All Book of Mormon students understand that the colony led by Melek, the youngest son of King Zedekiah, (whose migration was prophesied of in Ezekiel 17: 22, 23,) that his colony landed in Central America, and then, as stated in Omer 1: 1 they found the surviving Jaredite warrior, Coriantumr.
I know that in Doctrine and Covenants 10 : 20 it reads, "glad tidings of Cumorah," but it is in a letter from Joseph Smith, evidently after the idea had become fixed that because records were hidden in Cumorah therefore the one in New York must have been the same hill.
In his "Letters," pages 29, 33, Oliver Cowdery calls it Cumorah, evidently from the same idea, not from any divine or angelic statement that it was Cumorah. Certainly the idea did not originate with any careful student of the Book of Mormon. There may not have been any real study of the book at that time. The book appears to have been largely taken on trust by the old Saints, without great examination or study.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/jbms/vol4/iss1/30 , which notes that "This previously unpublished handout was used in a religion 622 class on 31 March 1964."
Like Stebbins and other M2C scholars, Sperry also simply assumed that Book of Mormon events took place in Central America and then reasoned from there.
Now the lands of Lehi-Nephi and Shilom, the territory where Limhi's people dwelt, were presumably in Central America. No Book of Mormon student would doubt that they were in "the land southward." But is it reasonable to believe that Limhi's men would travel over three thousand miles to find the site of the last great Jaredite ballies and the Jaredite records, assuming they were at or near a hill Ramah in our state of New York?
At the beginning of his article, Sperry wrote:
The friendly controversy still goes on, the one camp holding that the only Cumorah in or out of the Book of Mormon is the traditional one in New York State, the other supporting the view that the Cumorah in New York has been named after the one in Middle America, but is not the one around which the last great battles of the Nephites and the Lamanites took place.
Now which of these two points of view is correct? It would be desirable, if possible, to come to a unity in the matter. Truth should never be on the defensive, but sometimes it is hard to decide just where it is. Perhaps most people of the Church hold to the traditional view of Cumorah, and, indeed, I have defended that view in some of my writings. But in recent years we have again gone over the Book of Mormon evidence very carefully and are prepared to present what we feel are the elements of the strongest case that can be made for a Cumorah in Middle America. Let us present it fairly and objectively as a historical question, letting the chips, so to speak, fall where they may.
example, Sidney B. Sperry, The Book of Mormon Testifies (Salt Lake City:
Bookcraft, 1952), 335-36.