Monday, May 7, 2012

2 Nephi 7: Filler

More Isaiah.

As if having Isaiah just once in the standard works wasn't boring enough.

Joseph Smith apparently just went through Isaiah chapter 50 and reworked some of the punctuation, changed some wording here and there, and added a little bit of unnecessary emphasis (because Isaiah is already repetitive enough) on a few points.  The only significant difference between the two chapters is an omission in verse ten of some advice to "trust in the name of the Lord."  I'm not sure why Smith omitted that, considering it might be the most straightforward teaching in the chapter, but it doesn't radically change any kind of doctrine.  The two chapters are still pretty much the same conceptually, tonally, and doctrinally.

Maybe his reasoning for siphoning off so much Isaiah by this point is becoming less about building credibility for his manuscript as the word of God and more about filler.  If it were possible to make a movie that was to be considered direct revelation of God, this chapter would be the equivalent of a massive explosion going off repeatedly from various camera angles, followed by the protagonist walking out of the blast radius in slow motion.  He'd put on a pair of sunglasses, raise his gun, and exchange a few meaningful glares with the antagonist--all still in slow motion.  Except at least that kind of filler would still be kind of fun to watch.

So maybe it's more like a remake of a classic film--let's use Gone With the Wind as an example.  In Joseph Smith's remake of Gone With the Wind, he'd periodically utilize footage from the original movie as some kind of flashback material, cutting these scenes in at odd intervals until he'd gotten his remake to come reasonably close to the almost-four-hour running time of the classic.  The Bible is huge, and it covers thousands of years of history.  If Joseph Smith had come up with his own book of scripture spanning more than a thousand years of history and it came to a measly 150 pages...maybe he was worried he'd get laughed at.  How can you take a book claiming to be a second Bible seriously if it's hardly the size of a decent novel?

Hence the filler.


  1. In one of the discussions I had with my nice missionaries the sisters told me about the conversion of Alma the younger and how Enos wrestled with god. I hadn't read those stories then, though I still recall a lot of the Bible (I wasted 6 years of my late-teens to early twenties as an evangelical Christian) and piped up that those stories seemed similar to the stories of the conversion of Saul (into Paul the Evangelist) and Jacob's wrestling with god (and, ridiculously enough, god couldn't overpower him even after having cheated and dislocated Jacob's hip!).

    The misshies immediately asserted that 'the similarity between the stories in the Bible and the BoM proves that they were both written by god, and should be expected.' I sensed that they were getting defensive just then, so I didn't say anything... (after all, I had just sort of deflated them a few minutes before when I pointed out that their notion that 'god knows everything we are going to do, but lets us do it anyway in order to allow us free agency' really indicates predestination rather than free agency since we can't choose to do differently than what god knew we would do... or we'd be proving god wrong). I was thinking, though, that the 'how' of the similarity makes all the difference.

    I can understand their thinking that the similarity reinforces both books if the stories are different but united in pathos/teachings. When the similarity comes in the form of stories lifted wholesale sometimes with the only differences being the name of the characters and the story location, that is more an indication of plagiarism. :oP

    Talking about filler, tho, the one that really flabergasted me in the BoM is Omni... and all those prophets that don't say anything other than 'here I am, nothing happened, I'm passing this to my son now.' More waste of space on supposedly precious gold plates (aside from all the 'and it came to past that' and the endless ramblings). :oP

    Anyhow! I sure hope you are enjoying writing this series since I sure am enjoying reading it! :oD

  2. Why is anyone taking advise on their eternal being from some loser blogger who's thirty years old and works in fast food? Do people read this crap and think "yeah this guys got his stuff together and knows what he's talking about. he's a genius philosopher and I am going to put my fate in some dumb posts he puts on the internet that are very sarcastic and cynical"?

    1. Not that I'm expecting you to return, but here is my reply.