Talk:Alma 54:1-55:35

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Verses 54:1-5[edit]

Mmatheson wrote:

v 3. shows an apparent limitation of the Nephite language. Unlike English, where we use apostrophes (Nephi’s prisoner) or an adjective before a word (Nephite prisoner), Mormon’s sole way of describing ownership or possession was by the use of “of the” as in the “prisoners of the Nephites.” But this poses a problem because then we are unsure of whether he meant Nephites were the prisoners of the Lamanites or Lamanites were prisoners of the Nephites.
With this language structure limitation in verse 3 Mormon was left with a very awkward way to describe the prisoners. So in the first part of the verse, he used an additional phrase to clarify: “or the prisoners whom Moroni had taken.” And then in the second part of the verse he added “from the Lamanites” to clarify “prisoners of the Nephites” because to the normal reader “prisoners of the Nephites” tends to imply the Nephites were the guards and not the captives, which his clarify phrase explains was not the case.--Mmatheson 17:30, 2 Jun 2006 (UTC)

Hi Mmatheson, I have two questions on this. 1) no doubt there were a lot of things different about the Nephit language than our own, but it seems odd to me that we would expect this kind of difference between the language to be preserved. 2) The second question I have is about why "of the" is a reflection of the language here when in other cases an apostrophe s is used to reflect the language. Alma 59:1 is a good example of the use of apostrophe s. Here are some additional examples: father's, shoe's, name’s sake, Solomon's, mother's, Lord's, fuller’s, Remaliah’s son. There are more but I got sick of transcribing them. Here] is a search for them. --Matthew Faulconer 15:38, 4 Jun 2006 (UTC)

Verses 55:11-15[edit]

I'm tempted to delete this commentary:

"Lamanites were tricked so easily. they were made drunk and then the prisoners were freed. Also, in a proceeding chapter, we read that the Lamanites tried to perform this same trick on the Nephites. This goes to show you how "unsmart" the Lammanites really were."

I think we could ask some more sophisticated questions about this episode, rather than use it as a chance to call the Lamanites "unsmart". Comments? Rob Fergus 17:05, 26 Sep 2005 (UTC)

I agree that a discussion of how smart or not the groups of people are in the Book of Mormon is not appropriate for this site. (Were we to discuss it I would also disagree that these verse show that the Lamanites were unsmart.) I feel comfortable saying that this discussion is inappropriate because it seems clear from what the prophets who wrote in the Book of Mormon explain about why they wrote what they did, that the purpose of the Book of Mormon really has nothing to do with labelling some groups of people as generally smarter or not than other groups. Finally, though I don't think the comment was intended this way, I believe that calling Lamanites unsmart is offensive, especially since it could be understood by some to suggest that Native Americans are not smart. For these reasons I agree that the comment should be deleted--unless someone revises it to remove the problems. --Matthew Faulconer 22:16, 26 Sep 2005 (CEST)

Yes, "unsmart" seems a very lazy and inaccurate term to use. However, I'd be interested in the exact passage where the "Lamanites tried to perform this same trick on the Nephites"--I couldn't find it in the previous chapter. Were that passage to be found, I think it would at least be an interesting question to consider why this might've worked on the Lamanites but not on the Nephites. --RobertC 01:52, 27 Sep 2005 (UTC)

That reference seems to be to Alma 55:30--and it could be an interesting question... --Rob Fergus 13:05, 27 Sep 2005 (UTC)

And note that Mormon identifies the source of the Nephite ability not to be taken in by the Lamanites not in their smarts but rather in the fact that they remembered the Lord their God Alma 55:31. It seems to me that the Book of Mormon relates most everything (e.g. ability to be deceived, material blessings, not being destroyed in a tragedy, and of course sprituality) with obedience and remembrance whereas we tend to separate things out more. For us not being taken in is about being smart. Material blessings are about having a good business sense or being lucky. Not being hit by a tragedy is about being lucky. For us we focus more only on the spirtual blessing of obedience. I'm not sure what this all adds up to, but I do think there is a difference in the way the prophets in the Book of Mormon look at these type of things versus they way we do today. I think this is a good example of how, if we aren't careful, we can misunderstand the whole point of the story by forgetting that for them the whole point is about spirituality. --Matthew Faulconer 06:51, 28 Sep 2005 (CEST)