Does the Geography of the Book of Mormon Matter?
By Rod Meldrum
“ The book is true no matter where it happened. Right ? This is a response I have heard many others say and one I have said myself many times. But reading in 3 Nephi this morning made me change my mind. I think the Book of Mormon geography does matter.
When Christ appeared to the Nephites as the resurrected Savior, He blessed them, He taught them He prayed with them and for them. He also quoted to them the words of Isaiah. He reminded them that they had been given THIS LAND for their inheritance and were warned that they would not be allowed to remain on THIS LAND if they did not remain faithful. This emphasis shows the significance of the LAND to the Book of Mormon people, and the people who would be brought by the hand of God to THIS LAND and now occupy THIS LAND.
Christ himself said, “great are the words of Isaiah” and He commanded the Nephites and all who read the Book of Mormon to search his words. If the words of Isaiah are great and we are commanded to read them and study them and ultimately understand them, then I believe we most certainly should understand where THIS LAND is and we should understand who the Lord is taking to when he talks about the inhabitants of THIS LAND . Because he is in fact talking directly to those who are on THIS LAND and if you don’t know where that is you can’t fully understand the message.
Does the geography of the Book of Mormon matter? With over 1400 references to “ this land ” in the Book of Mormon I’m not sure how the Book of Mormon prophets could have made it clearer. THIS LAND matters. Geography matters . Those of us on THIS LAND the “ promised land ,” the Land of Liberty, the Land of the New Jerusalem need to know who we are. America is THIS LAND . America is a covenant land. I live on THIS LAND . Even the chapter heading of 3 Nephi also confirms this truth.
Israel will be gathered when the Book of Mormon comes forth– The Gentiles will be established as a free people in America –They will be saved if they believe and obey; otherwise, they will be cut off and destroyed–Israel will build the New Jerusalem, and the lost tribes will return.
I am learning more each day about what the prophecies say about me, my fellow Gentiles and my House of Israel sisters and brothers on THIS LAND . I desire to understand my covenant that I have made with the Lord and the Book of Mormon is the “ voice crying from the dust ” helping me understand it. The geography of the Book of Mormon matters to me .” Rod Meldrum FIRM Foundation President
THIS LAND: Zarahemla and the Nephite Nation
by Wayne May and Edwin Goble. Published by Ancient American Archaeology Foundation P.O. Box 370, Colfax, Wisconsin 54730 www.ancientamerican.com
Only One Cumorah
“A major question in Book of Mormon studies is, “Where was the Land of Zarahemla really?” There can be no real Book of Mormon Archaeology until the true real-world setting of the Book of Mormon is identified. It will not do to just dig up any archaeological site in the Americas and call it a Book of Mormon site. There have been many theories in the past about this, but none has been able to answer the question to the satisfaction of the authors. The theory that is presented in this book harmonizes things that were previously misunderstood. This book shows that the Hill Cumorah where the Nephites were destroyed really was in New York, and that the heartland of the Nephite culture, being the Land of Zarahemla, was not too far from it.
For over 100 years, the majority of people did not doubt that Cumorah was really in New York, and the prophets were consistent in their teachings about that fact. (See our list of quotes at the end). The only thing that was ever in doubt was how far south the rest of the lands mentioned in the Book of Mormon were from Cumorah in New York. The popular theory that the Land Southward including Zarahemla was in Mesoamerica (Southern Mexico and parts of Central America) started in 1842 with some speculation in the church. Later, certain people identified the Isthmus of Panama as the “obvious” narrow neck mentioned in the Book of Mormon. From this promiscuous mix of speculation spawned the idea that the Book of Mormon Lands covered the whole hemisphere.
Then the Mesoamericanists came along with the idea of a theory that the Book of Mormon Lands only took up a few hundred miles. They believe that Cumorah and all the rest of the lands were actually down in Mesoamerica, so they have dispensed entirely with a Cumorah in New York State.
This book in no way represents the official position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This material is the result of painstaking research and the personal ideas of the authors, which we are solely responsible for. While our theory is different than most in many respects, we cannot take credit for all of the concepts in this book. Much of it builds on research of those who came before. We would like to give credit where credit is due.
First of all, thanks to the many hours of work from the Mesoamerican researchers, because one recognizes the Book of Mormon Lands didn’t take up the whole hemisphere. The text demands an introduction of a more limited area than that. Delbert Curtis was the first to recognize the Niagara Peninsula as the Narrow Neck of Land. He gave us a reason to “ Return to Cumorah .” He was one of the pioneers. It was truly unfortunate, however, that Curtis dismissed the Manti site in Missouri, which could have led him much further along to the whole picture. Duane Aston was the first to recognize that the word Niagara means “neck .” Duane Erickson was probably the first to break away from the extremely limited and untenable models of the New York Geographies. He paved the way for the more broad, but still limited, geographies that fit much better with the internal evidence from the Book of Mormon.
The broader limited geographies help one to understand how people could fill the whole face of the land. One can also understand how there was “an exceedingly great distance” between the Zarahemla/Nephi area and the Land of Many Waters, but it was still a relatively limited area. Duane Erickson was the first to recognize the Sidon as the Mississippi. We have built on his pioneering to demonstrate that the place name indeed shows this to be the case. Duane recognized that Zarahemla, Iowa mentioned in D&C 125 was the ancient site of Zarahemla as well, or at least, was in the area of it.
Ron and Jeff Garff were innovative enough to put this North American story with scriptural support on four video cassettes and make them available to the serious students of the Book of Mormon geography. A wealth of information was laid open for anyone searching for the lands of the Nephites.
Each researcher has had his or her part in putting together puzzle pieces for a true picture of geography. This book may consist of little bits of inspiration here and there. Even so, we do not know our thesis is correct. We cannot make any claims. All we know is that this theory feels right to us. We believe that our book has cemented these puzzle pieces into a coherent whole and added to them. Yet, we are always open to new information as it comes forth.
It is unfortunate that all past researchers have failed to deal with the Manti in Missouri site for one reason or another. Finally, the true nature of the head of the Sidon in its vicinity has been identified. The Manti site is at least as important as Cumorah in New York is. Without the Manti site in Missouri, one cannot come to a correct understanding of where the river Sidon or Land Southward is. We are able to show how that Manti fits with the internal evidences and how it also fits with Erickson’s Zarahemla site in Iowa.
Another of our contributions is to further solidify Duane Aston’s completed research on the meaning of the word Niagara; to leave no doubt as to the identity of that landmark as the Narrow Neck of Land. Our theory is the first to show how the whole Great Lakes System is the West Sea spoken of. We have shown that the ancients did not regard these as separate bodies of water, but as one great whole; for it was the “sea” that divided the land, not seas.
Further, we have paved the way for understanding how to correctly identify what evidences can be used in a plausible argument. We have shown that things must actually date to the correct time period. The mistake made by others was to not take into consideration artifact dating. We have shown things are controversial and have not been redeemed by science yet. We recognize that these cannot be regarded as evidence… yet.
In spite of that, the artifacts still demand further research and cannot be dismissed out of hand. They have a high probability of being real. Just test them is all we ask. This book shows that the Adena-Hopewell were indeed the Book of Mormon peoples.
It also shows that the artifacts one uses as potential Book of Mormon artifacts, must date to the right time period and be from the right area. Unlike previous researchers, we have directly challenged the notions of the Mesoamerican researchers. We have taken their dogmatism head-on, that it is impossible that Book of Mormon Lands could be in the Great Lakes region. Previous researchers have not dared take on the Mesoamericanists. They seem to pretend that there was no need to challenge them. They seem to believe that it was enough that prophets said Cumorah was in New York, so that was all the evidence they needed, when it was only one of the spices in the soup, not all of the ingredients. The fact is, if the Mesoamericanists are never directly challenged, their theory will always dominate the scholarly opinion in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If there is never a paradigm shift in the scholarly opinion of the Church towards a Great Lakes setting, the Church will forever be held in the clutches of an incorrect theory. If any revelation is ever to be had on the geography by a prophet to tell us finally how it is, surely some kind of research would have to come out some time beforehand to show the plausibility of such a revelation, to prepare the minds of the people for it. Otherwise, such a revelation would probably be doubted because “everybody knows it’s in Mexico.” Such a thing would be a preparatory work. We make no special claims, but we do see the potential need for such a thing. If so, perhaps this book will fill the void, and show the need for further research in this long-ignored area of North America. If the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) is going to spend large sums in their research in Mexico, all we ask is that they spend an equal amount of money on the United States. What they will find may surprise them. Perhaps they don’t take it seriously yet because of their pet theories. Eventually someone will have to give them a good enough reason.
Some people believe that the Lord doesn’t want anything to be found. Our conviction, on the other hand, is that the Lord has complete control over the evidence. They can only be found in His own due time. If we have found anything, it can only be because its time has come. It may be that it was always out there, and the time has just come for this data to be put together. The Lord may have been hiding it, and people’s minds simply needed to be opened to be able to see it.” Edwin G. Goble & Wayne N. May
3-Gifts for the New Heartlander for Christmas!
Along with “ THIS LAND: Zarahemla and the Nephite Nation ” by Wayne May and Edwin Goble, the other two books you should share for Christmas are: Exploring the book of Mormon in America’s Heartland by Rod Meldrum and Moroni’s America by Jonathan Neville. All available here at our bookstore:
Quotes from Apostles, Prophets, & Saints about
1. “I do not believe that the classrooms or the pulpits of our Church are for laboratory purposes in which to experiment with new doctrines and speculative notions. They are exclusively for the use of those who are willing to convert men and women and boys and girls to the truth. . . . I do not believe we should give credence to the highly speculative theories about Book of Mormon geography. I do not believe that there were two Hill Cumorahs, one in Central America and the other one up in New York, for the convenience of the Prophet Joseph Smith, so that the poor boy would not have to walk clear to Central America to get the gold plates. I do not believe we can be good Latter-day Saints and question the integrity of Joseph Smith. I do not believe we can be good Latter-day Saints and question the testimony of the eleven witnesses of the Book of Mormon. I do not believe you have a testimony of the truth if you question the accuracy of the translation of the Book of Mormon.” Mark E. Petersen LDS Conference Reports, Sunday afternoon, April 5, 1953
2. “…This modernistic theory of necessity, in order to be consistent, must place the waters of Ripliancum and the Hill Cumorah some place within the restricted territory of Central America, notwithstanding the teachings of the Church to the contrary for upwards of 100 years. Because of this theory some members of the Church have become confused and greatly disturbed in their faith in the Book of Mormon. It is for this reason that evidence is here presented to show that it is not only possible that these places could be located as the Church has held during the past century, but that in very deed such is the case… 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 to the waters of Ripliancum, which the Book of Ether says, “by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all… 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, for the hill is in the proximity of the Great Lakes and also in the land of many rivers and fountains. 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.” Doctrines of Salvation Joseph Fielding Smith Chapter 12
3. “The United States is the promised land foretold in the Book of Mormon—a place where divine guidance directed inspired men to create the conditions necessary for the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Elder L. Tom Perry Ensign Dec. 2012
4. “Both the Nephite and Jaredite civilizations fought their final great wars of extinction at and near the Hill Cumorah (or Ramah as the Jaredites termed it), which hill is located between Palmyra and Manchester in the western part of the state of New York. It was here that Moroni hid up the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. (Morm. 6; Ether 15.) Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and many of the early brethren, who were familiar with all the circumstances attending the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in this dispensation, have left us pointed testimony as to the identity and location of Cumorah or Ramah.” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 3, pp. 232-241.) (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine “CUMORAH,” 1966, p. 175)
5. “We visited the Hill Cumorah and were accorded the courtesy of going thereon by the wife of Mr. George Sampson, a brother of Admiral Wm. Sampson, who before his death owned the property. When we went up there and looked around, we felt that we were standing on holy ground. The brethren located, as near as they thought was possible, the place from which the plates of the Book of Mormon were taken by the Prophet. We were delighted to be there. Looking over the surrounding country we remembered that two great races of people had wound up their existence in the vicinity, had fought their last fight, and that hundreds of thousands had been slain within sight of that hill. Evidence of the great battles that have been fought there in days gone by are manifest in the numerous spear and arrow-heads that have been found by farmers while plowing in that neighborhood. We were fortunate enough to obtain a few of the arrowheads.” (George Albert Smith, Conference Report, April 1906, Third Day—Morning Session p. 56)
6. “Aug. 11, Wed: President McCune and I went early to the Grove. Later we were conveyed by auto to the Hill Cumorah by Brother Bean. We climbed the hill and traversed it back and fore and examined it with interest and care. It is the largest of the many glacial drumlins of the locality, and is the most prominent of all the elevations in the neighborhood. Aside from the fact that the plates of the Book of Mormon were taken from this hill, I was greatly interested in looking from its summit over the surrounding region and in contemplating the tremendous battle-scenes of the past, whereby first the Jaredites and later the Nephites were exterminated as nations. I believe the Book of Mormon account without reservation or modification. I believe, also, and express it as my personal conviction, that many ancient records, possibly those from which Mormon made his abridgment, are still concealed in that hill. I believe also that they will be brought forth in the Lord’s due time, and that until that time no man will succeed in finding them.” (James E. Talmage Journal Entries, 1920, pg 132-133; Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, BYU: MSS 229, Box 6, Folder 1, Journal 23.)
7. “Millennia ago he declared: “There shall none come into this land [he was speaking of America] save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord… In the western part of the state of New York near Palmyra is a prominent hill known as the “hill Cumorah.” (Morm. 6:6.) On July twenty-fifth of this year, as I stood on the crest of that hill admiring with awe the breathtaking panorama which stretched out before me on every hand, my mind reverted to the events which occurred in that vicinity some twenty-five centuries ago—events which brought to an end the great Jaredite nation… Thus perished at the foot of Cumorah the remnant of the once mighty Jaredite nation, of whom the Lord had said, “There shall be none greater … upon all the face of the earth.” (Ether 1:43.)… This second civilization to which I refer, the Nephites, flourished in America between 600 B.C. and A.D. 400. Their civilization came to an end for the same reason, at the same place, and in the same manner as did the Jaredites… The tragic fate of the Jaredite and the Nephite civilizations is proof positive that the Lord meant it when he said that this “is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.” (Ether 2:9.) This information, wrote Moroni, addressing himself to us who today occupy this land, “cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles” (now, Gentiles is the term used by the Book of Mormon prophets to refer to the present inhabitants of America and to the peoples of the old world from which they came)… Now my beloved brethren and sisters everywhere, both members of the Church and nonmembers, I bear you my personal witness that I know that the things I have presented to you today are true—both those pertaining to past events and those pertaining to events yet to come. The issue we face is clear and well defined. The choice is ours. The question is: Shall we of this dispensation repent and obey the laws of the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, or shall we continue to defy them until we ripen in iniquity That we will repent and obey and thereby qualify to receive the blessings promised to the righteous in this land, I humbly pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Amen.” America’s Destiny Marion G. Romney Oct 1975
8. “Oliver Cowdery wrote that the Ephraimites and the Lamanites were the “original settlers of this continent,” and that “an ancient prophet caused the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated to be buried nearly two thousand years ago, in which is now called Ontario County, New York. In this same issue, W. W. Phelps wrote that it was “by that book [the Book of Mormon] I learned that the poor Indians of America were of the remnants of Israel.” Many other times editor Phelps identified the land of America as being the place where at least some Book of Mormon history took place, including the last battles of both the Jaredites and the Nephites (see Messenger and Advocate, vol. 2, October 1835, and the letter of W. W. Phelps to Oliver Cowdery in that same issue.) Oliver Cowdery Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, July 1835, pp. 158-159
9. “We shall now introduce much circumstantial evidence, from American antiquities, and from the traditions of the natives, etc. First, says Mr. Boudinot: “It is said among their principal or beloved men, that they have it handed down from their ancestors, that the book which the white people have, was once theirs: that while they had it they prospered exceedingly, etc. They also say, that their fathers were possessed of an extraordinary Divine Spirit, by which they foretold future events, and controlled the common course of nature; and this they transmitted to their offspring, on condition of their obeying the sacred laws; that they did, by these means, bring down showers of blessings upon their beloved people; but that this power, for a long time past, had entirely ceased.” Colonel James Smith, in his journal, while a prisoner among the natives, says: “They have a tradition, that in the beginning of this continent, the angels or heavenly inhabitants, as they call them, frequently visited the people, and talked with their forefathers, and gave directions how to pray. Mr. Boudinot, in his able work, remarks concerning their language: “Their language, in its roots, idiom, and particular construction, appears to have the whole genius of the Hebrew; and what is very remarkable, and well worthy of serious attention, has most of the peculiarities of that language.” There is a tradition related by an aged Indian, of the Stockbridge tribe, that their fathers were once in possession of a “Sacred Book,” which was handed down from generation to generation; and at last hid in the earth, since which time they had been under the feet of their enemies. But these oracles were to be restored to them again; and then they would triumph over their enemies, and regain their rights and privileges.” Quoted from A Voice of Warning An introduction to the faith and doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Chapter IV by Parley P. Pratt
10. [Heber C. Kimball] “prophesied that when the final last struggle came to this nation it would be at the Hill Cumorah where both of the former Nations [Jaredite and Nephite] were destroyed” (abt. Heber C. Kimball) Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 6:305, December 17, 1866
11. “In 1873, apostles Brigham Young Jr. and George Q. Cannon visited the New York Hill Cumorah and wrote up an account of the same which was published. “Undoubtedly great changes had occurred in the appearance of the surrounding country[side] since the days when Mormon and [his son] Moroni had trod the spot where we stood. Still we could readily understand, even now, how admirable a position this would be [from the hilltop] for a general to occupy in watching and directing the movements of armies and in scrutinizing the position of an enemy. Around Cumorah is yet a land of many waters, rivers and fountains [just] as Mormon said it was in his day. Our emotions on treading on this sacred hill were of the most peculiar character. They were indescribable. This was the hill Ramah of the Jaredites. In this vicinity, Coriantumr and Shiz, with the people whom they led, fought their last battle. For this great battle they were four years preparing, gathering the people together from all parts of the land, and arming men and women, and even children. The battle lasted eight days, and the result was the complete extermination of the Jaredite nation, none being left but the Prophet Ether and Coriantumr, who succeeded in slaying his mortal enemy Shiz. [Ether] and Coriantumr alone, of all that mighty race which had flourished upwards of fifteen hundred, were left. Who can imagine the feelings which he must have had on such an occasion? From the summit of this hill, Mormon and his great son Moroni had also witnessed the gathering of hosts of the Nephites, and the dusky and myriad legions of their deadly enemies, the Lamanites. Around this hill they had marshaled their forces–their twenty-three divisions of ten thousand men each, commanded by the most skillful of their generals, all to be swept away except Moroni. It was here that [Mormon] hid the abridgement which he made of the records [of his people], and which is know known by his name [Book of Mormon]. And it was here, thirty-six years after this tremendous battle, that his son Moroni also hid his abridgment of the book of Ether, and the record which he had made from which we learn the fate of his father, Mormon, and his other companions It was to this spot that about fourteen hundred years after these events, Joseph Smith, the Prophet, was led by Moroni in person, and here the records, engraved on plates, were committed to him for translation. Who could tread this ground and reflect upon these mighty events, and not be filled with indescribable emotion?” Brigham Young, Jr. and George Q. Cannon The Latter-Day Saints’ Millennial Star,(35 (33): 513-16), Tuesday, August 19th, 1873
12. Just two months and twelve days before his death in 1877, Brigham Young was establishing a new stake in Farmington, Utah. In his discourse, he said the following: “Orrin P. Rockwell is an eyewitness to some powers of removing the treasures of the earth. He was with certain parties that lived nearby where the plates were found that contain the records of the Book of Mormon. There were a great many treasures hid up by the Nephites. Porter was with them one night when there were treasures, and they could find them easy enough, but they could not obtain them. When [Porter] tells a thing he understands, he will tell it just as he knows it; he is a man that does not lie. He said that on this night when they were engaged hunting for this old treasure, they dug around the end of a chest for some twenty inches. The chest was about three feet square. One man who was determined to have the contents of that chest took his pick and struck into the lid of it, and split through into the chest. The blow took off a piece of the lid, which a certain lady [Lucy Mack Smith, Joseph’s mother] kept in her possession until she died. That chest of money went into the bank. Porter describes it so he says this is just as true as the heavens are.” Brigham Young Journal of Discourses (Liverpool, 1878), vol. 19:36-39.
13. “Consider how very fortunate we are to be living in this land of America. Many great events have transpired in this land of destiny. This was the place where Adam dwelt; this was the place where the Garden of Eden was; it was here that Adam met with a body of high priests at Adam-Ondi-Ahman shortly before his death and gave them his final blessing, and the place to which he will return to meet with the leaders of his people (D&C 107:53-57). This was the place of three former civilizations: that of Adam, that of the Jaredites, and that of the Nephites.” The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson pp. 587-588
14. McGavin and Bean explain their point of view concerning the identity of the Hill Cumorah as an ancient battlefield. The authors conclude that the scholars “need not search for [Cumorah] in Mexico or Yucatan” E. Cecil McGavin and Willard W. Bean “Cumorah-Land, An Ancient Battlefield,” in The Improvement Era 44, September 1941, 526, 571-72.
15. J. Golden Kimball is quoted as saying the following: “Heber C. Kimball said it was revealed to him that the last great destruction of the wicked would be on the lakes near the Hill Cumorah.” J. Golden Kimball (abt. Heber C. Kimball) N. B. Lundwall, Temples of the Most High, SLC: Bookcraft, 1941, p. 52.
16. “Once the red men were many; they occupied the country from sea to sea — from the rising to the setting sun; the whole land . . . Thousands of moons ago, when the red men’s forefathers dwelt in peace and possessed this whole land the Great Spirit talked with them, and revealed His law and His will and much knowledge to their wise men and prophets. This they wrote in a Book . . . written on plates of gold and handed down from father to son for many ages and generations. It was then that the people prospered and were strong and mighty; they cultivated the earth, built buildings and cities and abounded in all good things, as the pale faces now do . . . This Book, which contained these things was hid in the earth by Moroni, in a hill called by him Cumorah, which hill is now in the state of New York, near the village of Palmyra, in Ontario county . . . Thus ended our first Indian mission, in which we had preached the Gospel in its fullness and distributed the record of their forefathers among three viz.: the Cattaraugus Indians, near Buffalo, N.Y., the Wyandots, of Ohio and the Delawares, west of Missouri.” Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, pp. 56-6; Documentary History of the Church Vol 1: Footnotes 183:2-18
17. “Two great American Christian civilizations—the Jaredites and the Nephites—were swept off this land because they did not “serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ” (Ether 2:12). What will become of our civilization?… I have faith that the Constitution will be saved as prophesied by Joseph Smith. It will be saved by the righteous citizens of this nation who love and cherish freedom. It will be saved by enlightened members of this Church—among others—men and women who understand and abide the principles of the Constitution.
I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed His stamp of approval upon it.
I testify that the God of heaven sent some of His choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government, and He has now sent other choice spirits to help preserve it.
We, the blessed beneficiaries of the Constitution, face difficult days in America, “a land which is choice above all other lands” (Ether 2:10)… Ezra Taft Benson “Our Divine Constitution Ensign Oct 1987
18. “It is as impossible for me to continue the subject of yesterday as to raise the dead. My lungs are worn out. There is a time to all things, and I must wait. I will give it up, and leave the time to those who can make you hear, and I will continue the subject of my discourse some other time. I want to make a proclamation to the Elders. I wanted you to stay, in order that I might make this proclamation. You know very well that the Lord has led this Church by revelation. I have another revelation in relation to economy in the Church–a great, grand, and glorious revelation. I shall not be able to dwell as largely upon it now as at some other time; but I will give you the first principles. You know there has been great discussion in relation to Zion–where it is, and where the gathering of the dispensation is, and which I am now going to tell you. The prophets have spoken and written upon it; but I will make a proclamation that will cover a broader ground. The whole of America is Zion itself from north to south, and is described by the Prophets, who declare that it is the Zion where the mountain of the Lord should be, and that it should be in the center of the land. When Elders shall take up and examine the old prophecies in the Bible, they will see it.” President Joseph Smith’s Remarks–The Whole of America Zion–April Conference, 1844 Section Six 1843-44, p.362
19. “What most impressed me last summer on my first and only expedition to Central America was the complete lack of definite information about anything. Never was so little known about so much… It is just a fact of life that no one knows much at all about these oft-photographed and much-talked-about ruins… Counterparts to the great ritual complexes of Central America once dotted the entire eastern United States, the most notable being the Hopewell culture centering in Ohio and spreading out for hundreds of miles along the entire length of the Mississippi River. These are now believed to be definitely related to corresponding centers in Mesoamerica… One thing that leads us to suspect that most of the great powerhouses whose traces still remain were never anything more than pompous imitations or replicas is their sheer magnificence. The archaeologist finds virtually nothing of the remains of the primitive Christian church until the fourth century, because the true church was not interested in buildings and deliberately avoided the acquisition of lands and edifices that might bind it and its interests to this world. The Book of Mormon is a history of a related primitive church, and one may well ask what kind of remains the Nephites would leave us from their more virtuous days. A closer approximation to the Book of Mormon picture of Nephite culture is seen in the earth and palisade structures of the Hopewell and Adena culture areas than in the later stately piles of stone in Mesoamerica… Though such piles as the great pyramid-temple of Chichén Itzá yield to few buildings in the world in beauty of proportion and grandeur of conception, there is something disturbing about most of these overpowering ruins. Writers describing them through the years have ever confessed to feelings of sadness and oppression as they contemplate the moldy magnificence—the futility of it all: “They have all gone away from the house on the hill,” and today we don’t even know who they were
The great monuments do not represent what the Nephites stood for; rather, they stand for what their descendants, “mixed with the blood of their brethren,” descended to. But seen in the newer and wider perspective of comparative religious studies, they suggest to us not only the vanity of mankind and the futility of man’s unaided efforts, but also something nobler; the constant search of men to recapture a time when the powers of heaven were truly at the disposal of a righteous people.” Ancient Temples: What Do They Signify? By Hugh Nibley September 1972
20. “The passages which I have quoted from the Book of Mormon and the more extended discussion of this subject by Elder B. H. Roberts which was published in The Deseret News of March 3 definitely established the following facts: That the hill Cumorah, and the hill Ramah are identical. That it was around this hill that the armies of both the Jaredites and Nephites fought their great last battles. That it was in this hill that Mormon deposited all of the sacred records which had been entrusted to his care by Ammaron, except the abridgment which he had made from the plates of Nephi, which were delivered into the hands of his son, Moroni. We know positively that it was in this hill that Moroni deposited the abridgment made by his father, and his own abridgment of the record of the Jaredites, and that it was from this hill that Joseph Smith obtained possession of them.” Anthony Ivins Improvement Era June 1928
21. “On the title page I read that it is “written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile.” In the introduction to the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, it says that the Lamanites “are among the ancestors of the American Indians.” As I read the Book of Mormon, it seemed to me that it was about my American Indian ancestors. It tells the story of a people, a part of which were later described as “Lamanites,” who migrated from Jerusalem to a “land of promise” (1 Nephi 2:20) about 600 B.C.” “Come unto Me, O Ye House of Israel” By Elder Larry Echo Hawk of the Seventy Ensign Oct 2012
22. “But while this direct testimony from the Prophet himself is lacking, it is not lacking from those who are competent to speak on the subject–and who did speak of it and who published their statements, and one of these in the life time of the prophet, Oliver Cowdery, close associate with Joseph Smith in bringing forth the Book of Mormon, and his chief amanuensis in the translation of it, declares this hill from which the Book of Mormon was taken to be the Hill Cumorah, the place where Mormon deposited “all the records in his possession, except his abridgment from the plates of Nephi which he gave to his son; and also emphatically declares it to be the scene of the destruction of both the Jaredite and Nephite people. This statement Oliver published in the Church organ at the time, called the “Saints Messenger and Advocate,” Kirtland, Ohio, 1834. There are nine letters published under the title of “Early Scenes and Incidents in the Church.” These letters were reproduced in the Improvement Era, Vol. II, 1898-9”. Written for the Deseret News by B. H. Roberts.
23. “From the time Father Bosley located near Avon, he found and plowed up axes and irons, and had sufficient to make his mill irons, and had always abundance of iron on hand without purchasing. In the towns of Bloomfield, Victor, Manchester, and in the regions round about, there were hills upon the tops of which were entrenchments and fortifications, and in them were human bones, axes, tomahawks, points of arrows, beads and pipes, which were frequently found; and it was a common occurrence in the country to plow up axes, which I have done many times myself. I have visited the fortifications on the tops of those hills frequently, and the one near Bloomfield I have crossed hundreds of times, which is on the bluff of Honeyoye River, at the outlet of Honeyoye Lake. In that region there are many small deep lakes, and in some of them the bottom has never been found. Fish abound in them. The hill Cumorah is a high hill for that country, and had the appearance of a fortification or entrenchment around it. In the State of New York, probably there are hundreds of these fortifications which are now visible, and I have seen them in many other parts of the United States. Readers of the Book of Mormon will remember that in this very region, according to that sacred record, the final battles were fought between the Nephites and Lamanites. At the hill Cumorah, the Nephites made their last stand prior to their utter extermination, A. D., 385. Thus was Heber preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, above the graves of the ancients of Israel, whose records with the fullness of that Gospel, and the relics of their prowess and civilization, were now whispering from the dust.” Life of Heber C. Kimball by Orson F. Whitney Mounds at Cumorah
24- “In his heretofore unpublished letter, Elder Golden Jensen refers to statements made in his presence at the Hill Cumorah by the late Elder James E. Talmage, of the Council of the Twelve, as follows:
Dear Brother Dixon,
In keeping with your request, I will endeavor to give you herein an account of an experience which I greatly enjoyed while laboring as secretary of the Eastern States Mission.
In the summer of 1920, I received an assignment to attend a special meeting with the missionaries laboring in Buffalo, New York. The day following the meeting I met George W. McCune, my mission president, and the late Dr. James E. Talmage who had driven to Buffalo from Detroit, Michigan. At their invitation I accompanied them to New York City. Enroute, however, we proceeded to Rochester, thence to the city of Palmyra, where we visited briefly. We then proceeded to the Joseph Smith Farm, where we left our car and walked to the sacred grove. As we were about to enter the grove, Dr. Talmage stopped, removed his shoes, and requested that President McCune and I remain where we were while he entered and prayed, alone in that sacred and holy spot, to the Living God.
After a while he called us to join him, whereupon he retold the story of the boy Prophet and of the glorious vision which Joseph had beheld, while President McCune and I sat and wept with joy. Leaving the grove, we went immediately to the Hill Cumorah and viewed the spot where the Angel Moroni had, ages before, deposited the golden plates according to the instructions of the Lord. These records were later revealed and delivered to Joseph the Prophet and were translated by him forth to the world The Book of Mormon. All the while I was being thrilled and edified by the continuous flow of information and wisdom that came from the marvelous store of knowledge of Elder Talmage. I think I shall never forget how he looked, standing with bared head on the crest of the Hill Cumorah and with outstretched arm describing as he seemed to visualize that last great battle between the armies of the Nephites and Lamanites, calling attention to the significance of the hill as a vantage point for the forces who might gain control of possession of it.
At this time, he stated that he had found as a result of a survey and extensive analysis made by him, while a student in an eastern university, the soils of the surrounding area to be very rich in calcium, and phosphate content, in the soils particularly adjacent to the Hill Cumorah. With further investigation he discovered that there was a lack of these elements in the land which lay further than a few miles in radius in any direction from the Hill Cumorah. To him, this discovery was indicative of the fact that there was decaying of bones of the Nephite and Lamanite armies that perished there. To Apostle Talmage there was no doubt as to the reality of those great events as related in the Book of Mormon, nor was there any doubt in his mind as to the place where they had occurred. Sincerely your brother, J. Golden Jensen” JUST ONE CUMORAH by Riley L. Dixon, P. 147-149
This FIVE book series by Wayne May contains valuable information about Book of Mormon archaeology, Native American oral history, and Church History relating to this subject material. This package includes one (1) each of Volume One; This Land: Zarahemla and the Nephite Nation, Volume Two; This Land: Only One Cumorah, Volume Three; This Land: They Came from the East, Volume Four; This Land: America 2000 B.C. to 400 A.D.and Volume Five; Willards Cumorah.