The Rational Restoration



The Rational Restoration: Reframes in the pursuit of clarity, charity and understanding

In 1859, Charles Dickens wrote, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."—Tale of Two Cities

Many Latter-day Saints, along with their friends, critics, and others, relate to Dickens' description. They are confused by conflicting interpretations of Church history, practices, and teachings.

On one side, critics complain and find fault. On the other side, apologists and scholars offer unsatisfactory, confusing explanations. The Rational Restoration re-examines past, present, and future from a faithful perspective to present a rational interpretation that corroborates the teachings of the prophets and offers enthusiastic optimism for the future of the Church, the Latter-day Saints, and the entire world.

This book covers numerous topics about the Restoration, as shown in the Table of Contents:

Table of Contents

Contents

The Rational Restoration: i

Reframes in the pursuit of clarity, charity, and understanding. i

Table of Contents. iii

Table of Figures. vi

Why this Book. vii

Section I – Rationality. 1

1. Something for everyone. 3

2. The Nature of the Restoration. 9

3. Rational Explanations. 11

The Age of Reason. 15

Observation, Reason, Faith, and Revelation. 18

Cause to believe. 20

Pursuit of an ideal society. 21

Rationality in Religion. 23

Pascal’s Wager 26

The Nature of Religious Belief 28

Truth Claims. 29

4. Clarity, charity and understanding. 31

5. The FAITH model 35

Facts. 38

Assumptions. 39

Inferences. 40

Theories. 40

Hypotheses. 40

6. All, Some, None. 41

Application – Lucy Mack Smith. 44

Narrative Poison. 47

Section II – Reframes. 49

7. Rational Living. 51

Reframing thinking patterns. 52

Reframing life challenges. 55

Gospel scholarship. 57

8. Reframing Church. 61

Reframing the Restoration as fulfillment 61

Reframing Zion. 64

Reframing Church wealth. 67

Reframing Church structure. 69

Reframing Church interaction with members. 71

Reframing Church leadership. 72

9. Reframing Church History. 73

How Do We Know the Past?. 73

Reframing the beginning of the Restoration. 77

Reframing Joseph’s preparation as a prophet 79

Reframing the plates. 82

Reframing the translation. 89

Reframing the witnesses. 96

Reframing changes in the D&C.. 98

Reframing the origins of the Urim and Thummim... 103

Reframing the term “Urim and Thummim”. 105

10: Reframing Scripture. 107

Reframing Moroni 10. 107

Reframing relevance of geography. 110

Reframing Cumorah-Identification. 115

Reframing Cumorah-requirements. 116

Reframing Cumorah-Repository. 117

Reframing Cumorah and M2C.. 123

Reframing Crossing to America. 124

Reframing the setting. 126

Reframing physical evidence. 129

Reframing volcanoes. 130

Reframing Nephite civilization. 130

Reframing the Moundbuilder myth. 131

Reframing Zelph. 132

Reframing Zarahemla: D&C 125:3. 134

Reframing Zarahemla: Iowa. 135

Reframing the term Jaredites. 135

Reframing Jaredite civilizations. 137

Reframing Asian DNA.. 144

Reframing “the Americas”. 149

Reframing Book of Mormon Language. 149

Reframing the purpose of the Book of Mormon. 150

Reframing Joseph’s knowledge. 151

Reframing Cumorah teachings. 151

Reframing the hemispheric model 152

Reframing the Times and Seasons. 153

Reframing Joseph as Editor 155

Reframing Joseph as author in the Times and Seasons. 156

Reframing Joseph as author generally. 158

Reframing William Smith. 159

11: Reframing Mortality. 161

A Window into Eternity. 161

For Thy Good. 165

Reframing how God operates. 166

Reframing sin. 168

Reframing the creation. 169

12: Critics and Apologists. 171

Reframing The Faith Crisis Study. 174

The Grievance grifters. 178

Reframing Mormon Stories. 180

Reframing the CES Letter 181

Reframing apologists. 182

Reframing the Interpreter 183

Reframing Book of Mormon Central 184

13: Reframing the Gospel Topics Essays. 187

Gospel Topics entry on Book of Mormon Geography. 189

Gospel Topics Essay on Book of Mormon Translation. 201

14: Reframing Saints, volume 1. 233

15: Reframing Rough Stone Rolling 249

16: All/Some/None—Book of Mormon geography. 253

17: All/Some/None—Book of Mormon translation. 260

Appendix 1: Recommended Reading. 263

Appendix 2: The Restoration according to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. 265

Appendix 3: Restoration Timeline Summary. 267

Appendix 4: The New New Mormon History. 270