Following the first four visits of Moroni, Joseph Smith's father assured him that those experiences were "of God" and told him to "do as commanded by the messenger."

Accordingly, young Joseph went to the hill where the messenger had told him the plates were deposited. The hill, now known as Cumorah, is located about three miles from the Smith Palmyra log home, where Moroni had visited the Prophet.

The hill is about 117 feet high and runs north to south for about two miles. In Joseph Smith's day, reports say it was roughly half covered in timber. By the time of the earliest photographic images of the hill, it had been stripped of its trees by the locals for homes and fences.