Etymology of "Mormon" & "Moroni"

The word "Moriah" is a variation of the word "Amoria" pertaining to the land of the Amorites. The chief god of the Amorites was Amurru (also Martu), a western Semitic 'shepherd' or storm god considered to be the son of the Sumerian sky-god Anu. Moriah is thus a derivation of much older mountain legends inhabited by much older gods.

The etymology of Amurru and Moriah can be traced further back to the Egyptian pyramid mountain name "M'R" and, most anciently, to the transcendental mountain of the Rig-Veda named "Meru." Indeed, this is the namesake for the Buddhist sacred mountain named "Sumeru," meaning "excellent Meru," and even the ancient Sumerian civilization itself.

In the Rig-Veda, Mount Meru was considered the land of the gods with the greatest gods, such as Indra and Vena, living on its summit. It is described as emerging from water and being surrounded by seven fresh and saltwater seas separated by rings of mountains. In this way, we can recognize the most ancient creation story of a sacred mountain being born from the sea (La Mer).

Thus, the Biblical Mount Moriah and the Temple of Jerusalem are equivalent to Mount Meru where the gods live. The Rig-Veda describes the summit as golden with a beautiful lake overarched by rainbows. It is here that we find the Mormon "land of waters" (where hundreds were baptized) and the real meaning of "Mormon."

The first half of the word "Mor" refers to Moriah or Meru, the sea mountain. This may have been inspired by founder Joseph Smith's brother Hyrum who was inducted into the Mount Moriah Lodge No. 112 of Palmyra, New York at the very same time as Smith was supposedly learning of the golden plates upon which the Book of Mormon was written.

The second half of the word "mon" likely refers to King Solomon, meaning "man of the sun." This is because Solomon is said to have been the builder of the Temple of Jerusalem at Moriah. Whether a real man or not, the name Solomon serves as a personification of the sacred mountain and, in particular, the sun god believed to live upon its summit.

Combining 'Mor' and 'mon,' we can now decode the word 'Mormon' as the "man of Moriah." Indeed, this mountain lord is probably the inspiration behind the angel Moroni who Joseph Smith said guarded the golden plates of the Book of Mormon.*

Interestingly, there is a god of riches and gold in the Rig-Veda named Lord Kubera who was the guardian of Mount Meru. It seems more than a little likely to me that Joseph Smith was familiar with this story and fashioned the guardian angel Moroni after Kubera. After all, Kubera's gold was said to be hidden in serpent holes at the top of Mount Meru while Smith supposedly dug up golden plates revealed to him in a vision by Moroni.

* This photo is a statue of the Angel Moroni standing on the Sun at the top of a Mormon temple in Bern Switzerland.