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, May 24, 2022

Institute, circa 1981: the New York Cumorah

My review of Real vs. Rumor continues with an assessment of the book's embrace of SITH, here:



In 1981, back when the Church was still growing rapidly and we expected that to continue, Seminary and Institute students learned what the prophets had taught about the New York Cumorah. 

It makes sense that people responded to a message that supported and corroborated the teachings of the prophets, as well as the historicity of the Book of Mormon. 

The New York Cumorah was the single unambiguous connection between the real world and the text of the Book of Mormon. That's why Oliver Cowdery spelled it out as a fact in Letter VII in response to claims that Joseph copied the text from Solomon Spalding's novel. Anyone can read this right in Joseph Smith's own history in the Joseph Smith Papers: http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1834-1836/90

After all, Joseph learned the name of the hill from Moroni himself the first night they met. 

You can see for yourself what the 1981 Institute manual taught.


There is plenty of additional evidence from Church history that President Smith didn't mention, as well as abundant extrinsic scientific evidence, to corroborate the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah.

But today, young Latter-day Saints and new converts (as well as "friends") never learn what the prophets have taught. 


In our day, thanks to the work of our M2C scholars, Latter-day Saints are not only not taught about the New York Cumorah, but they are taught that the prophets were wrong.

Instead of supporting and corroborating the teachings of the prophets, our modern M2C scholars continue to repudiate the teachings of the prophets.

Somehow, these scholars think it builds faith to teach the youth that the prophets were wrong and that they should rely, instead, on credentialed scholars who know more than Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, etc.

The results are there for everyone to see.


M2C (the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory) started when RLDS scholar L.E. Hills published a map showing Cumorah in southern Mexico. This was back in 1917.

L.E. Hills' 1917 map

Eventually LDS scholars, including John Sorenson and John W. Welch, embraced the Hills' theory about the "two Cumorahs" and adjusted the setting a few miles east from where Hills had put it.

John Sorenson/Jack Welch/BYU Studies map

Lately, BYU scholars dressed up M2C by creating a complete fantasy land.

BYU fantasy map of the Book of Mormon

The current Institute manual teaches a modified fantasy land for the setting of the Book of Mormon, based on M2C.

Seminary/Institute fantasy map of the Book of Mormon

The M2C logo taints dozens of books, articles, videos, and other media. The logo is a declaration that the prophets were wrong about Cumorah. Anywhere you see this logo, you know the material has been screened so it supports M2C.

And, of course, the logo of the corporate owner of Book of Mormon Central features a Mayan temple.

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