“I Will Go and Do” – Remnants of an Ancient Past

 

“I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”

-1 Nephi 3:7 [1]

Nephi has always been my Book of Mormon hero. His powerful “I will go and do” statement was the first scripture I memorized as a child, and is still today a key component of my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So naturally, I was fascinated by the recent announcement that a group of American archaeologists were recently granted permission to dig at Khor Kharfot, an Omani coastal inlet that they believe to be “Nephi’s Bountiful.” [2]

Lehi the prophet led his family, including his son Nephi, from the wicked city Jerusalem to the Arabian coast around 600 BC. They struggled through the wilderness for a seemingly endless eight years before arriving at Bountiful, where they would build a ship to travel to the Americas.

“And we did come to the land which we called Bountiful, because of its much fruit and also wild honey; and all these things were prepared of the Lord that we might not perish. And we beheld the sea, which we called Irreantum, which, being interpreted, is many waters.”

-1 Nephi 17:5 [3]

The map below shows a rough estimation of the path Lehi and his family took on their journey.

Main Lehi Trail draft

Until recently, however, lack of evidence has prevented us from honing in on the exact (or even approximate) location of Bountiful.

Scot and Maurine Proctor are cofounders and leaders of the Khor Kharfot Foundation, which has been conducting research in this area for years. They say,

“In describing Bountiful where he built the ship, Nephi gives us specific details, including that it is a place on the seashore accessible from the high desert, directly east of Nahom, a place of much fruit and honey and a place with significant timber. It must have a supply of fresh water, iron ore to make tools, flint to make fire, a mountain close enough that he can go there to pray often, and cliffs by the seashore since his brothers threaten to throw him in.” [4]

Khor Kharfot is the only place in this area that matches this description of Bountiful given by Nephi in the Book of Mormon. And there’s more . . . a researcher named Warren Aston discovered an ancient structure in the area whose design resembles that of Solomon’s Temple and other Hebrew sanctuaries in the Bible. He believes that the similarities in architectural design are not coincidental.

Upon discovering the temple ruins as a key piece of evidence, Dr. F. Richard Hauck, the leader of the archaeological expedition with the Khor Kharfot Foundation, scheduled a meeting with Omani officials to request permission to dig at Khor Kharfot. Hauck, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, tried to explain the historical significance of the area, but quickly realized that the Muslim officials were more interested in his religious motives. Hauck writes,

“I knew that explaining to them the Mormon connection to Oman—that Khor Kharfot is a viable candidate for the lost land of Bountiful where a ship was constructed by ancient Book of Mormon prophets—might even get us kicked out of the country. Concluding that being transparent about our research intentions was the only chance we had to be successful in this endeavor, I dove into the seething cauldron.” [5]

Miraculously, Hauck’s honesty gained the support of the Omani government. He says the Omani sultan’s advisor “stressed the need for creating and maintaining brotherly relationships among all nations and people, he decried the violence that exists in the Middle East, and he uses his own country and government to demonstrate the applicability of such open and all-embracing friendships.” [6]

In February, the team was granted permission to dig at Khor Kharfot. Hearing this announcement makes these Book of Mormon stories come more alive for me, and I can’t wait to see what the archaeologists find. I have so much respect for Lehi, Nephi, and their family and the strength they had to fulfill the commandments that were given to them by the Lord. I pray every day that when faced with difficult circumstances, I too will have the strength and faith to say, “I will go and do.”

 

1 1 Nephi 3:7. (The Book of Mormon).

2 Proctor, Scot, and Maurine. “Major Announcement: Omanis Grant Permission to Dig at Nephi’s Bountiful.” Meridian Magazine. 10 February 2016. Accessed 16 February 2016. http://ldsmag.com/major-announcement-omanis-grant-permission-to-dig-at-nephis-bountiful/.

3 1 Nephi 17:5. (The Book of Mormon).

4 Proctor and Proctor, “Major Announcement.”

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

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