The Hill Cumorah

While a definitive name for the Hill Cumorah may not have been included in various historical works, Joseph’s mother recalls him calling the place he retrieved the golden plates the Hill Cumorah shortly after his initial visits with the Angel Moroni who instructed Joseph to go and tell his father of the events of his visit. In the preliminary manuscript of the History of Joseph Smith by his mother, Lucy Mack Smith, she recalled that discussion as it was related to her and what the angel had said to Joseph about where to find the golden records of his people, saying:

“The record is on a side of the hill of Cumorah, three miles from this place. Remove the grass and moss, and you will find the record under it lying on four pillars of cement.” (The revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith, by his mother, Lucy Mack Smith, p. 107.) (Noted in Vincent Coon’s Choice Above All Other Lands, p.60.)

The following recollections of Lucy Mack Smith makes it clear that Joseph mentioned the Hill Cumorah more than once. She recalled him saying:

“As I passed by the hill of Cumorah, where the plates are, the angel met me and said that I had not been engaged enough in the work of the Lord; that the time had come for the record to be brought forth; and that I must be up and doing and set myself about the things which God had commanded me to do.” (History of Joseph Smith by His Mother Lucky Mack Smith, p. 100.)

Modern Prophets have also pronounce New York’s Hill Cumorah to be the very same Hill Cumorah noted in the Book of Mormon. Joseph Fielding Smith, tenth president of the Church, said:

“It is known that the Hill Cumorah where the Nephites were destroyed is the hill where the Jaredites were also destroyed. This hill was known to the Jaredites as Ramah. It was approximately near the waters of Ripliancum, which the Book of Ether says, ‘by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all.’

Mormon adds: ‘And it came to pass that 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; and here we had hope to gain advantage over the Lamanites” (Mormon 6:4).“It must be conceded that this description fits perfectly the land of Cumorah in New York, as it has been known since the visitation of Moroni to the Prophet Joseph smith. . . .

Moreover, the Prophet Joseph smith himself is on record definitely declaring the present hill called Cumorah to be the exact hill spoken of in the book of Mormon. Further, the fact that all of his associates from the beginning down have spoken of it as the identical hill where Mormon and Moroni hid the records must carry some weight. It is difficult for a reasonable person to believe that such men as Oliver Cowdery, Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, David Whitmer and many others, could speak frequently of the spot where the prophet Joseph Smith obtained the plates as the Hill Cumorah, and not be corrected by the Prophet, if that were not the fact. That they did speak of this hill in the days of the Prophet in this definite manner is an established record of history.“ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol, 3-p 234.)

With so much evidence to the contrary, why do Book of Mormon apologists who preach and teach a Mesoamerican setting for the Book of Mormon so readily discount the New York’s Hill Cumorah as the site of the final battles, suggesting instead that Mormon could have traveled a considerable distance during his 36 years of wandering to escape the Lamanites, and thus could ultimately made his way to modern New York where he buried the plates. Yet, there is no evidence of warfare in the mountains of Veracruz, supposing that to be the place of the exterminating battle of the Book of Mormon, according the John Sorenson who wrote:

Archaeological work done in the area where the final Nephite battles took place—supposing that to be around the Tuxla Mountains of Veracruz—is not sufficiently detailed to identify evidence of battles. Someday we’ll get a clearer picture; however, the story was no doubt complicated, as all wars are. (John Sorenson, An ancient American Setting, p. 132.)