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.

Monday, June 10, 2019

An M2C blog tells the truth

"Many BYU professors, even on the religion faculty, do not believe the Book of Mormon is historical."

Kirk Magleby, Executive Director, Book of Mormon Central


I'm going to address that statement in a moment, but first I want to discuss the blog that made the statement.

And before I do that, you might be interested in my post about yet another Kno-Why, here:


Back on topic.

The best M2C blog is http://bookofmormonresources.blogspot.com/. If you want to see some of the rationales for M2C, go here. The list of contributors includes "Captain Kirk," aka Kirk Magleby, who posts most of the articles.

Kirk is one of the nicest, smartest people you'll ever meet. He's awesome. On this blog we don't use names because we don't want to jeopardize academic reputations, etc., but Kirk is quite open about his views and is rightly proud of his work. I'm sure he does not mind me discussing his posts from time to time. He knows I think he has a bad case of Mesomania. You'll see the symptoms in nearly every post on the blog.

For example, he has a recent post claiming that "many waters" refers to salt water, not large bodies of water, because he wants to exclude the Great Lakes from consideration in Book of Mormon geography.

He writes: "Many waters" is one of the few terms actually defined by the editor in the text itself. 1 Nephi 17:5 is explicit. Irreantum or many waters refers to the sea.

The logical fallacy is obvious. Of the 11 instances of the phrase in the text, 9 refer to oceans. The other 2 refer to the area around Cumorah, so Kirk infers that the phrase "many waters" requires salt water.

Every time we see the phrase "many waters" in the text it likely refers to a salt water ocean. This means we should look for hill Ramah/Cumorah seaside.

Here's what the verse actually says:

1 Nephi 17:5 ... And we beheld the sea, which we called Irreantum, which, being interpreted, is many waters.

Sea=Irreantum=many waters.

According to Strong's Concordance, the Hebrew word for sea, yam, is used in the Bible to refer to the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, The Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee, a mighty river (the Nile) and the great basin in temple-court. The first three are bodies of salt water, but the last three are fresh water.


IOW, bodies of water designated as "sea" have one thing in common: a large quantity of water. Salt is irrelevant. The Great Lakes fit the description nicely.

Kirk's analysis here is the kind of logical fallacy that I have to deal with every time I read material published by the M2C citation cartel. 

But it's also the kind of logical fallacy that explains why, as Kirk says, "many BYU professors, even on the religion faculty, do not believe the Book of Mormon is historical."

Trust me on this: Kirk would know.

He has BYU professors working with him at Book of Mormon Central.

BYU fantasy map of the
Book of Mormon
I've been saying for some time now that, without a course correction, members of the Church will eventually conclude that the Book of Mormon is not historical.

We've seen in The Next Mormons that already, 50% of Millennials in the Church don't believe the Book of Mormon is a real history. That statistic surprises me.

I'm surprised even 1/2 of Millennials believe the Book of Mormon is a real history because they're taught to understand the text by referring to fantasy maps developed by CES and BYU.

If I had been taught this fantasy map in Seminary and at BYU, I doubt I would believe the Book of Mormon is a real history.

If I knew my Religion professors at BYU didn't believe it was a real history, I'm pretty confident I would adopt their opinions.

After all, I believed M2C itself when I was a BYU student (and for decades afterwards).

Why would many BYU professors disbelieve in the historicity of the Book of Mormon?

It's simple.

They believed M2C.

By definition M2C is based on the premise that the prophets are wrong about the New York Cumorah. Such a teaching is a sandy foundation that will, eventually, collapse.

3 Nephi 14:24 Therefore, whoso heareth these sayings of mine [and the sayings of the prophets] and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock—

25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.

26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand—

27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it.

Being built on a foundation of sand, M2C is destined to implode. Already, for many people, M2C has imploded, and when it does, if there are no alternative explanations for the setting of the Book of Mormon, people naturally lose faith in the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

Now, what is the solution?

It seems obvious to me that the only solution is to return to the teachings of the prophets, including the teaching of the New York Cumorah.

Those who adhere to the teachings of the prophets are more likely to retain faith in the Book of Mormon than are those who reject the teachings of the prophets.

Most readers of this blog are faithful LDS (including employees at BYU, CES, and COB) who still believe the teachings of the prophets, both about the New York Cumorah and the overall divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon.

My blogs have had about 350,000 page views directly, plus views from other sites that repost them, such as Amazon, moronisamerica.com, Facebook, etc. But that's a small number compared with the millions of members of the Church and the billions of people on earth.

Each of us has a social circle that allows us to discuss these issues from time to time.

Now is the time to do so.

The blog post I quoted at the outset proposes that the solution is conducting an "audit" of the various Book of Mormon geography models.

In a way, that makes sense.

But the audit tool, at least as presented in the blog, includes assumptions that drive the results toward M2C. For example, it treats "land northward" and "land southward" as proper nouns instead of relative terms.

It's the spreadsheet equivalent to BYU's "abstract" fantasy map that reflects the M2C interpretation of the text.

Kirk wrote, "With a robust audit procedure in place, I now predict rapid progress."

I predict that, because of built-in assumptions,

(i) the BYU fantasy map will get a 100% score, along with Kirk's own M2C map, and

(ii) any map based on the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah will fail.

And exactly no one will change their minds as a result. 

Certainly no BYU professors who have already rejected M2C will suddenly believe M2C just because the M2C intellectuals developed a self-serving audit tool to confirm their biases.

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