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 22, 2023

200th anniversary of Moroni's visit

Today marks the 200th anniversary of Moroni's first visit to Joseph Smith. It was on this day in 1823 when Moroni told Joseph Smith that the record had been "written and deposited" not far from his home and that it was in the "hill of Cumorah."

(click to enlarge)

Moroni's identification of the hill as Cumorah was well known to Joseph Smith and his contemporaries. Joseph's successors in Church leadership reaffirmed it repeatedly. No Church leader has ever repudiated what Joseph and Oliver taught. 

But many scholars have rejected the New York Cumorah/Ramah. Today, as a result of the teachings of these scholars, fewer and fewer Latter-day Saints know about the history of Cumorah/Ramah and why the New York setting is so important. 

And yet, the historical record is readily available for everyone to see. For an overview of Cumorah, see: https://www.mobom.org/cumorah-overview


Lots of people are commemorating the event. 

Last Saturday I spoke about Cumorah at the Book of Mormon Evidence conference in Salt Lake City. 

Today, FAIR is holding a virtual conference:


In the interest of clarity, charity and understanding, we note that the speakers include some of the usual suspects awesome scholars who promote M2C (Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory) and SITH (stone-in-the-hat theory), but there's always a possibility that we will see some diversity of faithful views at FAIR. Maybe someday FAIR will even include speakers who still believe what the prophets have taught about Cumorah/Ramah and the translation of the Book of Mormon. We remain optimistic.

Book of Mormon Central (BMC) is hosting its annual $250/plate fundraising dinner so they can spend more millions to promote M2C and SITH. Donors have their choice of Filet Mignon with gratin potatoes, lemon asparagus, and crispy leeks or Miso Glazed Salmon with horseradish whipped potatoes, baby carrots and roasted shallots. 

BMC touts itself as the "largest producer of Come, Follow Me enrichment material outside the official Church, and the largest producer of Book of Mormon content in the world." They claim to "reach more than million [sic] people each week across 3 languages via websites, videos, social media channels, email, and the acclaimed ScripturePlus mobile app," all to elevate the SITH and M2C theories of scholars over the plain, unambiguous teachings of the prophets. 

The people at BMC are awesome, and we remain optimistic that BMC, too, will someday recognize that many Latter-day Saints still believe what the prophets have taught about the New York Cumorah/Ramah. Maybe someday they will even host a side-by-side comparison so everyone, Latter-day Saints and otherwise, can compare the different views about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon.


In the meantime, here's a reminder of who teaches what:

People who taught/teach that:

Cumorah/Ramah is in New York

Cumorah/Ramah is not in New York

Joseph Smith

E. D. Howe

Oliver Cowdery

Charles Shook

Lucy Mack Smith

L. E. Hills

David Whitmer

John Sorenson

Brigham Young

John W. (Jack) Welch (Book of Mormon Central)

Heber C. Kimball

John Dehlin (Mormon Stories)

Joseph F. Smith

Dan Vogel

James E. Talmage

Jeremy Runnels (CES Letter)

LeGrand Richards

Dan Peterson (Interpreter)

Marion G. Romney

Sandra Tanner (Utah Lighthouse ministry)

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