Studying the Book of Mormon, Part 6(c)
The Continuing Confusion of Alma
Alma 46:39; “And it came to pass that there were many who died, firmly believing that their souls were redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ; thus they went out of the world rejoicing.”
In Alma 42 Mormons will tell you that the theme of the chapter was clearly “justice and mercy”. While it may seem this is the case on the peripheral, we must look deeper into their theology and take it all into account to determine truth. For me the entire chapter wraps itself around 42:5;
“For behold, if Adam had put forth his hand immediately, and partaken of the tree of life, he would have lived forever, according to the word of God, having no space for repentance; yea, and also the word of God would have been void, and the great plan of salvation would have been frustrated.”
For the Mormon, sin is condoned and the world couldn’t have survived if it weren’t for man’s intervention.
In Alma 43 we find that Alma couldn’t restrain himself and had to go out with his sons to preach the word of God. I see no explicit details referring to why he felt so compelled to go. Nothing from the Old Testament explaining why he had to point a particular teaching out to the Lamanites as Paul did in the New Testament on many occasions.
In 43:4 the Zoramites suddenly become Lamanites and descended upon the Nephites in the land of Jershon. Suddenly, just two verses later the Amalekites, we’re told, were “more wicked” than the Lamanites and the chief of the Lamanites appointed chief captains over the army and they became Amalekites and Zoramites. He did this “in order to preserve the hatred towards the Nephites”. (vs. 7)
Alma 43:10 is quoting Jesus from John 4:24 (worshipping God in spirit and truth) while reminding us that the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi wouldn’t pick up arms to defend themselves because of an oath not to kill anyone. This meant their protection and liberty to worship God as they please fell into the hands of the Nephites alone.
I’m not a world history teacher, but this sounds too much like an American ideological concept.
As the war raged on, the Nephites were soon led by a new commander. He was none other than the 25 year old named Moroni. This new commander put breastplates, arm guards and helmets upon his ferocious Nephite army which scared the naked Lamanites away.
Moroni sounded like he was a strategic thinker by sending his spies into the wilderness to watch the enemy and began searching out the desires of God through Alma. In Alma 43:26 Moroni gathered all the people together to fight the Lamanites and defend their rights and liberties of their country.
They finally surrounded the Lamanites completely and when Moroni saw the terror on their faces, he commanded the Nephites to “stop shedding their blood”.
How do these descriptions point to the Lord?
After many attempts at trying to take anything seriously in chapter 44 I resigned myself to reality. This chapter is so kindergarten-ish. The visual I get while reading this is that Moroni is a spoiled child who didn’t get his own way and with hands on hips he gives the Lamanites a what for. These “Lamanites” have gone from being Zoramites to Lamanites to Amalekites and Zoramites in the space of one chapter with no definitive reason why or explanation of how people may have migrated, etc.
Alma 44:12-16 is just about as ridiculous as you can get. After one of Moroni’s soldiers scalped Zerahemnah, Zerahemnah ran to the woods and the soldier then secured the scalp to the end of his sword which wasn’t in use in Mesoamerica at that time, and went with this to the soldiers of Zerahemna. They promised to obey and not attack the Nephites anymore.
Apparently this angered Zerahemna so he gathered his remaining soldiers and got them angry as well. When he realized they were all surrounded he surrendered to Moroni again. This chapter also gives an exaggerated example of people in Mesoamerica at that time. Alma 44:21 would be laughable if not for the consequences of believing their lies.
Alma 44:21; “Now the number of their dead was not numbered because of the greatness of the number; yea, the number of their dead was exceedingly great, both on the Nephites and on the Lamanites.”
Alma chapter 45 has a few significant false teachings we’re going to touch upon. Two of those are found in Alma 45:16. The first thing is the claim that God said he would curse the ground they were walking upon.
According to Genesis 8:21 this is a lie. God promised Noah He would never curse the ground ever again right after Noah came out of the ark. The second item of interest is how they’ve quoted Revelation 14:6; “every nation, kindred and tongue”. It’s supposed to be 73 BC. John wrote the book of Revelation circa 90 AD.
The last thing needing attention is their story of Alma and Moses. They report that Alma was translated in 45:18, just as Moses. The problem here is that Moses died and was buried. See Joshua 1:1-2.
Alma chapters 46 and 47 hold nothing of import except to say there were more wars and contentions along with the excessive use of the phrase “and it came to pass”. This phrase shows up 24 times in chapter 47:1-36. See our article about this phrase here
Chapters 48 tells us the Nephites fought for their liberties and the “cause of the Christans”, but keep in mind it’s now 72 BC.
How does this point people to God?
Chapter 49 lets us know the church flourished in 72 BC and many were baptized.
From here until chapter 51 the fighting, “contentions” and wars went back and forth between Moroni Amalickiah died.
Chapters 51-53 seem to have another obsession with the “and it came to pass” phrase, using it 46 times. It looks like somebody was running out of ideas for their story line and needed filler words for their plot. The entire book of Alma has 1,975 verses. And it came to pass shows up 409 times in 401 verses.
Does this really sound like something that comes from a Holy God? Where is the devotion to Him that we learn about in the Bible? Where are the sacrifices needed for our sin? All we get are phrases that were plagiarized from the New Testament and filler words.
In addition to the questionable phrases we’re also faced with the problem of Greek and Latin words making an appearance, along with the untimely use of swords, churches and Christians. Alma 54:14 tells us that Moroni is going to close his “epistle” which in turn shows this simply cannot be from God. The word “epistle” is Greek which means a formal letter, usually apostolic. The next problem we see in the grammatical genre is found just a few verses later in 54:22.
The words “devil” and “hell” are used incorrectly for the year specified, that being 63 BC. These two words are part of what is known as “anachronistic concepts”. These concepts were not part of the Jewish ideology and not in use until the post-exilic Jewish period.
The word devil in pre-exilic times, show up in the Old Testament as a common noun, described as the being who opposes God. See the Annotated Book of Mormon at 2Think here http://www.2think.org/hundredsheep/annotated/inep12.shtml#17
In 56:29 we’re treated to the fun phrase of “sally forth” when referring to the Nephites. This phrase is from the Middle French originating in the sixteenth century. Do you really believe this is the language that Nephites were privy to in 64 BC? Notice that we’ve gone backwards in time…
The many battles, fearful armies, trading of prisoners and countless deaths all seem to meld into one another until we come upon a fantastic claim in Alma 56:56. This verse claims that after 12 years of war not one single Nephite died.
God has performed and will continue to perform many miracles in life but does this sound reasonable to you?
Chapter 57 is interesting. There is an exchanging back and forth of “epistles” in the opening statements of this section and in vs. 21 we see the author quoting from Matthew 9:29 (“according to your faith be it unto you”). Further on in the chapter it mistakenly says
“And behold, we are again delivered out of the hands of our enemies. And blessed is the name of our God; for behold, it is he that has delivered us; yea, that has done this great thing for us.”
Alma 58:12 poses the same unanswered questions as from before. How did these people know about fighting for the cause of liberty and their religion? The concept of humanitarian and personal freedom to worship wasn’t a universal part of the vocabulary for anyone before the early seventeenth century. It was at that time the Puritans began their quest to worship God as they felt they needed and had a right to do. (See Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice by Jack Donnelly published by Cornell University Press.)
Take notice in Alma 58:40 how they’ve quoted the apostle Paul from Galatians 5:1;
Alma 58:40; “But behold, they have received many wounds; nevertheless they stand fast in that liberty wherewith God has made them free…”
Galatians 5:1; “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
Alma 59 and 60 holds more stories of fighting back and forth with only a few things worth noting. Again, we see the use of swords and cimeters long before they were employed by anyone in Mesoamerica. By now it was only 62 BC.
The last thing in this chapter worth mentioning is how they’ve used Jesus’ stern words to the Pharisees taken from Matthew 23:26. This is solely a New Testament concept.
“Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.”
What I find interesting with using this phrase is how they also refer to Jesus. It was Jesus who said these things and they’ve referred to Him as God. Was this just an oversight or another sign of how Joseph Smith’s theology evolved over the years?
Chapter 62 sounds a lot like the story of when Jericho was taken down by Joshua and it’s worthy noting how they’ve taken the opportunity to insert as many times as they could “and it came to pass”. While not a record it’s worth mentioning they used it 26 times in 25 verses. (FWIW, the record is in 1 Nephi 16 where it appears 31 times in 30 verses.)
Alma closes with the announcement of Moroni’s death, then the strange blurb of how Hagoth built and ship and he along with many Nephites drowned while on their way to the land of Desolation.
After this strange event we’re told that Shiblon along with Corianton died. Shiblon passed the books along to Helaman’s son also called Helaman and yet another war began.
Are you inspired yet? The absolute depravity in this work should cause everyone who reads it to be very, very sad. How lonely the Mormon people must be for the Lord and hungry for His truth.
John 7:37-39 says; “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
Notice how Jesus said we can go to Him. Only Jesus provides the refreshment we need and our hearts so long for. He didn’t mention the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith or the LDS Church. Also take special note of how the text tells us the Holy Ghost had not yet been given. When John wrote his letter it was around 85 AD, yet there were many times the text of Alma is found to be quoting from him in 65 BC and the surrounding years.
Come alongside us and pray for the Mormon people won’t you? We’ve seen so much fruit in what God is doing with setting the captives free! Ask your Mormon friends and loved ones about the questions we’ve brought up here and see what they think.
Our next study is on Helaman so stay tuned!
With Love in Christ; Michelle Grim