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Jaredite lands named according to ancient custom

" . . . it came to pass that the Lord did bring Jared and his brethren forth even to that great sea which divideth the lands. And as they came to the sea they pitched their tents; and they called the name of the place Moriancumer; and they dwelt in tents, and dwelt in tents upon the seashore for the space of our years." (Eth. 2:13.)

The Jaredites apparently followed an ancient custom of naming places after their leaders. Alma 8:7 indicates the people of Nephi had a similar custom "to call their lands, and their cities, and their villages, yea, even all their small villages, after the name of him who first possessed them."The identity of the Moriancumer after whom the place of the Jaredites was named is not given in the Book of Mormon. There is a possibility it was called after the brother of Jared, whose name is not mentioned.

In A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, Daniel H. Ludlow wrote: "It is not clear why the name of the brother of Jared does not appear in the Book of Mormon. However, the following are possible reasons:

"1. He may have omitted his name out of modesty (John the Beloved did essentially this same thing in the Gospel of John, which he wrote).

"2. The book of Ether is clearly a family record of Jared, not of the brother of Jared; Ether - the final writer and perhaps the abridger of the record - was a descendant of Jared and might naturally have emphasized the achievements of his direct ancestor rather than the brother of his ancestor.

"3. Moroni may have omitted the name in his abridgment because of difficulty in translating (or transliterating) the name into the Nephite language."

Ludlow wrote that the following was recorded by George Reynolds, who served in the First Council of the Seventy from 1890-1909:

"While residing in Kirtland Elder Reynolds Cahoon had a son born to him. One day when President Joseph Smith was passing his door he called the Prophet in and asked him to bless and name the baby. Joseph did so and gave the boy the name of Mahonri Moriancumer. When he had finished the blessing he laid the child on the bed, and turning to Elder Cahoon he said, the name I have given your son is the name of the brother of Jared; the Lord has just shown (or revealed) it to me. Elder William F. Cahoon, who was standing near, heard the Prophet make this statement to his father; and this was the first time the name of the brother of Jared was known in the Church in this dispensation." (From an article in the Juvenile Instructor, vol. 27, p. 282.)

The narrative in the first chapter of Ether clearly indicates that Jared was the leader of the group. However, Jared recognized his brother's great spiritual qualities and often asked him to "cry . . . the Lord" for guidance.

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