Sunday, June 24, 2018

President Benson tried to fix BYU

The entire Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs (M2C) theory is based on one premise:

1. The prophets are wrong.

Ask any promoter of M2C and they will tell you the prophets have been wrong about the New York Cumorah.

The core group of M2C intellectuals is at BYU-Provo. Some have retired, others are about to, but they have plenty of followers among the younger faculty, so the repudiation of the prophets will continue for the foreseeable future--unless the students (and parents) reject what these intellectuals are teaching.
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For a while now, I've pointed out that President Benson warned us about what these BYU intellectuals are doing.

"The learned may feel the prophet is only inspired when he agrees with them, otherwise the prophet is just giving his opinion—speaking as a man." 

https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-ezra-taft-benson/chapter-11-follow-the-living-prophet?lang=eng

Notice, I've been citing the lesson manual. But actually, President Benson gave this address at BYU.

https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/ezra-taft-benson_fourteen-fundamentals-following-prophet/

This was a Devotional Address on Feb. 25, 1980. President Benson was President of the Quorum of the Twelve at the time.

I was at BYU then. I remember how many professors were telling us that the prophets were expressing their own opinions, and I remember the reaction to President Benson's was not exactly warm. That's another topic, but my point here is that President Benson was trying to fix BYU.

If anything, I think today's faculty is even worse when it comes to following the prophets than the faculty I knew back then.

Of the fourteen fundamentals President Benson articulated, the eleventh is the one BYU faculty and students should ponder:

Eleventh: The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.

The learned may feel the prophet is only inspired when he agrees with them; otherwise, the prophet is just giving his opinion—speaking as a man. The rich may feel they have no need to take counsel of a lowly prophet.

This was no isolated BYU devotional that we can all forget about. As I've pointed out, it's in the lesson manual, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson.

In June 1981, President Benson's talk was published as the First Presidency Message in the Liahona.

https://www.lds.org/liahona/1981/06/fourteen-fundamentals-in-following-the-prophet?lang=eng

(So far as I can tell, this was the only time a First Presidency message was not written by a member of the First Presidency, although President Benson became President of the Church in November, 1985.)

In the October 2010 General Conference, President Benson's talk was cited twice.

https://www.lds.org/ensign/2010/11/saturday-afternoon-session/our-very-survival?lang=eng

https://www.lds.org/ensign/2010/11/saturday-morning-session/obedience-to-the-prophets?lang=eng
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In 1980, M2C was just getting started. True, President Joseph Fielding Smith had previously objected to the two-Cumorahs theory, accurately warning that it would cause members of the Church to become confused and disturbed in their faith in the Book of Mormon. That has played out even worse than President Smith could have imagined.

Now our own visitors centers are teaching M2C!

But had the BYU faculty (and students such as myself) heeded President Benson's 1980 warning, M2C would have been halted before David Palmer published In Search of Cumorah, before John Sorenson published An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, and before the Correlation Department began enforcing M2C throughout the Church.

Today, had we heeded President Benson, the Church would be united at least about the New York Cumorah, just as it was when Joseph Smith was alive.

But instead, the M2C intellectuals at BYU rejected President Benson, just as they rejected all the prophets who taught the New York Cumorah.

And that continues today, with devastating consequences.
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These M2C intellectuals tell their students that the prophets have been merely expressing their opinions.

No, that's too mild. Let's be clear.
BYU fantasy map that teaches LDS students
to disbelieve the prophets
The premise of M2C is that the prophets who have taught that Cumorah is in New York, including members of the First Presidency speaking in General Conference, have all been ignorant speculators who misled the Church by expressing their personal (and erroneous) opinions.

I won't name the M2C intellectuals here, but if you've taken a Book of Mormon class at BYU in recent years, you've met some of them. You know them because they teach students a fantasy map that teaches the prophets are wrong. 
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I'll accept blame, myself. When I was a BYU student, I bought into the narrative that our professors were smarter than the prophets. It's not just BYU geography, of course; the intellectuals assert superiority over the prophets on lots of topics.

I don't remember knowing about Letter VII when I was a BYU student. I think if I had, though, I might have bought into the narrative that our M2C intellectuals were smarter than the prophets.

Only now, decades later, do I realize how completely wrong these M2C intellectuals are.

I wish I had heeded President Benson's warning all along.

I hope that this blog post might help some students (and maybe some BYU faculty) avoid the mistake I made way back in 1980.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Good news on Preach My Gospel

Yesterday the Church announced an updated version of Preach My Gospel. I was curious about chapter 5, titled "What Is the Role of the Book of Mormon?"

You can see it here:

https://www.lds.org/manual/preach-my-gospel-a-guide-to-missionary-service/what-is-the-role-of-the-book-of-mormon?lang=eng

The first thing I noticed was the painting of Christ visiting the Nephites at Chichen Itza was gone from the top of the page. All the other artwork in the chapter is the same.

The version of Preach My Gospel on Gospel Library still features the Christ at Chichen Itza painting, though. so it's probably just a quirk of the lds.org version.

Still, at least missionaries who study Preach My Gospel aren't being taught M2C when they use the version on lds.org.

It's probably not an indication of anything significant, but at least there's one Church manual on lds.org that doesn't overtly teach M2C.

The .pdf version still has the Chichen Itza painting, and probably the printed version will as well.

Sigh...
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Sadly, the new version still doesn't quote D&C 28:8. We don't expect that to change because the Correlation Department doesn't want members of the Church--especially not missionaries--to ponder why the Lord identified the Indians in New York as Lamanites. That's why the Church History Museum has changed the narrative into a mission to the Indians, as we've discussed here:
http://bookofmormonwars.blogspot.com/2017/01/early-church-members-joseph-smith.html

"And now, behold, I say unto you that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them."

Friday, June 22, 2018

Radio Friday

I'm scheduled to be on the radio today (Friday, June 22) starting at 11:30 am.

Jonathan Neville on the radio again.KLO 1430 AM Radio Salt Lake City. Tune in on Fri June 22, 2018 – 11:30 am Visit KLO HERE!

http://www.kloradio.com/

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Saints - Experience Church History like never before

"Experience Church History
like never before"
In Palmyra this week, I picked up this bookmark for the new Saints book. The book has a commendable goal to make Church history easier to understand and accessible to people around the world in 50 languages. It is written in the modern style of historical narratives, making it informative and enjoyable to read.

If not for one editorial decision that permeates the book, I would highly recommend it. Actually, I do highly recommend Saints so long as readers are aware of one problem.

The problem: Saints is agenda-driven revisionist history that is teaching people to disbelieve the prophets about an important topic.

The heading on the bookmark is deeply ironic. This book will definitely let people "experience Church history like never before" because it is changing Church history. 

Saints is revisionist history, designed to provide a framework to support the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory of Book of Mormon geography.

_____

So far, the released chapters of Saints have:

- edited out all references in early Church history that show Moroni himself taught Joseph that the hill Cumorah is in New York.

- replaced the actual sources who said the plates were "written and deposited" not far from Joseph's home, that it described the origins of the "aboriginal inhabitants of this country," etc., with the misleading assertion that Moroni told Joseph the plates related the account of people who lived "in the Americas." That term appears nowhere in the original documents. It's a concoction of the M2C intellectuals and the Church historians who are collaborating with them.

- promoted the narrative that Joseph Smith didn't really use the plates for the translation. Instead of translating the engravings on the plates, as the revelations and Oliver Cowdery said, Saints portrays Joseph as reading the stone in the hat while the plates stayed covered by a cloth on the table (or in the woods).
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This last point deserves more explanation. The "no need for plates" narrative helps promote M2C because it suppresses the importance of the two sets of plates.

The two sets of plates are:

(i) the Harmony plates that Joseph obtained from Moroni's stone box on the hill Cumorah. Joseph translated all of these (except the sealed portion) in Harmony, including the Title Page which was the last leaf of the plates. These plates are "this record" that the Lord referred to in D&C 9:1. These are the plates described in the Title Page (which does not mention any original plates). Joseph returned the Harmony plates to the messenger before leaving Harmony (JS-History, 1:60).

(ii) the Fayette plates that Joseph received from the messenger who brought them to Fayette from the depository in the hill Cumorah. These are the  unabridged "plates of Nephi" the Lord told him to translate, which he didn't have in Harmony (D&C 10). They were not listed on the Title Page because they were not in Moroni's stone box. These are the "other records" the Lord promised Oliver Cowdery that he would assist to translate (D&C 9:2). These are the plates that Joseph returned to the depository in the hill Cumorah, as explained by Brigham Young. They are the ones he showed to the Eight Witnesses, which we know because Lucy Mack Smith said Joseph got those plates from one of the Three Nephites; i.e., the messenger on the road to Fayette.

You can see the schematic of this here: http://bookofmormonwars.blogspot.com/p/the-two-sets-of-plates-schematic.html

It is important to realize that Joseph actually translated the engravings on the plates because otherwise, the entire effort to transport, preserve, and abridge the Nephite records was a colossal waste of time and effort. 

And yet, because of M2C, this is what some LDS intellectuals, and the Church History Department, want people to believe.
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Already, the M2C intellectuals cannot explain why the messenger on the road to Fayette was taking the Harmony plates to the hill Cumorah. This is the account that John W. (Jack) Welch deliberately suppressed in his detailed account of the translation timeline.
(See http://bookofmormonwars.blogspot.com/2017/12/opening-heavens-but-censoring-history.html)

Although at least one of the M2C advocates has proposed that the messenger was magically going to southern Mexico, most of them explain away the encounter with the messenger by saying that David Whitmer had a faulty recollection, or conflated different ideas, etc. This is part of their pattern of undermining the credibility and reliability of the Three Witnesses.

Here's the key: if the messenger was actually taking the Harmony plates to the hill Cumorah near Palmyra, NY, then that means Letter VII and all the prophets and apostles who have affirmed the New York location were correct. 

If that's the case, then M2C implodes.

Instead, the M2C intellectuals and their collaborators in the Church History department want people to think Joseph never actually used the plates.

I'll post more on this later.




Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Problems for parents-Kelli Coughanour

 
The other day I was at an LDS Distribution center and I looked at their top-selling books. #3 was a book titled The Book of Mormon for Young Readers Journal, by Kelli Coughanour.

Look at the cover.

See the massive pyramids at the bottom?

These images are being imprinted on the minds of young LDS from the earliest age.

Thanks to neuroplasticity, these images will stick with these children throughout their lives. They will find it very difficult to change their thinking about the Book of Mormon.

As one of the M2C intellectuals has said, he "can't unsee" Mesoamerica when he reads the Book of Mormon.

Then, when these same youth discover what the prophets have actually taught about the New York Cumorah, they will experience deep cognitive dissonance.

Many of them, maybe most, will conclude that if the prophets were wrong about the New York Cumorah, how can we trust them about anything?

It's difficult to think of anything more destructive to faith in the Book of Mormon than to have M2C intellectuals teaching the youth that the prophets are wrong-except it's also pretty destructive to faith when the youth realize that Mesoamerica has nothing to do with the Book of Mormon, despite what they've been taught their entire lives.

This M2C artwork is not an aberration. Sister Coughanour used this same illustration in her Book of Mormon for Young Readers.

Here is the book description:

Product Description

Finally! The scriptures are presented in an abridged format designed just for young readers. Perfect for personal and family scripture study!
Would you love for your children and grandchildren to get more out of reading the scriptures? The Book of Mormon for Young Readers presents key scripture stories in an abridged, creative, and engaging format designed to make it easy for children to understand and love the scriptures! Young readers (ages 7-12) can enjoy the scriptures on their own and establish a habit of personal scripture study, which will strengthen their faith and their resolve to live the gospel. Special features help families to see how the scriptures apply to their lives today. These fifty-two exciting chapters make it clear that Jesus Christ is our Savior and our Redeemer and that happiness comes from obedience to His teachings. You'll be amazed at how much easier scripture study is for your children!
Special features include over 90 full-color paintings, maps, timelines, hard word definitions, suggestions for applying scripture principles, quotes from prophets, and more! *This is an abridged version of The Book of Mormon.

This could have been an awesome resource for parents to use in teaching their children about the Book of Mormon, but the book repudiates the prophets throughout.

 Any young person who learns the Book of Mormon by using Sister Coughanour's books is going to have a major faith challenge when he/she eventually learns what the prophets have taught about Cumorah in New York.

These books teach that the prophets were wrong and that the Book of Mormon took place in Mesoamerica, an area that has exactly zero to do with the Book of Mormon.

I can't tell whether these books or the abstract maps used by CES/BYU are worse, but why should there be any competition on the best way to destroy faith?

I'm sure Sister Coughanour has the best of intentions. She has relied on the M2C intellectuals and their followers, who have been teaching M2C for several decades now.

But nevertheless, the damage is being done.


The results will be evident as these youth grow up and learn the truth.


Monday, June 18, 2018

When the employees have spoken, the thinking is done

"When our leaders speak,
the thinking has been done."
Critics of the Church often point to an Ward Teaching message in the 1945 Improvement Era that contained this statement:

"When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done.’ 

When asked about the statement, President George Albert Smith repudiated the statement by writing this explanation:

The leaflet to which you refer, and from which you quote in your letter, was not “prepared” by “one of our leaders.” However, one or more of them inadvertently permitted the paragraph to pass uncensored. By their so doing, not a few members of the Church have been upset in their feelings, and General Authorities have been embarrassed.

President Smith went on to explain that "the Church gives to every man his free agency, and admonishes him always to use the reason and good judgment with which God has blessed him."

FairMormon has an excellent explanation of this incident, here:
https://www.fairmormon.org/archive/publications/when-the-prophet-speaks-is-the-thinking-done

Notice two key points:

1. The statement that "the thinking is done" has been continually cited by critics who either (i) are unaware that President Smith specifically repudiated the statement or (ii) don't care and are thereby misleading their readers.

2. The statement was prepared by a Church employee, not by a Church leader, but was permitted to be published anyway. President Smith promptly corrected the mistake, but the damage was done and critics still use the mistake to mislead people today.
_____

In our day, we have a far more pervasive mistake created by Church employees. This is M2C, the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory that repudiates the teachings of the prophets.

The New York Cumorah was established by President Cowdery's Letter VII.

http://www.lettervii.com/

Joseph Smith helped write Letter VII, had it copied into his personal history, had it republished in every Church magazine while he was alive, and referred to it in D&C 128:20.

Subsequent Church leaders have reaffirmed the New York Cumorah, including members of the First Presidency speaking in General Conference. Books published by the Church, including Jesus the Christ and Articles of Faith, have also reaffirmed the New York Cumorah.

No member of the Quorum of the Twelve or First Presidency has ever repudiated, challenged, or even questioned this teaching.

But a lot of Church employees have.
_____

Because of the M2C teachings of certain intellectuals in the Church, employees at CES, BYU, and COB (the Church Office Building, especially the Correlation Department and the Church History Department) have been promoting M2C through the curriculum, visitors centers, media, artwork, and various blogs and publications (the M2C citation cartel of BYU Studies, the Interpreter, Meridian Magazine, Deseret News, Book of Mormon Central, etc.).

These M2C intellectuals want members of the Church to follow this aphorism:

"When the employees have spoken, the thinking is done."

The M2C citation cartel enforces this viewpoint by suppressing Letter VII and the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah.

You won't see them publish anything that supports the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah. They don't allow this viewpoint to be expressed at their conferences, on their web pages, in their publications, etc.

Plus, they are teaching students at BYU and CES that the prophets are wrong.

But, in my view, the explanation given by President George Albert Smith applies to the teachings of these employees just as much as it did to the false doctrine taught in the Improvement Era.



Friday, June 15, 2018

Radio show comments

Those of you who listened to my radio interview may have stayed on to hear my friend Martin Tanner provide a response that was sort of a rebuttal.

One problem with radio is they don't give you a chance to respond. I recorded the episodes last week, but my friend Martin was able to listen to my comments and respond live today. Had I been there, I would have pointed out the following. (I've heard all of Martin's arguments many times and I've addressed them on my blog, so I just wrote this up quickly. Sorry if there are mistakes. I'd be happy to discuss/debate any of this any time with anyone anywhere, but so far, the M2C intellectuals have refused to allow me to even present at their events, let alone discuss/debate them.)
_____

1. M2C obfuscation. The M2C advocates such as Brother Tanner always obfuscate the issues and confuse listeners/readers by conflating the Cumorah issue with early speculation by other brethren about other sites (such as Lehi's landing). You will notice that throughout their literature, the M2C advocates commit this logical fallacy of deflecting from the New York Cumorah by referring to speculation about other sites.

What Brother Tanner forgot to mention: every one of the Church leaders Brother Tanner mentioned agreed with Letter VII about the hill Cumorah in New York. 

For that matter, every apostle/prophet who has ever spoken or written about Cumorah has affirmed its location in New York. No prophet/apostle has ever repudiated, challenged, or questioned that teaching.

Brother Tanner mentioned Frederick G. Williams, who Second Counselor in the First Presidency when Oliver Cowdery was the Assistant President. President Williams was one of the scribes who copied President Cowdery's letters into Joseph's personal history.

Wilford Woodruff was one of the leaders who explained that Oliver Cowdery had visited the records depository in the New York Cumorah.

Throughout his life, Orson Pratt stated unequivocally that Cumorah was in New York. When he divided the Book of Mormon into our modern chapters and verses, he added footnotes about the geography. He acknowledged he was speculating about Lehi's landing site, the location of Zarahemla, etc., but he state unequivocally that Cumorah was in New York.

(Note: Brother Tanner said that Orson Pratt taught that Lehi landed in Yucatan, but I assume he merely misspoke. Surely he knows that Pratt taught that Lehi landed in Chile, based on the Frederick G. Williams statement. FWIW, the Williams statement is hearsay, never endorsed by Joseph (let alone never republished multiple times the way Letter VII was, or copied into Joseph's personal history) and it mentions "thirty degrees south latitude." I suspect if Williams heard anything, he heard "thirty degrees latitude" and inferred it was south. But thirty degrees latitude north is right at the panhandle of Florida. The key point is, the Williams statement is murky hearsay. Letter VII is explicit and was published openly at Joseph's direction multiple times.)

The truth is, Church leaders have never wavered from the New York Cumorah. Only the intellectuals have repudiated the prophets by teaching Cumorah is somewhere else.
_____

2. Prophets expressing opinions. Brother Tanner said Oliver merely gave his opinion, but did not claim revelation. Even in Letter I, when Oliver described the visit of John the Baptist to confer the priesthood, he did not characterize it as a revelation. He described it as a fact, the same way he described the location of the final battles.

Other prophets have declared their witness about the New York Cumorah.

Brother Tanner's rationalization here is precisely what President Benson warned against when he observed that "The learned may feel the prophet is only inspired when he agrees with them, otherwise the prophet is just giving his opinion—speaking as a man." 

https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-ezra-taft-benson/chapter-11-follow-the-living-prophet?lang=eng
_____

3. Taylor/Woodruff. Brother Tanner said I disagreed with John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff, based on the anonymous articles in the Times and Seasons from September 15, 1842. What I actually said was, neither of them wrote those articles. But again, this obfuscates the Cumorah issue; neither Woodruff nor Taylor ever disgreed with Letter VII.
_____

4. President Cannon. Brother Tanner cited George Q. Cannon's statement from 1890, but that statement was the exact point I made during my interview. Other than Cumorah, the Brethren have never identified a Book of Mormon site. The key is, other than Cumorah. Nine years after President Cannon's statement, his fellow counselor in the First Presidency, Joseph F. Smith, republished Letter VII in the Improvement Era. Brother Tanner and the other M2C intellectuals never tell people about that. If you want to see the links, I blogged about it here:

http://bookofmormonwars.blogspot.com/2018/02/getting-real-about-cumorah-part-5c.html and here:

http://bookofmormonwars.blogspot.com/2018/02/cumorah-8-evidence-and-confirmation-bias.html
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5. President Ivins. Brother Tanner also quoted President Ivins from 1929, where President Ivins said the Brethren have never given a map of Book of Mormon geography. Again, that's exactly what I said in my interview. What Brother Tanner and the other M2C intellectuals never tell their audience is that the year before, in 1928, President Ivins specifically declared that the hill Cumorah, the site of Mormon's depository of Nephite records, is right there in New York where Letter VII says it is. You can see this at my post here:
http://bookofmormonwars.blogspot.com/2017/03/conference-classics-president-anthony-w.html
_____

6. Archaeology. Brother Tanner spoke about archaeologists in Mesoamerica who find evidence of warfare. But such evidence is found everywhere in the world. Human warfare is ubiquitous. This is another illusory correspondence between Mesoamerican culture and the Book of Mormon. The logic goes like this:

The Nephites had wars.
The Mayans had wars.
Therefore, the Nephites were Mayans.

The logical fallacy is obvious, but it's worse than that.

The M2C intellectuals don't even agree on a site for Cumorah in Mesoamerica, so they cannot say they have any evidence of the battles described in Mormon 6:6.

The M2C intellectuals have also published some phony comments about New York archaeology that I've discussed on my blog:

http://bookofmormonwars.blogspot.com/2016/04/fun-with-mesoamerican-archaeology.html

http://bookofmormonwars.blogspot.com/2016/04/more-fun-with-brother-clark.html

They also point to the high populations of 15-20 million people in Mesoamerica. But that contradicts the text of the Book of Mormon. Mormon tells us that a great number of men consists of 30,000. The largest army he ever assembled was 42,000 men. This is a much longer topic, but it's a classic obfuscation technique.

The M2C intellectuals first claim the Book of Mormon described an enormous population of many millions of people, but they have no passages in the text to support that. (The one reference in Ether has nothing to do with Nephites, and anyway doesn't refer to the final battle at Ramah/Cumorah, which had fewer than 10,000 Jaredites.)

IOW, the M2C intellectuals create a false premise, designed solely to justify their Mesoamerican theory. It's transparent circular reasoning.

For the New York Cumorah, there is abundant evidence. Heber C. Kimball, when he joined the Church visited Cumorah and wrote about the embankment that was still there at the time. He said he used to plow up iron. In fact, farmers in the area plowed up so much iron that a local blacksmith never had to buy iron from anyone but the farmers who brought it in after they plowed their fields.

Farmers around Cumorah used to plow up piles of arrowheads and other artifacts.

President George Albert Smith visited the Hill Cumorah in 1906 and reported this:

“We visited the Hill Cumorah and were accorded the courtesy of going thereon by the wife of Mr. George Sampson, a brother of Admiral Wm. Sampson, who before his death owned the property. When we went up there and looked around, we felt that we were standing on holy ground. The brethren located, as near as they thought was possible, the place from which the plates of the Book of Mormon were taken by the Prophet. We were delighted to be there. Looking over the surrounding country we remembered that two great races of people had wound up their existence in the vicinity, had fought their last fight, and that hundreds of thousands had been slain within sight of that hill. Evidence of the great battles that have been fought there in days gone by are manifest in the numerous spear and arrow-heads that have been found by farmers while plowing in that neighborhood. We were fortunate enough to obtain a few of the arrowheads” (Conference Report, April 1906, p.56).

Susan Young Gates recorded the following about a 1901 visit:

“Outside the farmhouse Elder Taylor and myself noted several bushel baskets filled with arrow heads and I asked Mrs. Samson (local resident) what they were. She said they had just begun to plow up the hill Cumorah and around the hill, to plant some crops, and they turned up these arrow heads by the basket full” (J. M. Sjodahl, An Introduction to the Study of the Book of Mormon , p.7)

Non-LDS archaeologists know that the Ohio Hopewell Indians migrated from Ohio to New York and vanished around 400 A.D. There is abundant evidence of the New York Cumorah that corroborates the teachings of the prophets.
_____

7. Cement. Brother Tanner mentioned "cement cities" from Helaman 3, but anyone can read these passages and see what the text actually says. I've highlighted the key passages.

7 And there being but little timber upon the face of the land, nevertheless the people who went forth became exceedingly expert in the working of cement; therefore they did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell...

9 And the people who were in the land northward did dwell in tents, and in houses of cement, and they did suffer whatsoever tree should spring up upon the face of the land that it should grow up, that in time they might have timber to build their houses, yea, their cities, and their temples, and their synagogues, and their sanctuaries, and all manner of their buildings.

10 And it came to pass as timber was exceedingly scarce in the land northward, they did send forth much by the way of shipping.

11 And thus they did enable the people in the land northward that they might build many cities, both of wood and of cement.

The first thing to notice is, they never mention building with stone and cement. They built with wood and cement. The examples given by Brother Tanner and other M2C intellectuals are buildings made of cut stone and cement, a manner of construction never once mentioned in the text.

Second, the Nephites preferred building with wood. In fact, they built houses of cement only until they could get enough wood to build "all manner of buildings." The only structure in the entire text that was made of stone was a defensive wall, of which there are examples in North America. But in North America, people primarily built with earth and wood, as the text explains in several places.

Third, the use of cement with wood corresponds to the way the Indians in North America built things. You can see an example right now at Cahokia, reconstructed by non-LDS archaeologists, of a large wall built of timber and covered with cement. This particular site dates to a post-Book of Mormon time period, but native people throughout North America built with wood, covered with cement. In some cases, they covered their sacred mounds with cement.

Fourth, the only known Nephite cement was the cement Moroni used to construct the stone box on the hill Cumorah in New York.

Fifth, imagine a place in Mesoamerica where there is so little wood that people have to build with cement. Mesoamerica is characterized by the 3 J's that are missing from the text; jade, jaguars, and jungles.
_____

I could go on, but you get the gist. I'd be happy to address each of these points with my friend Martin (or any of the other M2C intellectuals) if they would ever agree to discuss them in person. I don't think that will ever happen because they don't want people to realize that they are outright repudiating the prophets. They avoid that cognitive dissonance by confusing people with other points, but we can't let them continue that tactic.

Sooner or later, members of the Church need to understand that the entire premise of M2C is that the prophets are wrong.