There seems to have been a little confusion about my post on the two-Cumorahs display in the North Visitors Center on Temple Square. Those who haven't physically visited the site may have difficulty imagining how the Church could possibly be teaching the two-Cumorahs theory, especially at the most prominent Visitors Center in the world.
I took another photo recently and labeled it to clarify the situation. You should be able to click on it and download the full-sized picture.
|Lower level, North Visitors Center, Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah, December 2016
The labels are mine but are easily inferred from the displays and their placards.
Of course, if we still believed Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, these displays would be combined on one hill--the New York Cumorah. As Orson Pratt described it, Moroni buried the plates in a different compartment of the same hill where Mormon kept the repository of Nephite records.
While we're at it, we'd recognize that Moroni told Joseph that the record was written and deposited not far from his home. Moroni didn't say it was written 1,600 miles away and then deposited near Joseph's home.
These displays are even worse when you see them in context.
Especially if you happen to be there to see children learning that Mormon was a Mayan, while Moroni, by himself, hauled the plates all the way to the distant "hinterland" of New York.
And imagine the millions of investigators walking through the area, concluding Mormons must be crazy.
Seriously, I can't overemphasize how devastating these displays are to the faith in the Book of Mormon. As Joseph Fielding Smith said, this theory causes people to become confused and disturbed in their faith in the Book of Mormon.
Okay, I realize some LDS scholars and educators love this display because they think Joseph and Oliver were clueless speculators who misled the Church. Thanks to the efforts of these scholars and educators, a lot of people have Mesomania (including the designers of this display). Some of them stay active in the Church by suppressing their cognitive dissonance, but more of them leave. Or refuse to talk to the missionaries in the first place. Or cancel appointments as soon as they get on the Internet and realize what the Cumorah deniers are saying about Joseph and Oliver.
On the good side, more and more people are rejecting this Mesoamerican nonsense. But not fast enough.
It's especially, should I say ironic, to have these displays right next to the display on Joseph Smith and the Doctrine and Covenants. Both Joseph personally and the Doctrine and Covenants scripturally refuted the two-Cumorahs theory, but there they are, adjacent to the most conspicuous implementation of the two Cumorahs imaginable.
Because I don't know when this travesty of a display was installed, I don't know how many millions of people have been exposed to this exposition of the two-Cumorahs theory. One person is too many, but millions?
It would be comical if it wasn't such a serious topic.
Actually, I think this is a trial of our faith. Each of us needs to ask ourselves, are we going to follow the scholars who reject the one Cumorah in New York, or the prophets and apostles who have repeatedly taught the one Cumorah is in New York?