Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Letter VII in the Improvement Era

In 1899, Joseph F. Smith was the Editor of the Improvement Era. He was also Second Counselor in the First Presidency under President Lorenzo Snow. He had been an Apostle for 33 years by that point, and had served as a counselor in the First Presidency under Brigham Young, John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff, along with George Q. Cannon.

The July 1899 issue of the Improvement Era published Oliver Cowdery's Letter VII.

Here's the link to the cover page:

Those who have been following this blog know that Letter VII was published in 1835 in the Messenger and Advocate, in 1841 in the Times and Seasons, and also in 1841 in the Gospel Reflector. It was published as part of a special pamphlet in England in 1844. Joseph Smith personally directed his scribes to copy it into his history as part of his life story.

Short of adding it to the Pearl of Great Price, what more could the leaders of the Church do to make sure everyone knew about Cumorah in New York?

And yet, modern LDS scholars and educators completely ignore Letter VII because it contradicts their theories about two Cumorahs and the Mesoamerican setting for the Book of Mormon.

Of Oliver Cowdery's eight letters on Church history, Letter I is the best known because it was included in the Pearl of Great Price. But Letter VII and the other letters were published multiple times in Church magazines.

Think of how beneficial it would be to have it republished in today's Ensign.

In this case, we have a counselor in the First Presidency publishing Letter VII in the Improvement Era. This isn't just a run-of-the-mill member of the First Presidency, either. He served in the First Presidency under 4 Presidents of the Church before becoming President himself.

Critics might point out that Joseph F. Smith was only 5 years old when his father, Hyrum, and his uncle, Joseph, were murdered at Carthage. Presumably he had not heard, first-hand, anything about Book of Mormon geography from Joseph Smith himself.

Maybe he unilaterally decided to republish Letter VII. Maybe Wilford Woodruff didn't know he was going to reprint Letter VII. Maybe John Taylor and Brigham Young never discussed Cumorah with Joseph F. Smith.

Maybe he was acting on his own.

Or maybe he consulted with the President of the Church and obtained Woodruff's blessing to republish Letter VII.

The fact is, Joseph F. Smith did republish Letter VII. And his son, Joseph Fielding Smith, cited Letter VII when he warned about the spiritual dangers of the two-Cumorahs theory that LDS scholars and educators have embraced.

Just more food for thought.

Here's the link to page 652, where Letter VII appeared:

The article continues on this page:

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Cumorah was once great

In previous generations, the Hill Cumorah in New York was considered great among Latter-day Saints. Now, our scholars relegate it to a nameless hill that is important only because Moroni buried the plates there after traveling 3400 miles from Central America.

But we don't have to accept what modern scholars say.

We can Make Cumorah Great Again.

Here's an example from The Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star from 1866.

The link.

The image:

The text (excerpt):

"Cumorah was the name by which the hill was designated in the days of the Prophet Moroni, who deposited the plates about four hundred and twenty years after the birth of Christ... And all the ancient plates, Mormon deposited in Cumorah, about three hundred and eighty-four years after Christ. When Moroni, about thirty-six years after, made the deposit of the book entrusted to him, he was, without doubt, inspired to select a department of the hill separate from the great sacred depository of the numerous volumes hid up by his father...."

Monday, October 3, 2016

This Is the Place

In Salt Lake City, there is a monument titled "This is the Place." It has its own web page here, which explains the monument: "This obelisk is the first permanent "This Is The Place" Monument, erected in 1921, to commemorate the arrival into the Salt Lake Valley of the Mormon pioneers. It is near the actual location where Brigham Young halted his wagon on July 24, 1847 and declared, "This is the right place. Drive on." The monument was refurbished and rededicated in 2007 under the direction of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers."

I know the site well because many years ago, I worked for the company that did the landscaping. I laid out the walkways and installed the sprinkler system.

But I think it's time for a second "This Is the Place" monument.

In New York.