Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2009, January 5

“Book of Mormon | Ammonihah: Order of Nehors versus Order of the Son of God, Authority, Power, and Judgment; Part 1” by grego

Book of Mormon | Ammonihah: Order of Nehors versus Order of the Son of God; Authority, Power, and Judgment; Part 1
by grego

(NOTE: Well, after lots of work, I found an article by Thomas R. Valletta entitled “Conflicting Orders: Alma and Amulek in Ammonihah” from at least December 1999 which spoke a lot about what I was writing about. He has some really good insights, and he beats me by about 8 years on some parts! Nevertheless, there are still some new things to say, so I will add a few more things, perhaps new ways of phrasing, perhaps insights. I will also stay more with the actual text and topic, treating this in more a literary fashion, and try to leave out the more apparent things, making it more succinct. I will also be relying on a previous article, “Book of Mormon: Religious Fervor Subverting Law Is Bad: A Study of the People of Ammonihah” found at https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=120 ).

Part 1

In the story of Ammonihah, the literary devices of parallels/ foils are mainly employed.

The first is the two orders involved in this section: the order of Nehors and the order of the Son of God. The first order is set up in defiance of the second in an eternal way, similarly to as how the Ammonihahites defied the Nephites in a temporal way.

First, I wondered about the phrase “profession of Nehor” in the Book of Mormon–how could that be a work/ job?–and it finally hit me that’s not what it meant. To find out more, I looked it up; here are the definitions in Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 (available as a free online resource at http://www.1828.mshaffer.com/ ):

“PROFES’SION, n. [L. professio.]
1. Open declaration; public avowal or acknowledgment of one’s sentiments or belief; as professions of friendship or sincerity; a profession of faith or religion.

2. The business which one professes to understand and to follow for subsistence; calling; vocation; employment; as the learned professions. We speak of the profession of a clergyman, of a lawyer, and of a physician or surgeon; the profession of lecturer on chimistry or mineralogy. But the word is not applied to an occupation merely mechanical.
3. The collective body of persons engaged in a calling. We speak of practices honorable or disgraceful to a profession.
4. Among the Romanists, the entering into a religious order, by which a person offers himself to God by a vow of inviolable obedience, chastity and poverty.”

I was thinking of #1, which was basically #1 in Joseph Smith’s time, at the time of the Book of Mormon translation. However, I also noted #4 (basically a sub-category of #1) in which the “profession” of entering into “a religious order” is basically an act of covenant. That’s very interesting, in light of the normal name of “the order of Nehors”, where “order” is likely a “religious fraternity” (Webster’s Dictionary, 1828) and the rest of the story of Ammonihah.

So there aren’t just two opposing belief systems; there are two opposing “religious fraternities” (which nevertheless involved the women, too), two priesthood, with questions of authority, power, and judgment.

According to Alma and Amulek, God is the great judge. He sets up laws, and men either obey and are blessed, or disobey and cursed, cut off, lose their light, and are finally destroyed.
Satan is the opposer. He tries to persuade men that God’s laws are not really laws that need to be obeyed, and tries to institute his own “laws”. His main goal is to set up an opposing god, and he does that well in Ammonihah–it’s money and power. In fact, this is clearly laid out with representatives of both sides in the big argument: Alma and Amulek on one side, and Zeezrom and Antionum (as surmised by Gordon Thomasson, two purposeful “money” names) on the other. Alma and Amulek use the Spirit and the word of God, and Zeezrom’s first main tool is money/ bribery–an invitation to “worship his God”–and then the cunning devices of persuasion, or power over people by use of speech.

The chief judge/ ruler of the Ammonihahites is after the order of Nehor (Alma 14:16). He uses his temporal position to lead his people in preparing to illegally “destroy the liberty of [Alma’s] people” (Alma 8:17), almost surely by exercising improper power as he did with the righteous he killed.
The lawyers and judges stir up the people and do bad things just to make money (Alma 11:20), because money is their god. By their actions, they worship their god. The people are mad with Alma and Amulek, and want to kill them.

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