“Was Lehi Here?” New Era, Jan. 2008, 10–13
The Book of Mormon paints a vivid picture of the trials and triumphs Lehi and his family experienced after they left their home in Jerusalem and journeyed through the wilderness. As you read, you feel that you can understand and relate to their experiences. While we can’t trace their exact route, we can still get a sense of the general areas where Lehi and his family traveled and, by doing so, gain an even greater appreciation for what they went through. Recent research gives us a clearer picture of some of these areas and the conditions Lehi’s group would have encountered.1
After Lehi’s family left Jerusalem, they stopped in a place they called the “valley of Lemuel” (1 Nephi 2:14), which was a three-day trip from the northeast tip of the Red Sea (see 1 Nephi 2:5–6). The valley was “by the side of a river of water,” which Lehi named Laman and which was “continually running” (1 Nephi 2:6, 9). Lehi called the valley of Lemuel “firm and steadfast, and immovable” (1 Nephi 2:10).
Lehi’s family continued their journey, “traveling nearly the same course as in the beginning” for “many days” (1 Nephi 16:33). Then Ishmael died and “was buried in the place which was called Nahom” (v. 34). The place pictured here lies in the general area where the group traveled and for many years has had variations of the name Nahom associated with it.
After leaving Nahom, Lehi’s family traveled “nearly eastward from that time forth. And [they] did travel and wade through much affliction in the wilderness” (1 Nephi 17:1).
Following an eastward course, Lehi’s group would have reached the southeastern shore of the Arabian peninsula. Some locations along that coastline are shown here. Since they had just traversed a barren wasteland, it’s no wonder they would call such a place Bountiful, “because of its much fruit and also wild honey” (1 Nephi 17:5).