The Hill Cumorah Is the Hill Cumorah
by Don R. Hender
C O N T E N T S
Dr. Hugh Nibley & Dr. Sydney B. Sperry
Book of Mormon Catechism ~ 1886
Latest Word - 2004
I N T R O D U C T I O N
The Official Position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is that the church does not sanction any particular map of the Geography of the Book of Mormon. Because of that position, proponents of a limited Mesoamerican geography model of the Book of Mormon have determined that the Hill Cumorah of the Book of Mormon is located in Centeral or Mesoamerica. In propounding this theory, they make such statements as the following. "Historical documents fail to indicate that church authorities have ever claimed that the lands of the Nephites were located in any particular place." (Mormon's Map by John L. Sorenson, page 5.) Yet I have given dozens. Thus they have taken license to manipulate all aspects of the geography of the Book of Mormon to fit their suggested Mesoamerican limited model. While not presenting a complete 'map' of the Book of Mormon lands, the church and church authorities have set forth at least one location for at least one of the Lands of the Nephites. Thus the quoted statement is misleading if not a fabrication.
The land site that has been supported by the Church and 'Church Authorties' is the site of the Hill Cumorah. I will provide those authorities and direct quotes from them which 'pin point' the Hill Cumorah of the Nephites in the Book of Mormon as being the exact same Hill Cumorah where Joseph Smith removed the Golden Plates he received from Moroni in Palmyra, New York. Yet these Mesoamerican proponents have had the same access as I to the records. They even quote from them and say why they do not accept these statements but propose their own logic and opinion. The justification for parting from authoritative statements is often cited as stemming from such a logic and point of view as stated by Joseph Fielding Smith.
"STANDARD WORKS JUDGE TEACHINGS OF ALL MEN.It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it aside. My words, and the teaching of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them. Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man's doctrine."
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 3: 203.)
While there is good logic here, of measuring teachings by way of it being 'couched' in the scriptures, there is also a dangerous endless cycle that can be obtained by this course of reasoning. That is, if a 'revelation' comes from God by one in proper authority, such as the Prophet; that new and current revelation supercedes what may or may not have been conveyed in the scriptures prior to that revelation. Other wise you are caught up in the eternal round of judging new current relative revelation by differnt past circumstance and the the relative words of past direction relatve to the past. One such example is one of the latest revelations from God regarding who may today receive the blessings of being ordained to the priesthood. Now you cannot circumvent that new revelation by soley basing an analysis of it upon scriptures and doctrines of the past. That is 'new' revelation from God and God's prophets obviously must over rule any past statements. If not, we would all still be bound by the law of animal sacrifice. Because that law was superceded by the advent of Christ upon the earth fulfilling it with the presentation of his gospel which to those of the 'Old Testament' was a 'New Testament' or new revelation on God's will and men's performances.
It is of interest that it is Joseph Fielding Smith's quote that is used to present an assumed right to 'quibble' with what has been taught by Church Authorities. Quibble means to evade by use of argument what had been before stated. In its negative sense, it is a form of rationalization, which enables one to avoid the direct consequence of a pronouncement. Jospeh Fielding Smith refers to those who quibble over such 'authoritative' statements that state clearly that the Hill Cumorah of the Book of Mormon is the same as the Hill Cumorah in Palmyra, New York as 'quibblers.' ('Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. III, page 236.)
As indicated by its title and topics in the table of contents, this presentation will be in support of the fact simply stated that 'Cumorah is Cumorah.' It will consider this from various points of reference. It will present 'scriptural support' for this obvious conclusion. It will present 'revelation support' for this obvious conclusion. It will present 'authoritative support' for this obvious conclusion. It will present 'doctrinal support' for this obvious conclusion. It will present 'logical support' for this obvious conclusion. Finally it will present 'miscellaneous support' for this obvious conclusion. And then, after the supportive evidences have been presented, it will leave the conclusion up to the reader.
Now, as to any support that Cumorah is not Cumorah, I can't in honesty present that information here. First, I don't believe it. At this point it would take a revelation for me to believe it. And since I do not believe it, I would not take it upon myself to represent it fairly. Second, there are those who apparently do believe it, as the limited Mesoamerican model does have its supporters. FARMS seems to be one group associated with BYU and the Church indirectly, who does support such a concept that Cumorah is not Cumorah. And they would more than likely do a much better job of presenting their own reasoning than I who am unable to follow their reasoning.