Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2008, July 22

Book of Mormon: God, Korihor, Stroke, Curses, and Miracles

Ron, I’m sorry. (I think it’s Ron… or Rod?)

I didn’t mean to delete your comment. Ok, actually, I did–I forewarned everyone, but I guess you either didn’t find the warning, or you didn’t think I really would delete the type of comments you made.

But soon after I did, I realized that it was something I might want to address, that there was actually more to it than I had first thought. But I couldn’t bring the comment back from the trash.

Ron, you’re not the only one that believes that way. Even among members.

For everyone other than Ron and me, Ron’s gist was that I was assuming that God *had* to have a natural way to strike Korihor dumb (in Alma 30), and that there had to be a natural way or God couldn’t do it. Maybe he thought I was questioning God’s power.

But as I mentioned in my post, yes, God *could* have taken out Korihor’s vocal chords. I just don’t think He did. I don’t think nor assume He *needed* to, either, when He could have just used various other methods. In other words, I don’t think God has to use a completely unknown and unthought of way to perform a miracle, for it to count as a miracle.

I think it comes down to what is a “miracle” and a “curse”, and how do they work, and that kind of thing.

ALL miracles occur by some means. Not every miracle has to be performed at the same level of “magic”, and not even every same miracle has to be performed by the same means. One mean might have been very apparent to a person in our day and age, while another mean might still be very impossible to understand. How many different ways did Jesus heal the blind in the New Testament? Forgive my lack of offhand Bible memorization, but I’m thinking of at least three.

Now I’ll share a story or two, and you can decide for yourself if everything that’s a miracle has to be performed at the super-all-powerful-God level.

When the Amlicites are cursed, they need a mark (Alma 3). Well, God doesn’t make their foreheads “magically”/ miraculously turn red, nor does He do anything else to them. They mark their foreheads red. Could He have turned their foreheads red with a sentence? Yes, absolutely. But He didn’t need to. If He had needed to, I have absolute faith He could have. Maybe he did so to mark the Lamanites. We do read in the Book of Mormon something about “whosoever is cursed, brought the curse upon himself” or such.

A personal story: When I was trying to keep a girl from committing suicide and nothing seemed to be working, I strongly felt to pray for an angel. After wondering how ludicrous that was for a second, I did it. A few minutes later, one showed up. Not one of the kind that I was thinking of; but a knock on the door. As soon as there was a knock on the door, the girl pulled out immediately from her suicide trance state as if nothing had even happened, and answered the door, and it was over. Who was at the door? It was a member who had been at Institute and was hungry, and somehow decided to stop by before he took off for home, wondering if maybe we had a bite of food there for him to eat.
The Spirit had told me to pray for an angel; I had done so. Now, an angel *could* have come down from heaven in all its glory; that would have been fine with me. But instead, an angel–a human being, a poor friend–by God for divine puposes–knocked on the door instead.

So, was that less of a miracle than the miracle would have been had a “real” angel appeared? Or was it just a “lesser” way/ simpler mean for God to perform the miracle? Is God less powerful because He uses ways that we can understand to perform miracles? I don’t think so, though to us it might appear that way.

See, sometimes we *want* those kinds of miracles; we want to see someone that still has vocal chords, but *can’t* talk, though there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to; or we want to look down someone’s throat and see their vocal chords magically disappear at the words “struck dumb”–God is awesome, God is greeat!!

But what if it was just a simple little stroke, or whatever? Is that ok, or do we have a problem with the way God works? Is the fact that God might have used a nerve point to shut down Korihor’s ability to speak instead of taking his vocal chords away, an insult to us? Are we suddenly disappointed in God? I remember when some boys were bullying me, and my dad came–he was going to yell at them, scare them, and who knows what else, you &%(*%$$#!! Instead, he gave them rides on the swing!! Dang it, Dad?! Don’t you understand, don’t you know?? His ways, though certainly “less” than my ways, were also higher than my ways.

I don’t think Alma did an autopsy on Korihor after his death to find out what exactly had happened to Korihor; but was one necessary?

Interestingly, the main point is, Korihor says that he knows it was the power of God that caused it, and not a medical mishap–isn’t that enough for you sign-seekers of miracles?

So, if all miracles do happen, how do they happen? Ron came up with a few very inventive ways for two other Book of Mormon miracles–if I recall correctly, a mist surrounded Samuel the Lamanite and Ammon ate a superweed before his rampage. Cool, and maybe ok, but we need to see the text and understand the story also to understand more about the miracles. Alma eating a superweed wouldn’t work, because a big part of the miracle was the Lamanites couldn’t hit him with the rocks from their slings, and couldn’t even kill him when he was passed out on the floor. (How did *that* guy die, Ron? An angel *had* to kill him? I don’t think so. But *could* it have been that an angel killed him? Sure, absolutely.) And I think that if the people shooting at Samuel missed because a mist surrounded him, well, I don’t think the people would have been surprised by it that much–yet they were. So, do we know how every miracle occurs? Nope. But can we draw a few notes from the text to see something? Yes, we can.

So, once more–I believe that God *could* have magically/ miraculously taken Korihor’s vocal chords away then caused him to magically/ miraculously become more and more weak, or He *could* have made just one blood vessel get stuck. I don’t know. But I don’t rule out the second, *just because* I can/ might understand somewhat the process.

Perhaps, perhaps, sometimes God is a God of economy (“Why send an angel when they can do it themselves?”), of “worldy” means, of irony, of humor, and much more. ;)

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