Apr 6, 2014
3 min read

Yah of the Negev, the American Southwest and the Las Vegas Temple?

In the book The Name of God: From Sinai to the American Southwest, James R. Harris asks the question:

“Was the Shepherd of Israel, known as Jehovah, also known as Quetzalcoatl (The Feathered Serpent), as Pahana, as The Great Mystery, as Gucumatz, or as Kumastramho, by our Lord’s other sheep who left their witness on the rocks of the Negev in Israel, Jordan, the East Desert of Egypt and on the rocks of the American Southwest?” (p.1)

Living in the Las Vegas area of Nevada, I have hiked out to see many of the petroglyphs in New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah so this book by Harris really interests me.

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Harris’ research examines a script called “Old Negev” (a Canaanite script derived from Proto-Sinaitic) which appears on petroglyphs in the Middle East. He shows how these petroglyphs may be translated and understood. This script was used in the Negev from 1200BC to the 6th century BC.

Where it gets really mind-boggling is his hypothesis that a very similar script also shows up in the Southwestern deserts of the United States and Mexico. He provides photos and sketches of these petroglyphs along with his translations. Here is a comparison of Proto-Sinaitic, Proto-Canaanite, Old Negev and some of the signs we find in the American Southwest.

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Here is an example of the name of God, Yah (Yahweh or Jehovah) as it appears on a petroglyph on a mountain called Har Karkom in Israel. The name “Yah” is the black circle with the Y shape protruding from the top, the squiggly lines form the name into a “burning bush”.

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The next page shows how the name Yah is constructed using this symbol.

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Now check this out; below is one of many, many examples of the name “Yah” as it appears in petroglyphs in the American Southwest. This example is taken from the lid of a stone box found in St. George Utah. Harris book provides for the potential translations of many of these petroglyphs that display distinct connections to the Israelite faith.┬áThis one symbol has caught my eye, and as you might be able to tell by the little sketch I made in the book, I’ve made an interesting correlation which I’ll explain next.

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This particular symbol is believed to also be the name “Yah” or Jehovah, and is strikingly similar to the symbol we see repeated all over the Las Vegas temple. The temple is also conveniently situated right in the heart of the Southwest where many of these inscriptions have been found.


I have no idea if there are any connections between all of these symbols, but I find the similarity intriguing. The association between Yah and the burning bush or tree of life finds a direct parallel to the relationship between Jesus and the tree of life that we also find in the scriptures, particularly 1 Nephi 11:8-33. Below is a comparison between the three symbols and the “Tree of Life” symbol card that I produced in relation to LDSSymbols.com.

It’s wonderful to think that the temple is possibly covered with the name of Jehovah and hidden in plain sight. Did the architects know about this research? Why did they pick that particular symbol? Was it┬ájust inspiration, deliberate or just pure coincidence? We may never know.


There’s one other interesting thing I found in the book on page 44. I saw this particular sequence of characters that were interpreted to mean “El (God) Yah (Yahweh or Jehovah)”. Those two characters seemed really familiar to me so I checked where I thought I had seen them together like this before.

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Compare the characters above with the characters below from the so-called Anthon Transcript. The H shape and upturned E shape with the tail are remarkably similar, could those characters below perhaps be translated to read Yahweh El or “Lord God”?


I realize that these associations could be pure coincidence, but what if they aren’t? Further research needs to be done by individuals much better versed in these subjects than I am.

Other references

  1. Link 1
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  3. Link 3
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  5. Link 5