Monday, May 19, 2014

I Saw Another Angel Fly

The Hill Cumorah
The Hill Cumorah figures prominently into events that led to the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is also the most notable of many hills, or drumlins, in New York State's Finger Lakes region.

My nephew and his family recently visited the area, taking in various Church History sites, and taking lots of photos for us!

When I was a little girl, there was not a beautiful Visitor's Center here!  That's fairly new.

The Hill Cumorah Visitor's Center
In 421 A.D., Moroni, the last survivor of a once great civilization that had inhabited the Americas since around 600 B.C., buried in this hill a set of gold plates on which was recorded the history of his people.

In 1827, this same Moroni returned as an angel and delivered the plates to an American prophet, Joseph Smith.  Joseph translated them through the gift and power of God.  He then had them published as the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

The Book of Mormon stands together with the Holy Bible as a witness that God lives, loves his children everywhere, and has a marvelous plan for them.

Holly takes Fred and Livia for a walk  on this sacred hill
Each summer, the Hill Cumorah is the site of a spectacular outdoor religious pageant.  The free production, titled: America's Witness for Christ, features a cast of over 600 and attracts audiences of up to 100,000 each year.

The resurrected Christ appears to the people of the American continent
as depicted during the Hill Cumorah Pageant
I remember attending the pageant as a little girl.  We lived in Upstate New York at the time, not far from Palmyra, New York, which is the closest town to Hill Cumorah.

The pageant is spectacular!  I remember my father and mother bringing some friends with us to see the pageant.  They were reluctant to come to this "religious thing".  Later, they couldn't stop thanking my parents for the experience.  It is a production worth seeing!  I'm sure, too, that it's only improved with time.

Bas Relief showing the Prophet Joseph receiving the plates from the Angel Moroni
Detail from the Hill Cumorah Monument
If you've seen an LDS temple, you've probably seen a depiction of the Angel Moroni.  He's the golden guy who is blowing his horn on the top of the temple.

There are only a couple of temples that do not feature an Angel Moroni statue.  Moroni is the angel spoken of by the Apostle John, who saw "another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." (See Revelation 14:6)

Detail from the Hill Cumorah Monument
There were many witnesses to the reality of the golden plates.  Eight honest men attested in writing to having seen and handled the plates, saying, "we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken."

Detail from the Hill Cumorah Monument
There were also three special witness of the book who were also privileged to not only see the plates, but have an extraordinary experience with them:
"And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates and the engravings thereon, and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true."
Detail from the Hill Cumorah Monument

View of the monument from the far side
This area is a very beautiful and serene one.

Old Glory flies proudly close to the monument
It has been a harsh winter back East, so the foliage wasn't all back yet.  It's a glorious place in the summer, when everything is green.

My nephew says that, while there is a paved walkway up the side of the hill closest to the road and visitor's center, the far side has been left to nature.  It doesn't look much different than it did 187 years ago.

The town of Palmyra is small, and not much bigger today than it was in 1827.  The surrounding countryside is mostly rolling hills and farmland.

View from the top of the hill.
The Hill Cumorah is located four miles south of the village of Palmyra, New York, on Highway 21.  The Visitor's Center is open daily.

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