Thursday, December 12, 2019

We don't know where Cumorah is?

I posted this 3 years ago today. How much have things changed?
__________
BYU's fantasy map that
teaches M2C because
the prophets are wrong
People are still making the claim, promoted by a group of LDS scholars, that we don't know where Cumorah is. 

This is occurring in classrooms around the Church right now: Gospel Doctrine classes, Gospel Principles classes, BYU campus Religion classes, various classes in the Institutes and Seminaries, and in homes or wherever else missionaries (and parents) are trying to teach the Gospel.

If you're a student in one of these settings, you deserve to know what your teacher thinks, so ask. Probably 99% of the teachers don't know enough about the topic to make an informed decision. They haven't read Letter VII or other recent developments in Church history. They've deferred to the handful of LDS scholars who continue promoting M2C against all reason and evidence.

Even worse than the claim we don't know where Cumorah is, I keep hearing reports of BYU professors still promoting M2C in their classes, such as by using the fantasy map. If you read the KnoWhys published by Book of Mormon Central America and republished by Meridian M2C Magazine, you'll see how devoted these people are to the two-Cumorahs theory.

It's actually a nice persuasion tactic for these scholars to say we don't know where Cumorah is. It makes them sound open-minded, when they're anything but that. 

Upton Sinclair wrote, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" 

In this case, it may not be salary, but any of a number of other factors, that cause these scholars and educators to not understand.

I've previously analyzed the intellectual history of the problem, including the development of the so-called "two-Cumorahs" theory. Basically, here's the argument:

1. First, some RLDS scholars concluded that the Book of Mormon took place in Central America (aka, Mesoamerica).

2. They determined that this setting meant New York was too far away to be the location of Cumorah.
 

3. They concluded that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery started, or perpetuated, a false tradition that their successors have continued to perpetuate.

4. They rationalized that there are two Cumorahs; i.e., a fake Cumorah (Moroni's Cumorah) in New York which is merely the place where Moroni buried his plates, and the "real" Cumorah (Mormon's Cumorah) in Southern Mexico which is the scene of the final battles and the place where Mormon hid the repository of Nephite records (Mormon 6:6). Thus, we have the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory (M2C).

5. In the 1900s, some LDS scholars adopted the RLDS idea of M2C and began promoting it through books and courses at BYU. Their students accepted M2C and perpetuated it in their families and eventually to their own students.

6. Also in the 1900s, LDS Church leaders opposed M2C by reaffirming the teachings of their predecessors about the New York Cumorah.
7. The M2C scholars teach that whenever a prophet or apostle says something about Cumorah that contradicts M2C, that prophet or apostle was merely expressing his opinion and was wrong.

8. Other LDS scholars, relying on the two-Cumorahs rationale, have claimed Cumorah is in Baja California, or Panama, or Chile, or any of a number of other places around the world.

Here's a convenient chart for comparison purposes.

People who say Cumorah is in New York
People who say Cumorah is not in New York
Joseph Smith
LDS scholars who promote a Mesoamerican setting for the Book of Mormon
Oliver Cowdery
LDS scholars who promote a Baja Californian setting for the Book of Mormon
David Whitmer
LDS scholars who promote a Panamanian setting for the Book of Mormon
Lucy Mack Smith
LDS scholars who promote a Peruvian setting for the Book of Mormon
Brigham Young
LDS scholars who promote a Chilean setting for the Book of Mormon
John Taylor 

Heber C. Kimball

Wilford Woodruff

Orson Pratt

Parley P. Pratt

Joseph F. Smith

Heber J. Grant

George Albert Smith

Joseph Fielding Smith

Marion G. Romney

Mark E. Peterson

Simple, clear, definitive
Mass of confusion

If you're a student anywhere in the Church, at any age, look at this chart and think for yourself.

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