Recently the number of page views on this blog and my other blogs passed 1.5 million. That's not counting other websites that re-post my blogs, such as moronisamerica.com and others. And the number of page views seems to be growing steadily. I hear from readers regularly and encourage anyone interested in these topics to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's always surprising to me that these blogs, which started out as my occasional online notes that I posted in blog form so I could have access wherever I traveled, have attracted such a readership. By now, there is more than enough content on this blog that pretty much every question people ask about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon can be answered by searching this blog, along with lettervii.com.
On this blog, we've demonstrated these three main points about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon.
1. The prophets, starting with Moroni, Joseph Smith, and Oliver Cowdery, have explained the origin and setting in clear, unmistakable language. Mormon and Moroni composed the text not far from where Joseph lived near Palmyra, New York; the repository of original Nephite records was in the hill Cumorah/Ramah about three miles from Joseph's home; and Moroni deposited the abridged plates in a stone box in the same hill, in another "department" as Orson Pratt explained. Joseph translated the plates by means of the Urim and Thummim, or Nephite interpreters, that came with the plates. He translated the abridged plates in Harmony, PA, and the original small plates of Nephi in Fayette.
2. Alternative explanations for the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon have been promoted by others, including both SITH (the stone-in-the-hat theory) and M2C (the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory). Promoters of SITH and M2C have a range of approaches and tactics that we'll discuss tomorrow.
3. People are free to believe whatever they want, but claims by critics and certain believing scholars that Joseph and Oliver misled everyone about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon are corrosive of faith. Everyone deserves to know all the facts and make their own informed decisions. Gatekeepers and their followers who suppress and attack alternative fact-based explanations (especially those that corroborate the teachings of the prophets) act out of fear, intolerance, and insecurity.
I will continue to post on this blog from time to time when people ask questions I haven't already answered, or when there is new information.
However, both in the Church and in the world as a whole there is an urgent need for clarity, charity, and understanding, which is the focus of nomorecontention.com.
Those three values are also the focus of my latest book, The Rational Restoration.
For that reason, I'm turning my attention to the big three: clarity, charity and understanding.
Be sure to bookmark nomorecontention.com.
Tomorrow I'll explain why I settled on clarity, charity and understanding.