Lehi model or Alma model for disbelieving family?

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mackay11
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Lehi model or Alma model for disbelieving family?

Post by mackay11 » 01 Aug 2013, 17:15

I've just read this on another forum, I think it's worth discussing:
There is the Lehi/Sariah approach, and there is the Alma approach. Lehi/Sariah tried the finger pointing, lecturing, using the other kids as examples, calling to repentance approach. It failed. Alma tried the "let go, and let God" approach and it worked.
It might be over-simplistic, and it's certainly not a solution in all cases, but I really like the principle it teaches.

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Re: Lehi model or Alma model for disbelieving family?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 01 Aug 2013, 17:32

I have said in multiple places that I feel for Laman and Lemuel and how they are portrayed by Nephi. I read a lot between the lines in those accounts, and I think the situation was WAY more complicated than most members assume.

I also think Alma, Jr., was influenced greatly by Alma, Sr. - and the fact that Old Alma had been a bit of a Sith Lord in his earlier days probably had a lot to do with how he worked with Young Alma during his dark force time. (even though I read the account and believe Dad might have excommunicated Son)

It's all speculation, but I think it can be valuable speculation.
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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SilentDawning
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Re: Lehi model or Alma model for disbelieving family?

Post by SilentDawning » 02 Aug 2013, 06:45

I love the way people see models in the scripture. I can see the Lehi/Sariah and Alma models clearly.

Now, I have two questions as a dyed-in-the wool teacher would love to teach this contrast of parenting models some day.

1. Do you think that in portraying the Lehi/Sariah model as an ineffective model (I mean, it generated decades of War), and the Alma model as more positive, one would receive criticism for criticizing Lehi, the prophet? Or would the teacher receive other cultural "rebukes" from the class. For example, one could say that it was God who intended the Lamanite/Nephite split because the Lamanites were meant to keep the Nephites in check when they strayed from their religious devotion. Therefore, in criticizing Lehi/Sariah, we are criticizing Heavenly Father, which of course, is not allowed.

2. Also, is it culturally acceptable to criticize and old prophet? I believe you might get away with it if it is prior to the Restoration, and not severe.

Now, I'm not too concerned if contrasting these two parenting models draws criticism, but I think it's worthwile to anticipate it so it can be addressed if one must ever teach a lesson on it.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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mackay11
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Re: Lehi model or Alma model for disbelieving family?

Post by mackay11 » 02 Aug 2013, 16:38

I think it would be difficult to do directly.

I've heard many people who have non-attending/non-believing family use Lehi as a reassurance. "Even Lehi had 2 sons go astray, and he was a prophet!" (it's just occurred to me, 1/3 of the named children of Lehi go astray... huh).

What I might do if I were wanting to use these would be try to lead the class to their own conclusion.

I might say "we're going to look at the parenting approach of some of the parents in the Book of Mormon." You could then consider:

Lehi - lectures and makes comparisons
Alma Snr - prays but doesn't intervene
Alma Jnr - tries to answer the concerns that Corianton has, even with some speculation

It might work, but it would need to use some tight scripture lists and it would need to let them reach their own conclusions. With a little help from you.

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Re: Lehi model or Alma model for disbelieving family?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 02 Aug 2013, 17:04

I also think Lehi's sudden conversion has to be factored when dealing with the family dynamic. There is NO indication he was a religious man before his vision - and there is evidence that he was an absentee father, to some degree, during Laman and Lemuel's early years. I read that family narrative as similar to that involving Jacob and Joseph - the favored younger son and the anger of the older brothers, right down to "birthright / ruler" issues.

I see a very complicated, very dysfunctional situation, and I believe the power of the stories gets lost when the family dynamics are ignored - when "the prophets" are viewed as next to perfect and their narratives are viewed as objective.
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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Lehi model or Alma model for disbelieving family?

Post by mackay11 » 02 Aug 2013, 20:39

What evidence is there in the text that he was an absent father?

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Re: Lehi model or Alma model for disbelieving family?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 03 Aug 2013, 09:50

What evidence is there in the text that he was an absent father?


First, if I can go all Bill Clinton ;) , I included some qualifying language intentionally. I said, "to some degree" - but the following is my reasoning:

1) Lehi had the ability to pack his entire family and leave at a moment's notice - for an extended journey. That would not have been common if he had been a "city dweller" (thus, "at" Jerusalem and not "in" Jerusalem). Such readiness implies a background of ready mobility, which, in that time, likely means an occupation that required regular travel.

2) Lehi followed a route through a forbidding, dangerous, nearly barren area that, despite hardship along the way, ended at a habitable area. It might have been accidental or revealed divinely, but it also might have been due at least partly to previous travel through some of that area and/or areas like it.

3) Lehi obviously was a wealthy man, based on Nephi's description of their attempts to get the plates. I like Nibley's suggestion that the most likely occupation was merchant trader, and that he probably traveled to Egypt as part of that trade. It would explain a lot of other things in the narrative, especially his understanding of written Egyptian. It also would make him, of necessity, an absentee father, to some degree, especially in the earliest years of Laman's and Lemuel's childhood.

4) Lehi appears to have favored Nephi more than Laman and Lemuel. That could have been for any number of reasons, but the most likely are:

a) He had more than one wife in his lifetime (two, for sake of ease in discussion), and Nephi (and possibly Sam) were from his second wife.

There is nothing whatsoever in the record to tell us Sariah's genetic heritage. That isn't a surprise, necessarily, given the male-centric nature of most record keeping back then - but the lack leaves interesting doors open. Lehi wasn't Jewish, and, based on his lack of knowledge of his own ancestry (finding out only by reading the plates), he wasn't a religious man in the traditional, orthodox sense of the time. Being a man who was open to visions doesn't mean he was a religiously devoted or "actively religious" man. There is no way to know with certainly about his background prior to his vision, which opens all kinds of possibilities outside the social, insider norm. His married life easily could have been a bit complicated and/or unorthodox, as well.

b) He was entering a retirement or management stage in his life a few years prior to his vision (which would make sense, psychologically, since extra time for contemplation could lead to such an experience). If Nephi had been born as or after Lehi was entering that retirement or management stage in his life, Lehi would have doted on Nephi more than the older children who were establishing their own lives as emerging adults. That would be doubly true if Nephi was the only son of the new wife of a wealthy, older man.

c) It also appears that Nephi's personality was much closer to Lehi's personality at the time of the vision than was true of Laman and Lemuel - and, being even more speculative, I think Laman and Lemuel might have been closer to how Lehi used to be prior to his vision. They appear to have been more focused on wealth and the lure of the city, probably having begun to establish their own ties and their own future careers - perhaps in their father's business and perhaps as sons of luxury. If they had been helping run the family business while their father was traveling . . . and if they were concerned about losing position and possible inherited wealth as their younger brother got more and more attention from their father . . . and if their father suddenly announced he was abandoning his (their future) business and wealth . . . and if their father asked them to abandon what they had been building for themselves to join him in the wilderness. . . and if their younger brother positioned himself as their father's confidant against them . . . and if their younger brother gave away their wealth for a history book (meaning they couldn't go back at any point and reclaim it when their father's foolish impulse ran its course) and then killed a prominent man to get that same history book (meaning they couldn't return even without their former wealth) . . .

All of that leads me to believe Lehi might have been an absentee father to some degree in his life.

I don't know if what I just described is accurate (assuming the Book of Mormon itself is historical in nature), but I think it would explain a LOT about the narrative and how it unfolds - and I think it is a good foundation for charity in the way Laman and Lemuel are viewed.
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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mackay11
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Lehi model or Alma model for disbelieving family?

Post by mackay11 » 04 Aug 2013, 15:41

Hold the front page... Lehi had a second wife which Nephi and sons after were from? Where did you get that from?

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Re: Lehi model or Alma model for disbelieving family?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 04 Aug 2013, 16:02

Hold the front page... Lehi had a second wife which Nephi and sons after were from? Where did you get that from?
I didn't say I believe it. I said it would make sense as a possible reason why Lehi appears to have favored his youngest son over his older sons. I also said it is only one of the most plausible reasons, and I listed two others that I personally think are more likely. I should have said more clearly that I think the other two are the most plausible reasons, but I do think more than one wife would explain the intra-family tension pretty well.

This is ALL speculation, based on the details in the record. I'm not going to stake anything on its accuracy - but I also think it's important, at least to me, to consider these sorts of things in order to help make the people in the stories fully human and to try to "liken all things unto ourselves". We aren't caricatures, and neither is anyone else. The lessons we can take from scriptural stories are the most powerful, I believe, when we are willing to go beyond the easy surface and try to see the people in them as real people who faced real issues that, usually, weren't recorded explicitly.

As another example, based on the general tone of his writings and especially 2 Nephi 4, I believe Nephi might have been bi-polar or subject to depression of some kind - and I think, if that is true, that it's an important aspect that influences my reading of his narrative greatly.
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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cwald
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Re: Lehi model or Alma model for disbelieving family?

Post by cwald » 04 Aug 2013, 16:57

You see, this would make a great SS lesson and priesthood discussion.

Damn you correlation. :-)

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