Crossing the River Laman

On my Book of Mormon Evidences page, I have long argued that the discovery of an entirely plausible candidate for the River Laman, mentioned in 1 Nephi 2:8, is one of several key findings in the Arabian Peninsula that challenge the notion of Joseph Smith as the author of First Nephi. How could someone in 1830 have described the location and attributes of actual overseas locations that remain unknown to many educated people of our day? Follow the specific directions given in the Book of Mormon, and you can stumble right into the impressive granite valley corresponding with the Valley of Lemuel and find a continuously flowing stream that fits the River of Laman. (Not to mention additional places like Shazer, Nahom, and Bountiful.)

Now the other night, while reading, I noticed a little detail I had overlooked before (though I’m sure it’s discussed somewhere by George Potter in his works on the Arabian Peninsula). First Nephi 16:12 says, “we did take our tents and depart into the wilderness, across the river Laman.” The subtle detail is that the river was easy to cross, suggesting it was shallow and not dangerous, just as the actual candidate for the River Laman is. No boats, bridges, or perils of swift currents are described – they just simply crossed it.

A small detail, but interesting.


Author: Jeff Lindsay

12 thoughts on “Crossing the River Laman

  1. Fascinating that the critics continue to claim there is not a scrap of archaeological evidence to support the Book of Mormon, and yet virtually all of Nephi’s trip through Arabia has been verified, right down to place names (NHM).

    I suspect that New World archaeological verifications have less to do with finding the right sites as they do with understanding the Book of Mormon in the correct context. John Clark and Brant Gardner are doing a lot in that area.

  2. Jeff,

    Absolutely fascinating! I wish I could learn more. In fact I am thinking of subscribing to the FARMS newsletter so I can study more.

  3. Perceptive comment. The detail on the old world journey is fascinating.

    It would be great to find similar verifications in the New World. Unfortunately, the ill-advised Mesoamerican theory seems to have suppressed alternative theories, which makes it unlikely that we will find verifications beyond analogies to the entirely separate Mayan culture.

  4. Unfortunately, the ill-advised Mesoamerican theory seems to have suppressed alternative theories…

    Pray, tell — which alternative theory do you favor? And what makes it more compelling than the Mesoamerican one?

  5. it’s not mesoamerica that’s the problem. it’s that most of the mesoamerican theories favor the yucatan peninsula or nearby areas. i have disagreed w/ these for some time now. one proposal/model for BoM geography I really liked is one i found on this website:

    in my opinion, it has very strong support and evidence from the text of the BoM.

  6. Which Mesoamerican theory favors the Yucatan Peninsula?

    Not John Sorenson’s. (That’s one of John Clark’s laments about Sorenson’s theory, though he thinks that Sorenson is probably right in that regard.)

    Not M. Wells Jakeman’s.

    Not Richard Hauck’s.

    Not really even Joseph Allen’s, as I recall.

    Whose, then?

  7. John Clark examines the Warr geographical model (with its proposed “narrow neck” near Lake Nicaragua) in FARMS Review 16/2, which is available (for the time being, only to subscribers) on the FARMS Website as well as in print.

  8. my mistake. the most common mesoamerican theory seems to be the isthmus of tehuantepec, not yucatan. nevertheless, for a while i have found this theory severely lacking as well.

    it is the “warr” theory that appeases me the most, and the farm review, as well as a response to it, can be found on this page (a link from the page i referenced earlier)

  9. I’ll do another advertisement here, since people seem to be interested in the Arabian component of the Book of Mormon:

    The new FARMS DVD “Journey of Faith,” filmed on location in Jerusalem and on the Arabian Peninsula, deals with Lehi’s trail. Initial reactions from those who have seen it have been very positive.

  10. I had been reading an archaeology site on line. I don’t remember which one, but they mentioned a new find with the word Laman they had dechipered. Can’t find anything on it now?

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