Friday, June 14, 2013

Omni 1: The Joining of Ways

Omni is sometimes mocked, even among faithful Mormons for the "my name is whatever and I received the plates from my father whoever and I make an end of my writing" verses.  During this single chapter, Nephi's plates pass through the hands of Omni, Amaron, Chemish, Abinadom, Amaleki, and on to Benjamin.  An inordinate amount of time goes into chronicling these transitions.

An Unjust God
Amaron mentions in verses 5 through 7 that the iniquitous portion of the Nephites were destroyed.  Apparently, God decided to kill them off for their wickedness but preserved the righteous among them.  This, of course, makes no sense because God still permits the murderous, blood-drinking Lamanites to run rampant across his promised land.

I sure hope my great-great-grandfather didn't make any kind of pact with God that I don't know about, because if I don't live up to whatever the deal was God will strike me dead.  Because, in his demented divine wisdom, this is fair.

Mosiah's Story Makes No Sense
So this Mosiah character pulls a Lehi, gets a warning to get out of Dodge, takes his righteous friends with him, bumps into another transplanted society and makes friends.  But so much about Mosiah's story is...unlikely.
  • Not only does Joseph Smith explain the Zarahemla society's presence with the same plot device as Lehi's (God got them out of Israel by boat), but he also introduces Coriantumr, a character from the Jaredite civilization which used the same exact plot device.
  • The people of Zarahemla were excited to have Mosiah's brass plates containing huge chunks of the Old Testament despite "[denying] the being of their Creator."
  • Because of the language barrier, Mosiah—the guest—decides that his hosts are going to learn his language.  You know, instead of the other way around.
  • Because of the joining of two societies, Mosiah—still the guest—is appointed king.  You know, instead of keeping the government of Zarahemla in place and letting the guests assimilate into the existing culture.

A Bone to Pick with the Jaredites
The stone engraved with the record of the Jaredites is also problematic.  It mentioned that "the severity of the  Lord fell upon [the Jaredites] according to his judgments...and their bones lay scattered in the land northward."  

It seems strange to me that a large stone containing a long history of the Jaredites up to and including their destruction would find its way to Zarahemla.  Coriantumr clearly couldn't have taken it with him—he was half-dead and in no condition to lug around a huge rock.  It seems more logical that the Jaredites kept the record when they were civilized, which means that when they became a society solely dedicated to war and destruction there would have been no one left to chronicle their demise.  Ether could have done it—but then the people of Zarahemla would have had no knowledge of its existence. I suppose there are ways that this huge rock containing the complete history of the Jaredite nation could have found its way down to Zarahemla, but at best it's implausible.

And...not to beat a dead horse (which shouldn't be there either) about the bones, but...if the bones of the millions of slain Jaredites were in the land northward, where the hell did they disappear to in the last two thousand years?


  1. Nice! I'm still laughing about the "dead horse...bones" comment.

    The last time I read the book of Mormon was when I was going through a rough time about 3 years ago. I decided to read it quickly and finished it in a week and a half. That's when I realized that it was all a jumbled mess, but you pick up on so many more things than I did. Keep up the good work. I'm enjoying it.

    1. Wow. I think the fastest I ever read the Book of Mormon would still be measured in months. That must have been an awfully boring week and a half!

      Even now it's kind of a chore to read. I like writing about the Book of Mormon, but I still dread the first part of work that goes into every post--reading the chapter I'm going to write about!

      Thanks for the support! I'm glad you've enjoyed this.