long ago ideas

“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago." - Friedrich Nietzsche. Long ago, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery conquered false claims that the Book of Mormon was fiction or that it came through a stone in a hat. But these old claims have resurfaced in recent years. To conquer them again, we have to return to what Joseph and Oliver taught.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Once more on Cumorah

I'm getting feedback that I must be misrepresenting the Mesoamericanist position. 

I know how ridiculous the "two-Cumorah" theory sounds, but I didn't make it up. 

Look here, for example. This is FairMormon's answer to this question:

Question: Where is the Hill Cumorah?

Their first answer:

Joseph Smith never used the name "Cumorah" in his own writings when referring to the gold plates' resting place

It is not clear exactly when the New York hill from which Joseph Smith retrieved the gold plates became associated with the name "Cumorah." Joseph Smith never used the name in his own writings when referring to the plates' resting place. The only use of it from his pen seems to be DC 128:20, which uses the phrase "Glad tidings from Cumorah!" In 1830, Oliver Cowdery referred to the records' location as "Cumorah," while preaching to the Delaware Indians, and by 1835 the term seems to have been in common use among Church members.[1]

This an awesome display of rhetoric. Orwellian, some might say...

First, this "only use" is one more use from his pen than any reference to Mesoamerica.

Second, Joseph wrote very little; most of his history, even when it is in first person, was written by others. Are we supposed to reject Joseph Smith-History because it wasn't written "from his pen?"

Third, maybe this is the only use "from his pen" but it is cannonized.

Fourth, FairMormon completely avoids Letter #7.

Now, look at another one of their answers:

Since the 1950s, opinion among Book of Mormon scholars has increasingly trended toward the realization that the Nephite Cumorah and the Hill in New York cannot be the same

This is is more awesome rhetoric. 

First, this is "opinion among Book of Mormon scholars." Not "some" or even "most" such scholars. IOW, if you don't agree, then according to FairMormon, you're not a "Book of Mormon scholar."

Second, the Mesoamerican setting is not a theory; it's a "realization." So the scholars have "realized" something Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith did not. 

Third, what is the genesis of this "realization" anyway? It's the 1842 Times and Seasons articles! It always comes back to that.

Fourth, to top it off, they cite Dallin Oaks ("Elder Dallin H. Oaks recalled his own experience at BYU:")--but his speech says nothing about Mesoamerica or the two-Cumorah theory! This is the worst kind of appeal to authority--when the authority doesn't support the point you're trying to make. 

Another one-Cumorah theory.

Some Mesoamericanists take the approach that there is only one Cumorah--and it is somewhere in Mesoamerica. Here's an example:

The reasoning there is even more convoluted than the two-Cumorah theory, but I just wanted people to know about all the theories Mesoamericanists have put forth. There are lots of variations, of course; since no evidence of the Book of Mormon has been found in Mesoamerica, theoretically the "true" hill Cumorah could be anywhere down there.

Or, it could be where Oliver Cowdery described it....

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