Talk:Alma 32:1-5

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Manifest destiny/election as a sign?[edit]

(First, I realized I posted stuff on "class" in the Lexical Notes that had already been posted in the Exegesis section--sorry. I'm sure this will get corrected eventually, by me or someone else.)

I'm wondering if we can't discern a sort of "manifest destiny" idea, or whatever the more correct term is, and link it to the later discussion of sign-seeking. That is, I'm wondering if we can't detect a belief among the Zoramites that their election and class position is effectively a sign of God's favor. I plan to go back through chapter 31 with this idea in mind, as well as seeing if the later discussion of sign-seeking can't be related back to this.

I'm posting this thought here because this bit about class and synagogues got me thinking about it, and I think will play an important role in supporting this idea (if it indeed can be supported). --RobertC 15:51, 21 October 2007 (CEST)

Robert, this brings me back to the insight that in the story of the rich young man who would be perfect, the apostles seem to have understood (culturally?) that the rich are the ones who are to be saved. Weber and what-not. My wife and I have spoken about this idea a great deal lately: are we not in the same boat now in the Church? --Joe Spencer 17:58, 22 October 2007 (CEST)

Laziness, hard work, etc.[edit]

Yes, I think we inherited a lot of these Calvinist attitudes in the Church. More interestingly, I think there is an interesting strain of thought condemning idleness and sort of praising hard to work to trace out and think about. I think this ties, also, in interesting ways to the very idea of law, and being blessed for obedience to law, and earning salvation, etc. I'm probably going to be adding keeping a few notes on all this here, cross-references and thoughts as background to thinking about the political setting of this chapter.

  • Prov 6:6: I think there are a lot of passages in Proverbs condemning laziness. To what extent might the Nephites have inherited a similar tradition that value work and eschewed laziness?
  • 1 Ne 12:23, Mosiah 9:12, Alma 17:15 etc.: From the beginning, a lot of BOM passages seem to talk about "idleness" and "laziness in negative ways. This seems to have been more of an inherited tradition that is built upon and developed in their own unique way, but not a Nephite invention.
  • Alma 30:17 (cf. 3 Ne 6:12): I think this was a favorite verse for Nibley to quote in ranting against the evils of capitalism, how it was the anti-Christ Korihor who taught that "every man fared in this life according to . . . his genius, . . . strength" etc. Where I think more work needs to be done (someone please point me to such work if it's already been done!) is in tracing out the theological context into which Korihor is talking. For example, I'm wondering if Korihor isn't sort of twisting or desacralizing the idea of "prosper[ing] in the land according to the promises which the Lord had made unto our fathers (Mosiah 1:17). It seems to me there is a clear association between prosperity (incl. material prosperity) and righteousness that runs through practically all of the BOM (up through 4 Nephi at least--interestingly, I can't think of much discussion of this topic in Mormon through Moroni, though I haven't look carefully...).

--RobertC 19:54, 22 October 2007 (CEST)

Well, King Benjamin talks about that right? Mosiah 4:17 - "Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just." --Mjberkey 03:31, 23 October 2007 (CEST)

I don't think the scriptures tie work so closely to any particular kind of wealth as seems to be presumed in this discussion. The scriptures clearly condemn idleness (work is to be enthroned in zion, the idle shall not eat the bread of the laborer, etc.). However, they also say that "the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish." (2 Ne. 29:31) There is a disconnect between this industriousness and worldly wealth. Prosperity is not a measure by which we may actually judge, but the Lord does seem deeply concerned with our being earnestly engaged in a good cause nonetheless. Work is closely tied with salvation. Wealth might be better said to correlate with salvation. It makes sense then that a false doctrine may have arisen connecting various kinds of worldly prosperity to salvation, however, such a connection just doesn't play out in the scriptures.

I'm reminded of a passage I found in Enoch 96:4 which states "Woe unto you, ye sinners, for your riches make you appear like the righteous".

In this vein King Benjamin, I think, (Mosiah 4:17) needs to be understood in light of of D&C 90:25-27. I'm not suggestion we must, of necessity, be niggardly in our affairs, but that "running faster than we have strength" perhaps has wider interpretation than many give it and that the possessions we have constitute a stewardship, our "talents", in a more literal sense than usual, the use of which ought to be for the purpose of increasing the Lord's wealth, in a less literal sense. --Seanmcox 20:12, 23 October 2007 (CEST)

Thanks Mike and Sean, good cross-references and good point about stewardship. I think we find a sort of tension between the idea of having "all things in common" (in Acts somewhere, and in the D&C) and this notion of stewardship. It seems most members simply assume the "all things in common" is a higher law that we are not required to strive for currently, but I worry that this is letting ourselves off the hook a bit too easily. On the other hand, I agree that we shouldn't try to run faster than we have strength (at least that's how I essentially interpret D&C 90:25ff, though I don't really understand the command given to "let your families be small" there--I'm guessing the first occurrence of "families" there is referring to all those Joseph Smith Sen. would give money to, is this right? If so, I find this a intriguing notion of families. If not, what's it saying? --RobertC 05:37, 24 October 2007 (CEST)
"It seems most members simply assume the 'all things in common' is a higher law that we are not required to strive for currently, but I worry that this is letting ourselves off the hook a bit too easily." I feel very strongly that you are correct here. I will sum up the main thrust of my energy on the subject by saying that at least from the time of Brigham Young, and ever after, I have found that the prophets have not been telling us to get ready for when the time comes to build Zion, live the law of consecration, etc. They have been telling us to do it. They have told us that we can do it if we only will. They have told us that we are not "waiting on the Lord" in this matter. Yet we, as a people, tell ourselves that there is something we, as a people, are waiting for before we can be obedient. It has become an excuse for being slow in our progress. We don't seem to feel there is a great deal we are called to grow into at this time. In talking with other members, I often find that they don't even really even believe that a Zion is a practicable thing. (That was longer than I intended, but much shorter than it could have been.)
Beyond that, I also wanted to give my thoughts on D&C 90:25. The full verse says:
Let your families be small, especially mine aged servant Joseph Smith’s, Sen., as pertaining to those who do not belong to your families;
The advice is for all, but especially for Joseph Smith, Sen. Applying or likening the scripture to ourselves, we would consider it without the "especially" clause.
Let your families be small as pertaining to those who do not belong to your families;
The Lord then is talking about family that does not belong to one's family. He's talking about those who we take a somewhat familial responsibility and care for, who are not literally family members. To me, I understand the Lord to be saying "don't stretch yourselves so thin. You have a stewardship, including a family, which you have been give responsibility over and although you are called to love your neighbor, your primary responsibility is over that stewardship which you have been given, so don't spend so much of your resources outside of your stewardship that your actual stewardship suffers". The following verses add more to this, but this, I believe, is the foundational thought and principle laid out in this verse. --Seanmcox 19:38, 24 October 2007 (CEST)