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

Table of Contents

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]

Notes

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