contention

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

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Year-end questions: SITH and M2C


"It's impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows." - Epictetus

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Lucy Mack Smith explained how, as Joseph and Oliver neared the end of the translation in Harmony, Joseph applied the Urim and Thummim to his eyes to look on the record. If this is new to you, ask yourself why your sources haven't told you.


https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/lucy-mack-smith-history-1844-1845/100

Oliver Cowdery explained it is a fact that the hill Cumorah in New York is the very hill Cumorah of Mormon 6:6. If this is new to you, ask yourself why your sources haven't told you.


https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1834-1836/90

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Questions to ponder, from an investment blog: https://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/i-have-a-few-questions/

Some interesting questions that will help us develop an open mind.


Who has the right answers but I ignore because they’re not articulate?


What haven’t I experienced firsthand that leaves me naive to how something works? As Jeff Immelt said, “Every job looks easy when you’re not the one doing it.”


Which of my current views would I disagree with if I were born in a different country or generation?


What do I desperately want to be true, so much that I think it’s true when it’s clearly not?


What is a problem that I think only applies to other countries/industries/careers that will eventually hit me?


What do I think is true but is actually just good marketing?


What looks unsustainable but is actually a new trend we haven’t accepted yet?


What has been true for decades that will stop working, but will drag along stubborn adherents because it had such a long track record of success?


Who do I think is smart but is actually full of it?


What do I ignore because it’s too painful to accept?


How would my views change if I had 10,000 years of good, apples-to-apples data on things I only have recent history to study?


Which of my current views would change if my incentives were different?


What are we ignoring today that will seem shockingly obvious in a year?


What events very nearly happened that would have fundamentally changed the world I know if they had occurred?


How much have things outside of my control contributed to things I take credit for?


How do I know if I’m being patient (a skill) or stubborn (a flaw)? They’re hard to tell apart without hindsight.


Who do I look up to that is secretly miserable?

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Opinions

"When God wants to test you, He sends a person of good character who shares none of your opinions.  

When God wants to punish you, He sends a person of bad character who shares all of your opinions."  

Aaron Haspel

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The Chosen: Christmas 2021 special


If you haven't seen the 2021 Christmas special for the Chosen, you should. The last segment is a musical performance with LDS and non-LDS Christians singing praise together. 

Here's the link to where this performance begins: https://youtu.be/UOTkTBxTxEA?t=7426

That performance captures my aspiration for everyone being able to find unity in diversity, not only in diversity of culture, heredity, backgrounds, etc., but also in diversity of beliefs/opinions/interpretations.

The Book of Mormon is God's gift to the entire world. People of all faiths can embrace its message.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Michael Ash and disinformation

Michael Ash is a long-time M2C promoter who has written books and articles. We've discussed his work on this blog before, but in light of what Hanna and Ardis wrote recently, it's a good time to review some of the misinformation at the core of his M2C arguments.

This is an article on the FAIRLDS website.

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Original article by Michael Ash in blue, my comments in purple.

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 The Lord has never revealed the specific location of Book of Mormon events.

 We see why scholars promote this oft-repeated claim—they want scholarship to be the preferred, if not only, means of answering the question in the title of the article. But the claim is problematic for several reasons.

 1. We can’t know what the Lord has or has not revealed; at most, we can say that we have no published record of a modern revelation about the specific location of Book of Mormon events in the New World.

 2. To know that “the Lord has never revealed the specific location of Book of Mormon events” would require a revelation to that effect. So far as I know, no one is claiming to have received such a revelation.

 3. If revelation is the only way to know locations, and the Lord “has never revealed” these locations, we must assume that Book of Mormon authors and compilers did not know the locations of events that preceded their own experience.

 4. Revelation is not the only way to know things; it is redundant when people have personal experience and/or records of those who did have personal experience.

 In our day, the Lord did not need to “reveal” to us where Joseph Smith’s family homes were, even though no one living today has personal knowledge of where they lived. Instead, we know these locations because their contemporaries in the area knew from their experience, as they told Willard Bean when he was assigned to serve in Palmyra. The knowledge was passed on, corroborated by records.

 If the Lord never revealed specific locations, Mormon could only have gained knowledge about Nephite territories because it was transmitted through the records he abridged. Otherwise, he could not have accurately described the geography of events that took place hundreds of years before he was born.

 When Moroni wrote our book of Ether, he explained he was writing about the people who lived “in this north country.” If the Lord never revealed specific locations, then Moroni could have known only by his personal experience and he wouldn’t need revelation on that topic. Moroni knew because he lived in the same north country and saw the evidence of their activities, together with the records Ether provided.

 Instead, we are left to our own speculations concerning Book of Mormon geography.

 This claim does not follow from the first sentence because revelation is not the only way we can know the specific location of Book of Mormon events. We know from Biblical history where Jerusalem is. We aren’t left to speculate about the location of the Smith family homes; we know from contemporary historical accounts and records. In the same way, we can know from the personal experiences of Joseph and Oliver where certain events took place.

 Since the days of Joseph Smith most Saints believed that the Book of Mormon took place across the entire expanse of North and South America.

 This is merely an assumption. Certainly several LDS authors (primarily Orson and Parley Pratt and Benjamin Winchester) described this scenario, but no one has polled Latter-day Saints about what they believe. More importantly, Joseph refuted Orson Pratt’s 1840 hemispheric theory when he wrote the Wentworth letter.

 This theory—referred to as the Hemispheric Geography Theory (HGT) posits that North America is the  “land northward,” that South America is the “land  southward,” and that present-day Panama is the “narrow  neck” of land. This is a natural interpretation of Book of Mormon geography based on a cursory reading and superficial understanding to the Book of Mormon text.

 It is only a “natural interpretation” because of the teaching that the events took place in the Americas. What is the source of that teaching? Ash doesn’t tell us. He has a good reason not to, as we’ll see.  

 It is likely that Joseph Smith, his contemporaries, and most Saints—perhaps even most Saints today—have unquestioningly accepted this as an accurate model for Book of Mormon geography.

 This is clever rhetoric. Ash writes “it is likely” because he has no evidence that Joseph ever accepted the HGT (let alone “unquestioningly”). Instead, what Ash doesn’t explain is that the historical record shows Joseph refuting Orson Pratt’s HGT and, to the extent Joseph did discuss geography, he identified sites in North America, starting with the Hill Cumorah in New York.

 Related to this view is the common belief among LDS that Book of Mormon people were the founding inhabitants of all native peoples of both North and South America. 

 M2Cers assume that the term “continent” as Joseph used it refers to the western hemisphere, meaning North and South America. But Joseph explained in the Wentworth letter that, contrary to Orson Pratt’s HGT theory, the remnant of Lehi were only the Indians that inhabited this country, which is consistent with what he directly told those Indians, as well as D&C 28, 30 and 32. Orson Pratt outlived Joseph by decades and continued to promote his HGT theory.   

 Currently, most LDS scholars (and some LDS leaders) reject the HGT in favor of a Limited Geography Theory (LGT) for the Book of Mormon.

 This appeal to authority is entirely unpersuasive, particularly because the proponents of LGT disingenuously use LGT as a euphemism for M2C (the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory).

 

This theory posits that the Lehites arrived to a New World already inhabited. (I discuss this in a brochure entitled “Were the Lehites Alone in the Americas?”)

 

Notice, Ash simply assumes the Lehites live in “the Americas.” “Americas” is a term adopted by M2Cers; it is not found anywhere in the Joseph Smith Papers apart from the commentary.

According to this view, the Lehites would have not only engaged these natives, but they would have also become part of their society and culture.

 These are two distinct claims. The text does not exclude the presence of indigenous inhabitants, but it does exclude the presence of “nations” in the area occupied by Lehi. The text also emphasizes that the Nephites observed the law of Moses, which contradicts any known indigenous society and culture. People can interpret the text to confirm their biases, but they still have to explain why the text omitted any reference to the Nephites becoming part of a larger society and culture.

 The LGT claims that Book of Mormon events would have taken place in a relatively small area of land and that this section of land is that of Mesoamerica (Central America) with the Isthmus of Teuhuantepec as the “narrow neck” of land.

 Notice how smoothly Ash transitions from LGT to M2C. It’s one thing to recognize the implausibility of HGT. Few students of the Book of Mormon can make sense of a hemispheric setting, and Joseph never articulated or implied such an extensive setting. So far, so good.

 An LGT, therefore, makes sense from a textual as well as a logical and practical perspective. But there are lots of potential limited geographies. M2C is just one of several possibilities, but Ash and the M2Cers falsely portray M2C as the only viable alternative to HGT.

 Notice also how Ash put quotation marks around “narrow neck” but not “of land.” The text actually refers to a “narrow neck of land” only once, in Ether 10:20. Separately, it refers to a “small neck” and a “narrow neck,” but common usage of these terms can refer to either a narrow channel of water or a sliver of land. Ether 10:20 modifies “narrow neck” by adding “of land,” thereby distinguishing it from the other references. To be sure, the terms could all refer to the same geographical feature, but that is not required by the text and actually contradicts normal textual interpretation which assumes different terms mean different things.

 And, of course, there are hundreds of possible “narrow necks” of varying sizes throughout the western hemisphere.  

 There are at least four questions or concerns which arise among LDS when they first encounter this theory: 

(1) What is the evidence for a limited geography?; (2) why  Mesoamerica?; (3) how can Cumorah be in New York if Book of Mormon events took place in Mesoamerica?; and (4) Why did Joseph Smith and subsequent prophets accept the HGT?

 

We’ll reserve comment for the specific analysis below.

 

What is the Evidence for a Limited Geography? 

 The decisive factor in opting for a limited geography is travel distances between extreme ends of Book of Mormon cities. Travel distances, where mentioned, are always mentioned in terms of how long the travel took. All travel distances that we can decipher from Book of Mormon events indicate a very limited scale, probably no more than a few hundred miles. 

 

First, this is not a question of deciphering, which connotes decoding for a correct answer. We’re dealing with a question of interpreting the text.

 

While it’s accurate to say travel distances in the text are expressed in terms of time, the text says nothing about means of travel. People “march” but they also “travel.” In Helaman 3:14, when Mormon explains all the things he couldn’t cover in detail, the only mode of transportation he mentions is that he didn’t write about their shipping and their building of ships. If the Nephites traveled by water, as most ancient civilizations did whenever possible, travel distances could be much different than if they traveled only over land. Even overland travel is greatly affected by the terrain and vegetation. To assume a “very limited scale” is not unreasonable, but other alternatives are also not unreasonable. Ultimately, one’s assumptions are subjective and largely arbitrary.

 

While such a small area may seem unusual to modern readers, it should be noted that 95% of the Old Testament took place in an area only 150 miles long and less than 75 miles wide.

 

This is a strange claim. Presumably, the 95% refers to the number of pages, not the time frame involved. It’s not clear how that is a relevant consideration. It’s anyone’s guess how much terrain was covered between the Garden of Eden and Noah’s ark, the tower of Babel, etc. Abraham alone traveled around 2,000 miles from Ur to Egypt. Lehi’s family traveled around 2,000 miles from Jerusalem to Bountiful. These examples are from a few years in one lifetime. Readers should question how and why the entire Book of Mormon narrative in the New World would be confined to a small area in Mesoamerica.

 

Why Mesoamerica? 

Following are some of the geographic criteria from the Book of Mormon text and how those criteria are met by Mesoamerica: 

Mapping the internal geography of the Book of Mormon requires that the land be hourglass shaped. 

 

This is an outcome-oriented interpretation of the text, not the result of considering multiple plausible interpretations. The text does not require an hourglass shape.  

 

Writings. Mesoamerica is the only place that appears to have had a sophisticated writing system during Book of Mormon times. 

 

The existence of a widespread, public, sophisticated writing system disqualifies an ancient society as a setting for the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon describes a Nephite culture with literate elites who were obsessed with preserving their records from beginning (Enos) to end (Moroni) against the Lamanite obsession with destroying those records. Ultimately, all the Nephite records were deposited in the hill Cumorah (Mormon 6:6), except for the abridged record Mormon gave to Moroni, who eventually deposited in a separate department of the hill Cumorah.

 

Besides, the Mesoamerican writing systems were neither Hebrew nor Egyptian. The Book of Mormon does not mention or imply an alternative writing system.  

 

Advanced cities and fortifications. Archaeology confirms such cities in Mesoamerica in Book of Mormon times. 

 

“Advanced” is a subjective term not used in the text, which describes “erecting small forts, or places of resort, throwing up banks of earth round about to enclose his armies, and also building walls of stone to encircle them about.” This is the only place in the text that mentions using stone for construction.

 

Instead of building with stone, the Nephites built with “heaps of earth” topped by “timbers,” just as we see in ancient North America.

 

The Nephites prepared for war by “digging up heaps of earth round about all the cities, throughout all the land which was possessed by the Nephites. And upon the top of these ridges of earth he caused that there should be timbers, yea, works of timbers built up to the height of a man, round about the cities.

And he caused that upon those works of timbers there should be a frame of pickets built upon the timbers round about; and they were strong and high. And he caused towers to be erected that overlooked those works of pickets, and he caused places of security to be built upon those towers, that the stones and the arrows of the Lamanites could not hurt them. And they were prepared that they could cast stones from the top thereof, according to their pleasure and their strength, and slay him who should attempt to approach near the walls of the city.” (Alma 50:1–5)

 

By contrast, Mesoamerican cities were built of stone and cement, with massive pyramids that are never described or implied in the text.

 

Rivers must be the right size and in the right portions of the land (we find such correlation in Mesoamerica). 

 

It’s axiomatic that the rivers must be the “right size” and in the “right portions of the land,” but the question is what the text describes. In the New World there is only one named river, but other rivers and waterways are implied.

 

The Book of Mormon suggests a temperate climate (for growing such things as “wheat” and “barley”) and never mentions snow or cold in a New World setting. 

 

This is a compound fallacy. “Wheat and barley” grow in numerous climates, but mostly in climates that feature lots of snow, such as Russia, France, Germany, Ukraine, Canada, and the US. In modern times, barley grows in 100 countries. The Nephite use of these crops tells us little if anything about the setting.

 

In the text, Nephi describes the tree as exceeding the “whiteness of the driven snow,” a metaphor that would be meaningless if his people never experienced driven snow. Like the Book of Mormon, the New Testament refers to snow only metaphorically. But as with the Nephites, the readers of the New Testament understood the metaphor because they experienced snow.

 

The logic of claiming a text that doesn’t mention snow couldn’t relate events that took place in an area where it snows would mean the New Testament couldn’t have taken place in Israel, Turkey, or Greece, all of which get snow. The same problem arises in the “limited area” of the Old Testament.

 

The Book of Mormon relates that the armies of the Nephites were “were dressed with thick clothing” while the Lamanites were “naked” except for a loincloth of skin. (Alma 43:19-20) In a hot, humid environment, thick clothing could be a disadvantage. In cold climates, lack of clothing could be a disadvantage. So how to account for such a disparity in apparel? One way is to interpret the “thick clothing” as the Mayan defensive attire. Another is to consider the way the Native Americans in North America actually dressed for battle; i.e., with war paint, loin cloths, and little else. Illinois, Ohio, New York and other states experience heat and cold, depending on the season.   

 

Both Book of Mormon cultures and Mesoamerican  cultures had developed agriculture and commerce.

 

This is a good example of the illusory “correspondences” approach, which takes common attributes of most human societies and transforms them into some sort of evidence of Book of Mormon settings. Of course, every human society has commerce, and all but a few hunter/gatherer types utilize agriculture. For example, modern archaeologists have determined that the Illinois site Joseph identified as the burial place of Zelph included artifacts ranging from the Rocky Mountains to the eastern states, just as Joseph said it did when he visited in 1834.

 

Volcanic activity and earthquake zones.

This argument is bizarre in the context of the snow argument. The text does mention earthquakes, but it never mentions volcanoes. By the reasoning of the M2C snow argument, we should exclude areas featuring volcanoes from consideration.

 Nothing in the text requires volcanoes or even volcanic activity. The destruction in 3 Nephi can all be accounted for by earthquake activity. A specific example that produced the phenomena described in 3 Nephi took place in New Madrid, Missouri, in 1812. People described darkness, being unable to light fires, places rising and being buried under water, etc.  

At first glance there appears to be a problem with Book of Mormon directions and the layout of Mesoamerica. Whereas the Nephites generally used terms such as “northward” and “southward,” the hourglass shape of Mesoamerica runs northwest and southeast. How could an intelligent people like the Nephites get cardinal directions wrong?

 

This is a fake objection. M2Cers raise it because they know they have an answer, but acknowledging the problem makes their position look more objective and well considered. But their answer is contrived.

 

In both Mayan and Hebrew, north means on “the left hand” and south means “on the right.”

 

That’s in reference to facing the rising sun. If it literally meant “on the right” it would be meaningless, because a person can rotate 360 degrees.

 

Studies indicate that some people in Mesoamerica called the Pacific Ocean the “west sea” and the Gulf Coast the “east sea,” just as done in the Book of Mormon. Even some European conquerors used directions similar to those used in the Book of Mormon when they wrote about their travels in Mesoamerica. 

 

Nowhere does the text refer to the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf Coast, so it’s a fallacy to write “just as done in the Book of Mormon.” But if the land “northward” is actually west, it contradicts a basic tenet of M2C for people to call the Pacific the west sea. It should be the north sea.

 

Systems for labeling directions in ancient times varied by thousands of different schemes and were generally arbitrary systems designed by individual groups to deal with their unique geographical and linguistic situations. 

To put it simply, the directional systems of some ancient cultures were not based on the same cultural principals as ours. Thus, a Mesoamerican geography for the Book of Mormon is not problematic when considering cardinal directions. 

 

M2C has to use rhetoric to explain away the direction problem, but most readers recognize that Joseph Smith translated the text. Whatever terms the Nephites used, Joseph presumably translated them into terms that we understand; i.e., northward in the text means northward the way we understand it today, etc.

 

How can Cumorah be in New York if Book of  Mormon Events Took Place in Mesoamerica?  It is important to recognize that Mormon claimed to bury all the plates except those that became the Book of Mormon in the hill Cumorah (Mormon 6:6).

 

This is axiomatic because Mormon died before Moroni even finished his writings and abridgment of the Book of Ether. However, when Moroni first visited Joseph, he told them the record was written and deposited not far from his house, in the “hill of Cumorah.”

 

The plates from whence we have the Book of Mormon were given to Moroni who, after

more than thirty years, was still adding to the record. Moroni doesn’t tell us where he plans to bury his plates, and it is not unreasonable that he carried them to New York during the many years following his father’s demise.


Simply saying it is not unreasonable does not make it reasonable. There’s no reason for Moroni to write in his record where he intended to deposit the abridged plates, for two reasons. One, he couldn’t know for sure until he actually deposited them, by which time it would be too late to record the location. Two, readers can easily infer he deposited the abridged plates near Mormon’s repository because Moroni wrote that “I do not write those things which transpired from the days of Adam until that time; but they are had upon the plates; and whoso findeth them, the same will have power that he may get the full account.” (Ether 1:4) That statement makes no sense if Moroni was referring to plates that were 2,000 miles away in Mesoamerica.

 

Besides, as previously mentioned, the first time they met, Moroni told Joseph the record he was to translate was in the “hill of Cumorah.”

 

That such a trip is not as far-fetched as some might suppose, we know of an account of a shipwrecked sailor who walked for eleven months from Tampico, Mexico to Maine – nearly the same route and distance as Moroni would have had to travel. 

 

No one says the trip is “far-fetched.” This is another fake objection. We previously observed that both Abraham and Lehi traveled long distances. While not “far-fetched,” the narrative is improbable because we have Moroni traveling alone, carrying a valuable and heavy load. According to M2C, Moroni was traveling from “this north country” to a much more northern country, making his description of “this north country” misleading at best. Furthermore, there is no explanation for why Moroni would have to travel so far, through hostile and unknown territory, when the Lord could have arranged for Joseph to be born in Mesoamerica.

 

“Cumorah” was the name given to Moroni’s hill by early LDS. While it’s probable that early LDS may have supposed that the Cumorah of New York was the hill in which all of Mormon’s records were deposited, a close reading of the text does not support this conclusion.

 

There is zero historical evidence that some “early LDS” gave the name to the hill. The only historical evidence is that it was Moroni who identified the site of the abridged plates as the “hill of Cumorah,” that Joseph referred to it by name before he even got the plates, that Joseph, Oliver Cowdery, and others had visited Mormon’s repository of Nephite records in the same hill, that Oliver Cowdery declared the New York Cumorah was a fact, that Oliver’s statement was repeatedly republished in Church newspapers, and that all of Joseph’s contemporaries understood this simple concept.

 

Contrary to the M2C claim, the text readily supports this conclusion. To be accurate, we can all see that the text accommodates a variety of interpretations. That’s why we look at what Joseph and Oliver had to say about the situation.

 

Literally, the only reason to reject what Joseph and Oliver taught is because it contradicts the M2C interpretation of the text.

 

Why Did Joseph Smith and Subsequent  Prophets Accept a Hemispheric Geography? 

 This heading cleverly persuades readers to think past the sale, meaning it skips over the question of whether Joseph ever did accept a hemispheric geography. There is no historical evidence that he did, although there is historical evidence that some of his contemporaries did.

 Joseph and other LDS leaders were not (and are not) immune to their own opinions, thoughts, and even misconceptions based on tradition.

 Notice what is left unsaid here: LDS scholars, including Ash, are definitely not “immune to their own opinions, thoughts, and even misconceptions based on tradition.” Ash’s statement here typifies the scholarly approach to this issue; i.e., the prophets can be wrong, but a consensus of the scholars must be correct.

 Ash is making another fake argument anyway. No one says that Church leaders are immune from their own opinions, etc. But we’re not dealing with opinions, thoughts, and misconceptions. Oliver explicitly said it was a fact. He took care to distinguish between facts and opinions. Joseph related what he learned directly from Moroni. Oliver related his experience in the repository of Nephite records. None of this involves any element of opinion, thought, or misconception. It’s pure reporting of experiences, just as with the Restoration of the Priesthood and other experiences.  

 The Church does not support an official Book of Mormon geography, so it is up others to develop the most plausible geography. 

 This is another red herring. Church leaders from the beginning have avoided declaring “an official Book of Mormon geography” for the simple reason that there are hundreds of candidates for Book of Mormon sites that cannot be specifically identified today. Even assuming Book of Mormon sites remained intact, they would be impossible to identify today. But the prophets have also specifically identified the New York Cumorah.

 The New York Cumorah does not determine the rest of Book of Mormon geography. Even Orson Pratt, in his 1879 footnotes in the official Book of Mormon noted that his speculations about the River Sidon, Lehi’s landing place, the land of Bountiful, etc., were all speculative (“it is believed,” etc.). But he noted as a fact that Cumorah was in New York.

 M2Cers deliberately mislead Latter-day Saints when they conflate the known New York Cumorah with the unknown other sites.

 The fact that Joseph Smith may have believed in a hemispheric model for Book of Mormon geography is strong support that he did not write the Nephite text, but rather translated it.

 Now we see the clarification from the misleading heading to this section; i.e., Joseph “may have believed in a hemispheric model.” No one can deny that Joseph “may have believed” all kinds of things that he never expressed or implied. And, in reality, the New York Cumorah does not exclude a hemispheric model. All theories beyond Cumorah are questions of plausibility.

 

Furthermore, no one is saying that Joseph learned the location of Cumorah by translating (or composing) the text. He learned that initially directly from Moroni and then had that confirmed by visiting the repository himself, with Oliver and others.

 

At any rate, it’s a fake argument to say that Joseph couldn’t have written the text because he may have believed in a hemispheric model. Such weak apologetic arguments undermine the credibility of the apologists. Obviously, an author can invent a hemispheric model but write it in such a way that readers would not find it plausible.

 

When a man becomes a prophet, God does not instantly answer all questions and concerns about all aspects of the gospel (especially peripheral aspects such as geography). 

 

Another fake argument. Joseph learned about the hill Cumorah from Moroni before he could have even had a question about geography.

 

Influenced, no doubt by the thinking of the day, early Latter day Saints assumed (without carefully reading the actual text of the Book of Mormon) that Book of Mormon geography must have encompassed the entire hemisphere.

 

This comes back to the beginning; i.e., the claim that “early Latter-day Saints” didn’t carefully read the text, so we all have to turn to the M2C scholars to read and interpret it for us. Hence, we have the incredibly poorly named Interpreter journal and other members of the M2C citation cartel. On top of that, we have the sleight-of-hand argument that because the hemispheric model was na├»ve and unpersuasive, Cumorah cannot be in New York.

 

The most challenging aspect of M2C is understanding why so many Latter-day Saints have accepted it, when the arguments the M2C apologists make are so full of logical and factual fallacies.

 

The hemispheric model offered a superficial fit to a casual reading of the text. 

 

This conclusion makes sense only if the reader accepts the false dilemma; i.e., the only alternatives are HGC and M2C.

 

But by now, hopefully readers can see that a third alternative is what Joseph and Oliver always taught.

  

Additional Information 

For more information and greater detail on this topic see: 

John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1985), 1–47. 

John L. Sorenson, “Viva Zapato! Hurray for the Shoe!” FARMS Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 6:1 (1994),  297–361. 

John L. Sorenson, The Geography of Book of Mormon Events: A Source Book (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1992). 



Written by Michael R. Ash for the Foundation for  Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR), 

Copyright © 2004. www.fairlds.org