Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2008, May 13

Book of Mormon: “A Tower Near the Temple” (King Zeniff vs. King Noah)

Filed under: Uncategorized — grego @ 7:47 am
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I noticed the following for the first time last Sunday in the Book of Mormon. I’m going to try to keep it short and simple, though I might not do so well this time.

In Mosiah 11:12, it reads, “And it came to pass that he built a tower near the temple; yea, a very high tower, even so high that he could stand upon the top thereof and overlook the land of Shilom, and also the land of Shemlon, which was possessed by the Lamanites; and he could even look over all the land round about.” The first part of that sentence: “a tower near the temple”–is the key to this whole section of the Book of Mormon.

The temple symbolizes the way that King Zeniff (and King Limhi) deal with life, and the tower is the symbol of the way that King Noah deals with life. That they stand next to each other is a perfect literary foil for the lessons in the story.

King Zeniff relies on righteousness for safety of his country and people.
*Zeniff, seeing good in the Lamanites, desires peace. He obtains the land through covenant. (Mosiah
*His people are industrious. They build buildings and repair the city walls (Mosiah 9:8). They raise flocks and crops (Mosiah 9:14). The men “raise all manner of grain and all manner of fruit of every kind” (Mosiah 10:4); the women make cloth (Mosiah 10:5); they prosper (Mosiah 10:5). *His people are attacked, and he arms them for battle (Mosiah 9:15; Mosiah 10:1).
*Twice he personally leads his people into battle against Lamanite aggression (Mosiah 9:16, 10:9, 10). *They go to battle “in the strength of the the Lord” (Mosiah 9:17) and “in his might” (Mosiah 9:18), “putting their trust in the Lord” (Mosiah 10:19, 20). They not only win, the first battle is almost an 1:11 kill ratio, and the second battle is much more, it’s not counted (Mosiah 10:20).
*He places guards that are successful (Mosiah 10:2); he places spies that are successful (Mosiah 10:7).
*He even helps bury the dead after battle (Mosiah 9:19).
It seems evident that their power is in righteousness and in the Lord.

King Noah, on the other hand, relies on the arm of flesh for the safety of his country and people. It reads, “He did not walk in the ways of his father” (Mosiah 11:1); “for behold, he did not keep the commandments of God, but he did walk after the desires of his own heart” (Mosiah 11:2).
But he didn’t stop there; “he did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord. Yea, and they did commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness” (Mosiah 11:2).
He sets the bad example and encourages his people to follow.
Part of his method included taxing “one fifth part of all they possessed” (Mosiah 11:3). With that money, he supports his wicked lifestyle (Mosiah 11:4) and builds, as his major contribution, “a tower near the temple; yea, a very high tower, even so high that he could stand upon the top thereof and overlook the land of Shilom, and also the land of Shemlon, which was possessed by the Lamanites” (Mosiah 11:12). He built a second “great tower” (Mosiah 11:13).
Ironically, he “also caused that his workmen should work all manner of fine work within the walls of the temple, of fine wood, and of copper, and of brass” (Mosiah 11:10). The temple became a symobl of his wickedness, not righteousness. In the temple, his high priests did “speak lying and vain words to his people” (Mosiah 11:11).
He and his people raise grapes (right?), for their wine.
Lamanites attack, people die, guards are sent, they die, an army is sent, it wins, and “now, because of this great victory they were lifted up in the pride of their hearts; they did boast in their own strength, saying that their fifty could stand against thousands of the Lamanites; and thus they did boast, and did delight in blood, and the shedding of the blood of their brethren, and this because of the wickedness of their king and priests” (Mosiah 11:19).
Abinadi is slain, things go bad; the tower still has one part left to play. King Noah flees there when Gideon chases him to kill him (Mosiah 19:6); from there he sees the Lamanites coming; he begs for his life, gets it, and instead of leading the people against their enemies, he leads them in running away! That included, at the end, leaving behind the women and children.

So, how about our nations? Better yet and more applicably to our situations, what about our lives, and our families? Is the temple proper our symbol, or is it there only as a facade? Are we concentrating more on building temples and righteousness, or towers and wickedness? Where will we most rely on, in necessary times–in the Lord, or ourselves?

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