Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Alma 53: Another Wartime Intermission

Victorious in battle, Captain Moroni realizes that all the dark and loathsome enemy combatants he's captured can be used for...wait for it...slave labor.

Where's the Public Outcry?
Here's what the brilliant general-slash-dictator does with his prisoners.  First he makes them bury all the dead from the last battle, which means the Nephites don't get much in the way of a funeral for their own soldiers.   Then he has his captive laborers build fortifications around the city of Bountiful (because apparently the defenses erected in the previous chapter weren't good enough for his brilliance).  Then he turns Bountiful into a penal settlement and sits there cackling over the juicy concept of forcing the Lamanites to build the walls of their own prison.

In true Moroni style, he hasn't consulted anyone about this decision even though he's not actually a government official and shouldn't be allowed to unilaterally foist his miltary agenda upon the general public.  And none of the citizens of Bountiful raises a hand to suggest that maybe not everyone is comfortable with their hometown suddenly having a few thousand new inhabitants who were just trying to kill the native population a few days earlier.

Yeah...this is totally realistic.

Inconsistent Punishment 
The People of Ammon see the Lamanite advances into Nephite territory and want to help defend their adoptive country (cuz they used to be Lamanites before they found Jesus and became Nephites).  But there's a problem:  they made this promise of pacifism to God and they can't break it without endangering their souls.

Enter the loophole: they have two thousand of their sons sitting around who hadn't been born when the covenant was made.  So those dudes can go to war without fear of divine retribution.

My problem with this is...since when does the Book of Mormon God let later generations off the hook for anything he's done to their forefathers?  He keeps punishing the Nephites because he promised Nephi 500 years ago that he'd make them prosperous if they were righteous. He makes sure Lamanites are born dark-skinned because he's pissed at Laman and Lemuel for rebelling way back in the day.  But now, when it's convenient to the plot, he lets the People of Ammon go to war a mere generation after they promised not to?

The Stripling Warriors are sure lucky they caught God in a good mood.

Warrior Prophet Looks Great on a Resume
The Stripling Warriors "took their weapons of war, and they would that Helaman should be their leader."

And that's when Helaman says, "Sorry, you guys, but I'm the prophet and I have a lot of propheting I need to get done.  Also, like King Mosiah, I understand the risks of consolidating too much power in one man, so I can't accept a military position at this time because you poor schmucks have your hands full with Captain Moroni's bloodthirsty, power-hungry shenanigans. But thanks anyway."

Wait, what's this? "And it came to pass that Helaman did march at the head of his two thousand stripling soldiers, to the support of the people in the borders of the land in the south by the west sea."

Helaman, what are you thinking?  You've just failed to teach an important lesson and to make matters worse, you used an inexcusably lengthy string of prepositional phrases in the process.

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