Monthly Archives: December 2014

Two Cumorahs?

If one subscribes to the theory that events in the Book of Mormon took place in Central and/or South America, then one automatically subscribes to the theory that there were two Hill Cumorahs. One in Central America where the great finals battles took place, and another some 5,000 miles away in New York to where Moroni traveled for the sole purpose of depositing the plates.

In his April, 1953 General Conference address, Apostle Mark E. Peterson said:

“I do not believe that there were two Hill Cumorahs, one in Central America and the other one up in New York, for the convenience of the Prophet Joseph Smith, so that the poor boy would not have to walk clear to Central America to get the gold plates.”

There are two common arguments Mesoamerica proponents present:

The hill in New York is too small.

In the sixth chapter of Mormon, Mormon describes the battle which took place in the “land of Cumorah”. In verses 11-14 he lists 13 leaders whose ten thousands had fallen. In the next verse he mentions ten other un-named leaders, each with ten thousand. Some proponents of a Mesoamerica Cumorah argue that the Hill in New York is too small to support a battle between 230,000 people and their enemies.

Mormon does not say the battle took place on the hill. He only says they pitched their tents around the hill. The only mention of being on the hill is in verse 11 when he climbs to the top of the hill, “when the Lamanites had returned unto their camps”. It was from the top of the hill he viewed the carnage below him around the hill. This might suggest the hill was so small that Mormon had to wait for the Lamanites to leave the area, and “return to their camps”, before he could climb to the top without being seen.

Nothing in the text indicates that the battle took place on the hill or even adjacent to the hill where the Nephites pitched their tents. But even if the fighting did take place right next to the hill, there is plenty of room for 230,000 people and their enemies to do battle. Today 8,000 chairs are set up in one small space at the northwest corner of the hill for the annual Hill Cumorah Pageant.

The Climate in North America is wrong.

Some proponents of Mesoamerica argue that because there is no mention of Book of Mormon people experiencing snow, Upstate New York is ruled out as a possible location for the final battle. It’s cold in the Rochester and Buffalo areas, and the Book of Mormon writers don’t mention experiencing snow or even winter. Therefore, there must have been no winter.

Although the words winter, spring, summer and autumn are not mentioned, we do know there were seasons.

“And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land—but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate—“ (Alma 46:40)

We also know that temperatures varied.

“And it came to pass that when the night had come, Teancum and his servant stole forth and went out by night, and went into the camp of Amalickiah; and behold, sleep had overpowered them because of their much fatigue, which was caused by the labors and heat of the day.” (Alma 51:33)

This single verse in Alma and the fact that the Lamanites came to battle wearing nothing but a loin cloth have caused many to believe Book of Mormon lands must have been tropical.

In July, 1609 French explorer Samuel de Champlain joined a war party at the borders of Vermont and New York. Below is his sketch depicting the Mohawk warriors doing battle completely naked. Clearly it was warm enough to do battle dressed in little or nothing at all.

JosephKnew-Samuel-de-Champlain-sketch

One might agree that July in New York could be loincloth weather, but if, as the Book of Mormon tells us, the battle took place on the last day of the Nephite year it would be too cold for such clothing, or lack of it.

The question we need to ask is whether or not the Nephites used the Gregorian calendar we use today. Because they were Jews who came to the Promised Land in 600 BC, it is logical they would not be using the Gregorian calendar. The book of 3 Nephi gives us insight into how their calendar was laid out.

Speaking of the great storm and destruction that accompanied the death of Christ, it reads:

“And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year, in the first month, on the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the land.” (3 Nephi 8:5)

We know that Christ died in April on our calendar. That establishes our April as the first month of the Nephite calendar. If the battle took place the last day of the Nephite year, that puts it some time in April. Looking at recorded temperatures for mid April in Upstate New York of the past 100 years, we find that temperatures in the 80s are not uncommon.

Arguments for the New York Hill

Some argue that Moroni’s reference to the New York hill as Cumorah was a typonym in the same way the people in the British colonies of North America named locations after places in their homeland, examples being New York, New Jersey, New England. Other examples of naming places in honor of someplace else are Bethlehem, PA or Bethesda, MA. There is an important difference here with the Hill Cumorah. British colonists knew that New York was not the same place as York in England. Joseph Smith believed the Hill in New York to be the Hill Cumorah from the Book of Mormon and Moroni never corrected that assumption.

Another good argument is that it is a hill. Unlike Cerro el Vigia, one proposed hill in Mexico, the New York hill rises 220-230 feet from base to top. Cerro el Vidia stands 2,700 feet from base to top. A “hill” of 2,700 feet is a mountain and surely would have been described as such by Mormon.

The “land of Cumorah”, is described as “a land of many waters, rivers and fountains”. The area around the Hill Cumorah certainly fits that description. New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio are home to nearly 400 lakes including the Great Lakes.

In their 1949 book, “The Geography of the Book of Mormon”, Willard Bean and E. Cecil McGavin propose the Finger Lakes area of New York as the Land of Many Waters. Below is an image from their book. We have added a red dot to indicate where the Hill Cumorah is located on this map.

JosephKnew-Land-of-Many-Waters-with-red-dot

 

There are many strong arguments for the hill in New York being the Hill Cumorah, but the strongest of these arguments is that Moroni himself said it was.

Copyright © 2014 by Energy Media Works LLC

When using portions of this article, please credit: JosephKnew.com

If you have comments or questions, we would like to hear them. Just click on leave a comment below.

________________________________

Like Joseph Knew on Facebook to stay up to date on what’s happening.

________________________________

Additional information:

For more information about the Nephite calendar, see Rod Meldrum’s book, “The Book of Mormon in America’s Heartland”.

For more information about Moroni and the Hill Cumorah, see the Joseph Knew article “They Wrote the Book”.

For information about the evidence of wars in the Great Lakes area, see the Joseph Knew article “Giants in the Land”.

_________________________________

Cumorah photo, 1907 by George Edward Anderson

Giants in the Land

Joseph Knew - Willard and Rebecca BeanIn 1915 newlyweds Willard and Rebecca Bean were called by President Joseph F. Smith to leave their home in Richfield, Utah and move into the Joseph Smith home near Palmyra, New York. Their mission, which was to last 5 years, stretched into nearly 25 years.

During his time on the farm Willard researched what he called Cumorahland. Much of his research was compiled in the book “Geography of the Book of Mormon” (republished as “Willard’s Cumorahland”). He documented climate changes, artifacts, terrain, distances, and geography and found parallels with the Book of Mormon.

Willard and Rebecca’s son Alvin (1918 – 2007) remembered plowing a field with his father and uncovering a skeleton. The person they uncovered stood approximately 8 feet tall and in the word’s of Alvin, “had a skull the size of a basketball”. Buried with that skeleton was a sword that was so large Willard, a professional athlete, could not hold it up with one hand.

Joseph Knew - Bean childrenAlvin and his brothers Dawn and Kelvin used skulls as helmets while playing war. The skulls were so large they fit over the boys’ heads “like football helmets”.

Such human remains have been found all along Lakes Ontario and Erie. In 1883 newspaper publisher and reporter Harvey Rice wrote about an ancient burial mound near Conneaut, Ohio (about 200 miles from Palmyra, NY).

“Human bones of gigantic proportions were discovered in such a state of preservation as to be accurately described and measured. The cavities of the skulls were large enough in their dimensions to receive the entire head of a man of modern times, and could be put on one’s head with as much ease as a hat or cap. The jaw-bones were sufficiently large to admit of being placed so as to match or fit the outside of a modern man’s face. The other bones, so far as discovered, appeared to be of equal proportions with the skulls and jaw-bones, several of which have been preserved as relics in the cabinets of antiquarians, where they may still be seen.” (Harvey Rice, Pioneers of the Western Reserve, pp. 172-173)Joseph Knew - Harvey Rice

The book of Ether in the Book of Mormon describes the Jaredite warriors as “Large and mighty men.” (Ether 15:26) When Limhi’s scouts in the Book of Mosiah found the ruins of the Jaradites, they found “large breastplates” of brass and copper. (Mosiah 8:10)

Joseph Knew - Holland purchase - lightIn an 1850 book, Orsamus Turner describes the same type of skeletal remains found by the Bean family and Limhi’s scouts. Turner describes what was found in an ancient fort in Orleans County, NY. “Some skeletons, almost entire have been exhumed, many of giant size, not less than seven to eight feet in length.” (O. Turner, Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase of Western New York. Pp. 36)

In the ruins of this fortress near Lake Ontario, Turner describes a “depository of the dead”.

“Nearly in the centre of the area was a depository of the dead. It was a pit excavated to the depth of four or five feet, filled with human bones, over which were slabs of sand stone. Hundreds seem to have been thrown in promiscuously, of both sexes and all ages. Extreme old age was distinctly identified by toothless jaws, and the complete absorption of the aveola processes; and extreme infancy, by the small skulls and incomplete ossification. Numerous barbs or arrow points were found among the bones, and in the vicinity. One skull retained the arrow that, had pierced it, the aperture it had made on entering being distinctly visible. In the position of the skeletons, there was none of the signs of ordinary Indian burial; but evidences that the bodies were thrown in promiscuously, and at the same time. The conjecture might well be indulged that it had been the theatre of a sanguinary battle, terminating in favor of the assailants, and a general massacre.” (O. Turner, Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase of Western New York. Pp. 27)

Throughout Turner’s book he writes about the great number of skulls found which had been broken by clubs, stones or other weapons of war.

In 1925, while Willard Bean was living there, a farmer in Palmyra was digging a well and uncovered several large skeletons. The age of the skeletons was determined to be approximately 3,000 years old. This would fit in the time frame of the Jaradite Nation. Of this discovery the “Rochester Herald” reported:

“In this pit were found an axe of peculiar shape, wide bit and other implements that bore signs of ancient warfare. There are dozens of similar ruins near Rochester. [ ] Upon these steep heights invading armies may have pressed a desperate assault, while all along the brow of the hills behind the rude fortifications of the great forest, stood the defenders of camp and home.”

Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Orson Pratt and others believed that two great nations fought their final battle in Western New York, one at Ramah and the other at Cumorah. There was never any question in their minds that the Hill Ramah and the Hill Cumorah were one and the same.

Joseph-Knew-Book-of-Ether25 And when the night came there were thirty and two of the people of Shiz, and twenty and seven of the people of Coriantumr.

26 And it came to pass that they ate and slept, and prepared for death on the morrow. And they were large and mighty men as to the strength of men.

27 And it came to pass that they fought for the space of three hours, and they fainted with the loss of blood.

28 And it came to pass that when the men of Coriantumr had received sufficient strength that they could walk, they were about to flee for their lives; but behold, Shiz arose, and also his men, and he swore in his wrath that he would slay Coriantumr or he would perish by the sword.

29 Wherefore, he did pursue them, and on the morrow he did overtake them; and they fought again with the sword. And it came to pass that when they had all fallen by the sword, save it were Coriantumr and Shiz, behold Shiz had fainted with the loss of blood.

30 And it came to pass that when Coriantumr had leaned upon his sword, that he rested a little, he smote off the head of Shiz.

31 And it came to pass that after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised up on his hands and fell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died.

32 And it came to pass that Coriantumr fell to the earth, and became as if he had no life. (Ether 15:25-32)

Copyright © 2014 by Energy Media Works LLC

When using portions of this article, please credit: JosephKnew.com

If you have comments or questions, we would like to hear them. Just click on leave a comment below.

________________________________

DVD front JPG for other usesA new documentary about Willard and Rebecca Bean is now available. “Love Unfeigned” is a three-part DVD.

The Biography of Willard Bean chronicles his youth, his mission in the Southern States, his acting and political experiences in New York City, and his successful boxing career. — (17 minutes)

The Biography of Rebecca Bean tells of her family’s conversion in Denmark, her growing up in Richfield, Utah and her sacred experiences living in the Joseph Smith home in Palmyra, NY. (26 minutes)

Love Unfeigned celebrates the 100-year legacy of Willard and Rebecca’s influence in Palmyra, NY. It includes interviews with Bean family members, local Palmyra residents and Book of Mormon scholars. The DVD includes never before seen photos from the Bean family collection. (60 minutes)

To order your copy, visit “This is the MarketPlace”.

________________________________

Like Joseph Knew on Facebook to stay up to date on what’s happening.

________________________________

Additional Information:

Information about Rebecca Bean.

Information about Willard Bean’s boxing career.

How the Church gained ownership of the Hill Cumorah.

The Bean family reforests the Hill Cumorah.

Find all of our previous posts on our home page.

_______________________________

Some of the information in this article comes from the personal writings of Willard Bean and Alvin Bean, which are in the possession of the Willard and Rebecca Bean family.

Skull Photo: wikimedia commons, Xerto

 

 

Ancient Cities of the Mississippi Valley

As European settlers in North America moved westward they came across more and more curious looking earthworks. Some were simply man-made mounds, some detailed effigies and some were the remnants of great cities.

Between 1845 and 1847 two men traveled through much of the Mississippi Valley surveying and documenting many of these earthworks. Ephraim George Squier and Edwin Hamilton Davis recorded their findings in a publication called “Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley”.

For students of the Book of Mormon, one of their findings is of particular interest. On a site called the East Fork Works (Sometimes called “Gridiron” or “Hebrew Works”) in Clermont County, Ohio, Squire and Davis found the remains of a large complex or city laid out in a very particular manner.

Hebrew-works-framed

This “Gridiron” (on the right in the above image) was laid out as a walled city with detailed formations. As you can see in the over-lay below, one section of the city was laid out in the shape of a menorah.

Above the menorah section of the city, we can see a Jewish clay lamp.

Hebrew-works-lamp-framed

Also visible in the design and construction of the city are two ancient and important symbols, the compass and the square.

Hebrew-works-Sq-Compass-Framed

The Hopewell culture, of which this city is a part, dates from 100 B.C. to 600 A.D. Many of their structures and the artifacts found in and around them indicate there was a strong Hebrew influence. This Hebrew culture such as we find in the East Fork site can be explained in the Book of Mormon. A group left Israel in 600 B.C., traveled across the ocean, landed in North America, formed governments, built cities, and about 70 B.C. built, in a particular manner, the great City of Lehi.

“And it came to pass that the Nephites began the foundation of a city, and they called the name of the city Moroni; and it was by the east sea; and it was on the south by the line of the possessions of the Lamanites.

“And they also began a foundation for a city between the city of Moroni and the city of Aaron, joining the borders of Aaron and Moroni; and they called the name of the city, or the land, Nephihah.

“And they also began in that same year to build many cities on the north, one in a particular manner which they called Lehi, which was in the north by the borders of the seashore.” (The Book of Mormon, Alma 50:13-15 – emphasis added)

Whether the city found in Clermont County, Ohio is the City of Lehi, or just another Hopewell city, the Hebrew influence is clear. Combined with evidence from other sites throughout North America, the East Fork site confirms that the early inhabitants of this continent were sophisticated, educated, and religiously devoted.

Copyright © 2014 by Energy Media Works LLC

When using portions of this article, please credit: JosephKnew.com

If you have comments or questions, we would like to hear them. Just click on leave a comment below.

________________________________

Like Joseph Knew on Facebook to keep up on what’s happening.

Joseph Knew is a member of the Mormon Media Network. Visit us for:

________________________________

Additional information:

They Wrote the Book – Evidence of the Book of Mormon in North America from those that lived it.

Zelph’s Mound – He served under the Prophet Onandagus.

_____________________________

Images in the article are from the Squire and Davis book “Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley”, plate XXXIV, page 95.

The Menorah added in over-lay is from: wikimedia commons.

The oil lamp added in over-lay is from MormonMediaNetwork.com

Newark Holy Stones

In the summer and fall of 1860 an archeological paradigm was turned on its head. Two artifacts were found in Ohio. They were immediately labeled as a hoax because they didn’t fit within the accepted thinking of the day. David Wyrick, a Licking County surveyor found the artifacts. The first (#2 in the photo above) was a triangular, wedge shaped stone found in the bottom of a pit near ancient Hopewell earthworks in Newark, Ohio. The second (#1 in the photo) was found 10 miles south during the excavation of a burial mound.

Joseph-Knew-Newark-Holy-Stone-KeystoneThe triangular stone, known as a “keystone” is inscribed on all side with Hebrew characters. It translates as:

“The Holy of Holies, The Law of God, The King of the Earth, The Word of the Lord.”

The other stone, known as the Decalogue Stone was found inside a sandstone box or case . The case was carved specifically to house the Decalogue Stone. The stone itself is inscribed on all sides with characters, which have been determined to be “Block Hebrew” or “Monumental Hebrew”. On the front of the stone is a robed man who appears to be holding a tablet. Above his head is written “Moses”. When translated, the writings, which cover the Decalogue stone were found to be the Ten Commandments.

Joseph-Knew-Newark-Holly-Stones----Stone-Box

The Hopewell mounds around the area where these artifacts were found carbon date to 150 – 250 AD. Skeptics, believing the artifacts were part of a hoax, posed two questions about these stones.Joseph-Knew-Newark-Holy-Stone---Decalogue-Stone

How could there be Hebrew writings on stones in North America during this time frame?

How could people living in North America two centuries after Christ have knowledge of the Ten Commandments?

Both of these questions can be answered if one accepts that a group of Jews, led by the Prophet Lehi came to North America in 600 BC and brought with them brass plates which contained the five Books of Moses.

Another argument proposed by skeptics is that the limestone used to make the Decalogue stone is not indigenous to the Newark area. However, in a paper published on an Ohio State University website , James L. Murphy of Ohio State University says such limestone is common in Muskingum County, Ohio.

The Hebrew script found on the Newark Holy Stones differs from that used today.

The Hebrew alphabet changed significantly after the Babylonian exile (597 – 582 BCE). If a group came to North America around 600 BCE we would expect that their script and the script of their descendants would differ from present-day script.

Joseph-Knew-Newark-Holy-Stones---Ceremonial-BowlAlong with the Keystone and the Decalogue stone, a small stone bowl was found. In his book, “The Book of Mormon in America’s Heartland – A Visual Journey of Discovery”, Rod Meldrum presents an explanation for the bowl’s purpose.

“The small stone bowl or cup is significant because similar stone vessels are typical of Jews who kept the purity laws. Stone vessels do not become impure, and purity was very important.

“After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD, the use of stone bowls as ritual objects were discontinued. Stone bowls to hold ceremonial oils, such as this, are significant because it could have been part of Hopewell sacred rituals, as it was for the Jews.”

Such ceremonial bowls would have still been in use by a Hebrew culture in North America in 150-200 AD because the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD did not affect their culture.

Skeptics when these stones were found, and some skeptics today, believe these stones are forgeries because there is no evidence of a Hebrew civilization or even a Hebrew influence in the Hopewell civilization. These stones were some of the first artifacts found that depicted Hebrew script. Just because something is new or unusual doesn’t make it a forgery. Since 1860, many other artifacts have been found which support the idea that early inhabitants of North America were of Jewish decent.

Copyright © 2014 by Energy Media Works LLC

When using portions of this article, please credit: JosephKnew.com

________________________________

This is the MarketPlace - Newark Holy StonesYou can get your own replica set of Newark Holy Stones at ThisIsTheMarketPlace.com

 

 

 

________________________________

If you have comments or questions, we would like to hear them. Just click on leave a comment below.

________________________________

Holy Stone photos by: Mormon Media Network.

Like Joseph Knew on Facebook to stay up to date on what’s happening.

_________________________________

Additional Information:

Hebrew-alphbet-chart-w-border

Alphabet Chart from: econ.ohio-state.edu — Click chart for larger view.

Additional Reading:

“The Script of the Torah” Jerusalem, Israel: Aishdas. 2002., Sanhedrin 21b-22a

“An Annotated Transcription of the Ohio Decalogue Stone.” by J. Huston McCulloch, Epigraphic Society Occasional Papers vol. 21 (1992): 56-71.

“A History of the Hebrew Language”. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. 1993. ISBN 0-521-55634-1.)

_____________________________

Previous Posts:

Zelph’s Mound

They Wrote the Book

 ____________________________

JosephKnew.com is part of the Mormon Media Network.