“From the Top of the Hill Cumorah”

Alan C. Miner

One consideration in determining the site of the hill Cumorah has to do with height. In Mormon 6:11, Mormon says that "we having survived the dead of our people, did behold on the morrow, when the Lamanites had returned unto their camps, from the top of the hill Cumorah, the ten thousand of my people who were hewn down, being led in the front by me." Another consideration has to do with the fact that a "wounded" Mormon would have had to climb the mountain sometime during or after the battle. Just what height was sufficient to provide Mormon a hiding place, a viewpoint, and an acceptable climb is debatable. As far as "Mormon hill" in western New York state is concerned, Orson F. Whitney states that it "about equals in height the Salt Lake Assembly Hall, exclusive of the towers. [Orson F. Whitney, "Some Historical and Prophetic Phases of the Book of Mormon," in A Book of Mormon Treasury, p. 217]

Mormon 6:11 From the top of the hill Cumorah ([Illustration]): This view from the top of Cerro El Vigia looks down on the plains to the west. If this is the correct hill, Mormon and the handful of survivors with him had this same view on the morning after their climactic battle, with hundreds of thousands of the dead and dying in their view (see Mormon 6:11-15). [John L. Sorenson, Images of Ancient America, p. 211]

Mormon 6:11 We having survived . . . did behold . . . from the top of the hill Cumorah ([Illustration]): Mormon Bids Farewell to a Once Great Nation. Artist: Arnold Friberg. [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gospel Art, #319]

Note* In an interview with Margot Butler, Arnold Friberg, the artist who did the painting Mormon Bids Farewell to a Once Great Nation, had some interesting comments concerning it's creation: "In my painting, you notice this flag [behind Moroni on the pole] is the same flag raised long ago by Captain Moroni when he rallied the Nephites to fight for freedom. I think they would have preserved . . . that flag of Captain Moroni's, the old Title of Liberty." [Vern Swanson, "The Book of Mormon Art of Arnold Friberg: "Painter of Scripture," in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies , vol. 10, num. 1, 2001, p. 35]

Mormon 6:11 From the Top of the hill Cumorah (Illustration): Hill Cumorah, Manchester, New York. Photographer: George Edward Anderson. This 1907 view shows the land around the hill which, at the time of the photograph, was used predominantly for farming. [Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Ensign, February 1993, inside back cover]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary