Dr. Einar C. Erickson
Ancient Document Mormon Scholar
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Adam was endowed with the image and likeness of the Lords above while Eve is the queen of this world. And I God provided and sent the three visitors for their protection, and taught them the holy mysteries and the prayers, which they might recite. I told them further, I have provided to you this earth, a dwelling place fit for eternity. And then sitting near them I taught the manner of calling upon the Lord to bless them.




The Book of Mormon provides many examples of doubters and dissidents and their arguments to destroy the church and challenge the principle doctrines. Several  individuals  are encountered in this study, and the Book of Mormon  provides the basis for confounding them and refuting their declarations.

There are some additional hints that the Nephites and Jaredites may have had early contacts that Moron did not elaborate on but which show up in the meaning of the names and when and where they appear in the record.  


SHEMLON  is a place name referred to five times in Mosiah and once in Alma. (Shapiro p. 875) The Land of Shemlon bordering on the land of Lehi--Nephi and was  under Lamanite control, had been given by the Lamanites  to king Zeniff’s colony about 200 B.C.  (Largey p. 769) The Lamanites in the land of Shemlon were among those converted by Ammon and his brethren. (Alma 23:8, 12) Zeniff had sent spies around Shemlon to observe Lamanite military preparations, Trying to escape being killed by Gideon, King Noah had seen from his tower near the temple in the city of Nephi the Lamanite army approaching from Shemlom, about 145 B.C. (Mosiah 19:6-7) The priests of Noah abducted some Lamanite girls from “a place in Shemlon” where they gathered to enjoy themselves. (Mosiah 20:1-3) But Amulon, leader of the priests, pacified the Lamanite king, who eventually appointed Amulon’s group as teachers in Shemlon and throughout his  lands. (Alma 23:8, 12; Largey p. 169-170) King Noah eventually was killed by fire as he had had Abinadi killed. (Mosiah 19:28; Sorenson p.369)

Knowledge of “The Lamanite cities and lands of Nephi are given to us by Nephi, the first Book of Mormon prophet;  by Alma,  who baptized many in the waters of Mormon, and  by the sons of Mosiah, who spent fourteen year among the Lamanites in the land of Nephi. These cities and lands  include, Nephi, Helaman,  Midian, Shimnilon, Amulon, Lemuel, Middoni, Jerusalem, Shemlon,  Ishmael, and the village of Ani-Anti. (Allen p. 394)  Note the names with the SH-  prefix, and N and M endings or suffixes. The endings are abbreviations for deity. The –ON ending is an authentic  Hebrew suffix characteristic of a Hebrew hypocoristicon (abbreviation) usually dropping a theophoric  name component and was found frequently in the old world. (Coogan  p. 112,  abbreviation, or nick names) See the discussions on Shem . (AKKADIAN 40 and 41 in this series) Remember there are no names in AKKADIAN, or any of the Upper Mesopotamian languages with  SH prefixes for names.   


Shemlon was in the thick of things and was one of the ten major cities in the Land of Nephi. (Allen p. 720)  See AKKADIAN 40 and 41 for discussions of the meaning of SHE and SH in all these names.  It is however, difficult to use a man’s name for a place name as their meaning may have to be distorted a little in get sense out of it at all.


SHEMNON was one pf the twelve disciples chosen by the resurrected Savior when He organized the Church among the remnant of Israel in Ancient America. (Pinegar p. 170; 3 Nephi 19:4) See AKKADIAN 40.


Jacob became the successor of Nephi in early Nephite history when “There came a proud and skilled orator called Sherem.  He was learned…he had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people, wherefore he could use much flattery, and much power of speech, according to the power of the devil.” (Jacob 7:4) He was an ambitious intellectual. A master at smooth talk. (Nibley p. 364) His message was a total denial of the being and mission of Christ, “for no man knoweth of such things; for he cannot tell of things to come.” (Jacob 7:7) “But I know that there is no Christ, neither has been, nor ever will be.” (Jacob 7:9) And he drew away many of the people of GOD. Sherem was called before Jacob to defend his untenable position. “But behold, the Lord GOD poured in his spirit into my soul in as much that did confound him in all his words.” (Jacob 7:8) Sherem confirmed that he believed the scriptures. So Jacob confronted him: ”Then ye do not understand them; for they truly testify of Christ. Behold, I say unto you that none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ.  And this is not all-it has been made manifest unto me by the power of the Holy Ghost wherefore, I know if there should be no atonement made all mankind must be lost.” (Jacob 7:11-12)

Sherem insisted on a sign to substantiate the gospel doctrines so the Lord incapacitated him for many days. Sherem called for a meeting so he could bear his confession of guilt and his witness about the truthfulness of Christ and the power of the Holy Ghost. After he testified he died. He had committed the unpardonable sin. Jacob had accused him of Blasphemy for transforming the Law of Moses into a warped worship of Christ. (Jacob 7:1, 7; Jacob 7:20;  Pinegar p. 170-171; Largey p. 720) For Jacob it was an answer to prayers. “And it came to pass that peace and the love of God was restored among the people, and they searched the scriptures, and hearkened no more to the words of this wicked man.” (Jacob 7_23)

In Egyptain  the prefix ‘SHER’ means ‘young God.’’ (Budge p. 749) The mimation of EM, or  UM,  as the suffix,  is an Akkadian emphasis for deity. Sherem was a ‘young God.’

There was a city in the south of Judah, in l Chronicles 4:31 it is called SHARAIM, (Sherem), It was assigned to the tribe of Simeon. (Buttrick p. 328)

SHEREM was able to deceive the people because their love of God and understanding of the scriptures was seriously deficient.  (Jacob 7:10-11, 23; Alma 33:14) How many of us are guilty of this today?


This is a place name. It was the final hostilities between the Nephites and Lamanites nations. The Lamanites had raided and captured men, women and children prisoner from the tower of SHERRIZAH. (Moro. 9:7) Nothing is mentioned where the tower was.  Mormon, writing to his son Moroni described the grisly horrors to which the prisoners were subjected to. The men were killed, and the women and children were fed the flesh of their husband and fathers. (Moro. 9:8) Many widows and their daughters +remained in Sherrizah, and were forced to scavenge for food, because what provisions the Lamanites left, Zenephi’s Nephite army took. (Moro. 19:16) Mormon indicated that the Lamanite armies were positioned between his weakened army and SHERRIZAH. (Moro. 9:17).’

In the Assyrian dictionary, the prefix ZAH- seems to mean ‘exalted.’ Or, in keeping with it as a tower, it  may mean ‘high.’ It was a ‘high tower.’  (Baker p. 1445)

The prefix of ZAH-  seems to mean ‘small’ or even ‘helper’ in the tablets of EBLA. (Pagan p. 383) but it ii not quite a fit.  Recall that in  Assyrian, like Akkadian, they did use a SH as a prefix in any word or name. (Baker p. 1265)


Several specific cultivated plants are mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The Nephites civilization had corn, wheat, barley, neas, and SHUEM. (Mosiah 9:9) Other plants including fruits are mentioned, but other than this single reference nothing more is said of these important agricultural plants.

It could be speculated that since potatoes are very important in the new world, that one of these two names may refer to it.   It could be that they refer to  melons or squash, but at this point in time we do not know what the names  stand for.

John Sorenson commented on the plant names: “.One plant…named among the foods of the Zeniffites…(…second century BC) is “SHEUM…“ no clue as to.…the modern botanical identification….however a precise match for the name is found in Akkadian (i.e., ancient Babylonian). There sh’u or she’um signifieds “barley” or “grain” (compare Sumerian she, “barley”; in Old Assyrian the word meant “wheat”)”…..the most popular Mesopotamian cereal name…where sheum is mentioned in the Book of Mormon…it is listed alongside wheat and barley, so we know that… it was distinct from either of those crops plants…look to the Jaredites as the source for the sheum name…the Jaredite party moved to a ”valley which  was northward …” The preparation (Ether 2:5) including collecting seeds of every kind (v. 3). The area was northern Mesopotamia…where the name she’um  was at home in languages  of the third  millennium BC.” [Jaredite] (Sorenson pp 304-305) “In Mesoamerica the name might be linked to ixim  pronounced eesheem) the most common term for maize in Mayan languages…Those who believe Joseph Smith created the Book of Mormon on his own…are hard-pressed to explain the means by which the ancient Mesopotamian grain name Sheum [or its corrected form: SE’U(M)] came to be included in the Book of Mormon…the SHE morpheme [or prefix element]  in this name for barley had secondary Mesopotamian meanings of “price” and a unit of “measure of barley””(…Alma  11:5-19) The monetary units in use…including “shum,” and “shiblon,” and “shiblum” as well  as “senine,” “senum” …and “seon.” had been Hebrewized or Egyptianized by the addition of the SH- prefix  element to  three of the names. The revision of the dictionaries removed the SH element from most of the northern Mesopotamian languages before  2000. The Jaredite records retained the element. The Akkadian dictionary I use was corrected several times after several printings, in 2004. The Neo-Assyrian Dictionary was published in 2002. Sorenson’s references, in his book, date to between 1973 and 1992.  He made reference to the fact that the name may go back to ancient Sumerian.   

In the corrected Akkadian dictionary the name is SE’U(M) meaning “barley, grain” and since barley is already listed  the reference would be to another grain. (Black p. 369) There is no SH element in the dictionary, as pointed out, the SH- prefix is mainly found in the Hebrew and Egyptain dictionaries, the two most influential languages in the Book of Mormon.  

In the Analytical Concordance of ancient archives from ancient Ur, (ancient Sumerian) published in 2009, the name or word for barley is:  SE’U with a lengthy  list of suffixes whenever barley was involved, such as carrying, loading, giving,  stealing, acquiring, guarding, reaping, lending, stealing, giving, etc., There is also  list of equivalents, for wool, beer, etc., and the pay schedule  in barley for every job you can think of. (Klinerman pp. 182-183) The Nephite chartings give names also for the various measures. Often using Jaredite names. Again in the Garsana [Sumerian] material there is no SH element. Nothing much older has yet to be published.

But for those of you who like to quantize, the ancient Sumerian records  indicate that they gave 6 liters of barley for a day’s pay for those on the lower of the pay scale, who received this amount for bringing straw.  (Klinerman p. 560) The “measure” of barley in Alma may have been close to or about the same as a  U.S. bushel which has 35.24  liters. The bribery (Alma Chapter 11) of 44 measures would then have been worth 1,550.56 liters, or 260 days of pay for a straw gatherer.  That is close enough to get the picture.    

 “The  [SH-, “ or prefix element ] morphemes  could have come into Nephite society from Jaredite  survivors [and records] via the people of Zarahemla.  The Nephite money nomenclature was specifically said not to be of Jewish derivation”, [but sure appears to have been heavily influenced by the Jaredite system and names]. (Sorenson p. 305) It seems there is a lot of interesting and good detail in the recent records and publications that eventually someone will take time to really make a study of all this.  ‘The Book of Mormon also refers to other “grains,“ all manner of grains,  (Enos 1:29; Alma 62:29) in addition to “corn,” “wheat,” “barley,” and “Sheum.” Elsewhere,  I  [Sorenson] have pointed out eight other species of grain crops used in or near Mesoamerica-two species of amaranth; huauzontle, chia, a millet, and three kinds of teosinte.  These findings give credence to the Book of Mormon statement that the Nephites cultivated a variety of grain.” (Sorenson p. 305) And they also had beans. “The Hebrew word for beans is  pol, in Mayan beans are  called buul or bol.  (Ibid p. 306)


SHEZ   is included in the lineage chart of Jaredite leaders as the ninth generation after Jared, the founder of the Jaredite nation. (Ether 1:25;  Largey pp.431-432; Pinegar p, 171)  SHEZ was the son of HETH, who had embraced the secret combinations of old, (Gidiantons), and  killed Com, his own father to take over the nation.  (Ether 9:26) The people plunged into wickedness, rejecting and killing the prophets at the command of Heth. So the Lord sent a devastating famine into the land and a vast infestation of poisonous serpents. Heth, himself, died of starvation.(Ether 10:1) When the people began to repent and regain their            spiritual stability, the Lord sent rain once again upon the land, “and the people  began to revive again, and there began to be fruit in the north countries, and all the countries round about.  And the Lord did show forth his power unto them in preserving them from famine.” (Ether 9:35. Pinegar p. 171) These were the conditions under which Shez took over the reigns of power.  “And it came to pass that this Shez did remember the destruction of his fathers and he did build up a righteous Kingdom, for he remembered what the Lord had done in bringing Jared and his brother across the deep and he did walk in the ways of the Lord, and begat sons and daughters.” (Ether 10:2) The eldest son of Shez, also called Shez,  (note the papponymy)  rebelled against his father. But the rebellious son, who was very rich, was slain by a robber seeking his wealth. (Ether 10:3) Thus peace was restored again to the land. During Shez’s remaining years, many cities were built up and the population spread across the land.( Ether 10:4) Shez lived to be very old and when he died he was replaced by his son Riplakish, (Ibid) who did not do right by the Lord, but turned the cycle back to wickedness. (Ether 10:4-11; Pinegar p. 171)


SHIBLOM was a Nephite general who fell, with his 10,000 soldiers, in the final battle, at Cumorah around AD 385 (Morm. 6:14 ). As the mimation OM ending indicates, the name is  Jardite. He was a late Jaredite King (Ether 1:11) See the above and Akkadian 40 for discussions of the prefix.


According to the listing of JAREDITE leaders in the Book of Ether, Seth was the son of Shiblon, and SHIBLON  was the son of Com, toward the end of the JAREDITE Chronicle, (See Ether 1:11), during the reign of Shiblon (the name was spelled with an M in Ether 11:4, 7, 9), there was widespread warfare and disruption across the Land (Ether 11:7). When Shiblon was slain in the course of battle, his son Seth succeeded him (Ether 11:9). Seth was imprisoned and dwelt in captivity all of his days.  (Ether 11:9-10)

SHIBLON was a son of Alma, and was described by Mormon as  a ”just man, and he did walk uprightly before God; and he did observe to do good continually, to keep the commandments of the Lord his God” (Alma 63:2). On his great mission to the Zoramites, about 74 B.C.es, Alma took Shiblon, his brother Corianton and, Amulek, Zeezrom and the three sons of Mosiah – Ammon, Aaron, and Omner. (Alma 31:6-7)  Alma blessed him: “I say unto you my, son, that I Have had great joy already because of thy faithfulness and they diligence, and thy patience and thy long suffering among the people of the Zoramites.” (Alma 38:3) And told him to put his trust in God and by so doing he would be delivered out of his trials and afflictions and would be lifted up at the last day. (Alma 38:5; Pinegar pp 170-172)

The prophet-father bore his personal testimony to his son and encouraged him to continue to teach the word “with “boldness, but not overbearance  and also see ye bridle all your passions, that you be filled with love, see that ye refrain from idleness.” (Alma 38:12) Shiblon obeyed. Mormon said of   him as being a valiant disciple of the Lord. The people greatly prospered and had peace because of the work of those missionaries who had been ordained by the Holy order of God,  being baptized unto repentance, and sent forth to preach among the people. (Alma 49:30).  In 56 B.C. Shiblon received the records from his older brother, Helaman, three years later Shiblon conveyed the records unto his Nephew, Helaman, son of Helaman, and died shortly thereafter. (Alma 63:11; Pinegar p. 172)

Mormon’s abridgement does not mention any political or military responsibility, Shiblon  was to continue to preach the gospel, the word of God, a subsequent reference indicates that in 72 BC, he was preaching successfully to the Church. (Alma  49:30) His valor in the faith was confirmed when sixteen years later he was given the  records which three years later, as an old men, he gave the records to his nephew  Helaman and died. (Alma 63:10-11; Largey 721)  He was a real man of God! A very blessed family.  

It has been noted previously that the prefix to the name, SH- is not found in Akkadian, though it does in many names in Hebrew and Egyptian.

Shiblon has three spellings, SHIBLON, SHIBLOM AND SHIBLUM, first appearing as Shiblon in Ether 1:11 . It has been previously noted that the SH prefix is not found in  Akkadian, but is abundant in Hebrew and Egyptian. It seems to have the meaning of “oath” as used in the covenant over a well Abraham and Abimelech contended about  in a place now known as Beersheba, “ well of an oath” (Gen. 26:33) Isaac revived the old name, using the feminine form siba’a  of the word Seba.  (Douglas p. 1437)

In Alma 11:4, 7, 15-19,  reference is made to the names of the different  pieces precious metals  ‘coins,’ (referred to as a coin in the INDEX to the Book of Mormon and in Google,  for the Hebrew meaning of Shiblon), of  gold and silver according to their value as given by the Nephites.  “15:  A Shiblon is half of a Senum; (another silver piece) therefore, a Shiblon for half a measure of barley.  16: And a  Shiblum is a half a Shiblon …19: Now an antion of gold is equal to three Shiblons…” This Discussion of Nephite weights and measures is charted by Largey showing the number of Shiblons for different amounts of measures of grain. A Shiblon was worth two measures of grain. It was the most used of the pieces of silver. The Shiblum was used for a 1/4th measure of grain. The bribe of 42 measures of grain would have been worth 84 Shiblons of silver or 6 limnahs of gold. (Largey p. 609) A SHUM or piece of gold, was worth 8 Shiblons. (Alma {11:9) Could the Nephites have had contact with  earlier peoples, such as the Jaredites (OLMECS), suggested by the Jaredites use of the variations  of names for Shiblon and the use of the names in their monetary system?

In Hebrew Shiblon is often used to mean “Seventh.”  Seven ewe Lambs were given by Abraham to Abimelech as a witness to the fact of their ”oath” or covenant. (Douglas p. 1437)  Two cities were involved, Tell es-Seba and Bir es-Saba, two miles apart, now known as Beersheba,  based on the Isaac version of the ancient covenant. (Buttrick p. 327)


This name is a variation on the name Shiblon with an Akkadian mimation, the use of UM, an abbreviation of diety, “oath of God,” and used in the coinage systems of the Nephite “weights and measures.” (Largey p. 609)

Bazelel Porton suggests the –UM mimation ending is a common  West Semitic suffix, and is a hypercoristicon for Jehovah names.  Fourteen names in the Book of  Mormon contain this ending. (Porton p. 139-140)  The –um ending   was also a prevalent hypocoristic suffix among the MARI Texts. (Coogan p. 132)


Christian Interpreters since the sixteenth century have identified Shiloah as the MESSIAH. (Buttrick p. 331) Centuries have passed since a Messiah of Judean Judean origin was expected. “A  Messiah of Righteousness” is mentioned in a Qumraan commentary, a Dead Sea Scroll,  on Genesis,  a righteous off-shoot of David.  (Buttrick p. 330)

Shiloah is the name of a pool of water near Jerusalem, It is also found in 2 Nephi 11:6; from Isaiah 8:6), the  people refuse the waters of the Prince, Christ, the Assyrian kingdoms shall overflow them like a flood and destroy them. Which is what happened.

Shiloah was also the name of an important city in northern part of the territory of Ephriam, located north of Bethel and East of the main road from Shechem to Jerusalem.  (Judg.  21:19; Buttrick p. 329)  The ark of the covenant and the Tabernacle remained here from the time of Joshua to the days of Samuel. Here the stories of Hannah, Eli, his sons, and Samuel took place. Pilgrimages from all over Israel took place because the tabernacle was the equivalent of a Temple, until Solomon built the one in Jerusalem.   

The Blessing of Jacob on Judah (Gen. 38:5)  “until he comes to whom it,  the scepter or ruler’s staff belongs,” “until he comes whose right it is,” “until the things reserved for him come.” Oblique references to the coming of Christ, lost track of by most readers of the ancient scripture. The restoration today is a testimony of the fulfillment of the expected coming.  He ca6me, lived and died and finished the Atonement for all mankind everywhere in the Universe. The name may be traced back to the Akkadian shelu or shila, “prince, ruler.” (Buttrick p. 330)

The ancient city became a ruin and an area of desolation, rediscovered in 1838, excavations began in 1926, again in 1929, and again in 1932, but were never finished. (Buttrick p. 328)  


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

BAKER, Heather, The Prosopography of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Vol. 3. Part 11. S-Z.  University of  Finland, Helsinki. 2011

BLACK, Jeremy, Andrew George, Nicholas Postgate, A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian, 2nd corrected printing, Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, 2000 

BUDGE, Sir Earnest A. Wallace, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary. Vol 1&2, Cosmo Inc., New York, 2011

Buttrick, George A., The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible,  Abingdon Press, New York,1962

COOGAN, Michael D., West Semitic Personal Names iin Muasu Documents,  Edwards Brothers, Ann Arbor. 1976

Douglas, I. D. Ed., The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Intervarsity Press, Tyndale House Publishers, Hodder and Stoughton, Sidney, 1980

KLEINERMAN, Alexandra & David I. Owen, I., Analytical Concordance to the Garsana Archives, Vol. 4, CDL Press, Bethesda, Maryland. 2009

LARGEY, Dennis L., Book of Mormon Reference Companion ,Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2003

PAGAN,  Joseph Martin,  A Morphological and Lexical Study of Personal Names in the Ebla Texts, Missione Archeological Italiana in Syria, Universita Degli Studi  Di Roma, 1998  

PINEGAR, Ed., Richard Allen.  Book of Mormon Who’s Who, Covenant Communications, American Fork, Utah, 2007

P0RTEN, Bazael, Archives of Elephantine, University of California Press, Berkeley 1968 

SORENSON, John L., Mormon’s Codex, Neal Maxwell Institute, FARMS, BYU, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah 2013

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