Discovering The Lost Lands of the Book of Mormon

From the research of various noted archaeologists we learn that a new culture arrived in western New York around 600 BCE which they named the Point Peninsula Culture after an island at the east end of the Great Lake Ontario which lay just to the North of the Hill Cumorah. Now it was around 600 BCE. that the Nephites and Mulekites left Jerusalem and headed for the promised land. Ample evidence indicates that another civilization predated them in the land but mysteriously disappeared just prior to their arrival-no doubt the Jaredites who the Book of Mormon teaches us killed themselves all off during a terrible civil war just prior to the Nephites arrival.

Yet there is more to identifying any given land with those descried in the Book of Mormon. While it is indeed important to identify the landing of a people around 600 BCE, such as the Point Peninsula Culture of western New York, and of having them exist in the land until around 400 -700 CE., but the land itself must fit those described in the Book of Mormon. It is not enough to find a narrow neck of land some place, or narrow strip of wilderness that separated two different cultures, but everything must fit. The topography of the land must fit, the DNA of the ancient populations must fit, even the skull types must fit, with those of the Nephites carrying the X haplogroup and the long skull type noted among all the Semitic tribes of Israel—and all of which can be reconciled with the ancient people of western New York. Even their hieroglyphic type of writing has been found among the residual tribes.

Yet, even more is expected of the serious student of Book of Mormon geography, for one cannot look for an ancient setting without going back in time to an era when primeval forests and great inland seas filled the land from one end to the other. Only by reconstructing that ancient setting can we hope to locate the lost lands of the Nephites and Jaredites. Even though much of the water that once filled the territory has long since receded from the land, much water still remains—including the eleven beautiful Finger Lakes just to the south of the Hill Cumorah which are the last remnants of that ancient era. Once a land is carefully reconciled with the scriptures we must also identify the destination of those who left Zarahemla and made their way into the lands further north. Thus, there is much to do, a painstaking task, but one which I have devoted myself to over the pst 20 years, with all the pieces of the puzzle falling into place in the Near Cumorah Setting for the Book of Mormon.

There are several different theories relevant to Book of Mormon territory. Thus, as one peruses each theory in hopes that it might be the one, keep in mind the various guidelines provided in the scriptures themselves, such as the following:

1-The overall territory descends in elevation from south to north.

2-A narrow strip of wilderness separates the land of Nephi and Zarahemla

3-There were seas to both the east and the west of the land of Nephi.

4-The lands of Nephi and Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water.

5-Bountiful is described as being only a day and a half’s journey wide.

6-A line of some kind separated Bountiful and Desolation.

7-The land northward included a sea that divided the land.

8-A narrow neck of land of some kind passed through its waters.

9-The Hill Cumorah was in a land of many waters.

10-The land around Cumorah shows evidence of ancient warfare.

Mormon’s Map

While the Nephites and Mulekites obviously spread out over a great expanse of territory over their near millennial-long sojourn in the land, the Book of Mormon is the history of those who lived in their heartland in the lands of Nephi, Zarahemla, and Bountiful, with offshoots settled in what they called the land of many waters which we can take to be the Finger Lakes region bordering the southern shores of Lake Ontario. It is in the land of many waters that we find the Hill Cumorah, the site of the terrible exterminating battle that totally exterminated the Nephite Nation.

In his research of the region for the Smithsonian Institute, E. G. Squire found hundreds of such fortified sites extending from the counties of St. Lawrence on the north, to Chautauqua on the south, and embracing the counties of Jefferson, Oswego, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, Ontario, Wayne, Monroe, Livingston, Orleans, Niagara, Erie, and Genesee, Cattaraugus, and Allegheny. More than 1,000 sites were found in Ontario, Livingston, Genesee and Monroe Counties alone, with nearly 500 sites in Monroe County, and over a 100 fortified hilltops and strongholds in Genesee County—the very territory now suggested to be the actual lands laid out in the Book of Mormon.

Every single geographical description outlined in the Book of Mormon can be laid out in the New York setting perfectly, which only strengthens the premise that the long lost lands of the Book of Mormon

In Mormon’s account of the various wars and battles of the Nephites, he described each in relation to the lands they fought in with several geographical features given which have since been referred to as Mormon’s Map. Mormon mentions several lands in their general area of occupation, including the lands of Nephi, the land of Zarahemla, Bountiful, Desolation, and the land northward, with Zarahemla being their spiritual heartland.

Every single geographical description outlined in the Book of Mormon can be laid out in the New York setting perfectly, which only strengthens the premise that the long lost lands of the Book of Mormon were right there near Cumorah.Watch the following video and see for yourself how well it all fits together.

Were the Nephites the Hopewell Mound Builders?

From the research of various noted archaeologists the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia,  tells us that  a new culture arrived in western New York around 600 BCE which they named the Point Peninsula Culture, adding…”The people are thought to have been influenced by the Hopewell traditions of the Ohio River valley. This influence seems to have ended about 250 CE, after which they no longer practiced their elaborate mound burial ceremonialism,” i.e. burying their kings and heroes in great earthen mounds.This, of course is because they were all destroyed around the Hill Cumorah by the Lamanites around 350 CE because of their decadent ways, much of which was adopted from their Hopewell neighbors living to the west of them throughout the Great Lakes area whose decadent religion centered on the worship of the sun and the moon and human sacrifice. These were pagans, not Christians,-i,e  the Anti-Christs noted in the Book of Mormon

New York State Archeologist, William A Ritchie said

The archaeological record indicates the probability that in New York State the Hopewellian culture fused with local resident complex of the latter part of the Early Point Peninsula culture.. . . In brief, to varying degrees within the affected region the existing social groups were suffused with Hopewellian religious ideas, practices and material cultural elements some of which were doubtless cult-related. (The Archaeology of New York State, p. 216)

So to answer the question as to whether or not the Nephites were the Hopewell Mound Builders the answer would  have to be both yes and no—not the  early Christians of the Book of Mormon, but rather the dissenters, which were many, and which ultimately corrupted the Nephites to the point of  their utter destruction, for the Lord could no longer support their continued existence in the promised land. The following Video explains it all in depth.

Zarahemla-New York, Iowa or Mesoamerica-Putting It To The Test.

Over the course of the past 100 years, over seventy different locations were proposed to be the lands of the Book of Mormon, with all but a handful  featuring a Central or South American setting for the Book of Mormon. As time went by and the more prominent Book of Mormon scholars chased their smaller competitors away, Mesoamerica took over as the most widely accepted location for Book of Mormon events. Much of their reasoning focused on the exotic pyramid shaped temples found in Mesoamerica, thinking them to be the remnants of the ancient Nephite civilization. Mormon art even began to portray Book of Mormon scenes in Mesoamerica amid the palm trees and stepped pyramids which modern research now validates were used to worship the sun, not the Savior, and were stained with the blood of human sacrifice.

A popular notion has arisen over the past decade which suggests the Hopewell living in Missouri and Illinois and Iowa were the Nephites of the Book of Mormon, and that this was the area the Book of Mormon saga took place, not in the regions around New York’s Hill Cumorah. When European colonists began to expand west beyond the Allegheny Mountains they found tens of thousands of mounds scattered all across the northeast. Massive structures of every conceivable type were found.Thus the idea was formed that this must be the heartland of  Book of Mormon territory with Zarahemla in Iowa rather than in New York. However, the Iowa mound builders did not appear until around 200 – 50  B.C. not 600 B.C. While the New York setting meets all the requirements to be the long lost lands of the Book of Mormon, this is a very complicated story, one best shown in the following  video.

The Lamanites of the Book of Mormon, “We, too, are Israel.”

The story of the Lamanites (Indians) does not end with the battle of Cumorah, for they continued to war amongst themselves for power and dominion for centuries. It was the white man who finally brought an end to their wilder ways and began the process of civilizing them again. Little did they know that the Indians were part of the House of Israel, a warlike people to be sure, but promised a place in the promised land forever-for they, along with their  Nephite brothers,were Israel-a branch of Joseph that had been broken off and brought to the promised land by the hand of the Lord many centuries ago.

The Promised Land of  the Book of Mormon

The very first thing in outlying Book of Mormon territory is to identify the land the Lord led both the Nephite and Jaredite nations-a land described as being choice above all others. Theories have surfaced in a variety of regions, but not all meet all the requirements noted by various ancient and modern prophets.   In his book, Faith Precedes the Miracle, (p. 316), the Prophet, Spencer W. Kimbal, cites 10 identifying characteristics of the promised land, several of which are critical in isolating the land from all others-namely, . .    (Read More)

The Shifting Focus of Book of Mormon Geography

In the introduction of the Book of Mormon we read: “The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterwards separated into two nations, one known as the Nephites, and the other the Lamanites. . . after a thousand years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.”    Unfortunately, the Saints were not too interested in earth works found in the area for they believed they were not grand enough to be those left by the Nephites. Thus, the Saints began to look elsewhere for the lands of  the Book of Mormon which led the noted intellectual and LDS archaeologist, Hugh Nibley, to say: ” Blinded by the gold of the pharaohs and the mighty ruins of Babylon, Book of Mormon students have declared themselves . . . (READ MORE)

The Nephite’s Ancient Type Writing Found

It was not until our modern age that a language tie to the ancient writings of the Nephite’s was found. After extensive study of the Micmac Indians’ hieroglyphics, the epigrapher Barry Fell noted a definite connection between the Algonquian language,of which the Mcmac were a part, and Egypt. He first noticed the similarities when he was studying a document found on a sheet of paper containing The Lord’s Prayer written in Micmac Hieroglyphs. Being an authority on ancient languages he was not only surprised but mystified to note that the meaning of the signs in Egyptian were the very same as those found on the English translation of the Micmac text. In fact, he was so amazed by the remarkable similarities that he was surprised that no one else had ever noticed it before. (READ MORE)

Silencing Book of Mormon Critics

The critics of the Book of Mormon claim there are too many unanswered questions relative to the Book of Mormon to be true.  For example, they say there is no evidence of the horses or elephants in Central America where so many Mormon scholars have placed Book of Mormon territory, nor are the grains noted in the Book of Mormon found, such as corn, wheat and barley. Even their directional designations are squawked.
Mesoamerican theorists aim their attacks on those who espouse a Great Lakes setting, arguing that none of the metals mentioned in the Book of Mormon can be found to the east of the Rocky Mountains, that the weather was too cold, and that it was likely one of the volcanoes around the Pacific Rim near Central America that caused the three days of darkness noted at the time of the Savior’s death. Each of these subjects can be successfully reconciled in the western New York Setting-(READ MORE)

The Limited New York Setting

Various Book of Mormon geographers have created settings for the Book of Mormon that take in thousands of miles between the various lands and cities mentioned in the Book of Mormon, with whole mountain ranges suggested as the narrow strip of wilderness that separated  Nephite and Lamanite territory. A careful reading of the scriptures, however, makes it clear that just a limited area of the Promised Land was utilized by the Nephite and Lamanite populations with landmarks clearly detailing the boundaries that were set and recorded upon their metal plates-a region that matches in every way the ancient New York landscape. (READ MORE)


Book of Mormon Geography in a Nutshell

Three large Indian language families exist around the Great Lakes today; the Algonquians, the Iroquois, and the Sioux. While each language family is spread throughout the territory, the Iroquois claim New York is their ancestral homeland. In searching for their ancient beginnings, the Proto-Iroquois language has been linked to the Allegheny range along the southern tier of New York and southward, which is the precise location of the proposed land of Nephi in the New York setting for the Book of Mormon.–A more complete version of the New York setting is found below.

The Nephite’s Migration to the Promised Land

The saga played out in the Book of Mormon is simply a continuation of the saga played out in the Bible. Shem, one of the three sons of Noah, was given the Patriarchal birthright which was passed down through the ages to Abraham, the grandfather of Jacob, whose twelve sons became the twelve tribes of Israel–(Jacob’s name having been changed to Israel by the Lord). Specific lands were set aside as an inheritance for the twelve tribes of Israel, with Joseph’s seed (The favorite son of Jacob) given America as an everlasting inheritance. The saga played out in the Book of Mormon revolves chiefly around a lineal descendants of Joseph called Lehi, (Later called Nephites after Lehi’s son Nephi) who escaped destruction in Jerusalem around 600 B.C.–the very time a new people show up in western New York . . . (READ More)


The Jaredites Migration to the Promised Land

The story of Jared’s transition from the old to the new world begin with the story of the Tower of Babel and the Confusion of Tongues.  As the Lord began to scatter the people of Babel,  Jared had his brother plead with Lord to give them direction, for his brother was highly respected of the Lord. During that dialogue the brother of Jared was told that he and his family and friends would be led to a new land, a land described as choice above all others. Many challenges lay ahead for them, including the building of a ship to take them across the great deep-with new insights into its unique construction finally coming to light. . .(READ MORE)


About Phyllis Olive and her Books on Book of Mormon Geography

Phyllis Carol Olive, author of the best-selling book, The Lost Lands of the Book of Mormon, resides in Las Vegas with her husband, Ron Olive. They have a combined family of seven children, seventeen grandchildren, and sixteen great-grandchildren. She has held a wide variety of both teaching and leadership positions in the church, but her favorite has always been that of teacher which she feels has helped her in her authorship of the various books she has written.Writing did not come easy to Sister Olive, however,. . . (READ MORE)


Church History Sites & The Book of Mormon

It is interesting, if not significant, to note that the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, A New Witness for Christ, took place in the very same location the Book of Mormon Saga played out over 2000 years ago—the same region Joseph Smith was visited by the Angel Moroni, the last of his people to walk the land after his nation was destroyed, who told Joseph where the sacred records of his people were hidden away these many years,  records that described in detail the very lands Joseph walked as  a boy, was later married, organized the Church, and gathered his followers–the lands of western New York. (READ MORE)

The Full Near Cumorah Setting

See more videos on my YouTube Channel







7 thoughts on “Discovering The Lost Lands of the Book of Mormon

  1. Managed WordPress Migration User

    Yes I have, and I explain it all in my new book, The Lost Sheep of Ancient America-Good luck. You are not that far off.

    1. Managed WordPress Migration User

      Thank you for the comment. I have already read all of Barry Fell’s books. In fact they helped me reach some of my conclusions. Thus, you might be interested in my latest book, The Lost Sheep of Ancient America which ties our work together. Good Luck, Phyllis

  2. Tomas Mitchell

    Phyllis I want to thank you for your work! I came to my own conclusions years ago based on Fell’s book and others that it all took place with in the bounds of the USA and maybe a small part of Canada. Imagine my surprise when I discovered your books and found you had tied all my thoughts together perfectly!! I own all your books accept The Lost Sheep and I just realized it has been out for a year. I am going to buy it! You are wise to not get involved in the debates and discussions on line and other places. I have and no matter how hard I try to keep them civil I get attacked in very vicious ways and have to just politely bow out. I think one day your work will be looked on as the ground breaking work that changed the LDS world.

    1. Managed WordPress Migration User

      Thank you so much Thomas. It is nice to know I have a supporter. This work has been twenty years in the making. I can only hope you are right and the setting will finally be accepted. I am currently working on a more comprehensive video on the Hopewell in hopes of diverting people back to the lands of the Book of Mormon. Watch for it. Thank you for your kind words, they mean a lot to me, for as you say-most comments are very mean-spirited. The Lost Sheep of the Book of Mormon ties Bary’s Fell’s work to the area. Since you have already read his work, you will probably enjoy the book. Good Luck, and Thanks again. Phyllis

  3. Tony Morgan

    Thanks Phyllis for this website and your videos in particular. I live in Wales, UK and have thought for many years that the Book of Mormon was set in North America and not Central America. I have read up on what Joseph Smith about it and as a Prophet of God has said it I am surprised the Church has not before come out and said it also at least to put to bed the central America theories. I have been sharing this knowledge with many friends in our Ward and in Utah and encouraging them to research this for themselves. I love the fact that when I read from the Book of Mormon I can now see in my minds eye of where this all took place. It never made sense to me that Moroni would travel a very long way to then bury the records in a Hill that he just happen to stumble across. I have been to Cumorah and the other Church historical sites and felt that was “The Place” I believe I was right. Many Thanks again!!

    1. phyllis Post author

      Thank you Tony, So nice to hear from you, and thank you for your kind comments. May they reach the ears of all those searching for answers.