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, March 22, 2023

CWIC Media Cumorah interview comments

Some of the comments on the video are typical of what our M2C friends teach. (M2C = Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory.) 

I'm all in favor of people believing whatever they want, but I encourage people to make informed decisions. Because some of the comments reflect a lack of knowledge about the relevant topics, I'll discuss some of the comments here with more explanation than I could put in the YouTube video comments. You can find the original comments at the youtube site.



Comment 1. 

Howard W Hunter was a proponent of the Hill Cumorah (where the final battles took place) in MesoAmerica.  This is what opened my mind initially to there being two Cumorahs - one in MesoAmerica and one in New York State.

This comment is typical of the "Mormon Chess" game of citing one Church leader's personal, unofficial views to support whatever one wants to believe. Regardless of what Howard W. Hunter personally believed at any given point, he did not announce either a departure from his predecessors on this issue or any new knowledge/revelation to justify such a departure.

It's important to recognize what President Oaks has taught.

Elder Christofferson taught: “It should be remembered that not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. It is commonly understood in the Church that a statement made by one leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, not meant to be official or binding for the whole Church.”

In the following conference, Elder Andersen taught this principle: “The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk.”

(2019, October, Dallin H. Oaks, ‘Trust in the Lord,’ Liahona, November 2019, ¶ 11–12)


Regarding Cumorah, President Cowdery, as Assistant President of the Church and with the assistance of Joseph Smith, declared in the official Church publication in Kirtland, the Messenger and Advocate, that it was a fact that the Cumorah of Mormon 6:6 and the hill Ramah is the very hill in western New York where Joseph Smith obtained the plates. The entire first Presidency at the time endorsed the statement, and Joseph approved its republication multiple times, including in the Times and Seasons in Nauvoo. Subsequent Church leaders, including members of the First Presidency speaking in General Conference, have reaffirmed the New York Cumorah.

Comment 2: 

A detailed reading of the book of mormon will get you to that conclusion, Joseph Smith didn't originally refer to the hill in new york as Cumorah, it was Oliver Cowdery who started that, by 1842, in D&C Joseph Smith uses the word Cumorah, but at that time the idea had already been cemented in church culture.

This comment (I call it the anti-Cowdery theory) reflects what our M2C friends have been telling their followers/students/donors. But they apparently forgot to tell their followers/students/donors that they are merely paraphrasing what RLDS scholar Henry Stebbins said back in 1911.

I know that in Doctrine and Covenants 10 : 20 it reads, "glad tidings of Cumorah," but it is in a letter from Joseph Smith, evidently after the idea had become fixed that because records were hidden in Cumorah therefore the one in New York must have been the same hill.

In his "Letters," pages 29, 33, Oliver Cowdery calls it Cumorah, evidently from the same idea, not from any divine or angelic statement that it was Cumorah. Certainly the idea did not originate with any careful student of the Book of Mormon. There may not have been any real study of the book at that time. The book appears to have been largely taken on trust by the old Saints, without great examina­tion or study. 

For more info on the origin of M2C, go to this link:


The anti-Cowdery theory requires believers to make several assumptions. And I'm fine with people making these assumptions if they want to, but they should be open and explicit about the basis for their beliefs. Everyone should ask why they hide these assumptions from their followers/students/donors.

Some of the anti-Cowdery assumptions required to support M2C:

1. As Assistant President of the Church, and with the assistance of Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery deliberately misled the Church (and the world) by declaring the New York Cumorah as a fact, when (according to the anti-Cowdery proponents) he was merely expressing an ignorant, speculative, and wrong opinion. 

2. We can trust what Oliver Cowdery said about everything except what he said about Cumorah (and the translation of the Book of Mormon).

3. President Cowdery also misled Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff and others when he told them about the times when he (Oliver) and Joseph entered the repository of Nephite records inside the Hill Cumorah.

4. Lucy Mack Smith, David Whitmer, Martin Harris, and other contemporaries of Joseph Smith who related their separate experiences with Cumorah were misleading everyone by expressing their faulty (or false) memories.

5. Heber C. Kimball lied when he said he visited the Hill Cumorah in New York shortly after being baptized in 1832 and said he saw the embankments still there.

6. Every Church leader who reaffirmed the New York Cumorah was also expressing an ignorant, speculative, and wrong opinion.

7. We know these people were all wrong because a handful of self-appointed "experts" on the Book of Mormon, starting with RLDS scholars Stebbins and Hills in the early 1900s and continuing to Jack Welch and Dan Peterson and their followers/students/donors in 2023, have correctly interpreted the text of the Book of Mormon to reveal that the "real" Cumorah of Mormon 6:6 is in southern Mexico.


Comment 3. 

I will add that Joseph and Oliver also believed in a hemispheric model and Neville's Heartland is a limited geographical model so he also decides what to pull and take from JS & OC.

It's true that Orson Pratt and Benjamin Winchester promoted a hemispheric model with the focus on Central America. However, nothing Joseph or Oliver wrote in their published writings supports a hemispheric model. In the Wentworth letter, Joseph rejected Orson Pratt's speculation about Central America by writing "The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country."

Joseph's statement is consistent with D&C 28, 30 and 32 (identifying the Indians in New York and Ohio as Lamanites,  as well as the New York Cumorah and the "plains of the Nephites" being in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, etc. 

I discussed all of this here:


Furthermore, even Orson Pratt admitted that his theories about Lehi's landing place in Chile, Zarahemla in Colombia, etc., were speculative, while the location of Cumorah in New York was certain. (See his footnotes in the 1879 Book of Mormon, discussed here:


Other Church leaders have pointed out that while we know where Cumorah is, we don't know the location of other sites. This makes sense because there are hundreds of possible Book of Mormon sites in North America and even more that have been destroyed beyond recognition.

Comment 4.

Hi Greg Love listening to your shows how ever on this one the Heartlanders have a flawed foundation and it is important to note that most of the scholars and professors in the church believe it happened in Meso America. 

An appeal to authority is a classic logical fallacy, but in this case it is a compound fallacy. 

- If one appeals to authority by counting "experts," then the overwhelming number of experts in the world, in all fields, reject the historicity of the Book of Mormon. 

- If one appeals to authority by counting "Book of Mormon experts" it is a circular argument because those who claim to be "experts" are self-appointed. Anyone who reads the Book of Mormon can be an expert, regardless of academic credentials and background, because the text speaks for itself. There is no underlying text to re-translate. While there are many "experts" who promote their particular theories based on their academic specialty, in every case they are merely expressing academic opinions.

The only known "experts" with first-hand experience were Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, as we'll discuss below.

The second part of the comment makes another typical M2C misdirection. 

The foundation for the heartland theory is the belief that Joseph Smith was given revelation about the location of the Book of Mormon 

This is part word thinking and part denial of the historical record.

Word thinking: was it a revelation or an experience when John the Baptist conferred the Aaronic Priesthood? Would the event have been more authoritative if it had been a revelation instead of an experience? 

Most believers would say the experience itself--the visit of a resurrected being who physically conferred the Priesthood--would outweigh a spiritual (intangible) revelation of the Priesthood being restored.

The foundation for the Heartland theory is the historical record; i.e., that Moroni identified the hill as Cumorah the first night they met, that Joseph referred to it as Cumorah even before he got the plates, that the messenger took the abridged plates from Harmony to Cumorah before taking the plates of Nephi to Fayette, that Joseph and Oliver visited the repository of Nephite records in the hill multiple times, and that President Cowdery explicitly stated it was a fact that Cumorah is in New York, a statement that was republished at least 4 times during Joseph's lifetime after being copied into his own journal as part of his life history. 

Upon that foundation, we have the teachings of the successors and contemporaries of Joseph Smith.

And upon that foundation, we have the extrinsic evidence from archaeology, anthropology, geology, and geography which corroborates what Oliver explicitly taught.

how ever 3 Prophets have stated that the lord has not yet reveled the location of the Book of Mormon.

Other than the Hill Cumorah, that is accurate, which is why there are multiple working hypotheses based on the New York Cumorah.

Please also interview an expert with the Meso American view. Love your shows.


And let's have the expert go through the 7 assumptions I laid out above.

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