Hill Cumorah

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Hill Cumorah "is a place described in the Book of Mormon where approximately two hundred fifty thousand Nephite soldiers were killed in a final battle with the Lamanites, and where centuries earlier, the last battle of the Jaredites took place which destroyed their civilization."[1] That the location of Hill Cumorah events was in New York has been affirmed by people like Joseph Smith, Orson Pratt, Marion G. Romney, Anthony Ivins, B.H. Roberts, James Talmage, Joseph Fielding Smith, George Reynolds, and Bruce McConkie. It is also affirmed in a current CES institute manual[2], and was as recently as 1990 affirmed in a letter from Secretary to the First Presidency[3].

According to Sandra Tanner:

"Every year in July the LDS Church produces the Hill Cumorah pageant in Palmyra, New York. This pageant places the final scenes of the Book of Mormon in that location. Moroni, the last one to record on the gold plates, supposedly buried the records in the hill sometime after 421 AD. Years later, Moroni, now an angel, appeared to Joseph Smith to direct him to the deposit in the hill."[4]

In opposition the historic and authoritative Mormon position, nearly every Mormon apologist has abandoned the belief that the hill described in the Book of Mormon is in New York, and has adopted a position more consistent with the limited geography theory, placing the hill somewhere in Central America.

Explaining the logic of Mormon apologists, Simon Southerton writes:

"Why would hundreds of thousands of Lamanites and Nephites march from Mesoamerica to New York to fight a final battle of extermination? To account for this anomaly, Mormon scholars have concluded that there are in fact two Cumorahs. The Hill Cumorah referred to in the Book of Mormon is not the one in New York State from which the gold plates were recovered." (Simon Southerton, Losing a Lost Tribe, p. 159)

Mormon Bob Bennett writes on how adopting this new position doesn't bother him:

"I was raised with the tradition that the hill in New York was the very Hill Cumorah where the Nephite and Jaredite battles occurred. As I've studied the matter, I've come to the firm conviction that this is not the case, but that the Book of Mormon Hill Cumorah was likely in Mesoamerica. David Palmer makes a compelling case for this, and additionally analyzes possible origins of the belief that the Book of Mormon Cumorah was in New York. I find it impossible to reconcile the text of the Book of Mormon with a New York Cumorah. At the same time, I don't have any trouble with the likelihood that Joseph Fielding Smith, Marion G. Romney and the CES manual are mistaken on this matter, while at the same time affirming my conviction that Presidents Smith and Romney were prophets, seers and revelators."[5]


[edit] Quotes from LDS leaders (and other significant figures)

[edit] Lucy Mack Smith

"'Stop, father, stop,' said Joseph, 'it was the angel of the Lord. As I passed by the hill of Cumorah, where the plates are, the angel met me and said that I had not been engaged enough in the work of the Lord; that the time had come for the record to be brought forth; and that I must be up and doing and set myself about the things which God had commanded me to do.'" -History Of Joseph Smith By His Mother (Lucy Mack Smith)

[edit] Orson Pratt

"The great and last battle, in which several hundred thousand Nephites perished was on the hill Cumorah, the same hill from which the plates were taken by Joseph Smith, the boy about whom I spoke to you the other evening." (Talk given by Apostle Orson Pratt, Feb. 11, 1872 Journal of Discourses Vol. 14, pg. 331)

"Thirty-six years prior to this time his nation was destroyed in what we term the State of New York, around about a hill, called by that people the Hill of Cumorah, when many hundreds of thousands of the Nephites-men, women and children, fell, during the greatest battle that they had had with the Lamanites." (Apostle Orson Pratt, Aug. 25, 1878 Journal of Discourses Vol. 20, pg. 62)

"These records were carried by Ether from the hill Ramah, afterwards called Cumorah, where the Jaredites were destroyed, as well as the Nephites." (Talk given by Apostle Orson Pratt, May 18, 1873 Journal of Discourses Vol. 16, pg. 50

"It will be, next Thursday night, 54 years since the Prophet Joseph Smith, then but a lad, was permitted by the angel of the Lord to take the gold plates of the Book of Mormon from the hill Cumorah, as it was called in ancient times, located in the State of New York. " (Talk given by Apostle Orson Pratt, Sept. 18, 1881 Journal of Discourses Vol. 22, pg. 224)

"Finally, they became so utterly wicked, so fully ripened for destruction, that one branch of the nation, called the Nephites, gathered their entire people around the hill Cumorah, in the State of New York , in Ontario County; and the Lamanites, the opposite army, gathered by millions in the same region. The two nations were four years in gathering their forces, during which no fighting took place; but at the end of that time, having marshalled all their hosts, the fighting commenced, the Lamanites coming upon the Nephites, and destroying all of them, except a very few, who had previously deserted over to the Lamanites." (Orson Pratt, April 6, 1874 Journal of Discourses Vol. 17, pg. 24)

[edit] Joseph Fielding Smith

"It is known that the Hill Cumorah where the Nephites were destroyed is the hill where the Jaredites were also destroyed. This hill was known to the Jaredites as Rama. It was approximately near to the waters of Ripliancum, which the Book of Ether says, "by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all." Mormon adds: "And it came to pass that we did march forth to the land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents round about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains; and here we had hope to gain advantage over the Lamanites."

"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. Moreover, the Prophet Joseph Smith himself is on record, definitely declaring the present hill called Cumorah to be the exact hill spoken of in the Book of Mormon.

"Further, the fact that all of his associates from the beginning down have spoken of it as the identical hill where Mormon and Moroni hid the records, must carry some weight. It is difficult for a reasonable person to believe that such men as Oliver Cowdery, Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, David Whitmer, and many others, could speak frequently of the Spot where the Prophet Joseph Smith obtained the plates as the Hill Cumorah, and not be corrected by the Prophet, if that were not the fact. That they did speak of this hill in the days of the Prophet in this definite manner is an established record of history...." (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation , Vol.3, Bookcraft, 1956, p.232-43.)

[edit] Marion G. Romney

"This second civilization to which I refer, the Nephites , flourished in America between 600 B.C. and A.D. 400. Their civilization came to an end for the same reason, at the same place, and in the same manner as did the Jaredites’" (President Marion G. Romney in General Conference, October 4, 1975, Ensign Nov. 1975 pg. 35)

[edit] B.H. Roberts

"This time it will have to do with so important a matter as a war of extinction of two peoples, the Nephites and the Jaredites, on the self same battle site, with the same 'hill' marking the axis of military movements. By the Nephites this 'hill' was called the 'Hill Cumorah,' by the Jaredites the 'Hill Ramah'; it was that same 'hill,' in which the Nephite records were deposited by Mormon and Moroni, and from which Joseph Smith obtained the Book of Mormon, therefore the 'Mormon Hill,' of today—since the coming forth of the Book of Mormon—near Palmyra, New York. (B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, p.277)

"According to the Book of Mormon the Hill Cumorah of the Nephites--the Ramah of the Jaredites--must be regarded as a natural monument overlooking ancient and extensive battle fields. Around it early in the sixth century B.C., the Jaredites were destroyed. Here, also, a thousand years later, at the dose of the fourth century A. D., the Nephites met with practical annihilation in a battle which, whether judged by the importance of the changes it wrought in the affairs of one of the world's continents, or the number slain,a ranks as one of the world's great battles. In view of these Book of Mormon facts one would naturally expect to find some evidences in this section of the country for such wonderful historical events. Here one has a right to expect the evidences of military fortifications; for, though a thousand years had elapsed between the destruction of the Nephites and the discovery of America by the Europeans, still some military monuments would doubtless survive that length of time." (B.H. Roberts, New Witnesses for God, Vol.3, Ch.34, p.67)

[edit] James Talmage

"The hill, which was known by one division of the ancient peoples as Cumorah, by another as Ramah, is situated near Palmyra in the State of New York ." (Apostle James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, chapter 14)

[edit] Bruce McConkie

"Both the Nephite and Jaredite civilizations fought their final great wars of extinction at and near the Hill Cumorah (or Ramah as the Jaredites termed it), which hill is located between Palmyra and Manchester in the western part of the State of New York.

"Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and many of the early brethren, who were familiar with all the circumstances attending the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in this dispensation, have left us a pointed testimony as to the identity and location of Cumorah or Ramah."(Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, page 174-175, Bookcraft 1966)

[edit] Others

"Cumorah, the artificial hill of north America, is well calculated to stand in this generation, as a monument of marvelous works and wonders. Around that mount died millions of the Jaredites; yea, there ended one of the greatest nations of this earth. In that day, her inhabitants spread from sea to sea, and enjoyed national greatness and glory, nearly fifteen hundred years. -- That people forsook the Lord and died in wickedness. There, too, fell the Nephites, after they had forgotten the Lord that bought them. There slept the records of age after age, for hundreds of years, even until the time of the Lord." (The Latter-day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, Vol.2, No.2, p.221)

"The passages which I have quoted from the Book of Mormon and the more extended discussion of this subject by Elder B. H. Roberts which was published in The Deseret News of March 3, 1928, definitely establish the following facts: That the Hill Cumorah, and the Hill Ramah are identical; that it was around this hill that the armies of both the Jaredites and Nephites, fought their great last battles; that it was in this hill that Mormon deposited all of the sacred records which had been entrusted to his care by Ammaron, except the abridgment which he had made from the plates of Nephi, which were delivered into the hands of his' son, Moroni. We know positively that it was in this hill that Moroni deposited the abridgment made by his father, and his own abridgment of the record of the Jaredites, and that it was from this hill that Joseph Smith obtained possession of them. " (President Anthony W. Ivins, Conference Report, April 1928-Morning Session)

"We visited the Hill Cumorah and were accorded the courtesy of going thereon by the wife of Mr. George Sampson, a brother of Admiral Wm. Sampson, who before his death owned the property.....We were delighted to be there. Looking over the surrounding country we remembered that two great races of people had wound up their existence in the vicinity, had fought their last fight, and that hundreds of thousands had been slain within sight of that hill."(Elder George Albert Smith, Conference Report, April 1906, p.56)

"As the fighting neared its end, Mormon gathered the remnant of his forces about a hill which they called Cumorah, located in what is now the western part of the state of New York." Oct. 1978 Conference Report

"My beloved brothers and sisters, I invite you to join in a prayer that while I speak you and I may both enjoy the Spirit. I will give you a lesson today that the Lord has taken great pains to bring to us... In the western part of the state of New York near Palmyra is a prominent hill known as the “hill Cumorah.” On July twenty-fifth of this year, as I stood on the crest of that hill admiring with awe the breathtaking panorama which stretched out before me on every hand, my mind reverted to the events which occurred in that vicinity some twenty-five centuries ago—events which brought to an end the great Jaredite nation... This second civilization to which I refer, the Nephites , flourished in America between 600 B.C. and A.D. 400. Their civilization came to an end for the same reason, at the same place, and in the same manner as did the Jaredites’... Now my beloved brethren and sisters everywhere, both members of the Church and nonmembers, I bear you my personal witness that I know that the things I have presented to you today are true—both those pertaining to past events and those pertaining to events yet to come." (Talk given by President Marion G. Romney in General Conference, October 4, 1975, Ensign Nov. 1975 pg. 35) [1] (Cf. CES student manual for Religion 121 and 122, p. 136.)

"One of the most noted places in ancient American history was the land in which was situated the hill known to the Jaredites as Ramah and to the Nephites as Cumorah. In its vicinity two great races were exterminated; for it was there that the last battles were fought in the history of both peoples. There also the sacred records of the Nephites found their final resting place." (Elder George Reynolds, The Story of the Book of Mormon, Ch.69, p.325)

"We dedicate the hill itself and the ground surrounding it [in Cumorah] and all of the materials that have been used in this monument; and we humbly pray unto Thee that it may be preserved from the elements, and that it may stand here as a testimony of God, of Jesus Christ, and of the dealings of Jesus Christ with the people that lived anciently upon this continent." (Dedicatory Prayer of the Angel Moroni Monument, July 21, 1935. Improvement Era, 1935, Vol. 38. September, 1935. No. 9.)

[edit] Additional notes

[edit] Notes

  1. "Cumorah", Wikipedia. Available online here. Accessed April 6, 2007.
  2. CES Student Manual for the Book of Mormon, Religion 121 & 122, p. 136
  3. Available for viewing online here.
  4. http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/cumorah.htm
  5. http://www.mormonapologetics.org/index.php?showtopic=12058&st=60

[edit] External links

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