Thursday, September 3, 2009

Nephi’s Eighty-One Statements Regarding Their Journey

In their book, Lehi in the Wilderness (pp. 174-177), Potter and Wellington points out 81 statements that were made in the Book of Mormon that allude to actual places or events in Saudi Arabia related to Lehi’s travels there. In my presentation, I did not touch on every aspect that they mentioned in their book, but the 81 points that they make do. The reader needs to keep this in mind if some of the statements made below are not familiar to them.

1. There was a logical route to flee from Jerusalem that could be described as traveling in “the wilderness” (1 Ne. 2:2, 4).
2. There are physical “borders” (mountains) one can travel “in” and “by” in the wilderness (1 Ne. 2:5).
3. There are two sets of “borders” one “near” and one “nearer” the Red Sea (1 Ne. 2:5).
4. The wilderness trail leads to the trail in the borders (mountains) (1 Ne. 2:5).
5. The trail in the borders leads to the fountain of the Red Sea, i.e., the Gulf of Aqaba.
6. The trail in the borders passes close to the shore of the Red Sea (1 Ne. 2:5).
7. The Valley of Lemuel is in the mountains “nearer” the shore (1 Ne. 2:5-8).
8. The valley is in the “borders” and therefore the Valley of Lemuel appears to be a canyon (1 Ne. 2:8).
9. The canyon must be very impressive (1 Ne. 2:10).
10. The valley is in the wilderness (1 Ne. 4:33; 5:2).
11. The valley is a three-day journey into the wilderness (1 Ne. 2.6).
12. The valley contains a river of running water (1 Ne. 2:6).
13. The river flows continually (1 Ne. 2:9).
14. In the valley seeds and fruits of many kinds were found (1 Ne. 8:1).
15. The river is in the wilderness, not in a city or town (1 Ne. 2:6).
16. It is a river, without an established name, already known to Lehi (1 Ne. 2:9). It must be presumably a very small stream and have no major importance, since it appears to have no name known to Lehi.
17. The river empties into the fountain of the Red Sea (1 Ne. 2:8-9), or the Gulf of Aqaba.
18. The river flows through a canyon that could be described as a firm, steadfast and immovable valley (1 Ne. 2:6).
19. The valley must be capable of sustaining life for a group of people for a long period in 600 B.C.
20. The campsite next to the river must be close to the Gulf of Aqaba for Lehi to verify that the waters empty directly into it (1 Ne. 2:7-8).
21. The valley, river, and gulf provide Lehi with the dream imagery for the “tree of life.” (1 Ne. 8).
22. A stone altar was built in the Valley of Lemuel (1 Ne. 2:7).
23. There exists a place named Shazer (1 Ne. 16:13-14).
24. Shazer was the first halt after Lehi joined the Frankincense Trail at al Bada’a (1 Ne. 16:13).
25. Shazer is a four days’ journey from the valley (1 Ne. 16:13).
26. Shazer is in the wilderness (1 Ne. 16:14).
27. Shazer is in a nearly south-southeast course direction from the valley (1 Ne. 16:9-12).
28. Lehi pitched his tents at Shazer, so it needed to be an authorized site for stopping and resting, as were the frankincense halts.
29. Lehi pitched his tent at Shazer, thus there must have been a source of water for a desert camp. Thus, Shazer must have a source of water (1 Ne. 16:13).
30. Shazer meant the “place of the trees” (Nibley) or “valley with trees” (Groom). Shazer should be associated with trees.
31. Family stopped to hunt. Shazer must have had “wild animals” and good hunting terrain (1 Ne. 16:14).
32. Their men left the women and children in the camp while they went into the wilderness to hunt. Shazer must have been a place with protection (1 Ne. 16:14).
33. Leaving Shazer they traveled “in the borders near the Red Sea.” Mountains should exist nearly south-southeast of Shazer (1 Ne. 16:14).
34. There are “most fertile” areas in the barren wasteland of the northern Hijaz (1 Ne. 16:14).
35. These “most fertile” areas are along a trail that runs south-southeast from Shazer.
36. The “most fertile parts” are in “parts,” i.e., not one large area (1 Ne. 16:14).
37. The “most fertile parts” are in the mountains (1 Ne. 16:14).
38. This part of the trail is called “the most fertile parts.” The original text of Book of Mormon uses the singular form, indicating it was a place-name.
39. Leaving the “most fertile parts,” they travel for many days with no mention of borders, therefore they have left the mountains (1 Ne. 16:14).
40. They travel through an area they call the “more fertile parts” (1 Ne. 16: 16). There are continuing areas of fertility after the mountains, albeit lesser in quality or quantity.
41. As they travel from the “most fertile” to the “more fertile” parts, they hunt along the way. This implies a need for and existence of wild game (1 Ne. 16:15).
42. After leaving the “more fertile” parts, Lehi’s trail is through a land of decreasing fertility (1 Ne. 16:14-19).
43. At the camp where the bow breaks, Nephi does not record that they are traveling in borders but must be close to go up into the tops of the mountains to hunt (1 Ne. 16:30).
44. Bow-wood grows in Arabia.
45. Bow-wood grows in the mountains near the trail.
46. Liahona bearing would point in the direction that would cause great fear (1 Ne. 16:27).
47. There exists in southern Arabia the place-name Nahom (1 Ne. 16:34).
48. To reach Nahom one could travel through wilderness country (1 Ne. 16:35), where death from hunger is ever-present danger (1 Ne. 16:35).
49. Nahom is a place with water.
50. The journey causes great suffering prior to reaching Nahom (1 Ne. 16:35).
51. There is a trail that runs nearly eastward from Nahom (1 Ne. 17:1).
52. The trail east runs through the wilderness (1 Ne. 17:1).
53. The trail east is capable of sustaining life all the way to Bountiful (1 Ne. 17:4).
54. There was a reason for limited fires during the journey east (1 Ne. 17:12-13).
55. The eastward trail from Nahom leads from the hinterland to the ocean of “many waters” (1 Ne. 17:6).
56. The eastward trail from Nahom leads to a land that can be called Bountiful for its abundant and wide variety of fruits 17:5; 18:6).
57. There is a straight transition between the wilderness and the Land Bountiful (1 Ne. 17:4-5).
58. One can see the ocean upon entering the land Bountiful (1 Ne. 17:5).
59. Bountiful is not a wilderness but an inhabited area (1 Ne. 17:3-4).
60. Besides a land Bountiful, there exists a specific locale also called “Bountiful” which also has much fruit (1 Ne 17:6).
61. Lehi camps at the shore at the place Bountiful. The fruit trees must be near the shore (1 Ne 17:6).
62. The place Bountiful had a place to moor a ship. The place Bountiful must have a harbor nearby (1 Ne. 18:6).
63. Near the place Bountiful it is possible to build a ship (1 Ne. 18:8).
64. Near the place Bountiful there is deep sea that someone can be thrown directly into (1 Ne. 17:48).
65. The place Bountiful was inhabited by ship builders (1 Ne. 17:2).
66. The place Bountiful has large trees to form timbers for the boat (1 Ne. 18:1).
67. Nephi’s was a sailing ship; Bountiful was a place were he could acquire canvas or sails (1 Ne. 18:9).
68. There is a mountain near the place Bountiful (1 Ne. 17:7).
69. Bountiful has a prominent mountain, “the mountain,” one where the Lord could personally appear, like unto a sacred place or temple (1 Ne. 17:7).
70. There is honey in Bountiful (1 Ne. 17:5).
71. The honey in the land Bountiful is from wild bees; the people do not practice beekeeping (1 Ne. 17:5).
72. Place Bountiful had to have a source of fresh water, for Lehi pitched his tents there for a long period (1 Ne. 17).
73. Bountiful has wild game (1 Ne. 18:6).
74. Bountiful has a place to mine or purchase ore (1 Ne. 17:9).
75. Bountiful had flint, for Nephi made a fire using stones (1 Ne. 17:11).
76. Bountiful had beasts (1 Ne. 17:11).
77. Bountiful sits by an ocean called Irreantum, meaning many waters (1 Ne. 17:5).
78. Bountiful has prevailing winds blowing in a uniform direction (1 Ne. 18:8).
79. Bountiful was a place where Nephi could learn seamanship (1 Ne. 18).
80. Bountiful has a harbor that provided protection from cross winds and high seas of the ocean.
81. The weather pattern of prevailing winds, a storm blowing in the opposite direction, Doldrums, and then the return of the original prevailing winds can be found at sea near Bountiful (1 Ne. 18:13-21).