Vizzini: HE DIDN’T FALL? INCONCEIVABLE.
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. (The Princess Bride, 1987)
You keep reading that book. I do not think it means what you think it means. (Me, the author of this article, 2013)
At least six times in the Book of Mormon the prophets inform us something to the effect that, “I cannot write the hundredth part of the things of my people.” (Words of Mormon 1:5) Often the implication is that we have received even far less than one percent of the record. Mormon proclaimed “This book cannot contain even a hundredth part of what was done…” (3 Nephi 5:8) Statements such as these should leave us wondering why exactly did they include what they included?
The prophet Mormon is probably the most under appreciated figure in the book of Mormon. He often gets credit for being an exceptional linguist, scholar and general. We focus on his secular learning, his sober mind and his keen observation. (Mormon 1:2) However when framed in the context of his day, an observant reader might conclude that he was at a minimum highly skeptical of the conventional wisdom in his society and perhaps he relied very little on whatever academic skills he possessed. What we most often overlook in Sunday School and Seminary is that at the age of 15 Mormon “was visited of the Lord, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus.” (Mormon 1:15) This was prior to him gaining leadership of the Nephite armies or doing any work on the Nephite record. Mormon was a prophet, seer and revelator from the young age of 15 just like the prophet Joseph Smith. It was his spiritual gifts, his belief, and his being taught from on high that shaped the Book of Mormon; the most correct book on the face of the earth; the one that will bring men nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than any other book. (Book of Mormon, Introduction)
The salient point is this. The book was compiled and organized only through the power of God, by men of God who knew God personally. They had seen in vision the latter-day peoples who would receive the book. The principles or doctrines of salvation could have been enumerated in a reference book format. But these prophets gave us layered stories, metaphors, parables and sermons that taught the same principles and more. They gave us history. Yet they gave us less than the 100th part. Why did they include what they included? Because they saw our day and they knew that we would experience the same things.
Behold, look ye unto the revelations of God; for behold, the time cometh at that day when all these things must be fulfilled. 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. (Moroni speaking in Mormon 8:33-35, read 36 too)
These stories were included “for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me… And the things which are upon these plates pleasing me, because of the prophecies of the coming of Christ; … and as many as go beyond this day must surely come to pass— (Words of Mormon 1:7,4)
Yes, I reordered that last quote. Go read the context. I stand by this truth. The Book of Mormon was written for our day. One of the best experiences I’ve had in church was listening to a brother instruct a combined deacon-teacher-priest class. He held out the Book of Mormon in front of the young men and opened it up saying, “Mormon didn’t compile this and then go show his buddies and tell them, ‘Check out what I just wrote!’ No they all got killed. This was written for you. This is for us!” And he pointed out over our young men’s group as he said it, and I think it started to sink in. The warnings are for us. The types and shadows are for us. The stories are for us. The reason we have what we have in the Book of Mormon is because it is happening to us.
This article is my own interpretation and I have already exposed my bias. I feel that as a church we are not getting it. We are the gentiles spoken of. You may feel to disagree and that is your prerogative. I am about to draw some broad parallels. I encourage you to take it to the Lord in humble prayer and sort out the truth of anything written here. I have no authority to interpret the scriptures for you. That’s the job of the Holy Ghost. Here are a few of the many reasons why certain stories were included.
A Sampling of The Hundredth Part
Most of the stories apply to us each individually. For example, Ammon and his brothers embarked on a 14 year mission to the Lamanites. This wonderful section has bolstered countless missionaries. “Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.” (Alma 26:27) Alma the younger is another great type and shadow in the book. We all know of someone (perhaps yourself) who has found Christ after great struggle. This story is a beautiful theme that is mimicked as we are awakened to our awful guilt and then find the Savior and experience His redeeming love.
Many of the types and shadows relate to our society. We live in a society of supposed self government. The section on the reign of the judges gives us critical insights. Throughout Alma and Helaman we learn what happens to such a self-governing society and their government when they fail to follow the Lord. Closely related is the pride cycle. We have an economic shadow of this destructive cycle called the business cycle. The economy gets heated up and people become complacent. Then everything crashes. Then we do it all over again. In the most destructive sense, the same thing happens to kingdoms and countries. It just takes longer to develop. Coupled with these societal types comes a warning about secret combinations. Secret combinations are had among all people. They are the cause of our loss of freedom and security and the cause of wars across the globe. They flourish in our own land today. Most unknowingly uphold them and do so to our utter destruction. The sword of justice hangs over us. Many of us can feel this even without putting our finger on the cause. It’s as if the nation is steeped in an ominous foreboding cloud. A portent storm approaches. (Ether 8)
Several of the types expose belief systems that influence and govern our lives. The story of Korihor plainly illustrates the doctrines of secular humanism which has been the predominant guiding philosophy of the American education establishment since the early 1900’s. Late in the chapter Korihor reveals that he was actually a cosmic humanist having been deceived by a dark spirit appearing as an angel of light (Alma 30:53). The mainstream of American culture has in recent decades shed its more secular skin and shown its mystic, Babylon, mystery and occult colors as it progressively inculcates our children with new-age, humanist teachings. For more on Korihor please read my article America, Educated by Korihor. Socialism is also addressed in several places. It is most prominently displayed in the record of Zeniff. Although Noah was a king, his story mirrors our modern entitlement mentality quite well. His people paid a modest 20% tax (much less than we pay today) and reaped the benefits of many public works projects. To say that socialism is different because there is no king is to completely misunderstand the aims of the socialists. They intend to disarm and equalize the public while the elite sit behind the scenes and live the life of the wicked king and his priests, glutting themselves on the labors of the many.
Types of leadership are addressed throughout the book. The aristocracy of Ammonihah parallels our day. This group of the lower judges of the land and their counterparts the lawyers sought power and gain. “Because they received their wages according to their employ, … they did stir up the people to riotings, and all manner of disturbances and wickedness, that they might have more employ, that they might get money according to the suits which were brought before them;” (Alma 11:20) Contrasting leadership types are found in Amalickiah and Moroni. Captain Moroni was a man of perfect understanding. Mormon indicated that “if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken FOREVER.”Mormon’s main rational for making this statement was that Moroni knew not to engage in pre-emptive, aggressive, and offensive war. As a nation, we have completely disregarded this in light of the fact that we follow modern Amalickiahs. Amalickiah gained dominion over the Lamanite nation through treachery, fraud, deceit and murder. He was the model scheming leader. He engaged in a false-flag terrorist attack to goad them into warring with the Nephites, and they were none the wiser. This type of fraud was perpetrated on the American public in September of 2001. For further perspective Please read my articles entitled Amalickiah, The model Scheming Leader and The Virtue of Captain Moroni.
These comparisons could go on and on. At this point you may agree with some of my comparisons and scoff at others. But remember, you keep reading this book. I do not think it means what you think it means. Nevertheless keep reading the Book of Mormon. It will make more sense as our situation becomes worse and worse. There are many more parallels to draw between the Book of Mormon and our day.
The Warning Voices
When likening the scriptures to ourselves there are a couple of stories that might get under the skin of active members of the LDS church. We ought to consider the possibility that they will come to pass in our day. The two stories are those of Samuel the Lamanite and Abinadi. These stories weren’t thrown in just to teach us a bit of doctrine. These are types and shadows. We need to pay close attention.
Samuel came to the Nephites in a time of great wickedness. The prophet of the church, Nephi, was scorned and dismissed by the mainstream. Samuel delivers his message. He is rejected by the people and escapes never to be heard from again. The type and shadow of Samuel may be relevant in the future. How would one recognize his message? First of all he prophesied of Christ and called the people to repentance. He claimed an angel had given him his message. He spoke the words of the Lord clearly saying, “Thus saith the Lord.” Samuel called the people to repent. He prophesied of great events in the near future. He told of the coming of the Lord and of imminent destruction. The striking thing about Samuel is that he came from outside the accepted hierarchy. He was also miraculously protected from the attacks of the people. (Helaman 13-15)
Abinadi, on the other hand, came to a city where the mainstream religious leaders were well accepted. In fact they were running all the affairs of the people. The king and his priests were both the political and spiritual hierarchy of the people. Although he was already among the people (Mosiah 11:20), Abinadi also came from outside the accepted hierarchy. Is it inconceivable in our day that the mainstream could become so corrupted from head to tail that the Lord would send an Abinadi to call us to repentance? (2 Nephi 19:15-16)
The thing about being in the mainstream when it has become corrupted is that the pride of the society makes it extremely difficult for its members to see that they have gone astray. Laman and Lemuel fell into this trap. They observed, “we know that the people who were in the land of Jerusalem were a righteous people; for they kept the statutes and judgments of the Lord, and all his commandments, according to the law of Moses; wherefore, we know that they are a righteous people; and our father hath judged them.” (1 Nephi 17:34) In their estimation the fact that they kept the statutes, judgments, and commandments made them righteous. Isaiah warned of the Lord’s displeasure in Israel’s seemingly good works. “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats… Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.” (Isaiah 1:11,13) Mormon explained that“God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing. For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.” (Moroni 7:6-7) This real intent should be founded in hope to be with God and enter into His rest now and in the world to come. (Moroni 7:3) Jeremiah explained the Lord’s displeasure saying, “they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:3) The people did not desire to know God literally. They did not believe.
How can we avoid falling into the same trap? As evidenced above, the key to understanding the status of a society is to determine if they know God. Are we openly teaching that God is no respecter of persons and that all men, women and children should seek His face? Do we teach that we should seek a real personal relationship? Or do we focus on the rituals, the statues and the rote commandments, meetings and ordinances. Do we create a culture of veneration for the hierarchy or do we point to the Lord God, Jesus Christ in all things. Do we praise and give glory and honor to the Lord? Do we speak with the tongue of angels by the power of the Holy Ghost unto the convincing of men?
Certainly a modern Samuel or Abinadi would be cast out or destroyed by the people they intend to teach. They would teach the words of Christ having received them from heaven. They would call upon men everywhere to repent and would proclaim unambiguous testimony, having seen and heard ministering angels and the Lord Jesus Himself. Perhaps their words would mirror the warnings of those who cry from the dust. To us, the gentiles, their words might seem harsh. As these last days unwind before our eyes we should watch for these types and shadows. When that uncomfortable warning voice of the Holy Ghost prompts us that we are hearing the words of such a type, will not the end of the time of the gentiles be at hand?
And then, O ye Gentiles, how can ye stand before the power of God, except ye shall repent and turn from your evil ways? Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power, and at his great command the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll? Therefore, repent ye, and humble yourselves before him, lest he shall come out in justice against you—lest a remnant of the seed of Jacob shall go forth among you as a lion, and tear you in pieces, and there is none to deliver. (Mormon 5:22-24)