What's in a Jaredite Name?

The contents of all BMAF publications are the sole responsibility of the individual authors and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of BMAF or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

What's in a Jaredite Name? 

by Ben Hunter 


June, 2015


Elder Neal A. Maxwell has commented, "Our primary focus in studying the Book of Mormon should be on the principles of the gospel .... not on the process by which the book came forth.  Yet because it's coming so amply fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy of '....a marvelous work and a wonder' (Isaiah 29:1), we way find strengthened faith in considering how marveous the translation really was."1

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.

Joseph began translating again in 1829, and almost all of the present Book of Mormon text was translated during a three-month period between April and June of that year. His chief scribe during these months was Oliver Cowdery, a schoolteacher from Vermont who learned about the Book of Mormon while boarding with Joseph’s parents in Palmyra, New York. Cowdery traveled to meet Joseph Smith and investigate further. Of his experience as scribe, Cowdery wrote, “These were days never to be forgotten—to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven.”4

The entire translation of 588 pages took approximately 60 days.  While that is an average of almost 10 pages per day, the work was not smooth and consistent, but marked by occasional stops to do necessary farm work, maintenance, etc.5 

How Joseph Smith Translated the Book of Mormon

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


Royal Skousen reports that:

The Prophet Joseph Smith said very little about the actual process of translating the Book of Mormon. However, a thorough study of the original text of the Book of Mormon (including a detailed examination of both the original and printer's manuscripts) and a careful review of statements made by those who witnessed Joseph Smith translating combine to provide valuable information about the translation process. Even details such as spelling correction and textual insertions provide definite clues about how Joseph translated.

He contines:

This evidence does not support theories that Joseph Smith composed the text himself or that he took the text from some other source. Instead, it indicates that the Lord exercised what I refer to as "tight control" over the word-by-word translation of the Book of Mormon. In particular, the evidence suggests that Joseph Smith saw specific words written out in English and read them off to the scribe, and that the accuracy of the resulting text depended on the carefulness of Joseph and his scribe. Indeed, this evidence is most compatible with the account that Joseph himself gave that he translated the Book of Mormon "by the gift and power of God.” Thanks to the incredible scholarly work of the last 40 years, we now know that the Book of Mormon contains evidence of being a genuine Mesoamerican codice with many examples of Hebrew parallellisms and chiasmus and cultural tip-offs.  Joseph Smith had no clue of any of this; chiasmus, for instance, not being discovered in the Bible until after Joseph's death and nothing published in the United States until the 1920's.

The natural question arises: Did Joseph Smith “change” or “interpret” as he “translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God”? Ted Dee Stoddard comments, 

A logical answer to that question is probably the following: “Who knows?” But time and again, his translated words can be associated with his vocabulary, perceptions, and environment rather than with revelatory words such as those that might be spoken by an angel whispering in his ear during the translation. The influences of Joseph’s vocabulary, perceptions, and environment perhaps caused him on occasion to “change” or “interpret” the content with which he was working—all as part of the process of translating the Book of Mormon “by the gift and power of God.” A simple, classic example is the word adieu in Jacob 7:27. 

 A wide variety of conclusions exists among the scholars about how Joseph did his “translating.” A sampling of their comments support these statements:

  • “No one besides Joseph Smith knew personally the exact means of translation.”
  • “The word translation typically assumes an expert knowledge of multiple languages. Joseph Smith claimed no expertise in any language.”
  • “The Prophet Joseph alone knew the full process of translation by the gift and power of God, and he was deliberately reluctant to describe details.”
  • “Joseph declined to say more about the translation of the Book of Mormon than to declare that it was accomplished through “the gift and power of God.” No matter how closely we examine the process, no matter how well we might understand the human aspect, Joseph’s description really remains the best.”
  • “The translation of the Book of Mormon was a spiritual process. . . . Joseph chose to emphasize that the most important aspect of the translation was that it was accomplished by the gift and power of God. The precise means by which God accomplished that purpose are primarily of historical interest, and are not required to build faith.”8 

Joseph’s wife Emma insisted that, at the time of translation, Joseph “could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter, let alone dictat[e] a book like the Book of Mormon. He was incapable of writing a book on his own, let alone translating an ancient book written from an unknown language, known in the Book of Mormon as “reformed Egyptian”9  



Content of the Book of Ether


The book of Ether covers the history of the Jaredites including the geneology of their kings and rulers from about 2400 B.C.down to about 300 BC which marked the end of their culture and nation through civil war. This book, chronologically the oldest in the Book of Mormon, is the family history of a man named Jared and his posterity who lived at the time of the Tower of Babel and follows the rulers/kings through to the leadership of Ether, a prophet who lived during and after their fatal civil war in about 300 B.C. 


It took Joseph Smith about 17 hours to translate the Book of Ether at a rate of about 30 minutes per page.10


The thesis of this paper is that the given names of the posterity of Jared to Ether gives intrinsic evidence that the source of the Book of Ether was as Joseph said it was.


In the first chapter the name of the prophet Ether and his forebearers are given backwards in time to the initial founder, Jared.  From Ether1:6 to 1:32, 30 names are listed.  Then beginning with Ether 6:27 and ending with Ether 11:23, these same names are listed again but in reverse order! 


Table One shows a verse-by-verse comparison of all 30 names arranged in two columns.  In order to match the order of names from Jared to Ether found in Ether 6:27 through Ether 11:23, column one shows the names in reverse order as found in Ether chapter 1verse 32, backwards to verse 6. The elapsed time between the translation of chapter 1 to the translation of chapters 6 through 11 is estimated at between 6 to 7 hours, quite possibly not until the next translation session.  We have no way of knowing for sure the length of each translation session and so have to use an average.  Is it possible for a human to memorize 30 names in a chronological line and then, hours later, list them again in reverse order without making huge errors?  And, almost all of the 30 names are unique to the Book of Ether.




Chapter Verse Scripture   Chapter Verse Scripture    
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

And it came to pass that he begat Omer, and Omer reigned in his stead. And Omer begat Jared; and Jared begat sons and daughters.

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

And his brother did rise up in rebellion against him, by which he did bring him into captivity; and he did remain in captivity all his days; and he begat sons and daughters in captivity, and in his old age he begat Levi; and he died.

Chapter Verse Scripture Name Chapter Verse Scripture Name  
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

And it came to pass that Corom did that which was good in the sight of the Lord all his days; and he begat many sons and daughters; and after he had seen many days he did pass away, even like unto the rest of the earth; and Kish reigned in his stead.

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

And it came to pass that Lib did live many years, and begat sons and daughters; and he also begat Hearthom.

And it came to pass that Hearthom reigned in the stead of his father. And when Hearthom had reigned twenty and four years, behold, the kingdom was taken away from him. And he served many years in captivity, yea, even all the remainder of his days

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, ......



1 15/14


And Amnigaddah was the son of Aaron.

And Coriantum was the son of 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





11 3/4

And they prophesied unto Com many things; and he was blessed in all the remainder of his days.

And he lived to a good old age, and begat Shiblom; and Shiblom reigned in his stead. And the brother of Shiblom rebelled against him, and there began to be an exceedingly great war in all the land



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

And it came to pass that Ethem did execute judgment in wickedness all his days; and he begat Moron. And it came to pass that Moron did reign in his stead; and Moron did that which was wicked before the Lord.

1 7 And Coriantor was the son of Moron. Coriantor 11 17/18

a descendant of the brother of Jared......

......did overthrow Moron and obtain the kingdom; wherefore, Moron dwelt in captivity all the remainder of his days; and he begat 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

2.  https://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mormon?lang=eng&query=book+of+mormon+...

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 Herald1 October, 1879, pg. 290

6.  http://www.bmaf.org/articles/joseph_smith_translation_book_of_mormon__ni...

7.   http://www.bible-discernments.com/joshua/backgroundofchiasms.html

8.   Translating by the Gift and Power of God Copyright © 2014 by Ted Dee Stoddard

9.   https://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mormon-translation?lang=eng

10.  Unpublished study by Ben Hunter


Hunter, Ben