LARRY - If Moroni buried the plates in central America,how did Joseph Smith find them in New York?

JOEL - We don't really know where Moroni buried the plates. Some believe that the area in Central America is one of the most likely places where the Book of Mormon story took place, based on the geography of the land and locations of cities and rivers. But there is no way we can know for sure where it all happened until we find more evidence or receive more information from God. One thing to point out is that in the Book of Mormon, the prophet Mormon explains:

"And it came to pass that when we had gathered in all our people in one to the land of Cumorah, behold I, Mormon, began to be old; and knowing it to be the last struggle of my people, and having been commanded of the Lord that I should not suffer the records which had been handed down by our fathers, which were sacred, to fall into the hands of the Lamanites, (for the Lamanites would destroy them) therefore I made this record out of the plates of Nephi, and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord, "save it were these few plates" which I gave unto my son Moroni."(Mormon 6:6)

Here Mormon specifically states that he hid up "all the records" in the hill Cumorah(which could have been in the Central American area) "save these few plates" he gave to his son Moroni. These "few plates"(separate from "all the records") were the same gold plates that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from. They were the abridgement(i.e. a Reader's Digest version) of the many hundreds of plates that Mormon had in his possesion, all of which he burried in a hill he called Cumorah. The scriptures never tell us specifically where Moroni hid the "few plates" that his father gave him. Most people assume it was in the same hill. But Moroni wandered around with those "few plates" for about 35 years before he finished his own writings on them and then hid them in the earth(Ether 4:3, Mormon 8:14). In those 35 years he could have wandered up from Central America(or somewhere else) to the area where New York is now and burried those "few plates" in a hill, that we now perhaps improperly call "Cumorah". In the scriptures, Moroni never specified the name of the hill where he burried the "few plates" that he had. He only said that he hid them up in the earth.(Ether 4:3)

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