Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2008, July 31

grego: My Critique of “Problems with the Book of Mormon” by Ben Rast (Contender Ministries)

grego: My Critique of “Problems with the Book of Mormon”, by Ben Rast (Contender Ministries)

From the site http://contenderministries.org/mormonism/bomproblems.php .

The article, and my comments:

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“These questions vexed Roberts, because he could find no suitable answer.  He then posed those same five questions to LDS President Heber J. Grant, Grant’s counselors, the Twelve Apostles, and to the Quorum of the Seventy.  They too, were unable to provide suitable answers.” 

g: I guess that depends on one’s definition of “suitable answer”, right? First, it’s not like no one had any good answers to those questions years ago. One did very well–“I don’t know–and neither does anyone else, one way or the other.”

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“Many of the recently excommunicated Mormon scholars mentioned in the last paragraph wrote academic articles conceding to these same difficulties.” 

g: Any references that the “excommunicated Mormon scholars” were excommunicated for writing the articles?

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“These five questions are:
1.Linguistics.  Why, if the American Indians were descended from Lehi, was there such diversity in their languages, and why were there no vestiges of Hebrew in any of them?
2.Why does the Book of Mormon say that Lehi found horses when he arrived in America?  The horse did not exist in the Americas until the Spaniards brought them over in the sixteenth century.
3.Why was Nephi stated to have a bow of steel?  Jews did not have steel at that time, and no iron was smelted in the Americas until the Spanish colonization.
4.Why does the Book of Mormon mention “swords and cimeters” when scimitars (the current spelling) did not come about until the rise of Islam after 500 A.D.
5.Why does the Book of Mormon mention silk, when silk did not exist in the Americas at that time?”

g: Now, years later, isn’t it interesting that all of these “deep and troubling” questions have been answered enough to pass? What will happen to all these questions when even more evidence comes out?
(I didn’t find a copyright date on the article, so maybe this is older than the answers. Or maybe not…)

I suggest to critics that next time, before throwing up a bunch of questions and arguments that show Mormonism is patently false, and that their are problems with the Book of Mormon: ask the people you’re taking the questions from how current they are! Search on the internet for answers first! Most old questions have been rehashed many times, and thrashed in their answering. Please, unless your intention is only to mislead the very uninformed, do everyone a favor and make yourself look better by checking them first…

More information about those questions and problems and many other “Book of Mormon problems” can be found at FARMS, FAIR.org, mormonapologetics.org, and other websites. Don’t step up to the plate with a plastic bat!

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“Let me add my own question here.  Joseph Smith claimed that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth (History of the Church, 4:461).  If that’s true, why has it been subjected to thousands of corrections and alterations since it was first published? 

g: Do spelling, punctuation, and clarification changes count? Any changes that don’t count in one of those three categories? Any?

Of course, the reader should note that every translation of the Bible is likely thousands or tens of thousands of changes different than the others, often in meaning, too. Note that the American Standard version, which is generally held by scholars to be much better than the King James translation, also often changes the meaning in the King James version–not just the spelling, punctuation, or clarification. Hey, even the current King James Bible is different than the first edition! Start with understanding the apparent mistakes in the Bible; then you’ll likely be much more willing to understand the Book of Mormon.

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“Also, some of the LDS scholars to whom I referred in the second paragraph found that the American Indians are genetically more similar to Asians.  No Hebrew link can be made through DNA analysis.”

g: Once more, I suggest those other sites to find out more info about where it stands right now.

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“There are also doctrinal discrepancies between the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants and other source of LDS doctrine.  If the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on earth, then why the contradictions?  For example: 
Doctrine and Covenants 130:3 says, The idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.  But in Alma 34:36, it says, “And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell.”

g: More Book of Mormon problems, or other problems? Here are two explanations:
1. It’s a matter of semantics. I’ve heard more than one person, missing a dead one, say something like, “You’ll always be in my heart”. Obviously that person didn’t mean the person’s body would squish itself into their heart, nor did it even mean that the person’s spirit would enter their heart like a ghost.

If this explanation is unacceptable to critics, I think we should expect, during autopsies, to see the Lord’s words written in the hearts of Contender Ministries’ leaders, as per the Bible. (Any autopsies report this? None so far, eh? Get with it!)

2. Note that that verse in Doctrine and Covenants 130 says nothing about the Holy Ghost, which can dwell in one’s heart. Lower down, however, in the same section is this verse, which explains why the Father and the Son can’t literally dwell in our hearts (as Joseph Smith taught), but the Holy Ghost literally can (is the Holy Ghost also God?):
22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.

Remember, Joseph Smith was making a clear and distinct point on the literalness of the thought; Amulek (the quote from Alma 34) wasn’t.

And, is it impossible for “the most correct book” at that time, still have contradictions or problems?

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“Joseph Smith said, ‘We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity.  I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see.’ (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345)  This introduced the doctrine of eternal progression, which Brigham Young forcefully expounded upon.  [Eternal Progression teaches that God was once a man who progressed to Godhood, and we humans have the ability to do the same through strict adherence to LDS doctrines and temple rites.]  Yet Moroni 8:18 says, ‘For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable, from all eternity to all eternity.'”

g: I believe that most Contender ministries “members” would agree with Moroni here (ouch… would they??) Let’s see how literal we can take this. If God speaks, does his mouth not change? How does God, unchangeable, become angry? If God is unchangeable, how could He die? I think most should get the gist here about how problematic a strict interpretation would be.

Jesus said, “Ye are gods”. We are, but we aren’t, or are we, or what? Is a caterpillar a butterfly, yes or no? Hard to answer just with those two options, right? Would it be safe to say that “the butterfly has always had wings”? Would that be correct? But what about when it was a caterpillar? Does a caterpillar have wings? Does a butterfly eat leaves? Etc.

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“When Joseph Smith contradicts the Book of Mormon, we can reach only one of two conclusions.”

g: That comment is based on the above TWO “contradictions”. Now that the contradictions aren’t really contradictions, now what?

The argument is not quite logical, either. It’s like saying, If your answer is wrong, it’s because: 1. You didn’t study; 2. You aren’t smart enough. Is that it?? How about: you couldn’t study, you forgot your book, the teacher misgraded, the teacher wrote the question wrong, etc. No, we can’t just “reach only one of two conclusions” as the author would have us imagine.

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“Either he did not write the Book of Mormon under divine guidance and is therefore a false prophet, or he decided to contradict the teachings of God, in which case he is a false prophet.” 

g: “Write”? Translate! Please, this is a very basic and fundamental part of the story.

Notice another “either/or”, “A/B” trap–there often are other options, such as… things people thought were contradictions, aren’t.

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“Smith also stated that no one could see God without the Holy Priesthood. Yet according to his own account, he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ nine years before he himself received the priesthood!”

g: Remember, there was no priesthood on earth when he saw God and Jesus.

But shouldn’t the author provide an actual quote/ reference here for the God and priesthood part?

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“We can also look at Smith’s prophecies directly.  In Doctrine and Covenants 87:2, Smith predicted that the American Civil War would “be poured out upon all nations.”  This did not occur.” 

g: Either that, or someone misread the Doctrine and Covenants and doesn’t understand enough about prophets.

Here’s Doctrine and Covenants 87:1-2:
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls;
2 And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.

Did anyone read “the American Civil War would ‘be poured out upon all nations'”? Nope, because it’s not there.

Notice that the war in verse one ends; then, “the time will come”–not during the War of Secession, but later–when “war will be poured out upon all nations”. Like, as in, WWI, WWII.

-=-=-=

“In Doctrine and Covenants 84:4-5, he prophesied that a temple would be built in Independence, Missouri during that generation. There is still no such temple.

g: The second one has also been answered. I suggest checking out some of those sites.

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“The list goes on. He obviously fails the test of a prophet as outlined in Deuteronomy 18:21-22.”

g: “The list goes on”, but only two are mentioned. Why doesn’t the list go on here?

Just curious–did Moses fail his own test of being a prophet? If so, does that mean Moses was a false prophet? If so, does that mean the test Moses gives isn’t real?

-=-=-=

“Someone asked me once why there isn’t a huge apostasy from Mormonism in light of the compelling evidence.  I can think of two primary reasons.  Many sincere Latter Day Saints simply do not know the evidence, and are discouraged from investigating it… The other reason has to deal with courage versus comfort…” 

g: I can think of a few more reasons Latter-day Saints might stay:
1. the evidence really isn’t compelling (as the reader might have guessed by the five (seven) questions).
2. something called a testimony, and life experiences.

Interestingly, I’ve read almost all of this “critic stuff” on other critic/ anti-Mormon sites…

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“Most Mormons I’ve known have been very sincere, decent people. Many hold their religious beliefs strongly.”

g: Thank you for the compliment… I think.

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“When those beliefs are shown to fail the test in the light of the truth of the gospel, it can be a frightening and life-altering event.”

g: What “test” is that?

Like when articles like this that contain untruths are written and people on hard times run into them? :(

-=-=-=

“Members of the LDS Church can choose to ignore or excuse the evidence, or they can face it with courage.

g: Gee, thanks for giving me two choices here, master. ;) Can I choose something else, like… perhaps members can show how the evidence isn’t necessarily true or even close to it?

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“Mormon missionaries tell people to pray to see if the Book of Mormon is true. I encourage the reader to read your Bible in depth, as a Berean would, to see if the points in this article are true or false.”

g: Sounds good.

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“If you are led to witness to a Mormon, remember always to share the truth in love.

g: Thank you!

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“The facts and truth will shake the foundations of religious beliefs that are often strongly held in the life of a Mormon.”

g: Such as…? “Jesus lives?” “We need Jesus?” “Read the Bible?” “Jesus is my Savior?” “God loves us?” I hope someone’s witnessing doesn’t shake those foundations of mine!

(This is where Evangelical Mormon critics often fall flat on their face, due to a complete inability to grasp Mormon beliefs, concepts, and principles. “Witnessing” usually means: 1. telling Mormons things they already know and believe in; 2. telling Mormons how the Bible is the only and perfect word of God (not!); 3. telling Mormons lies about how Joseph Smith lied, how the Book of Mormon is simple, etc., etc. are–like in this article. Frankly, I sometimes sense there’s another purpose of witnessing for many Evangelicals: please join my church and support my ministry!)

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“Letting God’s love and compassion shine through you as you witness is extremely important.”

g: Though I’d prefer the Spirit as most important…

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“In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus is the way, and He is the only way.”

g: Amen! Now what?

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“Many have been deceived by Joseph Smith Jr., and need to come face to face with the fact that their founding prophet was a false prophet who introduced a false gospel.”

g: And many have been deceived *about* Joseph Smith, Jr.

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“Facing the truth can sometimes have some difficult consequences on earth, but life on earth is temporary. Denying the truth can have eternal consequences.”

g: Amen, and amen! Luckily for many who have been blinded/ deceived/ confused/ unable to understand/ not had a good chance to accept or reject the gospel of Jesus Christ (as Joseph Smith taught it and prophets and apostles teach it now)/ etc., there is more than just this life for eternal consequences. (And yes, that came from Joseph Smith, too.)

The same teaching that will save the Sauls who so vehemently kick against Joseph and his, came through Joseph; and in the end, he will clasp your hand in brotherhood and love and welcome you!

I hope you’ve see that the problems with the Book of Mormon, as the title implies, aren’t really problems.


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Book of Mormon: What’s Worth Fighting and Dying for?

Book of Mormon: What’s Worth Fighting and Dying for?

I want to list a few references in the Book of Mormon about what’s worth fighting and dying for. Most of them are given during the big war:

Mosiah 20:11
And it came to pass that the people of Limhi began to drive the Lamanites before them; yet they were not half so numerous as the Lamanites. But they fought for their lives, and for their wives, and for their children; therefore they exerted themselves and like dragons did they fight.

Alma 35:14
… but they have lands for their inheritance in the land of Jershon, and they have taken up arms to defend themselves, and their wives, and children, and their lands.

Alma 43:9
And now the design of the Nephites was to support their lands, and their houses, and their wives, and their children, that they might preserve them from the hands of their enemies; and also that they might preserve their rights and their privileges, yea, and also their liberty, that they might worship God according to their desires.

Alma 43:26
And he caused that all the people in that quarter of the land should gather themselves together to battle against the Lamanites, to defend their lands and their country, their rights and their liberties; therefore they were prepared against the time of the coming of the Lamanites.

Alma 43:30
And he also knowing that it was the only desire of the Nephites to preserve their lands, and their liberty, and their church, therefore he thought it no sin that he should defend them by stratagem; therefore, he found by his spies which course the Lamanites were to take.

Alma 43:45
Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church.

Alma 43:47
And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion.

Alma 43:48
And it came to pass that when the men of Moroni saw the fierceness and the anger of the Lamanites, they were about to shrink and flee from them. And Moroni, perceiving their intent, sent forth and inspired their hearts with these thoughts–yea, the thoughts of their lands, their liberty, yea, their freedom from bondage.

Alma 43:49
And it came to pass that they turned upon the Lamanites, and they cried with one voice unto the Lord their God, for their liberty and their freedom from bondage.

Alma 44:5
And now, Zerahemnah, I command you, in the name of that all-powerful God, who has strengthened our arms that we have gained power over you, by our faith, by our religion, and by our rites of worship, and by our church, and by the sacred support which we owe to our wives and our children, by that liberty which binds us to our lands and our country; yea, and also by the maintenance of the sacred word of God, to which we owe all our happiness; and by all that is most dear unto us–

Alma 46:12
And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it–In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children–and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.

Alma 46:20
Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and enter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord God may bless them.

Alma 48:10
And thus he was preparing to support their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace, and that they might live unto the Lord their God, and that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of Christians.

Alma 48:11
And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery;

Alma 48:13
Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood.

Alma 50:39
Behold, it came to pass that the son of Nephihah was appointed to fill the judgment-seat, in the stead of his father; yea, he was appointed chief judge and governor over the people, with an oath and sacred ordinance to judge righteously, and to keep the peace and the freedom of the people, and to grant unto them their sacred privileges to worship the Lord their God, yea, to support and maintain the cause of God all his days, and to bring the wicked to justice according to their crime.

Alma 51:21
And thus Moroni put an end to those king-men, that there were not any known by the appellation of king-men; and thus he put an end to the stubbornness and the pride of those people who professed the blood of nobility; but they were brought down to humble themselves like unto their brethren, and to fight valiantly for their freedom from bondage.

Alma 53:17
And they entered into a covenant to fight for the liberty of the Nephites, yea, to protect the land unto the laying down of their lives; yea, even they covenanted that they never would give up their liberty, but they would fight in all cases to protect the Nephites and themselves from bondage.

Alma 54:10
But, as the Lord liveth, our armies shall come upon you except ye withdraw, and ye shall soon be visited with death, for we will retain our cities and our lands; yea, and we will maintain our religion and the cause of our God.

Alma 58:12
And we did take courage with our small force which we had received, and were fixed with a determination to conquer our enemies, and to maintain our lands, and our possessions, and our wives, and our children, and the cause of our liberty.

Alma 62:5
And it came to pass that thousands did flock unto his standard, and did take up their swords in the defence of their freedom, that they might not come into bondage.

3 Nephi 2:12
Therefore, all the Lamanites who had become converted unto the Lord did unite with their brethren, the Nephites, and were compelled, for the safety of their lives and their women and their children, to take up arms against those Gadianton robbers, yea, and also to maintain their rights, and the privileges of their church and of their worship, and their freedom and their liberty.

Mormon 2:23
And it came to pass that I did speak unto my people, and did urge them with great energy, that they would stand boldly before the Lamanites and fight for their wives, and their children, and their houses, and their homes.


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2008, July 30

Compassion in the Book of Mormon

“Compassion” in the Book of Mormon

It’s interesting to me that there is a very clear pattern as to the only times compassion is noted in the Book of Mormon; it has to do with who has it. You’ll find it by looking at all the references:

1 Nephi 21:15 For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.

Mosiah 15:9 Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice.

Mosiah 19:13 And it came to pass that those who tarried with their wives and their children caused that their fair daughters should stand forth and plead with the Lamanites that they would not slay them.
Mosiah 19:14 And it came to pass that the Lamanites had compassion on them, for they were charmed with the beauty of their women.
Mosiah 19:15 Therefore the Lamanites did spare their lives, and took them captives and carried them back to the land of Nephi, and granted unto them that they might possess the land, under the conditions that they would deliver up king Noah into the hands of the Lamanites, and deliver up their property, even one half of all they possessed, one half of their gold, and their silver, and all their precious things, and thus they should pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites from year to year.

Mosiah 20:24 And it came to pass that the king was pacified towards his people; and he said unto them: Let us go forth to meet my people, without arms; and I swear unto you with an oath that my people shall not slay thy people.
Mosiah 20:25 And it came to pass that they followed the king, and went forth without arms to meet the Lamanites. And it came to pass that they did meet the Lamanites; and the king of the Lamanites did bow himself down before them, and did plead in behalf of the people of Limhi.
Mosiah 20:26 And when the Lamanites saw the people of Limhi, that they were without arms, they had compassion on them and were pacified towards them, and returned with their king in peace to their own land.

Mosiah 23:33 And it came to pass that Amulon did plead with the Lamanites; and he also sent forth their wives, who were the daughters of the Lamanites, to plead with their brethren, that they should not destroy their husbands.
Mosiah 23:34 And the Lamanites had compassion on Amulon and his brethren, and did not destroy them, because of their wives.
Mosiah 23:35 And Amulon and his brethren did join the Lamanites…

Alma 27:3 Now this people again refused to take their arms, and they suffered themselves to be slain according to the desires of their enemies.
Alma 27:4 Now when Ammon and his brethren saw this work of destruction among those whom they so dearly beloved, and among those who had so dearly beloved them–for they were treated as though they were angels sent from God to save them from everlasting destruction–therefore, when Ammon and his brethren saw this great work of destruction, they were moved with compassion, and they said unto the king:

Alma 53:13 But it came to pass that when they saw the danger, and the many afflictions and tribulations which the Nephites bore for them, [the people of Ammon] were moved with compassion and were desirous to take up arms in the defence of their country.

3 Nephi 17:5 And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them.
3 Nephi 17:6 And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you.

Ether 1:35 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did cry unto the Lord, and the Lord had compassion upon Jared; therefore he did not confound the language of Jared; and Jared and his brother were not confounded.
Ether 1:37 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did cry unto the Lord, and the Lord had compassion upon their friends and their families also, that they were not confounded.
Ether 1:40 And it came to pass that the Lord did hear the brother of Jared, and had compassion upon him, and said unto him:


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2008, July 28

“Book of Mormon: Alma 8-16: Religious Fervor of the Order of Nehor/ Nehorites’ Judges and Lawyers Subverts Nephite Law: A Study of the People of Ammonihah” by grego

Book of Mormon: Alma 8-16: Religious Fervor of the Order of Nehor/ Nehorites’ Judges and Lawyers Subverts Nephite Law: A Study of the People of Ammonihah

grego
(c)2008

We read that an angel tells Alma that the people of Ammonihah “study [to] destroy the liberty of thy people”:

Alma 8:16 And behold, I am sent to command thee that thou return to the city of Ammonihah, and preach again unto the people of the city; yea, preach unto them. Yea, say unto them, except they repent the Lord God will destroy them.

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.

Amulek also says:
Alma 10:27 And now behold, I say unto you, that the foundation of the destruction of this people is beginning to be laid by the unrighteousness of your lawyers and your judges.

Is there any evidence in the Book of Mormon that this is true?

There is, and ironically, it has to do mostly with the evils of mixing religion with politics; with religion controlling politics, in Ammonihah.

“Ironically”, because the continual voices of the critics talking about people like poor Korihor and evil Captain Moroni and how the unbelievers were controlled by the believers and there was no true freedom of belief for those poor unbelievers.

We’re going to see it big-time here–but it’s the Ammonihahites that oppress, not the Nephites; and it’s a different religion that oppresses, not the “LDS Church”. (It happens elsewhere in the Book of Mormon, too. Anyone want to show where?)

There are a few main points:
1. The people, especially the leaders, are of the profession of Nehor.
2. The people, including the leaders, allow religion and emotion to subvert the law.
3. The people, including the leaders, don’t follow Nephite law, from small matters to the largest.
4. There is unfairness in all that happens, and it’s due to religious and “lawyer” fervor.

It’s important to note that the people of Ammonihah–especially the leaders–are of the order of Nehor:
Alma 14:16 Now *this judge was after the order and faith of Nehor*, who slew Gideon.
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 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.
Alma 16:11 Nevertheless, after many days their dead bodies were heaped up upon the face of the earth, and they were covered with a shallow covering. And now so great was the scent thereof that the people did not go in to possess the land of Ammonihah for many years. And it was called *Desolation of Nehors; for they were of the profession of Nehor, who were slain*; and their lands remained desolate.

Interestingly, we learn this information only near the end of the Ammonihah story; and it trickles out: “[a] judge”; “many lawyers, and judges, and priests, and teachers”; “the people that were in the land of Ammonihah”. (For those who can’t see any complexity in the narration of the Book of Mormon, take note.)

When Alma goes to Ammonihah the first time, he talks with people who say:
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.

Was it legal for them to do that? Well, whether it was or not–and I can’t see it being so–Alma couldn’t do anything to them because he didn’t have political power, so they did what they wanted to him. It seems justice and law don’t have much say in Ammonihah–just “democracy”–the voice and will of the people.

The people of Ammonihah are hypocrites. They cry for two witnesses–required by the law–otherwise God has no case against them. But when they get two witnesses, they just get angrier than when there was one, and they try to do bad things to them:
Alma 9:2 Who art thou? Suppose ye that we shall believe the testimony of one man, although he should preach unto us that the earth should pass away?
Alma 9:6 And they said: Who is God, that sendeth no more authority than one man among this people, to declare unto them the truth of such great and marvelous things?
Alma 10:12 And now, when Amulek had spoken these words the people began to be astonished, seeing there was more than one witness who testified of the things whereof they were accused, and also of the things which were to come, according to the spirit of prophecy which was in them.
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.

The people try to illegally detain Alma, twice:
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:
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.

Here comes an interesting part.
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 10:14 Now it was those men who sought to destroy them, who were lawyers, who were hired or appointed by the people to administer the law at their times of trials, or at the trials of the crimes of the people before the judges.
Alma 10:15 Now these lawyers were learned in all the arts and cunning of the people; and this was to enable them that they might be skilful in their profession.
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 10:31 And there was one among them whose name was Zeezrom. Now he was the foremost to accuse Amulek and Alma, he being one of the most expert among them, having much business to do among the people.
Alma 10:32 Now the object of these lawyers was to get gain; and they got gain according to their employ.
Alma 11:1 Now it was in the law of Mosiah that every man who was a judge of the law, or those who were appointed to be judges, should receive wages according to the time which they labored to judge those who were brought before them to be judged.
Alma 11:2 Now if a man owed another, and he would not pay that which he did owe, he was complained of to the judge; and the judge executed authority, and sent forth officers that the man should be brought before him; and he judged the man according to the law and the evidences which were brought against him, and thus the man was compelled to pay that which he owed, or be stripped, or be cast out from among the people as a thief and a robber.
Alma 11:3 And the judge received for his wages according to his time–a senine of gold for a day, or a senum of silver, which is equal to a senine of gold; and this is according to the law which was given..
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.
Alma 11:21 And this Zeezrom began to question Amulek, saying: Will ye answer me a few questions which I shall ask you? Now Zeezrom was a man who was expert in the devices of the devil, that he might destroy that which was good; therefore, he said unto Amulek: Will ye answer the questions which I shall put unto you?

The text talks about Zeezrom being a lawyer, then lawyers making money, then immediately about what judges do (notice no mention of lawyers in this process) and how judges receive pay, then how “they” caused legal problem situations to make more money. Now, where does it talk about lawyers as being part of or having to do with the law? It doesn’t! Where does it talk about lawyers receiving pay? It doesn’t! In Alma 11:20, does “they” (mentioned five times, with no clear antecedent) refer to lawyers or judges? Or, are lawyers and judges related/ the same? Do they work together?

Note that when Nehor goes to court, he has no lawyer (Alma 1). When Korihor goes to court, he has no lawyer (Alma 30). When Nephi answers the judges, he has no lawyer (Helaman 9). The position of “lawyer” is never mentioned in the Nephite legal system (Mosiah 29, etc.).

Obviously it’s easier for a judge to hear a case and judge without lawyers–look at how fast small claims court cases go. But if a judge gets paid just for his time in court, and is not earning enough because there aren’t enough cases or they finish too quickly or are too simple, the judge has to find other work–like maybe farm or tend flocks. *Not* something that a proud judge would like to do, especially when the pay for being a judge is good. There is another way to solve this problem–increase the time spent in the judgment seat, to make it a fulltime job. This can be done by: 1. increasing the complexity, difficulty, or time of each case; 2. increasing the number of cases.

So how can that be done? The judges would need help; someone to “get the ball rolling” and keep it rolling, on both points. Because there’s another problem: it seems that judges/ officers don’t have power to act on their own/ charge others with crime; that is, there is no government officer who makes sure crimes against society are punished. I refer to Nehor and Nephi as cases.

When Nehor slays Gideon, the judges/ officers don’t make the arrest; the people do:
Alma 1:10 And the man who slew him was taken by the people of the church, and was brought before Alma, to be judged according to the crimes which he had committed.

Note this, where the judges try to incite the people to accuse Nephi:
Helaman 8:1 And now it came to pass that when Nephi had said these words, behold, there were men who were *judges*, who also belonged to the secret band of Gadianton, and they were angry, and they cried out against him, *saying unto the people: Why do ye not seize upon this man and bring him forth, that he may be condemned according to the crime which he has done*?
Helaman 8:4 And those *judges* were angry with him because he spake plainly unto them concerning their secret works of darkness; nevertheless, *they durst not lay their own hands upon him, for they feared the people lest they should cry out against them*.
Helaman 8:5 Therefore *they did cry unto the people, saying: Why do you suffer this man to revile against us?* For behold he doth condemn all this people, even unto destruction; yea, and also that these our great cities shall be taken from us, that we shall have no place in them.
Helaman 8:10 And it came to pass that those *people who sought to destroy Nephi were compelled because of their fear, that they did not lay their hands on him*; therefore he began again to speak unto them, seeing that he had gained favor in the eyes of some, insomuch that the remainder of them did fear.

There is one exception to this in the Book of Mormon, but it’s still pretty close:
Helaman 9:16 And now it came to pass that the judges did expound the matter unto the people, and did cry out against Nephi, saying: Behold, we know that this Nephi must have agreed with some one to slay the judge, and then he might declare it unto us, that he might convert us unto his faith, that he might raise himself to be a great man, chosen of God, and a prophet.
Helaman 9:17 And now behold, we will detect this man, and he shall confess his fault and make known unto us the true murderer of this judge.
Helaman 9:18 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.

Did any of this rebuking have to do with the method of their bringing Nephi to judgment themselves?

Helaman 9:19 Nevertheless, [the judges] caused that Nephi should be taken and bound and brought before the multitude, and they began to question him in divers ways that they might cross him, that they might accuse him to death–
Helaman 9:20 Saying unto him: Thou art confederate; who is this man that hath done this murder? Now tell us, and acknowledge thy fault; saying, Behold here is money; and also we will grant unto thee thy life if thou wilt tell us, and acknowledge the agreement which thou hast made with him.
Helaman 9:21 But Nephi said unto them: O ye fools, ye uncircumcised of heart, ye blind, and ye stiffnecked people, do ye know how long the Lord your God will suffer you that ye shall go on in this your way of sin?
Helaman 9:22 O ye ought to begin to howl and mourn, because of the great destruction which at this time doth await you, except ye shall repent.

Does Nephi talk back to them because of their disregard for the law?

Also, note that these judges are the same ones who wanted to shut Nephi up earlier, and that they are members of the Gadianton robbers–not really great at following the law (which was the big reason Nephi got started in the first place):
Helaman 7:4 And seeing the people in a state of such awful wickedness, and those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment-seats–having usurped the power and authority of the land; laying aside the commandments of God, and not in the least aright before him; doing no justice unto the children of men;
Helaman 7:5 Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills–

So, let’s assume that a court case/ an appearance before a judge requires a citizen’s action, and that a judge can’t bring a case to court. But many people are reluctant to go to court–especially if the case isn’t clear or the people are split on whether there was a crime or not–and that’s if the people don’t need to pay a lawyer. Well, what if there were someone who helped the judges stir things up? But who would willingly do that? Well, what if someone actually got paid to do it, so that they and the judges both made money? Voila’ “the lawyer”!
In fact:
Alma 10:14 Now it was those men who sought to destroy them, who were lawyers, who were hired or appointed by the people to administer the law at their times of trials, or at the trials of the crimes of the people before the judges.
The lawyers were “hired or *appointed* by the people to *administer the law* at their times of trials”.

This sounds like lawyers are at least semi-/ quasi-officials of the government, or a special club, that helps/ works with the judges; yet there is no place for them in Nephite law. As seen with Zeezrom and Amulek’s denouncement, the lawyers are not interested in justice, as their position would seem to entail; they are interested in money and reputation, and special interests (especially their own) (see Alma 10:32). Perhaps lawyers *are* judges.

No one was off limits in their desire for money. Zeezrom and the other lawyers have no qualms about lying and tricking to get Alma and Amulek killed only for their religious beliefs.

Here’s an interesting possiblity: if order of Nehor lawyers could undermine the Church by getting the Church’s priests and teachers punished just for their beliefs and not for actual crimes of commission, then the order of Nehor could take the place of the Church in Nephite society. Were the religion and the law in the same hands of the Nehorites, it’s not hard to imagine that there would quickly be no liberty or even freedom to believe as one would.

Note also, that a system of lawyers works very well for the rich: 1. the rich can afford lawyers, and 2. they can afford the better lawyers. Did the rich Nehorites set this up?

Is it possible that the people of Ammonihah, the Ammonihahites, invented the profession of “lawyer”? Was this one of the ways in which the liberty of the people was being undermined? Was this system of using lawyers (and all that went with it) going to spread to other cities, with Ammonihahites of the profession of Nehor in particular leading the way? Was this the subject of the Ammonihahites studying to overthrow the people/ government?

The only other place lawyers are mentioned in the Book of Mormon is here (and in the story of the overthrow of the government, later in the same chapter):
3 Nephi 6:11 For there were many merchants in the land, and also many lawyers, and many officers.

There’s a little about the law:
Alma 10:15 Now these lawyers were learned in all the arts and cunning of the people; and this was to enable them that they might be skilful in their profession.
Alma 10:16 And it came to pass that they began to question Amulek, that thereby they might make him cross his words, or contradict the words which he should speak.
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 10:18 Ye are laying plans to pervert the ways of the righteous, and to bring down the wrath of God upon your heads, even to the utter destruction of this people.
Alma 10:19 Yea, well did Mosiah say, who was our last king, when he was about to deliver up the kingdom, having no one to confer it upon, causing that this people should be governed by their own voices–yea, well did he say that if the time should come that the voice of this people should choose iniquity, that is, if the time should come that this people should fall into transgression, they would be ripe for destruction.

Is Amulek–who, I imagine, as a successful businessman has had dealings with lawyers–saying that the lawyers are brainwashers who twist the people’s minds to get them to think and believe a certain way, against justice? To more easily stir the people up, cause problems, have cases, and win? And especially, to destroy the good while making more money?

Alma 10:20 And now I say unto you that well doth the Lord judge of your iniquities; well doth he cry unto this people, by the voice of his angels: Repent ye, repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Alma 10:21 Yea, well doth he cry, by the voice of his angels that: I will come down among my people, with equity and justice in my hands.

Amulek sees that there is no equity or justice among the lawyers, so the Lord will have to bring some.

Alma 10:22 Yea, and I say unto you that if it were not for the prayers of the righteous, who are now in the land, that ye would even now be visited with utter destruction; yet it would not be by flood, as were the people in the days of Noah, but it would be by famine, and by pestilence, and the sword.
Alma 10:23 But it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared; now therefore, if ye will cast out the righteous from among you then will not the Lord stay his hand; but in his fierce anger he will come out against you; then ye shall be smitten by famine, and by pestilence, and by the sword; and the time is soon at hand except ye repent.

Ironically Amulek, like a judge, now passes a judgment and a sentence on the people!

Alma 10:24 And now it came to pass that the people were more angry with Amulek, and they cried out, saying: This man doth revile against our laws which are just, and our wise lawyers whom we have selected.

This also reaffirms the position of the “lawyer” to me, as argued below.

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 10:26 For behold, have I testified against your law? Ye do not understand; ye say that I have spoken against your law; but I have not, but I have spoken in favor of your law, to your condemnation.
Alma 10:27 And now behold, I say unto you, that the foundation of the destruction of this people is beginning to be laid by the unrighteousness of your lawyers and your judges.

Amulek thrusts at the lawyers and judges, calling the people blind and unable to understand–once more, because they have been brainwashed?

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 10:29 And again, he has reviled against our lawyers, and our judges.
Alma 10:30 And it came to pass that the lawyers put it into their hearts that they should remember these things against him.

Somehow lying makes one a child of the devil–if you’re on the wrong team. The lawyers can do it, but not others. That’s how twisted justice has become in Ammonihah.

What about the lawyers? Not only are they cunning and powerful with words, but they use lies and twisted words to trap innocent people. Zeezrom lied, which would have been a crime; but since Amulek didn’t fall for it, the lie wasn’t complete, there was no actual commision of crime:
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.

But later Zeezrom does lie:
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 11:37 And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.

Alma makes sure everyone remembers that Zeezrom lied:
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;

Compare how Zeezrom and the later judges use a similar method to trap innocent people:
Alma 11:22 And Amulek… And Zeezrom said unto him: Behold, here are six onties of silver, and all these will I give thee if thou wilt deny the existence of a Supreme Being.
with this:
Helaman 9:20 Saying unto him: Thou art confederate; who is this man that hath done this murder? Now tell us, and acknowledge thy fault; saying, Behold here is money; and also we will grant unto thee thy life if thou wilt tell us, and acknowledge the agreement which thou hast made with him.

Yet in the end, all the people of Ammonihah lie to the chief judge! These people, hypocrites demanding two witnesses, now commit a crime and break one of the 10 Commandments: they bear false witness. And a lot more, eh.

(Note, once more, that it is the people who bring the case before the judge, even in Ammonihah.)

The people desire to destroy Alma and Amulek for these reasons:
Alma 14:2 But the more part of them (the people of Ammonihah) 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*.
(This, even though Amulek already answered those charges).
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.
Alma 14:7 And it came to pass that [Zeezrom] 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?
(A *third* witness is despised even more.)
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.

The main charge against them was: people were angry with Alma and Amulek! Wow… “You didn’t break a law, but you said something true and I didn’t want to hear it, so I’m angry, so I’m going to find some reason to kill you!” Note the difference between this and the stories of the Church and the law in dealing with Sherem, Nehor, Korihor, etc. Then note how similar the Ammonihahites are to Laban, Laman, and Lemuel.

Because they were angry (due to differences of religion), they were going to kill Alma and Amulek without a trial–and due in large part to lawyers like Zeezrom.

Was it possible that the order of Nehor lawyers understood how to easily manipulate people, and that if they were to spread out, they would be able to easily manipulate/ brainwash the Nephite people to choose evil over good?

In 3 Nephi, we read that the death penalty in Nephite law can only be enforced with the consent of the governor of the land. This is also shown in the case of captain Moroni. Yet in Ammonihah, first the people, and then the chief judge, are going to enforce it. What should the punishment have been? Listen to Alma as he explains the punishment (if he and Amulek had truly committed the crimes they were accused of)–without protest from Zeezrom, the lawyers, or the people of Ammonihah–to being reviled and cast out:
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*–

Here’s the story from 3 Nephi, about a hundred years later:
3 Nephi 6:21 Now there were many of the people who were exceedingly *angry because of those who testified of these things*; and those who were angry were chiefly the chief judges, and they who had been high priests and lawyers; yea, all those who were lawyers were angry with those who testified of these things.
3 Nephi 6:22 Now there was *no lawyer nor judge nor high priest that could have power to condemn any one to death save their condemnation was signed by the governor of the land*.
3 Nephi 6:23 Now there were many of those who testified of the things pertaining to Christ who testified boldly, who were *taken and put to death secretly by the judges*, that the knowledge of their death came not unto the governor of the land until after their death.
3 Nephi 6:24 Now behold, this was contrary to the laws of the land, that any man should be put to death except they had power from the governor of the land–
3 Nephi 6:25 Therefore a complaint came up unto the land of Zarahemla, to the governor of the land, *against these judges who had condemned the prophets of the Lord unto death, not according to the law*.
3 Nephi 6:26 Now it came to pass that they were taken and brought up before the judge, to be judged of the crime which they had done, according to the law which had been given by the people.
3 Nephi 6:27 Now it came to pass that those judges had many friends and kindreds; and the remainder, yea, even almost all the lawyers and the high priests, did gather themselves together, and unite with the kindreds of those judges who were to be tried according to the law.
3 Nephi 6:29 Therefore they did combine against the people of the Lord, and enter into a covenant to destroy them, and to deliver those who were guilty of murder from the grasp of justice, which was about to be administered according to the law.

I imagine the verdict would certainly have been death for those involved, which is why they then tried to overthrow the government.

Now, that’s in 29-30 AD instead of 82-81 BC when the Ammonihahites were.

Here’s the part about captain Moroni having to get this same consent to put the dissenters to death, in about 67 BC–only 14 years later than Ammonihah, with no major legal wickedness inbetween:
Alma 51:15 And it came to pass that he sent a petition, with the voice of the people, unto the governor of the land, desiring that he should read it, and give him (Moroni) power to compel those dissenters to defend their country or to put them to death.

The chief judge of the land and the other rulers are angry because of a difference in religion, apparent in the questions that Alma and Amulek are asked as they are illegally held without trial; in fact, in all the crimes the leaders commit, there is no real trial of any sorts. Because of this anger, and maybe because of the loss of followers/ believers due to some of the people repenting, the chief judge does these things:
Alma 14:7 … And *they spit upon [Zeezrom] (trying to defend Alma and Amulek)*, 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 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 14:15 …the judge *smote them again upon their cheeks*, and asked: What say ye for yourselves?
Alma 14:20 …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*…
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…

Were the other Nephite judges to act the same way the chief judge of Ammonihah acts–on whim and emotion, with no regard for law–Nephite society/ the Church would have quickly been destroyed.

This is the same type of situation with Amulon and his religious beliefs and actions toward Alma (the elder):
Mosiah 24:8 And now it came to pass that Amulon began to exercise authority over Alma and his brethren, and *began to persecute him*, and *cause that his children should persecute their children*.
Mosiah 24:9 For *Amulon knew Alma, that he had been one of the king’s priests, and that it was he that believed the words of Abinadi and was driven out before the king*, and *therefore he was wroth with him*; for he was subject to king Laman, yet he *exercised authority over them*, and *put tasks upon them, and put task-masters over them*.
Mosiah 24:10 And it came to pass that *so great were their afflictions that they began to cry mightily to God*.
Mosiah 24:11 And *Amulon commanded them that they should stop their cries; and he put guards over them to watch them, that whosoever should be found calling upon God should be put to death*.

Using symbolic imagery, at the destruction of the chief judge and his and the emergence of Alma and Amulek from the prison, the people of Ammonihah flee from Alma and Amulek as:
Alma 14:29 …a goat fleeth with her young from two lions; and thus they did flee from the presence of Alma and Amulek.

Alma and Amulek represent the justice of the Lord that was so missing among the people, and the people represent those who have received a judgment and been found on the left hand of the Lord.

The conclusion: the Book of Mormon text gives some key indicators that what the angel had told Alma, and what Amulek preached, were indeed true.
Enforcement of religion by the sword, contrary to legal rights, will lead to the destruction of liberty. Or in other words, as Alma said:
Alma 1:12: …Alma said unto him: …were priestcraft to be enforced among this people it would prove their entire destruction.


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2008, July 26

Book of Mormon: Why Was Helaman in Such Awe of the Stripling Warriors?

Book of Mormon: Why Is Helaman in Such Awe of the Stripling Warriors?

(Not enough time to flesh it out and make it nice, buy hope you enjoy it just the same.)

It seems that Helaman is in awe of the two thousand stripling warriors.

Why?

In Alma’s counsel to Helaman, it is interesting to note that Alma touches on a few things that might let us understand a little about Helaman and his personality; in addition, his letter tells us a little more about him. (No references right now; if you disagree, let me know what and where/ why, I’ll go deeper.) I understand that:

1. Helaman must hear things over and over for them to take effect.
2. He is “lazy”/ “asleep” in the gospel (and likely other areas of life).
3. Helaman doesn’t really believe in miracles.
4. He doesn’t really have a relationship with God.
5. Helaman has a hard time either keeping the commandments or believing that one will prosper by keeping the commandments (maybe linked to his laziness or lack of faith in miracles).
6. He doesn’t take his commitments seriously.
7. He has a hard time seeing how anything he does really matters or makes a real difference in the lives of others.
8. Helaman was likely scared for himself and the sons of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies.
9. He isn’t very diligent in listening to his father.

Quite ironic that the two thousand stripling warriors choose Helaman to be their leader–he was the opposite of them in his youth! The sons of the people of Ammon, the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, were opposite in many ways to what Helaman had been at their age (and probably even older). Like their leader Helaman, they had no experience in war. Yet:

1. The “stripling soldiers” are brave, assertive/ industrious: they see a problem, have a solution, and do it.
Alma 53:16 But behold, it came to pass they had many sons, who had not entered into a covenant that they would not take their weapons of war to defend themselves against their enemies; therefore they did assemble themselves together at this time, as many as were able to take up arms, and they called themselves Nephites.

4, 8. The two thousand stripling warriors take their covenants seriously and are brave:
Alma 53:17 And they entered into a covenant to fight for the liberty of the Nephites, yea, to protect the land unto the laying down of their lives; yea, even they covenanted that they never would give up their liberty, but they would fight in all cases to protect the Nephites and themselves from bondage.
Alma 53:18 Now behold, there were two thousand of those young men, who entered into this covenant and took their weapons of war to defend their country.

5. The stripling warriors know that they will help the Nephites.
Alma 53:19 And now behold, as they never had hitherto been a disadvantage to the Nephites, they became now at this period of time also a great support; for they took their weapons of war, and they would that Helaman should be their leader.

2, 6, 5. The stripling warriors were courageous and active; committed; obedient.
Alma 53:20 And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all–they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.
Alma 53:21 Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him.

7. The sons of Helaman clearly make a difference to others.
Alma 56:10 And I did join my two thousand sons, (for they are worthy to be called sons) to the army of Antipus, in which strength Antipus did rejoice exceedingly; for behold, his army had been reduced by the Lamanites because their forces had slain a vast number of our men, for which cause we have to mourn.
Alma 56:15 And these are the cities which they possessed when I arrived at the city of Judea; and I found Antipus and his men toiling with their might to fortify the city.
Alma 56:16 Yea, and they were depressed in body as well as in spirit, for they had fought valiantly by day and toiled by night to maintain their cities; and thus they had suffered great afflictions of every kind.
Alma 56:17 And now they were determined to conquer in this place or die; therefore you may well suppose that this little force which I brought with me, yea, those sons of mine, gave them great hopes and much joy.

3, 4. The stripling warriors influence God; their parents make a clear contribution.
Alma 56:18 And now it came to pass that when the Lamanites saw that Antipus had received a greater strength to his army, they were compelled by the orders of Ammoron to not come against the city of Judea, or against us, to battle.
Alma 56:19 And thus were we favored of the Lord; for had they come upon us in this our weakness they might have perhaps destroyed our little army; but thus were we preserved.
Alma 56:20 They were commanded by Ammoron to maintain those cities which they had taken. And thus ended the twenty and sixth year. And in the commencement of the twenty and seventh year we had prepared our city and ourselves for defence.
Alma 56:27 And now it came to pass in the second month of this year, there was brought unto us many provisions from the fathers of those my two thousand sons.
Alma 56:28 And also there were sent two thousand men unto us from the land of Zarahemla. And thus we were prepared with ten thousand men, and provisions for them, and also for their wives and their children.

8. The sons of Helaman do not fear.
Alma 56:44 Therefore what say ye, my sons, will ye go against them to battle?
Alma 56:45 And now I say unto you, my beloved brother Moroni, that never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites.

4. The stripling warriors have a relationship with God.
Alma 56:46 For as I (Helaman) had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.

9, 3, 5. The soldier sons of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies were diligent in listening to their parents; they believed; they obeyed.
Alma 56:47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
Alma 56:48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.

7. The stripling warriors make a decisive difference.
Alma 56:49 And it came to pass that I (Helaman) did return with my two thousand against these Lamanites who had pursued us. And now behold, the armies of Antipus had overtaken them, and a terrible battle had commenced.
Alma 56:50 The army of Antipus being weary, because of their long march in so short a space of time, were about to fall into the hands of the Lamanites; and had I not returned with my two thousand they would have obtained their purpose.
Alma 56:51 For Antipus had fallen by the sword, and many of his leaders, because of their weariness, which was occasioned by the speed of their march–therefore the men of Antipus, being confused because of the fall of their leaders, began to give way before the Lamanites.

2, 6. The stripling warriors are vigorous in action, they show their commitment.
Alma 56:52 And it came to pass that the Lamanites took courage, and began to pursue them; and thus were the Lamanites pursuing them with great vigor when Helaman came upon their rear with his two thousand, and began to slay them exceedingly, insomuch that the whole army of the Lamanites halted and turned upon Helaman.
Alma 56:53 Now when the people of Antipus saw that the Lamanites had turned them about, they gathered together their men and came again upon the rear of the Lamanites.
Alma 56:54 And now it came to pass that we, the people of Nephi, the people of Antipus, and I with my two thousand, did surround the Lamanites, and did slay them; yea, insomuch that they were compelled to deliver up their weapons of war and also themselves as prisoners of war.

3, 2. The 2,060 stripling warriors are protected; they are powerful in action.
Alma 56:55 And now it came to pass that when they had surrendered themselves up unto us, behold, I (Helaman) numbered those young men who had fought with me, fearing lest there were many of them slain.
Alma 56:56 But behold, to my great joy, there had not one soul of them fallen to the earth; yea, and they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power did they fall upon the Lamanites, that they did frighten them; and for this cause did the Lamanites deliver themselves up as prisoners of war.

2, 6. The stripling warriors are confident and forceful.
Alma 57:2 But I sent an epistle unto the king, that we were sure our forces were sufficient to take the city of Antiparah by our force; and by delivering up the prisoners for that city we should suppose ourselves unwise, and that we would only deliver up our prisoners on exchange.
Alma 57:3 And Ammoron refused mine epistle, for he would not exchange prisoners; therefore we began to make preparations to go against the city of Antiparah.
Alma 57:4 But the people of Antiparah did leave the city, and fled to their other cities, which they had possession of, to fortify them; and thus the city of Antiparah fell into our hands.

2, 6. Diligent in doing what needed to be done, however uncomfortable and tiring.
Alma 57:9 And it came to pass that we did camp round about the city for many nights; but we did sleep upon our swords, and keep guards, that the Lamanites could not come upon us by night and slay us, which they attempted many times; but as many times as they attempted this their blood was spilt.

6, 8. Helaman says:
Alma 57:19 But behold, my little band of two thousand and sixty fought most desperately; yea, they were firm before the Lamanites, and did administer death unto all those who opposed them.
Alma 57:20 And as the remainder of our army were about to give way before the Lamanites, behold, those two thousand and sixty were firm and undaunted.

1, 9, 5, 3, 2.
Alma 57:21 Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I (Helaman) did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them.

7. The stripling warriors saved the army.
Alma 57:22 And now behold, it was these my sons, and those men who had been selected to convey the prisoners, to whom we owe this great victory; for it was they who did beat the Lamanites; therefore they were driven back to the city of Manti.

3, 5, 8. A miracle of preservation based on faith and obedience, not fear.
Alma 57:25 And it came to pass that there were two hundred, out of my two thousand and sixty, who had fainted because of the loss of blood; nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was not one soul of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds.
Alma 57:26 And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea, that they should be spared while there was a thousand of our brethren who were slain. And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe–that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power.
Alma 57:27 Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually.
Alma 57:35 And behold, we are again delivered out of the hands of our enemies. And blessed is the name of our God; for behold, it is he that has delivered us; yea, that has done this great thing for us.
Alma 57:36 Now it came to pass that when I, Helaman, had heard these words of Gid, I was filled with exceeding joy because of the goodness of God in preserving us, that we might not all perish; yea, and I trust that the souls of them who have been slain have entered into the rest of their God.

2, 3, 4, 5, 7. In hard times, they rely on the Lord.
Alma 58:10 Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people.
Alma 58:11 Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.

6. Their commitment to liberty is firm.
Alma 58:12 And we did take courage with our small force which we had received, and were fixed with a determination to conquer our enemies, and to maintain our lands, and our possessions, and our wives, and our children, and the cause of our liberty.
Alma 58:13 And thus we did go forth with all our might against the Lamanites, who were in the city of Manti; and we did pitch our tents by the wilderness side, which was near to the city.

3, 4, 5. They depend on the Lord for help.
Alma 58:33 But behold, we trust in our God who has given us victory over those lands, insomuch that we have obtained those cities and those lands, which were our own.
Alma 58:37 But, behold, it mattereth not–we trust God will deliver us, notwithstanding the weakness of our armies, yea, and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies.
Alma 58:39 And those sons of the people of Ammon, of whom I (Helaman) have so highly spoken, are with me in the city of Manti; and the Lord has supported them, yea, and kept them from falling by the sword, insomuch that even one soul has not been slain.

1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9.
Alma 58:40 But behold, they have received many wounds; nevertheless they stand fast in that liberty wherewith God has made them free; and they are strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day; yea, they do observe to keep his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments continually; and their faith is strong in the prophecies concerning that which is to come.

And in the process of leading these young 2,000 and then 2,060 stripling warriors, Helaman becomes more and more like them, and less like he used to be. Helaman learns–by himself and his experiences, and from the sons of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies–a lot that Alma had wanted him to learn and had taught him. (Nothing like experience itself as the best teacher, eh?) Temporal and spiritual principles are the same, just used in different areas. However, it is usually more apparent in temporal settings, and especially in extreme situations. For example, in war, the failure to follow one simple command could result in the death of many fellow soldiers, and the person responsible would likely see it (if he hadn’t died already); but forgetting to write or read the scriptures daily…? (Dang, maybe *I* should have joined the military…)


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2008, July 23

Book of Mormon: My Critique of a Scene in The Living Scriptures (by Orson Scott Card)

Book of Mormon: My Critique of a Scene in The Living Scriptures video “Ammon, Missionary to the Lamanites” (by Orson Scott Card)

While I think The Living Scriptures videos are often very well done, and the insights the scripts give are often really cool, there are some times when I wonder if it would be better for my children to watch Saturday morning cartoons instead.

One of those times is in “Ammon, Missionary to the Lamanites”.

In the video (but nowhere in the text of the Book of Mormon) Abish tells Ammon–after he had been wondering about the plan of God being set up ahead of time, even before he had repented (and another non-textual, artistical interpretation of Abish’s father’s dream):
“If you had not been worthy, He would have sent another.”

My thoughts: “Really? He would have?”

There are two sides to this question: yes, and no.

Perhaps Mr. Card wrote this into the script to specifically oppose a not-so-recent Church rumor/ story that a lady received a (patriarchal?) blessing that she was supposed to have been baptized 20 years earlier, but that the missionary who was supposed to have baptized her chose to not go on his mission.

There are times when God would have/ does/ will “replace” someone in a position/ calling. For example, God told Joseph Smith that if he weren’t the prophet, someone else would be. You choose not to be bishop? Chances are very good, there will be another person called.

But I guess the main reason I don’t like this comment from Abish in The Living Scriptures video “Ammon, Missionary to the Lamanites” is because in Alma 26 of the Book of Mormon–long after the conversion of the king/ the supposed conversation between Ammon and Abish–Ammon says this:
Alma 26:9 For if *we* had not come up out of the land of Zarahemla, these our dearly beloved brethren, who have so dearly beloved us, *would still* have been racked with hatred against us, yea, and they *would* also have been strangers to God.

Then, Ammon reminds them that what the other Nephite Church members had been thinking and saying:
Alma 26:23 Now do ye remember, my brethren, that we said unto our brethren in the land of Zarahemla, we go up to the land of Nephi, to preach unto our brethren, the Lamanites, and they laughed us to scorn?
Alma 26:24 For they said unto us: Do ye suppose that ye can bring the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth? Do ye suppose that ye can convince the Lamanites of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers, as stiffnecked a people as they are; whose hearts delight in the shedding of blood; whose days have been spent in the grossest iniquity; whose ways have been the ways of a transgressor from the beginning? Now my brethren, ye remember that this was their language.
Alma 26:25 And moreover they did say: Let us take up arms against them, that we destroy them and their iniquity out of the land, lest they overrun us and destroy us.
Alma 26:26 But behold, my beloved brethren, we came into the wilderness not with the intent to destroy our brethren, but with the intent that perhaps we might save some few of their souls.

So who else would the Lord have sent?

Ammon then reminds them that notwithstanding their incredible desire to serve, they still felt like this:
Alma 26:27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.

If Ammon and his team almost didn’t make it, who else would have had just as great a desire to love and serve as them, and also not pulled back?

So, I find myself more apt to agree with Ammon on this point and less with Mr. Card–that if Ammon and his team hadn’t gone, no one else would have.


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2008, July 22

Book of Mormon: God, Korihor, Stroke, Curses, and Miracles

Ron, I’m sorry. (I think it’s Ron… or Rod?)

I didn’t mean to delete your comment. Ok, actually, I did–I forewarned everyone, but I guess you either didn’t find the warning, or you didn’t think I really would delete the type of comments you made.

But soon after I did, I realized that it was something I might want to address, that there was actually more to it than I had first thought. But I couldn’t bring the comment back from the trash.

Ron, you’re not the only one that believes that way. Even among members.

For everyone other than Ron and me, Ron’s gist was that I was assuming that God *had* to have a natural way to strike Korihor dumb (in Alma 30), and that there had to be a natural way or God couldn’t do it. Maybe he thought I was questioning God’s power.

But as I mentioned in my post, yes, God *could* have taken out Korihor’s vocal chords. I just don’t think He did. I don’t think nor assume He *needed* to, either, when He could have just used various other methods. In other words, I don’t think God has to use a completely unknown and unthought of way to perform a miracle, for it to count as a miracle.

I think it comes down to what is a “miracle” and a “curse”, and how do they work, and that kind of thing.

ALL miracles occur by some means. Not every miracle has to be performed at the same level of “magic”, and not even every same miracle has to be performed by the same means. One mean might have been very apparent to a person in our day and age, while another mean might still be very impossible to understand. How many different ways did Jesus heal the blind in the New Testament? Forgive my lack of offhand Bible memorization, but I’m thinking of at least three.

Now I’ll share a story or two, and you can decide for yourself if everything that’s a miracle has to be performed at the super-all-powerful-God level.

When the Amlicites are cursed, they need a mark (Alma 3). Well, God doesn’t make their foreheads “magically”/ miraculously turn red, nor does He do anything else to them. They mark their foreheads red. Could He have turned their foreheads red with a sentence? Yes, absolutely. But He didn’t need to. If He had needed to, I have absolute faith He could have. Maybe he did so to mark the Lamanites. We do read in the Book of Mormon something about “whosoever is cursed, brought the curse upon himself” or such.

A personal story: When I was trying to keep a girl from committing suicide and nothing seemed to be working, I strongly felt to pray for an angel. After wondering how ludicrous that was for a second, I did it. A few minutes later, one showed up. Not one of the kind that I was thinking of; but a knock on the door. As soon as there was a knock on the door, the girl pulled out immediately from her suicide trance state as if nothing had even happened, and answered the door, and it was over. Who was at the door? It was a member who had been at Institute and was hungry, and somehow decided to stop by before he took off for home, wondering if maybe we had a bite of food there for him to eat.
The Spirit had told me to pray for an angel; I had done so. Now, an angel *could* have come down from heaven in all its glory; that would have been fine with me. But instead, an angel–a human being, a poor friend–by God for divine puposes–knocked on the door instead.

So, was that less of a miracle than the miracle would have been had a “real” angel appeared? Or was it just a “lesser” way/ simpler mean for God to perform the miracle? Is God less powerful because He uses ways that we can understand to perform miracles? I don’t think so, though to us it might appear that way.

See, sometimes we *want* those kinds of miracles; we want to see someone that still has vocal chords, but *can’t* talk, though there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to; or we want to look down someone’s throat and see their vocal chords magically disappear at the words “struck dumb”–God is awesome, God is greeat!!

But what if it was just a simple little stroke, or whatever? Is that ok, or do we have a problem with the way God works? Is the fact that God might have used a nerve point to shut down Korihor’s ability to speak instead of taking his vocal chords away, an insult to us? Are we suddenly disappointed in God? I remember when some boys were bullying me, and my dad came–he was going to yell at them, scare them, and who knows what else, you &%(*%$$#!! Instead, he gave them rides on the swing!! Dang it, Dad?! Don’t you understand, don’t you know?? His ways, though certainly “less” than my ways, were also higher than my ways.

I don’t think Alma did an autopsy on Korihor after his death to find out what exactly had happened to Korihor; but was one necessary?

Interestingly, the main point is, Korihor says that he knows it was the power of God that caused it, and not a medical mishap–isn’t that enough for you sign-seekers of miracles?

So, if all miracles do happen, how do they happen? Ron came up with a few very inventive ways for two other Book of Mormon miracles–if I recall correctly, a mist surrounded Samuel the Lamanite and Ammon ate a superweed before his rampage. Cool, and maybe ok, but we need to see the text and understand the story also to understand more about the miracles. Alma eating a superweed wouldn’t work, because a big part of the miracle was the Lamanites couldn’t hit him with the rocks from their slings, and couldn’t even kill him when he was passed out on the floor. (How did *that* guy die, Ron? An angel *had* to kill him? I don’t think so. But *could* it have been that an angel killed him? Sure, absolutely.) And I think that if the people shooting at Samuel missed because a mist surrounded him, well, I don’t think the people would have been surprised by it that much–yet they were. So, do we know how every miracle occurs? Nope. But can we draw a few notes from the text to see something? Yes, we can.

So, once more–I believe that God *could* have magically/ miraculously taken Korihor’s vocal chords away then caused him to magically/ miraculously become more and more weak, or He *could* have made just one blood vessel get stuck. I don’t know. But I don’t rule out the second, *just because* I can/ might understand somewhat the process.

Perhaps, perhaps, sometimes God is a God of economy (“Why send an angel when they can do it themselves?”), of “worldy” means, of irony, of humor, and much more. ;)

2008, July 20

Book of Mormon: Did Korihor Preach Evolution?

Book of Mormon: Did Korihor Preach Evolution?

From wikipedia.org:
“The theory of evolution by natural selection was proposed at about the same time by both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, and was set out in detail in Darwin’s 1859 book On the Origin of Species.[5] It encountered initial resistance from religious authorities who believed humans were divinely set apart from the animal kingdom…Darwin investigated the transmutation of species and conceived his theory of natural selection in 1838.”

So how far (or not) was Joseph Smith ahead of his times?

Korihor never stated evolution or any such thing.

Korihor starts out saying no one can know things that can’t be seen, that no one can know Christ will come:

Alma 30:15 How do ye know of their surety? Behold, ye cannot know of things which ye do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ.

It isn’t until later that we know that he says he preaches there is no God:
Alma 30:28 Yea, they durst not make use of that which is their own lest they should offend their priests, who do yoke them according to their desires, and have brought them to believe, by their traditions and their dreams and their whims and their visions and their pretended mysteries, that they should, if they did not do according to their words, offend some unknown being, who they say is God–a being who never has been seen or known, who never was nor ever will be.
Alma 30:37 And then Alma said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God?
Alma 30:38 And he answered, Nay.

Alma makes it a point to talk about a Supreme Creator:
Alma 30:44 But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.
Alma 30:45 And yet do ye go about, leading away the hearts of this people, testifying unto them there is no God? And yet will ye deny against all these witnesses? And he said: Yea, I will deny, except ye shall show me a sign.

(BTW, John Pratt the astronomer has a very interesting article on the motions of the planets witnessing a Supreme Creator–see http://www.johnpratt.com.)

In other words, ordered, created things testify of a creator.

So if there was no creator, where did man come from?

Putting this together with what else Korihor says:
Alma 30:17 And many more such things did he say unto them, telling them that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men, but every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime.

It seems to me a great possibility that he was going for evolution.

Interestingly, Alma replies:
Alma 30:40 And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only.

No matter how much evidence/ proof there is of evolution, it’s not evidence that there is no God, nor that there is no Christ. However, if religious statements can be shown (however correct or not) to be wrong in the face of evolution (“science”), such as a 6,000 year-old earth, or such—though evolution doesn’t prove anything of its own—it can be used as a weapon to show that religion is wrong; and if religion is wrong on one point, by golly, then it must be wrong on other points, too. And the biggest one is the creation of Adam and Eve.

And, interestingly, one point in Korihor’s doctrine is:
Alma 30:25 Ye say that this people is a guilty and a fallen people, because of the transgression of a parent. Behold, I say that a child is not guilty because of its parents.

Whether Korihor was preaching no Fall, or no Fall because no Creation, or what, I don’t really know; but personally, I have an inkling of an idea…

It’s pretty interesting to me that the Book of Mormon came out just a bit before Darwin and Marx, and included similar, if not the same, arguments that their thoughts would be used to create shortly afterwards.

Once more, to me it’s either scripture that God prepared for our day, or Joseph Smith sure was a genius and prophet/ foreteller.

2008, July 18

Book of Mormon: Korihor–-Struck Dumb, and…? UPDATE

Book of Mormon: Korihor–Struck Dumb, and…? UPDATE

grego
(c) 2008

Wondering about sudden speech loss and problems similar to what might incapacitate a person (like Korihor) who had no previous health problems, I found the following possibilities (this is not my area of expertise, eh…) (read all the way to the last!):

1. stroke, probably in the left side of the brain (Korihor is aware that he cannot speak, and can still reason) (see: http://<a href="Right-Brain Damage”>)

2. autoimmune disease, such as MS (though this seems very unlikely to be the main reason for voice loss, and Korihor could still write at least right afterward)

3. psychogenetic disorder, such as conversion disorder (neurosis causing physical symptoms: a neurosis marked by the appearance of physical symptoms such as partial loss of muscle function without physical cause but in the presence of psychological conflict) (see www.speechpathology.com article)

4. possibly poison (article from New York Times years ago) (there ya go, critics! The priests *poisoned* Korihor. Ok, it’s possible, eh? But it would be hard for Alma to know the exact time to say the magic words, and have Korihor go from ok to dumb in a very short time.)

5. One of these 72 ways (though lots of them won’t do due to Korihor’s abilities and apparent immediate speech loss with no previous problems): 72 reasons for speech loss. I would like to study further, but have time constraints; after scanning a few, I do see some that would likely work.

6. A combination, such as psychological, then MS; mini-stroke, then stroke; etc.

7. Medicine/ chemicals, childhood problems resurfacing, etc. (I think most of these are unlikely.)

8. HERE’S THE COOL ONE, and one that those who dwell on any and all parallels between the Book of Mormon and outside things as evidence (usually for the bad, eh?) need note:
“The points and the orifices of the head and face are like the great windows of a high pavilion, by virtue of which Qi moves. When there is chaotic and rebellious Qi (Jue Qi) below, then the channels in the upper region do not move and there is lack of clarity of vision and hearing, sudden loss of speech, convulsions and dizziness” (from A BRIEF DISCUSSION OF The Points of the Window of Heaven by Peter Deadman and Mazin Al-Khafaji , in JOURNAL OF CHINESE MEDICINE NUMBER 43 SEPTEMBER 1993.)

Ok, I know this is Chinese acupuncture and not Nephite acupuncture (or did the Jaredites or Chinese carry it with them to the New World?), but…: Korihor’s “heaven’s window” acupuncture point(s) slammed shut from the rebellious and chaotic qi!

Wow, talk about an incredibly appropriate curse for Korihor to curse himself with!

In addition, for greater poetic justice–due to the devil appearing to Korihor in the form of an angel and talking to him and teaching him what to say–comes this (from the same article): “Disturbance of mental faculties is one of the manifestations of Jue [rebellious and chaotic] Qi. Tianzhu BL-10, Tianchuang SI-16, and Tianfu LU-3 are indicated respectively for ‘seeing ghosts’, ‘manic ghost talk’, and ‘floating corpse ghost talk’. These indications, referring to some form of possession (and probably nowadays understood as schizophrenic type disorders) again reveal a state of chaos and rebellion of the Qi.”

Who says God doesn’t/ can’t have a sense of humor?


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2008, July 17

Book of Mormon: No Joy in the Bad Happening to the Wicked

Book of Mormon: No Joy in the Bad Happening to the Wicked

It is always true that the prophet finds no pleasure in the pain and suffering of the guilty, unless it is necessary to help them repent.

Here’s Alma’s thought:
Alma 30:46 And now it came to pass that Alma said unto him: Behold, I am grieved because of the hardness of your heart, yea, that ye will still resist the spirit of the truth, that thy soul may be destroyed.

Ok, critics, here’s your chance–find one time in the Book of Mormon when anyone righteous delights in something bad happening to someone bad, for vengeance/ just because it makes them feel good. If you can’t find one, please don’t assume that any righteous person would wish bad on Korihor, especially Alma.

Korihor committed crimes; he got three trials (and got let off once very easily), three denials (which were lies), four signs, and a final sign; and had he repented even then, no doubt he likely would have had the curse removed; but he didn’t repent. Was all that Alma’s and God’s faults? Are Alma and God really the bad guys here??

2008, July 15

Critique of: “The Bible Versus the Book of Mormon”, by Eric Lyons

grego’s Critique of: “The Bible Versus the Book of Mormon by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

“Apologetics Press :: Bible Bullets
http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1777
Copyright © 2002 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved. (for their article)

The article, and my comments:

-=-=-=
“Similar to the insecure person who hangs around the rich and famous for the sole reason of establishing himself, the Book of Mormon has attempted to make a name for itself by “cozying up to” the Bible. The very first line in the “Introduction” to the Mormons’ revered text states: “The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible.” Even the Book of Mormon’s subtitle (“Another Testament of Jesus Christ”—emp. added) lends credibility to the Bible. Obviously, the Mormons have attempted to give credence to their scripture by comparing it to the Bible. Furthermore, a crucial element of the Mormon religion found in their Article of Faith #8 says: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God” (emp. added).”

grego: Cute and all, but no real substance. Um, yeah, LDS believe in the Bible. References to the Book of Mormon being a Bible occurred frequently in the past–by nonmembers. It is scripture and similar to the Bible in many ways, not just esoteric writings or nice teachings or such. So why not call it similar to the Bible?

-=-=-=
“If both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are inspired by God, then reason demands that they must never contradict one another.”

grego: Right, just like the Bible never contradicts itself (cough, cough)… Nevertheless, given and understood correctly, the Bible and the Book of Mormon don’t contradict each other.

-=-=-=
“No book from God’s hand will contain factual mistakes because He does not make mistakes.”

grego: Well, if God wrote it, probably not; but did God write the Bible and the Book of Mormon, or did inspired men?

-=-=-=
“By definition, He is omniscient and perfect in all His ways (cf. Psalm 139:1-6; 1 John 3:20). The truth is, however, they do contradict one another.”

grego: Ok, time for evidence and proof. And please, make the evidence much stronger than the evidence of the Bible contradicting itself, ok?

-=-=-=
“The Book of Mormon contains numerous passages that contradict what the Bible says. The following examples are conspicuous instances of such contradictions.
The Book of Mormon contends that at the tower of Babel, a group of people known as the Jaredites had their separate language (Ether 1:34-35, emp. added). As most Bible students know, however, until God confused the languages at Babel (Genesis 11:7-9), “the whole earth was of one language” (Genesis 11:1, emp. added). It seems Joseph Smith mistakenly thought there were many different languages at Babel and that God confounded them while sparing the language of the Jaredites. The fact is, there was only one language and God confounded the people by creating different languages.”

grego: Why would one emphasize something that doesn’t even exist in the text? Why do so many anti-Mormon apologists still have a hard time with reading comprehension? Where does “separate language”, other than the first langauge, occur in the Book of Mormon record? You can’t find it? Neither can I…

-=-=-=
“Contrary to the Bible prophecy concerning the Lord’s birth in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), and the fulfillment of that prophecy in Matthew 2:1, the Book of Mormon reads: “And behold, he (Jesus) shall be born of Mary at Jerusalem” (Alma 7:10, parenthetical comment and emp. added). The writer of the Book of Mormon was simply wrong.”

grego: I can’t believe that this *still* comes up. Is it lack of reading comprehension once more, or complete lack of apologetics? Granted, this article was from 2002, but still… A simple search on the internet can find numerous answers. I know that Nibley answered this a long time ago, as did a 1984 Ensign article. At least write a little more about it, as did one or two others…

-=-=-=
“The Bible tells us that at the crucifixion of Jesus, darkness covered the land for three hours (Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44). However, the Book of Mormon states three different times that there was darkness “for the space of three days” (Helaman 14:20,27; 3 Nephi 8:3, emp. added). Of course, this is a big difference.”

grego: Reading comprehension, geography, or critical thinking ability? I’ll go for the latter two here. Does the Book of Mormon say “three days in Jerusalem”? Nope. Is it possible for darkness to last for three hours in Jerusalem, and three days in the Americas, a continent away? Maybe, eh? Not the same place, folks. Were perhaps the causes different? Maybe so, eh?

-=-=-=
“Finally, whereas the Book of Mormon has people wearing the name Christian in about 73 B.C. (Alma 46:13, 15), the Bible clearly reveals that the disciples of Christ “were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26, emp. added). This was in approximately A.D. 40, and thus represents a difference of over 100 years. Which account are people to believe? After all, according to Mormons, both books are inspired.”

grego: Once more, geography has some relevance here.

-=-=-=
“The fact that there are numerous disagreements between the Bible and the Book of Mormon does not disparage the Bible in any way. In fact, a Bible believer would expect there to be contradictions between the two, since the Bible never gives any legitimacy to the Book of Mormon, but actually condemns it (cf. Galatians 1:6-9, Revelation 22:18-19, 2 Peter 1:3, and Jude 3).”

grego: “Numerous disagreements”? I’m still waiting for at least one that is worth discussing…
No, the Bible doesn’t condemn the Book of Mormon. Check the scriptures agains, you’ll see clearly.

-=-=-=
“On the other hand, the Book of Mormon easily is exposed as fiction when compared to and contrasted with the Bible, which Mormons claim is “the word of God.””

grego: Waiting…

-=-=-=
“Simply put, if both the Bible and the Book of Mormon were inspired by God, then they never would contradict each other. However, since they do disagree with one another (in a number of places), the Book of Mormon is obviously a fraud, written by con men, not inspired men.”

grego: Two comments. One, still waiting for at least a semi-valid example of a contradiction. Second, what does one make of all the contradictions within the Bible itself?
I’m interested in hearing a reply to this double-standard.

Well, it seems other works under Apologetics Press regarding the Book of Mormon are in a similar vein and have a similar (lack of) scholarship, so I think I ‘m done with that website.


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2008, July 14

Book of Mormon: Korihor–Struck Dumb, and…?

Book of Mormon: Korihor–Struck Dumb, and…?

grego
(c) 2008

I always wondered about Korihor–struck dumb, and couldn’t talk. I could get that, but I couldn’t get what that would have to do with his begging from house to house for food, just because he couldn’t talk. And I couldn’t understand why a person could be trampled to death because he couldn’t talk.

Last night I realized, maybe it wasn’t *just* that he couldn’t talk.

Korihor had been preaching, had great success, was on top of the world, got arrested and thrown out of a land, got arrested and had “pre-trial interview” or such; got arrested and went to trial, got strongly challenged, wouldn’t repent, and finally… at the end, was struck dumb. (Sherem follows a loosely similar course.) He later had to go house to house begging for food, and was then trampled to death.

Of course it’s very possible that God’s miracle was a pure miracle, such as just making Korihor’s vocal chords disappear, for example. Just that God often uses natural ways to accomplish his work and miracles, too. What could be the loss of speech? I consider two possibilities.

Neurological disorders come on because of trauma/ heavy stress, some of which are autoimmune disorders; some can strike quickly and be extremely debilitating. I’ve known people who go to bed fine, and wake up somewhat paralyzed, more or less. (Then there’s also stroke, though I don’t know how well it fits here.) It also manifests in paralysis, shaking, loss of control, numbness, extreme fatigue, etc.

Another possibility would be a stroke. Research suggests that strokes are helped set off by anger/ stress/ emotion a short time before they happen:

“The study found that people who had strokes were more likely to have experienced anger or negative emotions in the two hours prior to the stroke than at the same time the day before the stroke. They were also more likely to have reacted quickly to a startling event, such as getting out of bed suddenly after hearing a grandchild fall down and cry or standing up from a chair quickly after hearing an unexpected loud noise…”
“Approximately 30 percent of patients reported exposure to anger, negative emotions such as fear, irritability, or nervousness, or sudden changes in body position in response to a startling event during the two hours before the stroke. According to the study, exposure to a potential trigger could increase the risk of stroke by as much as 14 times during the two-hour period immediately following exposure.”
(Source: American Academy Of Neurology Date: December 21, 2004)

Korihor had quite a few triggers going off, too. He had a reputation to uphold. He been going on most excitedly and vehemently for a while before it happened, especially with Alma, who was the epitome of “enemy” for him. And he knew he was deliberately lying and being hypocritical, when Alma then showed that Korihor was falsely accusing the priests. Korihor might have felt angry about losing the case and kept digging a bigger and bigger hole. I imagine he must have been thinking about receiving punishment for his crimes and the effect it would have had on his future as a preacher. All that could add up to a whole lot of stress.


I imagine that Korihor could have had something like that happen; that the “dumb” part was particularly mentioned as the religious-connected part of the whole sickness, and that Korihor couldn’t work/ had to beg because of the sickness, and was trampled because of not being able to get out of the way because of the sickness.


If it was just being dumb, why didn’t Korihor work instead of beg? Surely he depended on his voice for his sustenance: no voice, no work, no pay. But would picking up a new work have been so difficult? Notwithstanding Korihor was a criminal and the stigma of hiring or doing business with one, note that there were always unbelievers among the Nephites, and Korihor could have always gone over to the Lamanites to work instead of beg. Without a voice, he still could have done work such as: swing a hammer, pick, or ax; pick grapes or melons; garden; tend flocks; all kinds of work that doesn’t require (much) speaking.

Then there’s writing (we know he wrote, as he answered the chief judge in writing), so he could have done copy work, maybe a short detective novel or such. That’s the part that set up a more plausible answer to the situation for me.

Yet, he begs. And begging would have been a much bigger blow to the ego and his reputation than anything else, so I’m sure he would have avoided at all cost, if possible.


It’s possible that Korihor was deaf, too, not just dumb, as the chief judge writes to him. Alma talks to Korihor after the curse, so his hearing might have been fine:
Alma 30:55 But Alma said unto him: If this curse should be taken from thee thou wouldst again lead away the hearts of this people; therefore, it shall be unto thee even as the Lord will.

So what other reason might the judge have been writing to him instead of speaking? It could also be that the chief judge was writing a record or the result of the case and his decision, and/ or getting/ taking a written confession.


And what trampled Korihor, sheep, pigs…?? Ok, I know it could have been something bigger and faster and more dangerous, maybe tapirs or such, but I always wondered about that trampling part, too–it seems a little strange to have to worry about oxen running through the city or so. However, were Korihor sick with a neurological disorder or stroke, one misstep and even sheep or pigs could have done it.

It would have been true poetic justice to a man that preached:
Alma 30:17 “… every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime.”

Extreme poetic justice–not just struck dumb, but incapacitated, unable to manage his creature; little genius, little strength; not able to do anything except beg. Dragging himself around, one shaky step every five seconds, falling down and having to get up without help, trying to hold his bowl without spilling the food/ drink, seeing the herd running at him, caught in the middle of the road; getting flattened and not being able to do anything about it, not being able to roll out of the way; etc.


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Book of Mormon: Correct on the Effect of Korihor’s Preaching

What happens when women–who are more affected by social mores and norms than men–are freed from them?:
Alma 30:18 And thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift up their heads in their wickedness, yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms–telling them that when a man was dead, that was the end thereof.

Critics, anyone, am I wrong or did this research not exist back in the 1820’s? Or is this just one more thing that Joseph Smith got right in his “guessing”? You know, one of those “everyone already knows that/ common sense stuff”?…


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Book of Mormon: Up and Down Imagery with the Zoramites

Book of Mormon: Up and Down Imagery with the Zoramites

It seems the Zoramite story also, like the Korihor story, has “up” and “down” imagery; they pretend to like and worship “up” while they really liked and worshiped “down”:

Alma 31:13 For they had a place built up in the center of their synagogue, *a place for standing*, which was *high above the head*; and the *top* thereof would only admit one person.

Alma 31:14 Therefore, whosoever desired to worship must go forth and *stand upon the top* thereof, and *stretch forth his hands towards heaven*, and *cry with a loud voice*, saying:

Alma 31:16 Holy God, we believe that *thou hast separated us from our brethren*; and *we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren*, which was *handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers*; but we believe that thou hast *elected* us to be thy *holy children*; and also thou hast made it known unto us that *there shall be no Christ*.

Alma 31:17 But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever; and thou hast *elected* us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are *elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell*; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast *elected* us, that we may *not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren*, which doth *bind them down to a belief of Christ*, which doth *lead their hearts to wander far from thee*, our God.

Alma 31:18 And again we thank thee, O God, that we are *a chosen* and *a holy* people. Amen.

Alma 31:25 Yea, and he also saw that their hearts were *lifted up* unto great boasting, in their pride.

And there’s a little connection between all that, and Alma’s prayer in Alma 31:

Alma 31:24 Now when Alma saw this his heart was grieved; for he saw that they were a wicked and a perverse people; yea, he saw that their hearts were set upon gold, and upon silver, and upon all manner of fine goods.

Alma 31:25 Yea, and he also saw that their hearts were *lifted up* unto great boasting, in their pride.

Alma 31:26 And he *lifted up* his voice to heaven, and cried, saying: O, how long, O Lord, wilt thou suffer that *thy servants shall dwell here below* in the flesh, to behold such gross wickedness among the children of men?

Alma 31:27 Behold, O God, they cry unto thee, and yet their hearts are swallowed up in their pride. Behold, O God, they cry unto thee with their mouths, while they are *puffed up*, even to greatness, with the vain things of the world.

Alma 31:28 Behold, O my God, their costly apparel, and their ringlets, and their bracelets, and their ornaments of gold, and all their precious things which they are ornamented with; and behold, *their hearts are set upon them*, and yet they cry unto thee and say–We thank thee, O God, for we are a chosen people unto thee, while others shall perish.

They are lifted up in their praise of themselves, but their true gods are their riches–not a God high in the heavens, but gods on their bodies down below.


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Book of Mormon: Alma 30, Alma 31: God and the Ability to Speak

Book of Mormon: Alma 30, Alma 31: God and the Ability to Speak

I think I’ve found a link or two between Alma 30 and Alma 31. It has to do with God and the ability to speak.

Alma 30:45 And yet do ye go about, leading away the hearts of this people, testifying unto them there is no God? And yet will ye deny against all these witnesses? And he said: Yea, I will deny, except ye shall show me a sign.
Alma 30:47 But behold, it is better that thy soul should be lost than that thou shouldst be the means of bringing many souls down to destruction, by thy lying and by thy flattering words; therefore if thou shalt deny again, behold *God shall smite thee, that thou shalt become dumb*, that thou shalt never open thy mouth any more, that thou shalt not deceive this people any more.
Alma 30:49 Now Alma said unto him: This will I give unto thee for a sign, that thou shalt be struck dumb, according to my words; and I say, that *in the name of God, ye shall be struck dumb*, that ye shall no more have utterance.
Alma 30:50 Now when Alma had said these words, Korihor was *struck dumb*, that he could not have utterance, according to the words of Alma.
Alma 30:59 And it came to pass that as he [Korihor] went forth among the people, yea, among a people who had separated themselves from the Nephites and called themselves Zoramites, being led by a man whose name was Zoram–and as he went forth amongst them, behold, he was run upon and trodden down, even until he was dead.
Alma 30:60 And thus we see the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell.

Then this:

Alma 31:1 NOW it came to pass that after the end of Korihor, Alma having received tidings that the Zoramites were perverting the ways of the Lord, and that Zoram, who was their leader, was leading the hearts of the people to bow down to *dumb* idols, his heart again began to sicken because of the iniquity of the people.


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Book of Mormon: Korihor’s Hypocrisy and Lying: Asking for a Sign after Getting One

Book of Mormon: Korihor’s Hypocrisy and Lying: Asking for a Sign after Getting One

Korihor asks for a sign:
Alma 30:43 And now Korihor said unto Alma: If thou wilt show me a sign, that I may be convinced that there is a God, yea, show unto me that he hath power, and then will I be convinced of the truth of thy words.

Ha!! He had just gotten one! Alma had just told him, by the spirit of prophecy, that:
Alma 30:42 Behold, [1]I know that thou believest, but [2]thou art possessed with a lying spirit, and [3]ye have put off the Spirit of God that it may have no place in you; but [4]the devil has power over you, and he doth carry you about, working devices that he may destroy the children of God.

We see this when Korihor fully admits–after getting the other sign he wanted, unfortunately:
Alma 30:52 And Korihor put forth his hand and wrote, saying: I know that I am dumb, for I cannot speak; and I know that nothing save it were the power of God could bring this upon me; yea, and [1]I always knew that there was a God.

Alma 30:53 But behold, [4]the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said unto me: Go and reclaim this people, for they have all gone astray after an unknown God. And he said unto me: There is no God; yea, and [2]he taught me that which I should say. And I have taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even [2]until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true; and for this cause [3]I withstood the truth, even until I have
brought this great curse upon me.

Wow. No wonder Korihor got it.


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2008, July 12

Book of Mormon: Korihor, Parents, and Children

Book of Mormon: Korihor, Parents, and Children
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Korihor first claims that:
Alma 30:25 Ye say that this people is a guilty and a fallen people, because of the transgression of a parent. Behold, I say that a child is not guilty because of its parents.

He reasons, A child is not guilty because of its parents (referring to Adam and Eve).

Korihor then claims that these false doctrines that everyone was believing in came from the fathers:

Alma 30:14 Behold, these things which ye call prophecies, which ye say are handed down by holy prophets, behold, they are foolish traditions of your fathers.

Alma 30:16 Ye look forward and say that ye see a remission of your sins. But behold, it is the effect of a frenzied mind; and this derangement of your minds comes because of the traditions of your fathers, which lead you away into a belief of things which are not so.

Alma 30:23 Now the high priest’s name was Giddonah. And Korihor said unto him: Because I do not teach the foolish traditions of your fathers, and because I do not teach this people to bind themselves down under the foolish ordinances and performances which are laid down by ancient priests, to usurp power and authority over them, to keep them in ignorance, that they may not lift up their heads, but be brought down according to thy words.

Alma 30:24 Ye say that this people is a free people. Behold, I say they are in bondage. Ye say that those ancient prophecies are true. Behold, I say that ye do not know that they are true.

Alma 30:27 And thus ye lead away this people after the foolish traditions of your fathers, and according to your own desires; and ye keep them down, even as it were in bondage, that ye may glut yourselves with the labors of their hands, that they durst not look up with boldness, and that they durst not enjoy their rights and privileges.

Alma 30:28 Yea, they durst not make use of that which is their own lest they should offend their priests, who do yoke them according to their desires, and have brought them to believe, by their traditions and their dreams and their whims and their visions and their pretended mysteries, that they should, if they did not do according to their words, offend some unknown being, who they say is God–a being who never has been seen or known, who never was nor ever will be.

Alma 30:31 And he did rise up in great swelling words before Alma, and did revile against the priests and teachers, accusing them of leading away the people after the silly traditions of their fathers, for the sake of glutting on the labors of the people.
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Now, it gets even more interesting. Who taught Korihor his doctrine? None other than Satan–the Father of lies, “foolish traditions”, “false traditions that lead away into a belief of things which are not so”, and all the other sorts of things that Korihor accused the priests of teaching.

And, it’s Korihor himself that admits to that:
Alma 30:52 And Korihor put forth his hand and wrote, saying: I know that I am dumb, for I cannot speak; and I know that nothing save it were the power of God could bring this upon me; yea, and I always knew that there was a God.

Alma 30:53 But behold, the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said unto me: Go and reclaim this people, for they have all gone astray after an unknown God. And he said unto me: There is no God; yea, and he taught me that which I should say. And I have taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true; and for this cause I withstood the truth, even until I have brought this great curse upon me.

So are the people guilty and fallen because of their parents/ fathers?
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Then, what did the traditions of Satan do for his child Korihor? Did they allow Korihor to “lift us [his] head”, become “free”, “look up with boldness”, and “enjoy [his] rights and privileges”?

Let’s see:
Alma 30:59 And it came to pass that as he [Korihor] went forth among the people, yea, among a people who had separated themselves from the Nephites and called themselves Zoramites, being led by a man whose name was Zoram–and as he went forth amongst them, behold, he was run upon and trodden down, even until he was dead.

Alma 30:60 And thus we see the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that *the devil will not support* *his children* at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell.


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2008, July 11

Book of Mormon: Reality Check on Korihor’s Argument against the Priests

Book of Mormon: Reality Check on Korihor’s Argument against the Priests

Now, Korihor claims that the priests gained from their positions and the prophecies (I leave references out in this post), yet, in fact, it is Korihor that gains from preaching his doctrine:

Alma 30:17 And many more such things did he say unto them, telling them that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men, but every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime.
Alma 30:18 And thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift up their heads in their wickedness, yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms–telling them that when a man was dead, that was the end thereof.

Now, let’s look at a little history here.

Ammon and brothers are *heirs to the Nephite throne*. They could have easily taken the kingdom and glutted themselves off of the people’s labors, like king Noah. Yet, they all refused it, against their father’s and the people’s wishes! They go live with the Lamanites for 14 years and preach, instead of working/ doing business/ etc. Ammon has the opportunity to marry king Lamoni’s daughter and maybe a large future inheritance; he refuses (Alma 17:24, 25). Ammon gets the opportunity to gain half of the entire Lamanite kingdom, yet he refuses it (Alma 20:23). Lamoni would have given him anything, and perhaps even did share his kingdom with Ammon, yet it seems Ammon asked for almost nothing “monetary”. He and his brethren could have gotten lots of gain from their role as religious leaders and priests over the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, especially as they were leaving the kingdom, yet they didn’t.

Alma, earlier, was chief judge and governor over all the land. He could have used that position to get quite a lot of gain. (The Gadianton robbers show that later.) So could have the other priests/ teachers who were judges, such as Ammon. Did any? Did Korihor preach against the judges? Were any accused of misdoing as judges? Nope–just in their ecclesiastical offices. See, they were upright and just as judges, but twisted as snakes when it came to being priests (ok, a little sarcasm there). Then, Alma gave up being chief judge so he could concentrate on his Church calling, which also included lots of fasting (see Alma 5, Alma 8). Wait… he gives up being “president of the country” so he can concentrate on eating more sacrificial meat as a priest?

What is the likelihood?


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Book of Mormon: Korihor: Literary Devices 6: Irony

Book of Mormon: Korihor: Literary Devices 6: Irony

Korihor ironically got the same treatment that he accused the priests/ teachers of giving to the people:

Alma 30:23 Now the high priest’s name was Giddonah. And Korihor said unto him: Because I do not teach the foolish traditions of your fathers, and because I do not teach this people to *bind themselves down* under the foolish ordinances and performances which are laid down by ancient priests, to *usurp power and authority over them*, to keep them in ignorance, that they may *not lift up their heads*, but *be brought down according to thy words*.

Alma 30:24 Ye say that this people is a free people. Behold, I say *they are in bondage*. Ye say that those ancient prophecies are true. Behold, I say that ye do not know that they are true.

Like this:
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.

Alma 30:21 And it came to pass that he caused that he should be *carried out* of the land. And he came over into the land of Gideon, and began to preach unto them also; and here he did not have much success, for he was taken and *bound and carried* before the high priest, and also the chief judge over the land.

Alma 30:29 Now when the high priest and the chief judge saw the hardness of his heart, yea, when they saw that he would revile even against God, they would not make any reply to his words; but they caused that he should be *bound*; and they delivered him up into the hands of the officers, and *sent* him to the land of Zarahemla, that he might be *brought before Alma (the high priest)*, and the chief judge who was governor over all the land.

Alma 30:59 And it came to pass that as he went forth among the people, yea, among a people who had separated themselves from the Nephites and called themselves Zoramites, being led by a man whose name was Zoram–and as he went forth amongst them, behold, he was run upon and *trodden down*, even until he was dead.

Alma 30:60 And thus we see the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily *drag them down* to hell.


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Book of Mormon: Korihor: Literary Devices 5: Imagery

Book of Mormon: Korihor: Literary Devices 5: Imagery

There’s also a lot of “up” vs. “down” imagery in the story of Korihor. It’s used “in bono” and “in malo”.

Korihor was really big on people lifting up their heads:
Alma 30:18 And thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to *lift up their heads* in their wickedness, yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms–telling them that when a man was dead, that was the end thereof.

Alma 30:23 Now the high priest’s name was Giddonah. And Korihor said unto him: Because I do not teach the foolish traditions of your fathers, and because I do not teach this people to *bind themselves down* under the foolish ordinances and performances which are *laid down* by ancient priests, to usurp power and authority over them, to keep them in ignorance, that they may not *lift up their heads*, but be *brought down* according to thy words.

Alma 30:27 And thus ye lead away this people after the foolish traditions of your fathers, and according to your own desires; and ye *keep them down*, *even as it were in bondage*, that ye may glut yourselves with the labors of their hands, that they *durst not look up with boldness*, and that they *durst not enjoy their rights and privileges*.

Alma 30:28 Yea, they *durst not make use of that which is their own* lest they should offend their priests, who do yoke them according to their desires, and have brought them to believe, by their traditions and their dreams and their whims and their visions and their pretended mysteries, that they should, if they did not do according to their words, offend some unknown being, who they say is God–a being who never has been seen or known, who never was nor ever will be.

Alma 30:31 And he did *rise up* in great swelling words before Alma, and did revile against the priests and teachers, accusing them of leading away the people after the silly traditions of their fathers, for the sake of glutting on the labors of the people.

Interestingly, Alma adds an additional sign to one so intent and focused on lifting up his head: the solar system.
Alma 30:44 But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even *the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator*.

Then, it’s Alma’s and God’s turn to use *down* in a negative way:
Alma 30:47 But behold, it is better that thy soul should be lost than that thou shouldst be the means of bringing many souls *down to destruction*, by thy lying and by thy flattering words…

And Korihor’s turn to ironically be incapable of looking up to the heavens:
Alma 30:54 Now when he had said this, he besought that Alma should pray unto God, that the curse might be taken from him.

So much for “looking up with boldness”…

The commentary finishes:
Alma 30:59 And it came to pass that as he went forth among the people, yea, among a people who had separated themselves from the Nephites and called themselves Zoramites, being led by a man whose name was Zoram–and as he went forth amongst them, behold, he was run upon and *trodden down*, even until he was dead.

Alma 30:60 And thus we see the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily *drag them down* to hell.


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