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Laman's River: An Update

Post contributed by Warren Aston
Warren Aston's picture
May 16, 2020
Image of the Wadi Tayyib al-Ism with a stream reaching the sea
Image of the Wadi Tayyib al-Ism with a stream reaching the sea

On January 22 this year, BMC’s blog published “What did the River of Filthy Water and the River of Laman look like?” highlighting a video sequence recently filmed at Wadi Tayyib al Ism in north-west Saudi Arabia, the dramatic canyon that seems to be the place Nephi described in 1 Nephi 2:6–10. The video showed a wide, substantial, flood rushing down the wadi with sufficient force to uproot mature palm trees.

The blog article noted that these occasional floods are significant for two reasons: firstly, they offer additional confirmation that even in modern times, the stream running down the wadi from higher ground miles inland can indeed literally reach the Red Sea, just as Nephi specified. Secondly, the spectacular footage supplies a vivid illustration of the “filthy water” imagery used in Nephi’s account of Lehi’s vision, one later viewed by himself.

Now another video has been uploaded on the internet showing the same location, but from an aerial perspective. It also shows the river, but unlike the previous video it does not show a raging torrent, nor does it show the stream almost reaching the shoreline above ground as appears in previous images available. Instead, the new video—believed to have been filmed in recent months—shows the stream flowing completely across the broad delta of the wadi mouth, then crossing the sealed road to reach the Red Sea shoreline. This has now actually become the best image we have illustrating Nephi’s record:

…he [Lehi] called the name of the river, Laman, and it emptied into the Red Sea…

(1 Nephi 2: 8. The following verse repeats this description).

Wadi Tayyib al-Ism

Appreciation to George Potter who recently drew attention to this video in the newsletter for his website, and to Daniel Smith at BMC for image capture. 

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