1879 Book of Mormon

The 1879/1911 LDS editions of the Book of Mormon contain many geographical references which were removed from subsequent editions. What changed? Geographers realized that the scope of Book of Mormon land was small, much smaller than described in the footnotes of the 1879/1911 editions.

The footnotes reflected the thoughts of apostle Orson Pratt but confirmed the following:  the “many waters” crossed by Jared, Lehi and Mulek was the Atlantic Ocean; the United States was birthed on Book of Mormon lands; the final battle was in Palmyra, NY.

Everything else was an attempt to accommodated the grandeur of Mesoamerica and was rightly removed.

Many Waters = Atlantic Ocean

And it came to pass that I looked and beheld emany waters; and they divided the Gentiles from the seed of my brethren. (1 Nephi 13:10; fn. e, The Atlantic Ocean.)

Mother Gentiles = British

And I beheld that their jmother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them. (1 Nephi 13:17; fn. j, The British)

Mighty Nation = The United States

And it meaneth that the time cometh that after all the house of Israel have been scattered and confounded, that the Lord God will raise up a dmighty nation among the Gentiles, yea, even upon the face of this land; and by them shall our seed be scattered. (1 Nephi 22:7; fn. d, The United States)

Hill Cumorah = Manchester

And I Mormon, wrote an epistle unto the king of the Lamanites, and desired of him that he would grant unto us that we might gather together our people unto the aland of Cumorah, by a hill which was called Cumorah, and there we could give them battle. (Mormon 6:2; fn. a, The hill Cumorah is in Manchester, Ontario Co., N. York.)

Ablom = New England States

And the Lord warned Omer in a dream that he should depart out of the land; wherefore Omer departed out of the land with his family, and traveled many days, and came over and passed by the hill of Shim, and came over by the place where the Nephites were destroyed, and from thence eastward, and came to a place which was called dAblom, by the seashore, and there he pitched his tent, and also his sons and his daughters, and all his household, save it were Jared and his family. (Ether 9:3; fn. d, probably on the shore of the New England States.)

Heaps of Earth = Ancient Mounds of North America

And there was great calamity in all the land, for they had testified that a great curse should come upon the land, and also upon the people, and that there should be a great destruction among them, such an one as never had been upon the face of the earth, and their bones should become as cheaps of earth upon the face of the land except they should repent of their wickedness. (Ether 11:6; fn. c, The ancient mounds of North America.)

Ripliancum = Lake Ontario

And it came to pass that he came to the cwaters of Ripliancum, which, by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all; wherefore, when they came to these waters they pitched their tents; and Shiz also pitched his tents near unto them; and therefore on the morrow they did come to battle. (Ether 15:8; fn. c, supposed to be Lake Ontario.)


Source: 1879 Book of Mormon; V. Mack Summer, An Exploration of the Footnotes in the 1911 Edition, 1967. “The V. Mark Sumner Papers (1967) consist of “An Exploration of the Footnotes in the 1911 Edition of The Book of Mormon,” a report resulting from research done by V. Mark Sumner. This short paper (19 pages) deals with the footnotes of a review of the Book of Mormon completed by the Talmage Group in 1920. This group was named after James E. Talmage and was formed by the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to prepare an edited revision of the Book of Mormon. They used, as a base, the 1911 edition of the Book of Mormon printed in Chicago.”