Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2013, March 21

“Book of Mormon: Stripling Anti-Nephi-Lehies ‘Rehearsed’ to Helaman the Words of Their Mothers? (Alma 56:48)” by grego

Book of Mormon: Stripling Anti-Nephi-Lehies “Rehearsed” to Helaman the Words of Their Mothers? (Alma 56:48)

grego
(c) 2013

Helaman says of his young Ammonite warriors:

Alma 56:46 For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.
47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.

I think we’ve all heard the “taught by their mothers” part, but I had a thought about this other part: “they REHEARSED unto me the words of their mothers”, with the conclusion: “We do not doubt our mothers knew it”.

That begs the questions: How could 2,000 young men rehearse the same words from all their mothers, and believe all their mothers knew it?

I ask my children to recite the Primary standards and the youth standards every day (we’re far from doing it, but I hope we will continue to make progress). Those were written by the church, and I am grateful for them.

I imagine that these women did not wait for the church leaders, a church program, or the government. They got together themselves with the purpose of knowing what they knew and the things THEY knew, through the Spirit, they needed to pass on and instill in their children.

I believe that the mothers actually put together their own creed or “standards” in the form of a presentation/ play/ musical/ recitation, and presented it to their children. This could have been something in church, the community, or personal; or a combination, like say a large yearly presentation and daily personal or weekly church recitations.

Possibly even more, it could have been that in between the time the idea of their sons going off to war, and their actual going off to war, these mothers were mightily moved upon by their love to put something together to strengthen their sons’ faith–and they did it. This faith was not just a belief, but an action for good.

2013, February 5

“Book of Mormon: Enduring to the End” by grego

Book of Mormon: Enduring to the End

grego
(c) 2013

Amidst great confusion, fear, sin, uncertainty, and unrest, Jared and his brother— through thought, faithfulness, and compassion from above—retained unity for themselves and friends and obtained a promised land better than any other land in the world.

It required work, but all things were prepared for them along the way, including special revelation as to where to go, and how to get there. The journey was also a means of spiritual adventure and growth. Things generally went well, and they enjoyed many wonderful years in the promised land.

Unfortunately, the very last step of leadership failed, and this failure brought pain to countless people for over a thousand years.

Enduring to the end is very important. Some of the most moving parts of the Book of Mormon are the parts about people enduring to the end, especially in the face of great trial or adversity. Look, for example, at Abinadi; the martyrs at Ammonihah and Alma and Amulek; the sons of Helaman; the Lamanites “who would not be removed”; Mormon; Ether; Moroni; the last words of many of the prophets.

Is this one of the reasons the Book of Mormon was written for us, is this one of the lessons we can learn from reading it?

“Book of Mormon | Alma 60–Moroni’s Epistle/ Letter to Pahoran: A Type for LDS Church Leaders to LDS Members?” by grego

Book of Mormon | Alma 60–Moroni’s Epistle/ Letter to Pahoran: A Type for LDS Church Leaders to LDS Members?

grego
(c ) 2012-2013

I had a thought today, listening to this chapter. Could I apply it to us, and to me? Yes, I could, and Wow!

I’ve noticed over the years that the people who are helping shed light on the works of darkness the Gadianton robbers are committing are mostly non-LDS, while the great majority of LDS are very pro-government, brain-washed, anti-conspiracy, etc. people. Most avoid those “yucky things” by the excuse that we “just need to be good, and that’s good enough”. The truth is, it’s not. And that’s not just my opinion, but the teachings of many prophets and apostles. Yes, we are trying to do a lot, but it seems that only a very small percentage of active and “faithful” members are truly engaged in “working righteousness”. Even myself–am I sharing the gospel DAILY? If I’m not, chances are good I can improve. Are miracles occurring in my life DAILY?

Look at these Book of Mormon verses:

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.

Helaman 11:23 And in the seventy and ninth year there began to be much strife. But it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi, and many of their brethren who knew concerning the true points of doctrine, having many revelations DAILY, therefore they did preach unto the people, insomuch that they did put an end to their strife in that same year.

Helaman 15:6 Yea, I say unto you, that the more part of them are doing this, and they are striving with unwearied diligence that they may bring the remainder of their brethren to the knowledge of the truth; therefore there are many who do add to their numbers DAILY.

If this type of thing is not happening in my life, it’s likely I’m not trying hard enough to be good.

-=
So here’s the chapter and how it might apply to us (I just changed it over):

Alma 59:13 And it came to pass that [God] was angry with the [members], because of their indifference concerning the freedom of their country.

Alma 60:1 AND it came to pass that [the LDS Church leaders] wrote again to the [members], and these are the words which [they] wrote, saying: Behold, [we] direct mine epistle to [members] who have been chosen by [God] to govern and manage the affairs of [their freedom and country].

Alma 60:2 For behold, [we] have somewhat to say unto [you] by the way of condemnation; for behold, ye [members] yourselves know that ye have been appointed to gather together men, and arm them with [the gospel, principles of the Consitutution, etc. ], and all manner of [non-physical] weapons of war of every kind, and send forth against the [would-be destroyers of this country], in whatsoever parts they should come into our land.

Alma 60:3 And now behold, I say unto you that [many patriots and their families] have suffered exceedingly great sufferings; yea, even hunger, thirst, and fatigue, and all manner of afflictions of every kind.

Alma 60:4 But behold, were this all [they] had suffered [we] would not murmur nor complain.

Alma 60:5 But behold, great has been the slaughter among [the] people; yea, thousands have fallen by the sword [and through sin], while it might have otherwise been if ye [members] had rendered unto [them] your [help] sufficient strength and succor for them. Yea, great has been your neglect towards [them].

Alma 60:6 And now behold, [God and the patriots] desire to know the cause of this exceedingly great neglect; yea, … to know the cause of you [members’] thoughtless state.

Alma 60:7 Can you think to sit upon your [riches and easy life] in a state of thoughtless stupor [of “all is well in Zion” and TV and video games], while your enemies are spreading the work of death [and destruction of freedom] around you? Yea, while they are [physically and spiritually] murdering thousands of your brethren–

Alma 60:8 Yea, even they who [should] look up to you [who are to be the light of Christ] for protection, yea, [are] in a situation that ye might have succored them, yea, ye might have sent [help] unto them, to have strengthened them, and have saved thousands of them from falling by the sword [and by sin].

Alma 60:9 But behold, this is not all–ye have withheld your [minor help and vocal support] from them, insomuch that many have fought and bled out their lives because of their great desires which they had for the welfare of this [American] people [and country and its principles and freedoms]; yea, and this they have done when they were about to perish with [loneliness], because of your exceedingly great neglect towards them.

Alma 60:10 And now, my beloved brethren [and sisters of the Church]–for ye ought to be beloved; yea, and ye ought to have stirred yourselves more diligently for the welfare and the freedom of this people; but behold, ye have neglected them insomuch that the blood of thousands shall come upon your heads for vengeance; yea, for known unto God were all their cries, and all their sufferings–

Alma 60:11 Behold, could ye suppose that ye could sit upon your [riches and easy life], and because of the exceeding goodness of God ye could do nothing and he would deliver [those who love freedom and gospel principles]? Behold, if ye have supposed this ye have supposed in vain.

Alma 60:12 Do ye suppose that, because so many of your [patriots] have been killed it is because of their wickedness? I say unto you, if ye [members] have supposed this ye have supposed in vain; for I say unto you, there are many who have fallen by the sword; and behold it is to your condemnation;

Alma 60:13 For the Lord suffereth the righteous [and those who are working for him] to be slain that his justice and judgment may come upon the wicked; therefore ye need not suppose that the righteous are lost because they are slain; but behold, they do enter into the rest of the Lord their God [or will soon].

Alma 60:14 And now behold, I say unto you, I fear exceedingly that the judgments of God will come upon [these members], because of their exceeding slothfulness, yea, even the slothfulness of [some of the great ones], and their exceedingly great neglect towards their brethren, yea, towards those who have been slain.

Alma 60:15 For were it not for the wickedness which first commenced [in the church], we could have withstood our [political and other] enemies that they could have gained no power over us.

Alma 60:16 Yea, had it not been for the war which broke out among ourselves; yea, were it not for these [gadianton robbers and all those others seeking for riches and power], who caused so much bloodshed among ourselves; yea, at the time we [American members] were contending among ourselves [about whether to follow the prophets and how much], if we had united our strength as we hitherto have done; yea, had it not been for the desire of power and authority which those [eugenecists, communists, bankers, etc.] had over us; had they been true to the cause of our freedom, and united with us, and gone forth against our enemies, instead of taking up their swords against us, which was the cause of so much bloodshed among ourselves; yea, if we had gone forth against them in the strength of the Lord, we should have dispersed our enemies, for it would have been done, according to the fulfilling of his word.

Alma 60:17 But behold, now [our enemies] are coming upon us, taking possession of our lands, and they are murdering our people with the sword [and otherwise], yea, our women and our children, and also carrying them away captive [and brainwashing them and causing them to sin], causing them that they should suffer all manner of afflictions, and this because of the great wickedness of those who are seeking for power and authority…

Alma 60:18 But why should I say much concerning this matter [to you members]? For [we church leaders] know not but what ye yourselves are seeking for authority. We know not but what ye are also traitors to your country.

Alma 60:19 Or is it that ye have neglected us because ye are in the heart of [complacency] and ye are surrounded by security [and other rich and nice people], that ye do not cause food to be sent unto us, and also men to strengthen our armies?

Alma 60:20 Have ye [members] forgotten the commandments of the Lord your God? Yea, have ye [(American) members] forgotten the [literal and spiritual] captivity of our fathers? Have ye forgotten the many times we [and our forefathers] have been delivered out of the hands of our enemies?

Alma 60:21 Or do ye suppose that the Lord will still deliver us, while we sit [in our cushy jobs and houses and “let those kooky patriots do it”] and do not make use of the means which the Lord has provided for [you to at least help out]?

Alma 60:22 Yea, will ye sit in idleness while ye are surrounded with thousands of those, yea, and tens of thousands, who do also sit in idleness, while there are thousands round about [on] the borders of the [dark] who are falling by the sword, yea, wounded and bleeding?

Alma 60:23 Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things [, and hide your faces from them and any truth not spouted and supported by the mainstream media and the government]? Behold I say unto you, Nay. Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel [church members who have covenanted with God] shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel [America] be cleansed also.

Alma 60:24 And now, except ye do repent of that which ye have done, and begin to be up and doing, and send forth [support to patriots], and that we may [support] and also recover the remainder of our possessions in these parts, behold it will be expedient that we contend no more with [our enemies] until we have first cleansed our inward vessel, yea, even the great head of our government.

Alma 60:25 And except ye grant mine epistle, and come out and show unto me a true spirit of freedom, and strive to strengthen and fortify our [true patriots fighting wickedness and evil], and grant unto them [resources] for their support, behold I will leave a part of my freemen [and patriots and true saints] to maintain this part of our land, and I will leave the strength and the blessings of God upon them, that none other power can operate against them–

Alma 60:26 And this because of their exceeding faith, and their patience in their tribulations–

Alma 60:27 And I will come unto you, and if there be any among you that has a desire for freedom, yea, if there be even a spark of freedom remaining, behold I will stir up insurrections among you, even until those who have desires to usurp power and authority shall become extinct.

Alma 60:28 Yea, behold I do not fear your power nor your authority, but it is my God whom I fear; and it is according to his commandments that I do take my sword to defend the cause of my country, and it is because of your iniquity that we have suffered so much loss.

Alma 60:29 Behold it is time, yea, the time is now at hand, that except ye do bestir yourselves in the defence of your country and your little ones, the sword of justice doth hang over you; yea, and it shall fall upon you and visit you even to your utter destruction.

Alma 60:30 Behold, I wait for assistance from you; and, except ye do administer unto our relief, behold, I come unto you, even in the land of Zarahemla, and smite you with the sword, insomuch that ye can have no more power to impede the progress of this people in the cause of our freedom.

Alma 60:31 For behold, the Lord will not suffer that ye shall live and wax strong in your iniquities to destroy his righteous people.

Alma 60:32 Behold, can you suppose that the Lord will spare you and come out in judgment against the [non-Mormons/ “haters”], when it is the tradition of their fathers that has caused their hatred, yea, and it has been redoubled by those who have dissented from us, while your iniquity is for the cause of your love of glory and the vain things of the world?

Alma 60:33 Ye know that ye do transgress the laws of God, and ye do know that ye do trample them under your feet. Behold, the Lord saith unto me: If those whom ye have appointed your governors [and the salt, and the light of the earth] do not repent of their sins and iniquities, [they shall be destroyed].

Alma 60:34 And now behold, I, Moroni, am constrained, according to the covenant which I have made to keep the commandments of my God; therefore I would that ye should adhere to the word of God, and send speedily unto me of your provisions and of your men, and also to Helaman.

Alma 60:35 And behold, if ye will not do this I come unto you speedily; for behold, God will not suffer that we should perish with hunger; therefore he will give unto us of your food [and resources], even if it must be by the sword. Now see that ye fulfil the word of God.

Alma 60:36 Behold, I am Moroni, your chief captain. I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God, and the freedom and welfare of my country. And thus I close mine epistle.

-=
Ok, that’s been sitting on my computer for a while, and it’s not the clearest; it could be applied in other ways, too; but there are some ideas for you.

2012, September 12

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

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

grego
(c) 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so Alma and the others pray and preach.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alma continues with his counsel:
Alma 39:9 Now my son, I would that ye should repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes, but cross yourself in all these things; for except ye do this ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Oh, remember, and take it upon you, and cross yourself in these things.
Alma 39:11 Suffer not yourself to be led away by any vain or foolish thing; suffer not the devil to lead away your heart again after those wicked harlots. Behold, O my son, how great iniquity ye brought upon the Zoramites; for when they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And we understand that Corianton had the same problem the Zoramites had about believing that Christ should come, and what that entailed:
Alma 39:15 And now, my son, I would say somewhat unto you concerning the coming of Christ. Behold, I say unto you, that it is he that surely shall come to take away the sins of the world; yea, he cometh to declare glad tidings of salvation unto his people.
Alma 39:16 And now, my son, this was the ministry unto which ye were called, to declare these glad tidings unto this people, to prepare their minds; or rather that salvation might come unto them, that they may prepare the minds of their children to hear the word at the time of his coming.
Alma 39:17 And now I will ease your mind somewhat on this subject. Behold, you marvel why these things should be known so long beforehand.
Corianton was to preach salvation through Christ, but worshiped an idol, following the Rameumpton prayer doctrine of the Zoramites.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2012, September 6

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

LDS/ Mormon: Hope for Miracles through Faith

grego
(c)2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Miracles CAN CHANGE SITUATIONS, and/ or change our views towards situations.
Some people in the church, even in leadership positions, preach that prayer (read: faith) can’t change situations, but it can help us deal with them–this is only partly true. These people need to read the Book of Mormon more to understand this important doctrine–it is FULL of stories of situations that are changed by faith!! One small verse that shows both:
Alma 31:38 And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith.

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

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

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

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

*Performing/ being involved in miracles often cleanses us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2012, August 30

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

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

grego
(c) 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2012, August 24

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

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

grego
(c ) 2012

This might not seem very strong, but…

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

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

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

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

2012, August 23

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

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

grego
(c) 2012

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

vs.

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

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

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

2012, August 14

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

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

grego
(c ) 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Points Corianton could learn from Alma:

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

*if you don’t know, ask God. This is a message found all throughout the Book of Mormon, from Nephi:
1 Nephi 2:16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.
1 Nephi 15:11 Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?–If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.
all the way to Moroni:
Moroni 10:4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

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

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

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

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

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

*not knowing is not an excuse for sinful behavior.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2012, June 24

“Book of Mormon: Chapter Heading Correction in Mosiah 28: Who Does ‘They Shall Have Eternal Life’ Refer to?” by grego

Book of Mormon:  Chapter Heading Correction in Mosiah 28:  Who Does “They Shall Have Eternal Life” Refer to?

 

grego

(c) 2012

 

The chapter heading to Mosiah 28 reads:

“*The sons of Mosiah shall have eternal life*—They go to preach to the Lamanites—Mosiah translates the Jaredite plates with the two seer stones. About 92 B.C.”

 

The text reads:

Mosiah 28:6 And king Mosiah went and inquired of the Lord if he should let his sons go up among the Lamanites to preach the word.
  7 And the Lord said unto Mosiah: Let them go up, for many shall believe on their words, and they shall have eternal life; and I will deliver thy sons out of the hands of the Lamanites.
“Let them go up, for many shall believe on their words, and they shall have eternal life. “
So who is the antecedent to “they”:  his sons, or the people who believe on their words?
I believe it’s those who listen to his sons’ words, not his sons, and therefore the chapter heading should read “Many Lamanites will have eternal life because of the sons of Mosiah’s preachings.” or such.
Mosiah’s sons already have eternal life.  And why would anyone believing in their words have to do with them having eternal life?
But not only will the Lamanites believe, but they’ll believe unto eternal life.

2012, April 5

“Book of Mormon: Sherem and Jacob (Jacob 7)” by grego

Book of Mormon: Sherem and Jacob (Jacob 7)

grego
(c)2012

It’s interesting to note what Jacob writes about and then what really happens:
Jacob 7:5 And he had hope to shake me from the faith, notwithstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken.

Jacob says Sherem can’t shake him from the faith because of:
–having received revelations;
–having seen angels, and their ministering to him;
–having heard the voice of the Lord.

Then:
Jacob 7:7 …And now behold, I, Sherem, declare unto you that this is blasphemy; for no man knoweth of such things; for he cannot tell of things to come. And after this manner did Sherem contend against me.
Jacob 7:8 But behold, the Lord God poured in his Spirit into my soul, insomuch that I did confound him in all his words.
Jacob 7:11 … Behold, I say unto you that none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ.
Jacob 7:12 And this is not all–it has been made manifest unto me, for I have heard and seen; and it also has been made manifest unto me by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, I know if there should be no atonement made all mankind must be lost.

There it is! This is the crux of Jacob’s testimony–the Holy Ghost has testified of Jesus Christ, and supports him. This is the “real” reason why he cannot be shaken.

Sherem makes a fatal Book of Mormon bad guy error:
Jacob 7:13 …Show me a sign by this power of the Holy Ghost, in the which ye know so much.

And Jacob answers:
Jacob 7:14 …What am I that I should tempt God to show unto thee a sign in the thing which thou knowest to be true? Yet thou wilt deny it, because thou art of the devil. Nevertheless, not my will be done; but if God shall smite thee, let that be a sign unto thee that he has power, both in heaven and in earth; and also, that Christ shall come. And thy will, O Lord, be done, and not mine.

“WHAT am I?” instead of “Who am I?”–interesting.
Jacob knows that Sherem is a liar and will deny a sign from the Holy Ghost, right? Hmm… What is a sign he wouldn’t be able to deny? It would no doubt have to be something clear, open, physically manifest; a taking away of Sherem’s power–to be smitten by God. And by doing so, not only would Sherem lose his power, but it would be a testimony of God’s power. But Jacob adds one more part, the most important part–the sign would prove that Christ would come. And of course, it’s God’s will, not Jacob’s.

Jacob 7:15 And it came to pass that when I, Jacob, had spoken these words, the power of the Lord came upon him, insomuch that he fell to the earth. And it came to pass that he was nourished for the space of many days.
Jacob 7:16 And it came to pass that he said unto the people: Gather together on the morrow, for I shall die; wherefore, I desire to speak unto the people before I shall die.
Jacob 7:17 And it came to pass that on the morrow the multitude were gathered together; and he spake plainly unto them and denied the things which he had taught them, and confessed the Christ, and the power of the Holy Ghost, and the ministering of angels.

Here Sherem confesses what Jacob told him: Christ, the power of the Holy Ghost (by which he was struck), and angels. Wait–angels? Jacob records nothing about having spoken about angels to Jacob. Sherem might have heard it around, or it might be from here:
2 Nephi 6:9 Nevertheless, the Lord has shown unto me that they should return again. And he also has shown unto me that the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, should manifest himself unto them in the flesh; and after he should manifest himself they should scourge him and crucify him, according to the words of the angel who spake it unto me.
2 Nephi 6:11 Wherefore, after they are driven to and fro, for thus saith the angel, many shall be afflicted in the flesh, and shall not be suffered to perish, because of the prayers of the faithful; they shall be scattered, and smitten, and hated; nevertheless, the Lord will be merciful unto them, that when they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer, they shall be gathered together again to the lands of their inheritance.
2 Nephi 10:3 Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ–for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name–should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him–for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God.

In other words, Sherem knows that Jacob has claimed to have had angels visit and minister to him.

Jacob 7:18 And he spake plainly unto them, that he had been deceived by the power of the devil. And he spake of hell, and of eternity, and of eternal punishment.
Jacob had preached a little about these things, from a long time ago:
2 Nephi 9:8 O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.
2 Nephi 9:9 And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.
2 Nephi 9:10 O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.
2 Nephi 9:12 And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.
2 Nephi 9:19 O the greatness of the mercy of our God, the Holy One of Israel! For he delivereth his saints from that awful monster the devil, and death, and hell, and that lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.
2 Nephi 9:26 For the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them, that they are delivered from that awful monster, death and hell, and the devil, and the lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment; and they are restored to that God who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel.
Jacob 3:11 O my brethren, hearken unto my words; arouse the faculties of your souls; shake yourselves that ye may awake from the slumber of death; and loose yourselves from the pains of hell that ye may not become angels to the devil, to be cast into that lake of fire and brimstone which is the second death.

However, this is the first time “eternity” and “eternal punishment” appear in the Book of Mormon.

It’s interesting that the really bad guys in the Book of Mormon are liars–special liars–they knowingly lie unto God. Sherem is no exception:
Jacob 7:19 …I fear lest I have committed the unpardonable sin, for I have lied unto God; for I denied the Christ, and said that I believed the scriptures; and they truly testify of him. And because I have thus lied unto God I greatly fear lest my case shall be awful; but I confess unto God.

Wow, that sounds like very legal talk, eh–commit sin, lie, deny, testify; my case; confess.

Jacob 7:20 And it came to pass that when he had said these words he could say no more, and he gave up the ghost.
Jacob 7:21 And when the multitude had witnessed that he spake these things as he was about to give up the ghost, they were astonished exceedingly; insomuch that the power of God came down upon them, and they were overcome that they fell to the earth.
Jacob 7:22 Now, this thing was pleasing unto me, Jacob, for I had requested it of my Father who was in heaven; for he had heard my cry and answered my prayer.
Jacob 7:23 And it came to pass that peace and the love of God was restored again among the people; and they searched the scriptures, and hearkened no more to the words of this wicked man.

Jacob didn’t will this to happen to Sherem; but he did pray that God would find a way to bring the people back from following and believing in Sherem, to the word of God. There is contention, and then there is special contention clearly manipulated by the devil. The lack of peace and love was due to the second type, and Jacob was glad to be rid of it. This return, due to the “power of God”, was … well, powerful!

2012, March 19

“Book of Mormon: Why is Chiasmus Found in Alma 36–of All Places?” by grego

Book of Mormon: Why is Chiasmus Found in Alma 36, of All Places?

grego
(c) 2012

As a continuation of my article of Alma’s use of NLP to communicate with his sons…

Absolutely!! Remember, Helaman is a reader, a thinker, a contemplater–not a doer. Alma purposefully gives Helaman a special message in a special form that will likely encourage him to study it more and appreciate it more deeply.

This includes literary elements like extremes, exaggerations (even if true), short and powerful yet subtle lines, and coloring throughout chapter 36: “I swear unto you”, “none could deliver”, “he surely did deliver”, “voice of thunder”, “the whole earth did tremble”, “Arise”, “If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of God.”, “fell to the earth”, “I could not open my mouth”, “struck with such great fear and amazement”, “racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins”, “tormented with the pains of hell”, “rebelled against my God”, “I had murdered many of his children”, “the very thought”, “rack my soul with inexpressible horror”, “banished and become extinct”, “racked, even with the pains of a damned soul”, “racked with torment”, “harrowed up by the memory of my many sins”, etc.

1 My son, give ear to my words; for I swear unto you, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.
2 I would that ye should do as I have done, in remembering the captivity of our fathers; for they were in bondage, and none could deliver them except it was the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he surely did deliver them in their afflictions.
3 And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.
4 And I would not that ye think that I know of myself-not of the temporal but of the spiritual, not of the carnal mind but of God.
5 Now, behold, I say unto you, if I had not been born of God I should not have known these things; but God has, by the mouth of his holy angel, made these things known unto me, not of any worthiness of myself;
6 For I went about with the sons of Mosiah, seeking to destroy the church of God; but behold, God sent his holy angel to stop us by the way.
7 And behold, he spake unto us, as it were the voice of thunder, and the whole earth did tremble beneath our feet; and we all fell to the earth, for the fear of the Lord came upon us.
8 But behold, the voice said unto me: Arise. And I arose and stood up, and beheld the angel.
9 And he said unto me: If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of God.
10 And it came to pass that I fell to the earth; and it was for the space of three days and three nights that I could not open my mouth, neither had I the use of my limbs.
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.
12 But I was racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins.
13 Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments.
14 Yea, and I had murdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction; yea, and in fine so great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror.
15 Oh, thought I, that I could be banished and become extinct both soul and body, that I might not be brought to stand in the presence of my God, to be judged of my deeds.
16 And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned soul.
17 And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
21 Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.
22 Yea, methought I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and praising their God; yea, and my soul did long to be there.
23 But behold, my limbs did receive their strength again, and I stood upon my feet, and did manifest unto the people that I had been born of God.
24 Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
25 Yea, and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my labors;
26 For because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God, and have tasted as I have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God.
27 And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me.
28 And I know that he will raise me up at the last day, to dwell with him in glory; yea, and I will praise him forever, for he has brought our fathers out of Egypt, and he has swallowed up the Egyptians in the Red Sea; and he led them by his power into the promised land; yea, and he has delivered them out of bondage and captivity from time to time.
29 Yea, and he has also brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem; and he has also, by his everlasting power, delivered them out of bondage and captivity, from time to time even down to the present day; and I have always retained in remembrance their captivity; yea, and ye also ought to retain in remembrance, as I have done, their captivity.
30 But behold, my son, this is not all; for ye ought to know as I do know, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence. Now this is according to his word.

2012, March 6

“Book of Mormon: The Law of War (Doctrine and Covenants 98) and the Law of Witnesses–Two Keys to Understanding the Structure and Content of Nephi’s Writings (1 Nephi–2 Nephi 5) and the Nephite-Lamanite Conflict” by grego

Book of Mormon: The Law of War (Doctrine and Covenants 98) and the Law of Witnesses–Two Keys to Understanding the Structure and Content of Nephi’s Writings (1 Nephi–2 Nephi 5) and the Nephite-Lamanite Conflict

grego
(c)2012

Two laws underlie the whole textual structure of 1 Nephi and the beginning of 2 Nephi: the law of witnesses and the law of war (which is an extension of the law of witnesses). These two laws set up the promises of the Lord to Nephi and their fulfillment through legitimate and lawful means, and set up the future of Nephite-Lamanite relations (which makes up much of the Book of Mormon). In addition, Nephi writes so that future Nephites and Lamanites will be sure of the true history of their forefathers.

Similar to how the last part of 1 Nephi 1 is the thesis statement for Lehi and his posterity and the whole Book of Mormon, the last part of the first writing that is about Nephi tells about the promise the Lord makes to him and is the thesis for the life of Nephi (much like a patriarchal blessing):
1 Nephi 2:20 And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.
21 And inasmuch as thy brethren shall rebel against thee, they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.
22 And inasmuch as thou shalt keep my commandments, thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren.
23 For behold, in that day that they shall rebel against me, I will curse them even with a sore curse, and they shall have no power over thy seed except they shall rebel against me also.
24 And if it so be that they rebel against me, they shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in the ways of remembrance.

Laman and Lemuel learn at least a little about this promise:
1 Nephi 3:29 And it came to pass as they smote us with a rod, behold, an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities? Behold ye shall go up to Jerusalem again, and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.

So, here the challenge to their inheritance has been thrown down; will they prove it wrong, or will it go unchallenged in the proper ways? We will see that after the promise and reason have been given them, more witnesses will be given.

This challenge is the problem Laman and Lemuel repeatedly use to fight against Nephi:
1 Nephi 16:37 And Laman said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael: Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi, who has taken it upon him to be our ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brethren.

1 Nephi 16:38 Now, he says that the Lord has talked with him, and also that angels have ministered unto him. But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these things, and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes, thinking, perhaps, that he may lead us away into some strange wilderness; and after he has led us away, he has thought to make himself a king and a ruler over us, that he may do with us according to his will and pleasure. And after this manner did my brother Laman stir up their hearts to anger.

1 Nephi 18:10 And I, Nephi, began to fear exceedingly lest the Lord should be angry with us, and smite us because of our iniquity, that we should be swallowed up in the depths of the sea; wherefore, I, Nephi, began to speak to them with much soberness; but behold they were angry with me, saying: We will not that our younger brother shall be a ruler over us.

2 Nephi 5:3 Yea, they did murmur against me, saying: Our younger brother thinks to rule over us; and we have had much trial because of him; wherefore, now let us slay him, that we may not be afflicted more because of his words. For behold, we will not have him to be our ruler; for it belongs unto us, who are the elder brethren, to rule over this people.

Mosiah 10:15 And again, they were wroth with him when they had arrived in the promised land, because they said that he had taken the ruling of the people out of their hands; and they sought to kill him.
16 And again, they were wroth with him because he departed into the wilderness as the Lord had commanded him, and took the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, for they said that he robbed them.

In the end, everything happens as had been foretold in 1 Nephi 2:
2 Nephi 5:19 And behold, the words of the Lord had been fulfilled unto my brethren, which he spake concerning them, that I (note: Nephi) should be their ruler and their teacher. Wherefore, I had been their ruler and their teacher, according to the commandments of the Lord, until the time they sought to take away my life.

According to the promise, there are a few conditions that must be met before it can be fulfilled:
1) Nephi must be obedient;
2) his brothers must rebel against him;
3) his brothers must rebel against God.

However:
1. this doesn’t happen when his brothers rebel against him while Lehi is still alive–they’re not cut off, either spiritually or temporally. Why not?
2. this wouldn’t just “be” “because”; there would be reason to it. How could those promises be made, and why would they be fulfilled?

Both answers have to do with the law of witnesses and the law of war. The promises to Nephi will be fulfilled to Laman and Lemuel’s detriment, but in the proper and just ways.

The Law of Witnesses

The law of witnesses can be found in many places in the scriptures (the Old and New Testaments in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants):
Deuteronomy 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

Deuteronomy 19:15 ¶One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

Matthew 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

2 Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

1 Timothy 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

Hebrews 10:28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

Revelation 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

Doctrine and Covenants 5:15 And the testimony of three witnesses will I send forth of my word.

Doctrine and Covenants 6:28 … and in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

Doctrine and Covenants 42:80 And if any man or woman shall commit adultery, he or she shall be tried before two elders of the church, or more, and every word shall be established against him or her by two witnesses of the church, and not of the enemy; but if there are more than two witnesses it is better.

Doctrine and Covenants 42:81 But he or she shall be condemned by the mouth of two witnesses…

Doctrine and Covenants 128:3 … naming also some three individuals that are present, if there be any present, who can at any time when called upon certify to the same, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

Doctrine and Covenants 128:20 … A voice of the Lord in the wilderness of Fayette, Seneca county, declaring the three witnesses to bear record of the book! …

2 Nephi 27:12 …that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that three witnesses shall behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein.

2 Nephi 29:8 …Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also. (Later, mention of the witness of the lost tribes=three witnesses:)
13 And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.

Ether 5:4 And in the mouth of three witnesses shall these things be established; and the testimony of three, and this work, in the which shall be shown forth the power of God and also his word, of which the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost bear record—and all this shall stand as a testimony against the world at the last day.

Moroni 6:7 And they were strict to observe that there should be no iniquity among them; and whoso was found to commit iniquity, and three witnesses of the church did condemn them before the elders…

The Law of Witnesses is first seen in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. They testify of themselves; but, especially to fulfill this law: the Father testifies of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; the Son testifies of the Father and of the Holy Ghost; and the Holy Ghost testifies of the Father and of the Son. (See 2 Nephi 31 where Nephi explains this.)

So, while two witnesses are good, three or more are definitely better! Note that in the Book of Mormon, references are to three witnesses, not two.

The Law of War

The Lord explains the law of war as follows:
Doctrine and Covenants 98:23 Now, I speak unto you concerning your families—if men will smite you, or your families, once, and ye bear it patiently and revile not against them, neither seek revenge, ye shall be rewarded;
24 But if ye bear it not patiently, it shall be accounted unto you as being meted out as a just measure unto you.
25 And again, if your enemy shall smite you the second time, and you revile not against your enemy, and bear it patiently, your reward shall be an hundred fold.
26 And again, if he shall smite you the third time, and ye bear it patiently, your reward shall be doubled unto you four-fold;
27 And these three testimonies shall stand against your enemy if he repent not, and shall not be blotted out.
28 And now, verily I say unto you, if that enemy shall escape my vengeance, that he be not brought into judgment before me, then ye shall see to it that ye warn him in my name, that he come no more upon you, neither upon your family, even your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.
29 And then, if he shall come upon you or your children, or your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation, I have delivered thine enemy into thine hands;
30 And then if thou wilt spare him, thou shalt be rewarded for thy righteousness; and also thy children and thy children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.
31 Nevertheless, thine enemy is in thine hands; and if thou rewardest him according to his works thou art justified; if he has sought thy life, and thy life is endangered by him, thine enemy is in thine hands and thou art justified.

32 Behold, this is the law I gave unto my servant Nephi, and thy fathers, Joseph, and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, and all mine ancient prophets and apostles.

33 And again, this is the law that I gave unto mine ancients, that they should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them.
34 And if any nation, tongue, or people should proclaim war against them, they should first lift a standard of peace unto that people, nation, or tongue;
35 And if that people did not accept the offering of peace, neither the second nor the third time, they should bring these testimonies before the Lord;
36 Then I, the Lord, would give unto them a commandment, and justify them in going out to battle against that nation, tongue, or people.
37 And I, the Lord, would fight their battles, and their children’s battles, and their children’s children’s, until they had avenged themselves on all their enemies, to the third and fourth generation.
38 Behold, this is an ensample unto all people, saith the Lord your God, for justification before me.
39 And again, verily I say unto you, if after thine enemy has come upon thee the first time, he repent and come unto thee praying thy forgiveness, thou shalt forgive him, and shalt hold it no more as a testimony against thine enemy—
40 And so on unto the second and third time; and as oft as thine enemy repenteth of the trespass wherewith he has trespassed against thee, thou shalt forgive him, until seventy times seven.
41 And if he trespass against thee and repent not the first time, nevertheless thou shalt forgive him.
42 And if he trespass against thee the second time, and repent not, nevertheless thou shalt forgive him.
43 And if he trespass against thee the third time, and repent not, thou shalt also forgive him.
44 But if he trespass against thee the fourth time thou shalt not forgive him, but shalt bring these testimonies before the Lord; and they shall not be blotted out until he repent and reward thee four-fold in all things wherewith he has trespassed against thee.
45 And if he do this, thou shalt forgive him with all thine heart; and if he do not this, I, the Lord, will avenge thee of thine enemy an hundred-fold;
46 And upon his children, and upon his children’s children of all them that hate me, unto the third and fourth generation.
47 But if the children shall repent, or the children’s children, and turn to the Lord their God, with all their hearts and with all their might, mind, and strength, and restore four-fold for all their trespasses wherewith they have trespassed, or wherewith their fathers have trespassed, or their fathers’ fathers, then thine indignation shall be turned away;
48 And vengeance shall no more come upon them, saith the Lord thy God, and their trespasses shall never be brought any more as a testimony before the Lord against them. Amen.

I remember reading that for the first time and knowing I had received new knowledge! But I was kind of lost a little–NEPHI had that law?? I had never seen it or heard it mentioned in the Book of Mormon (and wouldn’t for many years afterward)–until today, when it all came together (at least what I’ve gotten so far)!

What Points Nephi’s Record Witnesses

Nephi writes his truthful account to show that there are at least nine categories of three or more witnesses that set up the Lord’s promises to Nephi in 1 Nephi 2 and their fulfillment, and to show the law of war is fulfilled on his part, which sets up the whole Nephite-Lamanites scenario for the rest of the Book of Mormon:
1. Nephi is obedient;
2. Nephi saves his brothers’ lives;
3. Nephi’s passing tests of wonder;
4. sacred objects/ artifacts appear in miraculous ways, and Nephi claims their ownership by test of power of use (similar to the law of jealousies in Numbers? 5)–which also signifies heavenly approval of his being chosen;
5. Jerusalem is destroyed according to the words of the Lord’s prophets, including Lehi and Nephi.
6. Nephi refuses ill-gotten leadership;
7. Laman and Lemuel try to kill Nephi;
8. they are foiled each time by heavenly witnesses which testify in Nephi’s favor and to testify of his future calling as their teacher and ruler;
9. Laman and Lemuel repent, and Nephi forgives them;
10. the warning is given;
11. Laman and Lemuel attempt to usurp Lehi’s authority and power and Nephi’s power and prophesied authority, then lie to their own children;
12. Nephi and his people receive the promises of the Lord as he fights for them.

These witnesses fulfill the law of witnesses, and the events more than fulfill the requirements for the law of war. So, let’s go through them.

Nephi and Obedience
Not only is Nephi obedient, he and Lehi often invited and persuaded Laman and Lemuel to be obedient. Nephi testifies of obedience throughout his record:
a. 1 Nephi 5:20 And it came to pass that thus far I and my father had kept the COMMANDMENTS wherewith the Lord had commanded us.

b. 1 Nephi 16:8 And thus my father had fulfilled all the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord which had been given unto him. And also, I, Nephi, had been blessed of the Lord exceedingly.

c. 1 Nephi 17:15 Wherefore, I, Nephi, did strive to keep the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord, and I did exhort my brethren to faithfulness and diligence.

d. 2 Nephi 1:24 Rebel no more against your brother, whose views have been glorious, and who hath kept the COMMANDMENTS from the time that we left Jerusalem; and who hath been an instrument in the hands of God, in bringing us forth into the land of promise; for were it not for him, we must have perished with hunger in the wilderness; nevertheless, ye sought to take away his life; yea, and he hath suffered much sorrow because of you.

(e. 2 Nephi 5:10 And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord in all things, according to the law of Moses.
11 And the Lord was with us; and we did prosper exceedingly…)

Extra: 1 Nephi 8:38 And after he had preached unto them, and also prophesied unto them of many things, he bade them to keep the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord; and he did cease speaking unto them.
1 Nephi 15:10 Behold, I said unto them: How is it that ye do not keep the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord? How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts?
1 Nephi 15:11 Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my COMMANDMENTS, surely these things shall be made known unto you.
1 Nephi 15:25 Wherefore, I, Nephi, did exhort them to give heed unto the word of the Lord; yea, I did exhort them with all the energies of my soul, and with all the faculty which I possessed, that they would give heed to the word of God and remember to keep his COMMANDMENTS always in all things.
1 Nephi 16:4 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did exhort my brethren, with all diligence, to keep the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord.
1 Nephi 17:3 And thus we see that the COMMANDMENTS of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the COMMANDMENTS of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.
1 Nephi 17:13 And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my COMMANDMENTS; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my COMMANDMENTS ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.
1 Nephi 22:30 Wherefore, my brethren, I would that ye should consider that the things which have been written upon the plates of brass are true; and they testify that a man must be obedient to the COMMANDMENTS of God.
1 Nephi 22:31 Wherefore, ye need not suppose that I and my father are the only ones that have testified, and also taught them. Wherefore, if ye shall be obedient to the COMMANDMENTS, and endure to the end, ye shall be saved at the last day. And thus it is. Amen.
2 Nephi 1:20 And he hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my COMMANDMENTS ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my COMMANDMENTS ye shall be cut off from my presence.
2 Nephi 1:27 And it must needs be that the power of God must be with him, even unto his COMMANDING you that ye must obey. But behold, it was not he, but it was the Spirit of the Lord which was in him, which opened his mouth to utterance that he could not shut it.
2 Nephi 4:4 For the Lord God hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my COMMANDMENTS ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep my COMMANDMENTS ye shall be cut off from my presence.
2 Nephi 5:19 And behold, the words of the Lord had been fulfilled unto my brethren, which he spake concerning them, that I should be their ruler and their teacher. Wherefore, I had been their ruler and their teacher, according to the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord, until the time they sought to take away my life.

Even from the first episode of the brass plates, in fact, “commandments” is the key word for Nephi:
1 Nephi 3:16 Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord; therefore let us go down to the land of our father’s inheritance, for behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches. And all this he hath done because of the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord.
1 Nephi 3:21 And it came to pass that after this manner of language did I persuade my brethren, that they might be faithful in keeping the COMMANDMENTS of God.
1 Nephi 4:1 And it came to pass that I spake unto my brethren, saying: Let us go up again unto Jerusalem, and let us be faithful in keeping the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands?
1 Nephi 4:14 And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my COMMANDMENTS, they shall prosper in the land of promise.
1 Nephi 4:15 Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law.
1 Nephi 4:34 And I also spake unto him, saying: Surely the Lord hath commanded us to do this thing; and shall we not be diligent in keeping the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord? Therefore, if thou wilt go down into the wilderness to my father thou shalt have place with us.

Nephi exhorts Laman and Lemuel to obey another time:
1 Nephi 16:3 And now my brethren, if ye were righteous and were willing to hearken to the truth, and give heed unto it, that ye might walk uprightly before God, then ye would not murmur because of the truth, and say: Thou speakest hard things against us.
4 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did exhort my brethren, with all diligence, to keep the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord.
5 And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord; insomuch that I had joy and great hopes of them, that they would walk in the paths of righteousness.

Lehi fears for Laman and Lemuel and exhorts them to keep the commandments:
1 Nephi 8:14 … and at the head thereof I beheld your mother Sariah, and Sam, and Nephi; and they stood as if they knew not whither they should go.
15 And it came to pass that I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit.
16 And it came to pass that they did come unto me and partake of the fruit also.
17 And it came to pass that I was desirous that Laman and Lemuel should come and partake of the fruit also…
18 And it came to pass that I saw them, but they would not come unto me and partake of the fruit.
35 And Laman and Lemuel partook not of the fruit, said my father.
36 …he exceedingly feared for Laman and Lemuel; yea, he feared lest they should be cast off from the presence of the Lord.
37 And he did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent, that they would hearken to his words, that perhaps the Lord would be merciful to them, and not cast them off; yea, my father did preach unto them.
38 And after he had preached unto them, and also prophesied unto them of many things, he bade them to keep the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord; and he did cease speaking unto them.

And some of Lehi’s last main words to Laman and Lemuel:
2 Nephi 1:16 And I desire that ye should remember to OBSERVE the statutes and the judgments of the Lord; behold, this hath been the anxiety of my soul from the beginning.
17 My heart hath been weighed down with sorrow from time to time, for I have feared, lest for the hardness of your hearts the Lord your God should come out in the fulness of his wrath upon you, that ye be cut off and destroyed forever;
18 Or, that a cursing should come upon you for the space of many generations; and ye are visited by sword, and by famine, and are hated, and are led according to the will and captivity of the devil.
19 O my sons, that these things might not come upon you, but that ye might be a choice and a favored people of the Lord. But behold, his will be done; for his ways are righteousness forever.

Nephi Saves Laman and Lemuel’s Lives
a. Nephi saves his brothers’ lives with Laban:
1 Nephi 4:31 And now I, Nephi, being a man large in stature, and also having received much strength of the Lord, therefore I did seize upon the servant of Laban, and held him, that he should not flee.
32 And it came to pass that I spake with him…
34 …if thou wilt go down into the wilderness to my father thou shalt have place with us.
35 And it came to pass that Zoram did take courage at the words which I spake. Now Zoram was the name of the servant; and he promised that he would go down into the wilderness unto our father. Yea, and he also made an oath unto us that he would tarry with us from that time forth.
36 Now we were desirous that he should tarry with us for this cause, that the Jews might not know concerning our flight into the wilderness, lest they should pursue us and destroy us.

b. Nephi obtains food when everyone is starving:
1 Nephi 16:18 …after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.
19 And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families, and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food.
20 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael did begin to murmur exceedingly, because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness… yea, and they were all exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against the Lord.
21 … it began to be exceedingly difficult, yea, insomuch that we could obtain no food.
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?
24 And it came to pass that he did inquire of the Lord…
30 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did go forth up into the top of the mountain, according to the directions which were given upon the ball.
31 And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families.
32 And it came to pass that I did return to our tents, bearing the beasts which I had slain; and now when they beheld that I had obtained food, how great was their joy! And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord, and did give thanks unto him.

c. Nephi saves the ship from sinking and takes them to the promised land:
15 And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea. And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities…
20 …when they saw that they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea they repented of the thing which they had done, insomuch that they loosed me.
21 And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.
22 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did guide the ship, that we sailed again towards the promised land.
23 And it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land.

Nephi’s Tests of Wonder
Nephi has many tests of wonder where he overcomes an impossible task by performing impossible works.
a. When he goes back inside Jerusalem the third time to obtain the brass plates, he goes up against Laban, who Laman and Lemuel describe like this:
1 Nephi 3:31 And after the angel had departed, Laman and Lemuel again began to murmur, saying: How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?

Yet, Nephi, a non-warrior, goes by himself, without any weapon at all, against Laban and slays him; and not only that, but he obtains the plates, the sword, and his servant!

b. When everyone is literally starving, he makes a bow and one arrow to slay food for everyone in his group (around 20 adults, then more children), asks for directions, and goes by himself, and brings back enough food to save everyone.

c. Nephi will build a ship that will cross the ocean! He has likely never done this before (at least the full thing), which his brothers allude to:
1 Nephi 17:8 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters.
9 And I said: Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me?
10 And it came to pass that the Lord told me whither I should go to find ore, that I might make tools.
16 And it came to pass that I did make tools of the ore which I did molten out of the rock.
17 And when my brethren saw that I was about to build a ship, they began to murmur against me, saying: Our brother is a fool, for he thinketh that he can build a ship; yea, and he also thinketh that he can cross these great waters.
18 And thus my brethren did complain against me, and were desirous that they might not labor, for they did not believe that I could build a ship; neither would they believe that I was instructed of the Lord.
19 And now it came to pass that I, Nephi, was exceedingly sorrowful because of the hardness of their hearts; and now when they saw that I began to be sorrowful they were glad in their hearts, insomuch that they did rejoice over me, saying: We knew that ye could not construct a ship, for we knew that ye were lacking in judgment; wherefore, thou canst not accomplish so great a work.

Yet, he starts with finding ore for the tools, then makes them, then builds the ship; everyone admits it’s good (and even under storm conditions, it holds up very well):
1 Nepih 18:4 And it came to pass that after I had finished the ship, according to the word of the Lord, my brethren beheld that it was good, and that the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine; wherefore, they did humble themselves again before the Lord.

d. Laman and Lemuel see that they are about to be swallowed up by the sea in a great storm, and they free Nephi. Nephi prays, and the storm stops:
1 Nephi 18:11 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness; nevertheless, the Lord did suffer it that he might show forth his power, unto the fulfilling of his word which he had spoken concerning the wicked.
12 And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work.
13 Wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and they began to be frightened exceedingly lest they should be drowned in the sea; nevertheless they did not loose me.
14 And on the fourth day, which we had been driven back, the tempest began to be exceedingly sore.
15 And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea. And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof.
16 Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions.
17 Now my father, Lehi, had said many things unto them, and also unto the sons of Ishmael; but, behold, they did breathe out much threatenings against anyone that should speak for me; and my parents being stricken in years, and having suffered much grief because of their children, they were brought down, yea, even upon their sick-beds.
18 Because of their grief and much sorrow, and the iniquity of my brethren, they were brought near even to be carried out of this time to meet their God; yea, their grey hairs were about to be brought down to lie low in the dust; yea, even they were near to be cast with sorrow into a watery grave.
19 And Jacob and Joseph also, being young, having need of much nourishment, were grieved because of the afflictions of their mother; and also my wife with her tears and prayers, and also my children, did not soften the hearts of my brethren that they would loose me.
20 And there was nothing save it were the power of God, which threatened them with destruction, could soften their hearts; wherefore, when they saw that they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea they repented of the thing which they had done, insomuch that they loosed me.
21 And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.
22 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did guide the ship, that we sailed again towards the promised land.
23 And it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land.

Sacred Objects/ Artifacts
Here is what Nephi obtained for the Lehites:
The brass plates, Laban’s sword, and the Liahona–three artifacts that can be felt, seen, and preserved for future generations:
Mosiah 1:16 And moreover, he also gave him charge concerning the records which were engraven on *the plates of brass*; and also the plates of Nephi; and also, *the sword of Laban*, and *the ball or director*, which led our fathers through the wilderness, which was prepared by the hand of the Lord that thereby they might be led, every one according to the heed and diligence which they gave unto him.

And a full list (including the above):
a, b, c. The sword of Laban, the brass plates, and Zoram:
1 Nephi 4:31 And now I, Nephi, being a man large in stature, and also *having received much strength of the Lord, therefore I did seize upon the servant of Laban, and held him, that he should not flee*.
32 And it came to pass that *I spake with him*, that if he would hearken unto my words, as the Lord liveth, and as I live, even so that if he would hearken unto our words, we would spare his life.
33 And I spake unto him, even with an oath, that he need not fear; that he should be a free man like unto us if he would go down in the wilderness with us.
34 And I also spake unto him, saying: Surely the Lord hath commanded us to do this thing; and shall we not be diligent in keeping the commandments of the Lord? Therefore, if thou wilt go down into the wilderness to my father thou shalt have place with us.
35 And it came to pass that Zoram did take courage at the words which I spake. Now Zoram was the name of the servant; and he promised that he would go down into the wilderness unto our father. Yea, and he also made an oath unto us that he would tarry with us from that time forth.
36 Now we were desirous that he should tarry with us for this cause, *that the Jews might not know concerning our flight into the wilderness, lest they should pursue us and destroy us*.
37 And it came to pass that when Zoram had made an oath unto us, our fears did cease concerning him.
38 And it came to pass that *we took the plates of brass and the servant of Laban*, and departed into the wilderness, and journeyed unto the tent of our father.

b. the brass plates (after obtaining them: understanding them):
1 Nephi 14:12-20: 20 And I did rehearse unto them the words of Isaiah… I did speak many words unto my brethren, that they were pacified and did humble themselves before the Lord.

d. their wives, and Ishmael’s family:
1 Nephi 7:1 …the Lord spake unto him again, saying that it was not meet for him, Lehi, that he should take his family into the wilderness alone; but that his sons should take daughters to wife…
2 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded him that I, Nephi, and my brethren, should again return unto the land of Jerusalem, and bring down Ishmael and his family into the wilderness.
3 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did again, with my brethren, go forth into the wilderness to go up to Jerusalem.
4 And it came to pass that we went up unto the house of Ishmael, and we did gain favor in the sight of Ishmael, insomuch that *we did speak unto him the words of the Lord*.
5 And it came to pass that *the Lord did soften the heart of Ishmael, and also his household, insomuch that they took their journey with us down into the wilderness to the tent of our father*.

Who probably led the conversation of conversion with Ishmael about going into the wilderness? Nephi, or his brothers who immediately rebelled and wanted to go back? I imagine it was Nephi!

e. the Liahona
The Liahona worked according to their faith and diligence. Alma says:
Alma 37:43 And now, my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a shadow; for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual.
Who were likely the slothful ones?
Here’s a prime example of ownership:
1 Nephi 18:12 And it came to pass that after [Laman and Lemuel] had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work.
21 And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.

f. the ship
Laman and Lemuel believe a ship is beyond Nephi:
1 Nephi 18:19 And now it came to pass that I, Nephi, was exceedingly sorrowful because of the hardness of their hearts; and now when they saw that I began to be sorrowful they were glad in their hearts, insomuch that they did rejoice over me, saying: We knew that ye could not construct a ship, for we knew that ye were lacking in judgment; wherefore, thou canst not accomplish so great a work.

It is beyond Nephi; but not the Lord, who told him to make it and taught him how to make it.
1 Nephi 17:8 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters.

Otherwise, how else could they cross the ocean?

The result:
1 Nepih 18:4 And it came to pass that after I had finished the ship, according to the word of the Lord, my brethren beheld that it was good, and that the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine; wherefore, they did humble themselves again before the Lord.

Jerusalem
Three witnesses that Jerusalem was destroyed according to the prophecies of the prophets:
a. Nephi: 1 Nephi 19:20 For behold, I have workings in the spirit, which doth weary me even that all my joints are weak, for those who are at Jerusalem; for had not the Lord been merciful, to show unto me concerning them, even as he had prophets of old, I should have perished also.
22 Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, did teach my brethren these things; and it came to pass that I did read many things to them, which were engraven upon the plates of brass, that they might know concerning the doings of the Lord in other lands, among people of old.
2 Nephi 25:10 Wherefore, it hath been told them concerning the destruction which should come upon them, immediately after my father left Jerusalem; nevertheless, they hardened their hearts; and according to my prophecy they have been destroyed, save it be those which are carried away captive into Babylon.

b. Lehi: 2 Nephi 1:4 For, behold, said he, I have seen a vision, in which I know that Jerusalem is destroyed; and had we remained in Jerusalem we should also have perished.

c. Jacob: 2 Nephi 6:8 And now I, Jacob, would speak somewhat concerning these words. For behold, the Lord has shown me that those who were at Jerusalem, from whence we came, have been slain and carried away captive.

d. King Mosiah and all the Nephites
Omni 1:15 Behold, it came to pass that Mosiah discovered that the people of Zarahemla came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon.
16 And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth.

Nephi’s Refusal of Non-Divine Leadership
Nephi never attempts to usurp or even claim authority or power over Laman and Lemuel, even when they want to give it to him. Nephi could have claimed leadership through unrighteous means, but he only encouraged his brothers to obey God and their parents:
a. 1 Nephi 7:8 And now I, Nephi, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, therefore I spake unto them, saying, yea, even unto Laman and unto Lemuel: Behold ye are mine elder brethren, and how is it that ye are so hard in your hearts, and so blind in your minds, that ye have need that I, your younger brother, should speak unto you, yea, and set an example for you?

b. 1 Nephi 16:4 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did exhort my brethren, with all diligence, to keep the commandments of the Lord.

c. 1 Nephi 17:55 And now, they said: We know of a surety that the Lord is with thee, for we know that it is the power of the Lord that has shaken us. And they fell down before me, and were about to worship me, but I would not suffer them, saying: I am thy brother, yea, even thy younger brother; wherefore, worship the Lord thy God, and honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God shall give thee.

Meeting the Requirements of The Law of War

Laman and Lemuel murmured and rebeled from the beginning, and receive their first heavenly witness:
1 Nephi 2:11 Now this he spake because of the stiffneckedness of Laman and Lemuel; for behold they did murmur in many things against their father, because he was a visionary man, and had led them out of the land of Jerusalem, to leave the land of their inheritance, and their gold, and their silver, and their precious things, to perish in the wilderness. And this they said he had done because of the foolish imaginations of his heart.
12 And thus Laman and Lemuel, being the eldest, did murmur against their father. And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.
13 Neither did they believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets. And they were like unto the Jews who were at Jerusalem, who sought to take away the life of my father.
14 And it came to pass that my father did speak unto them in the valley of Lemuel, with power, being filled with the Spirit, until their frames did shake before him. And he did confound them, that they durst not utter against him; wherefore, they did as he commanded them.

Nephi, however, prays to know the truth, and gets an answer:
1 Nephi 2:16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.

And from that point on, that’s the main thrust of the characters.

Laman and Lemuel seek/ try to kill Nephi three times; and Nephi is delivered miraculously, three times, giving them heavenly witnesses to what the angel told them; they repent; and Nephi forgives them.

The First Attempt

7. 1 Nephi 7:16 And it came to pass that when I, Nephi, had spoken these words unto my brethren, they were angry with me. And it came to pass that they did lay their hands upon me, for behold, they were exceedingly wroth, and they did bind me with cords, for they sought to take away my life, that they might leave me in the wilderness to be devoured by wild beasts.

8. 1 Nephi 7:17 But it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound.
18 And it came to pass that when I had said these words, behold, the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet, and I stood before my brethren, and I spake unto them again.

9a. 1 Nephi 7:20 And it came to pass that they were sorrowful, because of their wickedness, insomuch that they did bow down before me, and did plead with me that I would forgive them of the thing that they had done against me.

9b. 1 Nephi 7:21 And it came to pass that I did frankly forgive them all that they had done, and I did exhort them that they would pray unto the Lord their God for forgiveness. And it came to pass that they did so. And after they had done praying unto the Lord we did again travel on our journey towards the tent of our father.

The Second Attempt
7. 1 Nephi 16:37 And Laman said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael: Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi, who has taken it upon him to be our ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brethren.
38 Now, he says that the Lord has talked with him, and also that angels have ministered unto him. But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these things, and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes, thinking, perhaps, that he may lead us away into some strange wilderness; and after he has led us away, he has thought to make himself a king and a ruler over us, that he may do with us according to his will and pleasure. And after this manner did my brother Laman stir up their hearts to anger.

8. 1 Nephi 16:39 And it came to pass that the Lord was with us, yea, even the voice of the Lord came and did speak many words unto them, and did chasten them exceedingly; and after they were chastened by the voice of the Lord they did turn away their anger, and

9a. did repent of their sins, insomuch that the Lord did bless us again with food, that we did not perish. (Ok, no mention of Nephi forgiving them here, but context shows it’s there.)

The Third Attempt
7. 1 Nephi 17:48 And now it came to pass that when I had spoken these words they were angry with me, and were desirous to throw me into the depths of the sea; and as they came forth to lay their hands upon me…

8. (1 Nephi 17:48)… I spake unto them, saying: In the name of the Almighty God, I command you that ye touch me not, for I am filled with the power of God, even unto the consuming of my flesh; and whoso shall lay his hands upon me shall wither even as a dried reed; and he shall be as naught before the power of God, for God shall smite him.
52 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said many things unto my brethren, insomuch that they were confounded and could not contend against me; neither durst they lay their hands upon me nor touch me with their fingers, even for the space of many days. Now they durst not do this lest they should wither before me, so powerful was the Spirit of God; and thus it had wrought upon them.
53 And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: Stretch forth thine hand again unto thy brethren, and they shall not wither before thee, but I will shock them, saith the Lord, and this will I do, that they may know that I am the Lord their God.
54 And it came to pass that I stretched forth my hand unto my brethren, and they did not wither before me; but the Lord did shake them, even according to the word which he had spoken.
55 And now, they said: We know of a surety that the Lord is with thee, for we know that it is the power of the Lord that has shaken us…

9a, 9b. 1 Nephi 17:55 And now, they said: We know of a surety that the Lord is with thee, for we know that it is the power of the Lord that has shaken us. And they fell down before me, and were about to worship me, but I would not suffer them, saying: I am thy brother, yea, even thy younger brother; wherefore, worship the Lord thy God, and honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God shall give thee.

At this time, Nephi also reminds Laman and Lemuel that their group is like the Israelites of Moses.

A Fourth Attempt
7. 1 Nephi 18: 10 And I, Nephi, began to fear exceedingly lest the Lord should be angry with us, and smite us because of our iniquity, that we should be swallowed up in the depths of the sea; wherefore, I, Nephi, began to speak to them with much soberness; but behold they were angry with me, saying: We will not that our younger brother shall be a ruler over us.
11 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness; nevertheless, the Lord did suffer it that he might show forth his power, unto the fulfilling of his word which he had spoken concerning the wicked.
12 And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work.
17 Now my father, Lehi, had said many things unto them, and also unto the sons of Ishmael; but, behold, they did breathe out much threatenings against anyone that should speak for me; and my parents being stricken in years, and having suffered much grief because of their children, they were brought down, yea, even upon their sick-beds.
18 Because of their grief and much sorrow, and the iniquity of my brethren, they were brought near even to be carried out of this time to meet their God; yea, their grey hairs were about to be brought down to lie low in the dust; yea, even they were near to be cast with sorrow into a watery grave.
19 And Jacob and Joseph also, being young, having need of much nourishment, were grieved because of the afflictions of their mother; and also my wife with her tears and prayers, and also my children, did not soften the hearts of my brethren that they would loose me.

8. 1 Nephi 18:13 Wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and they began to be frightened exceedingly lest they should be drowned in the sea; nevertheless they did not loose me.
14 And on the fourth day, which we had been driven back, the tempest began to be exceedingly sore.
15 And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea. And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof.
16 Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions.
20 And there was nothing save it were the power of God, which threatened them with destruction, could soften their hearts;…

9a. 1 Nephi 18:20 …wherefore, when they saw that they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea they repented of the thing which they had done, insomuch that they loosed me.

9b (implied). 21 And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.

10. The Warning
Then, Lehi testifies that:
1) the Lord was good to bring them out of Jerusalem, which had already been detroyed, and had they stayed they would have died;
2) the Lord was good to not destroy them on the seas;
3) the Lord was good to give them the promised land:
 1 And now it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had made an end of teaching my brethren, our father, Lehi, also spake many things unto them, and rehearsed unto them, how great things the Lord had done for them in bringing them out of the land of Jerusalem.
 2 And he spake unto them concerning their rebellions upon the waters, and the mercies of God in sparing their lives, that they were not swallowed up in the sea.
 3 And he also spake unto them concerning the land of promise, which they had obtained—how merciful the Lord had been in warning us that we should flee out of the land of Jerusalem.
 4 For, behold, said he, I have seen a vision, in which I know that Jerusalem is destroyed; and had we remained in Jerusalem we should also have perished.
 5 But, said he, notwithstanding our afflictions, we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed.

Then, Lehi testifies of Nephi as:
1) being righteous;
2) being instrumental and having saved their lives in the wilderness;
3) having suffered from Laman and Lemuel;
4) not desiring to have power and authority over them;
5) speaking the words of the Lord, even to making them obey; and,
6) Lehi warns Laman and Lemuel about Nephi:
2 Nephi 1: 24 Rebel no more against your brother, whose views have been glorious, and who hath kept the commandments from the time that we left Jerusalem; and who hath been an instrument in the hands of God, in bringing us forth into the land of promise; for were it not for him, we must have perished with hunger in the wilderness; nevertheless, ye sought to take away his life; yea, and he hath suffered much sorrow because of you.
25 And I exceedingly fear and tremble because of you, lest he shall suffer again; for behold, ye have accused him that he sought power and authority over you; but I know that he hath not sought for power nor authority over you, but he hath sought the glory of God, and your own eternal welfare.
26 And ye have murmured because he hath been plain unto you. Ye say that he hath used sharpness; ye say that he hath been angry with you; but behold, his sharpness was the sharpness of the power of the word of God, which was in him; and that which ye call anger was the truth, according to that which is in God, which he could not restrain, manifesting boldly concerning your iniquities.
27 And it must needs be that the power of God must be with him, even unto his commanding you that ye must obey. But behold, it was not he, but it was the Spirit of the Lord which was in him, which opened his mouth to utterance that he could not shut it.
28 And now my son, Laman, and also Lemuel and Sam, and also my sons who are the sons of Ishmael, behold, if ye will hearken unto the voice of Nephi ye shall not perish. And if ye will hearken unto him I leave unto you a blessing, yea, even my first blessing.
29 But if ye will not hearken unto him I take away my first blessing, yea, even my blessing, and it shall rest upon him.

The Fifth (and Last) Attempt before the Break-away
7. 2 Nephi 5:3 Yea, they did murmur against me, saying: Our younger brother thinks to rule over us; and we have had much trial because of him; wherefore, now let us slay him, that we may not be afflicted more because of his words. For behold, we will not have him to be our ruler; for it belongs unto us, who are the elder brethren, to rule over this people.
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.

8. 2 Nephi 5:5 And it came to pass that the Lord did warn me, that I, Nephi, should depart from them and flee into the wilderness, and all those who would go with me.

There is no 9, though there is likely a 10. From this point on, the law of war has been fulfilled for Nephi and his people.

Heavenly Intervention and Witnesses
a. 1 Nephi 3:29 And it came to pass as they smote us with a rod, behold, an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities? Behold ye shall go up to Jerusalem again, and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.

b. 1 Nephi 16:39 And it came to pass that the Lord was with us, yea, even the voice of the Lord came and did speak many words unto them, and did chasten them exceedingly; and after they were chastened by the voice of the Lord they did turn away their anger, and did repent of their sins, insomuch that the Lord did bless us again with food, that we did not perish.

c. 1 Nephi 17:53 And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: Stretch forth thine hand again unto thy brethren, and they shall not wither before thee, but I will shock them, saith the Lord, and this will I do, that they may know that I am the Lord their God.
54 And it came to pass that I stretched forth my hand unto my brethren, and they did not wither before me; but the Lord did shake them, even according to the word which he had spoken.
55 And now, they said: We know of a surety that the Lord is with thee, for we know that it is the power of the Lord that has shaken us…

Result
So, Nephi leaves, taking his rightful sacred possessions with him:
2 Nephi 5:12 And I, Nephi, had also brought the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass; and also the ball, or compass, which was prepared for my father by the hand of the Lord, according to that which is written.
14 And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords, lest by any means the people who were now called Lamanites should come upon us and destroy us; for I knew their hatred towards me and my children and those who were called my people.

Note that in addition that earning the right to the sacred possessions, it could be argued that he is also given them by right of the first blessing and inheritance from his father, Lehi, especially since he gave up the land under duress, which should have been his inheritance. Later, the Lamanites also take over the land of Nephi, yet they don’t enter that into their “money books”/ “retaliation/ revenge records”.
Mosiah 9:1 I, Zeniff, having been taught in all the language of the Nephites, and having had a knowledge of the land of Nephi, or of the land of our fathers’ first inheritance…
Mosiah 10: 3 And it came to pass that we did inherit the land of our fathers for many years, yea, for the space of twenty and two years.

Moroni later speaks of this in his letter to the Lamanite king, Amalickiah:
Alma 54:12 And behold, if ye do not this, I will come against you with my armies; yea, even I will arm my women and my children, and I will come against you, and I will follow you even into your own land, which is the land of our first inheritance; yea, and it shall be blood for blood, yea, life for life; and I will give you battle even until you are destroyed from off the face of the earth.
13 Behold, I am in my anger, and also my people; ye have sought to murder us, and we have only sought to defend ourselves. But behold, if ye seek to destroy us more we will seek to destroy you; yea, and we will seek our land, the land of our first inheritance.

And from that time on, only the Nephites’ unrighteousness will stop them from beating the Lamanites when the Lamanites come to fight them.

More about Laman and Lemuel’s rebellion and disbelief:
Laman and Lemuel receive a heavenly witness as they exercise unrighteous authority and power over Nephi and Sam:
1 Nephi 3:28 And it came to pass that Laman was angry with me, and also with my father; and also was Lemuel, for he hearkened unto the words of Laman. Wherefore Laman and Lemuel did speak many hard words unto us, their younger brothers, and they did smite us even with a rod.
29 And it came to pass as they smote us with a rod, behold, an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities? Behold ye shall go up to Jerusalem again, and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.

More about Laman and Lemuel’s disbelief and rebellion:
1 Nephi 3:5 And now, behold thy brothers murmur, saying it is a hard thing which I have required of them; but behold I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord.

1 Nephi 3:7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

1 Nephi 3:18 For behold, they have rejected the words of the prophets. Wherefore, if my father should dwell in the land after he hath been commanded to flee out of the land, behold, he would also perish. Wherefore, it must needs be that he flee out of the land.

1 Nephi 3:28 And it came to pass that Laman was angry with me, and also with my father; and also was Lemuel, for he hearkened unto the words of Laman. Wherefore Laman and Lemuel did speak many hard words unto us, their younger brothers, and they did smite us even with a rod.

1 Nephi 4:2 Therefore let us go up; let us be strong like unto Moses; for he truly spake unto the waters of the Red Sea and they divided hither and thither, and our fathers came through, out of captivity, on dry ground, and the armies of Pharaoh did follow and were drowned in the waters of the Red Sea.
3 Now behold ye know that this is true; and ye also know that an angel hath spoken unto you; wherefore can ye doubt? Let us go up; the Lord is able to deliver us, even as our fathers, and to destroy Laban, even as the Egyptians.

1 Nephi 7:6 And it came to pass that as we journeyed in the wilderness, behold Laman and Lemuel, and two of the daughters of Ishmael, and the two sons of Ishmael and their families, did rebel against us; yea, against me, Nephi, and Sam, and their father, Ishmael, and his wife, and his three other daughters.
7 And it came to pass in the which rebellion, they were desirous to return unto the land of Jerusalem.
22 And it came to pass that we did come down unto the tent of our father. And after *I and my brethren and all the house of Ishmael had come down unto the tent of my father*, they did give thanks unto the Lord their God; and they did offer sacrifice and burnt offerings unto him.

1 Nephi 7:14 For behold, the Spirit of the Lord ceaseth soon to strive with them; for behold, they have rejected the prophets, and Jeremiah have they cast into prison. And they have sought to take away the life of my father, insomuch that they have driven him out of the land.

1 Nephi 16:37 And Laman said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael: Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi, who has taken it upon him to be our ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brethren.

1 Nephi 17:20 And thou art like unto our father, led away by the foolish imaginations of his heart; yea, he hath led us out of the land of Jerusalem, and we have wandered in the wilderness for these many years; and our women have toiled, being big with child; and they have borne children in the wilderness and suffered all things, save it were death; and it would have been better that they had died before they came out of Jerusalem than to have suffered these afflictions.
1 Nephi 17:44 Wherefore, the Lord commanded my father that he should depart into the wilderness; and the Jews also sought to take away his life; yea, and ye also have sought to take away his life; wherefore, ye are murderers in your hearts and ye are like unto them.

1 Nephi 18:17 Now my father, Lehi, had said many things unto them, and also unto the sons of Ishmael; but, behold, they did breathe out much threatenings against anyone that should speak for me; and my parents being stricken in years, and having suffered much grief because of their children, they were brought down, yea, even upon their sick-beds.

2 Nephi 4:12 And it came to pass after my father, Lehi, had spoken unto all his household, according to the feelings of his heart and the Spirit of the Lord which was in him, he waxed old. And it came to pass that he died, and was buried.
13 And it came to pass that not many days after his death, Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael were angry with me because of the admonitions of the Lord.
14 For I, Nephi, was constrained to speak unto them, according to his word; for I had spoken many things unto them, and also my father, before his death; many of which sayings are written upon mine other plates; for a more history part are written upon mine other plates.

2 Nephi 5:1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cry much unto the Lord my God, because of the anger of my brethren.
2 But behold, their anger did increase against me, insomuch that they did seek to take away my life.
3 Yea, they did murmur against me, saying: Our younger brother thinks to rule over us; and we have had much trial because of him; wherefore, now let us slay him, that we may not be afflicted more because of his words. For behold, we will not have him to be our ruler; for it belongs unto us, who are the elder brethren, torule over this people.
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.
5 And it came to pass that the Lord did warn me, that I, Nephi, should depart from them and flee into the wilderness, and all those who would go with me.
6 Wherefore, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did take my family, and also Zoram and his family, and Sam, mine elder brother and his family, and Jacob and Joseph, my younger brethren, and also my sisters, and all those who would go with me. And all those who would go with me were those who believed in thewarnings and the revelations of God; wherefore, they did hearken unto my words.
7 And we did take our tents and whatsoever things were possible for us, and did journey in the wilderness for the space of many days. And after we had journeyed for the space of many days we did pitch our tents.
8 And my people would that we should call the name of the place Nephi; wherefore, we did call it Nephi.
9 And all those who were with me did take upon them to call themselves the people of Nephi.
10 And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things, according to the law of Moses.

11. The Traditions of Laman and Lemuel’s Descendants

Why is it important for Nehi to show all this? First, rememer the prophecy and blessing that Lehi gave Laman and Lemuel’s children:
2 Nephi 4:3 Wherefore, after my father had made an end of speaking concerning the prophecies of Joseph, he called the children of Laman, his sons, and his daughters, and said unto them: Behold, my sons, and my daughters, who are the sons and the daughters of my first-born, I would that ye should give ear unto my words.
5 But behold, my sons and my daughters, I cannot go down to my grave save I should leave a blessing upon you; for behold, I know that if ye are brought up in the way ye should go ye will not depart from it.
6 Wherefore, if ye are cursed, behold, I leave my blessing upon you, that the cursing may be taken from you and be answered upon the heads of your parents.
7 Wherefore, because of my blessing the Lord God will not suffer that ye shall perish; wherefore, he will be merciful unto you and unto your seed forever.
8 And it came to pass that after my father had made an end of speaking to the sons and daughters of Laman, he caused the sons and daughters of Lemuel to be brought before him.
9 And he spake unto them, saying: Behold, my sons and my daughters, who are the sons and the daughters of my second son; behold I leave unto you the same blessing which I left unto the sons and daughters of Laman; wherefore, thou shalt not utterly be destroyed; but in the end thy seed shall be blessed.

Let’s look at some of the Lamanites’ traditions, a few hundred years later:
1) they were driven out of righteous Jerusalem because Lehi was wicked;
2) they had been wronged in the wilderness;
3) they had been wronged on the sea;
4) they had been wronged in the promised land;
5) that whatever they did was ok
–in exact contrast to what Lehi had told them right before he died!!

It’s clear that Laman and Lemuel had lied to and taught their posterity that:
Mosiah 10:12 They were a wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, believing in the tradition of their fathers, which is this—Believing that they were driven out of the land of Jerusalem because of the iniquities of their fathers, and that they were wronged in the wilderness by their brethren, and they were also wronged while crossing the sea;
13 And again, that they were wronged while in the land of their first inheritance, after they had crossed the sea, and all this because that Nephi was more faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord—therefore he was favored of the Lord, for the Lord heard his prayers and answered them, and he took the lead of their journey in the wilderness.
14 And his brethren were wroth with him because they understood not the dealings of the Lord; they were also wroth with him upon the waters because they hardened their hearts against the Lord.
15 And again, they were wroth with him when they had arrived in the promised land, because they said that he had taken the ruling of the people out of their hands; and they sought to kill him.
16 And again, they were wroth with him because he departed into the wilderness as the Lord had commanded him, and took the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, for they said that he robbed them.
17 And thus they have taught their children that they should hate them, and that they should murder them, and that they should rob and plunder them, and do all they could to destroy them; therefore they have an eternal hatred towards the children of Nephi.

Alma 18: 5 Now this was the tradition of Lamoni, which he had received from his father, that there was a Great Spirit. Notwithstanding they believed in a Great Spirit, they supposed that whatsoever they did was right…

Alma 20:13 …his father was angry with him, and said: Lamoni, thou art going to deliver these Nephites, who are sons of a liar. Behold, he robbed our fathers; and now his children are also come amongst us that they may, by their cunning and their lyings, deceive us, that they again may rob us of our property.

Enos 1:14 For at the present our strugglings were vain in restoring them to the true faith. And they swore in their wrath that, if it were possible, they would destroy our records and us, and also all the traditions of our fathers.

Mormon 2:17 And now, the city of Jashon was near the land where Ammaron had deposited the records unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed. And behold I had gone according to the word of Ammaron, and taken the plates of Nephi, and did make a record according to the words of Ammaron.

Mormon 6:6 … and having been commanded of the Lord that I should not suffer the records which had been handed down by our fathers, which were sacred, to fall into the hands of the Lamanites, (for the Lamanites would destroy them) therefore I made this record out of the plates of Nephi, and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord, save it were these few plates which I gave unto my son Moroni.

Mormon sums it up like this:
Alma 3:11 And it came to pass that whosoever would not believe in the tradition of the Lamanites, but believed those records which were brought out of the land of Jerusalem, and also in the tradition of their fathers, which were correct, who believed in the commandments of God and kept them, were called the Nephites, or the people of Nephi, from that time forth—
12 And it is they who have kept the records which are true of their people, and also of the people of the Lamanites.

And in fact, it is the records that teach the Lamanites so much about the truth, at later periods of time; the truth about the incorrect traditions of their fathers, and their rebellion:

Alma 18:36 …even down to the time that their father, Lehi, left Jerusalem.
37 And he also rehearsed unto them (for it was unto the king and to his servants) all the journeyings of their fathers in the wilderness, and all their sufferings with hunger and thirst, and their travail, and so forth.
38 And he also rehearsed unto them concerning the rebellions of Laman and Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael, yea, all their rebellions did he relate unto them; and he expounded unto them all the records and scriptures from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem down to the present time.
Alma 23:3 And thus they might go forth and preach the word according to their desires, for the king had been converted unto the Lord, and all his household; therefore he sent his proclamation throughout the land unto his people, that the word of God might have no obstruction, but that it might go forth throughout all the land, that his people might be convinced concerning the wicked traditions of their fathers, and that they might be convinced that they were all brethren, and that they ought not to murder, nor to plunder, nor to steal, nor to commit adultery, nor to commit any manner of wickedness.
Alma 23:5 And thousands were brought to the knowledge of the Lord, yea, thousands were brought to believe in the traditions of the Nephites; and they were taught the records and prophecies which were handed down even to the present time.
Alma 37:9 Yea, I say unto you, were it not for these things that these records do contain, which are on these plates, Ammon and his brethren could not have convinced so many thousands of the Lamanites of the incorrect tradition of their fathers; yea, these records and their words brought them unto repentance; that is, they brought them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and to rejoice in Jesus Christ their Redeemer.

Alma 23:13 And these are the names of the cities of the Lamanites which were converted unto the Lord; and these are they that laid down the weapons of their rebellion, yea, all their weapons of war; and they were all Lamanites.

Alma 25:6 For many of them, after having suffered much loss and so many afflictions, began to be stirred up in remembrance of the words which Aaron and his brethren had preached to them in their land; therefore they began to disbelieve the traditions of their fathers, and to believe in the Lord, and that he gave great power unto the Nephites; and thus there were many of them converted in the wilderness.

Helaman 5:50 And it came to pass that they did go forth, and did minister unto the people, declaring throughout all the regions round about all the things which they had heard and seen, insomuch that the more part of the Lamanites were convinced of them, because of the greatness of the evidences which they had received.
51 And as many as were convinced did lay down their weapons of war, and also their hatred and the tradition of their fathers.

12. Fulfillment of the Lord’s Promises to Nephi because of the Law of War

Here are just a few examples of the numerous times in the Book of Mormon that the Lord helps and delivers the Nephites under the benefit of his law:
Omni 1:7 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.

Alma 19: 27 And there were some who said that Ammon was sent by the Great Spirit to afflict them because of their iniquities; and that it was the Great Spirit that had always attended the Nephites, who had ever delivered them out of their hands; and they said that it was this Great Spirit who had destroyed so many of their brethren, the Lamanites.

Alma 25:6 For many of them, after having suffered much loss and so many afflictions, began to be stirred up in remembrance of the words which Aaron and his brethren had preached to them in their land; therefore they began to disbelieve the traditions of their fathers, and to believe in the Lord, and that he gave great power unto the Nephites; and thus there were many of them converted in the wilderness.

-=
Words of Mormon 1: 14 And in the strength of the Lord they did contend against their enemies, until they had slain many thousands of the Lamanites. And it came to pass that they did contend against the Lamanites until they had driven them out of all the lands of their inheritance.

Mosiah 1:13 Yea, and moreover I say unto you, that if this highly favored people of the Lord should fall into transgression, and become a wicked and an adulterous people, that the Lord will deliver them up, that thereby they become weak like unto their brethren; and he will no more preserve them by his matchless and marvelous power, as he has hitherto preserved our fathers.

Mosiah 2:4 And also that they might give thanks to the Lord their God, who had brought them out of the land of Jerusalem, and who had delivered them out of the hands of their enemies, and had appointed just men to be their teachers, and also a just man to be their king, who had established peace in the land of Zarahemla, and who had taught them to keep the commandments of God, that they might rejoice and be filled with love towards God and all men.

Mosiah 9: 17 Yea, in the strength of the Lord did we go forth to battle against the Lamanites; for I and my people did cry mightily to the Lord that he would deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, for we were awakened to a remembrance of the deliverance of our fathers.

Mosiah 10:10 And it came to pass that we did go up to battle against the Lamanites; and I, even I, in my old age, did go up to battle against the Lamanites. And it came to pass that we did go up in the strength of the Lord to battle.
11 Now, the Lamanites knew nothing concerning the Lord, nor the strength of the Lord, therefore they depended upon their own strength. Yet they were a strong people, as to the strength of men.

Alma 20: 4 Now Lamoni said unto Ammon: I know, in the strength of the Lord thou canst do all things…

Alma 60: 16 … yea, if we had gone forth against them in the strength of the Lord, we should have dispersed our enemies, for it would have been done, according to the fulfilling of his word.

3 Ne. 4: 10 But in this thing they were disappointed, for the Nephites did not fear them; but they did fear their God and did supplicate him for protection; therefore, when the armies of Giddianhi did rush upon them they were prepared to meet them; yea, in the strength of the Lord they did receive them.

Morm. 2: 26 And it came to pass that when they had fled we did pursue them with our armies, and did meet them again, and did beat them; nevertheless the strength of the Lord was not with us; yea, we were left to ourselves, that the Spirit of the Lord did not abide in us; therefore we had become weak like unto our brethren.

There really is a strong purpose in the structure and inclusion of events in Nephi’s record which sets the stage for the whole Nephite-Lamanite struggle.

2012, February 7

Book of Mormon | “1 Nephi 17: We Are Moses; We Are Israel; We Are the Canaanites–The Cycle Continues” by grego

Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 17: We Are Moses; We Are Israel; We Are the Canaanites–The Cycle Continues

grego
(c)2012

In 1 Nephi 17, Nephi tells about Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt to the promised land. Some fall along the way due to their unrighteousness and unbelief. Because the inhabitants of Canaan are unrighteous and have rejected the Lord, the Lord destroys them, and builds up Israel in their place.

Now, the Jews of Israel in Jerusalem have become unrighteous and unbelieving, and they will be destroyed by the Lord, and Babylon will be built up. The Lord has led the Lehites out of Jerusalem and is leading them to their promised land, and has given them trials along the way, just as he gave the Israelites.

What is the condition in the promised land they are being led to? If I recall correctly, the Jaredites either have been or are being destroyed by the Lord, and the Lehites will later take over their land. (They will discover this much later.)

Interestingly, soon after the Lehites arrive in the promised land, Nephi will be led out of the land of their first inheritance, and a few hundred years later Mosiah will be led the righteous out of the land of Nephi to the land of Zarahemla, while the unrighteous Nephites who remain in the land will be destroyed by the Lord, and the Lamanites will take over their land.

2012, January 30

“Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants: Which is the Greatest Gift of God? (1 Nephi 15:36; Mosiah 8:16; 1 Nephi 26:30; Ether 12:34; Moroni 10:21; DC 6:13; DC14:7; DC 12:8)” by grego

“Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants: Which is the Greatest Gift of God?” by grego

grego
(c)2012

When it is asked, “Which is the greatest gift of God?”, some wise soul will usually quote this:
Doctrine and Covenants 14:7 And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.

But, what about this?
Doctrine and Covenants 6:13 If thou wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation.

Or this?
1 Nephi 15:36 Wherefore, the wicked are rejected from the righteous, and also from that tree of life, whose fruit is most precious and most desirable above all other fruits; yea, and it is the greatest of all the gifts of God. And thus I spake unto my brethren. Amen.

Then there’s this:
Mosiah 8:16 And Ammon said that a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God.

And this:
1 Nephi 26:30 Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish.

Ether 12:34 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.

Moroni 10:21 And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God; neither can ye be saved in the kingdom of God if ye have not faith; neither can ye if ye have no hope.

And even this:
Doctrine and Covenants 12:8 And no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care.

More than one right answer?? I guess it has to do with context, timing, and sequence. So next time that happens, have fun!

2012, January 26

“Book of Mormon: The Lord’s Promise to Nephi (1 Nephi 2)” by grego

“Book of Mormon: The Lord’s Promise to Nephi (1 Nephi 2)” by grego

grego
(c)2012

What were the Lord’s promises to Nephi? I think we mess this up just a little, forgetting a part or two:

1 Nephi 2:20 And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.
 21 And inasmuch as thy brethren shall rebel against thee, they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.
 22 And *inasmuch as thou shalt keep my commandments, thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren*.
 23 For behold, in that day that they shall rebel against me, I will curse them even with a sore curse, and they shall have no power over thy seed except they shall rebel against me also.
 24 And if it so be that they rebel against me, they shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in the ways of remembrance.

We usually forget that it wasn’t about Laman and Lemuel, but about Nephi: if he kept the Lord’s commandments, he would be “made a ruler and a teacher”.

While likely connected, the part about his brothers not being righteous had to do with being cut off from the presence of the Lord, not about Nephi being their ruler.

2012, January 18

“Book of Mormon: Nephi’s Concrete Claim to Leadership Angers Laman and Lemuel; They Lead a Coup to Counter (1 Nephi 16)” by grego

Book of Mormon: Nephi’s Concrete Claim to Leadership Angers Laman and Lemuel; They Lead a Coup to Counter (1 Nephi 16)

grego
(c)2012

Let’s take a look at a few things in 1 Nephi 16 today.

They are commanded to start out, and all is going ok until this:
1 Nephi 16:18 And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.
 19 And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families, and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food.
 20 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael did begin to murmur exceedingly, because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness; and also my father began to murmur against the Lord his God; yea, and they were all exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against the Lord.
 21 Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, having been afflicted with my brethren because of the loss of my bow, and their bows having lost their springs, it began to be exceedingly difficult, yea, insomuch that we could obtain no food.
 22 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did speak much unto my brethren, because they had hardened their hearts again, even unto complaining against the Lord their God.
 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 myfather: Whither shall I go to obtain food?
 24 And it came to pass that he did inquire of the Lord, for they had humbled themselves because of my words; for I did say many things unto them in the energy of my soul.
 25 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father; and he was truly chastened because of his murmuring against the Lord, insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow.
 26 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord said unto him: Look upon the ball, and behold the things which are written.
 27 And it came to pass that when my father beheld the things which were written upon the ball, he did fear and tremble exceedingly, and also my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and our wives.
 28 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.
 29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.
 30 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did go forth up into the top of the mountain, according to the directions which were given upon the ball.
 31 And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families.
 32 And it came to pass that I did return to our tents, bearing the beasts which I had slain; and now when they beheld that I had obtained food, how great was their joy! And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord, and did give thanks unto him.
 33 And it came to pass that we did again take our journey, traveling nearly the same course as in the beginning; and after we had traveled for the space of many days we did pitch our tents again, that we might tarry for the space of a time.

Everyone is starving. Laman and Lemuel’s bows have been ruined, so they are relying on Nephi’s bow; but it breaks. Oh, Nephi! Now we don’t have food! (Reminds me of how players on basketball teams blame the last person throwing the free throw wh misses for their loss, when in fact he was the one who had the highest field goal percentage throughout the game!) Did Laman and Lemuel get any food? Nope. For such cool guys, that kind of stinks, huh? I guess they weren’t very proficient with the sling. But Nephi doesn’t quit, as his brothers already did when their bows lost their spring and just relied on him. He makes a new bow, and a new arrow. Others long ago have explained he needs to make a new arrow because of the difference in the bows.) Today, it hit me : ONE arrow!! Wow, forget David and his FIVE stones.
With one arrow, Nephi was going to provide food for the entire family (at least 18 adults)–Laman and Lemuel must have been laughing and ridiculing him!–had it not been that they themselves were starving and hoping it would work. Contrast this with the ridicule and scorn they heap on Nephi when they are in Bountiful, the land of plenty, and Nephi starts building a ship. Why? They had it good, they weren’t interested in the promised land or a boat. They just follow the supposition that most people only hope others succeed when it means their own survival and betterment.
So Nephi gets directions of where to go, goes, and brings back food for the entire family; no one is hungry.
This time, Nephi does not just get the plates that seem to have nothing to do with their immediate temporal welfare; he actually saves his brothers and their families, and his father’s entire family, from starvation. I believe this is a claim to “ownership”/ dominion over his brothers and family that has been overlooked. Right, notice that Laman and Lemuel were nowhere to be found on Nephi’s hunting trip, just like they were nowhere around when Nephi slew Laban and got the plates. Yes, another fulfillment of the prophecy about his ruling over and teaching his brothers:
1 Nephi 2:21 And inasmuch as thy brethren shall rebel against thee, they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.
 22 And inasmuch as thou shalt keep my commandments, thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren.
and 1 Nephi 3:29 And it came to pass as they smote us with a rod, behold, an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities? Behold ye shall go up to Jerusalem again, and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.

1 Nephi 16:34 And it came to pass that Ishmael died, and was buried in the place which was called Nahom.
 35 And it came to pass that the daughters of Ishmael did mourn exceedingly, because of the loss of their father, and because of their afflictions in the wilderness; and they did murmur against my father, because he had brought them out of the land of Jerusalem, saying: Our father is dead; yea, and we have wandered much in the wilderness, and we have suffered much affliction, hunger, thirst, and fatigue; and after all these sufferings we must perish in the wilderness with hunger.
 36 And thus they did murmur against my father, and also against me; and they were desirous to return again to Jerusalem.
 37 And Laman said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael: Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi, who has taken it upon him to be our ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brethren.

After Ishmael dies and is buried, where is the leadership in his family–with his (old) wife, or the oldest son? Or, more likely: with Ishmael gone, were Lehi and Nephi the only ones standing in the way of Laman and Lemuel taking over the leadership of both families; and they figured that with the help of Ishmael’s sons, the coup would be easier to pull off, and would even build unity among them? I wonder if Laman and Lemuel were feeling the weight of the forthcoming change in family leadership, and try to take this opportunity to strengthen Ishmael’s sons’ ties/ bonds with them instead of Lehi and Nephi.
Do you think Laman and Lemuel would have been able to remember how to get back across the desert to arrive safely back in Jerusalem, as Ishmaels’ daughters hoped? Nahom was a long way away from Jerusalem. Or had they forgotten that the Liahona had led them? Did they think it would work for them, after they had killed Lehi and Nephi? Didn’t Nephi speak against them, and the Liahona (not in his possession, so he couldn’t have pulled a fraud) more or less confirm his words to them, and they trembled because of them (1 Nephi 16:27)? (Frankly, I think they would think that…)
So even though this has happened:
1 Nephi 3:29 And it came to pass as they smote us with a rod, behold, an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities? Behold ye shall go up to Jerusalem again, and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.

they lie to the sons of Ishmael and say:
 38 Now, he says that the Lord has talked with him, and also that angels have ministered unto him. But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these things, and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes, thinking, perhaps, that he may lead us away into some strange wilderness; and after he has led us away, he has thought to make himself a king and a ruler over us, that he may do with us according to his will and pleasure. And after this manner did my brother Laman stir up their hearts to anger.

So, in irony, the voice of the Lord comes–now everyone hears it openly; but instead of telling them they will be rulers and teachers, it tells them to repent!:
 39 And it came to pass that the Lord was with us, yea, even the voice of the Lord came and did speak many words unto them, and did chasten them exceedingly; and after they were chastened by the voice of the Lord they did turn away their anger, and did repent of their sins, insomuch that the Lord did bless us again with food, that we did not perish.

2012, January 17

“Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants: How Great Shall Be Your Joy (1 Nephi 16:32; Doctrine and Covenants 18:10-16)” by grego

Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants: How Great Shall Be Your Joy (1 Nephi 16:32; Doctrine and Covenants 18:10-16)

grego
(c)2012

I was reading today in 1 Nephi 16:

 18 And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.
 19 And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families, and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food.
 20 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael did begin to murmur exceedingly, because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness; and also my father began to murmur against the Lord his God; yea, and they were all exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against the Lord.
 21 … it began to be exceedingly difficult, yea, insomuch that we could obtain no food.
 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 myfather: Whither shall I go to obtain food?

 30 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did go forth up into the top of the mountain, according to the directions which were given upon the ball.
 31 And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families.

and then this scripture:

1 Nephi 16:32 And it came to pass that I did return to our tents, bearing the beasts which I had slain; and now when they beheld that I had obtained food, *how great was their joy!* And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord, and did give thanks unto him.

“How great was their joy!” reminded me of these verses:

Doctrine and Covenants 18:10 Remember *the worth of souls is great in the sight of God*;
 11 For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.
 12 And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance.
 13 And *how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!*
 14 Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people.
 15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, *how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!*
 16 And now, if *your joy will be great with one soul* that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, *how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!*

How great is the worth of souls? How great is Jesus’ joy in the soul that repents? How great will be your joy?

Well, think of walking long distances in the desert. You are tired and sore. You have been thirsty for hours, and on food rations for days. You are hungry; your spouse is hungry; your children are crying from hunger. It’s time to find food and end it! But suddenly the best means of catching the only available food is gone. The hunger is almost unbearable.
Then, a while later, lying in your tent from fatigue and depression and wondering how long before you die, you hear someone call out: “I have brought food; come eat!” Everyone feasts.
How do you feel? How did you feel when someone called out? How did you feel about the meal? How do you feel about the person that brought you the food?

2012, January 13

“Interesting Language Use of ‘I, [Name]’ throughout the Book of Mormon” by grego

“Interesting Language Use of ‘I, [Name]’ throughout the Book of Mormon”

grego
(c)2012

From the very first verse in the Book of Mormon, we have the use of the phrase, “I,[Name]”. In fact, Nephi writes “I, Nephi” around fifty times, just up to 1 Nephi 18! Is it to remind the reader that I=Nephi, or that Nephi is writing?

While that does happen in a few instances, a quick look shows us that this phrase is used much as “And it came to pass”–as a literary marker to show the start of a new idea, action, or topic, especially if it’s one that is critical or a turning point in the story.

Here are a few examples:
Nephi has been talking with his brothers; he stops, and leaves.
1 Nephi 3:1 AND it came to pass that I, Nephi, returned from speaking with the Lord, to the tent of my father.

His father talks to him, explaining the situation, and:
1 Nephi 3:7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

His father is happy and replies, and then they leave:
1 Nephi 3:9 And I, Nephi, and my brethren took our journey in the wilderness, with our tents, to go up to the land of Jerusalem.

The brothers make two attempts at getting the plates as a group, and then:
1 Nephi 4:5 And it was by night; and I caused that they should hide themselves without the walls. And after they had hid themselves, I, Nephi, crept into the city and went forth towards the house of Laban.

The Spirit tells Nephi to slay Laban; he contemplates, and then the critical forward motion:
1 Nephi 4:14 And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise.

Nephi gets the plates and goes with Zoram to his brothers, and Zoram flees:
1 Nephi 4:31 And now I, Nephi, being a man large in stature, and also having received much strength of the Lord, therefore I did seize upon the servant of Laban, and held him, that he should not flee.

Note that in these instances that when others are spoken of, the name or group or “we” is used.

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A very incomplete list of some instances throughout the Book of Mormon (there were so many, I got tired of making it!!).

1 Nephi 1:1 I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.

4 For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father, Lehi (THIS IS THE INTRODUCTION/ FIRST TIME), having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days); and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed.

5 Wherefore it came to pass that my father, Lehi (THIS AND ALL OTHERS ARE REPEATS), as he went forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people.

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.

18 Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after the Lord had shown so many marvelous things unto my father, Lehi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard.

20 And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away. But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.

1 Nephi 2:16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.

1 Nephi 3:1 AND it came to pass that I, Nephi, returned from speaking with the Lord, to the tent of my father.

1 Nephi 3:7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

1 Nephi 3:9 And I, Nephi, and my brethren took our journey in the wilderness, with our tents, to go up to the land of Jerusalem.

1 Nephi 4:5 And it was by night; and I caused that they should hide themselves without the walls. And after they had hid themselves, I, Nephi, crept into the city and went forth towards the house of Laban.

1 Nephi 4:14 And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise.

1 Nephi 4:31 And now I, Nephi, being a man large in stature, and also having received much strength of the Lord, therefore I did seize upon the servant of Laban, and held him, that he should not flee.

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.

1 Nephi 7:2 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded him that I, Nephi, and my brethren, should again return unto the land of Jerusalem, and bring down Ishmael and his family into the wilderness.

1 Nephi 7:3 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did again, with my brethren, go forth into the wilderness to go up to Jerusalem.

1 Nephi 7:8 And now I, Nephi, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, therefore I spake unto them, saying, yea, even unto Laman and unto Lemuel: Behold ye are mine elder brethren, and how is it that ye are so hard in your hearts, and so blind in your minds, that ye have need that I, your younger brother, should speak unto you, yea, and set an example for you?

1 Nephi 7:16 And it came to pass that when I, Nephi, had spoken these words unto my brethren, they were angry with me. And it came to pass that they did lay their hands upon me, for behold, they were exceedingly wroth, and they did bind me with cords, for they sought to take away my life, that they might leave me in the wilderness to be devoured by wild beasts.

1 Nephi 8:29 And now I, Nephi, do not speak all the words of my father.

1 Nephi 10:1 AND now I, Nephi, proceed to give an account upon these plates of my proceedings, and my reign and ministry; wherefore, to proceed with mine account, I must speak somewhat of the things of my father, and also of my brethren.

1 Nephi 10:17 And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God–and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come–I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.

1 Nephi 11:33 And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world.

1 Nephi 12:12 And I, Nephi, also saw many of the fourth generation who passed away in righteousness.

1 Nephi 13:16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them.

1 Nephi 13:19 And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations.

1 Nephi 13:20 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land; and I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them.

1 Nephi 13:23 And he said: Behold it proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew. And I, Nephi, beheld it; and he said unto me: The book that thou beholdest is a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets; and it is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many; nevertheless, they contain the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; wherefore, they are of great worth unto the Gentiles.

1 Nephi 14:14 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.

1 Nephi 14:27 And I, Nephi, heard and bear record, that the name of the apostle of the Lamb was John, according to the word of the angel.

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 15:1 AND it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had been carried away in the spirit, and seen all these things, I returned to the tent of my father.

1 Nephi 15:4 And now I, Nephi, was grieved because of the hardness of their hearts, and also, because of the things which I had seen, and knew they must unavoidably come to pass because of the great wickedness of the children of men.

1 Nephi 15:19 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, spake much unto them concerning these things; yea, I spake unto them concerning the restoration of the Jews in the latter days.

1 Nephi 15:25 Wherefore, I, Nephi, did exhort them to give heed unto the word of the Lord; yea, I did exhort them with all the energies of my soul, and with all the faculty which I possessed, that they would give heed to the word of God and remember to keep his commandments always in all things.

1 Nephi 16:1 AND now it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had made an end of speaking to my brethren, behold they said unto me: Thou hast declared unto us hard things, more than we are able to bear.

1 Nephi 16:4 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did exhort my brethren, with all diligence, to keep the commandments of the Lord.

1 Nephi 16:7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, took one of the daughters of Ishmael to wife; and also, my brethren took of the daughters of Ishmael to wife; and also Zoram took the eldest daughter of Ishmael to wife.

1 Nephi 16:8 And thus my father had fulfilled all the commandments of the Lord which had been given unto him. And also, I, Nephi, had been blessed of the Lord exceedingly.

1 Nephi 16:18 And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.

1 Nephi 16:21 Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, having been afflicted with my brethren because of the loss of my bow, and their bows having lost their springs, it began to be exceedingly difficult, yea, insomuch that we could obtain no food.

1 Nephi 16:22 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did speak much unto my brethren, because they had hardened their hearts again, even unto complaining against the Lord their God.

1 Nephi 16:23 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?

1 Nephi 16:28 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.

1 Nephi 16:30 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did go forth up into the top of the mountain, according to the directions which were given upon the ball.

1 Nephi 17:7 And it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had been in the land of Bountiful for the space of many days, the voice of the Lord came unto me, saying: Arise, and get thee into the mountain. And it came to pass that I arose and went up into the mountain, and cried unto the Lord.

1 Nephi 17:11 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make a bellows wherewith to blow the fire, of the skins of beasts; and after I had made a bellows, that I might have wherewith to blow the fire, I did smite two stones together that I might make fire.

1 Nephi 17:14 Yea, and the Lord said also that: After ye have arrived in the promised land, ye shall know that I, the Lord, am God; and that I, the Lord, did deliver you from destruction; yea, that I did bring you out of the land of Jerusalem.

1 Nephi 17:15
Wherefore, I, Nephi, did strive to keep the commandments of the Lord, and I did exhort my brethren to faithfulness and diligence.

1 Nephi 17:19 And now it came to pass that I, Nephi, was exceedingly sorrowful because of the hardness of their hearts; and now when they saw that I began to be sorrowful they were glad in their hearts, insomuch that they did rejoice over me, saying: We knew that ye could not construct a ship, for we knew that ye were lacking in judgment; wherefore, thou canst not accomplish so great a work.

1 Nephi 17:23 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, spake unto them, saying: Do ye believe that our fathers, who were the children of Israel, would have been led away out of the hands of the Egyptians if they had not hearkened unto the words of the Lord?

1 Nephi 17:49 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto them that they should murmur no more against their father; neither should they withhold their labor from me, for God had commanded me that I should build a ship.

1 Nephi 17:52 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said many things unto my brethren, insomuch that they were confounded and could not contend against me; neither durst they lay their hands upon me nor touch me with their fingers, even for the space of many days. Now they durst not do this lest they should wither before me, so powerful was the Spirit of God; and thus it had wrought upon them.

1 Nephi 18:2 Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men.

51. 1 Nephi 18:3 And I, Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things.

-=-=-=

Jacob 1:1 For behold, it came to pass that fifty and five years had passed away from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem; wherefore, Nephi gave me, Jacob, a commandment concerning the small plates, upon which these things are engraven.

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.

8 Wherefore, we would to God that we could persuade all men not to rebel against God, to provoke him to anger, but that all men would believe in Christ, and view his death, and suffer his cross and bear the shame of the world; wherefore, I, Jacob, take it upon me to fulfil the commandment of my brother Nephi.

14 But I, Jacob, shall not hereafter distinguish them by these names, but I shall call them Lamanites that seek to destroy the people of Nephi, and those who are friendly to Nephi I shall call Nephites, or the people of Nephi, according to the reigns of the kings.

17 Wherefore I, Jacob, gave unto them these words as I taught them in the temple, having first obtained mine errand from the Lord.

18 For I, Jacob, and my brother Joseph had been consecrated priests and teachers of this people, by the hand of Nephi.

Jacob 2:2 Now, my beloved brethren, I, Jacob, according to the responsibility which I am under to God, to magnify mine office with soberness, and that I might rid my garments of your sins, I come up into the temple this day that I might declare unto you the word of God.

Jacob 3:1 But behold, I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction.

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.

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;

15 And now I, Jacob, am led on by the Spirit unto prophesying; for I perceive by the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that by the stumbling of the Jews they will reject the stone upon which they might build and have safe foundation.

Jacob 7:3 And he labored diligently that he might lead away the hearts of the people, insomuch that he did lead away many hearts; and he knowing that I, Jacob, had faith in Christ who should come, he sought much opportunity that he might come unto me.

7 And ye have led away much of this people that they pervert the right way of God, and keep not the law of Moses which is the right way; and convert the law of Moses into the worship of a being which ye say shall come many hundred years hence. And now behold, I, Sherem, declare unto you that this is blasphemy; for no man knoweth of such things; for he cannot tell of things to come. And after this manner did Sherem contend against me.

15 And it came to pass that when I, Jacob, had spoken these words, the power of the Lord came upon him, insomuch that he fell to the earth. And it came to pass that he was nourished for the space of many days.

22 Now, this thing was pleasing unto me, Jacob, for I had requested it of my Father who was in heaven; for he had heard my cry and answered my prayer.

26 And it came to pass that I, Jacob, began to be old; and the record of this people being kept on the other plates of Nephi, wherefore, I conclude this record, declaring that I have written according to the best of my knowledge, by saying that the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days.

27 And I, Jacob, saw that I must soon go down to my grave; wherefore, I said unto my son Enos: Take these plates. And I told him the things which my brother Nephi had commanded me, and he promised obedience unto the commands. And I make an end of my writing upon these plates, which writing has been small; and to the reader I bid farewell, hoping that many of my brethren may read my words. Brethren, adieu.

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Enos 1:1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it—

5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.

6 And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.

11 And after I, Enos, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings for my brethren, the Lamanites.

17 And I, Enos, knew it would be according to the covenant which he had made; wherefore my soul did rest.

-=-=-=

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.

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 1:12 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—

23 Behold, I, Amaleki, was born in the days of Mosiah; and I have lived to see his death; and Benjamin, his son, reigneth in his stead.

30 And I, Amaleki, had a brother, who also went with them; and I have not since known concerning them. And I am about to lie down in my grave; and these plates are full. And I make an end of my speaking.

Words of Mormon 1:1 And now I, Mormon, being about to deliver up the record which I have been making into the hands of my son Moroni, behold I have witnessed almost all the destruction of my people, the Nephites.

9 And now I, Mormon, proceed to finish out my record, which I take from the plates of Nephi; and I make it according to the knowledge and the understanding which God has given me.

11 And they were handed down from king Benjamin, from generation to generation until they have fallen into my hands. And I, Mormon, pray to God that they may be preserved from this time henceforth. And I know that they will be preserved; for there are great things written upon them, out of which my people and their brethren shall be judged at the great and last day, according to the word of God which is written.

Ether 5:1, 6:1 I, Moroni…

2012, January 11

“Book of Mormon: Nephi’s Interesting Language Use of the Possessives ‘Our’ and ‘My’ in 1 Nephi” by grego

Book of Mormon: Nephi’s Interesting Language Use of the Possessives ‘Our’ and ‘My’ in 1 Nephi

grego
(c)2012

Ok, here’s some really interesting language use. There’s a lot of switching back and forth between “our” and “my”, when “our” would be used most of the time in (American) English. Also, Nephi adds the names of his father and mother—he has already given his father’s name many times, and he finishes the short account with his mother’s name at the beginning and end.

1 Nephi 5:1 And it came to pass that after we had come down into the wilderness unto *our father*, behold, he was filled with joy, and also *my mother*, *Sariah*, was exceedingly glad, for she truly had mourned because of us.

2 For she had supposed that we had perished in the wilderness; and she also had complained against *my father*, telling him that he was a visionary man; saying: Behold thou hast led us forth from the land of *our inheritance*, and *my sons* are no more, and *we* perish in the wilderness.

3 And after this manner of language had *my mother* complained against *my father*.

4 And it had come to pass that *my father* spake unto her, saying: I know that I am a visionary man; for if I had not seen the things of God in a vision I should not have known the goodness of God, but had tarried at Jerusalem, and had perished with my brethren.

5 But behold, *I* have obtained a land of promise, in the which things I do rejoice; yea, and I know that the Lord will deliver *my sons* out of the hands of Laban, and bring them down again unto *us* in the wilderness.

6 And after this manner of language did *my father*, *Lehi*, comfort *my mother*, *Sariah*, concerning us, while we journeyed in the wilderness up to the land of Jerusalem, to obtain the record of the Jews.

7 And when *we* had returned to the tent of *my father*, behold their joy was full, and *my mother* was comforted.

8 And she spake, saying: Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected *my sons*, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them. And after this manner of language did she speak.

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