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.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Glad tidings from Cumorah: then and now

I proposed a way to achieve "no more contention" about Book of Mormon geography by pursuing clarity, charity and understanding. Check it out.



Obviously, a major factor relating to the Book of Mormon is the location of Cumorah/Ramah. Some of us think it is in western New York. Some think it is anywhere other than New York. And some people don't care, whether because they think Cumorah is fictional, they don't care about the geography, they don't have time to think about it, or they don't want to deal with the cognitive dissonance (or any other reason). And that's all fine.

On this blog, we're focused on clarity, charity and understanding why there are differences of opinion.

Those who reject the New York Cumorah argue that the identification of the hill in New York as Cumorah did not originate with revelation (or personal experience), but instead was an assumption with murky origins that became widely accepted.

I've pointed out that Lucy Mack Smith specifically stated it was Moroni who identified the hill as Cumorah when he first met Joseph Smith, that other historical records corroborate this, and that this explanation is the most parsimonious and coherent.

Plus, I think Joseph reaffirmed this when he wrote the letter that became D&C 128, including verse 20.

20 And again, what do we hear? Glad tidings from Cumorah! Moroni, an angel from heaven, declaring the fulfilment of the prophets—the book to be revealed. 

(Doctrine and Covenants 128:20)

Here we see that Moroni declared "glad tidings from Cumorah" even before the book was revealed, exactly as Lucy Mack Smith reported.

I wrote an article about D&C 128:20 that was published in the June issue of Wayne May's magazine Land of Promise: Uncovering Ancient America (Vol. 1:2, June 2023). Those who have subscribed to his magazine can read it there, along with two of my paintings that illustrate some of the points.

I uploaded a version of it for general audiences here:


All that said, I'm fine with people who choose to disbelieve that Cumorah/Ramah is in New York. I've tried to accurately represent their views in my publications, including the table I mentioned at the outside of this post.

If anyone has suggestions for clarification and improved accuracy, email me at lostzarahemla@gmail.com and I'll incorporate them.

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