The Name of Gazelem

Alma 37, Alma speaking to his son Helaman regarding the records of the Jaredites as kept on the plates of Ether

[20] Therefore I command you, my son Helaman, that ye be diligent in fulfilling all my words, and that ye be diligent in keeping the commandments of God as they are written.

[21] And now, I will speak unto you concerning those twenty-four plates, that ye keep them, that the mysteries and the works of darkness, and their secret works, or the secret works of those people who have been destroyed, may be made manifest unto this people; yea, all their murders, and robbings, and their plunderings, and all their wickedness and abominations, may be made manifest unto this people; yea, and that ye preserve these interpreters.

[22] For behold, the Lord saw that his people began to work in darkness, yea, work secret murders and abominations; therefore the Lord said, if they did not repent they should be destroyed from off the face of the earth.

[23] And the Lord said: I will prepare unto my servant Gazelem, a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light, that I may discover unto my people who serve me, that I may discover unto them the works of their brethren, yea, their secret works, their works of darkness, and their wickedness and abominations.

[24] And now, my son, these interpreters were prepared that the word of God might be fulfilled, which he spake, saying:

[25] I will bring forth out of darkness unto light all their secret works and their abominations; and except they repent I will destroy them from off the face of the earth; and I will bring to light all their secrets and abominations, unto every nation that shall hereafter possess the land.

* * *

The word Gazelem appears to have its roots in Gaz – a stone and Aleim, a name of God as a revelator or interposer in the affairs of men. If this suggestion be correct, its roots admirably agree with its apparent meaning-a seer. (George Reynolds, A Dictionary of the Book of Mormon, p. 92)

This may well be a play on words. Is Gazelem the seer stone or the servant? It is difficult to tell from the passage and depends very much on the placement of a comma in the sentence. Perhaps it could refer to both. It is interesting to note that when Jesus called Simon Peter to the ministry he said: ‘Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is, by interpretation, a seer, or a stone’ (JST, John 1:42). Though this name or title of Gazelem may be used in regard to any seer who utilizes seer stones, it seems in this instance to be a direct reference to Joseph Smith the Prophet or another.

* * *
Gazelem the same as Gazelam?

Hoyt W. Brewster, Jr.

In three different revelations, spanning a period of two years (1832-34), Joseph Smith was called “Gazelam” by the Lord (D&C 78:9; 82:11; 104:26, 43, 45, 46; pre-1981 edition). His name was disguised in order to prevent his enemies from discovering what plans the Lord had in mind at that particular time (HC 1:255).

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