Come Follow Me: Mosiah 29, Alma 1-4

Today we move into the Book of Alma.

The stories of Alma Sr. and Alma Jr. are a major focus of the Book of Mormon; If we start in Mosiah 17, where Alma first appears, and count through the end of the Book of Alma, it’s roughly 40% of the entire Book of Mormon, by wordcount. (I generated this using Bibleworks 10, though it is off by a bit, because my electronic text doesn’t include original chapter or book headings. Total Book of Mormon count is roughly 267,000 and Mosiah 17-Alma is roughly 99,400.)
Why did Mormon choose to spend so much time on the period of the Almas, and so little on, say, 4th Nephi? Is it source dependant? (Mormon can’t write what he doesn’t have sources for.) Is it something about the material that Mormon found particularly useful or relevant?

Continue reading “Come Follow Me: Mosiah 29, Alma 1-4”

Come Follow Me: Mosiah 25-27, Alma 36

My picture, from the Kidron Valley.

My picture, from the Kidron Valley.

This lesson has us jump to Alma’s retelling of his experience being unconscious for three days, in Alma 36. The story of Alma the Younger is actually told in  three  places, not just two: Mosiah 27:8-37 (roughly contemporary), Alma 36 (Alma jr. recounting to his son Helaman), and Alma 38:6-8 (Alma Jr. recounting to his son Shiblon.) Continue reading “Come Follow Me: Mosiah 25-27, Alma 36”

BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 19: Mosiah 18-24

My bookshelf

My bookshelf

Latter-day Saints have a thing about Doctrine, with a capital D. We try to define it, we argue about it, we prioritize it. We even misquote scripture which supposedly says “bearing down in pure doctrine” (Alma 4:19), when it actually says “pure testimony.” “Pure doctrine” is not a scriptural phrase, and I’m not even sure what it means. We tend to read scripture looking for doctrine. Sometimes, because of cultural expectations about how to identify doctrine, we can’t see it when it’s right in front of us. Continue reading “BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 19: Mosiah 18-24”

Come Follow Me: Mosiah 12-17

I want to plug Book of Mormon Central for collating published scholarship on lessons- See here for today’s links and summaries. (What they have is partly based on my own old work.) Most of today’s chapters involve Abinadi, his preaching, his words. We tend to read our scriptures without regard for where they came from, or how we got them, but that kind of context is often important. We tend to read direct speech (e.g. “And Abinadi said…”) as verbatim records, but should we? And what difference does it make? Continue reading “Come Follow Me: Mosiah 12-17”

Come Follow Me: Mosiah 4-6

51N-bcLYA2LFirst, a teaser. I’ve got something fun coming down the pike in less than two weeks I think a lot of people will be excited for. You’ll see it here and some other places.

Once again, I’d remind you of the book on King Benjamin’s speech (paper here), and the verse-by-verse commentary in it.

I’ll add my own bits which don’t overlap, and happen to be, well, on quasi-controversial topics. Continue reading “Come Follow Me: Mosiah 4-6”

Come Follow Me: Jacob 1-4

A candle inside the Holy Sepulcher

A candle inside Jerusalem’s Holy Sepulcher

Jacob marks a distinct and important break of sorts in the Book of Mormon. Why? Unlike Nephi, Jacob did not grow up in Jerusalem. Born in a wilderness, the first eight or so years of his life were spent… we don’t know. Maybe in captivity, maybe in the desert, definitely under duress and hardship. Point is, everything Jacob knows about and his attitudes towards Jerusalem, Jews, Hebrew, etc. he has learned directly from his family (and whatever peoples they have encountered along the way); he hasn’t seen any of it first hand. It’s a socio-cultural-linguistic founder effect.

Continue reading “Come Follow Me: Jacob 1-4”