1 Nephi 17:1-3 — LeGrand Baker – “we did live upon raw meat in the wilderness”

1 Nephi 17:1-3  

1 And it came to pass that we did again take our journey in the wilderness; and we did travel nearly eastward from that time forth. And we did travel and wade through much affliction in the wilderness; and our women did bear children in the wilderness.
2 And so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live upon raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings.
3 And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.

Here is another “incidental proof” that Joseph Smith could not be the author of the Book of Mormon. In back country New York, Joseph had no access to this information, but the author was very precise in the details of his description of this geography. After Ishmael’s burial at Nahom the travelers made a sharp turn toward the east— into the desert and away from the Red Sea. Their destination, which Lehi and his people called “Bountiful,” is directly east of Nahom. However to get there, the party had to cross the deep, unforgiving, trackless sand of the Arabian desert.{1}

This desert was an horrendous place, where strangers were not welcome and where, we learn later, Lehi and his party were prohibited by the Lord from even building a fire so the light or the smoke would not be seen and expose their hiding places. Notwithstanding the difficulty of this leg of the journey, it is not the place in his story where Nephi calls attention to their hardships. Indeed, he gives this desert crossing only three verses, and those are a celebration of the goodness of God. He speaks of an unidentified sense of urgency, or else of their confidence in the Lord.



{1} For descrilptions and photos of the Arabian desert through which they passed, see, S. Kent Brown and Peter Johnson, Journey of Faith, from Jerusalem to the Promised Land (Provo, Utah, The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, BYU, 2006), 124-29.

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