Dr. Einar C. Erickson
Ancient Document Mormon Scholar
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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."


In the glossary of names in the back of the Book of Mormon. there are more names beginning with an A than any other letter, about  60, and there are about 40 names using S.  About 100 names, or nearly one third of the names listed begin with these two letters. Only two names begin with a D and only five with a B. No names or words start with an F. and only 8 with a K.  No names or words begin with a Q, and none begin with V, W, X, Y. Three begin with a U,  but they  are Biblical. The rest of the names in this study begin with the letters  T, U and Z.  From all this one could conclude the language of the Book of Mormon was a West Semitic language heavily influenced by Hebrew and Egyptian and ancient Akkadian. And there is a lot more to be gleaned by  a study of this type. So It has been a very interesting ride. And we keep on finding little gems of truths  tucked in  by Mormon and Moroni.                     


Zeniff and his people were driven from the land of Zarahemla and out of the hands of the Lamanites. He made a treaty with the King of the Lamanites so they could repair the cities of SHILOM  and LEHI-NEPHI. SHILOM is a place name of the city and land of Shilom and is mentioned in Mosiah 9:8. They built a temple there and a high  tower from which  they could see out over the land of  Shilom, also the land of Shemlon and land round about. (Mosiah 11:12) This may have been the present area of Guatemala City. (Allen pp. 394, 559) Around the Land of Nephi there are nine cities enumerated, the sixth city on the list is Shilom. (Allen p. 720) Two of the cities, Nephi and Shilom had built large defensive walls around the cities that were repaired over a two hundred year period. (Sorenson p. 360) King Noah had centered his kingdom at the city of Nephi; Shilom was included in his domain. (Sorenson p. 569) The Land of Shilom fits in the area on the south and west shore of Lake Amatitlan. (Sorenson p.  570) Note the presence of a Lake nearby.

The Lamanite cities and landscapes  the land of Nephi are given to us by Nephi the first Book of Mormon prophet, then by Alma who baptized in the waters of Mormon, and then by the sons of Mossiah who spent fourteen years among the Lamanites in the Land of Nephi. These cities and lands include Nephi, Helam, Midian, Shimnilom,  Shilom,  Amulon, lemuel,  MIddoni, Jerusalem, Shemlon, Ishmael,   and the village of Aniti-Anti. None of these cities were destroyed at the coming of Christ. (Grover p.156)  We can tell a lot about where the cities were located by the language names they carry. (Allen p. 394)

In Egyptian the prefix SHI- is found in various names to mean a LAKE-the suffix generally refers to where the lake is and what it is called. In the Egyptain word,  SHI EN AST,  means the “Isis Lake at Memphis.” When It is used in the Book of Mormon, most likely there is a lake in the place, or nearby.  The suffix  –LOM  seems to be a mimational  gloss added much later.


SHIM is a Jaredite place name of the hill of records, in the Land of Antum, first appearing  in Ether 9:3 and in Mormon’s record in  Mormon 1:3 and 4:3.  AMMARON deposited all of the sacred records of the Nephites in the hill SHIM. (4 Ne. 1:48) He instructed young Moroni that when he returned twenty-four plates he should take from these records the plates of Nephi and continue the record.  (Morm. 4:2) This Mormon did, (Moroni. 2:17-18), but about AD 375 he was forced by Lamanite advances to remove all the records from SHIM. (Morm. 4:24)

A Hill SHIM is mentioned once in the Jaredite abridgment by Moroni. Omer passed by the Hill after the overthrow of his kingdom. (Ether 9:3)

The name SHIM is Egyptain, and can mean a ”place” or “shrine,” The hill of records was a special, sacred place,  even a sacred shrine. (Budge p. 731) In Hebrew, the name can mean “famous or important”. (Mandel p. 500), which it was. The Hebrews used the prefix SHIM- in the word Shimea to mean “heard”. “God has heard.” It appears in other Hebrew words and names sometimes with different meanings. (Buttrick p.  331)

Allen has identified   the Hill CINTEPEC  as The Hill Shim,  located east of Lake Catemaco in the Tuxtla Mountains  in the state of Veracruz, Mexico, close to the Hill Vigia which is also the leading candidate for the location where the last great battles were fought.  (Allen p. 44, 46 Map, 909) SHIM in Maya , means ‘corn’ - thus  ‘Corn Hill.’


A Jaredite place name, which seems to mean, “sacred place of the Gods” perhaps  referring to the records, especially since the sacred records were stored there; for a Lamanite city whose inhabitants were converted to Christ by Ammon  and his fellow missionaries. The people of Shimnilon were among those who adopted the name Anti-Nephi-Lehites, and who were converted to CHRIST. (Alma 2:8-17) They appear to have been part of the large  immigration of those converted souls northward as part of the 5400 mentioned by Alma. (Alma 63:4) See in this web site They Buried Their Weapons,  which tells of the legends of the HOPI Native American how their  ancestors buried their weapons and would not  kill, and crossed a great desert, “ the old and  young were dying,  keep going- keep going…” linking them to the  5400 who went north.


SHINER is the land in which were situated the great cities of Babylon, Ereck and Akkad, the capital city of the Akkadians. (Gen.10:10) It lay in a plain in which early migrants came  to found the city and tower of Babel (Gen. 11:2) and for the Jews it meant the  “place of Exile.” (Is. 11:11; Dn. 1:2 )  On the ancient  cuniform text it is  called “Babylonia.” (Douglas p.  1439) 2 Nephi quotes Isaiah 11, that the Lord will gather the “second time to recover the remnant of his people” from the Near Eastern kingdoms including SHINER. (2 Ne. 21:11) The keys for such a gathering were provided by Moses to the prophet Joseph in the Kirtland Temple April 3. 1836. With the establishment of branches of the Church in some of those areas now shows the work is in progress. (Sperry pp. 227-228)  Elder Holland held a meeting of the leaders of these branches in Jordan in the fall of 2016


           The name SHIZA is of uncertain origin and meaning. (1 Chronicles 36:42) About the 10TH century  BC,  Shiza was the father of Adina, one of King David’s brave warriors and a captain of the Reubenites.  (Mandel p. 506)

SHIZ- SHIZA,  was the commander of the large Jaredite army during the last great battle of the Jaredite civil war.  He assumed command at the death of his brother Lib who was slain in battle against the army of Coriantumr. Shiz pursued Coriantumur relentlessly slaying both women and children and burning cities (Ether 14:16-17), killing everybody, to avenge the blood of his brother and to disprove the prophecy that Coriantumr was to be slain by the sword. (Ether 14:24) In several of the battles millions were slaughtered,  the Jaredites were on their way to annihilating themselves.

Twice Coriantumr wrote SHIZ epistles offering the rule of the kingdom to him, if he would spare the people Shiz refused these offers, demanding  that Corinatumr give himself up that SHIZ “might slay him with his own sword” (Ether  15:4-5, 18) Of course that would never happen. Then he would spare the people. Shiz swore in his wrath that he would slay Corinantumr or he would perish by the sword. (Ether 15:28) SHIZ  and his army pursued Coriantumur in the forlorn diminishing battles until only the two commanders remained alive on the last battle field. Then a most graphic passage  in scripture is recorded regarding the death of Shiz by decapitation. (Hatfield p. 313-28) The death of Shiz fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Ether that if Coriantumr and his household did not repent, all of his household save it were himself, would be destroyed (Ether 13:29-21).  God’s word to his prophets will all be fulfilled. (Largey p. 722)


SHULE is a jaredite name. He was a great-grandson of JARED and an early Jaredite King. (Ether 1:31-32)

SHULE ‘s father, Kib, was living in “captivity…under Corihor, his son” (Ether 7:7)

Shule grew up to be a “mighty” man in physical strength and “in judgment” (Ether 7:8). Full of righteous purpose, he forged steel swords and arming himself and his followers, defeated his brother Corihor and restored the kingdom to his father (Ether 7:9). For this, Kib passed the Kingdom on to him (Ether 7:10), and he ruled justly. KIB, the father of SHULE  is an ancient Akkadian name with an exact match.  (Huehuergard p. 376)

SHULE   has the prefix SHU-, an Egyptain name,  meaning “light, the sun, daylight, or  fire, heat” (Budge p. 731) depending on the suffix, in this  case the suffix is  -LE.  SHU  is also the name of a GOD who assisted the dead. (Budge p. 732) In the name SHU NEB MAAT, the name means “The God of the lst hour of the day.”  SHU, standing alone, can also mean a “spirit who destroyed the dead.” Its hieroglyphic is a feather facing to the right, in most hieroglyphics it is placed in the front of or the beginning. (Budge p. 732) In Akkadian. The –LE seems to mean “enduring, or dependable,” like the sun.

SHU is also the name of one of the early gods in Egypt. The transformation of the sun God into the living god Khepera, and the twelve goddesses…”bring with them the soft winds and breezes which accompany the dawn and guide the god to SHU, who is the personification of the atmosphere and of whatever is in the vault of heaven.” (Budge 2 p. 193)

But eventually Noah,  son of the repentant Corihor,  started another insurrection, captured Shule  and cast him  into prison (Ether  7:15-17). Shule was scheduled to be executed, but his sons came by night, killed Noah, released their father and restored him to his throne (Ether 7:18)

Conflict  between the two rival kingdoms of Shule and Corihor, the son of Noah, continued for much of the reign of Shule. Then Corihor was killed in battle , his son Nimrod  voluntarily relinquished the kingdom to Shul, therefore winning Shule’s favor. (Ether 7:21-22) Sometimes the use of the same name  for father and son confuses the record a little.

During the reign of Shule the Lord sent prophets to warn the people to repent or “be destroyed” for their “wickedness  and idolatry” (Ether 7:23). Shule punished those who persecuted the prophets and passed a law allowing the prophets to preach freely (Ether 7:24-25).

Thus the people were brought to repentance, Shule was a righteous king, a wise lawgiver, and a mighty warrior.  By the end of his reign, Shule had established peace and righteousness among the people. (Ether 7:27). But it didn’t always end this way.


SHUM  is one of the terms used in the Jaredite-Nephite weights and measures, and is equal to 4 measures of grain. It is a gold measure (Alma 11:9),   It is equal to 8 Shiblon or an Ezrom  of silver. ( Largey p. 609) Consider the system carefully, does the system appear to be a type and shadow of the spiritual concepts of justice and mercy? (Allen p. 366)

SHUM is an exact match to the Egyptian name or word, SHUM, meaning “ Little,”  (Budge p. 734)

In The Guatemalan Highlands, in a Nahuala Village the owner says his name is Antionio SHUM, (XUM). (Allen p. 44)

Bezel Porten suggests that the -UM ending, a common West Semitic suffix, is a hypocoristicon  for Jehovah names. Fourteen names in the Book of Mormon contain this ending. (Porten pp 139-140) The –UM ending was also a prevalent  hypocoristic suffix among the MARI Texts (Huffmon p. 132)


SHURR is a place name of a Jaredite valley where Coriantumr and his armies pitched their tents before proceeding to the hill Comnor to resume battle of mutual extermination with the armies of Shiz (Ether 14:28)

SHURR, notice the double consonant, found in ancient Jaredite and Akkadian words and names, testifying to the antiquity of the language. See the discussion under SHULE above. In Egyptain the name means “the grape harvest,” probably the valley had wild grapes, or was deliberately  planted with grapes giving the valley its name. It might be telling us something about weather and temperature.


The Land of SIDOM is the region  in which Alma and Amulek journeyed after being rejected at Ammoniah.  Here they discovered the believers who had been driven out of the land of Ammoniah and had found refuge in SIDOM. They also found Zeeszom a former adversary on his sickbed, wracked with guilt for his sins and for his opposition to Alma and Amulek. The repentant Zeezrom was healed and then baptized.  In SIDOM Alma preached the gospel, established a church, and consecrated priests and teachers to baptize. (Alma 15:1-14)  This was about  81 BC. The name is probably a variation of SIDON.


This is the place name for a prominent river in Nephite territory, named after the famous Phoenician Port of Sidon through which Lehi would have trafficked, originated in the vicinity of the south wilderness and the land of Manti (Alma 16:43-44; 22:27)   The SIDON apparently flowed north to the sea, passing just east of the city of Zarahemla. (Alma 3:3 6:7; 44:22)  The river is mentioned most frequently as a landmark and strategic site in military confrontations among the Nephites, Amlicites, and Lamanites (Alma 2-3, 16;43-44) The “waters of SIDON” are mentioned at least once in a more peaceful context as the site of many baptisms. (Alma 4:4)

Sorenson considers the plausibility that the wharf at Chiapa de Corozo and its setting on the Grijalva Riiver can be identified as SIDOM and SIDON and presents a strong case for this.  (Sorenson pp.  597-598)

“….The name of SIDON enjoys great popularity in the Book of Mormon, in both its Egyptian [Phoenician] (Giddonah) and Hebrew  forms.” (Nibley pp. 88-89) This is an unusual confirmation Joseph had an authentic document he was translating. There are five variations of the name in the Book of Mormon. On the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea there were two great ports: Sidon and Tyre, Tyre is not mentioned in any way. At the time of Lehi it had been captured and was a ruin, Joseph could have slipped badly here, but he dId not.

Tyre would be rebuilt long after Lehi had left. But Lehi would have known the Egyptian-Phoenician name, GIDDONAH, by which SIDON  would have been called. Mormon must have deliberately added or inserted things like this to knock  down the sceptic who would not study the Book of Mormon that closely. You can just about hear the scream: “Joseph, you got it right!!”     

Note the double consonant characteristic.

In Chapter 7 of his Book, Sorenson provides his evidence “that the land of Zarahemla of the Nephites consisted largely of the Basin of the Sidon RIver, in turn we saw that that area correlates closely with the territory drained by the Grijalva River (the Central Depression of Chiapas),  in southern Mexico.” (Sorenson p. 294) See in this web site the entry that contains the name GIDDONAH.


SINAI comes from the Old Testament. Mt. Sinai, also called Mt. Horeb. Travelling past Marah and Elim, the escaping Israelites reached Sinai in the 3rd month after their departure from Egypt , (Ex. 19:1) and camped at its foot on a plain from which the top was visible. The Lord revealed himself to Moses and gave him tablets on which were given the doctrines of the priesthood. While on the Mt. the people violated the laws of God so great that Moses broke up the first tablets and returned to the mountain getting the Lessor laws and only the Levitical or Aaronic Priesthood with the ten commandments. This and some other events while in the Sinai defined the Jewish people for the rest of this earthly sojourn and not until the coming event on the Mt. of Olives will they receive what was had on the first set of tablets unless they obtain the ordinances from the LDS Church, and many have. 

Sinai means “Mountain, or wilderness.” (Buttrick p. 376) 


The place name for the Land of SINIM, (1 Ne. 21:12) … “…these shall come from afar, and lo, these from the north, from the west, those from the land of Sinim. The East.” The name means ‘CHINA.’ How will the conversion of CHINA affect the Church?


SIRON is the place name for the Land of SIRON, (Alma 39:3), Located on the borders of the Lamanites. Alma chastised his son Corianton for going to the land of SIRON after the harlot Isabel. (Alma29:3)

Elder George Reynolds described SIRON as “the land of the deserters or apostates.” He described how typical it is for the unrighteous “to draw off to remote corners where they fancy the reproofs of the priesthood are the least likely to be heard.”  (Reynolds p. 298)

SIRON as a  place name is mentioned only once in the Book of Mormon, located near the borders of the Lamanites. (Alma 39:3) In the Assyrian dictionary they have a prefix of  SIR- for many names but in all of them the origin and meaning is unknown.  They also have a prefix of SI- meaning and origin unknown.  (Baker pp. 1151-1152) In the Akkadian dictionary there is only one reference to the prefix and meaning, the prefix SIR- means ‘a metal object.’ It was found on tablets recovered from MARI a  large city state that thrived about the same time as Ebla. At that time the Jaredites were in Babylonia. The prefix SI- or SIR- is not found in any names in the Jewish TANAKH, (Mandel p, 504) and they are not found in Egyptian.

On the clay tablets of EBLA we find various forms of the prefix :  SIR-(FLESH OR SONG), SIRA-(FLESH or SONG) ), SIRI-(FLESH or SONG),  SIRU-(FLESH or SONG), The suffix is generally a god such as MALIK, MUTU, MURU or MUT. (Pagan p. 363) The meaning  is about the same for all of the vowels utilized. (Pagan p. 363) The clay tablets were part of a royal archive in the city of EBLA destroyed about 2250 BC  near the Jaredites had left the region.

 We have noted before the –ON ending is an authentic Hebrew characteristic of a Hebrew hypocoristicon (an abbreviation of a Hebrew component,) and was found frequently in the old world. (Coogan p. 112) The Hebrew used the ancient prefix but utilized the Hebrew nick name for Jehovah as the ending.


Know as Syria, Syrians, Arameans.  Aram, and Aramaic designated this ancient state bounded by the Taurus Mountains on the north , the west bend of the Euphrates,  the Arabian desert south to the Dead Sea,  and the Sinai isthmus on the extreme south.  It once had the configuration it now has.  It also once stretched from E. Asia Minor and past Syria across Babylonia into Persia to the border of India. It was greatly reduced when Antiochus gained Palestine from Ptolemy V,  from Egypt. Pompey annexed the region for Rome, Judea being separate. It was a thorn in Israel’s side for many centuries. When Abraham moved south many relatives remained behind at Haran, these families provided many of the patriarchs their wives. (Gen. 10:22; 22:21) The Assyrians conquered the region along with Aram and the northern portion of Israel. In 722 BC the region was completely conquered by the Assyrians, those deported disappeared as the lost ten tribes.  (Largey p. 504) When David was king the area was under his control and known as Aram. See any Biblical dictionary, for more than you will want to know. It is referenced only in 2 Ne. 17:1-8.                                                   


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

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

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

COOGAN Michael D., West Semitic Personal Names in Murasu Documents, Edwards, Ann Arbor, 51976     

BUDGE, Sr. Earnest A. Wallis, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, Cosimo Classics, New York, 2010

…………………………………………2,  The Egyptian Heaven and Hell, Open Court, La Salle, Illinois. 1974

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

DOUGLAS, J.D., The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Inter Varsity Press, Tyndale House Pub. Hudder and Stoughton, Sydney, 1980

GROVER Jr., Jerry D., Geology of the Book of Mormon, Author, Provo, Utah, 2014

HATFIELD, Gary M., Neuropathology and the Scriptures, Brigham Young University Studies, 32:2, Provo, Utah, 1993

HUEHNERGARD, John, The Akkadian of Ugarit, Scholars Press, 1989

HUFFMON, Herbert, Amorite Personal Names in the Mari Texts, John Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1965 

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

NIBLEY, Hugh, Vol. 6,  An  Approach to the Book of Mormon, Deseret Book Company, and  FARMS, BYU, Provo, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1988

PAGAN, Joseph Martin, A Morphological and Lexical Study of Personal Names in  the Ebla Texts, Missione Archeologica Italiana, in  Siria, University Degil  Studi de Roma, 1998

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

PORTEN, Bezalel, Archives from Elephantine, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1968 

REYNOLDS, George, The Story of the Book of Mormon, 3rd Ed. Henry C. Etten & Co., Chicago, 1888

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

SPERRY, Sidney B., Book of Mormon Compendium, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, Utah 1968

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