Dr. Einar C. Erickson
Ancient Document Mormon Scholar
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There is a successive putting on and off of garments or animal skins, the soul after death had to ascend to the highest heaven and passing through the gates, every gate being watched by a warder. The ascent motive only occurs in a continuated form, they will bear it the soul to the eternal rest.


“As far as we can tell from the single archive [from EBLA} available to us, a major part of Syria was organized under the rule of one dominant city, EBLA, [ca 2250 BC] though its power never extended so far to the south as to include the lesser towns of Palestine or maritime cities [Phoenician] as Byblos in the west. For about two centuries EBLA seems to have maintained its control over northern Syria.” (Sasson p. 1200)  From the tablets recovered since 1976 a new language was identified, they now call it Eblaite.  Then the  political system of Syria itself was crushed under the onslaught from the Akkadians who have been well established before 2750  (Weiss p. 39) and were seeking to dominate the region.  

“For the general historian [and students of names] Eblaite may be regarded as a separate [Semitic] language [not a dialect] because it has a written form clearly different from the Old Akkadian (although similar to it in many ways); a LINGUIST, may loosely use the term “Language” speaking of the written form of expression used for one or more dialects, but in strictly linguistic discussion the term “Language” is out of place; a LINGUIST, deals only with dialects.”(Diakonoff p. l)

For the purposes of this study of names from Ebla that are parallel to those found in the Book of Mormon, Eblaite is considered a separate language. Specialists are working to find out the date of separation of Eblaite from the other Semitic languages and specifically from Old Akkadian. Old Akkadian is simply that, Older than Eblaite. It was Naram-Sin the grandson of Sargon, King of Akkad (Empire of Akkad, Agade, ca. 2350-2193) that conquered Ebla about 2250 BC and reduced much of it to ashes,  (Leick p. 117) only to rebuild it. Most of the tablets of Ebla were recovered from the ashes of that burning. “Now thanks to the homogeneous documentation of the archives of Ebla, a third Semitic language of the III millennium B.C. may be added to Akkadian and Amorite.” (Archi p. 225, in Franzoroli) And from the thousands of tablets recovered from Ebla we find many names that are parallel to those in the Book of Mormon, some are exact matches. This is PART 3 of a study utilizing as the core source, the work of Pagan. At a later date we will deal with the parallels to Book of Mormon names found in the Akkadian records and then from the Amorite records, utilizing new data recently published. In PART 3 we progress through the alphabet to the end of names beginning with G. PART 4 will commence with names beginning with H.

Joseph Smith was aided in his translation of Book of Mormon names by the specific dictation and spelling out of each name when it occurred in the Book. However, “It is at times impossible to tell from the spelling [of a name], for example, whether a particular name is Assyrian, Babylonian, Aramaic, Phoenician, Hebrew, Edomite, Moabite, Arabic, or Assyrianized West Semitic, even if the name itself can be completely understood and translated.” (Radner p. xxii)  But because of the spelling given of each name in the Book of Mormon, with the new publications since 1998, it is possible to make sense of most of the Book of Mormon names. Names from the ancient texts “consisting of more than one element [syllable in most instances] are broken up into their components… the constituent elements being separated with hyphens.” (Radner p. xxiii) The Book of Mormon names are never broken up into their constituents and none are hyphenated. For comparison, all of the ancient names being compared with could easily have been written without the hyphens, but the hyphens help identify elements that often can be identified and help define the meaning of the names, so the names found to be parallel are as provided from the ancient texts as they are given by the various translators.  If one removes the hyphens the parallels are even more apparent.

As followed in previous entries of this Web Site, the Book of Mormon names are given first, and then those names taken from the tablets of EBLA, with similar prefixes are given next. Then a brief discussion of the name is provided, and where available, the meaning, is given.  

                                                                        THE NAMES


AMULEK  first appears in Alma  8:21. He was a descendant of Nephi (Alma 10: 2-3) but the name is Phoenician. He was a well known, industrious and wealthy man. He befriended Alma, fed him, and served him. (Alma 8:26) He became a staunch supporter of Alma, a faithful friend and ally. His doctrines recorded in the Book of Mormon are among the most quotable. (Largey pp. 52-54)  His life and times and experiences with Alma and the details of his doctrines need careful study.

AMULON is the name of a place, (Mosiah 22:31, between the lands of Nephi and Zarahemla, settled by the priests of Noah, named after their leader Amulon (Mosiah. 23:32; Largey p. 54), he personally knew Alma. (Alma 24:9) He was one of the lazy and immoral priests appointed by King Noah to rule the Nephite Colony. He was an evil leader and influenced the people to become wicked, which caused the Lord to send Abinadi (Erickson, Web Site, April 2008) an aged prophet to prophesy and warn them that they would be taken into bondage. He was in the audience with the other priests, among them was Alma, and King Noah all heard the answers given by Abinadi to the interrogations of King Noah and they heard the doctrines and stinging rebukes and prophetic condemnations. AMULON was one of those who urged the execution of Abinadi so he was an accessory to the murder of Abinadi. The Lamanites softened their hearts towards this group of priests and together they searched for the Land of Nephi. The King of the Lamanites appointed Amulon and his priests as teachers over the Lamanites living in the land of AMULON. (Largey p. 54; Mosiah 23:30-35; 24:1, about 121 to 145 B.C.)  The seed of AMULON were scattered, hunted and slain. Abinadi was vindicated. (Mosiah 17:16-17; Alma 25:7-12)

The AMULONITES were the descendants and followers of the priests of Noah whose leader was AMULON, but many were also followers of the Nahors. (Largey pp. 54-55; Alma 21:4)  This association caused their down fall.

The prefix AMU- at Ebla means uncle. (Pagan p. 280) However, used in the word AMULU it means ‘See, I saw, he saw’ depending on what cuniform notation dictates the verb conjugation. Amura, Amuri, Amuru all means the same: ‘see, I saw, he saw’.  AMULU or AMULO, found in both Book of Mormon names and those from Ebla, is essentially the same name or word.  AMURDAMU means ‘behold (see), Damu, or I saw Damu, or Damu saw’, and AMURLI-IM means “see (Lim), I saw Lim, or Lim saw’.  AMME-LUM, in the Attested Form of names given in Fronzaroli, means ‘guide’. (Fronzaroli p. 135) Thus, the three Book of Mormon names find verification in terms of their prefixes and meaning.


AMMAH, a distinctive Book of Mormon name, is not listed in the name lists in the back of the Book of Mormon. Someone compiling the list of names left it out. My daughter, LaStar  brought my attention to this omission when she was reading Alma 20:2 where it is mentioned that AMMAH was then in prison, and in Alma 21:11 when he was with his brethren. Seven Book of Mormon names have this double consonant of two m’s. This brings up a little studied aspect of names in the Book of Mormon, in itself confirming the authenticity of that wondrous book.


Pagan in finalizing his list of Ebla names prepared the names in three columns. The FIRST COLUMN being the TRANSLITERATION of the name as taken from the cuniform tablets.  Most of the Book of Mormon names when spelled out for Joseph Smith were in this form. They were TRANSLITERATIONS of the name in the original text, the most common form in which the name would be appearing in texts and documents, present day translations and past,  present or future, but especially today. Then Pagan, in a SECOND COLUMN, gives the TRANSCRIPTION of the name. Most of the time when this is given the name differs essentially by the use of double consonants, in the case of the seven names listed above from Ebla; they ALL have double m’s, or two mm’s.  It well may be that the sources of the names in the original documents Mormon or Moroni were abridging or from where ever the names were derived, such as the Brass Plates or the Records of Ether, they were SOMETIMES written in the more ancient form of TRANSCRITIPONS, and were spelled out in that form.  Joseph could not have had this distinction in mind or have been aware of it when he wrote down the names and preserved them in the current text of the Book of Mormon.  As far as one can tell from available records, no one has noticed this singular evidence that Joseph was really working with an authentic and ancient text under inspiration. In his THIRD COLUMN  Pagan gives the TRANSLATION or the meaning of the name. (Pagan p. 269) The Book of Mormon, only in rare instances, referred to in these Web series, ever provides a TRANSLATION, or meaning of the name, and when it was provided, it was given because there was a subtle difference that had to be made known to the reader from what might otherwise appear in some academic text in a slightly or significantly different meaning. This actually is an act of precision.  It was intended that the reader know about a difference in meaning for the name or term used, and that at certain times, certain peoples used certain forms for their names with subtle differences. Some of these occurrences have been treated in previous entries to this Web Site and will be mentioned again below and in future studies. Joseph Smith got it right the first time. So when names were dictated to him in their TRANSCRIPTION form they were recorded as he received them. Thus providing grist for the skeptics to chew on and try to account for. 

So, from Ebla, we have a series of names with the double ‘m’s. And as will be noted below, other names with double consonants other them ‘ms’. In most instances, the prefix AMA-, AMM- , AMMA- or AMMU- has the meaning of ‘uncle’. (Pagan p. 279)  A suffix may modify the prefix, such as in the name AMMA-BITU where the meaning is ‘the house hold is uncle’, or AMMA-ADA, which means ‘the father is uncle.’ (Pagan p. 278)  However, the word AMMATU found on tablets from Ebla may have the meaning of ‘forearm’. (Pagan p. 278)  Centuries later, in West Semitic, the prefix AMMA is a hypocoristicon, from Amm meaning ‘paternal uncle’. (Radner p. 102)

AMMU  means ‘uncle is’… (Pagan p. 281)  AMM-AGA, ‘Gay is uncle’,  AMMA-IL, IL is uncle, and AMMA-I-LU, where ‘LU’ is the abbreviation for God, means ‘God is uncle’. (Pagan p. 280) AMMA-MALIK  means ‘Malik is uncle’ and AMMI-I-NA-DU means ‘exhalted is my uncle’.  AMMA-I-ZILL-I  means ‘my uncle is my protection’.

(Pagan p. 280)  AMMA-SADA means ‘father is a mountain’ and AMMU-TAB means ‘uncle is good’. (Pagan p. 280)  The Book of Mormon names attest to the ancient use of the double consonants, such as ‘mm’ and preserve an ancient usage that Joseph Smith most likely took for granted as he wrote the name down, not realizing how important it would be for the analysis of the names and confirmation that he was working from an ancient text and was doing that work under divine guidance. It is clear from such inclusions in the Book of Mormon that there was a clear and intended purpose in all the ways the names were preserved, a built in confirmation of the genuineness of the names.

Therefore, when I am searching for names in various publications I look for lists not only of TRANSLITERATIONS of names, but of TRANSCRIPTIONS as well.  Not every translator puts them in columns like Pagan does. 


All of the Book of Mormon names beginning with a ‘B’ are Biblical names. So there are none to compare with the many Ebla names that start with a ‘B’ but are not Biblical.  There is, however, an interesting word from the tablets of Ebla, BA-I-LA-TUM, interpreted as BAHIR-AT-TUM,  which has the tum or um ending (mimation) found in so many of the Jaredite names. The word means ‘chosen people’.  (Fronzaroli p. 122)  This seems to be related to the older Akkadian word: BE’RUM, OR BA’RUM, which can mean ‘elite’.  (Fronzaroli p. 122) This would be recognized as important by a Mormon or a Jew who would recognize and realize ancient concepts of a chosen people and an elite people, especially in the sense of those held back in time to be born at a critical juncture in the life of the world. A concept few people have any knowledge of or can appreciate. Mormons are very comfortable with all the subtle meaning of these concepts. 


There are a number of unique names beginning with the letter ‘C’ in the Book of Mormon, but there were no names beginning with ‘C’ in the available Ebla lists to compare them with. Future names from translations of additional tablets may provide some parallels. More publications on the names from EBLA will no doubt be published.


There are only two names in the Book of Mormon that begin with the letter ‘D’, Deseret and Desolation. There were many names in the Ebla lists that began with a ‘D’, perhaps in the Brass Plates, the Mulek records or the Jaredite records there may be other names that would have been parallel had Mormon or Moroni abridged passages that contained them. Deseret is the name the Jaredite gave to the honey bees they brought with them.

“The Royal Bee was kept for its honey. Even today the Poppoluca Indians [of Central America] who live in the ancient OLMEC area practice a number of rites connected with the keeping of this insect thus indicating its ancient origin.” (Bernal p. 20)  The OLMEC is the name given to what they consider to be America’s first civilization, appearing about 2200 BC and continuing to about 200 BC, initially described by Coe (1968). It was not until 1955 that dated material began to put on an ancient face for America’s first highly developed and sophisticated civilization. (Soustelle p. 21).  A great conference on the OLMEC was held at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington DC in 1967, (Benson 1967) where they concluded that the civilization had killed itself off through internecine fighting, just as the Jaredites did.   Mormon’s will find this most interesting.


There are seven names in the Book of Mormon that are not biblical starting with an ‘E’

None of these show up in the Ebla lists under that letter.  In fact, most of the names in the Ebla texts starting with an ‘E’ have the meaning of  ‘have mercy’ and not many of them are personal names. 


Typical with ancient Semitic names, there are none that begin with an ‘F’, either in the Book of Mormon or in the Ebla lists. Joseph Smith could have made a very large blunder had he concocted names beginning with ‘F’.  But, he was under divine guidance; he did translate the Book of Mormon, and remained consistent throughout with the nature of ancient Semitic requirements for names.


When Leah, who thought she had ceased bearing children herself, heard that her maid, Zilpah, had given birth to a son of Jacob, Leah named him GAD, exclaiming “Good Fortune.” (Gen 20:11) GAD was the seventh son of Jacob and became one of the Ten Tribes. GAD with his seven sons was among the seventy Israelites who immigrated to Egypt under the invitation of Joseph GAD had helped sell years before. Moses gave a special blessing to the tribe of GAD. (Mandel p. 166)  So, while GAD is a biblical name it is not of Hebrew Origin, though the meaning in Hebrew is also ‘fortune’, (Mandel p. 165) it is of much older derivation. The ancient Proto-Semitic languages split into five different languages before 2000 BC. From the Northwest and Western Semitic the languages of Canaanite, Phoenician, Egyptian, and others transmitted their own variations forward in time. Hebrew did not materialize until about 1000 BC. (Weiss pp. 38-39) But, the name GAD and the prefix GAD were retained by all of them. In the Prosopography of the Neo-Assyrian Empire many names have the prefix GAD, meaning  ‘good fortune or fortune’. (Radner, 1999 pp. 417-418)  In the exact match of the name in the EBLA name lists, the name means ‘fortune, or good’. Because of its history and almost universal retention, it would be expected to show up in the Book of Mormon names in some form or other and of course it does.    

Of the sixteen listed cities destroyed by Christ at his crucifixion, three have the prefix of GAD:   GAD, GADIANDI, and GADIOMNAH. The City of GAD was an unknown city that was “burned with fire and the inhabitants thereof because of their wickedness in casting out the prophets.” (3 Ne. 9:10-11)  The city of GADIANDI, along with others, sank into the earth, burying their inhabitants, hiding their wickedness. (3 Ne. 9:8)  And the City of GADIOMNAH also was “buried in the depths of the earth,” because of its wickedness. (3 Ne. 9:8; Largey pp. 282-283)  

GAD is also an ancient Phoenician name and meant ‘fortune’, the same as it would mean 1000 years later in Hebrew. (Benz p. 294)  The Phoenicians were “a confederation of traders rather than a country defined by territorial boundaries. Their empire was less a stretch of land than a patchwork of widely scattered merchant communities. Maritime trade, not territory, defined their sphere.” (Markoe p. 11)  They had ports and coastal settlement throughout the Mediterranean, Sidon was one of the greatest, well known to Lehi, so well known that Sidon is the name given to an important river in the Book of Mormon and the Phoenician name of Giddonah is also in the Book of Mormon.  “The great libraries of the great harbors and ports of the Phoenicians, Tyre and Carthage, have long since disappeared, the casualty of Macedonian and Roman aggression [gone are the] Phoenician historical and economic records stored in palace and temple archives. An extensive cache of clay papyrus seals recently discovered at Carthage bears ghostly witness to one such collection, lost in the Roman fire that razed the city in 146 BC [leaving only the clay seals as a testimony to the large library of papyrus rolls.]  It is extremely ironic that the very people responsible for transmitting the alphabet to the West should have left so little in the way of a written legacy ... Indeed, … not a single Phoenician manuscript have survived in the original or in translation.” (Markoe p. 11; Erickson Web Site 18 May 2005)

For the Phoenicians, GAD was the God of Fortune worshipped in West Semitic areas, especially among the Palmyreniens. (Benz p. 294)  The endings for the other two Book of Mormon names, GADIANDI and GADIOMNAH, with the consonantal suffix (ending) elements ND and NH seem to have the meaning ‘to have compassion, console.’ (Benz p. 359). The names may have had the meaning ‘may my good fortune console’.  The nature of their ultimate destruction certainly was not prophetic.   

GADIANTON appears in Hel 2:4 and later chapters of that Book. He was, like Lucifer, the epitome of evil, and very familiar to Mormons. The suffix elements, NTN, mean ‘gift’ (Benz p. 364), and is a rare Phoenician expression. In Phoenician it is most often rendered as MTN. (Benz p. 356)  In Phoenician there is a paucity of the use of the elements NTN, but the Book of Mormon usage suggests this was an acceptable form and well known to Lehi and his descendants.  While most likely it was embedded in the Brass Plates, it could also have been derived from the Mulekites most of who were of Phoenician origin. The old meaning of a ‘gift of fortune’ or ‘fortunate gift’ and ‘like’, certainly does not reflect the actual characterization of evil associated with this name and the history of those who carried it who were called “robbers and murderers”, who flourished about 25 BC. (Largey p. 282) 

Pagan lists some 24 names recovered from the tablets with the prefix of GAD. (Notice how some suffixes modify the prefix of GAD to mean ‘like’.)  These include GADA or GADDA, meaning ‘good fortune’, GADA or GADYA, meaning the ‘good one’ GADAB-BA-AN meaning ‘like DABAN’, GADA-MU meaning ‘like DAMU’, GADA-NA meaning ‘the small one’, GADA-NA-TI meaning ‘like a fortress’, GAD-NE or  GAD-NI, meaning ‘like the strong one’. When the prefix is written at EBLA as GADDA, the meaning is generally ‘…is good fortune’, the suffix added can vary a great deal. In the form GADU-GA or GADDU, the meaning is ‘good fortune is Gay’ or whoever is identified in the suffix. GADU-LU and GADU-RI both mean ‘like a fortress’. GAD-DUM or GADDUM both mean ‘like or good fortune’.  In the form of GADU-WA-AD or GADU-WA-DU, the meaning may be ‘good fortune or just good’.  (Pagan p. 309)  GAD is one of those names that did not change in meaning through millennia of time.


GALLIM first appears in the Book of Mormon in 2 Ne. 20:30, a reference from Isaiah 10. A match is found in the tablets of Ebla (Pagan p. 309) confirming the Book of Isaiah is authentic but also that many names in the Bible have authentic ancient origins. The ten names from the EBLA lists show the frequency of the prefix GAL, which seems to mean ‘valiant’. (Pagan p. 311)


We find GAZELEM in Alma 37:23 where the name seems to refer to any seer who utilizes seer stones, but considered “in this instance to be a direct reference to Joseph Smith, the Prophet.”  (McConkie p. 29)  This is further corroborated by the use of a slightly different form of the name, GAZELAM, to refer to the Prophet Joseph in DC 78:9, and in DC 82:ll; 104:26; 104:43; 104:45 and 104:46, where GAZELAM refers to “my servant GAZELAM’ meaning the Prophet Joseph Smith.  The meaning anciently seems to be ‘robbed’, (Radner p. 422), the suffix either as LEM, in Alma, or LAM in the D & C means  ‘why’. There seems to be an oblique prophetic implication in this name being used as it may refer to Joseph:  ‘why robbed of his life?’

Ludlow quotes Reynolds and Sjodahl as follows:  Gazelem is a name given to a servant of God. The word appears to have its roots in GAZ—a stone, and Aleim, a name of God as a revelator, or the interposer in the affairs of men. If this suggestion is correct, its roots admirably agree with the apparent meaning—a seer.”  (Ludlow p. 218)  More specifically, Joseph Smith was … “called Gazelam, being a person to whom the Lord had given the Urim and Thummim.” (Smith p. 492)  Certainly Joseph Smith was just such a servant.  While the two variants of GAZELEM are present in the Standard Works, and either would be correct, the variant for Joseph Smith of GAZELEM appears only in the pre-1981 editions.  McConkie speculates that the “name GAZELEM (GAZALAM) is a title having to do with power to translate ancient records and that Alma’s reference, was to some Nephite prophet who brought the Book of Mormon to light in the golden era of Nephite history.” (McConkie pp. 307-308)  In any case, it certainly fits Joseph Smith and his role as the great prophet, utilizing the Urim and Thummim in bringing forth the ancient records for our time, The Last Dispensation.

However, in ancient EBLA the suffixes modify the meaning so the names from EBLA mean ‘fuller. or donkey driver’. (Pagan p. 310)


The three Book of Mormon names in 2 Ne. 20:29-31 are from Isaiah 9. Again they confirm again that the Bible has greater antiquity than modern scholars give to it, and that a study of the names will accomplish both verification of the Bible and establish the veracity of the Book of Mormon. The prefix GEB- or GIB- means ‘greatness and/or trustworthy’. (Pagan p. 311)   


GID is a city that played an important role in Alma 5:58, and Helaman 5:18.  GID was also the name of a Nephite Chief Captain and Military officer, Alma 57:29 and a man of faith who made proper attribution to God for his intervention. He was put in charge of Lamanite Prisoners to be taken down to the land of Zarahemla, and whose own account tells of the miraculous intervention of Deity on their behalf following the story of the preservation of the 2000 stripling warriors, who while many were wounded none died, while men were killed all around them. (Alma 57:29-36; Largey pp. 291-292)

GIDDIANHI first appears in the Book of Mormon in 3 Ne. 3:9, and is mentioned numerous times in Chapter 3 and 4 of 3 Nephi. In his day he was the Governor of the GADIANTON ROBBERS about 15 AD, who were a major threat to the Nephites and the Lamanites, but due to his excess evil and zeal in an assault against the Nephites he was eventually slain by the armies of GIDGIDDONAH. (3 Ne. 4:5-14) He followed precisely Satan’s destructive design for humankind. By flattery, intimidation, false promises, challenging fundamental beliefs, threats, insincere praise and persuasion with supreme arrogance, he made many yield up their very souls unto him. But like Satan, he ultimately failed. (Largey p. 292)

GIDDONAH has been dealt with in the studies of the Phoenician connection with the Book of Mormon names. The name of Sidon enjoys great popularity in the Book of Mormon. While Lehi was still in Jerusalem it was a great trading port almost exclusively used by Lehi in his Merchant activity in the Levant. The Phoenicians had many ports; two large and important ones were on the coast of Lehi’s home territory, Sidon and Tyre. Tyre had been vanquished after a 13 year siege by Nebuchadnezzar, most of the citizens had escaped to north Africa where they built the city of Carthage, perhaps the city from which Mulek and his entourage obtained passage to the new world. Nibley says the Egyptian name for the port was GIDDONAH, but actually the name is more precisely Phoenician and has been found at Carthage in burial transcriptions. (Benz pp. 294-295; Nibley 1988, pp. 88-89; Erickson Web Site, 18 May 2005)  This Phoenician name first appears in Alma 10:2. It was also the name of the High Priest in Alma 30:23. Most importantly, GIDDONAH  was the father of Amulek, (also a Phoenician name), son of Ishmael, descendant of Aminadi who was a descendant of Alma, (Alma 10:2) who interpreted the writing of God on the temple wall. (Largey p. 292; Alma 10:2)

GIDGIDDONI was a great prophet and chief commander of the Nephite Armies and righteous Lamanites. (3 Ne 2:11-16; 3:19)   His military acumen permitted him to devise a defense against the GADIANTONS, eventually eliminating them in a battle about 25 AD, that in casualties exceeded any battle since Lehi had left Jerusalem.  (3 Ne 4:11-13, 5:4-6; 6:4-9; Largey p. 293)  If one removes one of the double consonantal elements, ‘GID’, you get the name the later name of GIDONI, in Hebrew, Phoenician and Egyptian this would be represented by the consonants GDN, and the name would mean ‘warlike’ (In Hebrew-Mandel p. 175) or ‘to cut, mutilate’  (In Phoenician-Benz p. 295)  These descriptions are indeed applicable to characterize this chief commander of the armies. The double consonants usage as described above when discussing the use of ‘two ms’ does not change the meaning, but merely reflects traditions of writing at different periods; in this case the name has origins in antiquity and probably most likely reflect an original ancient Phoenician usage. The Phoenician meaning of ‘fortune’ for the prefix GID (Benz p. 294) would add to the meaning of this name for this great prophet and chief commander who defeated the GADIANTONS.

Another name that is a near match to a Book of Mormon names is GIDGIDDANU or GIDGIDDANI, the reason for mentioning these names is that the names have great antiquity, only a vowel different. Theses names are AKKADIAN going back at least a hundred years before EBLA. The meaning is unknown in the sources available for that time, about 2350 BC. (Radner 1999, p. 422)  There are just too many subtle details like this that makes it impossible for Joseph Smith to have created a work of fiction utilizing all of these names conjured up in his own imagination. It is clear again and again, that the names were truly dictated to him along with the knowledge whether he ever realized it or not, that they would be found in tablets recovered long after the death of Joseph from a multitude of excavated cities of the Middle and Near East.

There is nearly an exact match GID  with the name GID- GIDA- and GIDALU, in EBLA, where the prefix elements mean ‘like, good’. GADALU means ‘like Daru’. (Pagan p. 311)  In the name GIDAMU from EBLA, the enhancement of the meaning of ‘good’ to ‘exultation’ is noted since the name means ‘exultation of Damu’. (Pagan p. 311)  The EBLA name GADUM, with the ‘UM’ mimation ending often found in Jaredite names, means simply: ‘good’. (Pagan 311)  The name GIDANAIM from the EBLA tablets, illustrates how the prefix meaning for GID-: ‘good’ is used when another name is used as a suffix, so the meaning is: ‘Na-im is good’. (Pagan p. 311)

The names GID-BU-SI and GID-BU-SU-UM, however, have a slightly different meaning, GID-BU-SI means ‘my sanctuary’, and GID-BU-SU-UM, even with the mimation of ‘UM’ also means ‘sanctuary’. (Pagan p. 313)  In transcription, the names may appear as QIDS-I and QIDSUM, (Pagan p. 313) but names do not often begin with a ‘Q’ and the meanings do not change. In transcriptions they try to get as close to the indicated phonetics of the name as possible. The spelling may therefore be a little arbitrary. And because of this anomaly I may have missed a lot of parallels.


GILGAH first appears in the Book of Mormon in Ether 6:14 and therefore is in the old Jaredite record. He is the second son of Jared. The name therefore has great antiquity as it appears in this early period of time of the Jaredites. The prefix seems to mean ‘exultation’. However, depending on the context and the transcription of each name, it can mean ‘adversary, client, terror, or exultation’. (Pagan p. 312)  He is listed third in the genealogy of Jared. (Largey p. 431) The verification of such names in the genealogy of Jared, and the clear demonstration of the antiquity of the names as demonstrated by the tablets from Ebla and elsewhere, Joseph Smith was dealing with an ancient text. Any fictionalization by him would have been impossible to bury in the text the details revealed by the recovery of the ancient tablets and their meaning.

GILGAL is the name of one of the wicked cities destroyed at the time of Christ. (3 Ne.9:6)  The name was no doubt obtained from the Jaredite record translated several centuries before. GILGL is also the name of one of the great warriors who with his ten thousand fell in the final battle between the Nephites and Lamanites. (Mrm. 6:14)  The valley of GILGAL was the scene of two fierce Jaredite battles between the armies of Coriantumr and Shared. The battle swung back and forth, finally Coriantumr kills Shared in battle. (Ether 13:28:31; Largey p. 295)

There are more than a dozen names from the tablets of EBLA with the prefix GIL-. They include GIL-TAGR-U, which means ‘exultation of Tagaru’, GILA-A-HU, which means ‘exultation of Har, adversary of Har, or client of Har’. (Pagan p. 312)  GILA-AR, is similar in meaning. GILA-MA-LIK, ‘adversary of Malik, or client of Malik’, depending on the context. GILI alone, means ‘adversary’, but can also mean  ‘my client’. (Pagan p. 312) The mimation form, frequent in Jaredite times, of GILUM means ‘exultation’. (Pagan p. 312) GILIIM means exultation of Lim. (Pagan p. 312) GILIMI  means, with the abbreviated suffixes like some of the foregoing, ‘exultation of Limu’ (Pagan p. 312)

In some of the ancient texts the prefix GIL- can mean ‘like’ as in the name GILU-U-GU, which means ‘like the distant one’. It would depend on how it was ultimately translated as to meaning. An unusual twist in meaning is given in the name  GILITTI, which means ‘terror’.  The prefix GIL- also appears in the famous AKKADIAN EPIC GILGAMISH with interesting parallels to Noah and the Ark. (Radner p. 422) Jaredite parallels and other parallels from this ancient source will be the subject of a future study.


At one of presentations there were a group of deaf people and an expert sign person. They had difficult with this name, it is highly unusual, but it seems the more unusual the name, the more authentic it is. It first appears as the name of a city in the Book of Mormon. (3 Ne. 9:8)  GIMGIMNO was a very wicked city, mentioned only in its connection with the destruction at the time of Jesus’ death.  The Lord caused the city and its inhabitants to be buried in the depths of the earth and made hills and valleys in the places thereof. (3 Ne. 9:8)  The prefix GIM- means depending on context ‘like’ or ‘spare me’.  In the name from EBLA, GIMALIK, the meaning is ‘like Malik’. In the names GIMILI- (NI)-A-DU and GIMILI-(NI)-A-ZA-DU, the meaning is the same even though the cuniform was more elaborate for one name than the other, meaning ‘spare me, father’. (Pagan p. 312) The NI is a hypocoristicon for Deity, and most likely the meaning is referring to a God, but the personal relationship is indicated in the transcription, and the God referred to is ‘Father’!  This is something a Mormon would understand. It brings up the whole issue of the preexistence and the nature of God being a literal Father of spirits, and therefore, he is addressed in this intimate fashion as ‘FATHER’. It would be equally translated as ‘Daddy’! In the Neo-Assyrian name lists there is a similar name, GIMIL-ABU, it is Akkadian, going back before EBLA, and means: ‘favor of the father’. (Radner p. 423)  This name makes the same intimation. It is a parent relationship no Christian Church accepts today, but it is an ancient doctrine, now restored.  As remarked before, some of the ancient names are often burdened with double consonantal elements. GIM-GIM, without changing the meaning. Thus, hidden in this name is a paternal relationship of a person with his father, who is God. Mormons will be comfortable with this realization.


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BENSON, Elizabeth P., Dumbarton Oakes Conference on the Olmec, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and collection, Tr. Harvard University, Washington, D.C. 1967

BENZ, Frank L., Personal Names in the Phoenician and Punic Inscriptions, Biblical Instituite Press, Rome, 1972

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SMITH, Joseph Field Smith, Harold B. Lee, Marion G. Romney, Doctrine Covenants Commentary Revised Edition Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah 1978

RADNER,  Karen, Ed.,  The Prosopography of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Vol. 1/1, A, The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, University of Helsinki, Finland, 1998

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WEISS, Harvey, Ed, Ebla to Damascus, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C., 1985

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