Playing off of last week’s “Two Hills Cumorah” episode we investigate the claim of a “2nd Watson letter”. What we find is not only more apologist obfuscations but perhaps one of the biggest underhanded maneuvers LDS apologists have ever pulled off.
RFM and Bill Reel tackle the two Hills Cumorah theory. The explain how Cumorah fits within our scriptures, show us how it was understood and taught all through early Church history and when in the modern times it changed and how that course adjustment has the Church approaching it today. To the believers who always wished for these things to be simple and faithful, eat your heartlander out !
IMAGES FOR SHOW
OPENING: Heartlanders digging for Evidence (Don’t want to spend valuable time here. Just show and explain it led me to create this episode)
A.) What the Scriptures Tell us about Cumorah
- Mormon 6:4 – we did pitch our tents round about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains – SHOW MAP OF PALMYRA SURROUNDING AREA (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.)
- Mormon 6:6 – Mormon hid the records in the Hill Cumorah with the exception of the plates that would make up the Book of Mormon PHOTO
- Ether 15:11 – The Jaredites hill Ramah and the Nephites Hill Cumorah are the same hill (He saw that there had been slain by the sword already nearly atwo millions of his people, and he began to sorrow in his heart; yea, there had been slain two millions of mighty men, and also their wives and their children.) PHOTO LOGISTICS OF A BATTLE THIS BIG
- D&C 128:20 And again, what do we hear? Glad tidings from Cumorah! Moroni, an angel from heaven, declaring the fulfilment of the prophets—the book to be revealed PHOTO
B.) What early Church Leaders and Official sources said about The Hill Cumorah in New York
- History of the Church 1:184 “This Book, which contained these things, was hid in the earth by Moroni, in a hill called by him Cumorah, which hill is now in the state of New York, near the village of Palmyra, in Ontario county. PHOTO
- 1835 Messenger and Advocate – Page 4 Oliver Cowdery under Joseph Smith declares Cumorah is the hill in New York (Joseph Smith had the letter reprinted ) PHOTO
- The Prophet Joseph Smith himself is on record declaring the present hill called Cumorah to be the exact hill spoken of in the Book of Mormon. History of the Church History of the Church, 1948 ed., vol. 2, pp. 79–80 PHOTO
- David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and Joseph Smith are visited by Moroni – Moroni says Cumorah as the word is new to David (Tangential point. David Whitmer says his plowed was field and he didn’t know who did it. Lucy Mack Smith though claims David knew it was the three nephites page 4 bottom left) page 4 right hand side PHOTO
- Mark E. Petersen, “A Work of Conversion,” General Conference address, in Messages of Inspiration (SLC: Deseret Book Co., 1957), pp. 98-106. I do not believe that we should give credence to the highly speculative theories about Book of Mormon geography. I do not believe that there were two Hill Cumorahs, one in Central America and the other one up in New York, for the convenience of the Prophet Joseph Smith, so that the poor boy would not have to walk clear to Central America to get the gold plates. (Last part of Page 3) PHOTO
- Doctrines of Salvation by: Joseph Fielding Smith
- https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1360&context=jbms All of the quotes regarding Cumorah’s Cave. I want to synopsize because there is too much here and deeply overlapping PHOTO
- Anthony W Ivins (Counselor First Presidency) General Conference talk in April 1928
https://www.dropbox.com/s/0zan98tml1mr4kq/conferencereport1928a%20%20page%2015.pdf?dl=0 (Page 12 of the PDF) PHOTO
- The Messenger, July 1960, No. 51 (COVER) (Page w/ pertinent section) Bishops “Attention Called To ‘Book of Mormon’ Maps” Our attention has been brought in the past few weeks to certain “Book of Mormon Lands” maps which are being offered to Church leaders and auxiliary workers by a California organization. They are apparently being distributed free of charge. We wish to refer bishops to the printed matter at the bottom of the map, which contains an inference that there are two, rather than one, Hills Cumorah — one in Mexico as well as the one in New York. The Church has never accepted this contention. Bishops are requested to make cognizant of this discrepancy those in their wards who might be sending for these maps or using them for instructional purposes. This concept of two Cumorahs should not be taught as official Church doctrine.(WOULD LOVE A IMAGE OR DOCUMENT)
- F. Michael Watson – Context of that letter (Frank Michael Watson was a secretary to the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1986 to 2008. He was assistant secretary from 1972 until April 1986. Prior to that call, he served as assistant secretary and then secretary to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (1970–1972). He was called to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 2008 and served until October 2013 when he was designated an emeritus general authority.)
- Fair Claims “The First Presidency’s secretary apparently answered a question according to his own understanding”
C. Something Changed
- What changed in Mormonism Environment – The events including number of deaths and the supplies present in the Book of Mormon simply doesn’t match what has been located on that hill – Views seem to change in the 1940’s and 1950’s
- 1992 Encyclopedia of Mormonism Last paragraph and subsequent finish on next page
- F. Michael Watson’s Second Letter 1993
- John Clark 2004 – “the Hill Cumorah. Archaeologically speaking, it is a clean hill. No artifacts, no walls, no trenches, no arrowheads. The area immediately surrounding the hill is similarly clean. Pre-Columbian people did not settle or build here. This is not the place of Mormon’s last stand. We must look elsewhere for that hill.”
D.) The Church in the present modern moment
- New Approach
- Hill Cumorah as defined by the Church ““In the 1820s, the hill did not have a name. It later became known as the Hill Cumorah because Moroni, the Book of Mormon’s final author and the angel who met with Joseph Smith, wrote that he had hidden the golden plates in a hill called Cumorah (see Mormon 6:6)”
- Still old remnants of the old approach
https://sites.google.com/site/bomgeography/discoveries/fountains-that-spray-no-water (What Fountain mean)
https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/elder-curtis-hill-cumorah-preservation “These sacred events are central parts of what the Church calls the Restoration, an ongoing process of God revealing key truths to men and women on earth.” #3 – Upgrade the messaging of the hill’s historical and sacred significance
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Hill+Cumorah+Visitors’+Centerfirstname.lastname@example.org,-77.7122062,11z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x416565d22288af00!8m2!3d43.0069794!4d-77.2259677 (Many Waters, Rivers and Fountains)
https://daytrippingroc.com/natural-swimming-areas-around-rochester/ (39 natural swimming holes)
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/learn/historic-sites/new-york/hill-cumorah?lang=eng (carefully worded)
Bill Reel and RFM take a look at the Historical Jesus and hit on the main points that Biblical criticism brings into focus and once they are done, your Christmases may never be the same.
Jesus son of Mary – Illegitimate birth. Mark infers. The early church theologian Origen (d. 251 CE) has a polemical tract in which he writes an apologetic for Jesus’ virgin birth against Celsus, a pagan skeptic of Christianity (around 178 CE). Celsus was a proponent of the idea that the virgin birth story was a fiction invented by Jesus, when the truth was (as he apparently believed) Jesus was the biological product of his mother and a Roman soldier named Pantera. Also Virgin births were a common trope and polemic device in ancient mythology.
- Manger – ACU scholar Stephen Carlson writes that the word “kataluma” (often translated “inn”) refers to guest quarters. Most likely, Joseph and Mary stayed with family but the guest room was too small for childbirth and hence Mary gave birth in the main room of the house where animal mangers could also be found. use the links below from Dan McllellanManger/Inn – Scripture Translation Supervisor for the LDS Church, PhD in theology and religion https://www.tiktok.com/@maklelan/video/7037619189456358703?lang=en&is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1
More on the nativity – Daniel McClellan https://www.tiktok.com/@maklelan/video/7037685245172256046?lang=en&is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1 Traditional Account of the nativity – Daniel McClellan Scripture Translation Supervisor for the LDS Church, PhD in theology and religionhttps://www.tiktok.com/@maklelan/video/7040144974750731566?lang=en&is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1 Inconsistencies in the narrative – Matthew and Luke, the only Christian gospels which give us the virgin birth story, contain problematic details-both internally and in comparison to each other. For example, it’s been pointed out often that Luke’s dating of the census (while Quirinius was governor of Syria) in Luke is problematic. There are also difficulties when the accounts are compared to each other. The two genealogies don’t exactly reinforce each other and there are a number of striking differences when compared alongside each other–in particular the migration to Egypt in Matthew (2:13-14) which is completely absent from Luke. In Luke’s account, Mary and Joseph take Jesus home immediately to Nazareth (2:39-40), with no reference to a flight to Egypt or a conflict with Herod. Live in Bethlehem? – According to the Matthean infancy narrative, Joseph and Mary are natives to Bethlehem! They live in their house there! Houses would be part of patriarchal compounds with as many as 50 to 100 people. There is no Lukan manger mentioned, and definitely no stables! The author “Matthew” expects his audience to understand this, being that he writes for people equipped with culturally-appropriate auxiliary background information. We Western Christians, reading with spurious familiarity, are blind to this. Did the Holy Family go from Bethlehem to Jerusalem and then straight back to Nazareth, as “Luke” tells us? Or did they reside in Bethlehem, give birth to Jesus there, live about two years there until the magi come, then flee to Egypt, then some years after go to a place they’ve never been to before and take up residence there, as “Matthew” says? (No need to read the following but in case someone asks why 2 years – Notably, the magi visit Jesus in a house (not an inn or stable) and their visit is as late as two years after the birth. Matthew 2:16 records King Herod’s orders to kill baby boys up to the age of two based on the report about Jesus’s age from the magi. This delay is why most Christian churches celebrate the visit of the magi on “Epiphany” or January 6) the slaughter of the innocents – given that Bethlehem probably had fewer than 1,000 residents, it’s possible the slaughter of the innocents involved just three or four babies, Witherington said. “We’re not talking about streets lined with dead babies,” Witherington told Live Science. In a world full of brutality and violence, it’s not clear the death of a few no-name babies in a sleepy village would have made the history books. Erroneous History about a Census – A similar situation exists with the Lukan census of the whole world when Quirinius was governor of Syria (Luke 2:1–2). This census was presumably made when Herod the Great reigned over Judea (1:5), and who was alive when Jesus was born and for some time after. Copious records exist from the time of Caesar Augustus’ reign (27 BCE—14 CE). These records describe many events during that reign, particularly the most important. None of them mention anything about a worldwide census. And consider how “Luke” describes this census: people must return to the home of their ancestors. Consider what the Empire would look like in order to accomplish that—throngs of millions migrating all over for the census. And yet all historical records remain silent on it? In his own history, Augustus himself fails to mention this achievement! That’s simply not credible.
RESOURCES: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/messyinspirations/2019/12/history-discrepancies-jesus-birth/ https://www.patheos.com/blogs/unsystematictheology/2016/03/six-problems-with-the-virgin-birth-biblical-and-historical-perspective/
https://www.livescience.com/49228-nativity-story-facts-history.html https://tabletalkmagazine.com/posts/the-controversial-birth-of-jesus/ https://www.patheos.com/blogs/messyinspirations/2019/12/different-jesus-birth-stories/
Mormonism LIVE: 053: One Year Anniversary RFM and Bill Reel kick of the second year of Mormonism LIVE with a look back of the past 52 weeks since Mormonism Live’s inception. We look at the favorite episodes of both us and the viewers. We look back at any funny moments, and wonder where the next 52 episodes might take us
On November 12, 2021, Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ First Presidency addressed the community in a meeting. The meeting included Question and Answer on the University of Virginia Campus. In that Q&A Elder Oaks is asked about his treatment and his own development of views on LGBT folks over the course of his life. In his answer he denies that Electroshock therapy was used during his time as BYU President. In tonight’s episode we review the evidence that says otherwise and wrestle with Elder Oaks seeming to be directly lying about such an atrocious process under his administration.
RESOURCES: https://youtu.be/5F92V-P9msQ?t=294 https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/interview-oaks-wickman-same-gender-attraction Anxiety in Stressful Times https://youtu.be/5F92V-P9msQ?t=294
https://catalog.lib.byu.edu/uhtbin/pcnum/387154 (Smoking Gun)
https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/interview-oaks-wickman-same-gender-attraction ( Oaks and Wickman – suggest shunning your gay kids)
https://affirmation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/oaks_paper_02.pdf (Oak’s initial paper telling the church how to handle the LGBT issue) – it has been their blueprint since the beginning
“The church denounces any therapy, including conversion and reparative therapies,” the Mormon Church wrote. “That subjects an individual to abusive practices, not only in Utah, but throughout the world.” – Official statement from the Church “”BYU will respond to homosexual behavior rather than to feelings or attraction, and welcomes as full members of the university community all whose behavior meets university standards,” said Jenkins. “Members of the university community can remain in good standing if they conduct their lives in a manner consistent with Gospel principles.”” Official Statement from BYU
“Dallin H. Oaks had Gerald J. Dye over the HCO. Dye stated that part of the “set process” for homosexual BYU students referred to his office was to require that they undergo some form of therapy to remain at BYU, this included “electroshock and vomiting aversion therapies.”
https://web.archive.org/web/20131021171348/http://www.affirmation.org/therapy/with_all_thy_getting.shtml (During Oaks Time) http://www.connellodonovan.com/images/harker.jpg (Later BYU President can’t confirm\
https://www.fairlatterdaysaints.org/answers/Mormonism_and_gender_issues/Same-sex_attraction/Aversion_therapy_performed_at_BYU#Question:_Did_the_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints_.28Mormons.29_ever_conduct_aversion_therapy.3F Fairmormon Denies
The Values Institute http://www.connellodonovan.com/images/BYU_9_15_77.jpg https://www.reddit.com/r/exmormon/comments/1l08kq/mormons_use_electroshock_therapy_to_cure/ In March of 1979, Marion G. Romney asked Thomas S. Monson to get a concrete budget for the Values Institute. (Which they did, and I might add that all of the money to fund the Values Institute and its projects were received directly from tithing funds paid by LDS members).” http://exposingmormonism.blogspot.com/2008/02/thomas-s-monson-new-president.html https://affirmation.org/in-gods-name-the-treatment-of-homosexuals-by-the-christian-church/
Wednesday Nov. 24th, RFM and Bill sat down with Denver Snuffer and discuss his life and the happenings around the Christian fellowships of “the Remnants” movement. Denver Snuffer is an author of Restorationist devotional books, a lecturer, a speculative theologian, and a revelator to fellowships of the remnants movement, a spiritual movement in schism with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The movement has a few thousand adherents, many of them members or former members of the LDS Church. He was excommunicated by the LDS Church in 2013 for refusing to cease publication of his 2011 book, Passing the Heavenly Gift which challenges many points of LDS orthodoxy. He subsequently has been identified as a prophet by many, and several of his teachings have been canonized as scripture.
Preparing on a short week with our focus on Thrive & the Midnight Mormon’s Debate with RFM has us selecting an interesting topic that is light and fun. So Wednesday November 17th RFM and Bill Reel dive into the old folklore surrounding Bigfoot being none other than Cain. The origination story, and how Prophets, Seer’s, and Revelators have turned a strange story into some sort of pseudo doctrine, How FairMormon really screwed the pooch, and how Mormonism’s and Sasquatch’s narratives intertwine in other strange places you may not have seen coming.
Question: Does Cain still roam the earth, and does this account for stories about “Bigfoot”? – FAIR https://www.fairlatterdaysaints.org/answers/Question:_Does_Cain_still_roam_the_earth,_and_does_this_account_for_stories_about_%22Bigfoot%22%3F
We sit down with author and Illustrator of the book “The Glass Looker”, Mark Elwood and discuss how he incorporated Joseph Smith’s Treasure Digging into a beautiful animated book. We discuss how he decided what to include and what impact he hopes this book has
WARNING: We will be dealing with the sensitive topic of Self Harm. If you have self harm ideation and are triggered by discussion around such, please skip this episode in lieu of another.
In Tonight’s Episode Bill Reel and RFM will take a deep historical dive into the topic of Suicide within Mormon Theology and take a look at how the LDS Church has approached this issue giving historical context. What we learn is that LDS Leaders and Mormon Doctrine have had some ups and downs dealing with approaching such in a healthy way with healthy attitudes. Like everything else in Mormonism, this issue too is messy.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/24uta1hgckvtzk0/MStar_19213.pdf?dl=0 (Millenial Star)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
Tonight’s Episode will be dealing with the sensitive topic of suicide. If this topic might be triggering or such ideation is present. Please skip this episode and return back for next week’s. While we have consulted best practices National Suicide Prevention Lifeline We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. 1-800-273-8255
Radio Free Mormon takes Bill Reel and the rest of us through Shakespeare’s Macbeth in order to connect some dot in Mormonism on two issues. The First is the Apologetic response that if the critic can’t explain how something is done then it must be a miracle and second how Church Leaders always seem ambiguous on the issue of having seen Christ.
Today we take a look at the Logical Fallacy of the Straw Man argument and juxtapose it against what it means to Steel Man someone. A Straw Man argument is when you misrepresent someone’s argument to make it easier to attack. We define a Straw Man argument, share an example, discuss how to incorporate good faith in a disagreement by instead choosing to Steel Man the disagreement, and then show how Mormonism holds up to the actual argument being made when that argument is represented fairly.
operandi is at work today inside Modern Mormonism through the SCMC, and other people and processes that work to ensure that believing members are kept at arms length from people, voices, and information that is both accurate and contradictory to the inaccurate but faithful dominant narrative.
In 1886 LDS Prophet and Church President John Taylor documented a Revelation whereby Jesus Christ himself informed Taylor that Polygamy (The New and Everlasting Covenant) can and will NEVER be done away. Only to have the Church later disavow and distance themselves from Polygamy. On this Episode Bill Reel and RFM will help us understand the context of the 1886 Revelation/Vision, How the Church avoided dealing with Taylor’s Documented Revelation, How Apologists deal with it today, and lastly what it demonstrates about the integrity and honesty of the Church and its leaders around this event.