Reuse of Jaredite Names Among the Mulekites, Lamanites and Nephites

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By Robert F. Smith

John L. Sorenson once asked:

One wonders what considerations led Alma the younger to give two, ... of his sons Jaredite names: Shiblon and Corianton... Perhaps they had been born and received their names during Alma's “idolatrous” phase (see Mosiah 27:8). I suppose that the idolatrous cult in which he was involved was old, ultimately Jaredite-derived, and common in Nephite society, in the broad sense, thanks to transmission through elements among the people of Zarahemla.[1]

Nine of the strongest indications of this pattern are listed in the following table:

AHAH (Ether 1:9, 11:10) AHA (Alma 16:5-6)
CORIANTOR (Ether 1:6, 11:18-23),
CORIANTUM (Ether 1:13,27, 9:21, 10:31)
CORIANTON (Alma 31:763:10)
CORIANTUMR (Ether 8:4-6, 12:1 - 15:32, Omni 21) CORIANTUMR (Helaman 1:15-30)
CORIHOR (Ether 7:3-15, 13:17,14:27-28) KORIHOR (Alma 30:6-59)
MORIANTON (Ether 1:22-23, 10:9-13) MORIONTON (Alma 50:25-36, 51:1,26,55:33, 59:5),
MORIANTUM[2] (Moroni 9:9-15)
MORON (Ether 1:7-8, 7:5-6,17, 11:14-18,14:6,11) MORONI (Alma 4363),
MORONIHAH (Alma 62:43Helaman 4:20; 3 Nephi 8:10,25, 9:5, Mormon 6:14)
NEHOR (Ether 7:4,9) NEHOR (Alma 1:15, 2:1, 14:16,18, 16:11, 21:4, 24:28-29)
SHIBLOM / SHIBLON (Ether 1:11-12, 11:4-9) SHIBLON[3](Alma 11:15,19, 31:7 - 63:17),
SHIBLOM (Mormon 6:14)
SHIM (Ether 9:1) SHIM (Mormon 1:3)

Additional possibilities include:

Jaredite AMNIGADDAH (Ether 1:14-15, 10:31) may have a reflex in Nephite GADIOMNAH (3 Nephi 9:8)
Jaredite OGATH (Ether 15:10) may reappear in Nephite JACOB-UGATH (3 Nephi 9:9)
Nephite SHEUM, NEAS, and ZERAM may also be Jaredite carryovers.

Moreover, John A. Tvedtnes has observed:

In form, Gadianton appears to be a Jaredite name based on the same pattern as Morianton (Ether 1:22-23) and contains the -ian pattern found [infixed] in Jaredite names such as Coriantor (Ether 1:6-7), Coriantum (Ether 1:13-14,27-28), Coriantumr (Ether 8:4; 12:1), Moriancumer (Ether 2:13), and Ripliancum (Ether 15:8).[4]

Even though Tvedtnes’ own phonemic analysis of the Book of Mormon onomasticon showed a stark difference between Jaredite and Nephite names, John Tvedtnes has also suggested that they may have something in common, namely, that one aspect of the ethnocentricity of the Nephites :that has received little attention concerns toponyms used in the Book of Mormon. Except for a few set off by terms such as “they [the Jaredites] called the name of the place,” almost all the names of Jaredite sites mentioned in the book of Ether were Nephite names. This suggests that Moroni deliberately changed the Jaredite place-names to their Nephite equivalents, except for Old World sites (e.g., Moriancumer and Zerin) and New World sites with which Moroni was unfamiliar.[5]

Thus it is possible that Moroni, the editor of the Jaredite record, provided recognizable Nephite toponyms in place of the original Jaredite geographic names.


  1. Sorenson, “When Lehi's Party Arrive in the Land, Did They Find Others There?” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, 1 (Fall 1992):1-34, n. 15.
  2. We may want to examine the MOR- element in general in the Book of Mormon, including MORIANCUMER, MORIANTUM, MORIANTON / MORIONTON, MORMON, MORON, MORONI, MORONIHAH, perhaps even including AMMORON/ AMORON/ AMMARON/ AMARON.
  3. Hugh Nibley argued that “the fact that Nephite weights and measures bear Jaredite names indicates long cultural overlap” with the Nephites or people of Zarahemla -- Nibley, Lehi in the Desert and the World of the Jaredites (1952) = Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, V (FARMS/Deseret, 1988):246.
  4. Tvedtnes in FARMS Review, 16/2 (2004):100, citing Tvedtnes, “A Phonemic Analysis of Nephite and Jaredite Proper Names,” SEHA Newsletter, 141 (Dec 1977):1-8 = FARMS Reprint TV-77, and available online at; see further Brad Wilcox, et al., “Comparing Phonemic Patterns in Book of Mormon Personal Names with Fictional and Authentic Sources: An Exploratory Study,” Interpreter, 33 (2019): 105-122, online at .
  5. Tvedtnes in FARMS Review, 16/2 (2004):91-106, citing (n. 28) his “Phonemic Analysis,” 1-8.