The Geography Of
Even though the Mormon Church formally denies endorsing any geographical theory regarding the location of Book of Mormon events, its many Book of Mormon editions, film strips, pamphlets and professors using images and references exclusively of the Mesoamerican area speaks otherwise. It is precisely those real life endorsements to the exclusion of all others that has merited the Mormon Church a wide sweeping criticism regarding the lack of DNA evidence to support those assumptions.
Had they not endorsed such fantastic claims through the pictures in different editions of the Book or Mormon, as well as in films that missionaries use to proselytize with; plus the multitude of church approved books, sponsored journals, and magazine articles; the number of believers who have stopped believing would not be so large.
Here is a typical “non-endorsing” statement from BYU:
Statement on Book of Mormon Geography
. Since the early twentieth century, many scholars and other serious students of the Book of Mormon have come to favor the limited geography model, with Mesoamerica (extending from southern Mexico to Guatemala) as the Book of Mormon homeland and New York’s Hill Cumorah as the repository of Mormon’s record but not the scene of the final Nephite-Lamanite battles. Notwithstanding its various permutations regarding real-world correlations, this interpretation, with antecedents apparent in the 1840s, seems to best match the complex requirements of the scriptural text itself while remaining tenable after years of rigorous examination in light of the archaeological and cultural record of ancient Mesoamerica. http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/bomgeog.php
Even though LDS Church Presidents and apostles affirmed that the final battle occurred in Palmyra, New York (Church News, February 27th, 1954, p. 2; Conference Report, April, 1953, pp. 83-4.), Book of Mormon scholars know they can’t have it both way – a final battle in New York, with everything else in Mesoamerca. So, they chose to ignore those statements by prior church leaders and manufactured a “Second Hill Cumorah” theory instead.
Sadly, all other Book of Mormon believing denominations are following the lead of the LDS Church and believe in a Mesoamerican model as well.
We at Book of Mormon Christian believe that if you take the record alone without any alleged statements by Joseph Smith, the truth will speak very loud and very clear. And there will be no contradictions with DNA (see DNA & Hagoth ).
- HILL CUMORAH
- TWO CUMORAH’S
- Up – Down – Over
- HOLLAND LAND PURCHASE & MORRIS RESERVE
- IROQUOIS NATION
- ALBANY PLAN OF UNION
- EMPIRE STATE – NATION’S FIRST CAPITAL – NYC
- FIRST PROCLAMATION BY GEORGE WASHINGTON – A DAY OF NATIONAL THANKSGIVING – NYC – Oct. 3, 1789
- SIXTH PROCLAMATION BY GEORGE WASHINGTON – DAY OF PUBLIC THANKSGIVING – Jan. 1, 1795
- EIGHTH PROCLAMATION BY JOHN ADAMS – RECOMMENDING A NATIONAL DAY OF HUMILIATION, FASTING AND PRAYER – Mar. 23, 1798
- SPIRITUAL INAUGURATION OF THE NEW JERUSALEM
- AMERICA JUDGED ON 9-11
- LANDS WERE HIDDEN
The Hill Cumorah, located near Palmyra, New York, is the one location no one can dispute. It is the final resting place of the gold record, just as Moroni left them there, and where he told Joseph to find them. It is from there that we can begin to trace the outline of Book of Mormon lands. (See One Cumorah )
Scholars cannot reconcile the story of Zelph – a deceased white Lamanite warrior who according to Joseph Smith was buried in Illinois – which is too far from Mesoamerica, and does not fit within the Mesoamerican framework.
Joseph described his travels to that area from NY/Ohio thus:
…wandering over the plains of the Nephites, recounting occasionally the history of the Book of Mormon, roving over the mounds of that once beloved people of the Lord, picking up their skulls & their bones, as a proof of its divine authenticity… (Dean Jesse, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, 1984, p. 324)
Wilford Woodruff who was with Joseph recorded this:
While on our travels we visited many of the mounds which were flung up by the ancient inhabitants of this continent, probably by the Nephites & Lamanites. We visited one of those Mounds and several of the brethren dug into it and took from it the bones of a man. Brother Joseph had a vision respecting the person he said he was a white Lamanite, the curse was taken from him or at least in part, he was killed in battle with an arrow, the arrow was found among his ribs, one of his thigh bones was broken, this was done by a stone flung from a sling in battle years before his death, his name was Zelph. Some of his bones were brought into the camp and the thigh bone which was broken was put into my wagon and I carried it to Missouri. Zelph was a large thick set man and a man of God, he was a warrior under the great prophet that was known from the hill Cumorah to the Rocky mountains. The above knowledge Joseph received in a vision. (Scott Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’ s Journal, 1983, 1:10.)
Though Joseph was anxious to claim those fantastic ruins in Mesoamerica as Book of Mormon, he never actually went there to confirm it. What did Joseph confirm?
- The Hill Cumorah
- The Plains of the Nephites
- The Warrior Zelph in Illinois.
These are more than enough reasons to study the Mound Builders, the Iroquois and their areas of influence.
Somehow, certain believers, (In trying to reconcile claims that Lehi landed near Chile.) try to frame all Book of Mormon events in Mesoamerica, except the deposit of the plates in the Hill Cumorah. They, therefore claim there were two Hill Cumorah’s – one for their final wars, and the other for the depositing of the record. The Book of Mormon makes no such claim.
Here is a typical drawing representing the two Cumorah’s theory by Warren and Ferguson in The Messiah in Ancient America, p. 332:
We know for a fact that the final Nephite battle did occur around the Hill Cumorah near Palmyra New York, and when the Book of Mormon is no longer associated exclusively with the Mormon Church, we will identify the location of an actual Nephite camp that was last used during the final battle and has been untouched to this day.
Up – Down – Over
One of the keys to understanding Book of Mormon geography is Mormon’s use of “up” “down” and “over” to describe how they traveled. A study of these words alone can paint a very clear picture of what the ancient Book of Mormon terrain looked like.
In regards to the Hill Cumorah, the use of the word “over” tells us that it was not north or south of where the people lived, but in an entirely different area that they had to go “over” to. The Nephites and Jaredites lived in a land that was longer north to south than it was east to west. So if they were traveling either north or southward they would use the terms “up” or “down” depending on whether the terrain was higher or lower. And if they would travel east or west, they generally used the term “over” instead of “east” or “west.”
And the Lord warned Omer in a dream that he should depart out of the land; wherefore Omer departed out of the land with his family, and traveled many days, and came over and passed by the hill of Shim, and came over by the place where the Nephites were destroyed (Cumorah), and from thence eastward, and came to a place which was called Ablom, by the seashore, and there he pitched his tent, and also his sons and his daughters, and all his household, save it were Jared and his family. (Ether 9:3.)
Omer obviously came from the west to get to Cumorah, and then continued on toward the “east” after leaving Cumorah. “Over” in this case may refer to an obstacle running north and south like the sea on the east that he had to go “over” to get to the land of Cumorah. Another clue Mormon left us regarding the location of Book of Mormon lands is this reference to the Hill Cumorah:
And it came to pass that there were ten more who did fall by the sword, with their ten thousand each; yea, even all my people, save it were those twenty and four who were with me, and also a few who had escaped into the south countries, and a few who had deserted over unto the Lamanites, had fallen; and their flesh, and bones, and blood lay upon the face of the earth, being left by the hands of those who slew them to molder upon the land, and to crumble and to return to their mother earth. (Mormon 6:15.)
Notice how those who escaped went “south.” It is important to note here that Cumorah lay outside of the borders of Nephite lands. The core Nephite lands were relatively small occupying only western New York and were completely surrounded by water or “seas”:
32 And now, it was only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward. (Alma 22:32)
These seas still exist. By using satellite images, the original seas can clearly be seen in the following map by switching between map view and satellite view. Look for:
West Sea = Lake Erie/Niagara River-Gorge
East Sea = Letchworth State Park/Genesee River-Gorge
North Sea = Lake Ontario
South Sea = Lake Tonawanda
We have highlighted the boundaries on the following road map:
Road Map (468 kb)
During the final battle, those who “escaped south” did not go back “over” to the Nephite lands and then travel south (For they had been overrun by their enemies.), but immediately traveled south from the land of Cumorah, being on the eastern side of the East Sea outside of Nephite lands.
People ask why Cumorah was not part of Nephite lands, or why it was chosen for their final battle? Simple, no one wanted to bury the dead, so they needed a remote area no one lived in or traveled through.
Cumorah was also treeless having been used for their lumber industry making it exceptional for open warfare:
And it came to pass as timber was exceedingly scarce in the land northward, they did send forth much by the way of shipping (Cumorah). (Helaman 3:10)
It was a large barren piece of land, with many drumlin hills and plenty of water. Old pictures of the Cumorah area are a good representation of what it must have looked like two thousand years ago – treeless.
Having established that Cumorah was “over” to the east from the land of the Nephites, and far north, suffering the same treeless fate as the land northward, let us look at the land of Nephi next.
The following maps are attempts by different authors to identify the Internal Geography of the Book of Mormon:
By superimposing the Daniel Ludlow map on top of the Road Map, we see that the location where Lehi’s family landed (Land of First Inheritance) was at Erie, PA and from there they migrated North – North East.
Based on the same map, we see that the main river in the Book of Mormon called Sidon, is the Buffalo River. These are the core areas for the history of the Book of Mormon and is called the “Western New York” model. For detailed maps see our Book of Mormon Geography site: www.bookofmormongeography.org.
HOLLAND LAND PURCHASE & MORRIS RESERVE
It is important to note that the natural boundaries of this area were used in the Holland Land Company Purchase of 1793.
And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord that it was upon the Gentiles and they did prosper and obtain (Buy) the land for their inheritance. (1 Nephi 13:15)
And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations. (1 Nephi 13:19 – Peace of Paris 1783)
The Holland Land Office is still there today and can be visited:
The Iroquois Nation are/were the current inhabitants of ancient Book of Mormon lands and thus heirs of its blessings and promises, and joint founders with the Gentiles, of the United States government.
(Source: Richard Wright, Stolen Continents: 500 Years of Conquest and Resistance in the Americas, 2005, p. vix.)
The core Iroquois Nation area mirrors that of the core Book of Mormon area; which mirrors the Holland Land Company Purchase; which was a fighting area between the Colonists and Britian; and the French and Indians; and the Nephites and Lamanites; and the fighting area of the Six Nations before they were united by the Peace Maker.
They fulfilled Book of Mormon prophecy when they fought (primarily led by the Oneidas) along with the Colonists to secure their lands to be free of a king. They also assisted and inspired Benjamin Franklin to form a new nation by forming the Albany Plan of Union, which later became the foundation of our Constitution. See also:
H.Con.Res. 331 (100th) – Oct 21, 1988: A concurrent resolution to acknowledge the contribution of the Iroquois Confederacy of Nations to the development of the United States Constitution.
ALBANY PLAN OF UNION
The predecessor to our Constitution was made by Benjamin Franklin in cooperation with the Iroquois Nation. It was a joint effort, just like the war was a joint effort. This plan of union was formalized in the eastern corridor of Book of Mormon lands in Albany, New York.
For information on Benjamin Franklin’s Albany Plan of Union:
EMPIRE STATE – NATION’S FIRST CAPITAL – NYC
In 1784, five years before George Washington was inaugurated in New York City as the first president, he envisioned New York as the ‘seat of empire,’ thus giving rise to its nickname–the “Empire State.” ‘New York has completely fulfilled the expectation that Washington expressed to the state’s first governor, George Clinton.’ (Quote from Compton’s Encyclopedia)
The first Capital of the United States of America was in New York City at Federal Hall:
FIRST PROCLAMATION BY GEORGE WASHINGTON – A DAY OF NATIONAL THANKSGIVING – NYC – Oct. 3, 1789
George Washington made the first Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, in New York City, on October 3, 1789:
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation. Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be— That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions— to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discretely and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Signed: George Washington
SIXTH PROCLAMATION BY GEORGE WASHINGTON – DAY OF PUBLIC THANKSGIVING – Jan. 1, 1795
By the President of the United States of America
When we review the calamities which afflict so many other nations. the present condition of the United States affords much matter of consolation and satisfaction. Our exemption hitherto from foreign war, an increasing prospect of the continuance of that exemption, the great degree of internal tranquility we have enjoyed, the recent confirmation of that tranquility by the suppression of an insurrection which so wantonly threatened it, the happy course of our public affairs in general, the unexampled prosperity of all classes of our citizens, are circumstances which peculiarly mark our situation with indications of the Divine beneficence toward us. In such a state of things it is in an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experience.
Deeply penetrated with this sentiment, I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever, within the United States to set apart and observe Thursday, the 19th day of February next, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, and on that day to meet together and render their sincere and hearty thanks to the Great Ruler of Nations for the manifold and signal mercies which distinguish our lot as a nation, particularly for the possession of constitutions of government which unite and by their union establish liberty with order; for the preservation of our peace, foreign and domestic; for the seasonable control which has been given to a spirit of disorder in the suppression of the late insurrection, and generally, for the prosperous course of our affairs, public and private; and at the same time humbly and fervently to beseech the kind Author of these blessings graciously to prolong them to us; to imprint on our hearts a deep and solemn sense of our obligations to Him for them; to teach us rightly to estimate their immense value; to preserve us from the arrogance of prosperity, and from hazarding the advantages we enjoy by delusive pursuits; to dispose us to merit the continuance of His favors by not abusing them; by our gratitude for them, and by a correspondent conduct as citizens and men; to render this country more and more a safe and propitious asylum for the unfortunate of other countries; to extend among us true and useful knowledge; to diffuse and establish habits of sobriety, order, morality, and piety, and finally, to impart all the blessings we possess, or ask for ourselves, to the whole family of mankind..
In testimony whereof I have caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed to these presents, and signed the same with my hand. Done at the city of Philadelphia, the 1st day of January 1795, and of the Independence of the United States of America the nineteenth.
GO. WASHINGTON. (Source)
EIGHTH PROCLAMATION BY JOHN ADAMS – RECOMMENDING A NATIONAL DAY OF HUMILIATION, FASTING AND PRAYER – Mar. 23, 1798
As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety without which social happiness can not exist nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed; and as this duty, at all times incumbent, is so especially in seasons of difficulty or of danger, when existing or threatening calamities, the just judgments of God against prevalent iniquity, are a loud call to repentance and reformation; and as the United States of America are at present placed in a hazardous and afflictive situation by the unfriendly disposition, conduct, and demands of a foreign power, evinced by repeated refusals to receive our messengers of reconciliation and peace, by depredation on our commerce, and the infliction of injuries on very many of our fellow-citizens while engaged in their lawful business on the seas–under these considerations it has appeared to me that the duty of imploring the mercy and benediction of Heaven on our country demands at this time a special attention from its inhabitants.
I have therefore thought fit to recommend, and I do hereby recommend, that Wednesday, the 9th day of May next, be observed throughout the United States as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that the citizens of these States, abstaining on that day from their customary worldly occupations, offer their devout addresses to the Father of Mercies agreeably to those forms or methods which they have severally adopted as the most suitable and becoming; that all religious congregations do, with the deepest humility, acknowledge before God the manifold sins and transgressions with which we are justly chargeable as individuals and as a nation, beseeching Him at the same time, of His infinite grace, through the Redeemer of the World, freely to remit all our offenses, and to incline us by His Holy Spirit to that sincere repentance and reformation which may afford us reason to hope for his inestimable favor and heavenly benediction; that it be made the subject of particular and earnest supplication that our country may be protected from all the dangers which threaten it; that our civil and religious privileges may be preserved inviolate and perpetuated to the latest generations; that our public councils and magistrates may be especially enlightened and directed at this critical period; that the American people may be united in those bonds of amity and mutual confidence and inspired with that vigor and fortitude by which they have in times past been so highly distinguished and by which they have obtained such invaluable advantages; that the health of the inhabitants of our land may be preserved, and their agriculture, commerce, fisheries, arts, and manufactures be blessed and prospered; that the principles of genuine piety and sound morality may influence the minds and govern the lives of every description of our citizens, and that the blessings of peace, freedom, and pure religion may be speedily extended to all the nations of the earth.
And finally, I recommend that on the said day the duties of humiliation and prayer be accompanied by fervent thanksgiving to the Bestower of Every Good Gift, not only for His having hitherto protected and preserved the people of these United States in the independent enjoyment of their religious and civil freedom, but also for having prospered them in a wonderful progress of population, and for conferring on them many and great favors conducive to the happiness and prosperity of a nation.
Given under my hand and the seal of the United States of America, at Philadelphia, this 23d day of March, A. D. 1798, and of the Independence of the said States the twenty-second.
(Read more at the American Presidency Project: John Adams: Proclamation 8 – Recommending a National Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=65661&st=&st1=#ixzz1ZwrfP0bd)
SPIRITUAL INAUGURATION OF THE NEW JERUSALEM
On the very same day that George Washington was inaugurated at Federal Hall did the spiritual inauguration of the New Jerusalem begin. Where? St. Paul’s Chapel:
That’s right, directly after George Washington was inaugurated as first president of the United States did he and other elected official walk to St. Paul’s Chapel to offer up thanks and commit themselves and the nation to God.
Washington along with New York Governor De Witt Clinton worshipped at St. Paul’s Chapel.
Having thus imparted to you my sentiments as they have been awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign Parent of the Human Race in humble supplication that, since He has been pleased to favor the American people with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquility, and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled unanimity on a form of government for the security of their union and the advancement of their happiness, so His divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend. (George Washington: “Inaugural Address,” April 30, 1789; other addresses by all presidents at The American Presidency Project at UC Santa Barbara.)
St. Paul’s Chapel was protected by God when the British captured New York and destroyed one-fourth of the buildings including two churches. Likewise was it protected on 9-11 when buildings around her were falling to the ground. [Washington’s Prayers]
Thus the spiritual center of the New Jerusalem is St. Paul’s Chapel in Manhattan and is the place to where pilgrims can go on their pilgrimages of the New Jerusalem:
AMERICA JUDGED ON 9-11
It was discovered by Rabbi Johnathan Cahn that “9/11” was a sign by God that America had been judged and the allowance of a hit on the Twin Towers a harbinger of things to come if America continues to ignore God. Rabbi Cahn identified a total of 8 Harbingers associated with 9/11:
- The Fallen Bricks
- We Will Rebuild
- Bigger and Better
- A Hewn Stone
- Spirit of Defiance
- Sycamore Tree
- Cedar Tree
- Vows of Arrogance
Source: Isaiah 9:10
LANDS WERE HIDDEN
Like ancient Olympia [Greece] was hidden for 1100 years (600 AD – 1776 AD), buried under alluvial deposits up to 8 meters deep, so too is a significant part of Book of Mormon lands, the location of which we will reveal when the Book of Mormon is no longer associated with the Mormon Church.