Over at Metaphysical Elders
, The Historian continues to defend his characterization
of LGH as the Nephite theory of choice for "informed Mormons." I disagree: go here
for a sympathetic summary of Book of Mormon geography theories by John E. Clark
, a FARMS researcher. FARMS is the institutional force behind the present LGH hypothesis. If Clark, a FARMS guy, doesn't defend LGH in an article entitled "Book of Mormon Geography," then it is hard to hold that it should be regarded as a theory embraced by "informed Mormons." The article appears to suggest that the official Mormon position is "we have no official position on Book of Mormon geography."
My earlier critical comments on The Historian's depiction of LGH, posted over at Times and Seasons, were zapped off to cyber-limbo when T&S transitioned to Movable Type. So I considered doing a longish post on the topic here--it certainly merits further discussion. But with the holiday season upon us, I'm feeling a bit less critical and decided against it.
The Historian's use of LGH is certainly not "intellectually dishonest," as depicted by some observers. LGH has been bandied about by the Mormon intelligentsia for several years and yes, most chapel Mormons are entirely uninformed about it. I regard it as one of a class of have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too positions that appeal to Mormon scholars faced with discontinuities between traditional Mormon faith claims and what "informed non-Mormon scholars" are inclined to accept as established fact on a variety of issues. Other members of the class of cake solutions include the following: The Mormon Church has no official position on the theory of evolution; the validity of Second Isaiah is disputed by reputable scholars; the Masonic endowment actually derives from the rituals of Solomon's temple; and (my favorite) there is no evidence that Joseph actually consummated any of his "marriages" with young women in Kirtland, Far West, or Nauvoo (what kind of evidence do they expect?).
But let's be generous and give The Historian his cake on this one; his use of it is a bit sly but not dishonest. I suppose we've all got a cake or two lurking in our pantry of ideas. Besides, I feel bad that all the Mormon lawyers migrated to T&S, leaving The Historian as an army of one over at ME.