Saturday, May 04, 2019

The Days of Mosiah I: Worse Than We Thought?

One of the books I'm reading now is Name as Key-Word by Matthew L. Bowen. (And if that title isn't going to get you to throw down some cash, he's got an irresistible subtitle: Collected Essays on Onomastic Wordplay and the Temple in Mormon Scripture. Jeez, Matt, call Parade of Homes, 'cause you're about to have enough cash to buy one of those houses in Alpine that is larger than a stake center!

Anyway, today I've been reading a chapter entitled "Getting Cain and Gain." A lot of it is about secret combinations. Bowen notes that secret combinations led to the near-annihilation of the Jaredites twice before their final destruction (proving that Satan is the source of the saying, "Third time's a charm"). First in the days of Omer (Ether 9:12), then in the days of Heth (Ether 9:26), and finally in the days of Coriantumr (Ether 11:15).

I thought, "How does this parallel the Nephite experience?" After all, the Book of Ether served for them as the Book of Mormon serves for us: a cautionary tale of a former civilization that couldn't get its act together. At first glance, there are only two times secret combinations lead to Nephite destruction: once before the visitation of Christ, and once at the end of Nephite history. But if we look at the first Jaredite instance more closely, perhaps there is a Nephite parallel.

See, the final destruction of both the Jaredites and the Nephites came from internal warfare. The penultimate* destruction of both the Jaredites and the Nephites came from natural disasters. Heth's destruction is from famine, while the Nephite destruction is from, perhaps, volcanic activity. And the first destruction of the Jaredites is when the righteous king is warned to flee and allow the unrighteous elements of society to have it out. In Nephite history, while there's no indication that the problem facing Mosiah I was a secret combination, or that a majority of his society stayed behind, there's also no indication that these things didn't happen, and some reasons to expect they might have. Firstly, what type of behavior is bad enough for the Lord to pull his people out of society? And secondly, how much of society must be effected before the king has to flee instead of pull a Melchizedek (which is totally a thing, I've just decided)?

If Mosiah was more of an Omer than a Moses, fleeing with a small group instead of leading an exodus, then the Jaredite and Nephite experiences were symmetrical. And symmetry is pleasing.

* = obvious Rule of Life: seize every opportunity to use the word "penultimate."

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