Book of Mormon geography/Models/Limited/Curtis 1988

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Model Name Date Proposed Scope Narrow Neck Land North Land South Cumorah River Sidon Nephi's Landing Religion Type of model

Model name: Curtis 1988

Date proposed: 1988
Scope: LGT
Narrow neck: Niagara Peninsula
Land north: Unclear
Land south: Other
Cumorah: New York
Sidon: Unclear
Landing: Unclear
Religion: LDS
Type: External

Curtis places most of the Nephite lands in southern Ontario and western New York. He considers the Book of Mormon "seas" to be three of the Great Lakes: Lakes Erie, Huron, and Ontario.[1]

Problems with Curtis model pointed out by reviewers include:

  • Curtis believes that the snow and cold of his setting are appropriate for the Book of Mormon; reviewers have pointed to an absence of such terms and the evidence suggesting a more tropical locale
  • the New York "Cumorah" proposed by Curtis only matches, at most, four of the thirteen criteria established by Palmer (See here.)
  • the fifteen cultural aspects of Nephite/Lamanite life identified by Palmer (see here) are all found in Mesoamerica; none are found in the New York/Ontario locale proposed by Curtis.
  • Book of Mormon evidence is consistent with volcanic activity; this would be prevalent in Mesoamerica (located at a nexus of tectonic plates) but not in Ontario/New York.[2]

Those that have directly disputed some of Palmer's criteria have focused on the issue of distance between the neck of land and the hill Cumorah. So, even from their point of view, the core of the Book of Mormon civilization would still have to be somewhere like Mesoamerica where there was an urban society, which can be demonstrated from archaeology. So Curtis' claims that the Book of Mormon centered in the New York area is entirely implausible. In any scenario, whether Cumorah is in New York or not, those urban centers would have to be in some other region, some distance away. Neither the small-village-society that existed in New York, nor the Mound Builders of the Eastern United States can fulfill the urbanization requirements put forth in the Book of Mormon for the core of its civilization.


  1. Delbert W. Curtis, The Land of the Nephites (Orem: Delbert W. Curtis, 1988.
  2. David A. Palmer, "Review of The Land of the Nephites by Delbert W. Curtis," FARMS Review of Books 2/1 (1990): 67–73. off-site