Timothy Sedor's Newsletter

"Photographs of the Month"

Timothy Sedor - 2007 - Charlotte Douglas International N.C. airport

Book of Mormon Explorer

December 2007

The December "Photograph of the Month" is taken from the fifth documentary film of our 6-film set DVDDiscovering Lehi's Trail.

In Part Five, "Discovering the Land of Bountiful," we take you to the shores of the Indian Ocean of Oman.

In this photo, George Potter narrates over the sound of the surf.

We believe it was this beach that Nephi referred to when he wrote that his family pitched their tents on the seashore and called the place Bountiful because of its much fruit.

The Frankincense trail, which is the only trail with water wells along it during Lehi era, ended just four miles from this spot where George is standing against a background of fruit plantations that belong to the fishing village of Taqah.

It is known that this village existed before Lehi's time, as fishing hooks found here date back to 1500 BC.

Archaeologists have also determined that fruit trees grew along this beach in antiquity.

November 2007

The November "Photograph of the Month" is taken from the fifth documentary film of our 6-film set DVD "Discovering Lehi's Trail."

In Part Five, "Discovering the Land of Bountiful," we take you to the desert of Oman, just 21 miles north from where the frankincense trail ended at the harbor of Khor Rori.

We believe that Lehi took the frankincense route to southern Arabia and that Nephi built his ship at the ancient port at the trail's end. It was at this point on the frankincense route that George Potter and I discovered a large field laden with flint deposits.

Nephi tells us, "I did smite two stones together that I might make fire" (1 Nephi 17:11).

For Nephi to have possessed this stone that was prized in ancient times, all he had to do was bend down and pick it up.

Once again, we ask, "How could Joseph Smith have known that flint deposits existed along the ancient trade route leading to Khor Rori?"

The first recorded accounts of the Frankincense trail came after Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon.

October 2007

The "Photograph of the Month" for October is taken from the fifth documentary film of our 6-film DVD set "Discovering Lehi's Trail."

Part 5, "Discovering the Land of Bountiful," takes us once again toOman.

Nephi writes, "And it came to pass that the Lord told me whither I should go to find ore, that I might make tools." (1 Nephi 17:9)

In April 1998, a team of researchers fromBrigham Young University found a small iron ore deposit below Jabal Samhan, only five miles from Khor Rori, our candidate for Nephi's Harbor.

The team reported that "It is from these simple forms of iron ore that a person like Nephi could make tools."

In this photo George Potter repeated the BYU discovery of iron ore by dragging a magnet through a sandy wash below the mountain.

September 2007

After traveling three days in the wilderness, Nephi wrote that they pitched their tents next to a river of water. To reach the river, he noted that the family came down "by" the borders that were "near" the Red Sea (1 Nephi 2:5), and then they traveled "in" the borders that were "nearer" the Red Sea. This tells us that there were two sets of borders, one "near" and the other "nearer" the Red Sea.

Since we know that in Semitic languages "borders" means "mountains," we can substitute "mountains" for "borders" in 1 Nephi 2:5. Thus, Nephi tells us that his family traveled by or along side a mountain range that was "near" the Red Sea, and then traveled "in" mountains that were "nearer" the Red Sea.

In this photograph (taken from our film "Discovering the Valley of Lemuel" in our six-part series "Discovering Lehi's Trail" DVD) we see that the geography of northwest Arabia that is next to the Red Sea has two
mountains ranges, one "near" and one "nearer."

As we retraced Nephi's trail south along the Red Sea, we found that the family first traveled "by" a mountain range that ran parallel to the shoreline.

Thus, they traveled "by" the mountains for about 45 miles until the range splits like a Y.

One branch jolts to the east and then continues south. The other range nudges west to the Red Sea and then runs south along the shoreline.

The shoreline range completely blocks the trail along the Red Sea; so, as Nephi reported, they had to go "in" to the mountains.

As we reached the place where the shoreline mountains blocked the trail, we noticed that the trail entered a wadi (valley) leading "in" to the mountains.

I kept the camera rolling as we entered the wadi. There were no other trails into the mountains other than this valley.

We followed the trail for six miles to where we discovered that it led us into another long valley.

Where did this second wadi end?- at the only formerly unknown river of continually flowing water in all of Saudi Arabia!

In other words, by following Nephi directions, and filming our expedition, we were able to discover the ancient trail along the Red Sea shoreline and to document that Nephi's directions were perfect.

Having driven Lehi's Trail to the River of Laman, we can now retrace it using satellite photographs, a luxury that Joseph Smith did not have.

I ask you, "Having in front of him only the words of Nephi, how could Joseph Smith have known the exact route to the only "river of water" in Saudi Arabia? "

Clearly, our research shows once again that Joseph Smith did not fabricate the account of Nephi.

August 2007

The "Photograph of the Month" for August is again taken from the third documentary film of our 6-film set DVD "Discovering Lehi's Trail."

In Part Three, "Discovering the Most Fertile Parts," we take you to the ruins of the city of Dedan.

Our research has indicated that the Frankincense trail between Dedan and Medinah is not only the route Lehi took between these two cities but is also the part of the trail Nephi called "the most fertile parts."

By actually driving down the Frankincense trail, we have shown again the accuracy of Nephi's writings and that Joseph Smith could never have fabricated the story or plagiarized any other author's writings in his translation of the Book of Mormon.

Simply stated, there were no other writings of this kind in 1829.

Charles Doughty was the first westerner to visit Dedan and this part of the trail.

He made his visit in 1876!

July 2007

The "Photograph of the Month" for July is taken from the third documentary film of our 6-film set DVD "Discovering Lehi's Trail."

In Part Three, "Discovering the Most Fertile Parts," we take you to the ruins of the city of Dedan.

The ancient city was the junction point for the Frankincense trails from Gaza, Damascus, and Babylon.

From Dedan, only one trail continued south-southeast toward Yemen.

Dedan is located in the beautiful wadi Ula.

As you can see, the sandstone landscape of wadi Ula is reminiscent of the canyon lands of Utah.

However, for Book of Mormon students, the most important feature of the wadi Ula is the mile after mile of fertile farmlands and date groves.

Although the wadi is surrounded by thousands of square miles of barren desert, the farmers in the wadi harvest vegetables and fruit year round.

The farms in wadi Ula are so large they can be seen from the space shuttle.

Since we know that Lehi would have had to have used the Frankincense trail to reach Bountiful, it should not come as a surprised to know that Nephi recorded that they called this section of their journey "the most fertile parts" (1 Nephi 16:14).

June 2007

The "Photograph of the Month" for June is taken from the third documentary film of our 6-film set DVD "Discovering Lehi's Trail."

In Part Three, "Discovering the Most Fertile Parts," we use a three-point process to determine the most likely courses Lehi would have taken on the Frankincense trail to reach Bountiful.

Our careful planning and the use of today's high-tech tools revealed to us the accuracy of Nephi's record of his family's crossing of Arabia.

By retracing Lehi's trail, we realized once again that Joseph Smith could never have fabricated Nephi's story or plagiarized anyone's writings in his translation of the Book of Mormon.

In 1830, there were no records in English that described the Arabian Frankincense trail.


May 2007

The "Photograph for the Month" for May is taken from the second film of our 6-part DVD "Discovering Lehi's Trail."

In Part Two, "Discovering Lehi's Trail & Shazer," we show where Lehi could and could not have traveled to reach Bountiful.

This picture of the Arabian Peninsula shows what prior authors assumed was the trail that Lehi used to make his way through Arabia to Bountiful.

However, there were no established trails along the western coast of Arabia until the 10th century AD.

Without a trail, without wells and supply stations, it would have been impossible for Lehi or anyone else to have traveled down the barren Arabian shoreline.

"Discovering Lehi's Trail & Shazer" dispels the shoreline trail and other myths.

In the film, George Potter explains the course Lehi took through the desert and why Nephi's record is incredibly accurate.

April 2007

In the second documentary film of our six-part DVD, "Discovering Lehi's Trail" we discuss the difficulties Lehi and his family most likely had to go through in their journey from the Valley Lemuel through the Frankincense Trail toward Bountiful.

The "Photograph of the Month" for April is from the film "Discovering Lehi's Trail & Shazer."

You will see for the first time from the research of George Potter and Richard Wellington, examples on how and where the family traveled with the ancient desert caravans.

George's comments in the film will allow you to enjoy Lehi's south southeasterly journey to Bountiful that would have been the ultimate adventure any family could experience.

In this photograph, we can see what other "desert travelers" may have looked like at the caravan haults, the desert version of today's truck stops, where Lehi and his family would have found companionship, purchased food and supplies and also received the news of the day.

March 2007

In the fourth documentary film of our six-part DVD, “Discovering Lehi’s Trail,” we discuss what Nephi may have used to construct a replacement bow for the one that broke.

The picture for March’s “Photograph of the Month” is from the film “Discovering Nephi’s Trail and His Bow Wood.”

While living in the mountainous region of southwestern Arabia, Neil (Kiwi) Holland spent long hours researching Nephi's bow.

In the film, the native New Zealander explains how he learned from a tribal chief the nearly lost method of bow construction in Arabia and the source of wood the southern Arabs used for their bows.

In the photograph, he demonstrates the strength of the bow he constructed from Atim wood, a variety of wild olive.

Atim is the only bow-wood available in the southwest Arabia where we believe Nephi fabricated a bow.

Using traditional techniques and tools, Neil believes he has produce a strong replica bow similar to one Nephi could have used to hunt game.

Neil's pioneering work helps demonstrates the accurate historicity of the Book of Mormon, and helps answer a long-standing question of how Nephi constructed a bow in a land not known for forest or bow-wood.

February 2007

In the sixth film of our six-part DVD, “Discovering Lehi’s Trail,” we discuss one of the provisions that Lehi placed aboard ship to provide shelter for his family, the traditional Bedouin tents of the Middle East.


February’s “Photograph of the Month” comes from the “Discovering Nephi’s Harbor" documentary film.

During our retracing of Lehi's trail, we came across this Bedouin tent alone in the desert without its owner; nevertheless, it does have an owner.

Lehi's tents were woven of goat and camel hair and weighed several hundred pounds each.


Several camels were needed to transport each tent as they passed through the desert.


Lehi’s party comprised at least a half dozen married families, perhaps more, and each would have required its own tent.

Since Nephi records that they pitched their tents when they disembarked in the Promised Land (1 Nephi 19:23), we know that they took their bulky tents aboard Nephi's ship.


They also must have taken their tent poles and ropes.

One item that we did not discuss in our film is the flooring in the tents.


The type of rugs Bedouins use for flooring depends on the tribe’s frequency of movement; the thickness would range from 5/8 to less than 3/8 of an inch.


The more the tribe moves, the thinner the rug needed.


We believe many thin rugs would have been carried on Lehi's camels across Arabia and subsequently were taken aboard Nephi's ship.


January 2007

In the sixth documentary film on our DVD, “Discovering Lehi’s Trail,” we itemized the essential materials Nephi needed for the construction his ship.

The picture for January’s “Photo of the Month” comes from the film “Discovering Nephi’s Harbor.”

After attending a Thursday stake leadership conference inBahrain, we had the opportunity to visit the National Museum ofBahrain in Manama.

To our good fortune, it was the last day for theBahrain Cultural Heritage celebration at the museum.

As part of the cultural heritage celebration, the museum had a demonstration of the nearly lost art of coconut fiber rope weaving by a native Bahraini.

Last month (Dec 2006) I presented a photograph of the “Sohar,” a replica of an Arab merchant ship that was sewn together with rope made from coconut fibers.

The "Sohar” was constructed nearMuscat, Oman and sailed toCanton, China.

The ship's fabrication and rigging required 400 miles of coconut rope made from the fiber of 50,000 coconuts!

Recent carbon-14 dating of pollen samples taken at Khor Rori has proven that coconuts were growing there at the time Nephi constructed his ship.