the thinker

Hill Cumorah

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“The names of the islands and of the capital city in the Comoros, Moroni, has raised interest among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the Book of Mormon there is reference to the angel Moroni, son of Mormon, and to the hill, Cumorah. They play central roles in the Book of Mormon and there is some question about the possible relationship between these names in the Book of Mormon and those in the Indian Ocean.
“The name of the town in the Comoros and the name of the islands themselves appear to be independent of the Book of Mormon. ‘Moroni' has a meaning in the local language, viz. ‘at the place of fire." It is constructed of the root ‘moro,' which means ‘fire' or ‘heat' and the locative ‘-ni,' which means "at the place of" or "in." This is a logical name constructed from the morphemes of the language reflecting the fact that the community is located at the base of an immense, active volcano. Likewise, the name ‘Comoro' has a meaning. It is composed of an old Swahili locative ‘ko-' and the word ‘moro.' It's meaning is also ‘the place of fire.'
“Whether the relationship between the terms in the Book of Mormon and the names in the islands is coincidental or there is some historical relationship between the two is not certain at present. The archaeological evidence suggests that the groups mentioned in the Book of Mormon did not have any contact with the Comoro Islands. On the other hand, it is not unlikely that Joseph Smith had heard of Moroni and the Comoro Islands since they were known to Americans as early as the seventeeth century and many whalers from New England had visited the islands in the early part of the nineteenth century. Their names were probably heard throughout the northeastern United States at the time Smith had his vision. They then could have become part of Smith's rendition of the Book of Mormon.”

- see Link is here.

“I will tell you a wonderful thing that happened after Joseph had found the plates. Three of us took some tools to go to the hill [Cumorah] and hunt for some more boxes, or gold or something, and indeed we found a stone box. We got quite excited about it and dug quite carefully around it, and we were ready to take it up, but behold, by some unseen power it slipped back into the hill. We stood there and looked at it, and one of us took a crow bar and tried to drive it through the lid to hold it, but it glanced and broke one corner off the box.”

- High Priest Martin Harris, one of the Three Witnesses, see William E. Berrett and Alma P. Burton, eds., Readings in L.D.S. Church History from Original Manusripts, v. 1, p. 63

“Legends of hidden treasure had long designated Mormon Hill as the repository. Old Joseph had dug there and young Joseph... had accompanied his father in the midnight delvings, and incantations of the spirits that guarded it... in digging for money, they [the Smith family] came across a chest three by two feet in size... The chest vanished and all was utter darkness.”

- Orsamus Turner, childhood friend of Joseph Smith, Jr., “ORIGIN OF THE MORMON IMPOSTURE,” Littell's Living Age, v. 30, p. 429, July-Sept. 1851

“[Joseph Smith, Jr.} was sent for three times to go to the hill Cumorah to dig for treasure. People knew there was treasure there. [Alva] Beman was one of those who sent for him. He came. Each time he said there was treasure there, but that he couldn't get it; though there was one that could. The last time he came he pointed out Joseph Smith, [Jr.] who was sitting quietly among a group of men in the tavern, and [Walters] said There was the young man that could find it, and cursed and swore about him in a scientific manner: awful!”

- Norman R. Bowen, ed., A Gentile Account of Life in Utah's Dixie, 1872-73: Elizabeth Kane's St. George Journal, 1995, p. 72

“ ‘Mormon Hill' had been long designated ‘as the place in which countless treasures were buried;' Joseph the elder, had ‘spaded' up many a foot of the hill side to find them, and Joseph, Jr. had on more than one occasion accompanied him.”

- “Mormonism in its Infancy,” Newark Daily Advertiser, clipping of letter from Manchester, New York, August 8, 1856

“Book of Mormon as an ancient text mediated through the mind of Joseph Smith.... The prophet is an active participant in revelation, conceptualizing and verbalizing God's message in a framework of thought meaningful to the people...' [Smith's] revelatory experiences naturally assumed the world view arising from his culture.”

- Blake Ostler, “The Book of Mormon as a Modern Expansion of an Ancient Source,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 20, no. 1, Spring 1987, see pp. 66, 79, 100, 107-114

“The first time you walk on the grounds you something big happened here [Hill Cumorah]. You can feel it, like visiting Gettysburg. The Book of Mormon had to be sealed. It had to be sealed by blood. I believe the battle did not take place here. It's just something I feel.”

- Hill Cumorah visitor army major Bruce Marshall, as quoted in Mormon America, by Richard and Joan Ostler, p. 271

“Both the Nephite and Jaredite civilizations fought their final great wars of extinction at or near the Hill Cumorah (or Ramah as the Jaredites termed it), which hill is located between Palmyra and Manchester in the western part of the state of New York.”

- Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 175