Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Alma 63: Epilogue

And, finally, we have reached the end of the Beastly Book of Alma.  Nothing important happens in this chapter, except that all the cool people die.

The Curious Case of Hagoth's Helpers
Hagoth is an "exceedingly curious" Nephite.  He decides to explore, but rather than explore by spreading out on the enormous continent his people have already settled in, he thinks the best way to find new places is to sail to them.  Somehow, he manages to convince five thousand four hundred men plus all of their families to take this dangerous, blind adventure with him.

No, scratch that.  He doesn't actually go with, because he stays behind to build more ships for more people.  When the first boat comes back, he loads it up with more idiots and sends a whole fleet of ships out to his new colony.  It's unclear whether he personally accompanies his guinea pigs this time.  Not that it matters, because none of the ships, including one that left solo after that second batch, ever returns.

Moral of the story?  Doctrinally, there isn't one.  But practically speaking, we can learn that if you really need to fill six verses of column space, a juicy mysterious disappearance will do nicely.

Corianton's Character Arc Ends in Confusion
In one last dereliction of duty, Corianton is not around to take up the mantle of prophet and record keeper from his dying brother Shiblon.  Why is this?  Because he's a moron.

Instead of chasing after the harlot Isabel, this time, Corianton is chasing after a pipe dream.  Apparently having swallowed Hagoth's sense of manifest destiny or foreign colonization or whatever you want to call it, the least uptight of Alma the Younger's sons takes it upon himself to resupply the colony by getting in a boat and sailing up north.  This brings up three questions:

First, where does he think he's going?  This is like two verses after we learn that nobody knows what happened to these ships but that it's popularly assumed they sank.  Does Corianton really think if he just sails north with a bunch of food he'll find Hagoth even though he has no idea what happened to them or where they are?

Second, how does he know they need provisions?  If nobody knows the fate of Hagoth's fleet, Zarahemla certainly hasn't received a letter requesting aid.

And third, why would they need provisions?  Does Corianton think Hagoth and his followers are dumb enough to settle in the middle of a desert?  Does he think they won't start building around a good supply of fresh water, lots of plant life to harvest and lots of animal life to hunt?

I had such high hopes for Corianton, but his exit from the Book of Mormon is almost as lame and as frustrating as Maria LaGuerta's exit from Dexter.

Also, War
These neighboring civilizations with shared ancestry are suspiciously similar to rowdy brothers in adjacent bedrooms.  It's been a mere eight years since the end of the last war, and the Lamanites decide to attack Moronihah because Nephite "dissenters" have aroused their ire.  After the horrendous details of Captain Moroni's various exploits, perhaps Joseph Smith is becoming as tired of his subject matter as his audience was, because this conflict is glossed over in just two verses.

But rest assured, the good guys win and the Lamanites scurry back to their own lands to lick their wounds and doubtlessly plot their sinister vengeance like good little savages.

And thus ends the record of Alma/Helaman/Shiblon.


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