To be clear: I don't think they are apostates.
I have always expressed my sincere admiration and respect for these faithful scholars and teachers and employees who have done so much good through their research and writing on LDS topics. They are good people who are surely doing what they think is right.
Everyone is entitled to believe whatever they want (Article of Faith 11). I don't care what anyone (other than the prophets) thinks about where the Book of Mormon took place. Certainly disagreements about that topic don't rise to the level of apostasy, and I've never said otherwise.
On what basis do M2C intellectuals and their followers accuse me of calling them apostates?
Simply because I have pointed out that the M2C intellectuals have repudiated the teachings of the prophets that the Hill Cumorah is in New York.
They all freely acknowledge this. They justify their position by saying the prophets were only speaking as men, not as prophets, and that they were expressing their personal opinions which, according to the M2C intellectuals, were wrong. To which I respond by quoting President Ezra Taft Benson: "The learned may feel the prophet is only inspired when he agrees with them, otherwise the prophet is just giving his opinion—speaking as a man."
None of this is controversial or new. I'm not speaking for the M2C intellectuals or putting words in their mouths. They have made their position clear for decades now. If I have misstated any of their positions or am wrong about any of this, I've openly called for them to send me a correction. They have my email and phone number. I've spoken with many of them. They all recognize that the fundamental tenet of M2C is that the prophets are wrong about the New York Cumorah.
After all, that's why it's called M2C; The Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory.
Their belief in M2C doesn't make them apostates, at least not in my opinion. I simply disagree with them, and I think we can all agree to disagree about this specific topic.
Anyone who reads my work knows that my main objection is not that the M2C intellectuals have repudiated the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah, but that they don't give their students and readers the information they need to make an informed choice about what to believe.
Another point: There should be no contention in the Church. Years ago I offered to discontinue blogging in exchange for full disclosure about the teachings of the prophets and the evidence that supports those teachings. The M2C intellectuals refused.
My offer remains open.
Although I oppose contention, we learn from 3 Nephi that the only way to avoid contention is to follow the prophets. Yet right now our M2C intellectuals repudiate what the prophets have taught about the New York Cumorah. I think if everyone in the Church agreed to accept what the prophets have taught, we would have no more contention about this issue. And I think most Church members would accept what the prophets have taught if they knew what the prophets have taught.
Consequently, all I seek is full disclosure of actual Church history and the teachings of the prophets.
I think the M2C intellectuals realize that such disclosure would cause members of the Church to reject M2C, which is why they resist full disclosure.
In fact, the same bloggers who claimed I called the M2C intellectuals apostates were themselves unaware of important facts about Church history and relevant sciences, precisely because they have relied on the M2C intellectuals and the M2C citation cartel, and consequently they live inside the M2C bubble.
Here are some of the specific things I object to:
- Students at BYU and CES (seminary and institute) are never told what the prophets have actually taught about the New York Cumorah.
- Keeping students ignorant is not enough, however. The students at BYU and CES are being taught to understand the Book of Mormon with a fantasy map that specifically and explicitly repudiates what the prophets have taught about the New York Cumorah.
- The Church History Department has edited Saints and other materials to omit references that show Moroni taught Joseph the hill in New York was actually the Hill Cumorah and that the Lamanites were the ancestors of the Indians living in New York, Ohio, and Missouri.
- The M2C intellectuals, working through the M2C citation cartel including BYU Studies, the Interpreter, and FairMormon, continue to censor, suppress, and oppose information and ideas that support the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah. When such information does appear, they sow confusion to obfuscate the consistent and persistent teachings of the prophets on this topic, often by conflating the Cumorah teachings with the equally consistent and persistent teaching that we don't know where the other events in the Book of Mormon took place.
Because I don't think M2C intellectuals and their followers are apostates, why would they accuse me of calling them that?
I'm not a mind-reader, but lately they have explained that they actually think they have been hired by the prophets and apostles to guide the Church.
I've been told that because some of them have important Church callings--one of them is a Patriarch in his Stake, for example--I should accept what they teach.
Given this mindset, it's easy to see why they would bristle at criticism. But who, other than the real prophets and apostles and the M2C intellectuals, thinks their Church calling entitles them to speak for God?
I'm 100% fine with the prophets and apostles making this claim.
I'm 0% fine with the M2C intellectuals making this claim.
I do give the M2C intellectuals credit for clever thinking, though. What intellectuals would not love to be in a position where his/her ideas are immune from criticism? What intellectual does not want his/her students to adopt his/her ideas and spread them throughout their careers? That's how the academic cycle functions.
By claiming divine approval of M2C, the M2C intellectuals have taken academic arrogance to the ultimate level.
See the 14th Article of Faith: http://bookofmormonwars.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-14th-article-of-faith.html
Finally, let's do a thought experiment.
Let's say President Nelson visits the Hill Cumorah in New York on September 22, 2018, to commemorate the 190th anniversary of the day when Joseph got the plates the second time. Let's say he reads Letter VII or any of the other teachings of his predecessors about the New York Cumorah, and he says he reaffirms those teachings.
How would the M2C intellectuals respond?
We already know, because they've already responded to all of President Nelson's predecessors. They would say he was merely speaking as a man, giving his private opinion, relying on a false folk tradition, etc.
Now, let's say President Nelson visits the Hill Cumorah in New York on September 22, 2018, to commemorate the 190th anniversary of the day when Joseph got the plates the second time. Let's say he reads Letter VII or any of the other teachings of his predecessors about the New York Cumorah, and he says he repudiates those teachings because the Hill Cumorah is actually in Mexico.
How would I respond?
We already know, because I've already responded to all of President Nelson's predecessors. I would say I accept what the prophets teach, and I would align my thinking to President Nelson's.
It really is no more complicated than this.