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.

Monday, November 19, 2018

President Nelson, good information, and M2C

I have a new blog that considers the teachings of President Russell M. Nelson.

My latest post is here:


You should subscribe to it because I'm going to spend more time over there than here.

The reason is that by now, everyone knows the issue of Book of Mormon geography boils down to a simple choice:

1. You accept the teachings of the prophets that Cumorah is in New York; 


2. You accept the teachings of the M2C intellectuals that the prophets are wrong.

There is no middle ground. 
There is no alternative. 

If you think there is an alternative, you are trying to avoid the cognitive dissonance that this choice presents. You want to believe the prophets, but you also want to believe M2C.

M2C intellectuals confront Letter VII's New York Cumorah
M2C intellectuals and their followers try to escape their cognitive dissonance by saying that the prophets were merely expressing their own opinions, so it doesn't matter that they were wrong. But that's what everyone says when they disagrees with the prophets about any topic.

Here's a key point: the New York Cumorah does not determine any other geographical issues.

While the prophets have consistently taught that Cumorah is in New York, they've just as consistently taught that we don't know where the other events took place.

You can accept the New York Cumorah and still believe in a Mesoamerican setting for the other events. A lot of people do. I have no problem with that.

But I have a major problem with M2C (Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory) because the foundation of M2C--the sole reason for its existence--is the teaching that the prophets are wrong about the New York Cumorah. (This is the same problem for those who advocate Cumorah is in Baja, Panama, Peru, Chile, etc.)

The M2C intellectuals invented the idea of "two Cumorahs" because they recognize that Joseph Smith and his contemporaries and successors all taught that the hill Cumorah (Mormon 6:6) is in New York. But the way these intellectuals interpret the text requires that the "real" Cumorah be located in southern Mexico. Therefore, they conclude the prophets must be wrong.

Most active members of the Church don't think the prophets are wrong; otherwise, they wouldn't be active members of the Church.

Hence, the dilemma for M2C.

The M2C intellectuals know the only way they can perpetuate M2C is by censoring the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah and all the information that corroborates those teachings.

The M2C citation cartel uses censorship and obfuscation to prevent members of the Church (as well as nonmembers) from making informed decisions about what to believe regarding the Book of Mormon.

For me, this is an easy choice, really.

I recognize there is plausible scientific (archaeology, anthropology, geography, geology, etc.) evidence for M2C. After all, I thoughtfully accepted M2C for decades. There is plausible scientific evidence for every theory that I've seen so far. Those who say otherwise are merely expressing their own confirmation bias.

When exposed to someone else's point of view, many people are blinded by their cognitive dissonance. Their minds literally prevent them from seeing evidence that contradicts their own beliefs. When they can see the evidence, they interpret it in a way that confirms their biases.

Scientific evidence doesn't exist in a vacuum, of course. It's always subject to interpretation--interpretation of the text as well as interpretation of the relevant facts. That's why I think it's funny that Brother John Sorenson wrote, in Mormon's Codex,

A large number of convergences or correspondences between the information from Mesoamerican studies and that from the Book of Mormon are presented in the following chapters. Their number and nature show beyond question that the Book of Mormon had to come from an ancient Mesoamerican document.

It's anti-science so claim such a theory is "beyond question."

M2C depends on a delusion of infallibility.

The M2C citation cartel exists because its members actually believe their ideas are beyond question!

What makes Brother Sorenson's delusion a matter of public comment is the sad reality that many members of the Church share the same delusion about M2C--because they are intentionally kept ignorant of alternatives, including the teachings of the prophets.

One of my favorite aspects of M2C is how its proponents claim they apply scientific principles. Yet the vast majority of Mesoamerican scholars think M2C is unscientific. It is only a handful of Mesoamerican scholars, mostly at BYU, who insist their M2C theory is "beyond question."

This anti-science approach is why M2C is not credible to anyone who doesn't already share the M2C bias.

Then why do so many Church members seem to accept M2C?

Simply because they don't know any better. The M2C citation cartel prevents members of the Church from making informed decisions. Tomorrow we'll see an example from the Gospel Topics essays.

Normally, we expect academics to oppose censorship, but the M2C intellectuals depend on censorship.

On what basis does the M2C citation cartel justify censoring and opposing the teachings of the prophets?

Why would M2C intellectuals take the anti-science position that their theory is "beyond question?"

They need their followers to believe that M2C is the only credible explanation for the Book of Mormon because otherwise, people will look around and discover there is plenty of scientific evidence that supports the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah.

Censorship is only way the M2C citation cartel can deal with its members' (and followers') cognitive dissonance. This explains the editorial positions taken by the members of the M2C citation cartel (Book of Mormon Central Censor, BYU Studies, the Interpreter, FairlyMormon, Meridian Magazine, etc.).

Now, you can be sure that these LDS scholars are not comfortable with people knowing they have repudiated the teachings of the prophets. Let's look at how they obfuscate their position to confuse members (and leaders) of the Church.

When I returned from my first mission (to France), the first General Conference I watched was October, 1975. You can see the entire conference report here:


The first three sessions were opened by members of the First Presidency:

Friday morning: President Spencer W. Kimball
Friday afternoon: President N. Eldon Tanner
Saturday morning: President Marion G. Romney

President Romney's talk, titled "America's Destiny," declared in no uncertain terms that the hill in New York where Joseph found the plates is, in reality, the hill Cumorah where the final battles of the Jaredites and Nephites took place. You can read or watch it here:


Three years later, another Apostle speaking in General Conference reaffirmed the New York Cumorah yet again.

These two conference addresses were part of a long line of consistent and persistent teachings by the prophets about the New York Cumorah.

No prophet or apostle has ever modified or questioned these teachings, let alone repudiated them.

So how do our M2C scholars justify their rejection of this teaching?

They claim these prophets were merely speaking as men, and they were wrong.

Obviously, that doesn't go over well with most members of the Church--especially those who don't  already share their M2C infallibility delusion.

The fallback M2C position is to claim equivalence; i.e., sure, maybe they, as scholars, are not infallible, but the prophets aren't infallible, either.

To confirm their bias, the M2C intellectuals go through and deconstruct every one of the historical accounts that corroborate Letter VII and the subsequent teachings of the prophets. They then proceed to do the same with all the scientific evidence that corroborates the teachings of the prophets.

Which leaves us back at the beginning: do we choose to believe the prophets or the scholars?

Another fallback position taken by the M2C intellectuals is to cite the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, which includes a hilariously self-serving entry on Cumorah, written by David Palmer, who cites only his own book. I've discussed EoM and Palmer in detail on this blog before. I included links on my PresidentNelsonSpeaks blog, referenced at the beginning of this post.

Bottom line, members of the Church are free to believe whatever they want, as our Articles of Faith explain.

I don't care what anyone else thinks. I'm fine with M2C scholars thinking the prophets are wrong. That's their choice.

BYU fantasy map that teaches LDS students
the prophets are wrong about the New York Cumorah
I'm not as fine with them teaching all the youth in the Church that the prophets are wrong, but I'd be okay even with that if they would also at least inform students what the prophets have actually taught. That would let the students make informed decisions.

But instead, the M2C intellectuals and their followers inflict their own cognitive dissonance onto their students by using fantasy M2C maps, without informing them what the prophets have taught.

This is a short-sighted, tragic approach because eventually, most members of the Church will discover what the prophets have taught about the New York Cumorah.

As I wrote at the outset, I think the M2C intellectuals know the only way they can perpetuate M2C is by censoring the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah and all the information that corroborates those teachings.

Censorship creates darkness. 

And to paraphrase the Washington Post, Truth Dies in Darkness. 

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