Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mosiah 1: Father to Son, Again

Okay, the little books are out of the way.  Isaiah is behind us.  Smooth sailing on through Mosiah.

Existence Does Not Equal Veracity
King Benjamin's advice to his sons contains some oddities:
O my sons, I would that ye should remember that these sayings are true, and also that these records are true.  And behold, also the plates of Nephi, which contain the records and the sayings of our fathers from the time they left Jerusalem until now, and they are true; and we can know of their surety because we have them before our eyes.
This verse makes complete sense until Mosiah throws in that bizarre line at the very end.  Apparently, to him, seeing something is believing that something has divine origins.  I mean, I have a copy of American Psycho sitting in my bookshelf.  Because I can see that book with my physical eyes, does that mean that Patrick Bateman actually killed all those people?

The Old "Traditions of Their Fathers" Problem
Verse 5 discusses what would become of Mosiah and his peeps if they didn't have the scriptures.  The second half of the verse, ironically, seems to apply very well to modern day Mormonism:
...we should have been like unto our brethren, the Lamanites, who know nothing concerning these things, or even do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct.
Gasp!  An entire group of people who are blind to the truth and resist it when confronted with it because of the false customs of their ancestors?  How horrible!  Those people live in such pitiable ignorance!

Passing the Torch...and the Sword and the Liahona
When Benjamin selected his son Mosiah to be the next king, he also entrusted him with a few Mystical Mormon Metals.  Mosiah is to keep the plates of Nephi, the sword of Laban and the Liahona.  The Liahona doesn't serve any purpose anymore because nobody's trying to go anywhere, but for some reason it's been an heirloom for the last four hundred years.  The sword of Laban has no spirtual significance and it seems odd that it continues to be mentioned despite the fact that the records have supposedly been abridged for optimum doctrinal density.

I half expected Benjamin to also entrust his son with some elven cloaks and the phial of Galadriel, too.


  1. You nailed it when talking about following false traditions. As a missionary, I remember one door in particular.

    Knock, Knock

    Me: "Hello, we're missionaries from the church..." (translated from a foreign language)

    Really nice lady: "I'm sorry. I'm not interested. I'm Catholic. My church doesn't require much of me, and I like it that way."

    To tell the truth, at that moment, I was rather jealous of the lady not having much required of her, except maybe for the fact that she was now damned to hell, because she had been offered the truth and refused it. I felt bad about that.

    I served a mission based on the testimony of my parents. That's what I was taught to do. That, and subsequently attending and graduating from BYU were the two biggest things in my life that I wish I could do over, meaning I wouldn't serve a mission and I would have gone to a different school.

    1. I'm sorry that you regret serving your mission. I didn't serve, and sometimes I feel incredibly lucky that I managed to abandon "the testimony of my parents," as you put it, in time. Even when I was starting to doubt the gospel, there was still a lot of nagging in the back of my mind saying that I should just go on the mission anyway because that's what you do when you turn 19.

      I'm not sure if I regret going to BYU, though. I guess depending on your field, BYU might not look so hot on a resume.

    2. Regret may be too strong of a word. I enjoyed many parts of my mission. I gave everything I had. I really did serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. I served in two beautiful countries, met a lot of great people and made many good friends (who are really just acquaintances now, since I rarely see any of them.) When I left to serve, I "knew" it was true based on the testimony of my parents. As you know, some people are given their testimony as a gift, and others have to rely on the testimony of those who have received the gift (what an freakin' joke.) I was sleep deprived, hungry, cold or hot (depending on the season), scared, and filled with guilt and doubt, for no reason. Why the guilt? Why the doubt? I shouldn't have felt that way. At some point, I should have received a strong witness that the church was true, but I never did. I never have, and now that I've found out for myself that it absolutely isn't true, I understand why. I spent two years of my life teaching people something that isn't true. As I finish writing this, maybe regret isn't a strong enough word.

    3. Yeah, that whole doing-what-you-should-but-still-feeling-guilty thing was a problem for a lot of us, I think.

      But, hey, the important thing is that, eventually, we found our way out of the church, right?

    4. We're still working on getting all the way out, but we're inching closer. With children, parents, siblings, neighbors, co-workers, a long pedigree, etc, it can be very complicated, but mentally, we're long gone.

    5. It can be a very long, very delicate process. I'm not officially out but I've been happily inactive for a few years. I'm still dealing with family stuff and the send is not in sight, so I'm sure it's even more complicated when your neighbors and coworkers are members.

  2. Too bad they didn't have the Cloak of Invisibility. Nephi could have used it to steal the brass plates, so he wouldn't have had to murder Laban. It might have made it harder to get his hands on Laban's sword, but he could have found a way. Plus, think of the times later in the book when it could have been used to sneak into the tents of the enemy generals and murder them in their sleep.

    1. Definitely. If Teancum had been in possession of the Invisibility Cloak AND the Marauder's Map, he would've survived his last assassination attempt. He could've killed any number of evil warlords.