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.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

More confused Church history at Temple Square

The prevailing Mesomania-inspired "consensus" has implications beyond Book of Mormon geography. It has created some weird interpretations of Church history. One of the most fascinating is on display in the North Visitors' Center on Temple Square.

Many Church members are incredulous when they discover that LDS scholars and educators are teaching the two-Cumorahs theory to their children, but look what's happening at the Visitors' Center. I've previously discussed the bizarre exhibit in the North Visitors' Center that teaches 3-5 million visitors every year about the two-Cumorahs theory.

As we've seen, that exhibit contradicts what Joseph, Oliver, and all of their contemporaries taught. If you're new to this problem, read the featured post on this blog.

Why is this exhibit there?

Because for decades, LDS scholars and educators have promoted their Mesomania to LDS students, based on a mistake in Church history that has become the "consensus." These students, by and large, accepted that theory and now it permeates LDS culture, arts, and even this display on Temple Square.

In my opinion, this is a travesty. Sooner or later people learn that this display directly contradicts what Joseph and his successors taught about Cumorah being in New York.*

But it gets worse.

Let's take a close-up look at the display of the Cumorah in New York. This is the one that, according to the Visitors' Center and the Mesoamerican proponents, did not contain Mormon's repository of records (Mormon 6:6).

Recall that LDS scholars and educators consider the New York Cumorah to be a "false" Cumorah. They say the name was applied not by revelation or experience, but by a false tradition that Joseph Smith simply accepted for whatever reason. But they say the "real" Cumorah is in Mexico, and that's why they continue these expeditions there to find it, as I've discussed recently here.

The "two-Cumorahs" theory presents all kinds of problems, of course, but this display highlights two of them.

David Whitmer said he saw the brass plates, the plates of Ether, the sword of Laban, and the Liahona. D&C 17:1 tells the 3 witnesses that they

"shall have a view of the plates, and also of the breastplate, the sword of Laban, the Urim and Thummim, which were given to the brother of Jared upon the mount, when he talked with the Lord face to face, and the miraculous directors which were given to Lehi while in the wilderness, on the borders of the Red Sea."

I'm sure you see the problem by now, but I'll point it out for new readers.

(The history of D&C 17 is interesting on its own. I don't have time to discuss that here, but I did in Whatever Happened to the Golden Plates? if you're interested.)

Here's the problem.

Joseph Smith related what was in the stone box to which Moroni directed him. There was a breastplate, the golden plates, and the spectacles (later called the Urim and Thummim). That was it.

Oliver Cowdery provided much more detail about the box and the contents. He said there was a breastplate and the plates. (I discuss the reason why he didn't mention the spectacles in the book.)

Nothing else.

No sword of Laban, no Liahona.

Yet D&C 17 promises the witnesses a view of these artifacts.

The two-Cumorahs theory expects people to believe that the only thing in the hill Cumorah was Moroni's stone box. Therefore, these other artifacts had to be in that stone box. Therefore, this display in the Visitors' Center shows these artifacts being put in the box.

The two-Cumorahs theory requires that Joseph and Oliver simply forgot to relate this detail.

When you read the historical accounts, they tell all about what Joseph did with the plates and the breastplate and the spectacles (Urim and Thummim, or U&T). But no one mentioned the sword or the Liahona!

Why not?

The obvious answer is, they weren't in the box.

And yet this display is teaching millions of people that they were.

This is the kind of mischief the two-Cumorahs theory has to generate. The Mesoamerican proponents have no other explanation. (Well, some say the Lord mysteriously "transported" the sword and the Liahona to New York from Mexico in time for the 3 witnesses to view them.)

On the other hand, if you believe Joseph and Oliver and their contemporaries, Mormon's repository was in another department of the Hill Cumorah in New York. This is where they said they saw the sword and the Liahona and the other plates, etc. No problem for the angel to get the artifacts from here. No need to mysteriously "transport" them from Mexico.

But that explanation contradicts the two-Cumorahs theory, so instead the scholars and educators (and the Visitors' Center) concoct this alternate reality that these items were in Moroni's stone box and everyone just forgot to mention that.

The next part is the letters.

If we believe Joseph and Oliver, then the letters were in the depository. Moroni could get them any time he wanted.

Instead, the Mesomania two-Cumorahs theory requires that Moroni carry the plates, the breastplate, the letters (and the sword and Liahona) all the way from Mexico to Cumorah.

The craziest part isn't the letters, though.

Moroni added to his set of plates twice. Once to add the Book of Ether, and once to add his father's sermon and letters. This means he would have had to either carry these things around with him while hiding from the Lamanites (while also carrying his own plates and the other artifacts), or he would have had to return to the repository twice.

I'll let you decide which makes more sense.

If all of these things took place in New York, it was not a problem.

If he had to return to Mexico twice, that's a problem.

And that still isn't the craziest part.

This is.

When Moroni first visited Joseph Smith, he told Joseph that the record was "written and deposited" not far from his home.

If you didn't know that, you can thank Mesomania.

Oliver gave us the most detailed account of what Moroni told Joseph, and it included this instruction.

Mormon and Moroni wrote the Book of Mormon not far from Joseph's home. 

Once you understand that, everything makes sense.

Except the two-Cumorahs theory.

And except the display in the North Visitors' Center.


*Joseph, Oliver, and others said the one and only Cumorah was in New York. That's where the final battles of the Nephites and Jaredites took place. That's where the repository of Nephite records was, which they knew because they visited it multiple times. The records are no longer there, which we know from David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, but they are not far from there. If this is a new idea to you, read Whatever Happened to the Golden Plates?

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