In the Book of Mormon, Sam was the third son of Lehi, and elder brother to the prophetNephi. Early in the Book of Mormon narrative, Nephi confided in Sam. Lehi saw Sam in his vision of the tree of life, noting that he ate the precious fruit, symbolizing the righteousness of Sam, and that he would be saved. Upon the death of Lehi, Sam followed his brother Nephi in the establishment of the Nephites.
Among LDSlinguists[who?], the leading (unofficial) theory of the origin of the name "Sam" is that it is most likely a Hebrewdialectual form of "Shem". The attributed dialect in this case would either be from the dialect of Lehi's tribe Manasseh, or from the prevalent Ephrathite culture of his family, if indeed the dialects of these two tribes were different at all. Some[who?] consider the name "Sam" to be of Arabic origin (BoM ArabicسامSām)[original research?].