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Where Is The Hill Cumorah?

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(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3:232–243)

Speculation About Book of Mormon Geography

Within recent years there has arisen among certain students of the Book of Mormon a theory to the effect that within the period covered by the Book of Mormon, the Nephites and Lamanites were confined almost entirely within the borders of the territory comprising Central America and the southern portion of Mexico—the isthmus of Tehauntepec probably being the “narrow neck” of land spoken of in the Book of Mormon (Alma 50:34; 52:9;63:5; Mormon 2:29;3:5.) rather than the isthmus of Panama. This theory is founded upon the assumption that it was impossible for the colony of Lehi’s to multiply and fill the hemisphere within the limits of 1,000 years, or from the coming of Lehi from Jerusalem to the time of the destruction of the Nephites at the Hill Cumorah. Moreover, they claim that the story in the Book of Mormon of the migrations, building of cities, and the wars and contentions, preclude the possibility of the people spreading over great distances such as we find within the borders of North and South America.

Earth Populated Rapidly

If we are willing to accept the Bible record, which is confirmed by the Doctrine and Covenants, the entire civilization of the earth was destroyed in the flood except Noah and his family. (Gen 6; 7; 8; Moses 7:36–43; 51–52; 8:22–30; Alma 10:22; 3 Ne 22:9; Ether 6:7) Moreover, this destruction took place less than 5,000 years ago, and today the population of the earth, notwithstanding wars and destructions, is estimated at over 2,000,000,000 souls.

The population of Europe, based upon the best records available, is vastly increased over that at the time of the discovery of America; yet upon this hemisphere are to be found hundreds of millions of people, descendants of European and Asiatic ancestors who knew nothing of this land before the discovery by Columbus. The rapid increase of posterity is known to every genealogist who has traced the record of the early settlers in this western country.

Locale of Cumorah, Ramah, and Ripliancum

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.” (Ether 15:8-11) Mormon adds: “And it came to pass that we did march forth to the land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents round about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains; and here we had hope to gain advantage over the Lamanites.” (Morm 6:4)

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