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, June 7, 2023

M2C clarification needed: Ancient treaty AD 353

In the interests of clarity, charity and understanding (http://nomorecontention.com/), from time to time we'll help the M2Cers clarify their positions.

The M2C proponents continue to find "parallels" or "correspondences" to make the narrative of the Book of Mormon "fit" the Mesoamerican setting. But they omit their underlying premise. They want their readers/followers to think past the sale.

Here's a recent one from Kirk Magleby (a great guy):

Ancient Treaty AD 353
Abstract: An alliance celebrated on February 26, AD 353 at the Maya site of Tortuguero in modern Tabasco may be the same treaty the Nephites entered into with the Lamanites and the Gadianton robbers ca. AD 350 as recorded in Mormon 2:28.

Kirk's explanation is fairly detailed, and he helpfully acknowledges his theory is based on a series of if/then conditionals, but he left out the key point that needs clarification.

Kirk and the other M2Cers claim they follow the text of the Book of Mormon. 

Of course, everyone who proposes a setting for the Book of Mormon events also claims to be following the text. Because the text is vague and subject to a variety of interpretations, people reach a variety of conclusions. (I call this multiple working hypotheses.)

There's one big problem for M2Cers that they should clarify every time they articulate one of their M2C "correspondences." 

The text never mentions Mesoamerica. 

The text doesn't mention America at all. It doesn't even mention the western hemisphere.

Clarification point: to justify their focus on Mesoamerica, the M2Cers have to start by going outside the text!

But that contradicts their claim that they rely on the text.

M2Cers justify going outside the text by relying on the teachings of the prophets about America--and the anonymous articles in the 1842 Times and Seasons about Central America.

But they simultaneously reject the teachings of those same prophets regarding the hill Cumorah!

M2Cers fit into the all/some/none paradigm this way:

Relative acceptance of what Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery taught: America and Cumorah/Ramah




1. It is a fact that Book of Mormon events took place in America

2. It is a fact that Cumorah/Ramah is in western New York

1. It is a fact that Book of Mormon events took place in America

2. But it is not a fact that Cumorah/Ramah is not in western New York

1. Book of Mormon events did not take place in America (or anywhere else)

2. Cumorah/Ramah is not in western New York (or anywhere else)

The ALL and NONE positions are logical and consistent. The SOME position is purely and obviously bias confirmation. 

When looking for parallels and correspondences, we can find some all over the world.

I've previously pointed out that features such as a "narrow neck of land," a "small neck of land," and a "narrow neck" are ubiquitous. George Washington referred to several in the New York/Boston area. It would be difficult to find an area anywhere in the world that did not feature a neck of land or water.

The prevalence of political alliances and wars and treaties is also ubiquitous. Looking at circa 350 AD, for example, the Varman dynasty in India was founded. The Jin imperial dynasty retreated south of the River Huai, leaving the north to other kingdoms (presumably by agreement or treaty). European history is a series of alliances and treaties. 

Oddly, the site of Tortuguero is an unlikely place for a treaty giving the Nephites "the land northward" because from Tortuguero, the "land northward" is a small sliver bordering the Gulf of Mexico.

It's also one of the few places in the world where you'd be hard pressed to find a "narrow neck" of any sort.

But this is all fine. M2Cers can believe whatever they want.

They just need to clarify the inconsistency of (i) focusing on Mesoamerica because of anonymous articles in the Times and Seasons, while (ii) rejecting the explicit declaration from the prophets that it is a fact that Cumorah/Ramah is in New York.


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