Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Mosiah 25: The Zarahemlan Melting Pot

As all plotlines converge on the land of Zarahemla, ruled by the righteous Nephite King Mosiah, more weirdness ensues.  The entirety of Zarahemla, including Nephites, Mulekites, the people of Alma, the people of Limhi, and the disgruntled descendants of Amulon, gather to hear the stories of miraculous escapes from the evil Lamanites.

Convert ALL the Nephites!
Alma begins preaching to the hodgepodge collective of righteous peoples (who suspiciously all happen to be descended from people who weren't cursed with a dark skin).  He teaches repentance and tells the people of Limhi that they were delivered from bondage by God (even though this is the first we're hearing of it).  And then this totally unrealistic thing happens:
And it came to pass that after Alma had taught the people many things, and had made an end of speaking to them, that king Limhi was desirous that he might be baptized; and all his people were desirous that they might be baptized also.
All his people?  All of them?  Really?  Nobody wanted to be a rebel?  Nobody was sick of getting dicked around by an increasingly fickle and petulant god?  Nobody said, "You know what, I'd like to think about this for a few days before I rush into a rash decision"?

People don't act en masse like that, Joseph.  Sure, most people may tend to follow the crowd or go with the flow, but ALL of ANY large group of people RARELY agree on ANYTHING.

Church and State
Do a doubletake on verse 19:
And it came to pass that king Mosiah granted unto Alma that he might establish churches throughout all the land of Zarahemla; and gave him power to ordain priests and teachers over every church.
Whoa...why exactly does the head of state get to give the prophet of God permission to do anything?  And it's more than a little strange that Alma is just going along with this considering his recent soapbox speech about how the people should "not esteem one flesh above another" and "trust no man to be a king."

And what power does Mosiah have to give Alma the power to ordain priests and teachers?  Alma just organized a church in his own town two chapters ago, which apparently he's allowed to do ever since he gave himself the authority to do stuff.  But now, all of a sudden, he needs Mosiah to grant him the power to ordain people to the church heirarchy?

Just the Way Tommy Monson Does It
Verse 21:
Therefore they did assemble themselves together in different bodies, being called churches; every church having their priests and their teachers, and every priest preaching the word according as it was delivered to him by the mouth of Alma.
What happened to personal revelation?  Shouldn't the different officers and leaders of the church receive revelation from God concerning their stewardships?  Why does it all come to them from Alma?  That seems pretty suspicious, although I have to admit it's in keeping with the way the current church is run.  Everything comes from Monson and the rest of the Big 15, because God doesn't actually talk to the Mormon church—probably because he has nothing to do with it.  Which is why all big decisions in the church come from the top, instead of from personal revelation to the appropriate level of leadership like it's supposed to.


  1. Do you think the people of Limhi had much of a choice once the king decided to get baptized? Granting power to ordain seems pretty weird. It's amazing how the "most correct book" can have so many faults, isn't it?

    1. Hey, truth is supposed to be stranger than fiction, right? Maybe all this stuff that doesn't make any sense is actually more evidence that it's all true.

  2. Yes, but truth is supposed to still be true no matter how strange it may be. This teaching is completely contrary to current LDS doctrine. So here's a multiple choice quiz question.

    Which of the following is true?
    A) The Book of Mormon
    B) The Mormon Church
    C) Both A and B are true.
    D) Neither. Both are false.

    1. I'd like to withhold my answer in favor of Pascal's Wager.

      Which, now that I think about it, is pretty much the theological equivalent of invoking the Fifth Amendment.

    2. Wow. I just went and read more about it on Wikipedia. Talk about hedging your bet. It appears that Pascal's Wager works best for an angry Book of Mormon type God who is vengeful. Isn't it rather strange how Satan takes better care of the Lamanites than God takes care of the Nephites? It seems like the Lamanites always prospered in the land no matter what was going on. What if you're worshipping the wrong God, and he's vengeful? You're still screwed.

      I liked Logic of Religious Worship that shows that if God is benevolent and merciful, you're wasting your time going to church (or paying tithing for that matter.)