This is a response to Vincent Coon's article "Who Originated the Heartland Theory?"
Vincent Coon is a relative of mine. I love him to death, and he is an ally of mine on many fronts. However, I think he is a bit mistaken on the subject of Book of Mormon Geography. We recently had a discussion on Book of Mormon Geography in an email chain. I consented for him to use some of my statements in that article. This short statement, however, will give some balance to his article. No doubt many that visit his site will agree with him. But let it be known that not all people that believe in the New York Cumorah believe the same thing with regard to the rest.
I no longer have much invested in Book of Mormon Geography, but I want to make this very clear. I believe that Levi Hancock's statement on the Land of Desolation is a first-hand statement, giving a quote from Joseph Smith. It is true that it was recorded later, shortly after the occurrence. It is doubtful that Levi Hancock would have misinterpreted it, and doubtful Joseph Smith would not have been heard and quoted plainly. Onandagus to this day is the name of an Iroquoian tribe (Onandaga), clearly showing historical continuity from the time of the Book of Mormon time period until our day, and this clearly was Joseph Smith's attempt to "Greek-ize" (Grecize) (i.e. add a Greek nominative "us" or "os" ending of a proper name to) an ancient American name. This was a practice in the ancient world that spoke Greek, where they would do such things to names that originated from other ancient languages. It is not surprising that Joseph Smith's revelations would lead him to do such things. Not that Ancient Americans spoke Greek, or had much Greek influence to speak of, necessarily, but this practice is mostly to make the names sound better to our ears, since we are used to names like this from the Bible ending in the Greek nominative, such as in the case of the Greek Iakobus (Greek version of the Hebrew Jacob/Yakob, translated into English as "James" or "Jacob" and into Spanish sometimes as "Santiago" or "San-Yago [Saint Jacob]" or Jacobo, pronounced "Ha-kobo"). This practice can be seen in a few other names in the Book of Mormon, where probably a Hebrew- or Egyptian- derived name was given (or from some other language), but the Greek version or Grecized version of the name was given in the Book of Mormon translation instead. This is particularly evident in some of the names of the Nephite twelve disciples, such as Timothy and Lacheonus. See for example: https://www.lds.org/study/ensign/1992/10/i-have-a-question/is-there-an-explanation-for-the-appearance-of-a-greek-name-in-the-book-of-mormon?lang=eng
Just because Onandagus is not mentioned in the Book of Mormon does not mean much. The Book of Mormon, as we are told over and over again, is not a comprehensive book on native American history of the Book of Mormon time period. It has a very narrow focus.
Anyhow, I disagree with Vincent's explainings-away of the Levi Hancock statement, and believe that Cumorah where the Nephites were destroyed was in New York. I believe that the Land of Desolation extended up into Illinois and Ohio where the Hopewell during the time of the Book of Mormon had a very large population and lots of earthworks, some of which were defensive in nature. Leading up to the time of the Nephite destruction, this was where the Nephites made part of their last stand, right before they migrated to Cumorah for their final destruction.
I believe that the Land Southward is in Mesoamerica (Central America), and that the River Sidon is the Usumacinta River.
I came to these conclusions a decade and a half ago now, after I could no longer explain away the Levi Hancock statement, and had to admit that it means what it says. I no longer believe in the Heartland Theory, but still believe Cumorah was in New York.