Book of Mormon Reading Group: 30 Oct - 05 Nov 2023 (Alma 13 - Alma 25)


zil2
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Please see the Book of Mormon Reading Group thread for details (and discussion of 1 Nephi 1 - 5).  Our goal is to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year.  I'll make a new post before each Monday so that it's ready to go - weeks go from Monday to Sunday for our purposes.

This week's schedule:

Oct 30 Alma 14 Monday
Oct 31 Alma 15 Tuesday
Nov 1 Alma 17 Wednesday
Nov 2 Alma 19 Thursday
Nov 3 Alma 21 Friday
Nov 4 Alma 23 Saturday
Nov 5 Alma 25 Sunday

 

Last Week: Book of Mormon Reading Group: 23 Oct - 29 Oct 2023 (Alma 1 - Alma 12)

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Alma 13

v1+: Alma assumes the history of the Melchizedek Priesthood to be common knowledge.  But the details of this seem to be lost both to the Jews and to modern Christianity.  @Jamie, he's talking about pre-Lehite, old world history here.

v3: Some were foreordained to receive the priesthood, but first they had to demonstrate faith and good works in mortality, and then they were called.  (The "with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such" sure makes me think of the Aaronic Priesthood - don't know if that's the intent, but that's what it reminds me of - prepared through the Aaronic Priesthood to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.)

v4: Some who were foreordained hardened their hearts in mortality and thus never had the privilege of receiving the priesthood.

v6: Those who received the Melchizedek Priesthood were to teach others how to return to God.

v7: ...through the Son.

v13: Be humble and repent, so that you can receive God's blessings.

v16: The ordinances of the priesthood should help us look to Christ.

v17-18: Just because people have "waxed strong in iniquity and abomination" is no reason to give up on them.  Teach repentance!

v20: Don't twist what scripture says.  Study carefully and fully.

v21: It's interesting to me that he recounted the history of the Melchizedek Priesthood.  In some ways, it doesn't seem to make sense with this audience.  Except, then he does what he said Melchizedek did - preach repentance....

v22+: I wonder if there will be angels "declaring it unto many" before the Second Coming.  While it's supposed to be "like a thief in the night", that appears to only apply to the wicked, not to those who are waiting for him...

v25: Perhaps Alma hadn't read the part about Christ coming 600 years from the time Lehi left Jerusalem.  Or perhaps he just meant that he didn't know when in that year...

v27: Don't procrastinate.  v28-30: Good counsel for every day.

Alma 14

v1: This is the important part.

v6: The pains of hell include: to be conscious of your part in causing others to reject the truth.  So don't do that, not by word and not by example.

v7: Zeezrom began to repent.

v7-8: How much more evil can you get than to just drive out (and yes, throw stones at) the men, but burn alive women and children?  These people worked hard to earn their destruction and got better than they deserved (er, spoiler alert).

v11: Sometimes God tells you not to do something which otherwise seems like a good, or even noble or heroic, thing. :(  Trust that the Lord will bless all who suffer in or for his name.

v11, 14: They were preaching longer than a single scene on the street - how else did they get copies of the scriptures ("records") and know who did or did not believe.  Alma must have begun to organize and perhaps baptize believers.

v17-18: Sometimes it's just best to keep your mouth shut.

v24-29: This is right out of a superhero movie. :)

v28: Have faith in Christ, and then build more faith, and don't stop. :)

Cliffhanger...

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15 minutes ago, zil2 said:

v1+: Alma assumes the history of the Melchizedek Priesthood to be common knowledge.  But the details of this seem to be lost both to the Jews and to modern Christianity.  @Jamie, he's talking about pre-Lehite, old world history here.

You're talking about Genesis 14:18-20. I've always considered this very odd. The note I wrote years ago in my Bible here reads "This interlude seems to pop up from nowhere. Where did Melchizedek come from? Where was Salem? [Jerusalem?])"

In verse 17 we have the king of Sodom coming out to meet Abraham. Verses 18, 19 and 20 suspend the narrative and deal with the entire story of Abraham and Melchizedek. Then in verse 21 "normal service is resumed" we have what the king of Sodom said to Abraham. It's almost like a commercial break! (Yes, I know that's not a very reverent thing to say about the Bible, but it is how it seems!)

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56 minutes ago, zil2 said:

v24-29: This is right out of a superhero movie. :)

There's definitely a parallel here with Acts 16:26 - except that Paul and Silas never actually got super-powers like these two! I remember well when I first heard that story at "Crusaders"* (similar to your "Primary" I suppose - though maybe for slightly older kids), with the guard preparing to kill himself, and Paul saying "Don't, we're still here!" What a relief that must have been for him!

Of course Paul and Silas weren't in prison so much for preaching as for taking away a slave-girl's prophetic powers and depriving her owners of "a nice little earner". But still...

P.S. I've just noticed one of my own marginal notes: "Didn't the other prisoners try to escape?" Maybe they felt the power that was with Paul and Silas, and knew they were safe. But anyway this is the Bible - not the BoM.

*They're not called "Crusaders" any more, but "Urban Saints". Probably because they're afraid of offending Muslims. (They don't say so of course, but I'd bet a tenner that was the real reason! I wonder if Billy Graham were alive today, he'd still be doing "Crusades"!)

Edited by Jamie123
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27 minutes ago, Jamie123 said:

You're talking about Genesis 14:18-20. I've always considered this very odd. The note I wrote years ago in my Bible here reads "This interlude seems to pop up from nowhere. Where did Melchizedek come from? Where was Salem? [Jerusalem?])"

Yes, but not just that.  We believe that the Melchizedek Priesthood was known to Adam and all the "patriarchs".  (Whether they knew the name "Melchizedek" or knew it by its proper name, I don't know.  If the Church website version of the scriptures wasn't down, I'd point you to the Bible Dictionary entry for Melchizedek Priesthood...

From the Bible Dictionary entry for Melchizedek (the person), it does indeed seem that Salem was Jerusalem.

37 minutes ago, Jamie123 said:

In verse 17 we have the king of Sodom coming out to meet Abraham. Verses 18, 19 and 20 suspend the narrative and deal with the entire story of Abraham and Melchizedek. Then in verse 21 "normal service is resumed" we have what the king of Sodom said to Abraham. It's almost like a commercial break! (Yes, I know that's not a very reverent thing to say about the Bible, but it is how it seems!)

I believe that when Abram returns from winning back Lot that he met Melchizedek and paid tithes and then met with the other kings (Sodom's among them).  The book of Jasher (non-biblical, not considered scripture by the LDS, but I like it) makes this more clear - it also states that Melchizedek was Shem, Noah's son.

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28 minutes ago, Jamie123 said:

There's definitely a parallel here with Acts 16:26 - except that Paul and Silas never actually got super-powers like these two!

Or the story of Peter in Acts 12 (my favorite is how Rhoda is so excited that she leaves Peter locked outside while she goes to tell everyone that Peter's free :animatedlol:).

There's at least one more miraculous prison break in our future reading. :)

30 minutes ago, Jamie123 said:

with the guard preparing to kill himself, and Paul saying "Don't, we're still here!" What a relief that must have been for him!

:D Right?  What sort of nut sticks around in prison after the doors are unlocked!?

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11 minutes ago, Jamie123 said:

Interesting - according to Wikipedia the book of Jasher is a "lost book" although there are forgeries around claiming to be it.

You can get versions of it free on google books.  I have a copy printed in 1973 that's apparently a reprint of an 1887 edition - both printed in Salt Lake City.  I can provide links to the google books versions I have.  The expanded version of Abraham destroying his father's idols is absolutely fabulous! :)

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39 minutes ago, zil2 said:

You can get versions of it free on google books.  I have a copy printed in 1973 that's apparently a reprint of an 1887 edition - both printed in Salt Lake City.  I can provide links to the google books versions I have.  The expanded version of Abraham destroying his father's idols is absolutely fabulous! :)

Maybe you need to do a Wikipedia edit! (Though be warned, if you want your edits to stay, you'll be committing yourself to a lifelong edit-war with whoever wrote the current version!)

And yes by all means link it please! I'd be interested to see.

Edited by Jamie123
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1 hour ago, zil2 said:

We believe that the Melchizedek Priesthood was known to Adam and all the "patriarchs".  (Whether they knew the name "Melchizedek" or knew it by its proper name, I don't know.

For what it's worth, many traditional Christians - or at least those who concern themselves with such matters (which isn't many) will tell you that there was only ever one priest "of the order of Melchizedek" and that was Christ himself. Some even suggest that Melchizedek was Christ - what they call a "Christophany" - an appearance of Christ prior to the incarnation.

I still think the placement of the story is odd. My theory is that Moses (or whoever wrote Genesis) realized too late that he should have included it. He wrote it out on a separate sheet and inserted it between the page which ended with verse 17 and the page which begins with verse 21. Later when it was copied (maybe onto a scroll) the scribe just wrote it all out as a continuous text. (All speculation of course and maybe not v. important.)

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1 hour ago, zil2 said:

If the Church website version of the scriptures wasn't down, I'd point you to the Bible Dictionary entry for Melchizedek Priesthood...

From the Bible Dictionary entry for Melchizedek (the person), it does indeed seem that Salem was Jerusalem.

This is mostly new to me. I'll need to set aside some time to study it.

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24 minutes ago, Jamie123 said:

Maybe you need to do a Wikipedia edit! (Though be warned, if you want your edits to stay, you'll be committing yourself to a lifelong edit-war with whoever wrote the current version!)

And yes by all means link it! I'd be interested to see.

It appears that the book I have is the one mentioned in this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sefer_haYashar_(midrash)

This is the google books link I have to a copy (it's not identical to my physical copy, but the actual translation - once you get past all the prefaces - appears to be the same).

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11 minutes ago, Jamie123 said:

This is mostly new to me. I'll need to set aside some time to study it.

https://site.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/bd/melchizedek-priesthood?lang=eng

Site's back up now.  And yes, I figured it would be new to you, that's why I pointed it out. :)

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19 minutes ago, Jamie123 said:

I still think the placement of the story is odd. My theory is that Moses (or whoever wrote Genesis) realized too late that he should have included it. He wrote it out on a separate sheet and inserted it between the page which ended with verse 17 and the page which begins with verse 21. Later when it was copied (maybe onto a scroll) the scribe just wrote it all out as a continuous text. (All speculation of course and maybe not v. important.)

In the book of Jasher, the story is found in Chapter XVI, starting in v 9 you get the "coming back from battle" bit where Abram meets Melchizedek (called here Adonizedek).

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2 hours ago, zil2 said:

Or the story of Peter in Acts 12 (my favorite is how Rhoda is so excited that she leaves Peter locked outside while she goes to tell everyone that Peter's free :animatedlol:).

If I remember rightly, that's the last mention of Peter in Acts. It says he went away "somewhere else" and that's it. Of course we know he ended up in Rome where he became bishop and was eventually crucified ("Quo vadis, Domine?") but none of that is recorded in Acts.

image.thumb.png.d7aaefe8cf365efafed7a617ab1df9f7.png

The original of that is in the National Gallery here in London. Peter's wide eyes are amazing. He really looks terrified.

Edited by Jamie123
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16 hours ago, zil2 said:

v11: Sometimes God tells you not to do something which otherwise seems like a good, or even noble or heroic, thing. :(  Trust that the Lord will bless all who suffer in or for his name.

I'm still thinking about the implications of this. I don't know what to say, other than that I'd probably have been Amulek, not Alma.

Amulek is to Alma what Barnabus is to Paul. (And Robin is to Batman, Watson is to Holmes, Sancho is to Don Quixote and Gabriella is to Xena.)

(And Penfold is to Danger Mouse.)

Edited by Jamie123
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10 hours ago, Jamie123 said:

I'm still thinking about the implications of this. I don't know what to say, other than that I'd probably have been Amulek, not Alma.

Amulek is to Alma what Barnabus is to Paul. (And Robin is to Batman, Watson is to Holmes, Sancho is to Don Quixote and Gabriella is to Xena.)

(And Penfold is to Danger Mouse.)

So, instead of hero and sideckick (à la Sky High - 2005), we tend to think of Alma and Amulek as Sr Companion and Jr. Companion.  Just to introduce you to LDS lingo.

Speaking of Lingo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMoo4NVPNZU

*****************

and not that it matters, but:  Gabrielle, not Gabriella.

Edited by Carborendum
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(I'm beginning to wonder about the accuracy of that software that made our schedule, but I'll take a short day since today is my ink review day, which takes up a lot of time.)

Alma 15

 v1-2: We don't get any details, but I can imagine there were a lot of personal struggles to overcome - your wife and/or children burned to death, but Alma and Amulek survive, you just got cast out, Zeezrom is to blame, etc.  Lots of faith and humility required to get through all that.

v5-12: If Zeezrom can change, so can I. At least his story has a happy ending.

v16: Many a convert to the Church can relate to Amulek.

v18: Be a true friend.

Foo.  I'm going to do Alma 16 today because it's also short, and a new sub-story starts in 17, which is also longer...  (And there's a purring cat using me as a pillow....)

Alma 16

v2-3, 9-11: It's hard to feel any sorrow at the fate of Ammonihah.  They earned their destruction, but it's still sad that they chose that path rather than repent.

v5: Seek guidance from the Lord in all your doings.

v16+: The effect of freely teaching the gospel to all who will listen.

(Next time, we flash back to find out what the sons of Mosiah have been doing among the Lamanites while their friend Alma the younger has been preaching to the Nephites.  When they left, Mosiah and Alma the elder were still alive.)

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11 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

So, instead of hero and sideckick (à la Sky High - 2005), we tend to think of Alma and Amulek as Sr Companion and Jr. Companion.  Just to introduce you to LDS lingo.

Speaking of Lingo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMoo4NVPNZU

That may be the official lingo, but people do sometimes refer to senior/junior missionary pairs (not necessarily Latter-day saints) as "Batmans* and Robins".

I always thought it was rather a good analogy - unless of course you think it's offensive, in which case I won't use it.

*Correct plural of Batman: Batmans? or Batmen?

Edited by Jamie123
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1 minute ago, Jamie123 said:

...people do sometimes refer to pairs of missionaries (not necessarily Latter-day saints) as "Batmans* and Robins".

:animatedlol: That's the first time I've heard it.  The most common "slang" term I've heard is "missionscaries".

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45 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

*****************

and not that it matters, but:  Gabrielle, not Gabriella.

OK, Gabrielle! It pays to be accurate about these things! 😁

XENA & GABRIELLE (LUCY LAWLESS RENEE OCONNOR) TV SHOW 8X10 Glossy Photo  | eBay

By the way, Xena and Gabrielle had their fair share of Biblical adventures - helping David to kill Goliath, and giving their donkey to Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem. A pity they never made it to America though...

Edited by Jamie123
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1 hour ago, zil2 said:

v16: Many a convert to the Church can relate to Amulek.

It makes me think of the movie The Errand of Angels. The main character, having got on really well with her first missionary companion, is given a new one - Sister Keller - who is totally different. She initially thinks that Sister Keller has a screw loose, but eventually learns that her seemingly strange behaviour is down to her having been rejected by her family on joining the Church. Amulek doesn't seem to have had such problems though - at least not yet! (It's early days.)

Yes, Latter-day Saint movies are one of my secret vices. My favourite is One Good Man - which I must have seen about 20 times. I'll get around to writing something about it some day. The funniest - in a dark way - is Baptists at Our Barbecue. (Some of the humour is not unlike Fawlty Towers.) God's Army is quite amusing too, though it's debatable if that is really an LDS movie, as the guy responsible for it is ex-LDS.

I ought to mention Charly too. That was the first LDS movie I saw. It's pretty much Shadowlands meets Love Story. I totally love Heather Beers!

Edited by Jamie123
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1 hour ago, Jamie123 said:

OK, Gabrielle! It pays to be accurate about these things! 😁

XENA & GABRIELLE (LUCY LAWLESS RENEE OCONNOR) TV SHOW 8X10 Glossy Photo  | eBay

By the way, Xena and Gabrielle had their fair share of Biblical adventures - helping David to kill Goliath, and giving their donkey to Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem. A pity they never made it to America though...

LoL.  Yeah, I remember those episodes.  I'm surprised you do.  I'd understand the David episode.  It was a full episode.

But the Joseph and Mary thing was just a single scene.  I don't know how many people would remember that.  Congrats.

Just to let you know how nit-picky I can get with TV shows, I wondered how there could be a Thriving Greek Empire and a Thriving Roman Empire (Caesar was a recurring character) all within a few years' time that covered the era from David to Jesus.  And they even did a bit of dabbling with 300.

But, hey.  It's a TV show.

And, let's not forget Centicles (Ho-ho-ho).

Edited by Carborendum
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