Numerous leaders of the Mormon Church have taught since the earliest days of the Church that the Hill Cumorah in New York (the very same Hill Cumorah that Joseph Smith claimed he retrieved the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated from) is the very same Hill Cumorah which is mentioned in the Book of Mormon in Mormon 6:2 ( 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 land of Cumorah, by a hill which was called Cumorah , and there we could give them battle. ) where (if you do the math) at least 230,000 men died in battle using steel weapons and armor.
However, this battle was about one tenth the size of the battle which took place at the same exact location approximately 1,000 years earlier when, according to Ether 15:2 "nearly two millions " of the Jaredites had their last great battle, also using steel weapons and armor.
Many self-proclaimed Book of Mormon scholars have told me over the years that "we don't really know the exact location of the Hill Cumorah spoken of in the Book of Mormon." The obvious reason they want to deny that Joseph Smith's Hill Cumorah is the same one that is mentioned in the Book of Mormon is simple; there is literally not a trace of evidence to support the claim that 2,230,000 men died in battle using steel weapons and armor at the tiny hill now owned by the LDS Church in the State of New York called Cumorah.
However, you will see by the following quotes that many Mormon Church leaders have taught (and continue to teach) that over 2,230,000 men did indeed die at the Hill Cumorah in New York.
"The great and last battle, in which several hundred thousand Nephites perished was on the hill Cumorah, the same hill from which the plates were taken by Joseph Smith
, the boy about whom I spoke to you the other evening." (Talk given by Apostle Orson Pratt, Feb. 11, 1872 Journal of Discourses
Vol. 14, pg. 331)
"These records were carried by Ether from the hill Ramah, afterwards called Cumorah, where the Jaredites were destroyed
, as well as the Nephites." (Talk given by Apostle Orson Pratt, May 18, 1873 Journal of Discourses
Vol. 16, pg. 50
"Thirty-six years prior to this time his nation was destroyed in in what we term the State of New York, around about a hill, called by that people the Hill of Cumorah
, when many hundreds of thousands of the Nephites-men, women and children, fell, during the greatest battle that they had had with the Lamanites." (Talk given by Apostle Orson Pratt, Aug. 25, 1878 Journal of Discourses
Vol. 20, pg. 62)
"It will be, next Thursday night, 54 years since the Prophet Joseph Smith, then but a lad, was permitted by the angel of the Lord to take the gold plates of the Book of Mormon from the hill Cumorah, as it was called in ancient times, located in the State of New York.
" (Talk given by Apostle Orson Pratt, Sept. 18, 1881 Journal of Discourses
Vol. 22, pg. 224)
"Finally, they became so utterly wicked, so fully ripened for destruction, that one branch of the nation, called the Nephites, gathered their entire people around the hill Cumorah, in the State of New York
, in Ontario County; and the Lamanites, the opposite army, gathered by millions in the same region. The two nations were four years in gathering their forces, during which no fighting took place; but at the end of that time, having marshalled all their hosts, the fighting commenced, the Lamanites coming upon the Nephites, and destroying all of them, except a very few, who had previously deserted over to the Lamanites." (Talk given by Apostle Orson Pratt, April 6, 1874 Journal of Discourses
Vol. 17, pg. 24)
"The passages which I have quoted from the Book of Mormon and the more extended discussion of this subject by Elder B. H. Roberts which was published in The Deseret News of March 3, 1928, definitely establish the following facts: That the Hill Cumorah, and the Hill Ramah are identical; that it was around this hill that the armies of both the Jaredites and Nephites, fought their great last battles; that it was in this hill that Mormon deposited all of the sacred records which had been entrusted to his care by Ammaron, except the abridgment which he had made from the plates of Nephi, which were delivered into the hands of his' son, Moroni. We know positively that it was in this hill that Moroni deposited the abridgment made by his father, and his own abridgment of the record of the Jaredites, and that it was from this hill that Joseph Smith obtained possession of them. " (President Anthony W. Ivins, Conference Report, April 1928-Morning Session)
"Cumorah, the artificial hill of north America, is well calculated to stand in this generation, as a monument of marvelous works and wonders. Around that mount died millions of the Jaredites; yea, there ended one of the greatest nations of this earth. In that day, her inhabitants spread from sea to sea, and enjoyed national greatness and glory, nearly fifteen hundred years. -- That people forsook the Lord and died in wickedness. There, too, fell the Nephites, after they had forgotten the Lord that bought them. There slept the records of age after age, for hundreds of years, even until the time of the Lord." (The Latter-day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, Vol.2, No.2, p.221)
"The hill, which was known by one division of the ancient peoples as Cumorah, by another as Ramah, is situated near Palmyra in the State of New York
." (Apostle James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith
, chapter 14)
"It is known that the Hill Cumorah where the Nephites were destroyed is the hill where the Jaredites were also destroyed
. This hill was known to the Jaredites as Rama. It was approximately near to the waters of Ripliancum, which the Book of Ether says, "by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all." Mormon adds: "And it came to pass that we did march forth to the land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents round about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains; and here we had hope to gain advantage over the Lamanites."
"It must be conceded that this description fits perfectly the land of Cumorah in New York
, as it has been known since the visitation of Moroni to the Prophet Joseph Smith, for the hill is in the proximity of the Great Lakes and also in the land of many rivers and fountains. Moreover, the Prophet Joseph Smith himself is on record, definitely declaring the present hill called Cumorah to be the exact hill spoken of in the Book of Mormon.
"Further, the fact that all of his associates from the beginning down have spoken of it as the identical hill where Mormon and Moroni hid the records, must carry some weight. It is difficult for a reasonable person to believe that such men as Oliver Cowdery, Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, David Whitmer, and many others, could speak frequently of the Spot where the Prophet Joseph Smith obtained the plates as the Hill Cumorah, and not be corrected by the Prophet, if that were not the fact. That they did speak of this hill in the days of the Prophet in this definite manner is an established record of history....
" (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation
, Vol.3, Bookcraft, 1956, p.232-43.)
"In the western part of the state of New York near Palmyra is a prominent hill known as the “hill Cumorah.” On July twenty-fifth of this year, as I stood on the crest of that hill admiring with awe the breathtaking panorama which stretched out before me on every hand, my mind reverted to the events which occurred in that vicinity some twenty-five centuries ago—events which brought to an end the great Jaredite nation .
[Editor's Note: About 20 short paragraphs later this speaker says the following]
"This second civilization to which I refer, the Nephites , flourished in America between 600 B.C. and A.D. 400. Their civilization came to an end for the same reason, at the same place, and in the same manner as did the Jaredites’" (Talk given by President Marion G. Romney in General Conference, October 4, 1975, Ensign Nov. 1975 pg. 35)
The facts seem to indicate that the official stance of the LDS Church is that the Hill Cumorah in New York is the site of two major Book of Mormon battles which resulted in a combined body count of approximately 2,230,000 men, women and children. Considering the archaeological gold mine this place must be it's too bad the Church doesn't at least turn the site over to National Geographic to start some digging and recovery work on what must be the burial site of millions of bones and tons of primitive early American weaponry. Yeah, right.
Apostle LeGrand Richards, in A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, chapter 7, also stated that Cumorah is in New York.
"Both the Nephite and Jaredite civilizations fought their final great wars of extinction at and near the Hill Cumorah (or Ramah as the Jaredites termed it), which hill is located between Palmyra and Manchester in the western part of the State of New York.
"Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and many of the early brethren, who were familiar with all the circumstances attending the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in this dispensation, have left us a pointed testimony as to the identity and location of Cumorah or Ramah."(Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, page 174-175, Bookcraft 1966)
"This time it will have to do with so important a matter as a war of extinction of two peoples, the Nephites and the Jaredites, on the self same battle site, with the same 'hill' marking the axis of military movements. By the Nephites this 'hill' was called the 'Hill Cumorah,' by the Jaredites the 'Hill Ramah'; it was that same 'hill,' in which the Nephite records were deposited by Mormon and Moroni, and from which Joseph Smith obtained the Book of Mormon, therefore the 'Mormon Hill,' of today—since the coming forth of the Book of Mormon—near Palmyra, New York. (B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, p.277)
In 1990 the office of the First Presidency of the LDS Church stated that Cumorah is in New York:
Click here to see an image of the original letter
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day SaintsOctober 16, 1990
Office of the First Presidency
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150
Bishop Darrel L. Brooks
Oklahoma City Oklahoma South Stake
Moore, OK 73160
Dear Bishop Brooks:
I have been asked to forward to you for acknowledgment and handling the enclosed copy of a letter to President Gordon B. Hinckley from Ronnie Sparks of your ward. Brother Sparks inquired about the location of the Hill Cumorah mentioned in the Book of Mormon, where the last battle between the Nephites and Lamanites took place.
The Church has long maintained, as attested to by references in the writings of General Authorities, that the Hill Cumorah in western New York state is the same as referenced in the Book of Mormon.
The Brethren appreciate your assistance in responding to this inquiry, and asked that you convey to Brother Sparks their commendation for his gospel study.
F. Michael Watson
Secretary to the First Presidency