In the past six or so years I’ve written countless articles on many subjects regarding Mormonism, but there are a few subjects that continue to show up for another view and additional insight. The subject of this article is my case in point.
The first time I wrote on this subject I received many horrible reviews – all by members of the Church. The reviews that were favorable of course were from the Christians. At the request of former Mormons and Christians I was asked to write a sequel so I acquiesced – that was three years ago. Now I’m receiving more requests to write another so here I am again. Glory to God for His word, the truth and His guidance!
This time we’re taking a look at Ishmael, Moab, Laban, Emer and Neum. As you can see not all of the names are demonic, but serve as examples of the ungodliness of their names and the utter lack of information of the people involved.
How can some of these people be an ungodly people in the Bible, but a god fearing person or people with the Book of Mormon? We’ll be studying the derivatives of each, the parts they played in history and from where they originated. I pray that we all learn from this and as always, may we glorify the Lord and use it for His purpose.
In the Book of Mormon the sons of Lehi had been instructed by their father to go back into Jerusalem after they had fled for safety. They were to bring back the family of Ishmael in addition to taking some of Ishmael’s daughters as wives; 1 Nephi 7:1-22.
As stated in my article Nephi’s Reign it’s never been a good idea to hang with people named Ishmael. Now I don’t mean that to be rude to anyone with that name today, but biblically speaking for the Israelites, they had encountered nothing but trouble when it came to this clan. As you can see from the Book of Mormon this holds true as well, but only in part. When Nephi’s brothers began rebelling against him they had backup with Ishmael’s family giving them support. Yet as you well know, Ishmael in the Book of Mormon is someone who has come to know the Lord and is accepting of Him. The story of Ishmael in the Book of Mormon is a classic example of why the Mormon people are confused.
Matthew Henry referred to the very name of Ishmael as “ominous to all the seed of Isaac”. Now why would anyone from the tribe of Judah or Israel consort with anyone named Ishmael?
Fast forward several generations to the time of Jeremiah and we see another Ishmael in action that had learned how to carry on the traditions of his fathers. Hatred ran supreme through the land of Judah as the blood of Israel ran down the streets of Jerusalem at the time of the Babylonian captivity.
When invited to dinner by Gedaliah, Ishmael took the opportunity to murder his gracious host as well as the others in attendance which included Israelites as well as some Chaldeans. The next day wanting to smell more blood of the Israelites, he and his henchmen orchestrated a mass killing of eighty more Israelite men on their way to Jerusalem merely wanting to offer sacrifices to the Lord.
Ishmael and company went out to greet the oncoming group of worshippers, told them of the horror they “had encountered” by finding everyone dead and led the group to the walls that protected the city. This group of worshippers was no doubt men from the groups of the infamous “Lost Ten Tribes” who were scattered when their kingdom was taken over by the Assyrians about a hundred years earlier. They didn’t belong to the tribe of Benjamin or Judah yet they were indeed Israelites and that’s all Ishmael was concerned about. See Jeremiah chapters 40 and 41 for the entire fiasco between Ishmael and Gedahliah.
When the Israelites arrived, Ishmael and his band of murderous thugs killed all of them and unceremoniously dumped the corpses into the cisterns. Nice guy huh? Now why wouldn’t you just want to scoop these people up and ask if you can marry their daughters? In today’s world that’d be like a Holocaust survivor seeking out a daughter of Hitler to marry. Good grief the mere thought of it makes me shudder!
Ishmael was driven to kill because of jealousy and pride. Being of the royal family himself, Ishmael wanted Gedahliah out of the scene when he had been made governor of the region. Ishmael was afraid Gedahliah would be receiving more attention, fame and fortune than Ishmael was willing to share from the family inheritance.
So what of Ishmael and why should we care that someone who “supposedly” lived in the same time era had the same name? Should it, or does this even matter in light of eternal matters?
The reason it should matter of course is that this situation is indicative of all Mormon doctrines. Smith was a master of disguise; tweaking the truth just a fraction of reality enabled him to lead his audience down the highway to hell instead of leading the Mormon people on the Highway of Holiness. Using the name of Ishmael serves only one purpose: confusion. Our Father in Heaven assures us this is not part of His character in 1 Cor. 14:33 where Paul says; “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”
I honestly cannot think of one good reason why the leader of any so-called Jewish tribesman or prophet would want his sons to marry the daughters of Ishmael.
Additionally, God Himself had always condemned intermarrying with the Ishmaelites. (Lev. 20:1-4) Abraham sent Ishmael and his mother Hagar out to the wilderness when Sarah rejected Hagar and her son. Sarah realized that by having that part of the family around was detrimental to her son Isaac, the object of God’s covenant with mankind. Gen. 16:12 tells us that Ishmael’s hand would always be against the hand of all people and all people’s hands were against him.
The Hebrew name for Ishmael means “that God may hear” or “God hears”. The Lord told Hagar what to name the boy in addition to giving her the assurance that He indeed heard her cry to Him by acknowledging her plight. In addition to that, Hagar was even given a heads up if you will, about the way her son would behave. The boy would be a rude, wild, out of control nomad for all his life. He married an Egyptian and lived for 137 years; his descendants the Muslims claim to be his offspring. They were obviously a source of contention to the Jewish nation just as they are today as God tells us in Genesis 16:12-13. And as you can see the Lord does indeed keep His promises; the Ishmaelites are still living next to their brothers today.
Ishmael has always been the picture of an outsider – whereas Isaac is the picture of an everlasting covenant and grace. The apostle Paul tells us in Gal. 4:24-5 the only thing Hagar could ever do is to bear children in bondage.
In Gen. 24:1-5 we are told of the exchange Abraham had with his servant when he sent him out to fetch a wife for Isaac. The rules were very clear; he made the servant take an oath that he would not bring back a wife for Isaac taken from the Canaanites. How serious do you think God had to be that He’d even make sure people took oaths they wouldn’t intermarry? Additionally Abraham gave everything he had to Isaac as an inheritance; compared to the children of his concubines, he gave only gifts – Gen. 25:5-6. Is there any doubt as to how we are to regard the Ishmaelites now?
In addition to Smith putting a good light on Ishmael in the Book of Mormon we see this again in D&C 132:27-40. This section of LDS scripture is their excuse for polygamy, but as we read the text in context you are given yet another example of how Smith nonchalantly interposed his translation of the Hebrew Bible.
The Mormon will argue that “the promise” spoken of in verses 32-34 says that polygamy is the part of the Law Abraham had to obey in order to receive the promises. The promises of the Torah are much different than those of the JST (Joseph Smith Translation). In the Judeo-Christian Bible the “promise” that God gave to Abraham was a covenant that He made with Abraham through sacrifice. The promise was that Abraham and his children would be saved through obedience and devotion to the God that created them and the universe.
Polygamy was not part of the covenant. There are 613 laws that had to be observed and obeyed by man in order to receive the promise of salvation offered by God. Now if you look in Leviticus chapter eighteen and Deuteronomy chapter seventeen you’ll read where God explicitly says not to touch the skirts of your brother’s wife, et al. However, there is not one single verse in the entire Bible that condones polygamy.
D&C 132:32-34; “Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved. 33 But if ye enter not into my law ye cannot receive the promise of my Father, which he made unto Abraham. 34 God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promises.”
In addition to being theologically incorrect in the interpretation of Hebrew in the Bible, Smith also has the dates wrong again. The Law wasn’t given until the time of Moses which was some 330 years after Abraham died. You can read in Exodus twelve that God begins with the ritual of the yearly Passover and then in chapter twenty the Ten Commandments are given to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
I have one more item of interest for the members of the Church. Why do you have to “enter unto the Law” if we are now living under the period of grace? Doesn’t that also negate the purpose of having a double portion because you were born into the Church?
I truly believe that Ishmael has never been nor will ever be a godly, upright, morally clean person. The Bible warns us to stay away throughout the entire Bible and leaves no wiggle room for our own interpretation. Remember 2 Peter 1:20-21 whenever you’re in doubt;
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
In the far southeastern border of Utah lies one of the most beautiful places on earth. While I’m not a big fan of deserts, this area of my beloved Utah will forever remain on my list of favorite places to visit. The rock formations that jut out from the ground show their years of hard winds that have carefully etched their formations. It’s obvious the Lord went in with His fingertips directing which way the winds should blow, how long they should make their presence known and when they should stay quiet. Reds, bright oranges, yellows and browns are the predominant colors that will capture your attention and leave a marked impression on your memory banks of vacations you might take in your life here. The Lord is good that way, He always leaves us with more than we ask or expect from Him.
Just as the Lord commands your awe from the beauty and dangers of the area surrounding Moab, Utah; the oppression from Satan’s presence demands your spiritual attention while visiting the Canyonlands. For anyone who’s had to travel or live in Utah you will understand what I mean when I tell you that you can feel the oppression inside the borders of Utah. Satan is the contributing factor of spiritual desolation in the barren back hills of Utah.
I will always remember the day my family and I were driving from Seattle to Utah for a visit with my mother. About an hour west of the Utah border my daughters began arguing with each other while at the same time I began feeling the “icky feeling” inside of my stomach. Now that we’ve been saved for a few years we all know what is taking place, but without the years of experience of knowing the Lord’s presence and the fruits of the Spirit, it was frustrating. I had always attributed that feeling to “how it was being a Mormon”.
From Gen. 19:27-38 we are told of the time when Lot and his family were rescued from Sodom and Gomorrah. While Lot’s wife didn’t obey and paid the ultimate price Lot and his daughters received God’s mercy and survived the ordeal. They found themselves in a cave up in the mountains in Zoar because of Lot’s fear of tent dwelling in the city. Not turning to the Lord in his time of fear brought on a horrendous event.
While staying in the cave, Lot’s two daughters connived with each other to get their father drunk. After he became drunk they would entice him so that they could get pregnant. They were convinced there were no other men on the face of the earth. From these two nights of drunkenness came two of the most notorious problem clans for the tribe of Israel; Moab and Ammon. Having nothing but an incestuous heritage to brag about, they raised their offspring bent on the destruction of Israel.
Moab in the Hebrew means “from the mother’s father” while Ammon means “inbred”. Nice legacy to leave the family don’t you think? See the article about Ammon.
As you can imagine the Bible doesn’t have many good things to say about the Moabite people until you get to Ruth. The Moabite’s chief god was Chemosh – see for more information on him and also Genesis 14:5.
Their land was to the east of the Dead Sea and continually taken over by various tribes including that of Israel. At the end of an attempt to seize the land of Moab, Mesha king of Moab, sacrificed his own son on the city wall to his god Chemosh when he saw there was nothing left to sacrifice; 2 Kings 3:1-27.
The word Moab appears only one time in the Book of Mormon when Joseph Smith “borrowed” heavily from the book of Isaiah. This is what the dictionary of the Book of Mormon says about Moab;
“The Moabites, descendants of Lot. Their home was the country east of the valley of the Dead Sea. This name only occurs in the Book of Mormon in a quotation from the words of Isaiah (II. Nephi 21:14.)”
So I have a few questions about this as you can imagine.
1 – Why is Moab even mentioned in the Book of Mormon and what purpose did it serve?
2 – How do they (Moabites) fit in with the people of the Book of Mormon?
3 – Why would you intentionally name a town in your sacred land of Utah after an ungodly group of people? After all this isn’t a very common name!
Naming a town in your land of “Zion” after an incestuous line of people and randomly placing this name in your “sacred works” for no apparent reason should speak volumes to the reader. What are you (Joseph Smith) doing???
1 Nephi 4:2-3, 14-18; “Now behold ye know that this is true; and ye also know that an angel hath spoken unto you; wherefore can ye doubt? Let us go up; the Lord is able to deliver us, even as our fathers, and to destroy Laban, even as the Egyptians…And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise.15 Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law.16 And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass.17 And again, I knew that the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands for this cause—that I might obtain the records according to his commandments.18 Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword.”
From the Book of Mormon dictionary it says this;
“Laban – A rich, unscrupulous and powerful Israelite of the tribe of Joseph, though a dweller in Jerusalem (B. C. 600). While Lehi and his little company were resting in the valley of Lemuel, that patriarch was commanded of the Lord to send his sons back to Jerusalem to obtain certain records that were in the possession of Laban. The records, which were engraven on plates of brass, being intimately associated with Lehi’s ancestors, were highly necessary for the welfare of his descendants when they established themselves in a new home, far from communication with any other people.”
Well, on this one the Book of Mormon got part of the information correct regarding Laban. He was rich and sometimes unscrupulous. Let’s do what is right and go to His word and a dictionary to learn more about this man.
The first thing we find out about him is that his name means “white”. The Bible tells us that he was the nephew of Abraham and in Gen 24 we find out that Laban and Rebekah were siblings. When it came time for Rebekah to marry we see that Laban and his father were the ones that betrothed her to Isaac.
Fast forward about forty years and we see that Jacob (one of Rebekah’s sons) is finding solace by running to his uncle Laban’s home where he finds Rachel and Leah.
Gen. 29:16; “And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.”
Now Laban tricked Jacob into marrying his oldest daughter Leah, but Jacob was patient and worked an additional seven years at his uncle’s homestead to earn the hand of Rachel.
From reading just a few chapters in the Bible we find out there is no way that Laban was from the tribe of Joseph. Joseph would’ve been one of Laban’s grandsons!
I find the problem with this particular character in the Book of Mormon to be complex. There is no mention of another Laban in the Bible to my knowledge. Using the same character names in both books serves as another conduit to confusing the already confused people of Mormonism.
My questions are as follows:
– Why would some random Israelite be in possession of the Hebrew writings?
– Why would these “plates of brass” be written in Reformed Egyptian if Laban was an Israelite?
– Why wouldn’t a fellow Israelite give another Israelite something that would benefit all of them?
– What about the Sixth Commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Kill”? (See 1 Nephi 4:10.)
– Why wouldn’t God tell us of writings that needed to be protected during the Babylonian takeover?
Why was Laban living in a posh house when the rest of Jerusalem lay in utter destruction?
It’s difficult at best to swallow the story about the Laban in the Book of Mormon story. At the supposed time of this happening, King Nebuchadnezzar was campaigning up and down the Palestinian coast with his goal to take over Jerusalem. There was so much ravaging and harassment against the Israelites it’d be a tough sell to think that anyone but the kings would be rich during all of this. (2 Kings 24)
Remember what God told the inhabitants of Judah? In Jeremiah 42:12 we read that God would have compassion upon the Israelites if they stayed put in Judah and not flee to Egypt. He promised them that they would live and have children to raise, but if they left for Egypt they would surely die.
Ether 9:14; “And it came to pass that Omer began to be old; nevertheless, in his old age he begat Emer; and he anointed Emer to be king to reign in his stead.”
This was one of the strangest names I found in the Book of Mormon. The strangeness didn’t come from Smith or his made up work but what I found in my research about this name. If you do a search on the web for “Emer” you will find an art gallery in Belfast, Emer Vacuums and various blog sites with “Emer” as someone’s screen name. Then if you look up the meaning of “Emer” you’ll find this:
“The Ulstermen searched all over Ireland for a suitable wife for Cúchulainn, but he would have none but Emer. He visited her at Forgall’s house at Lusk, County Dublin, and wooed her by trading cryptic riddles with her. Emer would accept Cúchulainn as a husband, but only when his deeds justified it.”
Okay then. I mean what do you say to something as outlandish as this? And why pray tell is this some righteous person’s name in the Book of Mormon? I guess this type of thing shouldn’t surprise me, but somehow it always does. What are the odds that some off the wall Irish mythological cycle would have the same name as a king in the Book of Mormon? Does this sound like a “Reformed Egyptian” or even Jewish name to you?
From the dictionary of the Book of Mormon it says this about Emer;
“One of the early kings of the Jaredites. Two years before his death, Omer, his father, anointed him to reign in his stead. Emer was one of the best kings of his race…Emer’s was a lengthy reign; sixty-two years are mentioned; but it is not evident whether this period covers the whole of his reign or not. When he died, full of years and honor, he was succeeded by one of his numerous sons, named Coriantum, whom he had anointed king four years before his death. It is recorded of Emer that he saw the Son of Righteousness, and did rejoice and glorify in his day.”
1 Nephi 19:10; “And the God of our fathers, who were led out of Egypt, out of bondage, and also were preserved in the wilderness by him, yea, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, yieldeth himself, according to the words of the angel, as a man, into the hands of wicked men, to be lifted up, according to the words of Zenock, and to be crucified, according to the words of Neum…”
Now this name caught my attention after watching a program on television about the Mayan people and their culture. As the host of the show went about explaining the gods of this people one of the names caught my attention: Naum.
In Mayan mythology Naum is the god who invented the mind and consciousness. In the Book of Mormon Neum is a prophet that is mentioned only once in the first book of Nephi who prophesied of Christ.
Interestingly enough I found it difficult to find any information about Neum from the Mormon perspective. Everywhere I looked he was mentioned briefly and only with a few other “prophets” who supposedly prophesied of the coming Christ and each reference was the same, that being 1 Nephi 19:10.
Could it be there was no such person as Neum from the Book of Mormon times? How ironic it is that this name of all names would appear when the scholars of Mormonism claim that the people from the Book of Mormon settled in all places; Mesoamerica, the area of the Mayans! The odds of such a “coincidence” boggle the mind…
Here’s what the Book of Mormon dictionary and the Liahona had to say about him;
“NUEM – [sic] A Hebrew prophet, quoted by Nephi (I. Nephi 19:10). He prophesied that the Son of God should be crucified.”
Liahona, June 2000, pg. 18, Clyde Williams;
“Ultimately, to follow the prophets is to follow Jesus Christ. All of the Book of Mormon prophets taught of the Savior and of the need to accept and follow Him (see Jacob 7:11; Mosiah 13:33). For example:
The ancient prophets Zenos, Zenock, and Neum testified of Christ and His Atonement (see 1 Ne. 19:10).”
You’d think that if something of this magnitude were to take place that a little more than one sentence would be mentioned of this prophet! Isaiah was given miraculous words from the Lord about the coming birth of Christ in 7:14 and His death in Isaiah chapter 53. One little line from Neum and virtually nothing else is known about him or Zenos or Zenock!
– Who was this great prophet?
– Where did he come from?
– Where did he live?
– How did he die?
– What other things did he know or say?
– Did he love the people like Isaiah loved the Israelites?
– Why was he given the name “Neum”?
I find these names to be so outrageous and far-fetched that it’s impossible to give them a moment’s time of serious contemplation in favor of being credible. As a stark contrast, let’s look at the Old Testament prophet Isaiah. His prophecies were big, his heart broke for his people and we have some background information about him!
The name Isaiah means Yahweh saves and he ministered in Judah from about 740 to 701 BC. He was married and had two sons. Isaiah became a martyr when he refused to retract his prophecies of judgment and was sawn in two. This is what Holman Bible dictionary has to say about his ministry and the time he served;
“…lived during the reigns of the Judean kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and perhaps the first years of Manasseh. He was contemporary with the last five kings of Israel: Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah, and Hosea. The tragic fall of Samaria to the Assyrian King Sargon II in 722 B.C. occurred during his ministry…the son of Amoz, was born in Judah, no doubt in Jerusalem, about 760 B.C. He enjoyed a significant position in the contemporary society and had a close relationship with the reigning monarchs.”
The list of what this man did is extensive, suffice it to say that you could spend eternity learning about him and the paltry story of Neum pales in comparison.
If you’re LDS I would ask that you just stop and think about these differences and think on the ways that God truly supplies for us compared to the lack of insight with the Book of Mormon.
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor. 1:18