Part 2: It Can’t Be Nephi’s Bountiful without These 12 Criteria

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The original article is on by Scot and Maurine Proctor and is Part 2 of a special series by Meridian Magazine.

No location in the Book of Mormon is given with such vivid and comprehensive detail as Nephi gives us of the place where he built his ship. Any place that could possibly be a candidate for Bountiful has to meet every criterion. If it misses on any, it can’t be the spot.

What makes his description so useful, is that while we know it is in Arabia from every thing else he tells us of the journey—it doesn’t sound like Arabia at all. Not even close.

People in the United States knew almost nothing of Arabia in Joseph Smith’s day, but as this world of sun and sand opened to Western eyes, it seemed clear—there was no wooded beach by the seashore where an ancient prophet could build a ship. Not even the wildest fiction writer would create such a fantastic landscape for Arabia, but here was a prophet, translating a book of scripture, that said this place had to exist.

Twenty-five years ago, Warren Aston systematically evaluated the Book of Mormon for every mention of Nephi’s Bountiful and began to put together a list of what the place had to have in order to qualify as the place. He then combed the seashore in both Oman and Yemen to see if there was possibly a fit.

Because of the barrenness of Arabia, the field was quickly narrowed. In fact, based on just one criterion alone, the possibilities contracted quickly to five candidates. It had to be a place with a substantial year-round fresh water source and wadis are usually dry riverbeds that flow at most only a few days a year.

Thus, none of the five met all criteria except one—an isolated place called Khor Kharfot on the sea where a wadi, called Wadi Sayq, flowed with year-round fresh water. This has been occupied by various groups of people in the past, but is now empty except for the occasional Omani who wanders through. Khor Kharfot is the best candidate for Nephi’s Bountiful, but in fact, we can’t find another that could fit.

Watch the video below for a the list of 12 criteria for Nephi’s Bountiful compiled and commented on by Warren Aston.

To read more about Meridian Magazine’s archaeological exploration, and the list of 12 criteria for Nephi’s Bountiful, visit

Whitney studied Communications with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism at BYU. She also served as Miss Utah 2009 and spent her year promoting Children's Miracle Network, fundraising for anti-bullying/suicide prevention programs, and speaking to mutual groups.