Wecome to the Western New York Setting for the Book of Mormon

Relics of some lost race were found with nearly every turn of the spade in upper New York during the early years of colonization. Thus, it was commonly accepted by scholars and laymen alike, and even by the early Saints, that an ancient civilization once occupied the area long before the Indians became lords of the land.

Meet Author Phyllis Olive

Phyllis Carol Olive, author of the best-selling book, The Lost Lands of the Book of Mormon, began a comprehensive study of the Book of Mormon in 1996 in response to the admonition of President Gordon B. Hinckley to study that sacred work more thoroughly. As she followed the saga of the Nephites and Lamanites through the various lands described in the scriptures, she came across an area of western New York that fit the geographical descriptions noted in the Book of Mormon remarkably well. Follow her journey of discovery on the accompanying video and learn of the research that led to her conclusions that the chief lands of the Book of Mormon were located in western New York not more than 80 miles from the Hill Cumorah. There have been numerous attempts to locate the lands of the Book of Mormon over the years. As each new theory arises, we gain fresh hope of acquiring additional insights into the location of the lost lands of the Book of Mormon, but all too often we are disappointed. Perhaps the time has come to concentrate more heavily on those lands surrounding the only known landmark we have of the Book of Mormon, the Hill Cumorah in New York State, the very place the record of the Nephites were deposited by Moroni, the last Nephite prophet to walk the land after the destruction of his people.

Book of Mormon Lands and People

The migration of the Nephites and Mulekites into western New York is depicted in the accompanying video, a merged company who lived in the land for 900 years before the terrible exterminating battle that ended their nation’s long history in 385 A.D.View the accompanying video and see just how well each of the various descriptions noted in the Book of Mormon can be laid out in the western New York setting, a land filled with many waters and dozens of other landmarks referred to in the Book of Mormon. See how they all fit together in a panoramic view of what Book of Mormon territory must have looked like for the Nephites when ancient bodies of waters and great primeval forests filled the land from one end to the other. It is the opinion of numerous scholars that western New York was the scene of a terrible exterminating battle. It was said “There is more evidence of a well planned defensive warfare in that locality than there is in any other region on the American continent. It is the opinion of most scholars that the defenses on the drumlin hills were prepared by a people more civilized than the Indians and were exterminated by the inferior race who were still in possession of the country when Columbus discovered the land
Henry Clyde Shetrone -1876 Henry Clyde Shetrone was another who noticed 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.(McGavin & Bean, Geography of the Book of Mormon, p. 84.) Ephraim George Squier (1821–1888) In his research of the region for the Smithsonian Institute, E. G. Squire found hundreds of fortified sites extending from the counties of St. Lawrence on the north, to Chautauqua in the far southwestern corner of New York-all lands the archaeological record suggests were the lands of the Nephite populations. Numerous fortified sites were found “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 Ontario County the location of the Hill Cumorah. Nearly 500 sites were found in Monroe County not far from Palymyra, and over a 100 fortified hilltops and strongholds in neighboring Genesee County, all no doubt part of the Nephite's land of Cumorah. After researching the region, B. H. Roberts –L.D.S. Historian - (1857-1933) 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. (B.H.Roberts, New Witness for God, vol. 3, p. 73.)