Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Where is the Hill Cumorah? – Part I

We are frequently asked about such things as where is the River Sidon, where are the Waters of Mormon, or where is the hill Cumorah. I thought I might answer this type of question here, as well as make a profound suggestion on how to locate the places in the Book of Mormon you might want to find. 
    First of all, when asking such questions, it seems that you are asking the wrong question. To begin with, there are very few places in the scriptural record that provide enough information that would allow one to pinpoint a physical location, such as a particular city (outside, perhaps, the city of Nephi and Zarahemla), particular mountain, lake, river, etc. Many of these types of things change, disappear, or are altered over time.
    As an example, we know so little about the hill Cumorah that could be used today to pinpoint a specific hill or mount, that it seems fruitless to even try. To feel that this or that would be a good candidate is merely playing a game that has no value since there is no way to verify any location. We only know it was in the Western Hemisphere, in an area far north in the Land Northward, in an area of many waters, rivers and, most importantly, “fountains.”
    We know, as an example, that the Jaredites occupied a land not only to the north, but north of Desolation (Land Northward), and was so far northward where they were destroyed (Alma 22:30), that it would have been to the far north of the Land Northward.
    This one fact, “so far northward” in the Land Northward, should eliminate all claims that Great Lakes theorists have about the hill in upstate New York being the Hill Cumorah of the scriptural record, since all their maps place that hill in their Land Southward, to the east of the Sea East, as well as south of their Sea East.
    In addition, there are few fountains (actual sources of water) in areas, even where many lakes and rivers exist, making it a difficult task and likely beyond most people’s ability to find such areas, even if they happen to be looking in the right Land of Promise location, which most do not.
    What we do know about the hill Cumorah in the scriptural record is that it must have been of sufficient size and design as to provide protection for Mormon and his 23 survivors that they could retreat to it after the battle and hide away for the night and morning without detection, high enough to provide sufficient view to look out over a battlefield of between 300,000 and 350,000 dead, yet not be seen by their hereditary enemy, who were in such a bloodthirsty rage that they would not have been deterred from wiping out the final 24 men if they could have seen them or knew where they were.
    Again, this should eliminate the hill Cumorah from being in upstate New York, since that drumlin hill is only about 130 feet high, has a gradual surface rise that would not deter anyone from walking up it in a couple of minutes and looking around. Surely, the Lamanites in such a killing frenzy, would not have been deterred by this little hill in New York, which provides no hiding place or cover, from locating Mormon, Moroni, and the other 22 survivors of that battle.
The Great Lakes Area. With Lake Ontario as the Sea East and Lake Erie as the Sea West, the other lakes are not even in the designated Land of Promise, and the (\\\) of the Finger Lakes are in the Land Southward and the hill Cumorah is also in the Land Southward. Using a Finger Lake as the Sea East, still places the hill Cumorah to the east of the Sea East
   Certainly, the hill Cumorah in upstate New York does not meet this protection requirement, either. For those who have never been there, they might think of some way the 24 men could have hidden; however, having climbed and walked that hill, seen it up close, on top and from a distance, it simply would not have provided any protection whatever.
    Consequently, having personally been to, and walked around and over the hill Cumorah in New York, it seems easy to see that it does not provide those two simple but necessary requirements.
    Thus, rather than asking where the hill Cumorah is located, it seems far more beneficial and productive to ask the right question, such as where did Nephi's ship take him that he built and set sail from the shores of present day Oman on the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula (of course, you could go further back and take his trek from Jerusalem to Bountiful, but that has been done by several, with well-documented sources. Since we have verified that documented route, it seems fruitless to begin there. Better to begin where Nephi set sail in his ship.
    So, to find the location of the Land of Promise (not try to verify one’s pre-determined location), the task is simply following Nephi's clues, of which he provided several, such as:
Nephi built a ship unlike those of his day, under the supervision and direction of the Lord--a ship that would take 50 to 60 people or more to the Land of Promise across the deep ocean; Left: The Arab dhow of 600 B.C.; Right: A square-rigged sailing ship that would have been far advanced for 600 B.C. 
1. He built a sailing ship unlike those built by others at the time;
2. It was driven forward by the wind, that is it had sails with the wind blowing from behind the ship (meaning of "driven forth");
3. Winds blow currents and they work in tandem, therefore, follow the currents and winds from where he set forth and they will take you to where he would have landed (Don't guess, actually locate and see where the winds and currents go).
    This doesn’t mean to assume what direction he took, but check out the winds and currents to see which way his ship would have been blow with a wind behind it, “driven forth before the wind.”
    It really is as simple as that, though not very adventuresome—in fact, it is usually just unexciting, time-consuming work, following currents and winds to see what path a drift voyage would have had to take.
    However, if you are one of those many people who believe the Land of Promise is in a particular location, then you are approaching the Book of Mormon geography backward. Nephi tells you basically where he landed, Jacob describes that landing area in general terms, which Nephi verifies, and following those winds and currents can lead you only to one basic area since winds and currents are steady and consistent over the centuries.
    Having found the location of where his ship would have landed (where other winds and currents died down to effect a landing in a protected bay or inlet area, out of the winds and currents along the coast), you then need to verify that one specific area by looking at what Nephi tells you he found exactly where he landed—not some distance away, not where he later founded the City of Nephi (and Land of Nephi), but where he landed.
    That information, of course, is clearly stated by Nephite at the end of Chapter 18:
1. He found a climate, which would include temperature, soil, precipitation, etc.) where "seeds from Jerusalem" would have grown exceedingly and provided an abundant crop.” To determine that, you need to look at the climate where the seeds had been grown, i.e., Jerusalem, which has a "Mediterranean Climate" as any climate index will show you from ancient to modern atlases, or the internet. So where, along that path that the winds and currents would have taken his ship "driven forth before the wind" would you find a Mediterranean climate where his seeds would grow (in 600 B.C. seeds did not grow just anywhere--even today, seeds have a growth area, climate requirement, etc.)
2. He found a forest within walking distance of his landing site (which included all types of animals; however, the animals are movable and are only secondary to this). A forest within walking distance of the landing site since they pitched their tents upon landing and would have tilled the ground and planted their seed in that area as the scriptural record shows.
(See the next post, “Where is the Hill Cumorah? – Part II,” for the continuation of this post and how exactly to find the location of Lehi’s landing, and the city of Nephi those who accompanied Nephi in escaping northward built)

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