Saturday, April 19, 2014

Alma 19: Low Blood Pressure

King Lamoni appears to be dead and only Ammon knows that he "sleepeth in God."  Apparently the power of realizing the truth of the gospel has hit Lamoni pretty hard.

Faith is Believing in Things Which Are Claimed by Complete Strangers
Lamoni's wife, the queen, calls upon Ammon to help her with her my-husband-has-probably-been-dead-two-days-but-I-swear-he-doesn't-smell-yet problem.  Ammon explains to her that she shouldn't bury Lamoni because he is "carried away in God" and he'll wake up tomorrow.
And Ammon said unto her: Believest thou this?  And she said unto him: I have had no witness save thy word, and the word of our servants; nevertheless I believe that it shall be according as thou hast said.
And Ammon said unto her: Blessed art thou because of thy exceeding faith; I say unto thee, woman, there has not been such great faith among all the people of the Nephites. 
Are you kidding?  That's not faith, that's gullibility!  

She hasn't prayed about this and felt a burning in her bosom.  She hasn't seen the way that Ammon's teachings have worked in her life and concluded that they are good teachings.  She hasn't gained a testimony of his role as a prophet.  She's just given credence to some rumors circulated by her employees and then believed something that a complete stranger told her when she desperately wanted to hear that her husband wasn't dead.

Ammon should be proud that there isn't such great faith among his own people, because that means they won't get duped by every con man with a seer stone who comes along.

Lamoni's Household Gets the Vapors
Lamoni awakens the next morning, as Ammon predicted.  He testifies great truths that he learned while he was seeing Jesus in his catatonic visions.  And then he collapses again.  And then his wife collapses.  And then Ammon, "overcome with joy," collapses.  And then the servants collapse.  And for some reason this is some kind of miraculous testament to the greatness of God.

Abish, one of the few women in the Book of Mormon worthy of a name (although she's referred to simply as "the woman servant" later), is the only person in the household who doesn't collapse.  She's been a secret believer in the gospel for years, which is apparently why she's immune (although Ammon isn't, because I guess he had too much joy).  She runs and tells everybody about what's going on, because she's under some deluded belief that seeing everybody in the king's household passed out will make people believe in God.  

This story is so over the top.  So many people fainting because they're overcome with the spirit.  And not only is it a little weird that Lamoni (not a Christ figure) rises after appearing dead for three days, but he gets to see Christ himself while he's unconscious.  And the reason why Abish was already a believer is because of a vision her father had a while back.  Stories like this one don't take place in the modern day.  I think that's a pretty good indication that King Lamoni's story (which is supposed to be from a God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever) is fictional.

Ammon:  License to Kill
And if all that miraculousness wasn't more than your daily recommended intake, here's a little more.

Remember the leader of the sheep-scattering punks that Ammon killed?  His brother is among the crowd that gathers around the king's sleeping-gassed house.  When the onlookers see that Ammon, a Nephite, is involved, some of them blame his foreign influence for the apparent death of the royal family.  So this brother takes it upon himself to avenge his sibling and his king all at the same time, and he tries to kill Ammon.  At the perfect moment, just as he's raising his sword, God kills him.

God doesn't knock him out like everybody else.  He doesn't fill his heart with compassion or give him the spirit of forgiveness.  He just kills him dead, right there on the spot.  

The guy had a legitimate complaint.  Ammon murdered his brother in cold blood.  Sure, vengeance may not have been the most virtuous route to go, but I think the brother's actions here are more warranted than God's actions.  Verse 23 references a promise God made to Ammon's father that Ammon would be spared from danger.  But that doesn't really give Ammon the right to go picking fights with people and putting himself in extra danger just because he knows God is going to have his back.  By keeping his promise, God is condoning unprovoked murder.  He wouldn't want anyone to think he's a bloodthirsty god, would he?

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