Tuesday, February 21, 2023

The Cumorah issue is simple

I often have conversations with other lawyers who greatly respect Oliver Cowdery and what he went through as a witness to the early events of the Church, as the Assistant President of the Church, and later as a humble member who sought no position or recognition.

The topic of Book of Mormon geography arises. Usually they say they believe there were two Cumorahs.

I reply that I'm fine with multiple working hypotheses, but they should at least be based on all the information.

Lawyers (and most other people) always agree with that premise.

Then I explain that for me the issue is simple: we either believe what Oliver taught or we don't.

Although they are usually fairly well-versed in Church history and the various geography theories, they rarely know what Oliver had taught about Cumorah. 

This is such a common experience in my discussions that I have to infer that the M2C citation cartel has successfully suppressed, censored, and eliminated Oliver's teachings. 

Most Latter-day Saints believe what Oliver said.

They know he was the only witness, other than Joseph, to the restoration of the Priesthood, the receipt of temple keys, and to most of the translation of the Book of Mormon. He was an Apostle, the Second Elder, and the Assistant President of the Church. 

Nevertheless, certain scholars and their employees and followers have persuaded Church members to disbelieve Oliver when he talked about (i) Cumorah and (ii) the translation of the Book of Mormon.

I posted a chart about this on a page on this blog: http://www.lettervii.com/p/oliver-was-truthful-except.html 

I realize Book of Mormon Central, the Interpreter Foundation, and others have employed sophistry to justify their repudiation of what Oliver taught about Cumorah. They likewise dismiss the teachings of subsequent prophets and apostles on the topic, rationalizing that Church leaders were merely speaking as men, that they were naïve and ignorant, and that they were wrong.

And all of this because the New York Cumorah contradicts their M2C theory, which was invented by RLDS scholars Stebbins and Hills in the early 1900s.


For those who accept what Oliver taught, there is no question about Cumorah. There is no "two-Cumorahs" theory with a false Cumorah in New York and a true Cumorah in Mexico, or Baja, or Panama, or Chile, or Thailand, or Eritrea, or wherever.

Maybe it's the simplicity of the New York Cumorah that makes it a stumbling block for the credentialed class in the Church.


It's always useful to remember what J. Reuben Clark taught:

You do have an interest in matters purely cultural and in matters of purely secular knowledge, but, I repeat again for emphasis, your chief interest, your essential and all but sole duty, is to teach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as that has been revealed in these latter days. You are to teach this gospel, using as your sources and authorities the standard works of the Church and the words of those whom God has called to lead His people in these last days. You are not, whether high or low, to intrude into your work your own peculiar philosophy, no matter what its source or how pleasing or rational it seems to you to be. To do so would be to have as many different churches as we have seminaries—and that is chaos.



It's easy to see how, if every Latter-day Saint accepted what Oliver and the others have taught about the New York Cumorah, we would have greater unity in the Church--and less chaos.

But somehow, unity doesn't seem to be a priority for the M2C scholars who have repudiated these teachings.

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