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.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Roots Tech handout

We had a great time at Roots Tech yesterday. (Today we're in Boston). After several conversations it became apparent that a handout would be useful, so I put one together.

Here are my observations from Roots Tech.

Most members of the Church still believe the Hill Cumorah is in New York. Relatively few realize that LDS intellectuals have been teaching a "two-Cumorahs" theory. When they hear about this, they are skeptical.

Then when I show them Letter VII and the other teachings of the prophets that confirm Letter VII, they are even more perplexed by M2C (Mesoamerican/two Cumorahs theory).

Inevitably, they ask why the intellectuals promote M2C. I usually explain that they originally thought they were vindicating what they thought were Joseph Smith's statements in the Times and Seasons. Now that we realize Joseph not only didn't write those anonymous articles, but he had no involvement with them, the intellectuals claim those articles were not the basis for M2C. This revisionist history doesn't work, though; as I've shown, M2C originated specifically because of those anonymous articles.

Now, M2C has a life of its own, thanks to confirmation bias. The M2C intellectuals will continue to insist that the illusory correspondences between Mayan civilization and the M2C interpretation of the Book of Mormon are valid, but they have the fundamental problem that they are repudiating the prophets for no reason except to defend M2C.

Education is the key.

Once members of the Church learn what the prophets have consistently taught, it's an easy choice between the prophets and the intellectuals. The M2C intellectuals argue that the prophets were merely expressing their opinions and that they were wrong, but that's an ineffective argument for most members of the Church.

This is why the M2C citation cartel never publishes articles from those who support the New York Cumorah and the North American setting (Moroni's America and the Heartland). They know that most members of the Church will reject M2C if they are presented with both settings on a side-by-side basis.

As a reminder, the M2C citation cartel includes FairMormon, BYU Studies, BookofMormonCentral, the Interpreter, Meridian Magazine, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute, and BMAF.org. All of these groups collude to suppress information that contradicts M2C, as do many BYU/CES teachers, including those who teach the Book of Mormon classes at BYU. They all reject the prophets as ignorant speculators who misled Church members about the New York Cumorah for 180 years.

As if that's not bad enough, when members learn about all the evidence that corroborates the prophets, they reject M2C completely.

That's why, in the Internet age when the M2C citation cartel cannot continue to suppress information forever, M2C is destined to disintegrate.

I'll resume the Cumorah series next week, when we will get into the evidence.

For now, here is my handout. Feel free to share it.

Page 1

Roots of Church History – Prophets vs Scholars – the Hill Cumorah and Letter VII

Most members of the Church still believe the Hill Cumorah is in New York, a few miles from Palmyra.

Church leaders have consistently taught this for over 160 years. No member of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve has ever taught Cumorah was anywhere other than New York. New discoveries in Church history validate this teaching.

However, some intellectuals in the Church—including faculty at BYU and CES—promote the theory that the Book of Mormon took place in Central America (Mesoamerica). This theory teaches that there are “two Cumorahs.” They admit that Joseph Smith got the plates from the hill in New York (one Cumorah), but they rationalize that New York is too far from Central America (Mesoamerica) to be the scene of the final battles of the Jaredites and the Nephites. They also claim Mormon’s depository (Mormon 6:6) is somewhere in Mexico.

These intellectuals are teaching their students that the prophets and apostles are wrong about the New York Cumorah.

Because these intellectuals have trained thousands of LDS students at BYU and CES, their ideas have permeated the Church. The “two-Cumorahs” theory is on display every time you see a depiction of the Book of Mormon in Mesoamerica. This theory has caused confusion among members and investigators. But the teachings of the prophets are clear and consistent.

1. In 1834, with the assistance of Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery published a series of eight essays (in the form of letters) about Church history in the Church newspaper titled The Messenger and Advocate, in Kirtland, Ohio. The essays responded to anti-Mormon publications that were disrupting the missionary effort. These were the first “Gospel Topics” essays. A portion of Letter I is included as a footnote in the Pearl of Great Price at the end of Joseph Smith—History.

2. In Letter VII (July 1835) President Cowdery described the Hill Cumorah in New York. He explained that “at about one mile west rises another ridge of less height, running parallel with the former” and declares it was a “fact that here, between these hills, the entire power and national strength of both the Jaredites and Nephites were destroyed.” He emphasized that “in this valley fell the remaining strength and pride of a once powerful people, the Nephites.” “This hill, by the Jaredites, was called Ramah; by it, or around it, pitched the famous army of Coriantumr their tent… The opposing army were to the west, and in this same valley, and near by.” He also explained that Mormon’s depository of Nephite records (Mormon 6:6) was in the same hill.

3. Joseph’s scribes copied the essays into his personal history, which you can read in the Joseph Smith Papers in History, 1834-1836. (go to www.josephsmithpapers.org and search for “Letter VII.”)

4. Letter VII was originally published in the Messenger and Advocate (1835) and copied into Joseph Smith, History, 1834-1835, shortly thereafter. It was republished in the Millennial Star (1840), the Times and Seasons (1841), the Gospel Reflector (1841), a special pamphlet in England (1844), The Prophet (1844), and The Improvement Era. Joseph referred to it in D&C 128:20, which was originally a letter published in the Times and Seasons a year after Letter VII was published in the same newspaper.

5. Over the years, multiple members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, speaking in General Conference, have affirmed the New York Cumorah. Other apostles have affirmed Letter VII, including Elder James E. Talmage in Articles of Faith and LeGrand Richards in A Marvelous Work and a Wonder.

6. Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff and others explained that on multiple occasions, Oliver and Joseph had actually visited Mormon’s depository of records in the Hill Cumorah, which explains why President Cowdery wrote that it was a fact that Cumorah was in New York.

7. When the Mesoamerica/two-Cumorahs theory began to be accepted by LDS intellectuals, Joseph Fielding Smith, then Church Historian and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, wrote that “Because of this theory some members of the Church have become confused and greatly disturbed in their faith in the Book of Mormon.” His prophetic warning against the efforts of the intellectuals is even more valid today than it was when he originally published it.

8. Although the consistent, repeated teachings of the prophets and apostles settle this question, there is also evidence from archaeology, anthropology, geology, and geography that supports the New York Cumorah as the scene of the final battles of the Jaredites and the Nephites. There are dozens of archaeological sites in western New York, dating to Book of Mormon times, that contain artifacts from the Ohio Hopewell civilization (the archaeological and anthropological term for the Nephites).

More information is available in these books by Jonathan Neville, MS, JD, and on these web pages.

Moroni’s America
Letter VII: Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery Explain the Hill Cumorah
Whatever Happened to the Golden Plates?
The Lost City of Zarahemla
email: lostzarahemla@gmail.com

Page 2:

How LDS intellectuals are teaching the youth to disbelieve the prophets and apostles.
The prophets have consistently taught that the Hill Cumorah of Mormon 6:6 is in New York.  However, for the last few decades, certain LDS intellectuals have been promoting a theory of Book of Mormon geography that puts the Hill Cumorah somewhere in Southern Mexico. This Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory is being taught at BYU and in CES. These intellectuals are teaching our youth that the prophets and apostles are wrong about the New York Cumorah.

Of course, this opens the door for the intellectuals to teach their students that the prophets are wrong about other topics as well. According to the intellectuals, the prophets are correct only when they agree with the intellectuals.

BYU Studies M2C map
One technique the intellectuals use is teaching Book of Mormon classes with maps that show Cumorah anywhere except in New York. For many years, they taught the Mesoamerican map on the left, which is still being featured and promoted by BYU Studies

This map depicts Cumorah in southern Mexico (directly below the ME in Mesoamerica).

All of these maps have one thing in common: they teach that the prophets are wrong about the New York Cumorah.
BYU fantasy map

BYU intellectuals have recently developed a new approach. They have created an “abstract” map on the left which they claim matches “the approximately 550 geography descriptions in the text as closely as possible.” 

In other words, BYU students are being taught that the Book of Mormon doesn’t fit anywhere in the real world. It fits only in this fantasy land. 

According to these intellectuals at BYU, not only are the prophets wrong about the New York Cumorah, but the entire Book of Mormon couldn’t exist in the real world.

CES map
The CES manual also teaches the Book of Mormon by reference to the fantasy map shown below.

Both the BYU and CES maps put Cumorah at the top in an area that looks nothing like western New York. 

Students are never even taught what the prophets have said about the New York Cumorah.
Parents need to understand the teachings of the prophets to prepare their students for what they will be told by the intellectuals who promote the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory.

In the real world, the words of the prophets are fully corroborated by relevant archaeology, anthropology and other discoveries in North America.

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