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.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Voice of the people

There are many faithful members of the Church who still believe the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah. There are also many faithful members who have differences of opinions about all of this. One's beliefs regarding Cumorah are no reflection of overall faith, testimony, commitment, etc.

That said, many Church members are perplexed that M2C is so widely taught and accepted.

A common justification given by the M2C scholars is that the prophets and apostles alive today have neither affirmed nor rejected Letter VII and the teachings of all their predecessors who taught that the Hill Cumorah is in New York.

M2C on Temple Square
The M2C scholars claim that silence on the part of Church leaders is tantamount to acceptance of M2C, because M2C is being taught by CES, BYU, the MTC, Church curriculum, visitors centers, etc.

But is that really what silence means?

Let's think about this a moment.

For over 150 years, the prophets and apostles have consistently taught that the Hill Cumorah of Mormon 6:6 (the one and only Hill Cumorah) is in western New York. This includes not only Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery (Letter VII) and their contemporaries, but members of the First Presidency speaking in General Conference, such as President Romney's detailed address.

No prophet or apostle has ever repudiated the teachings of his predecessors about the New York Cumorah.

But many scholars and their followers have rejected those teachings.

M2C (the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorah's theory) is based on the claim that the prophets are wrong because the Cumorah of Mormon 6:6 is actually somewhere in southern Mexico.

Book of Mormon Central is spending millions of dollars to promote M2C. FairMormon and other organizations also support M2C and reject the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah.

There are indications that many, if not most, members of the Church are following the M2C scholars instead of the teachings of the prophets.

How can we explain this?

This is hardly the first time the people have preferred intellectuals over the prophets. Here's one example to consider:

6 ¶ But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord.
7 And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
(1 Samuel 8:6–7)

The Lord told Samuel to do what the people wanted because the people had rejected Him in favor of their desire for a king.

In our day, the M2C intellectuals have rejected the teachings of the prophets on this topic.

Although many members of the Church follow the intellectuals because they don't know what the prophets have taught (e.g., the de-correlation of Cumorah in the Saints book), others have deliberately chosen the teachings of the intellectuals instead of the teachings of the prophets (e.g., the Kno-Whys of Book of Mormon Central).

We're all free to believe whatever we want. We can be faithful, devoted followers of Christ regardless of our position on the Cumorah question.

But we are also each responsible for what we believe and teach.

And we have precedent for people choosing to believe intellectuals over the prophets.

Where will all this lead?

Stay tuned.

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