Below is an email that went out a while ago. It involves an event to take place in Salt Lake City on November 17, 2019.
Many people living in Utah are familiar with this group and its activities, but many are not. Those living outside of Utah may be less familiar with this, but in my experience, nearly every member of the Church, everywhere in the world, knows people who have left the Church for various reasons.
In very few cases does anyone leave the Church while retaining a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
I include this event as part of the "Perfect Storm" series because the combination of M2C and the peep stone narrative are undercutting the basic premise for the Restoration.
That is, the Restoration is based on the premise that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery told the truth about the translation of the Book of Mormon and related events. They were the sole witnesses to the translation, the restoration of the Priesthood, and the restoration of Priesthood keys in the Kirtland temple.
Modern LDS scholars who promote M2C and the peep stone narrative are teaching members of the Church to disbelieve Joseph and Oliver on key points they emphasized over and over.
This inevitably leads to an erosion of faith.
Our M2C scholars insist that Joseph and Oliver (and their successors) misled the Church about the New York Cumorah. Instead, these scholars claim the "real" Cumorah is somewhere in Mexico, with all the baggage that brings.
The revisionist historians claim that Joseph didn't really translate the plates, but instead merely read words that appeared on a peep stone he put in a hat. They are teaching this throughout the Church. Of course, that contradicts everything Joseph and Oliver ever said on the subject and questions the point of Mormon abridging the Nephite records in the first place; i.e., if Joseph didn't really translate the plates, why did everyone go to so much trouble to create and preserve them?
Joseph and Oliver specifically addressed both issues when they wrote the eight historical essays we've discussed here many times, including Letter VII. They cited facts to establish their teachings, but now these intellectuals want members of the Church to reject those facts and their teachings.
Many members of the Church reject what the M2C scholars and revisionist historians teach, but Book of Mormon Central is spending millions of dollars to promote both ideas.
Now, Book of Mormon Central is promoting M2C through a scripture app designed to entice Church members away from Gospel Library.
We hope these intellectuals will reconsider their message, but based on past experience, we think that's unlikely. Instead, they will continue to promote M2C and the peep stone narrative, enforcing their beliefs by censoring and repudiating the teachings of the prophets on these topics.
As a result, we'll see more and more people confused and disturbed in their faith, exactly as Joseph Fielding Smith warned.
The upcoming event is a prime example of what happens when people lose their faith in the prophets.
We empathize with those who have lost their faith and wish them all the best. But we hope any who have lost their faith because (i) they realize that Mayans have nothing to do with the Book of Mormon, or (ii) they can't believe the peep stone narrative, will reconsider.
People would be better to repudiate the teachings of the M2C intellectuals and the revisionist historians (and their followers) than to repudiate the teachings of the prophets.
We realize there are many reasons why people obtain or lose faith, but these two issues are core to faith in the restoration. That's why Joseph and Oliver addressed them in the first place and why Joseph had these essays republished so often.
It's one thing to believe what Joseph and Oliver taught about the physical reality of the Book of Mormon, citing the New York Cumorah as a fact; it's another thing altogether to reject their testimony and claim we don't know anything about where the Book of Mormon events took place.
It's one thing to believe that, as Joseph and Oliver always testified, Joseph actually translated ancient records after years of training and that he was able to accomplish a literal translation of the Title Page. It's another thing altogether to reject their testimony and claim that Joseph merely read words that appeared on a peep stone he put in a hat, a sort of supernatural teleprompter.
Some people have faith to believe in M2C and the peep stone, and that's great. But for others, it's a step too far, not only because of the inherent implausibility, but because it means that Joseph and Oliver (and their successors) misled the Church for decades.
Now that our intellectuals have undermined the credibility of Joseph and Oliver on these topics, it is more difficult for many people to believe what they taught on other topics. And once that faith is eroded...
Well, the upcoming conference is a good example of the result.
From: John Dehlin <email@example.com>
Subject: I need your help