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.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The war is over

On January 17, 2014, Hiroo Onoda died at age 91. He was famous as the Japanese soldier who continued fighting World War II for 29 years, hiding in the jungle on the island in the Philippines where he'd been stationed.

Many Japanese holdouts on isolated islands continued fighting after the formal surrender, some because they didn't hear about it and others because of dogmatism; i.e., the didn't want to surrender, even after their country formally ended the war.

There have been holdouts in many wars, usually due to poor communications. The History Channel lists examples from the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the Spanish-American War.

I see the same thing happening now with the "war" over Book of Mormon geography. The war is over, but there are a lot of Mesoamerican holdouts. Some, such as Hiroo Onoda, will take longer to accept the reality. For others--I think for most--it's just a matter of education and an open mind.


I started this blog over a year ago, mainly in response to a document purportedly written by John Sorenson about why North America cannot be the setting for the Book of Mormon. Brother Sorenson proposed instead that the Book of Mormon took place in a limited area of Mesoamerica. His map and ideas have dominated LDS scholarly thinking for decades. (As one of his former students, his ideas dominated my thinking for decades, so I know how this goes.) Brother Sorenson's influence has pervaded BYU, CES, Church curriculum, and Church graphics and media on lds.org.

I say the war is over because it has become apparent that the Mesoamerican model is completely wrong. The evidence is incontrovertible.

Many others before me have explained how and why that model is wrong. I've simply brought some resources together and offered my own perspectives. In over 150 posts so far, I've demonstrated the following:

1. Sorenson's objections to North America are not factual.
2. The Mesoamerican map contradicts the text of the Book of Mormon.
3. The proponents of the Mesoamerican theory have relied on "correspondences" between Mayan and Nephite culture that are illusory (wishful thinking).
4. The historical premises for the Mesoamerican setting (anonymous articles in the Times and Seasons claimed to have been written by Joseph Smith) are wrong; instead, those articles were written and published without Joseph's knowledge or approval, by men who later apostatized from the Church.
5. The Mesoamerican theory undermines faith in the Book of Mormon because:
--proponents reject the testimony of two of the Three Witnesses (Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer).
-- proponents claim that Joseph Smith didn't know much about the Book of Mormon, that he merely speculated about its setting, and that his speculations themselves were wrong.
--proponents claim the text of the Book of Mormon itself is wrong because Joseph Smith didn't understand Mayan culture.
--anti-Mormon critics point out these and other problems, leaving members and missionaries without good responses when confronted about the lack of evidence for the Book of Mormon, the DNA problem, and the credibility of the early Church leaders and authors who universally accepted the New York setting for the Book of Mormon Hill Cumorah.

On the other hand, the North American setting solves all of these problems.

As I'll explain in an upcoming post, I'm retaining the blog to document isolated skirmishes of the Book of Mormon Wars, but I have a new blog that will focus on education about the North American setting.

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