Source:Echoes:Ch9:10:Material culture - sheum

Material culture in the Book of Mormon: Sheum

Material culture in the Book of Mormon: Sheum

John L. Sorenson,

Zeniff, ruler over an enclave of Nephites who settled among the Lamanites in the land of Nephi around the beginning of the second century BC, reported that among the crops they cultivated, which included corn, wheat, and barley, was one called sheum, a term for which Joseph Smith provided no translation (see Mosiah 9:9). Just in the last forty years we have learned that the most important cereal grain among the Akkadians (Babylonians) of Mesopotamia was called she'um.45 The Jaredites of the Book of Mormon, who had originally lived in Mesopotamia, could have put the name on some cultivable plant they encountered in their new land; some of their undocumented descendants may well have passed the name and whatever grain it labeled down to the Zeniffites.[1]


  1. John L. Sorenson, "How Could Joseph Smith Write So Accurately about Ancient American Civilization?," in Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, edited by Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2002), Chapter 9, references silently removed—consult original for citations.