Here's a link to the article:
Today we'll do a "peer review" of the article, meaning that had the editors sent it to me ahead of publication, these are the notes I would have sent back. To do this, I have to show the entire article lest my critics, including the anonymous trolls, accuse me of "cherry picking," not telling the whole story, etc.
In reality, there's nothing I want more than for people to read what the M2C scholars teach. This article is a fine example. Inevitably, these scholars resort to Loserthink to try to convince members of the Church that the prophets are wrong. This article employs many of the standard M2C tactics, as we'll see.
At the outset, I re-emphasize that I think the M2C scholars are fine people, great scholars, faithful LDS, genuine, smart, thoughtful, etc. The author of this article fits those descriptions. Brother Norman a great guy whom I respect and like personally.
None of those qualities has anything to do with Loserthink, however. None of my observations about M2C ideology and tactics are personal; we all want to focus on the issues, not the personalities involved.
This article contains a series of assumptions and factual errors presented as facts to support M2C.
We're not surprised that Meridian Magazine would publish it as is because the article supports the editors' M2C agenda.
There is a lot of detail in this article. One of the common Loserthink tactics is the "confusopoly," a term Scott Adams coined "to describe an industry in which price competition is eliminated by making products and services so confusing that customers cannot tell what they are getting for their money."
M2C scholars use the confusopoly concept by making their arguments so confusing that readers give up and just accept the conclusion that the prophets are wrong about the New York Cumorah.
To unpack the article, I've had to delve into the detail. This may be more detail than most people want to read, so I'll summarize it here first.
Several anonymous articles in the 1842 Times and Seasons made a link between the Book of Mormon and archaeological findings in North and Central America. Joseph Smith was listed in the boilerplate of the newspaper as the editor of the Times and Seasons from Feb 15-Oct 1, 1842.
Many people, especially M2C proponents, think this means Joseph was personally responsible for everything published in the newspaper during those months, including anonymous articles. That leads M2C proponents to claim Joseph Smith believed the Book of Mormon took place in Central America. They then say the New York Cumorah is too far from Central America, so Joseph and Oliver and their contemporaries and successors misled the Church by teaching that Cumorah was in New York.
While the idea that Joseph actually wrote or edited the anonymous articles was a long-held assumption, it doesn't hold up to scrutiny for many reasons that I've discussed in detail in three of my books.
Basically, there is no evidence that Joseph actually edited anything in 1842 other than the Wentworth letter, which he signed separately in the newspaper.
The boilerplate at the end of each issue of the 1842 Times and Seasons from Feb 15-Oct 1 did say Joseph edited the paper, but it also listed Joseph as printer and publisher. No one claims Joseph operated the printing press, set type, etc. because he was merely the nominal printer; i.e., "in name only." The evidence, IMO, shows that he was merely the nominal editor, too.
Brother Norman's article claims it is a fact that Joseph wrote the anonymous articles, but at best he can only speculate about that.
He also claims Joseph actually wrote specific journal entries, but these, in reality, are fake compositions created after Joseph died.
I think the anonymous articles are as fake as the composed journal entries, but you can reach your own conclusions after you assess the evidence.
IMO, it is completely irresponsible for Meridian (M2C) Magazine to publish an article such as this without at least checking (and correcting) the factual errors, and without offering its readers an alternative interpretation of the facts. This is the type of advocacy journalism that causes divisions and perpetuates ignorance among members of the Church.
Original material in blue, my comments in red.
Nauvoo “Times and Seasons”: Searching for Book of Mormon Lands
John L.Stephens