Code Names in Doctrine and Covenants
2013 Edition of D&C
D&C 78:1, 9; “The Lord spake unto Joseph Smith, Jun., saying: Hearken unto me, saith the Lord your God, who are ordained unto the high priesthood of my church, who have assembled yourselves together. 9 Or, in other words, let my servant Newel K. Whitney and my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and my servant Sidney Rigdon sit in council with the saints which are in Zion.”
1921 Edition of D&C
D&C 78:1, 9; “The Lord spake unto Enoch, saying: Hearken unto me, saith the Lord your God, who are ordained unto the high priesthood of my church, who have assembled yourselves together. 9 Or, in other words, let my servant Ahashdah and my servant Gazelam or Enoch, and my servant Pelogram sit in council with the saints which are in Zion.”
Philippians 4:8-9; “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
If Doctrine and Covenants is a sacred canon given to Smith and other inspired leaders of the Church by the Lord, why did they have to use code names to disguise or hide the identities of who they were talking about?
And if this is inspired of God then why has the Church changed it?
If our thoughts are stayed upon Him there is no shame. When our daily tasks include worshipping and proclaiming His name there is no fear!
Without getting into the real meaning of what this section of Doctrine and Covenants initially meant, suffice it to say they were using code names to protect individuals in the Church from being sued by outsiders. If they used pseudonyms it couldn’t be proven the United Order was technically a company. The Church had set up a trickledown effect of funds for investments and to take care of the less fortunate in the Church. They referred to themselves as the United Firm – aka – the United Order.
The code names stayed in place until 1981 when the Church felt it was time to reveal the identities.
I’ve only used two verses for my example, but there are other verses where the pseudonyms show up; 78, 82, 92, 96, 103,104, and 105.
Here are the code names and the real identities. The first set is of the people involved, the second set is of towns, buildings, things or places.
Ahashdah: Newel K. Whitney
Alam: Edward Partridge
Baneemy: originally Lyman Wight, reinterpreted by Orson Pratt as “mine elders” in 1876; it also referred to Charles B. Thompson
Baurak Ale: Joseph Smith, Jr.
Enoch: Joseph Smith, Jr.
Gazelam: Joseph Smith, Jr.
Horah: John Whitmer
Mahalaleel: Algernon Sidney Gilbert
Mehemson: Martin Harris
Olihah: Oliver Cowdery
Pelagoram: Sidney Rigdon
Shalemanasseh: William Wines Phelps
Shederlaomach: Frederick G. Williams
Zombre: John Johnson
Cainhannoch: New York (cf. Enoch son of Cain)
Lane-shine-house: printing office
Ozondah: mercantile store
Shinehah: Kirtland, Ohio
Tahhanes: tannery (cf. Tahpanhes)
United Firm: United Order
The main questions I have are:
How do these “scriptures” glorify the Lord and how are they used as a spiritual tool for the everyday Mormon?
Can my mother benefit spiritually from this and if so how?
If you’re LDS, know that we’re praying for you and hope you’ll ask yourself the questions we’ve posed here. We don’t write these things to bash the Mormon people, but to show them the truth of what Mormonism is and has done throughout its history.
With Love in Christ; Michelle Grim
For more info on this subject see Wikipedia.
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