Thursday, January 23, 2020

Who reviews Church curriculum?

For years, M2C intellectuals, their employees and their followers have told me that the views of CES, BYU and COB employees are the views of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve because the Brethren review all of these materials.

If that's the case, then how did the Come, Follow Me 2020 manual on the Book of Mormon leave Elder Gary Stevenson “deeply saddened and hurt” by a section in the manual that, according to the Church News, included an error "referencing outdated commentary about race" that should not be in the manual (the commentary on 2 Nephi 5:20-21, which is on page 24 in the print/pdf version but has been removed from the online version)?

print/pdf version (as of today):

Online version (which has been edited to remove the outdated commentary):

Was Elder Stevenson the only one of the Brethren who was "deeply saddened and hurt" by the error? That seems unlikely, given the context of his address.

And, as you can see from the links above, the error was promptly edited in the online version and will probably be edited eventually in the pdf and print versions.

How did an error such as this show up in the most important Church manual of 2020?

The answer seems obvious to me. The CES, BYU and COB materials are prepared by employees who convey their own ideas in drafts that they send up the chain. Certainly there are General Authorities who review the work of these employees, but many of them share the same biases and beliefs as the employees.

Anyone who has worked in a large organization know that decisions made at the lower levels constrain the options available to decision makers.

We've discussed that before.

We see similar problems with the anonymous Gospel Topics Essays, the Saints book, and other curriculum.

For example, I doubt the Brethren specifically approved the errors in Volume 1 of the Saints book, such as the phony Mary Whitmer story that portrays Moroni as a shape-shifter. When he appeared to Joseph Smith, he was taller than average men, wore a robe, etc. If you believe the revisionist historians and M2C intellectuals, Moroni shifted his shape to appear as a short stocky old man with a very long beard.

According to Mary, the person who showed her the plates called himself Brother Nephi. According to David Whitmer, Joseph Smith said the person was one of the Nephites, meaning the 3 Nephites. This is all consistent, as we've discussed before.

But our revisionist historians and M2C intellectuals insist Mary and David and Joseph were wrong because they can't have one of the 3 Nephites taking the Harmony plates to Cumorah.

By now, we've all seen how Church curriculum teaches M2C. Some examples we've discussed on this and other blogs:

We have the BYU/CES fantasy maps which teach that the Hill Cumorah of Mormon 6:6 is anywhere but in New York where Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery said it was.

We have the Mesoamerican artwork throughout Church curriculum, the Ensign, and lesson manuals.

We have the Arnold Friberg painting of Mormon and Moroni at the Hill Cumorah in New York being removed from the missionary edition of the Book of Mormon and replaced with the painting of Christ visiting the Nephites at a ruined Mayan temple with Chichen Itza in the background.

See, e.g.,

Everyone understands that in a large organization, leaders have to delegate. They have to trust subordinates. Naturally, errors creep into curriculum, as Elder Stevenson pointed out.

The problem is when the subordinates have their own agendas, such as revising Church history and promoting M2C. That problem is compounded by people believing everything that shows up in a manual, the Ensign, the Gospel Topics Essays, etc.

The best solution is for each individual to prayerfully study and consider the source material. When that's impractical, you need to be very careful about delegating your own beliefs to intellectuals, even when they are employed by CES, BYU, or COB.

My advice: follow the prophets, not the employees.

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