In the pursuit of clarity and understanding, we'll use this format when we discuss issues related to the Book of Mormon.
Relative acceptance of what Joseph Smith and Oliver
Cowdery taught: Cumorah/Ramah
is in western New York
is in Mesoamerica (or anyplace in the world other than New York)
doesn’t exist because it’s fictional
As always, see this link for explanation of acronyms (SITH and M2C).
By now, readers here know that the current iteration of SITH (the stone-in-the-hat theory) was first set out in Mormonism Unvailed in 1834. Decades later, David Whitmer related SITH in various interviews, as well as his booklet An Address to All Believers in Christ.*
Now it turns out that Whitmer also has a connection to M2C (the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory).
A few decades after David died, the Whitmerite church published an edition of the Book of Mormon that included the M2C maps first published by RLDS scholar L.E. Hills.
You can see a video presentation about this here:
This means the Whitmerite edition of the Book of Mormon was the first edition to publish an M2C map.
This was about 100 years ago, long before John Sorenson, Jack Welch, and Dan Peterson published their own derivative articles and maps.
For a modern version of the Hills M2C map, go to BYU Studies and look at the map published there by Jack Welch.
Needless to say, Jack Welch gave Hills no credit for developing M2C (although he did mention him once in a presentation, so he knew about Hills).
Most of the M2C believers know nothing about L.E. Hills. Even Dan recently claimed he'd never heard of him, as if Dan was oblivious to what his associates Jack and John were publishing at FARMS.
When he published his Source Book, John Sorenson at least recognized Hills as the first to put Cumorah in Mesoamerica.
Now, a handful of influential LDS scholars/academics (the Interpreters) have embraced the L.E. Hills map as the foundation for the theories they spend millions of dollars promoting through Book of Mormon Central.
Here is the L.E. Hills map showing Cumorah in southern Mexico:
Here is the Jack Welch map from BYU Studies, which moved Cumorah a little east and claimed this was all based on extensive research by BYU experts.
And here's how Book of Mormon Central currently portrays Cumorah to Spanish-language readers and followers:
* It's strange to see so many modern LDS scholars embrace David Whitmer's account of SITH on its face, especially because they have to reject what Joseph and Oliver said to accept Whitmer's account.
Here is the passage that modern SITH scholars quote as accurate:
I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat. and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man
The SITH sayers quote this passage, but they don't tell their followers about the rest of the claims David made in this pamphlet, such as his claim that Joseph was not called to establish the church.
Now I hope you understand me. I am not persecuting Brother Joseph, and never did persecute him. Because he erred is no reason why I should not love him. God called him to translate his sacred word by the power and gift of God; but he was not called to set up and establish the church any more thin any of us Elders were. This I will prove conclusively later on, from evidence which you are bound to accept.
David wrote lots of things about Joseph Smith that the faithful SITH sayers reject.
Remember this matter brethren ; it is very important. Farther on I will give you references of scripture on this point, showing that this is God's way of dealing with His people. Now is it wisdom to put your trust in Joseph Smith, and believe all his revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants to be of God ? Every one who does not desire to be of Paul, or of Apollos, or of Joseph, but desires to be of Christ will say that it is not wisdom to put our trust in him and believe his revelations as if from God's own mouth I I will say here, that I could tell you other false revelations that came through Brother Joseph as mouthpiece, (not through the stone) but this will suffice. Many of Brother Joseph's revelations were never printed.