“Separated from the Seed of My Brethren by the Many Waters”

Alan C. Miner

According to Potter and Wellington, in the vision of Nephi (1 Nephi 11-14) it becomes evident that the land of promise would be across the "many waters" (1 Nephi 13:12). Until Nephi had this great vision, we cannot be sure that anyone in Lehi's group really knew the magnitude of their journey ahead. It is hard to imagine what went through the minds of Nephi and Lehi when they realized the staggering scope of the project they needed to accomplish in order to get to the land of promise. They would need to build an ocean-going ship large enough to accommodate the entire extended family and all their provisions. They would be required to sail this ship an unbelievable distance, through myriads of different currents and tides, from silent calms to raging storms, through all sorts of varying conditions. How could Lehi and Nephi accomplish such a task? By going one step at a time and learning "line upon line." Lehi and Nephi would have known of only a few places where such ships were built and sailed far into the ocean, but the important point here is to realize that they DID know about these places. These could have included the Mediterranean ports of the Phoenicians, the ports of the Arabian Gulf and Mesopotamia, and those of southern Arabia. As a businessman, Lehi might have had contact with entrepreneurs from all these areas. The important lesson for Lehi and Nephi to learn was in which direction the Lord wanted them to go. The Lord would soon provide them with such divine assistance by way of the Liahona. [George Potter and Richard Wellington, Discovering The Lehi-Nephi Trail, Unpublished Manuscript, 2000, p. 71] [See the commentary on 1 Nephi 16:13]

Note* In view of where Lehi DID go (the land bountiful on the shores of the Indian Ocean--Dhofar) it is most intriguing how the prophets spoke concerning two locations associated with the Indian Ocean--Ophir and Tarshish. For more information see the commentary on 2 Nephi 23:12 and 2 Nephi 12:16. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary