Source:Echoes:Ch5:6:Lehi's dream - wealth

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Cultural and Geographical Dimensions of Lehi's Dream: Wealth

Cultural and Geographical Dimensions of Lehi's Dream: Wealth

One of the dominant images in Lehi's dream is the "great and spacious building" whose occupants wear "exceedingly fine" clothing (1 Nephi 8:26,27). Such expressions point to obvious wealth. On a symbolic level the building and its inhabitants represented "the world and the wisdom thereof," as Nephi reminds us (11:35). But the wealthy occupants of the building were also at home in Arabia. Most probably, Lehi's party saw some of this opulence in travels farther south.

All recent commentators, from Ahmed Fakhry (1947) to Nigel Groom (1981), note the extraordinary wealth of the ancient kingdoms that arose in the southwestern sector of the Arabian Peninsula, in what is modern Yemen.22 A chief source of that wealth was incense, which camel trains carried into the Mediterranean and Mesopotamian areas from a time beginning long before Lehi and Sariah.23 The wealth derived not only from the sale of incense but also from taxing the goods, from transporting them, and from offering services in the form of food and so on to the men and animals that made up the caravans. The wealth led to massive public works programs, which included dams for irrigation and temples for the deities worshipped by people there.[1]


  1. S. Kent Brown, "New Light from Arabia on Lehi's Trail," in Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, edited by Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2002), Chapter 5, references silently removed—consult original for citations.