Thursday, December 20, 2007

Three Weeks of NaBoMoReMo

Still going strong and right on track for finishing the Book of Mormon by the end of the month! You know what is harder for me than making it through the Isaiah passages? You guessed it, I can't stand all the war stuff in the latter chapters of Alma. We're into the large plates now, so we have a lot of historical information (thankfully) abridged by Mormon. These chapters on wars and war strategies are very difficult for me to read. There are many yukky parts like kings being stabbed and Amalickiah swearing an oath to drink Moroni's blood, and dead bodies, and well, you know.

I just cannot see why it is necessary for the righteous Nephites to involve themselves in so many battles. Supposedly they believe the promise that the Lord made them that if they were righteous they would be protected and never brought down into captivity. It seems to me that they could rely on their righteousness and/or leave the lands of the Lamanites' possession, like Nephi did early in the book.

I've always really admired Moroni because of the verse that says that if all men had been, and were, and ever would be like unto him, the very powers of hell would be shaken forever. But I was disappointed to read one of his letters today. He just doesn't sound very nice, kind or fair. Ammoron sends to Moroni to ask him to exchange prisoners. Moroni writes back telling Ammoron how ignorant he and the rest of the Lamanites are concerning the gospel (I would tell you these things if ye were capable of hearkening unto them), he tells him he is a child of hell, and he refuses to negotiate unless the Lamanites will exchange a Nephite man, wife, and children for one Lamanite prisoner.

Ammoron's response to all this is actually pretty admirable, considering his point of view. He says: you have murdered my brother, I am not afraid of your threats, I will exchange prisoners according to your request since I want my men of war back, so we can fight you. Furthermore, we don't know anything about a God, but neither do you, and if there is a God, he has made us as well as you! And if there is a hell, won't God send you there for murdering my brother?

Anyway, I don't think I'm getting what I am supposed to be getting out of these war chapters. Peace out.


Rich said...

War is retarded, any way you look at it. War is never just -- oh, it may become necessary because what starts or fuels it follows some colossal human blunder that should have and could have been avoided in the first place, but we've since lost that in a sea of jingoistic rhetoric that today glorifies war and labels its proponents "true patriots". I know, I'm very naive, look at Hitler and WW2, blah blah blah. If we hadn't dehumanized and neglected the German people following WW1 so devastatingly thoroughly, old Adolf would never have risen to power like he did. Nobody would have paid his ranting and raving 2 pfennig worth of attention, IMO.

John said...

It all started with the war in heaven.

Ben P said...

One of the incredibly valuable things about the war chapters is the explanation of tactics, because all of them can be analogously employed in our current war, which isn't against "flesh and blood," but against our common Enemy.

Our war is a little different in another way: we fight most of the time as individuals, families, visiting teachers, or priesthood quorum leaders, rather than as large armies. However, the Moroni's strategies and tactics are still quite useful on our battlefronts.

Bored in Vernal said...

mistaben, I have heard this comment about war in the Book of Mormon before. I am actually pretty good at symbolism, but have been unable to come up with any correlations between the violence in the Book of Mormon and our battle against sin. I wish I could. Perhaps someone could help out and give me an example.

Stab someone in the chest when you are pretending to honor them as king?

Vow to drink the blood of your enemy?

Give the guards wine so they are drunk and you can sneak into their city?


Bored in Vernal said...

John, the war in heaven was tragic, and there were some very real casualties. However, it was fought with "the word of our testimonies." I would prefer wars be fought this way on earth. We should try to win people to our point of view by discussion and conversion, perhaps even sanctions and so forth, rather than by bloodshed.

John said...

War of words, war of swords. All cause injury and harm. Often wounds caused by words are longer lasting and cause deeper wounds than those delivered by the swords. I'm not disagreeing with you or anything, saying that one is better or worse than the other.

Obviously, you prefer words to bloodshed and I think that most of us would prefer that the world worked that way. It seems that the righteous would rather operate that way also. Nephi tried discusssion and bribery with Laban before he reluctantly whacked off Laban's head. It seems that the wars in the Book of Mormon first began as wars of words.

Wars of words are fine as long as both sides limit themselves to words. Sanctions are great as long as you have muscle to back up your sanctions. Discussions are fine as long as Neville Chamberlain isn't your representative.

Instead of bemoaning the fact that there is bloodshed and wars and violence in the Book of Mormon, we ought to wonder why Mormon focused on them. If the book was written for us and for our times, what should we learn from all this?

Heck, I'm not sure. I do know that I would discuss differences until I was blue in the face unless the physical safety of my wife and children were involved, and then baser (nobler?) instincts would take in.

Really, it did all start with the war in heaven. Yes, it must have been a war of words and testimonies as you say, but lacking physical bodies it was all we had. And we used what we had. If we'd bodies, I imagine physical action would have occurred. Not because we wanted to, but because the adversary would have had no qualms about doing so and we would've responded in kind.

Again, not to belabor the point, but altho you may prefer a war of words, as long as there are others that prefer otherwise, keep your Colt 45 ACP cocked and locked in you back pocket (just in case)!

Peace and love,


Jacob J said...

I never get tired of this oft cited statement of John Stuart Mill:

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Anonymous said...

Well, don't worry yourself so much over a fictional story.