Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2010, August 31

“Book of Mormon: Gold and Silver and Silk” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Gold and Silver and Silk”

grego
(c) 2009-2010

1 Nephi 13:7-8
“And I also saw gold, and silver, and silks, and scarlets, and fine-twined linen, and all manner of precious clothing; and I saw many harlots.
And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the gold, and the silver, and the silks, and the scarlets, and the fine-twined linen, and the precious clothing, and the harlots, are the desires of this great and abominable church.”
A-ha!! Gold and silver, and silk are bad! It seems?

Here’s Alma 1:
27 And they did impart of their substance, every man according to that which he had, to the poor…; and *they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely*.
28 And thus they did establish the affairs of the church; and thus they began to have continual peace again, notwithstanding all their persecutions.
29 And now, because of the steadiness of the church they began to be exceedingly rich, having abundance of all things whatsoever they stood in need—an abundance of flocks and herds, and fatlings of every kind, and also abundance of grain, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious things, and abundance of **silk** and *fine-twined linen*, and *all manner of good homely cloth*.
30 And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any…; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all…

They had an abundance of gold and silver.

Why is silk mentioned right after this explanation: *they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely* (Alma 1:27)
and in this context: abundance of **silk** and *fine-twined linen*, and *all manner of good homely cloth* (Alma 1:29)?

What is the relationship between setting your heart on something, and having an abundance of something?

“‘Eye to Eye’ in the Scriptures” by grego

“‘Eye to Eye’ in the Scriptures”

grego
(c) 2010

What does seeing “eye to eye” in the scriptures mean?

First, here are a few references in the Book of Mormon about seeing “eye to eye”:
Mosiah 12:22 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion;

Mosiah 15:29 Yea, Lord, thy watchmen shall lift up their voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.

Mosiah 16:1 And now, it came to pass that after Abinadi had spoken these words he stretched forth his hand and said: The time shall come when all shall see the salvation of the Lord; when every nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall see eye to eye and shall confess before God that his judgments are just.

Alma 36:26 For because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God, and have tasted as I have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God.

3 Nephi 16:18 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing, for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion.

3 Nephi 20:32 Then shall their watchmen lift up their voice, and with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye.

Moroni 7:48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

The Doctrine and Covenants says:
Doctrine and Covenants 84:96 For I, the Almighty, have laid my hands upon the nations, to scourge them for their wickedness.
97 And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness—
98 Until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing this new song, saying:
98 Until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing this new song, saying:

Doctrine and Covenants 88: 66, 68
66 Behold, that which you hear is as the voice of one crying in the wilderness—in the wilderness, because you cannot see him—my voice, because my voice is Spirit; my Spirit is truth; truth abideth and hath no end; and if it be in you it shall abound.
68 Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.

Doctrine and Covenants 130:1 When the Savior shall appear we shall see him as he is. We shall see that he is a man like ourselves.

The Holy Bible says (I’ve left out the Isaiah verses basically covered in the Book of Mormon):
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

When people see eye to eye, they have the same understanding. Their eyes have been purified. The scales of impurity—frames, points of view, bias (personal, social, cultural, religious, philosophical, etc.), conditioning, etc. are all removed. To see God, we must become like God; when we see Jesus as he is, it is because we are in that same state.

2010, August 27

“Book of Mormon: Related Imagery: ‘Separate’; ‘Come/ depart’; ‘Touch/ touch not’; ‘Clean/ unclean'” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Related Imagery: ‘Separate’; ‘Come/ depart’; ‘Touch/ touch not’; ‘Clean/ unclean'”

grego
(c) 2010

After reading the article entitled “Sacred Space” at http://www.believeallthings.com/articles/sacred-space/ (part of which is here at the bottom of this post), I was thinking about finding references to sacred space in the Book of Mormon. I didn’t find what I thought I would have found; but the few things I did dig up, were very interesting: the words “come/ depart”; “touch/ touch not”; “separate”; “clean/ unclean” and their uses in the Book of Mormon.

The wicked separate themselves from the righteous, the Lord separates the righteous from the wicked by having them depart; come to the Lord, depart from evil; the wicked will depart from the Lord; the wicked die if they touch the righteous at specific times (Nephi, Abinadi, Alma and Amulek); the Lord touches things for good reasons (the disciples, the 16 stones); the righteous are not to touch evil things; be ye clean; nothing unclean can dwell with God; etc. Do a search on those words at http://www.lds.com, and note the uses. It’s quite a looping journey of imagery.

Here are just a few verses that I started with:
Mosiah 16:12 Having gone according to their own carnal wills and desires; having never called upon the Lord while the arms of mercy were extended towards them; for the arms of mercy were extended towards them, and they would not; they being warned of their iniquities and yet they would not depart from them; and they were commanded to repent and yet they would not repent.

1 Nephi 15:28 And I said unto them that it was an awful gulf, which separated the wicked from the tree of life, and also from the saints of God.

Mosiah 26:27 And then I will confess unto them that I never knew them; and they shall depart into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Alma 5:57 And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things; and behold, their names shall be blotted out, that the names of the wicked shall not be numbered among the names of the righteous, that the word of God may be fulfilled, which saith: The names of the wicked shall not be mingled with the names of my people;

Alma 30:59 And it came to pass that as he went forth among the people, yea, among a people who had separated themselves from the Nephites and called themselves Zoramites, being led by a man whose name was Zoram—and as he went forth amongst them, behold, he was run upon and trodden down, even until he was dead.
Alma 31:2 For it was the cause of great sorrow to Alma to know of iniquity among his people; therefore his heart was exceedingly sorrowful because of the separation of the Zoramites from the Nephites.

3 Nephi 14:23 And then will I profess unto them: I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

3 Nephi 15:19-20 But, verily, I say unto you that the Father hath commanded me, and I tell it unto you, that ye were separated from among them because of their iniquity; therefore it is because of their iniquity that they know not of you.
20 And verily, I say unto you again that the other tribes hath the Father separated from them; and it is because of their iniquity that they know not of them.

3 Nephi 20:36 And then shall be brought to pass that which is written: Awake, awake again, and put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city, for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.
37 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
40 And then shall they say: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings unto them, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings unto them of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion: Thy God reigneth!
41 And then shall a cry go forth: Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch not that which is unclean; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.

Mormon 9:28 Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.

Moroni 10:30 And again I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.

2010, August 24

“Book of Mormon: Slippery Riches from the Great Curse–Will It Come Again?” by grego

Book of Mormon: Slippery Riches from the Great Curse–Will It Come Again?

grego
(c) 2010

The Book of Mormon records a great curse that came upon both the Jaredites and the Nephites and Lamanites—the curse of slipperiness on the land. Here is how it is described among the Jaredites:
Ether 14:1 And now there began to be a great curse upon all the land because of the iniquity of the people, in which, if a man should lay his tool or his sword upon his shelf, or upon the place whither he would keep it, behold, upon the morrow, he could not find it, so great was the curse upon the land.
2 Wherefore every man did cleave unto that which was his own, with his hands, and would not borrow neither would he lend; and every man kept the hilt of his sword in his right hand, in the defence of his property and his own life and of his wives and children.

Here is the prophecy of the curse among the Nephites:
Helaman 13:17 And behold, a curse shall come upon the land, saith the Lord of Hosts, because of the peoples’ sake who are upon the land, yea, because of their wickedness and their abominations.
18 And it shall come to pass, saith the Lord of Hosts, yea, our great and true God, that whoso shall hide up treasures in the earth shall find them again no more, because of the great curse of the land, save he be a righteous man and shall hide it up unto the Lord.
19 For I will, saith the Lord, that they shall hide up their treasures unto me; and cursed be they who hide not up their treasures unto me; for none hideth up their treasures unto me save it be the righteous; and he that hideth not up his treasures unto me, cursed is he, and also the treasure, and none shall redeem it because of the curse of the land.
20 And the day shall come that they shall hide up their treasures, because they have set their hearts upon riches; and because they have set their hearts upon their riches, and will hide up their treasures when they shall flee before their enemies; because they will not hide them up unto me, cursed be they and also their treasures; and in that day shall they be smitten, saith the Lord.
30 Yea, behold, the anger of the Lord is already kindled against you; behold, he hath cursed the land because of your iniquity.
31 And behold, the time cometh that he curseth your riches, that they become slippery, that ye cannot hold them; and in the days of your poverty ye cannot retain them.
32 And in the days of your poverty ye shall cry unto the Lord; and in vain shall ye cry, for your desolation is already come upon you, and your destruction is made sure; and then shall ye weep and howl in that day, saith the Lord of Hosts. And then shall ye lament, and say:
33 O that I had repented, and had not killed the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out. Yea, in that day ye shall say: O that we had remembered the Lord our God in the day that he gave us our riches, and then they would not have become slippery that we should lose them; for behold, our riches are gone from us.
34 Behold, we lay a tool here and on the morrow it is gone; and behold, our swords are taken from us in the day we have sought them for battle.
35 Yea, we have hid up our treasures and they have slipped away from us, because of the curse of the land.
36 O that we had repented in the day that the word of the Lord came unto us; for behold the land is cursed, and all things are become slippery, and we cannot hold them.
37 Behold, we are surrounded by demons, yea, we are encircled about by the angels of him who hath sought to destroy our souls. Behold, our iniquities are great. O Lord, canst thou not turn away thine anger from us? And this shall be your language in those days.

And here is its fulfillment:
Mormon 1:18 And these Gadianton robbers, who were among the Lamanites, did infest the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof began to hide up their treasures in the earth; and they became slippery, because the Lord had cursed the land, that they could not hold them, nor retain them again.
19 And it came to pass that there were sorceries, and witchcrafts, and magics; and the power of the evil one was wrought upon all the face of the land, even unto the fulfilling of all the words of Abinadi, and also Samuel the Lamanite.

Note that this great curse is brought about by the people’s own wickedness. This is in accordance with this verse:
Alma 3:19 Now I would that ye should see that they brought upon themselves the curse; and *even so doth every man that is cursed bring upon himself his own condemnation*.

This curse is a true curse to the wicked—in a state of poverty, the one thing they could trust in—their earthly riches—will also be taken away. But, as with many curses and consequences, it could be a blessing to those spiritually hungry: a reminder to set your hearts on treasure in heaven and eternal rewards, not on earthly treasures; on gratitude to God for his grace, not on the arm of flesh; on repentance, not a continuation of desolate wickedness:
3 Nephi 13:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.

Helaman 5:8 And now my sons, behold I have somewhat more to desire of you, which desire is, that ye may not do these things that ye may boast, but that ye may do these things to lay up for yourselves a treasure in heaven, yea, which is eternal, and which fadeth not away; yea, that ye may have that precious gift of eternal life, which we have reason to suppose hath been given to our fathers.

Helaman 8:25 But behold, ye have rejected the truth, and rebelled against your holy God; and even at this time, instead of laying up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where nothing doth corrupt, and where nothing can come which is unclean, ye are heaping up for yourselves wrath against the day of judgment.

Alma 3:26 And in one year were thousands and tens of thousands of souls sent to the eternal world, that they might reap their rewards according to their works, whether they were good or whether they were bad, to reap eternal happiness or eternal misery, according to the spirit which they listed to obey, whether it be a good spirit or a bad one.
27 For every man receiveth wages of him whom he listeth to obey, and this according to the words of the spirit of prophecy; therefore let it be according to the truth. And thus endeth the fifth year of the reign of the judges.

If this curse came upon the previous inhabitants of the promised land because of their worshiping their earthly treasures, isn’t it likely that if the same situation occurs at other times, the great curse will come again?

2010, August 23

“Book of Mormon: Samuel the Lamanite on Prophets and False Prophets” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Samuel the Lamanite on Prophets and False Prophets”

grego
(c) 2010

In Helaman 13, Samuel the Lamanite says:
24 Yea, wo unto this people, because of this time which has arrived, that ye do cast out the prophets, and do mock them, and cast stones at them, and do slay them, and do all manner of iniquity unto them, even as they did of old time.
26 Behold ye are worse than they; for as the Lord liveth, if a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil.

References of these in the Book of Mormon:

Cast out the prophets
–Alma 8:13, Alma 14:3, Alma 14:7-8, Helaman 12:2

Mock them
–Mosiah 13:1, Alma 14:20-21

Cast stones at them
–Alma 14:7, Helaman 16:2

Slay them
–Mosiah 13:1, 2; Helaman 8:19, Helaman 9:24, Helaman 16:2, 3 Nephi 1:16, 3 Nephi 6:23, 4 Nephi 1:30-33

Ye are angry with him
–Alma 9:32, Alma 10:24, Alma 14:2-3, Helaman 9:24, Helaman 16:2, 3 Nephi 6:21, 3 Nephi 7:18, 20

Seek all manner of ways to destroy him
–Alma 10:13, Alma 11:25, Alma 14:2, Helaman 8:1-5, 10; Helaman 9:24, Helaman 16:6-7, 4 Nephi 1:30-33

Say he is a false prophet
–Jacob 7:7, Mosiah 12:13-14, Alma 9:4, Alma 30:14

Say he is a sinner
–Alma 10:28, Alma 14:2, Alma 54:22

Say he is of the devil
–Alma 10:28, Alma 15:15, Helaman 16:6, 3 Nephi 2:2

27 But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth—and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.
28 Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him.

References in the Book of Mormon:
Love false prophets, give them riches: Mosiah 11:5+, Alma 1:3-6, Alma 30:17, Helaman 6:38

2010, August 22

“A Critique of the Book of Mormon Article ‘Gasping for Breath Without a Head – The Story of Coriantumr and Shiz’ By Bill McKeever” by grego

“A Critique of the Book of Mormon Article ‘Gasping for Breath Without a Head – The Story of Coriantumr and Shiz’ By Bill McKeever”

grego
(c) 2010

In this article trying to prove the Book of Mormon wrong (found at www.mrm.org/coriantumr-and-shiz ), Bill McKeever provides some research, references, and makes a few good points (kudos for doing much more than the average anti-Mormon article writer!). He does a good analysis of “smite” (and its forms) in the Book of Mormon.

McKeever writes: “Dr. Daniel C. Peterson, a colleague of Welch, offered what would seem to be a plausible suggestion. He wrote, “The most reliable way to determine what a given phrase means in the Book of Mormon, therefore, is to look at the Book of Mormon” (Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 5:73).” I agree with that statement, too. However, while using that as a guideline, it is never a rule that can’t be broken, especially in certain contexts. It is a guideline.

But McKeever misses on a few other points while chasing red herrings and straw-men (perhaps unintentionally).
Is “smote off” the best translation for Judges 5:26-27, or not? McKeever seems to put the Mormon apologists between a rock and a hard place in that discussion, but never answers the question himself—somewhat of a safe game to play, eh?
Is it possible that Jael smote off the head of the king? As in, beat the neck to pieces so that the head decapitated? I think so. I don’t think McKeever discusses that.
When Gary Hadfield et. al. (Mormon apologists) talk about an incomplete severing: “Moreover, linguistic analysis sustains the foregoing clinical analysis by confirming that the words smote off need not mean that Shiz’s head was completely severed by Coriantumr”—what does “not mean that shiz’s head was completely severed”? Does that mean that the head was still on? Or that Shiz was decapitated, but not at 100%? I think it means the latter.
Does the Book of Mormon have anything to say about that, either way?

Most importantly, McKeever seems to miss the big main point. See, whether Coriantumr smote off *all* of Shiz’s head or just most of it, the apologetics covers it either way. His article contains much about cutting off part of the head, and then there’s this, from http://mormonscholarstestify.org/841/m-gary-hadfield :
“Gary Hadfield writes: At the end of my thirty-three-year career as a medical school professor of neuropathology, I decided to attend one last scientific conference: the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting in New Orleans, 2003. I had felt impressed to go at the last minute, though I had not submitted an abstract. Consider my wonder and surprise when I encountered a poster presentation, mounted by Canadian neuroscientists, which recounted the history of a French priest who had been guillotined some two centuries ago, but who got up and walked a few steps after losing his head (9). Just imagine the consternation and fear this produced in the spectators! This exotic case bolsters the account of Shiz, of coordinated muscular activity after decapitation, though the priest was obviously relying on spinal cord reflexes rather than brainstem control”.

On the other hand, regarding complete instantaneous (as one stroke would do) decapitation:
The website www.en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon/Anachronisms/Shiz_struggles_to_breathe says:
“This criticism has long been answered. In 1900, the Millennial Star described a case in which similar behavior was observed:
It is claimed that the rising on the hands after decapitation is an impossibility.
The following from a dispatch to the Liverpool Daily Post of February 1, 1900, on the occasion of the seizure of Spion Kop, in Natal, should effectually silence all criticism on that passage:
‘There was an extraordinary incident in Wednesday’s battle. One of the Lancaster men, while in the act of firing in a prone position, had his head taken clean off by a large shell. To the astonishment of his comrades, the headless body quietly rose, stood upright for a few seconds, and then fell.’”[3]

From http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/response/qa/bom_shiz.htm :
“One instance which we have noticed is referred to in the Popular Science Monthly, 1). 1 16 for June, 1892. The writer, Geo. L. Kilmer, says:
On the 17th if June, (1864?) in the charge of the Ninth Corps on the Confederate works east of Petersburg, a sargeant of the Fifty-Seventh Massachusetts leaped upon the parapet, and with his cap in his left hand and his musket in his right, stood cheering and gesturing with his arms to incite his comrades to come on. Suddenly a shell took off his head as completely as a knife could have done, but the tall form continued erect for some seconds, the arms still waving frantically but with ever-lessening sweep and power, until the forces of the body collapsed, when the headless trunk toppled over to the ground.

Again, Hawthorne relates that a sea captain once told him of an incident which was said to have occurred during the action between the Constitution and the Macedonia which was fought during the war of 1812, between Great Britain and the United States. The captain was, at tile time, powder-monkey aboard the Constitution, and saw a cannon shot come through the ship’s side. A seaman’s head was struck off, probably by a splinter, for it was done, he said, a.; clean as by a razor, without bruising the head or body. The unfortunate man, at the time of the Occurrence, was walking pretty briskly, and the captain affirmed that he kept walking onward at the same pace, with two jets of blood gushing from his headless trunk, till, after going about twenty feet without a head, he sank down at once with his legs under him.”

So, either way, the problem is adequately answered.

The most important part that McKeever leaves out of his article is this: is there any evidence, especially scientific, that disallows/ proves false the account of Shiz’s decapitation? I wonder why McKeever never touches that…?

And while McKeever gets into detail about how much of Shiz’s head got cut off—really, if someone cuts off 9/10 of someone’s head, does that count as “smiting off” their head? What about 3/4? 5/7? 3/5? Where is the point that you say, “Ok, stop, that’s not smiting off his head anymore”? McKeever doesn’t go there, and until he does, his points are pretty much a display of, at best, rearranging the chairs on the decks a little better—on the Titanic. He certainly needs much more to draw clearer conclusions that are more to his critical liking.

Here’s the article, which appears at Mormon Research Ministry’s website: www.mrm.org/coriantumr-and-shiz:

“Can a decapitated body lift itself up and gasp for breath? A story in the Book of Mormon seems to say so. The story is found in the Book of Ether and recounts a sword fight between a Jaredite king named Coriantumr (Ether 12:1) and Shiz, the brother of Lib (Ether 14:17)…

Ether 15:29 states that in the course of the battle, “Shiz had fainted with the loss of blood.” Taking advantage of the situation, Coriantumr took his sword and “smote off the head of Shiz.” But that isn’t the end. Verse 31 reports that “after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised upon (grego: this should be “up on”) his hands and fell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died.” The question is, how can a man without a head raise himself and also struggle for breath?

Mormon apologists have offered many suggestions. In volume 3, page 556 of his book New Witnesses for God, LDS Seventy B.H. Roberts defended the notion that “a man with his head stricken off rising upon his hands” was not impossible. He then related a story told by a survivor from the charge at Balaclava. This soldier gives two incidences of men who were supposedly decapitated yet their bodies remained in the saddle. If this is possible, Roberts surmised that the story of Shiz must also be plausible.

Roberts isn’t the only one who has concluded that Shiz literally lost his head in this fight. Volume 2 of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism (JAREDITES) states, “An exhausted Coriantumr culminated his victory over Shiz by decapitating him. Near Eastern examples of decapitation of enemies are evident in early art and literature, as on the Narmer palette; and decapitation of captured kings is represented in ancient Mesoamerica.”

The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) has taken a different approach, one that is similar to that offered by George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl in their Commentary on the Book of Mormon (6:201). They wrote, “May we not rather suppose that the fatal wound which he inflicted on his enemy was a ghastly gash in the head, or the neck, causing Shiz to struggle for breath, as stated? Moroni could properly say: “He smote his head off,” borrowing that expression from popular, colloquial language and using it in a figurative rather than strictly literal sense.”

In an article entitled The ‘Decapitation’ of Shiz (Insights, 11/94, p.2), FARMS’ writers Gary Hadfield and John Welch conclude that Coriantumr failed to cut the head of Shiz completely off. “Coriantumr was obviously too exhausted to do a clean job,” writes Dr. Hadfield. “He must have cut off Shiz’s head through the base of the skull, at the level of the midbrain, instead of through the cervical spine in the curvature of the neck.” Hadfield and Welch conclude that “fifty or sixty percent off would easily have been enough to get the job done, leaving Shiz to reflex and die.”

The writers attempt to explain the Book of Mormon phrase “smote off” by saying it doesn’t really mean to completely sever. In defense of this position, they refer to the biblical account of Jael and Sisera in Judges 5:26-27. In the King James Version this passage reads, “She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen’s hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples. At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down; at her feet he bowed, there he fell down dead.”

The writers contend that the words smote off “need not refer to a total decapitation, for surely Jael did not cleanly chop off Sisera’s head using a hammer. Instead, the English words smote off here simply mean that Jael struck Sisera extremely hard…both Hebrew and Greek words translated as smote off mean ‘to hammer’ or ‘to strike down with a hammer or stamp,’ but not generally to smite off.” This explanation is odd since most Mormons pride themselves in believing the Bible “as far as it is translated correctly” (Article Eight, Articles of Faith). It is curious that the writers insist on defending the Ether passage by referring to the biblical book of Judges since they seem to already acknowledge that the passage in Judges could have been better translated. By doing so, they really haven’t vindicated Joseph Smith’s use of the phrase “smote off” at all. Instead they compel us to ask why they would use what they admit is an inferior translation to bolster their position. It is interesting that while other translations use the more common crushed, pierced, split, struck, or smashed, Joseph Smith copied the King James usage of “smote off” in his so-called Inspired Version.

Dr. Daniel C. Peterson, a colleague of Welch, offered what would seem to be a plausible suggestion. He wrote, “The most reliable way to determine what a given phrase means in the Book of Mormon, therefore, is to look at the Book of Mormon” (Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 5:73). The problem is, when we follow this guideline, we don’t see justification for the Hadfield/Welch explanation.

For instance, 1 Nephi 4:18 the Book of Mormon records how Nephi smote off the head of Laban. Dr. Hugh Nibley explained Laban’s demise by writing, “Laban was wearing armor, so the only chance of dispatching him quickly, painlessly, and safely was to cut off his head–the conventional treatment of criminals in the East, where beheading has always been by the sword, and where an executioner would be fined for failing to decapitate his victim at one clean stroke” (Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol.5, Part.1, Ch.5, p.101 – p.102, emphasis mine).

In Alma 17:37-38, Ammon was being attacked by men armed with clubs, and he “smote off their arms with his sword…he smote off as many of their arms as were lifted against him, and they were not a few.” FARMS’ researcher John Tvedtnes doesn’t deny that this also refers to a complete severing when he wrote, “There are other similarities as well. For example, just as King Mosiah’s son Ammon smote off the arms of a number of men who attacked him with clubs (Alma 17:27-39; 18:16), during the Trojan War King Menelaus cut off the arm of Hippolochus at the shoulder with a single sword-stroke” (Iliad 11.145-47). (FARMS, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Vol.4, Number 2, p.149.)

It could be that Mr. Tvedtnes is confusing Menelaus with King Agamemnon. Book 11 of Samuel Butler’s translation of the Iliad states that it was Agamemnon, not Menelaus, who “felled Pisander from his chariot to the earth, smiting him on the chest with his spear, so that he lay face uppermost upon the ground. Hippolochus fled, but him too did Agamemnon smite; he cut off his hands and his head-which he sent rolling in among the crowd as though it were a ball.” If this is the story to which Tvedtnes refers, it is a reference to a clean severing.

There is still one more Book of Mormon passage where the phrase smote off is used that leaves no doubt to a complete severing. Alma 44:13 reports the scalping of a Lamanite general named Zerahemnah. It reads, “And it came to pass that the soldier who stood by, who smote off the scalp of Zerahemnah, took up the scalp from off the ground by the hair, and laid it upon the point of his sword.” We know in this case it must mean a complete severing since the soldier had to pick the scalp up from off the ground.

In order to embrace this theory offered by Hadfield and Welch, are we to now assume that perhaps Nephi didn’t really cut off Laban’s head or that Ammon didn’t really cut off the arms of his attackers? Are we to also assume that perhaps Zerahemnah’s scalp was not cut completely off? To draw such a conclusion is to introduce an interpretation that ignores an accepted pattern for similar phrases in other portions of the Book of Mormon. In order to save Joseph Smith’s credibility, both Hadfield and Welch must inject a different interpretation for this one single verse. It is apparent that both Hadfield and Welch seem to be fully aware that a decapitated human has no ability to raise up nor gasp for breath. It is for this reason that they must offer what is certainly a strained excuse.

2010, August 17

“A Critique/ Response to Utah Christian Publications’ Webpage ‘Mormon Claims Answered’ | The Book of Mormon'” by grego

“A Critique/ Response to Utah Christian Publications’ Webpage ‘Mormon Claims Answered’ | The Book of Mormon'”

grego
(c) 2010

The article being critiqued can be found at: http://www.utahchristianpub.org/publications/book01/04.htm . I still have a hard time understanding whether Christian leaders are still so ignorant, or if they are knowing, but expect their followers to be ignorant. Why? Many of the following parts of the article speaking about the problems of the Book of Mormon are seriously pathetic. Many of the rest have been answered years ago, but notwithstanding what the research and logic might say, the proponents of the problems push ahead anyway… I suggest that in the future, Book of Mormon critics stay away from these types of questions, and ask questions that are… well, actually questions.

-=
From “Mormon Claims Answered”:
“[T]he B. of M. does have many contradictions, absurdities and unreasonable statements. The following are examples beginning on page one:

1. I Nephi 1:1-4 says Lehi, a devout Jew living in Jerusalem, kept a sacred record in the Egyptian language. But Jews were enemies of the Egyptians in 600 BC. King Josiah was killed in a battle with Egypt about 608 BC, and Judah paid tribute to Egypt after that (II Chron. 35:20-36:4). Since Hebrew was the sacred language and the Lord was then “against Egypt” (Jer. 46:1-2), no devout Jew would write in Egyptian.
-=
grego: Once more, I don’t understand why questions that have been answered long ago are still hanging around. Take a look at this: http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=5&num=2&id=128 . This article is in a major Book of Mormon apologetic publication/ website; why couldn’t Utah Christian Publications find it? Do you see the date on the article? It’s 1996. The answer to this Book of Mormon “problem” was publicly published 14 years ago! Perhaps a good Christian would like to inform Utah Christian Publications about this?

-=-=

2. I Nephi 2:5-8 says that the River Laman emptied into the Red Sea. But, there are no rivers in all of Arabia now or in recorded history, and no river empties into the Red Sea! The Red Sea is a body of water connected to the Mediterranean Sea on the north and to the Indian Ocean on the south. When it rains, which is rare, a wadi (a dry riverbed) will carry water for a short time. But a wadi is not a river.
-=
grego: What is it called when a dry riverbed carries water: _________? (river)

See here: http://www.jefflindsay.com/BMEvidences.shtml#geography , and here:
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=17&num=2&id=586 , at “But a perennial stream is not required to fulfill Nephi’s description or Lehi’s exclamation. Lehi said “continually running,” not “continually flowing.” A Near Eastern wadi’s streambed can run all the way to the sea whether water happens to be flowing in it or not. I have no doubt that water was flowing when Lehi made his statement (which may have been during the winter months). But whether or not water was flowing in that stream six months later does not make or break the issue in terms of identifying the site of the valley of Lemuel. The streambed itself would have been a continually running course to the ocean for the wadi’s water, whether seasonal or perennial.”

-=-=
Also, no Hebrew named his child “Sam” (v. 5). “Sam” is an American name, but not a Hebrew name.
-=
grego: From http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon/Anachronisms/Names#Sam :
“While Sam is a perfectly good Egyptian name, it is also the normal Arabic form of Shem, the son of Noah.”
Sam Tawi (OW), Egyptian “uniter of the lands,” title taken by the brother of Nehri upon mounting the throne.”[Nibley: Lehi in Des.]

From http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=9&num=1&id=210 :
Sam, brother of Nephi, came to the New World with his father Lehi and family (see 1 Nephi 2:5; 2 Nephi 5:6; Alma 3:6). Critics have suggested that Joseph Smith simply used the common English diminutive of Samuel. What these critics failed to realize is that the name Samuel, which appears in the English Bible, is from the Hebrew name (Å mû’el) comprised of two elements, Shem (“name”) + El (“God”).
The name Sam is attested on a bronze ringmounted seal dated to the seventh century BC60 While others have read this name as Shem, in paleo- Hebrew there is no distinction in writing between s and š (the latter written sh in English). (It is the same letter used at the beginning of the name Sariah.) Various dialects of Hebrew pronounced this letter in different ways anciently. From the story in Judges 12:6, we find that some of the tribe of Joseph pronounced it s instead of š, reminding us that Lehi was a descendant of Joseph (see 1 Nephi 5:14).
-=-=

(The other questions follow the same thread—“problems” long answered. Here is one more for fun:)

7. In II Nephi 3:3 and 23, Joseph, son of Lehi, was promised “thy seed shall not be destroyed,” but Mormon 8:2-5 and Ether 4:3 say that the Nephites were “all destroyed.” That included all of Joseph’s descendants! A “god” who would make promises and then break them is certainly not immutable or unchangeable as M.D., p. 318, says (See II Tim. 2:13). And what sort of foreknowledge or omniscience did He possess when He entrusted “the fullness of the gospel” to people who were annihilated? Some LDS writers have tried to explain this contradiction by claiming that “destroyed” does not mean “annihilated.” But Moroni said that he alone was left of all the Nephites, and that there was none left but Lamanites. If the Nephites were not annihilated, then the B. of M. does not demonstrate the “superior clearness” like Mormons claim (M.D. p. 199; A. of F., p. 274). Furthermore, if any Nephites survived, where are they?
-=
grego: The Book of Mormon clearly states—in more than one place—the answer to this question. It’s amazing how critics can find the most obscure verses and problems, yet somehow miss the answers blatantly jumping off the pages… Ahhh, perhaps they’ve never read the book??

Here it is: it’s very likely that descendants from everyone was among the Lamanites.

-=-=
9. II Nephi 5:16 says that the Nephite (see #8) nation built a temple like Solomon’s less than 19 years after their arrival in America (I Nephi 18:23; II Nephi 5:28). By contrast, Solomon’s temple took seven and a half years to build (I Kings 6:1, 38) with 30,000 levied Israelites and 150,000 hewers of stone and carriers (I Kings 5:13-15). 550 chiefs and 3300 subordinates supervised the work (I Kings 5:16; 9:23). Of these, 3600 were Canaanites and 250 were Israelites (II Chron. 2:17; 8:10). How did those few Nephites build a temple like Solomon’s in such a short time? II Nephi 5:15 also says that all manner of wood, iron, copper, brass, steel, gold, silver, and precious ores were found here in great abundance. But, the next verse says that the American temple was built like Solomon’s except for the precious materials which “were not found upon the land!”
-=
grego: Please check the wording of the verse—you won’t see it read “just like Solomon’s”; you will see something “after the manner”. Especially with such a small group, why build a huge temple just like Solomon’s? How? Where would they get all the same things? The Nephites didn’t.

-=-=
15. In Jacob 7:27, the French word “Adieu” concludes the book of Jacob. How did a French word get into the English translation of the Reformed Egyptian language? The B. of M. dates Jacob between 544 and 421 B.C. The French language did not even exist until around 700 A.D.
-=
grego: Will somebody please put the critics out of their misery! You could probably find the answer to this question on at least 100 top Book of Mormon websites and more.

-=-=
20. Alma 13:1 says, “And again my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments.” Was this time past or still future?
-=
grego: It was in the past, of course. It was also in the future (“forward”) from the time that was being talked about.

-=-=
21. Alma 18:26-28 teaches that God is a “Great Spirit.” But Mormonism today teaches that God the Father and Jesus Christ have bodies of flesh and bone (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22).
-=
grego: Check the context, eh. Ammon is teaching king Lamoni (not the Book of Mormon teaching the readers) that the God that king Lamoni knows is the same God the Nephites worship. He uses the king’s current understanding to aid his explaining, and adds more to it. By the way, God is a great spirit; He also has a body. Wow.

-=-=

25. Helaman 14:20 and 27 say that darkness covered the whole earth for three days at Jesus’ death. Compare that with the three hours mentioned in Matt. 27:45; Mark 15:33; and Luke 23:44.
-=
grego: Um, three hours of destruction, three days of darkness in a local location somewhere in the Americas. Three hours in Jerusalem—a few thousand miles or so away. Not the same place, not the same thing.

And on and on the questions come…

2010, August 16

“Book of Mormon Miracles” by grego

“Book of Mormon Miracles”

grego
(c) 2010

So, what miracles are in the Book of Mormon?

First, appearances and/ or communications directly/ in person from God/ Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, Holy Ghost, and angels. The Book of Mormon has them all.

Any miracles performed by them in person (such as the many by Jesus Christ in 3 Nephi).

References to others’ performances of miracles, such as Jesus Christ, Moses, and some of the writings of Isaiah.

The gifts of the Spirit/ Holy Ghost, such as dreams and visions, prophecies, and revelations. The miracles in the Book of Mormon are mostly comprised of these.

Miracles of deliverance (LOTS in the Book of Mormon), be it physical/ temporal or spiritual. In fact, this is the theme of the Book of Mormon.

Miracles in particular, which often vary in degree, intensity, and “help needed”; often comprised of many miracles (such as getting the brass plates: which required miracles of safe travel both ways—at least once during the night, getting into and out of Jerusalem, twice escaping death at the hands of Laban, the appearance of an angel, Nephi’s return to the city and Laban’s intoxication to the point of unconsciousness and location in the street, Nephi’s plan to appear as Laban, getting the plates, getting Zoram to go with them); and including many of the previously-mentioned.

I’ll give a few more examples of these:
–the Liahona;
–crossing the desert;
–Nephi’s building of the ship;
–the journey to the promised land;
–the mark on the Lamanites;
–Jacob’s note on the ability to command the earth and lower forms of life;
–conversions (Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah; Amulek; Zeezrom; the Lamanites to Anti-Nephi-Lehies (in Alma); the Lamanites (in Helaman); etc.);
–the faithfulness of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies;
–the living of the 2,000 and 2,060 untried sons of Helaman during battle;
–famine and rain;
–the detailed revelation about the death of the chief judge;
–the power of prophets and the priesthood to bless or curse others, and to survive in order to carry out their prophetic missions (Sherem, Abinadi, Alma and Amulek, Korihor, Ether, etc.);
–the signs and prophecies of Jesus Christ’s birth and death;
–the three Nephite disciples;
and many, many more. The list would be extensive, since the Book of Mormon is full of accounts of miracles.

Regarding miracles, the Book of Mormon says:
2 Nephi 27:23 For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.

Mormon 9:10-11, 15, 17-20
10 And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.
11 But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.
15 And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.
17 Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought?
18 And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles.
19 And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.

Ether 12:12, 15-16, 18
12 For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.
16 Yea, and even all they who wrought miracles wrought them by faith, even those who were before Christ and also those who were after.
18 And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God.

Moroni 7:27, 29, 35, 37
27 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men?
29 And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.
35 And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?
37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.

2 Nephi 26:13 And that he manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost; yea, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, working mighty miracles, signs, and wonders, among the children of men according to their faith.

Moroni 10:12 And again, to another, that he may work mighty miracles;

2010, August 6

“Book of Mormon: Alma 15: Awkward News; If Only We Had Never Left; a Sad Tale” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Alma 15: Awkward News; If Only We Had Never Left; a Sad Tale”

grego
(c) 2010

In Alma 15 we read of the men cast out of Ammonihah being told by Alma and Amulek of the fate of their wives and children:

Alma 15:1 And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek were commanded to depart out of that city; and they departed, and came out even into the land of Sidom; and behold, there they found all the people who had departed out of the land of Ammonihah, who had been cast out and stoned, because they believed in the words of Alma.
2 And they related unto them all that had happened unto their wives and children, and also concerning themselves, and of their power of deliverance.

I imagine that must have felt awkward: “We witnessed and survived our ordeal by the power of God, but your wives and children were murdered.” No doubt they recounted the discussion between Amulek and Alma:
10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.
11 But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.
12 Now Amulek said unto Alma: Behold, perhaps they will burn us also.
13 And Alma said: Be it according to the will of the Lord. But, behold, our work is not finished; therefore they burn us not.

Nevertheless, the men themselves had survived and been cast out and had survived. I wonder if their thoughts were turned in regret to their initial decision to live in Ammonihah, to sin, and then to stay in Ammonihah.

Alma 15:3 And also Zeezrom lay sick at Sidom, with a burning fever, which was caused by the great tribulations of his mind on account of his wickedness, for he supposed that Alma and Amulek were no more; and he supposed that they had been slain because of his iniquity. And this great sin, and his many other sins, did harrow up his mind until it did become exceedingly sore, having no deliverance; therefore he began to be scorched with a burning heat.
4 Now, when he heard that Alma and Amulek were in the land of Sidom, his heart began to take courage; and he sent a message immediately unto them, desiring them to come unto him.
5 And it came to pass that they went immediately, obeying the message which he had sent unto them; and they went in unto the house unto Zeezrom; and they found him upon his bed, sick, being very low with a burning fever; and his mind also was exceedingly sore because of his iniquities; and when he saw them he stretched forth his hand, and besought them that they would heal him.
6 And it came to pass that Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand: Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation?
7 And he answered and said: Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught.
8 And Alma said: If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed.
9 And he said: Yea, I believe according to thy words.
10 And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ.
11 And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk; and this was done to the great astonishment of all the people; and the knowledge of this went forth throughout all the land of Sidom.
12 And Alma baptized Zeezrom unto the Lord; and he began from that time forth to preach unto the people.

Zeezrom didn’t know about the women and children being killed; he just thought Alma and Amulek had died. No doubt the deaths of all those people later weighed on him.

Later, Amulek no doubt mourned for his dead relatives; but not just because they had been murdered, but because they had likely died unrepentant:
Alma 15:15 But as to the people that were in the land of Ammonihah, they yet remained a hard-hearted and a stiffnecked people; and they repented not of their sins, ascribing all the power of Alma and Amulek to the devil; for they were of the profession of Nehor, and did not believe in the repentance of their sins.
16 And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek, Amulek having forsaken all his gold, and silver, and his precious things, which were in the land of Ammonihah, for the word of God, he being rejected by those who were once his friends and also by his father and his kindred;
18 Now as I said, Alma having seen all these things, therefore he took Amulek and came over to the land of Zarahemla, and took him to his own house, and did administer unto him in his tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord.

It was a sad tale for everyone; the survivors somehow got on; but it was an eternally sad tale for the unrepentant.

2010, August 5

“Book of Mormon: The Prophet Mormon Contrasts to Make Points Obvious about the Order of Nehors People of Ammonihah in Alma 16” by grego

Book of Mormon: The Prophet Mormon Contrasts to Make Points Obvious about the Order of Nehors People of Ammonihah in Alma 16

grego
(c) 2010

In recounting the Lamanite attack, Mormon splits the account into two strongly contrasting parts: the people of Ammonihah, and the people of Noah.
First, here’s the account:
Alma 16:2 For behold, the armies of the Lamanites had come in upon the wilderness side, into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah, and began to slay the people and destroy the city.
3 And now it came to pass, before the Nephites could raise a sufficient army to drive them out of the land, they had destroyed the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, and also some around the borders of Noah, and taken others captive into the wilderness.
4 Now it came to pass that the Nephites were desirous to obtain those who had been carried away captive into the wilderness.
5 Therefore, he that had been appointed chief captain over the armies of the Nephites, (and his name was Zoram, and he had two sons, Lehi and Aha)—now Zoram and his two sons, knowing that Alma was high priest over the church, and having heard that he had the spirit of prophecy, therefore they went unto him and desired of him to know whither the Lord would that they should go into the wilderness in search of their brethren, who had been taken captive by the Lamanites.
6 And it came to pass that Alma inquired of the Lord concerning the matter. And Alma returned and said unto them: Behold, the Lamanites will cross the river Sidon in the south wilderness, away up beyond the borders of the land of Manti. And behold there shall ye meet them, on the east of the river Sidon, and there the Lord will deliver unto thee thy brethren who have been taken captive by the Lamanites.
7 And it came to pass that Zoram and his sons crossed over the river Sidon, with their armies, and marched away beyond the borders of Manti into the south wilderness, which was on the east side of the river Sidon.
8 And they came upon the armies of the Lamanites, and the Lamanites were scattered and driven into the wilderness; and they took their brethren who had been taken captive by the Lamanites, and there was not one soul of them had been lost that were taken captive. And they were brought by their brethren to possess their own lands.
9 And thus ended the eleventh year of the judges, the Lamanites having been driven out of the land, and the people of Ammonihah were destroyed; yea, every living soul of the Ammonihahites was destroyed, and also their great city, which they said God could not destroy, because of its greatness.

The unrepentant, wicked Ammonihahites are destroyed—every single one of them—in one day. They rejected the words of Amulek spoken by the spirit of prophecy:
Alma 10:20 And now I say unto you that well doth the Lord judge of your iniquities; well doth he cry unto this people, by the voice of his angels: Repent ye, repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
21 Yea, well doth he cry, by the voice of his angels that: I will come down among my people, with equity and justice in my hands.
22 Yea, and I say unto you that if it were not for the prayers of the righteous, who are now in the land, that ye would even now be visited with utter destruction; yet it would not be by flood, as were the people in the days of Noah, but it would be by famine, and by pestilence, and the sword.
23 But it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared; now therefore, if ye will cast out the righteous from among you then will not the Lord stay his hand; but in his fierce anger he will come out against you; then ye shall be smitten by famine, and by pestilence, and by the sword; and the time is soon at hand except ye repent.

Of the other Nephites that are taken by the Lamanites (likely to be sacrificed), not one soul is lost—they are saved by the words of Alma spoken by the spirit of prophecy.

“Book of Mormon: Alma’s Interesting Twist on Cause and Effect in Prophecy in Alma 13:26–Events Occur to Fulfill Prophecies” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Alma’s Interesting Twist on Cause and Effect in Prophecy in Alma 13:26–Events Occur to Fulfill Prophecies” by grego

grego
(c) 2010

I generally understand that things (will) happen (“the cause”), and prophecies are made (“the effect”). A prophecy is just foretelling something that is bound to happen. The spirit of prophecy lets one know what will happen in the future, and one can then say something about it.

However, in Alma 13:26, Alma reverses the explanation: the prophecy (according to the spirit of prophecy) is “the cause”, and the events are “the effects” or results:

Alma 13:26 And it shall be made known unto just and holy men, by the mouth of angels, at the time of his coming, *that the words of our fathers may be fulfilled, according to that which they have spoken concerning him, which was according to the spirit of prophecy which was in them*.

It’s a little like Newtonian physics vs. chaos theory.

UPDATE: Reading the Bible recently, I found this:
John 19:28 Ҧ After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, *that the scripture might be fulfilled*, saith, I thirst.
In other words, Jesus did this to fulfill prophecy.

UPDATE:
A slightly different version, same principle, maybe clearer to understand:
3 Nephi 5:14 And it hath become expedient that I, according to the will of God, *that the prayers of those who have gone hence, who were the holy ones, should be fulfilled according to their faith*, should make a record of these things which have been done–

UPDATE:
Mosiah 21:2 And it came to pass that after many days the Lamanites began again to be stirred up in anger against the Nephites, and they began to come into the borders of the land round about.
Mosiah 21:3 Now they durst not slay them, because of the oath which their king had made unto Limhi; but they would smite them on their cheeks, and exercise authority over them; and began to put heavy burdens upon their backs, and drive them as they would a dumb ass–
Mosiah 21:4 Yea, *all this was done that the word of the Lord might be fulfilled*.

“Book of Mormon: Wicked People of Ammonihah Are Destroyed Because They Don’t Watch or Pray Continually” by grego

Book of Mormon: Wicked People of Ammonihah Are Destroyed Because They Don’t Watch or Pray Continually

grego
(c) 2010

In Alma 13:28, Alma preaches this to the people of Ammonihah:
“But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;”

Those who do, are either kicked out or killed. The wicked who remain, who refuse to watch and pray continually as counseled by Alma, are fine–for a little while. Then, BOOM! the Lamanites attack out of nowhere. The Ammonihahites, who boasted of their might:
Alma 9:4 “And they said also: We will not believe thy words if thou shouldst prophesy that this great city should be destroyed in one day.”
—were completely unprepared and therefore all slaughtered in one day:
Alma 16:9 And thus ended the eleventh year of the judges, the Lamanites having been driven out of the land, and the people of Ammonihah were destroyed; yea, every living soul of the Ammonihahites was destroyed, and also their great city, which they said God could not destroy, because of its greatness.
10 But behold, in one day it was left desolate; and the carcases were mangled by dogs and wild beasts of the wilderness.

It would have been good to watch and pray continually!

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“Book of Mormon: Widowers of Ammonihah and Anti-Nephi-Lehi Widows” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Widowers of Ammonihah and Anti-Nephi-Lehi Widows”

grego
(c) 2010

I noticed that at similar times, many of the men of Ammonihah and the Anti-Nephi-Lehite women were widowers and widows.
The men of Ammonihah were chased out:
Alma 14:7 And it came to pass that he began to cry unto the people, saying: Behold, I am guilty, and these men are spotless before God. And he began to plead for them from that time forth; but they reviled him, saying: Art thou also possessed with the devil? And they spit upon him, and cast him out from among them, and also all those who believed in the words which had been spoken by Alma and Amulek; and they cast them out, and sent men to cast stones at them.

And their wives and children killed:
Alma 14:8 And they brought their wives and children together, and whosoever believed or had been taught to believe in the word of God they caused that they should be cast into the fire; and they also brought forth their records which contained the holy scriptures, and cast them into the fire also, that they might be burned and destroyed by fire.

Many Anti-Nephi-Lehite men were slain:
Alma 24:21 Now when the people saw that they were coming against them they went out to meet them, and prostrated themselves before them to the earth, and began to call on the name of the Lord; and thus they were in this attitude when the Lamanites began to fall upon them, and began to slay them with the sword.
22 And thus without meeting any resistance, they did slay a thousand and five of them; and we know that they are blessed, for they have gone to dwell with their God.
23 Now when the Lamanites saw that their brethren would not flee from the sword, neither would they turn aside to the right hand or to the left, but that they would lie down and perish, and praised God even in the very act of perishing under the sword—
24 Now when the Lamanites saw this they did forbear from slaying them; and there were many whose hearts had swollen in them for those of their brethren who had fallen under the sword, for they repented of the things which they had done.

and women and children were left.

2010, August 2

Book of Mormon | “Symbolism of the Title of Liberty: ‘In Memory of’ on a Rent Coat” by grego

Book of Mormon | “Symbolism of the Title of Liberty: ‘In Memory of’ on a Rent Coat”

grego
(c) 2010

In Alma 46 we read:
7 And there were many in the church who believed in the flattering words of Amalickiah, therefore they dissented even from the church; and thus were the affairs of the people of Nephi exceedingly precarious and dangerous, notwithstanding their great victory which they had had over the Lamanites, and their great rejoicings which they had had because of their deliverance by the hand of the Lord.
8 Thus we see how quick the children of men do forget the Lord their God, yea, how quick to do iniquity, and to be led away by the evil one.
10 Yea, we see that Amalickiah, because he was a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly; yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous’ sake.
11 And now it came to pass that when Moroni, who was the chief commander of the armies of the Nephites, had heard of these dissensions, he was angry with Amalickiah.
12 And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.

The words finally connected today—“in memory of”—like the writing on a gravestone. Like God, religion, freedom, peace, wives, and children had already died—and it had, for the dissenting Nephites. And it might, for the remaining Nephites.

Where does Moroni write it? On his rent coat. When does one rend a coat? Let’s see, from the Bible Dictionary:
“It was the office of the hired mourners to express sorrow by music, praises of the dead, loud wailings, with other outward signs of woe, such as beating of the breast and rending of the garments.”
“Along with the fasting were often combined other ceremonies, e.g., rending of the garments, putting on sackcloth, refraining from washing the face or anointing with oil.”
“Smiting on the breast and rending of the garments signified special sorrow.”

Here are some examples from the Bible:
Genesis 37:29 ¶ And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.

Joshua 7:6 ¶ And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the Lord until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.

Judges 11:35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.

1 Kings 21:27 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.

2 Samuel 3:31 ¶ And David said to Joab, and to all the people that were with him, Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. And king David himself followed the bier.

2 Chronicles 34:27 Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the Lord.

Ezra 9:5 ¶ And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God,
6 And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.

So, in essence, Moroni writes an epitaph on his funeral clothing!

The Book of Mormon also explains a little more about a different symbolism of the rent coat of Joseph. First, a look at the Bible:
Genesis 37:23 ¶ And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;
31 And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;
32 And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.
33 And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.
34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.

The Book of Mormon adds more to the story: Jacob’s prophecy.

Alma 46:23 Moroni said unto them: Behold, we are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; yea, we are a remnant of the seed of Joseph, whose coat was rent by his brethren into many pieces; yea, and now behold, let us remember to keep the commandments of God, or our garments shall be rent by our brethren, and we be cast into prison, or be sold, or be slain.
24 Yea, let us preserve our liberty as a remnant of Joseph; yea, let us remember the words of Jacob, before his death, for behold, he saw that a part of the remnant of the coat of Joseph was preserved and had not decayed. And he said—Even as this remnant of garment of my son hath been preserved, so shall a remnant of the seed of my son be preserved by the hand of God, and be taken unto himself, while the remainder of the seed of Joseph shall perish, even as the remnant of his garment.
25 Now behold, this giveth my soul sorrow; nevertheless, my soul hath joy in my son, because of that part of his seed which shall be taken unto God.
26 Now behold, this was the language of Jacob.
27 And now who knoweth but what the remnant of the seed of Joseph, which shall perish as his garment, are those who have dissented from us? Yea, and even it shall be ourselves if we do not stand fast in the faith of Christ.

The Nephites covenant in response to Moroni’s Title of Liberty:
Alma 46:21 And it came to pass that when Moroni had proclaimed these words, behold, the people came running together with their armor girded about their loins, rending their garments in token, or as a covenant, that they would not forsake the Lord their God; or, in other words, if they should transgress the commandments of God, or fall into transgression, and be ashamed to take upon them the name of Christ, the Lord should rend them even as they had rent their garments.
22 Now this was the covenant which they made, and they cast their garments at the feet of Moroni, saying: We covenant with our God, that we shall be destroyed, even as our brethren in the land northward, if we shall fall into transgression; yea, he may cast us at the feet of our enemies, even as we have cast our garments at thy feet to be trodden under foot, if we shall fall into transgression.

As their clothes were rent, even so would God rend them if they would forget Him; in other words, they consent to their own funerals if they die spiritually first.

In contrast, note the prophecy about Jesus’ coat not being rent, but being left whole; and fulfillment of this prophecy:
John 19:23 ¶ Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

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