And again, what do we hear? Glad tidings from Cumorah! Moroni, an angel from heaven, declaring the fulfilment of the prophets—the book to be revealed.
|D&C 128 in the Times and Seasons|
(BTW, this is another indication that Joseph was not editing the paper. The same Oct 1 issue contains the infamous (and ridiculous) anonymous editorial titled "Zarahemla" that the M2C promoters claim Joseph wrote or "edited" somehow.)
You can see a copy of the original publication at this link:
Click on the "expand" button at the upper right of the document and then scroll down to the end of page 935 to see the reference to Cumorah.
When you read this, put yourself in the place of the Saints to whom Joseph wrote the letter. In September 1842, you're probably living in Nauvoo or England. You read the Times and Seasons regularly. The year before, in the same newspaper, you read yet another republication of Oliver Cowdery's Letter VII, which Oliver wrote in 1835 with the assistance of Joseph Smith. Joseph asked his brother Don Carlos to republish it in the Times and Seasons. Here's what you read:
You are acquainted with the mail road from Palmyra, Wayne Co. to Canandaigua, Ontario Co. N. Y. and also, as you pass from the former to the latter place, before arriving at the little village of Manchester, say from three to four, or about four miles from Palmyra, you pass a large hill on the east side of the road. Why I say large, is, because it is as large perhaps, as any in that country....
At about one mile west rises another ridge of less height, running parallel with the former, leaving a beautiful vale between. The soil is of the first quality for the country, and under a state of cultivation, which gives a prospect at once imposing, when one reflects on the fact, that here, between these hills, the entire power and national strength of both the Jaredites and Nephites were destroyed.
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 round this hill Cumorah. (It is printed Camorah, which is an error.) In this valley fell the remaining strength and pride of a once powerful people, the Nephites-once so highly favored of the Lord, but at that time in darkness, doomed to suffer extermination by the hand of their barbarous and uncivilized brethren. From the top of this hill, Mormon, with a few others, after the battle, gazed with horror upon the mangled remains of those who, the day before, were filled with anxiety, hope, or doubt....
This hill, by the Jaredites, was called Ramah: by it, or around it, pitched the famous army of Coriantumr their tents. Coriantumr was the last king of the Jaredites. The opposing army were to the west, and in this same valley, and near by, from day to day, did that mighty race spill their blood, in wrath, contending, as it were, brother against brother, and father, against son. In this same spot, in full view from the top of this same hill, one may gaze with astonishment upon the ground which was twice covered with the dead and dying of our fellowmen.
You can see a copy of this issue of the Times and Seasons here:
|Letter VII in the Times and Seasons|
Click on the "expand" button at the upper right of the document and then scroll down to the end of page 378 to read about Cumorah. Continue on page 379 and 380.
Every Church member who read Joseph's 1842 letter understood this context.
Despite this straightforward declaration in D&C 128:20 and its context, there are some LDS scholars who keep trying to persuade the modern Saints that Joseph didn't know what he was talking about.
These are the scholars who promote M2C (the Mesoamerican/Two Cumorahs theory).
They say Oliver didn't know what he was talking about.
They say that all of Joseph's contemporaries and successors were misled by the incorrect speculations from Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.
Consequently, if you believe M2C, then you also believe that Joseph and Oliver were ignorant speculators who misled the Church about Cumorah.
And that's fine with me. People can believe whatever they want.
I object only when these M2C intellectuals prevent ordinary members of the Church from making informed decisions.
One of my favorite rationalizations about D&C 128:20 comes from Book of Mormon Central (America) in no-wise #489.
Look at how they try to persuade the Saints to question Joseph Smith's credibility and reliability, solely to defend and promote M2C.
Original in blue, my comments in red.
As we've seen, these are not "late recollections." And how do they think "the identity of Cumorah... had become widespread" if not from the repeated republication of Letter VII and the singing of Parley's hymn, all with the approval of Joseph Smith?
Our M2C intellectuals, their employees and followers, often use the phrase "used cautiously" as a euphemism for "repudiated."
They know members of the Church are reluctant to outright repudiate the teachings of the prophets. Because M2C explicitly repudiates the teachings of the prophets, they frame the issue as "using cautiously" those teachings.
Notice, they never encourage Church members to use their own M2C teachings "cautiously."
The identify of the New York Cumorah has been well established by the prophets and apostles. Because of the influence of certain M2C intellectuals, however, most members of the Church have been persuaded to repudiate the teachings of the prophets in favor of an imaginary "Cumorah" somewhere in southern Mexico.
As long as Church members continue to value the teachings of the scholars over the teachings of the prophets, we can hardly expect the Lord to reveal more about the historicity of the Book of Mormon.
Instead of starting with the known pin in the map of the New York Cumorah, our scholars have led Church members on an adventure into confusion and ignorance.
10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.