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Nephi’s Sea Trials & the Magi

Growing up in Jerusalem, Nephi likely had little experience in sailing.  How did he learn how to sail?  In our next conversation with George Potter, we’ll talk about Nephi’s training as a sailor.  How did he travel?  What were Nephi’s sea trials like?

How did Nephi learn to captain a ship?  It takes dozens of skills that you have to get right the first time and every time if you’re going to sail even out of the harbor, and make it out of the harbor.  What is interesting is that that harbor was used in ancient times to be a shelter during the winter season for the ships of the Indian Ocean.  The Greeks wrote about it.  The Arabs did it before then.

But in the Indian Ocean you sail one way in the spring, and another way in the fall, because of the prevailing winds of the monsoons.  So, the ships would go from Oman to go to India, then they would cross over the Indian Ocean to Zanzibar. Then they would come back to Khor Rori, and then they would wait out the winter there where there’s no wind in that harbor.  These are the only sailors in the world at that time who knew how to sail across open seas, the only ones.  There is no record every of the Phoenicians being able to sail outside of the sight of land.  They are great sailors, but we have no record of them ever sailing outside.

We’ll also talk about the Magi that knew about the birth of Jesus.  How did they get this information?  Is there a Book of Mormon connection?

How in the world did they ever know that the Christ child was born, the Savior of the World?  To my knowledge, only one person knew when the Lord would be born, and that was Lehi had a vision that he would be born 600 years from then.  They came from Oman.  They came from the land of frankincense, myrrh, and gold.  They were wealthy.

 

George Potter talks about Nephi’s sea Trials. Did Lehi tell ancestors of the Wise Men about Jesus’ birth?  Check out our previous episode about Nephi’s Harbor!

Check out our conversation…..

 

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Walking in Lehi’s Footsteps on Frankincense Trail

In this episode, we’ll talk about Lehi’s path out of Jerusalem.  George Potter and others believe he followed the Frankincense Trail.

There is a campsite that dates back to the Iron Age.  In that area the Iron Age is mid first millennium B.C.  That’s been documented by archaeologists from the United States.

The campsite—they call it an encampment in that valley dates back to the same time as Lehi.  This is amazing.  I think, “Was that Lehi’s camp?  Maybe.  Is that the altar that they made and gave thanks to the Lord?  Was it the altar on top of the hill?  Was it the altar that Moses made?  Who knows.”  But it’s a really fascinating place.  It’s a beautiful canyon and it meets all of the attributes that are described in the Book of Mormon.

The Frankincense trade was the OPEC of its time.  It was the source of great wealth.  Frankincense was worth more than its weight in gold during Lehi’s time.  The communities made lots of money by supporting this trade.  So when you think about a caravan back then, a caravan got frankincense and took it up to the Mediterranean, and sold it in Rome, Greece, Cairo, Damascus, Babylonia, at these times.  These caravans were not made up of 100 camels.  They were 3000-4000 camels at a time.  They were huge like an army moving back and forth.  This way they could protect themselves as well.

George  has lived in the Middle East for 26 years.  In this episode, he gives insights into Arab and Bedouin culture, and what it was probably like for Lehi to have traveled with his family.

When we travel, we have to avoid meeting Arabs or Bedouins, because if they meet you, the law of the desert says they have to host you for 3 days in their tents.  They have to feed you.  It’s called the Bond of Salt.  What did they want in return?  They want news.  What’s happening in the world out there?  Tell us about Jerusalem. Are the Egyptians still giving the Babylonians a bad time?  What’s going on here?  Is Ezekiel still the king?

So, it was a two-way thing.  That’s the way people survive in the desert.  They help each other.  It’s required by their culture.  It still exists today.  If a Bedouin sees you he wants to feed you.  He wants you to stay with him, tell him all about where you are from, all this sort of thing.  Certainly, Lehi could have said, “Look.  I’ll teach your kids how to read.  I’ll teach them how to speak Egyptian.  I’ll teach them how to speak Hebrew, whatever they were speaking at the time.  He would have been a scholar.  Very few people at that time knew how to read or write, maybe one out of 10,000 if you’re lucky could read or write at that period of time.  So, the emir would have said, “Please be in home. While you are here, could you please teach son hot to be a merchant?  Could you teach him how to read a foreign language, teach him how to read and write?”

So it would have been no problem for him to have been able to have paid his way, worked his way down.

I think you will learn a lot about the culture of Middle Eastern peoples!  (Don’t forget to listen to our previous episode connecting Nephi to Mount Sinai!)

George Potter tried to trace Lehi’s footsteps out of Jerusalem.

Check out our conversation…..

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How are the Valley of Lemuel and Mount Sinai Related?

In our previous conversation with George Potter we discussed his search for the real Mount Sinai! It turns out that led to a very striking claim. George was also looking for the Valley of Lemuel mentioned in the Book of Mormon.  Could it be that Lehi’s family has a connection to Mount Sinai?

George:  If you remember, Nephi when he had his vision of what his father had dreamed, he was taken by an angel to an exceedingly high mountain, which is the same wording that is used about Mount Sinai.  It’s an exceedingly high mountain.  So, it is very interesting.

GT interrupts:  You’re trying…

George continues:  Maybe by the spirit Nephi was taken to Mount Sinai.

GT:  Wow.

George:  Ok, because it’s 20 miles apart.  He went to an exceedingly high mountain that he hadn’t seen before.  There he received a revelation.  It’s a temple.  Mount Sinai is dedicated temple for the children of Israel.  It is probably still to this day a dedicated temple.  It might have been desecrated by us, {chuckles} but it was a temple.  Where else would Nephi have been taken by an angel?  Just some old mountain somewhere when there’s a temple 20 miles away.

GT:  So, you think Nephi went to Mount Sinai?

George:  I don’t know that but why not?  It makes sense that he went to Mount Sinai.

GT:  That’s cool.

We will talk about the possibilities of Lehi’s family’s possible connection to Mount Sinai, and we will talk further about George’s travels to the Waters of Moses.  Check out our conversation…..

Did Nephi visit Mount Sinai?  Is this near the Valley of Lemuel?