Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2012, August 30

“Book of Mormon: Does ‘Ceremony’ Fit in Mosiah 19:24?” by grego

Book of Mormon: Does ‘Ceremony’ Fit in Mosiah 19:24?

grego
(c) 2012

In “The Archaic Vocabulary of the Book of Mormon” (Volume 25 – Issue 5 – Insights) (http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/insights/?vol=25&num=5&id=436), Royal Skousen says:
“If the original vocabulary of the Book of Mormon text dates from Early Modern English, one might wonder if there are any archaic words or expressions that were unrecognizable to Joseph Smith and his scribes, thus leading them to misinterpret and change the language during the early transmission of the text… The first one deals with the word ceremony in Mosiah 19:24: “and it came to pass that after they had ended the ceremony that they returned to the land of Nephi.” The problem with this passage is that the word ceremony seems out of place. The larger context implies that their discourse was simply over:
‘and it came to pass that they were about to return to the land of Nephi and they met the men of Gideon and the men of Gideon told them of all that had happened to their wives and their children and that the Lamanites had granted unto them that they might possess the land by paying a tribute to the Lamanites of one half of all they possessed and the people told the men of Gideon that they had slain the king and his priests had fled from them farther into the wilderness and it came to pass that after they had ended the ceremony that they returned to the land of Nephi rejoicing because their wives and their children were not slain and they told Gideon what they had done to the king (Mosiah 19:22—24).'”
Trying to find a word that works better than ceremony works is not easy. Skousen and Bangerter’s proposal that ‘sermon’ was spelled as ‘cermon’ and then miscopied to ‘ceremony’ by the printer seems a little far-fetched.

Ceremony is only out of place because the beginning of the ceremony isn’t mentioned; but that shouldn’t mean much to Book of Mormon students, as that’s not rare in the abridged record.

As Skousen does suggest, there might have “involved some kind of cere­monial aspect in recounting the execution of King Noah”.

Or, as John Tvedtnes suggests: “I assume that he has not read my chapter on “the Nephite Purification Ceremony,” in which I explain that the Nephites mentioned in this passage had just killed King Noah, an act that would have called for purification under the law of Moses” (Reconstructing the Book of Mormon, FARMS Review, Volume 15, Issue 1, Pages 1-3, http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=15&num=1&id=461&cat_id=259 ).

It could have been a ceremony of accepting the rule of the Lamanite king and his 50% tax.

It could have been a ceremony of accepting Limhi as their new king, seeing as they had separated themselves from the main group and especially killed the old king.

Though it’s not the best fit time-wise, it could have been a ceremony of killing their own king instead of just mob attacking and killing him. (Perhaps someone with greater knowledge and research can follow that one.)

Ceremony needn’t imply a long, drawn-out, complicated ritual; even greeting/ shaking hands can be a ceremony in some instances.

So ceremony does work, and in my opinion, much better than ‘sermon’ (‘discussion’) -> ‘cermon’ -> ‘ceremony’.

2012, August 24

“Book of Mormon: Alma’s Use of Sexual Imagery to Corianton in Alma 42” by grego

Book of Mormon: Alma’s Use of Sexual Imagery to Corianton in Alma 42

grego
(c ) 2012

This might not seem very strong, but…

At the end of Alma’s talk to his son Corianton, he says:
Alma 42:30 O my son, I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you {let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart}; and {let it bring you down to the dust in humility}.
Alma 42:31 And now, O my son, {ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people}. And now, my son, go thy way, {declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them}. And may God grant unto you even according to my words. Amen.

Wow. Ok, it’s not very explicit, but remember how Alma started this talk:
Alma 39:2 For thou didst not give so much heed unto my words as did thy brother, among the people of the Zoramites. Now this is what I have against thee; {thou didst go on unto boasting in thy strength and thy wisdom}.
Alma 39:3 And this is not all, my son. Thou didst do that which was grievous unto me; for {thou didst forsake the ministry}, and {did go over into the land of Siron among the borders of the Lamanites}, {{after the harlot Isabel.
Alma 39:4 Yea, she did steal away the hearts of many}; but this was no excuse for thee, my son. Thou shouldst have tended to the ministry wherewith thou wast entrusted}.
Alma 39:5 Know ye not, my son, that {these things} are an abomination in the sight of the Lord…
Alma 39:6 … and , it is not easy for him to obtain forgiveness…
Alma 39:7 And now, my son, I would to God that {ye had not been guilty of so great a crime}…
Alma 39:8 But behold, ye cannot hide your crimes from God; and except ye repent they will stand as a testimony against you at the last day.
Alma 39:9 Now my son, I would that ye should repent and forsake your sins, and {go no more after the lusts of your eyes, but cross yourself in all these things}; for except ye do this ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Oh, remember, and take it upon you, and {cross yourself in these things}.
Alma 39:11 {Suffer not yourself to be led away by any vain or foolish thing; suffer not the devil to lead away your heart again after those wicked harlots}. Behold, O my son, how {great iniquity ye brought upon the Zoramites; for when they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words}.
Alma 39:12 And now the Spirit of the Lord doth say unto me: {Command thy children to do good, lest they lead away the hearts of many people to destruction}; therefore I command you, my son, in the fear of God, that ye refrain from your iniquities;
Alma 39:13 That ye turn to the Lord with all your mind, might, and strength; that ye {lead away the hearts of no more to do wickedly; but rather return unto them, and acknowledge your faults and that wrong which ye have done}.

Corianton’s pride and lust in his heart brought him to leave the ministry and go to Siron and… down with Isabel. His creating life with Isabel was also the same process that destroyed the lives of many Zoramites, spiritually. Adultery was directly related to idolatry.

On the other hand, “the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering (are to) have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility.” And, in this condition, you are called to the ministry and can give spiritual life to many. Sexual faithfulness is equal to spiritual faithfulness.

2012, August 23

“Book of Mormon: The Zoramites’ Idols vs Alma’s God (Alma 31)” by grego

Book of Mormon: The Zoramites’ Idols vs Alma’s God (Alma 31)

grego
(c) 2012

There is a little comparison in Alma 31:
Alma 31:1 NOW it came to pass that after the end of Korihor, Alma having received tidings that the Zoramites were perverting the ways of the Lord, and that Zoram, who was their leader, was leading the hearts of the people to bow down to dumb idols, his heart again began to sicken because of the iniquity of the people.

vs.

Alma 31:36 Now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words, that he clapped his hands upon all them who were with him. And behold, as he clapped his hands upon them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Alma 31:37 And after that they did separate themselves one from another, taking no thought for themselves what they should eat, or what they should drink, or what they should put on.
Alma 31:38 And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith.

Dumb idols: without life; cannot provide; must be given food, clothes, etc. by their worshippers; no amount of faith in them works.

Alma et. al.: living, and filled with the Holy Spirit; provided food, clothes by the Lord; works according to faith.

2012, August 14

“Book of Mormon (Alma 40; Alma 39-42): How Alma’s Talk to Corianton about ‘Not Knowing’ Shows How Those with Faith Seek Revelation and Continue in Faith versus Those Who Use or Allow Doubts to Excuse Unfaithfulness and Sinful Behavior” by grego

Book of Mormon (Alma 40; Alma 39, Alma 41, Alma 42): How Alma’s Talk to Corianton about ‘Not Knowing’ Shows How Those with Faith Seek Revelation and Continue in Faith versus Those Who Use or Allow Doubts to Excuse Unfaithfulness and Sinful Behavior

grego
(c ) 2012

A major part of Corianton’s problem seems to be that he lets his lack of gospel understanding/ testimony interfere with his faithfulness.

First, here are some verses that show his lack of understanding/ testimony:
Alma 39:17 And now I will ease your mind somewhat on this subject. Behold, you marvel why these things should be known so long beforehand. Behold, I say unto you, is not a soul at this time as precious unto God as a soul will be at the time of his coming?
Alma 40:1 NOW my son, here is somewhat more I would say unto thee; for I perceive that thy mind is worried concerning the resurrection of the dead.
Alma 41:1 AND now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the restoration of which has been spoken; for behold, some have wrested the scriptures, and have gone far astray because of this thing. And I perceive that thy mind has been worried also concerning this thing. But behold, I will explain it unto thee.
Alma 42:1 AND now, my son, I perceive there is somewhat more which doth worry your mind, which ye cannot understand–which is concerning the justice of God in the punishment of the sinner; for ye do try to suppose that it is injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery.
Alma 42:29 And now, my son, I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.

Here are some verses that show how he used this lack of understanding/ testimony as an excuse to sin:
Alma 41:9 And now behold, my son, do not risk one more offense against your God upon those points of doctrine, which ye have hitherto risked to commit sin.
Alma 41:10 Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness.
Alma 42:29 And now, my son, I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.
Alma 42:30 O my son, I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility.

On the contrary, in this same talk to his Corianton, Alma shares the following:

Alma 40:3 …Now, I unfold unto you a mystery; nevertheless, there are many mysteries which are kept, that no one knoweth them save God himself. But I show unto you one thing which I have inquired diligently of God that I might know–that is concerning the resurrection.
Alma 40:4 Behold, there is a time appointed that all shall come forth from the dead. Now when this time cometh no one knows; but God knoweth the time which is appointed.
Alma 40:5 Now, whether there shall be one time, or a second time, or a third time, that men shall come forth from the dead, it mattereth not; for God knoweth all these things; and it sufficeth me to know that this is the case–that there is a time appointed that all shall rise from the dead.
Alma 40:8 Now whether there is more than one time appointed for men to rise it mattereth not; for all do not die at once, and this mattereth not; all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men.

Alma 40:6 Now there must needs be a space betwixt the time of death and the time of the resurrection.
Alma 40:7 And now I would inquire what becometh of the souls of men from this time of death to the time appointed for the resurrection?
Alma 40:9 Therefore, there is a time appointed unto men that they shall rise from the dead; and there is a space between the time of death and the resurrection. And now, concerning this space of time, what becometh of the souls of men is the thing which I have inquired diligently of the Lord to know; and this is the thing of which I do know.

Alma 40:10 And when the time cometh when all shall rise, then shall they know that God knoweth all the times which are appointed unto man.

Alma 40:11 Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection–Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel… (and Alma goes on to explain what happens.)

Alma 40:15 Now, there are some that have understood that this state of happiness and this state of misery of the soul, before the resurrection, was a first resurrection. Yea, I admit it may be termed a resurrection, the raising of the spirit or the soul and their consignation to happiness or misery, according to the words which have been spoken.
Alma 40:16 And behold, again it hath been spoken, that there is a first resurrection, a resurrection of all those who have been, or who are, or who shall be, down to the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
Alma 40:17 Now, we do not suppose that this first resurrection, which is spoken of in this manner, can be the resurrection of the souls and their consignation to happiness or misery. Ye cannot suppose that this is what it meaneth.
Alma 40:18 Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but it meaneth the reuniting of the soul with the body, of those from the days of Adam down to the resurrection of Christ.

Alma 40:19 Now, whether the souls and the bodies of those of whom has been spoken shall all be reunited at once, the wicked as well as the righteous, I do not say; let it suffice, that I say that they all come forth; or in other words, their resurrection cometh to pass before the resurrection of those who die after the resurrection of Christ.
Alma 40:20 Now, my son, I do not say that their resurrection cometh at the resurrection of Christ; but behold, I give it as my opinion, that the souls and the bodies are reunited, of the righteous, at the resurrection of Christ, and his ascension into heaven.
Alma 40:21 But whether it be at his resurrection or after, I do not say;
but this much I say, that there is a space between death and the resurrection of the body, and a state of the soul in happiness or in misery until the time which is appointed of God that the dead shall come forth, and be reunited, both soul and body, and be brought to stand before God, and be judged according to their works.

Points Corianton could learn from Alma:

*there are many things we don’t know, but God knows all things.

*if you don’t know, ask God. This is a message found all throughout the Book of Mormon, from Nephi:
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.
1 Nephi 15:11 Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?–If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.
all the way to Moroni:
Moroni 10:4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

*opinions are not the same as revelations, and you don’t build testimonies on them.

*sometimes it’s almost impossible to even have an opinion (not that it stops some people).

*God reveals what we need to know, now. Alma asked, and God answered–not all, but what was needed, especially to help this situation.

*it’s ok to not know something. Even for prophets.

*many people, including church members, have opinions. Many of those opinions are wrong/ misleading/ have been wrested from the scriptures.

*not knowing is not an excuse for sinful behavior.

*some things–like our faith and faithfulness–are much more important than knowing everything.

*also, some things–like what we do affects our salvation, an important part of the gospel and life–are much more important to know than other things less important to our salvation, like philosophical ponderings (“How is it possible to apply the Atonement to our lives when it hasn’t happened yet?”)

*in the end, you’ll know God knows, and you can’t be other than satisfied with all His.

*there are many things we DO or CAN know if we are diligent and humble and apply ourselves to learning, and we should remember and hold on to them much more than think about the things we DON’T know (yet).

Unfortunately, humility wasn’t one of Corianton’s strengths:
Alma 39:2 For thou didst not give so much heed unto my words as did thy brother, among the people of the Zoramites. Now this is what I have against thee; thou didst go on unto boasting in thy strength and thy wisdom.
Alma 39:7 And now, my son, I would to God that ye had not been guilty of so great a crime. I would not dwell upon your crimes, to harrow up your soul, if it were not for your good.
Alma 39:10 And I command you to take it upon you to counsel with your elder brothers in your undertakings; for behold, thou art in thy youth, and ye stand in need to be nourished by your brothers. And give heed to their counsel.
Alma 42:29 And now, my son, I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.
Alma 42:30 O my son, I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility.
Alma 42:31 And now, O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them. And may God grant unto you even according to my words. Amen.

which dad prophet Alma foils nicely with his humility in Alma 40.

2012, August 3

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/ LDS/ Mormons: Energy Healing and Forgiveness” by grego

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/ LDS/ Mormons:  Energy Healing and Forgiveness

grego
(c)2012

I recently experienced an example of someone not being able to heal because of an unwillingness to forgive.  The numbers would get real low, but then get stuck, move around, then jump back up.  One of the few possibilities is that the person isn’t willing to let go, so I finally came out and asked the LDS person if they were willing to forgive–and the answer was “no”.  That was pretty much the end of the session, because there’s not much to do in that situations except talk about forgiveness, and the session had already gone long enough.

Some people have mentioned that they feel energy healing is cheating because of the lack of forgiveness and repentance “issues”, but:  energy healing requires forgiveness for someone to heal all the way!

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