Your Friday Firestorm #20

And now it came to pass that when Jesus had said these words he said unto them again, after he had expounded all the scriptures unto them which they had received, he said unto them: Behold, other scriptures I would that ye should write, that ye have not. And it came to pass that he said unto Nephi: Bring forth the record which ye have kept. 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 unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them: Was it not so?

And his disciples answered him and said: Yea, Lord, Samuel did prophesy according to thy words, and they were all fulfilled.

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. And it came to pass that Jesus commanded that it should be written; therefore it was written according as he commanded.

(3 Nephi 23: 6-13)



  1. Julie M. Smith says:

    /scratches head

    I don’t get the firestorm part. Maybe I’m not thinking creatively (or: combatively) enough.

  2. You’re totally wrong, Julie. VERY VERY wrong. Also, you’re banned.

  3. Name (required) says:

    I think that there is some question about whether the new testament account is to be understood at face value. If not, what implication does it have for the book of mormon version of events?

    Anyway–even if you take the story literally–are these events things that you would have forgotten to record? I’m not a great journal writer, but I think that I wouldn’t have forgotten to write something like this down.

  4. Last Lemming says:

    I have heard that the seagull/cricket story is missing from many diaries in which one would have expected to find it. The accompanying explanation is that what those people witnessed did not strike them as particularly miraculous–just nature taking its course.

    Perhaps what happened in 3 Nephi was similar–what people witnessed did not strike them as particularly miraculous, so they did not record it. Jesus then reinterpreted the event as a fulfillment of prophecy and people accepted his reinterpretation. Unlike the seagull story, however, it is much harder in this case to imagine how people could have interpreted the original event in a way that nobody would think it worthy of recording.

  5. Perhaps it’s my cynicism coming out, but could the oh-so-righteous white Nephites have intentionally omitted the fulfillment of a prophecy made by a dark-skinned Lamanite outsider?

    Samuel has always intrigued me. As with most scriptural prophets, he was apparently a non-ecclesiastical prophet called to preach to those who were supposed to be God’s people. Is there room for such prophets today, or has the role of the prophet and priest become so aligned today that a non-ecclesiastical prophet is not possible?

  6. Name (required) says:

    Since you brought up the seagull/cricket story–was it for real or not? I’ve heard that it was real, but not the single sort of event that people sometimes imagine. Instead it was just seagulls eating crickets (sometimes lots of seagulls eating lots of crickets) over a period of many years. What is the real story?

  7. Steve Evans says:

    Loyd’s onto something.

    Julie, it’s not a firestorm without your help! How about this as a general theme, as to which you can no doubt contribute: lacunae in the scriptures.

  8. Chuck McKinnon says:

    I love this scripture, for several reasons. First, it always gives me a good chuckle when I imagine being in Nephi’s shoes. God Himself is saying, in front of others, ‘Hey, didn’t I tell you to do this?’ and Nephi realizes ‘Whoops!’ =)

    This gives me great hope. Nephi had already been given the power to bind and loose on earth and in heaven. He had been pretty much guaranteed his exaltation. And yet here he is, having forgotten to include something in the scriptures destined for posterity that God has specifically commanded that Nephi include. So God doesn’t require perfection before trusting us with great responsibility — nor even before granting us salvation, thanks to the Atonement.

    This passage also taught me a lesson about how the Saviour can hold us accountable for our actions without condemning us. When I was younger, I remember reading these verses and wondering why the Saviour would ask this question of Nephi, when He obviously knew the answer already. Shouldn’t there have been a perfect, loving kind of rebuke and they could just get on with it?

    But it didn’t work like that: God asked Nephi to account for his stewardship, Nephi admitted his mistake, and God reissued the command which Nephi promptly obeyed. I learned that ‘being held accountable’ doesn’t have to mean ‘being condemned,’ where before the two had always been synonymous in my mind. God was in fact showing a great deal of respect for Nephi’s stewardship by allowing Nephi to give his own accounting instead of simply pointing out the error and calling Nephi onto the carpet for it.

    Maybe it’s supposed to be a firestorm because you could read a little closet racism into it, if you were so inclined. Was Samuel forgotten because he was a Lamanite, and so his words were undervalued by the Nephite prophets? That’s the only potential controversy I can see, and for me that’s a bit of a stretch.

  9. Steve Evans says:

    Chuck, thanks for your comment. Not to worry, I’m not really getting at closet racism (although I do think that is certainly a very plausible reading as to why Samuel’s record might have been omitted by the Nephites).

  10. I read this passage as Loyd (5) does — as the Lord’s implied indictment of the Nephites’ racism. Rather like the Lord coming to a historian of the Civil War who has made much of the writings of President Lincoln and General Lee and asking “Where’s Frederick Douglass’ sermons? That was some of my best work.”

  11. I always looked at this record as a reminder that even a prophet is human, and as humans we can make mistakes.
    This record however shows, that if/when a prophet makes an “Ooops” Heavenly Father will step in to make sure his instructions are carried out.
    HF will not let a human “ooops” interfere with his purpose, and He has His own Prophet’s back, if His prophet happens to be the guilty party of the ooops.
    So, it’s like a “peace be unto you” story, as we know our prophets are human, but we can still always follow them….HF will correct anything that needs correcting.

  12. Julie M. Smith says:

    “How about this as a general theme, as to which you can no doubt contribute: lacunae in the scriptures.”

    Oh. Now I get it. (Channeling Homer Simpson: I am not slow.)

    Well. Obviously the canonical accounts left out most (but not all) of the evidence that women exercised what we now consider priesthood authority in various times and in various ways.

    How’s that for a firestorm? I’m not in the mood to hash that one out again, but I will just note John 21:25: in other words, the lacunae is so vast that words fail in even describing it.

    [Also: I think Loyd has given us the most likely reason for the problem. I also like Chuck’s comment. And greenfrog said it best.]

  13. See, Julie? Once you want a firestorm, the rest is easy! Reading this scripture just makes me think: Nephi was lucky. How many times have scriptures (or our own histories) been compiled without Jesus there for (su)peer(ior)-review?

  14. Joshua Madson says:

    As mentioned earlier it seems to me that the reason Samuel the Lamanite was left out was because he was a Lamanite. 3 Nephi 8 tells us why the various cities were destroyed, they cast out and killed the prophets (ie Samuel the Lamanite and others) It makes one wonder how many prophets are missing from the Old and New testament.

  15. Nephi’s editorial judgment fires me up. When he inserted the bit about saints rising from the dead, he should have placed it after what is now Helaman 14:27. I think it makes for a better segue to verse 28.

  16. Last Lemming says:

    could the oh-so-righteous white Nephites have intentionally omitted the fulfillment of a prophecy made by a dark-skinned Lamanite outsider?

    Accouring to 3 Nephi 10:12, those still alive to witness the Savior were the ones who were receptive to the prophets.

    And it was the more righteous part of the people who were saved, and it was they who received the prophets and stoned them not; and it was they who had not shed the blood of the saints, who were spared—

    But maybe the writer didn’t think Samuel the Lamanite counted as one of those prophets. (We can’t pin this one on Mormon, though. He was responsible for including the account of Samuel the Lamanite in the first place.)

  17. Eric Russell says:

    At least we don’t have to worry about anything like this ever happening again. If, upon his second coming, Christ claims that we have not recorded something, someone will pull up some web page and say, “Hey, I’ve got it right here!”

  18. I wonder if it is like some events that haven’t made it to my journal. I think to myself, “Wow. I don’t need to write this one down, it was so spectacular that I won’t ever forget this”

    I wonder how many of those times there are. I don’t know–I didn’t write them where I could remember them. Then there are stories that I really do remember, and haven’t written down, like the time Pres Hinckley flirted with my wife in the temple…

  19. StillConfused says:

    Crap. I don’t journal. Rename this Your Friday Guilt Storm

  20. CS Eric–are you going for a different kind of firestorm?

  21. Steve Evans says:

    Justin, I imagine if Jesus is right there telling you to put something into the scriptures, you just cram it into them plates ASAP. He no doubt later regretted his editorial choice.

  22. Last Lemming says:

    Another twist. Jesus says:

    Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them: Was it not so?

    The disciples response was:

    Yea, Lord, Samuel did prophesy according to thy words…

    But the record in Helaman does not support that. Helaman 14:25 (presumably the account of the prophecy in question) limits itself to:

    And many graves shall be opened, and shall yield up many of their dead; and many saints shall appear unto many.

    Graves of saints being opened by the earthquake and people seeing their corpses would have fulfilled that prophecy. It says nothing about the saints being restored to life or ministering to anybody. No wonder nobody recorded it.

  23. At a ward social a few years ago I got into an argument with a certain High Priest over whether it was the fulfillment of the prophecy or the prophecy itself that had not been recorded. He cited McConkie, while I was armed with Ludlow. Let’s just say that I began to contend warmly with my adversary, even unto blows; yea, I smote him with my fists. Being stricken with many years, he was not able to withstand my blows.

  24. I’ve been taking class on the Hebrew Bible (OT), and one of the things we covered is how sometimes parts of the narrative are included later than the actual events. The main example we talked about was how in the story of Joseph and his brothers, a detail is told later on about his brothers not heeding his crying. We talked about how the redactor (or editor) specifically chose to reveal this part of the narrative later for a purpose. I would assume that Mormon/Christ did the same in this case.

  25. 23 – good job Nehor!

  26. Clark Goble says:

    I tend to favor the explanation mentioned by others. There is a lot of racism in the BoM towards Lamanites to the point that Lamanite religious experience tends to get short shift by those who should have known better. While this is one example of the problem there are many others. And of course the text portrays them as such.

    BTW – Just saw 300. Anyone get a chill when the Spartans make their cries at the end; knowing they are going to die? Reminds me totally of what Mormon and Moroni wrote about the Nephites who had such blood lust.

  27. Steve Evans says:

    Clark, 300 ruled.

  28. Clark Goble says:

    But did you see Xerxes army as the Lamanites and the Spartans as the overly violent, rather silly, too patriotic Nephites before their destruction? Secret combinations and all?

  29. Steve Evans says:

    Er, no, that part kind of eluded me. It was still a cool movie though.

  30. What would motivate Nephite scribes to note Samuel’s many other prophecies (and/or fulfillments thereof) (Helaman 14, 3 Nephi 1, 8 ) and not this particular one? Racism?

  31. Eric Russell says:

    Clark, this is a silly issue to get into again, but I’d point out that the Spartans had fought many a battle before. If getting themselves killed in the glory of battle was really what they wanted they had plenty of chances to do it before then.

  32. Justin makes a good question. if racism was the motive, why not omit all of Samuel’s prophesies?
    (I tend to disagree with the racism theory to an extent)

  33. Clark Goble says:

    You missed the point. The issue wasn’t wanting to die but rather,

    And it came to pass that when I, Mormon, saw their lamentation and their mourning and their sorrow before the Lord, my heart did begin to rejoice within me, knowing the mercies and the long-suffering of the Lord, therefore supposing that he would be merciful unto them that they would again become a righteous people. But behold this my joy was vain, for their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin. And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die. Nevertheless they would struggle with the sword for their lives.

    And now, because of this great thing which my people, the Nephites, had done, they began to boast in their own strength, and began to swear before the heavens that they would avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren who had been slain by their enemies. And they did swear by the heavens, and also by the throne of God, that they would go up to battle against their enemies, and would cut them off from the face of the land.

    (Of course this is starting to be a threadjack – my apologies)

  34. Eric Russell says:

    It all comes down to motives, which are difficult to judge. One character does express desires of revenge. On the other hand, knowing that this will happen to your own wives and children if you don’t fight is another likely motivation.

  35. Clark Goble says:

    Tom, I think some elements of Samuel had to be included. Just that what was happening with the Lamanites was judged to be less important than what was happening to the Nephites. The big question is how much of the earlier text about Samuel was added back because of Jesus. Given how little we know of the original sources it is hard to say.

    Also, even if Samuel wasn’t in the main histories it doesn’t mean there weren’t other texts or oral traditions known about him in Bountiful when Jesus came.

  36. A point of order: The Nephi to whom the resurrected Lord is speaking is not the same Nephi who wrote the words of Samuel the Lamanite. That Nephi (son of Helaman) disappeared just prior to the birth of Christ (see 1 Nephi 1:2-3).

    If Christ is indeed correcting the record of Samuel’s words (rather than the record of events following the resurrection), then Nephi, son of Nephi, is essentially being held accountable for the record kept by his father.

    By the way, I have a difficult time believing that there was any racism behind whatever scriptural omission occurred. Nephi son of Helaman did take the trouble to write down [most of] Samuel’s words. His son Nephi (and the believers of his era) apparently put enough stock in Samuel’s predictions that the unbelievers interpreted them as representative of the beliefs of Christians as a whole–and the Christians themselves were prepared to live or die by the accuracy of those predictions.

  37. AARGH! Make that 3 Nephi 1:2-3.

  38. I had never considered the racism angle. However, I do think it’s telling that Samuel is always identified as the Lamanite. I like to think he descends from the Anti-Lehi-Nephies.

  39. Brad Kramer says:

    What’s so fascinating about the BoM is its almost postmodern, acute self-consciousness of its own construction as a text and a narrative. There is a grand Nephite narrative being compiled/created by an elite, aristocratic, literate priestly caste of nephites. There is also a narrative being constructed by Mormon.

    Narratives are how we make sense of experience. Narratives have a beginning, a middle, and an end. That (among other things) is what makes them narratives. Mormon’s narrative eludes his control in precisely these points. He cannot control how the narrative opens–i.e. he cannot control the telling of the Lehite origin story (which is really the story of the Nephite/Lamanite split), ultimately, because he cannot control the future actions of Martin Harris. Nephi, instead, gets to tell the story and his story has a far more self-conscious, unapologetic piece of political propaganda justifying his usurpation of the birthright and appropriation of the symbols of political power (plates, liahona, sword, etc.). Nephi is writing to future generations of Nephites and trying to rationalize the division. He, in part, helps create the myths that will sustain nephite separateness–the myths of Lamanite degeneracy, blackness, savagery, as well as the myths of Nephite specialness/chosenness and the maxims that correlate material prosperity with righteousness and provenance. Mormon might have been able to write the story in a manner that would render its political agenda less transparent and less subject to scrutiny by latter-day readers.

    As for the ending, Mormon attempts to intercede in the narrative on two separate levels. He tries to prevent the Nephite self-destruction on the battlefield and through prophetic discourse to enable himself to write a happy ending for his narrative. His failure on to intercede in “real life” determines his failure to intercede in the record. The nephite narrative spirals out of his control.

    This firestorm is about controlling the center, the climax, the pivot point of the narrative. “god in the machine” as lit critics are fond of saying. Jesus intervenes in the narrative but He also interferes with it. He forces the canonization of the writings of Samuel. Samuel’s predictions of Jesus’ birth and his Lamanite identity are only part of the story. Samuel calls into question the very myths that underpin Nephite society and that are carried into the master narrative.

    These are myths that ring eerily true for modern American readers. Myths about our special chosenness, about our uniquely civilized culture and society, about our righteous prosperity (indeed, prosperity as an index of our righteousness), and about the inherent benevolence of our military might and our righteous wars. Samuel directly calls each of these myths into question: he virtually ridicules (and stands as a living, breathing witness against) the Nephites’ sense of righteous superiority over their dark-skinned, savage brothers; he inveighs against their obsession with property, material wealth, lands of inheritance, and general entitlement and even casts doubt on the veracity of the “keep commandments=proser” formula; he also takes them to task for their attitude toward the anti-nephi-lehis, a condescending silencing that flows from their conviction that they can use violence and warfare to further God’s purposes and demonstrate their own righteousness.

    Samuel is the only person granted prophetic status in the whole narrative (except maybe Moroni, who reopens, expands, and recloses the narrative after his father already attempted to close it) who questions these myths–and he is granted that status not by any Nephite but by Jesus (deux es machina). Samuel’s inclusion in the narrative, at the behest of the Master-Narrator, incorporates an instability into its unfolding that ultimately causes it to self-deconstruct and collapse under its own weight. He pulls back the red curtain on his Nephite counterparts, exposing the seedy underbelly of Nephite traditions that other prophet-scribes attempt to efface and the hollowness of the myths that even Mormon takes for granted and seeks to reify.

    If the BoM is truly taken as having special implication and application for modern inhabitants of the American continents–if we are willing to Nephite and Lamanite heritage not in genealogical terms but in typological, insider/outsider, civilized/savage, dominant/dominated, colonial/subaltern, first world/third world terms, then Samuel the prophet restores a kind of prophetness to the totality of the BoM narrative by deconstructing the very structures that we share with our own dead, destroyed, typological “principal ancestors.” We ignore the writings of this very special prophet at our own peril.

  40. Brad, very interesting remarks — I agree that more than any other scriptural text the BOM is self-aware, self-deprecating and real, whether in its title page (imploring us not to discount the book due to errors) or when Jesus comes in and alters the history himself. I think that Jesus’ request re: the insertion of Samuel’s words doesn’t really hit the myths you refer to but it is still very interesting.

  41. The Book of Mormon was post-modern before there was anything modern to be post about!

    If you get that reference, you bet 10 points. :)

  42. That would be, you GET ten points. Yikes.

  43. Jacob — Tristam Shandy?

  44. Do let us not forget the seperate genrations of “nephites” within the BOM. What was held to be true by earlier more righteous versions of the nephites would obviously not apply to the degenerate nephites in the latter parts of the BOM to whom Samuel the Lamanite (the now righteous Lamanites, whereas previous lamanite generations had been degenerate.)
    Samuel was preaching against the current state of the current Nephites, not against all Nephites past and present.

  45. krizarro (#20),

    Not a firestorm. Just a funny story.

  46. 10 points for Steve Evans!

    That was one of my favorite lines from that movie.

  47. Clark Goble says:

    If Christ is indeed correcting the record of Samuel’s words (rather than the record of events following the resurrection), then Nephi, son of Nephi, is essentially being held accountable for the record kept by his father.

    Or it’s just the common trope of holding a nation accountable rather than just individuals. That’s how I’ve always taken it.

    While it’s dangerous (IMO) to focus on too close a focus on word choice in the Book of Mormon, the “ye” rather than “thee” form is interesting in this regard.

    As I said though the big issue is over what texts we’re talking about. Remember we’re reading Mormon’s compilation rather than necessarily a single text. So it comes off like it’s talking about our book when in context that can’t really be the case in a straightforward way.

  48. It’s up there with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

  49. Brad Kramer says:

    Agreed that Samuel alone does not alone constitute a compelling challenge to the myths I mention. But he is a pivotal ingredient. His writings (there content and their very presence) taken together with the transparent propaganda of Nephi’s treatment of the Nephite-Lamanite schism and mythologizing of the differences that drove the division, and the spectacular self-destruction of the once-mighty nephite civilization, constitute real reasons for doubting Nephite descriptions of Nephite righteous prosperity, righteous warfare, white-delightsomeness, etc.

    If Mormon had succeeded in controlling the narrative from start to finish, these things would be much more difficult to see. But there were reasons, beyond predicting the birth of Messiah in the old world, why Nephites hated his preaching so much they tried to kill him. Remember, they wanted him to uphold their sense of greatness, to praise them for their righteousness the way nephite prophets had–not that nephite prophets ignored nephite excesses, but that they treated them as simply that: excesses, rather than calling into question the very assumptions they belied. By deliberately and forcefully insisting on the inclusion of a text so subversive to Nephite greatness, Jesus called special attention on our part as readers to Samuel’s words. I know for fact that my own reading of the book as a whole, presented in simplified, synopsis form above, began when I thought hard about Samuel’s writings and the question of why it was so important to Jesus that wanted us to read them (presuming that it wasn’t just a narcissistic privileging on His part of predictions of His own birth).

  50. Brad, I think you’re right on about the reasons why Nephites wanted to kill Samuel — the text itself is rather terse on their rationales, chalking it all up to unrighteousness, but there are clear cultural and mythological challenges that Samuel laid out on the walls of the city.

  51. There is an interesting article on the evidence that part of Helaman 14 was inserted later:

    Perhaps instead of a racial reason for not including it, the omission was done because it seemed like the most far fetched part of Samuel’s prophecies.

    The enmity between between the Lamanites and Nephites was more cultural then it was based on skin color. By that time Nephites could pass as Lamanites like they did during Captain Moroni’s wars. So I picture the tension between the two groups resembling that of the relations between the RLDS church and the LDS church, than between separate races.

  52. Brad Kramer says:

    there are clear cultural and mythological challenges that Samuel laid out on the walls of the city.

    well put, Steve

  53. Brad Kramer says:

    I picture the tension between the two groups resembling that of the relations between the RLDS church and the LDS church, than between separate races.

    Or it was quasi-racial/ethnic. I think of it as akin maybe more to Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda. The whole distinction is artificial, imposed by colonial rule to distinguish locally elite collaborators from the more firmly subjugated majority. But what was imposed artificially assumed a uniquely real aura as they refused to intermarry and imbibed the “difference”. Ironically, the tool devised to privilege the status of the Tutsi minority in the world of colonial domination was eventually wielded violently by the Hutu majority against their former dominators (collaborators with French colonial rule).

    If Nephi really created the dark-light/delightsome/loathsome distinction out of whole cloth (which I highly suspect he did) then the fate of the Nephites is similarly ironic, in the most devastating, tragic way.

  54. Just two cents from a passerby,

    I’ve often wondered just when Nephi had the time to record anything at all considering that the first three days were filled with darkness to thick to write anything, and the following three days were spent in the company of the Savior. Imagine how afraid and exhausted they were only to be overwhelmed with light and knowledge that they were feverishly trying to record. But there are some hidden treasures of knowledge tucked away in this chapter for those that have “eyes to see and ears to hear”.

    Today, numerous historical records have been discovered that record the earthquakes, floods, fires and other catastrophic events that took place worldwide at the death of the Savior, not just in Jerusalem and among the Nephite people. Christ does not indicate that the Nephite does not contain a record of what transpired in Jerusalem, just that it does not include that the bodies of the saints did indeed rise from the dead and were seen in the streets of Jerusalem. Now, if you consider that many of the authors in the BOM indicated that engraving upon the plates was difficult to do, and that all of them had been commanded not to write anything upon them that was not “of worth to the children of men”, we have to wonder why 3 Nephi 23 is written the way it is.

    Nephi says that the account in 3 Nephi 23 is “written according to the Lord’s command” and I personally don’t believe the Lord would command Nephi to waste effort and precious space just to make a point out his record keeping, nor do I think Moroni would have felt that a self-effacing confession from Nephi about his incompetence was “of worth” enough to be included in his final abridgement either. But if we look deeper with spiritual influence, there are some precious truths revealed by the account as it was written:
    • Christ takes a very personal role in the words of the gospel and was aware of what had not been included in the plates before he even saw them.
    • Christ doesn’t ask “him” why it has not been written, but rather asks “them” why. The Lord had already called and commissioned 12 Nephite “disciples” to write down his words and bear record of Him and his teachings. It is logical to assume that the Lord is making it clear that the 12 are now just as accountable as Nephi for making sure the things recorded on the plates and included as part of the Lord’s gospel are in agreement.
    • Christ insistence about the way the chapter is written leaves no room to doubt that whomever told this isolated people about what happened in Jerusalem, not only gave them an eyewitness account, but did so within a mere day or two of the events happening
    • That they must listen to him and write the words that he tells them to because sometime in the future his Father plans to give their record to the gentiles as part of the fullness of his gospel.

  55. #53

    I can accept the modification or counterpoints you made to my observation.

    I think Nephi used dark/fair rhetoric as more of a metaphor to help show that the Lamanites and their associates were cursed because of their apostasy. Any correlation to physical skin color seems to be based on limited observation that turned into stereotyping. The Nephites more often encountered the hunter, outdoorsy, suntanned Lamainites and were unaware of the great Lamanite civilization further south until the time of Mosiah’s sons.

    Hugn Nibley has shown that a method that was used to discourage intermarriage between those of separate religions, was to paint the other in terms of darkness or blackness. I think your example adds to this type, but also extends it to occurring between separate castes as well.

  56. Coming late to this discussion, but I will admit that at first I did not see the firestorm. I’ve been intrigued by the direction this has taken. Brad, fascinating insights.

    I found this note in Helaman 16:8, about Samuel after he escaped off the walls of the city by those who did not believe in his words: “And behold, he was never heard of more among the Nephites; and thus were the affairs of the people.”

    This implies that most of the people promptly forgot about him, perhaps because he so challenged their paradigm of the chosen/righteous status of their lives. Interesting to wonder if Nephi, the son of Helaman, was too busy to come to the city walls to see this prophet who appears to have been outside the orthodox Nephite hierarchy (see Hel 16:1-5), or if he otherwise knew that Samuel would reach people that Nephi could not through his own ministry.

    It’s easy to forget that the people who wrote these accounts were pretty much just like our own leaders, or ourselves, who from time to time, despite best intentions, always seen the whole picture clearly.

  57. Aarrgh! The last paragraph in 56 should read:

    It’s easy to forget that the people who wrote these accounts were pretty much just like our own leaders, or ourselves, who from time to time, despite our best intentions, don’t always see the whole picture clearly.”

    Forgive my foggy brain, I am still somewhat under the influences of drugs, owing to an earlier appointment with a doctor. Working at home as I can’t drive until after dinner.

  58. kevinf, people always doubt whether there’s anything to discuss in these firestorms. Fools!

  59. A brief comment from the antebellum crowd:

    Note that what was missed were charismata (gifts of the spirit), in fact an intriguing combination of two of them (raising the dead and prophecy), and Jesus made sure that these charismata were not left out of the Mormon record.

    The loss of charismata from post-testamental Christianity was a central motif for early Mormons. This may have been a complex reminder of the centrality of charismata to the scriptural witness.

    PS, fireman Evans, thanks for reminding me of this scripture. And, Justin, didst thou smite off his arm in the very manner of a certain righteous shephard?

  60. 59 – “fireman Evans”

    Wow! We are closer to Farenheit 411 than I thought!

  61. #53 – The Rwanda example is exactly how I view the clash between Nephites and Lamanites – an artificial segregation created by someone to distinguish otherwise similar peoples for politico-religious reasons. I think the message of the BofM is *much* more complicated than most members realize, specifically because we tend to accept Nephi’s view of the division among his family and limit its scope to just that family (and those it mentions explicitly). We tend to ignore the implications of unrighteous dominion and stereotyping and discrimination and bigotry and other natural weaknesses that could provide wonderful insight into our own existence and the world around us. (e.g., I truly empathize with Laman and Lemuel when I stop and consider what 1 Nephi implies about the sudden and dramatic change in their father and what it caused in their lives.)

    #57 – Amen, kevinf. I think we regularly miss portions of the big picture that would change our paradigm radically if we saw and understood them.

    My main take away from this is that I need to make sure I record stuff that hits me really hard – those things that I feel the Lord has told me directly, in one way or another. I didn’t keep a journal for years, and I still don’t do as well as I would like (given how tired I am when I get home), but I have done much better since I started blogging.

    Maybe that’s the Lord’s message: Everyone should blog regularly.

  62. Tom_Guero_es says:

    This record however shows, that if/when a prophet makes an “Ooops” Heavenly Father will step in to make sure his instructions are carried out.
    HF will not let a human “ooops” interfere with his purpose, and He has His own Prophet’s back, if His prophet happens to be the guilty party of the ooops.
    So, it’s like a “peace be unto you” story, as we know our prophets are human, but we can still always follow them….HF will correct anything that needs correcting.

    Well, Tom, I suppose you consider that view as having some supporting evidence, if you treat any future change as counting for that divine correction. Otherwise, your statement counters the actual historical (and scriptural) record. (With the denial of temple blessings to persons of black ancestry as one obvious example).

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