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.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

2022 my top 5 posts

These are the posts I thought were the most important from 2022, with my reasons.

Each of these posts reflects different ways in which M2C has poisoned the narrative of the Restoration. 

The Cumorah issue is not about various theories of Book of Mormon geography. That's what M2C advocates want people to think so they can avoid the issues.

Cumorah is far more fundamental than that.

By rejecting the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah, M2C scholars, along with their employees, donors, and followers, have 

(i) eroded confidence in the teachings of the prophets (particularly Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery), 
(ii) misled and confused Latter-day Saints about Church history, and 
(iii) created a specific, manipulative interpretation of the text to support an implausible historicity of the Book of Mormon.

There is no need for the M2C scholars to change their minds. That would be asking too much. But the problem could be easily solved if leading LDS scholars (along with their employees, donors, and followers) swallowed a humility pill and accommodated multiple working hypotheses, but there is little sign that they are willing to do so.

The top 5 posts:

5. Nationalism, M2C, critics, and other topics

Intellectual debate on issues is useful and important. Unfortunately, many LDS intellectuals have dodged debate by raising red herrings (such as nationalism) and straw man arguments. 


4. The Tragedy of Book of Mormon Central (3 parts)

I like the idea of independent LDS scholars explaining our faith in as many different ways as they can. For that reason, I embrace the concept of Book of Mormon Central (BMC). 

Unfortunately, due to the ideology of its principals, BMC is a multimillion dollar operation that (in my opinion) deliberately misleads its donors by professing neutrality on Book of Mormon geography issues while aggressive and exclusively promoting M2C. BMC further misleads its English audience by promoting a detailed M2C geography on its Spanish language page. BMC uses the millions of dollars it raises to compete with official Church media for attention, such as with its "Come Follow Me" videos and ScripturePlus app, all in an effort to promote M2C (and SITH) while excluding alternative faithful interpretations of the text and the teachings of the prophets. 

I still hope for the day when BMC will seek to unite, instead of divide, Latter-day Saints by welcoming and accommodating multiple working faithful hypotheses.




3. Original Manuscript: Vol 5 of JSP, but full of agenda-driven content

The Joseph Smith Papers project is outstanding in every way, except for one serious flaw: the editors have chosen to promote modern theories and interpretations at the expense of objective historical analysis. The notes and even some editorial decisions have been made to promote two theories in particular (SITH and M2C). That narrative poisoning seeped into the Saints books and the Gospel Topics Essays, among other things. These problems were foreseeable and could have been avoided, but it's not to late to improve the editorial content by removing the modern theories and observing a more accurate narrative present (i.e., reporting what the historical figures recorded instead of modern spin).


2. The Rising Generation, SITH and the GTE

The impact of SITH and the GTE on the rising generation seems obvious, but many of the hired LDS intellectuals treat the GTE as scripture, defying the original (and stated) purpose of those essays. Some think these intellectuals defend the GTE because they wrote the GTE. Regardless, the GTE have been revised in the past and should be revised again.


1. Already given: 116 pages and Cumorah

The whole Cumorah issues remains perplexing. We have a citation cartel of like-minded LDS intellectuals who continue to resort to sophistry and rationalization to repudiate the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah, solely to protect their personal theories about M2C. While problems of academic arrogance, defensiveness and intransigence is well-known in many (if not all) areas of academic endeavor, it's inexcusable in this context.

It's one thing to repudiate the teachings of the prophets; scholars have done that for generations, even at BYU. As long as the scholars explain their reasoning, people can make up their own minds. But it's another thing for Latter-day Saint scholars to use their fiduciary positions at BYU to censor the teachings of the prophets so their students cannot even make informed decisions. Yet this is the current position of the citation cartel scholars. 

Fortunately, the Maxwell Institute and BYU Studies have moved away from the citation cartel, somewhat (although BYU Studies still features the Sorenson/Welch M2C maps and other materials). 


Tuesday, December 27, 2022

2022 top ten - #1 - 5

The top 5 posts on this blog in 2022, starting with #5.

BTW, to be clear, these are the top 10 in terms of views, not my top 10 favorite. I never know why a particular post attracts more page views than another, but in some cases, it's because my critics, especially my goofy critics, pass it around as part of their outrage theater performance.

I'll post my own top 5 favorites later this week.


5. Markets and Power (the credentialed class of the Bible and today)


4. Clarity vs confusion - George Q. Cannon


3. Books to Read - Vision in a Seer Stone


2. Understanding Church History by Study and Faith - part 2


1. Original Manuscript: Vol 5 of JSP, but full of agenda-driven content


Sunday, December 25, 2022

Christ's visit to America

A conceptual study I painted of Christ visiting the Nephites in the land Bountiful.

See if you recognize the location.


Monday, December 19, 2022

2022 Top 10: #10

For our year-end review, I'll post the top 10 most viewed posts from 2022.

Here's #10.


good information re: NY Cumorah

I like having multiple working hypotheses (MWH) to consider because I agree with President Nelson that "good inspiration is based on good information."

You don't get "good information" by censoring information, which is why I disagree with the approach taken by Book of Mormon Central, the M2C advocacy group masquerading as a scholarly organization.


Among those of us Latter-day Saints who still believe what Joseph and Oliver taught about the New York Cumorah, there are also multiple working hypotheses, which is awesome. 

We're all eager for additional good information, and there is an abundance of good information that corroborated the teachings of the prophets about Cumorah.

Here's an example that perhaps not too many people know about:


I don't agree with all of his assumptions and inferences, but that's the point: unlike the M2C citation cartel, I think everyone should consider multiple working hypotheses.

Here, for example, he has a section on Cumorah that responds to Palmer's Cumorah criteria.


Friday, December 16, 2022

Cognitive rigidity

An outstanding article in the Deseret News explains the concept of "cognitive rigidity."


Cognitive rigidity is the foundation of the LDS citation cartel based on M2C and SITH. 

We continue to encourage Book of Mormon Central, the Interpreter, and FAIRLDS to provide their readers and viewers with access to all the facts, along with multiple faithful interpretations--including alternatives to M2C and SITH.

But we recognize that, so far, Jack Welch, Dan Peterson, and Scott Gordon adamantly refuse to do so. 

They're all awesome people, faithful and smart, etc. But along with the organizations they lead, those three in particular exemplify the problem of cognitive rigidity, joined by their employees, collaborators, and followers, .

On this blog we've discussed the ways in which these three men, specifically, have sought to promote M2C and SITH by misrepresenting Church history, making up false information about the Heartland ideas, and refusing to permit alternative faithful interpretations on their websites.

By contrast, cognitive flexibility (i.e., accommodation of multiple working hypotheses) would assist Latter-day Saints to make informed decisions.

Think of how useful it would be for Latter-day Saints and their friends to have a comprehensive, accessible comparison analysis of the various faithful interpretations of Church history and related topics.

Instead, the citation cartel adheres to and enforces the personal beliefs of Jack Welch, Dan Peterson, and Scott Gordon.


From the article:

Cognitive rigidity is the inability to mentally adapt or change. Its opposite is cognitive flexibility, the ability to consider different perspectives and opinions and in doing so, become a better person.

As a mental health counselor, I see cognitive rigidity at the root of many mental health issues, as well as relationship problems, conflict and hatred. People with depression become rigid in thinking about past pain and ruminate about past negative events. People with hatred become rigid in thinking narrowly about another group of people. 


Cognitive rigidity is supported by confirmation bias, which drives us to seek out information that supports our established positions. We return, over and over, to the same websites, podcasts and publications, and to people who speak our language...

Not only does cognitive rigidity harm us, but it also harms others, and it can cause destruction to the broader community.


Cognitive flexibility is what is needed in a democracy. It is, however, difficult to achieve. It takes an abundance of time and a tremendous amount of effort. It requires a disciplined mind grounded in a growth mindset instead of a fixed one. It takes self-mastery and self-control to authentically hear other views on the opposite side of what we think and value.

Cognitive flexibility is also difficult because it often creates cognitive dissonance, the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs or attitudes, especially regarding behavioral decisions and attitude change.


Often, to remedy or prevent the uncomfortable feelings associated with dissonance, people will make up false information about the political party or person they favor or disfavor. Such thinking eliminates or lowers the uncomfortable feelings as the fabricated thoughts decrease the dissonance between differing values. This creates a state of psychological homeostasis, a comfortable and often good feeling.


A side effect of banning speech you don't like is that you lose touch with reality yourself. Your own thinking is no longer subject to stress-testing. You can spiral straight into insanity.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Fun M2C paranoia on MormonDialog.org

M2Cers are typically paranoid about any direct comparisons between M2C and the Heartland models of Book of Mormon geography. They have reason to be. 

Direct comparisons expose their basic belief that the prophets were wrong about the New York Cumorah. Comparisons also expose the way they manipulate the text to find "correspondences" to Mayan culture that every actual Mayan expert knows are illusory, if not delusional. 

Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course. People can believe whatever they want.

But of all the M2Cers, the ones who run MormonDialog are among the most paranoid of all. 

People have been sending me links to this page:


(I'll post some choice excerpts below because the moderators there have a habit of deleting posts they don't like.)

The M2Cers apparently think that anyone who posts about Heartland on their site must be me in disguise, using another name(s).

And yet, I haven't posted anything there in years, either in my name or another name.

What the M2Cers don't realize is that Latter-day Saints around the world are discovering the logical and factual fallacies that underly the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory. They're speaking up on social media.

Only an M2Cer would think this is threatening. Heartlanders are happy for people to explore multiple working hypotheses and make informed decisions, but that approach is anathema to M2Cers.

M2Cers need to get ready. They should start by re-examining the premises behind M2C itself.


Sample posts from some of the anonymous, paranoid clowns at Mormondialog:

  On 11/28/2022 at 3:41 PM, OGHoosier said:

I am sorry to have brought this upon you 

They're back ...

Or perhaps I should have written 'he'?

I note that the various blogs linked to by our one-post drive-bys are all the work of a single man: jonathan3d, who claims on one of his 36(!) blogs that 'the Gospel Topics Essays, the Saints book, Book of Mormon Central, and the Ensign openly teach things that, in past generations, were taught only by critics and apostates'.

Edited  by Hamba Tuhan

  On 12/6/2022 at 7:39 PM, Hamba Tuhan said:

They're back ...

Or perhaps I should have written 'he'?

I note that the various blogs linked to by our one-post drive-bys are all the work of a single man: jonathan3d, who claims on one of his 36(!) blogs that 'the Gospel Topics Essays, the Saints book, Book of Mormon Central, and the Ensign openly teach things that, in past generations, were taught only by critics and apostates'.

It is Jonathan Neville (his picture is in the “about” section and see one here https://interpreterfoundation.org/author/jonathann/ ) though the style is his from what I remember and he is known for prolific posting in this topic, so I was pretty sure even before I checked.  My guess is the posters are all him, but I suppose he could have persuaded some friends to come along with him. 

Edited  by Calm

Even their "Senior Admin" is anonymous, which makes sense because of his paranoia.

Just fyi all the heart lander supporters in this thread were 1 person with about 12 sock puppets I had to kill.  


  On 12/7/2022 at 10:52 AM, Nemesis said:

Just fyi all the heart lander supporters in this thread were 1 person with about 12 sock puppets I had to kill.

Ha! I was right.