Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book of Mormon: Latter-Day Perplexities

The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible that is another witness that Jesus is the Christ. While the Bible details that dealings of God with His people in Israel, the Book of Mormon tells of a branch of the tribes of Israel that is led to America. God establishes a sacred covenant with these people known as the Nephites, and appears to these "other sheep" in America after His resurrection.

The amazing thing to realize about the Book of Mormon other than it is a second witness of another civilization that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the World is that this book of scripture was written for us in this day. The Nephites never had the book, the contents of the book were compiled by Mormon and his son Moroni just before the destruction and genocide of the Nephite civilization.

Morm. 8: 34-35 Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you. Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.

Here was have two prophets of God Mormon and Moroni compiling the wisdom and learning of a 1000 years of history of their civilization to help those of us living today in the Last Days before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. And by virtue of being prophets of God, Moroni tells us that God showed him the problems and perplexities of our day. And here in the Book of Mormon we have hand picked wisdom and stories which warn us of specific problems that we will face in our day just as they dealt with them in their day. But as Moroni writes, he hopes we will be more wise than they had been and not make the same mistakes that lead to their eventual destruction.

Morm. 9: 31 Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.

The Book of Mormon presents several influential and destructive social, religious, and government philosophies and gives us instruction with how to deal with them. It thought it would be interesting to make a list of several of these issues and perplexities and draw parallels to issues of our day.

Learned Racism: Nephites vs. Lamanites: Lamanites were taught to hate the Nephites and perpetuated the lie that Nephi had wronged Laman and stolen the rights to government over the people. Nephites were warned not to despise the Lamanites because of the darkness of their skin and their beliefs was because the fault of the sins of their first parents, and that God was no respecter of persons. Nephites prayed for the Lamanites and coverted many to the gospel until in the end many Lamanites became and are praised for being more righteous than the Nephites.

Priestcraft: Doctrine of Nehor: It used to be that if you believed in God then there was only one flavor of religion among the Nephites. But then there began to be men who set up churches to get gain. Men learned that if they went soft of the commandments and repentance, asuage their guilt, and falsely asure people that God would overlook their sins, people would give them money. The Bible calls this kind of thing "Gainsaying for Filthy Lucre" after the sin of Core or Korah (Jude 1:11). The Book of Mormon warns us that many in the Last Days would preach the false doctrine that God thinks its okay to eat, drink, and be marry a little and God will justify us in committing a few sins, and we will be beaten with a few stripes but in the end we will be saved in the kingdom of God.

Atheism and Secularism: Korihor argued that it was crazy and the effect of a deranged and frenzied mind to believe in God, and there was no proof of God or that Christ would come. He argued that religion was just a way to oppress the masses and keep them from enjoying their liberties. Also that man faired according to the management of the creature. Or in other words, if a man was smarter or stronger than another, then he was justified in taking advantage of his neighbor and enjoying a higher class and quality of life than his neighbor.

Socialism: The King-Men. The Jaredites and the Nephites learn that having a King leads to corruption, endless war, destruction, and suffering. King Mosiah gave up his kingship and instituted a legal system governed by an institution of elected judges. A vocal minority came along wanting to revert to the old system and promising each other positions in the new government. This group attempted to overthrow the representative government first by propagandizing the general masses and having the general masses vote on the issue. Then they attempted political assassinations and tried to infiltrate and appoint corrupt judges into the government, and change the laws.

Secret Combinations: Gaddiaton Robbers are an example of a group of King-men who conspired to overthrow the government. The King-Men were initially unsuccessful using various nefarious means such as propaganda, assassination, and infiltrating an appointing corrupt judges. However, they could never gain control of the majority of the electorate so they then joining forces with the Lamanites, and then by recruiting and training terrorists in remote, mountainous lawless areas they incited wars against the free government.

Ether 8:22-25 And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed;. . . Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—. . . For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people,

Class Inequality: After the appearance of Jesus Christ in America, there was a great unity in the land such that all inequality ceased. There was no more rich or poor, bond and free, and there even ceased to be "any manner of -ites". However, the Book of Mormon reminds us how quickly we forget, and by the 3rd generation, there began to be great pride in the land, class inequality and class distinctions again which led to envy and then to strife, war, and then genocide. Hilter manipulated the poor classes in Germany by stimulating class envy against the more wealthy Jews, inciting them to anger, and then to justify genocide. The same thing happened in Rwanda between the Tutsis and Hutu.

In the Book of Mormon, we see again and again how fascist dissenters from the Nephites could easily insight the poorer Lamanites to anger and to wage war against the richer Nephites. This tactic of manipulating class envy to justify genocide has been used again and again in our day as well. Class inequality also empowers socialists who promise the poor benefits from a socialist government. But in reality, it is the rich who hoard their wealth that empower the socialists and the fascists. If the rich would care for the poor themselves, this would avoid the problem of class envy.

Eph. 6: 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

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