long ago ideas

“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago." - Friedrich Nietzsche. Long ago, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery conquered false claims that the Book of Mormon was fiction or that it came through a stone in a hat. But these old claims have resurfaced in recent years. To conquer them again, we have to return to what Joseph and Oliver taught.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Church history: a parody of history

On my Letter VII blog, I noted that in the process of renaming Church historical sites, the staff did not change the name of the Hill Cumorah to "a hill in New York," the way Saints, volume 1, refers to it. [At the end of this post we'll compare Saints to actual Church history.]

This is important because a lot of people expected them to drop the name Cumorah from that historic site. But even when you visit the Hill Cumorah visitors center, no exhibits explain why the hill is named Cumorah.

Site missionaries are not even allowed to discuss the topic.

On the Historic Sites web page, when we look at the explanation of the name Cumorah, we see the historians have omitted (actually, censored) the historical references that explain why Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and their contemporaries referred to it as the Hill Cumorah.

Here is the web page:


Hill Cumorah

Manchester, New York
The Hill Cumorah in Manchester, New York, is the place where Joseph Smith met annually with the angel Moroni from 1823 to 1827. On September 22, 1827, the angel allowed Joseph to obtain the golden plates from which the Book of Mormon would be translated. Today this historic site is open to the public year-round. The site includes trails to the top of the hill and a visitors’ center featuring exhibits, historical artifacts, and a film about the founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

[None of these exhibits include information about why it was named the Hill Cumorah.]

A monument at the top of the hill commemorates the events that took place there. 

[The monument does not mention the Book of Mormon events that took place there, which is why it was named the Hill Cumorah.]

For information about visiting the Hill Cumorah, click or tap here.

[Still no information about why it was named the Hill Cumorah.]

The events that took place at the Hill Cumorah were foundational to the establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Directed by the angel Moroni, Joseph Smith found the golden plates deposited in the hill on September 22, 1823, approximately three miles from his home. Joseph met the angel there on the same date the next four years until he was finally allowed to obtain the plates. From those plates, he later translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God.

[Still no explanation for the name Cumorah.]

In the 1820s, the hill did not have a name. 

[This is patently false, if you accept Lucy Mack Smith's history. Her history is the sole source for much early Church history. It is cited repeatedly in Saints, for example. But the Church History Department never mentions that Lucy explained Joseph called the hill Cumorah even before he got the plates in 1827. Joseph's entire family knew the name of the hill was Cumorah in 1827. See the reference below.]

It later became known as the Hill Cumorah because Moroni, the Book of Mormon’s final author and the angel who met with Joseph Smith, wrote that he had hidden the golden plates in a hill called Cumorah (see Mormon 6:6). 

[The Books of Mormon, Ether and Moroni were translated in May 1829, so the name Cumorah was then known to Oliver, as well as to Joseph's family. In late May/early June 1829, David Whitmer first heard the name Cumorah from the divine messenger who was taking the abridged plates Joseph translated in Harmony back to Cumorah.] 

A monument designed by Torleif S. Knaphus was placed on the hill in 1935. To learn more about the events that brought Joseph Smith to the Hill Cumorah and about the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon, click here

These are Church history sites, but they never explain the history of the name Cumorah or how it was used and understood during Joseph's lifetime. 

A serious effort to provide accurate Church history to members of the Church (and to the world) would not censor all these references to Cumorah.

Now, let's look at Saints again.

Refer to https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/saints-v1/03-plates-of-gold?lang=eng

Readers of that book never learn why the "hill" is called Cumorah.

Look at Saints vs actual Church history. Saints is a parody of history because they authors omitted a key point, solely to satisfy the M2C promoters.

Saints, volume 1
Lucy Mack Smith
One day, Joseph went to town on an errand.

Expecting him back for dinner, his parents were alarmed when he did not return.

They waited for hours, unable to sleep.

At last Joseph opened the door and threw himself into a chair, exhausted.

“Why are you so late?” his father asked.

 “I have had the severest chastisement that I ever had in my life,” Joseph said.

“Who has been taking you to task?” demanded his father.

“It was the angel of the Lord,” Joseph replied.

 [omits Cumorah completely]

“He says I have been negligent.”
The day of his next meeting with Moroni was coming soon.
“I must be up and doing,” he said. “I must set myself about the things which God has commanded me to do.”
Not long after this his father had occasion to send him to Manchester on business. <​And,​> as he started quite early in the morning, we expected him home, at the outside, by 6. o clock in the evening. But when 6. came he did not arrive.— we always had a peculiar anxiety about him whenever he was absent from us; for, it seemed as if something was always taking place to jeopardize his life. But to return, he did not get home till the night was far spent. On coming in, threw himself into a chair, apparently much exhausted. My husband did not observe his appearance, and immediately exclaimed, “Joseph, why have you staid so late? has anything
happened you? we have been much distressed about you these three hours. As Joseph made no reply, he continued his interrogations until I finally said: now, father, (as that was the manner in which I commonly addressed him) let him rest a moment— dont touble him now— you see he is home safe, and he is very tired; so pray wait a little. The fact is, I had learned to be a little cautious about matters with regard to Joseph; for I was accostomed to see him look as he did on that occasion, and could not easily mistake the cause thereof. Presently he smiled, and said in a very calm tone, “I have taken the severest chastisement, that I have ever had in my life”. My husband, supposing it was from some of the neighbors, was quite angry; and observed, “I would would like to know what business any body has to find fault with you.”
“Stop, father, Stop.” said Joseph, “it was the angel of the Lordas I passed by the hill of Cumorah, where the plates are, the angel of the Lord 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: but, Father,’ continued he, ‘give yourself no uneasiness concerning the reprimand that I have received; for I now know the course that I am to pursue; so all will be well.”
It was also made known to him at this interview, that he should make another effort to obtain the plates on the 22d. of the following September; But this he did not mention to us at that time.

Here's how Saints describes the "hill in New York" without ever once mentioning the now de-correlated name.

Moroni spoke of gold plates buried in a nearby hill.... Joseph set out immediately for the hill. .. The hill, one of the biggest in the area, was about three miles from his house. The plates were buried beneath a large, round rock on the west side of the hill, not far from its summit.

Arriving at the hill, Joseph located the place he had seen in the vision and began digging at the base of the rock until its edges were clear.

When the day finally came to return to the hill, Joseph went alone.

In September 1826, Joseph returned to the hill for the plates, but Moroni said he was still not ready for them.

After the fall harvest, Josiah Stowell and Joseph Knight traveled to the Manchester area on business. Both men knew that the fourth anniversary of Joseph’s visit to the hill was at hand, and they were eager to know whether Moroni would finally trust him with the plates.

His yearly visit to the hill was to take place the next day, but to keep ahead of the treasure seekers, he planned to arrive at the hill shortly after midnight—just as the morning of September 22 was beginning—when no one expected him to be out.

When they arrived at the hill, Emma waited with the carriage while Joseph climbed the slope to the place where the plates were hidden.

Moroni appeared, and Joseph lifted the gold plates and seer stones from the stone box. Before Joseph set off down the hill, Moroni reminded him to show the plates to no one except those the Lord appointed, promising him that the plates would be protected if he did all within his power to preserve them.

Lots more, but you get the idea. Not once does Saints explain why the hill was named Cumorah.

The reason?

Because our M2C scholars and revisionist historians actually believe and teach that Joseph named the hill "Cumorah" because of a false tradition started by unknown early Church members.

They also believe and teach that Oliver Cowdery lied when he wrote that it was a fact that the final battles of the Nephites and Jaredites took place around the "hill in New York."

They also believe and teach that Brigham Young and others lied about Oliver and Joseph visiting the repository of all the Nephite records in the hill in New York.

As a result, to accommodate M2C, we get a parody of history when we read Saints, volume 1, and when we visit the Hill Cumorah Visitors Center.

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