Martin H. Raish wrote a treatise entitled “Encounters with Cumorah: A Selective, Personal Bibliography” printed in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies which was more than selective, it was a hack.

“Throughout the 1830s and ’40s, the mount, if named at all, was called ‘Mormon Hill,’ ‘Bible Hill,’ or ‘Golden Bible Hill’.”

A bold face lie. In the official church history by Oliver (which Raish cited, albeit hacked) dated 1835, Oliver does identify the hill as “Cumorah.”

What is unconscionable is the fact Raish would cite all the pertinent parts of Cowdery except the sentences that contain the word “Cumorah“:

“At about one mile west rises another ridge of less height, running parallel with the former, leaving a beautiful vale between. The soil is of the first quality for the country, and under a state of cultivation, which gives a prospect at once imposing, when one reflects on the fact, that here, between these hills, the entire power and national strength of both the Jaredites and Nephites were destroyed” (see it firsthand at Paragraph 10 (p.41), Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, vol.13, no. 1).

The next sentence would have been thus:

“By turning to the 529th and 530th pages of the book of Mormon you will read Mormon’s account of the last great struggle of his people, as they were encamped round THIS HILL CUMORAH.

And the paragraph after that the words “Hill Cumorah” were again used, and yet conveniently left out by Raish. Of course, because it says ALL the records were deposited in Palmyra, not Mesoamerica:


Full text can be read here: LATTER DAY SAINTS’ MESSENGER AND ADVOCATE, Volume I. No. 1. KIRTLAND, OHIO, OCTOBER, 1834, p. 157-158

If that wasn’t bad enough, Raish proceeds to discredit Oliver (in case you find the parts he left out and believe Cowdery):

“While Oliver admitted that he occasionally ‘indulged too freely in reflections’ and lost himself in poetic rhapsody…”

Raish likewise tried to discredit David Whitmer who was told by a Nephite angel the name “Cumorah”:

“Unfortunately, the accuracy of David’s story is uncertain. For one thing, this recollection came 49 years later, when he was in his seventies. Moreover, it is not corroborated by any other early account. For example, neither Oliver Cowdery’s 1835 description of the hill nor Joseph Smith’s 1838 history of the church refers to the site by the name Cumorah (see Joseph Smith—History 1:51). For these reasons, some scholars do not accept the account as historically reliable.

There’s the lie. Because we cite the full account, you now know that indeed Cowdery’s 1835 account DID refer to the hill as “Cumorah,” and in D&C 128:20 Joseph does identify the hill as “Cumorah.”

Raish also failed to include the account of Joseph’s mother, who identified the hill as “Cumorah:”

“‘Stop, father, stop,’ said Joseph, ‘it was the angel of the Lord. AS I PASSED BY THE HILL OF CUMORAH, where the plates are, the angel met me and said that I had not been engaged enough in the work of the Lord; that the time had come for the record to be brought forth; and that I must be up and doing and set myself about the things which God had commanded me to do. But, father, give yourself no uneasiness concerning the reprimand which I have received, for I now know the course that I am to pursue, so all will be well'” (Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, Stevens & Wallis, Inc., 1945, p. 101).

[Martin H. Raish, “Encounters with Cumorah: A Selective, Personal Bibliography,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: Maxwell Institute, 2004, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 38-49]