Monday, November 27, 2017

Moroni 8: Priority Mail

Now Moroni shares a letter that his father wrote to him years earlier.  Interesting how this is the Book of Moroni but so far most of it has been things that Jesus said and things that Mormon said.

First Order of Business

So, Mormon is writing this letter at some point during his adult life, when the Nephite civilization is in its final downward spiral.  Wars rage with the Lamanite nation, iniquity abounds, and there's at least one point at which Mormon throws up his hands and refuses to help his people because they're just too damn wicked.  So when he writes his son to address some key concerns for their failing society, what subject does he kick things off with?  Well, infant baptism, of course.  What could possibly be more important?  Here's what Mormon says in verse 6 concerning the misconception that infants need to be baptized:
And now, my son, I desire that ye should labor diligently, that this gross error should be removed from among you; for, for this intent I have written this epistle.
Gross error?  People are being killed!  Have some perspective!  Isn't war one of the grossest errors there is?!  Surely there's something else with a higher priority in the prophet's mind than infant baptism.

Mormon is an Idiot
Moroni's father tries to explain why it supposedly makes so much sense that little children have no need of baptism.  This brilliant argument comprises verses 12 and 13:
But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism! 
Wherefore, if little children could not be saved without baptism, these must have gone to an endless hell.
But...doesn't that mean that being a respecter of persons is exactly what God is doing?  Because Mormon is basically saying that children are a protected class who are not held accountable for the law that baptism is required for salvation.  If God really weren't a respecter of persons, that same rule would apply equally to everyone.  God has partiality based on age or accountability.  And it's also a little silly to claim that, within Mormon theology, God is not changeable.  The behavior of God and the word of God have both evolved significantly.

And the doctrine of God has evolved significantly as well, to the point at which verse 13 has become false doctrine.  These children won't go to an endless hell, because, according to Doctrine and Covenants 137:10, "all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven."

God is an Idiot
Mormon examines our creator's eternal justice in a bit more detail (verse 15):
For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because he hath no baptism. 
So it's wickedness to suppose that God will save one child because of baptism and condemn another because of no baptism, but it's not awful to say that about adults?  In my eyes, this points out the silliness of performing ordinances of any kind.  Shouldn't it be awful wickedness to suppose that God will save one adult because of secret signs and tokens and will condemn another adult because he does not correctly perform the secret signs and tokens?  Isn't it utterly absurd that, when being judged according to our works by an omnipotent God who knows our hearts, there is a checklist of ceremonial deeds that need to have been accomplished for us to gain entry into his kingdom?  Because if you concede that it's silly to discriminate between two otherwise similar children based on whether one ritual has been performed, shouldn't it be just as silly to require other rituals from adults?

But the next verse ratchets up the absurdity quotient:
Wo be unto them that shall pervert the ways of the Lord after this manner, for they shall perish except they repent. Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear.
Mormon claims to speak with authority from God when he says that people who believe that infant baptism is necessary—and especially people who actually perform infant baptisms—are doomed to Hell, barring some serious repenting.  What kind of messed-up concept of morality does this god have?

Ostensibly, the reason that these people are baptizing little kids is because they don't want these kids to go to Hell. As it turns out, the baptisms are unnecessary, but these people are still trying to protect children from eternal misery—which is something that most of us should agree is an honorable pursuit.  All these ordinances would constitute, then, is a mistake made with good intentions.  This isn't one of those misinterpretations of the scriptures that inspires someone to murder non-believers.  Literally no one has been harmed.  It's just someone trying to do a good thing operating under a mistaken understanding.  And that will put this person in danger of hellfire.

The Book of Mormon is more unequivocally against infant baptism than it is against violence or rape or bigotry.  And this is the fullness of the gospel.  The Mormon God has his priorities all screwed up.

Oh, and by the way...DOOM
Continuing with the theme of this chapter Mormon, closes his epistle by demonstrating further how out of whack his priorities are.  After rambling for dozens of verses about ordinances for kids, he finally gets to something of a little more immediate importance—and something that's more universally relevant—with only four verses remaining in the letter (verse 27):
Behold, my son, I will write unto you again if I go not out soon against the Lamanites. Behold, the pride of this nation, or the people of the Nephites, hath proven their destruction except they should repent.
Hey!  Here's an idea!  If you know what's going to destroy the whole friggin' civilization, why don't you spend more time preaching about that than about other, infinitely more frivolous offenses? Mormon goes on and on about a doctrinal clarification that should basically amount to an administrative announcement and then ends this lengthy letter to his son by basically stating, "Oh, and our people are too proud, so we're all gonna die.  Love you, bye!"

Why the hell is this chapter not a sermon about pride so that Moroni can go back to his town and proclaim the word of God's prophet calling the Nephite people to repentance? Wouldn't that make so much more sense?  Wouldn't that theoretically help a whole lot more people?  Wouldn't that seem like your first priority?

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