The Dor Scapula and the Tree of Life

The Dor Scapula is a pictograph from the Phoenicians. It shows an Egyptian/Phoenician ship being blessed in a harbor. Near the harbor is a temple gate and in front of the gate is a man raising "his right hand before a sacred 'tree of life,' a motif common in Phoenician art in the 8th to 6th centuries BC" ("Priestly Blessing of a Voyage," Ephraim Stern, Biblical Archaelogical Review, v21 n1, Jan/Feb 95, pg 53).

The scapula displays several ties with Mormonism. First, the tie between Phoenicians and Egyptians in the time of Lehi shows that Egyptian influence was widespread at the time, and that Egypt could easily have influenced Lehi's use of writing, etc.

Second, It shows the importance of temples and blessings. The Nephites used temples extensively in their lives, including blessing the people in their endeavors (see King Benjamin's discourse in Mosiah 2-4).

The Tree of Life motif is very prominent, both in Lehi's dream (2 Nephi 8, 11) and in early Mesoamerican motifs. The Book of Mormon ties the Old World's belief in the tree of life with that of the New World.