Salalah: Nephi's Land Bountiful?
Lynn and Hope Hilton, seasoned travelers along the Saudi Arabian peninsula, have for several years explored it from the perspective of Lehi's travels. In particular, they have compiled various travelers' descriptions of the short strip of verdant coastline called Salalah that lies along the otherwise barren and forbidding coast of South Arabia. The directions given in 1 Nephi lead a traveler to precisely this region.
Nephi calls this land Bountiful, yet the place appears to have been unknown to Western eyes before 1846 when it was described as "a land of groves, well-watered, with lush vegetation" in a Bombay Geographical Society report.
Eugene England has worked with the Hiltons in comparing this land with the account in 1 Nephi 17, especially in light of the limited knowledge people had of Arabia in 1829. In his article, "Through the Arabian Desert," which appeared in Book of Mormon Authorship, England concludes: "For Joseph Smith to have so well succeeded in producing over twenty unique details . . . requires extraordinary, unreasonable faith in his ability to guess right in direct opposition to the prevailing knowledge of his time," or accepting his work as "a genuine ancient document." This important paper can be ordered on the enclosed form.