Book Review “Book of Mormon Geography”

“Book of Mormon Geography: In Search of Ramah-Cumorah” is such a long title for such a short book. But this 90 pages is packed full of North American goodness, it’s hard to know where to begin.

If you are a researcher of the same material I have been reading you HAVE to get this book. It was written by Willard Bean and Cecil McGavin. As a reminder, Willard Bean was the professional boxer who was called on a special mission in 1915 to Palmyra, which was known as the most prejudice place on earth against Mormons at the time, and Willard was the first Mormon to live there since Joseph Smith was kicked out 85 years earlier.

One of his missions was to purchase the Hill Cumorah and many other church sites. His 5 year mission turned to 24 years. He spent much of his time on Hill Cumorah and sees things from a different perspective.

On a side note, his life is currently being made into a film. I originally wrote a screenplay about his life, getting ready to make my own film, but TC Christensen beat me to it (a long story for another time).

The first piece of evidence to take from in reading this book is that the 2-Hill Cumorah theory was new and for some members of the church is was a problem. It goes on to read “In recent years there has been a tendency among certain students of the Book of Mormon to originate Book of Mormon cultures far to the south. Many students of the subject are convinced that the three colonies that came to America had their existence in Central America and Mexico.”

They continue” Most students who accept this theory do not consider the Hill Cumorah in western New York as the hill where gold plates were originally deposited, nor the area immediately south of the Great Lakes as the site of the Jaredite and Nephite battlefield.”

In wrapping up the introduction “The following pages are a plea in defense of the old theory – the interpretation of Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Orson Pratt and a countless number of the Authorities of the Church.”

Then, they proceed to go into example after example, quotes from church leaders, and quotes from the likes of Champlain, Frontenac, Turner, McIntosh and New York governor DeWitt Clinton all experts in evidence of pre-Columbian contact to North America.

This book should be considered a starting point for the rest of your study. I generally make it a personal rule that if a Mormon wrote a book on Book of Mormon Geography, then you need to back that up with non-Mormon sources. In this case, My study has evolved into not only pre-Columbian North American influence, but the evolution of the 2-Hill Cumorah theory itself.

This book was written in 1948, a year after the book “Cumorah-Where?”was written by Stuart Ferguson, which made the case of the 2-HIll Cumorah theory. You can see a review of that book earlier on this blog.

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