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Alma 37:23 reads, "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."
The punctuation seems to indicate that Gazelem is the name of the stone, not the servant, but this interpretation is not universal. citation needed] The index to the current LDS edition of the Book of Mormon defines Gazelem as "Name given to servant of God."[
The identity of Gazelem is uncertain, but the most likely candidates are (the seer stones used by) Mosiah and Joseph Smith. The Jaredites are the people whose secret works Gazelem is to bring to light, and both Mosiah and Joseph Smith are supposed to have used seer stones to translate the Jaredite record.
If Gazelem is a prophet, contemporary to the early Nephites, who was given a Urim and Thummim, then there must have been two sets of interpreters among them. The other set of interpreters were the ones given to the Brother of Jared. They were later buried with the plates and used to translate the Book of Mormon (See Ether 3:23; DC 17:1). Another possibility is that Gazelem is not a proper name but a title for a seer. Thirdly, the name may be a reference to Joseph Smith, who was referred to in the D&C as Gazelam when code names were used to conceal the identity of those referred to in the revelations. The following quotes are helpful.
“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.” (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 278)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2007)|
- Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon; Millet and Mcconkie; 1991; Deseret Book Company[full citation needed]
- A Dictionary of the Book of Mormon: Comprising its Biographical, Geographical and Other Proper Names. 1891 Salt Lake City, Utah: Jos. Hyrum Parry; republished 2009 by General Books[full citation needed]
- In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death by Samuel Morris Brown, site 192