-- HOME --
More About Us
Book of Mormon Explorers Claim Discoveries
After battling two thousand miles of desert trails, sand dunes that tower seven hundred feet into the air, occasional sand storms that remove the paint from your truck, scorpions and six years of Arabian temperatures that fluctuate from freezing to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, George Potter and his colleagues are now telling their story to the world in eight documentary videos and a book: Lehi in the Wilderness, 81 new evidences documenting the Book of Mormon is a true history.
Potter originally set out
with Craig Thorsted and Tom Culler to find the mountain some people believe is
the real mount Sinai. Not only did
they locate the mountain they were looking for, but they discovered something
that quickly took on greater importance.
While chasing a lead to a remote place the locals called the Waters of
Moses, Potter and Thorsted came upon a spectacular canyon that opened upon
the Red Sea at the Gulf of Aqaba (see picture).
More than fifty years ago, Dr. Hugh Nibley had theorized that the valley of Lemuel would be found in these very mountains, and here was a mighty canyon. Dr. Nibley had theorized that the river of Laman would be only a “small local stream.” Even so, Potter and Thorsted were unprepared for what they saw as they entered the canyon.
The US Geological Survey had studied the water resources of
the entire land known as Saudi Arabia, and had concluded, after 44 years of
surveying, that the nation had “no perennial rivers or streams”.
Yet as the two LDS explorers walked into the canyon, a spring-fed stream
appeared from the sands near the Red Sea. The
small stream wound up a 3 mile-long solid granite canyon.
Knowing the likely starting place for Lehi’s
crossing of Arabia helped Potter find its likely ending place, southern Oman.
Potter then set out to find the other locations mentioned by Nephi.
His knowledge of travel in ancient Arabia and his understanding of the
unwritten laws that control tribal lands led Potter to believe that Lehi would
have, by necessity, taken the Gaza branch of the ancient Frankincense Trail down
western Arabia. The Gaza branch ran
somewhat inland from the Red Sea. Potter’s
theory contradicts the position held by many current Book of Mormon scholars who
believe the prophet followed the shoreline of the Red Sea.
The problem with exploring the Gaza branch of the
frankincense trail (that passes within 12 miles of Potter’s Valley of Lemuel)
was that no one alive seems to know its exact course, and no one had tried to
At times Potter and Wellington’s teams were so far out in the desert that they didn’t see paved roads for days. Carrying extra gasoline and water were a must. At one little village, the mayor tried to prevent them from proceeding deeper into the desert. He claimed that there was no road beyond his village. Sure enough, at the edge of the village was a broken-down sign in Arabic and English - “End Of The Road”.
Based on an exhaustive review of the literature and their
own field studies in Arabia, Potter and Wellington believe that they have
located every important site mentioned by Nephi in the Book of Mormon.
These include, the “borders near and nearer” the Red Sea, Shazer
(where they stopped to hunt), the most fertile parts, the more fertile parts,
the trees from which Nephi made his bow, Nahom (where Ishmael was buried – the
particular part of the area that Warren Aston believes is Nahom), Nephi’s
eastwardly trail to Bountiful, the land Bountiful (correctly identified earlier
by Nibley as Salalah), and the place Bountiful where Lehi camped and the harbor
where Nephi built his ship.
Potter and Wellington books is now available at LDS bookstores and on this site (click here). The book includes over 2000 scholarly footnotes from non-LDS sources. Their citations include personal correspondences with scholars from universities, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Oman. Their theories on Nephi’s ship include insights from correspondence with German Maritime Archaeologist Dr. Norbert Weismann (Arbeitshreis Historischer Schiffsbau), Tom Vosmer (Director of the Ancient Omani Ships Project of the Western Australian Museum of Maritime History), and Frank Linehan (United States Maritime Administration). Retired BYU Professor of Religion, Wayne Brickey noted to the authors, “I think your work will revolutionize the way people feel about 1 Nephi, and thus endow with reverence their whole experience reading the Book of Mormon”.
After exhausting their research on the western branch of the Frankincense Trail, Potter and Wellington spent their 2000-2001 field work season exploring the eastern branch of the trail which crossed the infamous Empty Quarter, the largest sand desert in the world. They believe that the eastern branch, might provide clues as to the route of the Book of Mormon Jaredites. Their research efforts on the Jaredites is found on the Nephi Project Jaredite video set (click here to learn more).
Potter notes that one of the real joys in researching Lehi’s trail is the wonderful support he has received from members, who like him, live and work in the Middle East. LDS members who have accompanied him into the desert have come from the USA, UK, Germany, Fiji, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
An early member to lend a hand was Timothy Sedor ,
professional artist and photographer. Tim
brought with him a digital video camera and recorded much of their fieldwork.
With Sedor’s footage, The Nephi Project Website, Potter and Sedor’s research group produced six videos on Lehi’s trail. (learn more, click here) Sedor is clear about his goal in making these videos, “We want to visually take every reader of the Book of Mormon into the Arabian desert, show them what is there, and then let them judge for themselves if Nephi walked in these places".
Even so, Potter states with confidence, “if anyone doubts that the Book of Mormon is a literal history, they won’t after reading our book and seeing our videos. The evidence that is found in Arabia is straight-forward and quite remarkable”.
ã Copyright: All rights reserved by George D. Potter January 2001