It's a small step to say Oliver Cowdery was just expressing his opinion in Letter VII when he wrote that it was a fact that the Cumorah of Mormon 6:6 is the hill in western New York from which Joseph obtained the plates.
It's another small step to say Joseph Smith adopted a false tradition when he republished Letter VII and wrote D&C 128:20.
Then another small step to say the prophets who reaffirmed the New York Cumorah were merely expressing their private, incorrect opinions, including in General Conference.
Yet another step to say Joseph and Oliver were wrong about the translation of the Book of Mormon.
Another small steop to say Joseph never even used the plates.
And so it goes.
This is how persuasion works:
During the Korean War, captured American soldiers found themselves in POW camps run by Chinese Communists. The Chinese treated captives quite differently than their allies, the North Koreans, who favored savagery and harsh punishment to gain compliance
The Red Chinese engaged in what they called “lenient policy,” which was a sophisticated psychological assault on their captives. After the war, American psychologists questioned the returning prisoners intensively, because of the unsettling success of the Chinese program
The Chinese were very effective in getting Americans to inform on one another, in contrast to the behavior of American POWs in WWII. For this reason, escape plans were quickly uncovered and escape attempts themselves were rarely successful.
When an escape did occur, the Chinese usually recovered the man easily by offering a mere bag of rice to anyone turning him in. In fact, nearly all American prisoners in the Chinese camps are said to have collaborated with the enemy in one form or another.
How did the Chinese get compliance from the American POWS? These men were trained to provide only name, rank, serial number. Short of torture, how could the captors hope to get such men to give military information, turn in fellow prisoners, or publicly denounce their country?
The Chinese answer was to start small and build. Prisoners were asked to make statements so mildly anti-American or pro-Communist as to seem inconsequential "The United States is not perfect." "In a Communist country, unemployment is not a problem."
Once they complied with these minor requests, the men were pushed to submit to more substantive ones. A man who had agreed that the United States is not perfect might be asked provide examples. He might then be asked to make a list of "problems with America" and sign his name
Later, he might be asked to read his list in a discussion group with other prisoners. “After all, it’s what you really believe, isn’t it?” Still later he might be asked to write an essay expanding on his list and discussing these problems in greater detail
The Chinese might then use his name and his essay in an anti-American radio broadcast beamed not only to the entire camp, but to other POW camps in North Korea, as well as to American forces in South Korea.
Suddenly he would find himself a "collaborator." Aware that he had written the essay without any threats or coercion, a man would change his image of himself to be consistent with the deed and with the new collaborator label, resulting in more extensive acts of collaboration
The majority collaborated by doing things which seemed trivial to them but which the Chinese were able to turn to their own advantage. This was particularly effective in eliciting confessions, self-criticism, and information during interrogation.
The majority of the men believed the Chinese story that the United States had used germ warfare, and many felt that their own forces had been the initial aggressors in starting the war. Similar inroads had been made in the political attitudes of the men:
Many expressed antipathy toward the Chinese Communists but at the same time praised them for "the fine job they have done in China." Others stated that "although communism won’t work in America, I think it’s a good thing for Asia."
Our best evidence of another man's true feelings and beliefs is their behavior, not their words. What the Chinese knew is that a man uses this same evidence to know what he himself is like. He observes his behavior to understand his own beliefs, values, and attitudes
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