Saturday, August 25, 2018

In Search of Cumorah – Part V

Continuing with David A. Palmer’s book, In Search of Cumorah and his location for the hill Cumorah in Vera Cruz, Mexico, why his nominated Cerro Vigia is not the hill Cumorah, and where exactly the hill Cumorah was really located.
    In addition, Palmer also states in his book (p96) that Cumorah was “only about 15 kilometers [9 miles] from the coast,” though in the scriptural record, the only description of the hill Cumorah and what is around it is found in Mormon’s statement “I, Mormon, wrote an epistle unto the king of the Lamanites, and desired of him that he would grant unto us that we might gather together our people unto the land of Cumorah, by a hill which was called Cumorah, and there we could give them battle… we did march forth to the land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents around about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains” (Mormon 6:2,4, emphasis added).
Palmer’s map showing Cumorah very close to the narrow neck of land (Isthmus of Tehuantepec) and two narrow passages into the Land Northward
Again, Palmer (pp96-99) places Ripliancum near Cumorah and along the east sea with no such suggestion from the scriptural record; he decides that Cumorah is near a seacoast though none is mentioned; he decides Cumorah is on a coastal plain and possibly near other mountains and valleys; he claims that “the abundance of water must provide a military advantage” where no such comment is written or suggested; and has an escape route to the Land Southward.”
    Consequently, Palmer places his hill Cumorah in the southeastern part of the state of Veracruz near Santiago on a mountain named Cerro El Vigia (Lookout Hill), which is an isolated part of the Tuxtla Mountain chain near the Gulf of Mexico.
    This area is between 68 and 87 miles from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (Palmer’s Narrow Neck of Land, which is not a “narrow neck” at all, but merely a narrowing of land). This is the same area that John L. Sorenson places his hill Cumorah, with with Sorenson, his map shows “the Land of Many Waters” over three hundred miles away from his hill Cumorah, though Mormon saying that the land of Cumorah was within the Land of Many Waters. And since the bones and destruction of the Jaredites and their hill Ramah where the final battle took place, which was discovered by Limhi’s 43-man expedition, saying they “traveled in a land among many waters [and] discovered a land which was covered with bones of men, and of beasts, and was also covered with ruins of buildings of every kind” (Mosiah 8:7, emphasis added),we can see that Sorenson is also one prone to make up his own scenarios about the hill Cumorah.
    At this point, it should be noted that the hill Cumorah, in the land where the people had been destroyed, was far north of the Land of Desolation. In fact, Mormon tells us that:  “the land which they called Bountiful...bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed” (Alma 22:29-30), thus, the hill Cumorah was “so far northward” from the narrow neck of land, that it could not be “near the narrow neck” as Mesoamerican theorists always claim.
Cerro del Vigia, in the Tuxtla Mountains of Veracruz, Mexico

In addition, Cerro Vigia is 2700 feet in elevation, rising 1500 feet above the surrounding farmland, and an extinct volcano composed of eroded basaltic lava flows, and is sporadically covered with semi-tropical vegetation, extending almost to the top. Several archaeological studies have been completed on the area including the most recent one that was an archaeological survey of the entire surrounding area, which determined that:
1. There is no archaeological evidence that this was a battleground in 385 AD;
2. While Mormon gives the impression that the Cumorah area was an uninhabited region, however, Vigia was continuously occupied early on until  the conquest and there is no evidence that there was a depopulation at any time around 385  AD;
3. There should have been evidence of abundant weaponry such as arrow points, knives, axes, etc., but this was not the case;
4. The mountain is composed of basalt, there is a lesser likelihood that there would be natural caves in the area;
5. There is no evidence of fortifications or large, short term, habitation sites;
6. This mountain is about six miles from the major Olmec center of Tres Zapotes, which existed at the time of the final battle at Cumorah, and not only unaffected by the Lamanite victory (or the final Jaredite battles a thousand years earlier).
    Thus, it seems clear that the hill Vigia in Vera Cruze does not meet the criteria of the hill Cumorah, which Mormon has described for us. So if that is not the hill Cumorah, what is?
    First of all, there are certain things we know for certain about the area of Cumorah in the Land Northward:
1. The hill Cumorah was many days travel from the Jaredite city of Moron (Ether 9:3);
2. Cumorah was west of the Jaredite hill Shim and a place called Ablom, which was by the East Sea (Ether 9:3)
3. The hill Cumorah was a significant or impressive landmark that the Lamanite king would know where it was and how to get to it (Mormon 6:3);
4. Located “so far northward” beyond the Land of Desolation (Alma 22:30);
5. Located in the Land Northward and north of the narrow neck of land, and north of the land of Desolation (Mormon Ch. 4, 5:3-7).
6. Located within a Land of Many Waters, rivers and fountains (Mormon 6:4);
7. Large enough area to support at least 230,000 Nephite warriors, and their wives and children for four years (Mormon 6:5; compare 5:6);
8. Large enough for a battle to take place involving at least 230,000 Nephites and perhaps 300,000 Lamanites or more (Mormon 6:7-8)
9. Large enough mountain for 24 first day survivors to hide for the night without being detected by the Lamanites (6:11)
10. High enough for Mormon and his survivors to see the next day from the summit tens of thousands of dead bodies (Mormon 6:11);
11. Located in a volcano and earthquake land, with tall mountains “whose height was great” (Helaman 14:23)—the Land Northward had more damage from earthquake and volcano eruptions (3 Nephi 8:6,12,17,20).
12. We also might add, that since at least a couple of hundred thousand people died in and around this mountain, it might be assumed and rightfully so, that this area, and even this mountain, would have held some significance to later generations, no doubt some spiritual relationship or ritual value. Keep in mind, that this mountain would have been the scene of a tremendous, unparalleled Lamanite victory over a 1000-year-long hereditary enemy, as well as the site of thousands of Lamanite dead.
    These eleven descriptive scriptural references and one clearly defined premise give us an understanding of the hill Cumorah as well as providing the means by which to determine its whereabouts.
(See the next post, In Search of Cumorah – Part VI,” for more information these 12 points or criteria used in the scriptural record to describe the physical arrangement and facts surrounding the scriptural hill Cumorah/Jaredite Ramah)


  1. The Land of Cumorah would also have been, quite literally, the end of the road. It likely would have been the northern terminus of the Nephite highway system. It should be the natural location where a final migration or gathering would end up, because the road ends and there is nowhere reasonable left to go.

    I can't imagine why Mormon would arbitrarily select a hill and say, "let's make our last stand there." That's how I see it. But I could be wrong.

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    2. Todd, that is the way I see it too. The Nephites were driven until they had their backs to the wall. If there was another place to run they would have done it. There wasn't any other place to run. They obviously knew that Cummorah was their last hope of survival.

      That is why the North American and Meso theories fail so completely because it those case the Nephites would have had options. Not so in South America.

  2. I do not remember why they could not go to present day Columbia. What is that reason?