10 Ways Reading the Book of Mormon is Like Reading the Newspaper

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Woman Reading a Newspaper
Opinion

The Book of Mormon narrative is a chronicle of nations long since gone. But in its descriptions of the problems of today’s society, it is as current as the morning newspaper and much more definitive, inspired, and inspiring concerning the solutions of those problems (late Mormon prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley).

War

More than 100,000 people have died in Syria’s civil war, a UK-based watchdog group reported Wednesday, a day after diplomats said Geneva’s July peace talks would likely be postponed.…based on activists, doctors and lawyers inside Syria, said 100,191 people had died in the 27-month-long conflict (Global Post).

…therefore there was blood and carnage spread throughout all the face of the land, both on the part of the Nephites and also on the part of the Lamanites; and it was one complete revolution throughout all the face of the land (Book of Mormon, Mormon 2:8)

Attempted Coups

At least four people were killed in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, as government forces foiled a “destabilisation plot” against President Idriss Deby, officials said.  Two army generals, a ruling coalition MP and an opposition MP had been arrested over the alleged plot, the officials added (BBC News Africa).

And it came to pass that in the sixty and sixth year of the reign of the judges, behold, Cezoram was murdered by an unknown hand as he sat upon the judgment-seat. And it came to pass that in the same year, that his son, who had been appointed by the people in his stead, was also murdered. And thus ended the sixty and sixth year (Book of Mormon, Helaman 6:15).

Organized Crime

The United Nations identifies a series of “emerging crimes” mostly committed by criminal gangs: these include poaching, illegal logging and trafficking controlled goods, such as archeological artifacts and endangered animals. Those sorts of crimes required ever more dispersed networks, with specialized skills replacing sheer muscle. But even they require more violence than the newest of crimes: cybercrime, identity theft and fraud. These are increasingly being committed by new organizations from countries with little history of organized crime…(The Economist on the globalization of organized crime).

…and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be (Book of Mormon, Ether 8:23).

Religion Held in Derision

The Killers were the musical guest on the Swedish/Norwegian show “Skavlan,” and the host interviewed Flowers prior to their performance. The discussion turned quickly to his Mormon faith, and after a few minutes of chit-chat about the dissonance of leather pants vs. shirts and ties, Richard Dawkins emerged from offstage, apparently for no other reason than to excoriate Flowers for Believing the Wrong Things (Doves and Serpents.org).

Nevertheless, they hardened their hearts, saying unto him: Behold, we know that thou art Alma; and we know that thou art high priest over the church which thou hast established in many parts of the land, according to your tradition; and we are not of thy church, and we do not believe in such foolish traditions (Book of Mormon, Alma 8:11).

Earthquakes and Storms

Hurricane Sandy, after killing at least 69 people in the Caribbean, steamed northward and merged with winter weather systems over the U.S., slamming the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes regions with devastating wind, rain, snow and tidal surges (ABC News).

And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year… there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the land.  And there was also a great and terrible tempest; and there was terrible thunder, insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder.  And there were exceedingly sharp lightnings, such as never had been known in all the land (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 8:5 – 7).

Refugees

The Syrian civil war contributed to pushing the numbers of refugees and those displaced by conflict within their own nation to an 18-year high of 45.2 million worldwide by the end of 2012, the U.N. refugee agency said Wednesday (Huff Post World).

Behold the back pass, through the back wall, on the back side of the city. The Lamanites, or the guards of the Lamanites, by night are drunken; therefore let us send a proclamation among all this people that they gather together their flocks and herds, that they may drive them into the wilderness by night (Book of Mormon, Mosiah 22:21).

Humanitarian Aid

According to the New York Daily News, [Mormon] Helping Hands has won “rave reviews” from the Rockaways community. Islamic and Catholic charities as well as other volunteer organizations have also joined the effort and have been able to deliver food and supplies to residents faster than government agencies (Deseret News).

And now behold, this will we do unto our brethren, that they may inherit the land Jershon; and we will guard them from their enemies with our armies (Book of Mormon, Alma 27:24).

Heroes

For the first time since Vietnam, two living service members have received the Medal of Honor for the same battle. Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha received his in February. On Monday, President Obama presented the nation’s highest military award to Staff Sgt. Ty Carter (CBS News).

But behold, every man that lifted his club to smite Ammon, he smote off their arms with his sword; for he did withstand their blows by smiting their arms with the edge of his sword, insomuch that they began to be astonished, and began to flee before him; yea, and they were not few in number; and he caused them to flee by the strength of his arm (Book of Mormon, Alma 17:37).

Christ’s Church Grows

The number of Mormon missionaries surpassed 75,000 worldwide in August, driven by the church’s decision to lower the minimum age for ambassadors of the Utah-based faith. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported the number of proselytizing missionaries has increased by 28 percent from about 58,000 a year ago. The church expects the number to swell to 85,000 by year’s end (The Washington Post).

And it came to pass that the thirty and fourth year passed away, and also the thirty and fifth, and behold the disciples of Jesus had formed a church of Christ in all the lands round about. And as many as did come unto them, and did truly repent of their sins, were baptized in the name of Jesus (Book of Mormon, 4 Nephi 1:1).

Christ Comes

And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him…And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying: Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 11:8 – 10).

Coming soon…watch your local paper for the report….

Gale Boyd is the managing editor for ThirdHour.org. She is a Jewish convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has lived all over the world. She has raised 6 Third Culture Kids and is always homesick for somewhere.