Friday, January 13, 2017

The Hill Cumorah by President Anthony W. Ivins

Anthony W. Ivins
On April 6, 1928, President Anthony W. Ivins of the First Presidency spoke in General Conference about the Hill Cumorah in New York, which had recently been purchased by the Church.

He introduced his remarks by emphasizing his preparation:

"Reference has been made by the President of the acquisition by the Church of the spot of ground in the state of New York known as the hill Cumorah. It appears to me to be an event of such importance that I desire to devote the short time which is at my disposal this morning to a discussion of that subject. There have been some differences of opinion in regard to it, and in order that I might be correct in the statements which I make I have this morning finished a short manuscript which I would like to readthe first time. I believe, in my experience, that I have ever addressed a congregation in this manner, and I do it for the purpose stated."

You can read the entire talk on Gospelink here, or on archive.org here.

President Ivins spoke about the "final disposition" of the records.

THE FINAL DISPOSITION
So far as we have information, this was the final disposition which was made of the records given into the custody of Mormon, from the plates of Nephi. This latter, with the addition of the Book of Ether, and the few chapters written by Moroni, constitute the record contained in the Book of Mormon.
All of the remaining records, Mormon tells us, were deposited in the hill Cumorah.
That the hill Cumorah and the hill Ramah are identical is shown by the following: Moroni, in the Book of Ether, says:
"And it came to pass that the armies of Coriantumr did press upon the armies of Shiz [he is telling the story now of this first people who came to the American continent from the Tower of Babel] that they beat them, that they caused them to flee before them; and they did flee southward, and did pitch their tents in a place which was called Ogath. And it came to pass that the army of Coriantumr did pitch their tents by the hill Ramah; and it was that same hill where my father Mormon did hide up the records unto the Lord, which were sacred."
The passages which I have quoted from the Book of Mormon and the more extended discussion of this subject by Elder B. H. Roberts which was published in The Deseret News of March 3 definitely established the following facts: 
That the hill Cumorah, and the hill Ramah are identical. 
That it was around this hill that the armies of both the Jaredites and Nephites fought their great last battles. 
That it was in this hill that Mormon deposited all of the sacred records which had been entrusted to his care by Ammaron, except the abridgment which he had made from the plates of Nephi, which were delivered into the hands of his son, Moroni.
We know positively that it was in this hill that Moroni deposited the abridgment made by his father, and his own abridgment of the record of the Jaredites, and that it was from this hill that Joseph Smith obtained possession of them.

I note two significant points here that I'll write more about next week. First, Mormon deposited all the sacred records except his abridgment into the records repository in the hill Cumorah. Second, that the hill in New York was the location of the depository.

President Ivins continued:
AWAITING THE TIME
This sealed portion of the record which came into the hands of Joseph Smith but was not translated by him so far as we are aware, with the abridgment made by Mormon, the record of Ether, and the other sacred records which were deposited in the hill Cumorah still lie in their repository, awaiting the time when the Lord shall see fit to bring them forth, that they may be published to the world.
Whether they have been removed from the spot where Mormon deposited them we cannot tell, but this we know, that they are safe under the guardianship of the Lord, and that they will be brought forth at the proper time, as the Lord has declared they should be, for the benefit and blessing of the people of the world, for his word never fails.
According to the Book of Mormon, many hundreds of thousands of people fell in battle around this hill and in the immediate vicinity. It was here that two once-powerful nations were exterminated so far as their national existence was concerned. It was here that these nations gathered together for their last great struggles.
UNTIL THE LAST
These people were human, as we are; they carried with them their most precious possessions until the last, and when the end of the mighty struggle came and the result was in doubt, they hid them away in order that they might not fall into the hands of their enemies.
Without doubt, these treasures lie concealed today, some of them, at least, to be brought forth in the not-distant future. How soon this will be we do not know, but this is certain, we are more than a century nearer that time than we were at the time when Joseph Smith took from their resting place, in the hill Cumorah, the plates from which he translated the contents of the Book of Mormon.
All of these incidents to which I have referred, my brethren and sisters, are very closely associated with this particular spot in the state of New York. Therefore I feel, as I said in the beginning of my remarks, that the acquisition of that spot of ground is more than an incident in the history of the Church; it is an epoch—an epoch which in my opinion is fraught with that which may become of greater interest to the Latter-day Saints than that which has already occurred. We know that all of these records, all the sacred records of the Nephite people, were deposited by Mormon in that hill. That incident alone is sufficient to make it the sacred and hallowed spot that it is to us. I thank God that, in a way which seems to have been providential, it has come into the possession of the Church.
I bear witness to you that the words which I have read here, quoted from the Book of Mormon, which refer to the future will be fulfilled. Those additional records will come forth, they will be published to the world, that the children of our Father may be converted to faith in Christ, our Lord and Redeemer, through obedience to the doctrines which he taught. May God our Father hasten that day, is my humble prayer, and I ask it through Jesus Christ. Amen.

I realize there are many LDS scholars and educators who disagree with President Ivins because of their own private interpretation of the scriptures. That's fine. These are the same people who disagree with everything I've posted on this blog so far, from Letter VII forward.

We can all believe whatever we want to believe. But there are many members of the Church who, like me, agree with what President Ivins said here. The LDS scholarly community continues to seek to suppress the views of those who agree with President Ivins, but we'll continue to speak out on this blog and elsewhere.

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