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.

Friday, September 23, 2022

The tragedy of Book of Mormon Central, part 2

Another tragedy of Book of Mormon Central (BMC) is the deceptive way the organization presents itself. It's an M2C advocacy and lobbying group, not a legitimate academic or educational organization. 

Everyone affiliated with BMC has to accept, adopt, and promote M2C to be in good standing. BMC employees promote M2C formally by what they publish at BMC and informally through social media.

I've said before that I support about 85% of what they do. By that I do not mean that I agree with 85% of what they do, but I'm fine with people and groups that disagree with me. Disagreements are not my objection to BMC. And I readily agree that they offer some useful resources for research and study. 

The problem with BMC is their editorial stance, which taints the otherwise good work they do, and thereby contributes to the ongoing faith crises that we'll discuss later this week.

BMC's stated goals and mission statements are fine, generic as they are. But in practice, their guiding philosophy undermines their credibility and reliability. 


Let's look at the organization itself. Few Latter-day Saints (including donors) realize that BMC is a front for an organization that has long promoted the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs (M2C) theory of Book of Mormon geography. 

As we'll see later this week, M2C expressly repudiates what Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, their contemporaries and successors all said about the hill Cumorah in New York, thereby directly and deliberately undermining faith in their teachings.

From the BMC website: "The legal organization behind Book of Mormon Central is the Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum, Inc., a 501 (c) 3 non-profit public charity chartered in the state of Utah in 2004."

This is BMAF, which has a website here: http://bmaf.org/.

BMAF's logo is awesome:

It depicts the Book of Mormon with a Mayan temple, pursuant to the clear mission statement that it published for most of its existence. Their first goal was "to increase understanding of the Book of Mormon as an ancient Mesoamerican codex."

(click to enlarge)

As we'll see, that remains the "first goal" of BMC today, although they are a little more discreet in announcing that to their donors and readers.

BMAF's "About" page, has a link to references that explain "Why we support the Mesoamerica theory for Book of Mormon lands."

Keep that in mind, too, when we look at BMC's purported mission statement.

A couple of years ago, when the original mission statement was publicized on this blog and elsewhere, BMAF edited their mission statement slightly to downplay the focus on M2C.

BMAF is "an open forum for presentation, dissemination, and discussion of research and evidences regarding Book of Mormon archaeology, anthropology, geography and culture within Mesoamerican and other ancient contexts." 

One glance at the content of BMAF's website demonstrates it is anything but an "open forum" for anything other than M2C promotion. 

As I mentioned above, BMC continues that editorial approach today, as we'll see. It's not a serious academic organization; it's purely an advocacy group for the personal opinions of its principals.

After I brought attention to BMAF's website, the organization modified their mission statement to omit the specific reference to the "ancient Mesoamerican codex" but still claimed it's an "ancient book or codex." Here's how it reads now:

The specific and primary purposes of the organization are: (1) to increase understanding of the Book of Mormon as an ancient book or codex... (3) to help promote unity and cooperation among scholars and students of the Book of Mormon...

Neither BMAF nor BMC makes any effort to "help promote unity and cooperation among scholars and students of the Book of Mormon" if said scholars and students don't accept M2C.

Tragically, BMC, and its owner BMAF, are polemic institutions.

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