“Journey of Faith: The Old World” — Lehi and Nephi in Arabia

“Journey of Faith: The Old World” — Lehi and Nephi in Arabia January 22, 2020


In Arabia, with camels
In the Arabian Peninsula, with camels   (Wikimedia Commons photo by Mohammad Nowfal)


Many of you, I suspect, will have never seen it.  Perhaps you’ve never even heard of it.  Some of you will have seen it long ago but forgotten about it.


However, as we move into this Church adult curriculum year that’s focused on the Book of Mormon, and particularly as more of the responsibility for scripture study has been handed back to individuals and families, you might find this roughly 90-minute-long  2005 film of value:


Journey of Faith


Filmed on location in Israel and the Arabian Peninsula, it looks at the travels of Lehi and his party from Jerusalem en route to “the land of promise.”  Among other things, it will show that the narrative of 1 Nephi fits ancient Arabia remarkably well.


A subsidiary point:  A common narrative cultivated and nurtured in some circles is that my enforced 2012 departure from BYU’s Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship brought an end to what had been, effectively, a reign of terror there.  Under my supposed leadership, and with the help of such allied villains as Bill Hamblin and Lou Midgley, the Maxwell Institute and its predecessor organization, the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), had been devoted to vicious, destructive, ad hominem personal attacks rather than to legitimate scholarship or even to affirmative promotion of the Restored Gospel.


One of our major efforts in those allegedly dark and oppressive days, though, was Journey of Faith and its video sequel (which I’ll introduce in a subsequent post).  Not only were these significant specific examples, in themselves, of our work, they were to a substantial degree summations of at least major threads of our work overall.  In other words, I call attention to them not only for their intrinsic merit and interest — I hope and believe that you’ll find them both informative and inspiring, and valuable for individual study and family study — but because they illustrate how very false and misleading some of the narrative has been about FARMS and the Maxwell Institute as they were before 2012.


Incidentally, as Robert Boylan points out, it would be virtually unthinkable for today’s Maxwell Institute to have produced a film such as Journey of Faith.


Be that as it may, however, I hope that you’ll give Journey of Faith a look, for either the first time or as a review.  I’m proud that we created this film.



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