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.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

General Conference - How to fix SITH and M2C

I regularly emphasize the importance of clarity, charity, and understanding. In General Conference (April 2024) we heard messages about all three of these principles/objectives/priorities. 

Among them was the importance of the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets. 

For example, “We ‘hear him’ in the words of scripture, but do we let them just sit on the page or do we recognize he is speaking to us? Do we change?” Elder Rasband said. "The words of prophets matter."

Elder Patrick Kearon spoke about roadblocks, explaining that unlike a policeman he saw stopping cars at a roadblock, “everything about the Father’s plan for his children is designed to bring everyone home.”

We're all happy to participate in the expansion of the gospel around the world, but we also acknowledge the setbacks and challenges that arise from the uncertainty and confusion promoted by certain Latter-day Saint scholars and their followers.


Most Latter-day Saints revere the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets. We readily accept what Joseph and Oliver taught about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon. We recognize that abundant extrinsic evidence supports their teachings, and we're happy to share with anyone interested.

The SITH and M2C roadblocks

(stone-in-the-hat and Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs narratives)

That's why so many of us remain perplexed at the way certain scholars continue to promote SITH and M2C, both of which are roadblocks to faith for many people because both narratives rely on the premise that Joseph and Oliver misled everyone about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon.

A common question is, how do we fix SITH and M2C?


One way is to simply acknowledge multiple working hypotheses; i.e., people can believe whatever they want. 

And we're happy with that approach when people make informed decisions, starting with clarity within the context of the FAITH model of analysis.

But we also observe that so-called scholars who are also Latter-day Saints reject the premise that people should be able to make informed decisions. Instead, they promote their own narratives and deprive fellow Latter-day Saints of the information and tools needed to make informed decisions.

IOW, they object to clarity, the first step toward "no more contention."

Worst of all, they specifically and repeatedly repudiate the teachings of the prophets about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon, as we've shown many times on this blog and elsewhere.

And that would be fine--they can believe whatever they want--if they were open and honest about the way they misleadingly frame their assumptions, inferences and theories as facts.


Many years ago, C. S. Lewis described the ideal way to correct mistakes. 

"First, as to putting the clock back. Would you think I was joking if I said that you can put a clock back, and that if the clock is wrong it is often a very sensible thing to do? But I would rather get away from that whole idea of clocks. 

We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. 

And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. 

If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. 

We have all seen this when doing arithmetic. When I have started a sum the wrong way, the sooner I admit this and go back and start again, the faster I shall get on. There is nothing progressive about being pig headed and refusing to admit a mistake. 

And I think if you look at the present state of the world, it is pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistake. We are on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on."

Lewis, C. S.. Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics) (pp. 28-29). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.


A return to the teachings of the prophets and the scriptures about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon is the best way to fix SITH and M2C. 

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