Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2009, May 18

Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 1 of 6” by grego

Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 1 of 6”
by grego
(c) 2005-2009

Ether 12:27–“Weakness” or “WeaknessES”?

PART 1

Ether 12:27 reads:

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their WEAKNESS. I give unto men WEAKNESS that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make WEAK THINGS become strong unto them” (caps added).

In every explanation of Ether 12:27 I have ever read or heard in any LDS Church class, “weakness,” which occurs twice in the singular, is interpreted and used as if it were in the plural, “weaknesses.” This interpretation is then justified because of the “then will I make weak THINGS become strong unto them” part of the verse, and because of the references to faith in previous verses in the chapter.

So, this verse is then interpreted like this: “weaknesses” are things that make us have to rely on the Lord to overcome, especially our shortcomings and sins; and that by relying on the Lord, He will help us overcome them, and in fact, these weaknesses will become our strengths.

For example, if I am out of shape, and I try but can’t be otherwise, if I rely more on the Lord, he will help me get in shape, so much so that I might be in the best shape ever, and better than others. I have overcome my problem, and now it is one of the least of my problems; in fact, it has become my strength. I just needed more faith in the Lord, and it finally happened.

While this explanation sounds nice, and *is* true some of the time, I believe that by changing “weakness” to “weaknesses,” we wrest an incorrect meaning—a meaning that was not the original intention of the verse—and in addition, this misinterpretation forms the basis of incorrect interpretation of other scriptures, and brings further problems.

Perhaps this typical interpretation lends to why some Saints believe that admitting a mistake is the same as repentance–isn’t their sin because of a weakness, and didn’t the Lord forgive Moroni for his weakness, when Moroni acknowledged his weakness and felt sorrow for it? For others, the result of incorrect interpretation might be despair—“Why doesn’t the Lord cure me?” “Why can’t I overcome this weakness?” etc. This “thorn in [the] flesh” (Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10) becomes a thorn in the side of their faith. “And Moroni says that despair cometh from iniquity, so the reason I’m not overcoming this problem is because… I’m evil.” So they keep working harder and harder to repent of… what? Having a weakness? An imperfection?? Which is what the Lord said they had anyway, right?

So what is the correct interpretation of Ether 12:27? I believe there are two levels higher than the usual interpretation. The best is that the person the Lord is speaking about is not Moroni, but those who read his writing. We are confused because the Lord speaks to Moroni about Moroni’s weakness in the preceding verse: “And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of YOUR WEAKNESS;” (Ether 12:26). So, we assume that the Lord continues speaking to him about this weakness in the next verse:
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” However, the Lord is not speaking about Moroni and his weakness, but about those who read Moroni’s words. The weakness in verse 27 is a different kind of weakness than that of verse 26.

This means, then, that “weak things” in verse 27 are the writings of Moroni.

Continue to Part 2


Bookmark and Share

Advertisements

5 Comments »


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: