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, March 17, 2023

CWIC Media interview, part 2

The second part of the interview is available now. In this one we discussed the question, "Did Joseph Smith Really Use A Seer Stone?"


This is a timely interview because, although we didn't discuss it in this interview, our book about the translation is being formally released soon. My co-author and I will be doing interviews about the book and its contents, and the usual critics will do their thing.

Readers of this blog know that I believe what Joseph and Oliver said, not only about Cumorah, but also about the translation of the plates with the Urim and Thummim that came with the plates. 

Others disagree.

Which is fine with me. 

I've said repeatedly that I'm happy for people to believe whatever they want. I encourage people to make informed decisions, but if they don't want to, that's also fine with me. 

Most people just want to confirm their biases. That's why Fox News and CNN/MSNBC succeed in creating silos of increasingly dogmatic partisans.

That's also why Dan Peterson and John Dehlin (who completely agree about SITH) have their loyal followers who resist alternative interpretations of historical evidence.  

In fact, many if not all of those who disbelieve what Oliver wrote about Cumorah--that it is a fact that the final battles took place in western New York--also disbelieve what Oliver and Joseph said about the translation.

That's how we ended up with both M2C and SITH (the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory and the stone-in-the-hat theory, respectively).


Someone sent me a video from a critic, the Backyard Professor, who released a video yesterday about the translation. It's titled "Backyard Professor Responds to Propaganda Video of Elder David A Bednar on Priesthood Restored."

In his video, he quotes the usual suspects, the SITH advocates including David Whitmer, Brant Gardner, Mike MacKay, Dan Peterson, and Royal Skousen. He could just as easily have read from the Gospel Topics Essay or Mormonism Unvailed--or FAIRLDS, Book of Mormon Central, the Interpreter, etc.  

What none of these sources quote is what Joseph and Oliver said, because they specifically excluded the seer stone from the translation narrative. 

But since these scholars reject what Joseph and Oliver taught about Cumorah, it makes sense that they would also reject what Joseph and Oliver said about the translation. 

Here's the place in the Backyard Professor's video in which he agrees with John Dehlin that FAIRMormon (now FAIRLDS) is better at causing people to have doubts than even he is! 

Thursday, March 16, 2023

CWIC media interview, part 1

The other day I spent some time with Greg Matsen at CWIC Media. He's an awesome, well-informed, thoughtful host who covers a range of topics. If you haven't subscribed to his show, you should.

Here's the link to the first part of our interview:


We discussed Cumorah, LDS scholarship, and related topics. Greg explains that he has no horse in this race. He just wants to see more open and respectful dialogue on these issues, which is exactly what I want to see.

I'd like everyone, Latter-day Saint or not, to make fully informed decisions on these issues, based on facts and not obscured by M2C/SITH gatekeepers or the critical gatekeepers who also prevent their readers/viewers from having all the facts.

Keep up the good work, Greg!

BTW, if you look closely, you'll see that my screen says Beverly Neville. It's not a pseudonym. I was using my wife's office and forgot to change the name! 

My bad...


The show notes include relevant links.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Resources for answering questions

I frequently hear from readers and viewers who have specific questions about Church history, Book of Mormon historicity, etc. Often they seek a way to explain the issues to their family, friends, associates, and social media contacts.

In most cases, I direct them to the materials on my lettervii.com website. For readers of this blog who find it on moronisamerica, amazon, or another redirected site, you may not know about the Pages on the lettervii.com site.

For example, here's a page about the origins and rational of M2C.

Here is a list of all resources currently in the Pages section of that blog. I add to them as people ask specific questions not already covered in the Pages.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

The citation cartels and unapproved opinions

It's no secret why the M2C/SITH citation cartels* don't want people to read, or even know about, what Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery actually taught. That's why they react so strongly when people discover and read Letter VII in the Joseph Smith Papers, the complete Wentworth letter from the Times and Seasons, and the rest of the material in the BYU packet for the first time.

The last thing these cartels want is people making informed decisions. Instead, they filter and manipulate information so their readers and followers will arrive at the conclusions that have been approved by the M2C/SITH scholars.

For that matter, the critical cartels** do the same thing. They just censor different information so their readers and viewers can't make informed decisions. Instead, they filter information so their readers and followers will arrive at the conclusions that have been approved by the leading critics.

That's why on this blog we discuss everything.

We trust people to make good decisions when they make fully informed decisions. After all, "good inspiration is based upon good information."


Which reminds us of something else in the news...


Democrats Warn That Anyone Watching Unedited Jan 6 Footage Could Arrive At Unapproved Conclusion

U.S.·Mar 8, 2023 · BabylonBee.com

U.S. — Democrat leaders have issued a dire warning to Americans, saying that anyone who watches unedited clips of the footage from January 6 runs the risk of arriving at a conclusion that hasn't been approved by Democrat leaders.

"This is a very dangerous situation," said Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer. "We work hard every day to make sure Americans all have all the correct opinions. With thousands of hours of footage being given to the American public with no filter, we're in grave danger of some people not agreeing with us, or worse — not giving us politicians more and more unchecked power. This is an existential threat to democracy."

Mitch McConnell, another Democrat Senator, agreed. "I'm terrified right now," he said. "What if everyone starts thinking we're lying frauds? I'm not saying we are, but it would be terrible if people came to such a scary — and unapproved — conclusion."

Experts also weighed in, warning that if unapproved opinions are allowed to spread, it may lead to unapproved leaders being elected for unapproved reasons. "As experts, we wouldn't approve of this," said one expert.

At publishing time, Democrats released findings from the intelligence community stating the Jan 6 tapes were unapproved Russian disinformation.


*The Interpreter, Book of Mormon Central, Meridian Magazine, BYU Studies under Jack Welch, FAIRLDS, the old FARMS.

** CES Letter, Mormon Stories, etc.