Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Correlation changing Church history - Ensign, April 2018

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” George Orwell, 1984.

This is 2018, but Orwell's observation remains as insightful now as it was when he wrote 1984. Except now it is the Correlation Department of the Church that is controlling the past--and converting Church history by repudiating the prophets.

I mentioned this example in another post that was too long for most people to read. I'm putting a key point here because it's not possible to reach consensus when the Correlation Department suppresses important facts of Church history to change the narrative to support M2C (the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory of Book of Mormon geography).
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A good example of the work of the Correlation Department is the April issue of the Ensign.

On the inside back cover is Minerva Teichert's painting, "Christ Visits the Nephites." This depicts Christ appearing at a Mayan temple, complete with the Mayan temple of the feathered serpent from Teotihuacan.

The painting is found in the Church History web page, here:
https://history.lds.org/exhibit/-christ-in-the-americas-exhibit?lang=eng#mv9

Incredibly, the web page assigns this title: "Christ Blesses the Nephites at the Bountiful Temple," with a reference to 3 Nephi 11:7. Thanks to the Correlation Department, we have a direct identification of the Nephite Bountiful Temple as a Mayan temple.


For more M2C art, go here: https://history.lds.org/exhibit/-christ-in-the-americas-exhibit?lang=eng

Also in this issue is Chapter 3 of Saints, the new Church history book published by the Church History department. This is a wonderful new book, and it's great that the book at least cites Letters IV, VII and VIII. But the notes refer to "LDS Messenger and Advocate," a source few Church members are familiar with or know how to look up. They could have cited Joseph Smith's History 1834-1836 right in the Joseph Smith papers themselves, as they do with other references in the notes.

Even if you look at the chapter online, the reference goes to the first page of the archive.org edition of the Messenger and Advocate instead of to the actual page where these letters are found. It would have been much easier for people to go to the copy in the Joseph Smith Papers (or the Times and Seasons, Millennial Star or Improvement Era, which also published these letters and are more familiar to Church members).

This may sound like quibbling but it's a question of accessibility and credibility.

Note 9 cites Oliver Cowdery, Letter IV, but lists pages 65-67, which are actually W.W. Phelps' Letter 4. Oliver's letter, which refers to the Urim and Thummim, starts on page 77.

In fact, if you go to the online version and look at footnote 13, which references Letter VII, the link actually lists Letter IV twice, not Letter VII. And it goes to the first page of the Messenger and Advocate, not the page where these letters are actually found.

Go to https://lds.org/languages/eng/content/history/saints-v1/03-plates-of-gold and click on note 13.

Here's where Letter IV starts:
https://archive.org/stream/latterdaysaintsm01unse#page/76/mode/2up/search/Letter+IV

Here's where Letter VII starts:
https://archive.org/stream/latterdaysaintsm01unse#page/n159/mode/2up

That's all technical stuff. Here's what I consider to be M2C influence, originating with the Correlation Department (and/or the History department, but either way, it is Church employees promoting M2C from within).

From Saints:

Moroni spoke of gold plates buried in a nearby hill. On the plates was etched the record of an ancient people who once lived in the Americas. The record told of their origins and gave an account of Jesus Christ visiting them and teaching the fullness of His gospel.8 Buried with the plates, Moroni said, were two seer stones, which Joseph later called the Urim and Thummim, or interpreters.

From Letter IV:

He then proceeded and gave a general account of the promises made to the fathers, and also gave a history of the aborigines of this country, and said they were literal descendants of Abraham. He represented them as once being an enlightened and intelligent people, possessing a correct knowledge of the gospel, and the plan of restoration and redemption. He said this history was written and deposited not far from that place, and that it was our brother's privilege, if obedient to the commandments of the Lord, to obtain, and translate the same by the means of the Urim and Thummim, which were deposited for that purpose with the record.

Do you see the difference?

Our Gold Cup winner, the Correlation Department, transforms President Cowdery's language "a history of the aborigines of this country" into the M2C version: "the record of an ancient people who once lived in the Americas." 

IOW, Moroni referred to "the aborigines of this country" but Church members are being told he said "an ancient people who once lived in the Americas."

It's unbelievable, isn't it?

The Correlation Department knows that few if any readers will look up the original sources. Doing so is deliberately made more difficult by the citation to the Messenger and Advocate instead of the Joseph Smith Papers, the online link to the first page of the archive.org version of the Messenger and Advocate, and the citation to the wrong letter on the wrong page.

Plus, there is the additional problem of these original sources being available only in English, while Saints is translated into 14 languages (print version) and over 40 languages online.

This means that very few, if any, members of the Church will learn what Moroni actually told Joseph Smith!

Notice two other points. Moroni told Joseph that "this history was written and deposited not far from that place," meaning Joseph's home near Palmyra. It was not written in Mesoamerica and hauled 3400 miles to Palmyra. But the M2C version of history we are getting in Saints skips right over this.

Next, notice that in Letter IV, Oliver has Moroni calling the interpreters the Urim and Thummim. Recall that Joseph helped write these letters; in fact, Oliver notes that he could only have gotten this information from Joseph.

There's a widespread assumption among Church historians that it was W.W. Phelps, not Joseph, who identified the interpreters as the Urim and Thummim. According to them, Joseph later adopted Phelps' term. The reason is that Phelps was the first to put this in writing (in the Evening and Morning Star). It's possible that Joseph did adopt Phelps' term, which plays in the M2C narrative that Joseph also adopted others' false ideas about the New York Cumorah.

However, Oliver was using documents no longer extant (which I think include his notebook in which he recorded what Joseph told him when they were translating the plates in Harmony in 1829). Between such sources and Joseph's own memory, why should we say, as a fact, that Joseph later called these the Urim and Thummim instead of reflecting what Moroni said as reported in Letter IV?
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I realize this is a lot of detail, but this example from the Ensign is really the tip of the iceberg of what the Correlation Department has been doing to rewrite history and suppress what the prophets have taught about the New York Cumorah, the identification of the descendants of Lehi, etc.

We've seen M2C promoted throughout Church curriculum, visitors centers, media, etc. Before we address the rationales they give, let's remember an important fact.

No member of the Twelve or First Presidency has ever repudiated the teachings of their predecessors about the New York Cumorah.

M2C is purely an invention of M2C intellectuals and the Church employees (including CES/BYU educators) who follow them.

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