Studying the Book of Mormon Part 4
The Letters of Jarom, Omni and Words of Mormon
Jarom 1:1; “Now behold, I, Jarom, write a few words according to the commandment of my father, Enos, that our genealogy may be kept.”
Omni 1:1; “Behold, it came to pass that I, Omni, being commanded by my father, Jarom, that I should write somewhat upon these plates, to preserve our genealogy—”
This time we’ve used two verses as our synopsis for this study. The first thing that popped out to me for each book was the commandments given by fallible men to write scripture. This means they weren’t written as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost; they are not God-breathed – theopneustos. A stark contrast to this is what the Apostle Peter describes to us in his second epistle to the Jewish believers.
2 Peter 1:20-21; “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
We find that Jarom is the son of Enos and yet again nothing is shared with the reader about their relationship other than his father commanded him to write something. Jarom tells us in the second verse there’s really nothing to share because everything’s already been said. What he does share is compacted into one chapter. On the surface it may seem there’s not a lot going on in the book of Jarom, but friends that’s not the case!
In 1:4, Jarom lets us know there “are many among us who have many revelations” and those who accepted them have communion with the Holy Spirit. This obviously causes concern because at the time of his writing it’s 399 BC. Unfortunately, there is nothing of substance giving us detailed descriptions of what the people are doing and why.
Maybe there’s nothing to share because nothing is there…
Just four verses later we’re again faced with the situation of inventions being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In this particular verse Jarom claims his people were very skilled in the use of “machinery, iron, copper, and brass and steel”. He also claims the Nephites were using “tools of every kind to till the ground and weapons of war…” Ironically, he doesn’t tell us what they’ve made or why they needed tools to begin with.
Here is an excerpt from an article I wrote on the artifacts from the Book of Mormon. I researched a total of eighteen questionable items and documented my findings.
According to the Wikipedia website on the history of ancient steel it says;
“Some of the first steel comes from East Africa, dating back to 1400 BC. In the 4th century BC steel weapons like the Falcata were produced in the Iberian Peninsula, while Noric steel was used by the Roman military.” (22)
The article goes on to say this about modern steel making in America;
“The modern era in steelmaking began with the introduction of Henry Bessemer’s Bessemer process in 1858. This enabled steel to be produced in large quantities cheaply, so that mild steel is now used for most purposes for which wrought iron was formerly used.”
There doesn’t seem to be getting around this one! How would the Nephites have the knowhow to make this type of steel here in America circa BC 420? Another great website on the history of steel making can be found at the link below.
Click here for the entire article http://www.lifeafter.org/artifacts
Jarom claimed in verse ten the “prophets of the Lord did threaten the people of Nephi, according to the word of God”, and if they didn’t behave, they’d be wiped off the earth.
I don’t remember any place in the Old Testament where God “threatens” his people. Does He warn and exhort? Absolutely! Threaten? No, He does not. As a matter of fact, the word “threaten” appears only two times in the KJV and they’re both found in the New Testament.
I find the context of how this was used to be very interesting as well. Notice in the first example that it’s those with hatred towards Jesus’ disciples who threaten and in the second example, it explicitly says Jesus didn’t threaten those who reviled Him.
Acts 4:21; “So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.”
1 Peter 2:23; “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.”
In each case we find both Jesus and the followers paying attention to nothing but God. Our focus always is to be upon Him who loves us. The Lord doesn’t threaten anyone. He gives us commandments to obey and when we don’t then there are consequences.
To threaten is “to be a menace or a source of danger”. (www.dictionary.com)
Is that how you see God?
One of the most important questions I have about the Book of Mormon is why God would allow a self proclaimed “wicked man” to author his holy writ. Does it make sense a holy, righteous God would convey His thoughts through an evil person in this manner?
Do the words of Omni’s son Amaron sound like they’re from God?
Omni 1:5; “Behold, it came to pass that three hundred and twenty years had passed away, and the more wicked part of the Nephites were destroyed.”
Here we see the Nephites grammar problem isn’t an isolated incident. There are literally dozens of other examples of verses just like this that sound eerily similar.
After four verses Omni tells us he passed the plates on to his son Amaron and just four verses after that Amaron passes them on to his brother Chemish. After Chemish wrote two verses the plates were then passed to his son Abinadom.
Abinadom tells us he took the lives of many Lamanites before he passed the plates on to his son Amaleki. So in the course of thirteen verses a total of five people had written about the horrible Lamanites and many people had been killed. No specifics on how the Nephites trusted in the Lord except they knew they were moved “by the arm of the Lord”.
Exactly, what is the “arm of the Lord”?
At some point the Nephites had been moved down to the wilderness into the land of Zarahemla and it was there they discovered another people group called “the people of Zarahemla”. The text tells us nothing in particular about these people except that they “rejoiced exceedingly because the Lord had sent the people of Mosiah with the plates of brass which contained the record of the Jews”.
Finally, in Omni 1:15 the author tells us these people had escaped Jerusalem during the time of King Zedekiah and had also sailed across the “great waters” to settle in the Promised Land, yet didn’t believe in God. These Jews apparently hadn’t taken any writings with them.
They seemed to have the same problem the Nephites and Lamanites had incurred while in the Americas. They too had a huge population growth with many wars, serious “contentions” and a language corruption. While not stating what language these people of Zarahemla were using, the text tells us that Mosiah taught them his language.
After learning the language of Mosiah, the people of Zarahemla told them of their genealogy, but it’s not written down anywhere.
This one thing alone should send loud siren like warnings to the Mormon people. For the Jews one of the most important things in life was to know which tribe you came from. Belonging to a certain tribe indicated what you’d be doing in life. Ironically, living on this side of the cross means genealogy has no part in your life. When we’re in Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek. With the way they keep ancestral records today, you’d think the Book of Mormon would say something about this. Once again, they have things backwards.
Apparently “the people of Zarahemla” also discovered a people group who sailed over the oceans at the time of the tower of Babylon. The Zarahemla people gave a stone to Mosiah that had engravings on it and he interpreted it for them (1:20). The story on this engraved rock was about someone named “Corinatumr and the slain of his people”. (Omni 1:21)
Again, we see another grammatical problem. Coriantumr lived with the people of Zarahemla for “the space of nine moons” after his first parents came from Babylon and the Lord confounded their language as a punishment for their behavior. Don’t expect to hear anything else about these people because as abruptly as he appeared in this letter, his story is done. There’s nothing else written about Coriantumr.
The rest of the book of Omni is much like the book of Jarom. There is a pleading to the Nephites they should come to Christ in 279 BC without explaining who He is and there’s no description of where these people lived or their daily routines.
The next book is as small as the previous two, but with an added twist. This book was written circa 385 AD. The Words of Mormon is another “abridgement” written for the benefit of the readers to better understand how the original books flowed from one to the other. Got that? Here’s how the Mormon Church’s website describes the Words of Mormon;
“A Book out of Time
The short book called the Words of Mormon was written by the prophet and record keeper Mormon about A.D. 385, more than 500 years after the last writer wrote in the book of Omni. It is Mormon’s explanation for his including the small plates of Nephi with his abridgment of the large plates of Nephi…”
Not sure why this was needed or what purpose it served the people back in 385 AD, but it is what it is for the Mormons today.
The prophet Mormon seemed to have the same problem with proper grammar his predecessors were plagued with. Here’s what he had to say in the beginning of 1:3;
“And now, I speak somewhat concerning that which I have written…”
Verse twelve is just as bad;
“And now, concerning this king Benjamin—he had somewhat of contentions among his own people.”
Here’s my grammatical take on that; Huh?
Why would this guy be writing these things if he knew his people were going to be annihilated? Does this sound like an inspired word from the Lord? What purpose does this serve for the Mormon people today in Brigham City or Kearns or Richfield, Utah?
In verse five he made the comment that he couldn’t write the hundredth part of the things of his people and I want to know why. Why can’t he write even one thing about the Nephites to give us any insight about these people? Something of substance, anything telling us specifically where they lived or in what manner they worshipped.
What kind of clothing did they wear?
What color was their hair?
Did they sleep on mats or maybe blankets?
Did they share in a daily communal meal as the Israelites did at the time of Jesus?
How were the false Christs punished for their crimes in 130 BC as it states in verse sixteen? Or did he mean 385 AD when he wrote this abridgement?
Is there a deeper meaning to the word righteousness as there is in the Greek? If not, then why?
We will continue to read through the Book of Mormon as Mr. Hinckley suggested, but honestly I just can’t see where any of this would give hope to the Mormon people. Please, pray with us won’t you that members of the LDS Church will ask God to open their eyes?
With Love in Christ; Michelle Grim
1 Cor. 1:18