Abstract: The 1830 edition
of the Book of Mormon features what appears to be, an inappropriate word -
the word “preparator” in the line “… the Devil is the preparator of [Hell]
…” Though the Prophet Joseph Smith replaced the word “preparator” with
“foundation” (1837 edition), recent LDS editions (since 1981) have reverted
to “preparator” (see 1 Nephi 15:35, current edition). Professor of linguistics
Royal Skousen argues that the word was “proprietor”, allegedly
misspelled by one of Joseph’s scribes as “prepriator” in the original manuscript, and then misread by Oliver Cowdery while he was composing a
manuscript for the printer. But is there more to consider than this? Why
didn’t Joseph Smith simply replace “preparator” with “proprietor” in the
1837 edition? This article explores biblical Hebrew equivalents of
the controversial terms “proprietor”, “foundation”, and terms related to
“prepare”, and investigates possible wordplay. Could
a set of well known Egyptian characters engraved on the Book of Mormon plates, and viewed
through a Hebrew lens, have touched on Joseph Smith’s interpretations?
In the current LDS edition of the Book of Mormon,
1 Nephi 15:35
there is a place prepared, yea, even that awful hell of which I have spoken,
and the devil is the preparator of it …
Printer’s Manuscript (1830 edition) with edits by Joseph Smith (1837 edition).
edited verse reads, “… there is a placed prepared yea even that awful hell
the Devil is the preparator [
father foundation] of it wherefore …”
Royal Skousen argues that one of Joseph Smith’s scribes wrote
proprietor). This word, Skousen
surmises, was written in such a way that the Prophet’s principal scribe
Oliver Cowdery, in reviewing the manuscript for publication, guessed that
the word was preparator (Pinter’s
Manuscript). Additionally, Skousen suggests that Oliver Cowdery was influenced by
the word “prepared” found in the previous line of the original manuscript.
The line reads, “… there is a place prepared, yea, even that awful hell …”
Skousen, Analysis of Textual
Variants of the Book of Mormon, PART ONE 1 Nephi 1- 2 Nephi 10,
1 Nephi 15:35, pp. 330-331
Why not preparer
According to LDS Scripture, God is the
preparer and founder of
hell, and the final “everlasting fire ”, not the devil. (Moses 6:29;
Even so, the devil may, with some appropriateness be described as
god of the nether world;
subject to the greater power of the God of heaven and
earth. (2 Nephi 2:29,
LDS Doctrine and Covenants 121:4)
Proprietor of hell
After noting the occurrence of
Lord Proprietor.”, in American literature, the
Oxford English Dictionary defines
proprietor as “2. One who holds something as property; one who has the exclusive
right or title to the use or disposal of a thing; an owner.”
A proprietor is not
necessarily the one who prepared, founded, or created the thing that is
lorded over, or owned.
In Torah (the Pentateuch), a Hebrew term
“owner” is “baal” (בָּעַל). See for example
Shemot (Exodus) 21:29; 22:11.
proprietor, which means owner, may appropriately be translated
baal. The word
baal can also mean
lord, possessor ... 
The Hebrew word, of course brings to mind the Canaanite god Baal, and various baalim
(Baal deities). Baal-zevuv (Baal-zebub,
2 Kings 1:2, KJV), meaning
lord of the fly, is one well
This Philistine deity came to be identified with an arch demon. See for
instance Matthew 12:24. It is instructive to compare the King James
Translation of the Greek
Βεελζεβουλ (Beelzebul) with Ba’al Z’vuv in
B’sorot Matti 12:24 (Hebrew Matthew, translated by James Scott Trimm). Ba’al Z’vuv
clearly intends the lord of the flies
referenced in the
Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).
NEW BROWN-DRIVER-BRIGGS-GESENIUS HEBREW-ARAMAIC LEXICON, 1167
בָּעַל, pg. 127
Some may think that “baal” does not occur in the Book of
Mormon. This supposition is shortsighted. In 2 Nephi 7:8
we come upon the expression “mine adversary” found in an English translation of
Yesha’Yahu (Isaiah) 50:8. The Hebrew expression is literally “baal mishpati” (בַעַל
מׅשְׁפָּטׅי), which can be interpreted to mean “master of my judgment”. The
expression is similar to “accuser of our brethren” a title of the adversary appearing
in Revelation 12:10 (KJV).
Like the Hebrew expression behind 2 Nephi 7:8,
there could be other Book of Mormon references originally involving the Hebrew word “baal”. Take for example “the devil, who is the
master of sin”
“hell” in biblical Hebrew
The Book of Mormon (Hebrew
Edition) published by Onyx Translations, copyright 2015, is a cynical
lampoon of sacred scripture. The work does not attempt to properly translate
the Book of Mormon into biblical Hebrew. The Hebrew title of the book tells
you what you need to know: “Sepher ha-Mormonim” (ספר המורמונים),
which literally reads, “Book of the Mormons”. Buyer beware!
In its travesty of 1 Nephi 15:35,
the Onyx Translations’ 1 Nimphah 15:35 (“nimphah“ means nymph
in Modern Hebrew) translates “hell” as “Gey-Hinom” (גיהינום), which literally means
Valley of Hinnom.
The Jerusalem Valley of the son of Hinnom evolved into the idea of
NT Greek), a metonym for a burning place of
The title may also possibly suggest valley of wailing.
Translating “hell” in the Book of Mormon as “Gey-Hinom” (גיהינום) does not seem justified by any known scripture contemporary
with the Book of Mormon patriarch Lehi. References to “gey ben-Hinom” (גֵי בֶן־הׅנֺם), “valley of the son of Hinnom”, that are contemporary with Lehi,
and his son Nephi, refer to the literal Jerusalem valley. See for instance
YirmeYahu (Jeremiah) 7:31-32;
So translating the Book of Mormon “hell” as the metonym Gey-Hinom (גיהינום) risks being anachronistic. Fortunately we can find an appropriate Hebrew
word translated “hell” in the Book of Mormon:
2 Nephi 24:9 quotes
Yesha’Yahu (Isaiah) 14:9, where the Hebrew
word translated “Hell” is “Sheol” (שְׁאוֺל). See also LDS Doctrine and Covenants 121:4.
can be interpreted to mean underworld,
place of inquiry,
hollow place. What about the expression “hell
fire’ in 3 Nephi 12:22,
which obviously parallels
(KJV)? Yes, the New Testament expression is literally “fire
of Gey Hinnom” in B’sorot Matti (Hebrew Matthew) 5:22. It is “Gehenna of
the fire” (γέενναν τοῦ πυρός); in
the Greek text from which the KJV NT was translated. Even so, “hell fire” in
3 Nephi 12:22, could appropriately be translated “fire
of Sheol”, based on more ancient scripture.
(Devarim (Deuteronomy) 32:22)
BROWN-DRIVER-BRIGGS-GESENIUS HEBREW-ARAMAIC LEXICON, 7585
שְׁאוֺל, pp. 982-983
In 2 Nephi 15:14,
Yesha’Yahu (Isaiah) 5:14, Sheol is personified
as a female monster, which “hath enlarged herself, and opened her
mouth without measure ...”
The corrected expression “the
proprietor of it [hell] …” would literally read,
בַּעְלׇה)) = “ba’l of her …”
(e.g. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 24:4) The use of
the neuter “it”, in the English translation, follows convention. There is
“it” in Hebrew. Everything is either masculine or feminine.
devil” in biblical Hebrew
There are words in Hebrew scripture translated “devils”, but the
exact expression “the devil” does not appear in the King James translation
of Hebrew-Aramaic scripture, the so called “Old Testament”.
The term “satan” (שָׂטָן,) simply means “adversary” or an adversary. David, for instance, was seen as a
potential satan, or “adversary” by
the Philistine princes. (1 Shemu’El (Samuel) 29:4) The “angel of the LORD”,
drawn sword in hand, stood as a satan (שָׂטָן,
translated “adversary”, KJV) to the prophet Balaam.
(Bemidbar (Numbers) 22:22)
The King James translation reads
in several places where it is not clear that the superhuman adversary of God and man is intended. See
for example Tehillim (Psalms) 109:6,
and compare with
Psalm 109:6, KJV.
acceptable biblical Hebrew translation of “the devil”
might be “ha-satan” (הַשׇׂטׇן) meaning the adversary. What is translated “the devil” (τοῦ διαβόλου) in Matthew 4:1, is
“ha-satan” (הַשׇׂטׇן) in Hebrew versions. The Hebrew title
is often translated “Satan”
(as if it were a proper noun) in the KJV.
(Iyyov (Job) 2:6)
What is translated “Satan” (Σατανᾶ) in Matthew 4:10, is the title “ha-satan” (הַשׇׂטׇן) in
Hebrew translations. Note that the Greek definite article “HO”
(Ὁ, the) is ignored in the English translation of
Revelation 12:9; treating the title as a name.
Justification for the use of the adversary “ha-satan” in a Hebrew translation of the
Book of Mormon, can be based on the time period of the book of Iyyov (Job) setting. (Iyyov (Job) 1:6)
It may also be justified by the fact the prophet Ezekiel, a contemporary of Lehi, was familiar with the story of Job.
(YehezqEl (Ezekiel) 14:14)
With the Hebrew transliterated in key places, 1 Nephi 15:35 might
there is a place prepared, yea, even that awful sheol [hell] of which I have spoken, and
ha-satan [the adversary] is the
ba’lah [בַּעְלׇה = baal of her] …
Here the adversary is suggestively described as the master, owner (proprietor), and false baal god of the monstrous
female sheol – swallower of the souls of men.
LDS Doctrine and Covenants 122:7-8 comes to mind:
the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou,
my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for
Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
“foundation” of hell
As fitting as the biblical Hebrew translation of proprietor
seems to be in 1 Nephi 15:35, the question remains: Why didn’t the Prophet
Joseph Smith simply edit “preparator” to read
proprietor? He knew the word
proprietor. He was after all, the
legal “Author and Proprietor” of the Book of Mormon (1830 edition). Why did
Joseph Smith edit “preparator” (1830) to read
“foundation” in the 1837
edition? Was not “proprietor” the word pronounced by the young prophet when
he used divine means to translate the Book of Mormon? Was not the word
proprietor simply written down wrong by a scribe, as
Well, Dr. Skousen
may be partially correct, but there is reason to believe that more is going on
with the curious verse.
It behooves us to investigate possible Hebrew translations of the
word foundation. In particular, we
should ask if there is precedence in Hebrew Scripture for figuratively
comparing a person to a foundation.
We find such a metaphor in Mishle (Proverbs) 10:25. Here we read
that a “tsadiq” (צַדִיק,
“righteous [one]”) is a “yesod” (יְסוֹד,
“foundation”) “olam” (עוׄלָם,
“everlasting”). The KJV arranges the verse to read, “…the righteous is an
But there is another Hebrew word meaning foundation, bottom,
lower part (slope)
the word “eshed” (אֶשֶׁד). This
word is found at the beginning of Bemidbar (Numbers) 21:15, but it is
translated “stream” in the KJV. The word
implies not just a foundation but a slope cradling a
stream - e.g. a serpentine
river winding its way to lowest bounds.
(1 Nephi 12:16; see
This Hebrew word for
foundation is appropriate for the
Prophet’s 1837 revision of the verse, and happens to sound like a masculine Hebrew
word for demon or
devil - “shed” (שֵׁד).
See Lexicon. 
NEW BROWN-DRIVER-BRIGGS-GESENIUS HEBREW-ARAMAIC LEXICON, 793
אֶשֶׁד, pg. 78
NEW BROWN-DRIVER-BRIGGS-GESENIUS HEBREW-ARAMAIC LEXICON, 7700
The plural of “shed” (שֵׁד)
appears in Devarim (Deuteronomy) 32:17, and
Tehillim (Psalms) 106:37.
Though the singular form of this word does not appear in Hebrew
scripture, and certainly not with a definite article (i.e. “the
devil”), the definite article “the” may be supplied at the discretion
of the translator.
This word for “demon” calls to mind the Hebrew verb “shadad” (שָׁדַד) which means “deal violently with, despoil, devastate, ruin”
 The irony of one who ruins, the violent
despoiler, and devastator,
being tied to a construction’s
described as a foundation, a
cradling seat, may not have been
lost on those fluent in ancient Hebrew. A similar irony is described in
2 Nephi 24:13-20, Yesha’Yahu
(Isaiah) 14:13-20. We are speaking of course of the adversary as “the foundation” of hell in a figurative, or allegorical sense.
But this raises the literal minded question:
If the pit of hell is “bottomless”
as some suppose, how can it have a foundation?
Well, the word translated “bottomless” (KJV) is literally abyss (ἄβυσσος).
This word doesn't necessarily imply an endless or infinite depth.
Is it possible for a hollow or chasm in Sheol to be so deep, so extensive,
that the definition of “down” changes before a bottom is reached? We may then ask, do “the sides of the pit”
count as hell’s foundation at “lowest depths”? (Yesha’Yahu (Isaiah) 14:15)
According to scripture there is an abyss, and the world also has a foundation. (Revelation 17:8)
We are left to consider that “the god of this world”
is “the foundation” (אֶשֶׁד) of hell with her otherwise “bottomless pit”.
NEW BROWN-DRIVER-BRIGGS-GESENIUS HEBREW-ARAMAIC LEXICON, 7703
שָׁדַד, pg. 994
Transliterated in key places, the Prophet’s later interpretation
(1837 edition) of 1 Nephi 15:35 may read:
there is a place prepared, yea, even that awful
sheol [hell] of which I have spoken, and
[a, the] shed [devil] is the
אשׁדָה= foundation (cradling seat) of
“preparator” of hell
As fitting as the proposed translations appear to be, we should not
rest content. We should look into possible Hebrew ties to the seemingly
inappropriate word preparator?
After all, 1 Nephi 15:35 in the current edition, reverts to the vocabulary
of the 1830 edition.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines
preparator as “One who makes a preparation; a preparer (of medicine,
There is no exact biblical Hebrew equivalent for this
rarely used Gentile word.
What then is meant by “preparator of [hell]”? Does the expression
refer to one who prepares treatments,
or specimens in or for
hell? Do embalmers of the dead (Bereshit (Genesis) 50:2) qualify as
It was previously explained why the word
preparer of hell is inappropriate for describing “the devil”; but is
there a Hebrew term, translated “prepare”, that suits 1 Nephi 15:35?
1 Kings 18:44 (KJV) reads, “… Prepare
thy chariot …” Here the Hebrew word “esor”
(אֱסֹר) is translated “Prepare”.
Similarly, the expression “ye’sor” (יֶאְסֹר) is
translated “[he] made ready” in Genesis 46:29 (KJV).
The verb “asar”
(אָסַר) that “prepare” ties to, literally means
See for example, imprisoned Yoseph in Bereshit (Genesis) 40:3.
NEW BROWN-DRIVER-BRIGGS-GESENIUS HEBREW-ARAMAIC LEXICON, 631
אָסַר, pg. 63
If the word translated “prepared” in 1 Nephi 15:35 is tied to “asar”
such that it could also be interpreted to mean “secured”, like a
prison, is there an appropriate Hebrew term replacing the troubling
word “preparator”, that also relates to “asar”?
We may consider the word “asir” (אַסׅיר) which means prisoner. This word may be seen in Yesha’Yahu (Isaiah) 10:4;
42:7 as a play on words with the name of the Egyptian lord
of the underworld - Osiris.
NEW BROWN-DRIVER-BRIGGS-GESENIUS HEBREW-ARAMAIC LEXICON, 616
אַסׅיר, pg. 64
It happens that the Hebrew word for
harry, goat like demon, or
devil is “sa’ir” (שָׂעׅיר), translated “satyr” in
Isaiah 34:14 (KJV).
The plural of this word is translated “satyrs” in
2 Nephi 23:21
(Isaiah 13:21, KJV) but
likely refers to natural
NEW BROWN-DRIVER-BRIGGS-GESENIUS HEBREW-ARAMAIC LEXICON, 8163
שָׂעׅיר, pg. 972
Transliterated in key places, 1 Nephi 15:35 could therefore read:
there is a place
secured [אסר = prepared],
yea, even that awful sheol of
which I have spoken, and [a, the]
sa’ir [devil, demon] is the asirah
[prisoner/Osiris of her] …
Note the wordplay between “sa’ir” (devil) and “asir”
(prisoner/Osiris). The Hebrew “asir” does in fact relate to the word
translated “prepared” also meaning
secured, but “asir” is not easily translated into English because of its
pun like connection with the name of the Egyptian god of the netherworld.
One could simply translate “… devil is the
prisoner of it [Sheol] …” but this
misses the point that sa’ir (devil) as asir of Sheol, is also lord of
The Egyptian wrapping
or binding of the dead in the
mummification process may come to mind. We may see in the Hebrew/Egyptian
wordplay the lesson that he that binds
is himself bound. The preparator of Hell is become like one of his subjects.
(2 Nephi 24:9-10)
But what of the commandment to “make no mention of the name of
other gods”! (Shemot (Exodus) 23:13) Do
Hebrew Isaiah and the Book of Mormon
violate this commandment?
Apparently it is acceptable in Hebrew scripture to reference the
names of other gods, as long as those names are couched in derogatory
puns or wordplay.
 Take for example Hoshea (Hosea) 2:18
16 And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD [YHWH],
that thou shalt call me Ishi [my
husband, my Man]; and shalt call me no more Baali [my Master].
Hebrew prophets certainly made unfavorable mentions of the gods of
surrounding nations. Unfavorable references to Baal and Osiris
should therefore not be seen as a problem in a Hebrew translation of Nephite scripture.
The question remains: Which of the foregoing 1 Nephi 15:35 interpretations
is are correct?
 Rendsburg, Gary, “YHWH’s War Against the Egyptian Sun-God Ra”
The Original Manuscript reads, “… prepared for that …
there is a placed prepared yea even that
the devel is the prepriator …” Note the evidence of a pause in
the spelling of “prepriator”. There is a superimposed letter,
as if the scribe was being told how to spell the unusual term.
Though misspellings occur in the original manuscript, how do we know that “prepriator” was not shown to the Prophet
Joseph by way of Urim and Thummim, and that he called out its spelling to
the scribe who wrote it down as directed? Some will object, stating what seems obvious
to them; “prepriator” is not a word! Well, it could be a
like “motel”. “Motel” is a blend of the words
motor and hotel. Consider also the recently coined “word”
(portmanteau) podcast, one of numerous examples in modern English.
Oliver Cowdery, the Prophet Joseph Smith’s most
learned scribe, saw in “prepriator”, the word
Professor Royal Skousen sees in “prepriator” the word
The created term “prepriator” could be a blend of
proprietor. Keep in mind that all English words were once made up.
Science and revealed religion both countenance made up words. One might conclude, for example, that
the revealed word “telestial”
was created from the Latin word Tellus (as in the
contrived name of the element “tellurium”).
Thinking of “telestial”
as Latin, certainly makes it consistent with
the already established Latin based words terrestrial and celestial. The point
is, their is
precedence for invented terminology in revealed religion and in
What do you do when there is no concise English translation of
a set of ancient symbols? Do you drop one or more of the meanings and pick the one you like best? This happens in translation.
On the other hand, God could have prepared the portmanteau “prepriator”
to represent in English the multiple meanings associated with a particular set of
symbols inscribed on the Book of Mormon plates. The created word “prepriator” may be a translation of the
polysemic Egyptohebraic title “baal-asir”
That is, there could have been a condensed set of reformed Egyptian symbols
which Nephi son Lehi interpreted as “baal-asir” in his father’s spoken language. There may have also been something about the
reformed Egyptian symbols justifying the interpretation: “eshed” (אֶשֶׁד) meaning
“Urim v’Tumim” (אוּרׅים וְתוּמׅים),
Urim and Thummim, literally means
Lights and Perfections. The Book
of Mormon was translated with the aid of Lights and
Perfections. Considering the meaning of Urim and Thummim,
we might expect there to be more than one enlightened interpretation, and
more than one degree of perfection in the translation of the
Marvelous Work and Wonder - the Book of Mormon. The fact that the
Prophet Joseph Smith gave us more than one version of 1 Nephi 15:35 in
English, is evidence that there could be more than one correct rendering of
the verse in Hebrew.
We learn that the ancient American Nephites, who compiled the Book of Mormon
account, had a command of a form of Yehudit (Hebrew). As compressed as
written Hebrew is,
compared to English, we learn that the system of writing in which the Book
of Mormon plates were mostly inscribed, was even more compressed than Hebrew.
logogrammatic system like North American
comes to mind. In Mi’kmaq, single characters represent entire words or
concepts. Nephite “reformed Egyptian” could have been
similarly condensed. In other words, the spoken language of the Nephites
could in fact have been Semitic - a form of Yehudit, “the learning of the Jews”, but to conserve space on the plates, the warrior prophet Mormon resorted to a logogrammatic form of writing - “reformed Egyptian”.
Reformed Egyptian is called a “language”, but it is evidently a system of
abbreviated writing, adapted to the Nephite spoken language which, like Yehudit was fundamentally Semitic with some Egyptian or Mitsrit terms mixed in.
The Nephites, after all, read and relish the words of Yesha’Yahu (Isaiah)
but their most compressed writing
(written “language”) may have
been logogrammatic (adapted from Egyptian characters). It seems clear that
the Nephites did not miss out on the prophetic poetry of Yesha’Yahu
(Isaiah), and yet they could also write a great deal of narrative using very
little space on the plates.
One of the reasons that Nephite “reformed Egyptian” on the plates
read “running [the] same as all Hebrew writing in general”
(Joseph Smith Papers, History, 1838-1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805 – 30 August 1834], Pg. 34) may be
because the plates accommodated portions of text (e.g. the
prophetic poetry of Yesha’Yahu) best conveyed in a form of ancient
Hebrew. This ancient Yehudit (Hebrew) may have been written using phonetic Egyptian like characters,
like those of
ancient Proto-Sinaitic script. (Mosiah 1:3-4) These character carry both phonetic and pictographic significance. To
be sure, the majority of the Book of Mormon record was written in more compressed
“reformed Egyptian”, which, had it not been for the accommodations of Hebrew
portions, could have been written either left to right or right to left.
In logogrammatic “reformed Egyptian”, a single character, or set of symbols,
could have corresponded with the Hebrew concepts of “ha-satan” (the
adversary), “shed” (devastating demon), and “sa’ir” (harry devil) all at the
A terse set of “reformed
Egyptian” symbols could have likewise simultaneously stood for “asir” (prisoner/Osiris of the netherworld),
“baal” (lord) of Sheol, and foundation of hell.
The name of Osiris is tied to the throne symbol. What
does hell have to do with thrones?
Consider again this verse of
9 Hell ... hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.
(2 Nephi 24:9,
Yesha’Yahu (Isaiah) 14:9)
Apparently there are thrones in hell.
Consider then the Egyptian
hieratic characters were copied from the
Amenhotep Book of the Dead papyrus at the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
 Similar shorthand characters may have existed on the Book of Mormon plates.
Joseph Smith Egyptian Papers, Notebook of Copied Characters, Circa Early July 1835, pg. 2.
See also the hieratic throne symbol (Möller,
Q 383), and the hieratic eye (Möller,
D 82). Compare these
symbols with the hieroglyphic throne (Gardiner,
Q1) and eye (Gardiner,
The characters spell out the name “Wsir” or “Asir”,
which is the Egyptian name of
Osiris, lord of the underworld.  As mentioned, “asir” in Hebrew
means one who is
prisoner. Hence the possible prisoner/Osiris wordplay in Yesha’Yahu (Isaiah) 10:4;
Alternately, the symbols could be seen to spell “st-an”
which to the Hebrew ear sounds somewhat like
 Ritner, Robert K.,
The Joseph Smith
Egyptian Papyri – A Complete Edition, Papyrus Joseph
Smith 4: Book of the Dead of Amenhotep (from “Valuable
Discovery”), pg. 259. See also Rhodes, Michael D.,
Books of the Dead
Belonging to Tshemmin and Neferirnub, pg. 58, (2).
To the Nephites, the throne symbol could have connoted
lord or master, “baal”
Moreover, the Nephites could have seen in the throne symbol a seat,
bottom, lower part or place,
something sloping and set under.
Thus in “reformed Egyptian” (subject to unique Hebraic
interpretation) the Nephites could have seen in the throne
and eye, a reference to lord (baal) proprietor of
or preparator of the underworld, personifying the
of hell. (Revelation 2:13;
LDS Doctrine and Covenants 86:3)
But what does the eye symbol have to do with a foundation?
The Egyptian eye is what puts the “ir” (יר) in “Asir”
(אַסׅיר) or Osiris.
The quasi Hebrew expression “baal-asirah”
can be interpreted “baal-asir of her [Sheol]”, or
using the proposed portmanteau; “prepriator of her [hell]”.
can also be interpreted to mean “master of the prisoner(s) of her [hell]”.
Note the Hebrew letters at the end (on the left). These letters correspond to
the sound the Egyptian eye symbol makes. In Hebrew the ordered letters
ירה relate to
throwing or casting down, or
laying a foundation, as in the name “Yerushalaim”
(Jerusalem, “foundation of peace”) or “YeruEl”
(Jeruel), meaning “founded of God (El)”. So “ir”, or “irah”,
or “yarah” in “Asir” (Osiris), or “asirah”
(her prisoner) can
suggest to the Hebrew mind equivalents of a cast down foundation, e.g. eshed.
The reinterpretation of the throne and eye symbol as “foundation” (eshed)
with its accompanying wordplay with “devil” (shed),
Joseph Smith’s 1837 edition “…great and abominable church …
whose foundation is the devil.” Contrast this with the 1830,
and some later editions which read, “ … whose founder is the
devil …” (1 Nephi 14:17) While the adversary is not the founder of hell (though he is
the founder of the great and abominable church) he does personify the foundation of hell laid by God’s justice.
Are there other titles that
could apply to the
throne and eye - Osiris? Yes, the titles father and lord
The Hebrew blend of “father” or “av”
(אב) and “lord” or “adon” (אדון, dropping a divine
(א) from “adon”) spells out the place and personal name “avadon”
which means “destruction”, “perdition”.
But this may have been seen as a less preferred interpretation of
the characters on the plates. For one thing, “Abbadon”, “destruction”, “corruption”,
“perdition” is not exclusively a title of the
(Iyyov (Job) 17:14;
LDS Doctrine and Covenants 76:25-27,
It is noteworthy that the Prophet Joseph Smith did not
ultimately choose the word “father” as
a replacement for “preparator” notwithstanding
doctrinal support for the adversary as “father” of the
damned. See Moses 7:37-38 (1830).
In summary, some might see in 1 Nephi 15:35 a literary analogue to a
cubic equation, or even higher order equation.
Think of the equation as a kind of sentence.
We ask, what does the symbol x numerically mean
in the sentence? How should it be interpreted, that is, enumerated?
In other words, how should it be translated into number? The truth is, given a, b, c, and d in the sentence, more than
one number may satisfy
x. The symbol x
can stand for several values all at the same time.
Similarly, more than one Hebrew interpretation could have
satisfied a character, or set of characters in Nephite
“reformed Egyptian”. An advantage of “reformed Egyptian” was
its compactness. It could be dense with possible meanings. A
disadvantage was that “reformed Egyptian” could lose
specificity. (3 Nephi 5:18,
Ether 12:25) This and other weaknesses were to be compensated for by divine
means. (Mormon 9:32-34)
“... thou wilt not leave my soul in hell ...”
(Tehillim (Psalms) 16:10)
The Prophet Joseph Smith is reported to have stated:
been much said about the word hell, and the sectarian world have preached much
about it, describing it to be a burning lake of fire and brimstone. But what is
hell? It is another modern term, and is taken from hades…
Greek, or Sheol, the Hebrew, these two significations mean a world of spirits.
Hades, Sheol, paradise, spirits in prison, are all one: it is a world of
and the wicked all go to the same world of spirits until the resurrection.”
(H.C. 5:425; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph
Smith, pg. 310, Sunday 11, June 1843, from the Joseph Smith Diary recorded
by Elder Willard Richards, and from the Wilford Woodruff Journal.
Compare accounts in The Words of Joseph Smith,
compiled by Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, pp. 209 - 214. See also Ecclesiastes 6:6)
the words Sheol and Hades, the word “hell”
has no direct biblical pedigree. “Hell” is a pejorative
word, in that the commonly accepted meaning of hell
is worse that what it originally meant. It is correct to point out that “the sectarian”
use of “the word hell”
is “modern”, that is, it is not truly ancient. Sheol
(שְׁאוֺל) represents the original biblical concept of the afterlife.
In the New Testament, the word Hades (ᾍδης)
attempts to translate Sheol into Greek. The
statement above, attributed to Joseph Smith, equates “hell” with Hades/Sheol.
The “Ah meh strah ans”,
Joseph Smith’s esoteric “Egyptians” from Ptolemaic
times, used the term
to refer to the inglorious kingdom of darkness
“Dah tu Hah dees”.
This arcane name, revealed by Joseph Smith, evinces a familiarity with both the Egyptian
“Duat”, and Greek
The revealed name “Dah tu Hah dees”
appears to be
Though not entirely congruent with ideas of hell in Gentile
Christianity, the definition of “hell” attributed to Joseph
Smith accords with
scripture. What is more, there really is a connection between the word
hell (Proto-Germanic origin) and hades (from the Greek). Both words mean essentially the same thing:
the concealed or hidden place, “the unseen world”.
Neither of these names explicitly tell of a world of
torment, though such realms exist there.
As pointed out, the spirit prison of
Paradise (which is not
in heaven. Consider
Luke 23:43 and
ST John 20:16-17 together) is also there - in Sheol. (Luke 16:23,
LDS Doctrine and Covenants 138:49-51,
Ezekiel 31:16-18) And where is there? There, is in some
sense here, or rather, on and within Terra. (LDS Doctrine and Covenants 88:104,
Part of the
is apparently subterranean. (Matthew 12:40,
The soul of
Son of God(s)
descended to a pardes in Sheol.
(Tehillim (Psalms) 139:8,
YehezqEl (Ezekiel) 31:16,
LDS Doctrine and Covenants 122:7-8) Apparently, there are upper and lower parts of the
garden that is Paradise.
(2 Corinthians 12:4, Ephesians 4:9)
The “tree of life” still resides there.
Does Tehillim (Psalms) 16:10
(quoted above) relate to more than king David? The prophet
Shim'on Kepha (Peter)
testified that Psalms 16:8-11
is a prophecy about the death and resurrection of the Beloved Messiah.
According to Peter, because the Savior was resurrected “his
soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see
corruption.” (Acts 2:31)
The Hebrew word translated “hell” in Tehillim (Psalms) 16:10 is
“Sheol” (שְׁאוֺל). The Greek equivalent of Sheol in Acts 2:27, is “Hades” (ᾅδην).
The Greek word translated “corruption” can mean decay. The original Hebrew word shahat
(שָֽׁחַת) means more than this.
The verb “shahat” (שָׁחַת) can mean to
ruin, physically violate, or injure.
It is the root of the word “mishhat” (מִשְׁחָת) translated “marred” in
3 Nephi 20:44 (Yesha’Yahu (Isaiah) 52:14):
“... his visage was so
marred, more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men-”
We may choose to see in this verse about God’s injured servant, a blending
of the verbs “mashah”
(מָשַׁח) meaning anoint, as in “Mashiah”
Messiah), and the verb
meaning to injure or cause to perish. We may
see in “mishhat” the harsh implications of
Messiah’s anointing. (Matthew 26:7-12)
We may recognize that Messiah’s injurious ordeal was more than what other
anointed mortals (kings and priests) had endured.
There is then a sense in which the mortal body of the Anointed did see “shahat”.
His flesh was injured and his
life’s blood poured out unto death. (Yesha’Yahu (Isaiah) 53:12)
How then did Messiah, whose soul visited
His body in the tomb, though marred, did not undergo “shahat”
in the sense of noticeable decay. What is more, his soul did not
visit that part of Sheol called Shahat
, with its benighted yet fiery pit, and dark
(LDS Doctrine and Covenants 138:29-37,
Iyyov (Job) 31:12, Tehillim (Psalms) 86:13) The “outer darkness” mentioned in
Alma 40:12-13 is the darkness of
 Some references to “hell” in the English Book of Mormon may
be more fittingly translated Shahat (שָֽׁחַת)
in Hebrew (e.g. 2 Nephi 9:12-13,
also consider 2 Nephi 8:14,
Yesha’Yahu (Isaiah) 51:14, and 1 Nephi 15:35). Not all souls of men go to
the spirit prison of
at life’s end. The faithful go to the
(also in Sheol) to await the resurrection. (Alma 40:11-14,
LDS Doctrine and Covenants 138:49-51)
 The Book of Mormon’s use of the word “paradise”
2 Nephi 9:12-13,
and Alma 40:12,
may seem anachronistic, until we consider that the ancient word “pardes”
(פַרְדֵּס) was preserved in the Hebrew language prior to the Persian
period. The belief that trees of Eden are found in
at least as old as the time period of Lehi, and his son Nephi.
(YehezqEl (Ezekiel) 31:16; compare with
If his soul did not personally visit
Shahat, how then did Messiah go and preach “unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient ... in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing ...”?
(1 Peter 3:18-20;
Yesha’Yahu (Isaiah) 61:1,
Scripture explains that it was by the “Spirit” that Messiah
ministered to the spirits of those who had been disobedient
in mortality. Was this ministry similar to the way in which the
resurrected Messiah ministered to the goyim (Gentiles) by the Holy Spirit?
(3 Nephi 15:21-23) Truly
the Eternal manifests himself by way of sanctified spirit messengers
sent by him. (LDS Doctrine and Covenants 76:84-88,
Tehillim (Psalms) 104:4)
In fact, the “gates of hades” (the nether world), we are told, will fail to prevail against his organized ministry. (Matthew 16:18,
Revelation 1:18) The spirits imprisoned in Shahat,
who hear the glad tidings of Salvation, may be delivered
from their torments if they will repent during the time when
the resurrected Messiah returns to the presence
the Eternal Father(s).
But we should also consider that there were those
who repented as best they could, and died (or were killed) just prior to the floods.
Like the penitent thief on the cross, who at first reviled the Savior
(Matthew 27:44, Luke 23:43,
Yesha’Yahu (Isaiah) 53:9,
of some antediluvians may have found rest in the spirit prison of
ha-Pardes which is Paradise. (Moses 7:56-57)
The visiting Messiah could have directly
minister to these in Spirit person. In fact,
1 Peter 3:18-20, 19
(in Greek) may refer to these once disobedient but repented spirits. These were
privileged to come forth from the spirit prison of Paradise, after the Messiah’s
resurrection. (Moses 7:56-57,
LDS Doctrine and Covenants 138:49-51, Yesha’Yahu (Isaiah) 61:1,
The Savior likely spoke in Aramaic or in Hebrew to the criminal on the cross. The King of the Jews probably did not use the Greek word
Παραδείσῳ translated “Paradise” in Luke 23:43.
A Hebrew translations of Luke 23:43
refers to the garden of Eden (גַּן עֵ֖דֶן) in
the unseen world.
the Genesis garden is referred to as “paradise”
(παράδεισον) in the
Greek Septuagint: e.g. LXX Genesis 2:8-9)
The scriptures make clear that the spirit world of
is essentially equivalent to
the Greek Hades (ᾍδης)
of the New Testament. Both are translated “hell” in modern
scripture. It may be concluded then that the souls of all
accountable human beings (the wicked and the righteous), when they die, visit “hell”
and there await the resurrection.
So the bad news is,
that when you die, you are going to hell. The good news is,
Paradise is part of hell, and
the Eternal Messiah holds the keys. (Revelation 1:18)
The problem is, Gehenna (γέεννα)
is also translated “hell” in the English New Testament. This
has contributed to the narrow perception that “hell” is
exclusively an abode of lost souls, a place of punishment
for unsaved, ungodly, unrepentant sinners. But a case can be made that
of the New Testament, is equivalent to the benighted domain
of Shahat (שָֽׁחַת)
and compare with
Job 17:14 (KJV),
and with interlinear Hebrew/English
Iyyov (Job) 17:14;
Gehenna (γέεννα), you will recall, is a Greek corruption of
(ταρταρώσας) is by implication also translated “hell” in the King James New Testament. (KJV 2 Peter 2:4,
see verse 4 in Greek) But
Tartarus of Greek mythology better correlates with
(אבדון), the darkest abyss of Shahat (שָֽׁחַת)/Gehenna (γέεννα) in
the great world of Sheol (שְׁאוֺל)/Hades (ᾍδης) which is Hel.
(Psalm 86:13, KJV)
The Book of Revelation does not explicitly state that Gehenna is the same as the post-resurrection lake of fire.
It has been assumed so, because of the reference to body parts. See for instance
Mark 9:43-48, and especially Matthew 10:28.
But scripture also describes
in Sheol (Hades) experiencing fiery torment. (Luke 16:22-31, verse
Consider also JST in connection with
a of Matthew 18:8-9 (KJV),
“hell fire”, and
note b of
Matthew 5:30 (KJV);
compared with verse 30 in Greek.
In the minds of ancient Greeks and Hebrews, “spirit” (רוּחַ, πνεῦμα),
though less tangible, was nevertheless considered material. Spirit
was thought to be a more fine, animate substance - thus the perceived confluence with “wind” and “breath”.
Evidently, the spirit world of
Sheol on and within the planet Terra, consists of both spirit
and ordinary atomic matter. There are situations in which it is difficult to tell the difference. (2 Corinthians 12:3,
3 Nephi 28:15,
16; a soul
is a living being, whether spirit
or both. See
LDS Doctrine and Covenants 88:15;
Qohelet (Ecclesiastes) 9:5-6 refers to the
perishable mortal being and not the
conscious being of more fine “matter”. See also
Tehillim (Psalms) 30:9;
Owing to the relative nature of its quantum momenta, the atomic matter of Terra is invisible and
intangible to inhabitants of Tellus
old planet on which we now live).
Where is hell? It is where electrons from our world
they quantum tunnel.
While vanished from our world, they emerge in a world of
relative i-momentum - here beside us.
Why relative? Because the inhabitants of that physical world have the right to say,
from their point of view, that our world is an
intangible world of i-momentum.
Venn diagram of the Spirit World of
Sheol on and within the planet
terraformed by the
Elohim). The Hebrew names of the realms of
Sheol, are spelled using
phonetic Egyptian like characters.
Vincent Coon and his wife Deborah are residents of South
Salt Lake. Deborah retired from forty years of employment
with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Both
served fulltime missions before their marriage in 1990, and have held
numerous callings in the Church. Vincent (Ward is his
father’s name) most recently served as a Gospel Doctrine instructor
pre-pandemic in his newly reorganized ward (the South SL
Riverfront Ward). Vincent accepted this calling with the understanding that he would be allowed to teach from
the scriptures, despite Mormon tradition. In his second year as Gospel Doctrine instructor he was persecuted for
answering from the scriptures the question
who are the
children of the Most High? Some members of his stake did
not like the answer. The scriptural doctrine defended by
Vincent has since been vindicated by talks in General Conference. Vincent
graduated cum laude from the U of U with a BA in Physics,
with Hebrew as a foreign language. He found employment in
the field of medic
al x-ray devices, and went on to receive a
master’s degree in Physics from the U of U. Vincent is the
creator of bookofmormonpromisedland.com.
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