Category Archives: Study Group notes

Study group on headings in Alma


We are comparing the various headings that Mormon himself wrote into his text. We’re comparing them with each other, as well as with the printer’s manuscript. See the end of this post for the list of headings we’re working on. (I’ll update the conversation notes as we go along.)

  • What do these look like on the original and printer’s manuscript? Are they set off? Answer: some have underlines, markings, and some are set off in different type.
  • What about other headings in the Book of Mormon? How do they look: Answer: some are set off, some aren’t. It looks like Mosiah 9 is the first time in the Book of Mormon that the printer notices there are headings that aren’t at the beginning of a book. There is at least one heading before that that we think he misses, and that is 2 Nephi 6. Another would be Jacob 2.
  • Are there others in Alma that we are noticing that the printer didn’t? Answer: So far no. We noted the 2 passages in Alma (included below) where he talks about what he has written, but these passages do not have the same sound as the headings. We decided that headings usually do not have a verb (“An account…”) and they introduce material, rather than commenting on previously written material.
  • Are there headings after Alma that the printer didn’t see? Answer: We aren’t seeing any! It looks like the printer slowly figured out what was a heading in the text. (The heading for The Book of Zeniff seems to have clued him in — it’s a clear break, but not at the beginning of a Book, and then perhaps the printer watched for those kinds of things within the later books. Updated answer: the Book of Moroni is another question. These verses could serve as headings, easily: 2:1, 3:1, 4:1, 5:1, 6:1, 8:1. Chapter 9 does have a heading. Ch. 8 is the first epistle, but that doesn’t have a heading —  but maybe it would have been an awkward heading because he talks about himself (first person) rather than third person in ch.9 (for which the printer does give a set-off heading). Does the heading of chapter 9 serve as a break between the two epistles, and that’s why it has a heading?
  • In printer’s manuscript there’s a clear distinction for a heading for Moroni chapter 9.
  • Side note — once in a while, there’s a question as to whether or not all of the original chapter breaks are perfect. 3 Nephi 27 is one question, Alma 13 is another. Often a dictation session went to the end of a chapter. But once in a while they paused, and maybe when they came back assumed it was a new chapter. Playing with an idea — that maybe Moroni chapter 9’s heading was one of these? That is, maybe chapters 8 and 9 were one chapter, with a note in the middle explaining when things switch to the next epistle, and that got treated as a chapter break but wasn’t really?
  • What are the headings doing in Alma? Answer: Well, let’s compare to Helaman first. The headings there are very tightly organized. Each sentence describes chapters; this includes the heading over (our) chapter 7. Are the headings in Alma that careful? Not necessarily.
  • All of the headings we found in Alma are at the beginning of original chapters. (But not every original chapter has a heading.)
  • Chapters 1-3 are a chapter; chapter 4 is where he lets go of the judgment seat. The heading for the book of Alma talks twice about him being chief judge. Is the heading over all of Alma meant to be a heading just for original chapter 1? The more we read this, the more it sounds like it! “A” war happens. War/Contentions among the people (Amlicites) and then a war between Nephites and Lamanites (because Amlicites go to Lamanites). Perhaps we’re on to something? 
  • Heading over all of Alma repeats that Alma is the first and chief judge. The heading over chapter 5 emphasizes that Alma is the high priest. (At that point, he has let go of the judgeship.) So perhaps this does signal that we’re on the right track.
  • What if the heading over all of Alma is actually 2 headings mixed together? The two parts would be: “The account of Alma, who was the son of Alma, the first and chief judge over the people of Nephi, and also the high priest over the Church.” And then secondly: “An account of the reign of the judges, and the wars and contentions among the people. And also an account of a war between the Nephites and the Lamanites, according to the record of Alma, the first and chief judge.” This might explain the repetition of first and chief judge. One was for the whole of the book of Alma, and the other part was for just the original chapter 1. That would mean the first mention of Alma being chief judge comes in the heading for all of the book of Alma, and the second mention comes in the heading for the first chapter.
  • Or, we might have 3 things mixed together, because we have three “accounts”: “The account of” “An account of” and “and also an account.” So, maybe three headings!
  • However, it seems like that first part of this heading would not cover all of the book of Alma. Not sufficient. But it might cover until our current chapter 16. Chapter 17 has a new “account of.” So maybe this gets us that far. It could also be that it is meant to go till the current 44, but there are other interruptions. There are nested accounts! A bit messy.
  • It’s strange that there is not a heading as we switch back after the story of the sons of Mosiah. So his might point to the first half of the heading over the book of Alma as meant to cover through 44, but the story of the sons of Mosiah is dropped in. That’s why there’s no update after their story, because it leads back into the main flow.
  • We’re noticing that there are a few headings where he doesn’t mention where he is getting the accounts from. However, these could be “nested” accounts. For example, the heading above our chapter 21 does not have that information, but perhaps the heading over our chapter 17 might be meant to cover that information. (The heading for chapter 17 says, “An account of the sons of Mosiah, who rejected their rights to the kingdom for the word of God, and went up to the land of Nephi to preach to the Lamanites; their sufferings and deliverance—according to the record of Alma.”) So perhaps it is assumed that when we get to chapter 21, we already know where this information is coming from. (It would be great for one of us to create an outline of all of these with indentations showing what’s nested!)
  • There are also other places where he talks about where he’s getting his material, and what he’s doing with it. For example, the 2 passages that Fred Axelgard added to the Facebook even page (Alma 9:34 and Alma 11:46).
  • Joe sees the whole book of Alma as being divided into two parallel parts — that is, the stories in the first half have a parallel in the second half. As we look at the headings, it seems that the headings also help point out these similarities! For example, each of the cities Alma preaches to gets a heading, and each of the sons he teaches gets a heading. (There are more, I just didn’t catch them.) (Joe’s reading of the book of Alma is quite detailed and quite good, by the way. A post for another time.) (Or read it in the JBMS — this isn’t free yet, but will be soon, on Maxwell website, after the next issue of JBMS is published.) This would help Mormon remember what part he is on that matches up with the parallel pattern?
  • But, why is there not a heading at chapter 30, which would parallel chapter 1?
  • Pause for a moment to look up all the original chapter breaks in Alma:
    • Chapters 1-3 were chapter 1
    • Chapter 4 was chapter 2
    • Chapter 5 was chapter 3
    • Chapter 6 was chapter 4
    • Chapter 7 was chapter 5
    • Chapter 8 was chapter 6
    • Chapter 9 was chapter 7
    • Chapter 10-11 was chapter 8
    • Chapter 12:1-13:9 was chapter 9
    • Chapter 13:10-15:19 was chapter 10
    • Chapter 16 was chapter 11
    • Chapters 17-20 were chapter 12
    • Chapters 21-22 were chapter 13
    • Chapters 23-26 were chapter 14
    • Chapters 27-29 were chapter 15
    • Chapters 30-35 were chapter 16
    • Chapters 36-37 were chapter 17
    • Chapters 38 was chapter 18
    • Chapters 39-42 were chapter 19
    • Chapters 43-44 were chapter 20
    • Chapters 45-49 were chapter 21
    • Chapter 50 was chapter 22
    • Chapter 51 was chapter 23
    • Chapter 52-53 were chapter 24
    • Chapter 54-55 were chapter 25
    • Chapter 56-58 were chapter 26
    • Chapter 59-60 were chapter 27
    • Chapter 61 was chapter 28
    • Chapter 62 was chapter 29
    • Chapter 63 was chapter 30
  • Page count for original chapters, to help us then see how much each heading would have covered (clarification – not every original chapter had a heading; this is just prep work):
    • Book of Alma starts on page 221 originally (1830 edition).
    • original Chapter 2 – starts on page 230, ends on 232
    • Chapter 3 – starts on 232
    • Chapter 4 – 238
    • Chapter 5 – 239
    • Chapter 6 – 242
    • Chapter 7 – 245
    • Chapter 8 – 248
    • Chapter 9 – 254
    • Chapter 10 – 259
    • Chapter 11 – 266-268
    • Chapter 12 – 269
    • Chapter 13 – 282
    • Chapter 14 – 289
    • Chapter 15 – 299
    • Chapter 16 – 304
    • Chapter 17 – 323
    • Chapter 18 – 330
    • Chapter 19 – 332
    • Chapter 20 – 340-347
    • Chapter 21 – 348
    • Chapter 22 – 362
    • Chapter 23 – 366
    • Chapter 24 – 370
    • Chapter 25 – 377-381
    • Chapter 26 – 382
    • Chapter 27 – 393
    • Chapter 28 – 398
    • Chapter 29 – 400
    • Chapter 30 – 405-407
  • The parallel parts of Alma actually have similar page lengths! That was a surprise. It is especially parallel for the first half of each part (so, first quarter and third quarter). The second half of each part (2nd and 4th quarters) aren’t equal. A lot more time is spent on the wars.
  • Side-note — interesting article: https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/book-mormon-treasury/almas-conversion-reminiscences-his-sermons by Kent Brown
  • Joe’s article (not free yet): https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.18809/jbms.2017.0116?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
  • How many years is covered by sons of Mosiah’s preaching versus wars in the end of Alma? Answer: 14 years for preaching, 21 years pass during those chapters (war within those chapters ends before those chapters are over – so the war takes 12 years itself). So the chapters are longer, and do cover 7 more years. But the preaching and the war are about the same length.  Actually, depending on how you count it, you could see it as 14 years. That scarily close! 😀
  • The first half is 15 chapters, and second half is 15 chapters!
  • There are two ways to group what is in the war chapters. For example, the original chapter 20 (battle of Zerahemna), could be included with “Alma war chapters” or not. The argument to not include it is that there is a major heading, Alma disappears, Helaman in charge, etc. Then that seems like there is a new war. But if you start with when Moroni comes onto the scene, then you do include chapter 20 in war chapters.
  • If you take Moroni as the marker, and include the original chapter 20, then quarters 1 and 4 have 11 chapters each, and quarters 2 and 3 have 4 chapters each.
  • If you include that original chapter 20, that’s when you get 14 years of war, and 14 years of preaching.
  • Mormon: Historian, Prophet, Mathematician! Wow!
  • 14 in Hebrew is the number for David’s name. (Important to Mathew when he gives the genealogy of Christ.)
  • We decided to stop at 14 minutes to 10:00pm! haha (Tyler’s suggestion).

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Here’s the list of ones we’ve found:

The account of Alma, who was the son of Alma, the first and chief judge over the people of Nephi, and also the high priest over the Church. An account of the reign of the judges, and the wars and contentions among the people. And also an account of a war between the Nephites and the Lamanites, according to the record of Alma, the first and chief judge.

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/1?lang=eng 

The words which Alma, the High Priest according to the holy order of God, delivered to the people in their cities and villages throughout the land.

Beginning with chapter 5.
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/5?lang=eng

The words of Alma which he delivered to the people in Gideon, according to his own record.

Comprising chapter 7.
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/7?lang=eng

The words of Alma, and also the words of Amulek, which were declared unto the people who were in the land of Ammonihah. And also they are cast into prison, and delivered by the miraculous power of God which was in them, according to the record of Alma.

Comprising chapters 9 through 14.
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/9?lang=eng

These are not quite the same, but still commentary on what he’s doing with the text/where he’s getting his sources, etc.

Alma 9:34 And it came to pass that Amulek went and stood forth, and began to preach unto them also. And now the words of Amulek are not all written, nevertheless a part of his words are written in this book.

Alma 11:46 Now, when Amulek had finished these words the people began again to be astonished, and also Zeezrom began to tremble. And thus ended the words of Amulek, or this is all that I have written.

An account of the sons of Mosiah, who rejected their rights to the kingdom for the word of God, and went up to the land of Nephi to preach to the Lamanites; their sufferings and deliverance—according to the record of Alma.

Comprising chapters 17 through 27.
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/17?lang=eng

An account of the preaching of Aaron, and Muloki, and their brethren, to the Lamanites.

Comprising chapters 21 through 25.
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/21?lang=eng

The commandments of Alma to his son Helaman.

Comprising chapters 36 and 37.
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/36?lang=eng

The commandments of Alma to his son Shiblon.

Comprising chapter 38.
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/38?lang=eng

The commandments of Alma to his son Corianton.

Comprising chapters 39 through 42.
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/39?lang=eng

The account of the people of Nephi, and their wars and dissensions, in the days of Helaman, according to the record of Helaman, which he kept in his days.

Comprising chapters 45 through 62.
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/45?lang=eng


Study group on Jacob 1:19 (blood/sins on garments)


We spent a study group looking at Jacob 1:19 and other verses in the Book of Mormon that talk about other people’s blood on someone’s garments unless they teach & preach.

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We looked at the Old Testament passages that talk about the blood sacrifices in the temple, and especially the ones where blood is sprinkled on the priest.

Jacob’s calling/office would have been consecrated by blood, we assumed.

We also talked about the Day of Atonement, where one goat is killed to sanctify Israel and the priest, and the other goat is given all of Israel’s sins and then banished to wander in the wilderness.

We noticed that Cain & Abel fit that model (one is banished, one dies)

We also noticed that Judah & Joseph fit that too (Judah sends a goat to the prostitute, and Joseph’s brothers use goat blood to pretend that Joseph is dead)

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We realized part way into our study that there’s a New Testament verse about shaking sins/blood from garments. In Acts 18:6, Paul shakes clothes to symbolize that he’s tried to teach Israel, then he goes to teach Gentiles.
We also thought it was interesting in some way that Paul says in Act 20:22 that he held clothes: “And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.”
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Alma & Alma the Younger? Thyself destroyed, not on parents’ head?
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Finally, we wrapped it up by talking about whether this talk of having blood of others on you unless you teach them was just for those in a certain priesthood office who had willingly taken on them the responsibility to teach, or whether through places like D&C 88 and D&C 68 this is now spread to every member of the Church?
We talked about stewardship and what that may mean and not mean.
We read D&C 121, which warns priesthood holders that it is tempting to use priesthood authority to force or control. If you think it’s your job to save everyone else so that you aren’t responsible, it could be tempting to use priesthood authority in the wrong ways. We thought it was particularly important that is says that you can’t go about your priesthood office in order to cover sins (don’t go around warning/judging/teaching others about their sin in order to distract from your own!) and that you can’t go about your office in vain ambition (don’t be so ambitious about preaching judgments on others! Don’t think you’re going to save them yourself!). D&C 121 seemed to us to be very applicable to our discussion.
We also noted that D&C 68 could be referring to those parents which teach children to not believe — that is, teach them that belief is not important, that repentance is not important, that faith is not important. This lines up with how the Book of Mormon talks about Laman & Lemuel in 2 Nephi 4 and how the Nephites began to dwindle in unbelief in 4 Nephi.
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We also talked about the difference between works & grace here. If you think you have to teach everyone or else you’re out of heaven, you are working on a works model. It’s Christ who saves, not us! We thought about 3 Nephites who, out of love, wanted to stay on earth and keep teaching. That seems to be the idea here — people who willingly want to teach because of love.

Jacob and the Lamanites


Last Friday’s study group was on Jacob 6:9. I could record a hundred little insights, but mostly I want to focus on what we learned about the book of Jacob and how it relates to the Lamanites.

We were looking at why Jacob is talking about “shame” as well as “guilt.” Joe’s philosophical reading defines shame as something you are responsible for, but you aren’t in control of (your mere mortality, weakness, etc., or something you inherited from previous generations, etc.). We came to a point where we wondered if all of chapter 6 was aimed at the (future) Lamanites, rather than his current Nephite brethren. We looked before Chapter 5’s allegory of the olive tree, and found that chapter 4 could be read as written to the future Lamanites. This would mean that chapter 5, though about the Jews, could be “likened” to the Lamanites specifically. That led us to read Chapter 6 as also directed to future Lamanites, so we could read 6:9 as Jacob trying to help the Lamanites not be ashamed of their fathers (and the curse that they inherited from them for a time) and rather receive the covenant that God is extending to them (also because of their fathers). (See Jacob 4:3.)

Beyond this, I suggested that perhaps all of Jacob’s writings could be aimed at softening the blow to the Lamanites so that they would read and accept this book. Joe is often pointing out how Jacob, in chapters 2-3, is criticizing the Nephites for how they are treating the Lamanites. Jacob explains that the Nephites are not keeping certain commandments that the Lamanites are keeping; the Nephites don’t treat their families well and that will have future consequences; the Lamanites behavior was taught them by their parents and they aren’t responsible for much of their tradition, etc. So what if we read all of that as Jacob’s attempt to invite the Lamanites into this book where their people will so often be described in a negative light? What if Jacob is trying to reach out to them through his contribution to this book? What if he wants them to know that the Nephites were often wrong in how they viewed their people? But, none the less, there was a curse brought on by their first parents that did affect them, and necessitated a book being written and brought to them?

We all liked that idea a lot, and thought it made good sense of Jacob 4:2-3:

“but we can write a few words upon plates, which will give our children, and also our beloved brethren, a small degree of knowledge concerning us, or concerning their fathers—

Now in this thing we do rejoice; and we labor diligently to engraven these words upon plates, hoping that our beloved brethren and our children will receive them with thankful hearts, and look upon them that they may learn with joy and not with sorrow, neither with contempt, concerning their first parents.”

Joe and I summed it up yesterday by saying it’s as if Jacob and Nephi are playing “good cop bad cop” with the Lamanites. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 


Alma 19:15-36: Another bunch of notes


Some more notes from our month-long study group on the Abish story:

  • v. 15 The servants are praying because “the fear of the Lord had come upon them also.” Is this fear spiritual or physical? Have they understood enough of what has happened to be praying for mercy, like the King did? Or is this a different sort of fear? Are they afraid for their physical lives, since they had seen that Ammon could not be killed, and yet now they see him falling because of the power of God?
  • v. 15-16 We assumed that the people watching sheep were all men, but here it says all the servants fell except one woman. Does that imply that the group of servants watching sheep included women? children?
    • Are there men who serve the King and women who serve the Queen? Later it appears that Abish is specifically the Queen’s servant
    • Ammon does call the people watching sheep his brethren
  • v. 15-16 Another possibility is that all the servants were gathered, both those who were with Ammon and others who happened to be in the palace that day.
  • One clue that Abish and other women are connected to the sheep-watching servants is that they are both called “Lamanitish.” We searched and couldn’t find that word elsewhere. (We noted that Lamanite and Nephite are rarely used as adjectives at all.) Where did this word come from?
    • Perhaps inventing an adjective. But why here? Why not used again?
    • On original plates? Mormon is borrowing the term for this story?
    • Are they only kind-of Lamanites?
      • They are in the Land of Ishmael. Is Mormon pointing out that they aren’t literally Lamanites? But elsewhere Ishmaelites are grouped together with Lamanites for simplicity, so why would that change here? Could it be that true-Lamanites have more power and they are trying to set themselves up as true Lamanites (through proving loyalty, through certain customs) to join the power structure?
      • Are they children of marriages of one Lamanite and one not-Lamanite? An Ishmaelite or a Lemuelite marrying a Lamanite?
      • Are they actually from neighboring tribes? (Not Lehi’s children at all?) Are they from other tribes but have chosen to live with the Lamanites? Are they from other tribes but have been captured or forced to live with the Lamanites and that’s why they are servants?
      • Are they children of a marriage between a Lamanite and a person from another tribe?
      • Are they the spouse of in a marriage of a Lamanite and non-Lamanite? A “Lamanite-in-law” as it were?
      • Could they be Nephite dissenters who have chosen to live with the Lamanites? They are Lamanitish because of how they have chosen to live rather than because of mixed lineage?
      • Are they children of Nephites who dissented at some point? Perhaps several generations back? Is this part of why they are servants? They are the lesser race in this culture?
      • Are they perhaps children of a Nephite and a Lamanite?
  • v. 16 Depending on which one of the above readings of “Lamanitish” we pick, it changes the story of Abish. She was Lamanitish. What did that imply about her social status in the palace? In the community? About her relationship to the Queen?
  • v. 16 What does it tell us about her vision? She has a “remarkable” vision of her father. (We discussed the ambiguity here: is it a vision he had or a vision she had about him?) Is he/she having visions because they are actually Nephites?
  • v. 17 This vision has converted her, but it also seems to prompt her to go about taking the “opportunity” to show others God’s power. Someone suggested that her vision (or her father’s vision) included the promise of the Lamanites and Nephites being reconciled, or at least of the Lamanites being converted. Perhaps she was waiting for this opportunity for a long time.
  • v. 23 Ammon is saved on account of his father, while Abish is converted on account of her father
  • v. 22-23 perhaps allusions to David & Saul (Also someone named Abishai in David’s time – interesting!) and/or Nephi & Laban
  • v. 28 it seems to me that their contentions happened so fast and so sharp because they have already been thinking about these things for some time (distrust in their king, or in the Nephites, or in Ammon’s arrival, etc.)
  • v. 28 If Abish’s vision/her father’s vision had shown the Lamanites converting, then would add to the reasons why she was so distraught
  • v. 29 “perhaps” – similar to “opportunity” – she is not being told by God what to do, but using her faith and mind to try and see what can be done. Similar to righteous women elsewhere
  • v. 29 King blesses name of God, she blesses Jesus (gives a name)
  • v. 29 King wakes up and talks about Queen as blessed because God will be born of a woman, she wakes up and blesses the childhood name “Jesus” (she continues her position as the typological mother-figure) (beautiful, really)
  • v. 29 she prays that God will bless her people, also a maternal cry
  • v. 29 But her cry is similar to the King’s cry before he passes out. Both of them are concerned about their people. A father/mother, Adam/Eve, Lehi/Sariah kind of pair.
  • v. 30 it’s of course interesting that servant raises Queen, and Queen raises King. Again, this story undoes all sorts of hierarchies, or at least ones that we have, or that perhaps the Nephites had, and we expect that the Lamanites had too.
    • remember though that the Lamanites were known for treating women better than the Nephites did (See Jacob 2-3 for example)

Alma 19:1-15: A bunch of notes :)


In case I don’t get to these individually, here is a list of a bunch of thoughts from study group:

  • v. 2 is parallel to Alma 47:33 (Amalekiah)
  • v. 3 “desired to know” – a lot like Alma 18:13-14 only the Queen isn’t afraid
  • v. 4 why doesn’t she ask Ammon to raise her husband from death/sleep?
  • v. 4-5 Queen wants a confirmation of something she knows/feels
  • v. 9 Ammon confirms her knowledge/feeling
  • v. 10 possibly one reason Ammon is so excited is that her faith is confirming his knowledge/feeling too!
  • 2 witnesses, 2 or 3 gathered…
  • v. 10 why “exceeding”? There is also “sufficient” faith in 3 Ne 17:8. What is in excess? What was sufficient for the situation, and what about her faith is in excess of that?
  • We spent a long time discussing why her faith was greater than the Nephites, but we didn’t come to any conclusions. A few thoughts
    • She believes on words alone
    • She is actually not trusting just words but a feeling from the Spirit (even though she doesn’t know what that means yet)
    • She is believing in something that is parallel to Christ’s resurrection before being taught about that
    • By saying this, he is helping her see that he doesn’t think all Nephites are superior to the Lamanites. By saying that there hasn’t been greater faith among them, he is elevating her as a Lamanite.
    • Likewise, he is helping her/us see that he doesn’t think all men are superior to women. He doesn’t say that her faith was greater than Nephite women’s faith.
  • We noted that story repeatedly makes us think about class, gender, and race. The traditional roles are reversed or made equal in this story
  • v. 11 why doesn’t she come back at the appointed time? Is she watching to be there the very second? Is it out of love? Is it tradition to stay by a dying person’s bedside anyway? Will people try to talk her into burying him if she leaves that room? Is she essentially standing guard so that no one tries to take his body?
  • v. 12 We talked a ton about this verse and the words “the woman” and also “blessed art thou.” We talked about grammatical terms and uses of woman (or lack thereof) elsewhere, but I didn’t take specific notes for most of it. 🙂 You’ll have to ask Joe if you want to know more about that part. 🙂
  • v. 12 interesting that he just says “name of God.” I like it. It’s as if he is in a transitional state from thinking of God as a Great Spirit to thinking of him as God, but still not sure what to call him. Or, it’s as if he is trying to communicate to his spouse that there is another name to call God but if I just say that, then you won’t know what I’m taking about.
    • He could also be using a form of praise used in other places in scripture. (“Blessed be the name of ______”means something like “may that person have a great reputation,” or, “I’m adding to that person’s reputation by blessing their name” – a name being symbolic for how they are known in the world)
  • v. 12 ALSO, note that when the Queen wakes up she uses a name (Jesus) and also note that when Lamoni first prays he says “Lord”
  • v. 13 sounds like an oath!! One of the best insights of the night. He wants her to believe what he has seen, so he begins by swearing to her an oath. “For as sure as thou livest, behold, I have seen my Redeemer.”
  • v. 13 interesting that he talks about sure it is that she is living, when it was recently unsure if he was living!
  • v. 13 “born of a woman” – means he will be mortal at some point, which has got to be news. He previously called God a “Great Spirit”
  • v. 13 sees Queen as a sort of Eve figure – the mother of all living – “as thou livest” could be related to Eve’s name
  • “Christ is not without his mother, neither is his mother without Christ”
  • v. 13 the Queen being “overpowered” by the Spirit is similar language to Mary being “overshadowed” by the Spirit
  • v.14 when Ammon falls, it is the first time the Lamanites & Lamanitish servants have seen Ammon by conquered by anything. Is this why the servants of the King (we are assuming these are these are the same Lamanitish servants from before) are so scared?
    • Note they cry unto God himself, not just cry out in fear. Watching and learning from all the teaching and exclamations going on.

 


Alma 19: comparing the Queen’s exclamation with the King’s prayer


This is one of (what I hope will be) many short posts on my notes from the Alma 19 study group nights. 

We noted early on the differences between what the King says when he wakes up and what the Queen says when she wakes up. That will make another interesting post. 🙂 For now I want to point out the similarities between what the Queen says when she wakes up and what the King says before he falls asleep:

Alma 18: 41 And he began to cry unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, have mercy; according to thy abundant mercy which thou hast had upon the people of Nephi, have upon me, and my people.

Alma 19:29 …she arose and stood upon her feet, and cried with a loud voice, saying: O blessed Jesus, who has saved me from an awful hell! O blessed God, have mercy on this people!

Both of them focus on the mercy of God. And both of them start by pointing out that God has already had mercy, and asking for that to be extended to another person or group. The King believes that God has shown mercy to the Nephities, and asks for mercy to be shown to himself and his people. The Queen has already had an experience with God and believes that God has shown mercy to her (saved her), and now asks for mercy to be shown to her people.

 


Alma 19: Lamanitish


This is one of (what I hope will be) many posts on my notes from the Alma 19 study group nights. 

One of the words that confused and interested us was “Lamanitish.” We couldn’t find that word used anywhere else besides this story. We realized that Nephite and Lamanite themselves were very rarely used as adjectives. But they were on occasion, so that didn’t leave any reason for Mormon to have to use the word “Lamanitish.” We played around with a few possibilities:

  • people who don’t follow all of the Lamanite customs and traditions, but who are still Lamanite by birth?
  • people who aren’t Lamanite by birth, but do follow the customs and traditions?
    • perhaps these are Nephite dissenters?
    • perhaps these are non-Lehite peoples who lived in the area?
  • people who have been captured by the Lamanites during war?
  • descendants of Ishmael rather than Laman? (but elsewhere always lumped in with Lamanites…) Perhaps descendants of Ishmael who were trying to be more like Laman’s people in order to be higher up in some political structure?
  • (My personal favorite:) People who married a Lamanite or children of a Lamanite/non-Lamanite couple. “Lamanite-in-law” was one term we floated around.
  • note that the term is only applied to servants. So maybe these were captured, maybe dissenters finding their place in a foreign culture, maybe married in and left to live separately, maybe children of married-in parent, maybe local tribes who had been subjected — maybe any of these, but what is clear is that these are people who are servants to the king and queen.

Each of these ideas could shift the meaning of the story slightly. Think of how they would affect these questions: Why is Ammon sent to work among the Lamantish servants? Why is Abish (Lamanitish) converted? Why was her father receiving visions of Nephite religion? Why do the Lamanitish women servants work so closely with the queen? Why does the king feel like he can kill off the Lamantish men who watch his sheep? Why are the other sheep-watchers who scatter the king’s sheep called “Lamanite” and why aren’t they the ones being killed?