Another Update on the River of Laman

Warren Aston, whose personal explorations in the Arabian Peninsula have done so much to expand our knowledge of Lehi’s Trail and the candidates for some of the places mentioned by Nephi in the Book of Mormon, has shared another update about the River Laman at Book of Mormon Central.

He had previously noted how the river (a stream to us, though it was certainly bigger in the past and is still amazing and unexpected today in such a dry part of the world) was recently seen to be coming relatively close to shore of the Red Sea and did reach it when it surged from rains. But here, months later, at a dry time, it is seen coming all the way to the beach.

The data from Arabia related to Lehi’s Trail from beginning to end has done much to help us better appreciate the reality of Nephi’s record, and I think there’s more to come. The details of an impressive valley with towering walls, a continually flowing “river,” fruit trees, oases, and places where people could camp and live comfortably, all accessible from Jerusalem and consistent in location and setting with the Book of Mormon account is something that Joseph Smith simply could not have known about it, for learned critics with advanced degrees said the existence of such a place was impossible all the way up until it was found and pointed out. This must be viewed as at least possible evidence for the antiquity of a portion of the Book of Mormon, or else a very big stroke of luck.

Author: Jeff Lindsay

21 thoughts on “Another Update on the River of Laman

  1. Maybe they'll have better luck than Mormon archeologist have had in Central America in the last 70n years.

  2. Interesting that you think there has been no "luck" in Central America. I think there is plenty of evidence there of an apostasy from the gospel of Jesus Christ and the religious history contained in the Book of Mormon. Just off-hand, I think of the maranth-and-blood figurines used in a version of Communion by Aztec priests, the Hero Twins (who had two brothers who didn't like them) and their attack on the vain bird-god who didn't want the people to worship any other gods, the huge number of roads/structures covering the Peten basin, the Chichen Itza mural showing people with light and dark skin, etc.. I guess evidence is in the eye of the beholder; people generally believe what they want to.

  3. CT those things are cherry picked nonsense. Do you have actual research from scientists in the field that can be used to support these theories? If not, ignore them. Remember that you aren't the expert. You're an apologist. There's a chorus of voices, many from within the church itself, saying Central America is right out.

  4. So where are all those steel blades, chariot parts and the remains of 2 huge clashing civilizations? No one ever said there wasn't civilization in Central America but where is the BOM evidence?

    As you say, 6:36PM, eye of the beholder.

  5. Jeff would have us believe that the existence of this little creeklet “must be viewed as at least possible evidence for the antiquity of a portion of the Book of Mormon, or else a very big stroke of luck.”


    There’s a funny thing about the Bible. When people in the Bible go on journeys, as they are wont to do, sometimes it’s a “days’ journey,” but most often it’s a “three days’ journey,” especially when the journey is into the wilderness.

    You know what people never do in the Bible? They never go on a two days’ journey into the wilderness, or a four days’ journey into the wilderness, or a six days’ journey into the wilderness. This is not because of some quirk in Middle Eastern geography that somehow spaces all wilderness destinations three days in. It’s not a matter of geography at all, but a matter of symbolism.

    Similarly, the reason Lehi travels three days in the wilderness to the Valley of Lemuel has nothing to do with the geography of the Arabian coast; it has everything to do with Joseph Smith emulating the biblical style by appropriating a common biblical trope.

    — OK

  6. You are right that Nephi seems to be acutely aware of Exodus symbolism and emphasizes aspects of their journey in ways that highlight the parallels. But that is hardly an argument against the reality of their journey, especially when the once-said-to-be-nonexistant-and-impossible River of Laman actually is a 3-days journey from the starting location specified (by camel).

    1. It’s already been established that a journey from Jerusalem to this Wadi by laden camel in three days is nigh impossible.

  7. How many camels did they have? How laden were they? Is three days journey a figure of speech like OK mentioned?


    1. “Is three days journey a figure of speech like OK mentioned?“

      Not a figure of speech, but a trope. It’s likely the timeframe is a repeated trope, as are most of the stories in the BoM. There has been much written regarding the way the BoM emulates biblical themes and expressions (I would say language but that has proven to decidedly not be the case). The fact that there is a Wadi in the desert that drains into the Red Sea is ultimately irrelevant because literal readings can be easily changed to figurative when the need arises.

  8. Let me see … so some esoteric analysis of the Book of Mormon said some river flowing into the Red Sea does not make sense. After nearly 200 years of searching, Book of Mormon fanatics found a dry creek bed that on rare occasion floods a little bit into the Red Sea. Okay..sighhh …. sounds like the fanatics actually validated the original criticism, and had it not been for the fanatics, I would have never know about it.

    But hey, you cannot argue with stupid.

  9. It is amazing how much of LDS apologism is about convincing LDS themselves that what they believe is not ridiculous. Telling.

  10. As a new visitor here I am amazed how much time and energy non-believers spend trying to convince themselves that what others believe is not true or feasible. Like the little boy who cant ride his own bike so he'll make sure no-one else can ride theirs either. Find something positive in your life to live for. You'll be much happier.

  11. Anon 8:56, religious disputation has a long and venerable history. Without it there would be no Protestantism, and hence no LDS Church. Just sayin’.

    As for your bicycle analogy, I think what happens here on Mormanity is more like this: everyone has a bike (we all have a capacity to think and construct arguments), and while many bike riders just like to bike around and enjoy the scenery, others of us like to get together to race against each other (some of us enjoy pitting our arguments against others). Pretty natural, really.

    Also, of course, it’s pretty silly to assume that we “antis” don’t have “something positive in our lives to live for.” That’s kind of an arrogant assumption when you think about it.

    — OK

  12. "non-believers spend trying to convince themselves that what others believe is not true or feasible." I know, really, the fantastic amount of time Mormons (non-believers in others religions) spend trying to convince other what they believe is not true. I told my mission president I was uncomfortable with that and asked if I could spend the 22 months left in my mission in a service capacity instead. He told me such mission options are very limited and I only have two options, go home, or spend the remaining time trying to convince people what they believe is not true.

  13. Mormons have very little actual sense of how conceited they come across. They're convinced the world – no, the entire universe revolves around them, so how dare anyone say one word against their ridiculous claims. I speak from my own personal experience and the words that have come out of my own mouth. Y'all gotta change. It's sad and ridiculous how self righteous you can be. Did your president's fast, and it's complete lack of results, teach you nothing?

  14. To 8:56:

    If you choose to be deluded, by all means feel free to be. But if you expect others to take your beliefs seriously when so many of them are so silly you're going to run into interference.

    It used to all work out under the guidance of "live and let live" but when your church operates a real estate and commercial conglomerate of over $100billion fueled by tax-exempt income and then enters the political realm to deprive American citizens of their civil right it's no longer "live and let live", is it?

    1. “enters the political realm to deprive American citizens of their civil right“

      Paying for ads isn’t denying Americans their civil rights. Money doesn’t = votes—just ask Bloomburg.

  15. To 12:27:

    Perhaps money ≠votes but it does clearly identify which side of justice and decency you're on. We can all decide which side of Zion the Mormon church is on but it looks like a good many former Mormons are voting with their feet while conversions have been flat for a good number of General Conferences.

    Meanwhile, these silly convoluted "proofs" of the Book of Mormon provide more entertainment than conviction.

    1. One man’s decency is another man’s perversion. They did what they felt they had a moral imperative to do.

      For what it’s worth, I think the church, with its history of persecution for non-traditional marriage practices, would (should) have had more compassion for the gay marriage movement. Instead, they turned themselves into the persecutors.

    2. Good point, Anon 9:44. But of course, like a lot of churches that claim to be Christian, the LDS Church has never been about compassion.

      — OK

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