Interpreter Peer Reviewed

Interpreter Peer Reviewed

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Fairly Mormon on Cumorah

The Fairly Mormon web page on Cumorah is a classic in disinformation. Because Fairly Mormon is part of the M2C citation cartel along with the Interpreter, I may do more peer reviews of their work here.

I'd be happy to help Fairly Mormon by doing peer reviews privately, but so far they decline to seek or accept my input, so I'll provide it publicly here.

This is the page we'll discuss today:

https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Question:_Where_is_the_Hill_Cumorah%3F

I'll post the page along with my peer review in red.
_____

Question: Where is the Hill Cumorah?


Fairly Mormon never answers this question directly, except to deny it is in New York.
Table of Contents

Question: Where is the Hill Cumorah?

Joseph Smith never used the name "Cumorah" in his own writings when referring to the gold plates' resting place [classic example of begging the question; i.e., providing what is essentially the conclusion of the argument as a premise]

It is not clear exactly when the New York hill from which Joseph Smith retrieved the gold plates became associated with the name "Cumorah."
This link goes to a highly partisan M2C promotional page that has its own problems.
Joseph Smith never used the name in his own writings when referring to the plates' resting place. 
[Notice the term "own writings" here. Joseph wrote very little himself. He relied on scribes. When Oliver Cowdery wrote Letters VII and VIII to W.W. Phelps (the letters in which he specifically stated, as a fact, that the final battles of the Nephites and Jaredites took place in the valley west of the Hill Cumorah in New York), he said Joseph helped him write the letters. Joseph instructed his scribes to copy these letters into his own journal as part of his life story. When viewed through the Mesoamerican lenses, Joseph's own journal is not "his own writings."]
The only use of it from his pen seems to be D&C 128:20, which uses the phrase "Glad tidings from Cumorah!" 
Think about the context of D&C 128:20, which was originally a letter Joseph sent to the actual editor of the Times and Seasons for publication in September 1842. Letter VII, which unequivocally identifies the Book of Mormon Cumorah as the New York hill, had been published in the Messenger and Advocate (1835), copied into Joseph's personal journal (1835), republished in the Millennial Star (1840), the Gospel Reflector (1841), the Times and Seasons (1841), and included in Orson Pratt's 1840 missionary pamphlet which Joseph adapted for the Wentworth letter (which includes the Articles of Faith), in March 1842. When Joseph wrote the letter that was canonized as D&C 128, all the Saints in England and the U.S. knew Cumorah was in New York because they had all read Letter VII.

Fairly Mormon never tells its readers about all of this context, and instead claims that D&C 128, written just six months after the Wentworth letter, cites Cumorah as an abstract concept. They want people to think he was referring to a hill in Mexico, a proposition no prophet or apostle has ever taken. The two-Cumorahs theory is purely an invention of M2C intellectuals. 
In 1830, Oliver Cowdery referred to the records' location as "Cumorah," while preaching to the Delaware Indians, and by 1835 the term seems to have been in common use among Church members.[1]
This footnote goes to an article by Rex C. Reeve, Jr., and Richard O. Cowan that I've addressed in detail here: http://bookofmormonwars.blogspot.com/2016/05/mesoamerican-response-to-letter-vii.html

Fairly Mormon doesn't mention that, according to his mother, Joseph used the term Cumorah in 1827, before he even translated the plates.
"As I passed by the hill of Cumorah, where the plates are, the angel met me, and said that I had not been engaged enough in the work of the Lord..."
Let's recap this paragraph. First, it's "not clear exactly when" the New York hill became associated with the name Cumorah, but by the end of the paragraph, we see Oliver Cowdery using it in 1830 during his mission to the Lamanites (also notice how the article avoids using the term Lamanites here, as it is used in the revelation calling Oliver on this mission). So while it is "not clear" when the term was first used, it is clear it was being used by Oliver Cowdery within a year of the publication of the text. Ordinarily, one would think Oliver Cowdery was a reliable source, but not if you're wearing Fairly Mormon's M2C lenses. And those lenses prevent you from even mentioning Joseph's use of the term in 1827.

Early Church leaders believed that the Book of Mormon took place on the entire North and South American continents

Fairly Mormon misleads readers here because only some, but not all, early Church leaders expressed a belief in a hemispheric setting for the Book of Mormon. They don't tell readers that Joseph Smith expressly deleted the hemispheric model when he used Orson Pratt's pamphlet to write the Wentworth Letter.
However, 
By writing "however" here, Fairly Mormon is trying to establish a disconnect between the New York Cumorah and the hemispheric model. Every Church leader who has ever spoken on this topic has affirmed the New York Cumorah, whether they also discussed the hemispheric model or not. Fairly Mormon wants you to think there's a disconnect because they insist that the New York Cumorah is inconsistent with their M2C dogma. But no Church leader has ever articulated such a disconnect.
there is evidence that Joseph Smith 
This "evidence" consists of the anonymous articles in the Times and Seasons and other documents Joseph neither wrote nor signed. It's all false attribution.
and other Church leaders believed that the events of the Book of Mormon spanned the North and South American continents, that the isthmus of Panama was the "narrow neck" of land, and that the hill in New York was the "Cumorah" referred to in the Book of Mormon. 
Here, Fairly Mormon correctly recognizes that some early Church leaders (but never Joseph or Oliver) taught the "hemispheric" model. 

Next, Fairly Mormon conflates a variety of evidence. Let's see what they tell their readers.
Joseph wrote a letter to Emma during Zion's Camp in which he referred to "wandering over the plains of the Nephites." [2] 
They omit the full context of this letter. Joseph had just walked across Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. The full quotation is, "wandering over the plains of the Nephites, recounting occasionaly 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." That's a degree of specificity that Fairly Mormon doesn't want their readers to know about.
Notice they give a link to a fairly obscure book instead of to the Joseph Smith Papers where everyone can access this document easily. See http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/letterbook-2/62
Oliver Cowdery wrote in one of his letters to W.W. Phelps published in the Messenger and Advocate:
A history of the inhabitants who peopled this continent, previous to its being discovered to Europeans by Columbus, must be interesting to every man; and as it would develope the important fact, that the present race were descendants of Abraham....[3]
Note that "this continent" refers to both North and South America; Columbus never set foot in the present day United States; he was confined to the the CaribbeanSouth America and Central America. (Click here for maps of Columbus' voyages.)
This is fun because they cite part of Letter VII in which Oliver is not even discussing the Book of Mormon, but Joseph's thoughts before he even got the plates, when he was tempted to make money from it. 

And, of course, they don't show readers the part of Letter VII in which President Cowdery declares it is a fact that the final battles took place in New York. Nor do they tell readers about how often Letter VII was republished, copied into Joseph's personal history, and reiterated by subsequent prophets and apostles.

There are so many things wrong with this Columbus argument that I've discussed them here

David Whitmer is not told that the hill from which Joseph received the record was called Cumorah, but this usage seems to have nevertheless become common within the Church

Nevertheless? One of the Three Witnesses explains when he first heard the term Cumorah--from a heavenly messenger, before he had even read the manuscript--and Fairly Mormon thinks it is a contradiction that the term "became common" within the Church?

One reference comes from a later interview 
This is hardly an ordinary "interview." It was Joseph F. Smith and Orson Pratt interviewing one of the Three Witnesses for a formal report to the Quorum of the Twelve.
with David Whitmer, who recounted how Oliver Cowdery had written to him, asking for help to transport Joseph and Oliver from Harmony to the Peter Whitmer home in Fayette:
When I was returning to Fayette, with Joseph and Oliver, all of us riding in the wagon, Oliver and I on an old-fashioned, wooden, spring seat and Joseph behind us; while traveling along in a clear open place, a very pleasant, nice-looking old man suddenly appeared by the side of our wagon and saluted us with, "Good morning, it is very warm," at the same time wiping his face or forehead with his hand. We returned the salutation, and, by a sign from Joseph, I invited him to ride if he was going our way. But he said very pleasantly, "No, I am going to Cumorah." This name was something new to me, I did not know what Cumorah meant. We all gazed at him and at each other, and as I looked around inquiringly of Joseph, the old man instantly disappeared, so that I did not see him again.[4]
Interestingly, Whitmer is not told that the hill from which Joseph received the record was called Cumorah, 
Notice this rhetorical trick. We don't know what Whitmer was told by the messenger; we only know what he related in this interview as reported by Smith and Pratt. 

Whitmer also did an interview with Edward Stevenson, who recorded that "David asked him [the messenger] to ride and he replied I am going across to the hill Cumorah." FAIRMORMON is aware of this interview (they cite a different portion of it here), but somehow failed to mention it here. Any guesses why? You can see Stevenson's original letter describing one of his interviews here. Unfortunately, and inexplicably, Stevenson's diary containing the Whitmer's hill Cumorah statement is "closed to research" online (see here), but it is cited in Lyndon W. Cook, ed., David Whitmer Interviews, 1993, p. 13 and Dan Vogel, ed., Early Mormon Documents, 2003, vol. v, p. 30.] 

but this usage seems to have nevertheless become common within the Church.
Again, Fairly Mormon uses this "nevertheless" qualifier. Before the translation is even complete, and almost a year before the Book of Mormon is published, an angel tells David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and Joseph Smith that he is taking the plates "to the hill Cumorah." Inexplicably, according to the Mesoamerican seers, "this usage" becomes "common within the Church." Such rhetorical audacity is a lot of fun to observe.
 Given that Whitmer's reminiscence is late, and unsubstantiated by other contemporaneous accounts, some historians question its accuracy, especially in a detail such as the name of the Hill, which later became common Church usage.[5]
Okay, so now, when viewed through Fairly Mormon's Mesoamerican lens, official testimony, given to two Apostles, by one of the Three Witnesses, is questionable. No wonder why Joseph Fielding Smith said that, because of the Mesoamerican Two Cumorah theory, "some members of the Church have become confused and greatly disturbed in their faith in the Book of Mormon."
Fairly Mormon refers to "some historians" but cites only one, here. Martin Raish writes, "Unfortunately, the accuracy of David’s story is uncertain. For one thing, this recollection came 49 years later, when he was in his seventies. Moreover, it is not corroborated by any other early account. For example, neither Oliver Cowdery’s 1835 description of the hill nor Joseph Smith’s 1838 history of the church refers to the site by the name Cumorah (see Joseph Smith—History 1:51). For these reasons, some scholars do not accept the account as historically reliable." 
There are several fun aspects of Raish's piece. For example, he refutes the Mesoamerican seers' assertion that Cumorah was a folk tradition when he writes, "it apparently did not become part of common usage, even among Latter-day Saints, until many years later. Throughout the 1830s and ’40s, the mount, if named at all, was called “Mormon Hill,” “Bible Hill,” or “Golden Bible Hill.”
The most fun in Raish's piece, though, is when he claims Oliver Cowdery's 1835 description does not refer to the site by the name Cumorah. If you look at his article, he quotes from Letter VII, concluding with this sentence: "here, between these hills, the entire power and national strength of both the Jaredites and Nephites were destroyed."
But in the very next sentence in Letter VII, Oliver writes, "By turning to the 529th and 530th pages of the Book of Mormon, you will read Mormon's account of the last great struggle of his people, as they were encamped around this hill Cumorah."
Did Raish not read the next sentence in Letter VII? Was he using an extract of Letter VII from another Mesoamerican seer's work that omitted every reference to Cumorah? 
Raish's article was published in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, a hopelessly Mesoamerican publication like the others in the citation cartel. Like the Interpreter, these publications are not peer reviewed, which is why errors such as this crop up. The citation cartel publishes peer-approved, not peer-reviewed, material.  
To sum up, the one scholar cited by FAIRMORMON didn't even read his original source, and therefore misrepresented what Oliver Cowdery wrote. 
Note: I previously addressed the David Whitmer issue in more detail here.]

The Book of Mormon text indicates that the Hill Cumorah in which the Nephite records were hidden is not the same location as the one where Moroni hid his plates

Despite this early "identification" of the Hill Cumorah of the Book of Mormon with the hill in New York, readers who studied the text closely would later conclude that they could not be the same.
This is a variation of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy; i.e., if you don't reach the same conclusion as Fairly Mormon does, you are not "studying the text closely." It's a lot of fun to have these M2C promoters inform us that Oliver Cowdery did not "study the text closely." Nor did Joseph Fielding Smith. When you encounter the "no true Scotsman" fallacy, which you see a lot among the M2C citation cartel, you can ignore the argument because people resort to that fallacy as a last resort when they have nothing of substance to say.
In 1937–1939 Washburn and Washburn argued that the Nephite/Jaredite final battles at the Hill Cumorah were near the narrow neck of land, and thus unlikely to be in New York.[6] 
See how fun this is? First, Fairly Mormon decides the "narrow neck of land" is in Mesoamerica; then they argue that the Hill Cumorah can't be in New York because it's close to the narrow neck of land! Do I really need to explain the fallacy of this argument?
Thomas Ferguson was of the same view in 1947,[7]and Sidney Sperry came down on the side of a Middle America location in a 1964 BYU religion class,[8] though he had previously endorsed a New York location.[9]
The formal term for this fallacy is "appeal to authority," and it is among the most common fallacies you see in the citation cartel. Anyone interested can unpack the arguments made by Ferguson and Sperry; I find appeals to authority not worth the time and effort. 
Note that this fallacy is a different argument than an appeal to authority based on special credibility, such as a witness (which is why we publish the testimony of Joseph Smith and the 3 and 8 witnesses in every edition of the text). The appeal to authority fallacy applies when the cited authority has no more unique knowledge or expertise than anyone else. Any member of the Church can assess the same evidence that Ferguson and Sperry did and make up his/her own mind. There is zero reason to defer to them (or any other member of the citation cartel) on this issue.

Since the 1950s, opinion among Book of Mormon scholars has increasingly trended toward the realization that the Nephite Cumorah and the Hill in New York cannot be the same

The only thing more fun than an appeal to authority is an additional appeal to authority. This one is cleverly worded. Scholars are converging on the realization! It's no longer a matter of opinion, fact and analysis; it's a question of realizing the truth. IOW, if you disagree with these scholars, you just haven't realized that you're wrong. Another fun aspect of this one is "Book of Mormon scholars." The term, as used here, means "M2C intellectuals." In my view, every member of the Church is, or can be, a Book of Mormon scholar. You certainly don't need a PhD, or any degree, to be a Book of Mormon scholar. In fact, once you put on the Mesoamerican lenses, you "can't unsee" Mesoamerica. Such closed-mindedness is the antithesis of scholarship.

Since the 1950s, opinion among Book of Mormon scholars has increasingly trended toward the realization that the Nephite Cumorah and the Hill in New York cannot be the same.[10] Elder Dallin H. Oaks recalled his own experience at BYU:
Here [at BYU] I was introduced to the idea that the Book of Mormon is not a history of all of the people who have lived on the continents of North and South America in all ages of the earth. Up to that time, I had assumed that it was. If that were the claim of the Book of Mormon, any piece of historical, archaeological, or linguistic evidence to the contrary would weigh in against the Book of Mormon, and those who rely exclusively on scholarship would have a promising position to argue.
In contrast, if the Book of Mormon only purports to be an account of a few peoples who inhabited a portion of the Americas during a few millennia in the past, the burden of argument changes drastically. It is no longer a question of all versus none; it is a question of some versus none. In other words, in the circumstance I describe, the opponents of historicity must prove that the Book of Mormon has no historical validity for any peoples who lived in the Americas in a particular time frame, a notoriously difficult exercise.[11]

If I had to pick out my favorite fallacy in this Fairly Mormon article, I think this would be the one. Nothing in Elder Oak's statement endorses Mesoamerica. In fact, if you combine Elder Oaks with Joseph Fielding Smith, the statement excludes Mesoamerica. 

The whole geography issue boils down to this: you have to choose between the New York Cumorah and the Mesoamerican Zarahemla. You can't have both. Which means choosing between Joseph, Oliver and Whitmer on Cumorah vs. an anonymous and isolated 1842 article in the Times and Seasons on Zarahemla. 

Here's another way to put it. I invite every member of the Church to choose between these.

Explicit descriptions of Cumorah in New York:

Joseph (1827)

David Whitmer (1829)

Oliver Cowdery (1830)

Oliver Cowdery's Letter VII (1835), reprinted in Joseph's personal journal (1835), Orson Pratt (1840), the Gospel Reflector (1841), the Times and Seasons (1841), D&C 128 (1842), and the UK pamphlet (1844).

Explicit description of Zarahemla in Guatemala:

Anonymous article in the 1842 Times and Seasons, never mentioned or referred to again until the development of the two-Cumorah theory by scholars in the 1900s.


There are 13 geographical conditions required for the Book of Mormon Hill Cumorah

This section is a classic in the canon of the citation cartel. Palmer wrote a book titled "In Search of Cumorah" in 1981. I bought a copy when it came out. Palmer also wrote the self-serving entry on Cumorah in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. He is cited by most M2C intellectuals, so I'll address this here. You're going to love the "conditions" that are "required" by Fairly Mormon here. I'm not going through them in detail, just enough to give you the flavor.

In 1981, Palmer identified 13 geographical conditions required for the Book of Mormon Hill Ramah/Cumorah:
  1. near eastern seacoast [the text specifies no distance between Ramah/Cumorah and the sea]
  2. near narrow neck of land [the text specifies no distance between Ramah/Cumorah and the narrow neck of land (and notice that the Nephites never mention the narrow neck of land; it is found only in Ether 10:20)]
  3. on a coastal plain and near other mountains and valleys
  4. one day's journey south of a large body of water
  5. an area of many rivers and waters
  6. presence of fountains
  7. water gives military advantage
  8. an escape route southward
  9. hill large enough to view hundreds of thousands of bodies  [The text doesn't require this, but in fact, from the top of the Hill Cumorah, you can see the city of Rochester 20 miles away. Oliver Cowdery refers to tens of thousands, which is consistent with the text. Certainly the mile-wide valley west of Cumorah, which Oliver identified as the scene of the final battle, is plenty big to accommodate this number of dead.]
  10. hill must be a significant landmark [which is how Oliver described it]
  11. hill must be free standing so people can camp around it [as the New York hill is]
  12. in temperate climate with no cold or snow [complete fabrication, the product of the Mesoamerican lenses. Nothing in the text requires this. The climate is never described in the text, except it had "some seasons," which excludes Mesoamerica anyway. This common Mesoamerican argument is like saying the Apostle Paul could not have traveled in Turkey because he never mentions snow. Yet snow in Turkey is well known; I've been in a snowstorm in Turkey where Paul traveled.]
  13. in a volcanic zone susceptible to earthquakes[12]  [another complete fabrication that defies the text. See my post on fun with volcanoes]
Clearly, the placement of Cumorah will greatly affect the map which results. Issues of distance, as discussed above, play a role here as well.
Some authors 
Note the diminutive; these are not "Book of Mormon scholars" now]
who have other views on the internal geography have directly disputed the validity of some of David Palmer's criteria for the ancient Cumorah.[13] 
Here, they cite Andrew Hedges and Edwin Goble. Goble advocates a Mesoamerican setting for Zarahemla. Hedges does an excellent job pointing out how Palmer's conditions are not required, or even implied, by the text, and so far as I know, he demurs on the location of Zarahemla, but like Goble, he does not reject the Mesoamerican setting. IOW, the "skeptics" FAIRMORMON cites here both accommodate the Mesoamerican setting!
The question of distance plays an important role in the skeptical views towards these criteria. 
Notice how they rhetorically shift the burden of proof here. Palmer's conditions are "required." If you disagree, you're the skeptic.
If it is demonstrated 
This passive voice leaves the analysis vacant. Who would be doing the demonstrating? On what criteria?
that there is a greater distance between the narrow neck of land and Cumorah, for example, and there is a "northern hinterland" to the Nephite domain, then the questions of climate and so forth in these criteria are not going to apply necessarily to the hill Cumorah. Furthermore, the issues of height have been called into question as well.
What can anyone say in response to this vacuous rhetoric?]
Bottom line on Palmer: his fabricated "conditions" are "required" only if you are wearing the Mesoamerican lenses. You don't get them from the text Joseph translated. Citations to Palmer are ubiquitous in citation cartel literature, from John Sorenson's 1985 An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon through Brant Gardner's 2015 Traditions of the Fathers. But when you unpack Palmer's arguments, you see they are transparently designed to justify a Mesoamerican Cumorah. 
Truly, once you put on the Mesoamerican lenses, you can't unsee Mesoamerica. This Fairly Mormon article is a prime example of how the M2C intellectuals adapt the evidence to confirm their biases, and why it is necessary to unpack their work piece by piece.

Statements made by Church leaders or Church publications related to the "Hill Cumorah"

Summary: Church leaders have expressed a variety of opinions over the years regarding the location of the Hill Cumorah

Confusion helps Fairly Mormon persuade Church members to disbelieve the prophets. Fairly Mormon portrays the teachings of the prophets as a "variety of opinions" so their readers will accept their claim that Church leaders are confused. 

However, the modern prophets and apostles have been united, consistent and clear in affirming Oliver Cowdery's teaching that it was a fact that the Hill Cumorah is in New York.

Look at how Fairly Mormon deceives members of the Church by omitting the material that contradicts the Fairly Mormon editorial position that promotes the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory.

Here's their list of "Church leaders" supposedly expressing "a variety of opinions:"

JUMP TO SUBTOPIC:


They list exactly one General Conference address, the one by President Romney of the First Presidency. We have to give them credit for that, at least, but they list it as an example of "an opinion." President Romney not only declared that the final battles of the Jaredites and Nephites took place on the hill Cumorah in New York where he, President Romney, had stood not long before giving the address, but at the conclusion of his talk, he said 

"Now my beloved brethren and sisters everywhere, both members of the Church and nonmembers, I bear you my personal witness that I know that the things I have presented to you today are true—both those pertaining to past events and those pertaining to events yet to come."


Fairly Mormon dismisses this direct and powerful testimony--the personal witness of a member of the First Presidency--as a mere opinion.
Fairly Mormon's overall editorial position is that any statement by the prophets and apostles that contradicts FairMormon's beliefs is merely an "opinion" that can be rejected.

Notice how this list of statements by "Church leaders" specifically omits Letter VII, written by the ordained Assistant President of the Church and repeatedly endorsed by Joseph Smith. FairMormon omits General Conference addresses confirming Letter VII given by President Ivins and Elder Peterson. They omit statements from Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, James E. Talmage, LeGrand Richards, Orson F. Whitney, and others.

All of these undisclosed statements by modern prophets and apostles are consistent and explicit about Cumorah being in New York. 

Instead, Fairly Mormon lists President Lee's obscure comment out of context, because they know that in the actual talk, President Lee listed the two-Cumorahs theory among other false doctrines taught by seminary and institute teachers, as I've shown here:  http://bookofmormonwars.blogspot.com/2017/10/fairmormons-famous-harold-b-lee.html

Next they list Paul R. Cheesman as a "Church leader."

Next, they cite the phony fax to repudiate an official letter from the office of the First Presidency, which I've discussed here: http://bookofmormonwars.blogspot.com/2016/11/how-to-create-some-doctrine.html

Finally, they attack President Joseph Fielding Smith's warning about the two-Cumorahs theory as merely his opinion and therefore something to be ignored. "These are not the droids you're looking for."

This final item on the list is especially audacious because they don't even show readers what President Smith actually said. Instead, they give readers two paragraphs of sophistry designed to encourage readers not to heed the words of the prophets and apostles.

Nineteenth Century: Statements on Book of Mormon geography made during Joseph Smith's lifetime: 1829-1840

ThiS LIST OMITS TEACHINGS ABOUT CUMORAH AND FOCUSES ON THE HEMISPHERIC MODEL 

JUMP TO SUBTOPIC:

Every one of these authors and publications fully endorsed the New York Cumorah, but Fairly Mormon doesn't tell readers that. Instead, they try to confuse members by the speculation about other geography issues.

The prophets and apostles have consistently and repeatedly taught two principles that Fairly Mormon doesn't explain to their readers:

1. We know for sure that the Hill Cumorah is in New York.
2. We don't know for sure where the other events took place.

Instead, Fairly Mormon inverts these two principles by trying to persuade Church members that:

1. We know for sure that the Hill Cumorah cannot be in New York and every prophet and apostle who said otherwise was expressing his own opinion and was wrong.
2. We know for sure that the Book of Mormon took place in Mesoamerica and anyone who says otherwise is ignorant.

President Benson accurately warned the Saints when he said,

The learned may feel the prophet is only inspired when he agrees with them, otherwise the prophet is just giving his opinion—speaking as a man...

https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-ezra-taft-benson/chapter-11-follow-the-living-prophet?lang=eng

Notes

  1. Jump up Rex C. Reeve, Jr., and Richard O. Cowan, "The Hill Called Cumorah," in Larry C. Porter, Milton V. Backman, Jr., and Susan Easton Black, eds., Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint History: New York and Pennsylvania (Provo: BYU Department of Church History and Doctrine, 1992), 73–74.
  2. Jump up Dean C. Jessee, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, [original edition] (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1984). ISBN 0877479747. GL direct link
  3. Jump up Oliver Cowdery to W. W. Phelps, "Letter VII," (July 1835) Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate 1:155-159off-site
  4. Jump up Interview with David Whitmer [conducted 7–8 September 1878 in Richmond, Missouri], "Report of Elders Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith," Millennial Star 40 (9 December 1878), 771–774.
  5. Jump up Martin H. Raish, "Encounters with Cumorah: A Selective, Personal Bibliography," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 13/1 (2004): 38–49. off-site wiki
  6. Jump up Jesse A. Washburn and Jesse N. Washburn, From Babel to Cumorah (Provo, UT: New Era Publishing, 1937).
  7. Jump up Thomas S. Ferguson, Cumorah—Where? (Independence, MO: Press of Zion's Print. & Publishing Company, 1947).
  8. Jump up Sidney B. Sperry, Handout, Religion 622 (31 March 1964); published in Sidney B. Sperry, "Were There Two Cumorahs?," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 4/1 (1995): 260–268. off-site wiki
  9. Jump up Sidney B. Sperry, The Book of Mormon Testifies (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1952), 335–336. Sperry would later write: "In this volume I have reversed my views, held many years ago, that the Hill Cumorah, around which the last great battles of the Nephites and Jaredites took place, was in the State of New York. The book of Mormon data are very clear and show quite conclusively that the Hill (Ramah to the Jaredites) was in the land of Desolation, somewhere in Middle America. I have summed up my arguments and conclusions in connection with the discussion of Mormon, Chapter 6. My conclusions have been tested in a number of classes of graduate students who were challenged to demonstrate their falsity. Up to the present time, no one has done so. The Hill Cumorah in New York, from which the Prophet Joseph Smith obtained the Nephite plates, may have been so named by Moroni in commemoration of the Cumorah in the land of Desolation, around which his father and fellow Nephites lost their lives in their last struggles with the Lamanites." - Sidney B. Sperry, Book of Mormon Compendium (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1968), 6–7.
  10. Jump up See, for example, John E. Clark, "Archaeology and Cumorah Questions," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 13/1 (2004): 144–151. off-site wiki; John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Co. ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1996 [1985]),14–16.
  11. Jump up Dallin H. Oaks, "Historicity of the Book of Mormon," Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies Annual Dinner Provo, Utah, 29 October 1993; cited in Dallin H. Oaks, "The Historicity of the Book of Mormon," (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1994), 2-3. Reproduced in Dallin H. Oaks, "The Historicity of the Book of Mormon," in Historicity and the Latter-day Saint Scriptures, ed. Paul Y. Hoskisson (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2001), 237–48.
  12. Jump up David A. Palmer, In Search of Cumorah: New Evidences for the Book of Mormon from Ancient Mexico (Bountiful: Horizon, 1981), 28–72.
  13. Jump up See Andrew H. Hedges, Cumorah and the Limited Mesoamerican Theory off-site and see also Edwin Goble, Resurrecting Cumorah, Second Revised Edition, May 2011.