"There is so much more in the Book of Mormon than we have yet discovered. The book's divine architecture and rich furnishings will increasingly unfold to our view, further qualifying it as 'a marvelous work and a wonder' ...The Book of Mormon is like a vast mansion with gardens, towers, courtyards, and wings. All the rooms in this mansion need to be explored..."
-Neal A Maxwell

Friday, August 24, 2012

Burying talents vs burying weapons of war

I have an odd proclivity for comparing seemingly disparate scripture stories that share one common, but perhaps trivial, element. Sometimes this yields rather interesting parallels and contrasts, sometimes not. This time, it did--with one rather striking parallel in particular. 

The Savior's parable of the talents (should that be capitalized? 'The Parable of the Talents?') and the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, penitent Lamanites who chose death over returning to warfare, share one thing in common: objects of significance are buried "in the earth." In one story, this act was to the burier's eternal detriment (I think that's the first time in my life I've ever used the word 'burier'); in the other, it was to their everlasting salvation. Here's the comparison: 

Burying talents 
(Matthew 25:14-30)
Burying weapons of war
(Alma 24
Those who bury their talents do so out of fear of man (Matt. 25:25, see also D&C 60:2Those who buried their weapons of war did so out of fear of sin (Alma 24:13, 15, 19)
Burying one's talent is closely associated with idleness (Matt. 25:26, see also D&C 60:13)Burying one's weapons of war was closely associated with work and industry (Alma 24:18, see also Alma 23:18)
"Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man... (Matt. 25:24)"
"Oh how merciful is our God!" (Alma 24:15)
(Here's the big one...) 
The increase in the number of talents gained equaled the number that were put to use (Matt. 25: 20, 22) The increase in the number of believers equaled (roughly) the number that were put to death (Alma 24:19-26) 
(See? Told ya.) 
State of the unwise servant: 

"Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. (Matt 25:28-29)"

State of the Amalekites and  Amulonites who slew the Anti-Nephi-Lehies: 

"And thus we can plainly discern, that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things. (Alma 24:30)"

I'm sure I'm still missing a couple of things here; this chart is probably incomplete. In the parable, I've never understood what was symbolized by the steward with ten talents receiving the talent lost by the unwise steward, or by the Lord admitting, "I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed." Could these two elements also have parallel in Alma 24? 

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