Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Helaman 9: Nephite Noir

Yup.  The chief judge is dead, just as Nephi predicted.

Stop Falling to the Earth!
Apparently the Book of Mormon seems to think that people of Native American heritage are genetically predisposed to fainting when confronted with any kind of religious truth or divine power.

Alma the Younger slipped into a coma when an angel appeared to chew him out for persecuting the church.  King Lamoni similarly lost consciousness when he got the full force of Ammon's point blank range testifying.  And when Lamoni finally woke up, he talked about his catatonic visions of Christ before zonking out again and taking his entire royal household to dreamland with him.

Oh, yeah, and I also forgot about the time the same thing happened to Lamoni's father a mere three chapters later.

Now, upon arriving at the judgment seat, the five guys from the crowd in Nephi's garden who have been selected to test out his prophecy pass out from shock.  But not the regular holy-crap-a-government-official-is-dead-and-his-blood-is-everywhere kind of shock.  According to verse four, it's the holy-crap-that-crazy-preacher-dude-totally-called-it-maybe-he's-right-about-stuff kind of shock.

Not one of these guys grimly stares at the crime scene and admits, "Well, guys, looks like Nephi was right.  Maybe we should rethink some things."  All five of them simultaneously experience a realization so acute that their conscious minds literally can't handle it.

Seems a little too dramatic to be realistic, if you ask me.  Although, after the way this trope was totally abused in the King Lamoni story, it's not that dramatic at all.  So it seems like it's a little too repetitive.  My suspension of disbelief was shot the instant Lamoni went for round two.

Law & Order:  Pre-Columbian Victims Unit
Shrewdly enough, some of the judges posit the theory that Nephi's foreknowledge of events could indicate his complicity in the crime.  They arrest him and badger him in the hopes that he will reveal his co-conspirator.  How does Nephi respond?
But Nephi said unto them: O ye fools, ye uncircumcised of heart, ye blind, and ye stiffneckedpeople, do ye know how long the Lord your God will suffer you that ye shall go on in this your way of sin?
Um...listen, these guys are just doing their jobs, man.  It's completely reasonable to assume that someone who predicted the exact nature of a crime may have been involved in its commission.  They're not sinning. They're just wrong.  But Nephi continues (verse 22):
O ye ought to begin to howl and mourn, because of the great destruction which at this time doth await you, except ye shall repent.
That's all well and good, but are you going to actually help with the crime, or are you just going to stand there predicting doom instead of answering their questions with anything useful?

Finally, after he's said his piece, Nephi gets around to explaining what happened.  He instructs the officials to visit Seantum, the brother of the murdered judge, and ask him if he's committed fratricide.  Then Nephi makes the bold prediction that Seantum will deny the accusation.  But just about anyone, guilty or innocent, is going to deny an accusation of involvement in a political assassination.  Especially since Nephite society is pretty big into capital punishment.

But Nephi instructs the officials to check the hem of Seantum's robe and find blood, which will make the suspect practically wet himself with fear.  They are then supposed to claim to know that Seantum is guilty based on "the paleness which has come upon [his] face," which will elicit a full confession.

So the judges did as Nephi suggested and it all played out exactly as he said it would.

If this were a crime procedural television show (which, obviously, it is not), I wouldn't be satisfied.  Seantum broke pretty easily for such a cold-blooded power-hungry killer.  It seems reasonable to consider that there could be someone else behind this clown, pulling the strings.  And what guy seems to have been pulling a lot of strings, engineering the discovery of the body and even the confession of the perpetrator?

It's also worth pointing out that Seantum only said that Nephi wasn't involved before he was bullied into giving his confession.  So he was still lying about stuff when he denied the prophet's culpability.

Maybe Nephi III actually got away with murder.  He'll probably be back next season as one of those supremely evil yet impossibly slippery recurring villains.

No comments:

Post a Comment