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.
Acronyms used in this blog
To save space, this blog uses several acronyms.
BMC - Book of Mormon Central, the public face of Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum (bmaf.org), which raises and spends millions of dollars every year to promote M2C, SITH, JDT, and similar theories.
BofM - The Book of Mormon, an 1829 translation of ancient records of the indigenous inhabitants of ancient North America. The BofM describes how Jesus Christ visited these people shortly after his resurrection, thereby corroborating the Bible.
Citation Cartel - Originating with FARMS in the 1980s, whose logo depicts M2C, the citation cartel consists of an interlocked group of LDS intellectuals who review and publish each other's work promoting M2C and SITH. Currently the cartel includes the Interpreter, FAIRLDS, and Book of Mormon Central. The cartel previously included BYU Studies when it was edited by Jack Welch, the Chairman of Book of Mormon Central and founder of FARMS. Book of Mormon Central retained the M2C logo from FARMS and continues to promote M2C exclusively. When the Maxwell Institute absorbed FARMS, it promoted M2C as well. Recently both BYU Studies and Maxwell Institute have more independent leadership, although vestiges of M2C and SITH in those organizations remain.
EME - the Early Modern English theory that the text of the Book of Mormon could not have come from Joseph Smith because of archaic terms and grammar that Joseph Smith "could not have known." The theory relies on databases of published material, all of which was edited, unlike the presumably verbatim text of the Book of Mormon. Had the printer edited Joseph's dictated manuscript as he wanted to, and as any publisher would have, the vestiges of "EME" would have been eliminated.
JDT - the Joseph Didn't Translate theory that teaches Joseph never really translated anything. Instead, he just read words on a seer stone (SITH) provided by the MIST.
LDS - the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which teaches that the Book of Mormon is the word of God comparable to the Bible and that there are living prophets today.
M2C - the Mesoamerican/Two Cumorahs theory, which teaches that the prophets were wrong when they taught that the Hill Cumorah of Mormon 6:6 is in western New York. M2Cers say the New York Cumorah was a false tradition started by unknown early Latter-day Saints based on speculation, that Joseph Smith adopted it out of ignorance, and that all the prophets/apostles who reaffirmed the New York Cumorah merely expressed their opinions and were wrong, because the "real Cumorah" is somewhere in southern Mexico. See lettervii.com for more information. Also consult the websites of the citation cartel.
MIST - the Mysterious Incognito Supernatural Translator, the entity that provided the text for Joseph to read when he saw words that appeared on the stone in the hat (SITH). This is a recent fad among LDS intellectuals, based on the "finding" that the text in the Book of Mormon consists of Early Modern English dating to the 16th century.
RLDS - The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently renamed to Community of Christ. This is another church organization that teaches the Book of Mormon.
SITH - the stone-in-the-hat theory that Joseph Smith didn't really translate anything, but merely read words off a stone that he found in a well when he put the stone in a hat. The first detailed published description of SITH was in the anti-Mormon book Mormonism Unvailed. Joseph, Oliver and their successors in Church leadership rejected SITH by emphasizing that Joseph translated the characters engraved on the plates by means of the Urim and Thummim, but influential modern LDS scholars say Joseph and Oliver misled everyone about the "actual" translation process.