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, December 17, 2018

Unsealing an indictment of M2C

In January, I'm going to unseal an indictment of M2C. It's a detailed and specific analysis of M2C, its history and development, the illusory nature of the "science" and "correspondences" cited by M2C, the rhetorical techniques used by the M2C intellectuals and their followers, and the impact of M2C on members and investigators of the Church.

Most followers of M2C are unaware of all of this.

Actually, most people who believe M2C are unaware of the teachings of the prophets. They don't know about the evidence from Church history and the sciences that support and corroborate the teachings of the prophets.

Even if the indictment does not resolve the issue of the location of the Hill Cumorah, at least it will help Church members and investigators make informed decisions about what to believe.

M2C is packaged as a common scam. That doesn't mean it is a scam, but it raises the question of why it is packaged as a scam. Promoters use censorship, misdirection, and sophistry to obscure their basic belief that the prophets are wrong and to confuse members of the Church. The promoters of M2C refuse to share a room with the critics of M2C. They refuse side-by-side comparisons. The indictment will make all of this clear for everyone to see.

I planned to take a break from blogging over the holidays, but our M2C advocates and their followers continue to find new ways to persuade members of the Church to reject the teachings of the prophets.

Enough people have asked about the latest developments that I've agreed to respond.

Last week Book of Mormon Central Censor published No-wise #493, titled "Why Should Latter-day Saints Beware Fraudulent Artifacts?" It's a good title, and it contains some good points, but overall the no-wise itself is deliberately misleading, as I discuss here:


You'll notice in No-wise #493 that Book of Mormon Central Censor cites quotations from President M. Russell Ballard in such as way as to imply President Ballard endorses their views, including their repudiation of the teachings of the prophets.

Does anyone believe that President Ballard intended to communicate that message?

Look at what he actually said and decide for yourself.

The article is from the December 2016 Ensign titled "By Study and By Faith," which you can read here:

Notice that President Ballard cited the example of President Marion G. Romney.

Book of Mormon Central Censor teaches its readers and followers that President Romney taught false doctrine in General Conference. Compare President Romney's General Conference address with M2C and you'll see this for yourself.


Does anyone think President Ballard intended to repudiate the teachings of President Romney?

I certainly do not. It's inconceivable to me to think that President Ballard would be teaching the Saints to disbelieve what President Romney taught.

Yet this is what Book of Mormon Central Censor wants you to believe President Ballard is doing.

President Ballard gave an address at BYU a year later (Nov 2017) to further clarify the issue. You can read it here:

In the BYU address, he said

If you have a question that requires an expert, please take the time to find a thoughtful and qualified expert to help you. There are many on this campus and elsewhere who have the degrees and expertise to respond and give some insight to most of these types of questions.

Let's ask, what questions require an expert?

Does it require an expert to read and understand Letter VII? To read and understand the consistent and persistent teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah?

Of course not.

Joseph and Oliver wrote Letter VII, and Joseph had it republished multiple times, precisely because it was so clear and easy to understand.

Here's what does require an expert: trying to persuade faithful members of the Church to disbelieve the prophets.

The M2C intellectuals and their followers have resorted to sophisticated sophistry to confuse and mislead members of the Church.

I don't think President Ballard wants us to consult experts who are trying to persuade us to disbelieve the prophets. Instead, those are the types of experts he warns us against.

His remarks surely are aimed at specialized topics that require advanced knowledge and experience to address.

I realize the M2C intellectuals claim they have been hired by the prophets to guide the Church, and they cite President Ballard's remarks to justify their position, but I think we're a long ways from needing experts to understand the plain, consistent teachings of the prophets, whether it's about the New York Cumorah or any other topic.

Notice another comment President Ballard made. I hope everyone interested in Book of Mormon historicity and geography considers this carefully. We don't help the Brethren build up the Church, teach the doctrine of Christ, and help those in need when we start by telling people the prophets are wrong.

I worry sometimes that members expect too much from Church leaders and teachers—­expecting them to be experts in subjects well beyond their duties and responsibilities. The Lord called the apostles and prophets to invite ­others to come unto Christ—not to obtain advanced degrees in ancient history, biblical studies, and other fields that may be useful in answering all the questions we may have about scriptures, history, and the Church. Our primary duty is to build up the Church, teach the doctrine of Christ, and help those in need of help.

Fortunately the Lord provided this counsel for those asking questions:

Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of ­wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.5

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