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Curelom and cumom

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The curelom (/kˈr.lʌm/) and the cumom (/ˈk.mʌm/) are "useful" animals mentioned in the Book of Mormon. According to adherents of the Latter Day Saint movement, these animals are thought to have existed in North and/or South America. To non-adherents, these animals are creatures of the Book of Mormon.

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The exact intended identity of these animals is not known. Joseph Smith, who translated the Book of Mormon, is not known to have elaborated on the subject of these animals. However, the animals have been a subject for discussion and speculation by Mormon thinkers and apologists.

Apologetic interpretation

According to Latter-day Saint belief, Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from an ancient language. In this line of thinking, the words curelom and cumom were transliterated instead of translated, meaning that while the ancient word is roughly transmitted, the actual animal intended is ambiguous. The context may imply beasts of burden. Some Mormons have speculated about what the terms refer to, including:

  • Mastodons, mammoths, or gomphotheres. Early Mormon apostle Orson Pratt might have identified cureloms as mammoths, though the context is unclear as to whether he is talking about Cureloms and Mammoths or Cureloms as Mammoths. If he means cureloms and mammoths separately, then he is not specifically saying that mammoths existed on the American continent at that time, seeing as all the animals are meant as hypothetical examples of what the Jaredites might have brought in their barges.
  • An as yet undiscovered, probably extinct species.
  • Some other North/South American animal species with which Smith was unfamiliar with including possible beasts of burden such as the llama, tapir, guanaco, or other possibly useful creatures like the alpaca, vicuña, jaguar, or monkey.
  • Critical view of the mammoth theory

    Mainstream paleontologists believe that mastodons and mammoths became extinct by 4000 BCE. This suggests that a beast of burden in the Book of Mormon time period most likely would not have been a mammoth, although many Latter-day Saints still persist in displaying Cureloms as mammoths in literature and media.

    Cureloms and Cumoms in Mormon literature

    The curelom and cumom have appeared in Mormon literature. For example, Chris Heimerdinger, a popular LDS novelist, chose to make cureloms mammoths in his time-traveling adventure Tennis Shoes and the Feathered Serpent. Similarly, Thom Duncan published an independent novel where an Indiana Jones-type character escapes from a curelom, described as a mammoth. In another book, titled 'Book of Mormon ABCs', on the third page it says, "C" is for Curelom, and it has a picture of a mammoth.

    In his novel The Memory of Earth, Orson Scott Card lists various pack animals: "horses, donkeys, mules and kurelomi". That particular spelling and similar alternative spellings of cureloms can be found in some non-English translations of the Book of Mormon, e.g. Slovenian.

    References

    Curelom and cumom Wikipedia


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