Definition: A perfect storm is an event in which a rare combination of circumstances drastically aggravates the event.
Four specific items are combining to aggravate the impact of M2C.
|The fantasy map
It's no wonder that more and more Latter-day Saints (to say nothing about non-LDS) are concluding the Book of Mormon is fiction. That trend will continue to accelerate as we see the rest of the perfect storm this week.
The next section of the article discusses "Mormon's Cave." It includes this classic M2C talking point:
We have ten different secondhand accounts from people who saw this cave in vision.7
[This statement is factually incorrect, and it's impossible to know if it was a poor editing job or just carelessness by the author. None of the people who gave the secondhand accounts claimed they saw the cave, in a vision or otherwise. That's why they are secondhand accounts. The only ones who entered the depository were Oliver, Joseph, two of Joseph's brother, and possibly others. None of these claimed the experience was a vision.]
Footnote 7 goes to the article by Cameron Packer that we've discussed before. Here's a link so you can read it for yourself.
If you can't get the link, send me an email and I'll send you the .pdf.
The knowledge of the "cave" in the Hill Cumorah came from Oliver Cowdery, who told Brigham Young that he and Joseph visited the site on at least two occasions. That is consistent with David Whitmer's testimony about the divine messenger taking the Harmony plates to Cumorah. David also said Oliver told him about visiting the depository.
Oliver's account is also consistent with Brigham Young's statement that Joseph returned the plates to the Hill Cumorah.
Why are M2C scholars so eager to frame this experience as a "vision" instead of a literal visit?
We can't read minds; doing so would be contentious anyway. Instead, we look at what the scholars have written and make rational, conservative inferences.
M2C scholars reject Oliver's Letter VII testimony about the Hill Cumorah in New York, so to be consistent they have to also discredit the testimony about Mormon's depository in the hill.
IOW, if Oliver visited Mormon's depository in the Hill Cumorah in New York, then he had every reason to declare it was a fact that this was the very Hill Cumorah of Mormon 6:6.
And if Oliver told the truth in Letter VII, all the prophets who reaffirmed the New York Cumorah were also correct.
That would mean the M2C scholars, including the ones who created the fantasy "VirtualScriptures" map, are wrong.
You can see where this is going. These scholars have a very powerful incentive to portray the prophets as ignorant speculators who misled the Church by declaring, in General Conference and elsewhere, that the Hill Cumorah of Mormon 6:6 is in western New York.
You can read about this in the publications of Book of Mormon Central, FairMormon, etc.
You can also read the statements and decide for yourself whether Brigham Young and the others were relating an actual experience or a "vision."
Brigham Young related the account just two months before he died. It was one of his last sermons, and he related it because he was afraid that otherwise the account would be lost. He prefaced his remarks by explaining that he lived in the area and knew it well. Like the others who spoke about the room, Brigham described the contents in physical terms, such as "many wagon loads" of plates.
The scholars rely on Heber C. Kimball's word choice; i.e., he spoke of a "vision" that Joseph and Oliver had. While that could refer to a supernatural experience, the 1828 Webster's dictionary defines the term to include "the act of seeing external objects" and "Any thing which is the object of sight." I've discussed all of this previously.
Recall that Heber testified he visited the Hill Cumorah in New York and saw the embankments around it. He referred to the depository on at least one other occasion. He said there were more plates than ten men could carry. Heber spoke about this more than once, etc.
This is a good example of the two movies on one screen that I've discussed before.
2. Visit to the Nephite repository.
Movie 1. Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, David Whitmer and others said Oliver told them about occasions when he (Oliver) and Joseph visited the repository of Nephite records inside the Hill Cumorah. Oliver must have been speaking of visionary experiences because the Hill Cumorah is a drumlin that could not contain a natural cave such as Oliver described.
Movie 2. Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, David Whitmer and others said Oliver told them about occasions when he (Oliver) and Joseph visited the repository of Nephite records inside the Hill Cumorah. They were familiar with the area and emphasized the physical reality of Oliver's description. Kimball reported visiting Cumorah and seeing the embankments around it. Oliver never said it was a natural cave, and photos of an actual room in the hill show walls built up with cut stones.
I actually like the interactive cave because it shows the "Small plates" as distinct from the "Gold plates," although it also depicts them both in the compilation graphic, which as we all know by now doesn't make sense. Still, you should download the cave and explore it.
The end of part 1.