“How Could You Have Forgotten Your God?”

OK. Let me be honest here. This picture has nothing to do with the lesson. I just couldn’t think of any picture that correlated with the lesson material. Well, come to think of it, Nephi was preaching fire and brimstone.   Regardless of any correlation, one does have to ask,  who doesn’t love Jimmy Swaggart?

First, some news about our blog that is not directly related to this post.  We want to let all of you guys know what is up and coming.  On Monday my brother, Paul, is posting another in his blog series that looks at the human filter through which revelation comes;  it is going to examine “The Word of Wisdom.”  His posts have been highly read especially his last one that examined the priesthood/temple ban as it related to those of African ancestory.  It was actually our #1 post unitil my bishop’s post knocked it off and proudly took the #1 spot.

We are starting  a monthly book review now too. Here is what we have lined up so far:  Paul’s wife, Angela, is going to review “Good Bye, I love You” by Carol Lynn Pearson.  My wife, Cathy, will be reviewing Jana Riess’ “Flunking Sainthood.”  A friend of ours will be reviewing “The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance” by Elna Baker.  Cathy’s older sister, Tamera, will be reviewing Joanna Brooks’ “The Book of Mormon Girl.”  If any of you would like to participate by doing your own book review, or any post that touches on Mormonism, please let us know.  Paul has our blog set up where you can make such a request.  At the top of the main page is a “Guest Blogger” tab. Click on that and fill out the information.

We also have lined up two posts that will fall under the title, “What the Church Means to People Like Me”.   They will be personal essays by people who still actively participate in the LDS church despite either feeling like they are on the periphery of belief or being viewed as unorthodox by their fellow parishioners.

Another blog series we have in the works came in part to my bishop’s post from last week.  For those of you that read the responses after the post, it became evident that the idea of “inoculation” of the youth of the church to tough historical issues was a hot button subject.  So, my bishop came up with the idea of having two different posts regarding inoculation.  One would be an argument for inoculation and the other would be an argument against.  It should be fun.

And for those of you who are fans of Kylan Rices’ posts, he has told me he is almost finished with his third one.   We are super excited!! Woohoo!  As a side-note, Kylan just finished up an interview with Margaret Young for the new podcast series called, “A Thoughtful Faith.

 OK, now, drum roll please……Next week sometime we will be voting on which rationalfaiths.com bumper sticker we should start carrying for your guys’ vehicular pleasure.  Look at the end of this post to see an example of one of them.  The bumper-stickers will only cost about $5.00; we ‘aint makin’ no money off of them, just covering costs.  Now on to the post……

Here’s a link to Jared Anderson’s Mormon Stories Sunday School podcast.  It’s way better than the crap I put together.

I thought you guys might be interested in a question I presented to Jared Anderson.  It has to do with scriptural interpretation.  So, it does pertain to this post in a very broad, yet at the same time, particular way.   Jared Anderson is working on his PhD in Religious Studies under the erudite scholar, Dr. Bart Ehrman.   Jared also runs the Mormon Sunday School Lesson podcast that I always link to at the beginning of my Book of Mormon blogs.  Here is my question and his response.  I hope it isn’t too nerdy:

Jared, I have question that doesn’t pertain specifically to this lesson, but popped into my brain while I was listening to bible scholar Richard M. Price. From what I understand Biblical exegesis has to do with how a scriptural passage would have been interpreted in the context of the time, and cultural in which it was written. Hermeneutics deals with how we take the scriptures and apply it to ourselves. The best example I can think of regarding hermeneutics is how the bible says nothing about abortion, yet people will take passages about not killing and then state that abortion is wrong. An example of exegesis would be looking at the passages in which Jesus speaks in the New Testament and then interpret those through the lens of him being an apocalyptic prophet. Am I wrong in my distinction between those two?

Regarding …Book of Mormon exegesis (assuming my understanding is correct) the closest thing I have come across that represents that, is Brant Garnder’s – “Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon” series. As he interprets the Book of Mormon through the lens of Mesoamerican culture. The problem is that many people view his writings as apologetic whereas many bible exegetes are not only not Christian, some are even agnostic or atheist. Is there a way to do Book of Mormon exegesis without being apologetic? Secondly, (assuming my understanding is correct) is what we generally get as far as Gospel Doctrine lessons, including your wonderful podcast, hermeneutics? – Mike.

Jared’s answer:

Thoughtful question. Broadly speaking you are correct… exegesis is interpretation and usually focuses on the original meaning of a text, or as close as we can get–what the author intended it to mean. (Reading meaning *into* the text is jokingly called “eisegesis”) Hermeneutics is the study of interpretation, but also focuses on present application or more broadly “recontexualization.”

I think the most promising way to engage in exegesis of the Book of Mormon is to take it seriously on a literary level, perform close readings, notice themes, etc. I frankly don’t think the translated Book of Mormon gives us enough material to perform historical exegesis. And yes, since the focus of most Sunday School is life application (which is not a bad thing at all), that would fall into hermeneutics though hermeneutics is usually more self-informed and systematic.

The Righteousness of the Lamanites:  Helaman 6:1-6

6:1 Here we get the beginning of the Lamanite’s being more righteous than the Nephites.  Which begs the question, if the Lamanites became so righteous, why did they feel the need to yield up the lands to the Nephites (Helaman 5:52)?

6:6 Nephi returns six years later;  his story continues in Helaman 7:1.  The people in the land northward are those described in Helaman 3:3-12 (Grant Hardy, The Book of Mormon, A Reader’s Edition, pg. 451, footnote 6b).

The Nephites and Lamanites Mingle and Prosper:  Helaman 6:7-14

6:9 “gold”   Gold did not exist in the Maya civilization during this time period.  It did exist however, with the Incas and later made its way north to Central America and Mexico via trade.  If one holds to a limited geography model of the Book of Mormon (like I do) and that it occurred in and around  Maya civilization, this creates a problem.

6:12 “grain”  Is this an anachronism? 

…The first mention of grain cultivation occurred nearly four hundred years later (after Lehi’s arrival to the New World)—”corn” (maize, contrary to your claim), “wheat,” and “barley”; corn was the grain of choice (Mosiah 7:22; 9:9) (Terry B. Ball and Wilford M. Hess, “Agriculture in Lehi’s World: Some Textual, Historical, Archaeological, and Botanical Insights,” in Glimpses of Lehi’s Jerusalem, ed. John W. Welch, David R., and JoAnn H. Seely (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2004), 149–92).
What crop the name “wheat” was given to is never clarified, but of course it probably would have been some native one (eventually Mesoamericans cultivated at least thirteen species of grains). Domesticated barley was discovered in archaeological sites in Arizona and midwestern states twenty-five years ago, and it could well have grown in Mexico too  (See discussion in John L. Sorenson and Robert F. Smith, “Barley in Ancient America,” in Reexploring the Book of Mormon, ed. John W. Welch (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992): 130–32; Robert R. Bennett, “Barley and Wheat in the Book of Mormon” (Provo, UT: Neal A. Maxwell Institute), updated August 2000, http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/transcripts/?id=126. The original paper on domesticated barley is Daniel B. Adams, “Last Ditch Archeology,” Science 83 4/10 (December 1983): 32) (Dr. John L. Sorenson, “An Open Letter to Dr. Michael Coe” , FAIR LDS).

6:12 “flocks and herds”  Critics of the Book of Mormon like to point out that this is somehow an anachronism.  However, a close reading shows that we have no idea of what the flocks and herds consisted.

The Gadianton Robbers Reappear:  Helaman 6:15-25

6:15 “…his son, who had been appointed by the people…”  This once again confirms my hypothesis that the people chose the successor to the judgement seat only if the predecessor had not appointed one prior to his (the predecessor’s) death.

6:15 Not only do we not know the name of Cezoram’s son, we don’t know the name of  the successor of his son.

6:16 Does this make sense to anyone?  Mormons’ logic is as follows:  You get blessed with riches—>that makes you so you don’t get angry enough to go to war—>but, you are compelled to  like riches  (he uses the word therefore, which to me means “it just naturally happens this way”)—>you want more than your neighbor has—>so you begin to kill secretly so you can get gain.

6:25 see Alma 37:27-32

The Author of All Sin:  Helaman 6:26-30

6:26-28 “…that same being…”  I posted the following on  the last Book of Mormon Sunday School Lesson post in relation to Helaman 2:13-14, but feel it is worth re-mentioning:

Although Mormon is a pervasive editor and a didactic one, he seldom explicitly identifies relationships between various plots and subplots (with the large exception of his insistent comments on fulfilled prophecies).  He only rarely says, “I am reminded here of an earlier incident” or, “This happened in much the same way as that.”  One example occurs in Helaman 2:13-14, where Mormon draws a parallel between the Gadianton Robbers of the first century BC and secret combinations in his own day, the fourth century AD.  A little later, in Helaman 6:15-30, he connects these groups to the secret societies among the Jaredites a millennium earlier, though in this particular case he explicitly denies any direct historical causation;  instead, he provides a supernatural explanation – Satan inspired these groups in similar ways (see Alma 37:26-32;  Helaman 6:25-26).  But this sort of thing is unusual.  More often Mormon indicates parallelism (and thus encourages his readers to make comparisons) through his editing and wording.  The parallel narratives we have examined thus far have taken the relatively simple form  of  ”X is like Y,” but here are other more complicated patterns in which the parallel elements point toward more than one analogous narrative or feature unexpected correlations.”   (Hardy, Understanding The Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide, pg. 162-163)

6:27 see Moses 5:28-31, 47-52

6:28 “..tower sufficiently high…”  Some scholars think that the Tower of Babel might have been a ziggurat:

Etemenanki (Sumerian: “temple of the foundation of heaven and earth”) was the name of a ziggurat dedicated to Marduk in the city of Babylon. It was famously rebuilt by the 6th century BC Neo-Babylonian dynasty rulers Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar II. According to modern scholars such as Stephen L. Harris, the biblical story of the Tower of Babel was likely influenced by Etemenanki during the Babylonian

Reconstructed ziggurat of Ur

captivity of the Hebrews.

Nebuchadnezzar wrote that the original tower had been built in antiquity: “A former king built the Temple of the Seven Lights of the Earth, but he did not complete its head. Since a remote time, people had abandoned it, without order expressing their words. Since that time earthquakes and lightning had dispersed its sun-dried clay; the bricks of the casing had split, and the earth of the interior had been scattered in heaps.”

Tower of Babel Stele(604 BCE – 562 BCE)

Scholars have recently discovered in the Schoyen Collection the oldest known representation of the Tower of Babel.  Carved on a black stone, The Tower of Babel Stele (as it is known) dates from 604-562 BC, the time of Nebuchadnezzar II.

The Greek historian Herodotus (440 BC) later wrote of

Artist reconstruction of Tower of Babel Stele

this ziggurat, which he called the “Temple of Zeus Belus”, giving an account of its vast dimensions.

The already decayed Great Ziggurat of Babylon was finally destroyed by Alexander the Great in an attempt to rebuild it. He managed to move the tiles of the tower to another location, but his death stopped the reconstruction. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_of_Babel)

6:28 This paragraph refers to the Jaredites.  See the book of Ether.

.…yet he (Mormon) never gets around to actually incorporating a history of the Jaredites into his history.  From a naive perspective, he may have just run out of time.  Yet a twenty-four-plate account does not seem like a dauntingly lengthy text.  Mosiah, after all, had managed a translation to which Mormon presumably had access and could have integrated into his own book or simply appended to his record, much as he did with the Small Plates of Nephi.  But he chose not to…Instead he left the task for his son… (Hardy,  A Reader’s Guide,  pg. 228)

6:29 see Helaman 2:4-5, 11.


The Response of Lamanites and Nephites to the Gadianton Robbers: Helaman 6:31-41

6:32 “…in the sixty and seventh year…”  See verse 16.

6:34-36 “…and thus we see…”  This is an editorial interruption that Grant Hardy calls a “moral generalization”.

6:37, 38 “…the more wicked part of them…”  To whom is “them” referring?

6:40 “…followers of God.”   Why does Mormon limit his condemnation to  the treatment  of  only “the followers of God”  instead of  everyone that is being mistreated – regardless of belief.

Nephi2‘s Lament:  Helaman 7:1-9

7:2 “…land northward…”  that is, the “land of desolation” or where the Jaradites lived.  See Helaman 3:3-11

7:4 “aright” 

 a·right   /əˈraɪt/ Show Spelled[uh-rahyt]
rightly; correctly; properly: I want to set things aright.

7:7  “…it is hard not to smile at his misplaced nostalgia.  Either he was reading a very different version of early Nephite history or he hasn’t been paying attention.” (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 292, note 34)

Nephi2Preaches from a Tower:  Helaman 7:10-29

7:13-29 “…In addition to embedded-source sermons, other significant speeches – which may have been reworked by Mormon and usually include interruptions from listers  – include orations”  (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 300, note 7)

7:22  This prophecy is averted when the Nephites repent in Helaman 11.

The Reaction of Gadianton and Others: Helaman 8: 1-9

8:1 “…men who were judges…”  See Helaman 6:39 for when the Gadianton robbers began to take over the government.  At this point we don’t know who the chief judge is still, but it is most likely a Gadianton robber (see Helaman 6:15)

Nephi2 Cites the Example of Moses:  Helaman 8:10-15

8:11 “…waters of the Red Sea…”  Is this a problem of anachronism for the Book of Mormon? 

The Crossing of the Red Sea (Hebrew: קריעת ים סוף Kriat Yam Suph) is a passage in the Biblical narrative of the escape of the Israelites, led by Moses, from the pursuing Egyptians in the Book of Exodus 13:17-14:29. This story is also mentioned in the Qur’an in Surah 26: Al-Shu’ara’ (The Poets) in verses 60-67.
The Hebrew term for the place of the crossing is “Yam Suph”. Although this has traditionally been thought to refer to the salt water inlet located between Africa and the Arabian peninsula, known in English as the Red Sea, this is a mistranslation from the Greek Septuagint, and Hebrew suph never means “red” but rather “reeds. (“Kenneth Kitchen, “On the Reliability of the Old Testament” (Eerdman’s, 2003), pp.261-263) also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossing_the_Red_Sea

Plausible response from FAIR:

KJV Bible: Critics cast doubt on Moses’ miraculous parting of the Red Sea by asserting that this belief arose due to a mistranslation of the Hebrew phrase yam sûp. The critics argue that the phrase should read “the Reed Sea,” and that the Israelites actually just crossed a marshy inlet while the Egyptians’ chariots got stuck in the mud.

Book of Mormon: Having “proved” that the popular understanding of the KJV is inaccurate, the critics then conclude that the Book of Mormon’s use of “Red Sea” is evidence that Joseph was not producing an inspired translation, but simply copying from the (mistaken) King James text.


The location of the crossing remains unknown today. Modern linguists continue to debate the interpretation of yam sûp. The term, “Red Sea”, used in the KJV to designate what was crossed, also includes the Gulf of Aqaba (1 Kings 9:26) and by extension, the Gulf of Suez. The Book of Mormon’s intent in referring to the crossing of the “Red Sea” is not to clarify the location of the crossing but to identify the miracle that occurred. Thus, the translation of the Book of Mormon reflects their intent, not the preoccupations of modern linguists.

Supporting Data

Book of Mormon: Even if the King James translation of “Red Sea” were in error, one would be unable to draw conclusions about the correctness of the Book of Mormon translation. Just as the Apostle Paul’s New Testament writings used the language of the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament), despite the existence of earlier, more accurate manuscripts known today, Joseph Smith used the language of the King James Bible. In both cases, a prophet used the language of the most commonly used version of scripture for the time.

KJV Bible: Ironically, despite its irrelevance for the issue of Book of Mormon accuracy, the “Reed Sea” claim is, itself, the product of a modern error in understanding.
According to an article in Biblical Archaeology Review, the popular idea that the Hebrew phrase yam sûp actually means “Sea of Reeds” is erroneous and unsupported by linguistic evidence. Other passages use the same term, and clearly refer to the body of water which modern readers call the “Red Sea,” such as    1 Kings 9:26:  “And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion-geber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom.”

The BAR article’s author, Bernard F. Batto, agrees that yam sûp does not literally mean “Red Sea” (that would be yam adam). Rather, he believes that it is related to the Hebrew root sûp, meaning “to cease to exist,” or the word sôp, meaning simply “end.” Thus, a literal translation of the Hebrew name for this body of water would be “the Sea at the End of the World.” This name is appropriate, since the ancients considered the “Red Sea” to be at the frontier or edge of known geography, or their “world.” This usage is confirmed in extra-biblical Jewish literature, where the phrase yam sûp is used to refer to the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean; i.e., “all those connecting oceans to the south.”1Thus, the title “Sea at the End of the World” is fitting, since it was on the edge of the known world.

Regardless of the Hebrew intricacies, since the body of water being described is known to the modern reader as the Red Sea, it is appropriate to translate yam sûp as such. The goal of the Book of Mormon’s translation is surely to communicate meaning, not the fine points of Hebrew idiom. Clearly, the Book of Mormon’s use of “Red Sea” accords with modern usage and the intent of its ancient authors.

1 Bernard F. Batto, “Red Sea or Reed Sea?: How the Mistake Was Made and What Yam Sûp Really Means,” Biblical Archaeology Review 10:4 (July/August 1984): 56–63. (http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon/Anachronisms/Red_sea_versus_reed_sea)

8:12  “…if God gave unto this man such power, then why should ye dispute among yourselves, and say that he hath given unto me no power…?”   I’m not sure how rock-solid of an argument Nephi is presenting here.  Why does Moses being a true prophet have anything to do with whether or not Nephi is  a true prophet?

8:13  “…and also the words which were spoken by this man, Moses…”  Does the text provide any indication that these Nephites had denied the words of Moses?

8:14 A similar interpretation is given in John 3:14-15

 Nephi2 Refers to Other Ancient Prophecies of Christ:  Helaman 8:16-23

8:19  “Zenos” See 1 Nephi 19:10-16;  Jacob 5;  Alma 33:3-13

8:20  “Zenock”  See 1 Nephi 19:10;  Alma 33:15-17

8:20 “Ezias”  We know nothing more about this prophet.

8:20 “…and now we know that Jerusalem was destroyed…”   We in the 21st century might have objective evidence that Jerusalem was destroyed around 586 B.C., But what evidence did the Nephites have?   Sorry, Nephi has committed the logical fallacy of “begging the question” or “circular reasoning” .  His logic is this:  How do you know Jerusalem was destroyed?  Because Jeremiah said it was.   How do you know Jeremiah told the truth?  Because Jerusalem was destroyed.  How do yo know Jerusalem was destroyed?  Because Jeremiah said it was……….

The real problem with his argument is that Nephi then attaches it as evidence that the prophecies of the  Messiah’s coming are true.   Woops!!

8:21 “…the sons of Zedekiah were not slain, all except it were Mulek?”   Now, the only way that the Nephites would have known this is when King Mosiahleaves the Land of Nephi and discovers the people of Zarahemla, which was inhabited by the descendants of Mulek.   It must be assumed then that they told the story of their founder, Mulek, and how he and some people had escaped Jerusalem as it was being sacked.   If this is true,  why did Nephi not use this to support his argument of fulfilled prophecy instead of the circular reasoning that he employed in the previous verse?

 The problem is that the Old Testament says that none of King Zedekiah’s sons survived and that the last thing he saw before having his eyes burned out was the killing of his sons.  See 2 Kings 25:7;  Jeremiah 39:16;  52:10.

Here is a plausible answer to the problem:

In the summer of 586 B.C., when the troops of King Nebuchadnezzar breached the walls of Jerusalem, King Zedekiah of Judah and a large company of warriors attempted to escape by night to the East. Babylonian troops caught up with them in the plains of Jericho. Many presumably escaped, but Zedekiah himself was seized and taken to Nebuchadrezzar’s  operational headquarters at Riblah (on the Orontes River, just south of Kadesh, in what is now Syria). There, as punishment for breaking his sacred oath of fealty to King Nebuchadrezzar, the Babylonians forced Zedekiah to witness the execution of his captured sons, had his eyes put out, and took him in bronze fetters to Babylon (see 2 Kings 25:4-7; 2 Chronicles 36:13).

According to the Book of Mormon, that was not the end of the matter. One son named Mulek escaped (see Omni 1:15-16; Helaman 8:21), even though the details remain shadowy. Since he landed first at the land of Desolation on the east coast (see Alma 22:30-31; Helaman 6:10), he probably journeyed to Mesoamerica via the Mediterranean, Atlantic Ocean, and Caribbean, perhaps with Phoenician help.

The first clue of the existence and escape of Mulek, son of Zedekiah, can be found in 2 Kings 25:1-10, which reports that Nebuchadrezzar and “all his host” scattered “all the men” and “all [the king’s] army” and burnt “all the houses of Jerusalem,” and with “all the army” they destroyed the walls. In the midst of all this, however, 2 Kings 25:7 omits the word all when it reports only that “the sons” of Zedekiah were killed, leaving open the question whether all of his sons were slain.

Biblical scholars have recently had interesting things to say about a person named Malchiah. Jeremiah 38:6 speaks of a “dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech . . . in the court of the prison.” But the Hebrew name here, MalkiYahu ben-hamMelek, should be translated “MalkiYahu, son of the king,” the Hebrew word melek meaning “king.”

Was this MalkiYahu a son of King Zedekiah? Several factors indicate that he was. For one thing, the title “son of the king” was used throughout the ancient Near East to refer to actual sons of kings who served as high officers of imperial administration.1 The same is certainly true of the Bible, in which kings’ sons ran prisons (see 1 Kings 22:26-27; Jeremiah 36:26; 38:6) or performed other official functions (see 2 Kings 15:5; 2 Chronicles 28:7). Moreover, in view of the fact that the name MalkiYahu has been found on two ostraca from Arad (in southern Judah), the late head of the Department of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, Yohanan Aharoni, said that “Malkiyahu is a common name and was even borne by a contemporary son of king Zedekiah.”

But was this MalkiYahu the same person as Mulek? Study of these names tells us he may very well be. In the case of Baruch, scribe of Jeremiah, for example, the long form of his name, BerekYahu, has been discovered on a seal impression by Nahman Avigad of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.3 The full name has been shortened in Jeremiah’s record to Baruch…. To read more click here

Nephi2 Reveals an Assassination:  Helaman 8:24-28

8:24  “…notwithstanding so many evidences….and all things which are in the earth as a witness that they are true.”  Nephi is presenting here an argument of Natural Theology, but such an argument only works when arguing for the existence of God.  I don’t see how “all things which are in earth”  is an argument for the legitmacy of prophecy.   Nephi’s pre-Hellenistic logic is not very logical.

8:26-28  Now Nephi is presenting some good evidence of the legitmacy of prophecy.  It sure took him a while to get there.

One side note though – as previously mentioned, we don’t know the name of the chief-judge and governor.  I had assumed that the successor had been placed there by the Gadianton robbers after the previous one (the son of Cezoram) had been assassinated by the Gadianton robbers.  If that were true, why would they have had this one killed?  No comprendo amigos.

Five Men Sent to Confirm Nephi2 Revelation:  Helaman 9:1-9

….prophecies are often integral to the stories themselves:  the destruction of major cities is always preceded by recent prophetic warnings…the story of Nephi3 hinges upon his accurate prediction of the reaction of a chief judge’s murder. (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg 113)

9:5  For examples of the judgments see: Helaman 7:19, 22, 28.

Nephi2 Falsely Accused of Murder:  Helaman 9:10-18

9:16 “…the judges did expound the matter…”   Compare this verse with  Alma 12:9 “And now Alma began to expound these things… ”  The use of  the word expound as employed by Mormon to describe what the lower-judges were doing, seems to carry with it an implicit meaning that they were adding false elements to the story.  While Mormon’s use of the word in describing what Alma was doing, seems to mean something different – more like providing more teaching to what Amulek had taught.   Am I reading something into the text (eisegesis) that isn’t there?

Nephi2 Reveals the Murder:  Helaman 9:19-36

9:23 “Seezoram”    Aha! Finally we get the name of a chief-judge.

9:24, 25  At least Nephi’s sign isn’t a conversation ender like Alma’s was when Korihor’s sign was that he (Korihor) was struck dumb.  See Alma 30:49-50

NephiVindicated and Misunderstood:  Helaman 9:37-10:1

9:41 It appears that Nephi did a little too good job of convincing the Nephites that he was a prophet, because some thought he was a god.

The Lord Speaks to Nephiand Gives Him Power:  Helaman 10:2-11

10:3 “…as he was thus pondering…”  Revelation does not come to people in a vacuum, outside the context of their social milieu.  It does not come when one is not searching and pondering the answer to a question (usually).

10:5  “…for thou shalt now ask that which is contrary to my will…”   This reminds me of Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:  for we know not what we should pray  for as we ought:  but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”   It appears that the language of prayer, if done “correctly”, will be given to us.  Thus, Nephi will not ask anything contrary to God’s will, for the Spirit will tell him for what to pray.

10:6  Sure enough in this verse, God tells him what he (Nephi) will do and say.

Nephi2 Preaches Again to the People:  Helaman 10:12-19

 10:18 “…and began to slay on another…”  Geez, this preaching isn’t working out so well.

10:19 “…seventy and first year…”    Helaman 6:15 “…sixty and sixth year…”  This indicates that the chief-judge, Seezoram, must have been chief-judge and governor for about 6 years.

Nephi2 Prays fro the Lord to Send a Famine:  Helaman 11:1-9a

 11:3 “…the whole earth…”  OK we know it wasn’t literally the “whole earth”.

11:8 see Helaman 7:19-28;  8:5, 26;  9:22; 10:14

Nephi2 Prays for the Famine to End:  Helaman 11:9b-19

11:10 “…let thine anger be appeased…”   This is an interesting view of God.  It is very similar to why pagans would offer sacrifices to their God(s) – that is to appease them and thus win his/her/their favor.

11:14 This reference is uncertain.

11:16 “…according to thy words which thou hast said.”   This reference is also uncertain.

11:19 We haven’t heard of Lehi since Helaman 6:6  Why did Mormon find Nephi’s story more compelling than what Lehi was doing?

The Nephites and Lamanites Prosper and Argue:  Helaman 11:20-23


…but it is only in Helaman 11:21 that the church encompasses a majority of the people – both Nephites and Lamanites – a situation that lasts for less than fifty years” (3 Nephi 6:14).  Of course, the two hundred years following Jesus’ post-resurrection visit are a different story, but we know almost nothing about that time period.  (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 309, note 26)

11:23 “…having many revelations daily…”  I love how their understanding of doctrine came through revelation, not necessarily through dogma.

A Resurgence of the Gadianton Robbers:  Helaman 11:24-38

11:26 “..and they did search out all the secret plans of Gadianton.”    Of course one has to ask, how they discovered these plans if their plans were “concealed in the earth” ? (Helaman 11:10)

11:32b– 35 This paragraph appears to be an editorial summary since the eighty-first year ends in both verse 32 & verse 35 (Grant Hardy, The Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Edition, pg. 468)

Mormon2‘s Reflection on Human Weakness and God’s Power:  Helaman 12:1-26

 12:1-3 Is just one long editorial interruption by Mormon which Grant Hardy calls a “moral generalization”.   These verses also show Mormon beginning to develop a comprehensive theory of historical changes (Hardy, A Reader’s Guide, pg. 99)

12:11 compare this description with what is found in the Jaredite record (Ether4:9)

12:15  Apparently the Nephites were heliocentric.

Here’s one of our sticker designs:

Miguel is a Guatemalan-American Mormon living in the Northwest with his family. He is one of the proprietors of the Rational Faiths blog.

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