Subject: Maroni, Great Comoro Island
Date: Feb 04 11:51 2004
Author: Charger
Mail Address:

Can anyone tell me how long the city of Maroni has existed, under that name, on the island of Great (Grande) Comoro? I have found a map from circa 1909 that published those names, but does anyone have a link to a map from the early 1800's?

Thanks in advance.

Subject: This might help.
Date: Feb 04 12:09
Author: Stray Mutt

At the bottom there's a link to a bibliography that might lead to the info you need.

At any rate, it's clear the Comoros Islands were once well known, even before JS's time.

The names of the islands and of the capital city in the Comoros, Moroni, has raised interest among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the Book of Mormon there is reference to the angel Moroni, son of Mormon, and to the hill, Cumorah. They play central roles in the Book of Mormon and there is some question about the possible relationship between these names in the Book of Mormon and those in the Indian Ocean.

The name of the town in the Comoros and the name of the islands themselves appear to be independent of the Book of Mormon. 'Moroni' has a meaning in the local language, viz. "at the place of fire." It is constructed of the root 'moro,' which means "fire" or "heat" and the locative '-ni,' which means "at the place of" or "in." This is a logical name constructed from the morphemes of the language reflecting the fact that the community is located at the base of an immense, active volcano. Likewise, the name 'Comoro' has a meaning. It is composed of an old Swahili locative 'ko-' and the word 'moro.' It's meaning is also "the place of fire."

Whether the relationship between the terms in the Book of Mormon and the names in the islands is coincidental or there is some historical relationship between the two is not certain at present. The archaeological evidence suggests that the groups mentioned in the Book of Mormon did not have any contact with the Comoro Islands. On the other hand, it is not unlikely that Joseph Smith had heard of Moroni and the Comoro Islands since they were known to Americans as early as the seventeeth century and many whalers from New England had visited the islands in the early part of the nineteenth century. Their names were probably heard throughout the northeastern United States at the time Smith had his vision. They then could have become part of Smith's rendition of the Book of Mormon.

Subject: Here's another bit
Date: Feb 04 13:12
Author: Stray Mutt

Founded by Arabic-speaking settlers, it is the largest settlement of the Comoros and has served as the capital since 1958.

The Arabic-speaking settlers predate JS by centuries.

Subject: I recall someone going into great depth about Capitain Kidd and other pirates frequently this island--think buried treasure! 

Subject: That nails it. That is the connection to realize, Smith used names associated with pirate stories, and his obsession with treasure digging...
Date: Feb 04 14:31
Author: Brian B.

...would have familiarized himself with these names.

Madagascar and Comoros are synonymous with pirate treasure. Joseph Smith the treasure-scrying gold-digger (undisputed by any scholar) is synonymous with finding lost treasure. Moroni and Cummorah are associated with buried treasure.

Subject: It's also been suggested elsewhere
Date: Feb 04 14:45
Author: anon

that Joseph Smith, Sr., had some scheduled shipment that was not delivered/received as planned, and shipwrecked instead on the Comoros Islands. I'd have to search for the reference for this, but I've seen it recently.

Also, if you do a Google search for "Joseph Smith" and "Comoros Islands," oddly enough, you get a link to the LDS archives for the "Joseph Smith Papers," which includes all the manuscripts the LDS Church currently has which either include Joseph Smith's signature, documents written by Joseph Smith, documents written to Joseph Smith, or contemporary references to Joseph Smith.,17676,4612-1,00.html

That at very least implies that somewhere in the LDS Church's archived collection of Joseph Smith's papers is a reference to the Comoros Islands.

It would be interesting to know. It's possible the LDS Church is aware of a link, and just isn't forthcoming regarding it.

Subject: Here's the link
Date: Feb 04 14:54
Author: anon

Scroll down, and you'll find this:

". . .there was a post on ARM quite a while ago that claimed that J Smith Sr made some speculative investment of some sort in a shipment of something or other that was a total loss because the ship wrecked in the Comoros Islands."

Subject: It is also important to remember that the Comoros Islands where
Date: Feb 04 15:00
Author: Seeker
Mail Address:

called Camora or Comora before the French to over from about 1840 to 1875. When JS wrote the BOM, Camora was the name of the place.

Subject: Captain Kidd's treasure & Comoros Island & Smith Sr's Ginseng speculation
Date: Feb 04 17:58
Author: Laughing Boy

This is getting really interesting. I don't recall (and can't find right now) any specific reference to the China/Ginseng investment being shipwrecked on Comoros Island. It appears that Smith Sr's return on his investment was a box of Chinese tea.

There are references to Smith Jr. wanting to find Captain Kidd's treasure and references to other people looking for Kidd's treasure with divining rods around Tunbridge where the Smiths came from--I don't have the source, but it's either Orasmus Turner or Pomeroy Tucker. Kidd was known to hang out at the Comoros Island. Also, check this out--sound familiar?

From Ontario Repository, Wednesday, February 9, 1825.

See excerpt on this page:

Windsor, Vt. Money Digging.

-- We are sorry to observe, even in this enlightened age, so prevalent a disposition to credit the accounts of the marvellous. Even the frightful stories of money being hid under the surface of the earth, and enchanted by the Devil or Robert Kidd, are received by many of our respectable fellow citizens as truths. We had hoped that such a shameful undertaking would never have been acted over again in our country, till the following event occurred, not long ago in out vicinity.

A respectable gentleman in Tunbridge, was informed, by means of a dream, that a chest of money was buried on a small island in Ayer's brook, in Randolph. No sooner was he in possession of this valuable information, than he started off to enrich himself with the treasure. After having been directed by the mineral rod, where to search for the money, he excavated the earth about 15 feet square to the depth of 7 or 8; and all the while it was necessary to keep six pumps running to keep out the water. Presently he and his laborers came

Pat upon a chest of gold,
And heard it chink with pleasure,
Then all prepared, just taking hold,
To raise the shining treasure.

One of the company drove an old file through the rotten lid of the chest, and perceiving it to be nearly empty, exclaimed with an oath, "There's not ten dollars apiece." No sooner were the words out of his mouth, than the chest moved off through the mud, and has not been seen or heard of since.

Such is the story as related by himself. Whether he actually saw the chest, or whether it was the vision of a disturbed brain, we shall leave the public to determine.

Subject: I personally think that the Oak Island treasure pit found in Nova Scotia (1795)...
Date: Feb 04 23:57
Author: Perry Noid

ties into a lot of this and probably was probably a big influence and catalyst for money diggers like the Smiths of New England and New York. It is also interesting that no matter how far they went into the hole on Oak Island, they couldn't quite get to the treasure, which kept slipping away. This is echoed in the "slippery" treasures mentioned in accounts of Joe Smith's money-digging activities, as well as in the references in the Book of Mormon regarding "slippery" treasures that were buried in the ground and then were cursed so that they could not be found. (Joe knew a few things about slipperiness.)

There has been speculation over the years that the Oak Island treasure pit was built by pirates or the Knights Templar. It has been connected with Spanish treasure, and I recall reading one account of Joe Smith's money digging enterprises where reference was made to the ghost of a Spaniard guarding the treasure.

Think of the Oak Island treasure pit and Joe Smith's own money digging activities when you read the following passages from the Book of Mormon:

Helaman 13: 31

And behold, the time cometh that he curseth your riches, that they become slippery, that ye cannot hold them; and in the days of your poverty ye cannot retain them.

Helaman 13: 33

O that I had repented, and had not killed the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out. Yea, in that day ye shall say: O that we had remembered the Lord our God in the day that he gave us our riches, and then they would not have become slippery that we should lose them; for behold, our riches are gone from us.

Helaman 13: 36

O that we had repented in the day that the word of the Lord came unto us; for behold the land is cursed, and all things are become slippery, and we cannot hold them.

Mormon 1: 18

And these Gadianton robbers, who were among the Lamanites, did infest the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof began to hide up their treasures in the earth; and they became slippery, because the Lord had cursed the land, that they could not hold them, nor retain them again.

Subject: The curse of losing things due to disobedience.
Date: Feb 05 08:59
Author: Makurosu

Joseph Smith used to draw a magic circle near the hole, and if anyone dropped a shovelfull of dirt into the circle, then Smith would cry out that the treasure had slipped away. All their fault of course. I'm sure he did this as soon as anyone started to doubt his ability to locate hidden treasure.

This was Joseph Smith's "get out of jail free" card, and the Church still employs it today. If you stop believing in the Church, it's not because of anything the Church has done. It's because of your own sins that have caused you to lose the Spirit and stop believing.

BTW, the "slippery treasures" concept extends to more than just gold. Ether 14:1 reads:

And now there began to be a great curse upon all the land because of the iniquity of the people, in which, if a man should lay his tool or his sword upon his shelf, or upon the place whither he would keep it, behold, upon the morrow, he could not find it, so great was the curse upon the land.

I think my kitchen has this curse. I can never find the spaghetti strainer.

Subject: Re: Maroni, Great Comoro Island
Date: Feb 04 15:52
Author: Zanzibaba

I received an e-mail regarding the BoM being an account of African rather than American ancients. The link is below:

Subject: This is the best obvious evidence against the BOM
Date: Feb 05 08:44
Author: Clem K.

In my opinion this is the best obvious evidence against the Book of Mormon available. The chance that these two names just happened to show up together in the Book of Mormon seems highly improbable to me. In fact, it is so obvious that I doubt Joseph Smith would have done it on purpose unless he was quoting from someone else's writings. And I highly doubt that someone else was a prophet in ancient America.

Subject: Camora was on old maps
Date: Feb 05 09:14
Author: Clem K.

I know Camora is on an 1808 map of Africa. Moroni simply may have been a name that was common knowledge among the people in the 19th century.

Subject: What I especially like about it is how his gold-digger's imagination betrayed him...
Date: Feb 05 21:30
Author: Brian B.

Most Mormons have no idea how involved he was in gold-digging. He not only admitted it, but others only knew him as a treasure-scavenger, and he was even convicted and fined for it. He was so involved that he even organized crews to dig for him and references galore attest to him doing it for free and for money, and going out of his way to secure funding against going hungry, indicating a hobby and a livelihood. Brigham Young even defended Smith's treasure-digging, to the point of claiming that he didn't like anyone but treasure-diggers anyway and called anyone else 'lazy', and encouraged everyone to follow Smith's example (see DM Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, p. 50.) [Of course, the moronic Brigham Young also claimed that "gold and silver can grow like the hair on a man's head."]

To have the first two names associated with Smith's personality cult reflect pirate lore with perfect consistency is without a doubt a fortunate incompetence. The very first two elements of his 'divine power' have the word FRAUD branded on them, but nobody knew about it, because he didn't get the names from a map at random--it came from the same place as the cult itself, from his fantasy imagination that entertained the actual geographical locations as sacred or special.

This also may be one of the reasons he later interchanged the words 'Moroni' and 'Nephi' at will (referring to his first encounter with an angel) in articles that were published under his editorship and direction, and not only in print, but from word of mouth, resulting in confusion in these accounts from many witnesses who refer to the angel Nephi, including his mother. He may have always known, consciously or not, that both Moroni and 'Cammorah' connected as they were together in real life and in his cult was a weak link in his charade and perhaps wished he would have skipped Moroni as a choice.

Subject: even more telling...
Date: Feb 05 09:47
Author: rpcman the fact that Comoros used to be spelled Camora and the first edition of the BofM spelled Cumorah as Camorah.

Subject: Re: Maroni, Great Comoro Island
Date: Feb 05 19:28
Author: Reinventing Grace
Mail Address:

_Captain Kidd and the war against the pirates, 1986.

Pages 80-90 are about Kidd's time on the Camoros Islands. At the time he was a pirate under the employ of the British government, and the Portugese and Indian ships were not happy about sharing ports with him, but he was outnumbered.

Kidd spent a at least a couple weeks on the islands.

No mention of the port of Moroni during that time.

Holds to the hypothesis that if New Yorkers talked about Captain Kidd and his buried treasure, that some of the local treasure digging-Smiths might have been aware of the Camoros.


Subject: Vogel's Early Mormon Documents has no less than 14 index entries referring to Captain Kidd!
Date: Feb 06 10:20
Author: Laughing Boy

Check out Vols 3 & 4. Now, some of these accounts might rely on Pomeroy Tucker's following statement found in Vogel vol 3, but I suspect that many of them are independent of each other (it should be noted that Kidd's real name was William but he also went by Robert).

P. Tucker (Vogel vol 3, pp. 93-94):

"Joseph ... had learned to read comprehensively ... [reading] works of fiction and records of criminality, such for instance as would be classed with the 'dime novels' of the present day. The stories of Stephen Buroughs and Captain Kidd, and the like, presented the highest charms for his expanding mental perceptions."

Pomeroy Tucker knew personal details about the Smiths while they lived in Palmyra--even Richard L. Anderson admits this (Vogel vol 3, p. 87).

I may start a new thread on this--the pirates spent a lot of time with Arabs fighting battles on these islands near Madagascar. They built ditches and ramparts, Arab dow ships, hid in cavaties or rocks, suffered incredible hardships in Arabia. The names Maroni and Comoro appear to be Arabic. So, all of the apologetic stuff in Lehi in the Desert that Nibley came up with may have been drawn from pirate narratives that were filled with Arab stuff.

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