Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2008, June 30

The Book of Mormon, and the LDS and FLDS Situation

The Book of Mormon, and The LDS and FLDS Situation

In the Book of Mormon, we read of apostate groups, such as: the Amulonites, the Amalekites, the Zoramites, the Ammonihahites. The apostates living among the Lamanites had become much more hard-hearted than the Lamanites themselves. In fact, in the great Anti-Nephi-Lehi conversion, only one apostate living among them converted to the Church (Alma 23:14). Among the Zoramites, however, there were many who came back, just like in Ammonihah. It seems that while many, especially the leaders, wouldn’t let go, followers did.

The greatest apostate splinter group, however, was the Lamanites. (Ok, so technically maybe Laman and Lemuel never did truly believe–not that there wasn’t proof enough for them to do so…) For most of the history, the Lamanites were a large group, and the Nephites were small; the Lamanites were monogamous, and the Nephites so most of the time. The Lamanites had been taught false traditions about the Nephites, and hated them. The Nephites, however, had tried many times to convert the Lamanites, but to no avail. It was when Ammon and his brothers and brethren decided to go to the Lamanites that the conversions came. Interestingly, their friends told them that instead of going to preach the gospel to them, it would be best to remember the differences, remember the Lamanites’ sins, and take this opportune moment to destroy the yucky Lamanites (Alma 26). Instead, Ammon and his brothers and brethren went, and converted many. It wasn’t easy, but it happened.

(From what I have gathered, I have no doubt that the FLDS (Fundamentalists) aren’t God’s church; not just because I believe the LDS Church is, but for other reasons, too. I also have few sympathies for many of the FLDS leaders I’ve read about. Not that I’ve seen lots of court cases won against them, either…)

Perhaps the FLDS–leaders? members? hate or dislike the LDS Church, and maybe it’s even taught to the members. Or maybe it’s just part of the story, so to say. I guess that’s the worse case scenario, like with the Lamanites. I don’t know.

The LDS Church has recently shown goodwill to victims all over the world, particularly Christians in the southern USA and Muslims.

I wondered how far that goodwill would extend? Would it cover some FLDS, too?

From comes this quote:

“People have the right to worship as they choose, and we aren’t interested in attacking someone else’s beliefs,” Elder Cook said. “At the same time, we have an obligation to define ourselves rather than be defined by events and incidents that have nothing to do with us. It’s obvious we need to do more to help people understand the enormous differences that exist between our Church which is a global faith and these small polygamous groups.”

I’m finally glad the Church came out to say something like this (the whole article). In one way, the first part of the quote and much of the article is much better than all that has been said before.

However, I have a few problems:
1. Does “global faith” have anything to do with truthfulness?
2. Does “small (polygamous) group” have anything to do with truthfulness?
I sure hope not, for either. Otherwise, a little over 100 years the Catholic Church was true, and the LDS Church wasn’t!

I hope that’s not what he meant, right?

3. Is all that time, effort, and money to make people–the “hoi polloi”–“understand [we aren’t the same]”, really worth it and the best use of resources?
4. Was this the best message to play loudly at the time?

“We are not like them; we are just like you!” seems to be the message the Church wants to put out to everyone, with all the comments and the “normal” and “famous” people who are “achievers” appearing in the new videos about Texas members. It seems the Church is saying, “See, we have become more mainstream and acceptable, and we must use this new power to get you to join…” But is that true? It really makes me wonder what the Church’s vision is, and how the leaders and workers want the LDS Church to be seen in the media, and in the eyes of the people. I wonder if showing videos of poor people who have joined the Church, and how it has helped them, might be a better way to fish? I can’t help but think there might more converts that way…

In all of this, I have been waiting–like I waited during the great mess of Waco–for the Church to come out with another public statement; one containing words and phrases like “freedom of religion”, “governmental interference”, “habeas corpus”; or even to send money to the FLDS legal defense fund, or to take care of those who need help.

(Talk about what great PR that would be, eh?! Imagine LDS leaders holding a huge check for $10,000 – $100,000 and saying–at perhaps the *only* time many FLDS would be able to hear it, not locked up in their compounds avoiding non-FLDS according to their “commandments”: “Even though we, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormons or LDS, believe that the FLDS are a (polygamy-living) apostate group that broke off from us long ago and is not connected to us, we are concerned with what they are going through; (maybe a political statement such as this could have been in here, too: that, due to nothing more than religious bigotry and a falsehood, children were seized from their parents, against Constitutional rights; in our past, we have had similar experiences; ) and we would like to tell them that others outside of their group are concerned about them (or maybe even “love them”) and their children’s welfare, and present them with this check for $100,000 to use towards getting the children back and getting them back on their feet…”)

It looks like I’ll have to wait as long as I had to for the Waco statement–forever.

The LDS Church has been–deservedly–crying foul for over a century for multiple harsh injustices condoned, allowed, and committed by local, state, and federal governments. We knew what it was like to be persecuted for polygamy, be falsely accused, have families threatened and broken up and fathers arrested and thrown in prison, etc. So it makes me think twice and shudder a little when I see things like this happen (Branch Davidians, FLDS) without LDS Church comment and statement. If we say nothing when things like this happen, how much of a right do we have to complain about yesteryears? And what about when it happens (and it will) in the future? Will we truly have cause to be surprised if no one says anything, if no one speaks out, if no one dares do anything?

Perhaps, though, the LDS Church’s response will be something similar to its response to Waco.

President Hinckley invited US Attorney General Janet Reno to attend the Freedom Fesitval in Provo, Utah–as his personal guest, I think. He even gave the prayer. (First time I’d ever heard a prophet pray?) No doubt this was a display–and more importantly–teaching evening for the person supposedly in charge of attacking the Davidians at Waco: “‘Without acknowledgment of Deity, without recognition of the Almighty as the ruling power of the universe, the all-important element of personal and national accountability shrinks and dies,’ said President Hinckley at the annual Freedom Festival in Provo, Utah, attended by more than 24,000 people on 29 June 1997 in Brigham Young University’s Marriott Center.’ ( )

I don’t doubt that the Brethren are doing the best they know and can, and that God is guiding them. (Goodness knows, I have a hard enough time with just my family…) In fact, I think it’s with an eye for our safety that this type of approach is being taken. Is it because the LDS Church is still not quite out of the wilderness and can’t be open about certain things? But if not, why does it seem like we are thumping our chests in moments like these, with the FLDS? Or, perhaps Church members are slowing the leaders down and holding them back. Perhaps they would like to do differently, but feel it’s best to hold back at the current time. There’s reason that Jesus Christ didn’t start preaching until he was 30… Remember that many of those apostate rejoinings in the Book of Mormon also resulted in bloodshed and war.

Just that one day, I hope it all gets better, and the LDS Church becomes more like Ammon and his brothers and brethren, and less like their friends.

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Book of Mormon: Ammon or Aaron–Who Was Older?

Book of Mormon: Ammon or Aaron–Who Was Older?

In Mosiah 27:34, we learn that king Mosiah has four sons, and it names Ammon first, then Aaron. So, it seems that Ammon is the firstborn, and Aaron is the second. This way of giving birth order happens at other times: with Lehi’s sons, with Alma the Younger’s sons, and with Helaman’s sons, for example. However, there are a few things that make me wonder if Ammon really was the firstborn, or at least conclude that there’s more to the story than what is written.

Many people point to Ammon’s being the leader of the missionary group (Alma 17:18 ) as extra evidence of his being the firstborn; but this is a church calling, not something that has to do with age or birth order. In addition, being called the people of Ammon has to do with religious things, too, as does being high priest over them (Alma 30:20).

I see three hints that Aaron might be older:
1. while Ammon preaches to the lesser king/ prince Lamoni, it is left to Aaron to preach to the king of all the Lamanites; is that the Nephite prince teaches the Lamanite prince, and the rightful Nephite king teaches the king?
2. when the Lamanite king wants a new name for his converted people, he consults chiefly with Aaron (Alma 23:16; 17-18). Perhaps choosing a new name is more of a political decision than a religious one; consulting with the heir king and getting his approval is more appropriate. Also, the two verses afterwards, are political matters.
3. the people ask that Aaron be king, and king Mosiah says it’s Aaron’s right to be king (Mosiah 29:1-3, 6). When king Mosiah speaks about potential future problems with the right to rule the kingdom, including the possible return and oath dismissal by those who had a past right to rule as king, he speaks about Aaron–never Ammon.

So, why would Aaron have the right to rule if Ammon were the firstborn?

Was Aaron really older than Ammon, but played a less prominent role in the spiritual aspect in the Book of Mormon? Or maybe Ammon swore he would never be king. (But if that had been the case, wouldn’t king Mosiah also have spoken about that in Mosiah 29?) Could Ammon have done something much earlier to lose his right to rule, to lose his right of the firstborn–something that Aaron hadn’t done? (But weren’t they all in it together?) Was a mistake made in the writing? Was the name placing in Mosiah 27:34 done for some other reason? I don’t know.

At least, I think it would be much better to say they are brothers, than to say that Ammon is definitely older than Aaron.

Any other insights, scriptures?

[EDIT, July 7, 2017:  This topic came to my thoughts much more because of the Chinese translations of the Book of Mormon, where “older brother” is used for Ammon, and “younger brother” is used for Aaron.]
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2008, June 24

The Greatest Irony in the Gospel: Satan the Sufferer of Sins

(Search “irony” on this blog for more articles about irony in the Book of Mormon, gospel, etc.)

There’s no doubt this one takes the cake–if it were true, that is. If it is or not, I don’t know; just that the thought crossed my mind, and just the possible irony of it was so great…

Before this earth, Lucifer wanted to sit on God’s throne. He knew it was wrong, but I imagine he wanted the power and the glory without having to pay with the suffering that was required in God’s (Heavenly Father’s) plan.

In Lucifer’s plan of salvation, the Savior (himself, Lucifer) would suffer no pain for sins at all, because no sins would be committed (so he said).

Jesus, however, was willing to suffer for all of others’ sins, even though he himself would be sinless. Lucifer saw he couldn’t get his way, persuaded others to follow him, rebelled, and was kicked out of heaven; he became Satan (same person, new name).

God’s plan continued as planned, and a Savior, as foreseen, was needed. And a Savior—Jesus Christ—was provided, according to plan.

This savior would receive all the inheritance of the Father, along with those who he saved.

Here’s the interesting twist.

Scriptures (see below) support a hierarchy/ link of responsibility of sin. Unless otherwise directed, if we know right from wrong and teach good, we are blessed. If we know right from wrong and teach evil, or we know right from wrong but don’t teach anything, we also have a part of responsibility for the sins of those we should have taught good to (such as children, church leadership, missionary work, etc.).

Parents are responsible for teaching children. If children weren’t taught evil, they would be good. We can see that this will happen in the Millenium; Satan will be bound.

So, who is the father of lies? Who is the father of evil? Who teaches man to sin? Satan.

So, will Satan pay the price of all the sins on this earth that he caused?

Jesus Christ, because of His love for His Father, Himself, and us, paid for the sins of the saved (and likely more) and saved us, and heaps glory, honor, and eternal riches upon His head.

Satan could have joined in, and Jesus Christ would have suffered and paid for his sins, too; and he would have gotten what he wanted! But, because of pride, hatred, and impatience, Satan pays for and will pay for all sins(?) (or a big portion of them), and heaps sin, misery, and destruction upon his head.

The one who wasn’t willing to be humble and free in the beginning for eternal riches, will pay the price for all in the end for… nothing of eternal worth?

What do you think?

Do we as parents also feel the weight of responsibility about teaching our children?

Scriptures that appear to support the viewpoint:

Main scripture:
Pearl of Great Price
Moses 7:37 But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?

Sins of the children on the heads of the parents:
Doctrine and Covenants 68:25 And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.

Book of Mormon:
2 Nephi 4:5 But behold, my sons and my daughters, I cannot go down to my grave save I should leave a blessing upon you; for behold, I know that if ye are brought up in the way ye should go ye will not depart from it.
6 Wherefore, if ye are cursed, behold, I leave my blessing upon you, that the cursing may be taken from you and be answered upon the heads of your parents.

Jacob 1:19 And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.

Jacob 3:10 Wherefore, ye shall remember your children, how that ye have grieved their hearts because of the example that ye have set before them; and also, remember that ye may, because of your filthiness, bring your children unto destruction, and their sins be heaped upon your heads at the last day.

Mosiah 29:30 And I command you to do these things in the fear of the Lord; and I command you to do these things, and that ye have no king; that if these people commit sins and iniquities they shall be answered upon their own heads.
31 For behold I say unto you, the sins of many people have been caused by the iniquities of their kings; therefore their iniquities are answered upon the heads of their kings.

Doctrine and Covenants 88:81 Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.
82 Therefore, they are left without excuse, and their sins are upon their own heads.

Satan, father of lies:
Book of Mormon
2 Ne. 2:18 And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind. Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.

2 Ne. 9:9 And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.

Ether 8:25 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.

Pearl of Great Price
Moses 4:4 And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.

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2008, June 20

Book of Mormon: The Lamanite King Told the Truth

Years and years ago I saw this:

About to be slain by Ammon, the Lamanite king–Lamoni’s father–says he will give up to half of his kingdom for his life:
Alma 20:23 Now the king, fearing he should lose his life, said: If thou wilt spare me I will grant unto thee whatsoever thou wilt ask, even to half of the kingdom.

Later, hearing the gospel from Aaron and desiring eternal life, he says he will give all his kingdom:
Alma 22:15 And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things unto him, the king said: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.

But the story doesn’t end there. Though the Lamanite king dies right before he can forsake the kingdom, I have no doubt the king would have done the same as his son did: given up all his kingdom for the gospel:
Alma 24:2 And their hatred became exceedingly sore against them, even insomuch that they began to rebel against their king, insomuch that they would not that he should be their king; therefore, they took up arms against the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi.
Alma 24:3 Now the king conferred the kingdom upon his son, and he called his name Anti-Nephi-Lehi.
Alma 24:4 And the king died in that selfsame year that the Lamanites began to make preparations for war against the people of God.
Alma 24:5 Now when Ammon and his brethren and all those who had come up with him saw the preparations of the Lamanites to destroy their brethren, they came forth to the land of Midian, and there Ammon met all his brethren; and from thence they came to the land of Ishmael that they might hold a council with Lamoni and also with his brother Anti-Nephi-Lehi, what they should do to defend themselves against the Lamanites.
Alma 24:6 Now there was not one soul among all the people who had been converted unto the Lord that would take up arms against their brethren; nay, they would not even make any preparations for war; yea, and also their king commanded them that they should not.
Alma 27:14 And they gathered together all their people, yea, all the people of the Lord, and did gather together all their flocks and herds, and departed out of the land, and came into the wilderness which divided the land of Nephi from the land of Zarahemla, and came over near the borders of the land.

I read that and think, how much have I “given up” for the gospel? How willing am I to forsake the things of this world–especially after I have already worked so hard to get them–for the gospel?

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Book of Mormon: Ammon Told the Truth

When Ammon first talks to Lamoni, this is the conversation:

Alma 17:22 And the king inquired of Ammon if it were his desire to dwell in the land among the Lamanites, or among his people.
Alma 17:23 And Ammon said unto him: Yea, I desire to dwell among this people for a time; yea, and perhaps until the day I die.

Well, Ammon sets a good example for us (and all missionaries, as I would often hear similar comments and kind of wince; yet others have truly felt the same way and done much) with his honesty:
Alma 17:4 And they [Ammon and his brothers/ brethren] had been teaching the word of God for the space of fourteen years among the Lamanites, having had much success in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, by the power of their words many were brought before the altar of God, to call on his name and confess their sins before him.

Later, we read that Ammon was still with them:
Alma 30:19 Now this man went over to the land of Jershon also, to preach these things among the people of Ammon, who were once the people of the Lamanites.
Alma 30:20 But behold they were more wise than many of the Nephites; for they took him, and bound him, and carried him before Ammon, who was a high priest over that people.

So, Ammon did dwell among them for 14 years, and he stayed with them (who knows for how long?) after they went to the land of Jershon.

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Persuasion in the Book of Mormon, and Other Things

Persuasion in the Book of Mormon, and Other Things
by grego

I was reading a blog post the other day on a blog that is frequented by “intellectuals”: PhD’s, lawyers, professors, etc. It was a post with over 240 comments, and most of those comments shared the same style.

It was appalling. So much so that I can say I’ve rarely been more appalled by anything else “LDS”. It wasn’t just what they were talking about; it was mostly the way they were doing it.

Sure, there were concerns, but they could have treated it very differently; I have rarely seen a post full of brainwashed comments; people who thought they were too smart for it.

It reminded me of a typical tirade session in an anti-Mormon discussion.

Anyone familiar with propaganda and logical fallacies would have a field day with the post and the comments. (I’m hardly the expert, but even I started to. Then I figured, it wouldn’t be worth it.) From the first sentence of the post—which was a generalization (somewhat hidden, as it didn’t use the word “all”)—to the last sentence of the post, which used “poisoned words”—at least every section of the somewhat long post had at least one problem with logic. Most of the comments did, too–from poisoning the well in the first comment, to the last, which contained one of those disparaging “[sic]”‘s.

Since everyone was on the bandwagon, it didn’t seem to matter.

To someone not on the bandwagon, however, it was pretty easy to see that most of the arguments were full of problems and that for most participants, the right side of the brain had completely oppressed the left side. In other words, many of the people commenting on the blog had been brainwashed.

Then, a day or two before that, I had run across an article by Devvy Kidd ( which contained this quote:
“Teddy Roosevelt said it the best: ‘The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.'”

That quote—no new idea for true freedom lovers, but important because of timing—really stuck because of the “Captain Moroni was such a bad, bad man; poor Pahoran” and “we need to support our government leaders” chatter I used to hear so much, and that continues to be heard from many American LDS. Many readers have turned away in fury without even reading past the introduction in some of my articles/ posts because “they’re not patriotic”, which to them means “you don’t support everything our government is and does 100%”. Me? Well, really, most of it is the Book of Mormon, not me. It’s like, forget what the book says, forget what prophets have said. Yeah. I don’t wonder so much any more why many—paraphrasing and interpreting Pres. Benson—look down with haughtiness and spite at the politics and liberty and blood in the Book of Mormon. (And *I’m* the one that gets called nuts…) The government is clearly winning the propaganda war with the saints. Once more, LDS should be at the front, and once more, LDS are near the back. And unfortunately, most not only don’t know it, they angrily deny it. Not just me saying that. After 9/11, I had many foreigners—New Zealanders, Canadians, Taiwanese—who were very hesitant to talk to me about all their reservations about the official story, because previous Americans had been almost bellicose when asked.

Somehow, the next day, my Sunday School lesson wasn’t going well. In fact, it seemed to be going horribly. (It probably wasn’t that bad, but that’s how it felt. Just when you had thought you couldn’t do worse than that other time before…) And somehow, at the end of the time limit, talking about king Mosiah and Amlici and persuasion in the same lesson (not to mention Alma the chief judge and great high priest/ prophet praying for strength to kill Amlici, good heavens!) led to a completely unprepared and surprise public chastizing of proud yet stupid LDS. And yes, especially (forgive me) Americans. (Of course, I had to throw a Pres. Benson quote in while doing so!) As LDS, we should be at the front of understanding these things, even if we find them appalling and don’t use them unless absolutely necessary. But, as usual, LDS are at the back of the line—again. And thus, we ourselves become appalling. Or at least we sometimes make appalling public posts and comments.

And that’s what made the post that started this all so much more appalling. These weren’t idiots writing and commenting on; they were LDS cream of the crop on an intellectual blog. Being brainwashed.

Have you ever seen a “subliminal” video, or a “Derren Brown” show or video, such as on Wow. Amazing stuff. If you read many of the comments, though, you’ll see that there’s a lot of unbelief. Most people I introduce it to, don’t believe any of it is true. Much of the unbelief stems from pride and arrogance. Of course, ignorance is in full form. I’ve noticed more and more how well they often go together…

By trying really hard to not be gullible, they become… gullible. It’s the great Satan trick–the best way to get people to believe in me is to tell them I don’t exist, I’m not real; don’t believe in me.

Derren Brown is clear that it doesn’t work all the time, especially when people might be expecting it. But it sure works enough of the time, and on people that even might be expecting it, especially after multiple exposures, that it’s clearly evident that this is something to understand and learn.

My tirade in Sunday School was met by a very few surprised faces (or at least blank), but mostly faces that were open to learning and reality. It seemed I could see the words sink into them. Unfortunately, few of the class members were American. Ok, none of them were proud brainwashed American LDS. None of them were even American. But somehow, THEY got it. I don’t think any of them hold any advanced degrees. Many never went to college. Of the ones I’ve talked to, none of them are smooth talkers. But they listened, and they realized that yes, the Book of Mormon is full of examples of people using persuasion—for good or for bad—and that since it was in there so many times, and Pres. Benson specifically mentioned propaganda in that day and I can’t imagine it being better now than then; hey, you know, it probably *was* something that God wanted us to understand and learn. They didn’t know much about it, and they knew they didn’t know. They luckily hadn’t been around the intellectual circles who shut out Pres. Benson and his counsel, and they actually believed the Book of Mormon to be the word of God and useful and pragmatic for our days in many ways, not just in an intellectual or completely spiritual way.


Anyway, that’s what really kicked in my thinking about persuasion in the Book of Mormon.

To start off, I will say that having been a leader of various degrees” and “positions”, I have never received any type of “brainwashing/ persuasion” teaching. The closest is teacher training, which touches on typical mainstream teaching ideas. Even counseling presentations to bishops deal with mainstream counseling/ psychology ideas.

I don’t remember ever seeing any type of what would be called overt and known (by the person using it) “covert persuasion” in the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/ LDS Church by any member, anywhere I’ve been. That includes even very basic things like voice tonality.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a missionary use covert persuasion, either, other than voice tonality. That includes all the missionaries before my mission, on my mission, as a stake missionary, or otherwise. (I have seen one or two use overt pressure. Especially an Elder Duffin who made me think I’d rather listen to five desperate MLM presentations or be in the ring with a WWF wrestler than take a discussion from him. I actually cheered inside when the investigator left and never came back. Though I hope he came back after Elder Duffin left.)

The lack of covert persuasion speaks very much so against claims of the LDS church being a cult.

On the other hand, I have seen covert persuasion used by many preachers on TV. (For a look at more about this, search for “The Battle for Your Mind” on the internet.)

There is overt persuasion in the gospel and in the Church. There is emotion. But I have never seen covert persuasion or “brainwashing”. (One cult brainwasher, J.K. Ellis/ Dantalion Jones, accused the Church of brainswashing, but when I pressed for examples and asked for two-way discussion on a fair debate board, he backed off—I had imagined because he was really empty-handed.)

I have seen a few examples of propaganda. It seems most of it is started by the Church or Church leaders. Offhand, I recall most of it was logical fallacies and based on unstable evidence. Other than that, there’s not much in that area, either. Or at least, so much for my memory…

How important and central is persuasion to the gospel? Remember, the great war in heaven was caused by it. And God’s plan is based on it. Even Christ and the Holy Ghost persuade us to repent and do good. Look at Doctrine and Covenants 19, where Christ uses non-beautiful overt persuasion to call to repentance.

So, on to the Book of Mormon. How much is there about overt persuasion, covert persuasion, and propaganda?

A lot. So much I can’t cover it all here, but will just leave a few thoughts and some references.

Most examples are of overt persuasion—be it beautiful or not. (Most attacks I’ve seen of LDS critics talking of brainwashing seem to be based on the “not-beautiful” examples of overt persuasion. However, that doesn’t make it covert persuasion, nor does it make it brainwashing.) Nephi clearly says he wants to write things that persuade people to come unto Christ, and that the other writers should do so, too. Moroni, who often acts as the second witness to Nephi, also says so.

Some examples of persuasion being used by/ for the good occur here (very incomplete list and even references left open/ incomplete, out, or maybe even wrong!):
Lehi persuades his family to leave: 1 Nephi 2:2-4
Lord persuades Nephi to believe Lehi: 1 Nephi 2:16
Nephi persuades Sam to believe: 1 Nephi 2:17
Nephi fails to persuade Laman and Lemuel to believe: 1 Nephi 2:18
Nephi persuades his brothers to get the plates: 1 Nephi 3:21, 4:1-3
Spirit persuades Nephi to slay Laban: 1 Nephi 4:10-13
Nephi persuades Zoram to remain with them: 1 Nephi 4:32-34
Nephi persuades others to belive in Christ: 1 Nephi 6:4, 1 Nephi 19:18, 1 Nephi 19:23, 2 Nephi 25:23
Lehi’s sons perusade Ishmael and family to go with them: 1 Nephi 7:4
Nephi tries to persuade rebels to not return to Jerusalem: 1 Nephi 7
Others persuade Laman and Lemuel to not kill Nephi: 1 Nephi 7:19
Lehi tries to persuade Laman and Lemuel to repent: 1 Nephi 8:37, 10:2
Nephi teaches and persuades his brothers to do good: 1 Nephi 15
Nephi persuades family to repent: 1 Nephi 16:24
Lord persuades Laman and Lemuel to repent: 1 Nephi 16:39
Nephi persuades his brothers to help him build a ship: 1 Nephi 17
Lehi persuades his family to be good: 2 Nephi 1-4
Nephi persuades believers to follow him and leave: 2 Nephi 5:6
Jacob persuades repentance: 2 Nephi 9
Jews shall be persuaded to believe in Christ: 2 Nephi 25:16
Jesus commands his people to persuade others to repent: 2 Nephi 26:27
Nephi persuades others to pray: 2 Nephi 32
Nephi persuades others to do good: 2 Nephi 33:4
Jacob and Joseph persuade others to come to Christ: Jacob 1:7, 8
Jacob persuades repentance: Jacob 2-3
Mosiah 1 persuades others to leave land of Nephi: Omni 1:12
Prophets persuade Nephites to repent:
King Benjamin persuades people to repent, be converted: Mosiah 2-5
Zeniff persuades others to not kill Lamanites: Mosiah 9:1-2
Abinadi persuades Alma to repent: Mosiah 12-17
Young women persuade Lamanites to not kill their families: Mosiah 19:13-15
Gideon persuades Limhi to listen to his counsel: Mosiah 22:3-9
King Mosiah persuades people to have judges: Mosiah 29
Gideon withstands words of Nehor with words of God: Alma 1:7
Alma the Younger persuades members to repent: Alma 4-7
Alma and Amulek persuade the Ammonihahites to repent: Alma 8-14
Ammon persuades servants to be of good cheer, gather sheep: Alma 17:31
Ammon persuades Lamoni to listen and repent: Alma 18
Abish persuades the people to come see the king’s conversion: Alma 19:17
Lamoni will use flattery to get Nephite missionary prisoners released: Alma 20:4
Aaron persuades the king to pray: Alma 22
Ammon, Aaron, et. al. Persuade Lamanites to repent: Alma 17-25
Ammon persuades Lamanites to leave: Alma 27
Alma persuades his sons to do good: Alma 36-42?
Captain Moroni, the covenant, and the Title of Liberty: Alma 46
Captain Moroni persuades men to fight better many times:
Helaman and others persuade the Anti-Nephi-Lehies not to break their covenant: Alma 53:13-15; 56:7-8
Captain Moroni persuades Pahoran to repent: Alma 60
Abinadad persuades the Lamanites to pray: Helaman 5
Nephi persuades the people to think: Helaman 10?
Mormon writes to persuade all to repent: Mormon 3:22
The Book of Mormon is to persuade men to believe in Jesus, etc.: Mormon 5:14
The Book of Mormon persuades men to do good: Ether 4:11
All that persuades men to do good is of Christ: Ether 4:12
Moroni hopes man will be persuaded to do good continually: Ether 8:26
That which persuades to believe in Christ, is of Christ: Moroni 7:16

In addition, there are a few articles on this blog about Alma and his sons, and NLP.

Some examples of persuasion being used by/ for the bad occur here:
Laman and Lemuel persuade some of Ishmael’s family to rebel: 1 Nephi 7
Men persuade others to believe false doctrine: 2 Nephi 28:5-9
Devil flatters people to sin: 2 Nephi 28:22
Sherem uses flattery and power of speech to overthrow doctrine of Christ: Jacob 7:2, 4
King Noah and priests use vain and flattering words to persuade people to do evil: Mosiah 11:7
Nonbelievers persuade members to do evil: Mosiah 26:6
Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah use words and flattery to lead members to do evil: Mosiah 27:8
Nehor persuades others to sin: Alma 1(:7)
Nehorites persuade others to believe them: Alma 1:15-16
Amlici persuades people to follow him: Alma 2:1, 2
Amlici persuades his followers to fight against the Nephites: Alma 2
Korihor persuades others to believe him: Alma 30:47
Amalickiah persuades people to follow him: Alma 46:5, 7, 10
Amalickiah “persuades” the Lamanite king to give him the army: Alma 47:3-4
Amalickiah persuades Lehonti to come down, follow his evil plan: Alma 47
Amalickiah persuades the army that the king’s servants killed him: Alma 47:27
Amalickiah persuades the queen that the king’s servants killed him: Alma 47:33-34
Amalickiah and Ammoron persuade the Lamanites to fight the Nephites: Alma 48-62, scattered
Morianton persuades his people to flee and fight Nephites: Alma 50:29, 35
Kingmen use flattery to win people over: Alma 61:4
Paanchi persuades rebellion: Helaman 1:7
Gadianton flatters others to make him #1 in the band: Helaman 2:5
Zoramites persuade Lamanite children to leave the Church, become Gadianton robbers: 3 Nephi 1:29
Jacob the Lamanite flatters others to flee and wait for dissenters: 3 Nephi 7:12
Jared persuades others with flattery and cunning to rebel: Ether 8:2
Satan persuades to do evil: Moroni 7:17

Those of you who are familiar with my articles “Moroni the Man, Pahoran the Propagandist” and “9/11 and the Book of Mormon”, on, also have two prime examples of propaganda and covert persuasion.

So, please be aware that persuasion does exist, it’s real, both God and Satan and their servants use it, and you will either learn it, or live by someone else’s will. Reading the scriptures and having the Spirit will negate much negative persuasion, but rarely will those things stop or cure it. Most likely you will need to learn and also change your lifestyle, especially to counter negative covert persuasion; for example, turn off the TV.

I’m going to give you a list of topics now that doing a search on will bring all kinds of information. You must be aware of things like “propaganda techniques”, “covert persuasion”, “NLP (neuro-linguistic programming)”, “conversational hypnosis”, “seduction”, “mind control”, etc. Yes, there’s lots out there, and there are some “interesting” things–both truthful and not. There’s lots of misinformation (a part of propaganda–when the truth is told, open the floodgates of untruth—from very different to the truth, to very similar to the truth—to confuse and throw everyone off as to the real truth). But generally, you’ll start to see things. And you will especially see how they work, on you, your family, and those around you. You can also look at these topics on videos on and other places. I suggest to start with “Derren Brown” to look at negative possibilities, and “Salad NLP” for positive possibilities.

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Book of Mormon: One More Thing About Sam: No “Samites”

Forgot about this! The last post prompted the memory of years ago:
How come there are no Samites?

Jacob 1:13 Now the people which were not Lamanites were Nephites; nevertheless, they were called Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites, Zoramites, Lamanites, Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites.

4 Nephi 1:36 And it came to pass that in this year there arose a people who were called the Nephites, and they were true believers in Christ; and among them there were those who were called by the Lamanites–Jacobites, and Josephites, and Zoramites;

4 Nephi 1:37 Therefore the true believers in Christ, and the true worshipers of Christ, (among whom were the three disciples of Jesus who should tarry) were called Nephites, and Jacobites, and Josephites, and Zoramites.

Mormon 1:8 And it came to pass in this year there began to be a war between the Nephites, who consisted of the Nephites and the Jacobites and the Josephites and the Zoramites; and this war was between the Nephites, and the Lamanites and the Lemuelites and the Ishmaelites.

So did Sam not have any posterity?

Well, it seems one possible answer is here:
2 Nephi 4:11 And after he had made an end of speaking unto them, he spake unto Sam, saying: Blessed art thou, and thy seed; for thou shalt inherit the land like unto thy brother Nephi. And thy seed shall be numbered with his seed; and thou shalt be even like unto thy brother, and thy seed like unto his seed; and thou shalt be blessed in all thy days.

It seems there are no Samites because Sam’s seed are grouped in with Nephi’s seed.

Notice, however, that while Lehi gives all blessings and speeches according to “birth” order (Laman, Lemuel, Zoram, Jacob, Joseph, children of Laman and Lemuel needed in addition to Laman and Lemuel’s blessings, speaking to Ishmael’s household), the last blessing is this one to Sam. Perhaps Sam had no sons, but only daughters? Or he didn’t have any children at the time? Or does this have anything to do with with the other possibilities I wrote about previously?

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Interesting Book of Mormon Word: “Anti-Nephi-Lehies”

Ok, lots of people have written about what “Anti” could mean, etc., but–and I could be mistaken–I don’t recall anyone writing about the other strange part of the words.

For example, why Nephi-Lehi? So could Anti-” mean something like “through”, “descended”, “of”, etc.?

Then, the big one for me: it’s “Lehies” instead of “Lehites”. As in “Nephites”, “Lamanites”, “Jacobites”, “Josphites”, “Zoramites”, “Amalekites”, “manner of -ites”, etc. But they call themselves not “Anti-Nephi-Lehites” (as an “-ite”), but “Anti-Nephi-Lehies”. Why? What does that mean? I don’t know. Was it written down wrong by a scribe? I don’t know. I don’t think so.

Here’s the reference:
Alma 23:17 And it came to pass that they called their names Anti-Nephi-Lehies; and they were called by this name and were no more called Lamanites.

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2008, June 17

“The Greatest Irony in the Book of Mormon: Nehorites Massacre Nehorites instead of Uniting to Overthrow the Nephite Government!” by grego

I recently found what I consider to be the greatest irony in the Book of Mormon (not in the Gospel, which would be another). As with most other irony in the Book of Mormon, nowhere in the text is the irony mentioned–it’s not readily apparent (at least not to me until the 100th time or so? of reading/ listening to the pertinent parts). Of course, now it’s really clear. Funny how that is…

So, in the Alma 20’s chapters, the Amalekites and Amulonites warriors on the Lamanite side, most of who were of the order of Nehor, wanted revenge on the Nephites because of their loss of power over the Lamanites and the Nephites. They no doubt wanted to overthrow the Nephite kingdom. So, in their anger and vengeance, they attacked the city of Ammonihah and wiped out the residents completely.

The peope in the city of Ammonihah–the ones that were left after the righteous had departed or been killed–were… of the order of Nehor! And the main purpose of those living there? To overthrow the Nephite government!!

So instead of the perfect team of two great, wicked groups, of the same religious order, with the same standards, with the same evil purpose, they became enemies and killed each other and set each other up to be killed. The Lord once more used the unrepentant wicked to get rid of the unrepentant wicked in that land.

UPDATE: Someone else already discovered this; from 2005:
Alma’s Enemies: The Case of the Lamanites, Amlicites, and Mysterious Amalekites
J. Christopher Conkling
Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: Volume – 14, Issue – 1, Pages: 108-17
Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute, 2005
“In short, for reasons not quite clear, the Ammonihah incident features, ironically, the destruction of Nephite Nehorites by a large number of Nephite Nehorites.”

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2008, June 10

Filters of Reality: Perceiving Life through Frames in the Book of Mormon

Filters of Reality: Perceiving Life through Frames in the Book of Mormon

by grego

(Some quick thoughts on the topic, not a peer-reviewed paper, eh.)

Reading the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, through the eyes of frames and filters, such as understood by NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) and EFT (emotional freedom technique), has given new insight (at least to me) into many of the stories that I want to share.

We have all met the (possibly unknowing) hypocrite–the person who talks endlessly about the negative in others, while ignoring the same (or worse) negative in themself–the person who defends their child when they’re getting beat up, then defends their child when the child beats up other children; the drunk person talking about how stupid smokers are; the person who believes stories only if they are on the TV news, but not the internet news; etc. As we listen to and observe them, we wonder how they could be so blind. What’s more interesting, is that you can talk to them until you’re blue in the face about their hypocrisy, and it will have no impact on the way they feel about and see it.

Remember “Johari’s window”? It’s that concept of there are things others can see, that we can’t/ don’t/ don’t want to; and vice-versa.

We see life through our own eyes. How we perceive it, is dependent on who we are, and all that went/ goes into that. This is called a “frame”. Talk to two involved people about something that just happened, and a third disinterested person, and you might very well get three very different stories. Well, of course, you might say, the bad people are lying, right? Not always.

There is a perfect way to see things, a perfect truth. This is how God sees things. We, however, don’t the way God sees; we see less than perfect.

There are two main reasons that we are less than perfect in the way we view the world. In Doctrine and Covenants 93, it says:
38 Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.
39 And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.
40 But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.

In other words—in addition to being individuals—we see things differently than God because we:
1. are disobedient/ sin
2. have incorrect things taught to us/ learn incorrect things.

Even many in LDS/ Mormon families can see it in the reality of their lives. For example, a family that is generally skinny might show that anyone fat is less than them. Or a family that is generally large might show that anyone thin is weird. Or that someone with a different color of hair is not as good, or that someone of another religion is not honest.

These incorrect teachings are not just about religion; they can be about anything and everything, literally. They can come from about anywhere and everywhere, too. We receive it, and it becomes part of us. It’s like we are like computers; the first program installed, is written on a blank slate, and becomes dominant; when another program comes up that conflicts with it, or wants to overwrite it, we protect the first program—usually without logically understanding why (if there even *is* a logical ‘why’…).

We see this in the scriptures in many examples; it seems that our having less-than-perfect perception and frames are a big part of what God teaches us.

Doubting Thomas. Witnesses, even the other eleven, in all solemnity, and he still doubts. Why? Alma the Younger, the prophet’s son, and he still doubts. Why? King Lamoni; his father; the brother of Jared; Saul/Paul; many investigators in the Church… the list is far from finished. Why?

I imagine that somehow, Thomas could not believe that Christ could resurrect. Something inside him said, “No way”. Obviously that didn’t come from God. So where did it come from? Maybe he grew up with his parents teaching him that. Maybe he heard it in the synagogue. Maybe his friend expressed unbelief. Maybe he read it in a book, or a respected adult told him. Maybe when he was three years old his pet died, and he was told it just couldn’t come back to life. Who knows; the point is, somehow, that unbelief was planted in his heart, and it took root, and stayed.

It took the Savior appearing to him to jolt his unbelief. He now had two opposing thoughts—his learned unbelief, and the Savior standing in front of him, with a body. Something had to go, or be rationalized.

We are all like him in some respect. We all have incorrect beliefs in us. We probably picked them up in a similar way.

It often takes an experience that jolts/ jogs us, which then allows us to understand and accept new truths. That’s what happened with Alma the younger. It took an angel appearing in power to convince him that something was amiss with his current belief system. For Paul, it was similar. For king Lamoni, it was Ammon, the testimonies of his servants, the arms, and Ammon’s obedience. For king Lamoni’s father, it was the experience of meeting Lamoni and Ammon and interacting with them. For the brother of Jared, it was seeing Jesus seeming to have a body. When these experiences happened, it caused the person experiencing them to be astonished, and marvel.

What one had never even considered as possibly true, was now a strong choice. The evidence, even proof, was clear; to deny it would mean to be a liar.

Alma, it seems, had never considered that his father’s teachings were true. The impact was so low, that the words he uses to describe remembering Jesus—
“And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned soul. And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world (Alma 36:16-17)–seem to say, three days of the most intense pain, and finally I recalled one time when I (over?)heard my father talking about *one* Jesus Christ, a certain someone…

King Lamoni believed that: “Now this was the tradition of Lamoni, which he had received from his father, that there was a Great Spirit. Notwithstanding they believed in a Great Spirit they supposed that whatsoever they did was right; nevertheless, Lamoni began to fear exceedingly, with fear lest he had done wrong in slaying his servants” (Alma 18:5). It seems that the thought that he had killed someone might be wrong/ bad had never even occurred to him before the experience with Ammon!

His father was not lying about his deepest convictions when he said: “…Lamoni, thou art going to deliver these Nephites, who are sons of a liar. Behold, he robbed our fathers; and now his children are also come amongst us that they may, by their cunning and their lyings, deceive us, that they again may rob us of our property” (Alma 20:13). His father also seriously believed what he told Ammon: “I know that if I should slay my son, that I should shed innocent blood; for it is thou that hast sought to destroy him” (Alma 20:19). He truly believed that Ammon was wicked, and there for only bad reasons. He thought he was protecting his son and the Lamanite kingdoms.

The brother of Jared had never considered that God had a body. It took a minor appearance and questioning to start things rolling.

When they all found out differently, they marveled. After those experiences, it still took teachings and the Spirit for them to come to correct understandings. Ammon preached to king Lamoni, and Lamoni had further experiences that witnessed to him that the new belief system being taught him was correct. Aaron preached to Lamoni’s father, and he had similar experiences of having more witnesses. For the brother of Jared, it took a further appearance with explanation, clarification, and more teachings, to learn more truths about God. Of king Lamoni’s father, the Book of Mormon says: “And when he saw that Ammon had no desire to destroy him, and when he also saw the great love he had for his son Lamoni, he was astonished exceedingly” (Alma 20:26).

If those experiences had never happened, wouldn’t it be likely that they would have continued in their way of believing? Isn’t that what usually happens with us? Doesn’t it usually take an experience to shock us back into reality, into searching for deeper meaning in existence and more purpose to life?

Experiences of this sort, however, do not require a change in belief, or reframing. It is only an opportunity for such. For example, when Alma and Amulek preached in Ammonihah, Zeezrom was first astonished at Alma and Amulek; after a reframing, he is astonished with the people who still believe as he did moments ago. These people had heard the same words, but there was a very different outcome of that experience.

The Lamanites that fought against Ammon were astonished, twice:
“But Ammon stood forth and began to cast stones at them with his sling; yea, with mighty power he did sling stones amongst them; and thus he slew a certain number of them insomuch that they began to be astonished at his power; nevertheless they were angry because of the slain of their brethren, and they were determined that he should fall; therefore, seeing that they could not hit him with their stones, they came forth with clubs to slay him. But behold, every man that lifted his club to smite Ammon, he smote off their arms with his sword; for he did withstand their blows by smiting their arms with the edge of his sword, insomuch that they began to be astonished, and began to flee before him; yea, and they were not few in number; and he caused them to flee by the strength of his arm” (Alma 17:36-37).
However, we see that even though they were astonished, they didn’t allow that to change them:
“And they were also rebuked by those men who had stood at the waters of Sebus and scattered the flocks which belonged to the king, for they were angry with Ammon because of the number which he had slain of their brethren at the waters of Sebus, while defending the flocks of the king. Now, one of them, whose brother had been slain with the sword of Ammon, being exceedingly angry with Ammon, drew his sword and went forth that he might let it fall upon Ammon, to slay him; and as he lifted the sword to smite him, behold, he fell dead” (Alma 19:21-22).

How about the five with the chief judge?
They didn’t believe Nephi at first; it took the experience of beholding the fulfillment of the prophecy of the chief judge lying in his blood for them to consider that he might be right:
“Behold, now it came to pass that when Nephi had spoken these words, certain men who were among them ran to the judgment-seat; yea, even there were five who went, and they said among themselves, as they went: Behold, now we will know of a surety whether this man be a prophet and God hath commanded him to prophesy such marvelous things unto us. Behold, we do not believe that he hath; yea, we do not believe that he is a prophet; nevertheless, if this thing which he has said concerning the chief judge be true, that he be dead, then will we believe that the other words which he has spoken are true. And it came to pass that they ran in their might, and came in unto the judgment-seat; and behold, the chief judge had fallen to the earth, and did lie in his blood. And now behold, when they saw this they were astonished exceedingly, insomuch that they fell to the earth; for they had not believed the words which Nephi had spoken concerning the chief judge. But now, when they saw they believed, and fear came upon them lest all the judgments which Nephi had spoken should come upon the people; therefore they did quake, and had fallen to the earth (Helaman 9:1-5).
Later, we learn that this was not the end of them; it was just an opening for further things:
“And it came to pass that the five were liberated on the day of the burial. Nevertheless, they did rebuke the judges in the words which they had spoken against Nephi, and did contend with them one by one, insomuch that they did confound them” (Helaman 9:18). Also, “And there were some of the Nephites who believed on the words of Nephi; and there were some also, who believed because of the testimony of the five, for they had been converted while they were in prison” (Helaman 9:39).

Not everyone changes that big, that fast. Changes in our frames can come over time and through many minor experiences.

This is often the case for many investigators of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many grow up thinking, any church but *that* one. Everyone knows it’s the church of the devil, a cult, its leaders were charlatans, etc. Then, often, it starts when they get uncomfortable with life in some way. They start to feel uneasy, like there is more but they don’t know what; they feel led to imagine more to religion and spirituality and life; they have a tragedy, major or minor, that opens them up to deeper thinking; etc. Maybe they (unknowingly) become acquainted with or friends with a Mormon; they hear a few things. They can’t believe anyone that kind and smart, could be so misled. They ask questions. They open the scriptures. They go to church, just to see. They sing the hymns. They pray. They talk to the missionaries. They read the Ensign. Little by little, what was impossible, becomes probable, and then even undeniable. Without that first big step, though, chances are they might not have even begun the journey.

The more distorted our filters, the more distorted our perceptions of truth and life will be, and the more it will require to jolt us and change them. (Most of the people just spoken of had very distorted filters.)

One thing that really had to be reframed for me was appearances and judging. I have had many experiences that have taught me to let go of untruth and accept new truth regarding those things. Most of the experiences have shocked me and my beliefs in one way or another, and caused me to rethink some things.

One day, if we are to see God as he is, face to face, eye to eye, we will have to have all of our filters of “reality” fall from our eyes, and see things as He sees them. It is interesting that Saul/Paul was struck blind, and had scales fall from his eyes. The Book of Mormon says of king Lamoni:
“Now, this was what Ammon desired, for he knew that king Lamoni was under the power of God; he knew that the dark veil of unbelief was being cast away from his mind, and the light which did light up his mind, which was the light of the glory of God, which was a marvelous light of his goodness—yea, this light had infused such joy into his soul, the cloud of darkness having been dispelled, and that the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul, yea, he knew that this had overcome his natural frame, and he was carried away in God…” (Alma 19:6).

As we continue to be open to the truth and the Spirit and its teachings, the experiences we have—even very small and seemingly insignificant ones—will continue to reframe our perceptions and make them (and us) more godlike.

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2008, June 6

Book of Mormon: The Order of Nehor, The Order of the Nehors, The Profession of Nehor, or Nehorites

Book of Mormon: The Order of the Nehor, The Order of Nehors, The Profession of Nehor, or Nehorites

Ok, here’s a small list about the characteristics of Nehor (Alma 1:15) and many who belonged to the order of Nehor (Alma 24:29), the order of the Nehors (Alma 21:4, two times; Alma 24:28), the faith and order of Nehor (Alma 14:16), and/ or the profession of Nehor (Alma 14:18, 15:15, 16:11) which, I guess, was more or less the “church of Nehor”. I’m going to use the “order of Nehor” and/ or “Nehorites” for all here.

I tried to order it, somewhat, and put the relevant verses together. It didn’t work so well… So, you might find a few places that should be together/ linked. Have fun!

The Nehorites:
Against the true church of God
Teachers and priests should be popular
Teachers and priests should not labor with their hands, but should be supported by the people
Alma 1:3 And he had gone about among the people, preaching to them that which he termed to be the word of God, bearing down against the church; declaring unto the people that every priest and teacher ought to become popular; and they ought not to labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people.

The order of Nehor:
Believed that all mankind saved at the last day, have eternal life (though fallen for now)
Taught that man need not fear nor tremble, but lift up heads and rejoice (sin is ok)
Yet, feared temporal destruction greatly
Alma 1:4 And he also testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life.
Alma 14:26 And Alma cried, saying: How long shall we suffer these great afflictions, O Lord? O Lord, give us strength according to our faith which is in Christ, even unto deliverance. And they broke the cords with which they were bound; and when the people saw this, they began to flee, for the fear of destruction had come upon them.
Alma 14:27 And it came to pass that so great was their fear that they fell to the earth, and did not obtain the outer door of the prison; and the earth shook mightily, and the walls of the prison were rent in twain, so that they fell to the earth; and the chief judge, and the lawyers, and priests, and teachers, who smote upon Alma and Amulek, were slain by the fall thereof.
Alma 14:29 Now the people having heard a great noise came running together by multitudes to know the cause of it; and when they saw Alma and Amulek coming forth out of the prison, and the walls thereof had fallen to the earth, they were struck with great fear, and fled from the presence of Alma and Amulek even as a goat fleeth with her young from two lions; and thus they did flee from the presence of Alma and Amulek.

The Nehorites (were):
Wore costly apparel
Worldly, riches, honor
Liars for worldly gain, though pretended not to be
Alma 1:6 And he began to be lifted up in the pride of his heart, and to wear very costly apparel, yea, and even began to establish a church after the manner of his preaching.
Alma 16:9 And thus ended the eleventh year of the judges, the Lamanites having been driven out of the land, and the people of Ammonihah were destroyed; yea, every living soul of the Ammonihahites was destroyed, and also their great city, which they said God could not destroy, because of its greatness.
Alma 1:16 Nevertheless, this did not put an end to the spreading of priestcraft through the land; for there were many who loved the vain things of the world, and they went forth preaching false doctrines; and this they did for the sake of riches and honor.
Alma 1:17 Nevertheless, they durst not lie, if it were known, for fear of the law, for liars were punished; therefore they pretended to preach according to their belief; and now the law could have no power on any man for his belief.
Alma 11:24 Believest thou that there is no God? I say unto you, Nay, thou knowest that there is a God, but thou lovest that lucre more than him.
Alma 11:25 And now thou hast lied before God unto me. Thou saidst unto me–Behold these six onties, which are of great worth, I will give unto thee–when thou hadst it in thy heart to retain them from me; and it was only thy desire that I should deny the true and living God, that thou mightest have cause to destroy me. And now behold, for this great evil thou shalt have thy reward.

Nehor and the order of Nehor:
Contended with others about religion (to gain members)
Alma 1:7 And it came to pass as he was going, to preach to those who believed on his word, he met a man who belonged to the church of God, yea, even one of their teachers; and he began to contend with him sharply, that he might lead away the people of the church; but the man withstood him, admonishing him with the words of God.

The order of Nehor:
Words of God make them wrathful (picture “foaming angry”)
Enforce their teaching with violence
Alma 1:9 Now, because Gideon withstood him with the words of God he was wroth with Gideon, and drew his sword and began to smite him. Now Gideon being stricken with many years, therefore he was not able to withstand his blows, therefore he was slain by the sword.
Alma 1:12 But Alma said unto him: Behold, this is the first time that priestcraft has been introduced among this people. And behold, thou art not only guilty of priestcraft, but hast endeavored to enforce it by the sword; and were priestcraft to be enforced among this people it would prove their entire destruction.

Nehor was:
Afraid of consequences
Alma 1:11 And it came to pass that he stood before Alma and pleaded for himself with much boldness.
Bold (persecute previous chief judge, don’t fear)
Alma 8:11 Nevertheless, they hardened their hearts, saying unto him: Behold, we know that thou art Alma; and we know that thou art high priest over the church which thou hast established in many parts of the land, according to your tradition; and we are not of thy church, and we do not believe in such foolish traditions.
Alma 8:12 And now we know that because we are not of thy church we know that thou hast no power over us; and thou hast delivered up the judgment-seat unto Nephihah; therefore thou art not the chief judge over us.
Alma 8:13 Now when the people had said this, and withstood all his words, and reviled him, and spit upon him, and caused that he should be cast out of their city, he departed thence and took his journey towards the city which was called Aaron.
Alma 9:7 And they stood forth to lay their hands on me; but behold, they did not. And I stood with boldness to declare unto them, yea, I did boldly testify unto them, saying:

Nehor was:
Wrong, but only willing to admit it at the last moment
Alma 1:15 And it came to pass that they took him; and his name was Nehor; and they carried him upon the top of the hill Manti, and there he was caused, or rather did acknowledge, between the heavens and the earth, that what he had taught to the people was contrary to the word of God; and there he suffered an ignominious death.

The Nehorites:
Hearts hardened against the word of God
Encourage others to be hard-hearted
Alma 9:5 Now they knew not that God could do such marvelous works, for they were a hard-hearted and a stiffnecked people.
Alma 9:30 And now, my beloved brethren, for ye are my brethren, and ye ought to be beloved, and ye ought to bring forth works which are meet for repentance, seeing that your hearts have been grossly hardened against the word of God, and seeing that ye are a lost and a fallen people.
Alma 14:11 But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.
Alma 21:3 Now the Lamanites of themselves were sufficiently hardened, but the Amalekites and the Amulonites were still harder; therefore they did cause the Lamanites that they should harden their hearts, that they should wax strong in wickedness and their abominations.

The order of Nehor:
Seek to destroy liberty, especially of their non-believers
Alma 8:17 For behold, they do study at this time that they may destroy the liberty of thy people, (for thus saith the Lord) which is contrary to the statutes, and judgments, and commandments which he has given unto his people.

The order of Nehor:
Truth cuts them
Alma 9:31 Now it came to pass that when I, Alma, had spoken these words, behold, the people were wroth with me because I said unto them that they were a hard-hearted and a stiffnecked people.
Alma 9:32 And also because I said unto them that they were a lost and a fallen people they were angry with me, and sought to lay their hands upon me, that they might cast me into prison.

The order of Nehor (were):
Would slaughter men, women, children alike
Premeditated killers of unwarranted victims
Alma 10:30 And it came to pass that the lawyers put it into their hearts that they should remember these things against him.
Alma 25:1 AND behold, now it came to pass that those Lamanites were more angry because they had slain their brethren; therefore they swore vengeance upon the Nephites; and they did no more attempt to slay the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi at that time.
Alma 25:2 But they took their armies and went over into the borders of the land of Zarahemla, and fell upon the people who were in the land of Ammonihah and destroyed them.
Alma 16:9 And thus ended the eleventh year of the judges, the Lamanites having been driven out of the land, and the people of Ammonihah were destroyed; yea, every living soul of the Ammonihahites was destroyed, and also their great city, which they said God could not destroy, because of its greatness.

The order of Nehor (were):
Desired to kill prophets
Denied the word of God when given in plainness
Liars, bearers of false witness
Not afraid to murder unlawfully
Twisted others’ words, unjustly accused others
Alma 10:13 Nevertheless, there were some among them who thought to question them, that by their cunning devices they might catch them in their words, that they might find witness against them, that they might deliver them to their judges that they might be judged according to the law, and that they might be slain or cast into prison, according to the crime which they could make appear or witness against them.
Alma 11:36 Now Amulek saith again unto him: Behold thou hast lied, for thou sayest that I spake as though I had authority to command God because I said he shall not save his people in their sins.
Alma 12:1 NOW Alma, seeing that the words of Amulek had silenced Zeezrom, for he beheld that Amulek had caught him in his lying and deceiving to destroy him, and seeing that he began to tremble under a consciousness of his guilt, he opened his mouth and began to speak unto him, and to establish the words of Amulek, and to explain things beyond, or to unfold the scriptures beyond that which Amulek had done.
Alma 12:2 Now the words that Alma spake unto Zeezrom were heard by the people round about; for the multitude was great, and he spake on this wise:
Alma 12:3 Now Zeezrom, seeing that thou hast been taken in thy lying and craftiness, for thou hast not lied unto men only but thou hast lied unto God; for behold, he knows all thy thoughts, and thou seest that thy thoughts are made known unto us by his Spirit;
Alma 12:4 And thou seest that we know that thy plan was a very subtle plan, as to the subtlety of the devil, for to lie and to deceive this people that thou mightest set them against us, to revile us and to cast us out–
Alma 14:2 But the more part of them were desirous that they might destroy Alma and Amulek; for they were angry with Alma, because of the plainness of his words unto Zeezrom; and they also said that Amulek had lied unto them, and had reviled against their law and also against their lawyers and judges.
Alma 14:3 And they were also angry with Alma and Amulek; and because they had testified so plainly against their wickedness, they sought to put them away privily.
Alma 14:4 But it came to pass that they did not; but they took them and bound them with strong cords, and took them before the chief judge of the land.
Alma 14:5 And the people went forth and witnessed against them–testifying that they had reviled against the law, and their lawyers and judges of the land, and also of all the people that were in the land; and also testified that there was but one God, and that he should send his Son among the people, but he should not save them; and many such things did the people testify against Alma and Amulek. Now this was done before the chief judge of the land.

The order of Nehor had:
Blindness of (spiritual) eyes
Blindness of mind
Alma 10:25 But Amulek stretched forth his hand, and cried the mightier unto them, saying: O ye wicked and perverse generation, why hath Satan got such great hold upon your hearts? Why will ye yield yourselves unto him that he may have power over you, to blind your eyes, that ye will not understand the words which are spoken, according to their truth?
Alma 14:6 And it came to pass that Zeezrom was astonished at the words which had been spoken; and he also knew concerning the blindness of the minds, which he had caused among the people by his lying words; and his soul began to be harrowed up under a consciousness of his own guilt; yea, he began to be encircled about by the pains of hell.

The Nehorites:
Attributed “winning” power of any opposition to the devil
Persecuted, even unto death, those who believe differently
Alma 10:28 And now it came to pass that when Amulek had spoken these words the people cried out against him, saying: Now we know that this man is a child of the devil, for he hath lied unto us; for he hath spoken against our law. And now he says that he has not spoken against it.
Alma 14:7 And it came to pass that he began to cry unto the people, saying: Behold, I am guilty, and these men are spotless before God. And he began to plead for them from that time forth; but they reviled him, saying: Art thou also possessed with the devil? And they spit upon him, and cast him out from among them, and also all those who believed in the words which had been spoken by Alma and Amulek; and they cast them out, and sent men to cast stones at them.
Alma 15:15 But as to the people that were in the land of Ammonihah, they yet remained a hard-hearted and a stiffnecked people; and they repented not of their sins, ascribing all the power of Alma and Amulek to the devil; for they were of the profession of Nehor, and did not believe in the repentance of their sins.

The Nehorites:
Loved stirring up contention (on the top)
Easily stirred up to contention (on the bottom)
Alma 11:20 Now, it was for the sole purpose to get gain, because they received their wages according to their employ, therefore, they did stir up the people to riotings, and all manner of disturbances and wickedness, that they might have more employ, that they might get money according to the suits which were brought before them; therefore they did stir up the people against Alma and Amulek.

The order of Nehor:
Cold killers
Burned the word of God
Delight in killing innocent, women, children
Alma 14:8 And they brought their wives and children together, and whosoever believed or had been taught to believe in the word of God they caused that they should be cast into the fire; and they also brought forth their records which contained the holy scriptures, and cast them into the fire also, that they might be burned and destroyed by fire.
Alma 14:9 And it came to pass that they took Alma and Amulek, and carried them forth to the place of martyrdom, that they might witness the destruction of those who were consumed by fire.
Alma 14:10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.

The order of Nehor were:
Alma 14:14 Now it came to pass that when the bodies of those who had been cast into the fire were consumed, and also the records which were cast in with them, the chief judge of the land came and stood before Alma and Amulek, as they were bound; and he smote them with his hand upon their cheeks, and said unto them: After what ye have seen, will ye preach again unto this people, that they shall be cast into a lake of fire and brimstone?
Alma 14:15 Behold, ye see that ye had not power to save those who had been cast into the fire; neither has God saved them because they were of thy faith. And the judge smote them again upon their cheeks, and asked: What say ye for yourselves?
Alma 14:16 Now this judge was after the order and faith of Nehor, who slew Gideon.
Alma 14:17 And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek answered him nothing; and he smote them again, and delivered them to the officers to be cast into prison.
Alma 14:18 And when they had been cast into prison three days, there came many lawyers, and judges, and priests, and teachers, who were of the profession of Nehor; and they came in unto the prison to see them, and they questioned them about many words; but they answered them nothing.
Alma 14:19 And it came to pass that the judge stood before them, and said: Why do ye not answer the words of this people? Know ye not that I have power to deliver you up unto the flames? And he commanded them to speak; but they answered nothing.
Alma 14:20 And it came to pass that they departed and went their ways, but came again on the morrow; and the judge also smote them again on their cheeks. And many came forth also, and smote them, saying: Will ye stand again and judge this people, and condemn our law? If ye have such great power why do ye not deliver yourselves?
Alma 14:21 And many such things did they say unto them, gnashing their teeth upon them, and spitting upon them, and saying: How shall we look when we are damned?
Alma 14:22 And many such things, yea, all manner of such things did they say unto them; and thus they did mock them for many days. And they did withhold food from them that they might hunger, and water that they might thirst; and they also did take from them their clothes that they were naked; and thus they were bound with strong cords, and confined in prison.
Alma 14:23 And it came to pass after they had thus suffered for many days, (and it was on the twelfth day, in the tenth month, in the tenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi) that the chief judge over the land of Ammonihah and many of their teachers and their lawyers went in unto the prison where Alma and Amulek were bound with cords.
Alma 14:24 And the chief judge stood before them, and smote them again, and said unto them: If ye have the power of God deliver yourselves from these bands, and then we will believe that the Lord will destroy this people according to your words.
Alma 14:25 And it came to pass that they all went forth and smote them, saying the same words, even until the last; and when the last had spoken unto them the power of God was upon Alma and Amulek, and they rose and stood upon their feet.
Alma 14:26 And Alma cried, saying: How long shall we suffer these great afflictions, O Lord? O Lord, give us strength according to our faith which is in Christ, even unto deliverance. And they broke the cords with which they were bound; and when the people saw this, they began to flee, for the fear of destruction had come upon them.
Alma 14:27 And it came to pass that so great was their fear that they fell to the earth, and did not obtain the outer door of the prison; and the earth shook mightily, and the walls of the prison were rent in twain, so that they fell to the earth; and the chief judge, and the lawyers, and priests, and teachers, who smote upon Alma and Amulek, were slain by the fall thereof.
Alma 14:28 And Alma and Amulek came forth out of the prison, and they were not hurt; for the Lord had granted unto them power, according to their faith which was in Christ. And they straightway came forth out of the prison; and they were loosed from their bands; and the prison had fallen to the earth, and every soul within the walls thereof, save it were Alma and Amulek, was slain; and they straightway came forth into the city.
Alma 14:29 Now the people having heard a great noise came running together by multitudes to know the cause of it; and when they saw Alma and Amulek coming forth out of the prison, and the walls thereof had fallen to the earth, they were struck with great fear, and fled from the presence of Alma and Amulek even as a goat fleeth with her young from two lions; and thus they did flee from the presence of Alma and Amulek.

The order of Nehor:
Built synagogues
Worshiped God
Alma 21:4 And it came to pass that Aaron came to the city of Jerusalem, and first began to preach to the Amalekites. And he began to preach to them in their synagogues, for they had built synagogues after the order of the Nehors; for many of the Amalekites and the Amulonites were after the order of the Nehors.

The Nehorites:
Angels don’t appear to them (Note that stories of angels by Alma many times, Amulek (at least twice), are completely untouched by the Ammonihahites.)
Alma 21:5 Therefore, as Aaron entered into one of their synagogues to preach unto the people, and as he was speaking unto them, behold there arose an Amalekite and began to contend with him, saying: What is that thou hast testified? Hast thou seen an angel? Why do not angels appear unto us? Behold are not this people as good as thy people?

The order of Nehor:
Don’t believe much in spirit of prophecy, revelation
Righteousness = assemble to worship God
God will save all men
True doctrine = foolish traditions
Alma 10:17 Now they knew not that Amulek could know of their designs. But it came to pass as they began to question him, he perceived their thoughts, and he said unto them: O ye wicked and perverse generation, ye lawyers and hypocrites, for ye are laying the foundations of the devil; for ye are laying traps and snares to catch the holy ones of God.
Alma 12:7 Now when Alma had spoken these words, Zeezrom began to tremble more exceedingly, for he was convinced more and more of the power of God; and he was also convinced that Alma and Amulek had a knowledge of him, for he was convinced that they knew the thoughts and intents of his heart; for power was given unto them that they might know of these things according to the spirit of prophecy.
Alma 21:6 Thou also sayest, except we repent we shall perish. How knowest thou the thought and intent of our hearts? How knowest thou that we have cause to repent? How knowest thou that we are not a righteous people? Behold, we have built sanctuaries, and we do assemble ourselves together to worship God. We do believe that God will save all men.
Alma 21:8 And the man said unto him: We do not believe that thou knowest any such thing. We do not believe in these foolish traditions. We do not believe that thou knowest of things to come, neither do we believe that thy fathers and also that our fathers did know concerning the things which they spake, of that which is to come.

The order of Nehor possibly:
Believed in a God who made man fall, therefore He had to redeem
God owed them?
Alma 12:20 But there was one Antionah, who was a chief ruler among them, came forth and said unto him: What is this that thou hast said, that man should rise from the dead and be changed from this mortal to an immortal state that the soul can never die?
Alma 12:21 What does the scripture mean, which saith that God placed cherubim and a flaming sword on the east of the garden of Eden, lest our first parents should enter and partake of the fruit of the tree of life, and live forever? And thus we see that there was no possible chance that they should live forever.

The order of Nehor:
Don’t believe in Christ
Don’t believe in some scriptures
Alma 21:9 Now Aaron began to open the scriptures unto them concerning the coming of Christ, and also concerning the resurrection of the dead, and that there could be no redemption for mankind save it were through the death and sufferings of Christ, and the atonement of his blood.
Alma 21:10 And it came to pass as he began to expound these things unto them they were angry with him, and began to mock him; and they would not hear the words which he spake.

The order of Nehor:
Zealous to slay the righteous, the dissident, the peaceful, the different-believing
Unmoved by compassion
Alma 24:28 Now the greatest number of those of the Lamanites who slew so many of their brethren were Amalekites and Amulonites, the greatest number of whom were after the order of the Nehors.
Alma 24:29 Now, among those who joined the people of the Lord, there were none who were Amalekites or Amulonites, or who were of the order of Nehor, but they were actual descendants of Laman and Lemuel.
Alma 25:7 And it came to pass that those rulers who were the remnant of the children of Amulon caused that they should be put to death, yea, all those that believed in these things.

The order of Nehor:
Rejected Spirit, previous knowledge
Sinners and transgressors
Alma 24:30 And thus we can plainly discern, that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things.

“Nehor” seems to be the name of a Jaredite city
Ether 7:4 And when Corihor was thirty and two years old he rebelled against his father, and went over and dwelt in the land of Nehor; and he begat sons and daughters, and they became exceedingly fair; wherefore Corihor drew away many people after him.
Ether 7:9 Wherefore, he came to the hill Ephraim, and he did molten out of the hill, and made swords out of steel for those whom he had drawn away with him; and after he had armed them with swords he returned to the city Nehor and gave battle unto his brother Corihor, by which means he obtained the kingdom and restored it unto his father Kib.

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2008, June 2

Book of Mormon: King Mosiah and Kings to Judges

I think that the study on kings by King Mosiah is brilliant. As recorded in Mosiah 29, it is short, concise, and dense. I’ll write later about that.

But what I want to talk about is the situation that king Mosiah had and how he dealt with it.

King Mosiah wanted to pass the kingdom on down to his sons. That was his plan; that had been his plan. I don’t think he had ever considered that they wouldn’t want it. But they didn’t want to be king; none would accept.

This caused King Mosiah to be blocked; stuck; up the creek without a paddle. It seemed like a really bad thing. This is *not* what King Mosiah wanted. But, he got to it. Instead of plowing ahead with an easy answer that wasn’t good, or just taking a step back, he really pulled back and took a look at the course of things. Fortunately, God had prepared his mind for this situation, through many experiences. I imagine these are some of the things King Mosiah considered:

*He had the history of the Nephites, kings and priests on the plates of Nephi.
*He knew about Lamanites and kings and wars.
*His grandfather, King Mosiah1, had melded his people with the Mulekites/ people of Zarahemla, and become the king (Omni 1:19). While it doesn’t explicitly say it, I assume that Zarahemla was king at the time (Omni 1:18, 19). Perhaps King Mosiah2 saw where they were and what they had been through, and maybe potential future problems about ruling/ kings.
*He had two Jaredite records–the smaller one from his grandfather interpreted (Omni 1:20-22), and the 24 plates found by the people of King Limhi (Mosiah 8:9, 28:11). I assume King Mosiah had the words of the brother of Jared about not having kings (Ether 6:23), and most likely two accounts of king after king all the way down to King Coriantumr and the Jaredite destruction.
*He had the story of King Noah and the problems he and his priests had caused, brought by King Limhi and his people.
*He had the words of Alma refusing to be king and a reason or two why (Mosiah 23:6-14); yet Alma was just the Church, not a “nation” including nonbelievers; and at that time there was a big problem with the nonbelievers who remained Nephites (Mosiah 26, 27). In fact, four of his sons were nonbelievers for quite a while, and I think he saw how easy it was for one generation to turn.
So these groups–Mulekites, Limhites, Almaites–with kings (real or basically), united with the Nephites at Zarahemla…

Any answers anywhere?
*King Mosiah had the brass plates, and so I imagine, the records of judges and kings/ Samuel/ Saul.
*He had the prophecies about the land, the land being a land of liberty, people serving God or being destroyed when they were ripe, what that meant, a history of this promise being fulfilled by God.

So, he put it all together and presented their problem and potential future problems, his solution, the reasons for changing, and more about his solution, etc. By commands, I believe it to be clear that this was inspiration/ revelation.

So, what do we do when things don’t go as planned, especially with something major? How do we make our decisions? Where do we look for answers? Do we consider that maybe God has, through time and our experiences, prepared us for new things? Do we remember that we can and are supposed to turn to the scriptures, His word, and Him for direction, help, and confirmation? Do we consider the possibility that Plan B, which we never wanted because we were very happy and content with Plan A, might be 10x better than Plan A ever thought of being? Can we stop, step back, and ponder? Can we look for better ways–maybe not just on the surface, but deeper? Do we have the ability to “let go” of Plan A so that we are free for Plan B? Are we courageous enough to follow the path we see we’re supposed to take? Are we courageous enough to be dependent on the Lord and ourselves, and independent of others’ contrary opinions and harpings? Do we think it out, explain ourselves well, and burn our bridges when they need to be burned? Are we willing to give up something like our descendants being king, in order for something better for everyone? Do we see our solutions through to an end?

King Mosiah’s sons refuse, he remains king until death, and then the system of judges–already in place and judges elected (at least some)–and the laws–already in place–take effect. A smooth transition from kings to judges.

And Alma, the first chief judge and the high priest of the church, had such a great opportunity to be king; yet he set a wonderful example for the people and the following rulers. Perhaps the people saw a need for a great leader who was not only a good man, but had been the son of a man who had already spoken against having kings and displayed passing up the opportunity when he had been asked earlier to be king.

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