The Near Cumorah Setting
From ample archaeological evidence, it appears the lands of western and central New York were once occupied by ancient civilizations. The question that must be asked is–did they belong to the Nephites and Jaredites of the Book of Mormon?In 1812, De Witt Clinton, Governor of New York State said:
“Previous to the occupancy of this region by the progenitors of the present race of Indians, it was inhabited by a race of men much more populace, and more advanced in civilization. Who they were, whence they came, and whither they went, have been the themes of speculation by learned antiquarians, who have failed to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion.” (O. turner, History of the Holland Land Purchase of Western New York, p.20.)
He said in another speech to the Historical Society of New York:
“Why have we no history of such a nation as must have inhabited this part of the world? Probably if a knowledge of these ancient people is ever obtained, it will be derived from inscriptions on stone or metals which have withstood the rust of time.” (E. B. O’Callaghan, The History of the State of New York.)
AND SO IT HAS–a story taken from golden plates, which did indeed withstand the rust of time, plates given over to the Prophet Joseph Smith by the Angel Moroni, the last Nephi prophet who had charge over them, who then translated them by the power of God into The Book of Mormon.
The Book of Mormon is more than a historical record of the ancient Nephite civilization, it is the record of the Savior’s visit to His New World flock after His death and resurrection. Thus the land He walked on in the New World is just as sacred as those He walked in the old world. It is no wonder so many people keep searching for it.
Gratefully, enough research has emerged in the past few decades to conclude that the ancient lands of the Book of Mormon existed in the regions around the Hill Cumorah –
Evidence of an Ancient Exterminating War
Most scholars now agree that not only did a highly advanced civilization of white people occupy western New York, but they left evidence of a long exterminating war behind. The historian O. Turner said:
“We are surrounded by evidence that a race preceded the present Indians, farther advanced in civilizations and the arts, and far more numerous. . . . Then as now the western portion of New York state had attractions and inducements to make it a favorite residence of this ancient people,. . . made this their refuge in a war of extermination, fortified the commanding eminences, met the shock of a final issue, were subject to this adverse result. . . . The evidence that this was one, at least, of their final battlefields, predominate. They are the fortifications, entrenchments and warlike instruments of an extinct race.”That here was war of extermination, we may well conclude, from masses of human skeletons we find indiscriminately thrown together, indicating a common and simultaneous sepulcher from which age, infancy, sex and no condition, was exempt. (O. Turner, Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase of Western New York, pp. 18-19, emphasis added.)
While archaeologists find evidence of a battle of extermination in the regions around Cumorah, the question arises about whether it was the exterminating war of the Nephites, or some other ancient people?
While the details of the various lands described in the Book of Mormon have been lost to us these many years, after twenty years of research the ancient landscape, including its hydrology, archaeology and geography, the lands of western New York meet all the requirements needed to be the actual homeland of the ancient people of the Book of Mormon.
The Nephite Saga
The saga played out in the Book of Mormon revolves chiefly around the lineal descendants of Lehi and his family (Later called Nephites after Lehi’s son Nephi) who escaped destruction in Jerusalem around 600 B.C.–the very time a new people show up in western New York referred to in the archaeological record as the Point Peninsula culture.
Follow their migration and settlement into the promised land in the following video. A more comprehensive view of the Near Cumorah Setting is found below.
The Full Near Cumorah Setting
It is obvious that not all the Nephites remained in New York. Thus, the next video takes us beyond the bounds of Book of Mormon territory and into the Hopewell Mound culture of Ohio and Illinois where we can finally gain some sense of just how the Hopewell are tied to the people of the Book of Mormon. Olaf Prufer maintains that “Hopewell elements were something added to pre-existing local cultures, with these changes the link that gave to the rise of the Hopewell sometime between 100-50 B.C.-not 600 B.C. as some have suggested.
Moreover, the skull type of the majority of the Hopewell was bracycephalic, or round, a skull type more in keeping with the Mulekites and various Celtic tribes than the Long headed Nephites of New York, which would include their offshoot Indian descendants, such as the Iroquois, who have the traditional long, narrow skull type of all the Semitic tribes of Shem.
Opposing Theories -In Defense of Cumorah
Deseret News published an article a year or so ago about a war going on between Book of Mormon geographers, a war which I have avoided like the plague, for contention is not the way of the Lord. Yet anti-Mormon antagonists keep fueling the flame and continually pitting one against the other. Because of some health issues, I have not had the privilege of speaking out in public forums in favor of the Near Cumorah Setting, or promoting tours to BOM lands and popular Church sites. Yet, the differences between theories need to be addressed, for far too many searching for answers to the controversial subjects relevant to Book of Mormon geography find little time to search them out and weigh them one against the other.
The following video was created to show how different theorists view and interpret the scriptures. I in no way intend to demean or diminish the good intentions of those who favor other theories, some of which I consider friends, but to simply defend the Near Cumorah Setting as the most plausible location of Book of Mormon events.
DNA & The Book of Mormon
Not only does the topography of New York fit the geographical descriptions given in the Book of Mormon, but recent DNA evidence now links many of the ancient occupants of the region to the Near East, which includes Israel, just as the Book of Mormon claims
The Lamanites After Cumorah
As wild as the more historic Iroquois have been described as being, they too prophets among them, just like their Lamanite ancestors did, such as Samuel the Lamanite Prophet who was sent to call the wayward Nephites to repentance by the Creator around 5 B.C., just prior to the Savior’s visit.
The Prophesied Coming of Christ weaves together prophesies from the Book of Mormon, Native American Prophesies, and Latter-day prophesies to help the reader understand more clearly about America’s coming storm and what lay ahead for both the righteous and the wicked. Whatever means the Lord chooses to destroy the ungodly before His Second Coming, we must trust that the righteous will be spared. Thus, we must not fear or wallow in despair.
While the battle between good and evil continues to escalate, we must remember that God is at the helm. This is His war, not ours, and His strategies are not always ours to understand. Thus, we must trust in His mighty arm, and in His promise that the righteous need not fear if they are prepared physical, spiritually, and temporally, and let God direct His work in His own way, and in His own good time. Find at Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Prophesied-Coming-Christ-Latter-day-Prophecies/
For the fascinating saga of the Jaredites flight from Babylon and their journey across the sea to the promised land click on the link to our sister website below.
The Jaredites ://http://bookofmormonlands2.com
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