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.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Illusion of scholarship - Mantle vs. Intellect

Before continuing our look at Mormon's Codex and the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory (M2C), we need to pause and consider the issue of scholarship more broadly.

15 years ago, a manual for Seminary teachers included a talk by then-Elder Boyd K. Packer titled "The Mantle Is Far, Far Greater than the Intellect."

You can read it here:

Before reading excerpts from that talk, let's be clear.

Everyone acknowledges that M2C constitutes a repudiation of the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah.

By definition, M2C means the prophets were wrong.

This is no secret. Supporters of M2C freely and openly acknowledge this.

BYU map that teaches students that
the prophets are wrong
Employees at CES, BYU and COB openly teach that the "real" Cumorah is in Mexico (or in a fantasy land), while the "hill in New York" was incorrectly named "Cumorah" by early members of the Church who were ignorant speculators.

The M2C citation cartel and their followers and employees claim that all Church leaders who taught that Cumorah was in New York misled the Church. This includes members of the First Presidency speaking in General Conference.

If you read FairMormon, Book of Mormon Central, BYU Studies, the Interpreter, Meridian Magazine, and other members of the M2C citation cartel, you know they (and their predecessors) have been teaching this for a long time.

To support M2C, all of these intellectuals uniformly reject the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah. (For a compilation of the teachings they reject see here:

These M2C intellectuals claim these prophets were ignorant, lacked credentials, and were merely expressing their own opinions as uninformed men.

And that's what they are teaching the youth of the Church.

Now, let's review what Elder Packer taught. Think of how it applies to those who claim the prophets are wrong about the New York Cumorah.

I have come to believe that it is the tendency for many members of the Church who spend a great deal of time in academic research to begin to judge the Church, its doctrine, organization, and leadership, present and past, by the principles of their own profession. Ofttimes this is done unwittingly, and some of it, perhaps, is not harmful.
It is an easy thing for a man with extensive academic training to measure the Church using the principles he has been taught in his professional training as his standard. In my mind it ought to be the other way around. A member of the Church ought always, particularly if he is pursuing extensive academic studies, to judge the professions of man against the revealed word of the Lord....
Some of our scholars establish for themselves a posture of neutrality. They call it “sympathetic detachment.” Historians are particularly wont to do that. If they make a complimentary statement about the Church, they seem to have to counter it with something that is uncomplimentary.
Some of them, since they are members of the Church, are quite embarrassed with the thought that they might be accused of being partial. They care very much what the world thinks and are very careful to include in their writings criticism of the Church leaders of the past....
Those of you who are employed by the Church have a special responsibility to build faith, not destroy it. If you do not do that, but in fact accommodate the enemy, who is the destroyer of faith, you become in that sense a traitor to the cause you have made covenants to protect.
Those who have carefully purged their work of any religious faith in the name of academic freedom or so-called honesty ought not expect to be accommodated in their researches or to be paid by the Church to do it....
Several years ago President Ezra Taft Benson spoke to you and said: “It has come to our attention that some of our teachers, particularly in our university programs, are purchasing writings from known apostates … in an effort to become informed about certain points of view or to glean from their research. You must realize that when you purchase their writings or subscribe to their periodicals, you help sustain their cause. We would hope that their writings not be on your seminary or institute or personal bookshelves. We are entrusting you to represent the Lord and the First Presidency to your students, not the views of the detractors of the Church” (The Gospel Teacher and His Message [address delivered to Church Educational System personnel, 17 Sept. 1976], p. 12.)
I endorse that sound counsel to you.
Remember: when you see the bitter apostate, you do not see only an absence of light, you see also the presence of darkness.
Do not spread disease germs!...
Do you believe that the successors to the prophet Joseph Smith were and are prophets, seers, and revelators; that revelation from heaven directs the decisions, policies, and pronouncements that come from the headquarters of the Church? Have you come to the settled conviction, by the Spirit, that these prophets truly represent the Lord?
Now, you obviously noted that I did not talk about academic qualifications. Facts, understanding, and scholarship can be attained by personal study and essential course work. The three qualifications I have named come by the Spirit, to the individual. You can’t receive them by secular training or study, by academic inquiry or scientific investigation.
I repeat: if there is a deficiency in any of these, then, regardless of what other training an individual possesses, he cannot comprehend and write or teach the true history of this Church. The things of God are understood only by one who possesses the Spirit of God.
I want to say something to that historian and to others who may have placed higher value on intellect than upon the mantle.
The Brethren then and now are men, very ordinary men, who have come for the most part from very humble beginnings. We need your help! We desperately need it. We cannot research and organize the history of the Church. We do not have the time to do it. And we do not have the training that you possess. But we do know the Spirit and how essential a part of our history it is. Ours is the duty to organize the Church, to set it in order, to confer the keys of authority, to perform the ordinances, to watch the borders of the kingdom and carry burdens, heavy burdens, for others and for ourselves that you can know little about.
Do you know how inadequate we really are compared to the callings we have received? Can you feel in a measure the weight, the overwhelming weight, of responsibility that is ours? If you look for inadequacy and imperfections, you can find them quite easily. But you may not feel as we feel the enormous weight of responsibility associated with the callings that have come to us. We are not free to do some of the things that scholars think would be so reasonable, for the Lord will not permit us to do them, and it is his church. He presides over it.
Do not yield your faith in payment for an advanced degree or for the recognition and acclaim of the world. Do not turn away from the Lord nor from his Church nor from his servants. You are needed—oh, how you are needed!
It may be that you will lay your scholarly reputation and the acclaim of your colleagues in the world as a sacrifice upon the altar of service. They may never understand the things of the Spirit as you have a right to do. They may not regard you as an authority or as a scholar. Just remember, when the test came to Abraham, he didn’t really have to sacrifice Isaac. He just had to be willing to.

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