Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

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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2 Comments »

  1. Well we know that no matter what happens or who does the Lord’s work, it will go forward. If it was the Lord’s desire for the lamanites to be taught the gospel, they would have been taught whether Ammon did it or not. That is the amazing thing about this church, we all need him for everything we do, he on the other hand invites us to help us with his work and be blessed for it, but he will find someone who is willing if we are not.

    Comment by C.F. — 2008, December 17 @ 10:30 pm

  2. C.F.,

    I’d say, yes and no.
    If every person in the church were to apostatize, it wouldn’t go forward well. But we know that won’t happen. That’s a promise from the Lord.

    If the Lord will do something, yes, there will be someone and a way, and it will happen.

    But also remember, for example, that it’s the Lord’s desire that everyone repent—but that isn’t happening. Remember that if the early LDS had been faithful, Zion would already have been redeemed. Yes, it was the Lord’s will that it happen. But, it wasn’t what the people did.

    There really is a lot of space in this work for US and what WE—as a Church and as an individual—do.

    There was no promise that the Lamanites would get to hear or receive the gospel at that time. I believe that Ammon spoke the truth—if they hadn’t gone, no one would have.

    Comment by grego — 2008, December 18 @ 8:12 am


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