Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2008, November 28

Critique | The Lamanites’ Bones (from Brant Gardner’s “Mormon’s Editorial Method and Meta-Message”)

Critique | The Lamanites’ Bones (from Brant Gardner’s “Mormon’s Editorial Method and Meta-Message”)
by grego

From http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/2008_Mormons_Editorial_Method_and_Meta-Message.html

Brant Gardner:
“Similarly, early in the book of Alma the Nephites beat back an invasion by Lamanites which supported Amlici’s internal rebellion. Mormon describes the aftermath of the battle:

36 And they fled before the Nephites towards the wilderness which was west and north, away beyond the borders of the land; and the Nephites did pursue them with their might, and did slay them.
37 Yea, they were met on every hand, and slain and driven, until they were scattered on the west, and on the north, until they had reached the wilderness, which was called Hermounts; and it was that part of the wilderness which was infested by wild and ravenous beasts.
38 And it came to pass that many died in the wilderness of their wounds, and were devoured by those beasts and also the vultures of the air; and their bones have been found, and have been heaped up on the earth. (Alma 2:36 – 38)

We can comfortably accept the historical information that the Nephites were victorious and drove the Lamanites out of their land. However, the final description is the interesting one. Mormon suggests that the Lamanites were lost in the wilderness and had been attached by wild animals. His evidence is that “their bones have been found.” The fact that they found bones and not bodies is also probable history. However, that the bones were of those particular Lamanites is most likely an invention after the fact, a historical “just-so” story made to fit the available facts.

Does any of this mean that Mormon was less than a prophet? Absolutely not. What it means is that his understanding of his task was appropriately ancient. He wrote with the historical sensibilities of the ancient world, which necessarily saw all events as they fit into and supported their religious understanding.”

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grego: First, Mormon does not suggest that “the Lamanites were lost in the wilderness”; if someone can see that in the text, explicit or implied, please share.

Second, we are completely unknowing of what Mormon’s source said, and to draw assumptions only from what he wrote is to… well, assume.

I believe that Gardner assumes that Mormon is talking about his current state of affairs when he comments on the bones–that Mormon is himself aware of the bones, and drew the assumption about what happened and whose bones they were; but in fact, it is just as likely that Mormon is not adding his knowledge here, but is taking this from an earlier source. Or, that Nephites know the history of that spot, similar to asking natives/ long-time residents about a historical spot–they weren’t there and didn’t personally see what happened 400 years ago, BUT history says that… I believe everyone has had that experience.

Nevertheless: no human bones in wilderness *infested* with *wild and ravenous beasts* (especially in large number) –} many Lamanites go there, most already wounded –} Nephites hear cries of Lamanites and roars of beasts (imagine that!) and see vultures circling down and landing –} all Nephites know people don’t go there, and never have/ no record of other humans going there –} human bones are found there, likely with arrowheads found in/ near them (like with Zelph) and their weapons right nearby.

Does that sound like an “invention” or a “just-so story made to fit”? Or, can one draw a logical and probable conclusion from those simple facts? Here’s mine–Lamanite bones!


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Book of Mormon | Critique: Mormon as Manipulative Historian and King Noah (from Brant Gardner’s “Mormon’s Editorial Method and Meta-Message”)

Book of Mormon | Critique: Mormon as Manipulative Historian and King Noah (from Brant Gardner’s “Mormon’s Editorial Method and Meta-Message”)
by grego

From http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/2008_Mormons_Editorial_Method_and_Meta-Message.html

Brant Gardner:
“The way Mormon treats inserted speeches suggests a great respect for them. The conceptual breaks after inserted sermons strongly suggests that they are copied from the plates, and we must assume that he intended to reproduce them faithfully. When Mormon is not quoting, but creating his own linking narrative, how faithful is he then to his sources? … Mormon often manipulated his facts into the moral story he was telling, and at times (he or perhaps the original plate author) simply invented “history” when the story required it and neither he, nor the original plate author, could not have known it.

When Mormon tells the story of the people of Zeniff, he begins by quoting King Zeniff’s entire record. Then, when he begins Noah’s story, he switches from quotation to narration. I hypothesize that this was a necessary shift because the source material for Noah’s reign could not have been as pejorative as Mormon painted Noah.

From the beginning, Noah is a nasty fellow. Mormon’s descriptions of Noah are so effective that modern readers immediately dislike him. While Mormon certainly had reasons for his dislike, they came from his reading of the sources and do not reflect the attitude of the sources themselves. The court record of the sitting king Noah could not have been so negative. If we read between the lines of Mormon’s description, it is easy to see that Noah presided over a period of economic growth and expansion. His people probably thought they were quite well off under Noah. They were probably not complaining, at least not much. It is Mormon who saw a larger picture and repainted his Noah to be rotten from the beginning of the story, even though Mormon’s sources could not have said that directly. In this case, Mormon is interpreting history rather than staying faithful to his sources.

Mormon’s manipulation of his material is also probable…”

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grego: Mormon does quote quite well, I agree on this point. Let me add to what Brant Gardner said, that Mormon is very precise in quoting–when he stops, or there is any type of omission, Mormon writes so.

About the other stuff… Well, it looks like Brant Gardner is himself guilty of what he accuses Mormon of: “manipulat[ing] his facts into the… story he was telling, and at times… simply invent[ing] ‘history’ when… he… could not have known it.”

So, what are possible sources for the king Noah’s reign? Sure, maybe king Noah or his priests wrote something or had something written; on the other hand… Let’s see, we have Alma (the elder), Gideon, Limhi, and a host of other men and women who lived under his reign and were familiar with much of what he did. If that were the case, do you think Mormon was “faithful to his sources”, or “manipulat[ing]” and “interpreting history”? It’s apparent it would be the first.

I don’t see a need to “read between the lines”, as the text is quite clear that there was prosperity at the time of king Noah and that the people looked up to him as a leader (see Mosiah 11:2, 7, 8-13, 15, 18-19, 20-26, 29; 19:9, 11; etc.). No fudging or hiding by Mormon there.


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Book of Mormon | Critique: Why Mormon Couldn’t Know the Lamanites Got Lost (from Brant Gardner’s “Mormon’s Editorial Method and Meta-Message”) by grego

Book of Mormon | Critique: Why Mormon Couldn’t Know the Lamanites Got Lost
(from Brant Gardner’s “Mormon’s Editorial Method and Meta-Message”)
by grego

Brant Gardner:
“At times, Mormon must tell us “history” that no one could have known. For example, Mormon tells the story of Limhi’s people escaping from the Lamanites and moving people and animals into the wilderness. Although they were pursued, Mosiah 22: 16 confidently tells us: “And after they had pursued the two days, they could no longer follow their tracks; therefore they were lost in the wilderness.” Peering back through time to what can be known of this situation, it is likely that Limhi’s people would be aware that they were being followed for two days and that thereafter they were not. However, when Mormon tells us that it was because the Lamanites could no longer find their tracks, he is telling us something that his sources could not know. The Limhites would not have known whether or not their tracks were visible, and certainly wouldn’t have known what was in the Lamanite mind when they cut off pursuit. It is equally likely that the Lamanites realized that it simply wasn’t worth the effort, as the Lamanites were in possession of a fully functioning city into which they could easily move their own people and begin to be productive.”
http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/2008_Mormons_Editorial_Method_and_Meta-Message.html

Whenever I have a choice between Brant Gardner and Mormon, I start out assuming “Mormon” as the correct answer; and even after numerous times, I must admit that that method hasn’t failed once, yet.

It doesn’t fail here, either.

See Mosiah 23:30 (-37) for why someone “could have known”, and why Mormon could, and did, know the rest of the story and put it in the Book of Mormon. Remember, also, that Mormon does not include every detail of history in the text; I suggest not assuming he can’t know just because he doesn’t tell you how he knows.


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Mormonism and Spirit Release Therapy: Interesting Similarities

Interesting Similarities between Mormonism and Spirit Release Therapy
by grego

“Spirit Release Therapy” is the term given to a type of therapy where people are “cleaned” or “depossessed” of outside/ foreign “energies”, spirits, etc. While it has been part of earlier cultures for a while, in Western therapy, it’s somewhat new.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/ Mormon Church believes in many things that “add up” or “fit in” with Spirit Release Therapy (though others don’t). While LDS may scoff at the idea, especially since Spirit Release Therapy is often thought of as a “New Age” thing, the following might be noted.

(NOTE: If you don’t feel good/ you feel a negative presence that especially grows while you are reading this, I encourage you to not continue until/ unless you do. If you feel you have a problem with evil spirits, I encourage you as an anonymous friend to find a counselor, a Spirit Release therapist, an LDS Melchizedek priesthood holder, or any combination for help. There are also books and perhaps websites that talk about things that one can do to help in the meantime.)

We’ll start with whether spirits actually exist.
Latter-day revelation declares that “all spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure” than the physical materials of earth life (D&C 131:7-8).

Are there spirits right here? Are they just in heaven and hell?
Brigham Young taught that the Spirit World was taught to be right here, on this earth, and similar in many ways to this life:
“Where is the spirit world? It is right here. Do the good and evil spirits go together? Yes they do…. Do they go beyond the boundaries of the organized earth? No, they do not…. Can you see it with your natural eyes? No. Can you see spirits in this room? No. Suppose the Lord should touch your eyes that you might see, could you then see the spirits? Yes, as plainly as you now see bodies.”

“When you are in the spirit world, everything there will appear as natural as things now do. Spirits will be familiar with spirits in the spirit world—will converse, behold, and exercise every variety of communication with one another as familiarly and naturally as while here in tabernacles. There, as here, all things will be natural, and you will understand them as you now understand natural things. You will there see that those spirits we are speaking of are active; they sleep not.”

“…if they hedge up your way, walk up and command them to disperse. You have the Priesthood and can disperse them, but if any of them wish to hear the Gospel, preach to them.”

Church history (old and new) and personal experiences contain accounts of spirit influence, spirit trouble, and spirit possession. I have put some of these here to reprove those who claim that there is truly no such thing and never has been; that all mental illness is completely personal/ medical, as some scientists claim, and that the “old ones” were just doing their best to explain mental illness in the best way they knew how, and that’s all it is. (While it is possible that some have been wrongly attributed, to pretend it’s all fake because a person might have been wrong to conclude a spirit caused an illness that it didn’t, is wrong.) When I spoke with a long-time member (of about 40 years) about casting an evil spirit out of someone we both knew well, he laughed it off and said I must have been mistaken. So, in light of that, in the mouth of two or three witnesses (and many more), here:

“There was a man with a family came into the church who lived about 15 miles from me who had a brother-in-law that was possessed with the devil and was kept chained in a tight room. Numbers had been there to administer to him but had no effect. I went there to preach on the after part of the day. The man got loose and was breaking down the ceiling. They had been in the habit of getting a very strong man to help on such occasions and were about to send for him in a hurry. I desired them to let me see him before they did. They were afraid he would come out and kill some of them. With much persuasion I got them to unlock the door to his room. Such rough, profane language, and threatening I had never heard before. They said he was dangerous, but I entreated them to let me open the door. I had full confidence that I could handle him with the help of God. I was satisfied that they did not understand my intentions. I looked through the crack of the door. When he caught my eye he said, “Old Pulsipher I knew you of old!” At that instant I burst the door open. He stood with a sharp stick in his hand drawn ready to stab me. Although he was a stout man and full of violent passion, I closed in with him so quick that he did not know which side was up till he lay on his back and I holding him while they bound him again. The family seemed surprised. Before I left the next morning the man, whose name was Samuel Newcomb, wished me to come and stay with him one year. He would give large wages for he said that I could handle him with ease and he could leave his family at home with more safety. He was a man of considerable business and property to manage. I asked him if he wished to gather up to Kirtland with the church. He said he would if he could sell his farm. He wanted $1600 for it. We arranged for him to go the next spring and I took the whole care of the wild man. I recollect at one time upon the matter of his feeding he flew into a rage all at once and broke loose. I was at work in the barn. A messenger came running for me and said the man was killing his mother. I found him in a dreadful rage. I rushed into the room and took him by the shoulder and shook him and said, “Sam, what are you about?” He, in a moment, left his raging, dropped his head and became docile until he was bound again. Later on we counseled with the old Father Smith and he advised us to get seven Elders of report and fast and pray till he was delivered. We consulted the family who had not kept the Word of Wisdom, but they agreed to do it. We, therefore, took the man, loosened his hands, administered to him in a room by ourselves and I do not remember of him a raving spell after that for six months. The devil entered him again. We were called for the second time. The family had promised to keep the covenants but found they had returned to the old practice of breaking the Word of Wisdom…(1836)”
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/ZPulsipher.html
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“In Kirtland there were manifestations of evil spirits in high places, which might have been considered more dangerous than the manifestations in the early establishment of the Church. Sidney Rigdon, on one occasion got up to preach, and commenced by saying that the Church and kingdom was rent from them and given to another people. Joseph was absent, when he came home he found Sidney almost like a madman. He labored with him and with the Church, and finally succeeded in convincing him that he was under the influence of a false spirit.

A man from the state of New York by the name of Hawley, stated that while he was working in his field, barefoot, the word of the Lord came to him, saying that he should start on the instant, and not stop to put on his shoes. He came six hundred miles to Kirtland, and went to Joseph with the message that he had suffered John Noah, a prophet of God, to be cut off from the Church, and that consequently he had lost his office; and he had also suffered the women to wear caps, and the men he allowed to wear cushions on their shoulders, and for these heinous sins he was cut off, and this man had come six hundred miles barefooted to bear the terrible message. You might suppose such an adventurer coming among us would be regarded as a madman by all, but at that time several men were ready to listen to him; a bishop’s council was assembled and an investigation had.

During the investigation, the subject of women wearing caps and veils and having their heads covered was canvassed, and the Bible ransacked by Oliver Cowdery and others. When the man was expelled from the Church for giving way to the power of false spirits, he rose up in a most solemn manner, and proclaimed to the council that they had chosen darkness instead of light.”
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/Ohio-JD.html
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March 15.–A council was called to consider the case of Brother Lake(41), from Wooster, Wayne county, Ohio, who came professing to have received revelations. On investigation, it was unanimously agreed, that said Brother Lake was under the influence of an evil spirit, and that his license as Priest be taken from him.
http://www.boap.org/LDS/History/HTMLHistory/v1c23history.html
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7. But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils.
8. Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;
Doctrine and Covenants 46
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“Just before leaving England I visited some friends in Sheffield, and met with Brother R. Rushton, who was on a mission from Nauvoo. He had been asked to visit a brother in the Church who was possessed of a devil. This was the first case of the kind I had heard of being in the Church, and I felt quite anxious to see the party so afflicted. While reflecting about it, Brother Rushton asked me to accompany him, which I cheerfully did, and what transpired I never shall forget. When we entered the room where he was sitting, he looked around and saw Brother Rushton whom he had met before, and with a coarse voice said: “So you have come again in the name of Jesus have you? Well you may come if you have a mind to. I know you came from Nauvoo where you are building a temple to get your endowments and more power. Well, get your power, and the more power you get the more power we’ll get.” Just as soon as he was through speaking, Brother Rushton laid hands on him and rebuked the evil spirits that had possession of him, when the brother called out in a loud voice: “How did you know there was more than one?” Brother Rushton remarked calmly: “You said we.” The brother then said, “We will go but we will come again.”

Two days after they did come again, and his wife sent for the president of the branch who was a very good quiet man. A young traveling elder who had a good deal of confidence in himself, was in at the time the message came and asked the president to let him accompany him and administer to the brother, who at this time was breaking things in his house. When they reached the house they found him very much excited. He quieted a little when they entered, but soon became boisterous again, and they laid hands upon him, this young man being mouth. No sooner had he rebuked the spirits, commanding them to depart, than he became quiet and wished to lay down. But soon after, and when he appeared asleep, the young elder said to the parties present, “There, I believed I could quiet him.” He at this time was sitting upon the side of the bed where the afflicted man was lying. The brother no sooner heard this remark than he raised himself up quietly and as soon as he got up, struck this young man such a blow that he was knocked to the other side of the room. This convinced me that the brother had better give [the Lord] the credit for such manifestations.
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/WStaines.html
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“the truth of God would have left him untill he obeyed those ordinances & received the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands according to the order of God he could not have healed the sick or command an evil spirit to come out of a man & it obey him”
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Parallel/1842/20Mar42.html
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16 July 1845, Wednesday
Nauvoo 4

Wednesday 16th. … Evening I went to see Diantha. We walked out some
together. She seemed to feel very bad about something which passed
during her visit this afternoon. When we returned to her home I saw
that her mind was affected and she was likely to have another fit of
mental derangement. I tried to persuade her to go to bed but she was
unwilling, but I finally got her mother to make her a bed down stairs
and we put her to bed by force. Soon as she got laid down she began to
toss about and rave as if in great pain which seemed to increase
untill she was perfectly out of her mind and raging. She tore her hair
and I then held her which required all the force I had got to hold her
hands. She continued about three quarters of an hour in this
distressing situation and about half past 10 sister Farr went & called
brother Farr. He came down and laid hands on her and rebuked the evil
spirit and commanded it to leave her in the name of the Lord. She
immediately calmed down and seemed to fall into a mild sleep.
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/clayton-diaries
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“At this time Sidney Rigdon… said the keys of the kingdom were taken from us. On hearing this, many of his hearers wept, and when some one undertook to dismiss the meeting by prayer he said praying would do them no good, and the meeting broke up in confusion.

Brother Hyrum [Smith] came to my house the next morning and told me all about it, and said it was false, and that the keys of the kingdom were still with us. He wanted my carriage and horses to go to the town of Hiram and bring Joseph. The word went abroad among the people immediately that Sidney [Rigdon] was going to expose “Mormonism.”

Joseph came up to Kirtland a few days afterwards and held a meeting…

Joseph arose in our midst and spoke in mighty power, saying: “I can contend with wicked men and devils–yes with angels. No power can pluck those keys from me, except the power that gave them to me; that was Peter, James and John. But for what Sidney [Rigdon] has done, the devil shall handle him as one man handles another.”

Thomas B. Marsh’s wife went from the meeting and told Sidney [Rigdon] what Joseph had said, and he replied: “Is it possible that I have been so deceived? But if Joseph says so, it is so.”

About three weeks after this, Sidney [Rigdon] was lying on his bed alone. An unseen power lifted him from his bed, threw him across the room, and tossed him from one side of the room to the other. The noise being heard in the adjoining room, his family went in to see what was the matter, and found him going from one side of the room to the other, from the effects of which Sidney was laid up for five or six weeks. Thus was Joseph’s prediction in regard to him verified.”
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/PDibble.html
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“One of my neighbors, a Brother James Moses, who lived across the street from me, was taken sick, and for six weeks was not able to speak above his breath. I went occasionally to see him, and one day while there Brother Bills and I were asked by Sister Moses to administer to him, which we did. She then asked us what we thought of him, and I replied that I had no testimony that he would live or that he would die; but she might as well pour water upon fire to make it burn as to give him medicine. This offended her, as she had a doctor by the name of Green attending him and we left.

Soon after this Brother [Heber C.] Kimball (one of the Apostles) was called on to administer to him, when Sister Moses asked him what he thought of her husband’s condition. He replied in the very words that I had used, but advised them to hold on to him. Brother Bills and I happening to call in again to see him, we were asked if we would anoint him. I consented and stepped up to the bed to put some oil on his forehead, but felt impressed to stop and say that he was possessed of evil spirits, and that they would kill him if they were not cast out before morning. He then commenced raving, and might have been heard across the street.

The Twelve Apostles were sent for and three of them came, Brother W. [Willard] Richards being one of them, who was mouth in prayer, as we all knelt in the room. After prayer, Brother Richards went to the bed, and, in the name of Jesus Christ, commanded the evil spirits to leave him and leave the house, which they did instantly, and Brother Moses became rational. He afterwards told us all about his feelings while the evil spirits had afflicted him, and that he was as sore as a boil all over from the effects of what he had passed through.”
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Joseph put his hands on Harvey Whitlock and ordained him to the high priesthood. He turned as black as Lyman was white. His fingers were set like claws. He went around the room and showed his hands and tried to speak; his eyes were in the shape of oval O’s. Hyrum Smith said, “Joseph, that is not of God.” Joseph said, “Do not speak against this.” “I will not believe,” said Hyrum, “unless you inquire of God and he owns it.” Joseph bowed his head, and in a short time got up and commanded Satan to leave Harvey, laying his hands upon his head at the same time. At that very instant an old man said to weigh two hundred and fourteen pounds sitting in the window turned a complete summersault in the house and came his back across a bench and lay helpless. Joseph told Lyman to cast Satan out. He did. The man’s name was Leanon [Leman] Coply [Copley], formally a Quaker [Shaker]. The evil spirit left him and as quick lightning Harvey Green fell bound and screamed like a panther. Satan was cast out of him. But immediately entered someone else. This continued all day and the greater part of the night. But to return to the meeting, Joseph said, “Now if you elders have sinned it will do you no good to preach if you have not repented. Heamon [Heman] Bassett you sit still the Devil wants to sift you. . .”
…”After this we went down to the house and heard Harvey Whitlock say when Hyrum Smith said it was not God, he disdained him in his heart and when the Devil was cast out he was convinced it was Satan that was in him and he knew then it. I also heard Harvey Green say that he could not describe the awful feeling he experienced while in the hands of Satan.”
…”When night came Solomon and I, Wheeler Baldwin and some others started to my father’s, we walked heavily, some said that they felt as if they would be seized by Satan. Others that they felt as though the Devil and his angels were hanging about them. I kept my feelings to myself, until we came to the mill pond of Mr. Fergdsons about a half or a little over the distance we had to go that night. When we had got against the pond which was about fourteen rods across and very deep, I said, “Let us pray.” So we all kneeled down and prayed around a circle as soon as the last one got through about nine o’clock at night and the moon shown brightly. A sudden bray of a jackass was heard about twenty feet behind us. We looked and could see nothing and nothing in the way. It started toward the pond braying all the time. I never had seen one in my life and I know that there was none about there for I was well acquainted there. I heard how they brayed. The most of our company had seen them. This braying continued across the pond and ascended the high hills on the other side until it grew less and less distinct until it got out of hearing.
“There,” said Brother Baldwin. “This proves to me that this work is true, for we all prayed for assistance; the Devil ran away.” . . . ”
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/LHancock.html
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The next morning I was up early and looked over the city of the Mormons. In the afternoon a funeral sermon was delivered in the temple by Jared Carter, a smart speaker, but I learned nothing in particular. The fact was the horizon of my mind was so obscured by clouds of darkness and doubt of long standing that I could see nothing as I ought.
The evil spirit came upon me and had that power over me that at times I would shake like a man with the ague. At another time I would be standing on some emenance [?] weeping like a whipped child, and knew no reason why; then lost in meditation, wandering about the city like a man of little sense.
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/LShurtliff.html
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There was a brother in the Church by the name of Kelley, who had a son some ten or twelve years old, who had been subject to fits from early childhood. They would seize him at any moment, and were as apt to throw him into the fire or into the water, as any other place, so that it was unsafe to leave him alone. His parents wished to have him administered to according to the instruction given in the New Testament, by James, where he says, “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, . . .” James v:14, 15.

Elder George A. Smith, Joseph’s cousin, had come and was with us a few days, and we were together at the time. Before attending to the ordinance of anointing, we went by ourselves into a solitary place and had a season of solemn fervent prayer. We returned to the house, and calling the family to order, knelt before the Lord and had another season of prayer, when we arose and anointed the lad with olive oil, which had been consecrated and set apart for the purpose of anointing the sick, after which we laid our hands upon his head and asked our Heavenly Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to be pleased to rebuke the evil spirit and heal the lad, according to the promise of our Savior, in Mark 16:18, and left him in the hands of the Lord. He was perfectly restored from that very hour, and troubled no more with that sore affliction. We saw his father over forty years later, who told us his son never had another fit after he was administered to that time, whereas, before, they were of much frequent occurrence that it was unsafe to leave him alone. That he was now residing in Nebraska, the head of a family.

There was a family by the name of Newcombe, residing about one mile south of the temple in Kirtland. His wife’s brother, (a man we should judge about thirty years of age) was a raving maniac of the most violent kind. He had to be kept chained in an outhouse by himself, and clothed with strong, coarse clothing, for when he could, he would tear his clothing from him. He would also rave and rage exceedingly whenever any person came near him excepting his sister, Mrs. Newcombe, she had control over him. We saw him different times, but it was a distressing sight.

In the latter part of November or in December, 1836, several brethren took his case in hand, and went to Brother Newcombe’s and commenced to fast and pray for power over the evil spirit, and deliverance for the man from his power. Joseph Smith, Sen. (father of Joseph Smith, Jr., the translator of the Book of Mormon), had charge, assisted by Brethren John P. Green, Oliver Granger, and others. They continued in fasting and prayer for three days and nights, with occasionally, one at a time, taking a little respite, when Brother [Joseph] Smith, Sen., told them to bring the man into the room where they were, which they did. They laid their hands upon him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and rebuked the evil spirit by which he had been bound, when the man wilted down, and became as a little child. Brother Joseph Smith, Sen., ordered them to take the chains from off him. He was healed, to the great joy of all, and they felt to render thanksgiving and praise to our Heavenly Father, to whom be glory and honor forever and ever, amen.
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/ERobinson.html
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The sick were healed. One instance I will relate: A young lady, Emily Fuller by name, had joined the church and came from another branch to visit for a few days. She was at Brother Blaksley’s and was suddenly taken ill and went into convulsions. She grew worse. Her frame was racked with cramping. It took three or four of us to keep her on the bed. The elders were away quite a distance, filling appointments. My husband was at home, but he only held the office of a deacon, so consequently could not administer the ordinance of the laying on of hands to rebuke the destroyer. But everything was done that could be, but nothing relieved her. It seemed the evil spirits were bound to destroy her. At last my husband got on a horse and rode 14 miles and brought Elder Ducher to administer to her. She was in great agony when he came in. He knelt down and prayed mightily for strength and power that he might rebuke the destroyer and bid him depart. He arose and went to the bed side, laid his hands upon her head and clothed with the authority and power of the priesthood, be rebuked the destroyer and told her to be made whole and arise from her bed, which she did and called for water to wash and the comb to comb her hair, although she was very weak for she had been in this state for twenty-four hours. Time can never erase this from my memory for I was an eye witness of the whole thing and it was the power of God that raised her up.
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/NTracy.html
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We traveled along in fine order and after a few hundred miles we got out of money and stopped and worked about a month at Dayton, Ohio, and got means to pay our way thru to Missouri. While at Dayton the devil entered our camp and got possession of one of the sisters. She was in awful pain and talked all the time and some of the time in rhyme. The Elders administered to her. The evil spirits left her and entered another person and on being rebuked again would enter another and so continued a good part of the night. But when the devil was commanded in the name of Jesus Christ to leave the camp, he went and was very mad. He went thru the whole camp, made a roaring noise, knocked over chairs, broke table legs and made awful work.
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/JPulsipher.html
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About day break, Sunday July 30th, Elder Isaac Russell came up to the third loft where Elder Hyde and myself were sleeping, and called upon us to pray for him, that he might be delivered from the evil spirits that were tormenting him to such a degree that he felt he could not live long, unless he obtained relief. We laid hands on him, I being mouth, and prayed that the Lord would have mercy on him, and rebuke the Devil. While thus engaged, I was struck with great force by some invisible power, and fell senseless on the floor; and the first thing I recollected was being supported by elders Hyde and Russell who were praying for me. They then laid me on the bed, but my agony was so great I arose, bowed on my knees and prayed.

I then sat on the bed and could distinctly see the evil spirits who foamed and gnashed their teeth upon us. We gazed upon them about an hour and a half, we were not looking towards the window but towards the wall, space appeared before us and we saw the devils coming in legions with their leaders, who came within a few feet of us, they came towards us like armies rushing to battle, they appeared men of full stature, possessing every uncomely form and appearance of men in the flesh, and every variety of stature and form, mean, mangled and deformed, who were angry and desperate, and I shall never forget the vindictive malignity depicted on their countenances, and any attempt to paint the scene which then presented itself; or portray the malice and enmity depicted in their countenances would be vain. I perspired exceedingly, and my clothes were wet as if I had been taken out of the river.

Although I felt exquisite pain, and was in the greatest distress for some time, and cannot even look back on the scene without feelings of horror; yet, by it I learned the power of the Adversary, his enmity against the servants of God, and got some understanding of the invisible world. We distinctly heard those spirits talk and express their wrath and hellish designs against us. However the Lord delivered us from them, and blessed us exceedingly that day, and I had the pleasure (notwithstanding my weakness of body) of baptizing nine.

Two of the candidates, on coming forward for baptism, ran a race; the younger, George D. Watt, outran the elder and was the first baptized in England.

“He [Joseph Smith] took me a walk by the river side and requested me to relate the occurrence at the Bozier house. I did so, and also told him the vision of evil spirits in England on the opening of the gospel to that people. After I had done this, I asked what all these things meant and whether or not there was anything wrong in me. `No, Brother Heber, at that time when you were in England, you were then nigh unto the Lord. There was only a veil between you and Him, but you could not see Him. When I heard it, it gave me great joy, for I then knew that the work of God had taken root in the land; it was this that caused the Devil to make a struggle to kill you.’ Joseph then said the nearer a person approaches the Lord, a greater power would be manifest by the Devil to prevent the accomplishment of the purposes of God. He then gave me a relation of many contests that he had had with Satan, and his power had been made manifest from time to time since the commencement of bringing forth the Book of Mormon.”
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/HCKimball.html
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In the following morning we went to work as usual and when we returned home at noon we found my wife very sick. We began to realize the true situation. She had been indefatigable in nursing the sick and had borne up bravely until now. It was a new experience to be thus baffled by the powers of darkness, that such was the case was manifest in the condition of my wife who was a firm believer in the gospel. She had borne unflinchingly every trial every trial she had been called to pass through; she had all the confidence in the ordinances of the Holy Priesthood for the healing of the sick it was possible to have; but now worn out by anxiety and nursing the sick, and weak in body, she seemed unable longer to resist the evil influences surrounding her.

Usually when she was taken sick her first wish was to call upon the elders, but now as we approached her and laid our hands upon her head she resisted, the devil manifesting itself through her defying us saying we had no power to cast it out. For awhile I walked the floor talking to her, being convinced that all our troubles arose from the influence of the powers of darkness. I invited Brother Whitney to take a walk with me.

We walked some distance away from the town until we reached a secluded spot in the timber. There we both poured out our souls to God in supplication, beseeching him to hear our prayers and give us power to cast out those unclean spirits and devils that were distressing our families. We returned to the house to find my wife lying upon the bed just as we had left her. Her face was almost scarlet with the fever and in her eyes a terrible brightness and as defiant as before.

I went to the bedside, then I said, “Come Brother Whitney we will again lay our hands on and administer to her,” and we, together administered by laying our hands on her head and with all the power we held by virtue of the Priesthood of the Son of God we rebuked the devil and every evil spirit and power in the name of Jesus Christ. When we had ceased praying and took our hands off her head, she had fainted. When this passed off she was extremely weak, almost lifeless but in her right mind. We then went through the house and laid our hands upon each member of our families and rebuked the evil spirits in the name of Jesus Christ and commanded them to depart from the house and trouble us no more. Our prayers were heard and answered, the powers of darkness were rebuked. My wife recovered and we were disturbed no more. We praised God who delivered us out of this great affliction.
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/WMace.html
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“The signs spoken of include the casting out of devils. This recalls to my remembrance something of the kind which occurred at the Pomphret Branch, previous to which I had had but very little experience as to what may be termed the physical power of the devil. I was then far from the body of the Church, consequently what I learned I had to find out by experience, having no one to tell me. The case was that of a sister, who was possessed, and whom I, with two other elders, was called upon to visit. Directly we entered her room, she called out, “Take your shoes from off your feet, this is holy ground, the Prophet Elijah is here.” I saw the spirit by which she was influenced, so I walked up to her and said, “I am a servant of the Lord, I obey no command of the devil.” She became uproarious directly, for all who had gone in previously, had complied with her directions.

As soon as we attempted to rebuke the evil spirit, in the name of the Lord, she arose up from the bed, on her feet, without apparently bending a joint in her body, stiff as a rod of iron. From this we saw the power with which we had to contend; and, failing at first to eject the spirit, we bowed ourselves in prayer before the Lord, and asked him to assist us. The evil spirit then came out full of fury, and as he passed by one of the brethren, seized him by both arms, and gripped them violently, [For similar instances of power see Elder Kimball’s Journal.] and, passing towards me, something which by the feel appeared like a man’s hand, grasped me by both sides of my face, and attempted to pull me sideways to the ground, but the hold appearing to slip I recovered my balance immediately. My face was sore for some days after this. The other brother that was seized was lame for a week afterwards.

As soon as this was done, the sister partially recovered, so much so that she obeyed anything I chose to tell her to do, whereas before she was perfectly ungovernable. Still she seemed to be surrounded by some evil influence. This puzzled us, for we knew the spirit was cast out, but we learned the cause afterwards. Just then it was revealed to us that if we went to sleep, the devil would enter one of the brethren. My nephew, Melvin Brown, neglected the warning, and composed himself to sleep in an armchair, whilst we were still watching with the sister. Directly he did so, the devil entered into him, and he became black in the face, and nearly suffocated. He awoke immediately, and motioned for us to lay hands on him, for he could not speak. We did so, and the evil spirit then left him, and he recovered at once.

About a week afterwards the same spirit reentered the sister, and this time fully confessed his character. In answer to our inquiries, he said his name was “Legion.” This explained how it was that the woman, after we had cast out an evil spirit, was under an evil influence, for there must have been many spirits. [See case of Mary Magdalene.–Mark xvi, 9. The Lunatic.–Mark v.] He also reviled our priesthood, but he had to submit to it at last, saying to us, “O! you have the priesthood, have you? Well, then cast me out, command me to come out,” trying to shake our faith, and thus incapacitate us to rebuke him successfully. Failing in this, he tried another method by entering me. I felt seized by a strange influence, and to every question put to the woman, I knew the answer she was going to give, for I was possessed by a similar spirit. This broke the chain of our union and strength, consequently I requested the elders to rebuke the evil spirit from me, after which, at our united rebuke, he left the woman.

Previous to this, the sister had been a very faithful Saint, and she ever afterwards was, but she had given the devil ground by encouraging a spirit contrary to the order of the Church, taking upon herself to rebuke the elders, and he claimed his right by virtue of her transgression. No doubt one object of the Lord’s permitting him to exercise his physical power was to give me experience of such facts, without which I never could have known; but I, like many others who may read this record, might have argued my ignorance of such things, as a proof that they did not exist except in imagination. By “physical power” is meant such power as was manifested in the case of the man mentioned in the Gospels, who “could not be bound even with chains,” so great was the strength of the devil by which he was possessed. I know very well that this religious generation are so fearful lest anyone should suppose there is any resemblance between their faith and practice, and those of the ancient church, that, after most vigorously asserting that “Apostles, Prophets, and other similarly inspired men, are done away; revelations are done away; visions are done away; tongues and prophecy are done away; healings and miracles are done away;” and, in a word, all external manifestations of the Holy Ghost, or the power of God, devils are added to this list of “done aways,” and forsooth we are to rejoice and be exceeding glad.

Happy generation! Shall we say, where ignorance is bliss, `tis folly to be wise? They practically say it for themselves. What! they, “living in the blaze of gospel light, troubled with devils!” It is true that even now, sometimes, some are seized with strong afflictions called fits, which make them wallow on the ground, gnash their teeth, foam, tear their hair off their heads, and display such miraculous strength, that a dozen people cannot sometimes hold one person while under these strange affections. But what of that? Who but poor deluded “Mormons” would attribute such things to the power of the devil? May we ask what else they are caused by? Oh, they are caused by fits. Yes, but what are fits? “Why fits are–that is to say, we don’t know what they are, except that they are fits.” And this is all we can be told about the matter.

Then again, there are certain people called “madmen,” who, generally, previous to their having “the disease,” are quiet-going people enough, possessing no more bodily strength than anybody else, but who, through some “affection of the mind,” have increased their bodily strength to such an extent, that they have to be manacled–bound with cords and fetters, and put in great houses, where the windows have to be barred with iron, to protect them. “But these people are not possessed of devils, their brains are affected.” Indeed, their brains are affected, as well as many other parts of their bodies, when the devil gets possession of them.

We are told these are mysteries. They were no mysteries anciently! But this generation, despising revelation as being requisite now, have lost the key of knowledge, and are consequently surrounded by phenomena which they cannot understand. And if the Bible does not happen to say anything about them, as such persons have no hope that God will, they are quite contented to die ignorant.”
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/BBrown.html
-=-=-=

Now, these are not all the accounts; there are many more, from all time periods and places; but I imagine these suffice for a decent novice’s understanding. Is it possible that maybe a few of those were not just *true, actual* possessions or evil spirits.  The proof is in the pudding, right?; and wasn’t that shown in the cases above?  It’s *very* clear that the above was directly and undeniably due to evil spirits.

Note this also:  Brigham Young said:  “You never felt a pain and ache, or felt disagreeable, or uncomfortable in your bodies and minds, but what an evil spirit was present causing it. Do you realize that the ague, the fever, the chills, the severe pain in the head, the plurisy, or any pain in the system, from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet, is put there by the devil? You do not realize this, do you? I say but little about this matter, because I do not want you to realize it. When you have the rheumatism, do you realize that the devil put that upon you? No, but you say, “I got wet, caught cold, and thereby got the rheumatism.” The spirits that afflict us and plant disease in our bodies, pain in the system, and finally death, have control over us so far as the flesh is concerned. But when the spirit is unlocked from the body it is free from the power of death and Satan; and when that body comes up again, it also, with the spirit, will gain the victory over death, hell, and the grave. (JD, 4:133)

Here are a few other similar things:

Garments
Among other things, this might be personal protection against any type of unseen attack/ psychic attack/ curse/ cords/ spirit attachment or influence, etc.

Dedicating a House (and Consecrating Church Buildings to the Lord)
Thou it doesn’t say so,  believe this is is similar to energy clearing/ “clearing an area” of negativity/ negative thought forms/ evil, and establishing an area of positive influence, so to say. It might also entail physical aspects, such as geopathic stress.  I have heard of  experiences some have had while visiting or traveling that support this.

Casting out Evil Spirits
This is similar to spirit release therapy, but oh so much better.

While there are still things that don’t match up right now (perhaps due to lack of knowledge on either or both the LDS Church or Spirit Release therapists), I think this shows that there are some that are at least related. LDS should not be so quick to dismiss everything in Spirit Release Therapy just because some parts might not match up.

(Remember love, prayer and God’s mercy, and the priesthood, if possible, to overcome evil spirits.)


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2008, November 27

Book of Mormon | How Did the ‘Order of the Nehors’ Begin before Nehor?

Book of Mormon | How Did the ‘Order of the Nehors’ Begin before Nehor?

by grego
(c) 2008, 2010

It seems we have a problem in the Book of Mormon.

In Alma 1, we are told:
Alma 1:2 And it came to pass that in the *first year of the reign of Alma in the judgment-seat*, there was *a man brought before him to be judged*, a man who was large, and was noted for his much strength.
Alma 1:3 And *he had gone about among the people*, preaching to them that which he termed to be the word of God, bearing down against the church; declaring unto the people that *every priest and teacher ought to become popular; and they ought not to labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people*.
Alma 1:5 And it came to pass that *he did teach these things so much that many did believe on his words, even so many that they began to support him and give him money*.
Alma 1:6 And *he began to be lifted up in the pride of his heart, and to wear very costly apparel, yea, and even began to establish a church after the manner of his preaching*.
Alma 1:12 But Alma said unto him: Behold, *this is the first time that priestcraft has been introduced among this people*…

Yet, in Alma 20, we read:
Alma 21:1 Now *when Ammon and his brethren separated themselves in the borders of the land of the Lamanites, behold Aaron took his journey towards the land which was called by the Lamanites, Jerusalem*, calling it after the land of their fathers’ nativity; and it was away joining the borders of Mormon.
Alma 21:2 *Now the Lamanites and the Amalekites and the people of Amulon had built a great city, which was called Jerusalem*.
Alma 21:4 And it came to pass that Aaron came to the city of Jerusalem, and first began to preach to the *Amalekites. And he began to preach to them in their synagogues, for they had built synagogues after the order of the Nehors; for many of the Amalekites and the Amulonites were after the order of the Nehors*.
Alma 21:5 Therefore, as Aaron entered into one of their synagogues to preach unto the people, and as he was speaking unto them, behold there arose an Amalekite and began to contend with him, saying: What is that thou hast testified? Hast thou seen an angel? Why do not angels appear unto us? Behold are not this people as good as thy people?
Alma 21:6 Thou also sayest, except we repent we shall perish. How knowest thou the thought and intent of our hearts? How knowest thou that we have cause to repent? How knowest thou that we are not a righteous people? Behold, *we have built sanctuaries, and we do assemble ourselves together to worship God. We do believe that God will save all men*.
Alma 21:8 And the man said unto him: We do not believe that thou knowest any such thing. We do not believe in these foolish traditions. *We do not believe that thou knowest of things to come, neither do we believe that thy fathers and also that our fathers did know concerning the things which they spake, of that which is to come*.

Nehor—with this belief system/ religion, of the order of the Nehors–seems to have first started in the Nephite lands at the same time that the order of the Nehors was already established in the Lamanite lands—even long enough to build synagogues specifically built for the order. How is that possible? There wouldn’t likely have been time for the order/ religion to pass over from Nehor and his followers to the Lamanites that quickly!

One LDS apologist, Brant Gardner, wrote about this problem:
“The “order of the Nehors” is named for a murderer. Since the religious movement was around prior to Nehor (such as in king Noah’s court) then Nehor wasn’t the originator. In fact, he doesn’t seem to be all that important to it. Nevertheless, Mormon names the movement after him. Was that historically correct? Probably not. However, he certainly named the movement after a murderer. That tells us what he thought of it.”

Unfortunately for that line of thought, I find little evidence and certainly no proof in the Book of Mormon text that:
–the order of the Nehors had been around since king Noah’s court,
–or that Nehor wasn’t the originator (particularly among the Nephites, which Alma seems to say he was),
–or that he wasn’t that important to the order (as it’s clear in Alma that he is very important to the order and its history among the Nephites).

So, is there really a mistake in the text with timing (by Alma or Mormon?), or did Mormon—as Brant Gardner says—strongly exaggerate or twist the naming of something “on purpose” for the purpose of the text (which I admit is possible, but I disagree with Brant as to the extent), or… is there another possible way?

There are other possible ways.
Nehor may not have been the originator of the order of Nehors among the Lamanites, it might have been called by another name there.
Or perhaps his father, Nehor, was the founder.
Or, Nehor might have been the name of the leader of the order, more like a title–similar to how all the Nephite kings were named “Nephi” for a while (Jacob 1:11), or like the Dread Pirate Roberts (for those familiar with “The Princess Bride”).
Or, of course, Nehor was a Nephite dissenter/ descendant who came over to the Nephites from the Lamanites (possibly as Sherem had come).

As support for these latter possibilities, note that at least three times the order is called “order of the Nehor*s*, that is, in the plural:
Alma 21:4 And it came to pass that Aaron came to the city of Jerusalem, and first began to preach to the Amalekites. And he began to preach to them in their synagogues, for they had built synagogues after *the order of the Nehors*; for many of the Amalekites and the Amulonites were after *the order of the Nehors*.
Alma 24:28 Now the greatest number of those of the Lamanites who slew so many of their brethren were Amalekites and Amulonites, the greatest number of whom were after *the order of the Nehors*.
And here, possibly:
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.

So, if it’s named after Nehor, why isn’t it called the “order of Nehor”?

Note that the order of Nehor was already established among the Lamanites—particularly the Nephite dissenter groups, the Amulonites and Amalekites—when it is heard for the first time among the Nephites; and that Nehor is the one that brings it to the Nephites. As “God saves all” was the main principle of belief, the Amulonites and Amalekites would be a good place for the order of Nehors to spawn—they were dissident Nephites familiar with God and the old religion, yet basically excommunicated by the Nephite Church of God for not obeying the commandments.

I don’t see this order of Nehor existing much earlier, especially in king Noah’s time, because not only is there little or no evidence of it, but also because of this verse:
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*.

And especially these verses:
Mosiah 24:4 And he appointed *teachers of the brethren of Amulon* in every land which was possessed by his people; and thus the language of Nephi began to be taught among all the people of the Lamanites.
Mosiah 24:5 And they were a people friendly one with another; *nevertheless they knew not God; neither did the brethren of Amulon teach them anything concerning the Lord their God, neither the law of Moses; nor did they teach them the words of Abinadi*;
Mosiah 24:6 But *they taught them that they should keep their record, and that they might write one to another*.

Note also this important verse:
Alma 22:7 And *Aaron* answered him and said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God? And *the [Lamanite] king* said: I know that *the Amalekites say that there is a God, and I have granted unto them that they should build sanctuaries, that they may assemble themselves together to worship him*. And if now thou sayest there is a God, behold I will believe.

The king gave the Amalekites permission to build sanctuaries to assemble and worship God. What sanctuaries are these? I imagine them to be the order of Nehor sanctuaries/ synagogues–they might be the same as in Alma 21:4-6. So, this was within the king’s lifetime as being king (How long? I have no idea. I’d say no more than 40 years maximum, he’s probably 64 or so at this time, just my guess! ), and to me it seems like in the conversation it was just in the recent past. King Noah was about minimum 58 years before we hear of the order of the Nehors in Nephite land (about 148 BC to about 90 BC), and probably a decade or two before the reign of this Lamanite king.

As further support for my argument, note the internal consistency between Alma 22:7 and the earlier verse I mentioned of Mosiah 24:4-6. There is no mention of the Amulonites saying that there is a God and desiring to worship him; Mosiah 24 says that at least at that time, the Amulonites didn’t teach the Lamanites about God or their religion.

That the Amulonites might have used some of, or relied on, the teachings or traditions of the original wicked priests of king Noah, from whom they descended, is very possible. The priests seem to have believed somewhat in “do what you want, just make a sacrifice, God’s cool with it”. However, note that Nephi (2 Nephi 28) was aware of this as a doctrine of the latter days, and it’s a typical viewpoint of many people. Likewise, the priests of Noah didn’t seem to accept that God (Jesus) would come down and be like a man and atone for man’s sins, similar to what the order of Nehor (in Ammonihah) believed. Nehor preached the priests should be supported by the people, and that’s the lifestyle of the wicked priests of king Noah/ Amulonites.

But we see there are differences between the priests of king Noah and the order of Nehors:
1. The order of Nehors taught that all would be saved (Alma 1:4); the priests taught that adherence to the law of Moses saved (even though they didn’t adhere to the law very well…).
2. The order of Nehors worshiped in synagogues; the priests in the temple.
So, to say the order basically existed at the time of king Noah, is stretching it, at the least.

I imagine that Nehor decided that with the establishment of the Church not too long before, and especially with the Nephite switch from government-by-king to government-by-judges, it was an opportune time to start the order among the Nephites; and whether he was at the head or whether he was chosen to spread it among the Nephites or if he personally saw the monetary opportunity—gave it a go. The Nephites worrying about religion and God much more than the Lamanites, always having religious contentions and sinners, and having much more money and riches, and there possibly being less competition among the Nephites, likely gave Nehor a level of success he could only dream of among the Lamanites, Amulonites, and Amalekites.


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2008, November 26

Mormon/ LDS History: Does the Mormon Church Cover-up, Lie, or Whitewash Its History?

Mormon/ LDS History: Does the Mormon Church Cover-up, Lie, or Whitewash Its History?
by grego

Of course not all history can make it into a small (or even large) volume that will be read by all. But are there lies and whitewashes, especially an unfair unbalance in the presentation? Well, there are summaries, and summaries don’t tell it all. (I know of much current history that is known by just a few, but that’s a little different, and that happens with everyone and everything.)

Yesterday, however, I was reminded that yes, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/ Mormon/ LDS Church *DOES* whitewash history, in a certain way. But I would call it “blackwash”… Let me explain.

See, I was on http://www.boap.org reading the histories of the early Saints/ LDS members ( http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/ ) researching information for another article/ blog post. And though I was looking for a few select quotes, I started reading more and more, and spent much of the day doing so. (That was not the first time I had been on the site, reading the journals/ records.) I was glad for those records, and I strongly encourage you to go read them for yourself. In fact, I think I would rather have my children read just four of those than to take a semester of LDS Church history at a BYU school.

As I was reading, I wondered, “If it were true that the LDS/ Mormon Church were so concerned with hiding church historical details, why would church leaders encourage members–past and present–to keep diaries/ journals, especially of church matters? That didn’t really make sense to me; how about you? Nor did the preservation of all the records on that website, which seems to be a BYU (Brigham Young University) website. Note this quote from the website also: “If you have, or know of, a journal, autobiography, diary or letters of other contemporaries of Joseph Smith, Jr. and would like to see them in this collection, please email us.” Sound like a cover-up, lie, or whitewash?

But one thing is absolutely certain and clear about these records: the stories they tell of the violence, bigotry, unlawfulness, hate, and evil done to them by both apostates and other “Christians” and others is more gorily detailed, emotionally moving, and damning than any LDS Church history book I have ever read–especially those books put out by the LDS Church.

On the other hand, the Saints’ suffering and dedication and sacrifice, the miracles and visions and blessings the Lord provided for them as groups and especially as individuals, their insights and testimonies and humility–is far stronger, much more frequent, more emotionally moving, spiritual, down-to-earth, poignant, truthful, and wonderful than any LDS Church history book I have ever read–especially those books put out by the LDS Church.

Which led to my conclusion: yes, the LDS Church does cover-up and whitewash its own history–against its own favor.


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Book Of Mormon | Alma 50:32–A Verse in Support of “Others” in the Lands?

Book Of Mormon | Alma 50:32–A Verse in Support of “Others” in the Lands?
by grego

Ok, I’m hardly an “others” proponent. I believe I’ve ripped up pretty well the majority of the often-quoted verses that most people claim as evidence or even proof of “others” in the Book of Mormon lands (outside of the few groups specifically mentioned in the Book of Mormon), in my very long, 3-part series on “Others” on my old blog, www.bookofmormonmusings.blogspot.com.

But over a year ago, I ran into these verses (one verse in particular):

Alma 50:28 And it came to pass that when the people of Morianton, who were led by a man whose name was Morianton, found that the people of Lehi had fled to the camp of Moroni, they were exceedingly fearful lest the army of Moroni should come upon them and destroy them.

Alma 50:29 Therefore, Morianton put it into their hearts that they should flee to the land which was northward, which was covered with large bodies of water, and take possession of the land which was northward.

Alma 50:30 And behold, they would have carried this plan into effect, (which would have been a cause to have been lamented) but behold, Morianton being a man of much passion, therefore he was angry with one of his maid servants, and he fell upon her and beat her much.

Alma 50:31 And it came to pass that she fled, and came over to the camp of Moroni, and told Moroni all things concerning the matter, and also concerning their intentions to flee into the land northward.

Alma 50:32 Now behold, the people who were in the land Bountiful, or rather Moroni, feared that they would hearken to the words of Morianton and unite with his people, and thus he would obtain possession of those parts of the land, which would lay a foundation for serious consequences among the people of Nephi, yea, which consequences would lead to the overthrow of their liberty.

Alma 50:33 Therefore Moroni sent an army, with their camp, to head the people of Morianton, to stop their flight into the land northward.

Alma 50:34 And it came to pass that they did not head them until they had come to the borders of the land Desolation; and there they did head them, by the narrow pass which led by the sea into the land northward, yea, by the sea, on the west and on the east.

A few things about this:

1. Who is “they” in Alma 50:32? It can’t be Nephites (can it?), the northern migrations haven’t happened yet, the Jaredites have been destroyed, and the Lamanites are south of them, not north. (Or is this one of those tricky Book of Mormon directions questions?)

2. I don’t think Morianton and his people were *that* numerous and “bad”, were they? I mean, it’s just one city out of many, perhaps even hundreds. But what if the inhabitants were numerous? It seems that there are others in the land northward, and that Morianton and his people joining them as Nephite “enemies” might cause attacks from the north–making the Nephites fight a war on two opposing fronts (north and south) at once. (Remember, the Lamanites are at the south.)

3. Moroni, as other military leaders, are based in Bountiful. But isn’t Bountiful in the north, at least (far) north of Zarahemla? If the Lamanites are in the south, was this because the Nephites wanted their military headquarters out of danger… or because there were threats from these northern people?


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2008, November 25

Book of Mormon: “Writing a Short History Isn’t that Hard… until You Try”, by grego

Book of Mormon: Writing a Short History Isn’t that Hard… until You Try
by grego

A year ago, I was going back through my journal, searching for particular points about a common topic.

This is from 8 years ago, to current; all my life; most all written by me; I have a decent, if not better than decent, memory (at least compared to my other family members).

Ok, it’s more than a few pages, maybe about 250 pages of 12 pt. document; but still, it was my *own* life history from just the past eight years; I wasn’t condensing/ abridging a record mainly written by others over a period of a thousand (1,000) years…

Results?
*Much of what I thought I had written down for sure, I hadn’t.
*Much of what I thought was clear when I wrote it, wasn’t.
*Many of the open-ended things (feelings about the future, prophecies, worries, whatever happened to?, when did we stop doing something that I wrote about a lot previously, etc.), hadn’t been closed.
*Seeing problems, I changed and added many things right to what they should have been (with a word processor, that’s easy).

That really opened my eyes–

The Book of Mormon really is much, much tighter and more cohesive than I ever realized, and I understand a little more why maybe some things are “spread out”. I also had quite a bit more respect for the writers, and especially Mormon.

NOTE: IF THIS ISN’T WHAT YOU WERE LOOKING FOR, USE THE SEARCH BOX TO THE RIGHT–YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED!


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2008, November 24

“Book of Mormon: Alma Uses NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Such as AVK (Audio-Visual-Kinesthetic) to Talk to His Sons” by grego

Book of Mormon: Alma Uses NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Such as AVK (Audio-Visual-Kinesthetic) to Talk to His Sons

grego
(c) 2008

I wrote a little about this before, but I got requests to flesh it out, so I have done so. I hardly claim to be a pro, but the more I got into it Alma’s discussions and NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), the more I discovered–there really is a lot. In fact, there was so much that grew, both in method and in learning, that I have kept waiting to put this up, and it’s still far from done. But here’s where I am now; though, it’s hardly a finished topic.

— —
In another post, I wrote the following (but I’ve added short comments in parentheses after):

“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…

I understand that:
1. Helaman must hear things over and over for them to take effect.
(Notice how many times the similar thing or similar things are repeated.)

2. He is “lazy”/ “asleep” in the gospel (and likely other areas of life).
(Alma is pretty forceful and direct with him, and the topics are very central and important, but it seems not to him. Note the topics of scriptures, reading, praying–it seems he has problems with the basics.)

3. Helaman doesn’t really believe in miracles.
(From the counsel about the plates, the counsel about God fulfilling his word, the list of miracles Helaman is aware of.)

4. He doesn’t really have a relationship with God.
(Lack of trust, lack of reading, lack of counseling, lack of faith.)

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).
(Specific counsel in these matters.)

6. He doesn’t take his commitments seriously.
(Why does a church leader need to continually hear “keep the commandments” and counsel on basic gospel living?)

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.
(His strong unwillingness to enter into battle.)

9. He isn’t very diligent in listening to his father.
(His father doesn’t really trust him.)

— —

And earlier, this:

“Alma has three sons: Helaman, Shiblon, and Corianton. They are different…they all have different situations and need different counsel. He speaks to them directly. He wants to make sure his message gets across to them, so he personalizes the message and communicates it according to their communication style.

You’ve heard of NLP (neuro-lingustic programming)? Or… “AVK” learning styles? Auditory, visual, kinesthetic (feeling)?

Helaman is a visual learner. Alma speaks of records, images, directions, stories. He also learns by “repetition”, and is somewhat “low-key” person. He needs to hear something a few times for it to mean something to him (count how many times “keep the commandments” is in his counsel…).

Shiblon is a kinesthetic learner, and a “high-intensity” person. He needs to hear it hard and fast, strong and powerful. Once is enough, though. Alma speaks of bodily feelings. (See how many you can pick out… ;) )

Corianton is an auditory learner. He is a “hesitator”. Alma speaks of things auditory: words, sounds, hearing, speaking, saying, etc. (Note how many times Alma says, “I say…” to Corianton and compare it to the others.)…

(There’s more. Look for the two motivation types–does Alma persuade his sons to move away from something, or to go towards something…?”

-=-=-=

Ok now, here’s some of the “more” part. I’m just going to present all this in “notes” form, and allow readers to see things. There is no particular order, and I won’t necessarily draw conclusions from every part. Note that these chapters are not about covert persuasion or propaganda; they are about NLP, mainly meta-programs/ submodalities/ filters (of which AVK is a part). This is also incomplete because it is a written record and not spoken; this disallows us the possibility of considering many parts of NLP.

Once more, these few chapters alone should make every person consider (or reconsider) Book of Mormon complexity, richness, and deepness. Each conversation is unique on multiple facets; just planning these few chapters would have taken considerable time, even for an intelligent guy, to ensure consistency. Those who maintain that Joseph Smith “invented” the Book of Mormon must realize that if so, he was over 140 years before Grinder and Bandler even started NLP. Not only that, Alma uses these techniques in very ethical/ moral ways to teach and persuade his children to obey the commandments and do good. In these few chapters, Alma’s communication is so unique that Joseph Smith, once more, had to have been not just an excellent communicator, but a true genius. But was this greatness in communication and speaking found in Joseph Smith—outside of the Book of Mormon—during the same time period? The Joseph Smith papers should be very helpful here, as all will be able to see.

NOTE: If anyone can find any other source Joseph Smith could have copied, used, or studied in this particular way, or even any example of unique NLP communication—used by one character in different conversations in a “fiction” book by any author (especially a literary genius)—please, let me know!!

Alma’s counsel to his sons looks like this (all references are in the book of Alma, so just chapter and verse are given):

Helaman:
Length of speech (total lines, including partials, in columned book): 543
Tempo: slow and drawn out, repetitive
“Follow my example”: 3 times (37:1, 2 x2)
“I command you”: 4 times (37:1, 2, 20, 27)
“Keep the commandments”: 5 times (37:15 (warn not to transgress), 16 x2, 20, 35)
“Keep the commandments and prosper”: 3 times (36:1, 30, 37:13)
Number of questions asked: 2 times
Way questions are used: to summarize and nail Alma’s conclusion
How much Alma relates the content to Helaman’s personal experiences and testimony: 0 times
Main topics: “mysteries” of God, “wisdom” of God: 17 times (37:2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 18, 19, 21, 35, 38, 39, 40, 41)
Alma needs to paint the big picture, in great detail, for Helaman; philosophical/ intellectual in many aspects
Learning style: visual. Alma speaks of records, images, directions, stories.
Other: Helaman also learns by “repetition”—he needs to hear something over and over, and is somewhat a “low-key” person. Fascinated with thinking, he is a very non-action person. He is, however, a believer.

-=-=-=

Shiblon:
Length of speech (total lines, including partials, in columned book): 102
Tempo: fast and hard, one-time
“Follow my example”: 0 times
“I command you”: 0 times
“Keep the commandments”: 0 times Instead, Alma “offers suggestions”, basically: 12 times (1. “I hope that”: 38:2 2. “I trust that”: 38:2 3. “I would that”: 38:6, 10 x2 4. “See that”: 38:11 x2, 12 x2 5. “Balance”: 38:11, 12 6. “May the Lord”: 38:15)
“Keep the commandments and prosper”: 1 time (38:1)
Number of questions: 0
How much Alma relates the content to Shiblon’s personal experiences and testimony: the majority of the time: 38:2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 13, 14; then, Alma’s experience in 38:6, 7, 8, 9
Main topics: continue your course, “do”: 38:2.
Learning style: kinesthetic–it’s mainly about bodily feelings and action.
Other: Shiblon is a “high-intensity” person. He hears it hard and fast, strong and powerful; once is enough; very little is repeated in any form. Yet, Alma is very suggestful, no confrontation, doesn’t discuss Shiblon’s current weaknesses; he feels no need to prove anything or convince Shiblon of anything; doesn’t need to come out and clearly say things; no need to paint the “big picture” or detail it.

-=-=-=

Corianton:
Length of speech (total lines, including partials, in columned book): 641
Tempo: normal
“Follow my example”: 0 times (But, in 39:1, Shiblon’s example)
“I command you”: 3 times (39:10, 12 x2)
“Keep the commandments”: 0 times (Alma speaks of not following his brother’s good example in keeping the commandments at the very start; after that, of some of his sins; obeying Alma first, then God; etc.—everything *but* “keep the commandments”)
“Keep the commandments and prosper”: 0 times
Number of questions: 14 (39:1 x2, 5, 17, 18, 19; 40:7; 41:12; 42:17 x3, 19, 21, 25)
Way questions are used: to initiate and support a conversational topic.
How much Alma relates the content to Corianton’s personal experiences and testimony: Alma relates the majority of the topics to Corianton’s worries and problems, but most of the content is theological and from the outside.
Main topics: doctrinal, that have to do with Corianton’s sins (the majority).
Learning style: auditory. Alma speaks of words, sounds, hearing, speaking, saying, etc.
“I say…”: 12-15 times (39:1, 15, 17; 40:1, 2×2, 18, (19 x2), (20), 21 x2; 41:1, 2; 42:25)
Other: Corianton is a “hesitator”.
Topics are more about “doing”, not “being”.

-=-=-=

Other things to think about:
*Alma uses Shiblon, not Helaman, as the example that Corianton should follow (39:1, 2).
*Alma gives the plates to Helaman only after Nephihah refuses to accept them (Alma 50:38).
*Even though the stripling warriors testify they are protected, Helaman refuses to lead them into battle until they convince him that it really would be better to fight (57:39, 40, 43-49); earlier, Helaman feels that without extra help from the Lord, they would have perished, notwithstanding the promise (56:19).
UPDATE:
*When talking about the missionaries to the Zoramites, we read:
Alma 31:6 Therefore [Alma] took Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner; and Himni he did leave in the church in Zarahemla; but the former three he took with him, and also Amulek and Zeezrom, who were at Melek; and he also took two of his sons.
Alma 31:7 Now the eldest of his sons he took not with him, and his name was Helaman; but the names of those whom he took with him were Shiblon and Corianton; and these are the names of those who went with him among the Zoramites, to preach unto them the word.
Notice how Himni is “left in the church”, but Helaman is just left—while his brothers go to preach.


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2008, November 18

Book of Mormon: Ammon versus Aaron among the Lamanites

Book of Mormon: Ammon vs. Aaron among the Lamanites
by grego

Ammon was a great missionary. No doubt.

I was thinking of Aaron. At first glance, poor Aaron had gone to the same mission as Ammon, but … just didn’t have much success, especially at the beginning. And then the success he did have later with the Lamanite king, seemed to be mainly because Ammon set him up for it (Alma 22:2-6). My experience has been, when LDS talk about the missionaries to the Lamanites, it’s usually “all about Ammon”. (Ok, there really is no “versus” here, but it seems we’ve made it that way…)

Yet the Book of Mormon doesn’t talk about a difference in the faiths of Ammon and Aaron.

I imagine, it probably took as much faith to preach failingly to a more wicked people and suffer with patience in prison, being a good example, as it did to be a servant and cut off people’s arms. Perhaps had they been in each others’ places, the wonderful story might not have been so wonderful.

When they were ready to give up before reaching the Lamanites, the Lord told them:
Alma 17:11 …Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.

Interestingly, nothing there about “being a servant” or “cutting off arms”. Now, it’s true that we don’t have all the record, but it seems the main time this applied was to Aaron and the brethren with him here:
Alma 20:28 And it came to pass that Ammon and Lamoni proceeded on their journey towards the land of Middoni. And Lamoni found favor in the eyes of the king of the land; therefore the brethren of Ammon were brought forth out of prison.
Alma 20:29 And when Ammon did meet them he was exceedingly sorrowful, for behold they were naked, and their skins were worn exceedingly because of being bound with strong cords. And they also had suffered hunger, thirst, and all kinds of afflictions; nevertheless they were patient in all their sufferings.
Alma 21:13 Nevertheless, Aaron and a certain number of his brethren were taken and cast into prison, and the remainder of them fled out of the land of Middoni unto the regions round about.
Alma 21:14 And those who were cast into prison suffered many things, and they were delivered by the hand of Lamoni and Ammon, and they were fed and clothed.
Alma 21:15 And they went forth again to declare the word, and thus they were delivered for the first time out of prison; and thus they had suffered.

The Book of Mormon does say that the state of the people can affect their hearing the word:
Alma 20:30 And, as it happened, it was their lot to have fallen into the hands of a more hardened and a more stiffnecked people; therefore they would not hearken unto their words, and they had cast them out, and had smitten them, and had driven them from house to house, and from place to place, even until they had arrived in the land of Middoni; and there they were taken and cast into prison, and bound with strong cords, and kept in prison for many days, and were delivered by Lamoni and Ammon.
Alma 21:10 And it came to pass as he began to expound these things unto them they were angry with him, and began to mock him; and they would not hear the words which he spake.
Alma 21:11 Therefore, when he saw that they would not hear his words, he departed out of their synagogue, and came over to a village which was called Ani-Anti, and there he found Muloki preaching the word unto them; and also Ammah and his brethren. And they contended with many about the word.
Alma 21:12 And it came to pass that they saw that the people would harden their hearts, therefore they departed and came over into the land of Middoni. And they did preach the word unto many, and few believed on the words which they taught.

Afterwards, Aaron and the others do have many converts. In fact, the record says:
Alma 23:10 And also of the people of the Lamanites who were in the land of Middoni;

“Middoni”–the land where they had been locked up in prison and had suffered greatly. Looks like Aaron and those with him being good examples of Christ in their suffering (as told before their missions) *did* have an effect on them…

But the Lamanite conversions when they were on their missions weren’t the last fruits:
Alma 25:6 For many of them, after having suffered much loss and so many afflictions, began to be stirred up in remembrance of the words which Aaron and his brethren had preached to them in their land; therefore they began to disbelieve the traditions of their fathers, and to believe in the Lord, and that he gave great power unto the Nephites; and thus there were many of them converted in the wilderness.
Alma 25:7 And it came to pass that those rulers who were the remnant of the children of Amulon caused that they should be put to death, yea, all those that believed in these things.
Alma 25:8 Now this martyrdom caused that many of their brethren should be stirred up to anger; and there began to be contention in the wilderness; and the Lamanites began to hunt the seed of Amulon and his brethren and began to slay them; and they fled into the east wilderness.
Alma 25:13 And it came to pass that when the Lamanites saw that they could not overpower the Nephites they returned again to their own land; and many of them came over to dwell in the land of Ishmael and the land of Nephi, and did join themselves to the people of God, who were the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi.
Alma 25:14 And they did also bury their weapons of war, according as their brethren had, and they began to be a righteous people; and they did walk in the ways of the Lord, and did observe to keep his commandments and his statutes.

Aaron’s suffering and preaching had:
1. led to many Lamanites’ conversions (at a later time);
2. led to splitting the Amulonites away from the Lamanites (a good thing) and making them enemies;
3. led to a main part of fulfilling Abinadi’s prophecy;
4. led to even more Lamanites’ conversions, at an even later time.

So, it seems you never do know, and you can’t just count it all up to “faith”. It seems all those missionaries were heroes and angels to the Lamanites.

All of you who thought you had a great mission, and especially all of you who thought you didn’t have a great mission, take note!


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2008, November 14

Book of Mormon: Nephi, Judges, and Irony in Helaman 8, 9

Book of Mormon: Nephi, Judges, and Irony in Helaman 8, 9
by grego

In Helaman, the judges are trying their best to put that troublesome prophet Nephi away, so they:

Helaman 9:19 …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.

In other words: “You agreed with someone; who committed the murder?; tell us; say you did it.”

So, Nephi answers all their questions and demands:
*Who committed the murder: Helaman 9:34 And then shall ye say: Because of this fear and this paleness which has come upon your face, behold, we know that thou art guilty.
Helaman 9:35 And then shall greater fear come upon him; and then shall he confess unto you, and deny no more that he has done this murder.

*His part in the murder: Helaman 9:26 Behold I say unto you: Go to the house of Seantum, who is the brother of Seezoram, and say unto him–
Helaman 9:27 Has Nephi, the pretended prophet, who doth prophesy so much evil concerning this people, agreed with thee, in the which ye have murdered Seezoram, who is your brother?
Helaman 9:28 And behold, he shall say unto you, Nay.

*And acknowledges his participation (or lack thereof) in the matter: Helaman 9:36 And then shall he say unto you, that I, Nephi, know nothing concerning the matter save it were given unto me by the power of God. And then shall ye know that I am an honest man, and that I am sent unto you from God.

So Nephi proves that he is innocent by answering their questions as asked—which was *not* the purpose of their asking those questions, and not what they wanted to hear…

And the really ironic part?

The judges weren’t very bright. Somehow, they had all forgotten that Nephi *had* already told them who did it:
Helaman 8:27 Yea, behold it is now even at your doors; yea, go ye in unto the judgment-seat, and search; and behold, your judge is murdered, and he lieth in his blood; and he hath been murdered by his brother, who seeketh to sit in the judgment-seat.

Now, a smart judge would have colluded with the (chief) judge’s brother, and set Nephi up. Luckily, these judges weren’t up to it.


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2008, November 10

Does the Book of Mormon Contradict the Holy Bible?

Does the Book of Mormon Contradict the Holy Bible?
by grego

This is a question that many Christians ask. It’s a good one–on the surface. (It’s very similar to the question, “Is the Mormon Jesus different than the real Jesus, the Christian(TM) Jesus?”)

Obviously, the LDS Church is going to say no, and every other Christian church is going to say yes. I mean, what Christian church would say “The Book of Mormon doesn’t contradict the Bible”?

But to answer the question first, one must *necessarily* ask, WHICH interpretation of the Holy Bible is the *real* interpretation? Whose interpretation do we believe, over all the others? The Pentecostals? Anabaptists? Adventists? Baptists? Presbyterians? Congregationalists? Methodists? Lutherans? Catholics? Jehovah’s Witnesses?

See, the irony of this is pretty clear: none of these Christian churches believe in the same Bible! Notwithstanding all that, many members and leaders in those churches love to preach that the Mormons believe in a different Bible.

Does the Book of Mormon contradict the Bible? Well, that depends on your interpretation of the Book of Mormon, and your interpretation of the Bible. In some places, yes, there are parts that seem to contradict. But then, those parts also contradict other teachings in the same books (Bible seems to contradict Bible, Book of Mormon seems to contradict Book of Mormon). Not that hard to understand, right?

The real question is, is the Book of Mormon the word of God?


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Will the REAL Christian(TM) Jesus Please Stand Up?

Will the REAL Christian(TM) Jesus Please Stand Up?
by grego

Do Mormons believe in the real God, the real Jesus? “No, they don’t!” say many Christians(TM). “The real Christian(TM) Jesus is not the Mormon Jesus!” What do I say?

I have one question first, that is *necessary* to answer before being able to answer that question: WHICH Christian Jesus is the *real* Jesus? The one that taught that baptism was necessary for salvation, or the one that taught that baptism was not necessary for salvation? The one that taught predestination and election, or the one that taught free will? The one that taught resurrection with a physical body, or the done that didn’t? The one that taught that he and his Father were one, or the one that taught they weren’t? The one who left all his words in the Bible to make it complete, or the one who spoke so many good words and did so many good works that they weren’t all written down? The one who can still communicate with man, or the one who has been silenced? The one whose work is done, or the one who still hasn’t finished his work?

Christians might better understand this question relating it to Jesus asking the Sadducees and the Pharisees which God they belived in–the one that taught the resurrection, or the one that didn’t? The one that believed the traditions of the elders, or the one that rejected them and relied on the original law of Moses? Which way to perform the temple ordinances? The one that taught that there were spirit beings, or that the spirit died with the body? The God that gave rewards and punishments in the next life, or the God that didn’t provide a next life? Or were both the Sadducees and the Pharisees, um, maybe… both not quite right on all the points, and that’s why Jesus was there, teaching and establishing a church?

So, which Christian(TM) Jesus is the real Jesus that one must believe in to be saved? After hundreds of years, and Christians(TM) still can’t come to a conclusion about the real Jesus.

Had all Christians been decided on the same Jesus, there likely would have been little turmoil in Joseph Smith’s mind and heart over this matter. But they weren’t, and it led to Joseph Smith seeing and hearing Jesus (the *real* Jesus, for LDS, of course–not one known through interpretation of written words only).

So until Christians can unite and decide which of all the Christian(TM) Jesuses is the *real* Jesus, it’s useless to ask this question and pretend to compare the Christian(TM) Jesus with the LDS Jesus, and it’s impossible for LDS/ Mormons to answer the question.

In essence, it is the same Jesus; but the difference is in what I would say is, knowing Him.


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