GenCon14: The Top Five ABUSED Nephi Quotes: #5

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The Top Five ABUSED Nephi Quotes

By Bro. Even Thomas Ess

Let’s get this straight from the get-go: I like Nephi. He’s the guy who was proactive in getting the Book of Mormon started, who gave us in vision the perspective of a Christian Israelite from before “the Messiah” had even shown up among the Jews and who had an appreciation for the poetry of Isaiah, channeling him often. I would love to sit in a room with Nephi and hear about his adventures in traveling through the wilderness, finding a curious steampunk compass, building a ship, discovering a new and strange land, dealing with his dysfunctional family, and on and on. He no doubt would make my life appear boring by comparison. I admire him and am appreciative of his efforts of starting something which has bettered the world.

Any gripes I might have with what he wrote are probably more about our culture and how we tend to turn any “religious” story into a devotional, creed or dogma. While Nephi does, in my opinion, quite often cross the line between common sense and zealotry, he can surely be pardoned given the environment in which he was raised. As Nephi himself admits: “I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians. . .” but “I, Nephi, have not taught them many things concerning the manner of the Jews; for their works were works of darkness, and their doings were doings of abominations.”

If the Jews dealt in darkness and “doings of abominations,” it is conceivable that Nephi, just like Joseph Smith’s succumbing to Campbellite/Protestant influences, was a product of his time and culture, and would therefore reflect, at least to an extent, some of the “learning” that he had acquired. Not that Nephi worked in darkness or did abominable things, but as with any individual, God speaks unto men “according to their language and understanding.” Then again, Nephi called himself “wretched,” so perhaps it’s okay to believe him just a little in that regard. For the most part, however, my frustration comes from what we Gentiles have done with Nephi’s words. If he were to read this ‘talk,’ I suspect (or at least hope) that he would be saying, “I know, right?” to many of my points.

Finally, I am not necessarily disagreeing with the quotes presented. Rather, I am pointing out how we have possibly misinterpreted or taken them out of context, to our own detriment. So let the countdown begin:

 

  1. “Liken all things unto us”

You know that a scriptural expression has become a catechism when it gets its own theme song (link to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jymz9nAsiYU) Who can forget the campy seminary hit from waaaay back in 1975, Like Unto Us? For a refresher, here are the lyrics:

Like unto us, so the Savior said

And learn from days gone by.

Like unto us, it’s the surest way

To reach your home on high.

Every day we face new challenges

Hills that seem too steep to climb,

But other men have walked the same experience

And passed the test of time.

………………………………………………………

More torturous lyrics

………………………………………………………

Like unto us, now’s the time my friend

To heed their words of truth

Safe to know deep within your heart

Safe to love and work and prune

(okay, I’m not quite sure about that last word. Could be prune, or prove, but probably groove).

Looking at Nephi’s words more carefully, we learn that he was teaching his brethren from the Plates of Brass, (which were arguably much less tainted than anything we have today), and specifically talking about “the books of Moses.” Remember that in the Brass Plates, the five books of Moses “gave an account of the creation of the world, and also of Adam and Eve, who were our first parents.” Nephi was reading this to his brethren so that he “might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer.” Nephi also specifically cites Isaiah at this point:

Hear ye the words of the prophet, ye who are a remnant of the house of Israel, a branch who have been broken off; hear ye the words of the prophet, which were written unto all the house of Israel, and liken them unto yourselves, that ye may have hope as well as your brethren from whom ye have been broken off; for after this manner has the prophet written.

One might ask, “What’s wrong here? Isn’t gleaning from those before us the way to go? Can’t we learn from those who have ‘walked the same experience?’” The problem is that we AREN’T LEARNING from what the Book of Mormon teaches us, we are merely aping their actions or assuming their words apply to us when they might not. Case in point:

  • Nephi is saying what HE did, not telling the reader (especially a Gentile reader) to do what he did.
  • Isaiah addresses the “House of Israel, a branch who have been broken off.” Nephi is very clear that he thinks his people are that branch, so why would Gentiles liken those words to themselves if they were meant for another group?
  • Nephi speaks of likening the “scriptures” to his brethren, but we have very little idea of what was contained in the Brass Plates (his “scriptures”). They had FIVE WHOLE BOOKS dedicated to the creation of the world (the thing he was likening to his brethren), while our understanding of the creation is a couple of short chapters in Genesis as well as a little further revelation from Joseph Smith.
  • Six hundred years after Nephi made his statement, the Lord came to Lehi’s children and said, “Old things are done away, and all things have become new.” If we are likening what Nephi says to ourselves, it’s like putting on a pair of smelly, used socks and calling our wardrobe “restored.” Or maybe putting new wine into old bottles? Why would we apply the things which have been done away in a world where the rules have changed?
  • Nephi (Isaiah) offers “hope” through this likening, to not only his immediate brethren, but to the tree from which the branch has been broken off (the House of Israel). That might speak more about the condition of that people and the reason why the “prophet” wrote “after this manner.” The purpose of likening here isn’t for us to “get what they got” (are we sure we want what they have?) or to follow some pattern which would take Likeners back to the presence of God. It is to offer hope to those who are presumably lacking or enduring a period of captivity.

We use Nephi’s words to push an agenda, one mostly of obedience and sacrifice (to the Church, that is). On this blog there has been made mention of cargo cults, (link to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmlYe2KS0-Y) which were born out of native islanders witnessing never-before-seen airplanes during World War 2 landing, moving their cargo, taking off and doing all the magical things they do. They must have said amongst themselves, “If we liken the airports to us, then surely we will receive such bounteous riches that the white man now possesses. Let us build an altar with wings and a landing strip so that the gods can bring their abundance here!”

 

If you believe that we are the Gentiles spoken of by Nephi, the Lord, Mormon, Moroni and the others, then why don’t we liken the prophecies about us to ourselves? Furthermore, why can’t we look at the results of some of Nephi’s actions (like using Laban’s sword to fashion other swords and teach his people how to resolve conflicts with their brethren)? Nephi may not have connected the dots between a stolen saber and witnessing the destruction of his people in vision, but we surely can. In fact, Moroni, who had seen the beginning of his culture to the end, says, “Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.” If ever there was some instruction for us to receive, I think this should flash pretty brightly on our radars.

The concept we Gentiles use of “likening unto us” is not new. We likened the hell out of the Book of Mormon, “Another TESTAMENT of Jesus Christ,” to the Bible (New TESTAMENT and Old), complete with chapter/verse formatting, assumed understanding of the names and places mentioned in both books, and hierarchal organization with the Big P (Pope/Prophet) at the top. This all makes for good “slogans for everyone” fodder, as well as merchandisable products like music, trademarks, vinyl lettering and inspirational paintings to faithfully be hung in each Mormon home. Of course there needs to be middle management which can distribute and control the voice and persona of these things, so the Church eagerly steps in to market it via an institution. Viola, there you have it—a whole economy set up based on “likening unto us.”

While I believe we can learn from someone’s boneheaded mistakes (and we have plenty of examples in our own history), perhaps we should be wary of likening another person’s situation (even a prophet’s!) unto ourselves if it has no relevancy to our own. After all, Nephi did it to persuade his annoying brothers to believe in the Lord their Redeemer. I already consider myself a believer, so it may be that Nephi’s words at that moment have no application in my life, other than to hear his story from a first-person perspective. I’m good with that, and in that vein I am free to go explore and create something new and exciting, rather than likening myself to something dead. After all, if I liken myself to it, then I will eventually become it, and then perhaps Isaiah will have to do his thing to give me “hope” in my darkened state too.

 

Rather than some unrelated story to liken to ourselves, perhaps we should look at the words of Christ, which by His own mouth are a template for us to follow. But these things involve a change of our hearts and a willingness to let go of all the impotent traditions we have likened to ourselves over the generations, something Nephi seems to have not factored in when he admonished (or some might say threatened) with the rod of iron. I don’t see any programs or checklist of performances in this Gospel. Rather, it is just BE-ing as Jesus is: patient, forgiving, merciful, and willing to walk a mile with anyone who has the desire for your company. Yes, it even involves creativity. Apparently at some point kings will shut their mouths at the thought of this wondrously imaginative work and consider something new which they had not heard before. That sounds a whole lot more fun than checking off some list of do’s and don’ts and forever grinding the Grain of Futility on the Likening Mill. Let us toss out the stencils and see what happens when we pour our own hearts into painting on the clean canvas.

 

To be continued…..

 

Attachments area

Preview YouTube video Seminary Mormon Music – Like unto us – Original song version 1975

Seminary Mormon Music – Like unto us – Original song version 1975

Preview YouTube video Cargo Cult

Cargo Cult

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35 thoughts on “GenCon14: The Top Five ABUSED Nephi Quotes: #5

  1. the greater things abused will come in installments, I am told. What can we do to get them to us? We must all be better ____________, and more ___________. Then they will come. Or the author will send them as he sees fit, and we can receive them or not.

  2. Brother Ess,
    Good talk. I totally believe that our emphasis should be on doing what Christ taught us to do. However I have a hard time believing that we are really suppose to dismiss the vast majority of the Book of Mormon.

    • Edwin, I certainly don’t suggest that we dismiss the Book of Mormon. Quite the contrary. But I feel that there is a difference between “doing what Christ taught us to do,” and being like him (patient, merciful, etc). One is a rote performance and the other is an experience with possible discoveries at the other side.

      I think his words spoken in Bountiful are a good place to start, because as we have seen, men (even prophets!) have a way of imposing their understanding/interpretation on God’s words, and that can get us into trouble, or at least pose a risk of us repeating their results.

    • the Book of Mormon as it has been read by Campbellite Restorationists? Yes. The Book of Mormon as read by folks intentionally not interested in restorationism? Maybe not. When you say, “vast majority” I think you are not referring to the Book of Mormon on my desk, but rather to a representation of the book, revealed every sunday in corporate spaces.

  3. “I am free to go explore and create something new and exciting.”

    Of course, nobody can insist on what that “something” is without leading us back into the dungeon.

    So, how can a _community_ gain any traction? Is it only for people who settle on the same or similar readings? What about people who come up with different ideas? Indeed, what about the difficult, the contrary, and the skeptical? Who is out and who is in, and how is that decided? In short: What do we have in common, now that we are free of so much?

    • I think it depends on their basis for skepticism or contrariness. There’s gotta be some foundation of likemindedness, I think, which in the “long run” will result in a shared sense of truth/reality. It may take time, long suffering, mercy, patience, and so on, among all involved. But wherever we end up (as we currently have), is our “community” for now. Give it time, of course, and effort at seeking, and we’ll find ourselves in a community with likeminded souls. Ideas will call out their defenders.

  4. Communities should not be established based on interpretive readings. That is what we have today. Communities should be established with love. My dad, brother, mom, and sister and I disagree about many things, but my love for them is stronger than my desire for them to see it my way.

    Easy to say, hard to do. Impossible maybe. But Is not our love for Christ stronger than our desire to read things a certain way? If we find our capacity for love lacking for a certain individual(s) why do we always want to force change upon them? It is as if our love is conditional upon them seeing things the way we do. Why not ask for/seek for a change within ourselves that our capacity to love may be increased?

    Christ can teach us how to love. Feeling His love has a way of teaching me how to love those I might not have otherwise loved.

    If a Christ community is ever established, it will be our sins that unites us. It will be a collective realization of our utter dependence upon Christ. That kind of humility will lead us to seek for Him, and to eventually love Him. When we can love Him perfectly, we will be able to love others with perfect love.

    • A2Z… right on. I was going to say that the one thing we have in common is our failures, and in this day and age, we have the ability to see them acutely (it’s almost as if the Lord is showing us our weakness). Perhaps this is even the thing that turns our hearts to our “fathers,” seeing as how they were the ones who got us going on this track in the first place. Not that we should be blaming them, because we (as of yet) can’t seem to do any better.

      I believe that the pure love of Christ is pretty much exactly what you said: a desire to be with others despite how different we are, and how many ways there are of doing things. “Dependence upon Christ,” however is not like, say, dependence on a parent, though. Otherwise we are trading one idol for another one. Can we (and I’m speaking to ‘the Universe’ now) just agree that obeying orders with the intent/hope of receiving some reward is only going to land us in a pit?!! To “depend” on Christ is for us to see that nothing but our hearts matter. So to reply to gxc’s comment… that ‘something’ can be ‘anything’ really. If it is done with pure intent then we should delight at all the possible ‘somethings’ that can come about, and especially that my ‘something’ is different than your ‘something.’

      • I think He is showing us our weakness. He knew our weakness 1600 years ago, and showed them to Moroni. The writings Moroni burried were supposed to help us overcome them. See Ether 12.

        “Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness.”

      • So then the question is, if you think we are Gentiles, are we the ones who are being “proven” and had their talent taken away from them, or are we the ones who “have more abundantly,” who exhibit “charity?” Perhaps the jury is still out.

      • I know I’ve have been singing the same note lately, and I know how annoying that is, so thanks for hearing me out one more time…

        I think Moroni’s “have more abundantly” is the additional ancient records we’ve been talking about. It is the Lord’s Great and marvelous work. To convince a ‘few’ Gentiles to seek after Him. The Book of Mormon gives a mission statement to these repentant Gentiles. Nurse the remnant and carry them forth upon our wings.

      • The theme of “receive and get more” or “reject and have that which you already have taken away” is repeated ALL throughout the BofM. And when I say that I mean each of its major authors discussed this theme. It is always connected to written records.

        Maybe that is what happened when we substituted our traditions for the content in the BofM. Our talent was taken away. The BofM became a sealed book to us. To get our talent back and ultimately to receive all of God’s revelations, we need to accept Moroni’s condemnation of us.

      • “The Book of Mormon gives a mission statement to these repentant Gentiles. Nurse the remnant and carry them forth upon our wings.”

        It seems, though, that those assignments have already been made in Joseph’s day and we are wanting to take on some that isn’t ours to deal with. Whether or not we can somehow assist those who may be hindered in completing their calling is another story….

      • Our tradition has made a complete mess of trying to correlate written identifiers to current peoples. We are so desperate to be told the meaning that we never complete the work required to gain understanding.

        Give Isaiah, Christ, Nephi, Jacob, Mormon and Moroni a break. We are so separated by both time and space it is barely possible that they’d have the vocabulary to even describe someone like myself living in 2014 A.D. in Orem, UT, USA, Caucasian, with Irish and German ancestry, with a specific family name and religion.

        Luckily, the authors settled on a four terms (there may be more): Jew, Gentile, remnant of the House of Israel, and House of Israel. I believe these terms are used to loosely categorize all peoples of the Earth. Just like I can be both an American and a Utahn, it is also possible to be a Gentile who is also remnant of the House of Israel, but that isn’t always the case depending on the context.

        Context matters. A Jewish convert living in Jerusalem may have been conceived by the BofM authors as a Gentile. Whereas a genetic Jew living in America considered a Jew. Or is it the other way around? Scattered Israelites living on the isles of the Sea are even more confusing to the desperate mind. Do you focus on the nationality (Gentile) or family name (remnant)? Will someone just tell me the answer?

        If I were to describe Nephi speaking from my perspective, I would have to resort to “dude who live a long time ago in the Middle East who claims to have descended from Israel, and who isn’t apostate like the rest of his city.” Would Nephi make the connection that I was talking about him? Did he even use the term Middle East in his day? His religious status is the most difficult to determine and properly classify. If you would have interviewed everyone in his day, Nephi was the apostate. But in retrospect, it is easily determined to be the other way around. You couldn’t just use the term apostate. How would you communicate that to Nephi and his contemporaries in a word of warning? I submit that you’d have to focus on characteristics: do you trust in the arm of the flesh? You will die. Do you believe in a God of miracles? You will be led to a land of promise.

        Thus, I believe it is a simple task to assign identities when you focus on the context. Do I look past Christ in hope for a future Messiah? I’m a Jew and the BofM authors are writing to convince me that Jesus is the Christ. Why would I ignore the message because I live in a Gentile nation and I consider myself a Gentile. It was obviously intended for me.

        Am I bringing hidden ancient records into the light? I am a Gentile, and the BofM authors are directing me to carry the writings forth to a remnant of their seed. (Remember in one of these instances Joseph Smith was both a Gentile and a genetic Ephriamite.) Do I have membership in a church which claims God has given his power unto men? I am a Gentile, and the BofM authors are telling me to put my faith in the Holy One of Israel. Do I want to VIEW the brother of Jared’s revelations? I am a Gentile.

        You are not in one class, nation, or family to the exclusion of all the others. For instance, if you don’t want to VIEW the brother of Jared’s revelations, you still might be a Gentile. You’re the Gentile that will receive the promised curses.

        It is the readers responsibility to determine what class, nation, or family he/she belongs to. I think that the authors of the BofM have given us enough information to do so. In other words, we should not begin by arbitrarily assigning ourselves to a particular class, nation, or family. We should first determine the characteristics of these people and then check to see if we are in possession of those characteristics.

        And I think it is worth mentioning that if we are not in possession of certain characteristics which belong to a class, nation, or family, what is preventing us from obtaining the required attributes? I think the BofM authors labored to have each of us change our particular class, nation, or family into one House and Family of God.

      • Again, I think I disagree, heartily. You cannot be both the House of Israel, and a Gentile, or these words have no meaning as classes of people. the HoI has not been restored (to the earth? to power? to their lands?), and the Gentiles have nothing to restore. I’d say these terms should be defined relative to who has the Book of Mormon. All I need to know is what am I…and I’d say, a Gentile. I wouldn’t define that term according to someone-claiming-to-be-a-Jew’s definition, however.

      • what must be drunk, wine or water, or whatever, it matters not, except it by with real intent, or something. This would suggest that the forms we hope contain the magic to fix us, purify us, and so on, are the old idols again trotted out for our distraction. What do we really want? Shouldn’t that reflect how we live? How do we decide our just wants? If we have knowledge of the Story, we’d be better able to see what we want, and live accordingly. Lacking that knowledge, we must imagine it, or hope we have something at least sincere. Given all the “somethings,” we’d have to be long suffering, forgiving, and so on…

    • I don’t want to appear to consent to your claims by my silence, but neither do I want to disagree openly. Let’s imagine a community based on love…it includes serial killers, child abusers, liars, thieves, and so on, because we just love them. No thanks. I’d rather be with folks interested in a shared project or endeavor, and I’ll leave “love” to whomever I happen to love. What is it, “love” when it must be willed into existence in order to endure or suffer another’s existence or continued annoyance? We must be long suffering, patient, and full of mercy, perhaps because we aren’t expected to love everyone the same. Some we must endure, suffer, forgive, pray for, and so on. Is that “love”? I don’t think I’d use that word in that way.

  5. The entire Book of Mormon is a Super-Sigil and it’s true that people should be careful about likening it to themselves or at least be aware that sigils, are openings between both sides of a symbol. A symbol is never complete without that which it symbolizes and the action is two-way making them both symbols in their own right. There is no symbolism that is not two-way (whether it is consciously realized or not is another matter) and there is no symbolism that is necessarily unique to the Book of Mormon on an archetypal level. On the other side it will always be unique in its application since it works (or doesn’t “work”) “according to the conditions among the children of men” (D&C something) or in other words its up to us what we choose to do with it. Nonetheless it is important to not ignore the fact that the two sides (Archetypal and Shadow – “Type & Shadow” as they are called in the B.o.M.) are attached in the middle-ground where they meet so they are going to affect each other whether we “Like-n” it or not. Meaning…MEANING — it goes a lot deeper than we think — but our way of thinking or not really thinking about it will determine the parameters of the interaction.

    Nephi was asked “knowest thou….the condescension of God?” Since he answered that he did not personally know then he was shown another type and shadow. As Mormons and Christ-Shuns we typically call the condescension of God into Jesus Christ the ultimate condescension of God. But the God of Israel is not limited by our understanding except within our personal sphere of agency and influence. So Jesus’ life and life-form may very well be the ultimate according to one scale model…it is by no MEANS the only. And to claim such is to rebelliously block the whole MEANING of Jesus Christ’s life and a Christ-Life. The blockage usually takes the form of this tricky word/verb we have been discussing. We strive (against the Holy Spirit) to “live“ a Christ-LIKE-Life. And sometimes the Holy Spirit ceases to strive with us…then were in big trouble. To liken is to copy-cat and in a way that typically cheapens the relationship in a way that even literal shadows and reflective images do not. Basically it ends up being a mockery if we do not understand what is going on and grow up unto the Lord already. Were not even being child-like…we’re being child-ISH which is a mockery of Childhood, something we apparently need to always retain or at least regain if we are to enter the Kingdom. So lets look at this word LIKEN shall we?

    Perhaps the most simple and direct exercise we can use here to really drive home and imbue our minds with the same meaning that GOD offers the whole of creation is to start by realizing something very basic. The word LIKEN is the word LICHEN is the word LYCAN. We intrinsically we know this but we choose not to acknowledge the significance of the links in an ongoing relationship, but instead cut things off abruptly …close up when we sense God opening up. (Then we will typically open up when we suddenly feel God closing in our lives.) But lets explore through openings in the veil just as Joseph taught us to. LIKEN means to compare but check it out it is also synonymous with the words “equate” and finally “assimilate”. Assimilation has meaning behind it that typically retains its puncture value when it comes to the “Veil of unbelief” the scriptures tell us we have over our minds. In fact we are usually first mentally invited by this word to visualize joining of two things in one through some kind of process and we are told if we are not one we are not His. So Likening does go much, much deeper than mere comparison. If we think we can compare this with that and still keep them separate then we labor under illusion, much like Isaiah says of us.

    LICHEN is a composite organism that emerges from algae or cyanobacteria (or both) living among filaments of a fungus in a mutually beneficial (symbiotic) relationship. The whole combined life form has properties that are very different than properties of its component organisms. The important thing to see when LIKENing LIKEN to LICHEN is that we’re (talking about) composite organisms….that the whole combined life-form or life formed between the two counterparts (Type and Shadow) has properties that are VERY DIFFERENT than the properties of each component singly and separate from one another. When a would-be individual reads scripture he/she is reading a sacred sigil. The words of God (plural) are all a part of the Word of God (singular). When we read the words of scripture we are invited to a singular experience of individualization. Its the same invitation that was extended us before the beginning and its an ongoing relationship with God as the Cause (in which we are all to be anxiously engaged like it tells us in the D&C) so it deals with both the collective and the individual together as one. This can confuse us and we get blinded by the light (or the light bearer – Lucifer- at least, trying to pass himself off as the light itself). The problem with likening as it is typically done is that we make the mistake of likening what we are reading to the collective as far as we can see it. Meaning, we do not see the whole composite organism for what it is and associate ourselves as pseudo-individuals with only one side of the equation…the visible side….this side of the great divide… the side of the children of men. So we are like lost children, blind leading the blind. The Children of Men are not the same thing as Men at least not separately but if we’re looking for our parents they are never far. We need only LIKEN them unto ourselves and visa versa to become increasingly aware of how, LIKE the LICHEN, Gods and mortals form one composite organism.

    One area where modern man still does some useful likening of the bond-strengthening kind is with his “best friend” – the dog. People bond with their pets these days sometimes more so than with fellow humans. It is easy to spot certain similarities between people and their pets. Its not always the most healthy relationship as both modern man and his trusty side-kick have strayed dangerously far from their own archetypes. But it is an adventure that they share and so their influence upon one another though often completely unconsciously played out can have a reinforcing effect on the reality that has them both anxiously engaged in sometimes spiritually detrimental activities in as far as they are accepting of imitations as though it were the real, complete thing. This unconscious exchange of energy and attributes is illustrated by the legend of the WEREWOLF (Wer from the Old English for Man and Wolf from the Old English for wild dog or beast) But the roots of the Wolf-Man did not begin with the Anglos. And it certainly did not start with the latest craze in fantasy genre book and film sparked by LDS BYU student Stephenie Meyer. LYCAN is an abbreviated version of the word Lycanthrope from the Greek word lukos, which means “wolf” and anthrōpos, meaning man. But long before the ancient Greeks there were Dog headed humanoid figures known among the ancient Egyptian pantheon.

    Now even though we may say that it is only role-playing enthusiasts who concern themselves with the details of such things, we can learn a lot from looking at the specifics of LYCANS and LIKENING them to ourselves since essentially we are all role-playing all the time and that role-playing can border on ridiculous or taking ourselves a little too seriously at times if LIKE NEPHI we are ignorant of the condescension process of Godly attributes to the point where a huge blindspot blocks us from seeing our essential nature and causes us to compare ourselves to others only superficially and come away thinking we are better than our brethren. So something I learned from my cosplaying brethren (who although incredibly qwerky and even cliquish are by no MEANS considered inferior in MEANING to or by myself. R.I.P. Darrien Hunt cosplaying youth shot down “like a dog” by LDS Police Officers who did consider themselves superior to certain TYPES of people in their service of the SHADOW government.) is that there is a key difference between Werewolves and Lycans. LYCANS are LIKENED by them unto a type of GOD-DOG (which is a very telling piece of symmetry). Lycans can transform from Canine to Human and visa versa at WILL WHEREas WEREwolves do not understand exactly what is happening to/through them or why.

    As humans we have inherited a great many traits from our Canine Cousins who were not The First but were certainly prior to our kind in the order of physical creation (which as the author of the original post points out was doubtless given in much greater detail in those Brass Plates). One of the things that we have inherited from them is the pack mentality. The enemy (Himself being characterized in earliest times of the dawn of civilization as a Jackal-headed diety) knows this very well and uses it against humanity by dividing us into separate packs and training us to viciously attack anyone who does not go along with the group-think. In reality we ought to see all humans as belonging to the same pack and worthy of our respect and protection. But the Big Bad Wolf is that alien influence which wishing to remain separate in certain ways from us, yet tries to convince us to let it into our houses so that it might wear us as a disguise. (Remember Sheep do not wear clothes only skin and wool so we are talking about spiritual/physical possession and alien invasion) Wolves in sheep’s clothing are so successful in their evil ways because we cannot recognize them until we recognize ourselves. Dogs have many ways of recognizing each other. I am not suggesting that we sniff strangers butts…BUT…if we are unacquainted with one another’s stinkier sides then we can not say we are acquainted at all. This world is a dog eat dog place fallen far from grace. Coincidentally when it comes to the more benevolent side of ancient and modern theories/theologies regarding “alien visitation” for the sake of restoring mankind to our former glory…it is said that Sirius (The DOG Star) is the neighbor which will come to our aid and make a full end of nations (split tribes etc as opposed to the natural oneness of Zion).

    The problem with LIKENING the scriptures unto ourselves is that we are diving into a deep and transformative storyline without the willingness to literally BE-come Christ (a far more encompassing concept and the whole point of this classroom of mortality) instead we just want to be “LIKE” Christ, which is to say an imitation of the First LIKE Lucifer. We are like unto the phenomena of young Caucasian youth in these Latter-Daze who want to “act black” but when confronted with the harsher realities of BEING black they want to run home to mommy and daddy and by extension the entire white supremacist establishment of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture for protection. The broader Christ-Shun culture spreading and covering the globe today is all about acting LIKE ….acting LIKE we know even who Jesus was….acting LIKE we imagine he would without knowing him personally only on paper (written by church leaders) acting LIKE we are on the Christ Team but wanting to avoid taking any part in the suffering. Basically Christ-Shuns choose Lucifer’s plan and try their damnedest to implement it on earth. Christians are to Christ what McNuggets are to real Poultry. But like McDonald’s they are “Ba,ba,ba,ba,ba!” LIKIN’ IT. Let em have joy in their works for a season.

    • Wow. At first I thought an emanation had taken a left at Seb Pearce’s new-age bullshit generator and then passed through Hugh Nibley’s grave before settling on the One known as I-‘like’-U-‘like’-I. Actually, there are some good ideas in there. I’ll have to chew on this comment for a while…

    • Ok, I’ve decided this is a genius-level comment by I-‘like’-U-‘like’-I. We’re either dealing with a chaos magician, or, ooooooh I dunno, someone expert in the use of words, language, and other signs. I’m not sure there’s much difference between the two. In any case, I declare that our magician is very much on the same page as day2mon himself, if I understand anything at all. Whaddaya say, day2mon? Good call?

      Anyway, yes, fundamental ideas here. Really good stuff. For instance, I got thinking as I was reading this: the child is an emergent BEing. There’s a lot of likening going on there at first, a lot of scripting. That’s all childlike when it serves the emerging purpose, but if the child grows up and never learns to do anything but mimic and repeat, that becomes child-ish. It’s a failure; it’s like the person was never alive, never got a soul or was somehow blocked. But the uncorrupted child is emerging and becoming its parent. Its parent as a class, you see; its self becomes something, a gestalt that can’t be explained by the scripts it practiced as a young ‘un. Not explained, and never reproduced. It is self-expression, sheer creation; complexity beyond belief.

      Those who merely liken, shun creation. Hence the Christ-SHUN is the result of the endless striving to be like Christ. And, I daresay, that which impedes the process from likening to fully-emergent being is the very Antichrist.

      • I understand yours better than the Like-n comment, to be honest. The One Like Unto God, as I’ve claimed here and in the Cult.Hist. is Satan. Like-un to = evil, I think I wrote a blog post about that…

  6. James Kugel in his book How to Read the Bible (New York: Free Press, 2007) notes four assumptions that can be demonstrated to have been held by ancient interpreters. These same assumptions are held by many today. The assumptions are:
    – the Bible is a fundamentally cryptic text
    – the Bible was a book of lessons directed to readers in their own day. It is instruction, telling us what to do: be obedient to god just as Abraham was and you will be rewarded.
    – the Bible contained no contradictions
    – the Bible is a divinely given gift

    The second assumption applies to your blog post, but all four may be applied to the LDS view of the BOM and the other Joseph Smith given scriptures.

    With respect to the dark and abominable behaviour of Jews, what could be more racist and demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of Judaism of the second temple period. I know that the Lehites departed from the Holy Land well before that, but Joseph Smith didn’t know anything about 7th and 6th century Israel and Judah. What we do have in the BOM is a bigoted view of Jews typical of Joseph Smith’s time. Thankfully we have moved on from then and most recently with Ed Sanders’ 1977 work Paul and Palestinian Judaism.

    For those who may know to what I am referring and those who don’t but are interested, Mormonism has morphed into what Nephi warns against. Covenantal nomism is how Mormonism should be best described, other than radical Arianism, and is used to misunderstand and condemn the Pharisees in our Sunday School classes without realising the best example is found within the church the discussion is taking place. The new perspective on Paul is a fascinating area of study and has been a rich topic of research and publication for the last nearly 40 years.

  7. “Again, I think I disagree, heartily. You cannot be both the House of Israel, and a Gentile, or these words have no meaning as classes of people. the HoI has not been restored (to the earth? to power? to their lands?), and the Gentiles have nothing to restore. I’d say these terms should be defined relative to who has the Book of Mormon. All I need to know is what am I…and I’d say, a Gentile. I wouldn’t define that term according to someone-claiming-to-be-a-Jew’s definition, however.” -day2mon

    I think this topic is so important, and my understanding of it so lacking that I’d like to continue the conversation…

    Who is the remnant? “—and this remnant of whom I speak is the seed of thy father [Lehi]—” 1 Nephi 13:34. Is there a consensus that when we speak of a “remnant” we are speaking about a descendant of Lehi (genetic Lehi-ite)?

    Having this definition, I would agree that a Gentile can’t be both a Gentile and a descendant of Lehi. The problem is, we’ve been accustomed to using the term “remnant” as also applying to a scattered and lost Ephraimite, which has nothing to do with being a descendant of Lehi’s people (who coincidentally(?) are also related genetically to Ephraim and Manasseh). Are we agreeing to reject this custom and call all of these people (non Lehi-ites) Gentiles?

    I think the problem started when Joseph Smith was classified as a pure-blooded Ephraimite. Is this a false hope/tradition? I think the Book of Mormon calls Joseph Smith a Gentile. Why did we want to force JS to be a Ephraimite? This area deserves more investigation (I think it might help us solve this riddle).

    So, yeah, I agree with your clarification about it being impossible strictly speaking to be both a Gentile AND a descendant of Lehi. With an important exception. You can’t be both at the same moment in time. You can change your status:

    “And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks—and harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God, they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father; yea, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel; and they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land forever; they shall be no more brought down into captivity; and the house of Israel shall no more be confounded.” 1 Nephi 14:1-2.

    So if I am a Gentile and I obtain a covenant that numbers me among the seed of Lehi and of the House of Israel–have I forever lost my Gentile-ness? If you agree with this point, I would also agree that you can’t be both a Gentile AND a member of the House of Israel. But we are kinda splitting hairs here and I’m trying to determine if it is useful.

    I believe it is useful because Gentiles who are able to obtain a covenant from the Lord ARE the Gentiles who will fulfill the prophecies contained in the Book of Mormon. I believe the whole purpose of the Book of Mormon is to prepare the Gentiles to receive such a covenant–Abrahamic style (from God and not man). Maybe the kind of covenant that the Lord intended to offer in Nauvoo. If we cannot talk about these people in terms utilizing both their temporal (Gentile) and their spiritual (House of Israel) heritage, I don’t think we can give the Book of Mormon a fair reading.

    “Wherefore, the things of which I have read are things pertaining to things both temporal and spiritual; for it appears that the house of Israel, sooner or later, will be scattered upon all the face of the earth, and also among all nations.” 1 Nephi 22:3.

    It would be nice to find a specific scriptures which uses the term Gentile, but is clearly referring to a covenant Gentile (who would thereby also be numbered among the House of Israel). I guess that is my homework.

    Thanks in advance for the discussion.

    • A few things in response:
      1. I think it is meaningless to say, “genetically ______.” There is no “genetically” anything: not white, Asian, Jewish, or Indian. Maybe not even human. So you cannot be genetically a Lehite. A descendant of Lehi? Ok.

      2.How is descent reckoned? Not genetically, of course. Patrilineally? Matrilineally? Bilateral? What of Gentiles? You may be “numbered among” the Remnant, but not “Be” one of them, in any sense, genetically or otherwise. Some Lamanites were numbered among the Nephites, for example, but were not regarded as “being” the same.

      3. I don’t know where you get the idea that some covenant is being offered to a people, or to an individual. Actually, I do know where it comes from, but I don’t know that person gets it from. Its a reading pretty common to Restorationists, in fact, going back to the 1600s, e.g., the puritans being a new covenant people. Hardly something new to try out, given that it has failed for four centuries. But maybe now we have the Power, eh?

      4. I’ve written like 5 volumes dealing with these puzzles about the Remnant, Gentiles, the Book of Mormon, Zion, and so on. So I might appear a bit impatient in these responses.

  8. And now addressing the point of this article…

    Nephi was able to LIKEN Isaiah to himself because he saw in vision (had a revelation) about what Isaiah seems to have described. Isaiah’s words were enough to describe what Nephi saw. By using Isaiah’s words, he didn’t have to quote verbatim the angel he talked to, or find words to describe things which may have been difficult to describe.

    Maybe he used Isaiah’s words to get around (the best he could) the admonition to NOT write the things which he saw.

    • And Nephi’s admonition to his readers to LIKEN his writings to themselves was a polite way of saying: Don’t be so bone-headed to think that I’m referring to someone else.

    • And… I guess this conversation has gone full circle. I just completed my homework assignment:

      “And now, the words which I shall read are they which Isaiah spake concerning all the house of Israel; wherefore, they may be likened unto you, for ye are of the house of Israel. And there are many things which have been spoken by Isaiah which may be likened unto you, because ye are of the house of Israel.”

      Are covenant Gentiles able to LIKEN Isaiah to themselves? Lol. I am laughing at the path I just traveled.

      • The point I tried to make with the post (and will continue to make with the other “talks”) is that the words of Nephi have been and continue to be abused because they are used to promote unbelief and keep us in bondage. Are there words Nephi said or Isaiah or Zenos which are applicable to Gentiles? Of course. It seems pretty obvious that the Gentiles are the wild tree in the allegory retold by Jacob. The Lord says that the words of Isaiah are very important to the Gentiles and that they should study and ponder them. None of that means we should take on commissions or assumptions that weren’t commended to us.

    • Edwin,
      That’s what the remaining “talks” will be about, but I’ll toss in some here which may or may not be covered in the writings to come. Be aware that I’m not trying to start new threads on the presented subject matter, just show some examples and why I think they answer your question. But rather than just make a list, I’ve included explanations to back up my points:

      1. Sacrifice – Our tradition is that “To sacrifice is to give up something valuable or precious, often with the intent of accomplishing a greater purpose or goal. Sacrifice has always been a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. After the Atonement of Christ, followers of Jesus Christ—by His direction—began to offer instead a “broken heart and contrite spirit” a willingness to repent of sins and a desire to follow Jesus Christ and align one’s life with His commandments.” -LDS.org

      THE PROBLEM
      When the Lord accomplished His work, the meaning of “sacrifice” changed. It was “done away” and “fulfilled.” The old definition of sacrifice (as pertaining to the Law of Moses) was reformed. No longer were we to offer up sacrifices and burnt offerings. The Lord told us those things should be done away and that He would not accept them. The new meaning of sacrifice given was “a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” This is the offering that would bring on “baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.”

      It is important to understand exactly what is meant by “a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” Nephi uses it in his prayer to the Lord, asking that his stumbling block is removed and that the “gates of hell shut continually” before him. Moroni describes how baptism did not occur for an individual until they had shown that they had “truly repented of all their sins.” Moroni also tells us that the Gentiles, can rend the veil of unbelief, “hardness of heart, and blindness of mind,” call upon the Father in the Lord’s name and have the revelations be unfolded before them. Clearly, “a broken heart and a contrite spirit” has to do with repenting and purging from the pollution, and being open to another story… willing to be childlike and receptive to something different.

      The common belief is that we now should sacrifice or give up the things we cherish for the hope that something else better will come along. Even with the new meaning of a “broken heart and contrite spirit,” we dwell in a place of desolation and scarcity. This warped understanding will ever keep us in captivity.

      2. Christopher Columbus – Our tradition is that the man who came upon the many waters and the Gentiles who followed were CC and the groups of pilgrims. This is a convenient way to put ourselves into a prophecy which makes us the star of the show. Not only that, we no longer look to see what else Nephi’s vision could possibly mean. But do the fruits align? I would argue that they do not. This “book” in the hands of the Gentiles is supposed to do something which I don’t think the Bible has done, although the common interpretation is otherwise. And apparently, the Spirit descended on Columbus, but history tells a different story. Maybe he was a good man, maybe he wasn’t, but it is pretty clear that his motives were for profit. That seems hardly worth showing in a vision 2000 years before it happened.

      3. Establishing Zion – The latest thing going on is that people are gathering in groups, doing re-baptisms and holding their own meetings. I have no problem with any of it, except when I hear comments like “we need to seek the remnant” or “we need to establish Zion.” I don’t read anywhere in the Book of Mormon that the Gentiles will start Zion. I don’t read anywhere in the D&C that the modern Gentiles (us) are to seek out and find the “remnant” or the Lamanites. Yes, there are prophecies that the Gentiles will eventually take some records to the House of Israel, but first there has to be repentance and faith. As the aforementioned records are not currently among us, I have to assume that we haven’t passed the “trial” that Moroni speaks about.

      4. Baptism – Joseph Fielding Smith said: “Every person who embraces the gospel becomes of the house of Israel. In other words, they become members of the chosen lineage, or Abraham’s children through Isaac and Jacob unto whom the promises were made. The great majority of those who become members of the Church are literal descendants of Abraham through Ephraim, son of Joseph. Those who are not literal descendants of Abraham and Israel must become such, and when they are baptized and confirmed they are grafted into the tree and are entitled to all the rights and privileges as heirs.”

      There are several issues here. First, that Gentiles are actually already of the House of Israel through Ephraim and that any non Israelite becomes grafted in as heirs at baptism (then who ARE the Gentiles?). I cannot find any supporting text of this belief in the Book of Mormon.

      Second, The Book of Mormon tells us, even Christ Himself “commands” that we should receive baptism. Is this the same thing that we receive now? If so, why are we told in Moroni 8 that little children (notice it doesn’t say infants or babies) need no baptism? Is an eight year old a little child?

      It is interesting to note that until recently, the heading on Moroni chapter 8 said, “Infant baptism is an abomination.” This was inserted by a committee with Bruce R. McKonkie leading the way. That little “help” in our interpretation has been a key factor in why we have overlooked this discrepancy for so long. But if the language of the Book of Mormon is consistent, we have to define a “little child” as one who can understand words being spoken to them.

      Mosiah 2:40 says “O, all ye old men, and also ye young men, and you little children who can understand my words, for I have spoken plainly unto you that ye might understand, I pray that ye should awake to a remembrance of the awful situation of those that have fallen into transgression.” So here we see that among those classified as “little children” are the ones who can understand Mosiah’s plain words. It is confirmed that even King Benjamin understood that these little ones did not need baptism:
      Mosiah 6:2 “And it came to pass that there was not one soul, except it were little children, but who had entered into the covenant and had taken upon them the name of Christ.” and later…Mosiah 15:25 – “And little children also have eternal life.”

      Third, we are told that “elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it. Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins. And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.”

      Is this how we do it? The B of M tells us that people received it AFTER they were called priests and teachers and elders. It was AFTER they brought forth “fruit” meet that they were “worthy” of it. What is this fruit? Can an eight year old make a determination to serve God to the end and bear fruit, when they can’t even understand what that means? Can an eight year old accumulate “sins” and life experience to the extent that they have to witness that they have abandoned them? Is this why it is such an abomination that little children are baptized?… “solemn mockery before God?”

      These are just a few examples. I’ll try to present some others in the future.

      • I really like this reading of the Book of Mormon. I believe a reading like this comes only by faith. A faith or desire to hear the words/message the authors where trying to convey. It is at least an attempt to hear their voice without substitutions or distractions. It is impossible to test the fruit of the Book of Mormon if you refuse to give it a fair reading. I think these talks are helping.

        And if any of my previous comments suggest otherwise, I want to correct the record. I am in total agreement with point three. I am trying to figure out the repentance and faith part.

        Clearing the slate is difficult. It is hard to erase when you consider all the time and energy you’ve spent solving a difficult problem. Should we console ourselves and say: “what we have is good enough”–even when we know the solution we’ve arrived at is wrong? I am ready to start over.

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