Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2011, December 26

Holy Bible | “Moses’ Unheeded Warnings about Kings Could Have Saved the Israelites (Deuteronomy 17)” by grego

Holy Bible | Moses’ Unheeded Warnings about Kings Could Have Saved the Israelites (Deuteronomy 17)

grego
(c)2011

I found Moses’ words in Deuteronomy 17 interesting, regarding his prophecy of kings over Israel (that was fulfilled with Samuel and Saul in 1 Samuel 8, 10, 12) and problems they would have:

Deuteronomy 17:14 ¶When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;

15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.

16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.

17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.

18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:
19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:
20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

Had Jehoiakim, Zedekiah, et. al. remembered verse 16, Jeremiah might not have had all those problems. (Jeremiah 42)

Had David remembered verse 17, he might not have lost his soul. (2 Samuel 12:8; 2 Samuel 3, 5, 11, etc.)

Had Solomon remembered verse 17, he might not have lost his way. (1 Kings 11:3, etc.)

Had all the kings remembered 18-20, Israel would have had fewer problems!

Advertisements

2011, December 19

“Book of Mormon | Internal Consistency: Lehi and Nephi Know the Old World; Later Nephites Don’t” by grego

Book of Mormon: Internal Consistency: Lehi and Nephi Know the Old World; Later Nephites Don’t

grego
(c)2011

Some people like to make a big deal out of how Joseph Smith didn’t know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not Jerusalem! Ok, like that never came up during Christmas, I’m sure… But as many have shown, Alma says “in the land of Jerusalem” not “in Jerusalem”, and then go on to explain that the Nephites–over 500 years later–likely wouldn’t have known much about the Old World.

This short study furthers that thinking. Lehi and Nephi seem clear where Babylon is:

1 Nephi 1:13 And he read, saying: Wo, wo, unto Jerusalem, for I have seen thine abominations! Yea, and many things did my father read concerning Jerusalem—that it should be destroyed, and the inhabitants thereof; many should perish by the sword, and many should be carried away captive into Babylon.

1 Nephi 10:3 That after they should be destroyed, even that great city Jerusalem, and many be carried away captive into Babylon, according to the own due time of the Lord, they should return again, yea, even be brought back out of captivity; and after they should be brought back out of captivity they should possess again the land of their inheritance.

Nephi knows Nazareth:
1 Nephi 11:13 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.

And where Bethabara and Jordan are:
1 Nephi 10:9 And my father said he should baptize in Bethabara, beyond Jordan; and he also said he should baptize with water; even that he should baptize the Messiah with water.

which is consistent with what John (but not the other gospel writers) writes:
John 1:28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

(Also note that Nephi correctly names no countries, places, or cities in his vision of the promised land or of Europe!)

What is the likelihood that Joseph Smith would not have known that Jesus was born in Bethlehem but to know that Mary was from Nazareth (and not Nazarene!); and would have found one passage in the Bible in John to copy the location of Jesus’ baptism?

2011, December 14

“Holy Bible | Numbers 27: Moses and the Daughters of Zelophehad: Feedback to LDS Church Leaders Can Nourish the Church and the Kingdom” by grego

Holy Bible | Numbers 27: Moses and the Daughters of Zelophehad: Feedback to LDS Church Leaders Can Nourish the Church and the Kingdom

grego
(c)2011

Numbers 27 presents a case that the leaders hadn’t considered, and that the Lord hadn’t first revealed information to them about:
1 Then came the daughters of Zelophehad…
2 And they stood before Moses, and before Eleazar the priest, and before the princes and all the congregation, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,
3 Our father died in the wilderness, and he was not in the company of them that gathered themselves together against the Lord in the company of Korah; but died in his own sin, and had no sons.
4 Why should the name of our father be done away from among his family, because he hath no son? Give unto us therefore a possession among the brethren of our father.

There’s a question, and a request based on a situation not covered.

Moses does not blow them off, give them an excuse, answer hastily to please them or himself or others; he does something all leaders would be wise to do:
5 And Moses brought their cause before the Lord.

He gets a revelation for this case:
6 ¶And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
7 The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father’s brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them.

And as sometimes is the case, he gets further revelation on the principle and topic:
8 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter.
9 And if he have no daughter, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his brethren.
10 And if he have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his father’s brethren.
11 And if his father have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his kinsman that is next to him of his family, and he shall possess it: and it shall be unto the children of Israel a statute of judgment, as the Lord commanded Moses.

On one hand, I’ve asked local leaders questions and gotten better answers than “LDS Church Headquarters” could ever give.

On the other hand, I’ve seen the following feedback problems first-hand, and had to write “LDS Church Headquarters” a few times because of some:
1. The leader(s) (local and further-up) weren’t willing to open up their minds to listen to people and their hearts to listen to the spirit. (They already had their own ideas and answered accordingly; they didn’t like the person; they were embarrassed by the problem; etc.)
2. The local leaders(s) felt that “feedback” = “complaining against the called leaders” (which often is/ can be!), so they didn’t even touch it.
3. The local leader(s) didn’t want to upset local people.
4. The local leader(s) didn’t want to upset those further up!
5. The local leaders were unfamiliar with programs and precedents, etc.
6. The local leaders weren’t willing, capable, or courageous enough to understand, consider, or communicate the questions/ problems further up.
7. Busy further-up leaders didn’t understand the context or reason for the asking, and perhaps being busy and foreign, didn’t ask; or perhaps if they did, local leaders felt embarrassed and stopped the communication instead of clarifying it.
8. It’s nicer to have a better answer than “Well, the guy in the Church Office Building on temporary assignment figures that, according to his secretary”, it’s probably ok/ not ok to do it.
9. A woman says, “I’ve talked with top LDS leaders and they all agree with me”. It’s not enough for a press release statement, but more than enough to sway some people from the truth.

If more leaders were to follow the example of Moses–whether it be feedback from local members to local leaders, or from local leaders to further-up leaders–I am confident “LDS Church Headquarters” would have less work on their hands.

The example in Numbers 27 clearly shows that feedback is a very necessary tool in the work of the Lord that can:
–bring new situations to light/ keep the leaders current and focused;
–solve real people problems;
–keep leaders humble;
–bring clarification and revelation;
–and provide a better understanding of the principles of both the gospel and the kingdom.

2011, December 9

“Book of Mormon: Nephi’s Early Spirituality” by grego

Book of Mormon: Nephi’s Early Spirituality

grego
(c)2011

Many members of the LDS Church read the Book of Mormon and believe that Nephi was a convert starting just from 1 Nephi 2; I’ll take a look at Nephi from the beginning up to the returning from the obtaining the brass plates and show that he likely had many gospel habits already firmly in place before he left Jerusalem.

1 Nephi 2: 11 Now this he spake because of the stiffneckedness of Laman and Lemuel; for behold they did murmur in many things against their father, because he was a visionary man, and had led them out of the land of Jerusalem, to leave … their precious things, to perish in the wilderness. And this they said he had done because of the foolish imaginations of his heart.
12 And thus Laman and Lemuel, being the eldest, did murmur against their father. And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.
So first, Nephi wasn’t murmuring or rebelling, and he seems to provide the reason why: he understood the dealings of God.

1 Nephi 2:13 Neither did they believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets. And they were like unto the Jews who were at Jerusalem, who sought to take away the life of my father.
Is Nephi the opposite? It would seem so:
1 Nephi 2:16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.
Nephi might be 14 years old, maybe up to 17 or 18? He already has great desires to know of God, and knows that to understand the mysteries of God he must ask in prayer (something Laman and Lemuel show the opposite of in 1 Nephi 15). Nephi sounds like Mormon:
Mormon 1:15 And I, being fifteen years of age and being somewhat of a sober mind, therefore I was visited of the Lord, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus.

What does Nephi do after praying and receiving an answer from God? He shares his answer with Sam, then with Laman and Lemuel:
1 Nephi 2:17 And I spake unto Sam, making known unto him the things which the Lord had manifested unto me by his Holy Spirit. And it came to pass that he believed in my words.

But Laman and Lemuel don’t listen, so he prays for them; that’s something that often takes us a long time to build up to:
1 Nephi 2:18 But, behold, Laman and Lemuel would not hearken unto my words; and being grieved because of the hardness of their hearts I cried unto the Lord for them.

Then:
1 Nephi 2:19 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart.
Praying twice doesn’t sound like seeking God diligently… I believe there had been much more before that.

Then God tells him about the future and Laman and Lemuel (the brothers he was praying for in this prayer):
20 And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.
21 And inasmuch as thy brethren (Laman and Lemuel, in particular) shall rebel against thee, they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.
22 And inasmuch as thou shalt keep my commandments, thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren.
23 For behold, in that day that they shall rebel against me, I will curse them even with a sore curse, and they shall have no power over thy seed except they shall rebel against me also.
24 And if it so be that they rebel against me, they shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in the ways of remembrance.
That is a lot, especially for a young boy. That could also very easily go to someone’s head, especially if he were a young boy. Yet Nephi never lets it get to his head, from the beginning to the end.

The boys are called to go back to get the plates, and Nephi tells his father:
1 Nephi 3:7 …I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
Did Nephi suddenly come to this knowledge since 1 Nephi 2? I’m sure the experiences in 1 Nephi 1-2 strengthened this testimony, but I think it unlikely it gave him the start of this testimony.

And in fact, from the synopsis of 1 Nephi, Nephi writes:
“Nephi taketh his brethren and returneth to the land of Jerusalem after the record of the Jews.” Nephi leads his brothers on this quest–something that takes faith, courage, and testimony.

After the first failure:
14 … my brethren were about to return unto my father in the wilderness.
15 But behold I said unto them that: As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us.
16 Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; therefore let us go down to the land of our father’s inheritance, for behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches. And all this he hath done because of the commandments of the Lord.
17 For he knew that Jerusalem must be destroyed, because of the wickedness of the people.
18 For behold, they have rejected the words of the prophets. Wherefore, if my father should dwell in the land after he hath been commanded to flee out of the land, behold, he would also perish. Wherefore, it must needs be that he flee out of the land.
19 And behold, it is wisdom in God that we should obtain these records, that we may preserve unto our children the language of our fathers;
20 And also that we may preserve unto them the words which have been spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets, which have been delivered unto them by the Spirit and power of God, since the world began, even down unto this present time.
21 And it came to pass that after this manner of language did I persuade my brethren, that they might be faithful in keeping the commandments of God.
Laman and Lemuel want to go home, but Nephi swears an oath that they will complete the mission before returning. Then he comes up with a wise, dedicated plan. He explains that Lehi is obedient, and that wicked Jerusalem will be destroyed because it has rejected the prophets. Then he finishes by persuading his brothers of the necessity of getting the plates, adding how prophets speak. Is this all beginner’s gumption and learning?

After the second attempt fails:
29 …an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: …Behold ye shall go up to Jerusalem again, and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.
31 And after the angel had departed, Laman and Lemuel again began to murmur, saying: How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?
1 Nephi 4:1 And it came to pass that I spake unto my brethren, saying: Let us go up again unto Jerusalem, and let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands?
Where did Nephi get this testimony?

He continues with this:
2 Therefore let us go up; let us be strong like unto Moses; for he truly spake unto the waters of the Red Sea and they divided hither and thither, and our fathers came through, out of captivity, on dry ground, and the armies of Pharaoh did follow and were drowned in the waters of the Red Sea.
3 Now behold ye know that this is true; and ye also know that an angel hath spoken unto you; wherefore can ye doubt? Let us go up; the Lord is able to deliver us, even as our fathers, and to destroy Laban, even as the Egyptians.
4 Now when I had spoken these words, they were yet wroth, and did still continue to murmur; nevertheless they did follow me up until we came without the walls of Jerusalem.
Nephi has a great grasp of knowing the scriptures and likening them to an appropriate situation. This is a skill that comes with time and experience. (Any attempt to link this speech to the brass plates fails, as this is before they obtain the plates.
Nephi exhibits great faith in immediately going back to Jerusalem–I’m sure the beating he just took from his brothers didn’t leave him bruiseless.

They go back, and Nephi confidently goes in by himself:
5 And it was by night; and I caused that they should hide themselves without the walls. And after they had hid themselves, I, Nephi, crept into the city and went forth towards the house of Laban.
6 And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.
10 And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him.
11 And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, and I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property.
12 And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands;
13 Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.
14 And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise.
15 Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law.
16 And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass.
17 And again, I knew that the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands for this cause—that I might obtain the records according to his commandments.
18 Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit…
This account seems to assume that Nephi is familiar with the Spirit enough to trust it to kill someone; and familiar with the law, enough to recall it when needed.

In the heat of the moment, Nephi is able to remember and speech spiritual things:
34 And I also spake unto him, saying: Surely the Lord hath commanded us to do this thing; and shall we not be diligent in keeping the commandments of the Lord? Therefore, if thou wilt go down into the wilderness to my father thou shalt have place with us.

Nephi constantly displays spiritual maturity that couldn’t have possibly just started in 1 Nephi 2.

2011, December 8

“Book of Mormon: Nephi’s Use of ‘Carry the Engravings’ in 1 Nephi 4:24” by grego

Book of Mormon: Nephi’s Use of “Carry the Engravings” in 1 Nephi 4:24

grego
(c)2011

Here’s something that might or might not have significance:
1 Nephi 4:24 And I also spake unto him that I should carry the engravings, which were upon the plates of brass, to my elder brethren, who were without the walls.

I found it interesting that he doesn’t say “the plates” but “the engravings *,* which were on the plates”. That’s different English; but what about in Hebrew/ Egyptian?

2011, December 5

Book of Mormon | “Lehi: His Faithfulness Changes ‘the Path to Death’ into ‘the Path to Safety’ (1 Nephi 2:1-2)” by grego

Book of Mormon | Lehi: His Faithfulness Changes “the Path to Death” into “the Path to Safety”

grego
(c)2011

When Lehi finds out that Jerusalem and its inhabitants will be destroyed and some carried away, he could have been safe by running away, but NO, not Lehi! He chose to do what most would call the dumbest thing: he told the wicked people that they were wicked, and warned of the coming destruction.

He prophesies of the destruction of Jerusalem and its inhabitants, and surprise! surprise! many people didn’t like that message and wanted to kill him:
1 Nephi 2:1 For behold, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream, and said unto him: Blessed art thou Lehi, because of the things which thou hast done; and because thou hast been faithful and declared unto this people the things which I commanded thee, behold, they seek to take away thy life.
2 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness.

Isn’t that interesting? “You are blessed because people want to kill you!” Why? Because he had been faithful. The very path that put his life in most jeopardy, was the very way to safety.

Before, the only two options Lehi knew were death or captivity. The Lord gave Lehi another option because of his faithfulness in the face of death: leave Jerusalem under His guidance.

Lehi took it.

Book of Mormon | “Lehi: Prophets Don’t Hoard to Prosper but Share to Help (1 Nephi 1)” by grego

Book of Mormon | Lehi: Prophets Don’t Hoard to Prosper but Share to Help

grego
(c)2011

When Lehi sees the impending doom of Jerusalem and its inhabitants, he shares it with them, even when they don’t want him to:
1 Neph 1:18 Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after the Lord had shown so many marvelous things unto my father, Lehi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard.
19 And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them; for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations; and he testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the book, manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world.
20 And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away…
1 Nephi 2:1 For behold, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream, and said unto him: Blessed art thou Lehi, because of the things which thou hast done; and because thou hast been faithful and declared unto this people the things which I commanded thee, behold, they seek to take away thy life.
2 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness.

So Lehi saw what was going to happen:
1 Nephi 1:13 And he read, saying: Wo, wo, unto Jerusalem, for I have seen thine abominations! Yea, and many things did my father read concerning Jerusalem—that it should be destroyed, and the inhabitants thereof; *many should perish by the sword, and many should be carried away captive into Babylon*.

*He* could have seen all that and:
–figured he’d keep quiet, “just be righteous” and probably end up a captive, not be killed.
–high-tailed it with his family to somewhere he figured would be safe.
–joined with the Babylonians.
–done the equivalent of “betting on the stock market” with this clear information and taken personal gain on the situation caused by others’ wickedness.

He did none of that. He shared the results of his visions with others in the hope that they would repent and not have to suffer the destructions.

%d bloggers like this: