The Book of Mormon is more than a historical record of two ancient civilizations, it is also a record of the visit of Jesus Christ to His New World flock after His death and resurrection. Thus, the ground He walked in the new world is just as sacred as the ground He walked in the old world. It is no wonder so many people keep searching for it. Yet, even if all our efforts prove vain, it is the whisperings of the Holy Ghost that will testify of its truthfulness, not walking the ground the Savior once walked. Even so, the search continues for Book of Mormon lands, for they obviously existed someplace.The first clues to the location of Book of Mormon lands comes from both the Bible and the Book of Mormon where we learn that the Book of Mormon is the Stick of Joseph, that portion of Israel whose branches extended “over the wall”(Genesis 49:22), and that the first family carrying Joseph’s seed over the wall was the family of Lehi. Thus, identifying Joseph’s covenant land is imperative in any search for Book of Mormon lands, with enough scriptural evidence pointing unavoidably to America.
But where in the Promised Land of America were Book of Mormon lands?Each of the articles included on this website is designed to bring the focus of Book of Mormon geography back to the lands around Cumorah in the promised land of America. DNA leads in that direction; a reformed form of Egyptian Hieroglyphics found among the northeastern Amerindian tribes leads in that direction. Even the lands around Cumorah lead in that direction, for the western New York landscape matches the geographical descriptions found in the Book of Mormon perfectly. Not even the latter-day Saints of Joseph’s day were fully aware of the significance of western New York which all the evidence indicates was the actual lands of the ancient Nephites of the Book of Mormon who were all destroyed by their Lamanite brothers in a terrible battle of extermination around the Hill Cumorah not far from Palmyra in 385 A.D.
Because the early Saints were being persecuted and driven from New York, to Ohio, then Illinois, and on and on to the Rocky Mountains, they had little time to study out the various geographical descriptions provided in that sacred text. Thus, once they were settled, hundreds of ideas were presented as possible locations for Book of Mormon events. As each new theory arises we gain fresh hope that the lost lands of the Book of Mormon have been found at last. Yet a careful scrutiny of the geography of the lands in question and the various geographical descriptions provided in the Book of Mormon finds them all too often lacking, leaving us disappointed again and again. Perhaps the time has come to concentrate more heavily on those lands surrounding the only known landmark we have of the Book of Mormon saga – the Hill Cumorah in New York State–the very place the record of the Nephites were deposited by Moroni, the son of Mormon, the last Nephite prophet to walk the land after the destruction of his people.
It is the opinion of numerous scholars that western New York was the scene of a terrible exterminating battle. Professor O. Turner did not hesitate to consider all the fortified hills in western New York as having been erected by a race which peopled this country before the Indians. He went on to say:
That here was war of extermination we may well conclude from the masses of human skeletons we find indiscriminately thrown together, indicating a common and simultaneous sepulture from which age, infancy, sex and no condition was exempt. (1)
Henry Clyde Shetrone mentions that the people of this region:
. . . once presented a scene of war, and war in its most horrible form, where blood is the object…That it was here that a feeble band was collected, a remnant of mighty battles fought in vain, to make a last effort for the country of their birth, the ashes of their ancestors and the altars of their gods. That the crisis was met with fortitude, and sustained with valor, need not be doubted…But their efforts were vain, and flight or death were the alternatives. (2)
After researching the region, B. H. Roberts said:
These described fortifications and burial mounds make it clear that western New York at some time has been the scene of destructive battles; and the fact constitutes strong presumptive evidence of the statements of the Book of Mormon that great battles were fought there. (3)
Of additional importance is the fact that not only were the golden plates of the Nephites retrieved from New York’s Hill Cumorah, but the entire Nephite library according the Brigham Young who recounted the event of when Joseph Smith and Oliver entered the cave to the Saints in Utah. Can we suppose that many wagon loads of plates were transported over thousands of miles from Mexico or Central America to the Hill Cumorah in New York State where Joseph and Oliver then saw them? Reason would suggest no! Moreover, Joseph Smith acknowledged the Hill Cumorah in New York State to be the very same hill Cumorah spoken of in the scriptures. (See our sister website or more information on this subject.) http://bookofmormonlandsnearcumorah.
Joseph Fielding Smith said:
. . . the Prophet Joseph Smith himself is on record, definitely declaring the present hill called Cumorah to be the exact hill spoken of in the Book of Mormon. Further, the fact that all of his associates from the beginning down have spoken of it as the identical hill where Mormon and Moroni hid the records, must carry some weight. It is difficult for a reasonable person to believe that such men as Oliver Cowdery, Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, David Whitmer, and many others, could speak frequently of the spot where the Prophet Joseph Smith obtained the plates as the Hill Cumorah, and not be corrected by the Prophet if that were not the fact. That they did speak of this hill in the days of the Prophet in this definite manner is an established record of history. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3, pp. 233-234.)
Watch the following video and see if you don’t agree. Follow the Jaredites, Mulekites, and Nephites from their entrance into the Promised Land to their ultimate doom around the Hill Ramah/Cumorah. and note just how perfectly the western New York setting fits the geographical setting described in the Book of Mormon. Moreover, the complicated references to a narrow neck of land and a narrow pass can also finally be resolved, as can the identity of the sea that divided the land and other landmarks noted in the Book of Mormon. In fact, so many things fit together so perfectly that one cannot help but wonder if Book of Mormon lands have not been found at last, a region not more than 80 miles from the Hill Cumorah itself, the only known landmark we have of that ancient time in history.
1-O. Turner, Pioneer History of the Holland Land Purchase of Western New York , p. 20.
2-McGavin & Bean, Geography of the Book of Mormon, p. 84.
3-B.H.Roberts, New Witness for God, vol. 3, p. 73.
Each of the web pages on this site adds more validation that the saga played out in the Book of Mormon took place in the regions around Cumorah. For additional information visit our sister website where topics such as what the Brethren say about the Hill Cumorah, The Hill Cumorah’s Cave of Records, Mormon’s map & the siege of the Gadianton Robbers, and other topics of interest.
© Phyllis C. Olive