Sunday, February 12, 2012

1 Nephi Chapter 2

Visions Galore!
God does a lot of talking. He tells Lehi (in a dream) that he needs to take his family and run. Then His voice comes to Nephi and gives him a six-verse speech about his brothers and how their descendants and his descendants are probably not going to get along well.

Keep in mind that in the previous chapter, we had Lehi seeing choruses of angels and "One descending out of the midst of heaven." We're like four pages in and God's throwing visions and pillars of fire and his likeness and his voice around like it's no big deal.

Considering the recent change to the church's Gospel Principles (scroll down to chapter 14) that now omits the implied claim of the church's current leadership having personally seen God...it doesn't seem like Nephi and Thomas S. Monson belong to the same religion. Perhaps too much doctrine has changed since the Book of Mormon was written.

Joseph Smith's Accidental Irony
Verse ten makes me smile:
And he also spake unto Lemuel: O that thou mightest be like unto this valley, firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord!
I'm betting Joseph Smith didn't really know anything about Pangea or plate tectonics or anything like that. That kind of research and discovery came around after his time. Which is funny, because otherwise he would have known that valleys--and all geographical features--are slowly changing over great periods of time. That valley was not as firm and steadfast as Lehi thought it was.

Appropriately enough, however, Lehi unwittingly aligned himself with one of Mormonism's habits--slow change. Little by little, the church has whittled away at its less popular aspects. The Adam/God doctrine...polygamy...no blacks in the priesthood...these and many other things have disappeared one by one, like the gradual shifting of a continent as it effaces a valley and raises it into a smooth plain.

Ironic, right?

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