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, January 22, 2020

The happiness of Moroni's America

The North American setting for the Book of Mormon, which I call Moroni's America (hence the book of that name) is awesome for many reasons, but one of the biggest is the happiness it brings.

Think of it: the North American setting means we can embrace the teachings of the prophets without resorting to a bunch of sophistry to justify/explain the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory (M2C).

After all, President Oliver Cowdery (Assistant President of the Church at the time) declared it was a fact that the hill Cumorah in western New York was the location of (i) the repository of Nephite records and (ii) the final battles of the Nephites and the Jaredites. See http://www.lettervii.com/.

To justify/explain M2C, M2C intellectuals and their followers have to frame Oliver as an ignorant speculator who misled the Church. They have to extend their framing to Joseph Smith as well. And to all the other prophets who reaffirmed the New York Cumorah.

In Moroni's America, the teachings of the prophets are corroborated by archaeology, anthropology, geology, and geography. We don't need to resort to word thinking and sophistry to try to fit the Book of Mormon into Mesoamerica, to create "two Cumorahs," and to explain why the Mayan civilization has not a trace of Hebrew or Book of Mormon influence--just as the Book of Mormon has no trace of Mayan culture.

Those of us who still believe the teachings of the prophets are happy to discuss the North American setting, with Cumorah in New York. 

Of course, our M2C friends seek to defend M2C. We can expect that to continue because of their intellectual, financial, and emotional investment in M2C. And that's all fine.

But even they know that most Church members, once they hear about Moroni's America, choose to reject the whole idea of "two Cumorahs" and the associated theories.

That's why the M2C proponents* continue to censor the teachings of the prophets and the evidence that supports and corroborates those teachings.

Censorship ultimately fails, especially in the age of the Internet. So keep spreading the word. M2C will collapse of its own weight once Church members are able to make informed decisions.

* M2C proponent include Book of Mormon Central, the Interpreter, FairMormon, BYU Studies, Meridian Magazine, and, sadly, the Saints book, volume 1. At least Saints, volume 2, tried to make up for the errors in Saints, volume 1, but it would be much better to fix volume 1 instead of continuing to teach the obvious false information it contains.
See https://saintsreview.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-historians-explain-censorship-in.html

1 comment:

  1. Brother Neville,

    If you really want your readers to make "informed decisions" I suggest you encourage them to read the statement on Book of Mormon Geography issued by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles last year. It's easy to find: they can just look on the First Presidency website (ChurchofJesusChrist.Org) under "Gospel Topics" for their statement entitled "Book of Mormon Geography". It contains a quote from President Nelson and reads in full as follows:
    "The Book of Mormon includes a history of an ancient people who migrated from the Near East to the Americas. This history contains information about the places they lived, including descriptions of landforms, natural features, and the distances and cardinal directions between important points. The internal consistency of these descriptions is one of the striking features of the Book of Mormon.

    "Since the publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830, members and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have expressed numerous opinions about the specific locations of the events discussed in the book. Some believe that the history depicted in the Book of Mormon—with the exception of the events in the Near East—occurred in North America, while others believe that it occurred in Central America or South America. Although Church members continue to discuss such theories today, the Church’s only position is that the events the Book of Mormon describes took place in the ancient Americas.

    "The Prophet Joseph Smith himself accepted what he felt was evidence of Book of Mormon civilizations in both North America and Central America. While traveling with Zion’s Camp in 1834, Joseph wrote to his wife Emma that they were “wandering over the plains of the Nephites, recounting occasionally the history of the Book of Mormon, roving over the mounds of that once beloved people of the Lord, picking up their skulls and their bones, as a proof of its divine authenticity.”1 In 1842, the Church newspaper Times and Seasons published articles under Joseph Smith’s editorship that identified the ruins of ancient native civilizations in Mexico and Central America as further evidence of the Book of Mormon’s historicity.2

    "The Church does not take a position on the specific geographic locations of Book of Mormon events in the ancient Americas. President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, reminded members that “the Book of Mormon is not a textbook on topography. Speculation on the geography of the Book of Mormon may mislead instead of enlighten; such a study can be a distraction from its divine purpose.”

    "Individuals may have their own opinions regarding Book of Mormon geography and other such matters about which the Lord has not spoken. However, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles urge leaders and members not to advocate those personal theories in any setting or manner that would imply either prophetic or Church support for those theories. All parties should strive to avoid contention on these matters.

    "Speaking of the book’s history and geography, President Russell M. Nelson taught: “Interesting as these matters may be, study of the Book of Mormon is most rewarding when one focuses on its primary purpose—to testify of Jesus Christ. By comparison, all other issues are incidental.”