“ALMA….DID JUDGE RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENTS”
Mosiah 29:1-36 Mosiah2 writes against Kingship
29:5-33 What would be the purpose of Mormon inserting a primary document at this point? Is it because of this line? “And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you…” (vs. 27)
Compare 29:15 “Law which has been given to us by our fathers.” with 29:22 “He teareth up the laws of those who have reigned in righteousness before him.”
Compare 29:9 “..which would also cause him …to commit much sin.” with 29:30 “..they shall be answered upon their own heads.” 29:31 “..answered upon the heads of their kings.” It sounds as if Mosiah2 is concerned about keeping his blood-line righteouss. He does refer back to the blood line of Zeniff in 29:18 for a comparison.
29:32 The word “land” appears to be in the context of something larger than just King Mosiah2‘s Kingdom. Is he comparing his kingdom to the other kingdoms in the vicinity?
Mosiah 29:37-47 Transition to Government by Judges; Alma2 Is the 1st Chief Judge
29:42 Even though the judges were selected by the people, here we are getting a benevolent theocracy.
29:45-46 “Does it make a difference in their relationship that Alma is probably at least ten years older than the sons of Mosiah? This can be surmised from the fact that Alma’s father was born about 173 BC and Mosiah was born around 154BC. Alma Seems to have been the oldest son, or perhaps the only son. “ (Grant Hardy, Understanding the Book of Mormon, pg 309 note 29)
29:47 Did Mosiah2 have priesthood, but no organization existed until Alma1 comes onto the scene? Does that mean that priesthood can exist without the institution of church? That is the argument that many Mormon polygamists make – that they have priesthood, but the church is in apostasy.
THE BOOK OF ALMA, THE SON OF ALMA
Mormon’s Abridgment of the Record of Alma2 : Alma 1:1-44:24
Nehor, an Anti-Christ: Alma1:1-15
1:1 What does Mormon mean that the laws were “acknowledged by the people”?
1:12,13 Why does Alma2 list priestcraft as the primary sin, followed murder?
1:15 Why was Nehor put to death? Murder or priestcraft?
Troubles for the Church: Alma: 1:16-24
1:16, 17 If Nehor was executed for priestcraft, why were they not concerned about being condemned for priestcraft? Instead, they are concerned with lying and stealing. This lends to the idea that Nehor was executed for murder – even though Mormon and Alma2 emphasize his priestcraft.
The phrase “false doctrines” appears only here in Alma and in 2 Nephi.
Peace Restored: Alma 1:25-33
Compare 1:27 with 1:29, 30 Costly apparel is equated with unrighteousness while wealth as represented in grain, gold, etc. is equated with righteousness.
THE AMLICITE REBELLION: ALMA 2:1-3:39
Amlici’s Unsuccessful Attempt to Be Elected King: Alma: 2:1-7
The Book of Alma divides fairly neatly into seven sections: Amlicite Rebellion (Alma 2:1-3:19), the Nephite Reformaion (4:6-16:21), the Missionary Journeys of the Sons of Mosiah (17:5-27:15), the Mission to the Zoramites (31:1-35:14), Alma’s Tesitomony to his Sons (35:15-42:31), The Zoramite War (43:1-44:24), and the Amalickiahite Wars (46:1-62:41). These lengthy, coherent, fairly discrete narrative blocks represent a rather advanced style of storytelling, one that is cognizant of readers’ needs for interconnections, explanations, and followabiltiy, and in addition incorporates several sources.
2:4 “…for it was his intent to destroy the church of God.” How does Mormon know the intentions of Amlici? Was there something in the original Large Plates that would lead him to think that?
Amlici and His Followers Battle the Nephites: Alma 2:8 -19
2:11 “..the remainder were called Nephits, or the people of God.” Here “Nephite” is not used in a racial sense, but more in a religious sense. This might explain Mormon’s comment regarding the intention of Amlici in vs. 4. What about those in vs. 3 that were not of the church? Were they considered Nephites as well?
2:12 “..swords, and with cimeters..” What is the difference between the two?
When the Spanish conquistadors faced Mesoamerican armies in the early sixteenth century, without hesitation they called the most fearsome
type of native weapon espada, “sword.” The Aztec name was macuahuitl (pronounced “mah-kwah-weetl”) or macana. When the indomitable Bernal DÃaz, one of Cortez’s companions in his conquest of central Mexico, saw the macuahuitl at work in the hands of the enemy, he reported that “their swords, which were as long as broadswords, were made of flint which cut worse [i.e., more sharply] than a knife, and the blades were so set that one could neither break them nor pull them out.” (Bernal DÃaz del Castillo, The Conquest of New Spain, tr. J. M. Cohen (New York: Penguin Books, 1963), 142—43)
A macuahuitl consisted of a long, flat piece of hardwood with grooves along the side into which were set and glued sharp fragments of flint or obsidian (volcanic glass). Several inches of the wood piece were usually left as a handgrip at the bottom, the rest of the instrument having a continuous sharp serrated edge; others had spaces between the blades that resulted in a serrated edge. While most of these weapons were blunt at the top, some were tipped with a sharp stone. (http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=8&num=1&id=182#Anchor-2.%20Be-57077)
2:19 “twelve thousand five hundred thirty and two souls; ..six thousand five hundred sixty and two souls.” Could this be a bit of hyperbole?
The Nephites Defeat the Amlicites: Alma 2:20 -3:19
2:20 Was it called the Valley of Gideon during Alma2‘s reign or was it called that later?
2:30,31 Almas request was apparently granted in Alma 35:14.
2:34 “River Sidon” is the only river mentioned in the Book of Mormon.
3:13-16 So the red mark upon the head of the Amlicites is to be equated with the dark skin of the Lamanites? It seems that Mormon is stretching things a bit here.
The prophecy in 2 Nephi 5:22,23 being fulfilled in Alma 3:13-18 provides connections between larger episodes and between books.
3:8, 11 Belief in the correct traditions of the Nephites seems to have been the most important criteria in deciding who was or was not a Nephite (apparently this acceptance of tradition was of more significance than actual lineage), but only Zeniff goes to the trouble of specifying exactly what the traditions of the Lamanites” were (Mosiah 10:11-18).
3:19 Editorial interuption by Mormon that Dr. Grant Hardy calls an “explanatory detail”.
4:10 “The wickedness of the church….church began to fail in its progress.” As members of the LDS faith, this warning should be something that we take to heart and use to examine ourselves.
4;13 “..imparting their substance to the poor.. retaining a remission of sins.” Mosiah 4:12, 26 “..impart of your substance to the poor.. retaining a remission of sins.” It seems that Mormon wants to give his readers an opportunity to experience the full power of King Benjamin’s words, so that they too might have an opportunity to covenant to accept Christ. We see here what appears to be a deliberate verbal parallel.
4:16 “He selected a wise man…and gave him power according to the voice of the people..” This is a weird way to put things. Was Nephihah elected or was he appointed?
There is an abundance of specific narrative repetition in Mormon’s abridgment which suggests not only deliberate selection and shaping but also that, in the working out of God’s will, certain kinds of events are likely to recur. An example would be two cases where chief judges give up their offices to devote themselves to preaching (Alma 4 & Helaman 5). In light of Mormon’s artistic structuring of his account with deliberate parallel narratives, Latter-day Saints may want to rethink their long-held assumption that the circumstances of Mormon’s life forced him to write hurriedly.