My question is more out of curiosity than of faith building , but as I read of the travels of Moroni, and view many maps of the journeys, I wonder about the Hill Cumorah. I see two possible locations of this place and they are nowhere close to each other (NY or Mexico)? I understand the Church’s “official position” is that the Hill in in Western NY. But the maps seem to confuse me and do not clarify any American journey at all. Am I to just have faith that the Hill is in New York and focus on the bigger picture, the Gospel of Christ?
There are two Hill Cumorahs. Both of which were depositories of records of the Nephites. Unfortunately because the name and purpose are the same, it is very easy to confuse the two and assume that people are talking about one when they mean the other.
The first hill is the one which the Book of Mormon references and held the records that Mormon used to compile the Golden Plates near the end of the Nephite civilization. We don’t know exactly where this is, although somewhere in Mexico is a standard guess. The final war of the Nephites was fought near this Cumorah.
Moroni survived the war and had the charge to protect his father’s abridgment of the Nephite record (aka the Golden Plates). We don’t know how long Moroni lived afterwards. We do know from his record that Moroni was alone and hunted. He feared that if he was caught by the Lamanites he would be killed and the record destroyed. With that as a possible consequence, it seems very unlikely that he would risk returning to the lands ruled by the Lamanites.
Moroni did not record the length of his journey or where he traveled. He had limited space left on the plates and devoted that for things he thought would be more important to us.
The next record we have is Joseph Smith’s account of the angel Moroni’s visit. Joseph Smith was told by the angel Moroni that he had buried them in a nearby hill in New York. This means that the most likely way they got there was that Moroni traveled for years, alone and on the run, as the Lord guided him to the correct spot. Now how did this second hill get to be called Cumorah? I don’t know, but from what we see of the naming conventions in the Book of Mormon, it wouldn’t be all that hard to believe that Moroni would call the second hill in which the records were stored the same name as the first one, no matter the years and miles separating them.