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, November 28, 2023

Daily Jonathan Edwards

Those interested in the NID may also be interested in excerpts I post from time to time on this blog:


Number 1 on Amazon

Seems to be some interest in the NID:


The NID is the Nonbiblical intertextuality database for nonbiblical terms/phrases in the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Disagreeing better, more podcasts, etc.

On the nomorecontention blog, I discussed the Disagree Better initiative and how it could apply within the Restoration.



Two outstanding podcasts were released recently.

David Hocking discussed his Annotated Book of Mormon and other annotated books on Mormon Book Reviews.


David's book series is unique and well worth studying by Latter-day Saints and others. If you watch the podcast, you'll see all the features he has packed into the scriptures. 


Peter Santenello is a popular YouTuber (2.58 million subscribers) who makes "videos showing you a world that the media fails to capture." He recently visited Utah with Brock, a Latter-day Saint who explained the Restoration clearly and with charity and understanding.


The video has over 500,000 views in 3 days. 


In 2024, Come Follow Me focuses on the Book of Mormon. We will hear lots of M2C and SITH from certain scholars. Both critics and certain LDS scholars claim that Joseph Smith believed in a hemispheric model for the setting of the Book of Mormon. 

I posted a comment on that on the Letter VII blog, here:


Monday, November 20, 2023

Two more podcasts

My publisher, Boyd Tuttle, was recently interviewed on Mormon Book Reviews:



I did another interview, this time about my first book, The Lost City of Zarahemla, which discusses the origin of the Mesoamerican setting.


There seems to be a resurgence of interest in this topic, so I posted a brief summary of Lost City of Zarahemla and the origins of M2C at lds historical narratives, here:


In that post, I explained the issues by using the FAITH model. 

As always, I'm fine with people believing whatever they want. In the interest of clarity, charity and understanding, we should all recognize that while we are all dealing with the identical facts, people quickly make different assumptions, draw different inferences, and propose different theories to support their overall conclusions or hypotheses.

In this case, I have great respect and cordial feelings toward the M2C scholars. I understand their assumptions, inferences, etc., because for decades I shared those assumptions, inferences, etc. Just because I no longer accept their assumptions and inferences doesn't mean I dislike them in any way. They're great people.

As we pursue (and hopefully achieve) clarity, charity and understanding, everyone in the Church, and all our friends, will be able to carefully and thoughtfully consider all the evidence and reach their own conclusions, making informed decisions.

That way, we will achieve no more contention.


I suppose this topic will trigger the usual trolls, however. One way to consider the work of the trolls is that they are drunk, stoned, or mentally ill. Or, in some cases, they get a shot of adrenalin by making ad hominem arguments and other logical fallacies. 

Regardless, I'm happy to engage with anyone on these topics. Lots of people email me at lostzarahemla@gmail.com.

I'd like nothing more than to have clear, open clarity, charity and understanding on this and all the other issues.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Podcast on Urim and Thummim is live now

The latest podcast is now live on YouTube:


On Monday, the one on The Lost City of Zarahemla will go live. I have a post scheduled for that one as well.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Nonbiblical intertextuality database on Kindle

Readers of either Infinite Goodness or By Means of the Urim and Thummim are familiar with the Nonbiblical Intertextuality Database (NID). I update the NID periodically with new references. 

By now it is 1,382 pages in Word.

I uploaded the current version of the NID onto Kindle. For more info, see:


Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Podcast Saturday Nov 18

I did another podcast that will go live on Saturday, Nov 18. We had a fun conversation. Lots of things for people to discuss.

Sign up to be notified when it goes live.


Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Danites vs no more contention

The banner of this blog states, "President Nelson taught, "Good inspiration is based upon good information." In this blog, we share good information from original sources. Many Latter-day Saints still believe what the prophets have taught about the New York Cumorah. This blog discusses corroborating evidence. We support the Church's policy of neutrality regarding Book of Mormon geography and other issues. That policy promotes unity by recognizing multiple working hypotheses. We encourage all interested parties to do the same."

It has been fascinating to see the response to this blog and my other blogs, which has been overwhelmingly positive. People write to me all the time and thank me for providing the original sources and references that corroborate the teachings of the prophets. I'm happy to help people make informed decisions because I trust people to handle truth appropriately.

My proposition for believers and critics alike: 

let's all compare different interpretations of Church history and Book of Mormon issues, starting with FACTS everyone can agree upon, then clearly explaining our respective ASSUMPTIONS, INFERENCES, and THEORIES, all of which lead to our respective HYPOTHESES.

This FAITH model for comparison leads to clarity on all sides. It incorporates the value of charity because everyone involved deems other participants to be acting in good faith. And it results in understanding because no one feels compelled to persuade, convince, or coerce anyone else.

Clarity, charity and understanding.

Simple concepts that lead to no more contention.

It would be so easy to implement and so beneficial for all Latter-day Saints and their friends.

And yet, ever since I started this blog, certain LDS intellectuals and their followers have fought against all three values. 


Critics of this blog consist mainly of a small group of LDS intellectuals and their followers who promote M2C (the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory) and SITH (the stone-in-the-hat theory). They are adamant that their own beliefs are sacrosanct and should not be challenged or even questioned. They have long acted as gatekeepers and resist any efforts to open (or circumvent) their gates. 

We love these intellectuals and their followers, and we expect them to eventually embrace clarity, charity and understanding.

So far, however...

- Instead of clarity, they rely on obfuscation, sophistry, and censorship.

- Instead of charity, they resort to ad hominem attacks, innuendo, and taking offense.

- Instead of understanding, they misrepresent others' perspectives, insist on compliance with their own conclusions, and demand respect for their credentials.  

It's inexplicable, in a way. But such tactics are reminiscent of another group in Church history.


In the 1830s, a group of LDS members who called themselves "Danites" assumed responsibility for what they thought was protecting the Church from dissenting influence. Historians have a variety of interpretations about the Danites. One article concluded that "Though the existence of the Danites was short-lived, it resulted in a longstanding and much-embellished myth about a secret society of Mormon vigilantes."


Additional references:




The term "Danites" is useful for describing overzealous Latter-day Saints who actively oppose the values of clarity, charity, and understanding.


I've heard criticism from both Heartlanders and M2Cers/SITHsayers. 

Some Heartlanders say I'm too generous to the M2Cers/SITHsayers because I frequently reiterate that respect them, I personally like them, and I think they are acting in good faith. In my view, Heartlanders who object to extending charity to M2Cers/SITHsayers are modern Danites. 

I understand where they are coming from; after all, M2Cers/SITHsayers have publicly accused Heartlanders of being racist, right-wing nationalists, and even subversive. But those false rhetorical attacks reflect insecurity and fear on the part of the M2Cers/SITHsayers who make them. 

The vast majority of Heartlanders embrace the FAITH model and the pursuit of clarity, charity, and understanding.


Some M2Cers/SITHsayers object to these two acronyms. These are not pejorative, and I'm happy to consider alternatives if anyone has an idea. 

M2C is a simple concept that I didn't invent. L.E. Hills published a map in 1917 that portrayed Cumorah in Mesoamerica. Sidney Sperry wrote an article in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies in 1995 titled "Were There Two Cumorahs?" It's available on Book of Mormon Central, as well as here:


Everyone recognizes that early Church members as well as modern Church leaders have taught that Cumorah is in New York. Everyone who promotes a Cumorah other than the one in New York implicitly embraces the view that there are two Cumorahs: the false traditional one in New York, and the "real" one wherever they claim it is. Because the Mesoamerican setting is the dominant one, I added the M for clarity. There is no rational reason to object to M2C, especially in the absence of an alternative acronym.

The SITHsayer term is an obvious acronym for those who promote the stone-in-the-hat theory. Some don't like the allusion to the Star Wars SITH lords, but if they have a better acronym, they haven't shared it with me. 

Some M2Cers/SITHsayers say I'm too mean to them because I point out how (i) they act as gatekeepers, (ii) they refuse to participate in the FAITH model and (iii) they don't agree with the goal of no more contention. All of those objections could be easily resolved by them simply accepting clarity, charity, and understanding. As long as they refuse to do so, it is not only appropriate but necessary to point it out. It's nothing personal at all. I assume they're acting in good faith, they're fine scholars, solid Latter-day Saints, etc. They just don't accept the concept of multiple working hypotheses. By itself, that does not make them Danites.

In the next few days, we'll discuss some of the modern Danites in more detail.

Some M2Cers/SITHsayers say I've offended them. If I have, I readily apologize, but I've explained all along that if anyone takes offense at anything I've said, they should let me know (lostzarahemla@gmail.com) and I'll edit or modify any offensive rhetoric. For example, some people complained to me about the nickname "FairlyMormon" so I stopped using it. Others complained about the term "citation cartel" so I stopped using that, even though that isn't a term I coined and it's used in other contexts.


Some unbelieving critics complain that I have a different take on Church history and the Book of Mormon than they do. I'm happy to engage with them pursuant to the FAITH model and in the context of multiple working hypotheses. I'm happy to share a meal, a podcast, or any other forum because I think it is counterproductive so shun others. Everyone would benefit from clarity, charity and understanding.


Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Shift to no more contention

Recently the number of page views on this blog and my other blogs passed 1.5 million. That's not counting other websites that re-post my blogs, such as moronisamerica.com and others. And the number of page views seems to be growing steadily. I hear from readers regularly and encourage anyone interested in these topics to email me at lostzarahemla@gmail.com.

It's always surprising to me that these blogs, which started out as my occasional online notes that I posted in blog form so I could have access wherever I traveled,  have attracted such a readership. By now, there is more than enough content on this blog that pretty much every question people ask about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon can be answered by searching this blog, along with lettervii.com.

On this blog, we've demonstrated these three main points about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon.

1. The prophets, starting with Moroni, Joseph Smith, and Oliver Cowdery, have explained the origin and setting in clear, unmistakable language. Mormon and Moroni composed the text not far from where Joseph lived near Palmyra, New York; the repository of original Nephite records was in the hill Cumorah/Ramah about three miles from Joseph's home; and Moroni deposited the abridged plates in a stone box in the same hill, in another "department" as Orson Pratt explained. Joseph translated the plates by means of the Urim and Thummim, or Nephite interpreters, that came with the plates. He translated the abridged plates in Harmony, PA, and the original small plates of Nephi in Fayette.

2. Alternative explanations for the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon have been promoted by others, including both SITH (the stone-in-the-hat theory) and M2C (the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory). Promoters of SITH and M2C have a range of approaches and tactics that we'll discuss tomorrow.

3. People are free to believe whatever they want, but claims by critics and certain believing scholars that Joseph and Oliver misled everyone about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon are corrosive of faith. Everyone deserves to know all the facts and make their own informed decisions. Gatekeepers and their followers who suppress and attack alternative fact-based explanations (especially those that corroborate the teachings of the prophets) act out of fear, intolerance, and insecurity.


I will continue to post on this blog from time to time when people ask questions I haven't already answered, or when there is new information.

However, both in the Church and in the world as a whole there is an urgent need for clarity, charity, and understanding, which is the focus of nomorecontention.com

Those three values are also the focus of my latest book, The Rational Restoration.

For that reason, I'm turning my attention to the big three: clarity, charity and understanding.

Be sure to bookmark nomorecontention.com.

Tomorrow I'll explain why I settled on clarity, charity and understanding.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Interpreting the Book of Mormon

I posted an article about interpreting the Book of Mormon on NoMoreContention.com here:


Going forward, I'll post most of my articles on that site.

Tomorrow I'll explain why.

Friday, November 3, 2023

Kirk Magleby's Geography Guide - Stick of Joseph

In the pursuit of clarity, charity and understanding, this post will discuss an important YouTube video from the Stick of Joseph channel.

In my view, Book of Mormon Central (BMC, aka Scripture Central) should welcome a full, open, fair comparison of all the different interpretations of the text. Even if constrained to include only faithful interpretations, such a comparison would eliminate any contention and confusion that persists about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon. Such a comparison would elevate the dialog, foster brotherhood and sisterhood (unity in diversity), and enable everyone to make informed decisions.

But as we'll see in this video, BMC continues to refuse to do so. And we can all see why, as I'll explain at the end.

Kirk Magleby on Stick of Joseph

Kirk Magleby is an awesome guy. Like Jack Welch, Kirk is a thoughtful, considerate scholar, a nice guy, and an honorable, friendly individual.

[To their credit, Kirk and Jack never resorts to the logical fallacies and ad hominem tactics of Dan Peterson, Mike Parker (Peter Pan), and their cronies.]

BMC is a classy operation, thanks to the guidance of Kirk and Jack. As I've always said, somewhere between 80-90% of what BMC does is awesome, useful, and positive.

I think they miss the mark only because they insist on M2C and SITH as the only acceptable faithful interpretations of the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon. This editorial position deprives their donors, readers, and viewers of the ability to make informed decisions. 

[For new readers, see the definition of M2C and SITH here:


Worse, IMO, is the way BMC continues to elevate scholars over prophets, which we've discussed here many times. 


To his credit, Kirk has done at least two interviews with the YouTube channel "Stick of Joseph." We'll discuss the first video at the end when we discuss reasons why BMC won't compare alternatives.

In his second video interview on the Stick of Joseph channel, Kirk described his geography guide . 


If you watch the video, however, you will see the effect of the M2C mind virus. As much as I love Kirk, it is amazing to see how deeply he has trained his mind to confirm his bias.

At about the 8 minute mark, Kirk refers to the 1981 edition of the Book of Mormon to claim that Orson Pratt couldn't make sense of the geography so he suggested there could have been two different cities with the same name.


Then Kirk makes a critical admission:

9:28. "We are making the assumption that there are no double definitions... There's one narrow neck of land... What we're basically saying is if your solution requires a double definition that there be two of one thing with the very same name, we believe that you need to work a little harder and sharpen your pen and go back to the drawing boards and refine your model."

This is critical because Kirk always claims he is relying solely on the text, but as he admits here, he's relying not on the text but on his interpretation of the text.

He then admits that if there is a double definition, that's a "wild card that absolutely could blow us out of the water." 

It's difficult to imagine any objective, rational viewer watching this and not laughing out loud at the absurdity of Kirk's position.

This isn't to say Kirk's position is not rational. It is. But that's doesn't mean it's not absurd.

I have agreed with Kirk all along that, if I agreed with his assumptions, I'd agree with his conclusions. And that's true for everyone's point of view. Whether it's Kirk and Jack, or Orson Pratt, or Dan Vogel or John Dehlin or anyone else, if you agree with their assumptions, you'll agree with their conclusions.

This is axiomatic. Yet Kirk seems to think his approach is somehow different. That's why he and Jack and everyone else at BMC refuse to accommodate alternative interpretations, including alternative faithful interpretations that corroborate the teachings of the prophets about Cumorah (instead of repudiating those teachings the way M2C does).

This is what my FAITH model demonstrates.

We all start with the FACTS everyone can agree upon. In this case, take any passage of scripture and we can agree about what the words are.

But then come the ASSUMPTIONS, such as Kirk's "no double definitions" assumption, where people diverge. Then come the INFERENCES and THEORIES, all based on the same facts, that lead to the overall HYPOTHESIS.

Another funny thing about this example is that while Kirk assumes there are "no double definitions," he also assumes that different terms mean the same thing! Thus, he thinks the "narrow neck" is the same thing as the "small neck of land" which is the same thing as the "narrow neck of land." 

In my view, different terms refer to different things, and Mormon/Moroni specified "of land" to distinguish between a neck of water and a neck of land. But I'm happy to acknowledge this is my assumption, and I'm happy to consider multiple working hypotheses based on alternative assumptions.

By contrast, Kirk deems his assumptions to be the only acceptable interpretation.


To be sure, Kirk has explanations for his assumptions. But everyone has explanations for their assumptions. 

Kirk (and Jack) know that it would be easy to set out a comparison table that delineates the FACTS everyone agrees upon, followed by the respective ASSUMPTIONS, INFERENCES, etc. for everyone to see.

But they won't do it. 

Everyone interested in this topic needs to ask, why won't they?

I'll offer three possible reasons below.

But first, let's look at an example from Kirk's presentation.


At about 12 minutes, Kirk gets into a discussion of Manti. He inserts his own interpretations into the narrative such as here:

12:45 we have Captain Moroni who takes a portion of his army goes all the way from jerson which is in the northeastern part of Nephi lands to the the south central part of Nephi lands and he stations his army on either side of the river Sidon in the wilderness south of manti and from his position you could go down into the borders of Manti so it's clear that we're Upstream, we're up River from the borders of manti so that means if your river is Flowing North that means you're south of the river.If your river is Flowing South that means you're north of the river.

Ironically, Kirk complains about "forced readings," but here, Kirk apparently can think of only one interpretation of the text. I can think of several ways to interpret Alma 43. Why can Kirk think of only one? Because he has to force it to fit into his M2C setting.

In this example, despite what Kirk says, it is not "clear that we're upstream" if we're in a position to "go down into the borders of Manti." 

If, as Kirk apparently does, we assume a flat terrain, then yes, we could "go down" in elevation only the same way the river flows. But most rivers flow through uneven terrain. We can have hills or mountains that a river flows past that are higher in elevation than the land from which the river flows. 

An easy example is Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Tennessee river flows through Chattanooga, forming a bend in the city as it flows from north to south (before flowing west and turning north on its way to Illinois). Lookout Mountain is south of the river bend. During the Civil War, it was the scene of a major battle because armies on Lookout Mountain had a commanding view of the city. You would "go down" to Chattanooga from the south, even though the Tennessee river flowed south.

This is obvious to any observer, but not to Kirk because he has the M2C mind virus that can only think in terms of M2C.

Again, to be clear, this is not to criticize Kirk at all. He's awesome. He's smart, thoughtful, and exemplary in every way. The problem is the way the M2C mind virus constrains the ability of M2Cers to think outside the M2C box.

If BMC was a legitimate scholarly enterprise, it would include people with diverse perspectives to point out their M2C myopia.


If you watch the video or read the transcript, you will see many more examples of the M2C mind virus. One classic one appears here, where Kirk once again refers to the 1981 edition of the Book of Mormon:

1:06:52 Kirk: go to the topical guide at the back, this is the 1981 Edition, it still had the same notes that had been there ever since the time of Orson Pratt.. changed a few of them but modernized a little bit. 

[What Kirk doesn't mention is that Orson Pratt's footnotes stated as a fact that Cumorah was in New York, while Pratt acknowledged that other geographical terms such as the location of Bountiful was merely speculation. These were all removed in the 1920 edition after RLDS scholar L.E. Hills propose the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory.]

Go to Sidon and notice what we put, we published in the Book of Mormon for over 100 years. 

Hayden Paul reads: Sidon River most prominent River in Nephi territory runs runs north to the sea.

[Note: this definition was removed from the official edition because it is an assumption, not something stated in the text, but Kirk doesn't mention that.]

Kirk: that is such a well-established notion that in 1992 when the encyclopedia Mormonism gets published, John Clark who's one of our very best archaeologists, an absolutely amazing brilliant guy yeah I love to read in the literature and see John Clark, John E Clark cited because okay that's one of our our our very best and he cited a lot because he's a prolific scholar. Anyway John Clark authored the the um article in the encyclopedia Mormonism on Book of Mormon geography and he says this is one of the few unambiguously attested  Notions from the text that the River Sidon flowed North.

[Note: lots to unpack here. Briefly, Kirk departs from rationality here. First, Kirk's argument that the "north-flowing Sidon" should be accepted because it was published "for over 100 years" would make it even more important to accept the New York Cumorah, which was also well-established "for over 100 years," except not by scholars but by prophets. Second, Kirk commits the logical fallacy of "appeal to authority" by citing Clark's entry in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. Clark's credentials are irrelevant to the question of what the text says. There's no reason for anyone to pay attention to Clark's opinion when we can all read the text for ourselves, particularly when Clark explicitly rejects what the prophets have taught about Cumorah.* Third, if it was relevant that the Sidon entry was published until 1981, logically it is even more relevant that the Church deleted the entry because the scripture committee realized the text never says Sidon flows north.] 

Kirk: so what would I ask of a Wayne May and a John Lefgren and a Jonathan Neville and a Boyd Tuttle and a Ryan Nelson I'd say show me from the text how how the Mississippi could possibly be the Sidon.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I've agreed with Kirk that there is a north-flowing river from the land of Nephi to the land of Zarahemla. Kirk and the other M2Cers seem to have forgotten about the Tennessee River, which flows north from Tennessee to Illinois and which satisfies the information provided in the text. It's an easy, obvious solution.

Kirk and other M2Cers simply conflate two separate rivers. 

And they don't even seem to realize that they are merely making an assumption when they insist Sidon flows north.

Unbelievable, but just another example of the M2C mind virus.


Next, Kirk talks about his spreadsheet.

1:13:36 when I can get book of Mormon geography to Excel rather than Word now we're cooking with gas. Now we have something we can start hanging our hat out and that Excel spreadsheet had to go to 21 different versions and I had to go get an engineer on board, a very very smart guy's he's a financial analyst but he had to help us on that model on that Excel spreadsheet because it began to exceed my capacity but after 21 editions I have the ability to audit a model in an Excel spreadsheet and come up with a score and there are 229 different relationships. If you take every place where there's an up a down a North a South East a West a Day's Journey or a crossover there are 200 that those appear 229 times in the text. Now suppose you could come up with a model that matches all 220 none of those relationships should we pay attention to that model?

Conceptually and theoretically, it's a nice idea to compile these references into a spreadsheet to keep everything clear. I like the idea. But when I saw this spreadsheet model, I was not surprised to see the M2C assumptions baked into it. It's mostly bias confirmation, as anyone can see when you look at it. 

Underlying the spreadsheet, of course, is the fundamental assumption that Joseph and Oliver (and their contemporaries and successors) were all wrong about the New York Cumorah.

In my view, for faithful Latter-day Saints to assume from the outset that the prophets were wrong as the basis for their interpretation of the Book of Mormon is irrational.

It also seems obviously destructive of faith.

I realize the M2C scholars have rationalized their way out the dilemma of rejecting what Joseph and Oliver said about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon. Maybe, if there was no possible way that Joseph and Oliver could have been truthful and accurate and reliable, there would be no alternative to M2C and SITH.

But there are lots of settings with Cumorah in New York that match the descriptions in the text. As this interview demonstrates, M2C is based on mere assumptions.

Everyone can agree on the FACTS. Where we diverge is in our ASSUMPTIONS, INFERENCES, etc.

That brings up the reasons why BMC and other M2C scholars refuse to accommodate comparisons with other faithful interpretations.


The Three Reasons.

Let's discuss the three reasons why BMC continues to deprive donors, readers, and viewers of a fair, complete comparison of alternative faithful interpretations.

In the first interview of the series, Kirk explained how he believes the 1842 Times and Seasons articles show that Joseph Smith didn't know much about Book of Mormon so he learned about the geography from the books by John Lloyd Stevens. Naturally, scholars love the idea of prophets learning from other scholars because that puts scholars above prophets. This is the entire rationale for M2C; i.e., Joseph and Oliver were ignorant speculators when they claimed Cumorah/Ramah was in New York, so we need to reject what they said and instead rely on scholars who have been trained for the M2C ministry.

This is Reason 1 for refusing to accommodate comparisons. Scholars feel compelled to act as gatekeepers. They think their credentials empower them to decide what those who they consider to be beneath them in terms of credentials may be allowed to know and consider. It's a variation of the idea that when the scholars have decided, the conversation is over. "When they are learned they think they are wise." (2 Nephi 9:28)

Reason 2 is the M2C mind virus that prevents the M2C scholars from realizing they are engaged in pure bias confirmation. Not that others don't, of course. But bias confirmation is not a serious justification for depriving Latter-day Saints (and friends) of information they need to make informed decisions. This is a step beyond the ordinary academic arrogance that scholars use to justify their role as gatekeepers. In this situation, the M2C scholars are misleading and misinforming the Latter-day Saints, including their students and donors, as well as their readers and viewers.

Reason 3 is the reality that M2C scholars understand, at some level, that a comparison chart would expose the fundamental fallacies of M2C. These are not logical fallacies, necessarily. M2C logically flows from the underlying assumptions. But it's the incongruence between M2C and the teachings of the prophets that is irrational to believers. Most Latter-day Saints naturally prefer to corroborate the teachings of the prophets over repudiating those teachings. Once people learn what the prophets have taught about Cumorah, and how the extrinsic evidence corroborates those teachings, they usually embrace settings that incorporate the New York Cumorah.

The M2C mind virus persists and spreads only in an environment of ignorance and misdirection. 

That said, I'm find with people making an fully informed decision to embrace M2C if they want to. But as Kirk demonstrates in this video, we will probably never see BMC reach the point of fully and fairly informing its donors, readers and viewers for the three reasons we just reviewed.


* John Clark is a great guy, but his scholarship on the Book of Mormon has lots of holes, as I've discussed several times on this blog. Just search for "Clark" on this blog to find several posts.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

What mind virus?

People are asking what I meant by the M2C mind virus in yesterday's post.

M2C stands for the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory, which is the belief among many LDS scholars that the identification by the prophets of Cumorah in New York was a mistake because the "real Cumorah" must be somewhere in southern Mexico to make the Mesoamerican setting work. 

This is the official position of Book of Mormon Central, as we can see on their Spanish website.


The term "mind virus" has many uses. It's often used as a metaphor for a concept or worldview that comes to dominate the minds of infected people.

The "M2C mind virus" is a metaphor for the worldview that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were unreliable, uninformed speculators who misled the Church (and the entire world) about the location of Cumorah/Ramah. 

The M2C mind virus also produces the belief that modern scholars know more about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon than did Joseph and Oliver. 

We all recognize that people can believe whatever they want. We could say that people who still believe what Joseph and Oliver taught are infected with a "Joseph/Oliver mind virus." 

The point of the post was to show how the M2C mind virus can thrive only in the absence of comparison.

Hence, the excerpt from the Musk/Rogan interview.

Musk: "In order for the mind virus to propogate it must suppress oppossing viewpionts." Rogan: "Because it doesn't stand up against scrutiny?" Musk: "Correct."


The M2C mind virus leads people to interpret the text so it fits the Mesoamerican setting. But since BYU asked the faculty not to promote Mesoamerica specifically, the faculty developed a fantasy map that teaches the M2C interpretation without reference to the real world.

Some people think it's a mistake to teach the Book of Mormon in the context of a fantasy map akin to Lord of the Rings, but apparently the faculty think it's a great idea.

To be clear, I'm fine with anyone teaching whatever they want. I think it's a dereliction of duty and a breach of fiduciary responsibility for BYU faculty to teach that Joseph and Oliver were wrong about Cumorah (and about the translation), but they've been doing it for decades so apparently it's okay.

I just think they ought to inform students about the actual Church history on the topic and educate students about alternative interpretations that support, instead of repudiate, the teachings of the prophets.

But they won't. 

And their refusal seems to be caused by the M2C mind virus.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

The M2C mind virus

One of the most frequent questions people ask me is why Book of Mormon Central (BMC) and its allies continue to promote the M2C mind virus while also suppressing alternative faithful interpretations about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon. 

Specifically, BMC excludes (and encourages attacks on) geographical models that put Cumorah/Ramah in New York.

Elon Musk recent explained the problem in the context of a similar mind virus.

A year after Elon Musk bought Twitter, he finally explains WHY: He says that the niche ideology that turned San Francisco into a "zombie apocolypse" would historically be geographically isolated, and the fallout would therefore be limited. But Twitter gave that philosophy an "information technology weapon," which it could use to spread that mind virus to the whole planet unopposed. Musk: "In order for the mind virus to propogate it must suppress oppossing viewpionts." Rogan: "Because it doesn't stand up against scrutiny?" Musk: "Correct." Musk cared enough about stopping this virus that he spent $40 billion to do so.