The prevalence of a spirit of contention amongst a people is a certain sign of deadness with respect to the things of religion. When men's spirits are hot with contention, they are cold to religion. - Jonathan Edwards “The Book of Mormon does not supplant the Bible. It expands, extends, clarifies, and amplifies our knowledge of the Savior. Surely, this second witness should be cause for great rejoicing by all Christians.” - Joseph B. Wirthlin

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A reason to question consensus

Today I noticed this quotation from another blog:

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.
  • Michael Crichton

Sunday, September 18, 2016

More stuff coming

I haven't posted for a while because I've been traveling and speaking, and I'll be gone for the next week as well. But a lot has been going on.

The Book of Mormon Evidence conference in Sandy was wonderful. We met lots of new people who are enthusiastic about what's going on with Church history and Book of Mormon historicity. Almost everywhere I travel now, people are talking about these things. More and more people are reading Letter VII and realizing that what they've been fed their entire lives about Book of Mormon geography (Mesomania) doesn't add up--or even make sense.

This weekend, my publisher released the Mesomania book. In the next couple of weeks, we'll release two more books: The Editors: Joseph, William and Don Carlos Smith, and Whatever Happened to the Golden Plates?

I've been doing some Church history research in Massachusetts and New York, as well as more Book of Mormon stuff. As I get time, I'll post about it here, whenever it is relevant to the consensus topic.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Helaman 3

This post is a chapter from an upcoming book that will be released on September 6, 2016.

The Book of Helaman tells us what happened in Nephite society in the years leading up to the first coming of the Lord.

It parallels events leading up to the second coming.

Chapter 3 describes a sequence of events that reflect what is happening in our day.

The chapter starts out with no contention among the people, except for a little pride in the church that caused some “little dissensions among the people, which affairs were settled in the ending of the forty and third year.”

We can compare that to the early days of the Church, when “some little dissensions” led people out of the Church. But the Church survived and thrived, for the most part, for over a hundred years. Not without challenges to overcome, but the progress of the Church was steady.

Then, verse 3 says in the forty and sixth year, “there was much contention and many dissensions.” People left the church and the land of Zarahemla; “there were an exceedingly great many who departed.”

Verse 17 says the people left “after there had been great contentions, and disturbances.”

I think we can relate this to Book of Mormon geography and historicity. Joseph Fielding Smith even invoked this terminology when he said the two-Cumorah theory caused members to become disturbed in their faith.

Notice the contention continued for a few years, but then they “began to cease” in the latter end of the forty and eighth year. In the forty and ninth year, there was continual peace.

Verse 24: “And it came to pass that in this same year there was exceedingly great prosperity in the church, insomuch that there were thousands who did join themselves unto the church and were baptized unto repentance.”

Now, look at what happened as a result of eliminating the contention:

25. “And so great was the prosperity of the church, and so many the blessings which were poured out upon the people, that even the high priests and the teachers were themselves astonished beyond measure.”

I think this is what will happen as members of the Church eliminate contention about Book of Mormon geography and reach unity on the basic teaching from Oliver and Joseph that the Hill Cumorah was in New York.