Kishkumen Kishcumen

Alan C. Miner

In 1999, the Zarahemla Research Foundation (RLDS) finished an exhaustive review of all known manuscripts and editions of the Book of Mormon in order to restore the text "to its purity." The result was the Restored Covenant Edition of the Book of Mormon. One of their "restorations" involves the proper name "Kishkumen" (Helaman 1:9), which they have changed to read "Kishcumen." [Zarahemla Research Foundation, "Selected Concordance" in The Book of Mormon: Restored Covenant Edition, p. 918]

Note* This must be considered tentative subject to the verification of Royal Skousen, director of the Book of Mormon manuscript project, who will not comment at this time relative to such changes. [Personal communication, 11/22/1999]


The name "Kishkumen" (Helaman 1:9) brings up some fascinating questions. The reader should first note that it was Kishkumen, not Gadianton, who was first associated with secret oaths and covenants among the Nephite-Mulekite people. Secondly, we should note that the name "Kishkumen" is built around the root "Kish." Now comes the interesting part. In the history of the Jaredites, the name of the man who was first associated with secret oaths and covenants was named Akish (notice the "kish" root). According to Ether 8:15 it says that "Akish did administer unto them the oaths which were given by them of old who also sought power, which had been handed down even from Cain." It also says that "the secret combinations of Akish and his friends . . . did overthrow the kingdom of Omer" (Ether 9:1). Interestingly, the overthrow of the kingdom was also the ultimate goal of Kishkumen and his band (Helaman 2:3). Did Kishkumen somehow choose or change his name to conform to his status in an ancient Jaredite-Mulekite secret society? Did Mormon purposely choose these "kish" names in his abridgement to convey a message? It might be wise to ponder the connection here. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary