Thursday, October 18, 2018

Are Theorists’ Statements and Claims Accurate and Consistent with Scripture? – Part VI

Continuing from the previous post regarding how any theorist can pick and choose any place to fit his or her idea of the location of the Land of Promise. All that is needed is to ignore the precise and clear language of Mormon, Nephi, Jacob and Moroni, or by changing the meaning, and even the wordage of the scriptural record.
Red Circle: The drumlin hill in western New York known today as the Hill Cumorah, is a short, smooth, rolling hill of limited size
As stated earlier, since so many of the Heartland and Great Lakes theorists want to claim the drumlin hill in western New York, now known as the hill Cumorah as the hill written about and described in the Book of Mormon, it seems worthwhile to remind our readers that just because the Plates were located by Joseph Smith deposited in the hill in western New York, that is not proof that it was where he hid up the records in the ground during or just after 421 AD.
    However, the reality of this is simply that by the time Moroni got around to finishing his writing on the plates, it was 36 years after the final battle at Cumorah that saw the destruction of the Nephite Nation, some 230,000 fighting men, plus their wives and children—a figure that could easily have reached half a million or more Nephites. As Moroni clearly states, the Lamanites who annihilated this last Nephite army and people, were half crazed with the fever of killing and battle, and hunted down any Nephite that escaped from their grasp at Cumorah and survived the battle, no matter how far they had to go to find them—even tracking down and killing those Nephites who had escaped into the south countries (Mormon 6:15).
    As Moroni stated fifteen years after that final battle: “Behold, four hundred years have passed away since the coming of our Lord and Savior. And behold, the Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more; and great has been their fall; yea, great and marvelous is the destruction of my people, the Nephites” (Mormon 8:6-7).
    Unsatiated with killing, murder and bloodshed, Moroni informs us that after all the Nepihtes were killed off, the Lamanites were fighting one another in an all-encompassing civil war among themselves, and after fifteen years, there was no indication of it ending: “the Lamanites are at war one with another; and the whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war” (Mormon 8:8). Moroni goes on to tell us his plans: “And I am the same who hideth up this record unto the Lord; the plates thereof are of no worth, because of the commandment of the Lord. For he truly saith that no one shall have them to get gain; but the record thereof is of great worth; and whoso shall bring it to light, him will the Lord bless” (Mormon 8:14).
    Twenty-one years later, in 421 A.D., Moroni adds to his record, saying: “Now I, Moroni, after having made an end of abridging the account of the people of Jared, I had supposed not to have written more, but I have not as yet perished; and I make not myself known to the Lamanites lest they should destroy me” (Moroni 1:1). Evidently throughout that thirty-six years since the end of the war, he had been running and hiding to keep out of the sight and knowledge of the Lamanites, who were still ravaging the land with killing and bloodshed.
After annihilating the Nephite nation at Cumorah, the Lamanites began fighting among themselves in a very lengthy civil war

As he states: “For behold, their wars are exceedingly fierce among themselves; and because of their hatred they put to death every Nephite that will not deny the Christ,” adding, “And I, Moroni, will not deny the Christ; wherefore, I wander whithersoever I can for the safety of mine own life” (Moroni 1:2-3). He obviously, had been successful in keeping ahead of the Lamanites and off their radar, adding, “Wherefore, I write a few more things, contrary to that which I had supposed” (Moroni 1:4).
    Where Moroni was when he wrote those words beginning his own book at the end of the scriptural record is unknown. That he would have been far from Cumorah after thirty-six years of running and hiding is more than mere conjecture, for the land was still filled with warring and fighting Lamanites, whose final battles with the Nephites lasted some fifty-eight years (327-385), with another 36 years thereafter, making a total of 94 continuous years of fighting and bloodshed, with no end still in sight at the end of those 94 years. Obviously, Moroni was being extremely careful to keep himself away from this land where all the wars and fighting had and was still taking place.
    To think that Moroni was still in the area of the Hill Cumorah is simply foolhardy and thoughtless. Hiding from an enemy in open lands is based upon constant movement away from the area where such an overwhelming enemy is entrenched and is the center of their operations. That Moroni would have been far away from Cumorah should be well understood. Therefore, wherever he hid up the records, as he states, was unimportant: “Whether they will slay me, I know not, he wrote, “Therefore I will write and hide up the records in the earth; and whither I go it mattereth not” (Mormon 8:3-4).
    He was definitely alone (Mormon 8:3,7), and he wandered the land to stay away from the Lamanites and out of their knowledge, for they would have killed him. So where was he when he finally hid up the records? Frankly, no one knows but he and the Lord, and just as frankly, it does not matter. What matters is that when it came time for the record to come forth—some 1400 years later—the records were deposited in the hill in western New York where Moroni told Joseph Smith they were for him to obtain and translate. If the records Mormon tells us he hid in the hill Cumorah of the scriptural record are also buried in that hill in western New York, we have no knowledge and, as far as anyone knows, was not even disclosed to Joseph Smith.
    That he and a few others were allowed to see a vision of the cave where they were being held is of record, but where that cave was or now is, no one knows. It is not even known if it was actually a cave, except for it being described that way by Oliver Cowdery, who wrote that when Joseph Smith and he arrived to return the plates, "the hill opened, and they walked into a cave, in which there was a large and spacious room” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, June 17, 1877).
    Now, as we have earlier stated but needs repeating since it is critically important in dealing with the insistence that this was all in western New York, according to geologists, there could be no cave in the hill Cumorah in New York, because it is a drumlin hill, meaning it is basically made up of glacial till, which is a pebbly substance with no solidity, that was, and is, made up of a mixture of clay, sand, gravel and boulders, making it impossible for a cave to exist. While the Lord can do anything if He chooses, it is far more likely that the “room” Oliver said they saw, where the plates were deposited among “wagon loads of plates” or “books,” was likely seen within a vision of the place where these ancient Nephite records and objects were kept in the realm of the Lord.
The unsorted glacial till is not just a deposit on the surface, but is the makeup of the entire hill called a “drumlin,” and is the glacial drift material mostly derived from the subglacial erosion and entrainment by the moving ice of the glaciers, often referred to as “a pile of gravel scraped together by an ancient glacier”

That they were standing on the hill in western New York when the vision was opened to them is of little importance, since visions take their recipients to places they have never before been as is attested to by Nephi, who, when given the same vision his father had received, wrote: “as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot” (1 Nephi 11:1, emphasis added).
    Not only that, but when the Spirit said to look, Nephi looked “and beheld a tree; and it was like unto the tree which my father had seen; and the beauty thereof was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty; and the whiteness thereof did exceed the whiteness of the driven snow” (1 Nephi 11:8),[ and he said unto me: Look! And I looked as if to look upon him, and I saw him not; for he had gone from before my presence. And…I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white” (1 Nephi 11:12-13).
    Obviously, Nephi was not in Jerusalem, nor Nazareth, but it appeared to him as though he was. Such is the fiber and makeup of visions. Joseph Smith, or at least Oliver Cowdery, believed they had walked into a cave in the hill Cumorah, but they were caught up in a vision of a cave or more likely the “room” Oliver descries—with the location of the cave unknown to them then or later, for the vision began when the side of the hill Cumorah “opened to them” and they entered.
In the same way, the location of the depository where the plates were stored that Moroni hid is unknown to us. When they were needed in the hill in western New York, they were placed there for Joseph Smith to obtain. To claim anything more than that is pure speculation since Moroni never told us where he put them and he never told Joseph where they had been, only where they were at the time Joseph was needed to translate them.
    All of this merely shows that to choose a place where the plates were obtained by Joseph Smith, and later became known as the hill Cumorah in upstate New York, is hardly the basis of, or key to finding, the location of the Book of Mormon Land of Promise.
(See the next post, “Determining the Location of Cumorah – Part VII,” for more on these criteria as to how theorists place geographical features of the Land of Promise wherever they want them to be despite what the scriptural record tells us)


  1. Even if most Lamanites were not close to the hill Cumorah after the final battle with the Nephites, the place would be unbearable and very dangerous healthwise for a long time because of the multitude of dead bodies. There is no reason to believe the Lamanites would bury any Nephites because they continued in warfare. But it would be likely that some Lamanites would remain in places around the area to watch for Nephites returning.

    I have thought that Moroni must have somehow got on board a ship and traveled to Mesoamerica and then on to where President Young is claimed to have said that Moroni dedicated the future Manti temple site. And then on to New York where he buried the plates. But these ideas may be incorrect. The link below tells about the Brigham Young claim.

    Moroni, the Last of the Nephite Prophets

  2. Personally I think Moroni was translated and brought the plates to NY after he was translated. I believe he appeared to Joseph as a translated person too. Just my personal belief I guess.