Established in 1994 as a non-profit organization, Pre-columbian Studies Institute’s mission was and is to be a bridge between the academic world and our readers. We attend conferences and workshops, study new books and journal articles, and subscribe to news feeds, blogs, and email lists. Our purpose is to share evidences from archaeology, epigraphy, and related areas in order to confirm the truth of The Book of Mormon with the hope of strengthening faith and assisting in turning that faith into knowledge. As Lyle Smith, president of PSI, noted in the inaugural issue of the newsletter, “Many of you do not have the time or inclination to research, analyze, and distribute these findings. But most of you do want to know!” Through the years PSI has worked to furnish this service by holding classes and lectures, sponsoring tours to Mesoamerica and Israel, and publishing a newsletter, glyph notes.
The title of PSI’s newsletter, glyph notes, is a play on words based on the familiar study guide series used in academic circles called Cliffs Notes. Glyph sounds like Cliffs and is short for hieroglyph, the basic unit of the ancient Maya writing system found in Mesoamerica. We usually write glyph notes without capital letters because the Maya glyphs do not have capital letters. This idea is carried through in the two reoccurring columns of “glyph clips,” which provides short reports about breaking news relative to the study of ancient Mesoamerica or Israel, and “glyph
quotes,” our inspirational column. The Maya glyphs on the front page, which have been a part of the publication since the first issue, are units of time or calendar glyphs that equate respectively to the 15th of the months of January, March, May, July, September, and November.
Pre-Columbian Studies Institute began in 1994. The first issue of glyph notes showed up in mailboxes in November of that year. This four-page inaugural issue included an interview with the new officers of the organization: Lyle L. Smith, president; Vim Horn, vice president, and Don Beebe, secretary/treasurer. Don Beebe served as secretary/treasurer for many years and president from 2005 to early spring of 2011 when Lyle Smith once more became president. Clyde Noren became treasurer in 2005 and his wife Margaret took on the role of secretary. Due to health issues, both Don and the Norens requested to be relieved of some of their responsibilities in 2012.
Ted Combs joined PSI as treasurer to replace Clyde. Ted worked at Commerce Bank, downtown Kansas City, and resides in Independence, Missouri. Ted, and his wife Liz, who works part-time at the Grain Valley branch of the Mid-Continent Library, have traveled with PSI Tours several times. Liz assumed duties as secretary for PSI also in 2012.
Both Don and Clyde served PSI in other capacities, including teaching classes and giving presentations. Beginning in 1997, Clyde began writing for the column “glyph quotes” in glyph notes. Through the intervening years others also contributed to this column but Clyde created most of them. We appreciated his wisdom and thoughts about the Scriptures. When Clyde stepped down, Eric English and Kevin Anderson stepped up to the plate and shared this task.
Don’s many talents included photography, and he was the “official” photographer on PSI sponsored tours. Many of the photographs seen in glyph notes were taken by Don. One of the objectives in the beginning of PSI was to provide educational videos with footage taken on the tours. Several were produced, but these required enormous amounts of time, and in later years, creation of the videos ceased. These videos, though, are still pertinent and available.
Another area where Don’s help was extremely appreciated was his role in handling the mailing of glyph notes. For 18 years with six issues a year, Don never missed one of those 108 mailings! To fill Don's shoes, Dave and Connie Spivey (Blue Springs, Missouri) took on that important job. Connie had been in charge of mailings for different branch newsletters, and Dave retired after working 40 years at the post office. Gena Martin assisted them. PSI was fortunate to have
their knowledge and willingness to serve in this capacity.
Vim Horn was vice president until 2004 when Glenn Scott assumed that role. But Glenn did much more than serve as vice president. He was on the editorial committee for over 15 years and contributed many of the drawings of glyphs and other graphics for glyph notes. In addition, Glenn contributed numerous excellent articles. His unique background, a career in advertising and marketing and in later years a degree in anthropology, made him an invaluable asset to PSI. His comments and suggestions always enhanced the content in glyph notes, and we depended heavily on his marvelous artistic skills and the articles he provides.
Shirley Heater, whose archaeological training and extensive knowledge of The Book of Mormon, contributed exceptional assistance to PSI. She followed Glenn as vice president and was a member of the editorial committee. In addition, her insightful, faith-building articles provided quality content for glyph notes. Shirley worked on numerous goals in relation to The Book of Mormon—one being an in-depth guide with various maps implementing geography as it’s found in The Book of Mormon.
In the early years of PSI, Sherrie Kline Smith served as editor of the four-page newsletter, which later grew to eight pages, and occasionally twelve pages. In 1995, Lyle and Sherrie moved to China where she continued to edit the newsletter until it became increasingly difficult living so far away. In the summer of 1997, Patricia Beebe graciously assumed editorship, and her steadfastness in this sometimes challenging job deserves a medal! Her humor, kindness, and persistence were so appreciated. Beginning with the March/April 2011 issue, Sherrie once again resumed editing glyph notes, and Pat continued to provide invaluable help on the editorial committee and served as PSI’s vice president.
In 2007, Aaron Presler redesigned glyph notes. He continues to be the primary graphic designer for PSI. His skills as designer and illustrator have served PSI well up to the present. He and Mindy Mulheron collaborated for a time on a children's page in glyph notes called "The Adventures of Beezrom" with Mindy writing and Aaron illustrating each issue. Aaron graduated from Washington University (St. Louis) with a degree in graphic design. He worked as a calligrapher and illustrator at Hallmark before beginning his own design business. along with design and illustration, Aaron writes an occasional article for glyph notes. Mindy joined PSI in 2011 specifically to write Beezrom's stories until the last story was written in 2016. Mindy graduated from Graceland University with majors in Publications design and Communications: english (Writing emphasis) and taught high school English as well as helping with congregational newsletters. A collection of those children's pages was published in 2016 by PSI and is available in digital or print form. "The Adventures of Beezrom" can also be downloaded from this website.
Recently, Sallie Presler became vice president. She and her husband, Aaron, have been involved with PSI since their first tour in Mesoamerca in 2001 and love the exciting news coming from Central America and Mexico that validates the history found in The Book of Mormon. When health concerns made it difficult for the Spiveys to continue in their positions with PSI, their long time assistant, Gena Martin, filled that void on the board of PSI.
Over the years, others have served PSI in different ways like Joy Muir (who contributed the column “Joy Line” for many years), Tim Rafferty, Cliff Herod, Barent and Barbara Eliason, and Dale Machart, to mention a few. Our many volunteers have worked so faithfully and have accomplished much. Together we have seen miracles and the Lord’s blessings again and again. We look forward to a great and blessed future.
glyph notes has been published continuously since 1994. It's purpose is to publish information about connections between The Book of Mormon and archaeology and bring them to readers interested in the growing evidence being discovered.
Research comes from site visits in Mesoamerica, often during numerous tours offered through the years; museums and exhibits like the recent Maya exhibit in Kansas City; and seminars, classes and workshops given by archaeological studies departments of universities.
One of the objectives in the beginning of PSI was to provide educational videos with footage taken on the tours. Several were produced, but these required enormous amounts of time, and in later years, creation of the videos ceased. These videos, though, are still pertinent and available.
PSI has sponsored many tours through the years, primarily to Mesoamerica to explore The Book of Mormon connections to New World archaeology, and to Israel to explore The Book of Mormon connections to Old World archaeology. You can read about our most recent trip in glyph notes, 1st Quarter 2020 issue.
Products are available from PSI, such as The Adventures of Beezrom, a booklet that teaches children about The Book of Mormon using entertaining stories and fun activities; Five Major Book of Mormon Studies, power point presentations created by Lyle L. Smith; and, soon to be published, a compilation of "glyph quotes" written for glyph notes through the years printed as a devotional booklet.
Website design by Aaron Presler