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.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Radical new idea for intellectuals to consider

Some intellectuals in the Church continue to teach the two-Cumorahs/Mesoamerican theory of Book of Mormon geography. You can see their work at FairMormon, BYU Studies, Book of Mormon Central, and many other sources.

They have been very effective at persuading generations of Latter-day Saints to question and even doubt the veracity of the foundational witnesses of the restoration.

Here's a radical new idea for them to consider. Actually, anyone who has been persuaded or even influenced by them should consider this idea.

What if Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer were reliable and credible witnesses?

Look at some excerpts from Oliver's eight historical letters, for example. Pick out which ones are reliable and credible and which ones aren't.

(Hint: I think they're all reliable and credible, but some of our LDS intellectuals don't.)

Then his voice, though mild, pierced to the center, and his words, "I am thy fellow servant," dispelled every fear. We listened-we gazed-we admired! 'Twas the voice of the angel from glory-'twas a message from the Most High! and as we heard we rejoiced, while his love enkindled upon our souls, and we were rapt in the vision of the Almighty! Where was room for doubt? No where: uncertainty had fled, doubt had sunk, no more to rise, while fiction and deception had fled forever!

There are certain facts relative to the works of God worthy the consideration and observance of every individual, and every society:-They are that he never works in the dark-his works are always performed in a clear, intelligible manner: and another point is, that he never works in vain.

But such facts as are within my knowledge, will be given without any reference to inconsistencies, in the minds of others, or impossibilities, in the feelings of such as do not give credence to the system of salvation and redemption so clearly set forth and so plainly written over the face of the sacred scriptures:

And further, you are also conversant with the fact, that no sooner had the messengers of the fulness [fullness] of the gospel, began to proclaim its heavenly precepts, and call upon men to embrace the same, than they were vilified and slandered by thousands…

and from other items in the sacred scriptures we have the factrecorded where angels appeared and conversed with men, and there was no difficulty on the part of the individuals, to endure their presence; and others where their glory was so conspicuous that they could not endure.

as all men are deeply interested on the great matter of revelation, I indulge a hope that you will present such facts as are plain and uncontrovertible [incontrovertible], both from our former scriptures and the book of Mormon, to show that such is not only consistent with the character of the Lord, but absolutely necessary to the fulfillment of that sacred volume, so tenaciously admired by professors of religion-I mean that called the bible.

You will remember that in my last I brought my subject down to the evening, or night of the 21st of September, 1823, and gave an outline of the conversation of the angel upon the important facts of the blessings, promises and covenants to Israel, and the great manifestations of favor to the world in the ushering in of the ful[l]ness of the gospel, to prepare the way for the second advent of the Messiah, when he comes in the glory of the Father, with the holy angels.

He could not have been deceived in the fact that a being of some kind appeared to him: and that it was an heavenly one, the fulfil[l]ment of his words so minutely, up to this time, in addition to the truth and word of salvation which has been developed to this generation, in the Book of Mormon, ought to be conclusive evidence to the mind of every man who is privileged to hear of the same.

Here was a struggle indeed; for when he calmly reflected upon his errand, he knew that if God did not give, he could not obtain; and with the thought of obtaining, his mind would be carried back to its former reflection of poverty, abuse,—wealth , grandeur, and ease, until before arriving at the place described, this wholly occupied his desire; and when he thought upon the fact of what was previously shown him, it was only with an assurance that he should obtain and accomplish his desire in relieving himself and friends from want.

A history of the inhabitants who peopled this continent, previous to its being discovered to Europeans by Columbus, must be interesting to every man; and as it would develope [develop] the important fact, that the present race were descendants of Abraham, and were to be remembered in the immutable covenant of the Most High to that man, and be restored to a knowledge of the gospel, that they, with all nations might rejoice, seemed to inspire further thoughts of gain and income from such a valuable history.

The soil is of the first quality for the country, and under a state of cultivation, which gives a prospect at once imposing, when one reflects on the fact, that here, between these hills, the entire power and national strength of both the Jaredites and Nephites were destroyed.

By turning to the 529th and 530th pages of the book of Mormon you will read Mormon's account of the last great struggle of his people, as they were encamped round this hill Cumorah. (It is printed Camorah, which is an error.) In this valley fell the remaining strength and pride of a once powerful people, the Nephites

Here may be seen, where once sunk to naught the pride and strength of two mighty nations; and here may be contemplated in solitude, while nothing but the faithful record of Mormon and Moroni is now extant to inform us of the fact, scenes of misery and distress…

This hill, by the Jaredites, was called Ramah: by it, or around it, pitched the famous army of Coriantumr their tents. Coriantumr was the last king of the Jaredites. The opposing army were to the west, and in this same valley, and near by, from day to day, did that mighty race spill their blood, in wrath, contending, as it were, brother against brother, and father, against son. In this same spot, in full view from the top of this same hill, one may gaze with astonishment upon the ground which was twice covered with the dead and dying of our fellowmen. 

The hill of which I have been speaking, at the time mentioned, presented a varied appearance: the north end rose suddenly from the plain, forming a promontory without timber, but covered with grass. As you passed to the south you soon came to scattering timber, the surface having been cleared by art or by wind; and a short distance further left, you are surrounded with the common forest of the country. It is necessary to observe, that even the part cleared was only occupied for pasturage, its steep ascent and narrow summit not admitting the plow of the husbandman, with any degree of ease or profit. It was at the second mentioned place where the record was found to be deposited, on the west side of the hill, not far from the top down its side; and when myself visited the place in the year 1830, there were several trees standing: enough to cause a shade in summer, but not so much as to prevent the surface being covered with grass-which was also the case when the record was first found.

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