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Absurdity in Mosiah

  1. And it came to pass

  2. Exceedingly

  3. Dwindling in unbelief

  4. King Benjamin taught his sons Reformed Egyptian so they could read the brass plates. Good thing, too -- otherwise they'd suffer ignorance and dwindle in unbelief. 1:1-5

  5. Lehi, a 7th century Israelite, was taught in the language of the Egyptians. 1:4

  6. "And many more things did king Benjamin teach his sons, which are not written in this book."
    Thanks goodness for that! 1:8

  7. Before he died, King Benjamin selected his son Mosiah to replace him as king and gave him all his special things: the plates of Nephi, the sword of Laban (that Nephi used to decapitate Laban), and the magic ball of curious workmanship that was made by God himself. 1:15-16

  8. The Nephites multiplied exceedingly. There were so many, in fact, that they couldn't be numbered and a tower had to be erected so that everyone could hear King Benjamin's exceedingly boring speech. 2:2, 7

  9. "I say unto you that I have caused that ye should assemble yourselves together that I might rid my garments of your blood." King Benjamin assembled everyone in his kingdom to rid his garments of their blood. Good idea. 2:28

  10. Mosiah tells us one more time about Jesus, who will be born in another 120 years or so. This is the umpteenth time Jesus is prophesied in great detail in the Book of Mormon. It's almost as though the whole thing was written using language that mimicked the King James Version of the Bible by someone living in nineteenth century America. 3:1-27

  11. "The things which I shall tell you are made known unto me by an angel from God. And he said unto me: Awake; and I awoke, and behold he stood before me." 3:2

  12. Devils dwell in the hearts of the children of men. But Jesus will cast them out when he comes. 3:6

  13. When Jesus dies, 150 or so years later, blood will come from every pore. 3:7

  14. Jesus, who wouldn't be born for another 120 years or so, will be both the Son of God and the Father of heaven and earth. 3:8

  15. When King Benjamin quit speaking, everyone in Zarahemla fell on their faces and "they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men." 4:1-2

  16. After King Benjamin's speech, he sent his officials out to ask the people if they believed the stuff he told them. He didn't need Nate Silver to do the analysis. Everyone believed everything he said and cried out together, "Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken to us...." 5:1-5

  17. And, by golly, those were just the words King Benjamin hoped they'd say! "These are the words which king Benjamin desired of them." 5:6

  18. After King Benjamin finally finished speaking (God, I hope he's really done this time), he decided to make a list of all the born-again Christians. It turned out that everyone had been saved, except for maybe the little children -- 120 years before Jesus was born! 6:1-2

  19. Benjamin made his son Mosiah king and appointed priests to instruct the people. Mosiah walked in the ways of the Lord and everything was peachy in Zarahemla, just like it was when his dad was king. 6:3-7

  20. The first three years of King Mosiah's reign were peaceful. But he was getting a little bored, and was wondering about his brethren who had left Zarahemla years ago. So he sent 16 of his finest men to the land of Lehi-Nephi to go looking for them. Ammon (a strong and mighty man) was their leader. 7:1-3

  21. After 40 days of wandering around, they set up camp on a hill north of Shilom, in the land of Nephi. 7:4-5

  22. The next morning, Ammon and three of his best men went down into the land of Nephi to explore. They promptly got thrown in jail by the king's guard. 7:6-7

  23. After two days in jail, the king brought them out for questioning. He told them that he was Limhi (the son of Noah, who was the son of Zeniff, who came up out of the land of Zarahemla) and then asked them to explain why they were there, or else be put to death. Seems fair. 7:8-11

  24. Ammon bows and thanks King Limhi for not already killing him, and for letting him explain himself. There is so much to be thankful for! 7:12

  25. After Ammon tells his story, Lemhi is pleased. His people are being forced to pay a high tribute to the Lamenites, and he figures that his long-lost brethren in Zarahemla will help him out of the mess. 7:13-15

  26. So King Lemhi set Ammon and his men free, and allowed them to eat, drink and rest in the city. He even sent a few guards to collect the rest of the men who were still camping on the hill. 7:16

  27. Then King Lemhi sent a proclamation to all his people, telling them to gather together for a speech (oh boy!). Once everyone gathers around, he gives them the good news: "The time is at hand, or is not far distant, when we shall no longer be in subjection to our enemies." 7:17-18

  28. Lehi then preaches for a little while about how the tribute was their fault in the first place; that it was a punishment sent from the Lord because of their iniquity. Luckily, God is now giving them a second chance. 7:19-33

  29. After King Limhi is done with his speech, he makes Ammon tell everyone what his people have been up to since the time that Zeniff left the land of Zarahemla. Ammon agrees, and throws in King Benjamin's speech as a bonus. 8:1-3

  30. Then King Limhi dismisses his people and the "multitude" go home. Lemhi brings out the plates of his people and makes Ammon read them. After Ammon finishes reading the plates, Limhi asks him if he can interpret languages. Ammon says he can't. 8:4-6

  31. King Limhi explains how he sent a search party to find Zarahemla, but they couldn't find it. They got lost in the wilderness for many days and came upon a land of many waters, which was covered with the bones of men and beasts. Among the ruins they found 24 golden engraved plates, breastplates of brass and copper, and rusty swords. 8:7-10

  32. King Limhi was happy to have found a seer. Both Ammon and Limhi agreed that seers are far superior to prophets. You see, a seer is both a revelator and a prophet. (Of course, Joseph Smith was all three). Seers are handy to have around, because they reveal stuff, tell secrets, light up hidden things, make things known, and make other things known that couldn't have been known otherwise. It's a hard job. 8:15-17

  33. Zeniff and his men were sent from Zarahemla to find out the strengths and weaknesses of the Lamanite army. Once Zeniff saw the Lamanites, however, he saw "that which was good among them" and he didn't want them to be destroyed. Zeniff asked his group's leader to make a treaty with them, but this didn't go so well. The leader commanded that Zeniff be killed for even suggesting such a thing. Some sided with Zeniff, and this led to infighting where "father fought against father, and brother fought against brother." Most of the group died in the fighting. The rest of the group returned with Zeniff to Zarahemla to tell the cool story to their wives and children. 9:1-2

  34. Then they decide to go back. They wander in the wilderness, and it is a pretty tough journey, since they were "slow to remember God." God punishes Zeniff's people with famine and sore afflictions, but they make it there eventually. 9:3-4

  35. Once they set up camp, Zeniff picks four of his men and goes down to meet the Lamanite king. It goes surprisingly well. The Lamanite king commands his people to clear the land immediately, and he gives the land to Zeniff and his people. They start repairing walls and growing crops and stuff. 9:5-9

  36. King Laman had a cunning and crafty plan, though. He only gave them the land so that he could put them in bondage later. Twelve years later, King Laman enacts his plan. Zeniff's people are attacked by a host of Lamanites. The people rush to Zeniff for protection. 9:10-15

  37. Unfortunately for the Lamanites, Zeniff is prepared. He arms his people with all kinds of weapons (they even invent some) and they cried out mightily to the Lord for help in battle. The Lord hears them, and they defeat the Lamanites, 3,043 to 279. 9:16-19

  38. After the bloodshed in the last chapter, Zeniff tells his people to make every kind of weapon, and he posts guards around the land. It seemed to work pretty well, too. They had 22 years of continual peace, which is pretty good for the Book of Mormon. 10:1-3

  39. But when King Laman died, his son began to reign, and he lost no time getting ready for battle. 10:6

  40. Then Zeniff saw a host of Lamanites on a hill overlooking his land (Lamanites are easy to identify, since they shave their heads and walk around in leather underwear). Zeniff hid all of the women and children in the woods and armed the men and boys for battle. 10:8-9

  41. Before the battle, Zeniff rouses his troops with a speech about the Lamanites (Native Americans), explaing why they (the descendants of Laman) are a wild, ferrocious, and blood-thirsty people -- God made them that way to punish Laman for not obeying his brother Nephi. The Lamanites were wroth with the the Nephites from the beginning and teach their children to hate the Nephites with an "eternal hatred." So it's best to kill them when you get the chance. It makes you wonder why Zeniff wanted to defend them so badly in the last chapter. 10:12-17

  42. Zeniff's reign was at an end, and he conferred the kingdom upon his son, Noah. Noah was a wicked king. Unlike his father, he taxed the people, and spent the tax revenue on concubines, priests, and a newly-constructed palace filled with precious things. 11:1-9

  43. "And a fifth part of their ziff"
    Oh no! Noah made the people give up a fifth of the ziff! Now that would be hard to live with. 11:3

  44. "King Noah built many elegant and spacious buildings" ornamented with gold, silver, iron, brass, copper, and ziff.
    Why is there no evidence for these fancy buildings? There were many of them, decorated with gold and silver. Where are they now? And the metallurgy technology for iron and brass didn't exist prior to European contact. But there was plenty of ziff around at the time so that wouldn't have been a problem. 11:8

  45. King Noah also built a very high tower, so he could see everything in his kingdom. 11:12

  46. King Noah was so evil that he even became a wine-bibber. 11:15

  47. Then the Lamanites started attacking Noah's people. He wasn't very good at protecting them, though. (He was too busy wine-bibbing with his concubines in his exceedingly high tower.) He sends out guards, but it is too little, too late. 11:16-17

  48. They have a battle, and Noah's people win. They then start boasting, and delighting in the blood of their victory. Everyone joined in, except a man named Abinadi. Abinadi began to prophesy unto them, telling them how wicked they all were, and how they should repent (or else). 11:19-20

  49. After Abinadi was done with his prophesying, the people were angry with him. They tried to kill him, but God didn't let them. When King Noah found out about it, he ordered that Abinadi be brought to him so he could kill him. 11:26-29

  50. Abinadi somehow managed to remain hidden from King Noah's guards for 2 years. Then he came back in disguise to prophesy again to the people. He blew his cover awfully quick, though. He quoted the Lord, and unfortunately the Lord used his name directly. 12:1

  51. Abinadi says that the Lord says that "this generation" will be killed and their dead bodies fed to the vultures, dogs, and wild beasts. God will strap loads on their backs like they were a bunch of dumb asses, make them howl all day long, send hail to smite them and insects to pester them, and then he'll kill them all with disease and starvation. When God gets done with them there will be nothing left but the "record they shall leave behind them" (written on brass or golden plates, no doubt). 12:2-8

  52. They brought Abinabi to King Noah and told him what Abinabi said that the Lord said about him: that he was like a burning garment, a dry stalk that is trampled on by beasts, and (worst of all) like the blossoms of the thistle. 12:9-12

  53. When King Noah heard about Abinadi's prophesying, he threw Abinadi in prison and called his priests to a meeting to decide what to do with him. 12:17

  54. Book of Mormon characters love to quote Isaiah using the King James Version of the Bible. So it's not surprising that King Noah's priests test Abinabi by quoting Isaiah 52:7-10 and asking him to explain the passage to them. (Nobody knows what the hell Isaiah means!) 12:20-24

  55. Abinabi refused to interpret the Isaiah passage, saying if they're so great they ought to know what it means. 12:25
  56. Noah's priests try to defend themselves, but Abinadi is too clever for them. He calls them names, claims he is right and perfect, and quotes from the Bible. 12:28-37

  57. Noah is getting sick of Abinadi's preaching. He orders his men to capture Abinadi and kill him, but they can't. Apparently God will smite them if they lay a hand on him. 13:1-3

  58. So they are stuck listening to him, and so are we. He lists the 10 commandments and rambles on about all of the usual stuff: stiffnecked people, salvation, the coming of the Lord. etc. As he spoke the Spirit of the Lord was upon him and his face shown with exceeding luster, just like Moses's face did when he talked with God on Mount Sinai. 13:4-24

  59. The most notable part of his speech is when he talks about the law of Moses. He says that they should keep with the law of Moses for now, but there will come a time when they will need to abandon it. Also, salvation doesn't come simply from following the Law of Moses. There's more to it than that. 13:27-38

  60. "Yea, even doth not Isaiah say:"
    Joseph Smith adds another chapter from Isaiah (53) as filler. 14:1

  61. Abinadi continues his speech. He's done quoting Isaiah, and now he's getting to the important bit about Jesus and God the Father, who are the same guy as it turns out. 15:1-31

  62. Jesus is both the Father and the Son! 15:2-3

  63. The seed of Jesus 5:10-13

  64. Beautiful feet. 15:15-18

  65. Chapter 16 wraps up Abinadi's speech, and thankfully, it's the last we'll have to hear from him. He continues with the usual threats and rewards based on the belief in Jesus (using language from the KJV) - 150 or so years before Jesus was born. 16:1-15

  66. King Noah doesn't listen. Instead, it came to pass that he commanded his priests to kill Abinadi. 17:1
  67. But Abinadi's words were not spoken in vain. There was at least one who heard him. He was a descendant of Nephi, and his name was Alma. 17:2
  68. But King Noah's mind was made up. He was going to kill Abinadi, and now he was going to kill Alma, too. 17:3
  69. Alma got away from Noah's priests, and he hid in the woods for a few days. Noah threw Abinadi in prison, and then brought him out to hear his sentence: Death. Abinadi held to his words, and threatens Noah one more time. 17:4-10
  70. This almost scares King Noah enough to release Abinadi. But then his priests goad him on, and he is forced to burn Abinadi to death. That's how it goes sometimes. 17:11-13
  71. While he was burning, he cursed them, saying they will be burned, afflicted with disease, hunted by their enemies. 17:16-19
  72. So Abinadi died, "sealing the truth of his words by his death." 17:20
  73. We met Alma last chapter, when he tried to convince King Noah not to kill Abinadi. It didn't go so well... it ended with King Noah burning Abinadi at the stake, and ordering the death of Alma, too. Alma managed to escape, and after he did he started preaching to the people in private." 18:1-30
  74. Apparently he was a pretty good speaker, and he created quite the following. He took his followers to a land called Mormon. It's called "Mormon" because it's infested with wild beasts. Makes sense. 18:4
  75. Alma takes his followers to the Waters of Mormon and baptizes them all. Then he ordains priests, one for every 50 followers. 18:14-16
  76. And he also commanded them that the priests whom he had ordained should labor with their own hands for their support. 18:24
  77. Alma seemed to favor progressive taxation and a welfare system. He demanded little of those with little, and more from those with more to give, "and to him that had not should be given." 18:27
  78. "All this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon."
    Everything seemed to be going well in the land of Mormon. They didn't even mind the word "Mormon" back then. They actually seem to use it an amazing amount. (Of course, nowadays you are supposed to call Mormons "Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." You could turn this verse into a whole page if you did that!) 18:30

  79. Everything was good until King Noah sends out spies and found out about them. Of course, Noah sent his army out to destroy them, and they fled into the wilderness, as usual. 18:32-34
  80. Earlier we learned that there were 200 followers of Alma, but 450 people flee from King Noah's army. I guess they must ahve made lots of Mormon babies since then. 18:35
  81. In the last chapter, King Noah sent his army after Alma and his people. They managed to escape the pursuing army. When the king's army returned, there was a division among the people. One strong man, Gideon, sought to slay the king. 19:1-4
  82. Gideon and the king fought, and just as Gideon was about to slay him, King Noah ran away to his tower. Noah saw that the Lamanites were preparing to attack the city. He told Gideon that he shouldn't kill him now, or else his people will be killed by the Lamanites. His ploy works, and Gideon spares his life. 19:5-8
  83. Noah commanded his people to flee into the wilderness. They do, but the Lamanites quickly catch up and start killing people. 19:9-10
  84. Then Noah tells his people to abandon their wives and children, and to run for their lives. Some of them do, and the others choose to stay and try and defend their families by other means: whoring out their daughters. 19:11-14
  85. So the Lamanites took them captive, and let them live their lives relatively unchanged, except for a 50% tax. 19:15
  86. The Nephites who fled into the wilderness were angry at King Noah for not letting them return to the land of Nephi. So they burned Noah to death and made his righteous son, Limhi, king. Then they returned to the land of Nephi. 19:16
  87. Limhi, the new "King", agreed to the Lamanite king's demands. 19:25-26
  88. The Lamanite king was clever, though. He knew that Limhi's people might try running away again, so he posted guards around the city. In spite of the crippling tax that was upon them, there was continual peace in the land for two years. 19:28-29
  89. The daughters of the Lamanites liked to gather and sing and dance in this secret place near Shemlon. One day, when there were only a few of them, the evil priests of King Noah kidnapped them and carried 24 of them into the wilderness. 20:1-5
  90. The Lamanites suspected that the people of Limhi stole their daughters, so their king sent an army that fought like lions. 20:10
  91. But the people of Limhi fought like dragons. They were outnumbered 2-to-1, but everyone knows that a good dragon is worth at least 3-4 lions. 20:11
  92. In the battle, the Lamanite king was badly wounded. Limhi's soldiers took him captive, and brought him before King Limhi. 20:13
  93. Limhi doesn't kill him, and instead has a chat with him.

    Limhi: Why are we fighting, anyways?
    Lamanite King: You stole our daughters!
    Limhi: Oh! Sorry about that. I'll find and kill whoever took them.
    Lamanite King: Sounds good. Sorry about the war and everything.
    Limhi: No problem. It had been a little while since our last war anyways. 20:14-16

  94. But before the search began, Gideon talked him out of it. He reminded Limhi of Noah's creepy priests, and he explained how they probably stole the Lamanite's daughters. 20:17-18
  95. So Limhi explained Gideon's theory to the Lamanite King and they agreed to stop fighting. 20:23-24
  96. Poor Limhi couldn't catch a break. After the incident with the stolen Lamanite daughters, he made an agreement with the Lamanite king. Apparently he wasn't specific enough, because soon after the Lamanites were surrounding them on all sides, putting heavy burdens on their backs and treating them like dumb-asses. 21:2-3

  97. Of course, the Nephites didn't like this at all. They asked Limhi if they could go to war with the Lamanites. Like any good leader, he said, "Okay, sure, yeah, whatever you want to do." 21:6

  98. It didn't go well. 21:8

  99. The battle left many widows, who cried mightily from day to day. Their cries eventually stirred up the Nephites, and made them want to fight again. 21:10-11a

  100. They lost, again. 21:11b

  101. The surviving Nephites submitted themselves fully to the Lamanites, and cried to God for help. He was slow to hear their cries, but he heard them. He decided to soften the hearts of the Lamanites a bit, but he didn't see fit to deliver them out of bondage. 21:14-15

  102. So the Nephites pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, and started prospering again. 21:16

  103. King Limhi set guards around the city to catch the wicked priests. (Lately the priests had been stealing their grain, and Limhi was still angry about the virgin daughter incident.) The guards mistook Ammon and his brethren for the priests, and they bound the group and took them to King Limhi. 21:20-23

  104. Ammon told Limhi who he was, and about Mosiah, and how he could read plates. Limhi was especially excited about this. He had previously sent a search party to Zarahemla, but they got lost in a ghost-town and they returned with a set of ore plates that Limhi had been wanting to read for years. 21:24-28

  105. He even wanted to be baptized by Ammon, but Ammon refused. 21:33

  106. So instead of baptism, they focused on how to free themselves from the Lamanites. 21:36

  107. Ammon and Lemhi decide to call a meeting of all the people. There was only one order of business: how to deliver themselves out of bondage. 22:1

  108. After a lengthy discussion, they decided that the only option was to run away. 22:2

  109. But they still needed a plan. Luckily, a man named Gideon had a great idea: get the Lamanites drunk and escape through the back door. 22:3-8

  110. So that's what they did. King Limhi followed Gideon's plan, and everything went off without a hitch. And after many days of wandering in the wilderness, they arrived at the land of Zarahemla and joined Mosiah's people. 22:9-14

  111. When the Lamanites woke up from their hangover, they sent out an army after the Nephites. After two days of pursuit, the army gets lost in the wilderness. 22:15-16

  112. The evil Amulon put guards on Alma and his people, ordering them to kill whoever prays outloud. 24:11

  113. Mosiah translated the Jaredite plates by looking at stones in the bottom of a hat -- just like Joseph Smith did with the Book of Mormon! 28:13

  114. A seer is someone who can translate things by looking at stones in the bottom of a hat. 28:16

  115. The Jaredite sailed to the New World after God confounded human language at the Tower of Babel. 28:17