A lot of what we think is a difference in opinions is really a difference in knowledge. People think their opinions are based on fact, but that's usually a delusion--especially when they don't have all the facts.
And, as much as we wish it was not the case, we are not getting all the facts from current correlated Church history.
The Come Follow Me 2021 manual is the latest example, but that's because it is correlated with the Saints book.
In a way, this doesn't matter. It's funny, even, that our historians think they can mislead us this easily. Every member of the Church has responsibility to study these things and reach our own conclusions. Delegating our study to our historians, and then believing what they tell us, is a colossal mistake.
True, we should be able to trust them. But they have an agenda different from ours. They promote a version of Church history that they want us to believe. That's fine, but we don't have to take their word for it.
Trust, but verify.
There are many Latter-day Saints who seek to understand Church history the way the people involved did; i.e., we want to understand Church history from the perspective of Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and their associates.
And we're not reading that perspective in the Saints books and correlated materials based on Saints.
The millions of Latter-day Saints who read the Saints book in various languages around the world are reading disinformation designed to accommodate M2C (the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory).before, but I bring it up here because of the Come Follow Me 2021 manual.
The Saints book relies on the Lucy Mack Smith history over 100 times (129 times, according to my kindle version). But when it comes to Cumorah, the historians pretend that history doesn't exist.
We can't read minds, but not only did the historians refuse to correct Saints after I pointed out the obvious errors, one of the primary historians responsible for Saints is the editor of BYU Studies, which continues to promote M2C.
One of the fundamental claims of those who believe M2C is that Joseph Smith never referred to the hill from which he got the plates as Cumorah.
Yet anyone can read his mother's description of what Moroni told Joseph the first time they met:
tell your father of this for he will believe every word you say the record is on a side hill on the Hill of Cumorah 3 miles from this place remove the Grass and moss and you will find a large flat stone pry that up and you will find the record under it laying on 4 pillars of cement— then the angel left him
And later, in early 1827, before he even got the plates:
Presently he [Joseph] smiled, and said in a very calm tone, “I have taken the severest chastisement, that I have ever had in my life”. My husband, supposing it was from some of the neighbors, was quite angry; and observed, “I would like to know what business any body has to find fault with you.”
“Stop, father, Stop.” said Joseph, “it was the angel of the Lord— as I passed by the hill of Cumorah, where the plates are, the angel met me and said, that I had not been engaged enough in the work of the Lord; that the time had come for the record to be brought forth; and, that I must be up and doing, and set myself about the things which God had commanded me to do
Here, we have Joseph's mother quoting him referring to Cumorah even before he obtained the plates. This identification is corroborated by Parley P. Pratt, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery and others. Yet these references were intentionally omitted from the Saints book and all of the correlated materials, including the Come Follow Me manual.
Our M2C intellectuals reject Lucy Mack Smith's account about Cumorah not because she was not credible. If she was not credible, they wouldn't have cited her work 129 times.
Instead, they reject her account regarding Cumorah because they reject all the historical evidence regarding Cumorah.
Again, we ask, why?
Because they are convinced Cumorah is in Mexico, and they want all Latter-day Saints to accept their theory, to the point of actively promoting disinformation and censorship to achieve their goal.
This is why we see millions of dollars promoting the Mark of M2C on so much content, including popular Come Follow Me podcasts and materials.
Look at the Mark of M2C at the top of this Come Follow Me page:
The strange persistence of the claim it was Moroni who showed the plates to Mary Whitmer is worth another look.
The Come Follow Me 2021 manual repeats the Mary Whitmer story from the Saints book (volume 1). This ridiculous story has become so widely accepted that people call you an apostate for pointing out that it both
(i) contradicts the historical evidence and
(ii) contradicts basic doctrine about the resurrection.
By now, readers here know that David Whitmer, the only person who described a personal encounter with both Moroni and the messenger who showed the plates to his mother, clearly distinguished between the two individuals. David further explained that Joseph Smith identified the messenger as one of the Nephites. Mary Whitmer herself said that the messenger identified himself as "Brother Nephi." It was her grandson who said she must have been mistaken because it was Moroni who had charge of the plates.
As usual, our M2C scholars disregard historical evidence that contradicts their theories, as well as the statement of a woman (Mary Whitmer). In this case, they prefer the bizarre claim of her grandson over Mary's identification because it accommodates their M2C theory.
If we're going to change Church history by rejecting what David and Mary Whitmer said, it's time to revise the artwork based on the historical accounts. It's also time to re-write the scriptures.
This approach is consistent with the way our historians and M2C intellectuals are changing Church history and re-writing the scriptures on other topics, such as SITH.
Let's start with re-writing Alma.
43 The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time, except that we can change our age, height, and appearance at will; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt. (Alma 11:43)
Next, let's change the artwork.