Dr. Einar C. Erickson
Ancient Document Mormon Scholar
Main Menu
Articles View Hits


Professor Sod had an interview for three and one-half hours with President McKay here at the Church Offices.  At the end of this interview President McKay asked him, "What happened to the people who wrote the scrolls?"  Professor Sod was going to defer to the expert but he was the expert.  He said, "President McKay, they joined the Church."  And President McKay said, "I like that."




Nephi was well educated. He says: ”I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father.” (I Nephi 1:1) The family seems to have had close ties to Sidon  (for the name appears repeatedly in the Book of Mormon, both in its Hebrew and Egyptian forms).  Lehi was “particularly proud of his knowledge of Egyptian and insisted on his sons learning it,” (Mosiah 1:4) In this entry we learn some more internal details of the influence Egyptian and Hebrew had on the Book of Mormon.


SERAPHIM is the plural of SERAPH, winged celestial beings, of uncertain identity. (Buttrick p. 279) There are two references to Seraphic Hosts in the Doctrine and Covenants: Of his personal visions of the heavenly throne Joseph had this to say: “And help us by the power of thy spirit, that we may mingle our voices with those bright, and shining SERAPHS around thy throne with acclamations of praise singing hosanna to God and the Lamb. And let these, thine anointed ones, be clothed with salvation and thy saints shout aloud for joy, Amen, and Amen.  (D&C 109:79-80)

And from a revelation given in 1831: “Thus saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, the Great I am, Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the same which looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and ALL THE SERAPHIC hosts of heaven, before the world was made. The same which knoweth all things for all things are present before mine eyes.“ (Alma 38:1-2) This is the hard Doctrine of Omniscience, (Maxwell Chap. 2)

 “Pertaining to a Seraph…angelic, sublime…A SERAPH is an Angel of the Highest Order.” (Largey D&C p. 897)  They are around Father and the Son all the time and are available to serve them whenever. Isaiah and other describe them with wings, as artistically depicted as early as 500 BC, symbolic of their capability to move quickly and act. (Brewster p. 509)

In Hebrew the name means “burning,” also “bright  or light.” They are heavenly beings who Isaiah saw in his vision when he was taken up before the Lord. ( Mandel p. 477)  

SERAPHIC HOSTS OF HEAVEN. “In a vision of the prophet Isaiah (6:2-3) Seraphim are standing over (above) the throne of God, in the   attitude of service. They are the attendants of Jehovah, reflecting his glory and majesty, and, in his presence, they sing in chorus, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Host. The whole earth is full of His glory” The three fold exclamation plays a significant role in Isaiah’s and John the Revelator’s visions of heavenly temples. (Rev. 4:8) This cry of “ Holy, Holy, Holy,”  may point to God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. (Parry p. 65) Our Lord looked upon these hosts. They were standing before Him, awaiting His commands even before the Earth had been created.” (Smith p. 198; Brewster p. 508))  As they were attending CHRIST were they to play some role in the creation and preparation of the earth for man? Were you or I one of them?  “It is clear that Seraphs include the unembodied spirits of preexistence…Whether the name Seraphs also applies to perfected and resurrected angels is not clear.” (Brewster p. 508) They could only be resurrected after Christ completed the Atonement on this earth. SERAPHS are Angels who reside in the presence of God, giving continual glory, honor and adoration to him. “Praise ye him, all his angels, praise ye him, all his hosts.” (Ps. 148:2) Isaiah was frightened in the presence of deity. (See my CD The Angel Raphael).  “Woe is me for I am, undone, cut off,” The Prophet Isaiah had seen enough. He had been called into a great council of the heavens: “When the prophet Isaiah said that he was a man of unclean lips, living in the midst of a people of unclean lips, one of the Seraphim came to him and touched his lips with a live coal, which it had taken from the alter… and said unto him, reading his thoughts, “This has touched your lips.” Isaiah expected to feel searing and burning, but he was not hurt, then the Seraphim pronounced him sacramentally  clean and said that his sins  whatever they were, had been purged or blotted out, and he was now clean before the Lord.” (Mandel 477, Isaiah 6:5-7; Skousen pp. 194-195) “The live coal represents the Holy Ghost who purifies and purges us making it possible for us to enter God’s presence.” (Skousen p. 66)  

Then Isaiah heard the Lord speaking to the vast multitude and council inviting them to nominate someone to go forth with the messages of the wrath to come and represent the council as a special representative of the heavenly Priesthood. Impetuously Isaiah cried out “Here am I, send  me.”  The Lord loves this kind of enthusiastic spirt.  And they sent him. Where? To the earth!  Following an ancient pattern (Abra.  3:27; Parry p. 66) For eighteen years he proclaimed the messages of calamities to come because the people remained steadfast in their sinning. Sinning was more fun than being righteous. And the calamities came, and included the disappearance of the ten tribes, captivity among the Assyrians and the Babylonians, all their cities  laid waste, and being dragged “far away” (Isaiah 6: 12), they looked forward to the calamites of the days before  the second coming. (Skousen pp. 195-198)  It appears that Isaiah had a Panoramic vision of the calamities that would and did occur. (See Verse 6:11; Skousen p. 197)   Verse 6:12 was among verses of Isaiah that The Prophet Joseph Smith had to correct to clarify. (2 Nephi 15:13) 

Sennacherib was the king of Assyria and had set out to conquer all of Judea but had not succeeded  in capturing Jerusalem.  Rabshakeh was a trusted officer and had been sent with a large army to deal with  Hezekiah. Rabshakeh insults Hezekiah and his emissaries and belittled and attacked Judah’s trust in the Lord and the words of the prophet Isaiah, and mocks the newly established religious practices. He tells the people not to trust what Hezekiah says that the Lord will deliver you, has he delivered any of the cities I have destroyed, such as Sepharvaim? Note the use of the angelic name Sephar in this city’s name. He even mocks everything in claiming that Jehovah has told HIM to go against Hezekiah and the land and destroy Jerusalem (Isaiah 36:10, 18-19)) and that Judah’s armies are of no consequence. (Isaiah 36:8) Hezekiah, in exchange for Sennacherib’s mercy and leaving Jerusalem in peace,  pays 300 talents of silver (22,500 pounds) and 30 talents, (2250  pounds), of gold. (2 Kgs 18:14-16)  But Sennacherib sends Rabshakeh anyway to take and destroy Jerusalem. This was great treachery on the part of Sennacherib. Hezekiah receives a threatening and blasphemous letter from Sennacherib, he is facing a time of such trouble that the Lord must intervene if Jerusalem is to survive. (Isaiah 37:14-17) He takes the letter to the temple and prays and exercises his faith in the living God. (Ibid 37:17). He desires only the glory of God. He is a righteous King and listens to the prophet. You do not mock and insult a prophet, and especially God, as Rahshakeh had, and not incur his wrath.  So a plague was sent in to the great army of 185,000 lying in siege around Jerusalem. (Isaiah 36:1-21) They were all killed, wiped out overnight.  Sennacherib heard rumors and returned to his own kingdom where his own sons kill him with a sword, just as Isaiah had prophesied would happen. (Ibid 37:7) These things were happening about 725 to 680 BC. ( Parry pp. 320-328) This was the time of the Asssyrian Wars. After the Assyrian wars, only 10% of Israel remained behind. Hezekiah was granted an extra 15 years to live.  In the next 80 years things would go from bad to worse, other prophets would be raised up, including one called Lehi, the people tried to  kill him but he was guided in safety to another part of the world; the story of the Book of Mormon. Beginning with Adam and Eve who lost their first two generations to Lucifer. Wickedness cost repetitive generations their lives and destiny. It is the same today.

“And Adam united with his wife and she bore him sons and daughters…they began to multiply and fill the earth…began to divide two by two…and they also begot sons and daughters.” (JST Gen. 4:1; 5:2; Moses  5:1-5; Anderson p.52) None of these were to die, of the first two generations, until after they had been taught the gospel. (D&C 29:42; Moses 5:13) Then Lucifer appeared unto them as an angel of light and all of them followed him and apostatized and lost the Holy Ghost. (Moses 5:14-15; Anderson p. 56)  And afterwards she bore  Cain and then Abel. (Moses 5:18-25; Anderson p. 58; TPJS p. 169) The doctrine that Adam and Eve had two generations of children before Seth was born and lost them to Lucifer, is unique to Mormonism, but confirmed by the discovery of the Nag Hammadi books. ( Forester, Vol. 2, pp. 47-48) These belonged to the oldest Christian church in the world, the COPTICS. “And Adam united with his wife again, and she bore a son when Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and he called his name Seth…God has appointed me another seed instead of Abel whom Cain slew.” (Anderson p. 62)  The name SETH means “substituted.” He substituted for ABEL, the head of the first dispensation. (Mandel p. 464)


SHARED was an obstinate Jaredite military figure who would not listen to the prophet Ether’s instructions. SHARED contended with Coriantumr, the last of the Jaredite kings. By command of the Lord, Ether confronted Coriantumr directly with the divine ultimatum to repent and keep the kingdom or continue with his wickedness and witness the entire destruction of the kingdom, which  would then pass  into the hands of another people,  (Ether 13:-20-31) the Mulekites. Coriantimur did not heed the word of the Lord and, in fact attempted to slay Ether, who fled back to the sanctuary of his secret cave.

SHARED rose up and defeated Coriantumr –placing him in captivity. The sons of Coriantmur rescued their father and returned him to power. Subsequently, Shared and Coriantumr came against one another in repeated battles until Shared was finally killed, but not before  wounding  Coriantumr in the thigh and disabling him for two years. (Ether13:30-31) But the people continued shedding blood and ignoring God. Their disobedience and actions proved to be the prelude to the final catastrophic events that brought about the fulfillment of Ether’s prophecy on the extinction of the Jaredite nation. (Ether 14 and 15; Pinegar p, 169)

When we take the name apart, we get a prefix name, SHAR- and a suffix name, - RED or elements  -ED.  Most names have three consonants in them, even the word consonants has seven,  four or five are less frequent, but there are many Gook of Mormon names with six and even seven consonants in them. The name Coriantumr has six, Those with the long names are generally Jaredite names.  Yet Zarahemla, a Mulekite  name, has five.  Many Jaredite names are short and only have one vowel.  I do not think that Joseph kept these details in his consciousness. But as we examine the background of SHARED and its meaning, we note that it is used in the Jaredite record, but may not be a Jaredite or Akkadian name. It appears late in the history  at the end of the Jaredite Nation. It does not appear in the Akkadian language, in fact there are no words or names that begin with the SH- or  have the SHAR prefix in the Akkadian dictionary.  (Black p. 369) In available names from Ebla, (Pagan p. 333-363) there are also no words or names that have the elements of the SHAR prefix. The Assyrian Dictionary (Baker pp. 1168-1169) also has no names or words that contain the SH or  SHR elements. (Baker pp. 1168-1169) But notice, there are 22 names and words that follow SHARED in the Book of Mormon glossary all with the SH- prefix. Most are Jaredite. The language and writings of the Book of Mormon peoples were a mixture of Egyptian and Hebrew, So in looking into the dictionary of Who’s Who in the Tanakh, (Hebrew sacred works) there are 30 pages of names and words with the PREFIX element Sh-. (Mandel . pp. 478-508) In the Egyptian dictionary, that I use, there are 39 pages in Vol.  2 alone, of names and words that have the SH elements. (Budge pp. 720-759) Keep in mind we are only discussing the elements SH and only the part of the glossary with names that begin with SH,  it is a  powerful  statement of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and confirms many of the internal claims of what culture and names (Egyptian and Hebrew) were most influential on the Book of Mormon

It is however an exact match to SHR in Phoenician  inscriptions recorded from Carthage and Constantine and a variety of Aramaic texts.  In ancient Phoenician the word or name meant ‘Dawn’  for a “West Semitic Deity, progeny of the God El.” [Elohim] (Benz pp. 414-415) The Phoenicians were polytheistic, with Gods for everything.  “As early as the 3rd millennium  B.C., the term “Canaanites” was used for the people and “Canaan” for the region…the whole Syro-Palestine area.” (Moscati pp, 24) The name appears many times in the literature and records of Ugarit one of their many cities; a smelting, refining and craftsmanship center. Canaan means purple, the people were known for their purple dye and textile products, the ‘royal purple.’ As noted in earlier discussions, the Jaredite were traders and Merchants, like Lehi, and no doubt had many contacts with the early Canaanites, at least enough to acquire some names and words that Ether incorporated into his record.  The great epic writer, Homer, called them Sidonites, because of their great port on the Mediterranean Sea, visited by Lehi many times. Note how much the Book of Mormon is influenced by the name Sidon and its Phoenician name, Giddonah, with its variations, appear in the Book of Mormon.  It has taken twelve years of working on names to notice these features in the make-up of the Book of Mormon. How and where did Joseph Smith get the names?


The name occurs in the Book of Mormon in l Nephi 16:13.  When on the wilderness journey from Jerusalem, they made a stop after traveling  for four days “we did pitch our tents again and we did call the name of the place SHAZER.”  There was water and trees there.

“This name is intriguing. The combination Shajer is quite common in Palestinian place names; is it a collective meaning “trees” and many Arabs (especially in Egypt) pronounce it SHAZHER. It appears in Thoghret--as- Sajur  (the Pass of Trees) which is the ancient SHAGUR, written SEGOR in the sixth century.  It may be confused with Shagur, “seepage” which is held to be identical with Shihore , the ‘black water’ of Joshua 19:36,which takes, in western Palestine, the form Sozura, suggesting the name of a famous water hole in South Arabia, called Shisur, Thomas and Shisar by Philby. [Nibley’s references], It is a tiny ‘copse’ (Thomas) and one of the loneliest spots in the world.  So we have Shihor, Shaghur, Sajur, Segor (even Zoar), Shajiar, Sozura. Shisur, and Shisar, all connected somehow or other and denoting either seepage-weak but reliable water supply—or a clump of trees. Whichever one prefers, Lehi’s people could hardly have picked a better name for their first suitable stopping place than SHAZER.” (Nibley p. 90)


         This is a biblical name. The name is taken from Isaiah 7 and included in 2 Nephi 17:3. The prophet Isaiah had two sons both were given symbolic names corresponding to God’s designs for his people. The name SHEARJASHUB means “a remnant shall return”-alluding to the eventual restoration of Israel in the latter days. Now! The Hebrew name for the other son was Maher-shalal-hash-baz, meaning approximately, “hurrying to the spoil hastens the plunder” –an allusion to the misguided alliance of Ephriam and Syria defeated with the Assyrian invasion of 721 BC., resulting in the scattering of the ten tribes-and the eventual defeat of all earthly kingdoms rising up in alliance against the kingdom of G0D. The prophecy is given in Isaiah’s words, as conveyed by Nephi “Behold I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for a sign and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of Hosts, which dwelleth in Mount Zion.” (2 Nephi 189:18)


As noted above, there are no names starting with the elements SH in the Mesopotamian languages, so far, before 2000 BC.  SHELEM was the place name of an important mountain named SHELEM by the Jaredites because of its great height, where the brother of Jared took his sixteen  stones  to get God to  touch them and make them provide light for the  boats they prepared for the long sea journey to the promised land. (Ether 3:1) and “where he saw the finger and hand of God and the veil was parted so he could see the spirit body of Jesus Christ as he would appear in the world, and shown a vision of all things.” (Ether 3:4-6, 13, 25; Largey p.719)

But A match is found in the Hebrew name SHELEM-IAH where the name means “thank offering for God.”  The abbreviated -IAH suffix appended to many names by the Jews, represents Jehovah. So, the name means “thank offering for Jehovah.” (Mandel p. 490)


There is the Biblical SHEM. Contrary to Genesis 5, Shem was not the oldest son of Noah. We have the Book of Moses which makes major  changes. “Noah was four hundred and fifty years old, and begat Japheth and forty-two years afterward he begat Shem of her who was the mother of Jepheth, and when he was five hundred years old he begat Ham,” evidently from another woman (Moses 8:12) who may  have been the one who went with him on the Ark. The three sons of Noah and their spouses and Noah and his wife, were the eight survivors of the flood 

Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek who received it  through the lineage of his fathers. (D&C 84:14) He said he sought the priesthood so he may have traveled to Salem where Melchizedek was king under his father Noah, Melchizedek was Shem. We have discussed Shem before. What we have to say now will be brief. Abraham says: “I …had the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord my God had given me in Ur  of the Chaldees.”  (Abraham 3:1) Possession of these sacred instruments constitutes a prophet, by this time he was destined to be the head of a dispensation. Note what else Melchizedek, among other things, taught Him: Again “others say that Melchizedek … was Abram’s ancestor Shem, and he now taught Abram the duties of priesthood particularly the rules governing shew-bread, wine-libation and burned offerings… He gave Abram the garment of skin made by God for Adam and Eve…all this Shem did because God had appointed Abram his successor…” (Graves p. 147) A temple going Mormon will know what is going on here, but any other reader will not.

President Milton R. Hunter of the Quorum Seventy, writes “That in one of the early Gospel Dispensations God revealed the true ordinance of the Sacrament to man even before the advent of Jesus of Nazareth, in anticipation of the sacrifice Christ would make…the evidence has been lost to history…when Father Abraham met the great High Priest Melchizedek on a certain occasion the Inspired Version [JST] states:

“And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine and he broke the bread and blessed it and he blest the wine he being the priest of the Most High God, and he gave to Abraham…What Interpretation could be given to this statement…than the observance of the holy ordinance of Sacrament?” (Hunter p. 239)     

“Ancient tradition also holds that Shem is Melchizedek which might be supported by the latter-day declaration that Shem is “the great high priest” (D&C 138:41; and foot notes), the same designation given to Melchizedek in the Doctrine and Covenants.“ (D&C 107:2); Heb. 7:1-2; Largey 2012, p. 587)

Shem had numerous sons and daughters. “He stands …as the eponymous ancestor of the Semites generally and the Hebrews  specifically.” (Buttrick p. 321) The ancestor of many nations. He is our ancestor. He was six hundred years old at the time of his death. (Mandel p. 492)  The father of Asenth, wife of Joseph, was the daughter of Potiphera, High Priest of the temple city of ON, a descendant of Shem. (Gardner p. 361) The Hyksos  ruled the land and Egypt during the fifteenth dynasty and were Shem’s people. (Aharoni Map 24)

SHEM  was the name of a military commander with ten thousand troops, all were killed with many other commanders and their troops,  in the last battle between the Nephites and Lamanites (Mormon 6:14  A.D. 385; Largey p. 719)

SHEM  was also the place name of a city of the Nephites north of Jashon and Antum to which  Mormon and his people fled from the Lamanites (A.D. 345) Mormon and others fortified the city and gathered as many Nephites as possible to save them from destruction. Rallying his faithless countrymen to fight for their families and homes, Mormon motivated them to stand against the Lamanites and defeat them.  (Mormon 2:20-26; Largey p. 710) The City was one of the cities of Desolation, that included Boaz, Teancum, Jashon, Joshua, Angola and David, in the land of Desolation northward. (Allen p. 395)  SHEM was also the place name for a land northward: “And it came to pass in this year [AD 345] the people of Nephi were hunted and driven. And it came to pass that we were driven forth until we had come northward to the land which was called SHEM.” (Momon 2:20; Allen p. 457)

The name SHEM has a match found in the Egyptian dictionary. There the name means “ a wise man, skilled…knowing, “ (Budge  p. 739) The hiergoglyphic is a small,  norrow,  oblong box with two slashes in the center, it is generally common in all names places,  etc., beginning with the element SH-.  In Hebrew SHEM is a noun meaning  “name.” or “kin,” (Mandel p. 492) Also “reputation” “Fame,” “Renoun.” And in the D&C he is called “The Great High Priest.” (D&C 138:41) In Mesopotamian it may be used as “the Son.” Of the three sons of Noah “he was the Son.” (Buttrick p. 321) Shem’s lineage is recorded down to the tenth generation which included Abraham. (1 Chronicles 1:24) In Phoenician the name means “dawn,” First Light”See the discussion above. Those who descended from Shem inherited the promised Land, displacing the Canaanites who were descended from Ham. (Gardner p. 397) Shem is one of our ancestors.

SHEM is an example of papponymy, repeated in many records from the Brass Plates to modern revelation.



ALLEN, Joseph L. & Blake 6J. Allen, Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, Covenant Communications, American Fork, Utah, 2011

ANDERSON, Todd, G., Genesis Made Whole: One Complete Story of the Patriarchs, Best Books Publishing, Provo, Utah, 1989

AHARONI, Yohanan, Anson F. Rainey, Michael F., Ze’ev Safrai, The Carta Bible Atlas, Carta Jerusalem, 2002

BAKER, Heather D., Vol. 3/1, P-S, The Prosopography of the New-Assyrian Empire, University of Helsinki, 2002

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

BREWSTER, Jr. Hoyt W., Doctrine and Covenants Encyclopedia, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, Utah 1988

BUDGE, Sir Ernest A., Vol. 2, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, Cosmo Classics, New York, 2010

BUTTRICK, Thomas Samuel, The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, Abingdon Press, New York, 1962

FORESTER, Werner, GNOSIS 11, C0PTIC AND MANDEAN SOURCES, Oxford, at the Clarendon Press, 1974

Gardner, Joseph L. Ed. Who’s Who in the Bible, Reader’s Digest, Pleasantville,  New York, 1994

GRAVES, R. & R. Portan, Hebrew Myths, Jewish Publications, 1968

HUNTER, Milton R., The Gospel Through the Ages, Steven and Wallis, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1945

LARGEY, Dennis I., & Larry E. Dahl, D&C Doctrine and Covenants Reference Companion, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City. 2012

LARGEY, Dennis I., 2005, Book of Mormon Reference Companion, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah 2005

MANDEL, David, Who’s Who in Tanakh, Ariel Books, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2004

MAXWELL, Neal, All these things Shall Give The Experience, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1979

MOSCATI, Sabatino, The Phoenicians, Abbeville Press, New York, 1988

NIBLEY, Hugh, lehi in the Desert & the World of the Jaredites, Bookcraft Publishing, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1952

PARRY, Donald W., Jay A. Parry, Tina M. Peterson, Understanding Isaiah, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah,1998

SKOUSEN. W. CLEON, Isaiah Speaks to Modern Times, The Ensign Publishing Co., Salt Lake Utah, 1284

SMITH, Hyrum M., Janne M. Sjodahl, The Doctrines and Covenants Commentary, Deseret Book Company. Salt Lake City, Utah. 1975

All research and opionions presented on this site are the sole responsibility of Dr. Einar C. Erickson, and should not be interpreted as official statements of the LDS doctrine, beliefs or practice.
To find out more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, please see their offical websites at LDS.org and Mormon.org