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.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The M2C hoax - Part 8 - impact on Church history

Months ago I wrote a series of posts about the Early Modern English theory in which I observed the intersection between M2C and revisionist Church history. This post updates one of those posts.

As we saw in the Saints book, Church historians seek to accommodate M2C by actually changing Church history. Readers of Saints have no idea that Joseph Smith's closest associates all accepted the fact, established in Letter VII, that the Hill Cumorah of Mormon 6:6 is in western New York.

The beauty of censorship is that readers have no idea what is missing.

The youth of the Church will never learn what the prophets have taught about the New York Cumorah. Nor will the millions of people who join the Church in coming years. That part of history will simply not exist for them. That ignorance allows the M2C hoax to thrive.

We saw how the editors of Saints tried to justify their censorship. They posted an explanatory FAQ right on lds.org. You can read about it here: 

Surely, in their minds, these historians thought were doing the right thing when they imposed modern ideas about Book of Mormon geography onto Joseph's contemporaries.

But it's still phony history. And the historians know it.

It is astonishing that historians would deliberately change Church history to accommodate the M2C hoax. 

But what is more astonishing is how many other ways the historians are changing Church history to accommodate M2C.

It is important to clarify that nothing in this post claims prophetic or Church support for any particular theory of Book of Mormon geography. Instead, it is exactly the opposite; i.e., this post seeks to support what the prophets have taught.

Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery gave a detailed account of Moroni's first visit to Joseph Smith. Letter IV explains that Moroni "gave a history of the aborigines of this country, and said they were literal descendants of Abraham.... He said this history was written and deposited not far from that place, and that it was our brother’s privilege, if obedient to the commandments of the Lord, to obtain and translate the same by the means of the Urim and Thummim, which were deposited for that purpose with the record." 

(you can read Letter IV in Joseph's own history here: 

Now, to accommodate M2C, our LDS scholars and historians are teaching that this story is impossible. 

Everyone accepts that Moroni did visit Joseph. But that's the only thing we can believe, according to these experts.
According to the intellectuals, the history referred to was not of the aborigines of this country; it was a history of a still-undiscovered group of Hebrew Mayans, living in Mesoamerica. 
They were not literal descendants of Abraham; their ancestors migrated from Asia thousands of years before Adam and Eve were created. 
The history was not "written not far from" Joseph's home; instead, it was written thousands of miles away in Mesoamerica, and then Moroni hauled it to an obscure hill in New York where Joseph found it. 
Joseph did not translate the record with the Urim and Thummim; instead, he put a stone in a hat and read the words that appeared. 
For that matter, Joseph never even used the plates; they remained under a cloth or outdoors the entire time he was reading from the stone. 
Joseph couldn't have been the original English translator anyway because the language in the text is much too sophisticated for Joseph and statistical analysis shows it is a form of Early Modern English that had to have been somehow translated in the 1500s. 
Joseph was not the translator; he was merely the transmitter of someone else's translation.

Thanks to the M2C hoax and its followers employed at CES, BYU, and COB (Church Office Building), this is the explanation of Church history being taught to the youth in the Church and to the world at large, including visitors at Temple Square. Compared with what Joseph and Oliver taught, this revisionist Church history is not credible. That impacts conversion and activity rates, especially in English-speaking areas where people have access to the Internet.
Certainly, there are a lot of great things happening in the Church, all around the world. But if we're realistic, we must recognize that many of the challenges faced by the Church today could be resolved by simply believing what Joseph and Oliver and the rest of the modern prophets have taught.

But that's not all.

During Zion's Camp, Joseph described Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, as "the plains of the Nephites." He said the participants on the march were ""recounting occasionaly the history of the Book of Mormon, roving over the mounds of that once beloved people of the Lord, picking up their skulls & their bones, as a proof of its divine authenticity."
 Joseph and Oliver described the hill Cumorah from which Joseph obtained the plates and said Moroni had named it anciently. They wrote that "At about one mile west rises another ridge of less height, running parallel with the former, leaving a beautiful vale between. the fact, that here, between these hills, the entire power and national strength of both the Jaredites and Nephites were destroyed." 
In addition, Mormon, "by divine appointment, abridged from those records, in his own style and language, a short account ... which he deposited, as he says, on the 529th page, all the records in this same hill, Cumorah and after gave his small record to his son Moroni, who, as appears from the same, finished, after witnessing the extinction of his people as a nation."
Joseph and Oliver (and others) actually visited the depository of Nephite records and artifacts in the hill Cumorah in New York. They spoke about it to Brigham Young and others.

Yet the M2C hoax says all of this is impossible, too. 

BYU's infamous fantasy map
of the Book of Mormon that
teaches students the prophets
are wrong
Through CES and BYU, promoters of the M2C hoax teach our youth that the hill Cumorah cannot be in New York. Instead, it is somewhere in southern Mexico, or, lately, that it is located on a fantasy map. 
They teach that Mormon's depository of records could not have been in "the hill in New York." 
They teach that Joseph and Oliver were merely speculating when they taught that Cumorah was in the New York Cumorah and that they misled the Church for decades, including members of the First Presidency speaking in General Conference who testified that their false opinions were true. 
This condition continued until they, the M2C intellectuals, came along to set the Church straight.

These intellectuals claim the modern prophets have hired them, the intellectuals, to guide the Church on all these matters. 

That's why they are justified in revising Church history to censor the earliest accounts and purge these false folk traditions about Cumorah, the Lamanites, and the North American setting. 

Plus, they say, Mesoamerica is found in the Book of Mormon text. It's all there--the volcanoes, the jungles, jaguars and jade, the tapirs and stone pyramids and all the rest--but you have to be trained in the Mesoamerican ministry to "see" it. Joseph and Oliver and the rest of the prophets were too naive to understand.

Now, I admire and respect all these M2C intellectuals and their followers as brothers and sister in the Gospel. None of what I write is personal. I'm sure they think they're doing the right thing, following the evidence where they think it leads, etc. I just think they embarked on a fool's errand based on a mistake in Church history, and now they've been confirming that bias for so long they don't even realize what they've done or the bubble they've created and now live within.

I'm focused on the words on the pages published by the M2C citation cartel, the images and maps and videos they create, the things they teach to thousands of LDS youth throughout the Church, and what they present to the world.

I fully recognize that I might be wrong about all of this. Maybe the intellectuals are right about M2C, after all. Maybe they do know more than the prophets and we should follow them instead of the prophets.

But as I've examined the logic and facts used to support the M2C hoax, I find them far less persuasive than the explanation given by Joseph and Oliver and the prophets. I think the evidence from all the sciences, and the text itself, corroborate and support what the prophets have taught, not the M2C hoax.

I've satisfied myself that Joseph and Oliver were telling the truth.

Naturally, critics of the Book of Mormon have always sought to discredit its divine authenticity. They say it is fictional because Joseph (and/or others) wrote it and/or copied it from one or more sources.

Faithful LDS refute those claims with semantic arguments. They write blogs, post comments on Facebook and other social media, read and write books and articles, etc., all focusing on semantics, word choice, statistical analysis, etc.

KEY POINT: The intellectual debate over the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon is essentially an exercise in confirmation bias. There is "evidence" to support whatever you want to believe. 

Most participants in these discussions forget this key point. Their own confirmation bias blinds them to others' perspectives. Anyone who wants to understand the issues thoroughly should be able to at least articulate contrary positions, using the facts and arguments of the various proponents.

Lawyers learn this in their first year at law school, but anyone who analytically observes the world realizes that those with whom we disagree are not merely ignorant or stupid. Everyone has different biochemistry and brain structure, different family and religious and social backgrounds, all of which (and more) lead to different biases we seek to confirm.

That said, I think it's possible to break through confirmation bias if we heed the words of the prophets and the scriptures. That's why we have prophets, after all.

In my view, these prophetic sources explain the evidence in such a way as to corroborate what Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery said all along.

This is why it is so destructive to have M2C intellectuals teaching the world (including LDS youth) that the prophets are wrong about the New York Cumorah--and all the other things I listed above.

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