Nephite Scolding - Helaman 1-9 Overview

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AmyJ
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Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Nephite Scolding - Helaman 1-9 Overview

Post by AmyJ » 29 Jan 2018, 11:35

Helaman 4: 12-13 has very specific pithy reasons the Lamanites are beating the crap out of the Nephite armies. This would have been given by Moronihah (chief general who eventually stopped leading the armies because of the wickedness of the people see Helaman 4:14), Nephi (chief judge on the judgement seat thus uniting church and state see Helaman 3:37 and Helaman 4:14), and Lehi (Nephi's brother and high authority in the church see Helaman 4:14) in 58/59 RJ. NOTE: I am going to use RJ as "Reign of Judges" to establish events in time. I am doing this to understand how the Nephites got to the point historically where Mormon or Moroni is drawing his theological conclusions.

<Babylon 5 theme music>
The time is 58/59 RJ...
The name of the place is Nephite lands (after several Lamanite attacks, 1 mass baptism event, 2 Judgement Seat takeovers, at least 2 years of political unrest and civil war)...

PEOPLE SUMMARY:
Which part of Nephite society had already left (in broad terms - it almost seems like the truly righteous and truly rebellious left):
1. Rebellious People - went to the Lamanites in 54 RJ and successfully formented dissension (Helaman 4:1).
2. People of Ammon (defined by Pacifist ancestry, great humility, can trace their identity back to Lamanites at some point) - left in large numbers in 46 RJ (Helaman 2:3).
3. People who felt they were better off "elsewhere" - may be for economic expansion reasons (Helaman 3:3), or political/tribal reasons.

Remaining People Who Did NOT Leave (NOTE: This assumes that the people did not drift into Nephite territory and/or into one of these groups that were preached to in that 21 year period.There could be groups of people or individuals who drifted in at any point and integrated these events into their existence.):
  • Were aware of/survived Lamanite attacks of 38 RJ and 41 RJ (Alma 63: 16, Helaman 1:14).
  • Participated in/were aware of judgment seat events in 40 RJ and 42 RJ (Helaman 1:1, Helaman 1:42).
  • Did not leave in 46 RJ (even though there was civil unrest/discord for approx 2 years)(Helaman 3:17, 3:22) .
  • Participated in/were aware of the mass baptism event in 49 RJ (Helaman 3:24)
  • Participated in/were aware of the nation-wide and/or church-wide bullying that came to a theological head in 51 RJ (Helaman 3:33). NOTE: This is likely when church membership started dwindling (Helaman 4:22-23)
  • Were in a group of people that Moronihah, Nephi, or Lehi was speaking to in approx 58/59 RJ (Helaman 4:8, Helaman 4:14-17).
  • Were a minority surrounded by Lamanites (Helaman 4:19-20).
REASONS OF CONFLICT ACCORDING TO MORONIHAH/NEPHI/LEHI (Helaman's sons):
1. "Pride of Heart" (Helaman 4:12) / "Profess to belong to the church of God" (Helaman 4:11)
2. Oppression of the Poor and their physical needs & bullying (could it be that those dissenters who left were dissatisfied in poverty? Or is it the non-application of the 2 great commandments to place blame?)(Helaman 4:12)
3. "Making a mock of that which was sacred" (Helaman 4:12)
4. Not believing prophecies and revelation (Helaman 4:12)
5. Disobeying 10 commandments (murdering, plundering, lying, stealing, adultery) (Helaman 4:12)
6. Betraying/Leaving the Nephites and Nephite cause (Helaman 4:12)
7. Boasting in own strength (Helaman 4:13)

GROUP RECRIMINATION (REASONS OF CONFLICT REWORDING/REBUTTAL):
1. Forgot/Disregarded the prophecies of Alma (former leader) and Mosiah (Helaman 4:21). I think that Moronihah/Nephi/Lehi's bullet points 1-2 were covered in this statement by those chastised Nephites.
2. Forgot/Disregarded the Commandments of God through Defiling/Trampling the 10 Commandments (as they understood them - probably orginated with Nephi) (Helaman 4:21-22). I think that Moronihah/Nephi/Lehi's bullet point number 5 is covered here.
3. Corrupted Laws of the Land (Helaman 4:22). I think that Moronihah/Nephi/Lehi's bullet point number 5 is covered here.
4. "Became Wicked" and "Weak" like Lamanites (Helaman 4:24, Helaman 4:26)
5. Left Church (Helaman 4:23). I think that Moronihah/Nephi/Lehi's bullet point number 1 is covered here with a twist. These people are stated by Moroniha/Nephi/Lehi to "profess to belong to the church of God" while the people being chastised claim to have left the church.
6. Disbelieve sprit of prophesy/revelation (Helaman 4:23). I think that Moronihah/Nephi/Lehi's bullet points 3-4 were covered in this statement by those chastised Nephites.

CONSEQUENCES:
ALL OF THESE ACTIONS LED TO "the Lord did cease to preserve them by his miraculous and matchless power"
True/False Analysis Question-
  • I don't know. When I look at what happened historically, I can see where being taught the prosperity gospel would provide the leadership with these reasons to scold their followers. I can also see where the Nephites would feel guilty and change to a certain degree (enough that Moronihah started leading them to reclaim land again, but not enough that when the Lamanites flip-flop becoming righteous and baptized, they are compared against the Nephites again.
  • I just don't feel comfortable saying that the Lamanites were beating the Nephites because the Nephites weren't being righteous enough. When I looked at everything these folks went through, I almost feel that Moronihah/Nephi/Lehi were "blaming the victims" as it were because the people who remained had been through a lot and may not have been causing the problems more than passively being involved. We know that powerful dissenters from the Nephites left 5 years before and were a powerful influence on the Lamanites (Helaman 4:4). It stands to reason that they had been a powerful influence in Nephite society prior to leaving.
  • I think it was a different time then. I think that it matters that in the U.S. - there is a seperation between church and state that the Nephites did not have as distinctly as we do. I think that there was a national/tribal association - that if you broke from the religious leader's philosophy then, you were breaking from the family, from the tribe as well as religious inclination. There was no middle ground like there is today.
PERSONAL APPLICATION:
I can admit that as a human I am more prideful in my heart and boast in my own strength more than I should.
It could be said that I do "profess to belong to the church of God" in that I am not walking in a traditional way - but since I am still working on what I believe, and still asking for assistance from God to "help my unbelief" in what I do and why I do it, I feel that I am striving to find the "church of God" in my life to belong to.
I strive not to oppress the poor (physical poor, poor in spirit, mentally poor, emotionally poor) by my actions, words or deeds. I am striving to take care to "Do No Harm" to others spiritually, physically, mentally, or emotionally (even when I come across people whose actions in these areas try my patience and charity - actually especially when I come across these people).
I am striving to identify that which is sacred in my life and striving to not make a mock of that which is sacred to others as much as possible. However, I am sure it could be said that I "make a mock" of sacred things by evaluating them against non-sacred measures. I am not in a good place to judge sacredness - I just do the best I can.
I am pretty sure that the "stone cut without hands" will move on without me if I step back a little to learn how to identify prophesy correctly instead of blindly following prophets.
I believe that I have most of the 10 commandments underway. At least I don't swear, steal, murder, plunder, lie, or commit adultery (which were the big ones the Nephites were being called out on).

I don't know that the Lord has ceased to preserve me in my imperfections. I just don't know.
My grandfather is a professional philosopher (taught college classes for over 30 years) and long time atheist and we have had some interesting conversations over the years. I can see where he made different life choices - and where he didn't judge my parents for making theirs. His behavior taught me that one did not have to be Christian to act in ways that would appear Christlike to others. In fact, in some cases, I think he had to make more deliberate choices to demonstrate ethical behavior and provide a narrative based on personal belief - not "because God (or his representatives) said so".

QUESTIONS:
1) Who are the souls receiving these teachings?
2) Is this an accurate summation of events as recorded?
3) Is Mormon/Moroni's conclusion valid?
4) Is Mormon/Mornoni's conclusion still valid today?

Roy
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Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Nephite Scolding - Helaman 1-9 Overview

Post by Roy » 30 Jan 2018, 10:36

Good overview and I can tell that you put a lot of work into it.
AmyJ wrote:
29 Jan 2018, 11:35
Helaman 4: 12-13 has very specific pithy reasons
You might say his reasons were full of "pith and vinegar". :lol:
AmyJ wrote:
29 Jan 2018, 11:35
I just don't feel comfortable saying that the Lamanites were beating the Nephites because the Nephites weren't being righteous enough. When I looked at everything these folks went through, I almost feel that Moronihah/Nephi/Lehi were "blaming the victims" as it were because the people who remained had been through a lot and may not have been causing the problems more than passively being involved.
This "righteous shall prosper in the land" is perhaps my pet issue. The early saints took this very literally to the point where when someone got sick there could be whisperings of hidden sin or faithlessness.

"Doctrine and Covenants 105:14–19. Zion's Camp men getting sick. A few days later, many men in Zion's Camp got very sick. Fourteen of them died. The Prophet told the men that the sickness would go away if they would humble themselves and repent. This promise was fulfilled."

The men of Zion's camp drank swamp water and ate rotten, maggot infested food and then their sickness was believed to be caused by contention, arguing, and speaking ill of their leaders. Not cool!

OTOH, until rather recently in the history of humans - life was a fragile, tenuous, and mysterious balance and people often sought reason and understanding from "the gods" to help explain and protect it. I can be sympathetic towards them in their practices and beliefs - even if they were based on limited understanding.
AmyJ wrote:
29 Jan 2018, 11:35
His behavior taught me that one did not have to be Christian to act in ways that would appear Christlike to others. In fact, in some cases, I think he had to make more deliberate choices to demonstrate ethical behavior and provide a narrative based on personal belief - not "because God (or his representatives) said so".
There are multiple schools of thought for acting ethically. Some people seem to need an external force (fear) to help them make the right/ethical choice. Others find themselves motivated internally (love?). This applies to both religious and non-religious people.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Cnsl1
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Joined: 05 Jan 2009, 01:33

Re: Nephite Scolding - Helaman 1-9 Overview

Post by Cnsl1 » 31 Jan 2018, 22:39

A very thoughtful post. I tried to form a cogent opinion in response, but I think since I stopped believing in the BofM as historical, I stopped being able to dissect it in that depth. I take things more as general principles. I know I still can consider the peoples as real, and study the work like one might study Moby Dick, or the Scarlet Letter, trying to decipher motives, internal struggles, and deep meaning, but... I'm not back there yet.

AmyJ
Posts: 659
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Nephite Scolding - Helaman 1-9 Overview

Post by AmyJ » 01 Feb 2018, 08:36

Thank you. I am in the Pathways program, which means that I am responsible for studying and analyzing parts of the Book of Mormon.

I tried to dissect it because I was intrigued by the question "Who were the people who theoretically deserved this scolding and why"?

The best answer I came up with (non-orthodox) is that:
a) these people were Nephites who did not have the resources (money, transportation options) or desire to be elsewhere
b) these people had committed or allowed some crimes to be committed that were worthy of condemnation in their society - some of these crimes were probably caused in part by the extenuating societal circumstances.
c) the upper leadership of the Nephites (chief judge, main general) attributed the circumstances the Nephites found themselves in because of their unrighteous choices. I can see where they went there (righteousness = peace, contention/disobedience = war) in their black/white thinking. However, the more I studied it, the more I realized that I actually didn't agree with the upper leadership as to the cause of the war.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Nephite Scolding - Helaman 1-9 Overview

Post by Curt Sunshine » 01 Feb 2018, 13:53

It is interesting to consider that the "good guys" can be blamed almost exclusively for all the troubles throughout the book, in one way or another. Thatvis not an orthodox view, but I can support it easily.

In other words, maybe the result of pride (seeing one's group as the good guys who reject others who are different) really is the central message of the Book of Mormon - just as it was in the Bible for the Jews at the time of Christ. Maybe the good guys aren't the good guys I feel they automatically label, reject, and fight those they see a short the bad guys. That certainly would fit the Sermon on the Mount.

I can preach that view as scriptural, which would make the BofM solidly scriptural, no matter its historical accuracy or not.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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