Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2012, September 28

“Book of Mormon: Parallels among the Nephites between the Birth of Jesus Christ and His Post-Resurrection Appearance” by grego

Book of Mormon: Parallels among the Nephites between the Birth of Jesus Christ and His Post-Resurrection Appearance

grego
(c) 2012

There are a few parallels between the two comings of Jesus Christ; the first coming occurs when he is born, and the second is after he is resurrected and appears to the Nephites.

Here’s the first time:
Helaman 14:7 And it shall come to pass that 1)*ye shall all be amazed, and wonder*, insomuch that 2)*ye shall fall to the earth*.
Helaman 14:8 And it shall come to pass that 3)*whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life*.

3 Nephi 1:15 And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be 1)*astonished* because there was no darkness when the night came.
3 Nephi 1:16 And there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who 2)*fell to the earth* and became as if they were dead, for they knew that the great plan of destruction which they had laid for those who believed in the words of the prophets had been frustrated; for the sign which had been given was already at hand.

3 Nephi 1:17 And 4)*they began to know that the Son of God must shortly appear*; yea, in fine, all the people upon the face of the whole earth from the west to the east, both in the land north and in the land south, were 1)*so exceedingly astonished that they fell to the earth*.

3 Nephi 1:18 For 5)*they knew that the prophets had testified of these things for many years*, and that the sign which had been given was already at hand; and they began to fear because of their iniquity and their unbelief.

Here’s the second time:
3 Nephi 11:1 AND now it came to pass that there were a great multitude gathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land Bountiful; and they were 1)*marveling and wondering* one with another, and were showing one to another the great and marvelous change which had taken place.

3 Nephi 11:3 And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, 4)*they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven…
3 Nephi 11:6 And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:
3 Nephi 11:7 Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name–hear ye him*.

3 Nephi 11:8 … they saw a Man descending out of heaven…
3 Nephi 11:9 And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:
3 Nephi 11:10 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.

3 Nephi 11:12 And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words 2)*the whole multitude fell to the earth*; for 5)*they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven*.

3 Nephi 11:15 And it came to pass that the multitude went forth… and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, 5)*of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come*.

3 Nephi 11:16 1)*And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:
3 Nephi 11:17 Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him*.

3 Nephi 11:33 3)*And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God*.

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2012, September 18

“Book of Mormon: Emotions and Sins Lead to Mental and Physical Anguish—Zeezrom’s Sickness in Alma 15” by grego

Book of Mormon: Emotions and Sins Lead to Mental and Physical Anguish—Zeezrom’s Sickness in Alma 15

grego
(c) 2012

Many people have a hard time with the concept that physical and mental problems can result from emotions and sins (a basic principle of energy healing is not that they can, but they usually~always do). Here’s a little story from the Book of Mormon that should help:

Alma 15:3 And also , for he supposed that Alma and Amulek were no more; and he supposed that they had been slain because of his iniquity. And .

Alma 15:4 Now, when he heard that Alma and Amulek were in the land of Sidom, ; and he sent a message immediately unto them, desiring them to come unto him.

Alma 15:5 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 ; and when he saw them he stretched forth his hand, and besought them that they would heal him.

“Book of Mormon: Chapter Heading Correction–Helaman 13” by grego

Book of Mormon: Chapter Heading Correction–Helaman 13

grego
(c) 2012

In the chapter heading for Helaman 13, it reads:
“…—They reject and stone the prophets, are encircled about by demons, and seek for happiness in doing iniquity.”

The text reads:
Helaman 13:31 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.
Helaman 13:32 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:

Helaman 13:33 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.
Helaman 13:34 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.
Helaman 13:35 Yea, we have hid up our treasures and they have slipped away from us, because of the curse of the land.
Helaman 13:36 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.
Helaman 13:37 Behold, . 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.
Helaman 13:38 But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and , which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head.

Samule closes this part by saying:
Helaman 13:39 O ye people of the land, that ye would hear my words! And I pray that the anger of the Lord be turned away from you, and that ye would repent and be saved.

So it’s clear that what he just spoke was a prophecy of future days, not what was going on at the time.

2012, September 14

“A Mormon! A Mormon! Anyone but a Mormon for President!” by grego

“A Mormon! A Mormon! Anyone but a Mormon for President!”

grego
(c) 2012

(I actually wrote this a year and a half ago.)

A 2007 study by Vanderbilt University that researched possible public reaction to a presidential run by Mitt Romney (a Mormon) concluded that political bias against Mormons is significantly more intense than bias against either African Americans or women.

Much of this bias is from “Christians”.

Based on many reports and media evidence, I’ll go further. Even for Christians:
–a bisexual pimping liar is more preferable than a Mormon.
–a cheating party boy with an IQ and intelligence shown lower than a typical junior-high school student homosexual is more preferable than a Mormon.
–a communistic Muslim with few life accomplishments who uses hardcore illegal political tactics yet can’t even prove he is American is more preferable than a Mormon.

Don’t get me wrong: I can dislike Mormon politicians. I don’t agree that a Mormon would be the best choice for President, just because that person is a Mormon. And I have encouraged others to vote against Mormon politicians sometimes.

But I must wonder, why the OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) logic-defying thought and action among many Americans, especially Christians, when it comes to Mormons in political office, especially President?

Does it have to do with intelligence? I don’t know, but I can say that Christians in general aren’t the most intelligent people I’ve met when it comes to actual thinking skills, logic, etc. (The most unintelligent comments I’ve gotten on this blog, other than from stoned/ drunk teenagers, are from “Christians”.)

American Christianity has usually been (and still is) based on emotions and persuasion, not on rational thought.

Here’s a typical argument: “Mormons are evil; they think Jesus and Satan are brothers. (Do you see a logical connection? I don’t.)
They can’t be brothers, because the Bible says Jesus created everything.” So, does that include his mother and God and himself? And… Satan??! Jesus created Satan?? What the heck?!? Is Jesus’ creating Satan better or worse than Satan and Jesus being brothers, like Cain and Abel were brothers? How come about every Christian has no problem with believing that Cain and Abel were both sons of Adam and Eve, and brothers—but not that Satan and Jesus could both be sons of God, and brothers?.”

Anyway, since people wonder what a Mormon presidential political platform might look like, let’s look at the platform of Joseph Smith (yes, THAT Joseph Smith: first Mormon presidential candidate, first assassinated presidential candidate, and for most Christians somewhere between the most evil man to live, to a misguided, delusional guy):

-=
* “When the people are secure and their rights properly respected, then the four main pillars of prosperity, viz: agriculture, manufactures, navigation, and commerce, need the fostering care of government, and in so goodly a country as ours…it certainly is the highest point of subversion (sic) to protect the whole northern and southern, eastern and western, center and circumference of the realm, by a judicious tariff.” [=import tax]

* “I will adopt in part the language of Mr. Madison’s inaugural address, ‘To cherish peace and friendly intercourse with all nations, having correspondent dispositions; to maintain sincere neutrality towards belligerent nations; to prefer in all cases amicable discussion and reasonable accommodation of intrigues and foreign partialities, so degrading to all countries, and so baneful to free ones; to foster a spirit of independence too just to invade the rights of others, too proud to surrender their own, too liberal to indulge unworthy prejudices ourselves, and too elevated not to look down upon them in others.’”

* “[H]old the union of the States as the basis of their peace and happiness; to support the constitution, which is the cement of the union, as well in its limitations as in its authorities; to respect the rights and authorities reserved to the states and to the people…to avoid the slightest interference with the rights of conscience, or the functions of religion, so wisely exempted from civil jurisdiction; to preserve in their full energy, the other salutary provisions in behalf of private and personal rights, and of the freedom of the press.”

* “Reduce Congress at least one half. Two Senators from a state and two members to a million of population, will do more business than the army that now occupy the halls of the National Legislature. Pay them two dollars and their board per diem; except Sundays, that is more than the farmer gets, and he lives honestly. Curtail the offices of government in pay, number and power; for the Philistine lords have shorn our nation of its goodly locks in the lap of Delilah.”

* “Petition your state legislatures to pardon every convict in their several penitentiaries, blessing them as they go, and saying to them, in the name of the Lord, go thy way and sin no more. Advise your legislators when they make laws for larceny, burglary or any felony, to make the penalty applicable to work upon roads, public works, or any place where the culprit can be taught more wisdom and more virtue; and become more enlightened. Rigor and seclusion will never do as much to reform the propensities of man, as reason and friendship. Murder only can claim confinement or death. Let the penitentiaries be turned into seminaries of learning, where intelligence, like the angels of heaven, would banish such fragments of barbarism. Imprisonment for debt is a meaner practice than the savage tolerates with all his ferocity. ‘Amor vincit amnia.’ Love conquers all.”

* “Petition, also, ye goodly inhabitants of the slave states, your legislators to abolish slavery by the year 1850, or now, and save the abolitionist from reproach and ruin, infamy and shame. Pray Congress to pay every man a reasonable price for his slaves out of the surplus revenue arising from the sale of public lands, and from the deduction of pay from the members of Congress. Break off the shackles from the poor black man, and hire him to labor like other human beings; for ‘an hour of virtuous liberty on earth, is worth a whole eternity of bondage!’”

* “Abolish the practice in the army and navy of trying men by court martial for desertion; if a soldier or marine runs away, send him his wages, with this instruction, that his country will never trust him again; he has forfeited his honor. Make HONOR the standard with all men: be sure that good is rendered for evil in all cases; and the whole nation, like a kingdom of kings and priests, will rise up with righteousness; and be respected as wise and worthy on earth; and as just and holy for heaven; by Jehovah, the author of perfection.”

* “More economy in the national and state governments, would make less taxes among the people.”

* “For the accommodation of the people of every state and territory, let Congress shew their wisdom by granting a national bank, with branches in each state and territory, where the capital stock shall be held by the nation for the mother bank: and by the states and territories, for the branches…which several banks shall never issue any more bills than the amount of capital stock in her vaults and the interest…[t]he net gain of the mother bank shall be applied to the national revenue, and that of the branches to the states and territories’ revenues. And the bills shall be par throughout the nation, which will mercifully cure that fatal disorder known in cities as brokerage; and leave the people’s money in their own pockets.”

* “Give every man his constitutional freedom, and the president full power to send an army to suppress mobs; and the states authority to repeal and impugn that relic of folly, which makes it necessary for the governor of a state to make the demand of the president for troops, in case of invasion or rebellion. The governor himself may be a mobber and, instead of being punished, as he should be, for murder and treason, he may destroy the very lives, rights, and property he should protect.”

* “Oregon belongs to this government honorably, and when we have the red man’s consent, let the union spread from the east to the west sea; and if Texas petitions Congress to be adopted among the sons of liberty, give her the right hand of fellowship; and refuse not the same friendly grip to Canada and Mexico.”
-=

Is any of that worse than what past presidents have done? (And note that with Joseph Smith, it wasn’t political talk to make people happy and get votes, it was a PLAN to put into action.) Seriously, look at where America is nowadays… I see lots of wisdom in his political words, and time has borne them out. Large and dangerous problems facing America and ripping her apart right now would have been solved peacefully long ago had his platform principles been followed.

So what is it that so many people fear about a Mormon president? I believe most people who don’t want a Mormon president think that way because they don’t love and seek truth, and have relied on others’ biases and lies to do their thinking for them. Mormons are often accused of “having their thinking done for them”; let me ask you, who has done your thinking for you on Mormons in political office? If you say, “Myself, after much research, question-asking and answer-getting from others and especially Mormons, and mulling it over, as free as bias as you can get, congratulations! :)

2012, September 12

“Book of Mormon: Idolatry among the Zoramites and Gnosticism (Alma 31-Alma 32-Alma 33-Alma 34-Alma 35; Alma 39-42)” by grego

Book of Mormon: Idolatry among the Zoramites and Gnosticism (Alma 31-Alma 32-Alma 33-Alma 34-Alma 35; Alma 39-42)

grego
(c) 2012

It’s interesting that “dumb idols” are mentioned as the first thing about the Zoramites, but after that it seems there’s no more mention of it. Later in the same chapter (Alma 31), there’s a lot more about why the Zoramites are in apostasy (law of Moses, beliefs about God, praying to God, etc.)… almost like there’s an entire disconnect here. What’s going on? Are there idols? If so, where are they? What religion is going on?

Incredibly, the Zoramites are very similar to another religion from almost 2,000 years ago—the Gnostics. I doubt Joseph Smith knew much about that group… (NOTE: By “Gnosticism” I usually mean the Gnosticism that opposed early Christianity, not semi-modern, modern, or very past. Even then there was not one school of thought and worship, but many, and they sometimes varied greatly from each other. I have tried to quote/ gather from that type of gnosticism; if I have faulted, I apologize; I can’t get to a great university library and research, for example, and even if I could, in all honesty, for this article I wouldn’t. I studied a research book on it years ago, and am limited now to the first few pages of internet search results.) This Gnosticism tangent started off a whole new line, but I can’t follow it far, so I present this more for thought stimulation than a completed article.

With all the references to Gnosticism, there is no proof or even evidence that that is the religion among the Zoramites; it is just a “look at parallels and similar thinking”, that such a religion is not only possible, but has, in parts, existed throughout history.

Here is the introduction we get to the situation:
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.

In addition, it seems they received reports saying that:
Alma 31:9 But [the Zoramites] had fallen into great errors, for they would not observe to keep the commandments of God, and his statutes, according to the law of Moses.
Alma 31:10 Neither would they observe the performances of the church, to continue in prayer and supplication to God daily, that they might not enter into temptation.
Alma 31:11 Yea, in fine, they did pervert the ways of the Lord in very many instances; therefore, for this cause, Alma and his brethren went into the land to preach the word unto them.

They also later find out:
Alma 31:23 Now, after the people had all offered up thanks after this manner, they returned to their homes, never speaking of their God again until they had assembled themselves together again to the holy stand, to offer up thanks after their manner.

It continues:
Alma 31:12 Now, when they had come into the land, behold, to their astonishment they found that the Zoramites had built synagogues, and that they did gather themselves together on one day of the week, which day they did call the day of the Lord; and they did worship after a manner which Alma and his brethren had never beheld;

Synagogues were not new:
Alma 16:13 And Alma and Amulek went forth preaching repentance to the people in their temples, and in their sanctuaries, and also in their synagogues, which were built after the manner of the Jews.

So why are Alma and his group astonished? Was it because they knew about the idols, and the changes, but maybe they hadn’t realized there was still “religion” in a somewhat recognizable form? There were still synagogues. There was still Sabbath worship; prayer. And, there were no idols in the synagogue.
At the same time, there was no teaching, no discussion, no hymns, no guidance of the Spirit, no sacrifice, no commandments–just one rote prayer.

Here’s about the Zoramite worship:
Alma 31:13 For they had a place built up in the {center of their synagogue}, a place for standing, which was {high above the head}; and the top thereof would {only admit one person} (all things that add to “special”ness).
Alma 31:21 Now the place was called by them Rameumptom, which, being interpreted, is {the holy stand (a holy object, a special place of worship, much like the temple)}.
Alma 31:20 For behold, every man did go forth and offer up these same prayers.
Alma 31:14 Therefore, whosoever desired to worship must go forth and stand upon the top thereof, and {stretch forth his hands towards heaven, and cry with a loud voice}, saying:
Alma 31:15 {Holy, holy God; we believe that thou art God, and we believe that thou art holy}, and that {thou wast a spirit, and that thou art a spirit, and that thou wilt be a spirit forever (doctrine close, but not quite–perhaps this is a jab at the doctrine of Jesus having a body)}.
Alma 31:16 {Holy God}, we believe that {thou hast separated us from our brethren (here’s the “you’re special” part)}; and {we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers (another “you’re special and smart” part}; but we believe that {thou hast elected us to be thy holy children (more “you’re special”, and “don’t worry about commandments”)}; and also {thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ (special revelation that the believers don’t know)}.
Alma 31:17 But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever; and {thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell}; {for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee (gratitude)}; and we also thank thee that {thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren (before it was “childishness”, now it’s “foolishness”)}, {which doth bind them down to a belief of Christ, which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God (belief is binding; belief in Christ leads away from God; exactly what Korihor was preaching!)}.
Alma 31:18 And again {we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people (gratitude; yet more “you’re special”}. Amen.

Compare that to how true Nephite believers worshipped:
Alma 15:17 Therefore, after Alma having established the church at Sidom, seeing … that the people … began to humble themselves before God, and began to {assemble themselves together at their sanctuaries} {to worship God} {before the altar}, {watching and praying continually}, {that they might be delivered from Satan, and from death, and from destruction}–

This Zoramite worship seems to be a perversion of both true believer Sabbath worship, special even worship, and temple worship. (See also “Temple Prayer in Ancient Times”, by John A. Tvedtnes; http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=21&chapid=105).

The result:
Alma 31:19 Now it came to pass that after Alma and his brethren and his sons had heard these prayers, they were astonished beyond all measure.

Instead of worshiping God before the altar, the Zoramites put themselves on the altar/ holy stand, but there is no sacrifice or holiness in doing so!

See how this could relate to Gnosticism:
“In contrast, gnostics considered martyrdom by orthodox Christians to be an act of suffering for an hour to purchase eternal life an offering to God in the form of a human sacrifice that demeaned God by casting him as a cannibal. It was as if the original Christian ideal of living in the present, for the present, had been perverted into the ultimate pagan sacrifice so that your own life would be sacrificed to buy an eternal afterlife in paradise” (http://milo-books.com/reviews/nonfiction/philosophy_and_religion/the_gnostic_gospels.html).

See also how the doctrine of this prayer matches this of the Gnostics:
“the early Christian Church, which, [the Gnostics] claimed, were only common deceptions, unsuited for the wise (foolishness, childishness of the beliefs of the true believers). The truth was esoteric. Only the properly initiated could appreciate it. It belonged to a secret tradition which had come down through certain mystery schools (revealed to them by God). The truth was, God could never become man (spirit from beginning to end). There were two separate realms — one spiritual, the other material (http://www.naderlibrary.com/lit.godsbeasts.14.htm).”

There are a few similarities with Essenes:
“Cassian tells us that the first prayer precedes the prostration. He calls this the “oratio”. The second prayer following the prostration, he calls “preces”. He says that in it the monks stand with outstretched hands (a symbol of supplication) and offer such until a collect, or group prayer conclusion, is chanted by the cantor on behalf of the whole assembly. All these practices are reminiscent of Gnostic liturgy and ritual” (http://www.essenes.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=275&Itemid=361).

The Zoramite prayer is a Prayer of Thanksgiving:
Alma 31:23 Now, after the people had all offered up thanks after this manner, they returned to their homes, never speaking of their God again until they had assembled themselves together again to the holy stand, to offer up thanks after their manner.

Compare that to this Prayer of Thanksgiving, from the Nag Hammadi:
“We give thanks to You! Every soul and heart is lifted up to You, undisturbed name, honored with the name ‘God’ and praised with the name ‘Father’, for to everyone and everything (comes) the fatherly kindness and affection and love, and any teaching there may be that is sweet and plain, giving us mind, speech, (and) knowledge: mind, so that we may understand You, speech, so that we may expound You, knowledge, so that we may know You. We rejoice, having been illuminated by Your knowledge. We rejoice because You have shown us Yourself. We rejoice because while we were in (the) body, You have made us divine through Your knowledge.
‘The thanksgiving of the man who attains to You is one thing: that we know You. We have known You, intellectual light. Life of life, we have known You. Womb of every creature, we have known You. Womb pregnant with the nature of the Father, we have known You. Eternal permanence of the begetting Father, thus have we worshiped Your goodness. There is one petition that we ask: we would be preserved in knowledge. And there is one protection that we desire: that we not stumble in this kind of life.’

When they had said these things in the prayer, they embraced each other and they went to eat their holy food, which has no blood in it” (http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/prat.html).

It seems Zoram has a plan to: a) change the original religion, and b) add/ substitute another god in place of Jesus Christ. He hasn’t converted everyone all the way, but is leading them in the process. This process, however, seems to be different than the majority of instances of idolatry recorded in the Old Testament (actually Brass Plates) that the Nephites had—perhaps yet another reason for the astonishment.

Many of these people were true believers at one time:
Alma 31:8 Now the Zoramites were dissenters from the Nephites; therefore they had had the word of God preached unto them.
Alma 31:34 O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ.
Alma 31:35 Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.

Perhaps Zoram (correctly) thought that to “make” someone change religion from a strict form of commandments and ordinances (law of Moses and Melchizedek priesthood) to a more liberal yet custom-filled form, you must either completely destroy what they have learned, or keep some of it, but add in changes and especially a “you’re special” part (this exact method worked for a Seventy on my relative’s relative while he was a missionary).

It seems that the second is what Zoram did, and maybe that was part of the astonishment, too.

And so Alma and the others pray and preach.

Is there anything about idols in all that?? No, I don’t think there is. So what part does idols have to play in all this?

In Alma’s prayer, he says:
Alma 31:29 Yea, and they say that thou hast made it known unto them that there shall be no Christ.
Alma 31:30 O Lord God, how long wilt thou suffer that such wickedness and {infidelity} shall be among this people? O Lord, wilt thou give me strength, that I may bear with mine infirmities. For I am infirm, and such wickedness among this people doth pain my soul.
Alma might see a connection between idolatry and adultery, both of which are infidelity.

Later there is this:
Alma 32:4 Now, as Alma was teaching and speaking unto the people upon the hill Onidah…
Why is Alma (and some Zoramites) on the hill Onida?
I think it was because that is where the idols were, and the Zoramites were there worshiping them.
I don’t think those Zoramites were paying too much attention to what he was saying:
Alma 32:4 Now, as Alma was teaching and speaking unto the people upon the hill Onidah, there came a great multitude unto him…
Alma 32:5 And they came unto Alma; and the one who was the foremost among them said unto him: Behold, what shall these my brethren do, for they are despised of all men because of their poverty, yea, and more especially by our priests; for they have cast us out of our synagogues which we have labored abundantly to build with our own hands; and they have cast us out because of our exceeding poverty; and we have no place to worship our God; and behold, what shall we do?
Alma 32:6 And now when Alma heard this, he turned him about, his face immediately towards him, and he beheld with great joy; for he beheld that their afflictions had truly humbled them, and that they were in a preparation to hear the word.
Alma 32:7 Therefore he did say no more to the other multitude; but he stretched forth his hand, and cried unto those whom he beheld, who were truly penitent, and said unto them…

But why would they have to worship God in a synagogue, if they had idols on the hills? And vice-versa? What was going on with this religion? They were kicked out because they were poor–maybe it wasn’t just that they looked bad, but they couldn’t “put money on the plate”/ buy religious things. (Remember in the end why Alma and his group were rejected:
Alma 35:3 And it came to pass that after the more popular part of the Zoramites had consulted together concerning the words which had been preached unto them, they were angry because of the word, for it did destroy their craft; therefore they would not hearken unto the words.)

Remember, this was a mixed religion–half God, half god(s). Perhaps it was similar to the Taiwanese belief system–Buddhism/ heavenly parents + Daoism/ mysticsim and ritual and other gods + folklore and Earth/ Land God.

Then:
Alma 33:1 Now after Alma had spoken these words, they sent forth unto him desiring to know whether they should believe in one God, that they might obtain this fruit of which he had spoken, or how they should plant the seed, or the word of which he had spoken, which he said must be planted in their hearts; or in what manner they should begin to exercise their faith.

Should they believe in one God, or …? a few gods? a pantheon of gods? a new god, introduced by Zoram, or the Lamanites?

So Alma tells them which god to believe in:
Alma 33:13 Behold, if ye do, ye must believe what Zenos said; for, behold he said: Thou hast turned away thy judgments because of thy Son.
Alma 33:14 Now behold, my brethren, I would ask if ye have read the scriptures? If ye have, how can ye disbelieve on the Son of God?
Alma 33:15 For it is not written that Zenos alone spake of these things, but Zenock also spake of these things–
Alma 33:16 For behold, he said: Thou art angry, O Lord, with this people, because they will not understand thy mercies which thou hast bestowed upon them because of thy Son.
Alma 33:17 And now, my brethren, ye see that a second prophet of old has testified of the Son of God, and because the people would not understand his words they stoned him to death.
Alma 33:22 … cast about your eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works.

This is the crux of this whole problem–Jesus Christ and His atonement don’t lead away from God, as Zoram teaches, but God is directly connected to Jesus Christ, and Christ brings men to God, in unity.

Amulek continues:
Alma 34:5 And we have beheld that the great question which is in your minds is whether the word be in the Son of God, or whether there shall be no Christ.
Alma 34:6 And ye also beheld that my brother has proved unto you, in many instances, that the word is in Christ unto salvation.
Alma 34:7 My brother has called upon the words of Zenos, that redemption cometh through the Son of God, and also upon the words of Zenock; and also he has appealed unto Moses, to prove that these things are true.

Amulek then speaks a lot about blood sacrifice, perhaps including inferences to sacrifice the Zoramites (or Lamanites) were making in their worship:
Alma 34:10 For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.
Alma 34:11 Now there is not any man that can sacrifice his own blood which will atone for the sins of another. Now, if a man murdereth, behold will our law, which is just, take the life of his brother? I say unto you, Nay.
Alma 34:12 But the law requireth the life of him who hath murdered; therefore there can be nothing which is short of an infinite atonement which will suffice for the sins of the world.
Alma 34:13 Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice, and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled…
Alma 34:14 And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.
Alma 34:15 And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.

Is there more about idols? We later find out that Corianton
Alma 39:3: didst forsake the ministry, and did go over into the land of Siron among the borders of the Lamanites, after the harlot Isabel.
We learn more about the land here:
Alma 31:3 Now the Zoramites had gathered themselves together in a land which they called Antionum, which was east of the land of Zarahemla, which lay nearly bordering upon the seashore, which was south of the land of Jershon, which also bordered upon the wilderness south, which wilderness was full of the Lamanites.
Alma knew that Isabel was popular among the Zoramites, and that Corianton was not the only one:
Alma 39:4 Yea, she did steal away the hearts of many…
So why would a harlot, perhaps named after the great idolator Jezebel in the Old Testament, live in what was in all likelihood a wilderness? And what was so special about her (—even though it’s possible she was just beautiful or such—) that allowed her to “steal away the hearts of many”? If she and the idols were connected, this could have been a grove, where mystical idol rites that included fornication could have been carried out.
(All this reminds me of the cult worship of the Gnostics soon after the death of Jesus Christ, including fornication, both of which the act itself and its physical results were part of worship.)

Alma continues with his counsel:
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.

The “lusts of your eyes” could easily be harlots, or it could be even bigger, including spectacle worship plus worship harlots; is it that Alma seems to be stressing Isabel is one of a group of harlots?

Right after that, Alma says:
Alma 39:14 Seek not after riches nor the vain things of this world; for behold, you cannot carry them with you.
This was the other problem that the Zoramites had. It is possible—even likely—that wealth and idol worship and fornication were all tied together in this religion, which made it stronger for the rich, but weaker for the poor. The way I’ve seen idol worship work is, you worship and give offerings, and the god blesses you with riches and guidance, whether it be in a very easy and simple way, or in a deeper yet more unclear way.

More about Gnostic idolatry and sex:
“Followers of the Gnostic sect led by Carpocrates were granted even more license and encouragement. Carpocratians believed that the purity of the soul could not be contaminated and made evil, any more than a pearl could be debased by dropping it in the mud; at its center, the pearl would always remain a pearl. Based on this libertine view, the soul ought to experience everything available to it in this world. Carpocratians shared their sexual partners and took part in massive orgies, although males were instructed to practice coitus interruptus not as a method of birth control but as a means of collecting semen to be consumed as the body of Christ, as was menstrual blood. Recruitment methods of the Carpocratians were basic and no doubt successful in attracting male followers. The most beautiful female members were encouraged to offer themselves as bait to draw adherents, and a related group formed a male elite called Levites who practiced open homosexuality.”
“Should a woman become pregnant as a result of these activities, the fetus would be aborted, pounded to jelly in a mortar, mixed with honey and spices, and eaten by sect members, a practice chillingly reminiscent of the most lurid fables associated with early Christians.” -Secret Societies, by John Lawrence Reynolds. pg. 113

“the first Gnostic revisionists emerge from within the earliest circle of Christians. These were men who wanted for themselves the salvation promised by Christianity but who could affirm neither the physical and literal reality of the astounding events attested to by Scripture and by the Apostles nor the moral humbling required to accept substitutionary atonement as a necessity”(http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9410/satin.html).

“John attributes the ‘spirit of the antichrist’ less to actual unbelievers than to the ‘false prophets’ who arose among the early Christians. These were of a certain ‘spirit’ and are believers, as it were, of a kind: believers in a merely spiritualized (non-fleshly) ‘Christ.’
To all Gnostic redemptive schemes (wherein salvation can be attained through knowledge), atoning sacrifice by another is both meaningless and useless.”(http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9410/satin.html)

  As one might expect of any mystery rite, the Gospel of Philip (NHC II,3: 82,7-26 makes it clear that the mystery of the bride chamber is reserved for the pneumatic members of the Valentinian community alone. The intercourse of bride and bridegroom is private, pure and undefiled; the pneumatic bride may reveal her true nature only to those who may enter the bridal chamber every day: her father, mother, and the friend and sons of the bridegroom. http://jdt.unl.edu/ritual.htm

“other groups rejected such as practice as ineffective and deceptive, transforming the moral indifference typical of its libertine opposite, free sexual exchange, into sacred ritual. According to Irenaeus (Adversus Haereses I, 23.4), the Simonians worship images of Simon Magus and Helen, as well as engage in various occult practices, including exorcisms, incantations, philters, and erotic magic. Hippolytus, (Refutatio VI, 19.5) specifies further specifies that this erotic magic took the form of sexual intercourse as a means of experiencing spiritual union…” (http://jdt.unl.edu/ritual.htm)

According to Epiphanius (Panarion 26.3-12), the later Sethians, whom he calls Borborites, Barbelites, Phibionites, Stratiotici and Coddians, engaged in a thorough-going sexual sacramentalism…  According to Stephen Gero,[50] “the central, distinguishing feature of the sect, its devotion to the so-called sperma cult, described by [Epiphanius] in vivid detail, can hardly be dismissed as a prurient invention. In the simplest of terms it involved the extraction, collection and solemn, sacramental consecration and consumption of bodily fluids, male and female, which contributed to the further propagation of the human race, and thus to the continued entrapment of the divine substance by the evil archons. In these fluids is concentrated the spiritual element, found scattered in the world, in particular in food-stuffs (including meat!), of which the initiates can and should partake. The mythology proper is a version of the Barbelo-gnostic myth, as known from Irenaeus and the Apocryphon of John.” Although Epiphanius does not say that they called this rather unrestrained ritual sex a “mystery” or rite of the bridal chamber, it seems clear that its intent was the same, effecting a restoration of the lost primordial unity by physical coupling and attempting to reverse the natural course of the propagation of the species” (http://jdt.unl.edu/ritual.htm).

Even more about sexual worship rites can be found in the Gnostic Mass (later developed) at http://hermetic.com/egc/mass-analysis.html.

If the Zoramite worshiping by fornication was similar to gnostic worship, it is possible that one man was chosen for the honor of fornicating with the main harlot in the worship ritual, and it seems Corianton got his turn. This might especially be so if he were a virgin, which was likely the case at the time.
As with the Rameumpton, it might have been a perversion of true believer temple rites and worship.

And we understand that Corianton had the same problem the Zoramites had about believing that Christ should come, and what that entailed:
Alma 39:15 And now, my son, I would say somewhat unto you concerning the coming of Christ. Behold, I say unto you, that it is he that surely shall come to take away the sins of the world; yea, he cometh to declare glad tidings of salvation unto his people.
Alma 39:16 And now, my son, this was the ministry unto which ye were called, to declare these glad tidings unto this people, to prepare their minds; or rather that salvation might come unto them, that they may prepare the minds of their children to hear the word at the time of his coming.
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.
Corianton was to preach salvation through Christ, but worshiped an idol, following the Rameumpton prayer doctrine of the Zoramites.

And the counsel of Alma to his wayward son continues, heading off even more the doctrine of the Zoramites heard in their Rameumpton prayer and idol worship: about disobedience and spiritual death, becoming “carnal, sensual, and devilish” and how that leads to being “miserable”; how that is overcome by the incarnation and atonement of Jesus Christ; salvation and its requirements, especially keeping the commandments.

Perhaps the worship is two-sided because of who they were worshiping. On one hand you have the worship of the heavenly father through prayer on the Rameumptom, especially for the rich; on the other the worship of the heavenly mother through ritual including fornication in the grove. Day to day remembrance—if any—is of the earth god, especially for the lower-class.

While this sounds a little stupid to some, imagine if Lady Gaga had a visitor center where she gave free concerts and indulged a few young men afterwards. Do you think any missionaries might get caught up in that? Right.

“…all these flourished underground during the great ages of the Church, providing a secretive, psychic, human-oriented, polytheistic, and morally relativistic counterpoint to the God-oriented ethical monotheism being carried forward by Christianity… In fact, the Gnostics devolved quickly into the embrace of evil, inevitably the consequence of an “inclusivist” position toward it. Modern “nature” and “goddess” theologies are following the same path” (http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9410/satin.html).
Paul relates a similar adventure with idol worship:
Acts 17:23 For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. What therefore ye worship in ignorance, this I set forth unto you.
24 The God that made the world and all things therein, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 neither is he served by men`s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26 and he made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined [their] appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us:
28 for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain even of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
29 Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and device of man.
30 The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent:
31 inasmuch as he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, We will hear thee concerning this yet again.
33 Thus Paul went out from among them.

Idol worship is a good business. Acts attests to it:
Acts 19:22 And having sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.
23 And about that time there arose no small stir concerning the Way.
24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no little business unto the craftsmen;
25 whom he gathered together, with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this business we have our wealth.
26 And ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they are no gods, that are made with hands:
27 and not only is there danger that this our trade come into disrepute; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana be made of no account, and that she should even be deposed from her magnificence whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.
28 And when they heard this they were filled with wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesus…

This is what happens with the Zoramites:
Alma 35:3 And it came to pass that after the more popular part of the Zoramites had consulted together concerning the words which had been preached unto them, they were angry because of the word, for it did destroy their craft; therefore they would not hearken unto the words.

And I can attest to it, too, having lived in an idol-worshiping land. There can be lots of money made with idol worship. As Demetrius says, not only do people make money from their crafts, but the whole town/ city benefits from the tourism money, not to mention the pride the inhabitants have of being from there. (There was made with Jehovah worship in the New Testament, too! A big difference is that one is often set up by man for the express purpose of gaining money, while the other is men profiting from something God has set up.)

I guess the main thing about this is, it’s not very clear from surface reading, but there’s a lot in the story of Alma and the Zoramites that makes for a strong case about religion and idols based on history, though there’s nothing I know of that is exactly like it.

It’s beyond most authors’ abilities to put something in all over, but hide it so no one can see it. It’s unlike most of the idol scenes in the Bible (Old Testament and New Testament), where the big picture is clear, but the little pictures might not be there; here, it’s the little pictures that are clear, while the big picture doesn’t seem to exist. I believe there’s still more to be found.

2012, September 6

“Book of Mormon: Hope for Miracles through Faith” by grego

LDS/ Mormon: Hope for Miracles through Faith

grego
(c)2012

The Book of Mormon is clear about many things having to do with miracles. I want to put a few up, hopefully to encourage you.

* Miracles follow those that believe. If there are no miracles, it is because there is no faith.
This is true ALL the time. No, not as in every second of the day (though that’s true, too, when you think about it; but those miracles are open to all of God’s children, not just the believers), or every instance, or on call; they might not come immediately and continuously, but they come when needed and more. This doesn’t necessarily mean “righteousness”, nor does it mean “faith–to change the situation”; it might mean “faith to trust in the Lord and in His ways”.
Moroni 7:37 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.
Moroni 7:38 For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also…

Alma 37:40 And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day.
Alma 37:41 Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey;
Alma 37:42 Therefore, they tarried in the wilderness, or did not travel a direct course, and were afflicted with hunger and thirst, because of their transgressions.

* Greater miracles follow those that believe more greatly.
All believers can have miracles occur in their lives, including non-LDS. Prayer from all people can facilitate miracles. When there is greater faith because of truer teachings, that power to facilitate increases.

*Through faith, all things can be known.
Ether 3:26 For he had said unto him in times before, that if he would believe in him that he could show unto him all things–it should be shown unto him; therefore the Lord could not withhold anything from him, for he knew that the Lord could show him all things.
Moroni 10:5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

* Some miracles are unobservable to outside eyes. Think of all the prayers, the fasting, the quiet faith, etc. and the miracles they brought:
Alma 19:16 … save it were one of the Lamanitish women, whose name was Abish, she having been converted unto the Lord for many years, on account of a remarkable vision of her father–
Alma 19:17 Thus, having been converted to the Lord, and never having made it known, therefore, when she saw that all the servants of Lamoni had fallen to the earth, and also her mistress, the queen, and the king, and Ammon lay prostrate upon the earth, she knew that it was the power of God; and supposing that this opportunity, by making known unto the people what had happened among them, that by beholding this scene it would cause them to believe in the power of God, therefore she ran forth from house to house, making it known unto the people.

* Some miracles are unobservable to your own eyes, righteous or unrighteous.
Note that Nephi and Lehi had no clue a miracle was coming, and the wicked Lamanites were aware of it before they were:
Helaman 5:22 And after they had been cast into prison many days without food, behold, they went forth into the prison to take them that they might slay them.
Helaman 5:23 And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi were encircled about as if by fire, even insomuch that they durst not lay their hands upon them for fear lest they should be burned. Nevertheless, Nephi and Lehi were not burned; and they were as standing in the midst of fire and were not burned.
Helaman 5:24 And when they saw that they were encircled about with a pillar of fire, and that it burned them not, their hearts did take courage.
Helaman 5:25 For they saw that the Lamanites durst not lay their hands upon them; neither durst they come near unto them, but stood as if they were struck dumb with amazement.

Also, Amulek needed an angel and Alma to show him the miracles he couldn’t see because of his wickedness:
Alma 10:5 Nevertheless, after all this, I never have known much of the ways of the Lord, and his mysteries and marvelous power. I said I never had known much of these things; but behold, I mistake, for I have seen much of his mysteries and his marvelous power; yea, even in the preservation of the lives of this people.
Alma 10:6 Nevertheless, I did harden my heart, for I was called many times and I would not hear; therefore I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know; therefore I went on rebelling against God, in the wickedness of my heart, even until the fourth day of this seventh month, which is in the tenth year of the reign of the judges.

* Eyes of faith and understanding, opened by the Spirit, allow you to see the miracles you’d otherwise have missed, at the time, or later.
Other than my parents (who had never talked about it), all the rest of the children in the car never knew (until I told them recently) that we had a clear miracle on a roadtrip that otherwise would have resulted in certain death for all of us.

Another time, my sister and I both saw a small pile of leaves on the side of the road a ways in front of us get smashed and carried away by a gust of wind, coming out of a dangerous canyon (ravines, tight rock walls) in a van known for rolling; we were able to slow down immediately (we were already going slower than the speed limit) but still got shaken pretty good. That wasn’t just chance that there was a pile of leaves as a clear signal marker, that we both saw it and realized what it meant, and reacted well to it.

After a long, dark, seemingly God-lonely period of my life, I was told in a blessing that angels had been around me lifting me up.

There are so many times things happen and we don’t take the few minutes or even seconds of contemplation needed to understand our blessing/ what just happened. As Amulek says:
Alma 10:5 Nevertheless, after all this, I never have known much of the ways of the Lord, and his mysteries and marvelous power. I said I never had known much of these things; but behold, I mistake, for I have seen much of his mysteries and his marvelous power; yea, even in the preservation of the lives of this people.
Alma 10:6 Nevertheless, I did harden my heart, for I was called many times and I would not hear; therefore I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know; therefore I went on rebelling against God, in the wickedness of my heart…
Remember: just because YOU aren’t aware of miracles happening, doesn’t mean they aren’t happening.

* No calling or authorization is needed for miracles to occur.
They do occur to help us fulfill our callings and missions, true, but no calling, position, ordination, rank, social status, etc., and sometimes even worthiness, is needed for us to have miracles. You don’t get “called” to miracles.

* Miracles sometimes come after we are in trying situations, have done our best and failed, should have no earthly hope, etc. Try, try again, and keep trying. Evaluate. Use wisdom. God really does help those who do their best, at their level, to help themselves.

* * God helps those who do their best to help others; charity, love in action, helping others greatly enhance the occurrence of miracles. As mentioned in another post, dedication to God and a desire to serve others increases the miracles in our lives.
Alma 34:27 Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.
Alma 34:28 And now behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need–I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith.
Alma 34:29 Therefore, if ye do not remember to be charitable, ye are as dross, which the refiners do cast out, (it being of no worth) and is trodden under foot of men.

* Miracles CAN CHANGE SITUATIONS, and/ or change our views towards situations.
Some people in the church, even in leadership positions, preach that prayer (read: faith) can’t change situations, but it can help us deal with them–this is only partly true. These people need to read the Book of Mormon more to understand this important doctrine–it is FULL of stories of situations that are changed by faith!! One small verse that shows both:
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.

* There is no limit on the size of a miracle–it can be huge, or tiny. A miracles is a miracle.

*You don’t have to know everything about the solution/ answer (especially the HOW?), as long as you know the giver of the solution/ answer is God.
Alma 32:21 And now as I said concerning faith–faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.

*Faith leads to repentance.
Alma 34:15 And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.

*Miracles through faith come by faith AND righteousness.
3 Nephi 8:1 AND now it came to pass that according to our record, and we know our record to be true, for behold, it was a just man who did keep the record–for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus; and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity–

*Performing/ being involved in miracles often cleanses us.

* Though all miracles come through faith, it’s likely not just our faith that’s involved.
Mosiah 27:14 And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith.
Mosiah 27:16 … And now I say unto thee, Alma, go thy way, and seek to destroy the church no more, that their prayers may be answered, and this even if thou wilt of thyself be cast off.

*Seeing miracles can help our faith, or condemn us.
Helaman 16:2 … but the Spirit of the Lord was with him, insomuch that they could not hit him with their stones neither with their arrows.
Helaman 16:3 Now when they saw that they could not hit him, there were many more who did believe on his words, insomuch that they went away unto Nephi to be baptized.

*Satan and man have explanations for even the greatest and clearest of miracles.
Moroni 7:17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

Helaman 16:15 Nevertheless, the people began to harden their hearts, all save it were the most believing part of them, both of the Nephites and also of the Lamanites, and began to depend upon their own strength and upon their own wisdom, saying:
Helaman 16:16 Some things they may have guessed right, among so many; but behold, we know that all these great and marvelous works cannot come to pass, of which has been spoken…
Helaman 16:22 And many more things did the people imagine up in their hearts, which were foolish and vain; and they were much disturbed, for Satan did stir them up to do iniquity continually; yea, he did go about spreading rumors and contentions upon all the face of the land, that he might harden the hearts of the people against that which was good and against that which should come.
Helaman 16:23 And notwithstanding the signs and the wonders which were wrought among the people of the Lord, and the many miracles which they did, Satan did get great hold upon the hearts of the people upon all the face of the land.

3 Nephi 1:18 For they knew that the prophets had testified of these things for many years, and that the sign which had been given was already at hand; and they began to fear because of their iniquity and their unbelief.
3 Nephi 1:19 … and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given.
3 Nephi 1:20 And it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets.
3 Nephi 1:21 And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word.
3 Nephi 1:22 And it came to pass that from this time forth there began to be lyings sent forth among the people, by Satan, to harden their hearts, to the intent that they might not believe in those signs and wonders which they had seen; but notwithstanding these lyings and deceivings the more part of the people did believe, and were converted unto the Lord.

3 Nephi 2:1 AND it came to pass that thus passed away the ninety and fifth year also, and the people began to forget those signs and wonders which they had heard, and began to be less and less astonished at a sign or a wonder from heaven, insomuch that they began to be hard in their hearts, and blind in their minds, and began to disbelieve all which they had heard and seen–
3 Nephi 2:2 Imagining up some vain thing in their hearts, that it was wrought by men and by the power of the devil, to lead away and deceive the hearts of the people; and thus did Satan get possession of the hearts of the people again, insomuch that he did blind their eyes and lead them away to believe that the doctrine of Christ was a foolish and a vain thing.

*Even if just one person has faith, miracles will occur.
Moroni 7:36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?

*One person can perform might miracles, even in the face of great opposition.
Helaman 8:11 … have ye not read that God gave power unto one man, even Moses, to smite upon the waters of the Red Sea, and they parted hither and thither, insomuch that the Israelites, who were our fathers, came through upon dry ground, and the waters closed upon the armies of the Egyptians and swallowed them up?

3 Nephi 7:17 …Nephi did minister with power and with great authority.
3 Nephi 7:18 And it came to pass that they were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words, for so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily.
3 Nephi 7:19 And in the name of Jesus did he cast out devils and unclean spirits; and even his brother did he raise from the dead, after he had been stoned and suffered death by the people.
3 Nephi 7:20 And the people saw it, and did witness of it, and were angry with him because of his power; and he did also do many more miracles, in the sight of the people, in the name of Jesus.

*Witnessing miracles can bless or curse, depending on the attitude and faith of the observer.
(See my article on believing through seeing: https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/book-of-mormon-does-belief-come-through-faith-and-the-holy-ghost-or-also-through-seeing-by-grego/.)

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