Saturday, July 6, 2013

Mosiah 6: Nephite Politics

This chapter is kind of an intermediary summary.  The King Benjamin speech was a big deal and the Ammon stories that start in the next chapter are a big deal, but this chapter is kind of the current scene fading out.

Holding Fast and Taking Names
At the conclusion of his sermon, King Benjamin "thought it was expedient" to record the names of all the people who had decided to make a covenant with God.  According to verse 2, every adult had agreed to make the covenant.

This is dumb—for two reasons.  First, come on, Joseph.  Again with the entire societies functioning as a hive mind thing?  Second, assuming this is an accurate record of historical events, of course so many agreed to the covenant.  If you're going to run around like Big Brother taking names of the people who have decided not to be godless sinners, people are going to lie so that their government and their neighbors don't look down on them and treat them differently.  Since the tide of public opinion was clearly swaying toward religiosity, it should be no surprise that so many people went along with it.  You can sign your name to guarantee your safety because they can't prove you didn't mean it.

A One-Party System
The fact that the Kingship was both a governmental and a spiritual office combined with the fact that the entire society had committed their lives to God and dwelt with "no contention...for the space of three years" (verse 7) makes me think that the political landscape of the ancient Americas was pretty boring.

Hey, I'm going to vote for Mosiah again this year because he's running unopposed and he's the king anyway so we don't get to vote for him and also he's ordained of God so campaigning against him is kind of a sin.  But, if anything, I guess he gets my continued stamp of approval this year.  Just like last year.  And next year.  And the year after that.

That's not very American.  The LDS romance with the US Constitution and the democratic process is not something they got from their foremost book of scripture.

Mosiah:  Survival Expert
The last verse of the chapter relates this oddity:
And king Mosiah did cause his people that they should till the earth.  And he also, himself, did till the earth, that thereby...
Wait, back up.  "Mosiah did cause his people" to cultivate farmland?  Seriously?  It's been four hundred and seventy-six years since Lehi left Jerusalem and these people still need their king to tell them to plant crops?  They must have been really hungry, foraging for nuts and berries in the woods for all those centuries until Mosiah came up with the revolutionary idea to plant their own food.


  1. It's amazing to me how you are able to find so many oddities and inconsistencies in every single chapter. Nice work!

    The "till the earth" comment was very strange. I did a BOM search of "till" and find it odd how many times it is mentioned previous to this generation (Adam, Jared, Nephi, Enos, Jarom). There are even a couple of times they made tools to till the earth and had an abundance of crops, yet Mosiah had to cause them to start growing crops again. Even more odd is he has to make them farm again in chapter 9 and then again in chapter 10.

    Hey, maybe we should "liken" them to many kids today who won't help with the garden unless you make them, or should I say "cause" them (with the rod, of course).

    1. Haha! Those stubborn Nephites--can't be bothered to farm the land for their own sustenance without a firm hand to guide them!

      Or maybe Joseph Smith didn't have a good concept of what it is that rulers actually had to do. So he decided they had to be in charge of growing food.

  2. What I found interesting about this chapter was verse 3, none of these people knew who God was apparently, they all JUST decided they were going to follow the commandments and the king goes and appoints some of these people as priests to teach the others...I don't know about you but what kind of teacher is gonna be able to teach others about something they know nothing about themselves????

    1. I think you're forgetting about the Spirit. It's the same method by which teenage missionaries who know little about life and less about thr gospel are able to convert millions of people to the true church every year! No, wait, that's not quite right...