Transcript of the September 2005 BMAF Conference held at the Red Lion Hotel Evidences of Lehi’s Trail on the Arabian Peninsula
Transcript of the September 2005 BMAF Conference held at the Red Lion Hotel
Evidences of Lehi’s Trail on the Arabian Peninsula
Before I start today, I’d like to give a special thanks to all those who are involved with the Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum, and who have invited me to make this presentation. It’s a real privilege to stand here. I’m really thrilled there is a dedicated group who are trying to expand our knowledge of the Book of Mormon. When we read this great book, it comes to life for us.
As we go through this material, I want you to understand that I’m basically your ordinary, garden-variety member of the Church. I don’t consider myself particularly knowledgeable, and especially not a specialist in archaeology or anthropology. A lot of the people I work with are real experts, but I am not. So that when I share this information here, I want you to understand that I didn’t go out into the desert with an agenda. I was dragged out there by two LDS members who were looking for Mt. Sinai. We found it, and, also, my interest started sparking up and what we think is Mt. Sinai. That led to the Valley of Lemuel to be discovered. I’m not somebody who goes out looking for evidence of something that has already proved to be true.
Again, we are just average members of the Church; I’m the branch financial clerk of a branch in Arabia. We’ve come from seven different nations. We have people from India, New Zealand, Germany, Richard’s from the UK; so there are various ex-pats there. It’s been a real joy to work with these people and get to know them. Some of these people are world-experts in their fields. I’m certainly not an expert on anything. When we talk about geology, for example, of the Valley of Lemuel, or Wadi Tayyib al-Ism, which is my candidate for the Valley of Lemuel, the geologist that we’re working with, was a geologist for Aramco, and his specialty is the Gulf of Aqaba region. He is the world’s expert on the geology of that area. Most of the men who are out in the desert have graduate degrees. All of us were risking our careers over there, because if the Saudi government knew what we were doing, we would be thrown out. Not that we would have broken any laws, it’s just that they don’t like people there who are doing efforts on their land to promote Jesus Christ.
While Craig Thorsted and I were exploring the northwest corner of Saudi arabia in 1995, the local captain of the coast guard introduced us to a spectacular valley called Wadi tayyib al-ism, which contains a river that flows continually throughout the year and empties into the Gulf of Aqaba. With the discovery of Wadi tayyib al-ism there was finally a fully qualified candidate for the Valley of Lemuel. The discovery of the valley provided a focal point from which the authors were able to develop a new model for the route lehi took through arabia. Over the course of six years we were able to travel throughout the arabian Peninsula researching the route we believe Lehi would have taken from Jerusalem to Bountiful. Our findings were published in 2003, and this presentation provides a brief overview of the model we propose in our book. Throughout this time we were fortunate to be able to consult the works of those who had gone before us, namely Hugh
Nibley, Lynn and Hope hilton, and Warren and Michaela Aston.