Friday, December 6, 2013

Book of Mormon - war and violence

It's hard not to notice how many violent stories The Book of Mormon includes. It's authors were obsessed with detailing violence and stratagems and raids and things that don't really seem to have a whole lot to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Most of the war material is pretty boring. How many chapters about trench digging and fort making can you include and still call your writings holy? So much of The Book of Mormon reads like adventure stories for 12-year-old boys, only way more boring. Did the authors really not have anything better to write about than stuff like this?

Rationalization of murder: And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him. And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, and I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property. And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands; Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief. (1 Ne. 4:10-13)

Coercion: And now I, Nephi, being a man large in stature, and also having received much strength of the Lord, therefore I did seize upon the servant of Laban, and held him, that he should not flee. 
And it came to pass that I spake with him, that if he would hearken unto my words, as the Lord liveth, and as I live, even so that if he would hearken unto our words, we would spare his life. (1 Ne. 4:31-32)

Violent solutions: But Ammon stood forth and began to cast stones at them with his sling; yea, with mighty power he did sling stones amongst them; and thus he slew a certain number of them insomuch that they began to be astonished at his power; nevertheless they were angry because of the slain of their brethren, and they were determined that he should fall; therefore, seeing that they could not hit him with their stones, they came forth with clubs to slay him. But behold, every man that lifted his club to smite Ammon, he smote off their arms with his sword; for he did withstand their blows by smiting their arms with the edge of his sword, insomuch that they began to be astonished, and began to flee before him; yea, and they were not few in number; and he caused them to flee by the strength of his arm. Now six of them had fallen by the sling, but he slew none save it were their leader with his sword; and he smote off as many of their arms as were lifted against him, and they were not a few. (Alma 17:36-38)

Deception: And it came to pass that they [the Lamanites] did take of the wine freely; and it was pleasant to their taste, therefore they took of it more freely; and it was strong, having been prepared in its strength. And it came to pass they did drink and were merry, and by and by they were all drunken. And now when Laman and his men saw that they were all drunken, and were in a deep sleep, they returned to Moroni and told him all the things that had happened. And now this was according to the design of Moroni. And Moroni had prepared his men with weapons of war; and he went to the city Gid, while the Lamanites were in a deep sleep and drunken... (Alma 55:13-16)

Gratuitous detail: And it came to pass that after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised up on his hands and fell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died. (Ether 15.31)

 I thought room on the plates was limited. I thought the authors were boiling their records down to only include the information that would be relevant for these latter days. God knows we don't need help learning how to get our enemies drunk or how to avoid being poisoned. This kind of garbage made me suspect The Book of Mormon just might be lacking in divine inspiration. 

If this book's about Christ's Gospel, why does it relish in war and not peace? Where's the instruction on how the people managed to live in perfect harmony for centuries after Christ's visit? It seems like there might be some quality information in there. What kind of programs did they have set up? How did people distribute their property to have "all things in common"?

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