Most people believe their ideas are based on facts and logic. Contradictory ideas are "wrong," "uninformed," "ignorant," "irrational," etc. It's a problem for everyone, of course.
People also think that "experts" are better informed than they are, so they defer to experts they trust. And experts can make their arguments sound persuasive. But because we're not experts, we don't know what they're not telling us. (I blogged about this before here:
People in power are even more convinced that they are "right" and others are "wrong." And as I mentioned in a post yesterday, people in power seek to suppress and even censor contradictory ideas, but if these ideas escape anyway and get out where ordinary people can learn about them, the people in power insist the ideas be opposed and ridiculed.
Eventually, though, these efforts backfire if the contradictory idea itself relies on more persuasive facts and logic. It becomes evident to observers that the censors are seeking to protect an idea that cannot withstand comparison and scrutiny.
Eventually the people in power start to capitulate.
That's the phase we are entering now regarding FairMormon and Book of Mormon geography.
FairMormon is an unusually extreme example of experts not telling us everything while insisting that those who do give us the important information (the things FairMormon censors) are "wrong."
FairMormon has a blog you can read here: https://www.fairmormon.org/blog. They also have a "Journal" that is not public. They send it to subscribers, so it is not as easy to access, but it has some great stuff.
And some less-than-great stuff.
Here's an unbelievably ironic passage in the latest iteration, FAIRMORMON JOURNAL, October 2017, with the original in blue and my comments in red:
Elder M. Russell Ballard used the story of one of our early pioneers, Jane Manning James, to talk about the gospel. He said about racism: “We need to embrace God’s children compassionately and eliminate any prejudice, including racism, sexism, and nationalism. Let it be said that we truly believe the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ are for every child of God.”
He also said, “Be aware of organizations, groups, or individuals claiming secret answers to doctrinal questions that they say today’s apostles and prophets do not have or understand.”
[So far, so good. Elder Ballard's conference talk was awesome.]
There may be some who are wondering if FairMormon might fall into that category of organizations to avoid.
[Remember, this newsletter is going to subscribers. From this statement we can infer that some subscribers are catching on to what FairMormon has been doing. That's a key element for a change in paradigm.
Not only are there "some" who wonder about FairMormon, but there are more and more people catching on. The reason is that FairMormon actively promotes the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory, which requires them to repudiate what Joseph, Oliver, and every other modern prophet and apostle has said about Cumorah being in New York.
Any organization that claims our prophets and apostles are wrong about what they say in General Conference deserves at least close scrutiny.
I think people ought to insist that FairMormon change their editorial policy on this issue of Cumorah in New York. They have a lot of good material on other topics, so it is tragic that they continue to mislead the Saints about this topic. Actually, it's even more damaging to faith for them to combine good, solid answers to gospel questions with their repudiation of the prophets and apostles on the question of Cumorah.]
I respond in three ways. First, we don’t claim any secret answers. We are here to support the brethren. I think the apostles understand and have everything they need.
[If FairMormon doesn't "claim any secret answers," then why do they promote the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory? No prophet or apostle has endorsed the two-Cumorahs theory. Instead, they have specifically rejected it.
By contrast, the intellectuals at Fair Mormon claim that Joseph and Oliver were speculators, that they were ignorant, and that they were wrong.
FairMormon claims they "are here to support the brethren," but they constantly seek to undermine the credibility and reliability of Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Brigham Young, President Ivins, President Romney, President Joseph Fielding Smith, etc.]
Secondly, if we start to claim authority over the brethren and what they say, you shouldn’t listen to us!
[This is exactly my point! This is one of the indicia of capitulation.
If FairMormon means what it says here, there are only two choices.
(1) FairMormon must change their editorial support of the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory, or
(2) People shouldn't listen to FairMormon.
Either option is fine with me, but I'd prefer to see FairMormon stop rejecting what the brethren have taught. That would help produce unity in the Church.]
Third, if you have questions about FairMormon, go to LDS.org and type FairMormon into the search engine. You may be surprised. You can also check out this link. You will find us there.
[This is my favorite argument of the three.
FairMormon is trying to persuade you here that the leaders of the Church endorse their positions (and I'm sure Church leaders would be very interested to see how FairMormon is using this link as an implied endorsement). But the link on lds.org itself explains that the Church is not endorsing their content.
Plus in this very same "newsletter," FairMormon itself writes, "All responses reflect the opinions of the respondents only and not the official position of FairMormon or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
This is an example of how you have to read FairMormon very carefully. They keep their articles anonymous, and they never reveal their "official positions" so they can always say that material on their web page is not "official." But their editorial position is adamant that Cumorah is not in New York, to the point that they refuse to give their readers any material that contradicts their Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory.]
There are some led away by those who claim to have priesthood authority, or who claim special knowledge.
[This is a serious concern that I share with FairMormon; there are groups popping up who are leading members of the Church astray.
But it is FairMormon's own claim to "special knowledge" about the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory that is most concerning to me, because it implicates the Book of Mormon itself as well as the reliability and credibility of Joseph, Oliver, David Whitmer, and all their contemporaries and successors.]
Others claim they have the only truth, and people who don’t agree with their position, no matter how trivial the issue, are unbelievers or apostates.
[Coming from Scott Gordon, the President of FairMormon, this one is especially ironic because he has labeled those who believe in the New York Cumorah among apostates. Some people think this is a reference to my recent posts about the "unbelievers at FairMormon," but FairMormon proudly claims they don't believe Letter VII and all the prophets and apostles who have affirmed the New York Cumorah, so they can't be referring to my posts here.]
We need to focus on the first presidency and the quorum of the twelve. They have the keys given to them by Jesus Christ.
[See, this is an example of how FairMormon includes great stuff in their material. We all agree with these two statements--except FairMormon, which rejects what members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have taught in General Conference. I encourage everyone to focus on the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve and not the sophistry on display at FairMormon--starting with the issue of the New York Cumorah.]