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, December 29, 2021

Changing one's mind

The end of the year is a traditional time to review things, take inventory, make resolutions, etc. 

If you (or someone you know) still believe and advocate M2C, take a moment to consider this: you don't have to accept M2C to be a faithful Latter-day Saint.

The great Russian author Leo Tolstoy observed, “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.”


We're past due for a major reframing of Book of Mormon historicity/geography. 

The prevailing Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs (M2C) theory is based on a mistake in Church history. It requires elaborate, complicated rationalization, a key component of which is that the prophets were wrong about the New York Cumorah. Yet, as Tolstoy explained, the credentialed class of LDS intellectuals largely adheres to M2C--except the many who, having spotted the fallacies of M2C, no longer believe the Book of Mormon is an actual history.

There is a third option. It took me a while to learn about it.

Because people often ask how and why I embraced the "Heartland" framework that reconciles Church history, the teachings of the prophets, and Book of Mormon historicity/geography, here's a brief explanation.


For decades, I believed what my BYU teachers taught about Book of Mormon geography in Mesoamerica. I read the FARMS materials, attended conferences, accepted the two-Cumorahs theory and all the rest. The citation cartel was convincing because of their status as BYU faculty, their credentials, their conviction, their devotion, and their unanimity and consensus. I deferred to their expertise to the point that I didn't recognize the logical and factual fallacies that M2C is based on. 

A few years ago, I learned new information, both about Church history (Letter VII, etc.) and about the ancient inhabitants of North America. It became apparent that the extrinsic evidence corroborates the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah and related issues. It all makes sense. 

With the Heartland framework, there's no need to put issues "on the shelf" or to characterize Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery as ignorant speculators who misled the Church about Cumorah, the translation of the plates, etc.

And it's all very simple.

Nevertheless, the citation cartel, particularly the Interpreter, Book of Mormon Central, and FAIRLDS, continues to double-down on M2C. They persist in repudiating the prophets and promoting M2C by (i) censoring information that contradicts M2C, (ii) asserting their credentials and expertise to obscure their logical and factual fallacies, and (iii) spreading disinformation about alternative faithful interpretations of Church history and the Book of Mormon, particularly the "Heartland" scenario.

The "Heartland" explanation

You can find more information at https://www.mobom.org/, the Museum of the Book of Mormon, which is a nonprofit organization that offers a variety of perspectives.

Ed Latimore
You're allowed to change your mind. In fact, if you don't, you're probably not living enough to learn. But some of you get so ego invested in your position of ignorance that you'd rather be wrong than admit you were wrong.

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