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.

Friday, October 15, 2021

More disinformation from the Interpreter

For years, I've been advocating an approach to Church history and Book of Mormon historicity that focuses on established facts accompanied by multiple working hypotheses (interpretations) of those facts. This is a normal, expected academic/scientific approach to any topic. It leads to truth because everyone can see the facts for themselves and then follow the logic and assumptions of the alternative hypotheses. People can reach different conclusions, but at least everyone is making informed decisions.

To date, our M2C scholars and their citation cartel (Book of Mormon Central, FairLatterdaySaints, the Interpreter, BYU Studies, Meridian Magazine, etc.) have refused to agree with this approach. 

Instead, they deliberately keep their students and their followers (and donors) uninformed, misinformed, and disinformed. 

They don't want Latter-day Saints to even know what the prophets have taught about the New York Cumorah, let alone know about the extrinsic evidence that corroborates and supports what the prophets have taught. 

These scholars have invested their careers into M2C, and they fear most Latter-day Saints would reject M2C if they knew all the facts and compared M2C to the alternatives that vindicate the teachings of the prophets. 

IOW, they don't trust Latter-day Saints to make informed decisions because they know most informed Latter-day Saints would reject M2C.

It's a self-defeating approach because, thanks to the de-correlation of the New York Cumorah, more and more Latter-day Saints (and prospective Latter-day Saints) are learning what the prophets have taught from critical sources who frame the issue in a negative way that, as Joseph Fielding Smith predicted, causes members to "become confused and disturbed in their faith."

It would be far healthier and productive for Latter-day Saints to learn in Church and CES/BYU materials what the prophets have taught about the New York Cumorah. Back when the Church was growing rapidly, Seminary and Institute manuals did still teach what the prophets have taught.

Nevertheless, our M2C scholars persist in censoring the New York Cumorah. I've pointed out many examples of how the M2C citation cartel does this. Today we'll look at another one published recently in the Interpreter.


Readers here will not be surprised to learn that the Interpreter continues to publish disinformation about Book of Mormon historicity/geography issues. I discussed a recent example here:


Next week, we'll look at another example from the 2021 Joseph Smith Papers Conference.

When M2C scholars resort to disinformation to maintain the illusion that M2C makes sense, they expose their own insecurity.

The graphic below explains that the difference between misinformation and disinformation is a matter of intention. (click to enlarge).



The Interpreter article is part of a series of articles that purport to use sophisticated statistical analysis to support the Book of Mormon as an ancient text. It's a transparent exercise in confirmation bias, which is fine; people enjoy having their biases confirmed, regardless of the validity of the argument. 

This article focuses on the resolution of alleged anachronisms in the text, which is also fine.

The disinformation arises from the article's gratuitous and deceitful claim that a geography model based on what Joseph and Oliver taught about the New York Cumorah does not resolve the alleged anachronisms in the text. 

At first glance, readers might assume the claim was based on excusable (but regrettable) ignorance; i.e., misinformation. After all, anyone who relies on the Interpreter for information about Church history and Book of Mormon historicity gets a steady diet of biased disinformation about the New York Cumorah and related topics.

But because the claim is one of the major premises of the article, and because the author purports to be objective and fact-based, it's difficult to excuse the errors on mere mistake.  

Here's an excerpt from my analysis of the Interpreter article, which refers to another article about anachronisms.

The article lists criticisms of the Book of Mormon based on alleged anachronisms, starting with those in Mormonism Unvailed. However, the anachronisms were a bit of a red herring. Even in the 1830s, people knew the Bible contained anachronisms (e.g., candles instead of lamps), but anachronisms that arise from translation are understandable, even expected. Translators use their own lexicon and culture to translate; otherwise, their work wouldn't be a translation. Anachronisms didn't prove the Bible was false.

The overriding objection to the Book of Mormon was that it was not a translation.

Which, perversely, is what LDS scholars are trying to prove today! 

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