Sunday, December 8, 2013

Book of Mormon - loss of steam

Is it just me or does The Book of Mormon have a hard time staying interesting? After a while I couldn't help but feel that as the book goes on the authors get increasingly bored with it all. It's as though whoever wrote The Book of Mormon lost interest in the material and took less and less time to develop the characters, flesh out events, or even write down what Jesus was saying.

It's true that The Book of Mormon takes a few downhill turns early on. Getting through the Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi is notoriously difficult, and the tedium of Alma's war chapters is also known to force readers to a grinding halt, but for me the book really dives with Jesus' visit to the Nephites. I know, I know, it's supposed to be the best part - certainly the most important part - but honestly it sucks.

The Jesus chapters basically just rip off Matthew, Isaiah, and Malachi, and adds some crazy story about babies and children hanging out with JC and angels in a ring of fire. It's a pretty lame miracle by modern Mormon standards (Mormon's like practical miracles like healings, escapes, and mass feedings, not this overblown pyrotechnic shit). And really the whole visit sucks. Apart from telling the Nephites the same stuff that's in the Bible and stating that he wants his church to use his name, we just get Jesus praying in a language that can't be written and some a cryptic hints at totally mind-blowing stuff that was too sacred to write down. Thanks a lot. It feels like a total cop-out. I would have thought they could have spared us some of the war stratagems and given us a few more Jesus teachings.

Fourth Nephi should be one of the longest books, in my opinion, because that's the one that talks about how everyone lived in peace for an insanely long time and wouldn't we all love to know how exactly they did it? Some details on the how-tos would really come in handy these days. Instead we blow through 200 years of happiness to get back to more fighting. Then we move on to Mormon which is all about the final battle to the death, then you have Ether which is basically a Book of Mormon reprise concluding with another battle to the death, and then you have Moroni!

Moroni comes as a welcome change. It's not great but you have a fun chapter vilifying anyone or anything that doesn't persuade you to believe in Jesus, that great chapter about how infant baptism is evil, and the classic verses about how The Book of Mormon is true so pray to know that it's true and you'll know that it's true because it really is true! And for anyone missing the violence and gore of previous chapters, don't worry, Moroni includes some stuff about rape and cannibalism (I love how rape and cannibalism are worthy to be written about but not the things that Jesus said, the amazing things uttered by babes, or anything the translated apostles saw! Sheesh!).

After I got over the excitement and pride of having finished the entire Book of Mormon the first couple times I read it, I started picking up more and more on how lifeless the end of the book was. I think "lifeless" is the best way to describe it, but does that lifelessness also indicate soullessness?

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