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.

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.