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Mark Alan Wright

Associate Professor
Ancient Scripture

316 E JSB
Provo, UT 84602

Biography

Bio: Mark Alan Wright received his PhD in Anthropology (with a subfield of specialization in Mesoamerican Archaeology) from the University of California, Riverside in 2011, and his BA and MA in Anthropology from UCLA (2003) and UC Riverside (2004). He has conducted fieldwork in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Belize. He began teaching part-time in the Ancient Scripture department at BYU in 2007 and has been full-time since 2011. Prior to BYU, he taught Anthropology at Mt. San Jacinto College (2006) as well as early-morning seminary and Institute classes in Southern California from 1999-2007. He was born and raised in Long Beach, California. He and his beautiful wife Traci (Adjunct Professor of History at Utah Valley University) live in Vineyard, Utah.

Courses Taught: Book of Mormon (REL A 121 and 122), Pearl of Great Price (REL A 327), New Testament (REL A 211)

Areas of Expertise: Classic-period Maya rulership, Mesoamerican writing systems

Research Interests: Ancient Mesoamerican ritual and religion, historicity of the Book of Mormon

Languages: Spanish, Modern Yucatec Mayan, Ancient Maya Hieroglyphs

Education

  • PhD, Anthropology , Mesoamerican Archaeology, institution ( 2011-01-01 - 2011-12-31 )
  • MA, Anthropology , Mesoamerican Archaeology, institution ( 2004-01-01 - 2004-12-31 )
  • BA, Anthropology , institution ( 2003-01-01 - 2003-12-31 )

Professional Citizenship

  • Editor, Associate Editor, Maxwell Institute; Willes Center; Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, 2013-07-01 - 2013-07-31 - Present
  • Board Member, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, 2012-08-01 - 2012-08-31 - Present
  • Other, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Media Production, 2017-02-01 - 2017-02-28 - 2017-04-01 - 2017-04-30
  • Conference-Related Role, New Leaf Group, 2016-03-01 - 2016-03-31 - 2016-12-01 - 2016-12-31
  • Media Interview, History of the Saints Project, 2016-01-01 - 2016-01-31 - 2016-01-01 - 2016-01-31
  • Conference-Related Role, Hawaii International Conference for Social Sciences, 2015-10-01 - 2015-10-31 - 2015-10-01 - 2015-10-31
  • Conference-Related Role, Society for Ethnobiology, 2015-05-01 - 2015-05-31 - 2015-05-01 - 2015-05-31
  • Media Interview, Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2014-01-01 - 2014-01-31 - 2014-01-01 - 2014-01-31
  • Guest Speaker, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2013-10-01 - 2013-10-31 - 2013-10-01 - 2013-10-31
  • Conference-Related Role, Maxwell Institute; Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies, 2013-06-01 - 2013-06-30 - 2013-08-01 - 2013-08-31

Courses Taught

2020

  • REL A 122 : Section 008
  • REL A 122 : Section 010

2019

  • REL A 122 : Section 018
  • REL A 122 : Section 021

2018

  • REL A 121 : Section 014
  • REL A 121 : Section 022
  • REL A 122 : Section 003
  • REL A 122 : Section 009
  • REL A 121 : Section 010
  • REL A 121 : Section 021
  • REL A 122 : Section 004
  • REL A 122 : Section 009

2017

  • REL A 122 : Section 013
  • REL A 122 : Section 015
  • REL A 122 : Section 021
  • REL A 211 : Section 007
  • REL A 211 : Section 022
  • REL A 122 : Section 040

2016

  • REL A 122 : Section 018
  • REL A 122 : Section 019
  • REL A 122 : Section 022
  • REL A 211 : Section 007
  • REL A 211 : Section 022
  • REL A 122 : Section 006
  • REL A 122 : Section 007
  • REL A 275 : Section 014
  • REL A 275 : Section 017
  • REL A 122 : Section 016
  • REL A 122 : Section 020
  • REL A 122 : Section 057

2015

  • REL A 275 : Section 016
  • REL A 275 : Section 018
  • REL A 122 : Section 017
  • REL A 122 : Section 020
  • REL A 122 : Section 023
  • REL A 122 : Section 007
  • REL A 121 : Section 007
  • REL A 121 : Section 009
  • REL A 121 : Section 024
  • REL A 122 : Section 056
  • REL A 122 : Section 057

2014

  • REL A 122 : Section 011
  • REL A 122 : Section 018
  • REL A 122 : Section 021
  • REL A 122 : Section 027
  • REL A 121 : Section 015
  • REL A 122 : Section 003
  • REL A 122 : Section 004
  • REL A 121 : Section 015
  • REL A 121 : Section 018
  • REL A 121 : Section 026
  • REL A 122 : Section 039

2013

  • REL A 121 : Section 059
  • REL A 121 : Section 075
  • REL A 122 : Section 016
  • REL A 122 : Section 023
  • REL A 122 : Section 027
  • REL A 122 : Section 009
  • REL A 122 : Section 029
  • REL A 122 : Section 032
  • REL A 122 : Section 041
  • REL A 122 : Section 043
  • REL A 327 : Section 014

2012

  • REL A 121 : Section 034
  • REL A 121 : Section 058
  • REL A 121 : Section 060
  • REL A 121 : Section 077
  • REL A 122 : Section 011
  • REL A 122 : Section 014
  • REL A 121 : Section 006
  • REL A 122 : Section 003
  • REL A 122 : Section 005
  • REL A 122 : Section 035
  • REL A 122 : Section 044
  • REL A 122 : Section 046
  • REL A 122 : Section 049

2011

  • REL A 122 : Section 015
  • REL A 122 : Section 020
  • REL A 122 : Section 022
  • REL A 121 : Section 006
  • REL A 121 : Section 007
  • REL A 121 : Section 023
  • REL A 121 : Section 025
  • REL A 122 : Section 013
  • REL A 122 : Section 029

2010

  • REL A 121 : Section 046
  • REL A 121 : Section 072
  • REL A 122 : Section 018
  • REL A 122 : Section 008
  • REL A 122 : Section 047
  • REL A 122 : Section 056
  • REL A 122 : Section 057
  • REL A 122 : Section 063

2009

  • REL A 122 : Section 019
  • REL A 121 : Section 020
  • REL A 121 : Section 021

2008

  • REL A 121 : Section 080
  • REL A 121 : Section 094
  • REL A 211 : Section 002
  • REL A 211 : Section 028
  • REL A 121 : Section 003
  • REL A 121 : Section 005
  • REL A 122 : Section 004
  • REL A 122 : Section 065

2007

  • REL A 121 : Section 011
  • REL A 121 : Section 038

Publications

  • Wright MA. November, 2015. Joseph Smith and Native American Artifacts. Lincoln H. Blumell, Matthew J. Grey, and Andrew H. Hedges, editors. Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young Univeristy.

Presentations

  • Hull KM, Wright MA. Ancient Maya Literature: A Performative Approach,” . Hawaiʻi International Conference on English Language and Literature Studies . March, 2020.
  • Wright MA. In the Fields and in the Forests: Mesoamerican Ecology and Cosmology in the Book of Mormon. Book of Mormon Central Conference . April, 2018.
  • Wright MA. Costumed Human Sacrifice as Ritual Deicide in Mesoamerica. AAR-SBL Regional Meeting. March, 2018.
  • Wright MA. The Flower and Song of the Central Mexican Codices. 50th Annual Chacmool Conference. November, 2017.
  • Wright MA, Hull KM. Ethnobotanical Medicines for Treating Snakebites Among the Indigenous Maya Populations of Belize. 19th International Conference on Ethnomedicine and Traditional Medicine. May, 2017.
  • Wright MA, Hull KM. Balancing Blood: An Ethnographic Look at the Mythical and Medicinal Use of Plants among the Mopan Maya of Belize. Lecture to School of Family Life . April, 2017.
  • Wright MA. Homicide or Deicide? The Function of Deity Impersonation in Mesoamerican Sacrificial Rituals. SAA 81st Annual Meeting. In Mesoamerican belief systems, deity impersonation rituals temporarily transformed human agents into divine beings While donning the accoutrements of specific deities during ritual activity, they merged with and became literal embodiments of those gods, essentially becoming both functionally and ontologically divine for the duration of the ritual In rituals of human sacrifice, both victim and executioner were typically bedecked in the costuming of specific gods, indicating that these were also deity impersonation rituals As such, the participants would not have been viewed as mere human actors but rather as literal embodiments of the gods (despite the compulsory nature of the impersonation ritual on the part of the victim) The recognition that these were impersonation events dramatically elevates their cosmological import; ritual human sacrifices were not mere “re-enactments” in the sense that they commemorated or even emulated mythological events, but conceptually and functionally they enabled the sacrifice a living, breathing god. April, 2016.
  • Hull KM, Wright MA. Avian Actors: Transformation and Sorcery in Mesoamerica. 39th annual Midwest Mesoamerican Conference on Archaeology and Ethnohistory. March, 2016.
  • Hull KM, Wright MA. Balancing Blood”: An Ethnographic Look at the Mythical and Medicinal Use of Plants among the Mopan Maya of Belize. NDFS Seminar . March, 2016.
  • Wright MA. Diagnosing Disease in Ancient Maya Art: The Case of Muwaan Chanul Ahn of Palenque. Hawaii International Conference on Social Sciences. October, 2015.
  • Hull KM, Wright MA. Gender, Myth, and Forest Botanicals: Traditional Means of Addressing Issues of Female Health among the Mopan Maya of Belize. Hawaii International Conference on Social Sciences. October, 2015.
  • Hull KM, Wright MA. "Building Blood”: Plants in Medicine and Myth among the Mopan Maya of San José, Belize. 38th Annual Conference of the Society of Ethnobiology . May, 2015.
  • Wright MA. Lost in a Fertile Wilderness: The Perils and Possibilities of Archaeology and the Book of Mormon. Miller-Eccles Group. April, 2015.
  • Wright MA. Ritual and Religion in the Book of Mormon and Ancient Mesoamerica. Why I Believe. April, 2015.
  • Wright MA. The Future of Book of Mormon Research. Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum. October, 2013.
  • Wright MA. Heartland as Hinterland: The Mesoamerican Core and North American Periphery of Book of Mormon Geography. FAIR Conference. August, 2013.
  • Wright MA. The Book of Mormon and the Ancient New World. The Book of Mormon Think Tank. August, 2013.
  • Wright MA. Vitalizing Energies: The Multiple Souls of Maya Individuals. The Soul Conference. June, 2013.
  • Wright MA. Joseph Smith and Native American Artifacts. Church History Symposium. March, 2013.
  • Wright MA. Maya Apocalypse 2012? Relax, It's Not the End of the World. Museum of Peoples and Cultures Invited Lecture. December, 2012.
  • Wright MA. Axes Mundi: A Comparative Analysis of Nephite and Mesoamerican Temple and Ritual Complexes. The Temple on Mount Zion Symposium. September, 2012.
Mark Alan Wright