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Question #90069 posted on 07/13/2017 6:13 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I found Lehi in the book of Judges! How many names in The Book of Mormon are unique only to The Book of Mormon?

-My Name Here

A:

Dear you,

Abstract: 76.0-78.4% (160.5 ± 2.5 out of 208) of unique Book of Mormon toponyms and anthroponyms are not found in the Bible, not counting references to places and people also referenced in the Bible. Including individual instances of repeated names changes the ratio to 71.9-74.6% (205 ± 5 out of 280 ± 1). Uncertainty stems from ambiguity in differentiating individuals with identical names in similar time periods and doubt as to whether variations on names found in the Bible are Biblical or unique to the Book of Mormon.

Method: The researcher skimmed the entire text of the Book of Mormon in one afternoon, looking for capitalized words and determining, based on previous familiarity with the text, whether each toponym and anthroponym described a unique place or individual from those previously found. Each name was searched for in the Gospel Library app to determine whether it could be found in the Bible or not. Names for people and places referenced in the Bible (i.e. Moses, Abraham, Egypt, Babylon, Jesus Christ, etc.) as well as names of people not found in the Bible but supposedly contemporary to Old Testament prophets (Zenos, Zenock, and Ezias) were not included. Additionally, Gazelem was not included in the analysis, as it seems to refer to Joseph Smith and not any person in the Book of Mormon.

Results and Discussion:

45 unique names describing 71-73 people and places in the Book of Mormon are also found in the Bible. The complete list can be found in Appendix A of this document. The uncertainty stems from the names Lehi and Aaron, both of which could describe three or four different people, because the people named were alive around the same time. Some believe that Lehi, son of Zoram, named in Alma 16:5, is the same as the captain of the Nephite armies during the Amalickiah/Ammoron war. Additionally, the possibility exists that the Aaron mentioned in Moroni 9:17 is the king of the Lamanites mentioned in Mormon 2:9.

158 different names describe 202 different people and places in the Book of Mormon that are not also found in the Bible. The complete list can be found in Appendix B. The most common names in this group are Nephi and Laban, each of which belong to four people and one city/land. Over the course of the Book of Mormon, the frequency of Biblical names decreased. That is, the further into the Book of Mormon one goes, the more likely a name is to not be found in the Bible. This is to be expected, as the Nephite language evolved and grew further from the Hebrew spoken by the Jews over the centuries. 

Five names belonging to six people and places (Appendix C) were questionable as to whether they were Biblical or not. Those names were Isabel, Jershon, Josh, Sam, and Sidom. The name Isabel is not found in the Bible, but the origin of the Romance-language group of names (Isabella, Isabelle, etc.) is the same Hebrew word translated to English as Elizabeth. Jershon, the land where the Nephites let the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi (and later the Zoramites) live, is very similar to the name of Moses' son, Gershom. The name Gershom appears to mean a sojourner there, which is fitting for a place of temporary respite for refugees until they are able to move on. Josh and Sam both appear to be shorter versions of the Biblical names Joshua and Samuel. Finally, Sidom is very similar to the name of the river Sidon. There is evidence that the -om and -on endings in Nephite/Jaredite names are somewhat interchangeable. The strongest case for this is Shiblon/Shiblom from the book of Ether. When Moroni puts forth the genealogy of Ether, his name is recorded as Shiblon in Ether 1:11-12. However, in Ether 11, his name is repeatedly written as Shiblom. For this reason, it's impossible to know if the name of the land of Sidom was the same as the name of the city of Sidon, or if the Nephites distinguished those names.

Conclusion: Only about one out of every four names in the Book of Mormon is also found in the Bible. As expected, names found later in the Book of Mormon are less likely to be found in the Bible as well.

-The Entomophagist

Appendix A: Names found in both the Book of Mormon and the Bible

  • Aaron (three or four people and a city/land)
  • Aminadab (one person)
  • Ammah (one person)
  • Ammon (two people)
  • Amos (two people)
  • Antipas (hill)
  • Benjamin (one person)
  • David (city/land)
  • Enos (one person)
  • Ephraim (hill)
  • Esrom (one person)
  • Gad (city/land)
  • Gideon (one person and a city/land)
  • Gilead (one person)
  • Gilgal (one person, a valley, and a city/land)
  • Helam (one person and a city/land)
  • Helem (one person)
  • Heth (two people and a city/land)
  • Isaiah (one person)
  • Ishmael (two people and a city/land)
  • Jacob (three people and a city/land)
  • Jared (two people)
  • Jeremiah (one person)
  • Jerusalem (city/land)
  • Jonas (two people)
  • Jordan (city/land)
  • Joseph (one person)
  • Joshua (city/land)
  • Judea (city/land)
  • Kish (one person)
  • Laban (one person)
  • Lehi (three or four people and two city/lands)
  • Lemuel (one person)
  • Levi (one person)
  • Midian (city/land)
  • Nimrah (one person)
  • Nimrod (one person)
  • Noah (two people and a city/land)
  • Ramah (hill)
  • Samuel (one person)
  • Seth (one person)
  • Shem (one person and a city/land)
  • Sidon (river)
  • Timothy (one person)
  • Zedekiah (one person)
Appendix B: Names unique to the Book of Mormon
  • Abinadi (one person)
  • Abinadom (one person)
  • Abish (one person)
  • Ablom (place)
  • Agosh (plains)
  • Aha (one person)
  • Ahah (one person)
  • Akish (one person and a wilderness)
  • Alma (two people)
  • Amaleki (two people)
  • Amalickiah (one person)
  • Amaron (one person)
  • Amgid (one person)
  • Aminadi (one person)
  • Amlici (one person)
  • Ammaron (one person)
  • Ammonihah (city/land)
  • Ammoron (one person)
  • Amnigaddah (one person)
  • Amnihu (hill)
  • Amnor (one person)
  • Amoron (one person)
  • Amulek (one person)
  • Amulon (one person and a city/land)
  • Angola (city/land)
  • Ani-Anti (one person)
  • Anti-Nephi-Lehi (one person)
  • Antiomno (one person)
  • Antonium (one person and a city/land)
  • Antipus (one person)
  • Antum (city/land)
  • Archeantus (one person)
  • Cezoram (one person)
  • Chemish (one person)
  • Cohor (three people)
  • Com (two people)
  • Comnor (hill)
  • Corianton (one person)
  • Coriantor (one person)
  • Coriantum (two people)
  • Coriantumr (three people)
  • Corihor (two people and a city/land)
  • Corom (one person)
  • Cumeni (city/land)
  • Cumenihah (one person)
  • Cumorah (city/land and hill)
  • Emer (one person)
  • Emron (one person)
  • Ethem (one person)
  • Gadiandi (city/land)
  • Gadianton (one person)
  • Gadiomnah (city/land)
  • Gid (one person and a city/land)
  • Giddianhi (one person)
  • Giddonah (two people)
  • Gidgiddonah (one person)
  • Gidgiddoni (one person)
  • Gilgah (one person)
  • Gimgimno (city/land)
  • Hagoth (one person)
  • Hearthom (one person)
  • Helaman (three people)
  • Helorum (one person)
  • Hem (one person)
  • Hermounts (wilderness)
  • Himni (one person)
  • Jacobugath (city/land)
  • Jacom (one person)
  • Jarom (one person)
  • Jashon (city/land)
  • Jeneum (one person)
  • Kib (one person)
  • Kim (one person)
  • Kimnor (one person)
  • Kishkumen (one person and a city/land)
  • Korihor (one person)
  • Kumen (one person)
  • Kumenonhi (one person)
  • Lachoneus (two people)
  • Lamah (one person)
  • Laman (four people and a city/land)
  • Lamoni (one person)
  • Lehonti (one person)
  • Lib (two people)
  • Limhah (one person)
  • Limher (one person)
  • Limhi (one person)
  • Luram (one person)
  • Mahah (one person)
  • Manti (one person and a city/land)
  • Mathoni (one person)
  • Mathonihah (one person)
  • Melek (city/land)
  • Middoni (city/land)
  • Minon (city/land)
  • Mocum (city/land)
  • Moriancumer (place)
  • Morianton (two people and a city/land)
  • Moriantum (city/land)
  • Mormon (two people and the waters)
  • Moron (one person and a city/land)
  • Moroni (two people and a city/land)
  • Moronihah (two people and a city/land)
  • Mosiah (two people)
  • Mulek (one person and two city/lands)
  • Muloki (one person)
  • Nehor (one person and a city/land)
  • Nephi (at least four people and a city/land)
  • Nephihah (one person and a city/land)
  • Ogath (place)
  • Omer (one person)
  • Omner (one person and a city/land)
  • Omni (one person)
  • Onidah (hill and place)
  • Orihah (one person)
  • Paanchi (one person)
  • Pachus (one person)
  • Pacumeni (one person)
  • Pagag (one person)
  • Pahoran (two people)
  • Riplah (hill)
  • Riplakish (one person)
  • Ripliancum (waters)
  • Sariah (one person)
  • Seantum (one person)
  • Sebus (waters)
  • Seezoram (one person)
  • Shared (one person)
  • Shelem (mountain)
  • Shemlon (city/land)
  • Shemnon (one person)
  • Sherem (one person)
  • Sherrizah (tower)
  • Shez (two people)
  • Shiblom (one person)
  • Shiblom/Shiblon (one person)
  • Shiblon (one person)
  • Shilom (city/land)
  • Shim (hill)
  • Shimnilom (city/land)
  • Shiz (one person)
  • Shule (one person)
  • Shurr (valley)
  • Siron (city/land)
  • Teancum (one person and a city/land)
  • Teomner (one person)
  • Tubaloth (one person)
  • Zarahemla (one person and a city/land)
  • Zeezrom (one person and a city/land)
  • Zemnarihah (one person)
  • Zenephi (one person)
  • Zeniff (one person)
  • Zerahemnah (one person)
  • Zeram (one person)
  • Zerin (mountain)
  • Zoram (three people)
Appendix C: Names very similar to Biblical names but with different spelling
  • Isabel (one person)
  • Jershon (city/land)
  • Josh (one person and a city/land)
  • Sam (one person)
  • Sidom (city/land)