Sunday, January 1, 2017

All Those Records—Where Are They? Part III

Continuing from the last post where it was stated that for some reason, most members of the Church think that Moroni had with him all the records from his father, which would have included all the records that Ammaron told Mormon about. However, we find from the last paragraph of the previous post that Mormon did not give all "those plates" to his son (Mormon 6:6).
    The other plates spoken of in 2 Nephi 5:33 are the Large Plates of Nephi, those that Mormon abridged and gave to his son, Moroni, of which Joseph Smith translated and Martin Harris lost.
    Of these Small Plates of Nephi that Mormon found within the many records he had taken from the hill Shim, he said, “And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will” (WofM 6:7).
    Now there are those who believe there is a cave in the hill Cumorah in western New York. Experts in the field of drumlin hills tell us that such would not be possible because the way such hills are made, i.e., which are basically clusters of glacial landform, composed primarily of glacial till, and includes deposition of glaciofluvial sediment, the result of sediment being manipulated into shape by subglacial deformation, though other geologists claim the base formed by erosive processes removing material from an unconsolidated bed. In simple terms, it is described as a hill of gravel and earth.
The recent retreat of a marginal outlet glacier of Hofsjökull in Iceland resulted in a significant step in geomorphologic understanding showing it formed through a progression of subglacial depositional and erosional processes with each horizontal till bed within the drumlin created by an individual surge of the glacier, with the eroded sediment forming a drumlin as it was repositioned and deposited.
    The point of all of this is merely to suggest that it would be impossible for caves to exist in drumlin hills, since their base is not solid, but made up of glacial till—it would be like having a hole in the middle of a huge pile of marbles.
According to geologists, the unlikelihood of a cave existing within the drumlin in New York suggests that the experience related by the various witnesses was most likely a vision, of which there are at least ten second hand accounts describing the story of the cave in Cumorah, though Joseph Smith himself did not record the incident. As a drumlin hill, Cumorah is a pile of gravel scraped together by an ancient glacier. The geologic unlikelihood of a cave existing within the hill such as the one described suggests that the experience related by the various witnesses was most likely a vision, or a divine transportation to another locale (as with Nephi's experience in 1 Nephi 11:1).
    While Great Lakes and other U.S. theorists like to point out that this cave is within the New York hill Cumorah, that likelihood seems nonexistent since there is no question the New York hill is a moraine laid down anciently by a glacier in motion and comprised of gravel and earth. Geologically, it is impossible for the hill to have a cave, and all those who have gone in search of the one have come back empty-handed. If, therefore, the story attributed to Oliver Cowdery (by others) is true, then the visits to the cave perhaps represent visions, perhaps of some far distant hill, not physical events.
    According to Brigham Young, in a talk given in conference on June 17, 1877, he related the following: “When Joseph Smith first obtained the plates, the angel Moroni instructed him to carry them back to the hill Cumorah when he was finished translating. According to Oliver Cowdery who accompanied Joseph in the return, when they arrived at the hill, it opened and they walked into a cave, in which there was a large and spacious room. Oliver says he did not think, at the time, whether they had the light of the sun or artificial light; but that it was just as light as day. They laid the plates on a large table in the room, and under this table there was a pile of plates as much as two feet high, and there were altogether more plates than probably many wagon loads piled up in the corners and along the walls. The first time they went there the sword of Laban hung upon the wall; but when they went there again it had been taken down and laid upon the table across the gold plates; it was unsheathed, and on it was written: ‘This sword will never be sheathed again until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and his Christ’” (Journal of Discourses 19:38).
    Thus, we might suggest that the cave seen and entered by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were visions of there being “transported” to another place, much like the vision that Nephi had when he was shown many things as he was “taken” to the tree of life, where he tasted the fruit; a journey he describes as “And it came to pass that I saw a man, and he was dressed in a white robe; and he came and stood before me. And it came to pass that he spake unto me, and bade me follow him. And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste. And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies” (1 Nephi 8:5-8).
Visions, then, can make it seem you are in a certain place, just as being in the cave of records was described, with those there thinking they were inside the drumlin hill when, in fact, they were elsewhere.
    In short, we do not know where the cave of plates is located. Wherever it is, it is the divine hiding place or depository of the plates Joseph Smith translated.
    Given that the angel Moroni had retrieved the plates from Joseph several times previously, it is not unreasonable to assume that he was capable of transporting them to a different location than the hill in New York. The point being, what man considers great distances of thousands of miles when limited to a man walking seems out of the question—however, what God, who created the universe, thinks is a great distance to a being unlimited in travel capability, weight distribution, and carrying capacity, the Earth is a singular area of activity without borders in his way of thinking.
    Anything is possible with the Lord and we need to stop placing limitations on him and his ability in simple matters of moving items, arranging events, an securing their safety and security over eons of time.

1 comment:

  1. Your posting is absolutely correct in that there can't be any cave in the NY hill Cumorah. I've worked as a geologist on a number of glacial sites and have studied lots of glacial till.

    That isn't true of the South American hill Cumorah because it is an extinct volcano. Lots of caves can be formed in it. It could be that the plates are stored in an old lava tube on the flanks of the volcano.