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Book of Mormon names


Magyar

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I was thinking again this morning about names. The list of validated Book of Mormon names is nothing new to most apologists, although apparently unknown to most critics. Non-LDS sources clearly support the veracity of at least Sam (dialectic Semitic for Shem, not just a Yankee abbreviation for Samuel!), Alma, Kish, Pahoran, Paanchi, Hermounts (i.e., Hermontis) and even that very-strange-upon-English-ears Aha. Cumorah may share linguistic roots with Qumran. That's just a partial list; of course there are more.

I wonder what the non-LDS explanation can be for these. Sheer coincidence might wave away one, even two, but they add up.

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I was thinking again this morning about names. The list of validated Book of Mormon names is nothing new to most apologists, although apparently unknown to most critics. Non-LDS sources clearly support the veracity of at least Sam (dialectic Semitic for Shem, not just a Yankee abbreviation for Samuel!), Alma, Kish, Pahoran, Paanchi, Hermounts (i.e., Hermontis) and even that very-strange-upon-English-ears Aha. Cumorah may share linguistic roots with Qumran. That's just a partial list; of course there are more.

I wonder what the non-LDS explanation can be for these. Sheer coincidence might wave away one, even two, but they add up.

You underestimate the resliency of the non LDS critic. The names are still being waved away or alternate explanations have been proposed by people who used computers to do their searches and comparisons. They haven't explained how Joesph was able to conceal his computer yet, but it has become obvious that the chocolate colored stone had to have been a computer in disguise. That explains the head in the hat and everything.

Glenn

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You underestimate the resliency of the non LDS critic. The names are still being waved away or alternate explanations have been proposed by people who used computers to do their searches and comparisons. They haven't explained how Joesph was able to conceal his computer yet, but it has become obvious that the chocolate colored stone had to have been a computer in disguise. That explains the head in the hat and everything.

Glenn

Great Caesar's ghost, of course the stone was a computer! I surely should have thought of that explanation! Sidney Rigdon stole it out of Ben Franklin's laboratory, of course.

But seriously. I had read the late Nibley's work on most of those names. Still had a jolt of satisfaction to see for myself, in clear print, deep -- and I mean deep -- within a volume of the Cambridge Ancient History -- Aha as a bona fide name of an ancient Egyptian pharoah.

Did Joseph Smith just clip off the "b" from that nasty Biblical character Ahab? What would have possessed him to do so? He didn't fool around with Lehi, Noah, Jared, Sidon and other Biblical names that appear in the Book of Mormon.

And that is just one of so very many.

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You underestimate the resliency of the non LDS critic. The names are still being waved away or alternate explanations have been proposed by people who used computers to do their searches and comparisons. They haven't explained how Joesph was able to conceal his computer yet, but it has become obvious that the chocolate colored stone had to have been a computer in disguise. That explains the head in the hat and everything.

Glenn

Well, aliens are more advanced then us. So it must be the evil aliens who gave Joseph the Seer Stone with the microcomputer in it. wink.gif

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I was thinking again this morning about names. The list of validated Book of Mormon names is nothing new to most apologists, although apparently unknown to most critics. Non-LDS sources clearly support the veracity of at least Sam (dialectic Semitic for Shem, not just a Yankee abbreviation for Samuel!), Alma, Kish, Pahoran, Paanchi, Hermounts (i.e., Hermontis) and even that very-strange-upon-English-ears Aha. Cumorah may share linguistic roots with Qumran. That's just a partial list; of course there are more.

I wonder what the non-LDS explanation can be for these. Sheer coincidence might wave away one, even two, but they add up.

Let me play devil's advocate for a moment:

Alma could possibly come from Alma Mountain which was located literally in Joseph Smith's backyard;

Kish could possibly come from Kish mentioned in I Samuel 9:1;

Pahoran could possibly come from Paran mentioned in Genesis 21:21;

Cumorah could possibly come from Comoros Island, which the Capital City happens to be named Moroni; and

Lehi could possibly come from Lehi in, Judges 15:9.

I'm sure you have all heard the above and it is certainly interesting to weigh which arguments are more credible, but this just highlights that until we actually find some direct (not parallel) evidence for the historicity of the BoM, the critics will never view indirect evidence as credible.

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Let me play devil's advocate for a moment:

Alma could possibly come from Alma Mountain which was located literally in Joseph Smith's backyard;

Kish could possibly come from Kish mentioned in I Samuel 9:1;

Pahoran could possibly come from Paran mentioned in Genesis 21:21;

Cumorah could possibly come from Comoros Island, which the Capital City happens to be named Moroni; and

Lehi could possibly come from Lehi in, Judges 15:9.

I'm sure you have all heard the above and it is certainly interesting to weigh which arguments are more credible, but this just highlights that until we actually find some direct (not parallel) evidence for the historicity of the BoM, the critics will never view indirect evidence as credible.

Alma, in its Latin incarnation, was a familiar word in Joseph's day -- could just as easily have come from that as some mountain somewhere. It wasn't until many years later, that it was validated as a Hebrew, male name -- which changes the picture entirely, and should put the point on the apologist's side of the tally line.

I did not suggest Lehi as evidence of Book of Mormon veracity. It's familiar from the Bible. As you point out, Kish should be stricken for the same reasons.

But Pahoran from Paran? Again, why would not Joseph have left Paran unaltered, as with Lehi, Joseph, Noah, etc? Pahoran is an actual ancient Egyptian name (granted, per Nibley, not one I have personally encountered in texts, in contrast to Aha.)

As for Cumorah and Moroni, we both know that argument won't wash -- was a speck of a settlement in his day.

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Alma, in its Latin incarnation, was a familiar word in Joseph's day -- could just as easily have come from that as some mountain somewhere. It wasn't until many years later, that it was validated as a Hebrew, male name -- which changes the picture entirely, and should put the point on the apologist's side of the tally line.

I did not suggest Lehi as evidence of Book of Mormon veracity. It's familiar from the Bible. As you point out, Kish should be stricken for the same reasons.

But Pahoran from Paran? Again, why would not Joseph have left Paran unaltered, as with Lehi, Joseph, Noah, etc? Pahoran is an actual ancient Egyptian name (granted, per Nibley, not one I have personally encountered in texts, in contrast to Aha.)

As for Cumorah and Moroni, we both know that argument won't wash -- was a speck of a settlement in his day.

I tend to agree with you. However, which scenario do you think an outside observer would believe? That was my point. Critics will never look at parallel evidence until they have direct evidence.

Let's face it, most critics will tell you that Joseph Smith had absolutely no problem borrowing names from where he grew up (Vern Holley Map). For example, just look at the Zelph Revelation. According to Joseph, Zelph served under the Prophet Onandagus, and the county next to Joseph is Onondaga County, New York. Try telling a critic that is just coincidence and nothing more.

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Hey Magyar, to be honest, I have never put much thought into the names of the Bom being strong evidence for, or against the book's authenticity. The explanation that seems most likely to me is that Rigdon was the principle author of the book (not trying to derail, just thinking out loud) and his work was largely influenced/based on works by Spaulding, Ethan Smith, and others. Therefore, I would think that most of the names came from Spaulding and Ethan Smith's books, which Smith and Rigdon were immediately accused of, the Bible, which you've already pointed out contains many of the names, and other books about Semetic people. It would not have been hard to go to a library and find books with old Semetic and Egyptian names and include them, or close variations of their names in the story. So, while I don't claim to be an expert on this subject, it doesn't seem like it would have been a difficult thing to accomplish. I don't see this as being strong evidence for, or against the BoM.

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To all:

TW: The Zelph story is intriguing. Could Joseph Smith just have been having fun with that apparent revelation, which was of no doctrinal importance -- I wonder, since it was never suggested for canonization? Would that be a faith-breaker. Or can a prophet have a little fun with people who take him too seriously?

Maup: Garbled Egyptian names do show up in old Greek documents, such as Herodotus' History. But the key to the ancient language was long lost in Joseph's day. Hence Pahoran, Paanchi and Pacumeni would not have been available to Joseph. I have read every extant work of ancient Greek literature and haven't come across them there.

JM: Isabel is a Phoenician name, according to Nibley, who also suggests it had cultic prostitution links, exactly the career of the Book of Mormon Isabel. Timothy is Greek and it is possible that Greeks and Phoenicians, who were all over the Mediterreanean,could have been part of the Mulekite company. In fact, since Hebrews were not sea-people, it would make perfect sense to use the services of Greeks or Phoenicians for a sea voyage -- and they would have been quite receptive to the idea of planting a colony somewhere; they did that all the time.

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Maup: Garbled Egyptian names do show up in old Greek documents, such as Herodotus' History. But the key to the ancient language was long lost in Joseph's day. Hence Pahoran, Paanchi and Pacumeni would not have been available to Joseph. I have read every extant work of ancient Greek literature and haven't come across them there.

I'm not suggesting that Egyptian names would only be found in ancient Greek literature. I'm suggesting that any ancient writings from the ancient middle east would likely contain names from multiple cultures. Egyptian names had thousands of years to catch on in other cultures. So, any texts from that region of the world would be full of interesting names that could be inserted. The bible appears to contain most of the necessary names required.

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As for Cumorah and Moroni, we both know that argument won't wash -- was a speck of a settlement in his day.

hi Magyar,

It's an inconsequential spec today in terms of commerce and significance but before the Suez Canal was made the Comoros Islands were used by shippers to navigate around Africa. The Suez made navigating around Africa unnecessary and the Comoros diminished in importance since. Some folks on ex mormon dot org have posted several interesting points:

* that Captain Kidd among other pirates used the Comoros Islands as a hideout

* that the Comoros were known by Americans in the 17th century, that they were known by New England whalers and people who might have brought that knowledge to the area while building the Erie Canal

* the word "comoros" is Anglicanized. Seems the word "comore " is French which itself is derived from Arabic. The Comoros were settled by Arabic-speakers in the 12th century who called it "Camora" (phonetically).

* the Smiths, like many peasants in upstate New York on the frontier, hunted for buried treasure. I want to say that the Grant Palmer book went into decent detail about this but I seem to recall them doing it for 10 years or so with a company of other treasure hunters. They knew the tales of the pirate Captain Kidd and how his hidden treasure was rumored to be buried up the Hudson River drainage system. The Mohawk River is a tributary to the Husdon. It branches off to the west and comes into their general vicinity (my Google Earth showed it about 90 miles away).

So the possible link between Joseph Smith, Jr. and knowing about Moroni/Comoros (specifically the big island Gran Comore which is pronounced phonetically Cu-mor-ah) comes from absorbing lore about pirates, actively searching for Kidd's treasure which was rumored to be buried in their general vicinity. Or he acquired minimal knowledge of them from just living in the area and talking to Erie Canal workers who had been shippers or whalers and regaled people of tales from their lives which included stops in the Comoros. Both methods of data transmission are quite mundane but relatively simple to conceptualize. I'll therefore have to politely disagree with your assessment of them being unwashable.

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I was thinking again this morning about names. The list of validated Book of Mormon names is nothing new to most apologists, although apparently unknown to most critics. Non-LDS sources clearly support the veracity of at least Sam (dialectic Semitic for Shem, not just a Yankee abbreviation for Samuel!), Alma, Kish, Pahoran, Paanchi, Hermounts (i.e., Hermontis) and even that very-strange-upon-English-ears Aha. Cumorah may share linguistic roots with Qumran. That's just a partial list; of course there are more.

I wonder what the non-LDS explanation can be for these. Sheer coincidence might wave away one, even two, but they add up.

I admit I'm not familiar with each of the arguments for each name but I think it's important to note that in order for a name to be evidence in favor of the Book of Mormon we would have to see that name was both unavailable to Joseph Smith from other sources (such as the Bible) and that it was a name that existed in ancient Israel or Egypt before 600 B.C. and/or in ancient Mesoamerica from 600 B.C. to roughly 400 A.D.. As I understand it the proof for Alma falls outside of the appropriate range for the Book of Mormon, with the document using it as a male Hebrew name being from 130 A.D.. While it at least shows that the name was used by at least one person in Hebrew as a male name it does not show this name was in use at the alleged time of Lehi nor does it eliminate the possiblity that the name began to be used by the Jews because of Roman influence since Alma was a latin name, albeit a feminine one.

As others have pointed out the Book of Mormon also includes names that would seem problematic that are Greek. There are evidences in favor of the Book of Mormon but my feeling is that when they are weighed against the counter-evidence, often on the very same point like the evidence of ancient names in this case, the Book of Mormon does not appear to be the history it claims to be.

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To all:

TW: The Zelph story is intriguing. Could Joseph Smith just have been having fun with that apparent revelation, which was of no doctrinal importance -- I wonder, since it was never suggested for canonization? Would that be a faith-breaker. Or can a prophet have a little fun with people who take him too seriously?

You're not suggesting that Joseph Smith stated that Zelph served under the Prophet Onandagus just "to have a little fun with people"? The ramifications would be far reaching if that were the case. Several apostles (and even a future prophet) testified to this event and all believed it. If Joseph was just having "a little fun" then maybe the BoM was just to "have a little fun" also. Maybe all the D&C was just "to have a little fun"?

I'm sure you can see huge issue with your theory.

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You're not suggesting that Joseph Smith stated that Zelph served under the Prophet Onandagus just "to have a little fun with people"? The ramifications would be far reaching if that were the case. Several apostles (and even a future prophet) testified to this event and all believed it. If Joseph was just having "a little fun" then maybe the BoM was just to "have a little fun" also. Maybe all the D&C was just "to have a little fun"?

I'm sure you can see huge issue with your theory.

No, its easier to just pick and chose yourself when he was serious and when he was just kidding :P

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Alma, in its Latin incarnation, was a familiar word in Joseph's day -- could just as easily have come from that as some mountain somewhere. It wasn't until many years later, that it was validated as a Hebrew, male name -- which changes the picture entirely, and should put the point on the apologist's side of the tally line.

Matthew Roper (and other apologists) considers the masculine name

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Mike,

Incidentally I found these entries interesting:

14. Alma Spalding - International Genealogical Index / NAGender: Male Birth: 1790 Sheffield, Massachusetts

15. Alma Spalding - International Genealogical Index / NAGender: Male Birth: 20 FEB 1796 , Connecticut

16. Alma Spalding - International Genealogical Index / NAGender: Male Birth: 27 FEB 1796 New Marlboro, Berkshire, Massachusetts

I wonder if there's any relationship to Solomon Spalding. Hmmmm....

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As for Cumorah and Moroni, we both know that argument won't wash -- was a speck of a settlement in his day.

Speck or not... there is a good chance that the Cumoros islands would have been of particular interest to those fascinated by treasure-lore and Captain Kidd legend. Apologists have argued that the name Moroni only appears on a map that postdates the publication of the Book of Mormon, but then I found this.

Now... I remain undecided as to whether this find is significant enough to conclude that Joseph Smith got the two names from a map like this, but one thing I am confident about: The find is far more impressive than the NHM altar inscription which apologists often tout as evidence confirming the historicity of the BoM.

Edit: fixed link

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TW: The Zelph story is intriguing. Could Joseph Smith just have been having fun with that apparent revelation, which was of no doctrinal importance -- I wonder, since it was never suggested for canonization? Would that be a faith-breaker. Or can a prophet have a little fun with people who take him too seriously?

Any idea what the origins of the name Onandagus might be besides Onondaga County, New York? Hebrew or Egyptian maybe?

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Critics probably view the name Mahonri Moriancumer the same way young LDS men in seminary class view the BoM name Shiz (snicker, snicker).

The Mahonri part wouldn't make sense with that though. Nor would the first part of Mahorni's last name, no?

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