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tomhardman

Violence in Mormon scripture

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This might sound a little different, but here is a thought to think about. What is the purpose behind the violence that we see in the scriptures? I feel it shows us His love.

Whenever I read Mormon in the Book of Mormon(I've always wondered how to to say this without saying the Book of Mormon in the Book of Mormon. Inception level 2) I feel down in some ways and uplifted in others. It's gross how wicked and evil the people had become, and even in reading you can feel a switch in the people has they begin to head toward greater wickedness.

So why does the Lord give us this account? Why hear about the wickedness? What can I learn to better help my life?

Violence is almost always a jolt from the norm. Is it not? I don't see violence every day. I see the hustle and bustle of every day. On the rare occasion that I see violence in person, it brings feelings in me that generally help me think about things that are important. It helps me turn towards good things, generally. This is the case with most difficult situations we encounter. Lost jobs, lost loved ones, and so on. These things make us think about what is important which then helps us redirect our lives down a path with the important stuff guiding the way.

We ask, then why the violence, why such cruelty to children and other innocent people? I think then you get to the age old question why do good things happen to bad people? My answer to that question deals with perspective. Obviously this is not THE answer as I am not authorized to make such a claim. However, I feel strongly about this and it does help me. The perspective of why bad things happen generally only focuses on this life. The reality is there is a vast eternity. What is the purpose of this life, do go through trials and learn to become like our Heavenly Father in that process. If children are hurt, abused, abandoned, and/or forced to pass on; then what have they lost? Nothing. They go on to live in the mansions of our Father, they receive the grace and power of the Atonement and are to be brought forth in a fullness of joy. A moment of pain that passes by and pales in comparison to the greatness and grandeur of everlasting happiness and joy! What wondrous love God has for His children! These shall have peace!

It might be harder for people that have been alive longer, who are raped or abused or are victims of any kind, to be able for us to see God's love in something like that. When we are victims, it is simply said though not necessarily felt, that we have been affected by the choices of another. Those choices are outside our control. So, what is God's love in that? Again it comes from the beauty of the Plan of Salvation. We came here to endure trials, understanding that everyone including ourselves has agency. Those trials that come when we are victims help us to grow in a more Christlike way. If that is the purpose of this life and we knew these things would or could happen to us, then why do we complain when they happen to us? I'll tell you, simply because it sucks! Knowing these things doesn't make the feelings of pain, shame, or guilt any less real. However knowing these things can help us to get out these feelings. The knowledge points us to what we need to do to remove the evil feelings and fill the void with positive and uplifting feelings.

To make this more clear, these types of trials can lead us to Christ, to give us pause to humble ourselves and realize that we forever need the mercy and love of our Savior. We might be doing well and doing everything we are supposed to and yet these horrible things may happen to us. Why? Abr 3:25 Will we continue to do what we are supposed to when all Hell breaks loose? Again we point to the purpose of this life.

Without going on super long here, I'll just say that people who go through this stuff and never recover in this life, you might say what was the point then? Maybe it was a merciful way for the Lord to help the prepare the individual to receive it in the next? And now there comes a bunch of what ifs. You have to think, as our Prophets have taught us, there is a Law of Compensation. You have to think that the pain these people go through will be be compensated well more than they can believe in the next one. A lot more we could talk about but it seems to get more speculative in nature. I don't have their experience or teachings from Prophets to know definitivly.

So back to your question should we accept violent perspectives. Yes. These perspectives are throughout all scripture except the New Testament(seems to be less than others). The Book of Mormon was written by a people that lived the Law of Moses and had much of the Old Testament through parts of Jeremiah. The Second Coming is not going to be a peaceful affair much. It will be for the faithful, but the Lord will not come as the Babe in a manger. He will come as the King of kings. He will come as a conquering Warrior.

Back to one of my first ideas. The dramatics of war help us see clear black and white sides. The weapons are different though. Figure them out and use them and you will see the victories time and time again. Who do you choose? Who do you serve?

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I also just saw "simply" accept...

We should never just "simply" accept something. We have agency. We need to use it to think and develop ourselves. There is no such thing as blind obedience, at least where faith is involved. We should question but in healthy ways. Not to demean, put down, or extinguish faith, but to determine how to increase our faith. When we do not understand something, that doesn't mean that there is no answer and that the answers from the world are right. It just means that we aren't ready and it's probably because we are not focused on the still small voice enough. We pay more attention to the world and what they have to say. Professional athletes push out the crowd. They are focused on their jobs. So must we, but if e would rather hear the repeated cries from the world, then that is what we are going to hear.

I accept the violent perspective as you put it, because it teaches me to be committed to the Lord and Him only, and that He does indeed love His children.

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Heh. "Violence", IMO, is becoming another useless term like "bigot" and "homophobe". It's taken on a negative connotation which doesn't belong, ignores some quite obvious realities, and is just sort of assumed that we want less of it, and if we can't have less of it, there must be a problem somewhere.

Violence is part of reality, and the way to a peaceful heart is to accept that fact and deal with it.

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In the same vein of reality that LM is touching on, I just wrote a blog post about the People of Ammon. This was a group of people who made an oath not to go to war. But when the Nephites appeared to be losing the war, and losing their lives in defense of the People of Ammon, the People of Ammon began to weigh the options.

They very nearly decided that taking up violence was a better option than keeping their oath against arms. Reality sometimes has to trump the ideal. And that's a message worth teaching.

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Should a believing Mormon simply accept violent perspectives that appear in the Book of Mormon and other “restoration” scriptures? Here are some of my thoughts:

Violence in the Restoration Scriptures | In Fide Scientiam

I believe there are two point of importance:

First is the understanding that our modern culture in the free world is not only unique historically but it is also unique in our era. In essence violence is the human norm and death by violence the common end to life. Death by accident or disease is very uncommon in human culture and society. Often in scripture G-d is symbolic of justice and the tenor of scripture is to point to the root cause of violence - which is not G-d but human wickedness. Although scripture does not always spell out the details of wickedness never-the-less it should be obvious to the student that the wickedness is imbedded in human behavior and not in the behavior of G-d.

The second point I believe to be much more subtle. That is what wickedness brings about the intervention of G-d and the destruction of inter societies (including seemingly innocent women and children). As we explorer this aspect we must also understand that the mortal aspect of this probation into eternity is not the end of justice but the foundation of justice beyond this life. That what unfolds in this life will be either cured by the Atonement of Christ or finished at the final judgement. Thus in order to justify judgment wickedness must be allowed to mature - and in order for that to occur man must be able to chose that level of wickedness they desire. And that seems (at least to me) to be triggered by a loss of divine protection brought about by choice and design in the pursuit of wickedness. A choice (act of agency) that can only end in wickedness upon wickedness with wives being raped and children dashed to pieces.

But what is so sacred and so important as to cause a just G-d to end the continuance of a particular society? One ancient document may actually shed light on this subject. Though the Book of Enoch is not included in any modern standard of recognized scripture we do know that anciently it was one of the more important scripture text. For example the Book of Enoch is the most quoted scripture by the New Testament writers - and a favorite of Christ.

As justification of the flood and the destruction of almost all of human society - the Book of Enoch offers two distinct reasons that required G-d's intervention and because of the threat to all things sacred every possible remnant of such wickedness had to be "cleansed". The two acts of such wickedness Enoch describes as:

#1. They changed the order of marriage (although Enoch is not specific as to what the order of marriage is and how it was changed - we can speculate - and our modern culture may be offering some examples)

#2. That children were conceived for carnal purposes. This is really scary to try to imagine because in essence G-d in his mercy is using death of children as an act of mercy towards children and future generations.

The Traveler

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I think one of the concepts in scripture is to show us the terror and evil of violence. Whether it is Jacob warning men to not mistreat their wives or Mormon crying over the thousands of Nephite dead, scripture is very consistent in this thing. Capt Moroni hated blood shed, and often used strategy to trick his enemies rather than fight them.

Lachoeus and Gidgidonni told the Nephites of their day to not go after the Gadianton Robbers in the mountains, but to await them in their own lands.

D&C teaches we should forgive our enemies of their attacks at least 3-4 times before attacking back.

Clearly there are important concepts found in scripture regarding this.

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Okay... we're going to have a thread on violence in the scriptures... and not mention the death of Shiz?

Ether 15:31

31 And it came to pass that after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised up on his hands and fell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died.

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Life is violence. It is an inescapable feature of our fallen existence. It is a feature of all existence, something celestial beings deal with on a constant basis. It is something we need to know how to handle without succumbing to it. If the scriptures avoided all mention of violence, what a disservice that would be to us.

Insisting that the scriptures are somehow faulty or weak because they speak of violence, sometimes in graphic terms, is just another way of lecturing God on how he isn't doing things right. We would do better to search, ponder, and pray about those scriptures so that we can understand what is being taught.

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Pres. Benson counseled: “If they saw our day and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, ‘Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?’” ~ -Ensign, Nov. 1986

I think a person reading the Book Of Mormon should ask themself why almost one third of the book discusses violence, inlcuding extensive discussions of warfare, secret combinations and politics. Based on what a prophet above has told us, there is a reason it is in there.

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I am new here. This is my first post.

There is violence in the Bible also. The Book of Mormon was written for our time. It shows us what happened to them. We need to compare and learn from it to understand our day.

There are only two influences, they are from God and Satan. Remember, we have always had Free Agency in the spirit world and we have it here. This is our final test. Anything goes here. Good and Evil, side by side. He wants us to learn to choose good but we need to experience them both, side by side, to make that choice.

According to Elder Bruce R. McConkie we learned and were schooled in the pre-existence. We learned in our head and heart. Since our memory of the spirit world is blocked off during this test, what remains of what we learned is in our heart. He wants to see what we retained and if we would use it in making decisions here. If we are to become like Heavenly Father, we need to prove ourselves to Him and to ourselves. Why should He give us power and responsibilities in Heaven if we do not prove ourselves here.

Those who cause wars and killing and violence are influenced by Satan or his angels and have chosen wrong. We are told by the Lord to obey the governments we live under. There could be saints on either side, killing each other, but the responsibility will rest on the Heads of those governments.

The history recorded in the Book of Mormon is for our learning, for our day. It was to teach us what to look for and learn from their mistakes. Satan has been allowed temporary control, but it is getting close to the end. The wheat and the tares are being separated.

Remember what the Lord told Joseph Smith in D&C 122. All that we go through is for our Experience.

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I am new here. This is my first post.

There is violence in the Bible also. The Book of Mormon was written for our time. It shows us what happened to them. We need to compare and learn from it to understand our day.

There are only two influences; they are from God and Satan. Remember, we have always had Free Agency in the spirit world and we have it here. This is our final test. Anything goes here. Good and Evil, side by side. He wants us to learn to choose good but we need to experience them both, side by side, to make that choice.

According to Elder Bruce R. McConkie we learned and were schooled in the pre-existence. We learned in our head and heart. Since our memory of the spirit world is blocked off during this test, what remains of what we learned is in our heart. He wants to see what we retained and if we would use it in making decisions here. If we are to become like Heavenly Father, we need to prove ourselves to Him and to ourselves. Why should He give us power and responsibilities in Heaven if we do not prove ourselves here?

Those who cause wars and killing and violence are influenced by Satan or his angels and have chosen wrong. We are told by the Lord to obey the governments we live under. There could be saints on either side, killing each other, but the responsibility will rest on the Heads of those governments.

The history recorded in the Book of Mormon is for our learning, for our day. It was to teach us what to look for and learn from their mistakes. Satan has been allowed temporary control, but it is getting close to the end. The wheat and the tares are being separated.

Remember what the Lord told Joseph Smith in D&C 122. All that we go through is for our Experience.

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The Old Testament was disturbing to me. It seemed so opposite of what we have been taught. The Israelites were told to destroy all the non-Israelites off of the land including women and children. The answer that I got was He knew His children were in spiritual danger because of the inhabitants idol worship. He knew they would become unfaithful and He would have to let go of His protection over them. Nobody would like to see their childen destroyed. I think of the Book of Mormon like that. It is a warning to us that faithfulness brings protection. Both are a testimony of what is to come.

Also, there has never been a time where there has been so much peace. Most people in 1st world countries don't even know how to kill or clean a chicken. So the violent descriptions can be more disturbing to us because it isn't part if our culture. Now, in the Middle East that is their culture.

There wasn't modern psychology. Psychology and our modern life of ease has changed our culture dramatically. If there had been counselling in the times of the Patriarchs, boy would those stories be different. People living in the scripture times were not evaluating their decisions by wondering how it was going to affect the other psychologically. It was much more primal.

The Book of Mormon shows us that the Lord's way is peace and satan's is war.

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Life is violence. It is an inescapable feature of our fallen existence. It is a feature of all existence, something celestial beings deal with on a constant basis. It is something we need to know how to handle without succumbing to it. If the scriptures avoided all mention of violence, what a disservice that would be to us.

Insisting that the scriptures are somehow faulty or weak because they speak of violence, sometimes in graphic terms, is just another way of lecturing God on how he isn't doing things right. We would do better to search, ponder, and pray about those scriptures so that we can understand what is being taught.

^^^^^^^

This.

Q

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I often think to myself, 'Violence IS the answer." whenever I hear the inverse.

There are thousands and thousands of examples... But one very close to my heart is when my then 8yo saved my life. Which is one of the saddest things I can think of... But when his father grabbed me by the neck, slammed me to the floor, and started smashing my head on the floor (fracturing my skull), my 8yo kicked him so hard in the nuts he layed him out, and then jumped on him, was flung into a wall, and jumped on him again...dragging him by the ears and nose this time to stay out of reach of his arms/make him crawl, until he got him out of the house.

I'd love to say that the first time he kicked him in the nuts, that let me get away, and I threw his dad out. But no. I was still lying there. Helpless. Only able to watch. 3rd worst feeling, ever.

I've never been more proud of my son. There wasnt a second of hesitation, and a skinny 8yo kid bested a grown man. A grown man that took down a combat trained marine not 5 seconds earlier.

Is violence always the answer?

Of course not.

But there are times when it is the ONLY answer, and times when it is the BEST answer.

I was reading this article today... Which reminded me of my son.

And of this thread.

John Kelly's Speech About Marines In Ramadi - Business Insider.

Q

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Because we love violence. Its what will befall us when our nation is destroyed.

Romans loved to watch people fight to the death.

We love to watch people fight, kill, have immoral acts, and far more than they did with even more graphic reality in our movies.

We are no different, if not more wicked. We are in a world of violence and the BOM teaches us how to live righteously among such wickedness.

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Because we love violence. Its what will befall us when our nation is destroyed.

Romans loved to watch people fight to the death.

We love to watch people fight, kill, have immoral acts, and far more than they did with even more graphic reality in our movies.

We are no different, if not more wicked. We are in a world of violence and the BOM teaches us how to live righteously among such wickedness.

Yeah my favourite movie has a scene where a guy walks threw a skyscraper as it falls ontop of him, to save a little girl. He then proceeds to crush a mans skull with his bare hand and hit three other guys so hard they explode.

I got that movie for free at an anime store (it was on VHS)... Violence is a part of life, we kill to survive.

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Yeah my favourite movie has a scene where a guy walks threw a skyscraper as it falls ontop of him, to save a little girl. He then proceeds to crush a mans skull with his bare hand and hit three other guys so hard they explode.

I got that movie for free at an anime store (it was on VHS)... Violence is a part of life, we kill to survive.

Yea in highschool my favorite movies were Running Scared, also American History X. Full of profanity, violence, and a great actor paul walker for the first movie :D Not recommended for anyone. I won't watch it any more. But still it shows many great points of what our society has come to especially with American history X. Too over the top but I just used to love violence.

Now looking at the world I see it and all I can think is this...

2 nephi 26:7 O the pain, and the anguish of my soul for the loss of the slain of my people! For I, Nephi, have seen it, and it well nigh consumeth me before the presence of the Lord; but I must cry unto my God: Thy ways are just.

8 But behold, the righteous that hearken unto the words of the prophets, and destroy them not, but look forward unto Christ with steadfastness for the signs which are given, notwithstanding all persecution—behold, they are they which shall not perish.

9 But the Son of Righteousness shall appear unto them; and he shall heal them, and they shall have peace with him, until three generations shall have passed away, and many of the fourth generation shall have passed away in righteousness.

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Interesting OP. Has anyone read the Bible lately? I used to think about his topic, but keep in mind that Christ suffered ALL our pains. Even all those violent pains. There isn't anything that anyone has suffered that He did't condescend to suffer also. Violence is a result of the agency He gave us. And the temporal earth will end in a violent, burning oven. The pains of death are temporary. We should get over it.

Edited by skalenfehl

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I don't love violence, but I have used it, and will continue to use it, as necessary. People's actions dictate the response, and as in Quin's example, sometimes the only solution. Peaceful resolutions are the best, but not always possible. When they are not, then violence is usually the response.

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I disagree that life is violence; it is the same thing as saying that life is suffering. Life has the full range of human action which can and does include violence and suffering.

Sometimes I think we have a huge confirmation bias in seeing violence. We see violence in the news, movies, books, etc. It makes things "exciting" and the reason why it makes things exciting is because in peoples day-to-day normal lives violence is an extremely rare occurrence. If it occurred constantly in our daily lives individuals would turn off the violence in movies, news, etc. because it would no longer be exciting it would be drudgery to watch a movie full of violence and then have our lives consumed by it.

I also disagree that in humanity most of life ended by human violence, the facts do not bare this out at all. I think that one of the reasons it was included in the scriptures is because the modern society sees a lot of violence, some real, most of it acted. The ratio of violence consumed (through media) vs. violence experienced is extremely high. This high level of consumed to experienced does many things, most of it bad: it makes us believe that violence is a part of everyone's life, it provides a pattern of how we "should" act if violence occurs to us, it desensitizes us to it, it makes it seem normal and accepted, it trivializes the real consequences of violence.

I believe the scriptures are there to remind us that it has real consequences, some good but most of the consequences end up being bad. The older I get the more that I really enjoy the Non-Aggression Principle. Sometimes violence on our part can be justified, however I often reflect on a couple of things.

"And it came to pass that their brethren, the Lamanites, made preparations for war, and came up to the land of Nephi for the purpose of destroying the king, and to place aanother in his stead, and also of destroying the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi out of the land.

21 Now when the people saw that they were coming against them they went out to meet them, and aprostrated themselves before them to the earth, and began to call on the name of the Lord; and thus they were in this attitude when the Lamanites began to fall upon them, and began to slay them with the sword.

22 And thus without meeting any resistance, they did slay a athousand and five of them; and we know that they are blessed, for they have gone to dwell with their God.

23 Now when the Lamanites saw that their brethren would not flee from the sword, neither would they turn aside to the right hand or to the left, but that they would lie down and aperish, and bpraised God even in the very act of perishing under the sword—

24 Now when the Lamanites saw this they did aforbear from slaying them; and there were many whose hearts had bswollen in them for those of their brethren who had fallen under the sword, for they repented of the things which they had done."

Only twice did Jesus enact violence, once on the moneychangers and once on the fig tree.

Don't worry, I'm very well-armed at my house, but those things do cause me to pause and ponder a few things.

Edited by yjacket

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