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.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Getting through the gauntlet

Every time I venture into Palmyra or visit the Hill Cumorah I run into people who ask me about M2C. Today a couple stopped me to ask about the Oliver Cowdery memorial. They didn't see it on route 21 (the road to Canandaigua that passes by the Hill Cumorah). I explained we've moved to a better location in downtown Palmyra. Then they asked about the Museum of the Book of Mormon, which I explained is in the Latter day Harvest bookstore next to the Grandin building.

BTW, that bookstore has been packed all week long.

I empathize with those of you who have to deal with M2C supporters.

Some are so aggressive you might feel like you have to run the gauntlet, like in this video.

But like in the video, you'll get through it. The M2C arguments are so dated, irrational and boring that when you listen to them, you are incredulous that people actually believe what they're saying.

The main point, as I've mentioned before, is don't contend with them. Don't argue. They'll get emotional, but just remain calm and rational. Tell them what the prophets have taught about Cumorah (more on that tomorrow).

We don't care if they choose to believe M2C. If it works for them, fine. We're not trying to change anyone's mind. We just like to share what we've learned so people can make their own informed decisions.

It's only open-minded people who are receptive to new ideas, and M2C believers are, by and large, the opposite of open-minded. They're victims of censorship at the hands of the M2C citation cartel, but they think they know everything.

The M2C problem is fading, anyway. 

It's probably selection bias, but I run into very few M2C supporters any more. Everywhere I travel (Africa, Europe, throughout the U.S.), if the topic comes up, people ask what I think about Book of Mormon geography. I tell them I believe what the prophets have taught about the New York Cumorah. Most of the time, people say, "I do too. That Mesoamerican [or Mayan, or Central America] stuff never made sense to me."

Once in a while, I'll run into someone (either in person or online, such as the troll Dan Peterson likes who has an ad hominem web site) who still supports M2C. Even online, their emotions are right at the surface.

Most of them online are employees of Book of Mormon Central, doing their job. We can't expect them to do anything but support M2C while they work for that organization. Sometimes you'll meet someone else who still believes M2C, but usually they have read only material produced by the M2C citation cartel of BYU Studies, the InterpreterMeridian Magazine, and/or Book of Mormon Central, plus their followers at Fairmormon.

Again, don't feel like you need to convince them of anything. Just let them know you accept what the prophets have taught and all the evidence that supports the prophets and leave it at that.

Today some other people asked me why the BYU scholars continue to promote M2C. I explained that it's not all BYU or CES employees who promote M2C; it's really just a handful who control the M2C citation cartel

"Okay," they said, "but why does that handful continue to promote M2C? It just doesn't make any sense."

"I agree M2C doesn't make sense," I said. "It's a psychological issue. Facts don't matter to bias confirmation; people only see what they want to see."

"But aren't they supposed to use critical thinking, even of their own theories?"

"Yes, but that is very difficult when you've been teaching thousands of students over decades. At this point, the M2C intellectuals have so many sunk costs that they refuse, or are unable, to consider the evidence that supports the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah."

"How did we get into this situation in the first place?"

I quickly reviewed the history.
-Alexander von Humboldt called Panama a "neck of land" in his popular book published in 1805 and sold in Palmyra in 1819
- the Pratt brothers interpreted the Book of Mormon to refer to Panama
- the anonymous 1842 Times and Seasons articles written, edited and published by Benjamin Winchester, William Smith, and W.W. Phelps, just after Joseph rejected the Pratt notion in the Wentworth letter and just as Joseph reaffirmed the New York Cumorah in D&C 128:20
- RLDS scholars in the late 1800s invented the "limited geography" Mesoamerican and the two-Cumorahs theories (M2C) just as Joseph F. Smith republished Letter VII in the Improvement Era and sought to purchase the Hill Cumorah in New York
- LDS scholars adopted the RLDS position over the objection of LDS leaders
- Through the academic cycle, M2C intellectuals promulgated M2C throughout CES and BYU
- Revisionist historians embraced Mormonism Unvailed (the stone-in-the-hat) and rejected the response by Joseph and Oliver in Letters I-VIII

"It's unbelievable that they would stick with M2C," the people said.

All I could do is agree.

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