Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Letter VII hidden in the Joseph Smith Papers

If you go to the Joseph Smith Papers and search for "Cumorah," you will get 16 results--and not one of them goes to Letter VII.

The M2C citation cartel has effectively censored Letter VII for a long time because it unequivocally and specifically explains it is a fact that the Hill Cumorah of Mormon 6:6 is in New York.

Now that Letter VII is breaking through and thousands of Church members are discovering it, the cartel has tried to persuade Church members to disbelieve the prophets who originally wrote Letter VII and their successors who have taught. There was an awesome post on Book of Mormon Central Censor not long ago that purported to tell Church members how to "understand and use" Letter VII. We discussed that here: http://bookofmormonwars.blogspot.com/2018/07/m2c-intellectuals-terrified-of-letter.html

That's not working out so well. Most Church members who discover Letter VII, especially in context, believe the teachings of the prophets and reject the intellectuals who repudiate the prophets.

Nevertheless, the censorship continues, as we saw in the new Saints book.

Many Church members find it significant that Joseph Smith had his scribes copy Letter VII (along with President Cowdery's other letters about Church history) into his personal history. 

This means anyone can find it right in the Joseph Smith Papers.

But there's a problem with the search engine in the Joseph Smith Papers. Let's call it a "quirk" because we don't want to believe the editors of the Joseph Smith Papers have intentionally omitted Letter VII from their search engine.

But the fact is, if you go to the Joseph Smith Papers and search for "Cumorah," you will get 16 results--and not one of them goes to Letter VII.

The links go to the first edition of the Book of Mormon, the early versions of D&C 128, and even President Cowdery's Letter VIII--but not to Letter VII.

(Curiously, the search results give you a link to only one of the Cumorah references in Letter VIII. It omits this one, found near the beginning of Letter VIII. "I have now given sufficent on the subject of the hill Cumorah—it has a singular and imposing appearance for that country, and must ex[c]ite the curiosity curious enquiry of every lover of the book of Mormon."

The page in the Joseph Smith Papers you won't find by searching
for "Cumorah." Instead, you have to search for "Camorah," even
though both words are plainly visible on the page.
If you want to read what President Cowdery said about the New York Cumorah, you can search for Camorah, which is the typo in the original text. That will take you to the page in Letter VII. Of course, no one knows about that typo.

Here is the link: http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1834-1836/90

For more fun, once you get to that page of Letter VII, search for "Cumorah" and the search engine will give you 7 new references to Cumorah, 2 from Letter VII and 5 from Letter VIII. You can click on this link to see that search result. Only one of those references shows up when you search for "Cumorah" on the main Joseph Smith Papers search box.

As I said, surely there's an innocent quirk somewhere.

But it seems to me, on its face, that it is difficult to create a search engine that will find one word (Camorah) but not a nearby word (Cumorah) on the same page.

There's another bonus.

Your searches for Cumorah will not take you to the critical quotation from Lucy Mack Smith about Cumorah. If you've been reading this blog, you know that this quotation was carefully censored from the Saints book, as well.

Here's what Lucy wrote:

“Stop, father, Stop.” said Joseph, “it was the angel of the Lord— as I passed by the hill of Cumorah, where the plates are, the angel of the Lord met me and said, that I had not been engaged enough in the work of the Lord;"

It's important to realize that Lucy put this in quotations, and that this even occurred before Joseph got the plates. He could only have learned the name of the hill from Moroni, as Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt taught the people during their mission to the Lamanites in 1831.

Here is the page:

Another page about Cumorah you can't find in the JSP search engine
if you search for "Cumorah."

Monday, October 8, 2018

Good information more important than ever

General conference was tremendous, but I'll just comment on one element today.

The shift toward more home-based and individual study (the 2-hour Church meeting block) makes it more important than ever that Church members have good information.

As President Nelson has taught, "good inspiration is based upon good information."

The corollary: we can't expect good inspiration when we do not have good information.

The problem is, we can't trust materials produced by Church employees who promote, consciously or not, M2C.

We've seen how the Joseph Smith manual (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith) censored a critical part of the Wentworth letter. This censorship means that millions of Church members around the world, in every language, will never know what Joseph Smith actually taught--unless they go to the original source (the March 1, 1842 Times and Seasons) or another reference that contains the full Wentworth letter.

Of course, these original sources have not been translated, which means that non-English speakers will never learn the truth. 

We've seen how the new book Saints censors critical references to the New York Cumorah and other related events/teachings in Church history. English-speakers can go to the original sources, but non-English speakers who have to rely on Saints will never learn the truth.

We've seen how the M2C citation cartel continues to censor this important information. One of the best recent examples is Opening the Heavens, as we've seen. At least that book hasn't been translated into other languages, so far as I know.

I encourage Church members to read original sources and avoid anything published by the citation cartel (BYU Studies, Book of Mormon Central Censor, Fairly Mormon, the Interpreter, etc.) unless you clearly understand their agenda.

The problem for non-English speakers remains, but we're working on solutions for them.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Misleading the Saints

Apparently there has been some Internet chatter by M2C advocates to the effect that I'm saying the M2C intellectuals and their followers have been misleading the Latter-day Saints.

Just to be clear... Of course the M2C intellectual are misleading the Saints.

If they weren't trying to mislead the Saints, why would they engage in censorship?

The very purpose for censorship and citation cartels is to mislead people by withholding information from them so they cannot make informed choices.

Censorship arises when people and organizations know their ideas cannot withstand scrutiny and comparison to alternatives.

Book of Mormon Central Censor, for example, will never allow a side-by-side comparison of M2C and the North American setting (Heartland, Moroni's America, etc.) because they know most Church member would reject M2C.

Naturally, everyone who works at Book of Mormon Central Censor supports this censorship. 

Some use social media to promote M2C, thereby further misleading members of the Church.

M2C intellectuals and their followers want members of the Church to believe their M2C-inspired interpretation of the text is the only interpretation that is "plausible" because it represents the consensus of the intellectuals in the citation cartel. It's absurd circular reasoning, and it's no wonder people outside the M2C bubble don't find it persuasive in the least, but people inside the M2C bubble love M2C because it confirms their M2C bias.

M2C intellectuals and their followers want members of the Church to believe the sciences (archaeology, anthropology, geology, geography, etc.) support only M2C. In reality, every theory of Book of Mormon geography relies on these sciences. That's why the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah are essential. 

And that's why M2C intellectuals and their followers want members of the Church to believe the prophets have never taught the New York Cumorah. They don't want anyone to read (let alone believe) Letter VII and the other consistent and persistent teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah.

Hence, we get a carefully edited, M2C-compliant book such as Saints that censors the teachings of the prophets about Cumorah.

The only way they can maintain M2C is by censoring information that every member of the Church should know.

Manual that misleads English-reading LDS
The classic example of misleading the Saints was the lesson manual titled Teachings of the Presidents of the Church--Joseph Smith.

The editing of the Wentworth letter in that manual is the best example of Orwellian tactics I can think of.

Manual that misleads French-reading LDS
Here we have Joseph Smith himself, specifically requesting that his article be published "entire, ungarnished, and without misrepresentation," but the Correlation Department specifically ignored Joseph's directions.

No one can look at the Joseph Smith manual and not realize that whoever edited it misled the Latter-day Saints.

Manual that misleads German-reading LDS
For millions of members of the Church around the world--especially those who do not read English--this manual is the main source of Joseph's teachings. Consequently, millions of Latter-day Saints have been misled by that manual.

Manual that misleads Tagalog-reading LDS
Now, millions of members of the Church will learn a revised version of Church history in the book Saints.

These unsuspecting members of the Church will never learn what the prophets have actually taught, just as they will never learn the key passages from the Wentworth letter that Joseph wanted everyone in the world--including every Church member--to know.

I favor using actual historical accounts instead of paraphrasing them to mislead members of the Church.

Manual that misleads Spanish-reading LDS
Based on what comes out through the Correlation Department, I suspect we'll see more and more censorship as the M2C intellectuals and their followers throughout the Church continue to mislead members of the Church to promote their M2C theories.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Divesting BYU

I've often heard rumors that the Church planned to divest BYU by selling it to a private foundation. Lots of pros and cons, but such a move is long overdue.

Academic freedom entitled BYU professors to teach whatever they want, which is fine. The problem arises when the professors think they are correct--and the prophets are correct only when they agree with the professors.

The conflict between intellectuals and prophets makes ongoing Church affiliation problematic. The affiliation confers a quasi-authority on the teachings of the BYU faculty, some of whom apparently actually believe they have been hired by the prophets to guide the Church. For some people, the 14th Article of Faith is a reality.

Even if the Church does not divest BYU officially, Church members should recognize that when there is a conflict between the intellectuals and the prophets, we should choose the prophets every time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

Someone made the comment recently that what we're seeing with LDS intellectuals is right out of Matthew 7:15 (3 Nephi 14:15).

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

At first, it sounded harsh. But on further reflection, I have to agree.

BYU Fantasy map that teaches students
the prophets are wrong
about the New York Cumorah
What is a false prophet if not someone who claims to speak for God but has not been called to do so? We've seen how these LDS intellectuals believe they have been hired by the prophets to guide the Church, as expressed in the 14th Article of Faith.

These intellectuals teach their students and readers that the prophets are wrong about the New York Cumorah, that Joseph never used the plates, etc.

What about the sheep's clothing?

Genesis 3:21 reads "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them."

What skins were the coats made of?

Traditionally, these are understood to be sheep skins.

The apocryphal First Book of Adam and Eve explains how Satan "wished to take from you this earthly garment of sheep-skins, and to destroy it, and not let you be covered with it." LI:8.

Commentators observe that the sheepskin made for Adam and Eve symbolizes the protection of the Lamb of God. Isaiah 61:10 explains "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness."

Lots more could be written on this topic, but we all understand this symbolism and the significance of the garment made for Adam and Eve.

If there's any doubt about this, look at how President Ezra Taft Benson explained it with a quotation from President J. Reuben Clark.

We need the constant guidance of that Spirit. We live in an age of deceit. “O my people,” said Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, “they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths.” (2 Ne. 13:12.) Even within the Church we have been warned that “the ravening wolves are amongst us, from our own membership, and they, more than any others, are clothed in sheep’s clothing, because they wear the habiliments of the priesthood.” (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., CR, April 1949, p. 163.)

The Lord holds us accountable if we are not wise and are deceived. “For they that are wise,” he said, “and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.” (D&C 45:57.)

Don't be deceived by the intellectuals who tell you the prophets are wrong, that they were merely expressing their opinions and that their opinions were wrong because the intellectuals know better.

People can believe whatever they want, of course.

For me, this is an easy choice. I choose to believe the actual prophets, not the intellectuals who want us to disbelieve the prophets.

Monday, October 1, 2018

A simple choice

The issue of Book of Mormon geography boils down to a single question:

Do you believe the prophets (New York Cumorah) or the intellectuals (M2C)?

Here is the key: the fundamental premise of M2C--the very foundation of the theory--is that the prophets are wrong about the New York Cumorah.

Everything else they teach is confirmation bias.

This means that every member of the M2C citation cartel has repudiated the prophets. It's that simple.

Obviously, professors at BYU, teachers in CES, historians in the Church History Department, employees in the Correlation Department, and other faithful Latter-day Saints don't like this observation. They tell their students and readers that they follow the prophets. 

How do they rationalize this?

Two ways.

First, members of the M2C citation cartel say they haven't repudiated the prophets because they define "prophet" as the person holding the office of President of the Church, while he is actually President.

They impose this limitation to rationalize away the teachings of Church Presidents about the New York Cumorah made before they became President of the Church. 

And yet, every one of these M2C citation cartel members has sustained the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency as prophets, seers and revelators. 

They claim to "sustain" these leaders as prophets, yet they freely repudiate their teachings if they disagree with what the prophets teach.

And they are teaching the youth in CES and BYU to follow their example.

Second, the M2C citation cartel members claim the prophets have never taught the New York Cumorah. Thanks to the censorship underway at Book of Mormon Central, the Saints book, etc., they have largely succeeded in fooling Church members this way.   

But when someone actually reads Letter VII, or President Romney's conference address, or one of the many other places where the prophets have taught the New York Cumorah, the intellectuals ask their students and readers, "What are you going to believe? Me, or your lying eyes?" 

Sadly, too many Church members prefer to believe the intellectuals instead of the prophets.

The psychological power of confirmation bias has led people to form strong opinions on the topic of Book of Mormon geography. Many, probably most, of them think their opinion is based on "the evidence" or on "the text."

Anyone who believes that believes a delusion.

Everyone involved in this discussion has the same faith and testimony.

Everyone is reading the same text.

Everyone has access to the same physical and scientific evidence.

Everyone has access to the same teachings of the prophets.

Yet people reach completely contradictory conclusions. Why?

We all interpret "the evidence" and "the text" through filters that confirm our biases. 

And our bias is driven by whether we accept 

(i) the prophets who teach a New York Cumorah or 
(ii) the intellectuals who teach a non-New York Cumorah. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Palmyra - Oliver Cowdery Memorial

One of the displays at the
Oliver Cowdery Memorial, Palmyra, NY
We just returned from Palmyra, NY. My next- door neighbor told me a lot of people stop at the Oliver Cowdery Memorial. We keep running out of handouts, too.

Fortunately, local Church memberskeep it well stocked.

All of this means a lot of people are learning about Letter VII and what the prophets have taught about Cumorah.

Right now, visitors to Church history sites in New York are inundated with images of Mesoamerica.

They never learn what the prophets have taught about the Hill Cumorah--except at the Oliver Cowdery Memorial.

Someday, hopefully in the near future, people who visit the Hill Cumorah Visitors Center will actually learn what the prophets have taught about the Hill Cumorah.

I have a lot of meetings and backed-up work so I don't plan to post anything else this week, but as a reminder, I'm speaking at the conference this Friday and Saturday.

They've asked me to do Q&A during lunchtime, so this is your chance to ask any questions you'd like.


My topics will be:

What You Need to Know about the Church's New Saints Book.


New Insights on the Translation of the Book of Mormon.