Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Witnesses movie and M2C

The Interpreter Foundation is promoting its Witnesses movie. 

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson/2021/05/tickets-to-witnesses-are-available-now-for-34-theaters-in-several-states.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=BRSS&utm_campaign=Latter-day+Saint&utm_content=366 

The movie has its own website.

https://witnessesofthebookofmormon.org/

Such a film could have presented a complete, historically accurate account of the witnesses and what they said, which would be awesome. 

I haven't seen the film yet, but people who have tell me it's another affirmation of the latest intellectual fads from the M2C and SITH citation cartels, which means important testimony from the Three Witnesses is omitted because it contradicts M2C, while statements about SITH are emphasized.

I'm withholding judgment until I see the film. 

One of the things to look for is the treatment of the encounter David Whitmer had with the messenger who was taking the abridged plates from Harmony (where he had received them from Joseph) to Cumorah. 

Surely the filmmakers will not omit this event, which involved David, Oliver and Joseph.

The memory was vivid for David because it was the first time he had heard the word "Cumorah." It's an important event because it demonstrated (i) the reality of the plates, the shape of which David could see in the man's backpack, (ii) the reality of the 3 Nephites, (iii) the reality of Cumorah as an actual site in New York and not an imaginary mythical location, (iv) the reality that Joseph was actually translating plates and not merely dictating words from a vision in a hat.

According to David, the same messenger later showed plates to Mary Whitmer.

To their credit, the filmmakers include some of the accounts of the event on their web page.

But, not surprisingly, they focus on Mary's grandson's hearsay reframing of the account instead of what David said.

The Moroni/Mary Whitmer story has received a lot of attention because it's related in the Saints book. But frequent repetition doesn't make something true.

Don't take my word for any of this. I'm just reporting what the historical accounts show. They are available for anyone to read. 

It's a lot of fun to see the way our famous LDS intellectuals manipulate historical evidence. Normally, we would accept direct testimony (from David Whitmer) over hearsay testimony (from Mary Whitmer's grandson). Even if we accept hearsay testimony from Mary Whitmer's grandson about what his grandmother said, we would not accept his assumption that his grandmother was wrong, or that she actually meant to refer to Moroni when she referred to the messenger Brother Nephi.

But M2C relies on the premise that Cumorah cannot be in New York. David's direct testimony contradicts M2C, so the grandson's assumption that his grandmother was wrong is what our LDS scholars teach instead.

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The website promotes the fake Moroni/Mary Whitmer story. (click to enlarge)

https://witnessesofthebookofmormon.org/other-witnesses/mary-musselman-whitmer/

Fortunately, as you see from the graphic, they include the quotation from Mary's grandson in which he explains that he was the one who created the fake Moroni story by assuming that his grandmother, Mary Whitmer, was wrong.

David Whitmer explained that Joseph Smith told him that the messenger was one of the Three Nephites. That explains why he identified himself to Mary Whitmer as "Brother Nephi." We don't know the names of the Three Nephites (3 Nephi 28), but they were chosen from among the twelve disciples, the leader of whom was named Nephi.

This also makes sense because this messenger was anyone but the resurrected Moroni. David met both people face-to-face and spoke with each of them. He made a clear distinction between the two. He explained that the messenger who took the abridged plates to Cumorah and showed plates to Mary Whitmer was the same person. 

Moroni was a different person altogether.

The movie's website includes some of the accounts:

https://witnessesofthebookofmormon.org/other-witnesses/mary-musselman-whitmer/statements/#content-faq-0

David asked him to ride and he replied I am going across to the hill Comorah. Soon after they passed they felt strangely & Stoped, but could See nothing of him all arround was clear & they asked the Lord about it he Said the Prophet Looked as White as a Sheet & Said that it was one of the Nephites & that he had the Plates.

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that they asked the Prophet to enquire of the Lord who this stranger was. Soon David said they turned around & Joseph looked pale almost transparent & said that was one of the Nephites and he had the plates of the Book of Mormon in the knapsack—

After their arival home the[y] felt the influence of this same personage around them for he said thare was a Heavenly feeling with this Nephite.

Mother Whitmer said and told them that she had see[n] this same man the Nephite & he showed her the Plates and that a portion of them were Sealed together. This was a great privalige to her but She was good to Joseph the Prophet and here was her reward.

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Joseph asked the Lord who this mysterious stranger was, who said it was one of the 3 Nephites, with the Plates.

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All felt very strange concerning this personage and the Prophet was besought to inquire of the Lord concerning him. Shortly afterwards, David relates, the Prophet looked very white but with a heavenly appearance and said their visitor was one of the three Nephites to whom the Savior gave the promise of life on earth until He should come in power. After arriving home, David again saw this personage, and Mother Whitmer, who was very kind to Joseph Smith, is said to have seen not only this Nephite,

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1889-the story changes as published in the Juvenile Instructor 24, no. 1, 1 January 1889, 22

David said that they felt a very strange feeling come over them, and Joseph, the Prophet, inquired of the Lord concerning it, and then said to the brethren that the mysterious stranger was Moroni with the plates of gold.

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1918, anonymous typewritten account attributed to Joseph F. Smith

Then he demanded, “What does it mean?” Joseph informed him that the man was Moroni, and that the bundle on his back contained plates which Joseph had delivered to him before they departed from Harmony, Susquehanna County, and that he was taking them for safety, and would return them when he (Joseph) reached father Whitmer’s home....

David said that when she  [his mother Mary] came back she was full of joy. He did not know the reason for her rejoicing until she said, “I have seen the messenger.” David said she described the very man they saw walking on the prairies and he told her who he was; said that Joseph had come there for safety and he was in their care and protection.

[Note: Mary never identified him as Moroni, but instead as "Brother Nephi." We're told to believe Moroni misled Mary by identifying himself as "Brother Nephi."]


Zina Young remembered the account because David Whitmer, with his companion Hyrum Smith, were the missionaries who converted her family. She asked Stevenson to ask David Whitmer about it, as discussed here. http://www.lettervii.com/2019/09/david-whitmer-and-cumorah-messenger.html

On another occasion, Joseph Smith identified the "old man" as one of the Nephites as well.

The website also includes David Whitmer's explanations that the person who showed his mother the plates was the same messenger who took the abridged plates from Harmony back to Cumorah.

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By now, we would expect these M2C intellectuals to at least acknowledge the actual history. Maybe they would also recognize the doctrinal complication of teaching that a resurrected being, in this case Moroni, could and would change his physical body from a glorious figure taller than average (Joseph was 6'2") to a 5'8" heavyset old man with a long beard and wool suit.

Why does the M2C citation cartel members continue to promote the fake Moroni/Mary Whitmer story?

It's simple. 

M2C trumps everything else.

They absolutely cannot allow Church members to learn that, before leaving Harmony, Joseph Smith gave the abridged plates to one of the Three Nephites, that this Nephite took the abridged plates back to Cumorah, and that the same Nephite brought the plates of Nephi (D&C 10) to Fayette for Joseph to translate them there.

That would mean the repository was really in the "hill in New York" as Oliver Cowdery said it was.  

Which would mean the Hill Cumorah of Mormon 6:6 really is in western New York, as the prophets have consistently and persistently taught.

Which would mean M2C (the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory) is a hoax perpetrated by a handful of LDS scholars who stole the idea from L.E. Hills, who developed the theory in response to criticism of the Book of Mormon that was based on ignorant anthropology.

Which would mean the M2C citation cartel has not only repudiated the teachings of the prophets but has misled generations of LDS students.




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