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, February 4, 2019

Disrupting the academic cycle

I'm hearing from a lot of people about the new Gospel Topics Essay on Book of Mormon Geography. Thousands of members of the Church wish that Church leaders would explicitly reaffirm the specific teachings of their predecessors; i.e., that the hill Cumorah (Mormon 6:6) is in western New York. These teachings are set forth in the BYU packet on the Hill Cumorah, available here:


Many are disappointed that the new Gospel Topics Essay doesn't even cite, much less reaffirm, these consistent and persistent teachings about the New York Cumorah.

I say, don't give up. Eventually the right thing will happen. This is a process.

Remember, a few years ago BYU professors were told to stop teaching M2C overtly; i.e., they were told to stop teaching that the Book of Mormon took place in Mesoamerica. That's what led to the development of the computer-generated fantasy map that, as we all know, was a ruse. They simply applied the M2C interpretation of the text to create a fantasy world that looked just like what they wished Mesoamerica looked like. I discussed that before here.

The new essay asks members and leaders not to discuss Book of Mormon geography in "Church settings."

Purging "Church settings" of M2C is an enormous development. It's a critical first step because it disrupts the academic cycle.

I've described the academic cycle as the method the M2C intellectuals have used to perpetuate their M2C dogma.

They have taught M2C throughout the Church, starting in Primary and proceeding through CES (Seminary and Institute), BYU, and Church media, visitors centers, manuals, etc.

The new Gospel Topics essay disrupts the academic cycle.

No longer can the M2C advocates push their theories through "Church settings," a term that presumably includes Church media, CES, BYU, etc., as well as Primary, Sunday School, etc.

We have to be patient. I suspect the new policy will not be implemented quickly. A good measure of the new policy is what happens at the North Visitors Center on Temple Square.

As long as the Visitors Center continues to teach M2C, we can see that the new policy is not completely in effect.

We can expect quite a few additional changes.

For example, the two paintings below specifically teach M2C, yet we see them throughout "Church settings." According to the essay, they should be discontinued because they take a specific position on Book of Mormon geography. We'll see how quickly they are removed.

Lots more to discuss, but I hope everyone sees the new essay as a very positive step.

Painting of Christ visiting the Mayans, labeled as visiting the Nephites

Painting of Christ visiting the Mayans, labeled as the Nephites

It's even possible that we'll see the re-insertion of the following painting into the Book of Mormon. This is the one that depicts both Mormon and Moroni at the New York Cumorah. It was in the missionary editions of the Book of Mormon for many years before being replaced with M2C artwork.

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