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, May 31, 2023

a difference of opinion = enemies?

Yesterday I commented on a presentation by Ben Spackman at the FAIRLDS conference in 2019.

During his presentation Spackman quoted Brigham Young's colorful comment about the bag of cats. The original context looks a little more fundamentalist than Spackman acknowledged. Notice, for example, that our current crop of LDS apologists teach that Joseph Smith was a money digger, just as Brigham Young anticipated.

As we saw, Spackman perpetrated the false Interpreter narrative that "heartlanders" marry a geography model "with a right-wing constitutionalist politics, young Earth creationism, an authoritarian view of of prophets that is absolutely absolutist... and they claim that anyone who disagrees with them is apostate."

Although Spackman quoted Brigham Young, he apparently forgot to read the part where Brigham Young explained how he was happy to share a meal with people who disagreed with him.

Contrary to Spackman and his fellow Interpreters, I (like every Heartlander I know) is happy to treat everyone as a friend, and, with Brigham, we do "feel much better than if we suffered a difference of opinion to make us enemies."

When this Church first commenced, I used to say to the people, “If you do not like my preaching, when I do the best I can, I cannot help it, but if you will let us alone, and suffer us peaceably to enjoy our religion, we shall enjoy ourselves better together, as friends, neighbors, and citizens. 

If you will come to my house, I will give you your dinner and your supper, I will treat you hospitably, as one friend ought to treat another; and when I come into your neighborhood, do the same to me, for, in pursuing this course, we shall feel much better than if we suffered a difference of opinion to make us enemies. 

We've already seen that Mike Parker, Dan Peterson, and the other Interpreters thrive by making enemies over a difference of opinion, refusing to share a meal, etc. I've never met Ben Spackman, but I hope he differs from his fellow Interpreters at least to the extent he would be willing to follow Brigham's advice.

Maybe he would even publicly apologize for his contentious and false accusations about Heartlanders?


Brigham Young:

I will now say, not only to our delegate to Congress, but to the Elders who leave the body of the Church, that he thought that all the cats and kittens were let out of the bag when brother Pratt went back last fall, and published the Revelation concerning the plurality of wives: it was thought there was no other cat to let out. But allow me to tell you, Elders of Israel, and delegates to Congress, you may expect an eternity of cats, that have not yet escaped from the bag. Bless your souls, there is no end to them, for if there is not one thing, there will always be another.

Do you suppose that this people will ever see the day that they will rest in perfect security, in hopes of becoming like another people, nation, state, kingdom, or society? They never will. 

Christ and Satan never can be friends. Light and darkness will always remain opposites. The kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan will always remain two kingdoms; and so long as they are, you will find from time to time that the citizens of Satan’s kingdom will be telling you of cats that are ready to leap out of the bag, of something that is wonderful and alarming in its nature, as much so as the circumstance which brother Bernhisel touched at, which created a great excitement in Washington—that we had revolted from the parent Government, and hoisted the flag of our independence. I know how that report originated. The letter containing this startling intelligence, and purporting to have been received at California from this place, was written in Washington. After the originators had failed in their object, they supposed that nothing more would be said about it, but the whole of the United States believed the report to be true, and thought that all the citizens in Utah were rebels.

Do you understand the reason why such feelings exist against this people? Go to the United States, into Europe, or wherever you can come across men who have been in the midst of this people, and one will tell you that we are a poor, ignorant, deluded people; the next will tell you that we are the most industrious and intelligent people on the earth, and are destined to rise to eminence as a  nation, and spread, and continue to spread, until we revolutionize the whole earth. If you pass on to the third man, and inquire what he thinks of the “Mormons,” he will say they are fools, duped and led astray by Joe Smith, who was a knave, a false Prophet, and a money digger. 

Why is all this? 

It is because there is a spirit in man. And when the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached on the earth and the kingdom of God is established, there is also a spirit in these things, and an Almighty spirit too. When these two spirits come in contact one with the other, the spirit of the Gospel reflects light upon the spirit which God has placed in man, and wakes him up to a consciousness of his true state, which makes him afraid he will be condemned, for he perceives at once that “Mormonism” is true. 

“Our craft is in danger,” is the first thought that strikes the wicked and dishonest of mankind, when the light of truth shines upon them. Say they, “If these people called Latter-day Saints are correct in their views, the whole world must be wrong, and what will become of our time-honored institutions, and of our influence, which we have swayed successfully over the minds of the people for ages. This Mormonism must be put down.” So priestcraft presents a bold and extended front against the truth, and with this we have to contend, this is our deadliest foe.

Why should there be any more excitement when a public officer is chastised in Utah for publicly insulting a loyal people, than there would be if a similar occurrence transpired in Oregon, Minnesota, or any other territory? It is because we are Latter-day Saints. And let me tell you the Devil has put the whole world on the watch against us. It is impossible for us to make the least move without exciting, if not all the world, at least a considerable portion of it. They are excited at what we do, and, strange to relate, they are no less excited at what we do not do.

You will find that there will be cats and kittens leaping out of the bag continually. “What can come next I wonder!” I do not know; but this I know, the Lord Almighty will not suffer the Saints, neither the world, to slumber upon their oars. The time is past for them to fold their hands, and say, “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands.” 

This people will never see that day, for the Lord will keep them on the alert all the time; they will continually have something to contend with to keep them from dropping to sleep, and it is no matter to me as to what means He may use to do it.

Inasmuch as we send brother Bernhisel back to Washington, I say to him, Fear not their faces, nor their power, for we are perfectly prepared to take all the nations of the earth on our back; they are there already, and we will round up our shoulders, and bear up the ponderous weight, carry the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth, gather Israel, redeem Zion, and continue our operations until we bind Satan, and the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ; and no power can hinder it.

I care not what may come, I will do the work the Lord has appointed unto me. You do the same, and fear not, for the Lord manages the helm of the ship of Zion; and on any other ship I do not wish to be. As I once said to Sidney Rigdon, our boat is an old snag boat, and has never been out of snag harbor, but it will root up the snags, run them down, split them up, and scatter them to the four winds. Our ship is the old ship of Zion. Nothing that runs foul of it can resist the shock and fire.

The hue and cry in the world about this people is—“What an awful set of people these Mormons are! Why,  they are a dreadful people!” What makes them so? “They are Mormons.” And that is all the people can say about the matter.

Do you know what it is that scares the world? 

As I have already said, it is the Spirit of the Lord that is placed in man, and the reflection of light from it upon his spirit wakes up the sensibilities in him, and creates conviction. That Spirit, with the Gospel of Christ, interrupts the whole world in their common career, in every capacity of life. That Spirit does not chime in and harmonize with any earthly kingdom or government, either in their political or religious institutions; but it seems to put a check upon everything, to throw into disorder the best laid plans of the wise and farseeing among men; in short, it turns the whole current of earthly calculations back upon the world, and deluges it in the dark waters of confusion.

As this kingdom of God grows, spreads, increases, and prospers in its course, it will cleanse, thoroughly purge, and purify the world from wickedness. He who supposes his house to be built upon a rock, and well calculated to withstand any test that may be applied to it, finds, when it is tried by the Gospel of the kingdom, that its foundation proves to be sand, and the whole fabric appears nothing in which a man may securely trust for salvation. One of the weakest of our Elders, I mean one of our boys, who is conversant with the Bible, is well qualified to instruct the learned priest, confound in Bible doctrine the greatest theologians upon the earth, and throw into confusion, and interrupt, and fill with contradictions and inconsistencies, their choicest theories.

Imagine to yourselves a learned doctor of divinity, securely surrounded with the bulwarks of his religious lore, pampered with the applause of thousands who hang on his skirts for religious instructions; he is satisfied that he knows and understands the Bible from the beginning to the end of it, and is capable of withstanding all creation upon Bible doctrine, and is as well skilled in theological researches as a man can be—imagine this great man sailing triumphantly over the sea of time, and the little unassuming bark, the boy, darts along, and strikes this proud hulk, this great, tremendous vessel, and pierces it through below the water mark; it begins to sink, and turns to make battle, but the little craft hits it on the keel and capsizes it, sinking it in shame and bitter disappointment. Such will be the fate of all who will oppose the truth.

The report of the Gospel of Jesus Christ terrifies the people, it goes forth with such gigantic strides. When this Church first commenced, I used to say to the people, “If you do not like my preaching, when I do the best I can, I cannot help it, but if you will let us alone, and suffer us peaceably to enjoy our religion, we shall enjoy ourselves better together, as friends, neighbors, and citizens. If you will come to my house, I will give you your dinner and your supper, I will treat you hospitably, as one friend ought to treat another; and when I come into your neighborhood, do the same to me, for, in pursuing this course, we shall feel much better than if we suffered a difference of opinion to make us enemies. I will tell you what we will do—we will preach the Gospel, and revolutionize the whole earth, that is, if you will let us alone, but if you persecute us, we will do it quicker.” This places the wicked in the same circumstances as the drunken man, who would fall down if he tried to stand, and fall if he tried to walk. So, if they will let us alone, we will evangelize the whole earth; and if they do not, we will do it the quicker.

How often, to all human appearance, has this kingdom been blotted out from the earth, but the Lord has put His hand over the people, and it has passed through, and come out two, three, and four times larger than before. Our enemies have kicked us and cuffed us, and driven us from pillar to post, and we have multiplied and increased the more, until we have become what we are this day, in possession of a territory with an appropriate government. 

Let them still continue to persecute us, and who cares? If they will let us alone, we will preach the Gospel to all nations, and gather Israel. If they continue to abuse us, we will overrun them entirely, until all shall be brought in subjection to the will of heaven.

Do not be afraid, whether you are at Washington or anywhere else, for we will progress. I say to brother Bernhisel and everybody else, Put your shoulders to the wheel, and do not go from this place with your hearts in your mouths, you that go to the nations, and be so faint that you have need to carry a bottle of camphor with you, but go like men of great hearts, and say, in the midst of your enemies—I stand here in the name of Him who sent me, and who has called me to defend the truth, which I am determined to do, whether I live or die.

God bless you all, brethren, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

(1850s1853, BY Where Wicked ¶16–29 • JD 1:188–JD 1:191)

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

A Prince of Contention: Ben Spackman

A few days ago, FAIRLDS posted a presentation from their 2019 conference on youtube. People have been sending me the clip in which Ben Spackman labels "heartlanders" as "dangerous fundamentalists," which starts here:


There's a lot to like in Spackman's presentation. I think he does a good job explaining an aspect of scriptural interpretation and the process of revelation that everyone should be familiar with.

It's one of the multiple working hypotheses that I like to understand with clarity.

However, Spackman starts and ends with a contentious premise and motivation: his antipathy toward so-called "fundamentalists" whom he identifies as the "Heartlanders." 

Because of its relevance to the problem of contention, I posted a discussion of Spackman's presentation here:



To help eliminate contention, from time to time, we will look at some of the Kings of Contention, but today we'll look at a Prince of Contention. I refer to Spackman as merely a Prince of Contention because, as he said in his presentation, he did not make the cut in this meme he presented:

I don't recall ever seeing this meme before, and I don't know its origin. I don't recognize all the people in the collage, either, but some I recognize I wouldn't call contentious. But there are a few on there who qualify as Kings of Contention, as we'll discuss in upcoming posts.

The meme makes a good point, though. We could simply ignore everyone in the collage and have a perfectly harmonious and functional Church family. 

And yet, I agree with the scholars that academic discussion plays a useful role for many people (myself included).

The question I ask is, can the people in the collage interact with mutual respect, clarity, and understanding?

As Spackman's presentation demonstrates, some of them seem incapable of doing so. So far. But I hope to see the day when they do.

Hence my post: 



BTW, undoubtedly my NPC critics (the typical M2C/SITH Interpreters) will claim that I'm a King of Contention, but anyone who has read my work (as opposed to the caricatures created by my NPC critics) can see that I'm fine with people believing and teaching whatever they want, so long as they are clear about and own what they teach. Unlike my NPC critics, I don't think it's contentious to expect clarity and understanding to help everyone make informed decisions. I oppose censorship and obfuscation, not alternative perspectives, ideas, and interpretations.

Anyone who shares my desire for clarity and understanding does not, in my view, contribute to contention. Others are free to disagree, of course.


I had actually mentioned Spackman's anti-Heartlander comment in a post in 2019 because I had attended part of the conference (albeit not Spackman's presentation). 


In my 2019 post, I mentioned something I'd been told about the Q&A at the end of a session I didn't attend. I didn't mention the speaker or the title of the presentation, but after watching this video clip, I now can see it was Ben Spackman's. Here's what I wrote then.

The second funny incident was during another Q&A. The speaker was asked what he thought about the Heartland movement. I'm told he replied, "They're a bunch of crazy fundamentalists."

That comment says it all. Now, if you still believe what the prophets have taught, you're ridiculed by the FairMormon intellectuals as a "fundamentalist."

That pretty well sums up the M2C citation cartel.

Because I never read his blog, I didn't know at the time that my NPC critic Peter Pan (aka Mike Parker, aka Richard Nygren) accused me of lying because Spackman actually said the heartlanders were "dangerous fundamentalists," not "crazy fundamentalists." As usual, Peter Pan misrepresented what I wrote. Because I didn't attend the session and clearly explained that I was repeating what I'd been told (which after all was a fair summary of Spackman's rant) I wasn't lying about what Spackman said. I was reporting what I had been told he said. But NPCs don't actually think.

To make it even more fun, yet another anonymous person ("On the Other Hand") made a comment on the FAIRLDS youtube video referring to "Robert Boylan" as "a great and knowledgeable member of the Church." Boylan created the infamous racist false identity "Richard Nygren" for Mike Parker's Peter Pan, which Bill Reel exposed as we discussed here. 


Given the proclivity for pseudonyms Mike Parker and his friends have demonstrated, we can reasonably infer that Mike and/or his fellow Interpreters made the gratuitous comment praising Boylan.

The fun continues...


Friday, May 26, 2023

Glad tidings from Romania

In the last 3 weeks, we visited a dozen countries in Eastern Europe. We visited missionaries and branches of the Church in most of those countries. Lots of interesting things to discuss, obviously, but in this post I'll mention a famous painting that is still in use in Romania.

The 1999 painting by Simon Dewey was on the cover of the Ensign in February, 2001. 

Here it is on the wall of a branch in Romania.

(Hopefully my mention of this location doesn't lead to getting the painting removed.)

It's a significant painting because it has been used as an example of the supposedly "false" narrative that the Church taught for nearly 200 years, before modern LDS scholars determined that the old SITH narrative from Mormonism Unvailed was actually "correct" while Joseph and Oliver misled everyone.

I'm one of many Latter-day Saints who still believe what Joseph and Oliver claimed instead of the SITH narrative, so it was cool to see this painting still in use at least somewhere in the world.


This painting was featured in an article by Jana Riess about the shift away from the Urim and Thummim toward the stone-in-the-hat (SITH) narrative. Her caption to the photo claims


In her article, she cited "a Gospel Topics essay on the issue in December 2013 that conceded that:

1. Joseph Smith also used his seer stone to seek buried treasure, and

2. He translated much of the Book of Mormon by placing the seer stone in a hat to block out the ambient light, then proceeded to simply recite whatever words appeared on the stone."

It's clever rhetoric to frame these claims as a "concession," but the so-called "concession" directly contradicts what Joseph and Oliver themselves said.

Which is no surprise because the Gospel Topics Essay itself never quotes what Joseph and Oliver said, except for a misleading, truncated quotation, as I've discussed before.

The SITH narrative as taught by Dan Peterson, Jack Welch, and other LDS scholars, was first articulated in Mormonism Unvailed back in 1834. 

The translation finally commenced. They were found to contain a language not now known upon the earth, which they termed "reformed Egyptian characters." The plates, therefore, which had been so much talked of, were found to be of no manner of use. After all, the Lord showed and communicated to him every word and letter of the Book. Instead of looking at the characters inscribed upon the plates, the prophet was obliged to resort to the old ''peep stone," which he formerly used in money-digging. This he placed in a hat, or box, into which he also thrust his face. Through the stone he could then discover a single word at a time, which he repeated aloud to his amanuensis, who committed it to paper, when another word would immediately appear, and thus the performance continued to the end of the book.


Notice that, apart from the term "old 'peep stone'," this description from Mormonism Unvailed is essentially what the Interpreters advocate today. Dan Peterson even made a movie teaching this to the world.

In response to the SITH narrative, Joseph and Oliver both denounced Mormonism Unvailed and explained clearly and unambiguously that Joseph translated the plates with the Urim and Thummim that came with the plates--not with any seer stone.


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

State media and SITH/M2C

I rarely mention politics on this blog, but this story involves media collusion that reminds me of the M2C/SITH citation cartels (or, as I now refer to them, the Interpreters).

Jonathan Turley has an excellent piece about the "state media" and the blackout on Biden corruption.


The entire article is worth reading. Excerpt:

Despite showing nine Biden family members allegedly receiving funds from corrupt figures in Romania, China and other countries, The New Republic quickly ran a story headlined “Republicans Finally Admit They Have No Incriminating Evidence on Joe Biden.”

For many of us, it was otherworldly. A decade ago, when then-Vice President Joe Biden was denouncing corruption in Romania and Ukraine and promising action by the United States, massive payments were flowing to his son Hunter Biden and a variety of family members, including Biden grandchildren.


This reminds me of the citation cartels because they also refuse to cover the stories about M2C and SITH, as I've discussed many times on this blog. Naturally, the same Interpreters wrote the anonymous content in the Gospel Topics Essays and the Saints books. Then they use the material they wrote to convert their theories and interpretations into official Church doctrine by attributing their agenda to Church leaders.

Think about the reality that the Gospel Topics Essay on Book of Mormon Translation never even quotes (or cites) what Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery said about the translation? 


Or that the Saints book censored all original historical sources about Cumorah?


It's no wonder that so many Latter-day Saints are confused and disturbed in their faith.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Eastern Europe lessons

People have been asking about my current trip through Eastern Europe. I've posted a few times on Facebook if you're interested.


I use Facebook for items of personal interest unrelated to religious or other topics.

But I do recognize the relevance of Eastern Europe to some of the topics I cover on this blog, such as here:


It's quite the phenomenon that the Albanians and Macedonians can share a meal but our M2C and SITH apologists refuse to even have a lunch with Heartlanders...

The joys of dealing with LDS apologists...


Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Yet another meeting...

Recently I was in yet another meeting on the subject of "helping the rising generation get on and stay on the covenant path." 

I've been in several of these in recent years.

During this meeting, one brother brought up the point that all of his grandchildren were returned missionaries who married in the temple but who had recently left the Church, claiming the Church had lied about its history.

Others reported similar experiences in their families for the same reasons.

The reality, IMO, is not that the Church has lied about its history.

It's that critics and LDS scholars alike are changing the narratives to make it appear that the Church has lied, when all along the Church was honest and truthful.

The narrative behind this faith crisis is that Joseph Smith never really translated the plates but instead read words that appeared on the  stone in the hat (SITH).

That's the narrative promoted by the CES Letter, Mormon Stories, as well as by FAIRLDS, Book of Mormon Central, and the Interpreter.


Thanks to these organizations, the rising generation doesn't have a fair chance.

Even older generations are confused and disturbed in their faith. They know that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery both repeatedly claimed that Joseph translated the plates by means of the Urim and Thummim that came with the plates.

But thanks to the SITH-sayers, the rising generation never learns what Joseph and Oliver claimed.

The rising generation, like everyone else, would benefit from being taught the truth, directly from Joseph and Oliver. 

Instead, they get a steady diet of David Whitmer's SITH claims. And if they look up the references provided by the SITH-sayers, they learn that David also claimed lots of other things that contradict what Joseph and Oliver claimed, including the restoration of the Priesthood.

The SITH narrative follows the same trajectory as the M2C narrative. The LDS Interpreters decide that what Joseph and Oliver taught is not credible, so it was merely their opinion, so the Interpreters, by virtue of their superior credentials and collective wisdom, decide what the truth is and enforce their interpretations.


And if anyone dares to talk about what Joseph and Oliver actually said, our own LDS Interpreters are on the lookout to attack. 

Fun times...

Friday, May 5, 2023

Futility of contention and the Italian Front

Lake Bled, Slovenia

We're traveling through Eastern Europe for a few weeks, so I'm posting occasional thoughts. For example, I posted some comments about the Italian Front in World War I on the NoMoreContention page, here:


I've discussed the futility of contention before. I'm hopeful that the approach of seeking clarity and understanding instead of compliance and conformity will help to eliminate contention.

Recently there have been some promising steps in that direction, as I've discussed on the NoMoreContention blog.


In the interest of clarity, I've posted reviews of some of the major contention generating websites, including the following. Always lots more work to do, but at least here's a start.

CES Letter:


Mormon Stories:




Wednesday, May 3, 2023

All, some, none

For clarity and understanding purposes, I've revised my three classifications.

Believe what Joseph and Oliver claimed




Believe what Joseph and Oliver claimed about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon

Believe some, but not all, of what Joseph and Oliver claimed about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon

Disbelieve what Joseph and Oliver claimed about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon

Everyone who is interested in these issues can now see exactly where the various opinions fit relative to other opinions.

In upcoming posts we'll show how this framework applies.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

The Backyard Professor and I discuss No More Contention

I had a delightful conversation with the Backyard Professor, Kerry Shirts, recently. The video is here:


Among other things, we discussed the No More Contention website (https://nomorecontention.blogspot.com/). 

Both of us find this approach of seeking understanding and clarity far more enjoyable and productive than the old model of apologists and critics arguing over stuff, playing gatekeepers, and all the other shenanigans we saw in the Peter Pan fiasco.

At one point, we gave an example of how we completely disagree about a specific topic (a short video by President Oaks), but by discussing our different perspectives we gained a better understanding of one another with zero animosity, offense, defensiveness, etc.

Some of the Interpreters even object to the NoMoreContention page!

I mentioned that some of the Interpreters had objected that I went on Kerry's channel in the first place and also objected that on this blog I had included a link to Bill Reel's video about Peter Pan. They "warned" me against these critics, saying they would use me to attack the Church somehow.

I pointed out that none of the Interpreters have ever invited me to be on their podcasts or radio shows, although they have discussed me there. They've never invited me to speak at any of their events or even to their small groups. 

By contrast, Heartlanders have invited some of the Interpreters to speak at their conference. Heartlanders are interested in understanding other points of view. They are interested in clarity. They recognize the value of multiple working hypotheses that help people make informed decisions.

The Interpreters reject all of these values. They don't want their audiences to know what I actually think. Instead, they filter and misrepresent what I've said and written to keep their audiences and followers in line with their M2C and SITH agendas.

It's pathetic, really. I can't tell whether the Interpreters don't trust their audiences or they are so insecure about their own beliefs that they have to control the narrative. Probably a combination.

But it doesn't matter anyway. Thanks to the Peter Pan disaster that Dan Peterson promoted so heavily, fair-minded people, regardless of their beliefs, can see that the Interpreters' brand of apologetics is unpersuasive, uncharitable, and undesirable. 

Worse, it does nothing for clarity and mutual understanding.

I look forward to more conversations based on No More Contention. 

I hope some of the Interpreters will join the effort. It would be a welcome change in direction.

But meanwhile, we'll keep moving forward in a positive direction toward unity in diversity, mutual understanding, clarity, and finding common ground wherever we can as we all strive to make the world a better place and contribute to the progress of the Restoration and all that entails.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Who are the Interpreters?

To clarify some confusion that exists, when I refer to people (not the Urim and Thummim) as Interpreters, I'm not referring to everyone who proposes interpretations of Church history, the Book of Mormon, the teachings of the prophets, etc. Quite the opposite.

Everyone has the right and responsibility to do study and interpret for themselves, as the scriptures, Church leaders (and common sense) explain.  

The term Interpreters as applied to individuals is also not pejorative, argumentative or contentious. It is merely descriptive. I use the term Interpreters to promote clarity and understanding, not to generate controversy or argument. It is an easy shorthand way to describe the underlying philosophy and agenda of those who fit the description.

I use the term Interpreters to designate a mentality or worldview shared by those who claim the privilege of interpreting for others and acting as gatekeepers based on their claims of superior knowledge by virtue of their credentials, their good intentions, their allegiance to consensus, and (in some cases) their positions of employment in positions of trust (such as teaching at BYU or for CES).* 

Thus, the term Interpreters is not contentious, but their approach to apologetics is inherently contentious.

Although the term originated with the Interpreter Foundation, it does not refer to everyone associated with that organization and is not limited to those associated with that organization. Nor does it apply to everyone involved with the Book of Mormon Central, FAIRLDS, or any other group.

This graphic explains the concept.

Interpreters are found within these organizations (especially at the leadership and editorship levels), but many people affiliated with them are not Interpreters.

For example, Book of Mormon Central hosts many Interpreters.

Here is an outstanding example of the Interpreter mentality embedded in the title of a Kno-Why:

How Are Oliver Cowdery’s Messenger and Advocate Letters to Be Understood and Used?


also here:


The article, which is replete with misdirection and errors, purports to tell the world how to understand and use the teachings of a member of the First Presidency, actually the Assistant President of the Church, Oliver Cowdery. 

The audacity of the anonymous authors of this piece is breathtaking.

That's what makes them Interpreters. And, naturally, the article features the M2C logo, the telltale sign that the article will do everything possible to promote and defend M2C at the expense of accuracy and reason. 

The opposite approach is encouraging people to make informed decisions for themselves, based on good information and consideration of multiple working hypotheses. As President Nelson has taught, "good inspiration is based upon good information."

Gatekeeping organizations such as the Interpreter, Book of Mormon Central, and FAIRLDS oppose presenting a variety of faithful interpretations. That's what makes them organizational Interpreters.

At NoMoreContention.com, we will use examples of the Interpreter mentality to demonstrate a better way to avoid and eliminate contention for the benefit of everyone.


*Obviously this does not mean duly called and sustained Church officers acting within the scope of their responsibilities.