That was the message delivered by Stephen D. Ricks at the 12th Annual Mormon Apologetics Conference at the South Towne Exposition Center Thursday afternoon.
Ricks, a professor of Hebrew and Cognate Learning at Brigham Young University, said just knowing Book of Mormon names and their origins would help an individual know these names were authentic.
"The Book of Mormon is what it claims to be, a document whose ancient text contains names, dates and places … that were proper to their time and place," said Ricks, a member of BYU's faculty for 30 years.
Using a PowerPoint display, Ricks showed slides with proper Book of Mormon names with Hebrew, Semitic, Greek or Hellenic origins, as well as proper names whose origins are otherwise identified.
Jaredite proper names may possibly be of ancient Near Eastern or Afroasiatic origin, but are of quite uncertain background, Ricks said.