1990 Letter on Cumorah
A letter dated October 18, 1990, from the Office of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded to an inquiry from a Church member in Oklahoma City “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 letter reads:
“I have been asked to forward to you for acknowledgement 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 letter was signed by F. Michael Watson, Secretary to the First Presidency. Although the letter was sent to the member’s Bishop, it became public and some people have used it to support or oppose various theories about Book of Mormon geography.
One organization in particular, now known as FAIR (aka FAIRMORMON and FAIRLDS), sought to discredit the letter. FAIR rejects Church historical sources and statements by LDS General Authorities that teach the Hill Cumorah of Mormon 6:6 is in western New York.
FAIR's position is set forth on its webpage, here: https://www.fairlatterdaysaints.org/answers/Question:_Did_the_First_Presidency_identify_the_New_York_%22Hill_Cumorah%22_as_the_site_of_the_Nephite_final_battles%3F
Elder Watson released the following statement in January, 2022, to clarify the facts to avoid further misunderstanding and confusion.