Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

An Old Map Offers More Potential Evidence on Joseph's Views on Book of Mormon Lands

On this blog, I've previously discussed statements showing Joseph Smith's views in support of Mesoamerica as the primary location for Book of Mormon events in the New World. Thanks to Warren Aston, I just learned of another factor to consider. In the archives of the Church is a map from some early Latter-day Saints allegedly giving information obtained from Joseph Smith about the travels of Moroni from Bountiful in Book of Mormon lands to the burial place of the Book of Mormon in the Hill Cumorah of New York State. Bountiful, according to the map, was in "Sentral America" (Central America). For details, see H. Donl Peterson, "Moroni, the Last of the Nephite Prophets" in The Book of Mormon: Fourth Nephi Through Moroni, From Zion to Destruction.

The map claims that Moroni stopped in Manti, Utah on his way to New York. Well, I guess that could happen. But to me the interesting point for now is that the statements of the men involved are again consistent with the idea that Joseph Smith was open to Mesoamerica/Central America as a setting for ancient Book of Mormon events. Potentially another piece of evidence for understanding Joseph's views.

73 comments:

Anonymous said...

An institute teacher that I had told me of this favorite Mormon myth that Moroni had passed through Manti and dedicated that spot for the Manti temple. The teacher told me (he had a PhD in history) that this story originated from a bishop (if I remember correctly) who lived in the Manti area. Given that Joseph Smith had no knowledge of the area of Manti Utah, this story was probably more wishful thinking than fact.

Steve

JimD said...

I think that the idea of Moroni dedicating the Manti Temple site comes from a late recollection of Warren Snow, bishop of Manti. He claimed Brigham Young mentioned it at the site dedication. Ardis Parshall questions the reliability of this story (and mentions your map, I think) at http://www.keepapitchinin.org/2010/11/18/moronis-purported-rambles/.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link. It was John A Peterson mentioned in the article who was my institute teacher. I loved his classes.

Steve

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Niklas said...

Ardis' blog post that JimD referenced is a definite reading for anyone interested in that map.
Ardis put the whole story in her "myths binder".

Anonymous said...

Such a difficult topic. Was there a conspiracy to shoot JFK can't even be solved, much less the topics you discuss.

BTW, I have determined without a doubt in my mind Oswald acted alone.

flying fig said...

Two hill cummorahs, the garden of Eden is in Missouri and now Moroni passed through Manti UT.

What's funny Jeff, it sounds like even YOU can hardly believe that one!

Jeff Lindsay said...

Two Cumorahs (actually one major Hill Cumorah and one little bump in New York misnamed the Hill Cumorah, in light of a somewhat sloppy of the text and easy but inaccurate assumptions) is a pretty simple matter, Fig. Interested in understanding the real issues? It's actually a pretty interesting story with a convergence of evidences pointing to Mesoamerica as the location for Book of Mormon events.

I don't know how Moroni got from Mesoamerica to New York. Long journey, but not an impossible one, even with a Manti stop on the way, But I consider that simply speculation. What isn't speculation but is based on publications under Joseph's control is the idea that he was quite open to the idea of Book of Mormon lands being in southern Mexico and parts further south.

jonathan3d said...

The link to Ardis Parshall's piece, along with the final comment there showing that the Moroni myth is being downplayed (if not erased), suggests that these maps are "potential evidence" not of Joseph's views but that the entire Mesoamerican theory is premised on folk beliefs.
Joseph never referred to Salt Lake City or Utah, as these maps do. Nor did he ever place the land Bountiful in Central America.

Ardis Parshall said...

... suggests that these maps are "potential evidence" not of Joseph's views but that the entire Mesoamerican theory is premised on folk beliefs.

Of course it does no such thing, anymore than fingering the "George Washington cut down a cherry tree" story as a myth, and identifying Parson Weems as the mythmaker, suggests that the existence of George Washington as an historical figure is premised on folk beliefs.

The story of Moroni in Manti is almost certainly a status-boosting tale by Warren Snow. The map is definitely a late 19th century artifact. The map's claimed provenance is so questionable that it cannot be accepted at face value. BUT -- folklore like this takes root when it fits in generally with what the folk already believe, which may suggest that by the time this map was drawn, and who knows how much earlier, the folk already accepted a Mesoamerican setting for the Book of Mormon. Did that belief exist as early as Joseph Smith? I don't know, that's not my area of expertise. But the map *is* suggestive of 19th century acceptance of that belief, which is, I think, Jeff Lindsay's only point in this post.

(It was fun to see so many commenters familiar with my old Keepa post. Thanks!)

flying fig said...

Jeff, your speculation is unauthorized.

"Doctrinal interpretation is the province of the First Presidency. The Lord has given that stewardship to them by revelation. No teacher has the right to interpret doctrine for the members of the Church"

President Ezra Taft Benson
"The Gospel Teacher and His Message -Charge to Religious Educators," pp.51-52

Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith taught:
"Within recent years there has arisen among certain students of the Book of Mormon a theory to the effect that within the period covered by the Book of Mormon, the Nephites and Lamanites were confined almost entirely within the borders of the territory comprising Central America and the southern portion of Mexico—the isthmus of Tehauntepec probably being the "narrow neck" of land spoken of in the Book of Mormon rather than the isthmus of Panama.
This theory is founded upon the assumption that it was impossible for the colony of Lehi's to multiply and fill the hemisphere within the limits of 1,000 years, or from the coming of Lehi from Jerusalem to the time of the destruction of the Nephites at the Hill Cumorah. Moreover, they claim that the story in the Book of Mormon of the migrations, building of cities, and the wars and contentions, preclude the possibility of the people spreading over great distances such as we find within the borders of North and South America....This modernistic theory of necessity, in order to be consistent, must place the waters of Ripliancum and the Hill Cumorah some place within the restricted territory of Central America, notwithstanding the teachings of the Church to the contrary for upwards of 100 years. Because of this theory some members of the Church have become confused and greatly disturbed in their faith in the Book of Mormon. It is for this reason that evidence is here presented to show that it is not only possible that these places could be located as the Church has held during the past century, but that in very deed such is the case. It is known that the Hill Cumorah where the Nephites were destroyed is the hill where the Jaredites were also destroyed. This hill was known to the Jaredites as Rama. It was approximately near to the waters of Ripliancum, which the Book of Ether says, "by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all." Mormon adds: "And it came to pass that we did march forth to the land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents round about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains; and here we had hope to gain advantage over the Lamanites."

It must be conceded that this description fits perfectly the land of Cumorah in New York, as it has been known since the visitation of Moroni to the Prophet Joseph Smith, for the hill is in the proximity of the Great Lakes and also in the land of many rivers and fountains. Moreover, the Prophet Joseph Smith himself is on record, definitely declaring the present hill called Cumorah to be the exact hill spoken of in the Book of Mormon.

Further, the fact that all of his associates from the beginning down have spoken of it as the identical hill where Mormon and Moroni hid the records, must carry some weight. It is difficult for a reasonable person to believe that such men as Oliver Cowdery. Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, David Whitmer, and many others, could speak frequently of the Spot where the Prophet Joseph Smith obtained the plates as the Hill Cumorah, and not be corrected by the Prophet, if that were not the fact. That they did speak of this hill in the days of the Prophet in this definite manner is an established record of history...."
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.3, Bookcraft, 1956, p.232-43.)

There's more if you look up this important teaching

Pierce said...

..... so JFS had an opinion about where Cumorah is and your point is that Jeff is somehow not allowed to speculate?

flying fig said...

JFS is clearly teaching doctrine, Pierce. This teaching is found in "DOCTRINES of Salvation" If you'd like to reduce it to an opinion, well that's your choice.
Ezra Taft Benson is very clear when he said "Doctrinal interpretation is the province of the First Presidency. The Lord has given that stewardship to them by revelation. No teacher has the right to INTERPRET doctrine for the members of the Church"

Those are the words of your First Presidency, not mine



Ryan said...

Never mind the fact that "Doctrines of Salvation" is not canonical, nor has it ever been accepted as such. This most recent conference made it pretty clear to me what is doctrine. See Elder Nelson, Elder Ballard, and those they cited in their talks. More to the point, see D&C 107:27, which itself is canonical.

flying fig said...

Apostle JFS's statement is clearly adamant and is presented as much more than opinion.
"the Prophet Joseph Smith himself is on record, definitely declaring the present hill called Cumorah to be the exact hill spoken of in the Book of Mormon"

"It is difficult for a reasonable person to believe that such men as Oliver Cowdery. Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, David Whitmer, and many others, could speak frequently of the Spot where the Prophet Joseph Smith obtained the plates as the Hill Cumorah, and not be corrected by the Prophet, if that were not the fact. That they did speak of this hill in the days of the Prophet in this definite manner is an established record of history...."

Are you telling me an Apostle such as JFS and all these other men are wrong?

Ryan said...

I'm telling you it doesn't bother me if they are. At least not on trivial matters like where the Cumorah of the Book of Mormon was. Maybe they're right. In this case it doesn't matter to me in the slightest.

flying fig said...

I appreciate you honesty. This is obviously not as trivial to many confused members, Jeff or JFS. The implications of BOM geography make a huge difference concerning archaeological evidence or a lack thereof, not to mention the implications of this list of LDS prophets and apostles being so of base

flying fig said...

Jeff, in reading the statement from the apostle Joseph Fielding Smith in Doctrines of Salvation,(see above) Vol.3, Bookcraft, 1956, p.232-43.

Will you say the apostle is wrong?

Ryan said...

I agree that the implications of BoM geography make a difference where archeology is concerned. But whether JFS or anyone else was right or wrong about BoM geography doesn't matter. I don't have to know with certainty where Cumorah was in order to have a relationship with the Savior. I don't have to know where the sword of laban is, or where Lehi landed, or anything of the sort in order to know that God loves me, and that He has restored His gospel to the earth. So a prophet or anyone else being wrong about the physical details of the BoM without making the BoM false, and without leading me astray.

Ryan said...

In that last sentence I meant to say "a prophet CAN BE wrong without making the BoM false, and without leading me or anyone else astray," not "a prophet BEING wrong..." Sorry

Anonymous said...

Hi Flying Fig,

"Doctrinal interpretation is the province of the First Presidency. The Lord has given that stewardship to them by revelation. No teacher has the right to interpret doctrine for the members of the Church"

President Ezra Taft Benson
"The Gospel Teacher and His Message -Charge to Religious Educators," pp.51-52

Did I miss a statement from the First Presidency about the location of the Hill Cumorah? I've seen other statements from the First Presidency but the location of the Hill Cumorah was not one of them.

Steve

Jeff Lindsay said...

Sure, apostles can be wrong. So can prophets, bloggers, scientists, and anonymous commenters, even though we humans always think we are right.

Where the Hill Cumorah is matters very little to most people and is a minor point in terms of the meaning of the Book of Mormon, but for those of us interested in pinning down details and understanding the Book of Mormon from many angles, searching for evidence and insights requires careful enough reading of the text so that we're not looking in clearly wrong places. The battles at Cumorah are clearly not in New York State. The Hill Cumorah of the Book of Mormon was NOT the place where the Book of Mormon was buried, but where the Nephite records MINUS the Book of Mormon were kept.

Joseph's excitement about the finds in Mesoamerica and statements linking Mesoamerica to the Book of Mormon in Church publications from Nauvoo that he oversaw and edited, greatly damage the claims some people make regarding the Great Lakes area as the scene for the Book of Mormon. Understanding that Joseph was interested in Mesoamerica as a plausible setting for the Book of Mormon can be valuable in helping curious Latter-day Saints be open-minded enough to consider the evidence. It's the only area in the Americas that makes any sense if we are to find the setting for the Book of Mormon. Apostles who grew up with with common but sloppy views on Cumorah do not automatically gain inspired cartological, geological, or anthropological information upon being ordained, and can be forgiven for holding on to errant old assumptions based on sloppy readings of the text.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Fig engages in the favorite exercise of antis, showing random statements from church leaders that we can disagree with today, claiming that they are somehow OFFICIAL doctrine (behold, "Doctrine" in the title!), and then expecting us to lose respect for our leaders because they were not suddenly infallible in all their views upon ordination to some high office. Yawn! Moses, Noah, Jonah, Peter, Joseph, Brigham, and JFS all got some things wrong at times. They made mistakes. Said things in ways we wouldn't say them today. Understood some things improperly. Even sinned sometimes. Get over it.

Mortal leaders, mortal results, with occasional but awesome divine inspiration and real authority, in spite of flaws--and the power of the Book of Mormon is evidence of that, for those willing to exercise a little faith.

flying fig said...

Jeff, you accuse me of using the common"anti" tactics of using a GA's own words against him and you deflect with the common and oh-so convenient LDS tactic of "we believe everything a GA says as doctrine until it is proven wrong, becomes too controversial, or is no longer culturally acceptable and is now considered an "opinion", disregarded, disavowed and thrown out.
Matters that were one accepted as gospel truth are spun into oblivion with masterful skill as to cast doubt on the words of your very own prophets! It's very impressive

flying fig said...

"Did I miss a statement from the First Presidency about the location of the Hill Cumorah? I've seen other statements from the First Presidency but the location of the Hill Cumorah was not one of them."

Hi Steve,
Yes, JFS has made very clear and adamant teachings about BOM geography and hill cumorah locations specifically (see post above), but according to Jeff the apostle was very wrong.
I'm just wondering who we're supposed to believe

Orbiting Kolob said...

Jeff is of course right to point out that prophets are not infallible when making statements below the level of revealed-and-canonized doctrine.

But in addition to the question of prophetic infallibility is that of prophetic authority. History demonstrates again and again that, when speaking sub-cathedra, as it were, the prophets have been embarrassingly wrong on any number of important issues. So, when they make such statements today, why should anyone trust them?

For example, when members were told to work for the passage of California's Proposition 8, how were they to know their leaders would not later to prove as wrong on homosexuality as Brigham Young proved to be on the question of race?

Anonymous said...

Strange that Jeff would immediately assume fig is an "anti." Fig wasn't saying anything counter to the church, Jeff, he was merely proving that your speculation is not condoned by the church. Given the recent rise of bloggers being excommunicated for expounding on doctrine, maybe it's time to watch your words more carefully. Does this thought make me an anti too?

flying fig said...

"the prophets have been embarrassingly wrong on any number of important issues. So, when they make such statements today, why should anyone trust them?"

My point exactly. Should we ignore anything a GA says until it's officially ratified as doctrine? Otherwise they'll always have an out. Eden in Missouri? Adam is God? Blacks are a cursed race? As long as it's not "official", a prophet or apostle can apparently say anything he wants and be excused for it later as an "opinion"

Anonymous said...

Hi Flying Fig,

A statement from the First Presidency will have all three involved and not a just a statement from a single person.

Steve

Pierce said...

Anon,

It is you that is making assumptions. Jeff said that he is engaging in a favorite practice of anti's (not that he is)--which is to use antiquated statements of Church leaders that were speaking unofficially and absent revelation in order to discredit efforts to gain a better understanding of something.

Someone who is not anti allows US to determine what our beliefs are on a given subject, and allows US the ability to apply the litmus of what is doctrine and what isn't. Fig is doing the opposite.

flying fig said...

Steve,
Thanks for the clarification, but the point remains. As long as it's not "official", a prophet or apostle can apparently say anything he wants and be excused for it later as an "opinion"
I just find it a disingenuous explanation as well as casting a troubling shadow of doubt on anything a GA teaches. JFS made himself very clear on the issue BOM geography and for Jeff to disregard the teaching of a man of JFS' position raises many questions of trust in the leaders of this Church.

Mormography said...

The phenonema that is occurring here is articulated at these links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimisation_(psychology)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial

Mormography said...

Pierce - Please clarify/expound for everyone. JFS was “not anti”, but behaved in way opposite to “not anti” people?

Pierce said...

No need to clarify, especially with you. You know our position, having been on these blogs for years. I don't even understand your question anyway.

Here's what I'll give you: members in the church are challenging many of the assumptions surrounding apostles and doctrine. It's confusing at times and people have different ideas about what they feel beholden to accept. We don't have creeds or even a real theology, and for good reason. It offers quite a bit of flexibility for us members. It's easy for critics such as yourself to exploit these shifting paradigms. To me, however, it is a sign of a maturing church.

flying fig said...

"We don't have creeds or even a real theology...it is a sign of a maturing church"
Are you serious, Pierce? Is this how you would really describe a Church based on the solid foundation of God?

Again, As long as it's not "official", a prophet or apostle can apparently say anything he wants and be excused for it later as an "opinion". Why then would anyone trust anything they say?

BTW, I believe "shifting paradigms" is synonymous with "every wind of doctrine" ;-)

Anonymous said...

Here is some minimization for you (although I am trying to put it into what I feel is a better perspective). The location of Hill Cumorah I would hardly call a doctrine similar to what hill Jesus was crucified on. Maybe it is doctrine but what I would call more important is the salvation of man and the steps necessary for salvation. Whether or not Adam had a belly button might be fun to talk about but it is hardly doctrine.

Steve

Pierce said...

"Are you serious, Pierce?"

Yep, I'm serious. Creeds and theologies develop because of man's limited reasoning in absence of revelation and authority. We believe in revelation, that the restoration continues today, and we look forward to receiving more information and revelation from Heaven--that will ultimately change how we view things. It is BECAUSE we have a foundation in God that we as humans will be challenged.

"Again, As long as it's not 'official', a prophet or apostle can apparently say anything he wants and be excused for it later as an 'opinion'. Why then would anyone trust anything they say?"

Yeah, that's pretty much right. Ain't it great to be human!? I accept the apostles as ones chosen to hold the keys and direct the church in a general way. If the Lord is going to send a revelation to the church as a whole, He'll do it through them. When they have opinions on a matter, or give counsel, I listen and I carefully consider it. Most of the time it is valuable to me. I personally don't believe everything they say are the Words of God, and I don't need to believe it. Some members differ on this view, and I feel that they run into difficulties because of it (such as the things you pointing out).

"BTW, I believe "shifting paradigms" is synonymous with "every wind of doctrine" ;-)"

You are free to believe so. But I wonder what you are measuring your beliefs by. Obviously you would agree that there is a human element to the church, so at what percentage would the human:revelation ratio be acceptable to you before you cut the members some slack for doing our best with what we've been given?

Pierce said...

BTW, you're always going to be able to find some quotes by a general authority whose opinions or doctrines are different that what's being discussed on a blog.

Maybe it's time Jeff just opens up another "what is doctrine" post so we can get it all out of our systems.

flying fig said...

"more important is the salvation of man and the steps necessary for salvation"

Good point, Steve. Although it may not necessarily be doctrine, the location of Cumorah is important because it's not only a supposed authoritative teaching of an apostle(JFS), but it also lends credibility to the authenticity of the BOM which in turn corroborates Joseph Smith's claim that he has rightly restored a corrupted gospel.

If the teaching of an apostle such as JFS cannot be trusted, if the authenticity of the BOM cannot be trusted, why trust the "necessary steps for salvation" that come from Joseph Smith's modern revelations?

flying fig said...

Ain't it great to be human!?
That's a cope out and a convenient escape to any honest investigation.

If clear teaching from someone as authoritative as JFS to the very prophet himself (Brigham Young) can be disregarded and disavowed, there is nothing left to trust in the "only true church"

Pierce said...

Fig,

Sometimes it's a cop out. But you're not leaving room for ANY human processes in this. You sound shocked that an apostle can have an opinion about something or can be wrong. Your standard for an apostle suggests that they understand all things, receive a constant feed of revelation, and cannot error--or else they are not an authorized apostle. I'll grant you that many members approach authority like this, but it's an extreme view in my opinion and problematic. Please respect the idea that not everyone chooses this as their paradigm.

There are many things to trust in the "only true church." The fact that some have erred in the views and doctrines that they have personally espoused does not cancel out core doctrines, revelations, priesthood, ordinances, and inspiration that have benefited members of the church.

flying fig said...

Pierce, you said "We don't have creeds or even a real theology"

Anything you believe about God is theology. Your theology just happens to change based on whoever you believe at the moment.

Mormography said...

Pierce -

What I understand and you pretend you do not understand is that you have essential accused JFS of engaging in anti-Mormon tactics. Congratulations.

I have “ been on these blogs” long enough to observe your documented history of playing dumb and lying. My favorite is the one where you think quotations marks possess some sort of magically power to change your established documented history of lying.
Comment update to Pierce’s false assertion

I have always perceived that Mormanity does not like you and seeing how you hurt just about every case he makes, like you do here, I could understand why. Standing up to his lawyering behavior has been a rigorous process at times, but you just make it to easy.

flying fig said...

"You sound shocked that an apostle can have an opinion about something or can be wrong"

Can you show me anywhere in Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.3, Bookcraft, 1956, p.232-43.) Joseph Fielding Smith presents this teaching a simple "opinion"? We're talking about an Apostle and tenth president of the LDS Church! He's not just speaking off the cuff as you'd like to reduce it, he's got something to say that should carry some authority!

He refers to Jeff's speculation as "This modernistic theory...that must place...the Hill Cumorah some place within the restricted territory of Central America, notwithstanding the teachings of the Church to the CONTRARY for upwards of 100 years"

He continues:
"Because of this theory some members of the Church have become confused and greatly disturbed in their faith in the Book of Mormon. It is for this reason that EVIDENCE is here presented to show that it is not only possible that these places could be located as the Church has held during the past century, but that in VERY DEED IS SUCH THE CASE"

F. Michael Watson (Secretary to the First Presidency) has stated "The Church has long maintained, as attested to by references in the writings of General Authorities, that the Hill Cumorah in western New York state is the SAME as referenced in the Book of Mormon."

This is no simple opinion to be disregarded.


Pierce said...

Fig,

That's not necessarily true. Here is the context of my statement, as defined by Wikipedia:

"Theology is the systematic and rational study of concepts of God and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university, seminary or school of divinity."

I compare this to our mostly lay ministry and concepts of authority and revelation. There is nothing "systematic" about an apostle publishing a book on his own.

Yes; our understanding of things, as well as our policies and paradigms, do change over time. Usually with better information or experience or even revelation. The amount of our "theology" that changes seems to me to be a zealous overstatement on your part.

flying fig said...

The amount of our "theology" that changes seems to me to be a zealous overstatement on your part.
overstatement??
You've shifted the entire geography of the BOM right out of north America, disregarding the teaching of the very president of the Church!

Pierce said...

"Can you show me anywhere [where] Joseph Fielding Smith presents this teaching a simple "opinion"?

Just because he doesn't present it as opinion doesn't mean that it isn't. Can you show me anywhere were JSF presents this teaching to the body of the church as a canonized doctrine that we have accepted as binding on the church?

"This is no simple opinion to be disregarded."

There is a difference between flippantly disregarding anything that an apostle says and being obliged to accept it as binding doctrine (especially when this is not something that is being explored and expounded on by apostles today). If the Lord had revealed detailed information about the BoM to JFS, he would have presented it in a duly appointed way. That he simply believed it to be doctrine is something different. I'm sure that most who have studied this issue have given this viewpoint serious consideration. Nobody is saying he's wrong either--just exploring the evidence and drawing conclusions from that.

Like Steve said, it doesn't matter who's right or wrong on this issue.

flying fig said...

"Because of this theory some members of the Church have become confused and greatly disturbed in their faith in the Book of Mormon. It is for this reason that evidence is here presented to show that it is not only possible that these places could be located as the Church has held during the past century, but that in very deed such is the case" -JFS

Apparently JFS as well as many confused members feel it matters a lot. So who do we believe? The unofficial words of an Apostle or the unofficial words of a blogger? According to your explanation of how things work in the church, we shouldn't trust anything until it's binding cononized doctrine. So the confusion continues

Anonymous said...

The authenticity of the Book of Mormon does not rest on whether the hill in New York is the hill Cumorah mentioned in the Book of Mormon or not. The golden plates were merely deposited in the hill in New York.

Steve

flying fig said...

Sorry Steve, but the apostle JFS disagrees with you. According to his article, not only himself but Joseph Smith, Brigham young and many other church fathers say the hill in NY is the exact same hill mentioned in the BOM. Where battles where fought, etc. This new theory moves all BOM locations to central America and creates "another hill". JFS realizes because of this "members of the Church have become confused and greatly disturbed in their faith in the Book of Mormon"
This issue calls into question the validity of The BOM as an actual historical record. How do we know it's historical if we don't even know where it took place??
To make things worse, according to Jeff, Pierce and so many other unofficial "apologists" nothing is to be trusted outside of "canonized doctrine"
It does matter, JFS also knew it mattered

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Flying Fig, this is not a new theory about the location of Hill Cumorah (notice how JFS tries to assert his opinion about its location meaning that where the Hill Cumorah is located is not a new topic). Also, just because Book of Mormon lands cannot be presently identified does not mean events in the Book of Mormon did not happen. The validity of the Book of Mormon does not rest on the location of Hill Cumorah.

I suppose we can dismiss Roanoke as a myth and the lost Malaysian flight as a form of mass hypnosis. Neither of those are found so their veracity are immediately called into question and therefore they could not have existed.

Steve

flying fig said...

"just because Book of Mormon lands cannot be presently identified does not mean events in the Book of Mormon did not happen"
-It doesn't help.

"we can dismiss Roanoke as a myth and the lost Malaysian flight as a form of mass hypnosis. Neither of those are found so their veracity are immediately called into question and therefore they could not have existed"

Okay, you're joking, right? I know you cannot seriously be comparing the Roanoke Colony and Malaysia flight 370 to the Book of Mormon locations.

You do realize there were actual, verifiable people, places, and events having to do with the Roanoke Colony before and after they disappeared?
You do realize there was an actual Boeing 777 with an actual, verifiable crew and passengers before it disappeared?
Can we say the same thing about the BOM?
I'm not suggesting you would ever do this, but if you were to move faith aside and the reality of the BOM locations was based on actual existing evidence ONLY, it would compare closer to Atlantis and El Dorado.

Jor El said...

Jeff Lindsay,

How does your statement that apostles and prophets can be wrong not lead to cafeteria Mormonism?

This idea that GA's can have their own opinions and be wrong plays well with the internet apologist crowd, but you'll catch HECK if you suggest it in Sunday School. I see apologists like Lindsay tell people on his website that a prophet isn't always speaking as a prophet, but in church it's a different story. Mormons are expected to wear white shirts to pass the sacrament because of some GA's opinion. They're pressured to get married and have a bunch of kids before finishing their education because of a GA's opinion. They don't let their children go to sleepovers because of some GA's opinion. They're discouraged from having more than one earring per ear because of a GA's opinion. There's also prop 8, gambling, face cards, rated R movies, dating before age 16. Revelation, or just good advice?

GA's words about even the most mundane matters carry a certain authority in church, but on this website, they can be dismissed as unauthoritative when convenient. This is simple hypocrisy.

Orbiting Kolob said...

This is simple hypocrisy. Well, yes. Of course it is. But allow me to say a few words in defense of simple hypocrisy, namely, that it is not always such a bad thing.

Consider the "simple hypocrisies" that seem necessary to ordinary family and social life, two realms in which most of us would agree with Elder Packer that "Some things that are true are not very useful." (I'm sure we can all come up with examples where we subordinate the strict truth to the greater good of getting along agreeably as a family, an office, whatever.)

The questions as I see them are these: (1) Are the Church's manipulations of the truth simple hypocrisies, on the order of You look just as beautiful as the day we met! or hypocrisies of a more disturbing kind? (2) If the former, should we include churches among those sectors in which such simple hypocrisies are acceptable?

Even if we accept (1), we might answer (2) by saying no, even simple hypocrisies are unacceptable in a church, because churches, unlike families and society at large, make such extraordinary claims about their dedication to ultimate and never-changing truth.

But this won't quite work, because the church's claim to ultimate and unchanging truth might itself be a simple hypocrisy. We can understand this:

I know the Church is true

as functionally equivalent to this:

I love you just as much as the day we were married.

It's just something people say (consciously believing it or not, to whatever degree) in order to keep the social machinery going.

Ryan said...

Jor El,
I have just a couple thoughts/experiences to share. I have actually brought up the idea that prophets/apostles can be wrong with my seminary students, and also in Elder's Quorum. In neither case did I "catch heck." Maybe I just happen to be in an open-minded area, but my experience was an actual discussion in both cases. I don't think anyone was even really disagreeing with me.

You mentioned a few opinions that members generally adhere to strongly. White shirts for the sacrament: I agree. It may be an opinion. Certainly in Jesus' day it was not necessary. I think that one is influenced by culture, and is not "doctrine." But it's not like it is hard to wear a white shirt, so I do it. I have seen people participate in administering the sacrament without a white shirt, though.

Getting married/having kids: the notion of the importance of family does seem pretty consistent with actual doctrine. D&C 131 comes to mind. As far as age, I think it probably does fall under the "advice" category. It's not like you get denied a temple recommend or something if you're not married by 30.

Sleepovers: never heard that one. Who counseled against that? I know I had plenty of sleepovers as a kid.

Ear rings: See white shirts. Probably more a cultural thing than doctrine.

Gambling, playing face cards, watching R-rated movies, dating before 16: Good advice generally. I think it's pretty well understood that gambling is a bad idea. Dating before 16 isn't usually of benefit to anyone. Rated R movies are usually not uplifting. But I don't think you come up against church discipline for going against those things. You may be counseled to stop, but you won't be disfellowshipped or whatever.

Prop 8 maybe deserves its own discussion, and I think I'll let the church speak for itself on that one. But the main point here is that pretty much everything you list is indeed counsel rather than doctrine. Counsel that is worth following, in my view, but not binding on the church.

flying fig said...

"on this website, they (GA's statements) can be dismissed as unauthoritative when convenient. This is simple hypocrisy"

My point exactly. Jeff will easily build a case such as "Joseph Smith's views in support of Mesoamerica" based on various GA statements, but when an opposing GA statement is referenced, we're accused of using "the favorite exercise of antis, showing random statements from church leaders that we can disagree with today" We're told with a yawn about "Apostles who grew up with with common but SLOPPY views" , "errant old assumptions based on SLOPPY readings of the text" and how Apostles "Understood some things improperly"
But this applies only when it contradicts Jeff's argument
It's an all very convenient yet tired dodge.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Regarding Piece, I was unpleasantly surprised when Mormography said "I have always perceived that Mormanity does not like you." Quite wrong, I'm afraid.

Mindreading has long been an important tool of critics of the LDS faith, but it usually falls flat, unlike the performances of more adept and certainly more entertaining mindreaders such as the Amazing Kreskin. For the record, I haven't met Pierce as far as I know, but from what I know of him, I like him. I may not have always agreed with him, but often find value in what he says and appreciate his desire to help and his willingness to engage. One doesn't have to agree with someone 100% of the time to like them. It's even possible to like someone that one disagrees with most of the time, though it can take a tad more effort.

Jeff Lindsay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Lindsay said...

Ardis makes a fair point. The map is probably best viewed as just reflecting a viewpoint that was already out there, such as the viewpoints already published in Nauvoo when Joseph was editor.

Pierce said...

Well that's good to hear, Jeff. I thought Mormography just knew something I didn't. Perhaps he will focus his arguments on something more substantial now.

I perceive that I'm probably a little less conservative or orthodox in many of my views, especially regarding church leadership. May be a generational thing. Feel free to call me out :-)

Mormography said...

My time is limited now, but I will delve more into Pierce's difficulties later.

Mormanity - Thanks for the clarification regarding Pierce. Of course, as you know, perception and mindreading are not the same thing, and of course the perception was well grounded in your constant ignoring of Pierce's rants. It is at least refreshing to see that you can be goaded into clarifying.

The most amazing part of Mormanity's response is repeating of his pyschological condition where in he believes critism of him is critism of the LDS faith. I have worked with him before on this, but here he does it to flying fig as well.

Both Pierce and mormanity refuse to clarify when they are called out for implying JFS is "anti". So Mormanity please clarify. Mormanity describes a behavior as "anti"' a behavior that flying fig was merely quoting from JFS. It is just silly. No apology when both flying fig and anon called him out. Pierce runs to Mormanity's defense playing the behavior verse label in a contradictory way. Talk about lacking substance. When I call Pierce out giving him the chance to clarify, he plays dumb and runs away.

At any rate we now have multiple documented instances where Mormanity behaves as if he is Mormonism personified and critism of him is critism of the LDS Faith.

Mormanity - I can understand your fustration towards me (I have succesfully exposed your reasoning on multiple occasiones), but common on. The same way you came to Pierce's defense at least apologize to Flying Fig and JFS or at least clarify that JFS is not anti or engaging in anti-behavior, he just had an opinion different from yours.

Looking forward to that "willingness to engage".

Mormography said...

Pierce - Just an FYI you should know as Mormanty's lackey. John Dehlin as already asked Mormanity if something like orthodox verse liberal Mormons is allowed "Judaism has an Orthodox wing, a moderate wing (Conservative Judaism) and a liberal/progressive wing (Reform Judaism) -- do you feel like the church currently has, or might someday soon come to have, a similar spectrum?"

to which Mormanity complete mistakes Ap. Paul Christ only unity (is Christ devided) approach to answer Dehlin question w a vague, non-commital, but nonetheless implied no.

Mormography said...

Mormanity - Now that you are in the mood to come to Pierce's defense care to help him out here:

http://mormanity.blogspot.mx/2013/12/race-and-priesthood-significant-new.html?showComment=1391964306062

In this thread Pierce believes the denial of priesthood to blacks was administraive policy (not divine revelation) that was overturned by revelation in contradiction to the new essay that claims God refuse McKay's pled to just this.

Pierce said...

Wow, Morm. That's twice that you've diverted the present discussion to some past unrelated comment of mine out of nowhere. Last time didn't get you too far. Maybe you should just take your grievances to your own blog? It could use a new post.

Just an FYI you should know as Mormanty's lackey...
I don't care. As I stated earlier, Mormonism is intentionally lacking in creed and theology, so there is plenty of flexibility for Jeff and I to exist together in the same church. As for different philosophical branches in the church, it's unnecessary and denies priesthood authority-- so I am with Jeff on that one.

"Both Pierce and mormanity refuse to clarify when they are called out for implying JFS is "anti".
Never implied that. This is a hilarious example of why you're not taken seriously anymore and why I more or less ignore you. I'm not even about to follow you down that rabbit hole.

Mormography said...

Aahhh Pierce what happen to that willingness to engage?

Your established and documented constant inability to explain your contradictions, lying, and attacks using projection and transference all indicted the tortured mental state you strugle with. I am sorry I was not able to help you progress.

Running away in defeat may be the path least resistance, but it is something you will need to overcome if you wish to ever be taken seriously. But I understand. As you point out, I speak as someone who knows what it feels like to be taken seriously. It is not all that it is cracked up to be. You are not missing much.

Jeff Lindsay said...

So perplexing, Mormography. To recognize an errant opinion, even a firmly held one, of a good man is not to call him "anti" Mormon.

flying fig said...

"errant opinion"?
Jeff, Until there is official doctrine, how can you make this judgment??

Mormography said...

So, you are apologizing to Fig, Mormanity? If so that is a pretty weak apology.

May be it is my mistake to try and engage, when I should have expected more of the same.

It is pretty clear. In your response to Fig who was only quoting JFS: "Fig engages in the favorite exercise of antis". It is JFS who is engaging in the exercise, not Fig. And no it was not some random statement as you struggle to psychologically minimize.

Fig, anon, and I were not at all perplexed. Your lackey that you supposedly like so much tries to clarify for you "Someone who is not anti allows US to determine what our beliefs are on a given subject, and allows US the ability to apply the litmus of what is doctrine and what isn't. Fig [actually JFS] is doing the opposite".

You, Mormanity, believe you have leeway on this one. JFS says he and his predecessor disagree with you. That makes his behavior anti?

If your lackey is making it harder for you to backtrack, why encourage him?

Pierce said...

"Fig [actually JFS] is doing the opposite"

At least now he's putting his strawman into brackets so that we know what he's even talking about.

Mormography said...

Pierce - Haha. You were not going to go down the rabbit hole. The internet is no fun, then it is. Make up your mind, you diffently show some emotional instability. Anyways, your inability to respond does not a strawman make.

One more time. You clearly, clearly describe something that is exactly, exactly what Fig quoted from JFS. I undestand you regret making such a simple mistake. The best solution for you is to appreciate Fig for teaching such a valuable lesson and not repeat the intolerant and arrogant behavior.

JFS takes a very consevative stance. Mormanity as stated that neither consevative or liberal is allowed, only group conformity matters. But who draws the circle's boundary that includes and excludes? Mormanity seems to think he does. JFS disagrees and thinks it is the LDS authorities. Fig says it is them, not Mormanity, that are allowed to oscillate (expand or contract) the definition of doctrine. If this makes them (JFS and Fig) anti or not necessarially anti but engaging in anti behavior that is your choice to see it that way, but shows how inmature and pathetic your definition of anti is. No strawman, just a fact.

Aquarius said...

Mormography, Fig,

I see the glass is half full here. Apologists and critics are saying the same thing: the prophets are speaking as men. The difference between critics and apologists is only a matter of degree, and that difference is shrinking with time.

Mormography said...

Yep. The "apologists" are now making statements for which people used to excommunicated.

Mormography said...

Mormanity - Kudos to you for closing the comment section regarding the garment video. While unusual for yourself, it was neceassry step you took before Pierce could continue to provoke. Its unfortunate that commenters need to respond to the incessant and antagonistic demands of commenters such as Pierce. Though you claim you like Pierce, surely you can now see how some audience members may get the impression you do not.