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, December 9, 2016

Content to submit it

Yesterday I was reminded of the Note to the Reader that I put in the Pocket Edition of Moroni's America:


There are many possible interpretations of Book of Mormon geography. While this book describes my approach to the text—placing the events of the Book of Mormon in North America—alternative settings are meaningful and relevant to other people.

The purpose of the Book of Mormon is to bring people to Christ. This book of scripture speaks to people all over the world, many of whom have personalized it by adopting a theory of geography based in their local lands. In that sense, they can “liken it unto themselves.”

Until the Lord reveals more on this topic, there is no right or wrong interpretation. It has been left to us, as individuals, to make up our own minds.

I offer my thesis because it works for me and in the hope that it will help others focus on the core message and purpose of the Book of Mormon.  

That note reflects what I'm trying to do with this blog, as well.

If you like to think of the Book of Mormon taking place where you live, great. It doesn't matter if you live in Nigeria, Russia, Argentina, Guatemala, Thailand, Chile, or anywhere else--you can personalize it to your heart's content.

But recognize that other people want to know where the Book of Mormon events took place in a literal sense; i.e., where Book of Mormon people actually lived. That's my focus, and that's why I emphasize the Hill Cumorah as a starting place. I think the evidence leads to the conclusion that there is one Cumorah and it is in New York. I also think many members of the Church who want to know the literal location of Book of Mormon events would reach that same conclusion once made aware of all the facts.

For too long, people haven't had all the facts. Mesomania has had a deep and pervasive influence on anyone who has grown up in the Church or been converted. The artwork alone teaches the Mesoamerican setting. On top of that, we have LDS scholars who continue to insist on that setting, and they have influenced generations of their students--including current educators--to think this way.

Where I take exception is when privileges have been conferred on individuals--e.g., educators at Church institutions--and they either (i) don't present all the facts to their students or (ii) repudiate the prophets and apostles.

Recently I've shown examples of scholars whose approach is, "I sustain the brethren as prophets and apostles, but when they disagree with my theories, they are speaking as men, giving their own opinions, and I don't defer to their opinions."

I hope people are aware of this attitude and take it into consideration when you study the topic.

The most I can accomplish here is to make you, the reader, aware of aspects of this question you might not have known about or considered before. I like the way Oliver Cowdery expressed this idea in Letter III:

"Whether I shall succeed so far in my purpose as to convince the public of the incorrectness of those scurrilous reports which have inundated our land, or even but a small portion of them, will be better ascertained when I close than when I commence; and I am content to submit it before the candid for perusal, and before the judge of all for inspection, as I most assuredly believe that before HIM I must stand and answer for the deeds transacted in this life.

"Should I, however, be instrumental in causing a few to hear before they judge, and understand both sides of this matter before they condemn, I shall have the satisfaction of seeing them embrace it, as I am certain that one is the inevitable fruit of the other."

Like Oliver, I'm content to submit the ideas in the blog for your consideration. I'm fine if you agree or disagree.

Just be sure you've considered all the facts before you make up your mind.

Most of all, enjoy studying the Book of Mormon as you seek answers. 

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