Saturday, January 25, 2014

Alma 8. Angelic Reprise

Alma continues his Pre-Columbian Lecture Tour in the cities of Melek and Ammonihah.

Extraneous Information
Verse 7 contains some of the most relevant and easily applicable doctrines yet revealed:
Now it was the custom of the people of Nephi to call their lands, and their cities, and their villages, yea, even all their small villages, after the name of him who first possessed them; and thus it was with the land of Ammonihah.
The whole point of abridging a work of written word is to trim the fat—you're supposed to get rid of the less relevant sections and just stick to the stuff that is most important for the reader to know.  This verse is not important enough to warrant etching it into metal plates so that it can be preserved for future generations.

For having so much divine inspiration, this book sure had some crappy editors.

A Shrinking Angel-to-Missionary Ratio
How many modern LDS missionaries have had angels appear to them?  How many modern LDS prophets have had angels appear to them?  How many of these have had an angel appear to them twice?

When Alma leaves Ammonihah, an angel tells him to turn around and go back (the same angel, incidentally that struck him dumb and caused him to become converted way back when).  The angel identifies himself with literal words—this is not a feeling or an impression.  Alma is physically visited by a messenger of God who verbally communicates with him.  This kind of thing doesn't happen anymore.  Why were angels so common in the Book of Mormon but so scarce in the twenty-first century?

This Miracle Crap is Getting Out of Hand
If Alma's angel wasn't enough, another angel has appeared to a man named Amulek to tell him to take care of the prophet when he returns to Ammonihah.  Here we observe God orchestrating a semi-miraculous meeting of two righteous men so that they can eventually preach the gospel together.  And God uses angels to make all this happen.  Again.

When's the last time someone in fast and testimony meeting told of an angelic visitation and didn't make the majority of the congregation squirm uncomfortably?  The modern church doesn't put much stock in visions and angels and public miracles, but their favorite book of scripture is filled with that stuff.  Somewhere between point A and point B something changed drastically to make the grandchildren a different species from the grandparents.

It's like picking pineapples off a banana tree.

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