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, February 7, 2019

BOMCC Still Fooling Donors (and the Church)

Book of Mormon Central Censor (BOMCC) has raised millions of dollars from faithful members of the Church by claiming they are "neutral" on the question of Book of Mormon geography. Readers of this blog know that I appreciate many of the resources provided by BOMCC, but I object to the ongoing censorship at BOMCC, especially in light of their ongoing pretense of neutrality. More and more people are seeing through their neutrality claims, but because there are a lot of new readers here, I'll review it all again.

In light of the new Gospel Topics Essay on Book of Mormon Geography, BOMCC is desperate to maintain the facade of neutrality. They recently posted another bizarre article to that effect, which we'll discuss below.

At the outset, I emphasize that I genuinely like everyone at BOMCC, and I respect their work. I think they are trying to do the right thing because they firmly believe in M2C and they firmly believe the prophets are wrong about the New York Cumorah.

IOW, they are trying to thread a needle: i.e., they are convinced of M2C, but they know they're supposed to be "neutral" because Church leaders and donors expect that. But, in my view, they are misleading both Church leaders and donors.

M2C = the prophets are
wrong about Cumorah
Everyone should know that their pretended "neutrality" is a ruse to raise money. Anyone who donates to BOMCC is not supporting neutrality; donors are directly supporting M2C.

Which, of course, is fine--so long as donors know what they're doing.

A key selling point for donors is that they can deduct their donations as charitable contributions because BOMCC is a 501(c)(3) organization. But actually, it's their corporate owner that is a 501(c)(3).

And their corporate owner, Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum (BMAF), spells out the truth in its mission statement.


The Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum (BMAF) is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization dedicated as an open forum for presentation, dissemination, and discussion of research and evidences regarding Book of Mormon archaeology, anthropology, geography and culture within a Mesoamerican context.  Our goals are (1) to increase understanding of the Book of Mormon as an ancient Mesoamerican codex... 

You can read it yourself here: http://bmaf.org/about/mission_statement

If you go to that web page, notice the M2C logo with a Mayan pyramid.

BMAF is the M2C organization you are actually contributing to if you contribute to BOMCC. And there is absolutely nothing "neutral" about BMAF.

BOMCC tells people it's a separate organization from BMAF, but if that was true, you couldn't deduct your donations. Even if BOMCC eventually gets its own 501(c)(3) designation, it doesn't matter.

The basic premise for everything BOMCC publishes on the topic is M2C, which relies entirely on the claim that the prophets are wrong about the New York Cumorah.

Even the BOMCC logo features a Mayan glyph to focus on M2C (along with Greek, Hebrew, and Egyptian).

If you go through the BOMCC archive and their "Kno-Why" articles, they uniformly promote M2C and either denigrate or censor every alternative theory of Book of Mormon geography--including the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah.

Other than their claim of neutrality, there is nothing at all on their web page, at their conferences, or even in the writings of their affiliates, that is in the least neutral about Book of Mormon geography. It is all M2C, all the time.

Now, let's look at the BOMCC blog post that claims neutrality:


Right on this page, they feature their M2C logo and several of their greatest hits of M2C dogma.

They feature the infamous BYU fantasy map of the Book of Mormon that teaches students to disbelieve the prophets and that the Book of Mormon is fiction.

They try to persuade people to disbelieve what Joseph and Oliver taught in Letter VII.

Actually, they try to persuade people that all the prophets are wrong about the New York Cumorah.

They also feature a blog post about "new Maya discoveries" that, they claim, fit their M2C theory.


For those interested, I deconstructed that approach here:


Also, for those interested, I occasionally address these "no-wise" in a separate blog, here: http://www.bookofmormoncentralamerica.com/

You might be wondering, how do they get away with fooling donors about their position on Book of Mormon geography?

Here are some possible reasons:

1. Members of the Church tend to trust employees of BYU, CES, and COB (the Church Office Building, including the Church History Department). If you look at the directory of people involved with BOMCC, many if not most are such employees.

2. People are persuaded by appearances. BOMCC has a nice presentation (which we expect, since they spend millions of dollars annually to maintain their image). Their videos have good production values. Their articles appear scholarly (even though in reality, they merely recycle citations from the M2C citation cartel).

3. Most people don't read things carefully. They assume that when BOMCC claims to be neutral, they must actually be neutral. So let's look at what they say in their post on neutrality.

Original in blue, my comments in red.

Our policy is to utilize the most reliable academic scholarship on the Book of Mormon and follow the evidence wherever it might lead. 

By "most reliable academic scholarship" they mean "those who accept and promote M2C." They demonstrate this in every article and video they produce; all the references they cite and quote are to members of the M2C citation cartel.

Outside the M2C bubble, no legitimate "academic scholarship" accepts M2C. No non-M2C Mesoamerican experts find any relevance of the Book of Mormon to Mesoamerican studies. No "evidence" leads to M2C, except in the minds of M2C proponents who seek to confirm their M2C bias.

M2C is based entirely on two foundations:

1. The prophets are wrong about the New York Cumorah; and

2. You can reinterpret the text to find illusory "correspondences" between the Book of Mormon and ancient Mesoamerica; e.g., a "horse" is a "tapir," a "tower" is a massive stone pyramid, etc.

Our process in selecting and highlighting Book of Mormon evidence is based on the following principles:

As you read this list, notice the complete absence of the teachings of the prophets, especially the teachings about the New York Cumorah which BOMCC completely censors.

  • “In our hierarchy of evidence, the text itself is primary because it is closest to the divine.”
When you read their material carefully, you see that it is not the text that is primary but their M2C-driven interpretation of the text. For example, they conflate the terms "small neck," "narrow neck," and "narrow neck of land" to all refer to the same geographic feature, an interpretation not required or even implied by the text (because normal interpretive rules recognize different terms mean different things). 
  • “If profound and compelling location-specific insights shed light on the text, we highlight these regardless of their geographic provenience.”
Of course, this is all a subjective determination, and because the editorial policy of BOMCC is designed to promote M2C, only M2C "evidence" is deemed "profound and compelling." This is evident to everyone who reads their material.
  • “We favor authors with credentials in their areas of interest.”
This is one of their rationales for repudiating the prophets, none of whom had degrees in Mesoamerican studies. More importantly, they reject the vast majority of authors who have actual credentials in Mesoamerican studies because those authors entirely reject M2C. The most important "credential" BOMCC favors is the credential of believing M2C. I'm not aware of any authors on BOMCC who do not accept M2C, actually (except for some of my own work that they once had in their archive but removed).  
  • “We favor formally published works from reputable presses.”
As applied by BOMCC, this policy defines "reputable presses" as publishers who publish M2C material from the M2C citation cartel.

As explained in BMC’s statement on geographical neutrality, “We welcome good work from any geographic persuasion that is responsive to these principles.”

This is circular reasoning. By definition, the only work that "is responsive to these principles" is work that supports M2C. The entire statement of "neutrality" is deceptive sophistry. 


My conclusion: Book of Mormon Central Censor has assembled a lot of wonderful material on the Book of Mormon. But because it's editorial position supports M2C to the exclusion of any alternatives, they have chosen to repudiate the prophets and, in the words of Joseph Fielding Smith, have caused members of the Church to become confused and disturbed in their faith in the Book of Mormon.

Maybe the day will come when BOMCC changes its policy to align with that of the Church. If and when that happens, depending on how they implement true neutrality, I'll definitely reconsider my unwillingness to support an organization that promote M2C exclusively.

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