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.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The M2C hoax - part 5 - M2C or bust

Although this series explains how M2C is a hoax, I don't want readers to get the wrong impression.

There's nothing wrong with people believing a hoax if it works for them. There are lots of members of the Church who believe the M2C hoax and feel it increases their faith. That's fine with me. I'm not addressing them.

Millions of dollars are being raised from members of the Church to promote M2C. Employees of Book of Mormon Central are being paid right now to promote M2C aggressively in social media. That's all fine with me. Go ahead and donate to M2C if you want.

What's not fine with me is the way these groups censor the teachings of the prophets and tell people who discover those teachings on their own that the prophets are wrong. That, IMO, is a misguided, short-sighted and ultimately disastrous effort.

There are a lot of Church members--and the vast majority of the world's population--who don't believe M2C. 

Because M2C has managed to establish itself as the default position of the Church (portrayed in the visitors centers, media, art, curriculum, etc.), members and investigators who see M2C as a hoax are confused.

They deserve to know there are alternatives to M2C.

In my view, the teachings of the prophets about the Hill Cumorah in New York are consistent with the text of the Book of Mormon and with known archaeology, anthropology, etc.

I think members of the Church deserve to hear all the facts so they can make informed decisions. 

In most cases, once they hear all the facts, members of the Church recognize M2C for the hoax it is. But not in all cases. And, as I said, that's fine with me.

BYU mythology map of the
Book of Mormon
Our own Articles of Faith let us believe whatever we want, and the Gospel Topics Essay on Book of Mormon Geography emphasizes that freedom.

But we cannot make informed decisions when the M2C citation cartel controls the narrative and insists on censorship.

The youth of the Church cannot make informed decisions when they are taught through CES and BYU that the Book of Mormon took place in a computer-generated fantasy map instead of the real world.

So far, I've focused on Church history to show how M2C is a hoax.

That's not persuasive to M2C intellectuals and their followers, however. With one exception, the M2C intellectuals don't think accounts in Church history have any relevance to Book of Mormon geography.

They recognize that Joseph and his contemporaries all believed and taught that the Hill Cumorah was in New York, but they reject these teachings because they think the prophets were ignorant speculators who misled the Church.

Their explanation is that the accounts in Church history, such as Letter VII and Lucy Mack Smith's history, as well as the General Conference addresses by Presidents Ivins and Romney of the First Presidency, should be used "with caution." This is a euphemism for saying we should not believe these accounts.

The Church historians who wrote the book Saints agree with the M2C intellectuals. They deliberately falsified Church history to erase Cumorah from the record.

Ironically, what they want us to believe instead of the explicit, consistent and persistent teachings of the prophets about the Hill Cumorah are a handful of anonymous articles published in the Times and Seasons in 1842. These articles claimed that ruins discovered in Central America were evidence of the Book of Mormon.

Here is the key point that most LDS people still don't understand.

None of those articles said anything about the Hill Cumorah. 

Whoever was responsible for those articles did not claim the ruins in Central America impacted the New York Cumorah in any way. In fact, Letter VII was published in the Times and Seasons itself in 1841 by Joseph's brother Don Carlos at Joseph's request.

D&C 128:20, which references Cumorah in connection with Moroni and the founding events of the Restoration, was originally published in the same issue of the Times and Seasons that contained one of the anonymous articles about Central America.

And in 1844, Joseph's brother William published Letter VII in the Church newspaper in New York City titled The Prophet. This was in June, just two days after the martyrdom.

Since then, every prophet/apostle who has ever publicly addressed the topic has reaffirmed the New York Cumorah.

Why do the M2C intellectuals claim that these anonymous articles demonstrate that Joseph changed his mind about the New York Cumorah?

Because of their own interpretation of the text of the Book of Mormon!

The M2C intellectuals claim they rely on "the text" of the Book of Mormon and on "correspondences" between the text and archaeological discoveries in Mesoamerica.

In my view, this is a hoax because they are not relying on the text. They are relying on their interpretation of the text, which they developed to fit Mesoamerica. It's pure circular reasoning, driven by anonymous articles published in the Times and Seasons in 1842.

In coming days, we'll take another look at these correspondences.

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