“Kharfot Searching for Mormons” is the title of an article written by author and photographer Pinaki Chakravarty for Oman Today, a publication of Apex Press in Oman, the small Arab state on the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula which many LDS scholars believe contain the place that Nephi and group called Bountiful (see, for example, MormonEvidence.com). For those who have been told that there isn’t a scrap of evidence for the Book of Mormon, a refreshing new openness might follow when evidence from the Arabian Peninsula is considered. It should give one pause, for example, to consider that there is actually a plausible candidate (perhaps two or three plausible candidates, in fact) meeting many criteria found in the First Nephi for such a place, including being nearly due east of the place Nahom where Ishmael was buried, a place that appears to match well with the ancient burial place called Nehem, now bearing recently discovered ancient altar showing that the related tribal name Nihm (or just NHM in ancient Semitic languages) was in use there in Nephi’s era.
Pinaki is remarkably neutral in his article, and has obviously done some homework learning about the views of some LDS writers regarding Kharfot as an excellent candidate for Bountiful. He could have taken the easy way out and chortled that there could never have been such a place as the lush Bountiful in the vast stretches of arid sand that fill Arabia, as others have done, but he is writing for an audience in Oman where the existence of lush coastal regions is no secret. While a visit to Kharfot was difficult by modern standards and took significant time and effort, even with the help of modern transportation, Pinaki made the effort to go see for himself and learn why some Mormons are excited about this remote and rarely visited section of the Peninsula. A refreshing case of open-mindedness! Thank you, Pinaki (and good luck with the books on your adventures in Oman that you are preparing!).
Hat tip to Warren Aston.
Update, 1/8/10: I am honored that Pinaki dropped by and shared some further insights in his comments, such as the editorial constraints in Oman that affected what he could say. Interesting! The original version of his article is at http://pinaki.info/om_sea_kharfot.htm. That version includes additional photographs of the area. Very nice! [Jan. 2015: Pinaki.info has died and now just ad bait. But you can see what Pinaki wrote via Archive.org, starting with this page.]
Pinaki mentions that Mormons may have found iron ore at Bountiful. Yes, iron ore is available in the area, as the Book of Mormon indicates–and that’s actually a big deal given the rarity of iron ore in the Arabian Peninsula. For details, read my post, “‘Whither Shall I Go for Ore?’ – Another Subtle Requirement for Bountiful’s THREE Excellent Candidates. Worth considering. Surely the iron ore finds must good enough at least for a bit of scrap iron, and that ought to be considered next time someone says there isn’t a scrap of evidence in faavor of the Boook of Mormon. Not even a scrap iron scrap?