Temas e Doutrinas da Bíbilia achadas em 2 Néfi 9

O seguinte é uma lista de referências na Bíbilia a doutrinas, eventos, ou metáforas incluido em 2 Néfi 9 do Livro de Mórmon (LDM). O propósito desta lista é para ajudar o leitor entender melhor a complexidade e precisão do autor em referir à Bíblia em escrever 2 Néfi 9. Esta lista representa apenas uma porҫão das referências achadas em 2 Néfi 9.

  1. Pela boca de seus santos profetas
  • “Que ele tem falado aos judeus pela boca de seus santos profetas, desde o comeҫo” (2 Néfi 9:2)
  • “dos quais Deus falou pela boca de todos os seus santos profetas, desde o princípio” (Atos 3:21)
  1. De geraҫão a geraҫão
  • “de geraҫão a geraҫão” (2 Néfi 9:2)
  • “nem nela morará alguém de geraҫão a geraҫão” (Isaías 13:20)
  • “e os eu domínio de geraҫão a geraҫão” (Daniel 4:3)
  • “E a sua misericórdia é de geraҫão em geraҫão” (Lucas 1:50)
  1. Rebanho de Deus
  • “restituídos à verdadeira igreja e rebanho de Deus” (2 Néfi 9:2)
  • “E eu mesmo recolherei o restante das minhas ovelhas, de todas as terras para onde as tiver afugentado, e as farei voltar aos seus apriscos” (Jeremias 23:3)
  1. Levantar a cabeҫa
  • “levanteis a cabeҫa para sempre” (2 Néfi 9:3)
  • “Levantai, ó portas, as vossas cabeҫas” (Salmo 24:7)
  1. Investigado para conhecer o future
  • “Pois sei que muitos de vós haveis investigado muito para conhecer as coisas que estão para vir” (2 Néfi 9:4)
  • “Da qual salvaҫão inquiriram e trataram diligentemente os profetas que profetizaram da graҫa que vos foi dada” (1 Pedro 1:10)
  1. Vamos morrer, mas veremos a Deus em nosso corpo
  • “nossa carne deverá definhar e morrer; não obstante, veremos a Deus em nosso corpo” (2 Néfi 9:4)
  • “E depois de consumida a minha pele, contudo ainda em minha carne verei a Deus” (Jó 19:26)
  1. Sujeitos a Cristo
  • “morra por todos os homens, para que todos possam tornar-se-lhe sujeitos” (2 Néfi 9:5)
  • “Todas as coisas lhe sujeitaste debaixo dos pés” (Hebreus 2:8)
  1. Poder de ressurreiҫão
  • deve existir um poder de ressurreiҫão” (2 Néfi 9:6)
  • “Para conhecê-lo, e à virtude da sua ressurreiҫão” (Filipenses 3:10)
  1. Corrupҫão vai revestir-se de incorrupҫão
  • “porque se a expiaҫão não fosse infinita, esta corrupҫão não poderia revestir-se de incorrupҫão” (2 Néfi 9:7)
  • “Porque convém que isto que é corruptível se revista da incorruptibilidade, e isto que é mortal se revestir da imortalidade” (1 Coríntios 15:53)
  1. Anjo que caiu da presenҫa de Deus
  • “nossos espíritos estariam à mercê daquele anjo que caiu da presenҫa do Eterno Deus” (2 Néfi 9:8)
  • “Como caíste desde o céu, ó estrela da manhã, filha da alva” (Isaías 14:12)
  1. O Diabo pode tranformar em um anjo de luz
  • “que se transformou quase em um anjo de luz” (2 Néfi 9:9)
  • “E não é Maravilha, porque o próprio Satanás se transfigure em anjo de luz” (2 Coríntios 11:14)
  1. O Diabo enganou Adão e Eva
  • “como aquele ser que enganou nossos primeiros pais” (2 Néfi 9:9)
  • “Mas temo que, assim como a serpent enganou Eva com a sua astúcia, assim também sejam de alguma sorte corrompidos os vossos sentidos” (2 Coríntios 11:3)
  1. A bondade de Deus
  • “Oh! Quão grande é a bondade de nosso Deus, que prepara um caminho” (2 Néfi 9:10)
  • “Oh! Quão grande é a tua bondade, que guardaste para os que te temem” (Salmo 31:19)
  1. Morte e Inferno
  • “sim, aquele monstro, morte e inferno, que eu chamo morte do corpo e também morte do espírito” (2 Néfi 9:10)
  • “E olhei, e eis um cavalo amarelo, e o que estava assentado sobre ele tinha por nome Morte; e o inferno o seguia” (Apocalipse 6:8)
  1. Morte e inferno libertará seus cativos/A segunda morte
  • “E essa morte da qual falei, que é a morte espiritual, libertará seus mortos; e essa morte spiritual é o inferno; portanto, morte e inferno deverão libertar seus mortos; e o inferno deverá libertar seus espíritos cativos e a sepultura deverá libertar seus corpos cativos” (2 Néfi 9:12)
  • “E deu o mar os mortos que nele havia; e a morte e o inferno deram os mortos que neles havia; e foram julgados cada um segundo as suas obras. E a morte e o inferno foram lanҫados no lago de fogo. Esta é a segunda morte. E aquele que não foi achado escrito no livro da vida foi lanҫado no lago de fogo” (Apocalipse 20:13-15)
  • “a sua parte será no lago que arde com fogo e enxofre; o que é a segunda morte” (Apocalipse 21:8)
  1. O manto de retidão
  • “estando vestidos com pureza, sim, com o manto da retidão” (2 Néfi 9:14)
  • “E haverá estrangeiros, que apascentarão os vossos rebanhos; e estranhos serão os vossos lavradores e os vossos vinhateiros” (Isaías 61:10)
  1. O tribunal de Cristo
  • “deverão comparecer ante o tribunal do Santo de Israel; e virá então o julgamento” (2 Néfi 9:14)
  • “Pois todos havemos de comparecer ante o tribunal de Cristo” (Romanos 14:10)
  • “Porque todos devemos comparecer ante o tribunal de Cristo” (II Coríntios 5:10)
  1. A palavra de Deus não pode passer
  • “pois o Senhor Deus disse-o e é sua eterna palavra, a qual não pode passar” (2 Néfi 9:16)
  • “Passará o céu e a terra, mas as minhas palavras não passarão” (Marcos 13:31)
  1. Os justos ainda serão justos; os imundos ainda serão imundos
  • “os justos ainda serão justos e os imundos ainda serão imundos” (2 Néfi 9:16)
  • “Quem é injusto, faҫa injustiҫa ainda; e quem está sujo, suje-se ainda; e quem é justo, faҫa justiҫa ainda; e quem é santo, seja santificado ainda” (Apocalipse 22:11)
  1. Lago de fogo e enxofre
  • “e seu tormento é como um lago de fogo e enxofre, cuja chama ascende para todo o sempre” (2 Néfi 9:16)
  • “Estes dois foram lanҫados vivos no lago de fogo que arde com enxofre” (Apocalipse 19:20)
  1. Cuja chama/fuma ascende para todo o sempre
  • “e seu tormento é como um lago de fogo e enxofre, cuja chama ascende para todo o sempre” (2 Néfi 9:16)
  • “E a fumaҫa do seu tormento sobe para todo o sempre; e não têm repouso nem de dia nem de noite” (Apocalipse 14:11)
  1. Suportar as cruzes do mundo e desprezado a sua vergonha
  • “os que tiverem suportado as cruzes do mundo e desprezado a sua vergonha” (2 Néfi 9:18)
  • “o qual, pelo gozo que lhe estava proposto, suportou a cruz, desprezando a afronta, e assentou-se à destra do trono de Deus” (Hebreus 12:2)
  1. Herdar o reino de Deus preparado desde a fundaҫão do mundo
  • “herdarão o reino de Deus, que foi preparado para eles desde a fundaҫão do mundo” (2 Néfi 9:18)
  • “Vinde, benditos de meu Pai, possuí por heranҫa o reino que vos está preparado desde a fundaҫão do mundo” (Mateus 25:34)
  1. Sua alegria será completa
  • “e sua alegria será completa para sempre” (2 Néfi 9:18)
  •  Estas coisas vos escrevemos, para que a vossa alegria seja completa” (1 João 1:4)
  1. Perseverar até o fim
  • “E se não se arrependerem…nem perseverarem até o fim, serão condenados” (2 Néfi 9:24)
  • “mas aquele que perseverar até ao fim será salvo” (Mateus 10:22)
  1. Nenhuma lei, nenhum castigo
  • “Ele deu, portanto, uma lei; e onde nenhuma lei é dada não há castigo” (2 Néfi 9:25)
  • “Porque a lei opera a ira. Porque onde não há lei também não há transgressão” (Romanos 4:15)
  1. Incircuncisos de coraҫão
  • Ai dos incircuncisos de coraҫão, porque o conhecimento de suas iniquidades feri-los-á no ultimo dia” (2 Néfi 9:33)
  • “Homens de dura cerviz, e incircuncisos de coraҫão e ouvido” (Atos 7:51)
  • “e toda a casa de Israel é incircuncisa de coraҫão” (Jeremias 9:26)
  1. Ter mente carnal é morte
  • “Lembrai-vos de que ter mente carnal é morte e ter mente spiritual é vida eterna” (2 Néfi 9:39)
  • “Porque a inclinaҫão da carne é morte; mas a inclinaҫão do Espírito é vida e paz” (Romanos 8:6)
  1. Falar coisas duras
  • “Não digais que falei coisas duras contra vós” (2 Néfi 9:40)
  • “Fizeste ver ao teu povo coisas árduas; fizeste-nos beber o vinho do atordoamento” (Salmo 60:3)
  1. O caminho estreito
  • “Eis que o caminho para o homem é estreito, mas segue em linha reta adianta dele” (2 Néfi 9:41)
  • “Senhor, guia-me na tua justiҫa, por causa dos meus inimigos; endireita diante de mim o teu caminho” (Salmo 5:8)
  • “Preparai o caminho do Senhor, endireitai as suas veredas” (Mateus 3:3)
  1. Caminho de justiҫa
  • “Lembrai-vos de que seus caminhos são justos” (2 Néfi 9:41)
  • “Refrigera a minha alma; guia-me pelas veredas da justiҫa, por amor do seu nome” (Salmo 23:3)
  1. Considerem-se insensatos diante de Deus
  • “e a menos que se despojem de todas estas coisas e considerem-se insensatos diante de Deus e humilhem-se profundamente” (2 Néfi 9:42)
  • “se alguém dentre vós se tem por sábio neste mundo, faça-se louco para ser sábio” (1 Coríntios 3: 18)
  1. Os sábios e os prudentes
  • “As coisas dos sábios e dos prudentes, porém, ser-lhes-ão ocultas para sempre” (2 Néfi 9:43)
  • “Porque está escrito: Destruirei a sabedoriados sábios, e aniquilarei a inteligência dos inteligentes” (1 Coríntios 1:19)
  1. Sacudo as vestimentas para estar livre de vosso sangue
  • “Eis que tiro minhas vestimentas e sacudo-as diante de vós…que sacudi vossas iniquidades de minha alma…e estou livre de vosso sangue” (2 Néfi 9:44)
  • “sacudiu as vestes, e disse-lhes: O vosso sangue seja sobre a vossa cabeça; eu estou limpo” (Atos 18:6)
  1. Olhos de Deus que tudo veem
  • “rogo ao Deus de minha salvação que me olhe com seus olhos que tudo veem” (2 Néfi 9:44)
  • “Sonda-me, ó Deus, e conhece o meu coração; põe-me à prova, e conhece os meus pensamentos” (Salmo 139:23)
  • “Eis que os olhos do Senhor estão sobre os que o temem, sobre os que esperam na sua misericórdia” (Salmo 33:18)
  • “Os olhos do Senhor estão em todo o lugar, contemplando os maus e os bons” (Os Provérbios 15:3)
  1. Apresentar-se limpo ante Deus
  • “que me apresento limpo ante ele” (2 Néfi 9:44) (a palavra é “brightness” ou “resplandor” em inglês)
  • “Por causa de Sião não me calarei, e por causa de Jerusalém não me aquietarei, até que saia a sua justiça como um resplendor” (Isaías 62:1)
  • “os quais desembainharão as suas espadas contra a formosura da tua sabedoria, e mancharão o teu resplendor” (Ezequiel 28:7)
  1. Rocha de salvação
  • “vinde ao Deus que é a rocha de vossa salvação” (2 Néfi 9:45)
  • “Só ele é a minha rocha e a minha salvação; é a minha defesa; não serei grandemente abalado” (Salmo 62:2)
  1. Correntes do inferno
  • “sacudi as correntes daquele que vos quer amarrar firmemente” (2 Néfi 9:45)
  • “havendo-os lançado no inferno, os entregou às cadeias da escuridão” (2 Pedro 2:4)
  • “reservou debaixo da escuridão, e em prisões eternas até o juízo daquele grande dia” (Judas 1:6)
  1. Falar com clareza
  • “Seria eu claro para convosco, com a clareza da verdade, se estivésseis livres do pecado?” (2 Néfi 9:47)
  • “Tendo, pois, tal esperança, usamos de muita ousadia no falar” (2 Coríntios 3:12)
  1. Deleito na retidão
  • “Eis que minha alma tem aversão ao pecado e meu coração se deleita na retidão; e louvarei o santo nome de meu Deus” (2 Néfi 9:49)
  • “Deleito-me em fazera tua vontade, ó Deus meu; sim, a tua lei está dentro do meu coração” (Salmo 40:8)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consistência Interna no Livro de Mórmon: A Árvore de Vida e a Fonte de Águas Vivas

No Livro de Mórmon, o profeta Leí é mostrado uma visão onde ele vê pessoas segurando a uma barra de ferro ao tentar chegar à árvore de vida (1 Néfi 8). O filho de Leí, Néfi, deseja ver a visão de seu pai, e ao ponderar o que ouviu ele é mostrado a mesma visão e uma interpretaҫão de seu simbolismo (1 Néfi 11-14)

Néfi é mostrado a árvore de vida e descreve o seguinte:

  • “E eu olhei e vi uma árvore; e era semelhante à árvore que meu pai tinha visto; e sua beleza era tão grande, sim, que excedia toda beleza” (1 Néfi 11:8)

Néfi vê uma visão de Maria dando a luz ao Jesus Cristo, e depois o anjo que serve como guia para Néfi na visão pergunta-lo se ele soubesse o significado da árvore:

  • “Sabes tu o significado da árvore que teu pai viu?” (1 Néfi 11:21)
  • “E respondi-lhe, dizendo: Sim, é o amor de Deus, que se derrama no coração dos filhos dos homens” (1 Néfi 11:22)

Por alguma razão, porém, algúns versículos depois, ele refere à árvore de vida como “a fonte de águas vivas:”

  • “E aconteceu que vi que a barra de ferro que meu pai tinha visto era a palavra de Deus, que conduzia à fonte de águas vivas, ou seja, à árvore da vida; águas essas que eram um símbolo do amor de Deus; e também vi que a árvore da vida era um símbolo do amor de Deus” (1 Néfi 11:25)

Esta referência à “fonte de águas vivas” de repente aparece sem ser mencionado explícito na descriҫão da visão. Enquanto não sei o significado de usar os símbolos da fonte de águas vivas e a árvore de vida indiferentemenete, o que é mais interessante para mim é que talvez este relacionamento seja aludido centenas de páginas depois em Alma 32.

Alma explica aos Zoramitas que se eles exercerem fé e experimentarem em suas palavras, sua fé no evangelho podiam crescer a conhecimento perfeito que vai tornar-se uma árvore de video de qual fruto pode comer.

Alma diz:

  • “E assim, se não cultivardes a palavra, esperando com os olhos da fé o seu fruto, nunca podereis colher o fruto da árvore da vida. Se, porém, cultivardes a palavra, sim, cultivardes a árvore quando ela começar a crescer, com vossa fé, com grande esforço e com paciência, esperando o fruto, ela criará raiz; e eis que será uma árvore que brotará para a vida eterna.” (Alma 32:40-41)

Aqui não há menҫão à fonte de águas vivas. Porém, a frase “uma árvore que brotará para a vida eternal” é muito semelhante à frase usada por Jesus Cristo ao falar com a mulher de Samaria no fonte de Jacó e ele diz que pode dar-lhe águas vivas, de qual se ela bebesse jamais ter sede:

  • “Mas aquele que beber da água que eu lhe der nunca terá sede, porque a água que eu lhe der se fará nele uma fonte de água que salte para a vida eternal” (João 4:14)

Alma, não fazendo nenhuma menҫão comparando a árvore de vida à fonte de águas vivas, se usa a mesma frase para descrever a árvore de vida como foi usado pelo Salvador para descrever águas vivas. Enquanto esta conexão entre Néfi, Alma, e Jesus Cristo podia ocorrer por chance, creio que é uma chance peqeuninha que Joseph Smith usou as palavras do Salvador arbitrariamente pelo discurso feito por Alma sobre a fé para apoiar a comparaҫão feito por Néfi da árvore de vida e a fonte de águas vivas.

Para mim, é incrível que este relactionamento sinônimo entre a árvore de vida e a fonte de águas vivas, descrito casualmente em 1 Néfi 11, é também encontrado centenas de páginas depois em Alma 32. Para mim, esta conexão é mais um pedaҫo de uma grande colecҫão de evidência confirmando o Livro de Mórmon é a palavra de Deus.

Arguments Against Denver Snuffer (Part II)

This article is a response to Denver Snuffer Jr.’s talk entitled “Other Sheep Indeed” presented at the Salt Lake City Sunstone Symposium (2017, click here for full article). Snuffer argues that the LDS church’s doctrine is incomplete and that the way to receive the full truth of the gospel is to seek out other religions and see if they have truths to add to our own. Since Snuffer makes many arguments in his talk, I find it best to respond to some of his quotes individually:

Snuffer Quotes #1:

  • “The “keystone” of Mormonism is the Book of Mormon. That book alerts its readers that there are many others from vastly different places with vastly different scriptures who are nonetheless Christ’s sheep. Book of Mormon readers are expected to search for, welcome and learn from them. In contrast, institutional Mormonism of all stripes confine trustworthy new religious ideas to their authorized leaders. Early in the text we learn that our faith, like our scriptures, is unfinished, and to anticipate a flood of additional sacred texts to help remove our ignorance.”
  • “What if the “fullness of the mysteries of God” have been scattered, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, worldwide among remnants of believers who have received truths in different times and places?” (p. 21)

Response: Throughout the talk, Snuffer makes several assertions that are not found anywhere in the Book of Mormon. He says that there are many other people who have written God’s word. That is true. Mormons believe that and we believe that these writings will be revealed to us in the last days (2 Nephi 29:11-13/3 Nephi 16:1-3). We do not believe, however, that the truth has been scattered across many religions and it’s each individual member’s job to go out and find other religions and see if they have additional truth. Neither is it true that these scriptures which will be revealed are “vastly different” than what we have now. Quite the opposite. The Lord said “Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also” (2 Nephi 29:8). In other words, the purpose of the “flood of additional sacred texts” is to show that God speaks the same words to all nations who hear his voice. The prophesied texts will serve to support the doctrine of the Book of Mormon and the Bible, not “remove our ignorance” by providing some completely new doctrine we did not anticipate.

He also says that we “are expected to search for, welcome and learn from them” (or other religious texts, regardless of whether they teach the doctrine of Christ). I agree that we should learn about other religions. I myself have read the Koran in its entirety. However, not once did Christ ever say “put down the scriptures and find truths in other religions.” On the contrary, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the creator of Heaven and Earth and all that in them is, commanded the Nephites and the readers of the Book of Mormon not to look for more scriptures, but instead search and feast upon the words of the prophets that they already had:

  • “And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah” (3 Nephi 23:1)
  • “And whosoever will hearken unto my words and repenteth and is baptized, the same shall be saved. Search the prophets, for many there be that testify of these things” (3 Nephi 23:5)
  • “Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3)

Snuffer Quote #2:

  • “Why aren’t people from around the world eager to teach Mormons? What would it be like if Mormons sent out missionaries to inquire if others had any great truths to share with us?” (p. 11)

 

Response: Missionaries should be respectful of other religions and be willing to listen to other people, but the reason why we don’t send out missionaries “to inquire if others had any great truths to share with us” is because Christ commanded us to follow his gospel as contained in the Bible and the Book of Mormon and to preach it to all the world.

  • “For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature; And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mormon 9:22-23)
  • “And now it came to pass that when Jesus had expounded all the scriptures in one, which they had written, he commanded them that they should teach the things which he had expounded unto them” (3 Nephi 23:14)

Snuffer Quotes #3:

  • Mormonism announced in its founding book of scripture that it is an incomplete, markedly unfinished religion searching for more truth to achieve its destiny” (p. 1)
  • Mormonism is only a “starter” religion based on an incipient planting by the Gods. It remains wanting. We Mormons should be people of wit and religion, willing to consider and value all truth from whatever source it springs. The greatness of Mormonism has not been realized in any of its past, and those who have managed to profit from organizing institutions based on its mere beginning are threatened by the idea that there is yet much more to be added” (p. 28)

Response: Once again, Snuffer makes claims that just aren’t true. Yes, Mormons believe that we will receive more words of the Lord such as the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon (Ether 3:27). However, we believe that the Book of Mormon and other standard works provide the Gospel of Christ necessary for salvation.

  • Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me” (3 Nephi 27:13)
  • “Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ (2 Nephi 31:20)
  • “I must speak concerning the doctrine of Christ…Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel” (2 Nephi 31:2, 13)
  • “Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3)
  • “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock…Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth” (3 Nephi 11:39-41)

Snuffer Quote #4

  • “Institutional forms of Mormonism want to claim that God has finished His work for our day and given His authority to a select group of professional clergy. Their jealousy and envy keep them out of the kingdom, and those under their control are prevented from entering God’s kingdom. What an odd outcome this is for institutional Mormonism when the religion was founded on the relentless search for truth, anywhere it may be found.”

Response: The LDS church/religion is not “founded upon the relentless search for truth, anywhere it may be found.” Nowhere does the Book of Mormon say this. Yes, it is important for us to learn as much as we can about the world. If we find truth in other places, then yes, we should accept it. The LDS religion is founded upon the gospel of Jesus Christ; not on the aimless searching for other truths when the plainness of the gospel of Christ is right in front of you.

  • “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock…Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth” (3 Nephi 11:39-41)
  • “But if it be called by my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel” (3 Nephi 27:8)

The Lesser Portion of the Word

Snuffer criticizes members of the LDS church for being prideful because they do not learn from other religions to see what hidden truths they hold that we do not have. He bases this on scriptures that say there are other books written that will eventually come forth (1 Nephi 13:39-42/2 Nephi 29:11-13/3 Nephi 16:1-3). The fact that they haven’t yet come forth must mean that the LDS church is wicked.

Snuffer likens the LDS church to the people of Ammonihah when Alma said:

  • he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil…” (Alma 12:10-11).

Snuffer makes a false equivalency between the people of Ammonihah not obeying the commandments and the LDS church not adopting Buddhist texts as canon. Alma is not advocating that the people of Ammonihah travel to the ends of the earth to read all other sacred texts and try to piece together all the lost truths of the gospel. He is advocating that they follow the commandments of God as found in the Holy Scriptures.

Snuffer compares the LDS church to the people of Ammonihah, but I think a more accurate comparison is to liken Snuffer to the Jews in Jerusalem, whom Jacob criticizes in Jacob 4:13-14:

  • These things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls. But behold, we are not witnesses alone in these things; for God also spake them unto prophets of old. But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble”

Snuffer and his followers are not satisfied with the revelations and scriptures they have been given. They want God to give them more and they want to receive these promised scriptures on their own time table. Because they cannot see the plainness of the gospel in front of them, they are looking beyond the mark and will receive the lesser portion of the word.

 

Do Prophets Know Everything?

This may seem like a silly question with an obvious answer, but nevertheless many members of the LDS church find it a trial of their faith to discover that leaders of the church have been deceived (e.g., Mark Hofmann selling forged historical documents to the church) or that LDS leaders engage in what seem like typical business meetings to discuss church affairs (e.g., MormonLeaks releasing video of the twelve apostles discussing church affairs via PowerPoint).  If the leaders of the church have the spirit of prophecy and revelation, how come there are instances where they don’t have all the answers?

The following is a list of examples in the Book of Mormon that suggest the prophets of God are not omnipresent beings who know what any given member of the church ate for breakfast two weeks ago. While they do receive revelation from the Lord when he sees fit, the prophets, like any other human beings, face the same challenges of mortality:

  1. Alma, the high priest of the church, had to send men to spy on the camp of the rebellious Amlicites, and were surprised to know that they had joined forces with the Lamanites. This is interesting because at a future date Alma was able to predict where the Lamanites were headed when Captain Moroni asked him for help.
  • “And Alma sent spies to follow the remnant of the Amlicites, that he might know of their plans and their plots, whereby he might guard himself against them, that he might preserve his people from being destroyed” (Alma 2:21)
  • “Moroni sent spies into the wilderness to watch their camp; and Moroni, also, knowing of the prophecies of Alma, sent certain men unto him desiring him that he should inquire of the Lord whither the armies of the Nephites should go to defend themselves against the Lamanites. And it came to pass that the word of the Lord came unto Alma, and Alma informed the messengers of Moroni, that the armies of the Lamanites were marching round about in the wilderness, that they might come over into the land of Manti” (Alma 43:23-24)

 

  1. There are some mysteries which no human knows. For example, no one knows when the second coming and the final resurrection will happen.
  • “Now, I unfold unto you a mystery; nevertheless, there are many mysteries which are kept, that no one knoweth them save God himself. But I show unto you one thing which I have inquired diligently of God that I might know—that is concerning the resurrection. Behold, there is a time appointed that all shall come forth from the dead. Now when this time cometh no one knows; but God knoweth the time which is appointed” (Alma 40:3-4)

 

  1. Alma does not know whether the resurrection will happen all at once. He is therefore left to theorize that he believes that many righteous people will be resurrected at the time Jesus is resurrected.
  • Now, whether the souls and the bodies of those of whom has been spoken shall all be reunited at once, the wicked as well as the righteous, I do not say; let it suffice, that I say that they all come forth; or in other words, their resurrection cometh to pass before the resurrection of those who die after the resurrection of Christ. Now, my son, I do not say that their resurrection cometh at the resurrection of Christ; but behold, I give it as my opinion, that the souls and the bodies are reunited, of the righteous, at the resurrection of Christ, and his ascension into heaven” (Alma 40:19-20)

 

  1. King Mosiah, Alma, and the priests consulted with each other over the affairs of the church.
  • “And now it came to pass that the persecutions which were inflicted on the church by the unbelievers became so great that the church began to murmur, and complain to their leaders concerning the matter; and they did complain to Alma. And Alma laid the case before their king, Mosiah. And Mosiah consulted with his priests.” (Mosiah 27:1)

 

  1. Nephi and Mormon did not know why they should include the small plates of Nephi into the Book of Mormon record. They only knew that the Lord commanded them.
  • “But behold, I shall take these plates, which contain these prophesyings and revelations, and put them with the remainder of my record, for they are choice unto me; and I know they will be choice unto my brethren. And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will” (Words of Mormon 1:6-7)
  • “And I knew not at the time when I made them that I should be commanded of the Lord to make these plates…and that the things which were written should be kept for the instruction of my people, who should possess the land, and also for other wise purposes, which purposes are known unto the Lord” (1 Nephi 19:2-3)

 

  1. The Brother of Jared, who had conversed with the Lord many times before, did not know that the Lord had a spiritual body.
  • “And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood” (Ether 3:8)

 

  1. Nephi forgot to write about the dead rising from the grave after Christ’s resurrection. 
  • “And when Nephi had brought forth the records, and laid them before him, he cast his eyes upon them and said: Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify…that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many…And Jesus said unto them: How be it that ye have not written this thing, that many saints did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them? And it came to pass that Nephi remembered that this thing had not been written” (3 Nephi 23:8-9, 11-12)

 

  1. Mosiah did not know the location or the status of those who went to repossess the land of Lehi-Nephi.
  • “And now, it came to pass that after king Mosiah had had continual peace for the space of three years, he was desirous to know concerning the people who went up to dwell in the land of Lehi-Nephi, or in the city of Lehi-Nephi; for his people had heard nothing from them…And now, they knew not the course they should travel in the wilderness to go up to the land of Lehi-Nephi; therefore they wandered many days in the wilderness, even forty days did they wander” (Mosiah 7:1, 3)

 

  1. Moroni and Helaman did not know the fate of Pahoran, the governor of Zarahemla during the war with the Lamanites. Moroni assumed that the government was lazy and run by sinners. 
  • Now we do not know the cause that the government does not grant us more strength; neither do those men who came up unto us know why we have not received greater strength…And it came to pass that Moroni was angry with the government, because of their indifference concerning the freedom of their country…I, Pahoran…say unto you, Moroni, that I do not joy in your great afflictions, yea, it grieves my soul. But behold, there are those who do joy in your afflictions, yea, insomuch that they have risen up in rebellion against me, and also those of my people who are freemen” (Alma 58:34/59:13/61:2-3)

 

  1. Nobody knows where the ten tribes of Israel are.
  • “And behold, there are many who are already lost from the knowledge of those who are at Jerusalem. Yea, the more part of all the tribes have been led away; and they are scattered to and fro upon the isles of the sea; and whither they are none of us knoweth, save that we know that they have been led away” (1 Nephi 22:4)

 

11. Lehi, and presumably other prophets that existed before, did not know the that “Jesus Christ” would be the name of the Messiah. The name of the Messiah was not known until it was revealed to Jacob by an angel.

  • “Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ—for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name–should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him—for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God” (2 Nephi 10:3)

Answers to the Alt-Right according to the Book of Mormon

There exists an “Alternative-Right” (Alt-Right) movement among some members of the LDS church. In spite of the LDS church’s recent statement condemning white nationalism (see here), many within the LDS church who identify as Alt-Right remain vigilant in support of white nationalism. The Alt-Right’s political stances tend to vary, but the most common points of agreement among various alt-right factions can be found here. On it’s face, it seems like a fairly reasonable list, but after reading many blog posts from Alt-Right supporters, their arguments sound more like this:

  • The United States of America will face moral and economic collapse if it does not maintain a white majority.
  • All forms of immigration from people of color should be severely restricted so that other cultures supposedly more prone to violence and moral degeneracy do not denigrate the white cultural heritage of the U.S.
  • There should be no free-trade between nations. Free-trade between nations benefits poorer nations at the expense of white blue collar workers.
  • And for the LDS Alt-Right, the gospel should be spread across the world but non-white members from other nations should stay within their own borders. Charitable contributions should also stay within the borders of the U.S.

The LDS Alt-Right may justify their support for these principles scripturally by making a false equivalency between the struggle between the Lamanites and the Nephites and present-day immigration in the United States.

To answer some of these claims, I have included arguments and scriptures below that the LDS Alt-Right may make to support their principles. Under each argument is a response I have made based on passages of the Book of Mormon. I have excluded any “love thy neighbor” scriptures from the arguments because the Alt-Right claims to love everyone; they just want people of color to stay far away. NOTE: These “responses” I make should not be taken as advocacy for or against any specific government policy. Rather, I am trying to convey a general mindset founded in the Book of Mormon as an alternative to the conclusions of the LDS Alt-Right:

Alt-Right Argument #1: The Lamanites were given dark skin so that the white Nephites would not mix with them. They were also separated because the Lamanites had a wicked culture. Like the Nephites and the Lamanites, white people in the U.S. should not mix with cultures of people of color to preserve the more righteous white culture.

  • “as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon themAnd cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed, for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing.” (2 Nephi 5:21, 23)
  • “And because of their cursing which was upon them they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey” (2 Nephi 5:24)

Response: The Nephites continuously sought to make peace with the Lamanites and cure them of their hatred towards the Nephites. Like the Nephites, members of the LDS church should seek out every opportunity to reach out to all nations and cultures, including those who openly hate us.

  • “And it came to pass that many means were devised to reclaim and restore the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth” (Jacob 7:24)
  • “And I bear record that the people of Nephi did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites unto the true faith in God.” (Enos 1:20)
  • “the sons of Mosiah…desired of him that he would grant unto them that they might…preach the things which they had heard, and that they might impart the word of God to their brethren, the Lamanites—That perhaps they might bring them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and convince them of the iniquity of their fathers; and that perhaps they might cure them of their hatred towards the Nephites, that they might also be brought to rejoice in the Lord their God, that they might become friendly to one another, and that there should be no more contentions in all the land which the Lord their God had given them.” (Mosiah 28:1-2)

Alt-Right Argument #2: The Nephites separated themselves from the Lamanites geographically so that they would not be overrun. In addition, the Nephites were eventually destroyed because they were outnumbered by the Lamanites. Like the Nephites, white people in the U.S. should build strong borders and have as many white children as possible to protect against invading immigrants

  • “And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea, and thus the Nephites in their wisdom, with their guards and their armies, had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south, that thereby they should have no more possession on the north, that they might not overrun the land northward. Therefore the Lamanites could have no more possessions only in the land of Nephi, and the wilderness round about. Now this was wisdom in the Nephites—as the Lamanites were an enemy to them, they would not suffer their afflictions on every hand, and also that they might have a country whither they might flee, according to their desires” (Alma 22:33-34)
  • “And they were scattered upon much of the face of the land, and the Lamanites also. And they were exceedingly more numerous than were they of the Nephites; and they loved murder and would drink the blood of beasts” (Jarom 1:6)

Response: Few would disagree that the U.S. should be strategically protected from foreign invaders. The Lamanites, however, at that time were an actual invading army bent on killing all of the Nephites. Immigrants who want to work and freely trade in the U.S. are not an invading army. When the Nephites and the Lamanites had free-trade and immigration, there was peace and economic prosperity for all. In addition, a union of the Lamanites and Nephites was even necessary to defeat a common enemy; the Gadianton robbers. These Lamanites were then assimilated with the Nephites. Like the Nephites, we should allow immigrants of other cultures to live here peaceably

  • “the Lamanites…delighted in wars and bloodshed, and they had an eternal hatred against us, their brethren. And they sought by the power of their arms to destroy us continually” (Jacob 7:24)
  • “And behold, there was peace in all the land, insomuch that the Nephites did go into whatsoever part of the land they would, whether among the Nephites or the Lamanites. And it came to pass that the Lamanites did also go whithersoever they would, whether it were among the Lamanites or among the Nephites; and thus they did have free intercourse one with another, to buy and to sell, and to get gain, according to their desire. And it came to pass that they became exceedingly rich…And thus the sixty and fourth year did pass away in peace.” (Helaman 6:7-9, 13)
  • “it became expedient that all the people, both the Nephites and the Lamanites, should take up arms against them [the Gadianton robbers]. Therefore, all the Lamanites who had become converted unto the Lord did unite with their brethren, the Nephites…And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites” (3 Nephi 2:11, 12, 14)

Alt-Right Argument #3: White members of the LDS church should be less charitable to people oversees or to refugees and should instead focus on helping their own people in the U.S.

Response: The Nephites were charitable to all people, both within and without the church. The Nephites also accepted refugees who were fleeing violence. We should also be charitable to all people and be willing to accept refugees fleeing violence.

  • “when Ammon and his brethren saw this great work of destruction, they were moved with compassion, and they said unto the king [of the Lamanites]: Let us gather together this people of the Lord, and let us go down to the land of Zarahemla to our brethren the Nephites, and flee out of the hands of our enemies, that we be not destroyed…And it came to pass that the voice of the people [the Nephites] came, saying: Behold, we will give up the land of Jershon…And behold, we will set our armies between the land Jershon and the land Nephi, that we may protect our brethren in the land Jershon…” (Alma 27:4, 22-23)
  • “And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need” (Alma 1:30)

Alt-Right Argument #4: Russell M. Nelson said that the gathering place for the saints in Brasil is in Brasil, etc. This means that members of the LDS church in other nations should stay in their own lands.

  • “The Lord has decreed the establishment of Zion in each realm where He has given His Saints their birth and nationality. Scripture foretells that the people “shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise.” “Every nation is the gathering place for its own people.” The place of gathering for Brazilian Saints is in Brazil; the place of gathering for Nigerian Saints is in Nigeria; the place of gathering for Korean Saints is in Korea; and so forth. Zion is “the pure in heart.” Zion is wherever righteous Saints are.” (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2006/10/the-gathering-of-scattered-israel.p12?lang=eng)

Response: Write a letter to Elder Nelson and see if he agrees with your interpretation of his quote. He was clearly stating that members of the LDS church should feel no obligation to gather in Salt Lake City, but that saints everywhere can create their own Zion where they live. Nowhere does he say “we want all the people of color to leave and we don’t want any more to immigrate here because they will destroy our white culture”

ADDITIONAL POINTS FOR THE ALT-RIGHT MEMBERS OF THE LDS CHURCH TO CONSIDER

God probably doesn’t care what your culture is. The Pharisees and Sadducees also thought they were special because of their heritage. God only cares that you keep his commandments

John the Baptist criticized the Pharisees and Sadducees, who believed they had no reason to repent for their sins because of their being heirs of the Abrahamic covenant. John mocks their feelings of superiority based on their heritage by stating:

“And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Matthew 3:9). It is my opinion that John would say the same thing to white nationalists who advocate expelling non-white cultures from the U.S. in the name of preserving a white majority.

 

No member of the church should ever revile against anyone based on the color of their skin. Members of the LDS church should only worry about their own iniquities

“Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, which is the word of God, that ye revile no more against them [the Lamanites] because of the darkness of their skins; neither shall ye revile against them because of their filthiness; but ye shall remember your own filthiness, and remember that their filthiness came because of their fathers” (Jacob 3:9)

 

Book of Mormon Authorship: Unique phrases of various Prophets

Much has been written about who really wrote the Book of Mormon. Faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that it was written by ancient American prophets, while others suggest it was written by Joseph Smith or any combination of his contemporaries. Some of these questions have been examined using wordprint analyses to determine who authored the Book of Mormon (see https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Book_of_Mormon/Wordprint_studies for a summary of findings). While arguing the validity of wordprint studies is out of my expertise, there are many idioms found in the writings of several Book of Mormon that may support the belief that it is unlikely that Joseph Smith paid so much amount to detail as to create individual writing styles for each of the characters in the Book of Mormon. The following are some examples of phrases that are unique to individual Book of Mormon prophets:

 

  1. In the midst of thy congregations = Unique to the prophet Zenos

The prophet Zenos is quoted on at least three occasions in the Book of Mormon and his writing style seems to be significantly different from the writings of other Book of Mormon prophets. In this situation, the prophet Zenos uses the following phrase:

  • “Yea, O God, thou hast been merciful unto me, and heard my cries in the midst of thy congregations” (Alma 33:9)

The word “congregation” is only found in one other instance in the Book of Mormon in the “Isaiah Chapters” (2 Nephi 24:13/Isaiah 14) and is only found in the New Testament once (Acts 13:43). The word shows up 333 times in the Old Testament, and the same phrase “midst of the congregation” is found several times (Numbers 16:47/Psalm 22:22/Proverbs 5:14). It is interesting that this phrase is only found in the Book of Mormon in the writings of the prophet Zenos, who is believed to have lived many years before Lehi and his family left Jerusalem, which language is consistent with Old Testament vernacular.

 

2. Turn their hearts aside = Unique to the prophet Zenos

This is an interesting expression because similar renditions are sparsely found in the Old Testament (see 1 Samuel 12:20-21) but none are found in the New Testament or among any other Book of Mormon prophets. Adding to the uniqueness of this phrase is that it fits well with the Book of Mormon timeline which puts Zenos’ writings before 600 B.C. and possibly before the writings of Isaiah. The Book of Mormon prophets typically use the phrase “harden their hearts” instead.

  • “they crucify the God of Israel, and turn their hearts aside, rejecting signs and wonders” (1 Nephi 19:13)
  • “And because they turn their hearts aside, saith the prophet, and have despised the Holy One of Israel” (1 Nephi 19:14)
  • “no more turn their hearts against the Holy One of Israel” (1 Nephi 19:15)

 

3. Great Creator = Unique to the prophet Jacob

The word “Creator” is used 10 times in the Book of Mormon, and only twice in the New Testament and three times in the Old Testament. Only the prophet Jacob puts the qualifier “great” before stating “creator.” While this by itself is not particularly miraculous, it is worth noting that it appears in Jacob’s writings in 2 Nephi 9 and thirty pages later in Jacob 2. Not only is it unique to Jacob, but it is unique across time in his writings and in Joseph Smith’s translation process.

  • “for it behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh” (2 Nephi 9:5)
  • “to fulfill the merciful plan of the great Creator” (2 Nephi 9:6)
  • “how much better are you than they, in the sight of your great Creator?” (Jacob 3:7)

 

4. The Lord Omnipotent = Unique to King Benjamin

When King Benjamin asks his people to make a covenant to take upon them the name of Christ, both he and his people refer to Christ as the “Lord Omnipotent.” The word “omnipotent” occurs 6 times in the Book of Mormon, all of them contained in the discourse of King Benjamin, and only once in all other scriptures (Revelation 19:6, “the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth”).

  • “with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity” (Mosiah 3:5)
  • “only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:17)
  • “through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:18)
  • “only through repentance and faith on the name of the Lord God Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:21)
  • “because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 5:2)
  • “that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his” (Mosiah 5:15)

 

5. The Great God = Unique to King Anti-Nephi-Lehi

There are many occasions in the Old and New Testaments where the phrase “great God” is used (Psalm 95:3/Titus 2:13), but it is only used in the Book of Mormon by King Anti-Nephi-Lehi in an address to his people asking them to make a covenant to bury their weapons of war. There are only two other similar iterations of this phrase in the Book of Mormon (Helaman 12:8: “great and everlasting God”/Helaman 13:18 “great and true God”), but interestingly one of them is also spoken by a Lamanite, and the other by Mormon, who was about to write about Samuel the Lamanite one chapter later. It is my opinion that King Anti-Nephi-Lehi refers to “the great God” because of the Lamanite belief in the existence of a “Great Spirit,” which they learn is the “great God” when Ammon preaches to King Lamoni (Alma 18:24-29).

  • “I thank my God, my beloved people, that our great God has in goodness sent these our brethren” (Alma 24:7)
  • “And behold, I thank my great God that he has given us a portion of his Spirit” (Alma 24:8)
  • “And I also thank my God, yea, my great God” (Alma 24:10)
  • “through the blood of the Son of our great God” (Alma 24:13)
  • “And the great God has had mercy on us, and made these things known unto us” (Alma 24:14)

 

6. After this manner of language = Unique to the prophet Nephi

The phrase “after this manner of language” is unique to the words written by Nephi in the first Book of Nephi. This phrase is used many times while Nephi is narrating but not while Mormon is narrating, suggesting that Nephi’s style of narration is different from that of Mormon’s.

  • “And after this manner was the language of my father” (1 Nephi 1:15)
  • “And it came to pass that after this manner of language did I persuade my brethren” (1 Nephi 3:21)
  • “And after this manner of language had my mother complained against my father” (1 Nephi 5:3)
  • “And after this manner of language did my father, Lehi, comfort my mother” (1 Nephi 5:6)
  • “And after this manner of language did she speak” (1 Nephi 5:8)
  • “And after this manner of language did my brethren murmur” (1 Nephi 17:22)

 

7. The Lord of Hosts = The Lord warning his people of destruction

The phrase “Lord of Hosts” never appears in the New Testament but is found frequently in the Old Testament. In the Book of Mormon, the phrase “Lord of Hosts” appears when it is quoting sections of the Old Testament or in the following cases of statements from the Lord found in Helaman, Jacob, and briefly in 2 Nephi. It is not found in any of the Book of Mormon prophet’s writings unless they are quoting God.

2 Nephi = Prophecies of the death of Christ

  • “the depths of the earth shall swallow them up, saith the Lord of Hosts” (2 Nephi 26:5)
  • “the day that cometh shall consume them, saith the Lord of Hosts” (2 Nephi 26:6)
  • “if the inhabitants of the earth shall repent of their wickedness and abominations they shall not be destroyed, saith the Lord of Host” (2 Nephi 28:17)

Helaman 13:8-21 = Samuel the Lamanite calling the Nephites to repentance

  • “And behold, a curse shall come upon the land, saith the Lord of Hosts, because of the people’s sake who are upon the land” (Helaman 13:17)
  • “And it shall come to pass, saith the Lord of Hosts, yea, our great and true God” (Helaman 13:18)
  • “and then shall ye weep and howl in that day, saith the Lord of Hosts” (Helaman 13:32)

Jacob 2:23-33 = Jacob calling the Nephites to repentance

  • “And whoredoms are an abomination before me; saith the Lord of Hosts” (Jacob 2:28)
  • “Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes” (Jacob 2:29)
  • “For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people” (Jacob 2:30)
  • “And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me against the men of my people, saith the Lord of Hosts” (Jacob 2:32)
  • “even unto destruction; for they shall not commit whoredomes, like unto them of old, saith the Lord of Hosts” (Jacob 2:33)

 

8. Fruit of my loins = Unique to Joseph, son of Jacob/Israel

Book of Mormon prophets, especially Lehi and Nephi, refer to their progenitors as their “seed,” such as in the following examples:

  • “they shall have no power over thy seed…they shall be a scourge unto thy seed” (1 Nephi 2:23-24)
  • “Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper” (1 Nephi 4:14)
  • “and began to prophesy concerning his seed…all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people who were of his seed…And he prophesied many things concerning his seed” (1 Nephi 5:17-19)
  • “Look, and behold thy seed, and also the seed of thy brethren” (1 Nephi 12:9)

This word is used consistently throughout the Book of Mormon, but its use is significantly more frequent in the first two books of Nephi. In 2 Nephi 3, however, Lehi quotes from a prophecy found in the brass plates given by the Lord to Joseph, who was sold into Egypt. Joseph predicted that a righteous branch would be separated from the house of Israel, and Lehi states that this prophecy is fulfilled in his seed. Joseph, when speaking of his progenitors, prefers to use the phrase “fruit of my loins” rather than “seed.” Joseph uses the phrase “fruit of my loins” repeatedly in this one chapter and the phrase does not occur again until the book of Jacob when Jacob refers to Joseph’s prophecy. The phrase “fruit of my loins” is used 19 times in 2 Nephi 3. Two other times in this chapter the phrase  “seed of thy loins” and “spokesman of thy loins” is used.

Some examples of this phrase include:

  • “A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins…” (7)
  • “Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins…” (12)

This phrase does not occur again until Jacob 2:25 when Jacob quotes the Lord saying “that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.”

The word “seed” is used consistently up until the prophecy of Joseph (see 2 Nephi 1:5, 31, 32 / 2 Nephi 3:2,3) when “fruit of thy loins” is used instead (starting with 2 Nephi 3:4 when Lehi begins speaking of Joseph’s prophecy). The Book of Mormon writers immediately revert back to using “seed” exclusively (2 Nephi 4:2, 7, 9, 11). This suggests that Joseph’s use of the phrase must be symbolic or an antiquated expression not commonly used in Lehi’s day.

 

9. Protector: Unique to the prophet Jacob

Jacob is the only prophet in the Book of Mormon or the Bible to use the word “protector” when referring to his brother Nephi. He uses it on two occasions, once in 2 Nephi 6 and once in Jacob 1. This provides evidence that Jacob was a real author who’s words are consistent and unique across time.

  • “having been consecrated by my brother Nephi, unto whom ye look as a king or a protector, and on whom ye depend for safety” (2 Nephi 2:6)
  • “Now Nephi began to be old, and he saw that he must soon die; wherefore, he anointed a man to be a king and a ruler over his people…The people having loved Nephi exceedingly, he having been a great protector for them” (Jacob 1:9-10)

The word “protector” is used several times in the works of the ancient Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. He mostly uses it when referring to God, but in one instance he uses it to refer to Moses in the same context as Jacob does, by referring to him as “a governor and a protector”:

  • “nor was there any thing else so sad, and that so much troubled them, as this supposal that Moses was perished…they therefore were quiet, and expected the event: yet were they exceeding sorry upon the supposal that they were deprived of a governor and a protector, such a one indeed as they could never recover again” (Antiquities of the Jews, Book III, 5:7)

 

 

 

Should Members of the LDS Church Prosecute Criminals?

The LDS church has recently been the subject of many lawsuits claiming that some church leaders have taken part in the cover up of serious crimes committed by members of their congregations by dealing with serious legal matters exclusively within the church. Some of these lawsuits argue that church leaders and ward members actively discourage victims to prosecute serious crimes “lest they run afoul of church teachings regarding forgiveness” (http://www.journal-news.net/news/local-news/2017/06/lawsuit-against-lds-church-permitted-to-move-forward/). It is my opinion that matters involving crimes committed by members of the church against other members of the church should not be resolved exclusively within church disciplinary councils, but that such persons should be tried in a secular court of law.

Some may believe that pressing charges against another member of the church who has committed a crime may be a sin itself because they assume that legal prosecution and Christ’s teachings of forgiveness are mutually exclusive. This belief is based on scriptures where God commands his followers to forgive all people no matter what they have done (Mosiah 26:31; Matthew 6:14-15; Alma 34:40). These misguided assumptions about forgiveness and the legal system, unfortunately, place the victims of crimes in situations where they are re-victimized in at least four ways (assuming the worst circumstances as outlined in these lawsuits). First, they suffer the pain from the crime itself. Second, they suffer the pain of being taught that it is a sin to have negative feelings against the perpetrator or for desiring justice against the perpetrator. Third, they must sit back and watch while the perpetrator is free to re-victimize, receiving no lasting consequences for their actions. Fourth, victims suffer from the confusion and anger associated with the mixed messages of church leaders being sent to them and to the criminal. They see church leaders preach messages of hope to the criminal, assuring them that they can be forgiven for whatever crimes they commit. The victims, on the other hand, are lectured about how they must forgive the criminal because they can’t be forgiven for their own sins if they do not forgive others first. While these circumstances are rare, the fact that they have occurred even once is unacceptable.

It is my opinion that delivering a criminal to be judged according to the laws of the land is not mutually exclusive to the principles of forgiveness outlined in Christ’s teachings. This is because legal prosecution of crimes is not carried out solely for the victim; it is carried out by government officials based on laws and punishments agreed upon by society. The government, not the victim, is the party who is administering justice and enforcing the laws of the land that have been established.

The government prosecutes crimes and punishes offenders so that society can benefit from deterring future crimes and preventing criminals from committing more crimes. Members of the church who prosecute criminals, therefore, are not seeking personal vengeance and thus negating their capacity to forgive, but are instead fulfilling their responsibility as law-abiding citizens to report crimes to the state so that its citizens can enjoy a more harmonious society. This is separate from principles of forgiveness; a person can see justice administered and yet not forgive the perpetrator, while another person can see the guilty party get away with their crimes and yet forgive them for their actions, recognizing that the justice system is fallible.

If a victim desires, they can also make settlements outside of the law if it is most beneficial for the victim. For example, a victim of theft may find it beneficial to not see the thief thrown into prison if that would mean not receiving restitution payments in a timely manner. I would argue that decisions to prosecute certain crimes are a personal issue for the victim and they have every right to decide whether to press charges. It is my opinion that settlements made outside a court of law, however, should not be based on a false belief that it is contrary to Christ’s teachings to prosecute criminals.

Below are some examples in the Book of Mormon to support these points of view I have described:

  1. Righteous judges and kings in the Book of Mormon were given authority from the people to punish those who broke the laws given to them by God:

“…there should be no wars or contentions, no stealing, nor plundering, nor murdering, nor any manner of iniquity. And whosoever has committed iniquity, him have I [King Mosiah] punished according to the crime which he has committed, according to the law which has been given to us by our fathers” (Mosiah 29:14-15)

“…choose you by the voice of this people, judges, that ye may be judged according to the laws which have been given you by our fathers, which are correct, and which were given them by the hand of the Lord” (Mosiah 29:25)

“And he selected a wise man who was among the elders of the church, and gave him power according to the voice of the people, that he might have power to enact laws according to the laws which had been given, and to put them in force according to the wickedness and the crimes of the people.” (Alma 4:16)

Now if a man owed another, and he would not pay that which he did owe, he was complained of to the judge; and the judge executed authority, and sent forth officers that the man should be brought before him; and he judged the man according to the law and the evidences which were brought against him, and thus the man was compelled to pay that which he owed, or be stripped, or be cast out from among the people as a thief and a robber” (Helaman 11:2)

  1. The law must be enforced because it serves as a deterrent to crime. If there were no punishment for crimes, then people would commit more crimes and society would descend into wickedness. Enforcing the laws creates peace:

“Nevertheless, they durst not lie, if it were known, for fear of the law, for liars were punished; therefore they pretended to preach according to their belief; and now the law could have no power on any man for his belief. And they durst not steal, for fear of the law, for such were punished; neither durst they rob, nor murder, for he that murdered was punished unto death” (Alma 1:17-18; see also Romans 7:7)

“Now, if there was no law given—if a man murdered he should die—would he be afraid he would die if he should murder? And also, if there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin. And if there was no law given, if men sinned what could justice do, or mercy either, for they would have no claim upon the creature” (Alma 42:19-21)

“persecuting, lying, thieving, robbing, committing whoredoms, and murdering, and all manner of wickedness; nevertheless, the law was put in force upon all those who did transgress it, inasmuch as it was possible. And it came to pass that by thus exercising the law upon them, every man suffering according to that which he had done, they became more still, and durst not commit any wickedness if it were known; therefore, there was much peace among the people of Nephi until the fifth year of the reign of the judges” (Alma 1:32-33)

  1. It is wicked to try and prevent justice from being administered to those who are guilty. If criminals are not punished for their crimes, then the sufferings of the righteous will cry out for vengeance against the criminals and those who refused to enforce the law. This principle is described when Alma prosecutes Nehor for slaying Gideon while practicing priestcraft:

“And thou hast shed the blood of a righteous man, yea, a man who has done much good among this people; and were we to spare thee his blood would come upon us for vengeance. Therefore thou art condemned to die, according to the law, which has been given us by Mosiah, our last king; and it has been acknowledged by this people; therefore this people must abide by the law” (Alma 1:13-14)

“[the wicked] having usurped the power and authority of the land; laying aside the commandments of God, and not in the least aright before him; doing no justice unto the children of men; condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money” (Helaman 7:4-5)

  1. The law, justice, and punishment are all part of God’s plan for us here on earth. If there were no consequences for our actions, then there would be no purpose for our creation and God would not exist:

“Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment, which also was eternal as the life of the soul should be, affixed opposite to the plan of happiness, which was as eternal also as the life of the soul. Now, how could a man repent except he should sin? How could he sin if there was no law? How could there be a law save there was a punishment? Now, there was a punishment affixed, and a just law given…” (Alma 42:16-17)

“And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.” (2 Nephi 2:13)

“We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law” (Articles of Faith #12)