Sunday, February 12, 2017

Mormon 2: War and Peace

An unprecedented event thus far in the Book of Mormon takes place in this chapter:  war.

Stop Complicating Agency!
The society degrades to the point at which some of the Nephites are overcome with misery and desperation.  This leaves Mormon positively giddy (verse 12):
And it came to pass that when I, Mormon, saw their lamentation and their mourning and their sorrow before the Lord, my heart did begin to rejoice within me, knowing the mercies and the long-suffering of the Lord, therefore supposing that he would be merciful unto them that they would again become a righteous people.
Okay, exactly is it fair that God's mercy should play so directly into whether or not people are righteous?  Shouldn't that be, you know, mostly up to the individual?  Does this mean God is arbitrarily choosing not to extend his mercy to me by allowing me to be a coffee-drinking, f-bomb-dropping, Sabbath-working apostate?  That's not fair at all.

If God can simply sprinkle a bit of his mercy on people to make them righteous, doesn't that fly in the face of the Plan of Salvation, which places a huge emphasis on free agency?  Doesn't that mean that this life is a test, but only insofar as he chooses not to give us the answers?

Mormon:  Selfish, Arrogant Bastard
This book's namesake is really, really broken up about the fate of his society:
And wo is me because of their wickedness; for my heart has been filled with sorrow because of their wickedness, all my days; nevertheless, I know that I shall be lifted up at the last day.
Yeah, he's really bummed about how they're all doomed in the afterlife, right up to the point at which he comes dangerously close to gloating that he's on track for eternal celestial glory (neener neener neener).  I think if he really had legitimate compassion for these people, his own salvation wouldn't be much of a consolation.  Shouldn't he at least be experiencing some kind of survivor's guilt?

Peace:  I've Never Heard of That, is it New?
After turning the tide in a long campaign against the Lamanites, Mormon introduces a brand new concept into ancient American political theory:  the treaty.

Not only did the Nephites draw up a treaty with the Lamanites, but they also included the Gadianton Robbers.  The territory was then divided between these three volatile societies—and we learn in the next chapter that what followed was a full ten years of peace.

Hey.  Morons.  Maybe you should try doing that kind of thing more often instead of having both your armies beat each other senseless until one is annihilated or flees in terror.  Good thing Captain Moroni is long gone or he'd have just gone on a rampage, taken a whole bunch of prisoners, and then staged executions when his captives refused to adopt his political beliefs.

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