Thursday, April 10, 2014

Salalah as Nephi's Bountiful

One of the reasons we made a point of visiting a place as remote as Salalah is that it (or its surroundings) is generally considered to be a major place of interest mentioned in The Book of Mormon: Bountiful. It’s the place Lehi and Sariah and their friends and extended family arrived after a very long sojourn through the (Saudi Arabian/Yemeni) wilderness. Nephi mentions arriving at a place with fruit and honey, bordered by an ocean, with timber available to build a ship. Over the years, beginning with the illustrious Hugh Nibley in the 1950s, continuing with renewed, on-site research in the 1970s by the Hiltons, and kept up recently by Warren Aston, Bountiful has been identified as probably being near Salalah.

There have been three major determinations of an exact (-ish) site. The Hiltons identified the central port of Al Baleed as Bountiful. However, this seems to have been a "this is the best we can do" determination, because they were unable to access some of the more remote areas of interest due to some internal strife that was then going on in Oman. Here is Al Baleed (it's the place where the Museum of the Frankincense Land is):

Another site that has been proposed (and mostly debunked, according to more recent research) is Khor Roori, to the east of Al Baleed and Salalah proper. I didn't get pictures of the site itself, but here is a view of the area from the mountains above:

The current strongest contender for the site of Nephi's Bountiful is Khor Kharfot, to the west of Salalah, toward Yemen (indeed, almost at the border). While we were in Salalah, we called the Yemeni man who has worked with Mormon researchers in the area and who knows all the exact places to take people. We own neither a 4x4 nor a boat in Oman, both of which are necessary to reach the sites. This nice Yemeni man owns both of the above and knows his stuff, but unfortunately, his expert-guided excursion cost too much for us to consider. (When Jeremy got off the phone with him and asked me to guess how much it would cost, I thought for a moment and then gave him my best guess of a that's-pretty-steep-but-we're-here-only-once-so-let's-do-it number. The actual price was a full five times that price. Sad face.)

We drove out toward that area in our rental Yaris, on our own, and consoled ourselves with the idea that we were at least in the general proximity of Bountiful, and even if it wasn't this. exact. spot., it was around here somewhere.


This was my first experience touring around Book of Mormon sites. And it was pretty awesome. I swear you only ever hear the following sentiment expressed by people who HAVE been to the Holy Land, etc. "It doesn't really matter if you go to THE PLACE where these stories from the scriptures happened. You can still know they're true and have those strong feelings about them."

But I'm here to add the less popular postscript that if you can possibly make it to THE PLACE, that's pretty dang cool, too.

6 comments:

Glenda The Good said...

I can understand that! I felt pretty dang cool at the river Jordan. That water is gorgeous! So out of curiosity, how much was the tour? We just had this experience with safari. I looked up the kind of trip we thought would be fun. 9,000 for the whole family!!! We aren't secure enough for that kind of fun yet :). If we even still get to go :-/. They sent this months residents home and closed the program until May 1st. They said their were too many riots and the kidnapping risk had risen. So now we still have to plan like we are going but we have no idea if they are going to open the program back up again or not :-/

Jen said...

I think one of the reasons why I love it when you write posts like this is because these sorts of adventures are SOOOOOOOOOO far out of our realm of possibility. Yet, since they're being experienced by someone I KNOW, they feel a little bit closer....sort of like I'm a virtual tag-along.

Thanks for sharing!

Blair Walker said...

I don't understand - then how did Lehi and his family get to that place without a 4x4 vehicle or a boat?

Bridget said...

Oh no! I hope it works out for you.

The trip to the most-research-supported site would have cost us 250 OMR. :(

Bridget said...

OK OK, a 4x4 OR a camel.

Bridget said...

You know, Salalah is only a plane flight away from Sharjah, should you happen to be in the neighborhood...

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