We Were Driven Back Upon the Waters for Three Days 81 Points of Correlation Nephi Makes Concerning His Journey Through the Arabian Peninsula

Alan C. Miner

According to Potter and Wellington, the prevailing weather patterns mentioned in 1 Nephi 18:13-21 mark the 81st verifiable correlation that Nephi makes concerning his journey through the Arabian Peninsula and embarkation into the sea towards the Americas. The following is their summary list of all 81 points of correlation with a real world setting in Arabia:

1. There was a wilderness trail into which Lehi could flee Jerusalem. (1 Nephi 2:2,4)

2. There are physical “borders” one can travel “in” and “by” in the wilderness where Lehi pitched his tent. (1 Nephi 2:5)

3. There are two sets of “borders” (mountains) - one “near” and one “nearer” the Red Sea. (1 Nephi 2:5)

4. There should be a part of the Red Sea found near trails in the borders (mountains). (By definition, Aqaba literally means “mountain roads.” The Gulf of Aqaba is part of the Red Sea)

5. The valley of Lemuel is in the mountains “nearer” the shore. (1 Nephi 2:5,8)

6. The valley of Lemuel can only be approached from the inland side of mountains. (1 Nephi 2:5)

7. The valley of Lemuel is in the “borders,” or maintains, and therefore the valley appears to be a canyon. (1 Nephi 2:8)

8. The canyon must be very impressive. (1 Nephi 2:10)

9. The valley is in the wilderness. (1 Nephi 4:33; 5:2)

10. The valley is a 3-day journey into the wilderness. (1 Nephi 2:6)

11. There exists in the wilderness a river of running water. (1 Nephi 2:6)

12. The river flows “continually.” (1 Nephi 2:9)

13. In the valley seeds and fruits of many kinds were found. (1 Nephi 8:1)

14. Grain grows in the valley, in the desert “wilderness.” (1 Nephi 8:1)

15. The river is in the wilderness, not in a city or a town. (1 Nephi 2:6)

16. The river is without an established name already known to Lehi. It must be a very small stream and have no major importance. (1 Nephi 2:9)

17. The river empties into the “fountain” of the Red Sea, or the Gulf of Aqabah. (1 Nephi 2:8,9)

18. The river flows through a canyon that could be described as a firm, steadfast and immovable valley. (1 Nephi 2:6)

19. Since Lehi’s group camped for an extended period next to the river, the valley might be expected to have ruins of a long-term encampment dating to Lehi’s period.

20. The valley must be capable of sustaining life for a group of people for a long period in 600 B.C.

21. 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 Nephi 2:7,8)

22. The valley, river and gulf should provide Lehi with the dream imagery for the “tree of life” (1 Nephi 8)

23. A stone altar is built in the valley of Lemuel. (1 Nephi 2:7)

24. There exists a place named Shazer. (1 Nephi 16,13-14)

25. Shazer is the first halt after Lehi joins the Frankincense trail at al Bada’a (1 Nephi 16:13)

26. Shazer is a four days journey from the valley of Lemuel. (1 Nephi 16:13)

27. Shazer is in the wilderness. (1 Nephi 16:14)

28. Shazer is a nearly south-southeast course direction from the valley of Lemuel. (1 Nephi 16:9-12)

29. Lehi pitched his tents at Shazer, so it needed to be an authorized site for stopping and resting. (Such were the Frankincense Trail halts.)

30. Lehi pitched his tent at Shazer; a must for a desert camp is a source of water. Thus, Shazer must have a source of water. (1 Nephi 16:13)

31. Shazer or Seger (ir, or) meant the “place of the trees” (Nibley) or “valley with trees” (Groom). Shazer should be associated with trees.

32. Family stopped to hunt. Shazer must have had “wild animals” and good hunting terrain. (1 Nephi 16:14)

33. The men left their women and children in camp while they went into the wilderness to hunt. Shazer must have been a place which provided protection. (1 Nephi 16:14)

34. Leaving Shazer they traveled “in the borders near the Red Sea.” Mountains should exist nearly south-southeast of Shazer. (1 Nephi 16:14)

35. Nephi records that as they traveled from Shazer they found fertile areas in the barren wasteland of the northern Hijaz. (1 Nephi 16:14)

36. These “most fertile” areas are along the trail that runs south-southeast from Shazer.

37. The “most fertile” parts are in “parts,” not one large area. (1 Nephi 16:14)

38. The “most fertile parts” are in mountains. (1 Nephi 16:14)

39. This part of the trail is called “The Most Fertile Parts.” The original text of the Book of Mormon uses the singular form, indicating it was a place-name.

40. Leaving the “most fertile parts” they travel for many days, but no mention is made of borders, therefore they have left the mountains. (1 Nephi 16:14)

41. They travel through an area they call the “more fertile parts.” (1 Nephi 16:16) Thus there are continuing areas of fertility after the mountains, albeit lesser in quality or quantity.

42. 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 Nephi 16:15)

43. After leaving the “more fertile” parts Lehi’s trail goes through a land of decreasing fertility. (1 Nephi 16:14-19)

44. 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 Nephi 16:30)

45. Bow-wood grows in Arabia.

46. Bow-wood grows in the mountains near the trail.

47. A Liahona bearing would point in the direction that would cause great fear. (1 Nephi 16:27)

48. There exists in southern Arabia the place-name Nahom. (1 Nephi 16:34)

49. Nahom contains wilderness country. (1 Nephi 16:35) where death from hunger is an imminent threat. (1 Nephi 16:35)

50. Nahom is a place with water.

51. The journey causes great suffering prior to reaching Nahom. (1 Nephi 16:35)

52. There is a nearly eastward trail from Nahom.

53. The trail would need to have life supporting wells. (1 Nephi 17:1)

54. There is a reason for limited fires during the journey east. (1 Nephi 17:12-13)

55. The eastward trail from Nahom has access from the hinterland to the ocean of the many waters. (1 Nephi 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. (1 Nephi 17:5; 18:6)

57. There is a straight transition between the wilderness and the Land Bountiful. (1 Nephi 17:4-5)

58. One can see the ocean upon entering the land Bountiful. (1 Nephi 17:5)

59. Bountiful is not a wilderness but an inhabited area. (1 Nephi 17:3-4)

60. Besides a land Bountiful, there exists a specific locale also called “Bountiful” which also has much fruit. (1 Nephi 17:6)

61. Lehi camps at shore at the place “Bountiful.” The fruit trees must be near the shore. (1 Nephi 17:6)

62. The place “Bountiful” had a place to moor a ship. The “place Bountiful” must have a harbor nearby. (1 Nephi 18:6)

63. Near the place “bountiful” it is possible to build a ship. (1 Nephi 18:8)

64. Near the place “Bountiful” there is a deep sea that someone can be thrown directly into. (1 Nephi 17:48)

65. The place “Bountiful” was inhabited by ship builders. (1 Nephi 17:2)

66. The place “Bountiful” haws large trees to form timbers for the boat. (1 Nephi 18:1)

67. Nephi’s ship “sailed.” Thus Bountiful was a place where he could acquire canvas or sails. (1 Nephi 18:9)

68. There is a mountain near the place “bountiful.” (1 Nephi 17:7)

69. Bountiful has a prominent mountain -- “the Mountain.” It was considered a sacred place or temple where the Lord could personally appear.

70. There is honey in Bountiful. (1 Nephi 17:5)

71. The honey in the land Bountiful is from wild bees, the people do not practice beekeeping. (1 Nephi 17:5)

72. The place “Bountiful” had to have a source of fresh water for Lehi pitched his tents there for a long period. (1 Nephi 17)

73. Bountiful has wild game. (1 Nephi 18:6)

74. Bountiful has a place to mine or purchase ore. (1 Nephi 17:9)

75. Bountiful has flint, for Nephi makes a fire using stones. (1 Nephi 17:11)

76. Bountiful has beasts. (1 Nephi 17:11)

77. Bountiful sits by an ocean called Irreantum, meaning many waters. (1 Nephi 17:5)

78. Bountiful has prevailing winds blowing in a uniform direction. (1 Nephi 18:8)

79. Bountiful was a place where Nephi could learn seamanship. (1 Nephi 18)

80. Nephi’s harbor needed 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 Nephi 18:13-21)

[George Potter & Richard Wellington, Discovering The Lehi-Nephi Trail, Unpublished Manuscript (July 2000), pp. 284-286]

1 Nephi 18:13 We were driven back upon the waters for three days (Points of Geographical Correlation [Illustration]: 81 Points of Correlation Nephi Makes Concerning His Journey through the Arabian Peninsula. [George Potter & Richard Wellington, Discovering The Lehi-Nephi Trail, Unpublished Manuscript (July 2000), pp. 284-286]

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