Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2010, November 4

“Book of Mormon | Protecting Your Sheep, Overcoming Your Wolves: Personal Applications of Alma 5:59” by grego

Book of Mormon | Protecting Your Sheep, Overcoming Your Wolves: Personal Applications of Alma 5:59

grego
(c)2010

In Alma 5, Alma says:
56 And finally, all ye that will persist in your wickedness, I say unto you that these are they who shall be hewn down and cast into the fire except they speedily repent.
57 …all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things; and behold, their names shall be blotted out, that the names of the wicked shall not be numbered among the names of the righteous…
59 For what shepherd is there among you having many sheep doth not watch over them, that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? And behold, if a wolf enter his flock doth he not drive him out? Yea, and at the last, if he can, he will destroy him.
60 And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed.

As I’ve been on a personal improvement binge (for the past few years particularly) in all areas of life, and hopefully getting close to a meaningful end for many problems, I saw verse 59 (and 60) in a particular manner.

Our persons, our personalities, have lots of different “elements”/ “parts” to them. These could be beliefs, ideas, habits, triggers, associations, etc. that are part of us/ that make us up. Most of them could be classified as good or bad, sheep or wolves.

We have lots of wonderful parts I call sheep. The gospel and the LDS Church have helped me a lot with them.

On the other hand, packs of wolves surround us on every level: spiritual, physical, emotional, etc.

Sickness; emotions such as anger, frustration, despair, revenge; habits such as negative addictions; self-doubt; etc.

They keep us prey, surrounding us, nipping at us, waiting for an opening to lunge in and drag us down, kill us.

We are, to some degree, in fear of them all the time. Or else we foolishly ignore them, and their power over us is stronger.

The less we have to defend against them (faith, strength, power), the easier it is for them to attack us. When one gets a good hold, the others join in.

Our sheep are always at their mercy. Yet the shepherd who loves, protects, and appreciates the sheep, still has power to overcome the wolves. The shepherd has sources from which to draw more power to safeguard the sheep and counter the wolves: prayer, scriptures, renewing covenants, temple attendance, service, etc.

To truly become free, we must either convert the wolves into sheep and bring them into the fold, or drive them out of the fold or kill them, if possible. (Note: this does not mean, nor did Alma mean, that the righteous should kill the wicked or apostates!)

So, I’ve been working on overcoming my wolves recently… What wonderful imagery!

2010, November 3

“Book of Mormon Geography: The Nephites Lived near Wolves; Are There Wolves in Mesoamerica?” by grego

“Book of Mormon Geography: Alma 5:59—The Nephites Lived near Wolves; Are There Wolves in Mesoamerica?””

grego
(c)2010

The book of Mormon says that there were wolves among the Nephites, and this might give us a clue as to where the Book of Mormon geographical setting was (Mesoamerica, New York, etc.).

In Alma 5, Alma says:
59 For what shepherd is there among you having many sheep doth not watch over them, that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? And behold, if a wolf enter his flock doth he not drive him out? Yea, and at the last, if he can, he will destroy him.

3 Nephi 14:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Wolves were there! Alma 5:59 especially is not just “a reference” to wolves (like perhaps in Isaiah), but a verse clearly showing that the Nephites lived near wolves.

Where are wolves in the Americas? Guatemala? Central America? Peru? New York? Utah? Looking at www.discoverlife.org, currently (not back then) I see this geographical distribution:
Canis rufus: North America and possibly northern Mexico, at lowest
Canis lupus: North America; Mexico (very little), Argentina (very little, if any?)

Ouch! That doesn’t seem to fare well for the Guatemala-as-the-Book-of-Mormon-geography folks.

Maybe a jackal?
Jackals are noted in the Bible; Nephi and likely Jacob would know what they were; so unless they showed up later than Nephi and Jacob, wolf =/= jackal. Still (discoverlife.org again, and in the future, too):
Black-backed jackals: California, possibly New York?

Coyote?
I imagine coyotes would be with jackals or dogs more than with wolves, but… Maybe, maybe not.
Coyote: everywhere in North and Central America—except the Yucatan Penninsula.

Wild (feral) dogs?
There are three mentions of (wild) dogs in the Book of Mormon, from Mosiah to Helaman:

Mosiah 12:2 Yea, wo be unto this generation! And the Lord said unto me: Stretch forth thy hand and prophesy, saying: Thus saith the Lord, it shall come to pass that this generation, because of their iniquities, shall be brought into bondage, and shall be smitten on the cheek; yea, and shall be driven by men, and shall be slain; and the vultures of the air, and the dogs, yea, and the wild beasts, shall devour their flesh.

Alma 16:10 But behold, in one day it was left desolate; and the carcases were mangled by dogs and wild beasts of the wilderness.

Helaman 7:19 And behold, instead of gathering you, except ye will repent, behold, he shall scatter you forth that ye shall become meat for dogs and wild beasts.

It seems that these dogs are meat scavengers; also, “dog” always appears right in front of “wild beasts”. Dogs have been in the Americas since before the Lehites, though I’m not sure where…

Searching for Mayan myths about wolves, or just anything between Mayas and wolves, I have only found a photo of a “wolf man” sculpture.

And that’s all for here, now.

Perhaps someone could look into geographical distribution for wolves in 83 BC in the Americas? :)

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