Monday, January 18, 2016

Thoughts on 1 Nephi 7

Two things struck me as interesting when I read this chapter a week or so ago.

  1. Separation from the church as self-damnation.
  2. Dissent is intolerable to the wicked.

First, separation. In Verse 13, Nephi says, "Ye shall know at some future period that the word of the Lord shall be fulfilled concerning the destruction of Jerusalem." This made me think more about Laman and Lemuel's point of view. Here they were, having just finished their second trip back to a completely fine city that their father said would be destroyed. They are probably saying to themselves, "We have mounting evidence that our dad is crazy." Nephi tells them that, if they are faithful, they'll eventually get evidence that the prophecy was true.

When does the evidence come? About 400 years later, when the people of Mosiah meet the people of Zarahemla. The Mulekites left Jerusalem post-destruction; they can attest to the prophecy's fulfillment.

Notice who gets this evidence: the Nephites who followed Mosiah. The Lamanites had said, "We don't think the prophecy is true," so they separated themselves, and then they didn't get the confirmation when it came later.

It seems to me this is applicable for modern church members who say, "We think the leaders are crazy old men who are wrong on social issues, so we'll disassociate ourselves from the church until we see evidence that they aren't wrong." When the evidence comes that the leaders aren't wrong, the critics won't be in a position to receive it. This is related to what I've written before about Hosea 4:6 and how people are destroyed for their ignorance.

Second, intolerance. In Verse 15, Nephi tells his brothers to go back to Jerusalem if they want. That seems like that would be the end of the argument. They want to go back, he says, "Fine," end of story, right? Except it's not the end the story. They don't just want to do what they want, they want to remove all dissension. Because he's letting them go with a statement that they're wrong, they tie him up and plan to kill him.

I see parallels to modern "social justice" warriors, who don't just want to win the issue, they want to destroy the opposition. It's not enough for me to say, "Get gay married if you want, but I'm going to tell my children they shouldn't get gay married themselves." I have to actively want what they have. This is a major element of Michel Houellebecq's Submission (as I read it). The main character fears the Muslim majority, then he tries to co-exist with it, but he has to fully submit to ever be right with it.

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