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.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

One more week

I'm almost finished with this blog.

Next week I'm going to post a final message that will summarize what I've tried to do since I started the blog. Everything else will be moved to other sites and venues.

The title "Book of Mormon Wars" was intended as a metaphor for the debates among the various proponents of different ideas about Book of Mormon geography. Anyone who has read publications by BMAF, the Interpreter, late-stage FARMS, and related outlets knows why I used the "war" metaphor.

Some people object to the title because of the connotation of contention. I didn't intend it that way--I've sought from the outset to facilitate consensus about these issues--but I understand the objection. Some people think I've been divisive, and I can understand that, too; division is the inevitable result of clarity and difficult, but necessary, choices.

My objective was to clarify decisions by getting to the essence of the various arguments and the evidence cited to support those arguments. For example, I think the choice regarding Letter VII--accept or reject--is simple to understand and quite clear now, along with the ramifications of each choice. Anyone interested in Book of Mormon historicity and geography has a choice to make about Letter VII.

Over the last two years, there has been a shift in approach by many of the people involved with this issue. There has been a desire for more civil and objective discussions, which I welcome.

There have been tens of thousands of hits to this blog from around the world. There are so many posts now that it is difficult to keep up. The subject matter is arranged chronologically, not by subject. True, you can search for terms, but many people have suggested that I organize the material into discreet subject-matter blogs. That's a great idea, so I'm implementing it.

I also want to make the content more easily accessible to more people, and that's the direction I'm heading. The title of the blog alone has been an obstacle to many readers, one of many barriers I'm removing.

I'm still hopeful that every member of the Church will read Letter VII in 2016--at least, every member who has given thought to Book of Mormon geography and Church history. If every reader of this blog shared it with someone else, and then that person shared it with... You know the math.

There are lots of posts I've written but never published. I'll put those on the subject-matter blogs.

I set out to explore issues of Book of Mormon geography. I'm not aware of any major issues I have not addressed. There are many articles and books I have not specifically posted about, but I have written about them and may, eventually, get around to publishing my comments elsewhere. There are also many different geographies that I have not specifically addressed, but to me, it's a binary decision: You either put Cumorah in New York, or you don't. If you don't, it doesn't matter where you put it.

Subscribers to this blog can subscribe to the new blogs according to your interest in Cumorah, Church history, reviews of LDS publications, etc.

I hear from many readers, and I encourage you to keep writing and commenting on the various blogs.

From my perspective, I think LDS people are moving toward a consensus about the setting for the Book of Mormon being in North America. That setting and the supporting evidence is highly motivational. People are getting into the text as a result, which is the ultimate reason why we help people understand that the people and places of the Book of Mormon are real.

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome. Thanks for sharing! I've talked to others also who shy away from the blog based on its title.

    I think that I can say for myself, the text means something else to me that it didn't before. I feel like I can apply more life experiences in ways I hadn't before to my reading of the Book of Mormon. I appreciate all the stuff you've done here, free of charge, and I feel that I have benefited greatly with all the information presented to me here, through this medium.

    I've mentioned before, I served in central america. It never felt quite right to place the Nephites and Lamanites there completely. I feel it was meant for another covenant people. I'm confident that we'll know who they were in due time.