Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2012, January 2

Book of Mormon: Resource Page for Nephi-Laban-Brass Plates; Nephi; Laman and Lemuel; Lehi

Book of Mormon: Resource Page for Nephi-Laban-Brass Plates; Nephi; Laman and Lemuel; Lehi

grego
(c)2012

Here’s a convenient list of site articles mostly about 1 Nephi:

-=-=-=
Getting the Brass Plates from Laban:

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2008/01/10/book-of-mormon-lessons-from-the-three-episodes-of-getting-the-brass-plates-nephi-vs-moses-nephi-and-laban-vs-david-and-goliath-laman-and-lemuel-vs-saul-zoram-vs-jonathan-sariah-vs-miriam/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2008/01/21/book-of-mormon-the-symbolism-in-nephi-meeting-labans-sword-more-about-the-brass-plates-why-did-nephi-kill-laban-reasons-for-the-nephites-to-have-the-brass-plates-by-grego/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/book-of-mormon-the-holy-ghost-persuades-nephi-to-slay-laban-1-nephi-3-by-grego/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/book-of-mormon-even-more-about-getting-the-brass-plates-1-nephi-3-4-by-grego/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2008/01/23/were-lehis-house-and-land-of-inheritance-separate/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/book-of-mormon-the-unseen-lord-is-above-all-to-nephi-even-present-angels-1-nephi-3-1-nephi-4-by-grego/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/book-of-mormon-nephis-early-spirituality-by-grego/

-=-=-=
More about Nephi:

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/book-of-mormon-nephis-odd-language-when-speaking-to-his-brothers-my-father-instead-of-our-father-1-nephi-318-1-nephi-714-1-nephi-1744-by-grego/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/book-of-mormon-the-tent-of-my-father-as-figurative-speech-meaning-destination-in-1-nephi-3-1-nephi-7-and-its-discontinuation-of-use-afterward-by-grego/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2008/06/20/persuasion-in-the-book-of-mormon-and-other-things/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2008/01/25/what-was-up-with-sam/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2008/06/20/one-more-thing-about-sam-no-samites/

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Laman and Lemuel:

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/book-of-mormon-laman-and-lemuel-foolish-imaginations-of-the-heart-1-nephi-211-1-nephi-1720-by-grego/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/book-of-mormon-the-real-reason-the-lehites-left-jerusalem/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2010/02/06/book-of-mormon-contrasting-results-of-jacobs-versus-laman-and-lemuels-heavenly-witnesses-by-grego/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2008/02/13/laman-lemuel-and-responsibility-or-lack-thereof/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/examples-of-irony-parallelism-and-imagery-in-the-book-of-mormon-part-1-version-2-by-grego/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/book-of-mormon-lessons-from-1-nephi-18-binding-the-prophets-by-grego/

-=-=-=
Lehi:

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/book-of-mormon-lehis-faith-among-trials-by-grego/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2010/01/05/book-of-mormon-the-prayers-of-the-righteous-save-the-wicked-by-grego/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/book-of-mormon-lehi-prophets-dont-hoard-to-prosper-but-share-to-help-1-nephi-1-by-grego/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/book-of-mormon-lehi-faithfulness-changes-the-path-to-death-into-the-path-to-safety-1-nephi-21-2-by-grego/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2008/01/26/father-and-son-revelation-and-revelation/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2008/01/25/my-critique-of-did-father-lehi-have-daughters-who-married-the-sons-of-ishmael/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2008/01/26/seed-fruit-seed-fruit-and-seed/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/lds-mormon-book-of-mormon-origins-of-lehis-600-year-prophecy-of-the-coming-of-the-messiah-savior-jesus-christ-by-grego/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/book-of-mormon-1-nephi-514-joseph-being-preserved-and-preserving-by-grego/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2010/07/01/who-saw-jesus-in-the-book-of-mormon-by-grego/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2009/12/08/book-of-mormon-what-is-the-iron-rod-to-you-how-do-you-use-it-by-grego/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/a-critique-of-s-kent-browns-book-of-mormon-article-a-case-for-lehis-bondage-in-arabia-by-grego/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2009/05/14/book-of-mormon-a-fallen-angel-becomes-the-devil-lehis-supposition-jacobs-doctrine/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/book-of-mormon-others-in-the-land-the-ox-argument-by-grego/

2010, November 3

“Book of Mormon: Jacob’s Prophecy of Destruction in Jacob 3 Fulfilled in Omni 1” by grego

Book of Mormon: Jacob’s Prophecy of Destruction in Jacob 3 Fulfilled in Omni 1

grego
(c) 2010

Jacob prophesies:
Jacob 3:3 But, wo, wo, unto you that are not pure in heart, that are filthy this day before God; for except ye repent the land is cursed for your sakes; and the Lamanites, which are not filthy like unto you, nevertheless they are cursed with a sore cursing, shall scourge you even unto destruction.
4 And the time speedily cometh, that except ye repent they shall possess the land of your inheritance, and the Lord God will lead away the righteous out from among you.

So, the Lamanites will destoy the unrepentant Nephites. While this seems like a foretelling of the end of the Nephite nation in 400’s AD, it might mean something else.

Then, if the Nephites don’t repent, the Lamanites will take over their first lands, and the righteous will be led away. Which also means, the wicked Nephites will be destroyed.

Later, there is this:
Omni 1:4 And now I, Amaron, write the things whatsoever I write, which are few, in the book of my father.
5 Behold, it came to pass that *three hundred and twenty years had passed away, and the more wicked part of the Nephites were destroyed.
6 For the Lord would not suffer, after he had led them out of the land of Jerusalem and kept and preserved them from falling into the hands of their enemies, yea, he would not suffer that the words should not be verified, which he spake unto our fathers, saying that: Inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall not prosper in the land.
7 Wherefore, the Lord did visit them in great judgment; nevertheless, he did spare the righteous that they should not perish, but did deliver them out of the hands of their enemies.
12 Behold, I am Amaleki, the son of Abinadom. Behold, I will speak unto you somewhat concerning Mosiah, who was made king over the land of Zarahemla; for behold, he being warned of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi, and as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord should also depart out of the land with him, into the wilderness—
13 And it came to pass that he did according as the Lord had commanded him. And they departed out of the land into the wilderness, as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord; and they were led by many preachings and prophesyings. And they were admonished continually by the word of God; and they were led by the power of his arm, through the wilderness until they came down into the land which is called the land of Zarahemla.

There is the fulfillment of Jacob’s double prophecy–18 pages later (in the current Book of Mormon). Once more, internal consistency that adds to Joseph Smith being a prophet or a genius with incredible memory.

2010, October 20

“Book of Mormon and the LDS Church: ‘Much in the Family’ Prophets and Apostles” by grego

Book of Mormon and the LDS Church: ‘Much in the Family’ Prophets and Apostles

grego
(c)2010

It has been noted, usually negatively, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/ LDS/ Mormon Church leadership (usually termed “hierarchy” by those noting) seems to revolve around a few families, most that had been around since near the beginning. When it seems a stranger is called as an apostle, you sometimes find out that he really is no stranger, but intermarried with one of the families.

It’s clear that in the Book of Mormon, much of the religious leadership is in the family, especially the time before Jesus Christ’s appearance. Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, etc. on down to King Benjamin (and because the last one right before didn’t have a son)… Alma, Alma, Helaman, Shiblon, Helaman, Nephi, Nephi… Mormon, Moroni.

There was one section that I had never noticed much before. It was also interesting to me that of the disciples called by Jesus, named and discussed in 3 Nephi 19:
three are related (father, brother, son) and two of these are named after prophets;
two are related (brothers);
two are named “Jonas”; and
three are named after Old Testament prophets (Jeremiah, Zedekiah, Isaiah).
Then, two names seem to be related.

Maybe there are certain family lines that are more… “apropos” to being called to serve as apostles and prophets.

And maybe naming your child after a prophet helps! ;)

2010, October 19

“Book of Mormon: Pahoran Sons’ Names Clearly Indicate a Syllabic Language”

“Book of Mormon: Pahoran Sons’ Names Clearly Indicate a Syllabic Language”

grego
(c)2010

The three sons of Pahoran that are given are named: Pahoran, Paanchi, Pacumeni (Helaman 1). However, the names don’t just start with “P”, as English speakers would notice; but with a syllable, “Pa”. This is strange to English. It’s true, English etymology (origin of words) does have syllables/ “parts”—such as “con-“, “re-“, “-able”, etc. But rarely are these used in naming people.

Yet some languages, especially where a syllable means/ can mean something (which is also strange to English), are a much better explanation for the “pa” syllable being in a name. In Chinese, for example, names are sometimes given to all the children that start with the same syllable.

So, another foreign influence found in the Book of Mormon that Joseph Smith most likely didn’t know anything about.

2010, October 16

“Book of Mormon: Internal Consistency: The Bow and the Arrow as Separate Weapons” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Internal Consistency: The Bow and the Arrow as Separate Weapons”

grego
(c) 2010

(While the consistency is always there, to do a proper research report on this topic in the areas I go would require a considerable amount of time, if not more, which I don’t have right now; so remember, this is not hard data and necessary results here, eh?)

All throughout the Book of Mormon, the bow and the arrow—which we in the USA today know as “bow and arrow”, “bow and arrows”, or “bows and arrows”—are written as “the bow, and the arrow”—listed as if they were separate weapons! Yes, if they are both listed they are paired, but always separate. Outlandish! How else do you use an arrow, especially in war?

In addition, stones and the sling are paired if both are listed, but they are also listed as separate weapons, too.

Here are all the references: “All forms of the word ARROW in the Text of the Book of Mormon.”:

1 Ne. 16:14 And it came to pass that we did take *our bows and our arrows*…
15 And it came to pass that we did travel for the space of many days, slaying food by the way, with *our bows and our arrows* and our *stones and our slings*.
23 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with *a bow and an arrow*, with *a sling and with stones*. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?

Jarom 1:8 …weapons of war—yea, the sharp pointed *arrow*, and the quiver, and the dart, and the javelin, and all preparations for war.

Mosiah 9:16 And it came to pass that I did arm them *with bows, and with arrows*, with swords, and with cimeters, and with clubs, and with slings, and with all manner of weapons which we could invent…

Mosiah 10:8 And it came to pass that they came up upon the north of the land of Shilom, with their numerous hosts, men armed *with bows, and with arrows*, and with swords, and with cimeters, and *with stones, and with slings*…

Alma 2:12 … they did arm themselves with swords, and with cimeters, and *with bows, and with arrows*, and *with stones, and with slings*, and with all manner of weapons of war, of every kind.

Alma 3:5 Now the heads of the Lamanites were shorn; and they were naked, save it were skin which was girded about their loins, and also their armor, which was girded about them, and *their bows, and their arrows*, and *their stones, and their slings*, and so forth.

Alma 17:7 Nevertheless they departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and took their swords, and their spears, and *their bows, and their arrows*, and *their slings*; and this they did that they might provide food for themselves while in the wilderness.

Alma 43:20 Now the army of Zerahemnah was not prepared with any such thing; they had only their swords and their cimeters, *their bows and their arrows*, *their stones and their slings*…

Alma 49:2 And behold, the city had been rebuilt, and Moroni had stationed an army by the borders of the city, and they had cast up dirt round about to shield them from *the arrows* and *the stones* of the Lamanites; for behold, they fought *with stones* and *with arrows*.
4 But behold, how great was their disappointment; for behold, the Nephites had dug up a ridge of earth round about them, which was so high that the Lamanites could not cast their stones and their arrows at them that they might take effect, neither could they come upon them save it was by their place of entrance.
19 And thus were the Nephites prepared to destroy all such as should attempt to climb up to enter the fort by any other way, by casting over stones and arrows at them.
22 Now when they found that they could not obtain power over the Nephites by the pass, they began to dig down their banks of earth that they might obtain a pass to their armies, that they might have an equal chance to fight; but behold, in these attempts they were swept off by the stones and arrows which were thrown at them; and instead of filling up their ditches by pulling down the banks of earth, they were filled up in a measure with their dead and wounded bodies.
24 There were about fifty who were wounded, who had been exposed to the arrows of the Lamanites through the pass, but they were shielded by their shields, and their breastplates, and their head-plates, insomuch that their wounds were upon their legs, many of which were very severe.

Alma 50:4 And he caused towers to be erected that overlooked those works of pickets, and he caused places of security to be built upon those towers, that *the stones and the arrows* of the Lamanites could not hurt them.

Helaman 1:14 … the Lamanites had gathered together an innumerable army of men, and armed them with swords, and with cimeters and *with bows, and with arrows*, and with head-plates, and with breastplates, and with all manner of shields of every kind.

Helaman 16:2 But as many as there were who did not believe in the words of Samuel were angry with him; and they *cast stones* at him upon the wall, and also many *shot arrows* at him as he stood upon the wall; but the Spirit of the Lord was with him, insomuch that they could not hit him with their stones neither with their arrows.

Mormon 6:9 And it came to pass that they did fall upon my people with the sword, and *with the bow, and with the arrow*, and with the ax, and with all manner of weapons of war.

(2 Nephi 15:28 Whose *arrows shall be sharp, and all their bows bent*, and their horses’ hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind, their roaring like a lion.
2 Nephi 17:24 *With arrows and with bows* shall men come thither, because all the land shall become briers and thorns.)

Notice the different relationships:
1 Ne. 16:14 And it came to pass that we did take *our bows and our arrows*…
15 And it came to pass that we did travel for the space of many days, slaying food by the way, with *our bows and our arrows* and our *stones and our slings*.
23 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with *a bow and an arrow*, with *a sling and with stones*. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?

Jarom 1:8 …weapons of war—yea, the sharp pointed arrow, and the quiver, and the dart, and the javelin, and all preparations for war.

Mosiah 9:16 And it came to pass that I did arm them *with bows, and with arrows*, with swords, and with cimeters, and with clubs, and with *slings*, and with all manner of weapons which we could invent…

Mosiah 10:8 men armed *with bows, and with arrows*, and with swords, and with cimeters, and *with stones, and with slings*…

Alma 2:12 … they did arm themselves with swords, and with cimeters, and *with bows, and with arrows*, and *with stones, and with slings*, and with all manner of weapons of war, of every kind.

Alma 3:5 and *their bows, and their arrows*, and *their stones, and their slings*, and so forth.

Alma 17:7 their swords, and their spears, and *their bows, and their arrows*, and *their slings*; and this they did that they might provide food for themselves while in the wilderness.

Alma 43:20 *their bows and their arrows*, *their stones and their slings*…

Alma 49:2 …they had cast up dirt round about to shield them from *the arrows* and *the stones* of the Lamanites; for behold, they fought *with stones* and *with arrows*.
4 the Nephites had dug up a ridge of earth round about them, which was so high that the Lamanites could not *cast their stones and their arrows* at them that they might take effect…
19 And thus were the Nephites prepared to destroy all such as should attempt to climb up to enter the fort by any other way, by casting over stones and arrows at them.
22 *the stones and arrows which were thrown at them*; and instead of filling up their ditches by pulling down the banks of earth, they were filled up in a measure with their dead and wounded bodies.
24 There were about fifty who were wounded, who had been exposed to the arrows of the Lamanites through the pass, but they were shielded by their shields, and their breastplates, and their head-plates, insomuch that their wounds were upon their legs, many of which were very severe.

Helaman 16:2 *cast stones* *shot arrows*

Here are the weapons and delivery methods:
sharp pointed arrow, quiver, dart, javelin.
spears.
cast their stones and their arrows (no mention of bows, slings).
casting over stones and arrows at them; stones and arrows thrown at them.
cast stones, shot arrows.

What is to “cast”? From Webster’s 1828 dictionary:
1. To throw, fling or send; that is, to drive from, by force, as from the hand, or from an engine. (and there are more, but most definitions don’t fit anything that would have to do with arrows).
So, casting arrows would not be with a bow, but perhaps by hand, string, some kind of sling or method to propel it, etc. It’s possible that definitions changed over time; that has happened before. It’s possible that Hebrew for “to cast” means “to shoot [an arrow]. No doubt linguistic dancing could make “to cast” fit “to shoot [as from a bow]”. Because, we all know arrows are shot from a bow!–right? But as we accept all those possibilities, let’s stop, look, and think.

Reading through the text, I see references to arrows being thrown. But of course that’s stupid—throwing arrows in war?? You throw spears (maybe, usually not), and you throw javelins. But arrows?

Whoops.

Quimsically, a search for “arrow throwing”—something I had never heard of, especially growing up on American Indian shows where a bow was always used— is/ was part of many ancient places/ cultures, including Yemen, Korea, Rome, etc.

Here’s something about arrow throwing in England. From “The Crossbow”, found at http://www.crossbowbook.com/page_243.html (probably 1903 or so):
“The ordinary thrower will cast the arrow from 240 to 250 yards, a very skilful thrower will send it from 280 to 300 yards, the record throw being 372 yards.”

Ok, that’s not much information, and that’s still a long way to throw an arrow…

Anything else that matches the text better?

From http://www.thudscave.com/npaa/designs/baton.htm, is a relation of some experiements :
-=
“Ever seen an arrow thrown with a leather thong? Well its like a piece of string with a knot in the end. You wrap that knot on the arrow around the balance point or something like that and then rotate the string around once or so I forget. Then wrap the other end around your finger and you throw arrows.”

“I brought the same 2.3 ounce dart…
With distance I’m getting *50-55 yards*. I found that *if I try to angle it much higher than a little, from parallel with the ground then not much energy is transferred to the dart and it doesent go more than 30 yards. If its parallel or angled down slightly it just flies!* heh”

“In the book it said for light darts 3/4th a turn of the string around the shaft. For heavier ones, 1 full turn. Well trying that out, I found that 3/4th and 1 full turn caused the dart to fly upwards on release and fly quite a bit higher and arc more like a distance throw. I started wrapping the string about 3 or 4 times around the dart and found that the (trajectory? is that what it’s called?) to be somewhat flat, it didnt have much an arc to it.”

“More experiementing and then I found that the best way to throw was like a throwing spear, but as I’m moving my arm and body forward to lift the dart up and then do a fast downward motion as it’s about to leave. *That makes the dart fly parellel to the ground, with no sideways movement, it flies straight as an arrow!* Usually when I’m throwing like that with a dart, close to the end of the flight, the darts gonna curve a bit.”

“Oh yea sorry forgot to mention that this dart has NO FLETCHING. So it flew like it had fletching, if I did that up/down thing right it would fly flat, straight and direct…”

“After that I started throwing 25 yards from my target. I actually hit the rabbit sized wood/bark 3 times! I hit the lump of snow quite a bit too. One time I threw it so hard, it zoomed hit the iced front part of the lump directly. I went up to pull the dart out. The lump was solid ice….. and the dart was in past the binding of the point. Went in 6 inches…”

“*Oh yea I forgot to mention, try throwing downhill. That’s when this thing REALLY shines I dont want to be on the recieving end! haha*”
-=

So, to sum up:
–great distance, great accuracy, great penetration.
–level launching works; the higher up the target, the less effective.
–throwing downhill really makes it zing.

I think those parts are interesting with regards to the Lamanite attack on Noah. Look one more time at this:
4 the Nephites had dug up a ridge of earth round about them, which was so high that the Lamanites could not *cast their stones and their arrows* at them that they might take effect…
19 And thus were the Nephites prepared to destroy all such as should attempt to climb up to enter the fort by any other way, by casting over stones and arrows at them.
22 …*the stones and arrows which were thrown at them*; and instead of filling up their ditches by pulling down the banks of earth, they were filled up in a measure with their dead and wounded bodies.
24 There were about fifty who were wounded, who had been exposed to the arrows of the Lamanites through the pass, but they were shielded by their shields, and their breastplates, and their head-plates, insomuch that their wounds were upon their legs, many of which were very severe.

If we’re imagining a ridge of earth that is really high, I think we’re mistaken; a good bow could still hit high, too (though I don’t know about 600BC bows. It has been researched that some flight bows could hit 750 yards with a light arrow, 350 yards with a heavy war arrow; see http://www.atarn.org/islamic/Performance/Performance_of_Turkish_bows.htm ). I believe the “ridge of earth” being too “high” has to do with the angle of delivery for thrown or string-thrown arrows—as the commenter was getting at, that when the target is high above the horizon, there’s not enough arc for good delivery, and the arrows don’t fly well at all, especially if they are heavy war arrows.

However, throwing from above, at a target below horizon, is the opposite story.

Given a choice, the bow would not doubt be the excellent delivery method. So, what might be the advantages of throwing arrows instead of using bows to shoot them?
–not having to carry a bow (especially a long one).
–less equipment (size, weight).
–faster travel (especially if through dense forest or jungle terrain), less tired, less cumbersome, one less weapon to maintain.
–more arrows/ other weapons can be carried instead.
–no need to worry about bows, bow strings breaking or becoming useless.
–if there is lots of humidity, or if there are great changes in humidity (which affect bows), there would be fewer problems.
–possibly much faster to attack (more arrows/ minute), less concentration required—but perhaps only if hand-thrown instead of string-thrown.
–no fletching needed.

So, the internal consistency throughout the Book of Mormon about bows and arrows is amazing, and the possibly bizarre-seeming intended meanings of the text actually support war data from other times and places in more similar conditions than what we imagine. If Joseph Smith were making it up, that would be one more brilliant plume in his con hat.

2010, August 6

“Book of Mormon: Alma 15: Awkward News; If Only We Had Never Left; a Sad Tale” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Alma 15: Awkward News; If Only We Had Never Left; a Sad Tale”

grego
(c) 2010

In Alma 15 we read of the men cast out of Ammonihah being told by Alma and Amulek of the fate of their wives and children:

Alma 15:1 And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek were commanded to depart out of that city; and they departed, and came out even into the land of Sidom; and behold, there they found all the people who had departed out of the land of Ammonihah, who had been cast out and stoned, because they believed in the words of Alma.
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.

I imagine that must have felt awkward: “We witnessed and survived our ordeal by the power of God, but your wives and children were murdered.” No doubt they recounted the discussion between Amulek and Alma:
10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.
11 But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.
12 Now Amulek said unto Alma: Behold, perhaps they will burn us also.
13 And Alma said: Be it according to the will of the Lord. But, behold, our work is not finished; therefore they burn us not.

Nevertheless, the men themselves had survived and been cast out and had survived. I wonder if their thoughts were turned in regret to their initial decision to live in Ammonihah, to sin, and then to stay in Ammonihah.

Alma 15:3 And also Zeezrom lay sick at Sidom, with a burning fever, which was caused by the great tribulations of his mind on account of his wickedness, for he supposed that Alma and Amulek were no more; and he supposed that they had been slain because of his iniquity. And this great sin, and his many other sins, did harrow up his mind until it did become exceedingly sore, having no deliverance; therefore he began to be scorched with a burning heat.
4 Now, when he heard that Alma and Amulek were in the land of Sidom, his heart began to take courage; and he sent a message immediately unto them, desiring them to come unto him.
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 they found him upon his bed, sick, being very low with a burning fever; and his mind also was exceedingly sore because of his iniquities; and when he saw them he stretched forth his hand, and besought them that they would heal him.
6 And it came to pass that Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand: Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation?
7 And he answered and said: Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught.
8 And Alma said: If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed.
9 And he said: Yea, I believe according to thy words.
10 And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ.
11 And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk; and this was done to the great astonishment of all the people; and the knowledge of this went forth throughout all the land of Sidom.
12 And Alma baptized Zeezrom unto the Lord; and he began from that time forth to preach unto the people.

Zeezrom didn’t know about the women and children being killed; he just thought Alma and Amulek had died. No doubt the deaths of all those people later weighed on him.

Later, Amulek no doubt mourned for his dead relatives; but not just because they had been murdered, but because they had likely died unrepentant:
Alma 15:15 But as to the people that were in the land of Ammonihah, they yet remained a hard-hearted and a stiffnecked people; and they repented not of their sins, ascribing all the power of Alma and Amulek to the devil; for they were of the profession of Nehor, and did not believe in the repentance of their sins.
16 And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek, Amulek having forsaken all his gold, and silver, and his precious things, which were in the land of Ammonihah, for the word of God, he being rejected by those who were once his friends and also by his father and his kindred;
18 Now as I said, Alma having seen all these things, therefore he took Amulek and came over to the land of Zarahemla, and took him to his own house, and did administer unto him in his tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord.

It was a sad tale for everyone; the survivors somehow got on; but it was an eternally sad tale for the unrepentant.

2010, July 27

“Book of Mormon: Shiz Tries to Prove the Prophet Ether Wrong” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Shiz Tries to Prove the Prophet Ether Wrong”

grego
(c) 2010

We read:
Ether 14:24 Nevertheless, Shiz did not cease to pursue Coriantumr; for he had sworn to avenge himself upon Coriantumr of the blood of his brother, who had been slain, and the word of the Lord which came to Ether that Coriantumr should not fall by the sword.

Shiz wanted to kill Coriantumr to become leader, to avenge his brother’s death, and to prove that the prophet Ether was wrong when he said that the Lord said Coriantumr wouldn’t die.

This last part was a prophecy given to Coriantumr, and is found here:
Ether 13:20 And in the second year the word of the Lord came to Ether, that he should go and prophesy unto Coriantumr that, if he would repent, and all his household, the Lord would give unto him his kingdom and spare the people—
21 Otherwise they should be destroyed, and all his household save it were himself. And he should only live to see the fulfilling of the prophecies which had been spoken concerning another people receiving the land for their inheritance; and Coriantumr should receive a burial by them; and every soul should be destroyed save it were Coriantumr.
22 And it came to pass that Coriantumr repented not, neither his household, neither the people; and the wars ceased not; and they sought to kill Ether, but he fled from before them and hid again in the cavity of the rock.

I think there was another reason behind Shiz’s desire to kill Ether–to prove that the people didn’t need to repent, by making God’s word hollow. This is often the case, it seems, with those who have sinned greatly and don’t want to repent.

Shiz comes *so close* to proving Ether wrong on more than one occasion:
Ether 14:30 And it came to pass that Shiz smote upon Coriantumr that he gave him many deep wounds; and Coriantumr, having lost his blood, fainted, and was carried away as though he were dead.

Ether 15:5 And it came to pass that when Shiz had received his epistle he wrote an epistle unto Coriantumr, that if he would give himself up, that he might slay him with his own sword, that he would spare the lives of the people.
6 And it came to pass that the people repented not of their iniquity; and the people of Coriantumr were stirred up to anger against the people of Shiz; and the people of Shiz were stirred up to anger against the people of Coriantumr; wherefore, the people of Shiz did give battle unto the people of Coriantumr.

9 And it came to pass that they fought an exceedingly sore battle, in which Coriantumr was wounded again, and he fainted with the loss of blood.

18 And it came to pass that Coriantumr wrote again an epistle unto Shiz, desiring that he would not come again to battle, but that he would take the kingdom, and spare the lives of the people.
19 But behold, the Spirit of the Lord had ceased striving with them, and Satan had full power over the hearts of the people; for they were given up unto the hardness of their hearts, and the blindness of their minds that they might be destroyed; wherefore they went again to battle.

Ether 15:28 And it came to pass that when the men of Coriantumr had received sufficient strength that they could walk, they were about to flee for their lives; but behold, Shiz arose, and also his men, and he swore in his wrath that he would slay Coriantumr or he would perish by the sword.

Unfortunately for Shiz, pursuing this course of trying to prove the prophet wrong (on at least one point, any point!) ended in the exact fulfillment of the prophet Ether’s entire prophecy, including Shiz’s death and Coriantumr’s life:
Ether 15:29 Wherefore, he did pursue them, and on the morrow he did overtake them; and they fought again with the sword. And it came to pass that when they had all fallen by the sword, save it were Coriantumr and Shiz, behold Shiz had fainted with the loss of blood.
30 And it came to pass that when Coriantumr had leaned upon his sword, that he rested a little, he smote off the head of Shiz.
31 And it came to pass that after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised up on his hands and fell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died.

Omni 1:21 And they gave an account of one Coriantumr, and the slain of his people. And Coriantumr was discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons.

2010, June 1

“Book of Mormon: ‘This Book Cannot Contain even a Hundredth Part'” by grego

“Book of Mormon: ‘This Book Cannot Contain even a Hundredth Part'”

grego
(c) 2010

Writing two articles recently, I was reminded how over and over throughout the Book of Mormon, writers tell us that it contains but a very, very, very small part of the history of the Nephites—even of the spiritual things—and even less about the Lamanites.

I decided to see how many passages I could find regarding this. I searched “hundredth part”, “full account”, “many more things”, “more things”, “difficulty”, “write”, and came up with these:

1 Nephi 1:16 And now I, Nephi, do not make a full account of the things which my father hath written, for he hath written many things which he saw in visions and in dreams; and he also hath written many things which he prophesied and spake unto his children, of which I shall not make a full account.

1 Nephi 6:1 And now I, Nephi, do not give the genealogy of my fathers in this part of my record; neither at any time shall I give it after upon these plates which I am writing; for it is given in the record which has been kept by my father; wherefore, I do not write it in this work.
3 And it mattereth not to me that I am particular to give a full account of all the things of my father, for they cannot be written upon these plates, for I desire the room that I may write of the things of God.

1 Nephi 8:30 But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.

1 Nephi 9:1 And all these things did my father see, and hear, and speak, as he dwelt in a tent, in the valley of Lemuel, and also a great many more things, which cannot be written upon these plates.
2 And now, as I have spoken concerning these plates, behold they are not the plates upon which I make a full account of the history of my people; for the plates upon which I make a full account of my people I have given the name of Nephi; wherefore, they are called the plates of Nephi, after mine own name; and these plates also are called the plates of Nephi.

1 Nephi 10:15 And after this manner of language did my father prophesy and speak unto my brethren, and also many more things which I do not write in this book; for I have written as many of them as were expedient for me in mine other book.

1 Nephi 14:28 And behold, I, Nephi, am forbidden that I should write the remainder of the things which I saw and heard; wherefore the things which I have written sufficeth me; and I have written but a small part of the things which I saw.

1 Nephi 19:4 Wherefore, I, Nephi, did make a record upon the other plates, which gives an account, or which gives a greater account of the wars and contentions and destructions of my people. And this have I done, and commanded my people what they should do after I was gone; and that these plates should be handed down from one generation to another, or from one prophet to another, until further commandments of the Lord.
5 And an account of my making these plates shall be given hereafter; and then, behold, I proceed according to that which I have spoken; and this I do that the more sacred things may be kept for the knowledge of my people.

2 Nephi 4:25 And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them.

2 Nephi 5:4 Now I do not write upon these plates all the words which they murmured against me. But it sufficeth me to say, that they did seek to take away my life.

2 Nephi 11:1 And now, Jacob spake many more things to my people at that time; nevertheless only these things have I caused to be written, for the things which I have written sufficeth me.

2 Nephi 31:1 And now I, Nephi, make an end of my prophesying unto you, my beloved brethren. And I cannot write but a few things, which I know must surely come to pass; neither can I write but a few of the words of my brother Jacob.

2 Nephi 33:1 And now I, Nephi, cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.

Jacob 1:2 And he gave me, Jacob, a commandment that I should write upon these plates a few of the things which I considered to be most precious; that I should not touch, save it were lightly, concerning the history of this people which are called the people of Nephi.

Jacob 3:12 And now I, Jacob, spake many more things unto the people of Nephi, warning them against fornication and lasciviousness, and every kind of sin, telling them the awful consequences of them.
13 And a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, which now began to be numerous, cannot be written upon these plates; but many of their proceedings are written upon the larger plates, and their wars, and their contentions, and the reigns of their kings

Jacob 4:1 Now behold, it came to pass that I, Jacob, having ministered much unto my people in word, (and I cannot write but a little of my words, because of the difficulty of engraving our words upon plates) and we know that the things which we write upon plates must remain;
2 But whatsoever things we write upon anything save it be upon plates must perish and vanish away; but we can write a few words upon plates, which will give our children, and also our beloved brethren, a small degree of knowledge concerning us, or concerning their fathers—

Jarom 1:1 Now behold, I, Jarom, write a few words according to the commandment of my father, Enos, that our genealogy may be kept.
2 And as these plates are small, and as these things are written for the intent of the benefit of our brethren the Lamanites, wherefore, it must needs be that I write a little; but I shall not write the things of my prophesying, nor of my revelations. For what could I write more than my fathers have written? For have not they revealed the plan of salvation? I say unto you, Yea; and this sufficeth me.
14 And I, Jarom, do not write more, for the plates are small. But behold, my brethren, ye can go to the other plates of Nephi; for behold, upon them the records of our wars are engraven, according to the writings of the kings, or those which they caused to be written.

Omni 1:21 And they gave an account of one Coriantumr, and the slain of his people. And Coriantumr was discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons.

Words of Mormon 1:3 And now, I speak somewhat concerning that which I have written; for after I had made an abridgment from the plates of Nephi, down to the reign of this king Benjamin, of whom Amaleki spake, I searched among the records which had been delivered into my hands, and I found these plates, which contained this small account of the prophets, from Jacob down to the reign of this king Benjamin, and also many of the words of Nephi.
5 Wherefore, I chose these things, to finish my record upon them, which remainder of my record I shall take from the plates of Nephi; and I cannot write the hundredth part of the things of my people.

Mosiah 1:8 And many more things did king Benjamin teach his sons, which are not written in this book.

Mosiah 7:19 Therefore, lift up your heads, and rejoice, and put your trust in God, in that God who was the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; and also, that God who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, and caused that they should walk through the Red Sea on dry ground, and fed them with manna that they might not perish in the wilderness; and many more things did he do for them.
28 And now, because he said this, they did put him to death; and many more things did they do which brought down the wrath of God upon them. Therefore, who wondereth that they are in bondage, and that they are smitten with sore afflictions?

Mosiah 21:35 They were desirous to be baptized as a witness and a testimony that they were willing to serve God with all their hearts; nevertheless they did prolong the time; and an account of their baptism shall be given hereafter.

Mosiah 24:6 But they taught them that they should keep their record, and that they might write one to another.

Mosiah 29:33 And many more things did king Mosiah write unto them, unfolding unto them all the trials and troubles of a righteous king, yea, all the travails of soul for their people, and also all the murmurings of the people to their king; and he explained it all unto them.

Alma 10:2 I am Amulek; I am the son of Giddonah, who was the son of Ishmael, who was a descendant of Aminadi; and it was that same Aminadi who interpreted the writing which was upon the wall of the temple, which was written by the finger of God.

Alma 30:17 And many more such things did he say unto them, telling them that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men, but every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime.

Alma 36:11 And the angel spake more things unto me, which were heard by my brethren, but I did not hear them; for when I heard the words—If thou wilt be destroyed of thyself, seek no more to destroy the church of God—I was struck with such great fear and amazement lest perhaps I should be destroyed, that I fell to the earth and I did hear no more.

Helaman 3:14 But behold, a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, yea, the account of the Lamanites and of the Nephites, and their wars, and contentions, and dissensions, and their preaching, and their prophecies, and their shipping and their building of ships, and their building of temples, and of synagogues and their sanctuaries, and their righteousness, and their wickedness, and their murders, and their robbings, and their plundering, and all manner of abominations and whoredoms, cannot be contained in this work.

Helaman 14:1 And now it came to pass that Samuel, the Lamanite, did prophesy a great many more things which cannot be written.

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.

3 Nephi 5:8 And there had many things transpired which, in the eyes of some, would be great and marvelous; nevertheless, they cannot all be written in this book; yea, this book cannot contain even a hundredth part of what was done among so many people in the space of twenty and five years;
9 But behold there are records which do contain all the proceedings of this people; and a shorter but true account was given by Nephi.
16 Therefore I do make my record from the accounts which have been given by those who were before me, until the commencement of my day;
18 And I know the record which I make to be a just and a true record; nevertheless there are many things which, according to our language, we are not able to write.19 And now I make an end of my saying, which is of myself, and proceed to give my account of the things which have been before me.

3 Nephi 23:6 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had said these words he said unto them again, after he had expounded all the scriptures unto them which they had received, he said unto them:Behold, other scriptures I would that ye should write, that ye have not.
16 Behold, it came to pass on the morrow that the multitude gathered themselves together, and they both saw and heard these children; yea, even babes did open their mouths and utter marvelous things; and the things which they did utter were forbidden that there should not any man write them.

3 Nephi 26:6 And now there cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people;

3 Nephi 26:11 Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying:I will try the faith of my people.

3 Nephi 26:16 Behold, it came to pass on the morrow that the multitude gathered themselves together, and they both saw and heard these children; yea, even babes did open their mouths and utter marvelous things; and the things which they did utter were forbidden that there should not any man write them.

3 Nephi 27:23 Write the things which ye have seen and heard, save it be those which are forbidden.

3 Nephi 28:14 And it was forbidden them that they should utter; neither was it given unto them power that they could utter the things which they saw and heard;

3 Ne. 28:25 Behold, I was about to write the names of those who were never to taste of death, but the Lord forbade; therefore I write them not, for they are hid from the world.

3 Nephi 28:33 And if ye had all the scriptures which give an account of all the marvelous works of Christ, ye would, according to the words of Christ, know that these things must surely come.

Mormon 2:18 And upon the plates of Nephi I did make a full account of all the wickedness and abominations; but upon these plates I did forbear to make a full account of their wickedness and abominations, for behold, a continual scene of wickedness and abominations has been before mine eyes ever since I have been sufficient to behold the ways of man.

Morm. 4:11 And it is impossible for the tongue to describe, or for man to write a perfect description of the horrible scene of the blood and carnage which was among the people, both of the Nephites and of the Lamanites; and every heart was hardened, so that they delighted in the shedding of blood continually.

Mormon 5:9 And also that a knowledge of these things must come unto the remnant of these people, and also unto the Gentiles, who the Lord hath said should scatter this people, and this people should be counted as naught among them—therefore I write a small abridgment, daring not to give a full account of the things which I have seen, because of the commandment which I have received, and also that ye might not have too great sorrow because of the wickedness of this people.

Morm. 8:5 Behold, my father hath made this record, and he hath written the intent thereof. And behold, I would write it also if I had room upon the plates, but I have not; and ore I have none, for I am alone. My father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinsfolk, and I have not friends nor whither to go; and how long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not.
23 Search the prophecies of Isaiah. Behold, I cannot write them. Yea, behold I say unto you, that those saints who have gone before me, who have possessed this land, shall cry, yea, even from the dust will they cry unto the Lord; and as the Lord liveth he will remember the covenant which he hath made with them.

Ether 1:3 And as I suppose that the first part of this record, which speaks concerning the creation of the world, and also of Adam, and an account from that time even to the great tower, and whatsoever things transpired among the children of men until that time, is had among the Jews—
4 Therefore I do not write those things which transpired from the days of Adam until that time; but they are had upon the plates; and whoso findeth them, the same will have power that he may get the full account.
5 But behold, I give not the full account, but a part of the account I give, from the tower down until they were destroyed.

Ether 3:17 And now, as I, Moroni, said I could not make a full account of these things which are written, therefore it sufficeth me to say that Jesus showed himself unto this man in the spirit, even after the manner and in the likeness of the same body even as he showed himself unto the Nephites.

Ether 4:5 Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them. And he commanded me that I should seal them up; and he also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord.

Ether 8:9 Now the daughter of Jared was exceedingly fair. And it came to pass that she did talk with her father, and said unto him:Whereby hath my father so much sorrow? Hath he not read the record which our fathers brought across the great deep? Behold, is there not an account concerning them of old, that they by their secret plans did obtain kingdoms and great glory?

Ether 8:20 And now I, Moroni, do not write the manner of their oaths and combinations, for it hath been made known unto me that they are had among all people, and they are had among the Lamanites.

Ether 12:24 And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands. Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them.

Ether 13:13 And I was about to write more, but I am forbidden; but great and marvelous were the prophecies of Ether; but they esteemed him as naught, and cast him out; and he hid himself in the cavity of a rock by day, and by night he went forth viewing the things which should come upon the people.

Ether 15:33 And the Lord spake unto Ether, and said unto him:Go forth. And he went forth, and beheld that the words of the Lord had all been fulfilled; and he finished his record; (and the hundredth part I have not written) and he hid them in a manner that the people of Limhi did find them.

Moroni 1:1 Now I, Moroni, after having made an end of abridging the account of the people of Jared, I had supposed not to have written more, but I have not as yet perished; and I make not myself known to the Lamanites lest they should destroy me.

2010, May 26

“Book of Mormon: Succession of Jaredite Kings in the Book of Ether” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Succession of Jaredite Kings in the Book of Ether”

grego
(c) 2010

One thing that kind of threw me off for a while (yeah, I was pretty numb-minded numerous times reading) in Ether was the succession of kings. It’s not the typical succession, where the oldest son becomes king.

Here it is: when the king dies, his *youngest* son becomes king!

This tradition started with the choosing of the first Jaredite king. The account is found here:
Ether 6:22 And it came to pass that the people desired of [the brother of Jared and Jared] that they should anoint one of their sons to be a king over them.
23 And now behold, this was grievous unto them. And the brother of Jared said unto them: Surely this thing leadeth into captivity.
24 But Jared said unto his brother: Suffer them that they may have a king. And therefore he said unto them: Choose ye out from among our sons a king, even whom ye will.
25 And it came to pass that they chose even the firstborn of the brother of Jared; and his name was Pagag. And it came to pass that he refused and would not be their king. And the people would that his father should constrain him, but his father would not; and he commanded them that they should constrain no man to be their king.
26 And it came to pass that they chose all the brothers of Pagag, and they would not.
27 And it came to pass that neither would the sons of Jared, even all save it were one; and Orihah was anointed to be king over the people.

And who was Orihah? As listed in verse 14:
14 And Jared had four sons; and they were called Jacom, and Gilgah, and Mahah, and Orihah.

Yup, the youngest son!

Here are clearer examples of this tradition carried on throughout the book of Ether:
Ether 7:1 And it came to pass that Orihah did execute judgment upon the land in righteousness all his days, whose days were exceedingly many.
2 And he begat sons and daughters; yea, he begat thirty and one, among whom were twenty and three sons.
3 And it came to pass that he also begat Kib in his old age. And it came to pass that Kib reigned in his stead; and Kib begat Corihor.

Ether 7:18 And it came to pass as he was about to put him to death, the sons of Shule crept into the house of Noah by night and slew him, and broke down the door of the prison and brought out their father, and placed him upon his throne in his own kingdom.
26 And because the people did repent of their iniquities and idolatries the Lord did spare them, and they began to prosper again in the land. And it came to pass that Shule begat sons and daughters in his old age.
Ether 8:1 And it came to pass that he begat Omer, and Omer reigned in his stead.

Ether 8:2 Nevertheless, the Lord was merciful unto Omer, and also to his sons and to his daughters who did not seek his destruction.
14 And it came to pass that Omer began to be old; nevertheless, in his old age he begat Emer; and he anointed Emer to be king to reign in his stead.

Ether 9:21 And Emer did execute judgment in righteousness all his days, and he begat many sons and daughters; and he begat Coriantum, and he anointed Coriantum to reign in his stead.

Ether 9:24 And it came to pass that [Coriantum’s] wife died, being an hundred and two years old. And it came to pass that Coriantum took to wife, in his old age, a young maid, and begat sons and daughters; wherefore he lived until he was an hundred and forty and two years old.
25 And it came to pass that he begat Com, and Com reigned in his stead; and he reigned forty and nine years, and he begat Heth; and he also begat other sons and daughters.

Ether 10:2 And it came to pass that Shez … begat sons and daughters.
3 And his eldest son, whose name was Shez, did rebel against him…
4 …And Shez did live to an exceedingly old age; and he begat Riplakish. And he died, and Riplakish reigned in his stead.

Ether 10:13 And Morianton did live to an exceedingly great age, and then he begat Kim; and Kim did reign in the stead of his father; and he did reign eight years, and his father died.

Ether 10:16 And after [Levi] had obtained unto himself the kingdom he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord; and the people did prosper in the land; and he did live to a good old age, and begat sons and daughters; and he also begat Corom, whom he anointed king in his stead.

Ether 10:29 And it came to pass that Lib did live many years, and begat sons and daughters; and he also begat Hearthom.
30 And it came to pass that Hearthom reigned in the stead of his father.

Ether 11:4 And [Com] lived to a good old age, and begat Shiblom; and Shiblom reigned in his stead.

Ether 11:14 And it came to pass that Ethem did execute judgment in wickedness all his days; and he begat Moron. And it came to pass that Moron did reign in his stead; and Moron did that which was wicked before the Lord.

I wonder if this led to many more problems than there would have been, had they used the typical way. I wonder if any of the kings remembered that they were king, and could have changed the tradition? Or?

2009, December 18

“Book of Mormon: The Destruction at Christ’s Coming–The Significance of the Date” by grego

“Book of Mormon: The Destruction at Christ’s Coming–The Significance of the Date”

grego
(c) 2009

I found one more interesting point about the destruction at Christ’s coming in 3 Nephi:8 in the Book of Mormon. It has to do with the date.

2 And now it came to pass, if there was no mistake made by this man in the reckoning of our time, the *thirty and third year had passed away;
3 And the people began to look with great earnestness for the sign which had been given by the prophet Samuel, the Lamanite, yea, for the time that there should be darkness for the space of three days over the face of the land.
4 And there began to be great doubtings and disputations among the people, notwithstanding so many signs had been given.
5 And it came to pass in the *thirty and fourth year, in the first month, on the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the land.

It seems people were looking forward to this sign of darkness in the 33rd year, a time that must have been more or less given in the prophecy Samuel made but which didn’t make it into Mormon’s summary of Samuel’s prophecy (see the signs but not the time in Helaman 14:14, 20-27).

The sign didn’t come.

I imagine the majority (the wicked) were overjoyed at this failure of the sign to manifest.

Obviously the lesson from 33 or so years ago had been forgotten.

It was now the fourth day of the 34th year (3 Nephi 8:5). If the Mesoamerican New Year ceremony/ ritual of gods sitting on their thrones in triumph has any significance, the gods were in place for the year–or so the wicked might have imagined.
From http://feastuponthewordblog.org/2008/09/08/book-of-mormon-lesson-31-alma-43-52-another-take/ : “The general ritual practice is something like this: a dummy king is put on the throne on New Year’s Eve, and then, through some kind of combat drama, he is killed, after which the real king appears on the throne as if resurrected, and everyone celebrates the king’s power over death and chaos, etc. Notice, though, what happens here: the Lamanites wake up, and, sure enough, the king has died. But they can’t rouse him, and he doesn’t bring himself back to life. On the very morning when he should have died and also risen, he simply dies. To any pagan society, this would have had one meaning: your gods have been conquered by the gods of your enemies.”
Also, was there anything in any Nephite religious culture that had to do with three days of death and then the spirit is gone, as in Jewish thought at the time of Jesus?

Suddenly, on the fourth day of the new year, all nature broke loose.

Once more, it was a surprising and strong testimony that Jesus Christ WAS God.

2009, November 4

Book of Mormon: “Nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” by grego

Book of Mormon: “Nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book”

grego
(c) 2006

The other night, I understood (for myself) the last part of this quote from Joseph Smith about the Book of Mormon:

“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

–especially in light of the Bible.

In some ways the Book of Mormon doesn’t do as well as the Bible, such as in the life of Christ and his actions and words.

But then I thought about this:
How many instances in the Bible do you see one seeking revelation? And an answer from God, clearly connected to it? And the need for the Spirit?

I have found very few, relatively speaking. I see lots of one or the other, but very few connected, together. Yet, from Lehi’s first vision to Moroni’s questions and answers, the Book of Mormon is full of instances where a person seeks God, and finds Him; seeks His answers, and gets them; has a problem, and God helps with the solution–and the processes and connections are shown, and connected.

If we were to have personal revelation, through seeking God by prayer and having the Spirit, and reading and understanding the scriptures, wouldn’t we be “nearer to God”? And which book, even of all holy books, teaches, supports, and urges this more than any other? The Book of Mormon.

1 Comment:
Anonymous said…
Very good comment, thanks. Titch

2009, September 8

Book of Mormon | “King Noah (Then) vs. the USA (Now)” by grego

Book of Mormon | “King Noah (Then) vs. the USA (Now)”
grego
(c) 2006-2009

Let’s take a look at what King Noah did, and see if we can draw any connections to life in America.

Mosiah 11:2 For behold, he did not keep the commandments of God, but he did walk after the desires of his own heart. And he had many wives and concubines. And he did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord. Yea, and they did commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness.

Mosiah 11:3 And he laid a tax of one fifth part of all they possessed, a fifth part of their gold and of their silver, and a fifth part of their ziff, and of their copper, and of their brass and their iron; and a fifth part of their fatlings; and also a fifth part of all their grain.

Mosiah 11:4 And all this did he take to support himself, and his wives and his concubines; and also his priests, and their wives and their concubines; thus he had changed the affairs of the kingdom.

Mosiah 11:5 For he put down all the priests that had been consecrated by his father, and consecrated new ones in their stead, such as were lifted up in the pride of their hearts.

Mosiah 11:6 Yea, and thus they were supported in their laziness, and in their idolatry, and in their whoredoms, by the taxes which king Noah had put upon his people; thus did the people labor exceedingly to support iniquity.

Mosiah 11:7 Yea, and they also became idolatrous, because they were deceived by the vain and flattering words of the king and priests; for they did speak flattering things unto them.

Mosiah 11:8 And it came to pass that king Noah built many elegant and spacious buildings; and he ornamented them with fine work of wood, and of all manner of precious things, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of brass, and of ziff, and of copper;

Mosiah 11:9 And he also built him a spacious palace, and a throne in the midst thereof, all of which was of fine wood and was ornamented with gold and silver and with precious things.

Mosiah 11:10 And he also caused that his workmen should work all manner of fine work within the walls of the temple, of fine wood, and of copper, and of brass.

Mosiah 11:11 And the seats which were set apart for the high priests, which were above all the other seats, he did ornament with pure gold; and he caused a breastwork to be built before them, that they might rest their bodies and their arms upon while they should speak lying and vain words to his people.

Mosiah 11:12 And it came to pass that he built a tower near the temple; yea, a very high tower, even so high that he could stand upon the top thereof and overlook the land of Shilom, and also the land of Shemlon, which was possessed by the Lamanites; and he could even look over all the land round about.

Mosiah 11:13 And it came to pass that he caused many buildings to be built in the land Shilom; and he caused a great tower to be built on the hill north of the land Shilom, which had been a resort for the children of Nephi at the time they fled out of the land; and thus he did do with the riches which he obtained by the taxation of his people.

Mosiah 11:14 And it came to pass that he placed his heart upon his riches, and he spent his time in riotous living with his wives and his concubines; and so did also his priests spend their time with harlots.

Mosiah 11:15 And it came to pass that he planted vineyards round about in the land; and he built wine-presses, and made wine in abundance; and therefore he became a wine-bibber, and also his people.

Mosiah 11:16 And it came to pass that the Lamanites began to come in upon his people, upon small numbers, and to slay them in their fields, and while they were tending their flocks.

Mosiah 11:17 And king Noah sent guards round about the land to keep them off; but he did not send a sufficient number, and the Lamanites came upon them and killed them, and drove many of their flocks out of the land; thus the Lamanites began to destroy them, and to exercise their hatred upon them.

Mosiah 11:18 And it came to pass that king Noah sent his armies against them, and they were driven back, or they drove them back for a time; therefore, they returned rejoicing in their spoil.

Mosiah 11:19 And now, because of this great victory they were lifted up in the pride of their hearts; they did boast in their own strength, saying that their fifty could stand against thousands of the Lamanites; and thus they did boast, and did delight in blood, and the shedding of the blood of their brethren, and this because of the wickedness of their king and priests.

Do you feel our elected leaders are in it “for us”, or for their bank accounts?

Are they remembering the history and the lessons of our forefathers, and the fathers of this nation? No, they have basically put them away.

King Noah put a 20% tax on the people to support his and his priests’ living. What percentage did you pay last time? Do you feel that you “labor exceedingly” to support waste in Congress or the Presidency, for example? Have you heard any stories of elected officials and prostitutes? (And I promise you there are many, many more you haven’t heard of because it never makes the mainstream media.) Extravagant spending on public projects (websites dedicated to that…), or military spending, or unbid-upon contracts, like in Iraq?

King Noah is smart, though; he keeps his people drunk with wine to keep them happy and complacent. Too busy working to pay the taxes, too busy drinking and being taught sin to wash away their troubles and have an outlet for their misery, and too busy “relaxing” (i.e., watching sports and TV), all with one result: too busy to cause any trouble for him. And by taking away so much in taxes, yet giving them so much back in alcohol (cough, cough), they love him. Seen that anywhere recently?

About Abinadi’s prophesying, King Noah says, “he has said these things (against me especially) that he might stir up my people to anger one with another, and to raise contentions among my people”. Sounds just like Bush/ Obama (do you really think they are that different??) talking about not questioning the official story of 9/11, huh? Well, actually, there was a reason Abinadi said something, and while that was the end result, that’s not why he said it—he said it because it was the truth, and the people were ripening for destruction.

Then it says that the people’s eyes were blinded, and they sought against Abinadi—why would they do that? They had been lulled into a state of comfort and pride, and propaganda. They win a small victory, and feel invincible. Besides, they had that *tower* that king Noah built that was going to save them (Star Wars, Shock and Awe, you name it…).

Fortunately, we have the inside scoop—Abinadi the madman really was the good guy—yet all the Noahites believed Abinadi was the bad guy, the liar, the troublemaker. They just couldn’t understand why he didn’t want to get drunk and have a good time along with them…

After all, why would their priests or their king lie to them? Then along comes Alma; then Gideon wises up. (Luckily he didn’t work for BYU. But it wouldn’t have mattered much, because things changed quickly and there probably wouldn’t have been a BYU for very long afterwards anyway. By the way, I hope that BYU has noted ex-Professor Jones’ latest research on super-thermite in the WTC dust.)

At the end of the story, by the time the people realize that they have been lied to and tricked; that their king can’t protect them—his assigned duty—puff! They are in a bloodbath and bondage situation.

Let’s avoid that, eh? But we’ll have to do better than King Noah’s people if we expect better results, and hopefully this article has opened our eyes a little more to the situation we are in. What does it mean, the Book of Mormon is for our day?

2009, May 19

Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 4 of 6” by grego

Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 4 of 6”
by grego
(c) 2005-2009

Ether 12:27–“Weakness” or “WeaknessES”?

PART 4

Start at Part 1

Part 3

Here is another place that shows that great faith help the weak ones to overcome their weakness, not weaknesses, and be made strong in the Lord:
“Behold, now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked round about again on the multitude, and he said unto them: Behold, my time is at hand” (3 Nephi 17:1).
“I perceive that YE ARE WEAK, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time” (3 Nephi 17:2).
“Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again” (3 Nephi 17:3).

And yet, these people received truly unspeakable blessings a few moments later, and Jesus says this about their faith:
3 Nephi 17:8 For I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that YOUR FAITH IS SUFFICIENT that I should heal you.
3 Nephi 17:20 And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: BLESSED ARE YE BECAUSE OF YOUR FAITH. And now behold, my joy is full.

Nephi writes of his shortcomings and his need for God:
2 Nephi 4:16 Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.
2 Nephi 4:17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.
2 Nephi 4:18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.
2 Nephi 4:19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.
2 Nephi 4:20 My God hath been my support…

Nephi comments on his own writing:
“AND now I, Nephi, cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men” (2 Nephi 33:1) …
“But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry” (2 Nephi 33:3)
“And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in WEAKNESS will be made STRONG unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal” (2 Nephi 33:4)

Reminders by Mormon and Moroni (note that these all came before Ether 12):
Title Page: And now, IF THERE ARE FAULTS THEY ARE THE MISTAKES OF MEN; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.
Mormon 8:17 And IF THERE BE FAULTS THEY BE THE FAULTS OF A MAN. But behold, we know no fault; nevertheless God knoweth all things; therefore, he that condemneth, let him be aware lest he shall be in danger of hell fire.
Mormon 8:12 And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of THE IMPERFECTIONS WHICH ARE IN IT, the same shall know of greater things than these. Behold, I am Moroni; and were it possible, I WOULD MAKE ALL THINGS KNOWN UNTO YOU.
Mormon 9:31 CONDEMN ME NOT BECAUSE OF MINE IMPERFECTION (not “imperfectionS”), neither MY FATHER, BECAUSE OF HIS IMPERFECTION (not “imperfectionS”), neither THEM WHO HAVE WRITTEN BEFORE HIM; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.

And then this: Ether 12:40 “And only a few have I written, because of my WEAKNESS in writing”.

Yet Moroni understands, through seeking and finding Jesus, we receive grace:
Ether 12:41 “And now, I would commend you to SEEK THIS JESUS of whom the prophets and apostles have written, THAT THE GRACE OF GOD the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, MAY BE AND ABIDE IN YOU FOREVER. Amen”.

The story of Nephi the third great prophet is interesting. He has such great faith that he constantly works miracles:
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… and HE DID ALSO DO MANY MORE MIRACLES, in the sight of the people, IN THE NAME OF JESUS (author’s note: not of himself, a mortal man, but by and through God and His power!).

And more about him here:
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–

and yet, in just the next verse, we read:
3 Nephi 8:2 And now it came to pass, if there was no mistake made by this man in the reckoning of our time, the thirty and third year had passed away;

In other words, though Nephi “was a just man”, “cleansed every whit from his iniquity”—through the atonement of Jesus Christ, that is—and had performed “many miracles” (note the so-very-important “in the name of Jesus” here!), Nephi might have made a simple human mistake in keeping track of the time! (Gives ADDer’s great hope, huh?)

When Jesus comes, the first matter of business is to chastize the people for having disputations and contentions regarding the ordinance of baptism and other doctrines–something that Nephi, as prophet, should have been taking care of:
3 Nephi 11:22 And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize. And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you…
3 Nephi 11:27 And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.
3 Nephi 11:28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.
3 Nephi 11:29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
3 Nephi 11:30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.

Later, Jesus checks the records, and finds that Nephi didn’t record the fulfillment of an important prophecy—it seems he had forgotten:
3 Nephi 23:8 And when Nephi had brought forth the records, and laid them before him, he cast his eyes upon them and said:
3 Nephi 23:9 Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them: Was it not so?
3 Nephi 23:10 And his disciples answered him and said: Yea, Lord, Samuel did prophesy according to thy words, and they were all fulfilled.
3 Nephi 23:11 And Jesus said unto them: How be it that ye have not written this thing, that many saints did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them?
3 Nephi 23:12And it came to pass that Nephi remembered that this thing had not been written.

Part 5


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Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 3 of 6” by grego

Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 3 of 6”
by grego
(c) 2005-2009

Ether 12:27–“Weakness” or “WeaknessES”?

PART 3

Start at Part 1

Part 2

While all people have many different weaknesses, we all have the same one weakness: we are mortal, and subject to all the essence of mortality; we come short of perfection, we have sinned, we are capable of and will sin, we lack something of light, something of truth, something of God, we have not yet fully overcome.

The story of the brother of Jared seeing Jesus fits in well here:
Ether 3:1 “And it came to pass that the brother of Jared… cried again unto the Lord, saying:”
Ether 3:2 “O Lord, thou hast said that we must be encompassed about by the floods. Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his WEAKNESS BEFORE THEE; for we know that THOU ART HOLY AND DWELLEST IN THE HEAVENS, and that WE ARE UNWORTHY BEFORE THEE; BECAUSE OF THE FALL OUR NATURES HAVE BECOME EVIL CONTINUALLY; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires”.
Ether 3:3 “Behold, O Lord, thou hast smitten us BECAUSE OF OUR INIQUITY, and hast driven us forth, and for these many years we have been in the wilderness; nevertheless, THOU HAST BEEN MERCIFUL UNTO US. O Lord, look upon me in PITY, and TURN AWAY THINE ANGER FROM THIS THY PEOPLE, and suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness; but behold these things which I have molten out of the rock”.
Ether 3:4 “And I know, O LORD, THAT THOU HAST ALL POWER, AND CAN DO WHATSOEVER THOU WILT FOR THE BENEFIT OF MAN; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea”.
Ether 3:5 Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that THOU ART ABLE to show forth GREAT POWER, which LOOKS SMALL unto the UNDERSTANDING OF MEN.
Ether 3:6 And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear…
Ether 3:9 And the Lord said unto him: BECAUSE OF THEY FAITH thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and NEVER HAS MAN COME BEFORE ME WITH SUCH EXCEEDING FAITH AS THOU HAST; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this?
Ether 3:10 And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me.
Ether 3:11 And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?
Ether 3:12 And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.
Ether 3:13 And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things YE ARE REDEEMED FROM THE FALL; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.

Wow! The brother of Jared admits the difference between God and man (including himself, especially after Ether 2:14, where the Lord chastened the brother of Jared for three hours for not “calling upon the name of the Lord”. )—weakness—says that God’s things seem “small” to man, yet He has power to do all things; and then sees God because of his great exceeding faith, and is redeemed from the state of weakness, or the Fall!

There are other places in the Book of Mormon, and other scriptures, that speak like this, too. Jacob writes:
“Behold, they believed in Christ and worshiped the Father in his name, and also we worship the Father in his name…” (Jacob 4:5)
“Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and OUR FAITH BECOMETH UNSHAKEN, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea” (Jacob 4:6).
“Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us OUR WEAKNESS that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things” (Jacob 4:7)

So, his and their faith is unshaken—not even an inkling of wavering here. They can command nature, as can God, which made the apostles in Jerusalem marvel. Yet, the early Nephites still have a weakness—seemingly a group weakness, here. This use doesn’t seem to fit in with the standard explanation of Ether 12:27, either. Jacob doesn’t say what the weakness is, but from looking at what he said previously, and his explanation afterwards, he seems to be saying that by seeing their weakness (whatever it is), they learn that God’s grace and condescensions give them the power, by their faith, to act as Jesus. Faith is not lacking, nor is the lack of faith their weakness; yet, the weakness remains. Once more, I believe that the interpretation that while man may want to be like God, and attempt to be like God, and sometimes might even be like God in some ways, he is still man, not God.

Right after this, Jacob seems to strengthen this by saying:
“Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God” (Jacob 4:8).

Is Jacob telling us something more about “weakness?” Is there something between the relationship of “weakness” and not being able to understand God and His purposes, even to the point of despising His communications with man?

There are other places. Joseph of Egypt prophesied:
2 Nephi 3:8 And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.
2 Nephi 3:9 And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel.
2 Nephi 3:10 And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt.
2 Nephi 3:11 But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins–and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.
2 Nephi 3:13 And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.
2 Nephi 3:14 And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded…
2 Nephi 3:15 …And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.
2 Nephi 3:17 And the Lord hath said: I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him in a rod; and I will give judgment unto him in writing. Yet I will not loose his tongue, that he shall speak much, for I will not make him mighty in speaking. But I will write unto him my law, by the finger of mine own hand; and I will make a spokesman for him…
“And the words which he shall write shall be the words which are expedient in my wisdom should go forth unto the fruit of thy loins. And it shall be as if the fruit of thy loins had cried unto them from the dust; FOR I KNOW THEIR FAITH” (2 Nephi 3:19)
“And they shall cry from the dust; yea, even repentance unto their brethren, even after many generations have gone by them. And it shall come to pass that their cry shall go, even according to the SIMPLENESS of their words” (2 Nephi 3:20)
“Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and THE WEAKNESS OF THEIR WORDS WILL I MAKE STRONG IN THEIR FAITH, UNTO THE REMEMBERING OF MY COVENANT WHICH I MADE UNTO THY FATHERS” (2 Nephi 3:21).

Continue to Part 4


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2009, May 18

Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 2 of 6” by grego

Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 2 of 6”
by grego
(c) 2005-2009

Ether 12:27–“Weakness” or “WeaknessES”?

PART 2

Part 1

The second interpretation is about “weakness” vs. “weaknesses”. Right before this section, Moroni talks about faith and hope, and how miracles and promises from the Lord are obtained through faith. He makes a list of some of the miracles, mostly from the Book of Mormon, that happened to men because of their faith (Ether 12).

It is interesting to note that Moroni himself has obtained, through his faith, almost all the things that he mentions in the lives of these other people: he has an anchor for his soul, he is sure and steadfast, he abounds in good works, and glorifies God; he has been delivered from his enemies; he has seen Christ, after He had risen from the dead; he partakes of the gift; he was called after the holy order of God; he knows of the law of Moses, and the fulfillment of the law by Christ; he has seen miracles; he has seen the three disciples; and whether he saw what the brother of Jared saw, or not, at least by writing the things that the brother of Jared saw, he knows them, too. This is what he writes:
“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God” (Ether 12:4).

“Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith” (Ether 12:9).

“For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith” (Ether 12:12).

“And it is by faith that my fathers have obtained the promise that these things should come unto their brethren through the Gentiles; therefore the Lord hath commanded me, yea, even Jesus Christ” (Ether 12:22).

It is at this point that Moroni writes this:
“And I said unto him: Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of OUR WEAKNESS in writing; for Lord thou hast made us *mighty in word* *by faith*, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing; for thou hast made all this people that they could speak much, because of the Holy Ghost which thou hast given them;” (Ether 12:23)
“And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands. Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them” (Ether 12:24).
“Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them; wherefore, when we write we behold OUR WEAKNESS, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words” (Ether 12:25).

It seems that Moroni does not feel that he or the other Nephites are/ were up to the call of fulfilling the Lord’s promises made to his fathers, and his reading the Jaredite plates just makes him feel this failing further. Then comes this:
“And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of YOUR WEAKNESS;” (Ether 12:26).

And then, the main scripture:
“And if MEN come unto me I will show unto them THEIR WEAKNESS. I give unto MEN WEAKNESS that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for ALL MEN that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).

The Lord continues:
“Behold, I will show unto the gentiles their WEAKNESS, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me–the fountain of all righteousness” (Ether 12:28).

Here, in three verses, the Lord says that three groups each have a “weakness”: Moroni and the other writers of the Book of Mormon; all men; and the Gentiles. The Lord does not say, “weaknesses.”

Is there a difference? If we were to hold to the typical LDS interpretation of Ether 12:27, in light of Moroni’s great faith, we would assume that the Lord would make his writing much better, to perhaps even surpass his speech. But the Lord does not say, “Your writing will improve so much, it will become a strength to you, and you will be able to write even greater than the brother of Jared.” He says, “…because thou hast seen THY WEAKNESS thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.”

What does Moroni’s seeing his weakness in writing have to do with his gaining eternal life? If one interprets the verse in the usual way—nothing. In fact, after this dialogue with the Lord, Moroni still writes: “And only a few have I written, because of my WEAKNESS in writing” (Ether 12:40). Do we assume that his faith wasn’t strong enough to overcome his weakness? But we have already seen that Moroni’s faith was great enough to attain almost every miracle that any other person has ever attained. So, was Moroni’s faith weak only in this one thing—which meant that his weakness was to remain, yet he would have eternal life because of it?; or do these scriptures mean something else instead?

If we keep reading, we see that Moroni actually draws faith from these words, then draws further faith from the record he has just read:
“And I, Moroni, having heard these words, was comforted, and said: O Lord, thy righteous will be done, for I know that thou workest unto the children of men according to their faith;” (Ether 12:29)
“And again, I remember that thou hast said that thou hast loved the world, even unto the laying down of thy life for the world, that thou mightest take it again to prepare a place for the children of men” (Ether 12:33).
“And now I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father” (Ether 12:34).
“Wherefore, I know by this thing which thou hast said, that if the Gentiles have not charity, because of OUR WEAKNESS, that thou wilt prove them, and take away their talent, yea, even that which they have received, and give unto them who shall have more abundantly” (Ether 12:35).

Some people see the Lord having died on the cross as a weakness, especially in light of “survival of the fittest.” In fact, the main theme of one modern and fast-growing church (by both number of members and influence) is just that: because Jesus Christ died, He failed to fulfill his mission. Yet, we know and understand that Jesus’ death was according to the fulfillment of God’s plan. It is not the Lord, then, who is judged by God as weak; but we humans are judged by how we look at and understand his death. Some Jews believed in Jesus’ death as the last and ultimate weakness and sign that he was not the Messiah (Matthew 27:39-43).

In fact, by dying, Jesus Christ (among other things) testified to and proved his charity, which then led to His being able to inherit His Father’s kingdom and allowing all men the opportunity to do so also. Moroni then directly relates this to his and the other Nephites writing the Book of Mormon and the way that the Gentiles would judge their words:
“And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity” (Ether 12:36).
“And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because THOU HAST SEEN THY WEAKNESS thou shalt be MADE STRONG, even unto the SITTING DOWN IN THE PLACE WHICH I HAVE PREPARED IN THE MANSIONS OF MY FATHER” (Ether 12:37).

Here we see that being made strong does not mean to overcome a mortal weakness while still in the flesh, such as a weakness in writing, but to be able to return to the presence of God. So moving backwards, what does “weakness” mean, and is it the same for all three groups previously mentioned?

(Folks, this is Part 2 of a 6-part series! :) )

Part 3


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Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 1 of 6” by grego

Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 1 of 6”
by grego
(c) 2005-2009

Ether 12:27–“Weakness” or “WeaknessES”?

PART 1

Ether 12:27 reads:

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their WEAKNESS. I give unto men WEAKNESS that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make WEAK THINGS become strong unto them” (caps added).

In every explanation of Ether 12:27 I have ever read or heard in any LDS Church class, “weakness,” which occurs twice in the singular, is interpreted and used as if it were in the plural, “weaknesses.” This interpretation is then justified because of the “then will I make weak THINGS become strong unto them” part of the verse, and because of the references to faith in previous verses in the chapter.

So, this verse is then interpreted like this: “weaknesses” are things that make us have to rely on the Lord to overcome, especially our shortcomings and sins; and that by relying on the Lord, He will help us overcome them, and in fact, these weaknesses will become our strengths.

For example, if I am out of shape, and I try but can’t be otherwise, if I rely more on the Lord, he will help me get in shape, so much so that I might be in the best shape ever, and better than others. I have overcome my problem, and now it is one of the least of my problems; in fact, it has become my strength. I just needed more faith in the Lord, and it finally happened.

While this explanation sounds nice, and *is* true some of the time, I believe that by changing “weakness” to “weaknesses,” we wrest an incorrect meaning—a meaning that was not the original intention of the verse—and in addition, this misinterpretation forms the basis of incorrect interpretation of other scriptures, and brings further problems.

Perhaps this typical interpretation lends to why some Saints believe that admitting a mistake is the same as repentance–isn’t their sin because of a weakness, and didn’t the Lord forgive Moroni for his weakness, when Moroni acknowledged his weakness and felt sorrow for it? For others, the result of incorrect interpretation might be despair—“Why doesn’t the Lord cure me?” “Why can’t I overcome this weakness?” etc. This “thorn in [the] flesh” (Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10) becomes a thorn in the side of their faith. “And Moroni says that despair cometh from iniquity, so the reason I’m not overcoming this problem is because… I’m evil.” So they keep working harder and harder to repent of… what? Having a weakness? An imperfection?? Which is what the Lord said they had anyway, right?

So what is the correct interpretation of Ether 12:27? I believe there are two levels higher than the usual interpretation. The best is that the person the Lord is speaking about is not Moroni, but those who read his writing. We are confused because the Lord speaks to Moroni about Moroni’s weakness in the preceding verse: “And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of YOUR WEAKNESS;” (Ether 12:26). So, we assume that the Lord continues speaking to him about this weakness in the next verse:
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” However, the Lord is not speaking about Moroni and his weakness, but about those who read Moroni’s words. The weakness in verse 27 is a different kind of weakness than that of verse 26.

This means, then, that “weak things” in verse 27 are the writings of Moroni.

Continue to Part 2


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2009, April 27

Book of Mormon | “Destruction of Nephite Cities at the Time of Jesus Christ’s Death” by grego

Book of Mormon | “Destruction of Nephite Cities at the Time of Jesus Christ’s Death”
by grego
(c) 2009

In the description of the Nephite cities’ destruction at the time of Jesus Christ’s death, Mormon writes:
3 Nephi 8:8 And the *city of Zarahemla* did take *fire*.
3 Nephi 8:9 And the *city of Moroni* did sink into the depths of the *sea*, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned.
3 Nephi 8:10 And the *earth* was carried up upon the *city of Moronihah*, that in the place of the city there became a great mountain.

Then, describing the aftermath:
3 Nephi 8:24 And in one place they were heard to cry, saying: O that we had repented before this great and terrible day, and then would our brethren have been spared, and they would not have been *burned* in that great *city Zarahemla*.
3 Nephi 8:25 And in another place they were heard to cry and mourn, saying: O that we had repented before this great and terrible day, and had not killed and stoned the prophets, and cast them out; then would our mothers and our fair daughters, and our children have been spared, and not have been *buried up* in that great *city Moronihah*. And thus were the howlings of the people great and terrible.

The city Moroni is missing here…

The same cities are then mentioned by Jesus Christ when He reports the destruction He caused:
3 Nephi 9:3 Behold, that great *city Zarahemla* have *I burned with fire*, *and the inhabitants thereof*.

3 Nephi 9:4 And behold, that great *city Moroni* have *I caused to be sunk in the depths of the sea*, and *the inhabitants thereof to be drowned*.

3 Nephi 9:5 And behold, that great *city Moronihah* have *I covered with earth*, and *the inhabitants thereof*, to hide their iniquities and their abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints shall not come any more unto me against them.

Notice that each city represents one “element” (as in the classical elements, etc.): fire, water, earth. Missing, for some reason, is the element of air, according to the Greeks; but maybe it’s based on a Chinese system, which would only use these three major elements for natural destruction.

The Lord continues His list of cities, this time moving backwards (from fire, water, earth, to now earth, water, fire):
EARTH: 3 Nephi 9:6 And behold, the city of Gilgal have *I caused to be sunk*, and the inhabitants thereof to be *buried up in the depths of the earth*;

WATER: 3 Nephi 9:7 Yea, and the city of Onihah and the inhabitants thereof, and the city of Mocum and the inhabitants thereof, and the city of Jerusalem and the inhabitants thereof; and *waters have I caused to come up in the stead thereof*, to hide their wickedness and abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints shall not come up any more unto me against them.

COMBINATION OF EARTH AND WATER: 3 Nephi 9:8 And behold, the city of Gadiandi, and the city of Gadiomnah, and the city of Jacob, and the city of Gimgimno, all these have *I caused to be sunk, and made hills and valleys in the places thereof; and the inhabitants thereof have I buried up in the depths of the earth*, to hide their wickedness and abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up any more unto me against them.

FIRE: 3 Nephi 9:9 And behold, that great city Jacobugath, which was inhabited by the people of king Jacob, have *I caused to be burned with fire* because of their sins and their wickedness, which was above all the wickedness of the whole earth, because of their secret murders and combinations; for it was they that did destroy the peace of my people and the government of the land; therefore I did cause them to be burned, to destroy them from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up unto me any more against them.

FIRE: 3 Nephi 9:10 And behold, the city of Laman, and the city of Josh, and the city of Gad, and the city of Kishkumen, have *I caused to be burned with fire*, and the inhabitants thereof, because of their wickedness in casting out the prophets, and stoning those whom I did send to declare unto them concerning their wickedness and their abominations.

There seems to be some order after all!

As a testimony to Elijah, the Lord did this:
1 Kings 19:11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and *a great and strong wind* rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind *an earthquake*; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
12 And after the earthquake *a fire*; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

Remember the disciples in Jerusalem? Even thought they had already seen miracles and knew that Jesus was the son of God, they marveled at Jesus’ control over the elements.
Matthew 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and *rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm*.
27 But *the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!*

Mark 4:37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
41 And *they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him*?

Matthew 14:24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night *Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea*.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw *the wind boisterous*, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And *when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased*.
33 Then *they that were in the ship came and worshipped him*, saying, *Of a truth thou art the Son of God*.

By giving the Nephites (and future readers) examples of destruction by all three elements, and by the words of Jesus himself testifying that He caused the destruction, Mormon and the Lord testify to everyone that Jesus Christ is truly Lord and master over all the elements–earth, water, and fire.

They also testify that He is Lord over the inhabitants of the land that He destroyed, and that He was the one who saved those who were not destroyed (3 Nephi 9:13 O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they… 3 Nephi 9:14 …Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you…).

Oh, air… I see some elements about it in a few places:
1. the thunder, and lightning, and whirlwinds (3 Nephi 8:16, 17, 19);
2. the three days of complete darkness and vapor in the air (3 Nephi 8:20-23); and
3. lastly, the descension of the Lord, from the sky down to the earth (3 Nephi 11:8 And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them…
3 Nephi 11:10 Behold, I am Jesus Christ…)
all constitute testimonies of Jesus’ supremacy over the element of air.

Once more, the Book of Mormon emphasizes Jesus is mighty to save, and to destroy by control over the elements:
3 Nephi 10:12 And it was *the more righteous part of the people who were saved*…
3 Nephi 10:13 And *they were spared* and were *not sunk and buried up in the earth* (earth); and they were *not drowned in the depths of the sea* (water); and they were *not burned by fire* (fire), neither were they fallen upon and crushed to death; and they were *not carried away in the whirlwind; neither were they overpowered by the vapor of smoke and of darkness* (air).
3 Nephi 10:14 And now, whoso readeth, let him understand; he that hath the scriptures, let him search them, and see and behold if all these deaths and destructions *by fire*, and *by smoke*, and *by tempests*, and *by whirlwinds*, and *by the opening of the earth to receive them*, and all these things are not unto the fulfilling of the prophecies of many of the holy prophets.


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2009, January 8

Book of Mormon | “Ammonihah: Order of Nehors versus Order of the Son of God, Authority, Power, and Judgment: Part 3” by grego

Book of Mormon | “Ammonihah: Order of Nehors versus Order of the Son of God; Authority, Power, and Judgment: Part 3”
by grego

Part 3

Notice, also, that even though the argument is one about power, in all of Alma’s tour de force in Alma 13, the word “power” *never* appears.

There were a few more things that I want to mention.
Alma says:
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 and Amulek know they have power:
Alma 14:10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and EXERCISE THE POWER OF GOD WHICH IS IN US, and save them from the flames.
Alma 14:11 But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand;

But the judge doesn’t; however, the judge believes he has power:
Alma 14:15 Behold, ye see that ye had not POWER to save those who had been cast into the fire; neither has God saved them because they were of thy faith. And the judge smote them again upon their cheeks, and asked: What say ye for yourselves?…
Alma 14:19 And it came to pass that the judge stood before them, and said: Why do ye not answer the words of this people? Know ye not that I have POWER to deliver you up unto the flames? And he commanded them to speak; but they answered nothing.

“Power”: this is correct, because according to Nephite law, the judge didn’t have the *authority* to act as he was acting; but he did have *power*, and he used it. This was the problem of the people of Ammonihah and the order of Nehor: acting with power, but without authority.

And in fact, the question of authority for the hard-hearted is often answered only by a show of power, though for some it is too late when it comes for them to be saved physically or spiritually. But as with curses, the unrepentant curse themselves powerless.

Right before Alma talks about the rocks falling, he says:
Alma 12:14 For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us…

And here is what happens in fulfillment:
Alma 14:20 And it came to pass that they departed and went their ways, but came again on the morrow; and the judge also smote them again on their cheeks. And many came forth also, and smote them, saying: Will ye stand again and judge this people, and condemn our law? If ye have such great POWER why do ye not deliver yourselves?

Alma 14:23 And it came to pass after they had thus suffered for many days, (and it was on the twelfth day, in the tenth month, in the tenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi) that the chief judge over the land of Ammonihah and many of their teachers and their lawyers went in unto the prison where Alma and Amulek were bound with cords.
Alma 14:24 And 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; and when the last had spoken unto them the POWER OF GOD was upon Alma and Amulek, and they rose and stood upon their feet.
Alma 14:26 And Alma cried, saying: How long shall we suffer these great afflictions, O Lord? O Lord, give us strength according to our faith which is in Christ, even unto deliverance. And they broke the cords with which they were bound; and when the people saw this, they began to flee, for the fear of destruction had come upon them.
Alma 14:27 And it came to pass that so great was their fear that they fell to the earth, and did not obtain the outer door of the prison; and the earth shook mightily, and the walls of the prison were rent in twain, so that they fell to the earth; and the chief judge, and the lawyers, and priests, and teachers, who smote upon Alma and Amulek, were slain by the fall thereof.
Alma 14:28 And Alma and Amulek came forth out of the prison, and they were not hurt; for the Lord had granted unto them POWER, according to their faith which was in Christ. And they straightway came forth out of the prison; and they were loosed from their bands; and the prison had fallen to the earth, and every soul within the walls thereof, save it were Alma and Amulek, was slain; and they straightway came forth into the city.

Note that even here the Lord does not come out and strike the wicked; it is the opposing order’s fear that makes them fall to the earth–or, one could say, a lack of POWER–that makes their death certain. Alma had already preached that “our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us”. And by their words (“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”) and by their actions (striking Alma and Amulek), they are judged rightly by God. Note also that “they *all* went forth and smote them, saying the same words, *even until the last*”–thus, the judgment of God was just upon them all. Truly they each cursed themselves!
I infer a causality relationship here: “and the chief judge, and the lawyers, and priests, and teachers, who *smote upon Alma and Amulek*, were slain by the fall thereof” (Alma 14:27). So *if* the wicked men had had power, they *could* have run out of the prison; and *if* they had had power, they *could* have escaped, just like Alma and Amulek…


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2008, November 27

Book of Mormon | How Did the ‘Order of the Nehors’ Begin before Nehor?

Book of Mormon | How Did the ‘Order of the Nehors’ Begin before Nehor?

by grego
(c) 2008, 2010

It seems we have a problem in the Book of Mormon.

In Alma 1, we are told:
Alma 1:2 And it came to pass that in the *first year of the reign of Alma in the judgment-seat*, there was *a man brought before him to be judged*, a man who was large, and was noted for his much strength.
Alma 1:3 And *he had gone about among the people*, preaching to them that which he termed to be the word of God, bearing down against the church; declaring unto the people that *every priest and teacher ought to become popular; and they ought not to labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people*.
Alma 1:5 And it came to pass that *he did teach these things so much that many did believe on his words, even so many that they began to support him and give him money*.
Alma 1:6 And *he began to be lifted up in the pride of his heart, and to wear very costly apparel, yea, and even began to establish a church after the manner of his preaching*.
Alma 1:12 But Alma said unto him: Behold, *this is the first time that priestcraft has been introduced among this people*…

Yet, in Alma 20, we read:
Alma 21:1 Now *when Ammon and his brethren separated themselves in the borders of the land of the Lamanites, behold Aaron took his journey towards the land which was called by the Lamanites, Jerusalem*, calling it after the land of their fathers’ nativity; and it was away joining the borders of Mormon.
Alma 21:2 *Now the Lamanites and the Amalekites and the people of Amulon had built a great city, which was called Jerusalem*.
Alma 21:4 And it came to pass that Aaron came to the city of Jerusalem, and first began to preach to the *Amalekites. And he began to preach to them in their synagogues, for they had built synagogues after the order of the Nehors; for many of the Amalekites and the Amulonites were after the order of the Nehors*.
Alma 21:5 Therefore, as Aaron entered into one of their synagogues to preach unto the people, and as he was speaking unto them, behold there arose an Amalekite and began to contend with him, saying: What is that thou hast testified? Hast thou seen an angel? Why do not angels appear unto us? Behold are not this people as good as thy people?
Alma 21:6 Thou also sayest, except we repent we shall perish. How knowest thou the thought and intent of our hearts? How knowest thou that we have cause to repent? How knowest thou that we are not a righteous people? Behold, *we have built sanctuaries, and we do assemble ourselves together to worship God. We do believe that God will save all men*.
Alma 21:8 And the man said unto him: We do not believe that thou knowest any such thing. We do not believe in these foolish traditions. *We do not believe that thou knowest of things to come, neither do we believe that thy fathers and also that our fathers did know concerning the things which they spake, of that which is to come*.

Nehor—with this belief system/ religion, of the order of the Nehors–seems to have first started in the Nephite lands at the same time that the order of the Nehors was already established in the Lamanite lands—even long enough to build synagogues specifically built for the order. How is that possible? There wouldn’t likely have been time for the order/ religion to pass over from Nehor and his followers to the Lamanites that quickly!

One LDS apologist, Brant Gardner, wrote about this problem:
“The “order of the Nehors” is named for a murderer. Since the religious movement was around prior to Nehor (such as in king Noah’s court) then Nehor wasn’t the originator. In fact, he doesn’t seem to be all that important to it. Nevertheless, Mormon names the movement after him. Was that historically correct? Probably not. However, he certainly named the movement after a murderer. That tells us what he thought of it.”

Unfortunately for that line of thought, I find little evidence and certainly no proof in the Book of Mormon text that:
–the order of the Nehors had been around since king Noah’s court,
–or that Nehor wasn’t the originator (particularly among the Nephites, which Alma seems to say he was),
–or that he wasn’t that important to the order (as it’s clear in Alma that he is very important to the order and its history among the Nephites).

So, is there really a mistake in the text with timing (by Alma or Mormon?), or did Mormon—as Brant Gardner says—strongly exaggerate or twist the naming of something “on purpose” for the purpose of the text (which I admit is possible, but I disagree with Brant as to the extent), or… is there another possible way?

There are other possible ways.
Nehor may not have been the originator of the order of Nehors among the Lamanites, it might have been called by another name there.
Or perhaps his father, Nehor, was the founder.
Or, Nehor might have been the name of the leader of the order, more like a title–similar to how all the Nephite kings were named “Nephi” for a while (Jacob 1:11), or like the Dread Pirate Roberts (for those familiar with “The Princess Bride”).
Or, of course, Nehor was a Nephite dissenter/ descendant who came over to the Nephites from the Lamanites (possibly as Sherem had come).

As support for these latter possibilities, note that at least three times the order is called “order of the Nehor*s*, that is, in the plural:
Alma 21:4 And it came to pass that Aaron came to the city of Jerusalem, and first began to preach to the Amalekites. And he began to preach to them in their synagogues, for they had built synagogues after *the order of the Nehors*; for many of the Amalekites and the Amulonites were after *the order of the Nehors*.
Alma 24:28 Now the greatest number of those of the Lamanites who slew so many of their brethren were Amalekites and Amulonites, the greatest number of whom were after *the order of the Nehors*.
And here, possibly:
Alma 16:11 Nevertheless, after many days their dead bodies were heaped up upon the face of the earth, and they were covered with a shallow covering. And now so great was the scent thereof that the people did not go in to possess the land of Ammonihah for many years. And it was called Desolation of Nehors; for they were of the profession of Nehor, who were slain; and their lands remained desolate.

So, if it’s named after Nehor, why isn’t it called the “order of Nehor”?

Note that the order of Nehor was already established among the Lamanites—particularly the Nephite dissenter groups, the Amulonites and Amalekites—when it is heard for the first time among the Nephites; and that Nehor is the one that brings it to the Nephites. As “God saves all” was the main principle of belief, the Amulonites and Amalekites would be a good place for the order of Nehors to spawn—they were dissident Nephites familiar with God and the old religion, yet basically excommunicated by the Nephite Church of God for not obeying the commandments.

I don’t see this order of Nehor existing much earlier, especially in king Noah’s time, because not only is there little or no evidence of it, but also because of this verse:
Mosiah 24:11 And *Amulon commanded them that they should stop their cries*; and he put guards over them to watch them, that *whosoever should be found calling upon God should be put to death*.

And especially these verses:
Mosiah 24:4 And he appointed *teachers of the brethren of Amulon* in every land which was possessed by his people; and thus the language of Nephi began to be taught among all the people of the Lamanites.
Mosiah 24:5 And they were a people friendly one with another; *nevertheless they knew not God; neither did the brethren of Amulon teach them anything concerning the Lord their God, neither the law of Moses; nor did they teach them the words of Abinadi*;
Mosiah 24:6 But *they taught them that they should keep their record, and that they might write one to another*.

Note also this important verse:
Alma 22:7 And *Aaron* answered him and said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God? And *the [Lamanite] king* said: I know that *the Amalekites say that there is a God, and I have granted unto them that they should build sanctuaries, that they may assemble themselves together to worship him*. And if now thou sayest there is a God, behold I will believe.

The king gave the Amalekites permission to build sanctuaries to assemble and worship God. What sanctuaries are these? I imagine them to be the order of Nehor sanctuaries/ synagogues–they might be the same as in Alma 21:4-6. So, this was within the king’s lifetime as being king (How long? I have no idea. I’d say no more than 40 years maximum, he’s probably 64 or so at this time, just my guess! ), and to me it seems like in the conversation it was just in the recent past. King Noah was about minimum 58 years before we hear of the order of the Nehors in Nephite land (about 148 BC to about 90 BC), and probably a decade or two before the reign of this Lamanite king.

As further support for my argument, note the internal consistency between Alma 22:7 and the earlier verse I mentioned of Mosiah 24:4-6. There is no mention of the Amulonites saying that there is a God and desiring to worship him; Mosiah 24 says that at least at that time, the Amulonites didn’t teach the Lamanites about God or their religion.

That the Amulonites might have used some of, or relied on, the teachings or traditions of the original wicked priests of king Noah, from whom they descended, is very possible. The priests seem to have believed somewhat in “do what you want, just make a sacrifice, God’s cool with it”. However, note that Nephi (2 Nephi 28) was aware of this as a doctrine of the latter days, and it’s a typical viewpoint of many people. Likewise, the priests of Noah didn’t seem to accept that God (Jesus) would come down and be like a man and atone for man’s sins, similar to what the order of Nehor (in Ammonihah) believed. Nehor preached the priests should be supported by the people, and that’s the lifestyle of the wicked priests of king Noah/ Amulonites.

But we see there are differences between the priests of king Noah and the order of Nehors:
1. The order of Nehors taught that all would be saved (Alma 1:4); the priests taught that adherence to the law of Moses saved (even though they didn’t adhere to the law very well…).
2. The order of Nehors worshiped in synagogues; the priests in the temple.
So, to say the order basically existed at the time of king Noah, is stretching it, at the least.

I imagine that Nehor decided that with the establishment of the Church not too long before, and especially with the Nephite switch from government-by-king to government-by-judges, it was an opportune time to start the order among the Nephites; and whether he was at the head or whether he was chosen to spread it among the Nephites or if he personally saw the monetary opportunity—gave it a go. The Nephites worrying about religion and God much more than the Lamanites, always having religious contentions and sinners, and having much more money and riches, and there possibly being less competition among the Nephites, likely gave Nehor a level of success he could only dream of among the Lamanites, Amulonites, and Amalekites.


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2008, November 26

Book Of Mormon | Alma 50:32–A Verse in Support of “Others” in the Lands?

Book Of Mormon | Alma 50:32–A Verse in Support of “Others” in the Lands?
by grego

Ok, I’m hardly an “others” proponent. I believe I’ve ripped up pretty well the majority of the often-quoted verses that most people claim as evidence or even proof of “others” in the Book of Mormon lands (outside of the few groups specifically mentioned in the Book of Mormon), in my very long, 3-part series on “Others” on my old blog, www.bookofmormonmusings.blogspot.com.

But over a year ago, I ran into these verses (one verse in particular):

Alma 50:28 And it came to pass that when the people of Morianton, who were led by a man whose name was Morianton, found that the people of Lehi had fled to the camp of Moroni, they were exceedingly fearful lest the army of Moroni should come upon them and destroy them.

Alma 50:29 Therefore, Morianton put it into their hearts that they should flee to the land which was northward, which was covered with large bodies of water, and take possession of the land which was northward.

Alma 50:30 And behold, they would have carried this plan into effect, (which would have been a cause to have been lamented) but behold, Morianton being a man of much passion, therefore he was angry with one of his maid servants, and he fell upon her and beat her much.

Alma 50:31 And it came to pass that she fled, and came over to the camp of Moroni, and told Moroni all things concerning the matter, and also concerning their intentions to flee into the land northward.

Alma 50:32 Now behold, the people who were in the land Bountiful, or rather Moroni, feared that they would hearken to the words of Morianton and unite with his people, and thus he would obtain possession of those parts of the land, which would lay a foundation for serious consequences among the people of Nephi, yea, which consequences would lead to the overthrow of their liberty.

Alma 50:33 Therefore Moroni sent an army, with their camp, to head the people of Morianton, to stop their flight into the land northward.

Alma 50:34 And it came to pass that they did not head them until they had come to the borders of the land Desolation; and there they did head them, by the narrow pass which led by the sea into the land northward, yea, by the sea, on the west and on the east.

A few things about this:

1. Who is “they” in Alma 50:32? It can’t be Nephites (can it?), the northern migrations haven’t happened yet, the Jaredites have been destroyed, and the Lamanites are south of them, not north. (Or is this one of those tricky Book of Mormon directions questions?)

2. I don’t think Morianton and his people were *that* numerous and “bad”, were they? I mean, it’s just one city out of many, perhaps even hundreds. But what if the inhabitants were numerous? It seems that there are others in the land northward, and that Morianton and his people joining them as Nephite “enemies” might cause attacks from the north–making the Nephites fight a war on two opposing fronts (north and south) at once. (Remember, the Lamanites are at the south.)

3. Moroni, as other military leaders, are based in Bountiful. But isn’t Bountiful in the north, at least (far) north of Zarahemla? If the Lamanites are in the south, was this because the Nephites wanted their military headquarters out of danger… or because there were threats from these northern people?


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