The Book of Mormon—Teaching Immorality

BurningReally?

In 2018, the topic of a priesthood lesson in my local congregation was ‘revelation.’  The instructor used a story found in Alma 14:7-15.  In this passage an evil community rounded up all the women and children who believed in the “word of God” and cast them into a pit to be burned alive.

A prophet of God, Alma, and his companion, Amulek were brought to the edge of the pit to witness the horrendous pains of the innocents being consumed by fire.  Amulek called out to the prophet to save the women and children.  The prophet informed his troubled companion that he could not.  God had revealed His will.  Even though they had the power, these ever obedient servants were not to intervene.  The women and children were to be consumed in flames.  Although they were innocent believers, they must die so that evil people could commit evil acts to reveal that they were really really evil.

Oh what twisted & vile logic is presented here as an example of how God’s revelation operates.  This is not an admirable god.  Immorality, plain and simple, is purported as righteousness.  What a horrendous scripture.  What a savage and rotten god.

After the instructor’s presentation of the story, a conversation ensued about how this revelation was transmitted to Alma.  The moral of the immoral story was that God communicated through the Holy Ghost and that we too can receive revelation in the same manner.

As the discussion continued, I reread the passage.  I stewed.  My uneasy mind rebelled.  Finally, I raised my hand and said, “If I had the power to save one child, I would completely disregard god’s command.  I’d jump into that pit and pull out as many women & children as I could.”  The deliberation promptly ended and we moved to the next example of revelation.  It was much less egregious.

If I were in that class today, here’s what I would add to my comments.  “If god fussed at me for my disobedience, I would say to him, “You were going to burn these innocent human beings alive to facilitate depraved people going to hell!!!  You’re an evil bastard and I want no part of you or your kingdom.”

Effect of Immoral Teachings

I have been asked,  Why do leaders and most members of the LDS Church turn a blind eye to all the abuse that occurs in the Church?  Why are pedophiles so often protected while victims are brushed aside?  Why did the presentation of thousands of horror stories behind bishop’s closed doors not incite appropriate policy changes?

Well guess what.  This attitude is taught and glorified in sacred Mormon scripture.  Alma and Amulek turned a blind eye to the cries of terror & pain as women and children were in the throes of a dreadful death.  These prophets are revered in Mormon culture.

Immorality at its worst.  If any story should be excised from the LDS canon, this is it.  Instead, they excommunicate those incapable of turning a blind eye.

May our society stop turning a blind eye to our children’s plight.  That’s up to us, you and me!!!

Answer

At the end of the scripture below, the screams of the women and children are finally silenced as their bodies are converted into smoldering embers.  The baddies then slap the prophets across the face and ask, “What say ye for yourselves?”

What a question!  Of course, they had no answer.  What they should have said?  “We have made a huge & tragic mistake.  We condoned evil to take place when we could have prevented it.  Our regret will dog us us the rest of our lives.  We beg for forgiveness.”

Alma 14:7-15

And it came to pass that he began to cry unto the people, saying: Behold, I am guilty, and these men are spotless before God. And he began to plead for them from that time forth; but they reviled him, saying: Art thou also possessed with the devil? And they spit upon him, and cast him out from among them, and also all those who believed in the words which had been spoken by Alma and Amulek; and they cast them out, and sent men to cast stones at them.

And they brought their wives and children together, and whosoever believed or had been taught to believe in the word of God they caused that they should be cast into the fire; and they also brought forth their records which contained the holy scriptures, and cast them into the fire also, that they might be burned and destroyed by fire.

And it came to pass that they took Alma and Amulek, and carried them forth to the place of martyrdom, that they might witness the destruction of those who were consumed by fire.

10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.

11 But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.

12 Now Amulek said unto Alma: Behold, perhaps they will burn us also.

13 And Alma said: Be it according to the will of the Lord. But, behold, our work is not finished; therefore they burn us not.

14 Now it came to pass that when the bodies of those who had been cast into the fire were consumed, and also the records which were cast in with them, the chief judge of the land came and stood before Alma and Amulek, as they were bound; and he smote them with his hand upon their cheeks, and said unto them: After what ye have seen, will ye preach again unto this people, that they shall be cast into a lake of fire and brimstone?

15 Behold, ye see that ye had not power to save those who had been cast into the fire; neither has God saved them because they were of thy faith. And the judge smote them again upon their cheeks, and asked: What say ye for yourselves?

14 thoughts on “The Book of Mormon—Teaching Immorality

  1. Thanks for pointing out some Book of Mormon idiocy … which is nothing compared to the mayhem that happens in the Old Testament with the hapless sheeples make the painful .. often-fatal … error of pissing off Jehova.

    Reading about Alma and Amulek prompted me to look up another equally-true account from our treasure trove of stories we teach our children before expecting them to fall peacefully asleep:

    “The next day, the witch prepares the oven for Hansel, but decides she is hungry enough to eat Gretel too. She coaxes Gretel to open the oven and prods her to lean over in front of it to see if the fire is hot enough. Gretel, sensing the witch’s intent, pretends she does not understand what she means. Infuriated, the witch demonstrates, and Gretel pushes her into the oven, leaving ‘the ungodly creature to be burned to ashes’. Gretel frees Hansel from the cage and the pair discovers a vase full of treasure and precious stones. Putting the jewels into their clothing, the children set off for home. They arrive home to hear that their stepmother had since died from unknown causes and their father had not had a happy day since they were gone. They live happily ever after with the witch’s wealth they brought home.”

    I bear solemn witness of my testimony that the Book of Mormon is just as true as the story of Hansel and Gretel … except I like Hansel and Gretel better because the bad actor in the story was burned alive instead of innocent women and children.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I have no argument with you being angry at the church, Sam. However, for myself I wouldn’t be so hard on Alma and Amulek, nor even on their God.

    What the BoM fails to acknowledge, and most LDS take pains to pretend not to see is that when Amulek said, “let’s use the priesthood to stop this” it was just wishful thinking. Alma’s response that “the spirit constrains” was simply a mind driven mad by the inability to reconcile belief in the omnipotence of God and their powerlessness to do anything. He was just making sense of non-sense in the only way he could, by grasping at any absurd excuse he could think of. It is not that they did nothing because being evil they desired suffering. Rather, they did nothing because there was nothing they could do. As the D&C says, no power or influence can be maintained except by patience and long suffering. With that I agree. But their nemesis was beyond patience.

    Priesthood can neither bless nor curse, except in the sense that we can bring happiness or misery to those around us by how we love or hate. The God who called down the flood on Noah, and rent the rocks in 3rd Nephi does not exist, despite wishes to the contrary.

    So, personally I find this story less objectionable than the one about Ammon cutting off the arms of those driving off the kings flocks. At least this correctly portrays the impotence of priesthood leaders rather than setting them up as demi-gods. If more members recognized the absurdity of expecting the priesthood to be super-humans endowed with super-natural capabilities, then perhaps they wouldn’t be so willing to shepherd their children into closed offices with them.

    Having said that, I acknowledge it is kind of sick to say God allows suffering so the evil can condemn themselves. But, then again most explanations for the “problem of evil” (i.e. how to account for evil in the creation of a God who is both omnipotent and all-loving) tend to be sick. I’m just not sure the LDS explanation is any worse than any other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. God does not allow suffering: mankind does. In fact that is why Sam’s efforts are so remarkable in the face of those members (of the LDS Church and other organizations), who allow the abuse to continue based on in the LDS case, justification of the scripture referred to by Sam.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Alma of his own had no power if it wasn’t in the Will of The Father. Jesus tells us in the Book of John that of his ownself he had no power. He declared that it was the Father that doeth the miracles. Christ himself suffered the will of the Father in allowing the Church Leaders at that time to take his life for our sake. The notion of immorality being taught by the Book of Mormon in Alma is complete CRAP….

    Like

    1. Obviously we disagree. In my eyes your god is evil. He allowed the punishment of innocents so that the wicked could do wickedness. Kind of goes against the principle of being punished for your own sins. Here women and children suffer horrendously so that others can sin egregiously. Nope, I’d rather believe in no god than in yours.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. The will of the father? This is the default end of discussion card used by leaders of the church. Shut your mouth, bow your head and do what you are told. The answer to the unexplainable. The primary doctrine of unrighteous dominion, coercion and fear. “The will of the Egyptians.”
      How can we witness this awful scene … of child abuse? (Policy before people) The will of the father? ……That the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day. Hogwash like polygamy.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Isn’t there a word for people who refuse to step in when evil acts occur?

    Oh Yes… Cowards! But instead let’s just say it was ‘revelation’ so one can keep their dignity 🙄.

    But considering Joe Smith made the book up, what a sick and twisted imagination he had. Makes sense though considering all the evil things he said and did.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The sooner everyone stops quoting the Book of Mormon as some kind of spiritual reference … all the better.

      There are hundreds … if not thousands … of very worthwhile books … written by gifted, talented … not to mention spiritually mature and wise … human beings as fiction and advertised as fiction …. let’s call them “novels.”

      “The moral of the story is … ”

      Fiction can be (and often is) an extremely valuable method to teach correct principles … while simultaneously entertaining the reader as well.

      Howzabout let’s dispense with “teaching them principles of BS” while simultaneously boring them to tears.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. What “ancient scripture”…surely not a reference to The Book of Mormon, which is rather the cunning result of Joseph Smith Jnr and Oliver Cowdery as they plagiarized the works of others to suit their own best end and in order to justify the control, manipulation and abuse of children and women in what one would consider a more civilized era? Consequently one can label their approach as barbaric and disgusting. As for their inclusion of “Jesus Christ” …mere words…at least they can blame ‘him’ as their Machiavellian tactics are revealed in the ominous Second Anointing. Jesus Christ has no position in this Mormon Church.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sam, I would like you to send me other BOM passages that are equally egregious. I, am atheist, just received my first bible so I can start studying to adequately, and intelligently discuss this nonsense with believers. Rock on My guru!!! Love, Debbie Helgeson

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sam,
    I left the church over 4 years ago; resigned the day you read your X-letter in SLC.
    It is with amazement that I continue to discover lingering teachings and attitudes that require thoughtful/purposeful de-construction. Your exploration of Alma 14:7-15 burned off a bit more corrosion from the influence of 60+ years of indoctrination. I wish there was a book that showed LDS lessons side-by-side with official and real interpretations. The purging process continues. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My moment-ago comment sounded like wanted to switch from having the church give me interpretations to having the post-mo community give me interpretations. That is not my intent! To clarify:
    I am filled with decades of formative messages presented as pure truth. I am quite capable of rethinking them as they come to memory. My focus, however, is on forging a new life. Still, I appreciate it when something prompts another re-thinking in this purging process.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s