Saturday, June 1, 2019

Buyer Beware: Review of the Annotated Book of Mormon

President M. Russell Ballard recently counseled teachers and instructors in the Church, "not to pass along faith promoting or unsubstantiated rumors or outdated understandings and explanations of our doctrine and practices from the past. It is always wise to . . . consult the works of recognized, thoughtful, and faithful LDS scholars to ensure you do not teach things that are untrue, out of date, or odd and quirky." Here is a detailed 8 part review of book which is a prime example of what happens when we refuse to follow that Apostolic counsel. Differences of opinion and interpretation about Book of Mormon geography don't bother me. Everybody has a right to their own opinion. What is troubling is where books like the one reviewed below make factually, demonstrably erroneous claims that, if left unchecked, will damage the faith of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when they discover many of those things are problematic or untrue. There are many solid evidences of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. But the claims, as presented in this book cannot be relied upon. Buyer Beware.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Has the Location of the Hill Cumorah Been Revealed?

Some have recently claimed that the location of the Hill Cumorah has been identified by revelation and that the New York Hill, called by that name today is the same hill at which the Nephites and Jaredites of the Book of Mormon were destroyed. Other Latter-day Saints who have examined the historical evidence have concluded that name of the New York Hill is likely based upon old tradition rather than a revelation of the geographical location of Mormon's Cumorah. Do those who hold the latter view reject the Prophets?

In recent decades Church leaders and historians have expressed caution concerning the location of the ancient hill. See for example, a recent statement from the official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by two Church historians "Saints and Book of Mormon Geography."

Recently, the Church has also issued another statement affirming that the Church does not have an official position on the location of events in the Book of Mormon beyond affirming that they took place somewhere in the Americas. The Church welcomes humble and careful study of the subject, but cautions the Saints not to represent their personal interpretations as those of the Church.

On this see also my earlier post  "A New York Cumorah: Not a Hill We Have to Die On"

Here is the latest from the Pan on this question

"Has the Location of the Hill Cumorah Really Been Revealed?"

Neville-Neville Land

A number of years ago I discussed some of the concerns I had over the rise of what has come to be known as the Heartland Movement.

"Losing the Remnant: The New Exclusivist `Movement' and the Book of Mormon," FARMS Review 22/2 (2010): 87-124.

"Joseph Smith, Revelation, and Book of Mormon Geography," FARMS Review 22/2 (2010): 15-85.

In 2015 I also addressed some of the writings and claims of Jonathan Neville who is currently one of the leaders of this movement.

"The Treason of the Geographers: Mythical `Mesoamerican' Conspiracy and the Book of Mormon," Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-Day Saint Faith and Scholarship 16 (2015): 161-205.

"John Bernhisel's Gift to a Prophet: Incidents of Travel in Central America and the Book of Mormon," Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-Day Saint Faith and Scholarship 16 (2015):207-253.

"Zarahemla Revisited: Neville's Newest Novel," Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-Day Saint Faith and Scholarship 17 (2015):17-61.

"Setting the Record Straight"

It appears that I have not been the only target such attacks. These now include CES, including the Seminary and Institute program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young University, the Church History Department, editors of the Joseph Smith Papers, Interpreter Foundation, FAIRMormon, Book of Mormon Central, and some of the art which may be hanging on our chapel walls.

I was recently surprised to note the appearance of Neville-Neville Land: Refuting the Errors of Jonathan Neville and Heartland Hoax. It seems that Peter Pan and Captain Hook have taken up the gauntlet and have been addressing the poor logic, misrepresentation, and escapades of the Neville-One.