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BRAD - The Book of Mormon has many uncommon names. Have they found some of the names used in the Book of Mormon?
JOEL - The Book of Mormon was translated from a completely
unknown language, which the Nephites themselves called "reformed
Egyptian" (Morm. 9: 32). Because of this it is very likely that
most of the names may not be found anywhere else. We
would have to assume that the Nephites wrote on
something else(besides the plates) that exists
somewhere on the American continent, and we have to
know where to look for it; which we don't.
There are however a few of the names that have been found in other writings that are similar.
For many years Alma was thought to be a Latin female
name and so critics thought Joseph Smith erroneously
picked it for the name of a male prophet. However,
in 1975 Paolo Mathiae, an Italian archaeologist,
uncovered a huge archive of clay tablets at a site in
northwestern Syria called Tell Mardikh, which
contained the name Alma in Hebrew form, used as the
name of a male merchant.
In the Book of Mormon at about 600 BC Ishmael died
during the journey of Lehi and his family along the
Arabian penninsula and was burried at a place they
called Nahom(1 Nephi 16:34). Just recently researchers
reported that they have discovered stone altars in the
southern Arabian Desert with the name Nahom inscribed
on them dated to about 700 BC. This suggests that
Nahom was a place name already in use when Lehi and
his family arrived on the scene in about 600 BC.
This is the only name found so far that may be
directly related to the Book of Mormon.
Among some hebrew inscriptions found on a seventh
century seal found in Egypt and an inscription on a
jug from Tel esh-Shariah, is a name found to be
equivalent to the name Jarom (Jarom 1:1, 14)
The name Chemish(Omni 1:8-10) is related to that of
the Ammonite God "Chemosh", appearing on a number of
The name "sheum" appears in Mosiah 9:9 as a food in a
list of grains. Matthew Roper explains that sheum "is
a perfectly good Akkadian cereal name . . . dating to
the third millennium B.C., which in ancient Assyria
referred to wheat, but in other regions of the Near
East could be applied to other grains" (FARMS Review
of Books, Vol. 9, No. 1, 1997, p. 120). Roper notes
that this word was not known to scholars until at
least 1857, long after the book of Mormon had been
The Jaredite name "Kish" (Ether 1:18-19; 10:17-19) has
also been found in hieroglyphs on the Tablet of the
Cross at Pelenque, dating back to the Olmec period.
See this page.