Friday, June 30, 2017

Ether 7: More of the Same

Joseph is losing his narrative steam at this point, summarizing the history and genealogy of his Jaredite creations with such brevity that none of this winds up mattering.

At least when we got to spend multiple chapters with his characters we could divine the didactic purposes of their fictional existences.  But here, this is just a list of names and places and cursory conflict summaries.  I count around half a dozen usurpations and/or rebellions in this chapter, and there are a few peaceful exchanges of power as well.  We learn nothing because we can hardly catch a breath to even remember any of these rulers' names, let alone glean any insightful gospel applications that their piety (or lack thereof, depending on the case) may have on our lives.  

At least something remotely interesting takes place at the end of the chapter—the king Shule interferes to protect the prophets from being mocked and reviled.  Apparently the same god who protected Nephi, Abinadi (for a time), both Almas, the sons of Mosiah, the Stripling Warriors, and the other Nephi isn't able to shield his messengers from a little teasing and a little opposition.  It's that oh-so-dreaded monarch who has to step in and make things right.

Which is a little disappointing, I think, and kind of contradicts some of the central themes of the whole Book of Mormon.

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