Book of Mormon/Names

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Names in the Book of Mormon

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Question: Are the names used in the Book of Mormon authentic?

Many Book of Mormon names are not found in the Bible, and were unknown to Joseph Smith

It is claimed that some Book of Mormon names are used improperly or in an inappropriate context. Examples include:

  • using "Alma" as a man's name, rather than a woman's name
  • using names of Greek origin, such as "Timothy"

Many other examples of authentic ancient names that would have been unknown to Joseph Smith—or anyone else—are discussed below.

Many Book of Mormon names are not found in the Bible, and were unknown to Joseph Smith. Yet, these names have meaning in ancient languages and/or have been found as actual names from ancient history. These "hits" provide additional evidence that the Book of Mormon is indeed an ancient record.

Examples of authentic ancient Book of Mormon names

A

B

C

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

P

R

S

T

Z

Less well supported examples

Linguistics is a complex subject, and it is all too common for zealous but mistaken defenders of the Church to use parallels in names or language which cannot be sustained. Since most Church members have no training in ancient American languages, evaluating such claims can be difficult.

Mesoamerican scholars consulted by FAIR have recommended that the following sources, while superficially persuasive, should be used with caution (if at all):

  • Bruce W. Warren, "Surviving Jaredite Names in Mesoamerica," Meridian Magazine (26 May 2005) off-site; citing Blaine M. Yorgason, Bruce W. Warren, and Harold Brown. New Evidences of Christ in Ancient America (Stratford Books, Inc. and Book of Mormon Research Foundation: Provo, 1999), 17–22. ISBN 0929753011. Some material in this book is less well supported. Consult: Andrew J. McDonald, "New Evidences for Old?: Buyer Beware (Review of: Evidences of Christ in Ancient America)," FARMS Review of Books 12/2 (2000): 101–118. off-site
  • Bruce W. Warren, "'Kish'—A personal Name" Meridian Magazine (17 February 2005) off-site; citing Blaine M. Yorgason, Bruce W. Warren, and Harold Brown. New Evidences of Christ in Ancient America (Stratford Books, Inc. and Book of Mormon Research Foundation: Provo, 1999), 19–22. ISBN 0929753011. Some material in this book is less well supported. Consult: Andrew J. McDonald, "New Evidences for Old?: Buyer Beware (Review of: Evidences of Christ in Ancient America)," FARMS Review of Books 12/2 (2000): 101–118. off-site

These comments are not intended to disparage the individuals involved, but to encourage rigor and restraint in claims made. As Elder Dallin H. Oaks cautioned, "When attacked by error, truth is better served by silence than by a bad argument."[1]


Video



Further reading and additional sources responding to these claims

  • John A. Tvedtnes, "What's in a Name? A Look at the Book of Mormon Onomasticon (Review of I Know Thee by Name: Hebrew Roots of Lehi-ite Non-Biblical Names in the Book of Mormon)," FARMS Review of Books 8/2 (1996): 34–42. off-site
  • Gordon C. Thomasson, "What's in a Name? Book of Mormon Language, Names, and [Metonymic] Naming," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 3/1 (1994): 1–27. off-site wiki
  • Stephen D. Ricks and John A. Tvedtnes, "The Hebrew Origin of Some Book of Mormon Place Names," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 6/2 (1997): 255–259. off-site wiki
  • John A. Tvedtnes, John Gee, Matthew Roper, "Book of Mormon Names Attested in Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 9/1 (2000): 40–51.. wiki
  • Hugh W. Nibley, Lehi in the Desert, the World of the Jaredites, There Were Jaredites, edited by John W. Welch with Darrell L. Matthew and Stephen R. Callister, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company; Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1988), 23-32.
  • Hugh W. Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon, 3rd edition, (Vol. 6 of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley), edited by John W. Welch, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company; Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1988), Chapter 22.
  • Paul Y. Hoskisson, "What's in a Name?," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 7/1 (1998): 78–78?. off-site wiki


To see citations to the critical sources for these claims, click here

Notes

  1. Dallin H. Oaks, "Alternative Voices," Ensign (May 1989), 27.