Thursday, August 7, 2014

Alma 27: You Don't Have to Live Like a Refugee

The Anti-Nephi-Lehies have a big problem:  they're still living in Lamanite territory and the Lamanites still like to kill them because they don't fight back.  What's a righteous, God-fearing society to do?

Another King Gets Conned
Ammon has this brilliant idea that the Anti-Nephi-Lehies should evacuate themselves from Lamanite lands, but he meets some resistance from their king.  The exchange between them (verses 4-14) goes roughly like this:
Ammon:  Let's get out of here!
King:  We can't.  They'll kill us because our people used to murder their people.
Ammon:  Would you do it if God said we should do it?
King:  Of course!
Ammon:  Okay, let me ask God real quick.
(time passes)
Ammon:  God says let's do it! 
This doesn't seem suspicious to anyone else? Ammon doesn't get what he wants, so he gets the king to commit to follow God's counsel.  Then he mysteriously gets God's counsel in private and tells the king that God said to do whatever Ammon wanted.  Crazy how that all worked out in Ammon's favor.

But then again, the Book of Mormon seems to have a lot of gullible monarchs.

If You Fail to Plan...
Ammon goes to rescue the Anti-Nephi-Lehies from enemy territory.  This is the brilliantly-executed sequence of events:
  1. The Anti-Nephi-Lehies gather up all their stuff and walk out of the Lamanite kingdom. (verse 14)
  2. Ammon leads the people into the wilderness between Lamanite and Nephite territory and has them wait there while he goes and figures out where they'll be allowed to live on Nephite lands. (verses 14-15)
  3. On his way to speak with the Nephite leaders about his group of stranded refugees, Ammon meets his old friend Alma and gets distracted. (verses 16-19)
  4. Ammon goes to speak with the chief judge about the situation, but not before dropping his buddy off at his house to chill for a bit. (verse 20)
  5. The chief judge sends out a message across the realm to ask the people what they wanted to do with the new friends being thrust upon them. (verse 21)
  6. The people come back with an oddly specific consensus for such a large group of people, offering up a particular corner of the nation for the Anti-Nephi-Lehies to inhabit. (verses 22-24)
  7. Ammon goes back to the Anti-Nephi-Lehi camp and helps them move in to the land of Jershon according to the Nephites' arrangement.  (verses 25-26)
So much about this is idiotic.

What if the king of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies had been right and the Nephites had either killed them or left them stranded in the wilderness?  Why didn't Ammon act with a little more urgency on his way to the chief judge so that his friends didn't have to camp out in the middle of nowhere for so long?  Why would an entire group of Nephites unanimously offer to just pick up and move out of their homes so that the Anti-Nephi-Lehies could move in?  And most importantly, why didn't Ammon plan this stuff out in advance to speed the process up and make sure that nothing went wrong, considering the high risk of the scheme in the first place?

Haven't We Been Here Before, Again?
When Ammon runs into his old buddy Alma the Younger, he passes out with happiness:
Now the joy of Ammon was so great even that he was full; yea, he was swallowed up in the joy of his God, even to the exhausting of his strength; and he fell again to the earth.
Slipping into unconsciousness due to religious ecstasy or repentant intensity has happened a lot so far in the Book of Mormon.  It's happened so often that even the author acknowledges it by using the word "again" in this verse.

Joseph Smith must be running out of creative juices at this point in his dictation of the book, so I guess he's had to reuse some of his favorite elements a few times.

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