Responding to “Evidences of the BOM: Hebraisms” video, PART 4 / Origins of BOM Names

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Around 6:10, they start talking about Hebrew word plays in the BOM, and @6:22 give the example of Jershon, which they say means to inherit, and that this is exactly what happened with the land of Jershon. The problem is that there is scarcely a land that is not identified as a land of somebody’s inheritance! Also, I notice that “Jershon” could simply be an alternative way of spelling “Gershon” (one of Levi’s sons), especially if one said it with a soft g (giraffe, gerund, etc.) rather than with a hard G (like gold, gift, geld, etc.).

@6:36, there are multiple names from the BOM listed, along with a meaning for that name. Many of the names are actually Biblical names, so them appearing in the BOM doesn’t mean anything except JS could have borrowed them from the Bible (Enos, Noah, Mary, and Benjamin, at a minimum — in fact, there is no BOM woman named Mary; any reference to “Mary” in the BOM is referring to Jesus’s mother, so including it is at least a bit deceptive). As for the ones that are not directly taken from the Bible, many are extremely similar to names that are in the Bible, but with vowels changed, or syllables swapped or shortened. I confess I don’t know how they arrived at the meaning of names for the ones not directly taken from the Bible, but when I’ve previously seen LDS apologists give similar explanations for other things, looking more deeply into it shows that the claims are rather stretched, so I don’t give the non-Biblical name-meanings much credence.

I apologize for the length of this post, but know that all the rest of it is lists of names. Many of the names are directly taken from the Bible, or have been only slightly changed from Biblical names. Others are less likely or even completely unlikely to have been drawn from the Bible. The main lists I worked with are the Wikipedia entries for the list of Biblical names and of BOM People names with a separate list of BOM Place Names. Even though I can show that many of these names are exactly or nearly-exactly in the Bible, I admit that that is not in and of itself proof that JS used the Bible as a source of names, but it is a strong evidence, in my opinion. And at the least, since the video claims that the “Hebrew” meaning of BOM names is an indication that the BOM is authentic, the fact that so many of the BOM can be shown to be derived from names in the Bible completely undercuts that claim. It would be like me claiming I had been inspired by God or an angel to write an ancient Japanese story, and the proof of it was that the Japanese names were authentic and had meanings in Japanese but not in English; but then when people compared the names in my story to the names in, say, Shogun, there was great overlap, so that it was quite easy for critics to argue that I got my “authentic Japanese names” from this novel rather than that I really had been inspired by God to write an authentic ancient Japanese story.

[Edited to add: see also Dr. Robert Bowman’s doctoral thesis, which includes a section on this: “6.6 Onomastics” — p. 458 of the PDF.]

First, the People Names (skip to Place Names)

As you’ll quickly see, several times I combined two or more names into a single line, because I found them so similar. Thus, my list of “unique names” is different from and smaller than most lists. The overwhelming majority of names end up in the first group (those taken directly from the Bible, or nearly so — some of the names, like Isaiah and Jeremiah, are said to be the same people in the OT with those names). A few names end up in the second group (similar to Bible names, but more altered than those in the first group), while the rest of the names in the last group (about half as many as in the first group) have no connection to the Bible at all, so far as I could tell. So, JS could have easily gotten well over half of the names from the Bible. This comes in handy when Mormons imply that there are too many unique names for JS just to have come up with on his own. While compiling the below list, I couldn’t help but notice how many of the names are either very prominent and well-known (Jacob, Benjamin, etc.) or they were included in lists of names like genealogies (so could have been easily found by someone who was scanning the Bible looking for names to borrow). Again, this isn’t proof of how JS came up with the names, but it does make his feat less difficult.

BOM People Names taken directly from the Bible, or with very little alteration:

Many of these names are exactly the same as names in the Bible, or are only one letter different, or are pronounced nearly the same.

  1. Aaron
  2. Abinadi (see Abinadab)
  3. Abinadom (like Abinadi, but see also Abinoam)
  4. Abish (several names starting with Abish)
  5. Aha/Ahah (several names starting with “Aha”, like infamous king Ahab; also “Aha” is in the Psalms, though that is technically a mocking laugh [though JS might not have known that])
  6. Akish (see Achish, king of Gath, which is pronounced identically; also, could be derived from Kish, King Saul’s father)
  7. Amaleki/Amalickiah (similar to Israel’s notable enemies, the Amalekites, with “Amalickiah” having the same phonetic root but just adding “ah” to the end, similar to Nephi/Nephihah)
  8. Aminadab in the NT genealogies given for Jesus (also very similar to the BOM name Aminadi)
  9. Ammon (one of Lot’s sons with his daughters, father of Israel’s enemies the Ammonites; also name of David’s son)
  10. Ammah
  11. Amos — the prophet
  12. Amulek — phonetically similar to Amalek, father of the Amalekites, see Amaleki
  13. Antipus (see Antipas)
  14. Benjamin
  15. Chemish (see Chemosh)
  16. Emer (see Eber, ancestor of Abraham and where the word “Hebrew” comes from)
  17. Emron (only one letter removed from Ekron)
  18. Enos, son of Seth, grandson of Adam
  19. Esrom (in the ancestry of Jesus) / Zeezrom is phonetically similar
  20. Ethem (phonetically similar to Etham or Ethan)
  21. Ezias (similar to the Greek spelling of Isaiah, found in the NT as Esaias)
  22. Gid (one letter different from “Gad“, also shortened form for Gideon)
  23. Giddianhi/Giddonah/Gidgiddonah/Gidgiddoni (phonetically related to Gudgodah or possibly to Gideon or Gideoni)
  24. Gideon
  25. Gilead
  26. Gilgah (only one letter removed from “Gilgal“, and very similar phonetically)
  27. Gilgal
  28. Hem (see Ham and Shem)
  29. Heth
  30. Isaiah
  31. Ishmael
  32. Jacob
  33. Jacom (only one letter removed from Jacob)
  34. Jared (ancestor of Noah)
  35. Jeremiah
  36. Jonas (Greek form of Jonah, found in the NT)
  37. Jarom (very similar to Joram; could also phonetically be a short form of Jeremiah)
  38. Joseph
  39. Josh (Joshua)
  40. Kib (there are a couple of names starting with “Kib-“; also one letter different from “Kir” which is a name by itself, though it also is the start of several names for people or places like “Kirjath-arba”)
  41. Kish, father of King Saul
  42. Laban (Jacob’s father-in-law)
  43. Laman (very similar to Laban) / Lamoni (likely derived from Laman)
  44. Lehi (a place name in the OT)
  45. Lemuel (another name for Solomon)
  46. Levi
  47. Lib (short form for Libnah or Libni or Libya)
  48. Limhah/Limhi/Limher (could be phonetically derived from Libnah or Libni)
  49. Mahah (short form for many names beginning with Maha-, including one of Noah’s ancestors)
  50. Mathoni/Mathonihah (phonetically similar to Mattaniah)
  51. Mosiah (the same as Messiah, but with different vowels; edited to add: Bill Reel suggested JS could have derived Mosiah from combining “Mohican” or “Mohawk” with “Isaiah” around 1h 5m of this podcast)
  52. Mulek/Muloki (possibly derived from Molech or Malluch or Malachi or Hammelech)
  53. Nehor (one vowel different from Nahor, Abraham’s ancestor)
  54. Nephi/Nephihah (shortened form of Nephilim/Nephish/Nephishesim or other Neph- words; also, a recent Mormon Stories interview [part 2] suggested “Nephite” was originally suggested by “neophyte” — a new believer in Christ, usually from among the Native Americans; also edited to add that a recent Mormonism Live podcast pointed out that the name Nephi is in the Apocrypha)
  55. Neum (one letter different from Naum, in the genealogy of Jesus; also similar to the prophet Nahum)
  56. Nimrah (in a list of names in Numbers; also phonetically quite similar to Nimrod)
  57. Noah
  58. Omer (a Hebrew measure, like “an omer of grain”; also similar to “Omar” in the list of Esau’s descendants)
  59. Omner (very similar to “Omer”, but with an N included)
  60. Omni (very similar to Omner, but also only one letter different from Omri, though it could have been derived from “omnipotent” or some other word JS knew)
  61. Pagag (Agag, but with a P)
  62. Sam/Samuel
  63. Sariah (very similar to Abram’s wife’s name — Sarai, also phonetically the same as Seraiah)
  64. Seth
  65. Shem/Shemnon
  66. Sherem (phonetically similar to Sherah)
  67. Shez/Shiz (Shiza, in a list of names in 1 Chronicles)
  68. Timothy (a Greek name!)
  69. Tubaloth (perhaps derived from Tubal or Tubalcain)
  70. Zedekiah
  71. Zenos (similar to Zenas, Paul’s lawyer friend; edited to add that Zenos is just Enos with a Z before it)
  72. Zeram/Zoram (perhaps related to Zerah and/or Zorah)

Theoretically from the Bible (but I wouldn’t argue much about it):

  1. Amaron/Ammaron/Ammoron/Amoron — could be derived from Ammon, just by adding ar/or between the first and second syllables
  2. Amlici — this name seems phonetically linked to Amaleki (provided the “c” is pronounced like a “k”), so though it doesn’t look Bible-based, it very easily could be
  3. Archeantus — this reminds me of Archelaus (NT), but that’s a bit of a stretch
  4. Cezoram/Seezoram (possibly taken from “Caesar”, but it’s a stretch; less of a stretch is how similar it is to Zeezrom above)
  5. Cumenihah (phonetically related to Kumen, see below)
  6. Ether (Esther without the “s”)
  7. Gadianton (root of “Gad“, with suffix “-ton” being very common in JS’s day, such as Washington)
  8. Helam/Helaman/Helem (very similar to Helon)
  9. Isabel (phonetically related to Jezebel, though likely more drawn from names JS was familiar with in his day)
  10. Kishkumen (combine the Biblical name “Kish” with “Kumen”, and “Kumen” is phonetically similar to the NT spice “cummin“)
  11. Kumen/Kumenonhi (phonetically similar to the NT spice “cummin“)
  12. Morianton (possibly derived from “Moriah” with the suffix “-ton” added)
  13. Pahoran (perhaps derived from Haran)
  14. Riplakish (perhaps derived from Kish)
  15. Zarahemla/Zerahemnah (perhaps derived from Zarah, one of Judah’s twins with his daughter-in-law Tamar)

Unlikely to be from the Bible:

  1. Alma — a man’s name in JS’s area at the time he wrote the BOM
  2. Amgid
  3. Amnigaddah
  4. Amnor
  5. Amulon
  6. Antiomno
  7. Antionah/Antionum
  8. Cohor
  9. Com
  10. Corianton/Coriantor/Coriantum/Coriantumr
  11. Corihor/Korihor
  12. Corom
  13. Hagoth
  14. Hearthom
  15. Helorum
  16. Himni
  17. Jeneum
  18. Kim/Kimnor
  19. Lachoneus
  20. Lehonti
  21. Luram
  22. Manti
  23. Mormon
  24. Moron/Moroni/Moronihah (others have pointed out that the Comoros Islands sounds like Hill Cumorah, and Moroni is the capital city there, and was on maps in JS’s day)
  25. Orihah
  26. Paanchi
  27. Pachus
  28. Pacumeni
  29. Seantum
  30. Shared
  31. Shiblom/Shiblon
  32. Shule
  33. Teancum
  34. Teomner
  35. Zemnarihah
  36. Zenephi (but it is “Nephi” with the prefix “Ze”)
  37. Zeniff (while spelled quite differently, it sounds like it could be derived from Zenephi, without the “i” — Zeniff=Zeneph)
  38. Zenock (edited to add that Zenock is phonetically the same as Enoch, but with a Z before it, so maybe this should be moved to the “Biblical” list)

BOM Place Names

First, there are 167 different names listed in the article, but when I take out names drawn from quoting the OT (particularly Isaiah — at least some of the chapters quoted are extremely name-heavy, though they have zero to do with the action of the BOM), place-names that are the same as people names so are already in the above lists (e.g., Zarahemla), place-names that are generic English nouns rather than Hebrew proper names (e.g., “the wilderness” or “Bountiful”), and combining multiple locations that are given the same name (e.g. “Onidah” and “Hill Onidah”), the number drops significantly (skip to those locations).

Place names that are also BOM people names or not proper nouns:
  1. Valley of Alma
  2. City of Aaron
  3. Wilderness of Akish
  4. Land of Amulon
  5. Land of Antionum
  6. Mount Antipas* (from Antipus?)
  7. Land and Valley of Corihor
  8. City of Cumeni* (shortened form of Cumenihah?)
  9. City of Gid
  10. City/Land/Valley of Gideon
  11. Hagoth, Hagoth’s Shipbuilding Site
  12. Land of Helam
  13. Land of Heth
  14. Land of Ishmael
  15. City of Jacob/Jacobugath*
  16. City of Josh/Land of Joshua
  17. City of Kishkumen
  18. City/River of Laman
  19. City of and Land of Lehi
  20. City of and Land of Lehi-Nephi
  21. City/Valley of Lemuel, Lamanite city
  22. City/Hill/Land of Manti
  23. City/Land of Morianton
  24. Forest/Place/Waters of Mormon
  25. Land of Moron
  26. Moroni’s Camp
  27. City of and Land of Moroni
  28. City of Moronihah
  29. City of Mulek
  30. City of Nehor
  31. City/Land of Nephi
  32. City/Plains of Nephihah
  33. Nephite Refuge
  34. City and Land of Noah
  35. City of Omner
  36. City of Teancum
  37. City/Land of Zarahemla
  38. City of Zeezrom
  1. City of Bountiful
  2. Land of Bountiful
  3. City by the Sea
  4. City/Land of Desolation
  5. Land of First Inheritance
  6. Narrow Neck
  7. Narrow Pass
  8. Narrow Strip of Wilderness
  9. Wilderness, Various places
Bible Names that are not locations for any BOM action:
  1. Aiath
  2. Anathoth
  3. Arpad
  4. Assyria
  5. Babylon
  6. Bashan
  7. Bethabara (BOM references this place where Jesus was baptized in 1 Nephi, about 600 B.C.)
  8. Calno
  9. Carchemish
  10. Chaldea
  11. Damascus
  12. Garden of Eden
  13. Edom
  14. Egypt
  15. Elam
  16. Gallim
  17. Geba
  18. Gebim
  19. City/Valley of Gilgal
  20. Gomorrah
  21. Hamath
  22. Horeb
  23. Israel
  24. Jerusalem
  25. Jordan River
  26. Judah
  27. Laish
  28. Lebanon
  29. Madmenah
  30. Michmash
  31. Migron
  32. Moab, Land of the Moabites
  33. Land of Naphtali
  34. Nazareth
  35. Palestina
  36. Pathros
  37. Ramath
  38. Salem
  39. Samaria
  40. Waters of Shiloah
  41. Shinar
  42. Mount Sinai
  43. Sinim
  44. Sodom
  45. Syria
  46. Tarshish
  47. Tower of Babel
  48. Land of Zebulun
  49. Zion, City of God

(* signifies that the name is super-similar but not exactly identical; in the case of Jacobugath, it is said that it was named after Jacob, so I included it there.) Note that we also know where almost all the Biblical places are, but have never found a single BOM place.

Other BOM place names

  1. Ablom
  2. Plains of Agosh
  3. City of Ammonihah — obvious very similar to Ammon (Bible/BOM)
  4. Hill Amnihu
  5. Angola — a place in Portugal
  6. Ani-Anti
  7. Antiparah — perhaps drawn from Antipus (BOM) or Antipas (Bible)?
  8. Land of Antum (derived from Coriantum?)
  9. Boaz — obviously a Bible name
  10. Hill Comnor (derived from Com?)
  11. Hill Cumorah
  12. Land of David — another very famous Bible name
  13. Hill Ephraim — one of the twelve tribes
  14. City of Gad — another of the twelve tribes
  15. City of Gadiandi — likely from Gadianton (BOM)
  16. City of Gadiomnah
  17. City of Gimgimno
  18. Hermounts — possibly from Mt. Hermon (Bible)? — MOUNT HERmon?
  19. Plains of Heshlon — very similar to Heshbon (Bible)
  20. Irreantum
  21. City and Land of Jashon
  22. Land of Jershon — almost identical to Gershon (Bible), especially if you pronounce the “G” like giraffe or German
  23. Jerusalem — obviously named after the Biblical Jerusalem
  24. City of Jordan — also, obviously named after Jordan in the Bible
  25. City of Judea — see the Biblical Judea
  26. Melek — similar to Mulek/Muloki (BOM) or Molech or Malachi (Bible)
  27. Middoni — very similar to the BOM names Giddonah or Gidgiddoni
  28. Land of Midian — Biblical name
  29. Minon
  30. City of Mocum
  31. Moriancumer and Moriantum — very similar to Morianton (BOM)
  32. Nahom — very similar to the Biblical prophet Nahum
  33. Valley of Nimrod, In Mesopotamia — see Nimrod in the Bible
  34. Ogath — the famous giant Goliath was from Gath
  35. Onidah / Hill Onidah — phonetically identical to Oneida, NY, near where JS lived
  36. Onihah (possibly short form of Mathonihah or Moronihah)
  37. Hill Ramah — used 34 times in the OT, most prominently in Jeremiah as a Messianic prophecy
  38. Hill Riplah
  39. Waters of Ripliancum
  40. Waters of Sebus — similar to Seba (Bible)
  41. Shazer
  42. Shelem — similar to Shelemiah (Bible)
  43. City of and Land of Shem — one of Noah’s sons (Bible)
  44. Land of Shemlon — similar to Shem
  45. Sherrizah — similar to Sherah (Bible)
  46. City of and Land of Shilom — similar to Shiloh (Bible)
  47. Hill Shim — several Bible names starting with “Shim-“, also very similar to Shem
  48. Shimnilom — similar to Shim
  49. Valley of Shurr — nearly identical to the Biblical Shur
  50. Land of Sidom — very similar to the Biblical names Sidon and Siddim
  51. Sidon River — see Sidon/Sidom above
  52. Siron — very similar to Sidon
  53. Mount Zerin — seems very similar to Mount Gerizim, though perhaps it only seems like it

[Addendum — the BOM contains several non-English words, such as a metal called “ziff”; the name Ziph, pronounced identically even if spelled differently, is used frequently in the OT.]

4 thoughts on “Responding to “Evidences of the BOM: Hebraisms” video, PART 4 / Origins of BOM Names

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