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.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The way forward to 2016

In 2016, the curriculum for the Church focuses on the Book of Mormon. It will be a phenomenal year for study and unity.

When I give presentations, I usually conclude with a slide that says, "The Book of Mormon has never been stronger than it is now." The convergence of unprecedented access to Church historical documents through the Joseph Smith Papers, along with developments in archaeology, anthropology, and geology, have already energized many people to take another look at the Book of Mormon. Less active members are returning to activity, investigators are taking another look, and active members are seeing the Book of Mormon in a new light with tremendous enthusiasm.

A lot of things have been happening lately that point toward resolution of the Book of Mormon geography issue. I think the "Book of Mormon wars" will become a footnote in history as more and more people learn about Church history and the role of the Book of Mormon.

Up to this point, I've had to be somewhat pointed in my blog posts because it is necessary to set out the historical facts of what has been going on. I've consistently recognized that all believers in the Book of Mormon have good intentions and objectives. What unites us is far more important than disagreements about this or that detail, but the disagreements have led to fundamental problems that, in my view, can and will be resolved by full and open disclosure and dialog.

In my opinion and experience, when people read the actual history, their views converge toward unity. They see Joseph and Oliver and David as confident, reliable and consistent witnesses regarding the setting for and historicity of the Book of Mormon, which to them was an important aspect of the restoration.

Those aspects are no less important today.


  1. As people read the Book of Mormon, and engage in a serious study of it, "power will flow into [their] lives (Ezra Taft Benson, October Conference, 1986). I firmly believe that part of that power is the ability to discern, even over "problems" with, as you put it, "the setting for and historicity of the Book of Mormon."

    Maybe that sounds arrogant. But truth is never arrogant. It just is.

  2. The Book of Mormon, when studied seriously, really can bring a person to know Jesus Christ in a very deep and meaningful way. The doctrine, the experiences, and the miracles can be eye opening and a good reminder of what really matters. I agree, when people read the study the Book of Mormon, unity just happens. That really is powerful. It's like Elder Packer told us on my mission, the study of true doctrine changes behavior quicker (and better) than the study of behavior can change behavior.