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.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Mothers of Invention - your own Cumorah

How to invent your very own Cumorah

[adapted from a post on November 2016]

While necessity is the mother of invention, a desire to see the world may also work as a motivator to invent things. 

The text of the Book of Mormon is flexible enough to let you invent your own Hill Cumorah pretty much anywhere in the world.

If you like Eritrea, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Chile, Peru, Panama, Guatemala, Yucatan, southern Mexico, Baja... Take your pick or add your own favorite.

No problem. No problem at all.

Of all the places I've visited, I'm thinking the south of France would be a fun place to put Cumorah. I could visit there often to do research. Other great places I've visited and would like to spend more time include Rio de Janeiro and the south island of New Zealand.

If you want to invent a Hill Cumorah in your favorite part of the world, you just need to:

1) ignore what the modern prophets and apostles have said* and

2) apply a flexible interpretation of the Book of Mormon text.

An awesome explanation for how to invent your own Cumorah is provided by our friends at FairMormon, here: 

This may be the single most preposterous article at FairMormon, and that's saying a lot. If I had the time, I'd go through, line by line, and itemize the logical and factual fallacies of this piece. By now, readers of this blog can do that on their own anyway.

One classic rhetorical trick FairMormon uses frequently is on full display here. This is where you omit references that contradict your thesis, while purporting to discuss all the relevant information. Unsuspecting readers have no idea that they are reading a highly selective, misleading "analysis" of the issue.

For now, I'll briefly comment just on the headings. Throughout, when I refer to Cumorah, I mean the Cumorah of Mormon 6:6, the scene of the final battles of the Nephites and Jaredites.

The Church has no official position on any New World location described in the Book of Mormon

Several Church leaders have declared that Cumorah is in New York, including members of the First Presidency speaking in General Conference, as I've documented on this blog. By outright repudiating these statements, the Mesoamerican proponents want their followers to believe that nothing stated in General Conference is an "official position" of the Church. According to this approach, "only new revelation following proper procedure, and being accepted by the Church as a whole," constitutes an "official position." Which leads one to wonder why we even have General Conference or any teaching other than the canonized scriptures. The Mesoamerican advocates don't mention that not a single General Authority has ever stated, let alone implied, that Cumorah, is anywhere else but in New York. 

There is no clear indication that Joseph Smith ever applied the name "Cumorah" to the hill in New York

FairMormon skips over evidence such as Lucy Mack Smith's history, in which Joseph referred to the hill as Cumorah even before he obtained the plates. The Mesoamerican advocates want us to believe that in D&C 128, which includes the phrase "Glad tidings from Cumorah," Joseph was referring to a hill in Mesoamerica in the midst of his list of a series of events that took place in New York and Pennsylvania.

A late account from David Whitmer is the earliest possible association of the name with the New York hill

David Whitmer told several people, including Joseph F. Smith and Orson Pratt, about this event. I've explained before that Zina Young asked Edward Stevenson to ask David about it, apparently because she had heard about it in 1832 when David Whitmer and Hyrum Smith baptized her family. This is one of several examples of the effort by Mesoamerican advocates to discredit the Three Witnesses.

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

FairMormon forgets to tell readers that Joseph Smith's personal writings contain very little information at all. For example, Joseph never wrote the words Moroni or Nephi or Bible. They also forget to tell readers about Letter VII here, which Joseph fully endorsed multiple times.

David Whitmer is not told that the hill from which Joseph received the record was called Cumorah, but this usage seems to have nevertheless become common within the Church

This is another attack on the credibility of David Whitmer. They forget to tell readers that Joseph said the messenger had the plates, and that Joseph gave the plates to the messenger before he left Harmony. They forget to explain why the messenger would be taking the plates to Cumorah when Joseph and Oliver were heading for Fayette to finish the translation. I've actually had Mesoamerican advocates tell me that this messenger was on his way to Mesoamerica when David, Oliver and Joseph met him on this occasion. 

The Book of Mormon text indicates that the Hill Cumorah in which the Nephite records were hidden is not the same location as the one where Moroni hid his plates

This is one of the funniest claims on the FairMormon website. Basically they're claiming that Joseph and Oliver didn't study the text closely enough to realize the Hill Cumorah cannot be in in New York. This is a classic example of how intellectuals can use sophistry to deny the obvious. Joseph and Oliver had personal experience with the Nephite repository in the New York hill. Orson Pratt explained that the repository was in a department of the hill separate from the stone box in which Moroni concealed the plates. Yet these intellectuals, as FairMormon claims, "conclude that they (i.e., Cumorah and the New York hill) could not be the same."

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

Clever rhetoric here. These self-styled "scholars" have arrived at the "realization" that they were right all along. It's no longer a theory in their minds; they have "realized" the "truth." 

There are 13 geographical conditions required for the Book of Mormon Hill Cumorah

These "conditions" are the product of circular reasoning. They were concocted by the same guy who wrote the entry in Encyclopedia of Mormonism that was plagiarized for a phony fax from the office of the First Presidency which FairMormon and other members of the citation cartel cite as evidence of Church policy, while they also deny that statements made by actual members of the First Presidency in General Conference are not Church policy. 

Joseph Fielding Smith, before he became President of the Church, argued for a New York location as the scene of the final battle

Hmm. FairMormon doesn't show readers what JFS actually wrote. Instead, they sanitize it for readers by summarizing it and then arguing against it. Here's what he wrote: "Because of this theory some members of the Church have become confused and greatly disturbed in their faith in the Book of Mormon.” The first time he issued his warning about the two-Cumorahs theory, JFS was Church Historian and had been an apostle for 20 years. The second time he issued it, he was President of the Quorum of the Twelve. But to Mesoamerican scholars, he didn't know what he was talking about and he was wrong. I think most members of the Church can see that President Smith's warning has been vindicated. We see the evidence all around us in terms of lost testimonies and confused investigators. 

Joseph Fielding Smith acknowledged that this was his opinion, and that others were entitled to their own opinions regarding this subject

Any LDS who accepts the Articles of Faith must agree that others are entitled to their own opinions. No one has to believe anything. What FairMormon forgets to tell you is that their "analysis" of JFS's views is based on a 40-year-old recollection by a student in Sidney Sperry's class, recalling what Sperry said JFS said. FairMormon wants you to believe this compound hearsay instead of JFS's written warnings.

No actual archaeological digs have been performed at the site to actually attempt to find artifacts

In this paragraph, FairMormon tells us that even if they find artifacts on Cumorah (and boxes full of artifacts have been found there), it doesn't prove the site was Cumorah because war artifacts "can be found all over the country in a great many sites." Another of my favorite FairMormon logical fallacies. 

The Book of Mormon does not state that the plates of Mormon were buried in the Hill Cumorah: All of the other records except the gold plates were buried there

By "plates of Mormon" they mean the plates Mormon gave Moroni. You can read the goofy "logic" in this paragraph, but of course the text never says Moroni didn't bury the plates in the same hill where his father hid the Nephite plates in the repository. FairMormon forgets to tell readers that Moroni told Joseph Smith the record was "written and deposited" not far from his home near Palmyra.

Moroni wandered for 36 years before burying the plates of Mormon

Moroni returned to the Hill Cumorah to get the plates of Ether, and probably a second time to get the sermons and letters of his father. FairMormon wants readers to think "Moroni could easily have eventually come to modern New York state" from southern Mexico.

Ancient militaristic texts, including those of the Bible, frequently exaggerated the numbers involved in battle for their own propagandistic purposes

FairMormon wants readers to think Mormon wrote propaganda.

Brigham Young related a story about how the plates were returned to Moroni in a cave in the Hill Cumorah

FairMormon dismisses the statement by Brigham Young, which he related two months before his death so the events would not be forgotten. They also dismiss the statements of Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, and others, who describe the respository as a room with a stone shelf, etc. 

The geologic unlikelihood of a cave existing within the drumlin in New York called "Hill Cumorah" suggests that the experience related by the various witnesses was most likely a vision

FairMormon wants people to believe that Joseph, Oliver, Don Carlos and others somehow shared a vision of a hill in Mesoamerica that they visited multiple times and spoke about on several occasions. FairMormon also wants readers to believe that Moroni could transport the plates to and from Mexico at will. You probably don't believe that an LDS scholar would make such claims, so please read the FairMormon explanation and see for yourself.


I put together a video that shows how to manufacture a Hill Cumorah in Mexico. It's based on one of my favorite blogs to follow. You can use the same techniques described on that blog to put Cumorah wherever you want.


I also put this one one of my DVDs for anyone interested.

*Note: You'll notice in the video how important it is to start with step #1. Don't skip step #1. This is the key to manufacturing your own Cumorah. If you make a mistake and pay attention to what the modern prophets and apostles have said, you pretty much have to stick with the Cumorah in western New York, a couple of miles south of Palmyra. That's not nearly as fun as inventing your own Cumorah in southern Mexico or wherever else you want.

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