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Saturday
Mar262011

Bountiful

The Book of Mormon narrative follows a group of Jews who left Jerusalem for the New World in 600 B.C. Along the way they stopped at a tropical paradise somewhere on the Arabian peninsula. They called it Bountiful for its abundant fruit. This location is said to have also provided them with wild game, honey, ore, timber and resources to construct tools and a ship that would take them east across the Indian and Pacific oceans to the New World.

No proposed locations are recognized by the LDS church
While some Mormon apologists claim to have identified Bountiful, it's important to keep in mind that:
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not endorsed any proposed location. Until then, claims made by apologists remain personal opinion and speculative.
  • Much of the on-the-ground research provided by Mormon apologists have been conducted by non-professionals.
  • No non-Mormon researchers who have independently confirmed the location of Bountiful.

Southern Dhofar

Some apologists have proposed the southern Dhofar region of Oman and Yemen to be the possible location for Bountiful, in particular Salalah, Khor Rori and Khor Kharfot.
  • There is no consensus for a specific location among those who advocate a southern Dhofar location.
  • It is debated that the area supports suitable tree growth to construct a durable transoceanic vessel.
    Aston feels that the larger species of trees indigenous to the Coastal Plain and Escarpment Mountains zones of Dhofar would have provided adequate timber for ship building, or perhaps as he suggests, raft building. I am not as convinced of this conclusion as is Aston...

    The largest tree[s] of Dhofar... all produce a wood that is too soft, heavy, and porous to withstand the rigors of a transoceanic crossing...

    Aston also suggests that his contemporary photos of “tall native hardwood trees” growing in Khor Kharfot lend support to his conclusion that the area is the most likely candidate for the site of the ship construction. I would suggest caution in accepting this conclusion for two reasons. First, the adjectives tall, native, and hardwood are rather subjective and in many cases questionable. I personally would not use such terms to describe the trees now growing in the area, and honestly would be very nervous about trusting my life to any watercraft constructed solely of such wood for a transoceanic crossing.

    Terry Ball - Archaeobotanist, prof. BYU
    Journal of the Book of Mormon, Vol. 18, Iss. 1, p.56-57
  • According to the Book of Mormon narrative, the location of Bountiful is inextricably linked to being nearly eastward from Nahom, of which location itself is unknown.
    Book of Mormon And it came to pass that Ishmael died, and was buried in the place which was called Nahom... and we did travel nearly eastward from that time forth.
    1 Nephi 16:34, 17:1
  • Photographs provided by apologists are typically taken during the region's monsoon season (late June to October) which of course causes the dry vegetation to green. Consider these photographs for perspective during the more dry season.

    The Real 'Bountiful'
    The Real 'Bountiful'
    The Real 'Bountiful'
  • Furthermore the vegetation present today may not have been the same in 600 BC.
    Contemporary photos may not accurately reflect the vegetation at the time of Nephi at Khor Kharfot or at other potential sites for Nephi’s Bountiful.

    Terry B. Ball - BYU professor and archaeobotanist
    Journal of the Book of Mormon, Vol. 18, Iss. 1, p.56-57


Conclusion

The evidences are insufficient and inconclusive to place Bountiful with any certainty to any of the proposed locations in the southern Dhofar region. Furthermore, that the LDS church today will not endorsed any Book of Mormon location is telling.


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