Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book of Mormon Geography: A Perspective from 1878

While glancing through an issue of The Juvenile Instructor, I found a little lesson for children, presented in Q&A format, dealing in part with Book of Mormon geography. I doubt very much that the author ever imagined that a time would come when his or her answers would be viewed as controversial within LDS circles! The following is taken from "Questions and Answers on the Book of Mormon: Lesson XXXIV", The Juvenile Instructor 13/02 (15 January 1878): 16.
Q. What three colonies does the Book of Mormon mention, as having settled on this American continent?
A. That led by Jared and his brother from the Tower of Babel, that led by Lehi and Nephi, and that led by Mulek, the son of King Zedekiah.
Q. By what names were they known?
A. The first was called Jaredites, the second Nephites and Lamanites, and the third the people of Zarahemla.
Q. What part of the continent did the Jaredites principally occupy?
A. North America, though it is probable that they spread over all the land.
Q. Were the other colonies confined to any particular place of North or South America?
A. No; they spread over all the land.
Q. In the beginning where did they principally live?
A. The Nephites and Lamanites first lived in South America, afterwards in Central America and then in North America.
Q. Where was the Jaredite nation destroyed?
A. At the hill Ramah.
Q. Where was the Nephite nation destroyed?
A. At the hill Cumorah.
Q. Are these two names for the same hill?
A. Yes; it was called Ramah by the Jaredites, and Cumorah by the Nephites.
Q. In what part of the land is this hill?
A. Between Palmyra and Manchester, Oneida County, in the State of New York.
Q. Do you know where Joseph Smith the prophet found the records of the Book of Mormon?
A. He found them in the hill Cumorah.

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