Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2010, February 18

“Book of Mormon | Insight into Satan’s Thoughts and Ways: Alma 8” by grego

“Book of Mormon | Insight into Satan’s Thoughts and Ways: Alma 8”

grego
(c) 2010

We learn from the Book of Mormon, Bible, and other scriptures, that Satan wants to bring every person down. But there is a better way…

In Alma 8 we read about one:
Alma 8:8 And it came to pass that when Alma had come to the city of Ammonihah he began to preach the word of God unto them.
9 Now *Satan had gotten great hold upon the hearts of the people of the city of Ammonihah*; therefore they would not hearken unto the words of Alma.
11 …they hardened their hearts…
He leaves, and
14 … behold an angel of the Lord appeared unto him, saying:
16 …return to the city of Ammonihah, and preach again unto the people of the city… except they repent the Lord God will destroy them.
17 For behold, *they do study at this time that they may destroy the liberty of thy people*, (for thus saith the Lord) which is contrary to the statutes, and judgments, and commandments which he has given unto his people.

Satan had great hold on their hearts, but he didn’t try to bring them all down. He tried to use them to bring down as many others as possible with them. (When they didn’t repent, they did cause lots of pain to others, but in the end, due to the promises and conditions of the Lord, the unrepentant were all slaughtered by the Lamanites.)

This is the best plan: instead of bringing down each individual, bring down the entire structure.

This is the beauty of taking over government: take that down, and you can take down thousands or even billions of people in one fell swoop, without having to worry about each individual. It’s like trying to get 1,000 people to swim in dangerous circumstances and drown them all, one by one, versus just sinking a ship.

This is a reason the control and maintenance of government and freedom is so important.

2009, January 20

Book of Mormon | “Ammonihah: Order of Nehors versus Order of the Son of God; Authority, Power, and Judgment: Part 5” by grego

Book of Mormon | “Ammonihah: Order of Nehors versus Order of the Son of God; Authority, Power, and Judgment: Part 5”
by grego

Part 5

Power and Poetic Justice
So the great power that God has, as preached by Alma and Amulek, is to deliver and preserve his people:
Alma 9:9 Do ye not remember that our father, Lehi, was brought out of Jerusalem by the hand of God? Do ye not remember that they were all led by him through the wilderness?
Alma 9:10 And have ye forgotten so soon how many times he delivered our fathers out of the hands of their enemies, and preserved them from being destroyed, even by the hands of their own brethren?
Alma 9:11 Yea, and if it had not been for his matchless power, and his mercy, and his long-suffering towards us, we should unavoidably have been cut off from the face of the earth long before this period of time, and perhaps been consigned to a state of endless misery and woe.

Then, Alma tells the people of Ammonihah what will happen to them temporally if they do not repent:
Alma 9:12 Behold, now I say unto you that he commandeth you to repent; and except ye repent, ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. But behold, this is not all–he has commanded you to repent, or he will utterly destroy you from off the face of the earth; yea, he will visit you in his anger, and in his fierce anger he will not turn away.

The people aren’t happy with the preaching, there’s a “trial”, and the leaders throw Alma and Amulek in prison. Then,
Alma 14:24 …the chief judge stood before them, and smote them again, and said unto them: If ye have the power of God, deliver yourselves from these bands, and then we will believe that the Lord will destroy this people according to your words.
Alma 14:25 And it came to pass that they all went forth and smote them, saying the same words, even until the last…

Well, through faith, Alma and Amulek escape, and the prison crumbles, destroying every one of those that smote them and spoke those words. So, do the leaders believe now; will they bear testimony now? Well… Unfortunately, they can’t tell anyone else about what happened, because they are all dead. Maybe the others in the city will repent anyway? No, they don’t; they believe the devil did it!

So,
Alma 16:2 …the armies of the Lamanites had come in upon the wilderness side, into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah, and began to slay the people and destroy the city.
Alma 16:3 And now it came to pass, before the Nephites could raise a sufficient army to drive them out of the land, they had destroyed the people who were in the city of Ammonihah…
Alma 16:9 …the Lamanites having been driven out of the land, and the people of Ammonihah were destroyed; yea, every living soul of the Ammonihahites was destroyed, and also their great city, which they said God could not destroy, because of its greatness.

They now knew that God could do it, and he did it; but still, no one could testify to others, as they had all been killed! Still, God had Alma preach to them first; then Alma and Amulek; then the prison crumbled and killed the leaders–three chances/ strikes, a few months of continued unrepentance, and boom! they’re out!


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2009, January 12

Book of Mormon | “Ammonihah: Order of Nehors versus Order of the Son of God; Authority, Power, and Judgment: Part 4” by grego

Book of Mormon | “Ammonihah: Order of Nehors versus Order of the Son of God; Authority, Power, and Judgment: Part 4”
by grego

Part 4

Alma and Amulek testify to the righteous:
Alma 15:2 And they related unto them all that had happened unto their wives and children, and also concerning themselves, and of their POWER of deliverance.

In fact, though this was really all about authority, for the wicked people of Ammonihah it had only been a question of *power* from the beginning:
Alma 8:12 And now we know that because we are not of thy church we know that thou hast no POWER over us; and thou hast delivered up the judgment-seat unto Nephihah; therefore thou art not the chief judge over us.
Alma 8:13 Now when the people had said this, and withstood all his words, and reviled him, and spit upon him, and caused that he should be cast out of their city, he departed thence and took his journey towards the city which was called Aaron.

And Mormon makes the connection:
Alma 8:31 And they had POWER given unto them, insomuch that they could not be confined in dungeons; neither was it possible that any man could slay them; nevertheless they did not exercise their POWER until they were bound in bands and cast into prison. Now, this was done that the Lord might show forth his POWER in them.
Alma 8:32 And it came to pass that they went forth and began to preach and to prophesy unto the people, according to the spirit and POWER which the Lord had given them.

Why the emphasis on power? I believe because the Lord knew that the people of Ammonihah needed a witness of his power to help them repent or to justly condemn themselves if they did not repent.

Alma and Amulek strive to show that throughout Nephite history, the Lord has not been just authoritative, but powerful also, especially unto deliverance:
Alma 9:11 Yea, and if it had not been for his matchless POWER, and his mercy, and his long-suffering towards us, we should unavoidably have been cut off from the face of the earth long before this period of time, and perhaps been consigned to a state of endless misery and woe.

Also make it clear that the devil is powerful, too. So, Alma and Amulek preach a subtle power-struggle beween the Lord and the devil, and between the representatives of the Lord’s order, and the order of Nehor. While the Lord has power to deliver the repentant righteous, the devil has power to destroy and captivate the unrepentant wicked.

Alma 9:28 Therefore, prepare ye the way of the Lord, for the time is at hand that all men shall reap a reward of their works, according to that which they have been–if they have been righteous they shall reap the salvation of their souls, according to the POWER AND DELIVERANCE of Jesus Christ; and if they have been evil they shall reap the damnation of their souls, according to the POWER AND CAPTIVATION of the devil.
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 10:25 But Amulek stretched forth his hand, and cried the mightier unto them, saying: O ye wicked and perverse generation, why hath Satan got such great hold upon your hearts? Why will ye yield yourselves unto him that he may have POWER over you, to blind your eyes, that ye will not understand the words which are spoken, according to their truth?
Alma 12:5 Now this was a plan of thine adversary, and he hath exercised his POWER in thee (Zeezrom). Now I would that ye should remember that what I say unto thee I say unto all.
Alma 12:6 And behold I say unto you all that this was a snare of the adversary, which he has laid to catch this people, that he might bring you into subjection unto him, that he might encircle you about with his chains, that he might chain you down to everlasting DESTRUCTION, according to the POWER of his CAPITIVITY.
Alma 12:7 Now when Alma had spoken these words, Zeezrom began to tremble more exceedingly, for he was convinced more and more of the POWER of God; and he was also convinced that Alma and Amulek had a knowledge of him, for he was convinced that they knew the thoughts and intents of his heart; for POWER was given unto them that they might know of these things according to the spirit of prophecy.
Alma 12:15 But this cannot be; we must come forth and stand before him in his glory, and in his POWER, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our everlasting shame that all his judgments are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all POWER to SAVE every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance.
Alma 12:17 Then is the time when their torments shall be as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever; and then is the time that they shall be chained down to an everlasting DESTRUCTION, according to the POWER and CAPTIVITY of Satan, he having subjected them according to his will.
Alma 12:32 Therefore God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption, that they should not do evil, the penalty thereof being a second death, which was an everlasting death as to things pertaining unto righteousness; for on such the plan of REDEMPTION could have no POWER, for the works of justice could not be destroyed, according to the supreme goodness of God.


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2009, January 7

Book of Mormon | “Ammonihah: Order of Nehors versus Order of the Son of God, Authority, Power, and Judgment: Part 2” by grego

Book of Mormon | Ammonihah: Order of Nehors versus Order of the Son of God, Authority, Power, and Judgment: Part 2
by grego

The order of Nehor believed that all men were saved, but the devil was bad; the order of God believes that all are lost without Christ.

After teaching many of the mysteries of God and the truths of the true order of God, Alma preaches what a true priest is, what order he belongs to, why he is chosen, and where his authority and power stem from. Jesus Christ is the great high priest. All of these teachings contrast greatly with the reality of the order of Nehor in Ammonihah. Alma teaches that Melchizedek was a high priest and king/ ruler, who used his temporal position to preach righteousness to his wicked people; they all repented, and were known for peace, because of following their God. Well, Melchizedek isn’t there, so Alma will have to do as the example of what a true high priest does; and does he! This also works because the Ammonihahites are aware that Alma was the chief judge, and that he is still the high priest of the Church. As Melchizedek, Alma has one desire–to cry repentance, to bring everyone to God, even suffering at the hands of the Ammonihahites for it (of which they were witnesses). Like Jesus and Melchizedek, Alma was under his father. Does Alma go one step beyond Melchizedek, by having given up the position of chief judge/ ruler in order to preach and bring peace to his people?

Note the emphasis in Alma’s preaching on the following words: order, the order of his Son, ordained (“to have holy orders conferred upon”, “to be called to the ministry”), called, calling, high priesthood, high priest., holy, faith, enter, rest, prepared, etc. These come in an incredible verbal onslaught that has no equal elsewhere in the Book of Mormon, and perhaps any other literature.

Alma 13:1 And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ORDAINED PRIESTS, after his HOLY ORDER, which was after THE ORDER OF HIS SON, to teach these things unto the people.

Alma 13:2 And those PRIESTS were ORDAINED after THE ORDER OF HIS SON, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.

Alma 13:3 And this is the manner after which THEY were ORDAINED–being CALLED and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of THEIR EXCEEDING FAITH and GOOD WORKS; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore THEY having CHOSEN GOOD, and exercising EXCEEDINGLY GREAT FAITH, are CALLED with a HOLY CALLING, yea, with that HOLY CALLING which was PREPARED with, and according to, a PREPARATORY redemption for such.

Alma 13:4 And thus THEY have been CALLED to this HOLY CALLING on account of THEIR FAITH, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren.

Alma 13:5 Or in fine, in the first place they were on the same standing with their brethren; thus this HOLY CALLING being PREPARED from the foundation of the world FOR SUCH AS WOULD NOT HARDEN THEIR HEARTS, being in and through the atonement of the Only Begotten Son, who was prepared–

Alma 13:6 And thus being CALLED by this HOLY CALLING, and ORDAINED unto the HIGH PRIESTHOOD the HOLY ORDER OF GOD, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might ENTER INTO HIS REST–

Alma 13:7 This HIGH PRIESTHOOD being after THE ORDER OF HIS SON, which ORDER was from the foundation of the world; or in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years, being PREPARED from eternity to all eternity, according to his foreknowledge of all things–

Alma 13:8 Now THEY were ORDAINED after this manner–being CALLED with a HOLY CALLING, and ORDAINED with a HOLY ORDINANCE, and taking upon THEM the HIGH PRIESTHOOD of the HOLY ORDER, which CALLING, and ORDINANCE, and HIGH PRIESTHOOD, is without beginning or end–

Alma 13:9 Thus THEY become HIGH PRIESTS forever, after the ORDER OF THE SON, the Only Begotten of the Father, who is without beginning of days or end of years, who is full of grace, equity, and truth. And thus it is. Amen.

Alma 13:10 Now, as I said concerning the HOLY ORDER, or this HIGH PRIESTHOOD, there were MANY who were ORDAINED and became HIGH PRIESTS OF GOD; and it was on account of THEIR EXCEEDING FAITH and REPENTANCE, and THEIR righteousness before God, THEY choosing to REPENT and WORK RIGHTEOUSNESS rather than to perish;

Alma 13:11 Therefore THEY were CALLED after this HOLY ORDER, and were sanctified, and THEIR garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb.

Alma 13:12 Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having THEIR garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were MANY, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and ENTERED INTO THE REST of the Lord THEIR God.

Then Alma recounts the story of Melchizedek, the great high priest, who shows what Alma just preached–thus, it is basically a recounting. And Alma closes both stories with similar invitations:

Alma 13:13 And now, my brethren, I would that ye should HUMBLE YOURSELVES BEFORE GOD, and bring forth fruit meet for REPENTANCE, that ye may also ENTER INTO THAT REST.

Alma 13:28 But that ye would HUMBLE YOURSELVES BEFORE THE LORD, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming HUMBLE, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;
Alma 13:29 Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and ENTER INTO HIS REST.
Alma 13:30 And may the Lord grant unto you REPENTANCE…

The Big Question that most influences the lives of the people, and that the two orders clash on is: is repentance necessary or not? (This is also clearly seen when Aaron preaches in Jerusalem: Alma 21.) And there, Alma just explained in a powerful way that it is. After explaining that, he relates the story of Melchizedek; Melchizedek’s city repented and literally was lifted up and entered into the rest of the Lord (it was translated); Alma preaches that Ammonihah, the great city of the order of Nehors, and the unrepentant will be destroyed, and God will do it.


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2009, January 5

“Book of Mormon | Ammonihah: Order of Nehors versus Order of the Son of God, Authority, Power, and Judgment; Part 1” by grego

Book of Mormon | Ammonihah: Order of Nehors versus Order of the Son of God; Authority, Power, and Judgment; Part 1
by grego

(NOTE: Well, after lots of work, I found an article by Thomas R. Valletta entitled “Conflicting Orders: Alma and Amulek in Ammonihah” from at least December 1999 which spoke a lot about what I was writing about. He has some really good insights, and he beats me by about 8 years on some parts! Nevertheless, there are still some new things to say, so I will add a few more things, perhaps new ways of phrasing, perhaps insights. I will also stay more with the actual text and topic, treating this in more a literary fashion, and try to leave out the more apparent things, making it more succinct. I will also be relying on a previous article, “Book of Mormon: Religious Fervor Subverting Law Is Bad: A Study of the People of Ammonihah” found at https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=120 ).

Part 1

In the story of Ammonihah, the literary devices of parallels/ foils are mainly employed.

The first is the two orders involved in this section: the order of Nehors and the order of the Son of God. The first order is set up in defiance of the second in an eternal way, similarly to as how the Ammonihahites defied the Nephites in a temporal way.

First, I wondered about the phrase “profession of Nehor” in the Book of Mormon–how could that be a work/ job?–and it finally hit me that’s not what it meant. To find out more, I looked it up; here are the definitions in Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 (available as a free online resource at http://www.1828.mshaffer.com/ ):

“PROFES’SION, n. [L. professio.]
1. Open declaration; public avowal or acknowledgment of one’s sentiments or belief; as professions of friendship or sincerity; a profession of faith or religion.

2. The business which one professes to understand and to follow for subsistence; calling; vocation; employment; as the learned professions. We speak of the profession of a clergyman, of a lawyer, and of a physician or surgeon; the profession of lecturer on chimistry or mineralogy. But the word is not applied to an occupation merely mechanical.
3. The collective body of persons engaged in a calling. We speak of practices honorable or disgraceful to a profession.
4. Among the Romanists, the entering into a religious order, by which a person offers himself to God by a vow of inviolable obedience, chastity and poverty.”

I was thinking of #1, which was basically #1 in Joseph Smith’s time, at the time of the Book of Mormon translation. However, I also noted #4 (basically a sub-category of #1) in which the “profession” of entering into “a religious order” is basically an act of covenant. That’s very interesting, in light of the normal name of “the order of Nehors”, where “order” is likely a “religious fraternity” (Webster’s Dictionary, 1828) and the rest of the story of Ammonihah.

So there aren’t just two opposing belief systems; there are two opposing “religious fraternities” (which nevertheless involved the women, too), two priesthood, with questions of authority, power, and judgment.

According to Alma and Amulek, God is the great judge. He sets up laws, and men either obey and are blessed, or disobey and cursed, cut off, lose their light, and are finally destroyed.
Satan is the opposer. He tries to persuade men that God’s laws are not really laws that need to be obeyed, and tries to institute his own “laws”. His main goal is to set up an opposing god, and he does that well in Ammonihah–it’s money and power. In fact, this is clearly laid out with representatives of both sides in the big argument: Alma and Amulek on one side, and Zeezrom and Antionum (as surmised by Gordon Thomasson, two purposeful “money” names) on the other. Alma and Amulek use the Spirit and the word of God, and Zeezrom’s first main tool is money/ bribery–an invitation to “worship his God”–and then the cunning devices of persuasion, or power over people by use of speech.

The chief judge/ ruler of the Ammonihahites is after the order of Nehor (Alma 14:16). He uses his temporal position to lead his people in preparing to illegally “destroy the liberty of [Alma’s] people” (Alma 8:17), almost surely by exercising improper power as he did with the righteous he killed.
The lawyers and judges stir up the people and do bad things just to make money (Alma 11:20), because money is their god. By their actions, they worship their god. The people are mad with Alma and Amulek, and want to kill them.

2008, October 20

Book of Mormon: More about the Lamanites and Ammonihah, by grego

Book of Mormon: More about the Lamanites and Ammonihah
by grego

Alma prophesies to the (Nephite) people of Ammonihah:
Alma 9:16 For there are many promises which are extended to the Lamanites; for it is because of the traditions of their fathers that caused them to remain in their state of ignorance; therefore the Lord will be merciful unto them and prolong their existence in the land.
Alma 9:17 And *at some period of time they will be brought to believe in his word, and to know of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers; and many of them will be saved, for the Lord will be merciful unto all who call on his name*.
Alma 9:18 But behold, I say unto you that *if ye persist in your wickedness that your days shall not be prolonged in the land, for the Lamanites shall be sent upon you; and if ye repent not they shall come in a time when you know not, and ye shall be visited with utter destruction*; and it shall be according to the fierce anger of the Lord.

It’s interesting that this parallel occurs exactly as prophesied in the Book of Mormon, though not in a straightforward way.

The first part of the prophecy is fulfilled in the later story of the preaching of Ammon and his brethren to the Lamanites, in Alma 17-27 or 28.

The second part of the prophecy is fulfilled at the end of the Ammonihah story, in Alma 16.

So, it’s a double prophecy and parallel fulfillment, but in two separate Book of Mormon stories.


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2008, June 17

“The Greatest Irony in the Book of Mormon: Nehorites Massacre Nehorites instead of Uniting to Overthrow the Nephite Government!” by grego

I recently found what I consider to be the greatest irony in the Book of Mormon (not in the Gospel, which would be another). As with most other irony in the Book of Mormon, nowhere in the text is the irony mentioned–it’s not readily apparent (at least not to me until the 100th time or so? of reading/ listening to the pertinent parts). Of course, now it’s really clear. Funny how that is…

So, in the Alma 20’s chapters, the Amalekites and Amulonites warriors on the Lamanite side, most of who were of the order of Nehor, wanted revenge on the Nephites because of their loss of power over the Lamanites and the Nephites. They no doubt wanted to overthrow the Nephite kingdom. So, in their anger and vengeance, they attacked the city of Ammonihah and wiped out the residents completely.

The peope in the city of Ammonihah–the ones that were left after the righteous had departed or been killed–were… of the order of Nehor! And the main purpose of those living there? To overthrow the Nephite government!!

So instead of the perfect team of two great, wicked groups, of the same religious order, with the same standards, with the same evil purpose, they became enemies and killed each other and set each other up to be killed. The Lord once more used the unrepentant wicked to get rid of the unrepentant wicked in that land.

UPDATE: Someone else already discovered this; from 2005:
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=14&num=1&id=364
Alma’s Enemies: The Case of the Lamanites, Amlicites, and Mysterious Amalekites
J. Christopher Conkling
Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: Volume – 14, Issue – 1, Pages: 108-17
Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute, 2005
“In short, for reasons not quite clear, the Ammonihah incident features, ironically, the destruction of Nephite Nehorites by a large number of Nephite Nehorites.”


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2008, May 4

Book of Mormon | “ALL”, “ONE”, “NONE” Examples in the Anti-Nephi-Lehi Story

Book of Mormon: “ALL”, “ONE”, “NONE”, Examples in the Anti-Nephi-Lehi Story
by grego

I decided to add a little more that somewhat relates to the recent “Stripling Warrior” post.

There is apt mention of “one”, “all”, and “none”/ “not one” in the Book of Mormon, and especially in this story. It might be fun to pay attention as you read, or even search how many times these terms come up and where.

Since it’s hard to tell where one starts and ones stops, I’ll mention a few (no, this is not a complete list) in the sons of Mosiah Lamanite conversion story:

*Ammon cuts off all their arms, except for the one leader, who he kills.
*All the servants fall except Abish, just one, who goes and gets the people.
*Out of all the people gathered, one of the robbers tries to kill Ammon.
*The king desires to know “all these things”.
*The king gives up “all his sins”.
*One of them is mightier than all: “Why commandest thou that we should slay these men, when behold one of them is mightier than us all?”
*The king orders no obstruction to the word; they are all brethren.
*None of the people who convert are ex-Nephites, except one.
*All of the Lamanites in seven cities are converted.
*Not one soul among all the converted is willing to fight.
*They bury all their weapons.
*All of the 1,005 people who are killed are righteous; not one unrighteous among them.
*None of those that killed the 1,005 are ex-Nephites; all were descendants of Laman and Lemuel.
*The Lamanites kill all the people of Ammonihah; not one soul is spared.
*God verified his word to them in every particular.
*The missionaries suffered every privation, all manner of afflictions.
*Ammon tells the king all the words of the Lord.
*They gather all the converts and leave.
*They report all the things that happened in the land of the Lamanites.
*The converted Lamanites are “perfectly upright and honest in all things”.

What else do YOU find?


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