Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mosiah 13: Abinadi's Soapbox, Part II

And now Abinadi turns the self-righteousness from stun to overwhelm...

Abinadi Pulls a Nephi
King Noah is understandably irritated by the preachiness, so he orders his men to kill Abinadi.  But Abinadi takes a page from his distant ancestor's book and says:
Touch me not, for God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon me....  God will not suffer that I should be destroyed at this time.
Sound familiar?  Remember 1 Nephi chapter 17, verse 48:
In the name of the Almighty God, I command you that ye touch me not....  And whoso shall lay his hands upon me shall wither even as a dried reed...for God shall smite him.
The two men have different reasons why they are lethal to the touch—Nephi was just so damn full of the spirit of God and Abinadi had holy business that was just too damn unfinished.  But that doesn't excuse the bad writing.  Not only does Joseph Smith keep bringing people from Israel to the Americas, but he also reuses the a cop-out when he's written himself into a corner with a prophet who's about to get killed.  That's some shoddy storytelling.

I guess that's what you get for claiming to translate your novel by the power of God from existing documents—you lose the ability to edit your work.  I mean, sure you can have it quietly revised over the years, but you can't overhaul weak plot points or people are going to notice.

I suppose if the Book of Mormon is true, then it's just God who's not very creative (except for creating the whole universe and stuff).  And apparently he grew tired of this effect because I haven't heard of the "touch me not" gimmick occurring at all in the modern era.

[Citation Needed]
While Abinadi is hulking out, the Book of Mormon states that "his face shone with exceeding luster, even as Moses' did while in the mount of Sinai, while speaking with the Lord."  I'm admittedly a little unclear as to who actually is supposed to have written this chapter originally, but regardless of who it was, there is no possible way that this person was present during the time of Moses.  None of the possible writers had any firsthand knowledge of what Moses's glow-gasm looked like and therefore had no business comparing it to Abinadi's display.

Sure, it could have been that whoever authored this particular passage had been given a vision Nephi-style (come to think of it, where have all the visions gone since the days of Nephi?) and been shown the events of Moses's life by an angel.  But in the context of Abinadi's situation, it's completely unnecessary to compare him to Moses.  The rebuke and the glowing countenance were what established that he was acting by the power of God.  And nobody in the book's audience was present for Moses's rave-face trick either, so it's not like this is a reference to something they can all remember and relate to.

It seems to me that, especially considering how difficult it's supposed to have been for these words to have been scratched into metal, the only real reason why that comparison is thrown in is, once again, for Joseph to build credibility for his book of rediscovered scripture by forcing in similarities with the Bible.  I'm picturing Joseph having Exodus and Mosiah open side-by-side on his kitchen table, saying to Brigham Young, "See?  Same little trick.  That totally means it's the same God.  See?"

Abinadi Imparts Groundbreaking Doctrine
Now that he's gotten the attention of the wicked King Noah and his wicked priests, what does Abinadi do?  He reads them the Ten Commandments.  He doesn't come up with some new angle that will blow their minds and make them rethink their lives or reconsider their stance on the morality of their actions.  He reads them the Ten Commandments.  Whoop-de-doo, Abinadi.

And apparently all these wicked people sit there and listen to him.  If I were the wicked King Noah, I'd probably leave the throne room and let my senior high priest know that if anybody needed me, I'd be with my favorite harlots.

God Always Loses Money at the Racetrack
In a part of the lecture concerning the law of Moses and its eventual obsolescence, Abinadi makes this peculiar comment:
And now I say unto you that it was expedient that there should be a law given to the children of Israel, yea, even a very strict law; for they were a stiffnecked people, quick to do iniquity, and slow to remember the Lord their God;
Ooookay, so if all that is the case, then remind me—why is Israel God's chosen people?  Because it kind of sounds like he bet on the wrong horse.

Those Pesky Divine Identity Complications
Abinadi is reminding the priests of the Messiah whose atonement will erase the need for the Law of Moses (which also seems dumb, but I should save that doozy for another time) when he makes this little gaffe:
Have they [the prophets] not said that God himself should come down among the children of men, and take upon him the form of man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth?
God himself took the form of a man?  Actually, what he did was take the body of a woman (and I do mean take her) so that she could later give birth to a kind of Herculean hybrid who would then atone for the sins of the world.  Once again, the Book of Mormon shows evidence of a contradiction with doctrines in later evolutionary stages of Mormonism.

I'm sure Mormon apologists have addressed this issue ad nauseam and come up with lots of mindbending little ways of fitting this square verse into a round modern doctrine.  For example, it doesn't explicitly state that this will be God the Father.  To me, though, it's pretty clear—the Book of Mosiah strongly implies that God and Jesus were the same being.

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