Friday, March 4, 2022
The two maps: an overview
From time to time it's useful to review overall concepts.
In my view, the New York Cumorah is so well established by the teachings of the prophets, starting with Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, that there's no viable alternative, unless we want to explicitly repudiate the teachings of the prophets. http://www.lettervii.com/p/byu-packet-on-cumorah.html
I'm happy for people to believe whatever they want. Once people reject the New York Cumorah, they can and will believe the Book of Mormon took place in Malaysia, Africa, Baja, Chile, Peru, Panama, Mesoamerica, or any other location--or no location (such as the BYU fantasy map depicts). So long as they're relying on good information, that's all fine with me. I only want people to make informed decisions, regardless of whether they reach the same conclusions I do, because, as President Nelson has taught, good inspiration is based upon good information.
Those who reject the New York Cumorah (particularly the M2C apologists at FAIRLDS, the Interpreter, and Book of Mormon Central) are uncomfortable with the truth of the historical record, so they claim the prophets never taught the New York Cumorah, despite the unambiguous historical record. The M2C apologists say, "Who are you going to believe, us or your lying eyes?"
They omitted the New York Cumorah from the Saints book, volume 1. Thus we have a book subtitled "The Standard of Truth" that deliberately omits the truth. https://saintsreview.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-historians-explain-censorship-in.html
They omitted the New York Cumorah from the Gospel Topics Essays, and from all curriculum and media since around 2001.
Consequently, younger Latter-day Saints have a gap in knowledge, similar to the one regarding the translation that we saw in the FAIRLDS response to the CES Letter.
Such censorship and misdirection works only for lazy learners who defer to their teachers. Latter-day Saints who are engaged learners can see for themselves that the historical record presents a problem for the M2C apologists. The Joseph Smith Papers are making the historical documents readily accessible. Church leaders encourage the Latter-day Saints to study Church history. When people follow that counsel and read the actual history, they can quickly spot the fake revisionist history.
This is why the M2C apologists resort to the second phase of their Orwellian tactics: they claim the prophets were only expressing their private opinions, that they were speculating, and that they were wrong. Our current LDS scholars are working hard to persuade everyone that the prophets were wrong about the New York Cumorah as well as the translation of the plates.
And, to be sure, there are many Latter-day Saints who, after reviewing the complete historical record, come to agree with the M2C apologists that the prophets were wrong. And that's fine with me, because that's an informed decision. I'm all in favor of multiple working hypotheses. I support systems that set out all the facts, offer a variety of interpretations, and let people choose for themselves.
The M2C citation cartel still refuses to do this. That's my only problem with them, and they know it, but they continue to resort to censorship and disinformation nevertheless.
Those Latter-day Saints who still believe the teachings of the prophets know that the text of the Book of Mormon describes a setting that is consistent with what Joseph and Oliver taught. The only certain site is the New York Cumorah. Starting with the New York Cumorah, there are hundreds of possible sites for various Book of Mormon locations. Here's one example.
The principal alternative is the M2C map that puts the "real" Cumorah in southern Mexico with the understanding that the Cumorah in New York was the result of ignorant speculation that misled Church leaders and members for over 150 years until the M2C scholars rescued everyone from such ignorance.
It was originally set forth in a graphic in 1917 by RLDS scholar L.E. Hills. In subsequent decades, LDS M2C scholars made some modifications, but they kept the same general idea.
Now, Hills' 1917 map can still be seen on the web page of BYU Studies, here:
Book of Mormon Central, the Interpreter, and FAIRLDS together spend millions of dollars a year in their efforts to persuade the Latter-day Saints to disbelieve the teachings of the prophets. But no matter how much money they spend, no matter how sophisticated their social media efforts, and no matter how convoluted their sophistry, Latter-day Saints who are engaged learners can discover the truth for for themselves.