What's in a Jaredite Name?
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What's in a Jaredite Name?
by Ben Hunter
The book of Mormon is written in English very similar to the early modern english linguistic style of the King James Version of the bible, and has since been fully or partially translated into 108 languages. As of 2011, more than 150 million copies of the Book of Mormon have been published.2
Critics of Joseph Smith and the miraculous translation of the golden plates into the Book of Mormon have produced vast amounts of the most virulent rhetoric. But, after critics have made all their arguments and dealt with all their straw men theories, that pesky old book still remains, still considered by millions to be scripture.
Challenging headlong all the prevailing theories of the populating of this American Continent, the Book of Mormon claims that three cultures emigrated from the Levant, travelled across an ocean and arrived at about the same latitude half way around the world to their "Promised Land" where they were not discovered until 1519 AD.
This paper centers around the oldest culture of the three known as the Jaredites. Their record is found in the book of Ether which is the shortest book in the Book of Mormon that covers an entire culture. The name of this book (Ether) may be the reason that Mark Twain referred to it as "chloroform in print." He, like most of the learned men of his generation (and ours), refused to be even slightly serious about the claims of a young frontier boy who told of his source being an angel and the translation being "from the gift and power of God."
That scene is changing, though. There has been more scholarly analysis of the Book of Mormon in the past 30 years than in all the time since its translation in 1829.3 Much of this scholarly work has centered around the impossibility that Joseph could have translated the plates without help of some kind. The purpose of this paper is to show that the 30 generations of geneology listed twice in the book of Ether could not have been produced from human memory.
Time of Translation
Joseph received the plates in September 1827 and the following spring, in Harmony, Pennsylvania, began translating them in earnest, with Emma and his friend Martin Harris serving as his main scribes. The resulting english transcription, known as the Book of Lehi and referred to by Joseph Smith as written on 116 pages, was subsequently lost or stolen. As a result, Joseph Smith was rebuked by the Lord and lost the ability to translate for a short time.
During Joseph Smith's translation of the Book of Mormon, twelve people either acted as scribes or witnesses as he translated the various segments of the books. These individuals were Emma Smith, Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, Elizabeth Ann Whitmer Cowdery, David Whitmer, William Smith, Lucy Mack Smith, Michael Morse, Sarah Hellor Conrad, Isaac Hale, Reuben Hale, and Joseph Knight Sr. All of these witnesses/scribes agreed on two key observations:
- Joseph dictated to his scribes for long periods of tiime without referring to any books, papers, manuscripts or even the plates themselves.
- Each dictation session was started without promptings from the scribe where the previous session had ended; i.e. taking breaks for eating, sleeping, resting, etc.6
|1||32||And Kib was the son of Orihah, who was the son of Jared||Jared||6||27||And it came to pass that neither would the sons of Jared, even all save it were one; and Orihah was anointed to be king over the people.||Jared|
|1||32||" " "||Orihah||7||1,2||
And it came to pass that Orihah did execute judgment upon the land in righteousness all his days, whose days were exceedingly many.
And he begat sons and daughters; yea, he begat thirty and one, among whom were twenty and three sons.
|1||31||And Shule was the son of Kib.||Kib||7||3||And it came to pass that he also begat Kib in his old age. And it came to pass that Kib reigned in his stead; and Kib begat Corihor.||Kib|
|1||31||" " "||Shule||7||7||And it came to pass that Kib dwelt in captivity, and his people under Corihor his son, until he became exceedingly old; nevertheless Kib begat Shule in his old age, while he was yet in captivity.||Shule|
|1||30||And Omer was the son of Shule.||Omer||8||1||Omer|
|1||29||And Emer was the son of Omer||Emer||9||14||And it came to pass that Omer began to be old; nevertheless, in his old age he begat Emer; and he anointed Emer to be king to reign in his stead.||Emer|
|1||28||And Coriantum was the son of Emer||Coriantum||9||21||And Emer did execute judgment in righteousness all his days, and he begat many sons and daughters; and he begat Coriantum, and he anointed Coriantum to reign in his stead.||Coriantum|
|9||23||And it came to pass that Coriantum did walk in the steps of his father, and did build many mighty cities, and did administer that which was good unto his people in all his days. And it came to pass that he had no children even until he was exceedingly old|
|9||24||And it came to pass that his wife died, being an hundred and two years old. And it came to pass that Coriantum took to wife, in his old age, a young maid, and begat sons and daughters; wherefore he lived until he was an hundred and forty and two years old|
|1||26||And Heth was the son of Com||Heth||9||25||And it came to pass that he begat Com, and Com reigned in his stead; and he reigned forty and nine years, and he begat Heth; and he also begat other sons and daughters.||Heth|
|1||25||And Shez was the son of Heth||Shez||10||1||And it came to pass that Shez, who was a descendant of Heth—for Heth had perished by the famine, and all his household save it were Shez—wherefore, Shez began to build up again a broken people||Shez|
|1||24||And Riplakish was the son of Shez||Riplakish||10||4||And it came to pass that his father did build up many cities upon the face of the land, and the people began again to spread over all the face of the land. And Shez did live to an exceedingly old age; and he begat Riplakish. And he died, and Riplakish reigned in his stead||Riplakish|
|1||23||And Morianton was a descendant of Replakish||Morianton||10||
And it came to pass after the space of many years, Morianton, (he being a descendant of Riplakish) gathered together an army of outcasts, and went forth and gave battle unto the people; and he gained power over many cities; and the war became exceedingly sore, and did last for the space of many years; and he did gain power over all the land, and did establish himself king over all the land.
And after that he had established himself king he did ease the burden of the people, by which he did gain favor in the eyes of the people, and they did anoint him to be their king.
|1||22||And Kim was the son of Morianton||Kim||10||13||
And Morianton did live to an exceedingly great age, and then he begat Kim; and Kim did reign in the stead of his father; and he did reign eight years, and his father died. And it came to pass that Kim did not reign in righteousness, wherefore he was not favored of the Lord
|1||23||And Levi was the son of Kim||Levi||10||14||Levi|
|1||20||And Corom was the son of Levi||Corom||10||15/16||
And it came to pass that Levi did serve in captivity after the death of his father, for the space of forty and two years. And he did make war against the king of the land, by which he did obtain unto himself the kingdom.
And after he had obtained unto himself the kingdom he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord; and the people did prosper in the land; and he did live to a good old age, and begat sons and daughters; and he also begat Corom, whom he anointed king in his stead
|1||19||And Kish was the son of Corom||Kish||10||17||
|1||18||And Lib was the son of Kish||Lib||10||18||And it came to pass that Kish passed away also, and Lib reigned in his stead||Lib|
|1||17||Hearthrom was the son of Lib||Hearthrom||10||29/30||Hearthrom|
|1||16||And Aaron was a descendant of Heth, who was the son of Hearthrom||
|10||31||And he begat Heth, and Heth lived in captivity all his days. And Heth begat Aaron, and Aaron dwelt in captivity all his days; and he begat Amnigaddah, ......||
|10||31||......and Amnigaddah also dwelt in captivity all his days; and he begat Coriantum, and Coriantum dwelt in captivity all his days; and he begat Com.||
|And Shiblon was the son of Com||
|1||11||And Seth was the son of Shiblom||Seth||11||9||And it came to pass that Shiblom was slain, and Seth was brought into captivity, and did dwell in captivity all his days.||Seth|
|1||10||And Ahah was the son of Seth||Ahah||11||10||And it came to pass that Ahah, his son, did obtain the kingdom; and he did reign over the people all his days. And he did do all manner of iniquity in his days, by which he did cause the shedding of much blood; and few were his days.||Ahah|
|1||9||And Ethem was the son of Ahah||Ethem||11||11||And Ethem, being a descendant of Ahah, did obtain the kingdom; and he also did do that which was wicked in his days.||Ethem|
|1||8||And Moron was the son of Ethem||Moron||11||14||Moron|
|1||7||And Coriantor was the son of Moron.||Coriantor||11||17/18||Coriantor|
|1||6||And on this wise do I give the account. He that wrote this record was Ether, and he was a descendant of Corianto||Ether||11||23||And it came to pass that Coriantor begat Ether, and he died, having dwelt in captivity all his days||Ether|
In the world of Book of Mormon apologetics, there are two basic types of investigation and research: external and internal. External apologetics involves finding mostly natural and human phenomenon that agree with the text and thus work toward verification. Such things as environment, geography, cultural traits, climate, religion, etc. must agree with the text in order to be valid elements. Unfortunately, most of these external phenomenon are subject to interpretation and the variety of opinions seems to be increasing. Even very convincing, sophisticated parallels are either being ignored or outright rejected. The amount of agreement among external apologists is decreasing rather than the expected increasing; this being caused by unwillingness to consider positions of others. The result is that the non-Mormon scholar is unable to determine what the attitude of "the Church" is on apologetics. The dismantling of FARMS and the change in direction at the Maxwelll Institute give even more ammunition to our enemies who claim we don't know our own Book of Mormon and claim we no longer can defend it. As long as there is such a wide assortment of opinions being legitimized by the adherence of groups of LDS to marginal concepts and interpretations, we cannot expect to see many more advances from external apologetics that will not be contested and refused almost as soon as being introduced.
Internal apologetics, on the other hand, consists primarily of analysis of the text itself and those things attending to it such as the translation process, linguistics, Hebraisms, etc. Here there seems to be much less contention among scholars. What disagreements emanate from internal study and apologetics does not seem to reap the emotional whirlwind inherent with external apologetics. Hopefully, this paper will add to the corpus of internal apologetics that most can appreciate and agree on.
1. By the Gift and Power of God, Ensign January, 1997
3. Personal conversation with Dr. Joseph L. Allen
4. Unpublished study by Ben Hunter
5. Translating "by the Gift and Power of God" Copyright © 2014 by Ted Dee Stoddard
6. Last Testimony of Sister Emma, Saints Herald, 1 October, 1879, pg. 290
8. Translating by the Gift and Power of God Copyright © 2014 by Ted Dee Stoddard