Last Friday, November 11, 2022, a group of missionaries helped sow seeds for various tree species on the Hill Cumorah in New York.
Some readers here know that I used to have a house about a mile north of Cumorah. I've spent a lot of time in that area. I was happy to see the removal of the ridiculous Mayan-themed stage, along with the Mayan-themed costumes and pageant.
The Church News article started by mentioning and quoting Willard Bean. Maybe the "new interpretive and wayfinding signs" they are installing will include Brother Bean's explanation of the Hill Cumorah as the scene of the final battles of the Jaredites and Nephites.
More likely, they will censor (i.e., "de-correlate") his work.
For a wonderful article about Bean and his work acquiring and restoring Cumorah, see
The article doesn't mention Bean's work explaining the scriptural relevance of Cumorah. He published a book in 1948 titled Book of Mormon Geography: In Search of Ramah-Cumorah which is available here.
Speaking of the "new interpretive and wayfinding signs," it remains to be seen whether the Church History Department will be open and honest about actual Church history. So far, their track record is poor at best with respect to Cumorah.
There are numerous historical documents relating to Cumorah, some of which I've collected here:
Any visitor to the Hill Cumorah in New York who leaves without being informed about actual Church history on the topic is being misinformed--intentionally, sad to say.
At the very least, the Visitors Center should include Letter VII in full.
It is astonishing that so few Church members know that it was Moroni himself who identified the hill as Cumorah when he visited Joseph Smith the first time.
Well, not astonishing, I suppose. The Church History Department, obsessed with accommodating their M2C friends and colleagues, continues to censor all historical information about Cumorah from their publications and other Church curriculum, including displays historical sites.
Notice the caption to this photo in the Church News article. They describe Cumorah as "a small hill." Maybe for someone coming from Utah it appears small, but that's just bad reporting.
And effective, but deplorable, "de-correlating" of authentic Church history.
|"a small hill"|
(click to enlarge photo)
Contrast the Church News' anachronistic "presentism" with President Oliver Cowdery's description:
I think I am justified in saying that this is the highest hill for some distance round, and I am certain that its appearance, as it rises so suddenly from a plain on the north, must attract the notice of the traveller as he passes by.
Anyone who lives in the Palmyra area knows that Oliver Cowdery's description is more accurate than the Church News description.
As we saw in the Saints book, volume 1, the effort to de-correlate Church history about Cumorah continues. So far, the Church History Department hasn't gone to the final step of actually removing the historical Cumorah documents from the Joseph Smith Papers. Hopefully that will never happen.
But the way they censor and "reframe" Church history, few English-speaking Latter-day Saints, and virtually zero non-English-speaking Latter-day Saints, will ever learn accurate Church history about Cumorah.
The twitter feed mentioned in the article included this photo:
Compare that to a photo I took when I lived a mile from the Hill Cumorah.
The article listed other changes, including
Other changes are as follows:
- A new Hill Cumorah monument sign has been installed in front of the visitors’ center.
- There is a new network of trails allowing all visitors, including those in wheelchairs, to access the Angel Moroni monument at the top of the hill.
- New interpretive and wayfinding signs have been placed in various locations along a new path system so people can easily find their way up and down the hill.
- The Angel Moroni statue has been regilded for the first time since the monument was constructed in 1935.
- Workers have remodeled the basement of Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center to accommodate larger groups.