I don't care if people hold different opinions, but I do care when people misrepresent or suppress the facts.
I propose that everyone agree to these facts.
1. Oliver Cowdery's Letter VII unequivocally identifies the New York hill as the Book of Mormon Hill Cumorah. He wrote: "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. 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. (It is printed Camorah, which is an error.) In this valley fell the remaining strength and pride of a once powerful people, the Nephites—once so highly favored of the Lord, but at that time in darkness, doomed to suffer extermination by the hand of their barbarous and uncivilized brethren. From the top of this hill, Mormon, with a few others, after the battle, gazed with horror upon the mangled remains of those who, the day before, were filled with anxiety, hope, or doubt.
2. Oliver Cowdery's letter was published in the Messenger and Advocate.
3. Joseph Smith had his scribes copy this letter into his journal as part of his own history.
4. Joseph Smith gave express permission to Benjamin Winchester to reprint Letter VII in the Gospel Reflector, which Winchester did in 1841.
5. Don Carlos Smith reprinted Letter VII in the Times and Seasons in 1841.
6. D&C 128 refers to Cumorah in the same paragraph that refers to Moroni's visit to Joseph in his home near Palmyra, the three witnesses in Fayette, and the events in Harmony and along the Susquehanna River.
7. Every Church leader who ever wrote on the topic agreed that the Book of Mormon Cumorah was in New York, at least through at least 1920.
8. Orson Pratt's 1879 footnotes were equivocal about many Book of Mormon locations, but not about Cumorah--which he unequivocally stated was in New York.
9. As an Apostle and Church Historian, Joseph Fielding Smith unequivocally declared that the Book of Mormon Cumorah was in New York, and that because of the two-Cumorah theory, "some members of the Church have become confused and greatly disturbed in their faith in the Book of Mormon."
10. No Church leader has officially stated that Cumorah was anywhere but New York.
Agreeing to these facts should be easy. They are all well documented. I'm not aware of any serious questions about these facts, but if there are any, I'd like to know about them.
I bring this up because of authors and speakers, articles, books and web pages that, in my opinion, deceive readers by suppressing these facts. A case in point is fairmormon here. Anyone seeking information about Cumorah who goes to fairmormon will be outright deceived by the sophistry of the rhetoric there and the suppression of the facts of Church history. Fairmormon doesn't mention Oliver Cowdery or Letter VII, Joseph's inclusion of the letter in his journal, or the multiple reprintings of the letter. They do mention Joseph Fielding Smith, but instead of quoting his extensive analysis or even providing a link, they provide only a misleading summary and conclusion.
I've written about this before but fairmormon hasn't changed the page. That tells me they don't want members of the Church--or investigators--to know the truth. This casts doubt on everything else they publish. It's fine if they want to squeeze a Mesoamerican interpretation out of the facts, but they should trust their readers enough to make up their own minds, and I don't think anyone who reads the actual history will agree with the sophistry on display at fairmormon.
I'll write about the fairmormon comments on archaeology soon.