, as we had talked to him a bit about it the day before. Since we had none left, we gave him the address of the Mission Office in B.A. and he said that he’d write for one.

We will leave in the morning for Puno. I can only say on leaving Cuzco that I hope someday to be able to return with the knowledge necessary to interpret the interesting signs of this ancient civilization.

22 Jan—Wednesday morning we left Cuzco on the train, retracing our route to Puno. Exprinter agency in La Paz had advised us to spend the night in Puno instead of taking the sleeper on from there to Arequipa. We investigated a bit and found that the Pullman was better than the hotels in Puno, so we were able to change over. However, we had a 3 ½ hour stop in Puno until our train left at 9:30, so after having supper and seeing the town–requiring about a five-minute walk–we went to their little cracker box show house and saw a billing of continuous short subjects–seven shows of Super Mouse in a row! After that ordeal we boarded the Pullman and woke up at 6 AM in Arequipa.

In Arequipa we saw the cathedral and catholic churches and at noon, Thursday, Jan. 20, we were off for Lima in a DC-3. From Arequipa to Lima we saw nothing but barren desert all the way–very desolate and uninhabited. Landed at Lima about 4:30–very modern airport. We had our bags taken to the Hotel Bolivar, changed our schedule with Panagra to fit our modified plans, and proceeded to look up Mr. Donald Beiry and family, friends of Bro. Stott from Riverside, California, having been in Lima for about an year. We found their daughter, Melza, home and more or less diplomatically invited ourselves to stay.

Mr. and Mrs. Biery came home later and treated us very graciously. Friday morning we took care of legal matters incident to leaving Perú, and in the afternoon we went with Melza down town and bought a few articles of Peruvian silver. Then we visited the Archeological and Colonial Museums. The Archeological Museum was very interesting, but w had only an hour so we couldn’t really appreciate it. We then visited their historical museum of the Colonial period. Visited the room where San Martin stayed for two years. We then went to the American Bowling Club, where they sold American ice cream, and ordered a milk shake, then a Sundae, and then a soda. At Biery’s for supper we had ice cream for dessert.

We then went to a show with Mrs. Biery and daughter–“Rachael and the Stranger,” very good show. The following morning, Saturday, Jan. 22, we accompanied Mrs. Biery down town to buy some more silver and see if we couldn’t find an Indian shrunken head. We found one, but the man wanted 980 soles for it–about $60, and we didn’t have the money.

In the afternoon Mr. Biery borrowed an office car and took us for a ride through all the different parts of Lima and out along the beach. Lima, like all other large South American cities–population 1,000,000– has its very small section of very rich homes, a practically non-existent middle class, and a great population of dirt-poor people living in filthy conditions.

In the evening they escorted us to the airport where we went through customs–light inspection and very polite–and then boarded a panagra DC-6 for Balboa. Arrived in Balboa at 2 AM Sunday, after a very luxurious ride. Attended by a hostess and a purser, we enjoyed a very sumptuous meal. The plane was equipped with a club room for men and another for women. We stayed at the airport in Balboa, sleeping in chairs until the plane left for Guatemala at 9:00 AM. Or plane is a DC-4–capacity, 40 passengers and club room. We were just served a very delicious warm dinner, have made 15-minute stops in Honduras and El Salvador. I have definitely come to the conclusion that by air is the only way to travel! We land in Guatemala in about half an hour–2:30 PM.

25 Jan—Arrived Sunday afternoon in Guatemala City. Took a cab from the airport to the town and tried to find the Elders and the church. We searched from 2:30 until 6:00 before we found them. They had Sunday School and Sacrament meeting in the morning, and in the evening we had a fireside. About 30 people, mostly rather intellectual, attended. Stott sang a solo and I accompanied him. Afterwards we slept in the missionaries’ pensión, and early Monday morning we left for the town of Escuintla and the farm, Los Cerritos, arriving after a very interesting three-hour trip.

We had dinner, cleaned up, and went down with Bro. Stott’s father to inspect the machinery on the farm. This farm seems to be the largest citronella production center in the world. The owner, Mr. Kilhaem, has a corner on the citronella market. They are installing new equipment for the separation of the oil from the grass. In the evening we sang songs and then went to bed.

This morning Bro. Stott got his father’s ‘48 Chevrolet pick-up, and accompanied by Mrs. Stott (second marriage), we took a trip to Antigua–a two hour ride from the jungle to about 5,000 feet above sea level to between two large volcanoes. Antigua is the old capitol of Guatemala, destroyed once in 1773 by an earthquake and once by flood when water filled the crater of a volcano, whose side collapsed and released the lake of water. We took pictures of the many ruined churches, ate dinner in a very fancy, modern hotel and arrived home about 5:00 PM.

27 Jan—Wednesday, Jan. 26, after an early breakfast, we donned our old clothes, mounted our saddle horses and struck out for the Indian mounds. After a half-hour ride through citronella fields we came to three large mounds, the largest about 50 feet high, 100 feet wide and 200 feet long. We tried to ride our horses to the top, but the jungle growth was so dense we could not get through without machetes. So we went to the second mound, left the horses down below and made our way about half way up the side of the mound, cleared away the brush and started digging.

The tropical sun was so hot that we soon felt faint, so we built a teepee-type shelter of sticks and vines to shade us from the sun and continued digging until noon. About a foot under the surface we came to a layer of rough, uncut boulders, hauled up from the nearby river. These we removed and continued digging downward for about five feet. Then we dug back into the hill, but our only discoveries were a few broken bits of ceramics, found about 2 ½ feet under the surface. These shards were of solid black, red or cream color, without design. At noon we came back to the ranch house for dinner and then returned and continued digging until about 4;30, at which time we went down to the nearby river and went swimming in a slow-moving, deep part, just below some rapids. The water was very warm and trees overhung the cliffs that bordered one side of the river, and long vines hung down from the branches almost to the water–very picturesque.

30 Jan—Thursday after dinner we left Guatemala City with Mr. and Mrs. Stott in the Chevrolet pick-up and spent the afternoon making purchases. In the evening we dined at the Pan-American Hotel and then spent the night with the Elders in their pensión. Friday morning we shopped again and at 3:45 our plane, a Pan American DC04, took off for Mexico City, We were about 14 kilos overweight, they charges us $4.50 each for access baggage. We had a very beautiful trip up the west coast of Mexico and landed at 8:30 PM. We were detained in customs until nearly 10 PM, after which we took a cab to Calle Ebro, 34, where we were to stay with friends of Richard Stott, Sterling’s brother.

The next morning, Saturday, we went down town to look the town over and so some buying, and in the afternoon we went to the “Teatro de Bellas Artes” where we saw an art exhibition of Mexican painters. Then we took a bus to the Mission home, where we chatted with the Elders. President Pierce was away on a trip.

2 Feb—Sunday morning we went to Priesthood meeting the Emita Branch, followed by Sunday School and then Sacrament meeting. In Sacrament meeting we sat on the stand and helped the choir sing. Bro. Stott was called on to give the first talk and then I. Then Stott sang a solo. After church we attended baptismal serviced and then went to the bull fights. The stadium was full and the show started promptly at 4 PM. They killed six bulls, one after the other–two each for three bull fighters.

The program was quite varied and very interesting. One fighter got a horn run through his leg and was sent to the hospital with about an 8-inch wound. A horse rolled on another when it was knocked down by a bull. One bull jumped over the guard rail and broke a horn against the grand stand so the people didn’t think it was sportsmanlike to fight a bull with only one horn, so they made him retire from the ring. It took over half an hour to get the bull out of the arena so they could bring in another one–he was a bit angry.

After the bull fights we went to the mission home to a fireside and then to our hotel. Monday morning we went to the National Museum of Anthropology and saw some very interesting remains, ceramic and monolithics of the Maya and Aztec cultures. In the afternoon we shopped and the evening went to the show “Allá en el Rancho Grande” in Spanish Technicolor–very interesting.

Tuesday morning we took an hour and a half bus ride to the Aztec pyramids of San Juan Teotihuacán– very interesting. Their structures are of small stones held together with a lime cement. A high type of architecture, very unique in its style. Over the stones was place a smooth cement-like plaster, and this was colored in red and yellow. The main pyramid is 217 feet high, of four tiers. Its only purpose was to serve as a base for the temple which rested on top.

In the evening we wrote cards and sang songs. Wednesday morning we spent looking for girl’s handkerchiefs. In the afternoon we visited the floating gardens and took a ride in a gondola. In the evening we listened to records of Mexican music.