Oman, Homecomings and The Book of Mormon

Our son is returning home from his two-year LDS mission in Indiana to Oman. Two years. 730 days since I’ve hugged this loveable guy, made him enchiladas and told him to pick up his room and don’t put empty cereal boxes back into the pantry. He was 18 when he left, fresh out of high school. He’s 20 now—lightyears older, filled with experience, stories to tell and wisdom beyond his youthful frame.

When I mention to friends about our son’s homecoming, the fact that we haven’t actually seen him in two years, they politely ask, What has he been doing? And that’s an interesting question, considering we’re living in Oman, because unbeknownst to most of the modern world, Oman intersects with Mormonism in a remarkable way, in fact, scholars are here now uncovering evidence that points to Oman as the launching point of one of the greatest books ever written, The Book of Mormon.

This book comes from an ancient record, originally written and abridged by historian and prophet Mormon who lived about 385 A.D. He wrote on gold plates, compiling the story of his people between the years 600 B.C. up until 430 A.D. The story begins in Jerusalem, but quickly winds its way here to Oman, to a town called Salalah, a 10-hour drive south of Muscat. With the permission of the Sultan, scientists and archeologists are digging to excavate the site where Mormon’s believe the prophet Lehi and his family journeyed to, from Jerusalem, prior to their sea voyage to America. Nephi, Lehi’s son, describes in the Book of Mormon how they built a ship and sailed to the “Promised Land.” Of course, in order to accomplish this feat, they would have needed resources…timber, food, and plants, a conundrum that perplexed skeptics and scientists for a long time, when they believed the Arabian Peninsula was all dry desert. But they didn’t know about Salalah.

“Bountiful,” was the name Nephi gave the place where they built their ship. Bountiful in Arabic means plentiful. Salalah meets the criteria for Nephi’s description, “And we did come to the land which we called Bountiful, because of its much fruit and also wild honey (1 Nephi 17). This area is unbelievably lush. It’s a virtual island of greenery along the Arabian Peninsula. Winds from the Indian Ocean carry moisture to the region and the heat of the desert pushes against that moisture to create a thick fog for part of the year, resulting in tropical monsoon forests. Located in the Dofar province, Salalah is the only place in the Middle East where timber and resources are available and where Nephi could have managed to gathered enough food to survive their long sea journey. Here is a photo taken from, showing Salalah during khareef season, monsoon season, July-September.salalah-khafir-season

There are also remains of a Jewish temple foundation in Salalah, patterned after King Solomon’s temple. Archeologists have uncovered an altar, where they believe Nephi and his family offered sacrifices, as would have been customary with their practices of worship, prior to their departure.

Another link between the Arabian Peninsula and America is found in none other than Colorado. A huge square rock along the Purgatory River, nicknamed “Block Rock” has hieroglyphics matching those from the Dhofar region. Thirty-three characters from a distinctive alphabet used by the Sahari tribe are also written in Colorado. In the Oman Daily Observer, circulated in January of this year, Ali Ahmed Ali Mahash Ash-Shahri is quoted as saying, with regards to the hieroglyphics, “It is a clear indication that the language is very old and the people from our place must have travelled to those places and finally settled there.” Ali Ahmed, now 68 years old, has spent the greater part of his lifetime studying ancient scripts and has written two books, titled “Ancient Inscriptions and Drawings in Dhofar” and “Language of Aad.”

Micah and Jonah recently flew to Salalah to take part in a dig, helping archeologists remove rock as they continue to explore Karfot, the beach where they believe Nephi constructed his boat.


They had an amazing trip and somewhat exhausting time, hauling rocks and dirt from dig sites.


The Book of Mormon chronicles the journey of Nephi and his family up to the extinction of the Nephite civilization circa 435 A.D. It’s a story for the ages, one of courage, loss, love, bravery, hate, pride, valor and ultimately faith. Thanks to Mormon’s abridgement, (a Reader’s Digest version of 1,000 years), we have the history of these people. When Mormon completed abridging the record, he gave the plates to his son Moroni to bury in the hill Cumorah—modern day New York. From Jerusalem, to Salalah, to New York, comes one of the most fascinating journeys ever recorded in human history.img_1161img_1147img_1168

Left undiscovered until 1830, the plates remained hidden until Joseph Smith translated them into English. Now the Book of Mormon is translated into 110 languages, including Arabic. When Malachi returns home from his mission, we’ve got a trip planned to Salalah. He’s been teaching about Christ and The Book of Mormon for the past two years, even handing out copies when the Broadway Musical came to town… “Want to read the real story,” he’d ask? Two years of his life seems like a long time, but not nearly long enough, if you ask him. And if people stop to listen, he’ll tell them, The Book of Mormon is a story that resonates with our time, a story buried in the past, but meant for our future, for us…and my family happens to live where it all began.


Photos courtesy Jonah and Micah

16 Comments on “Oman, Homecomings and The Book of Mormon

  1. Fascinating information…who knew?! Have a wonderful homecoming!! ❤️

  2. That is amazing. I suppose–if I’d thought about it–why not? Oman is near the center of so many of the old religions. Have a wonderful visit with your son. I would be over the moon.

    • Thanks Jacqui. As I continue to explore Oman I’m amazed at its history. I didn’t mention, but the tomb of Job is also in Salalah. As for the moon, yes I’m waaaay over it. Can’t wait till our son gets home!

  3. Incredible!! I sent this blog so Kristi could read it too! It made her cry!!! Tyler is about 5months into his mission in Antofagasta, Chile. I can’t believe Mal is coming home after 2 years!!!! What a joyous time for your family to be all together again and for the holidays too!!! Biggest love from all of us in Irvine❤️❤️❤️

    • Thanks so much Deanna!!! We’re so excited!! Two years has gone faster than I could have imagined. Before Kristi knows it Tyler will be coming home! Sending our love to your amazing family!!!!😘

  4. Probably my favorite post yet for so many reasons. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences with us! I can’t wait to hear about the grand homecoming!

  5. I am so excited for your home coming!!!!! Your sacrifice of 2 years gave my family eternity and I will forever be grateful!!!!! This is so awesome and interesting!!!!

  6. I hope this message reaches you. It has been two years since you posted about your son’s return from his mission from Indiana to Oman. Your missionary work is still bearing fruit. I am a host at the conference center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. On Monday this week I had the opportunity to take a gentleman on a tour of the building. When I asked him where he was from, he said Oman. I was amazed at how far he had travelled to visit Salt Lake. He said he lives in Manhattan but Oman is his home and he goes back three or four times a year. When I asked him why he had come to visit Salt Lake, he said he had come to find out about the journey a family had made when they left Jerusalem and travelled to his country. I was unsure of what he was referring to until he said he had the story on his phone. He then pulled out his phone and pulled up your blog post. We were standing in the Book of Mormon gallery where the paintings of Lehi and his family are located. I pointed and said, “This is the family you have read about!” We toured the rest of the building and talked of The Book of Mormon and I directed him to temple square to get his own copy so he could read the story himself. We stood on the rooftop and talked of the blessings of the temple and how families can be tied together through eternity. He had a such a warm, kind spirit about him. When our tour concluded he shook my hand and thanked me and gave me his name which I believe was Halifa. I will never know what his search will eventually lead to, but I pray for him now each night that he will continue to be lead to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Your blog touched a heart that you never could have imagined. If he were ever to contact you, please tell him he will always have a friend in Salt Lake City.
    Warmest regards,
    Shauna Hoj

    • I just saw a youtube video today about the inscriptions in Colorado and found your blog while searching for more info. Your post was 2 years ago (nearly to the day!)- do you have any update on excavations in Oman?

      I’m wondering if any other inscriptions have been found, or if the ones in Colorado have been deciphered. I appreciate any other info you can share.

      Thank you!

      • I have since moved from Oman but I know research continues to move forward and there is very compelling evidence to suggest Salalah is indeed the location where the prophet Nephi constructed a ship and sailed to the Americas. The Book of Mormon is an ancient record of this people. If you read the book everything is consistent with the cultural context. If I hear of more research studies, I will post them. Thanks for your interest.

  7. I found your blog after reading elsewhere about the rock inscriptions in Colorado. It’s very interesting. I’m curious if you have any update in the past two years (almost to the day!) regarding excavations in Oman.

    I also wonder if any other inscriptions have been found besides those in Colorado, or if those inscriptions have ever been deciphered.

    If you could email me with any additional info I would appreciate it!

    • I am still only aware of the inscriptions in Colorado. I know research on this part of Oman continues and I believe in time, we will discover more compelling evidence. Thanks for your interest.

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