Talk:Cumorah

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What "Faithful LDS" believe[edit]

Faithful Latter Day Saints believe that Smith was instructed by the angel to return the plates to the hill Cumorah. Actually, regardless of what Journal of Discourses says about "Cumorah's Cave," LDS are taught that the plates were returned to Moroni. No specifics are taught regarding where they were returned to Moroni. Stating that "Faithful Latter-day Saints" believe that they were returned to a cave in Cumorah is incorrect. Bochica 04:47, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

I made a somewhat extensive edit, I hope everyone's alright with the changes... as to the "Faithful LDS" concern, I think we're safe to just say "Latter Day Saints" (I made the change, hope that's alright), and I'll edit to reflect that concern. gdavies 08:40, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Saying that the plates were returned to the hill is inferred, there is no record of that in the Book of Mormon. Moroni was commanded by his father to retrieve the plates and complete the record. He was alone for around 30 years and then buried them.

Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith said that he believed the hill cumorah where the battle took place was a completely different hill than where the great and tremendous battle took place. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 174.23.181.188 (talk) 22:28, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Desolation[edit]

The article currently says:

"Earlier in the Book of Mormon, during the time of the Book of Alma, this land (of Cumorah) was known as Desolation, "the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken". This land is identified as being north of the land of Zarahemla."

I think this is an (unjustifiable) assumption. The citation doesn't quite make this connection clearly... The LGM isn't cut and dried archeology yet, the hill Cumorah (lookout hill) is west of La Venta, generally looked at by LDS scholars as one of the abandoned Jaredite cities (desolation). "Desolation" could very well include the hill Cumorah, the land Cumorah (we have no idea just how much land is referred to as this "land" in the Book of Mormon), Tres Zapotes and San Lorenzo. Maybe the sentence could read something to the effect of "LDS scholars have said that the hill Cumorah was in the land of Desolation, 'the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken.'" Since we don't know just how extensive either area was, it's safest to say that the hill was in the desolation without commenting on how extensive either "land" might have been. gdavies 21:24, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

True, we don't know how extensive either land was. Because of your comment/question, I researched this topic and came up with these relevant citations:
  • And 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. (Mormon 6:2)
  • And it came to pass that the army of Coriantumr did pitch their tents by the hill Ramah; and it was that same hill where my father Mormon did ahide up the records unto the Lord, which were sacred. (Ether 15:11)
  • AND now it came to pass that in the three hundred and sixty and third year the Nephites did go up with their armies to battle against the Lamanites, out of the land Desolation. (Mormon 4:1)
  • And it 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, of whose bones we have spoken, which was discovered by the cpeople of Zarahemla, it being the place of their dfirst landing. (Alma 22:30)
  • And now, it was only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward. (Alma 22:31)
  • And it came to pass that I did cause my people that they should gather themselves together at the land Desolation, to a city which was in the borders, by the narrow pass which led into the land southward. (Mormon 3:5)
  • And it came to pass that they did not head them until they had come to the borders of the land Desolation; and there they did head them, by the narrow pass which led by the sea into the land northward, yea, by the sea, on the west and on the east. (Alma 50:34)
  • And it came to pass that Hagoth, he being an exceedingly curious man, therefore he went forth and built him an exceedingly large ship, on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation, and launched it forth into the west sea, by the narrow neck which led into the land northward. (Alma 63:5)
These are summaries of the information in these citations relevant to the topic of discussion:
  1. The land is still called Desolation in Mormon's time.
  2. The line that separated Bountiful from Desolation is the narrow neck of land.
  3. The land of Desolation is where the bones of the Jaredites were found.
  4. The hill that the Nephites called Cumorah was the same hill that the Jaredites called Ramah, where they pitched their tents.
  5. The Jaredites fought their battle near Ramah because they slept in their tents each night after the day's battle.
  6. The land around the hill Cumorah is also called Cumorah.
From these summaries, I conclude that the land of Desolation is a larger land that includes the land of Cumorah. That Desolation is north of Zarahelma isn't in these citations, but I haven't looked up those citations at this time. However, this paragraph does need to be rewritten, with proper citations, so that the current connections in this paragraph are supported. Please comment, whether you agree or disagree. Val42 00:13, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
I totally agree, makes sense to me. Thanks for doing the research (that I wimped out on)... the paragraph just struck me as a little to "cut and dried" for Book of Mormon archeology... avoiding OR on this subject can be very difficult. gdavies 00:41, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

I think I will remove this page from my watchlist before my brain gets fried PalX 13:08, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Large, unexplained deletions[edit]

Please, if an editor wishes to make a large deletion from this article, discuss it here first. There have been recent large deletions by an editor with little explanation other than he says material is "not factual". (The deleted material is referenced and deals with proposed sites for Cumorah in Mesoamerica. The article is clear that this is a proposal from a believing LDS scholar and not a statement of fact.) –SESmith 23:22, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Mention of "mainstream" archaelogical opinion in lead paragraph[edit]

... is simply not necessary when discussing what the Book of Mormon claims the word to mean. We have wikilinks, and anyone who wishes can research what the Book of Mormon is, how reliable a guide to archaelogy it is, and who the purported Nephites and Lamanites are. Every damn article that mentions the BOM doesn't need to lead with the statement that "mainstream archaeologists say this is bunk". Enough, already. The paragraph is about a hill — one factual in New York — one (probably) fictional, spoken of in a storybook. Readers can figure out the distinction. Snocrates 10:41, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, I've mellowed since my agitated "outburst" above and as I've thought about it I can see that this isn't as big a deal as I was making it out to be. I've tried to forge a bit of compromise statement in the lead, mentioning that while Mormon scholars have debated the precise location of the hill mentioned in the book, mainstream scholars haven't expressed opinions on that because they generally don't accept the book to be historical. Snocrates 21:40, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you, I think that is sensible formulation. I do think this caveat, or something similar, should be placed in any article (historical, scientific or literary) which is written on the basis of a worldview that has limited acceptance. LeContexte (talk) 22:38, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Possible location in Canada[edit]

There is another proposed geographical interpretation, which is that the whole action in the Book of Mormon takes place between 40 and 45 degrees north and 75 and about 83 degrees west, centered on the Smith home, and that the land Bountiful is western New York State and the land Desolation is southern Ontario. By this theory the hill Cumorah, formerly Ramah, was at the Rama Indian Township near Orillia, Ontario. Joseph Smith reportedly said in his youth that he had heard about a Golden Bible discovered in Canada, and that gave him the idea for a tall tale. J S Ayer (talk) 03:10, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

If the third paragraph of the article, and the third and fourth up from the bottom, are germane, so is this point. Besides, deleting another contributor's comment is improper. J S Ayer (talk) 23:53, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Is there a published reliable source for this theory as it relates to the hill Cumorah? Thanks, Alanraywiki (talk) 01:17, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but it may take me some days to get the bibliographic details. J S Ayer (talk) 00:34, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
There's no rush with an encyclopedia. It's more important to have good references. Thanks, Alanraywiki (talk) 00:44, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Two-Cumorah Speculation[edit]

The hill Cumorah has absolutely NO significance outside of the Mormon faith. So the authoritative 'facts' concerning this hill should be coming from the Church's claims first. After that should come the speculative beliefs from the 'two-Cumorah' camp. When I came to this article today (Nov 2008) it was soaked from top to bottom with the two-Cumorah theories. I did not remove the two-Cumorah theories because they do have a place here, but I tried to cast them in a less POV light. The story of hill Cumorah is the story told by the Church. Just because extreme advances in goegraphy and geology have made the Church's still-unchanged version less likely does not give license to overpower the Church's still existing position with the 'New, Improved, More Enlightened' theory that there must be two Cumorahs. Joe Hepperle (talk) 22:44, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

F. Michael Watson statement[edit]

This is concerning the line in the article that states the church has "left the door open to alternative theories as to the location of Cumorah."

The source of this statement is a letter from F. Michael Watson, the First Presidency's secretary, as a follow up to the first letter (also cited in the article and available in full text) that specifically identifies Cumorah NY with the Book of Mormon's Cumorah.

The exact text of the quote from Watson is:

"The Church emphasizes the doctrinal and historical value of the Book of Mormon, not its geography. While some Latter-day Saints have looked for possible locations and explanations because the New York Hill Cumorah does not readily fit the Book of Mormon description of Cumorah, there are no conclusive connections between the Book of Mormon text and any specific site."

I have two objections to the line in the article:

1) The quote simply does not contain support the idea that the church is specifically open to re-identifying Cumorah. It only summarizes the motives of those Mormons who are attempting re-identification. True it states "no conclusive connections" but I can't take that to be equivalent to the church re-identifying Cumorah or being "open to" re-identifying Cumorah, because the initial identification with NY in the 1990 was never done on the basis of "conclusive connections," just church history and General Authority statements. So again, the comment reflects the current archaeological/apologetic scene, not necessarily more.

2) I am VERY uncomfortable with using a quote from a letter whose text is not avaiable, especially when the extract has been selected by an apologetic writer from FARMS. (W. J. Hamblin writing in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies). Just what else did the letter contain? Does it reflect personal correspondence or correspondence with the First Presidency (like the 1990 letter)? Is it signed differently? Is there a disclaimer at the beginning? Is there other material that is more clear that Hamblin is not including?

Compare this concern with the Book of Abraham apologetics of John Gee. Robert Ritner in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies exposed that Gee (again writing for FARMS) was deceptively quoting texts not publicly available.

Conclusion: If my only objection was the first, I would change the line to state the church emphasizes the doctrinal/historical value of the book (surely such statements are available in multitudes anyway), but my second objection precludes me from doing that. A different source can be found, if such a line needs to be included there at all.

Carneadiiz (talk) 02:59, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

I agree with you that at this point we shouldn't reference the 2nd Watson letter. We could theoretically say that Hamblin has stated that Watson made such-and-such a statement in line with your #1, but at that point doing so is going to get pretty confusing and removed from the actual source. Better to just get a source that says it, if we want that information in the article. But I don't think a source to that effect will be readily available, since the LDS Church doesn't seem to care much about the issue one way or the other. Pretty much a non-issue as far as this article is concerned, and I agree with your removing it. Good Ol’factory (talk) 04:58, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
I corrected the article to reflect the LDS Church's OFFICIAL position on the matter. I used the second Watson letter as a source, however I agree that a more firm source does need to be found. The first Watson letter is NOT a "General Authority statement" nor does it conform to the LDS Church's official position, therefore I think it's intentionally misleading to use it as a source. I will continue to search, as well as I am able, for a more concrete statement from LDS officials to use as a proper source. I also reorganized the article's layout to be more clear and readable.---Puff (talk) 23:50, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Why did you delete the "Guide to the Scriptures" reference from lds.org? Good Ol’factory (talk) 23:59, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
The text of the Guide to the Scriptures page does not explicitly state that the New York and Nephite hills are one and the same. There is a weak implication to that effect, however with all of the ambiguity and confusion on the subject, an implication is not enough to be considered a proper reference. I will freely admit that numerous LDS leaders have said that they are the same hill, however that doesn't make it the official position of the church until it is reviewed and authorized by the First Presidency and then published publicly as such. Especially in religious contexts, it can be incredibly difficult to divine between what people say and what is considered official. I'm hoping to find a primary source that is explicit on the matter, but have not had much luck so far.---Puff (talk) 23:28, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
That's fine. I wondered myself if there was a bit of WP:OR at work. I think that citation could be included if we had a secondary source claiming that the church says they are the same (based on the Guide to the Scriptures), but just as a self-standing reference I don't think it's appropriate. Good Ol’factory (talk) 23:47, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Cumorah is also a land and the Hill Shim may not be Ramah[edit]

I believe that it is a good idea to explain in the opening paragraph that Cumorah is a Book of Mormon land, not just a hill. The opening paragraph seemed to equate the Hill Shim with the Hill Ramah – prove it! Also no summary on Cumorah can be complete without citing D&C 128:20, which it appears has been avoided, neglected or deemphasized on this page up till now! I have also added (in the opening paragraph) some pertinent quotes by LDS general authorities on the subject. Onondaga (talk) 00:36, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

copied from User talk:Onondaga: "Hi, please do not add original research to the above article. For an explanation of what that means, see Wikipedia:No original research. If we have a source that speaks of the actual geographical location where LDS Church leaders have claimed the Book of Mormon land of or hill Cumorah is located, then we can add a discussion of it to the article using these secondary sources. Merely quoting primary sources that you have located yourself isn't the way it is done on Wikipedia. This article has been plagued with similar problems in the past, and I suggest we avoid repeating those same mistakes." Onondaga (talk) 02:48, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Hi back,

There is not a single instance of original research in my contribution to the openning paragraph. So the hill Shim is the same as the hill Ramah huh? Now there is a likely instance of original research! I am more than willing to discuss each and every additional citation with you. Don't you think the D&C 128:20 deserves to be cited? How did that get overlooked? Please stop removing my contributions! 98.202.166.91 (talk) 03:20, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Do you understand what original research means? If what you have added is not original research, why haven't you cited secondary sources at all? All your sources are primary—e.g., the quotes from J.F. Smith and Petersen. That's why it looks like obvious original research. The fact that you can find other original research in the article is not a justification for you adding your own. It's a justification for removing it too. Good Ol’factory (talk) 03:44, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

DC 128[edit]

As for DC 128:20—I would think it "deserves" to be mentioned if you can find a source that mentions it in the context of discussing the hill in NY or the Book of Mormon place. You're essentially using it to "prove" that LDS scripture says that the hill in NY and the Book of Mormon place are the same, but that's original research. It can just as easily be read as referring simply to the hill in NY where Smith said he found the gold plates, since by the time DC 128 was written the hill was being called "Hill Cumorah"—Mormons had referred to the hill in NY by that name since 1829! I have rephrased it to include the quote without a biased commentary one way or the other—just said that Joseph Smith wrote a letter which said the church received "glad tidings from Cumorah". Without a secondary source, it's for readers, not Wikipedians, to decide what it means. Good Ol’factory (talk) 03:53, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

I will gladly supply secondary sources. The quotations I have contributed are much discussed in literature on this topic. It is interesting to note, and is pointed out in at least one source that Joseph Smith never uses the expression “Hill Cumorah” in D&C 128:20. He simply says “Cumorah”. Many immediately presume this refers to the hill, forgetting that Cumorah is also a land in “a land of many waters, rivers and fountains”. The verse goes on to relate the voice from Cumorah to Moroni declaring the fulfillment of the prophets, which we have an account of happening in the Smith family home. Any way this subject is interesting to me and I will certainly get back with secondary sources, though I believe that the LDS general authorities should stand as secondary sources on this topic. Unless someone can prove from LDS scripture that Shim is one and the same as Ramah, (or at least reference some ones published speculation) you can expect that I will remove this in the future. Thanks. 98.202.166.91 98.202.166.91 (talk) 04:24, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Quotes of those opposing the limited geography model[edit]

The Hamblin article (cited currently in the article) discusses why it's a flawed argument to claim support for opposition to the limited geography model by citing a few general authorities, such as Lee, Smith, and McConkie. He points out that other general authorities support the two Cumorahs theory and that an article on the limited geography model has been published in an official church magazine, etc. The additions you've added essentially emphasise the fact that Smith & McConkie and others have opposed it. This is an illustration of what can happen when you perform original research. Good Ol’factory (talk) 04:10, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

My purpose is not to oppose the concept of a Limited geography for the Book of Mormon. I realize that Joseph Fielding Smith, for instance, advocated a hemispheric model. I cite him for what he had to say about Cumorah in western New York. I simply believe that it is important to show our readers up front that all Church authorities are not indifferent to or else go along with the “two Cumorah” theory. If someone wants to quote LDS authorities that support this hypothesis, I will not be deleting their contributions. I believe that it is honest, fair and informative to balance references to two-Cumorah theory with opposing views. The statements of LDS Church Authorities which I have given are in my opinion adequate second hand references, but I can easily cite other authors citing and commenting on them. 98.202.166.91 (talk) 04:42, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately it's OR unless they have been quoted in sources that discuss this topic. Good Ol’factory (talk) 05:07, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

230,000[edit]

Previously, Cumorah was described as the place where 250,000 Nephite soldiers were killed. I have changing this number to 230,000 which better matches Mormon 6:11-15.

Hey, the latest improvements to the introductory section are not bad! I am prepared to supplement these with secondary sources.

Thanks, Onondaga (talk) 18:12, 23 October 2009 (UTC)


I have a question.

Some time ago I sent a letter to Michael Watson inquiring about the authenticity of the letter to Bishop Brooks. I got a very curious response which only indirectly answered my question. Are we certain that we have a current, first hand statement by the First Presidency taking no position on the location of Cumorah, or do we just have Elder Watson backing off on the subject? What do we know for sure? 98.202.166.91 (talk)

Getting Better[edit]

As much as I appreciated the recent improvements to the introductory section, there remained a few places needing additional detail and clarification. I have left all the previous references in place and have supplied secondary source material as requested. Also, many suppose, without really looking into it, that the setting for the Book of Mormon is only a Mormon issue (controversy). Mainstream scholars of American History and specialists in 19th Century American literature also have something to say on the subject.

My inquiry still stands: Can anyone produce a verifiable statement from the First Presidency expressing uncertainly about the location of scriptural Cumorah? In the past, members of the First Presidency, while remaining ambiguous about Book of Mormon Geography in general, have nevertheless been definite about Cumorah.

Thanks, Onondaga (talk) 16:06, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

More on the hill Shim and the hill Ramah[edit]

The opening sentence of the section on the Jaredites previously read: “This hill known as "Cumorah" among the Nephites was called "Shim" and "Ramah" by the Jaredites:” Yet another attempt to equate “Shim” with “Ramah”. We read about the hill “Shim” in Mormon 1:3. We read in Mormon 4:23 that Mormon removed the records from this location and later secreted them in the hill Cumorah (Ramah). I believe these verses show the hills Shim and Ramah to be separate and distinct. I have removed the mention of Shim from the opening sentence and added clarifying verses at the end of the section. Onondaga (talk) 20:23, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Small and simple things[edit]

I have made some minor improvements to the accuracy of the article including, for instance, in the section on Mainstream archaeological view. I have specified the New World setting for the Book of Mormon. Old World Jerusalem is, of course, one of the places mentioned in the Book of Mormon accepted by Modern Archaeology. Onondaga (talk) 21:46, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Isle of “Grade Comore”, port city “Moroni”[edit]

In the section on the alternative origin of the name “Cumorah”, I have cited several LDS authors who challenge the William’s document tradition which alleges a Pacific Ocean crossing for Lehi’s company. One author in particular addresses the issue of the Isle of Grande Comore, arguing that the name of its capital port city, “Moroni”, is in fact a Semitic name. Onondaga (talk) 23:20, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

New York “hill of Cumorah”[edit]

I have contributed additional references to the New York section. There are second hand accounts of Joseph and the angel referring to the place where the plates were deposited as the “hill of Cumorah” meaning hill of the land Cumorah, but there seems to be no firsthand statement by Joseph Smith specifically calling the hill, the Hill Cumorah. Onondaga (talk) 00:33, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

”no official claim of correspondence”[edit]

I have no problem with the statement in the opening paragraph that the LDS Church “has no official position on the geography of the Book of Mormon”. I understand that the Church has had this position for some time. I do not think it means that the First Presidency are now as open to the interesting Malay peninsula setting as they are any other geography for the Book of Mormon. Though I cannot produce a current, official Church statement endorsing Book of Mormon geography “somewhere in the Americas”, I’m convinced this is still basically the Church’s position. I’m not about to argue that the lack of a current statement from the First Presidency now means that we can consider the Malay hypothesis on equal standing with American settings. Personally I think the Malay model has things going for it that Central and South American schemes do not – but that's just me. Maybe you can see then why I am a little bothered by the next line in the opening paragraph which reads: “…nor is there currently any official claim of correspondence between the hill mentioned in the Book of Mormon and the hill in New York.” In the not too distant past, members of the First Presidency, I believe, held the same Book of Mormon cartography position, while being rather definite about at least one New World Book of Mormon/D&C location - Cumorah. Unless someone can produce a current statement by the First Presidency (not Elder Watson) that augments the Church’s previous position to an even wider degree of ambiguity, showing for instance, deference to the idea that the Cumorah mentioned in the Book of Mormon is for some reason, not the same as the Cumorah mentioned in the Doctrine and Covenants – showing “open mindedness” to various Cumorah theories and geographies (possibly even the Malay hypothesis) - unless this is the case, I’m inclined to remove the bit about no “official claim of correspondence between the hill mentioned in the Book of Mormon and the hill in New York.” I think that the statement that there is no official position on Book of Mormon geography suffices for the article. I’m not for trying to lend acceptability to a particular theory based on the absence of an official statement!

For your consideration, Onondaga (talk) 16:22, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

RLDS Limited Mesoamerican theory[edit]

The RLDS were the first that I know of to propose a Mexican/Mesoamerican Cumorah early in the 20th Century (1917). Unlike LDS who accept Joseph Smith’s Fall 1842 epistles on the subject of baptism for the dead as doctrinally binding upon the Church, RLDS regard these epistles as only historically significant and place them in the appendix of their version of the Doctrine and Covenants. It is in Joseph Smith’s epistle to the Church on baptism for the dead (Sept 6th, 1842; see LDS D&C 128:20) that Cumorah is mentioned. Kovesh (talk) 19:21, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Comparable Finds in Northeastern America. No long journey involved.[edit]

I added references to non-LDS archaeologist Trento and LDS apologist Coon in the introductory section, regarding comparable finds (engravings on stone and metal) in the 19th century American frontier. Onondaga (talk) 18:41, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Another explanation for link of Cumorah and Africa[edit]

http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/response/qa/bom_plagerize_moronicumorah.htm

If it's valid add it. if there are additional citable sources, then quote it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 174.52.35.223 (talk) 06:47, 28 January 2011 (UTC)