Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2010, January 19

“Book of Mormon: A Critique of ‘The Living Scriptures’ Video ‘Samuel and the Sign'” by grego

“Book of Mormon: A Critique of ‘The Living Scriptures’ Video ‘Samuel and the Sign'”

(c) 2010

When it comes to “scriptures”, nothing kills faster than leaving the script… and that is what happens a few times in The Living Scriptures video, “Samuel and the Sign”.

I understand ‘artistic license’, etc. I don’t believe it should be used so liberally with the scriptures, though. However, that’s not the problem I have here. Here’s what rubs me: my daughters watch, and think “that’s in the Book of Mormon”–only to find out during FHE, or Primary, or whenever, that it’s not; and not only that, but a few parts are plain-out *wrong*.

That’s a nice gift for a child, don’t ya think?

Ok, so Brian Nissen’s [corrected by Anonymous; before incorrectly “Scott Orson Card’s”] (I’m assuming the script was all his idea) getting a way to kill the believers is artistic license, and it’s a good possibility. Kudos. It took some thought and imagination, and it works.

There are a few parts that don’t, however. So, what are they, and how do they conflict with the Book of Mormon?

1. After much prayer, Nephi is told by the Lord that the sign will come that night (3 Nephi 1:11-15).
In the video, Nephi is in the dark as to whether the sign will come or not, and no one else knows, either. He doesn’t seem to have prayed much, either.

2. There is no darkness at the going down of the sun (Helaman 14:3-4; 3 Nephi 1:15, 19).
In the video, it does turn dark at the going down of the sun–if only for a moment or two.

3. The wicked are so amazed and fearful, they fall down at the sign, in fulfillment of Samuel’s prophecy (Helaman 14:7, 3 Nephi 1:16).
In the video, only the bad leader trembles and runs away; for everyone else, hey, it’s all ok, been there done that, it’s over, let’s shake and get on.

4. Jesus will be born the next day (Helaman 14:3; 3 Nephi 1:13, 19).
In the video, Nephi–at the time the sign is given–says that Jesus has been born.

Related scriptures:
Helaman 14:
2 And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name.
3 And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day.
4 Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born.
7 And it shall come to pass that ye shall all be amazed, and wonder, insomuch that ye shall fall to the earth.

3 Nephi 1:11 And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers.
12 And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:
13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
14 Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.
15 And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.
16 And there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who fell to the earth and became as if they were dead, for they knew that the great plan of destruction which they had laid for those who believed in the words of the prophets had been frustrated; for the sign which had been given was already at hand.
17 And they began to know that the Son of God must shortly appear; yea, in fine, all the people upon the face of the whole earth from the west to the east, both in the land north and in the land south, were so exceedingly astonished that they fell to the earth.
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.
19 And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given.
20 And it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets.

2008, July 23

Book of Mormon: My Critique of a Scene in The Living Scriptures (by Orson Scott Card)

Book of Mormon: My Critique of a Scene in The Living Scriptures video “Ammon, Missionary to the Lamanites” (by Orson Scott Card)

While I think The Living Scriptures videos are often very well done, and the insights the scripts give are often really cool, there are some times when I wonder if it would be better for my children to watch Saturday morning cartoons instead.

One of those times is in “Ammon, Missionary to the Lamanites”.

In the video (but nowhere in the text of the Book of Mormon) Abish tells Ammon–after he had been wondering about the plan of God being set up ahead of time, even before he had repented (and another non-textual, artistical interpretation of Abish’s father’s dream):
“If you had not been worthy, He would have sent another.”

My thoughts: “Really? He would have?”

There are two sides to this question: yes, and no.

Perhaps Mr. Card wrote this into the script to specifically oppose a not-so-recent Church rumor/ story that a lady received a (patriarchal?) blessing that she was supposed to have been baptized 20 years earlier, but that the missionary who was supposed to have baptized her chose to not go on his mission.

There are times when God would have/ does/ will “replace” someone in a position/ calling. For example, God told Joseph Smith that if he weren’t the prophet, someone else would be. You choose not to be bishop? Chances are very good, there will be another person called.

But I guess the main reason I don’t like this comment from Abish in The Living Scriptures video “Ammon, Missionary to the Lamanites” is because in Alma 26 of the Book of Mormon–long after the conversion of the king/ the supposed conversation between Ammon and Abish–Ammon says this:
Alma 26:9 For if *we* had not come up out of the land of Zarahemla, these our dearly beloved brethren, who have so dearly beloved us, *would still* have been racked with hatred against us, yea, and they *would* also have been strangers to God.

Then, Ammon reminds them that what the other Nephite Church members had been thinking and saying:
Alma 26:23 Now do ye remember, my brethren, that we said unto our brethren in the land of Zarahemla, we go up to the land of Nephi, to preach unto our brethren, the Lamanites, and they laughed us to scorn?
Alma 26:24 For they said unto us: Do ye suppose that ye can bring the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth? Do ye suppose that ye can convince the Lamanites of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers, as stiffnecked a people as they are; whose hearts delight in the shedding of blood; whose days have been spent in the grossest iniquity; whose ways have been the ways of a transgressor from the beginning? Now my brethren, ye remember that this was their language.
Alma 26:25 And moreover they did say: Let us take up arms against them, that we destroy them and their iniquity out of the land, lest they overrun us and destroy us.
Alma 26:26 But behold, my beloved brethren, we came into the wilderness not with the intent to destroy our brethren, but with the intent that perhaps we might save some few of their souls.

So who else would the Lord have sent?

Ammon then reminds them that notwithstanding their incredible desire to serve, they still felt like this:
Alma 26:27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.

If Ammon and his team almost didn’t make it, who else would have had just as great a desire to love and serve as them, and also not pulled back?

So, I find myself more apt to agree with Ammon on this point and less with Mr. Card–that if Ammon and his team hadn’t gone, no one else would have.

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