Was Nephi a real person?

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SamBee
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Re: Was Nephi a real person?

Post by SamBee » 22 Mar 2019, 06:26

Holy Cow wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 08:05
SamBee wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 03:20
The trouble with Star Wars is that it is utterly commercial and what spiritual messages it has are undermined and destroyed by the fact that the makers of the films are so obsessed with making money out of every last detail.

Star Wars is to spirituality what the Spice Girls are to opera.
Unfortunately, I could say the same thing about religion. There are plenty of people out there, who just use religion as a money-making scheme. I can turn on my TV any Sunday morning and find half a dozen different TV Evangelists urging people to send in their money.
Some religion, yes. But George Lucas is little better than a prostitute when it comes to Star Wars. The amount of merchandizing connected with the first film was completely unheard of and shocked many people at the time.

The best Star Wars film is Empire Strikes Back, but even then I watch these things and I realize so many things in it, which are purely there as an opportunity to sell toys. It gets worse in Return of the Jedi with all these teddy bears running round.

Lucas is to film what the worst money grubbing televangelists are to religion. Luckily I live in a country where religious programming rarely consists of the "give me your money" variety.

A decent religion will give you advice for free, even help you when you are poor.

Also I find that there is a sinister undercurrent to StarWars' pop Taoism, i.e. the idea that good is an element of evil and vice versa. There are spiritual messages in the franchise which when you unpack them are either ill thought out or dangerous. The recent films (I haven't seen Solo) undermine them further by turning Luke Skywalker into a mass murderer.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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SamBee
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Re: Was Nephi a real person?

Post by SamBee » 22 Mar 2019, 06:29

On Own Now wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 08:24
I would like to reorganize the Star Wars Universe, counting everything after ESB as apostate and the work of a fallen prophet.
That's by far the best film and I tend to agree. However as I say above, I don't completely agree with some of the spiritual mesages in the films.

Awful spin off films are nothing new. They did a few SW spin offs no one cares to remember back in the 80s.

By the way, if you're looking for spiritual messages in science fiction, the Dune series by Frank Herbert makes Lucas' efforts look like a 13 year old writing pop fan fiction. (Did I mention Lucas blatantly stole from Herbert, again and again? Paul and his sister Alia become Luke and his sister Leia -Lucas barely bothered changing her name.) Herbert wrote too many sequels to be honest, and it's never worked well on screen, but there are some amazing insights in there, although I don't agree with them all either.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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SamBee
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Re: Was Nephi a real person?

Post by SamBee » 22 Mar 2019, 06:56

DarkJedi wrote:
21 Mar 2019, 13:45

Not surprisingly, I disagree. There's the other thread about finding truth elsewhere (or everywhere). There is truth in Star Wars (and Dickens and Tolkien and Poe and Mozart and....). There are people here who would argue that this church and/or others are really about making money - and there's some truth there as well. Just because it's "for profit" doesn't mean there's no truth (prophet) in it.
When I read Dickens, Poe or Tolkien, I don't see them cutting/smoothing corners that some Hollywood test audience survey persuaded them to. Dickens comes closest - he wrote in installments, so is wordy - but I've always found his work sincere in a way that Lucas isn't. Dickens' work led to social change and an end to child labor in England - Star Wars has probably used child labor to churn out some of its merchandise. I don't read Dickens' books and wonder what second rate toy or computer game he is trying to sell me off the back of it.
Back to the OP. My view of the BoM is very similar to my view of the Bible. I think most of the Bible is "fictitious" (or not literal) but conveys a moral message.
I see similarities, but there are some major differences. When we read the BoM in English, we know that it is close to Smith's version. With the Bible, there are multiple versions, some of which are quite different. We know that the BoM is presented as Smith intended. Smith's culture is not completely dissimilar to ours (or at least could be found a few generations ago), although technology is changing that rapidly. Even if we accept the BoM as the product of ancient civilizations we have an early modern prism to see it through. The Bible on the other hand, is from ancient civilizations without doubt, and more than one. Smith as editor provides a consistency and flow which the Bible lacks.

The Bible has a lot of major questions which have linguists, mythologists and historians scratching their heads. There is no question that the Bible is thousands of years old -even its detractors say so. When we talk about Jonah or Moses, even those who think they were not historical, are aware that there are many layers here.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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dande48
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Re: Was Nephi a real person?

Post by dande48 » 22 Mar 2019, 09:34

SamBee wrote:
22 Mar 2019, 06:26
There are spiritual messages in the franchise which when you unpack them are either ill thought out or dangerous.
Lol, this is EXACTLY how I feel about both the BOM and Bible. Maybe even moreso.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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SamBee
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Re: Was Nephi a real person?

Post by SamBee » 22 Mar 2019, 17:16

dande48 wrote:
22 Mar 2019, 09:34
SamBee wrote:
22 Mar 2019, 06:26
There are spiritual messages in the franchise which when you unpack them are either ill thought out or dangerous.
Lol, this is EXACTLY how I feel about both the BOM and Bible. Maybe even moreso.
I knew someone would say that. I don't find most of the messages in the BoM dangerous, except perhaps lopping off someone's head. I have more trouble with the Old Testament.

But neither the Bible nor the BoM were written mainly to produce a line of sweat shop clothing, computer games and dumb toys. Not originally anyway.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Was Nephi a real person?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 22 Mar 2019, 17:22

Honestly, I am a bit torn on this question.

I understand completely the arguments against any link to actual history, but there are really interesting parts of the BofM that I find hard to explain through the dominant arguments against historicity. 1 Nephi and Ether are fascinating, and there are obscure demographic and cultural details that hint at reality or true storytelling genius. I also think it is a freaking amazing commentary on our modern world in a lot of ways, which, if it truly is fiction, might make it revelation, nonetheless.

When you add the impact it had on me at a very early age from a "speaking from the dust" perspective . . .

My mind cares enough to want to know, if possible, but my heart really doesn't care in the least.
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.

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Roy
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Re: Was Nephi a real person?

Post by Roy » 24 Mar 2019, 15:50

I think that the allure of Nephi being a real person lies in having proof that God is a God of miracles, is shaping history, and that God endorses a specific religion above all others. That, I believe, is what the BoM historicity means to it's most ardent defenders.

The LDS church can be "true" and the LDS priesthood can be effective without the BoM, but it would need to be taken more on faith. The BoM serves for many as a sort of tangible proof.
"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

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Rumin8
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Re: Was Nephi a real person?

Post by Rumin8 » 28 Mar 2019, 09:15

In short, I do not believe Nephi was a real person. But that's ok, I always related better to Lemuel. But I don't think he's a real person either.

One of the things I have had to let go of this past year was my literal belief in the scriptures. All scriptures. That does not mean that I find them useless or false. They are myths. And I don't mean myths in a pejorative sense. To me, there is value in the story. In the inspiration around its creation. In the moral lessons. Like many, I get hung up on literalness. I like to turn things two dimensional or binary. Something does not need to be historically literal to have meaning or to be "true." It's never that simple. We have been done a disservice (most of us) growing up in a church that has so severely watered down the origins and spirituality of the scriptures and instead demands literal belief. This has harmed me for so very long.

This is something that I'm working on rebuilding in my life. It is hard but very rewarding. It is also very threatening to close family and friends, because it IS a different way of worshiping. Because of this, I don't share my true spiritual thoughts with very many people. Once I realized that the scriptures and church are non-literal and non-exclusive sources of my spirituality, I have been able to find a measure of joy and peace that I have lacked. It's not perfect, and it continues to be a process of discovery, but for the first time I am excited about my spiritual future.
"Moderation in all things, especially moderation." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Be excellent to each other." - Abraham Lincoln to Bill & Ted

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DarkJedi
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Re: Was Nephi a real person?

Post by DarkJedi » 28 Mar 2019, 09:36

Rumin8 wrote:
28 Mar 2019, 09:15
In short, I do not believe Nephi was a real person. But that's ok, I always related better to Lemuel. But I don't think he's a real person either.
I don't believe he's real either and relate more to Sam who is also not real. Real or not, Nephi was a major class a** and deserved what he got for treating his older brothers the way he treated them. He should have counted himself lucky.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Was Nephi a real person?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 28 Mar 2019, 12:34

I think it's a better question to ask whether Nephi (and I'm talking about the first one) was a GOOD person. I think there's room for doubt.

He's pretty insufferable and arrogant, defensive of his highly questionable actions, and utterly lacking in empathy and self-reflection in any meaningful way (sure he opines that he doesn't speak with the tongue of angels, but that seems a bit self-aggrandizing ultimately, not exactly like he wants to solve world hunger). He can't be bothered to name or speak with any of the women in his life, not even his wife. (OK, his mother, but that seems like further condemnation of his egotistical nature).

The only worse character in the BOM is Captain Moroni, and that's because he's also a warmongering hothead.

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