Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Moroni and Nephi: Both Young, Lonely Protectors of Sacred Scripture

Ever notice the interesting parallels between the lead and closing authors of the Book of Mormom? Both were sons of prophets. Both lived in a time of wickedness and impending destruction. Both were righteous men who rejected the evil of their time and drew close to the Messiah/Savior and received divine revelation about the future. Nephi was not a full-time military man like Moroni, but did suit up in the clothing of a military leader, Laban, in his quest to get the plates, a quest paralleled by Moroni retrieving and protecting them until they were buried. Both men had to flee enemies after retrieving the plates, and spent the rest of their recorded lives adding to them and taking steps to preserve them for future generations. Nephi brings them across an ocean to the promised land, while Moroni presumably travels across a continent (in the Limited Geographical Model of the Book of Mormon, anyway) to bring them from Mesoamerica to New York State. Both had much to lament and with the loss or rejection of family and loved ones, were apparently lonely and somber. But both rejoiced in that which gives hope to all of us: our Savior, Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah.

The great editor and second-to-last writer in the Book of Mormon, Mormon, was also like Nephi in being named a leader in spite of his youth (Mormon the teenage warrior named to lead the final Nephite army (possibly because of his lineage). [Corrected an error, confusing Moroni for Mormon in the original post.]

Interesting parallels in a book filled with poetic structure, parallelism, symbolism, and literary power.

18 comments:

Bookslinger said...

The righteous saints who lived and died prior to Christ's death and ressurrection became eligible to be resurrected themselves after Christ rose from the dead. Both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon testify that people (other than Christ) arose from their graves and appeared to people.

But neither book gives any names. I wonder if the principle participants of the Book of Mormon and the Old Testament were among that first group of "resurrectees".

Was Nephi resurrected? Or has he been since then?

Not everyone would have resurrected. The Plan required that some righteous saints stay in the Spirit World to preach to those in prison. IE, those that Christ organized to be missionaries in that world.

Were there volunteers who, like John and the three Nephites who volunteered to remain on earth to preach and serve, volunteered to stay un-resurrected in the Spirit World to preach and serve?

Was Nephi perhaps one of that group?

I read a reference, but I forget the source, that claimed that Nephi was among the personages that Joseph claimed to have seen at some point during his lifetime. But that still leaves open whether Nephi was in a pre- or post-resurrected state at the time, since both disembodied spirits and resurrected persons can appear to mortals.

The book of Revelation along with the Doctrine and Covenants tells us that those faithful saints who lived and died after Christ's resurrection, and who are eligible for the Celestial Kingdom, will be resurrected the morning of the Second Coming. Yet there are some exceptions to that, apparently based on their assignments, as Moroni who lived and died after Christ has already been resurrected.

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I like the parallel that Moroni both hid up the gold plates and was the one to reveal them.

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I also wonder what sociality there is in the spirit world or in the resurrected world among the Book of Mormon's or the Bible's principle actors. Are people in those worlds grouped by the epoch in which they lived, or do Lehi and Nephi get to hang with Mormon and Moroni?

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Have Laban, Laman and Lemuel repented and been been let out of spirit prison? Did the Nephite/Lamanite saints of the 1st century A.D. do their temple work for them?

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What about the "other books" written by the other tribes that the Lord led away from Israel? When do we get their stories?

Jon-Michael said...

"Moroni as a teenage warrior named to lead the final Nephite army (possibly because of his lineage)"

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that's Mormon. Mormon was called to lead the Nephite armies at the tender age of 16.

Moroni was a Nephite leader during the final battle, but as far as we know, he was never the chief leader of of the Nephite army like his father. Also, his writings and experiences are not recorded until after the destruction of the Nephites, and his age is never mentioned. I imagine based on the age of his father, he wasn't a teenager when he began his writings in Mormon 8.

That being said, it's an interesting comparison, I haven't looked at it that way before.

Mormanity said...

Oops! Fixed that error.

Jennifer said...

Bookslinger, I sure hope there’s some cross-epoch socialization – there’s a lot of people whose brains I’d love to pick!

You ask, “What about the "other books" written by the other tribes that the Lord led away from Israel? When do we get their stories?”

One thing I’ve read was by Joseph Fielding Smith in his book Church History and Modern Revelation refers to the promise made to Mormon in 3 Nephi 26:9, where the Lord said that he would try the faith of the people and if they were willing to accept the lesser things (i.e. the Book of Mormon) then he would make known to them the greater things. JFS says, “That we have failed in this is very apparent, we have not accepted the revelations in the Book of Mormon neither in the Doctrine and Covenants with that faith and willingness to know the will of the Lord which would entitle us to receive this greater information.... It appears, therefore, that we must wait until the reign of unrighteousness is at an end before the Lord will give to the people these writings, containing ‘a revelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the ending thereof.’ (2 Nephi 27:7)”

A couple of other interesting scriptural parallels are when the Aaronic Priesthood was conferred to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery by the last person to hold the keys to that priesthood, John the Baptist (D&C 13), and the Melchizedek Priesthood by the last to hold those keys, Peter, James, and John.

Anonymous said...

And notice when there is something extra special that needs to be done, ie: bringing forth the BOM, preserving the BOM, starting to first put the writings down that became the BOM.. HF (Heavenly Father) chooses young men. I have noticed in my years on earth that young men can be a very great asset in times of stress. They have an ability to be very stubborn about things they truly believe to be true. Must be why young men are called to be missionaries at 19.

I too want to be able to socialize with all generations. Actually my Patriarchal Blessing says something to that effect.

Train of thought got lost.........From an LDS Mommy :)

Anonymous said...

Food for thought in response to Bookslinger's question about when do we get the 10 tribe's scriptures. I would like to posit that since the gathering of Israel started with the restoration of the Church, and it appears that the majority of Church member's belong to the tribe of Ephraim (Joseph Smith included) which tribe was the largest of the 10 tribes that we are the lost 10 tribes and the Doctrine & Covenants could very well represent the writing coming from the 10 tribes. After all, time is measured only to man and when Jesus declared that he was going to visit the other tribes of Israel, he could have been thinking about the restoration and his subsequent visits to the Prophet and a few others.

Just a thought.

John Jackson said...

M-press-ev!

Never thought of those parallels before, unless someone mentioned them and I long ago forgot them.

Their names both end with the letter I.

We are missing details from the end of both of their lives. Nephi offers a lot of events in his life until he arrives in America, then we don't get much in the way of his happenings. Moroni is left to wander the land after the last great battle, but we don't have any specific events or what finally becomes of him.

Arguably the two most quoted Book of Mormon scriptures are 1 Nephi 3:7 and Moroni 10:3-5, so each gave us one.

Both begin their records with the same verbage, "I, Nephi," and "Now, I, Moroni."

They end their records oh-so the same, both using the word "farewell" to say goodbye and both referring the the judgement bar in the last verse (Nephi calls it the "judgement bar" and Moroni the "pleasing bar"). Both end with the word, "Amen."

There are other similarites in their closing statements. Both suggest what they have said will be brought up when we are judged in the final hour. "For Christ will show unto you with power and great glory , that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things," Nephi says. Moroni writes: "For ye shall see me at the bar of God; and the Lord God will say unto you: Did I not delcare my words unto you, which were written by this man . . .?"

Both warn that what they have written is true and should be listened to. "Hearken unto these words," Nephi writes. "I exhort you to remember these things, Moroni says.

Both ask the read to accept Christ. "Believe in Christ," Nephi writes. "Come unto Christ," Moroni implores.

Both suggest their words and the word of God will come through the ages. "I speak as one crying from the dust," says Nephi. "His word shall hiss forth from generation to generation," Moroni writes.

Both say they are speaking to the ends of the earth. "And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth," Nephi writes. " "And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth," Moroni says.

Tony said...

Amen to this post! What a wonderful wealth of living water and spiritual knowledge we recieve from reading the Book of Mormon.

A very happy father's day to you Brother Lindsay.

Anonymous said...

Both were fiction characters made up my Joseph Smith. Where is hill Cumorah? Where are all the bones from the epic battles in Bom? Why DNA evidence proves that american indians came from Asia? Who is the role model of Warren Jeffs?

regards from ex-mormon

dave d said...

One more parallel - Nephi and Moroni were both keenly aware of their limited writing ability and knew they could communicate better by speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost.

I have seen some of these parallels - others I hadn't considered yet. But I have often wondered about historical parallels / chiasmus in the Book of Mormon history. Is there a chiasm of prophets here? Maybe. You might have to squint a little to see it. If it is there, the central and most important figure in the chiasm of prophets is, of course, Jesus Christ.

Tony said...

To Anon on June 20th, I am one of those 'loonies' who believes that the 10 tribes do not reside on this earth. Interesting ideas though!

To exmo anon, does DNA evidence or archaelogy prove that the Bible is the word of God? Did the apostles of the Lord need such evidence to know that Jesus was the Christ and that the revelations given to them were true? Think on those things.

Remember that people in the last days would be "ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth" and that there would be "science falsely so called." The gnostics, greeks, etc. surely would use some of the same arguments against the ancient apostles.

"For flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."

Anonymous said...

Tony wrote: "To exmo anon, does DNA evidence or archaelogy prove that the Bible is the word of God?"

No and it doesn't prove that the Koran is the "word of God" or that Captain Picard is superior to Captain Kirk either.

Statements of faith are fine but one you begin to claim that entire civilizations lived in a particular geographic area and there is no evidence for it....that's a problem.

Perhaps Nephi lived in another dimension?

bunker said...

No evidence? Think maybe they could have been mixed in with Mayans, Aztecs, Olmecs, etc?

Bookslinger said...

Anon: you speak with forked tongue.

There is tons of evidence that supports plausibility of the Book of Mormon. One can only rightly say that there is no slam-dunk irrefutable physical proof of the Book of Mormon.

The DNA only shows that the Amerindians have _part_ of their ancestral line going back to Asia, not 100% of it. There is still plenty of room for their having Israelite ancestors too.

And if the pre-existing population was pretty large when Lehi got here, it is very likely that the Israelite genetic markers got "bottlenecked". But that still doesn't mean the Amerindians don't have middle-east in their ancestry.

Besides being silent on any pre-existing populations, we don't know what happened after the close of Book of Mormon. There could have been more Asian immigration, or further mixture with the local inhabitants of Asian origen.

And since God was involved, the possibility of miraculous things are on the table. God could have purposely changed the Lamanite DNA to resemble Asian DNA if he wanted to.

After all, if Christians believe that God became a man, brought other people (Lazarus) back from the dead, that he died himself (which really confuses a lot of people: "How can your God die?"), and that he came back to life himself, then changing people's DNA is minor league in comparison, in terms of miracles.

As far as asking where the battles were, that's irrelevant.

As far as asking where the bones are, again, its mainly irrelevant. The Nephites usually dumped their enemies bodies in a river. The Lamanites may or may not have done the same thing. They may have burned them, or left them on the surface to decompose.

In the big final battles, if they left the corpses laying around, and didn't bury them, they would have decomposed long ago.

That archealogists find any ancient remains is actually rare compared to the total number of people who lived in antiquity. Human or any animal bones need certain conditions to preserve them beyond a century or so. Unless the burial conditions are dry and undisturbed, one would not expect to find skeletons beyond a few hundred years.

And it was well over 1,000 years from the close of the Book of Mormon to the landing Christopher Columbus.

Have you ever watched the TV show on the History Channel that speculates what would happen if all mankind died, and how everything would just decompose? Almost all traces would be gone in 500 to 1000 years. So it's easy to see how that would have happened to ancient civilizations.

That there is any evidence at all of the ancients in America, such as the stone cities, is miraculous in itself.

Tony said...

Thanks Bookslinger. You said more than I ever could. Perhaps we might be ridiculed for having faith and admitting we don't know everything, but I know what I know, and see nothing wrong with trusting in God vs. imperfect human reasoning and arguments.
Plus, as you've shown, we do have support to our claims and BOM claims.

I am glad that God didn't require us to find Him through the sciences or other such things, but that He will manifest His truth unto even the littlest child.

Anonymous said...

Bookslinger,

Yep, and there is tons of evidence that the evil Xenu brought the Thetans here as is taught in Scientology. Just look at all the problems they have caused in humanity!

Scientology has it's delusion from Hubbard, you have your's from Smith.

Good luck finding anyone outside of Mormonism who will buy into your crackpot theories!

Anonymous said...

Anon at 12:08
Good luck finding anyone outside of Mormonism who will buy into your crackpot theories!

How very shrewd of you. Anyone outside of Mormonism that bought into those crackpot schemes would probably join the Church and, thus, no longer be outside of Mormonism. You can't lose.

Greg said...

It would appear that Moroni has played - and is continuing to play - a significant role in the destiny of America. See Moroni and the Destiny of America.