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, August 25, 2015

Mesoamerica in New York

The other day I was speaking with a well-educated BYU professor who thought that everyone knew the Hill Cumorah was in New York. I explained that the proponents of Mesoamerica insist the Book of Mormon Cumorah is not in New York, but somewhere in Mesoamerica. They claim Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer were speculating, or guessing, when they identified the New York hill as the Book of Mormon Cumorah; either way, according to the Mesoamericanists, Joseph and two of the Three Witnesses were wrong.

He thought I was kidding.

I assured him I was not. I asked if he'd ever attended the Hill Cumorah pageant. He hadn't, so I described the set and costumes. They have actually recreated Mayan temples on the Hill Cumorah in New York.

I wish I was kidding.

Here is what I was talking about.


Mesoamerica in New York!

Note: these photos are directly off of lds.org. You can see them here.

Maybe creating a Mayan temple in New York is someone's idea of neutrality regarding Book of Mormon geography... This makes as much sense as a pageant in southern Mexico showing Joseph Smith obtaining the plates from the Cerro Vigia (where Mormon's record repository lays in wait, of course.)

Lest I be accused of criticizing the Cumorah Pageant, let me be clear that I don't attribute any of the Mesoamerican theory to the fine, creative people who put on the pageant, paint the paintings, produce the movies, print the manuals, etc. In my opinion it's the scholars perpetuating the theory who need to reassess their views in the face of the historical, geological, and geographical evidence.

John Sorenson set forth an important principle for evaluating Book of Mormon geography. “We need instead to use the entire scripture, without exception . . . We must understand, interpret and deal successfully with every statement in the text, not just what is convenient or interesting to us.”[i] I agree with him--which is why I don't use the Sorenson translation of the text.

He also points out, “If we are to progress in this task, we must chop away and burn the conceptual underbrush that has afflicted the effort in the past.”[i]

In my view, a Mayan temple in New York is a good example of the conceptual underbrush that needs to be chopped away.

[i] Sorenson, Geography, p. 210.

[i] Sorenson, Geography, p. 210.

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