"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

Monday, January 21, 2013

Déjà vu: Alma 45 & 62

In an earlier post, I submitted that the latter halves of chapters 2 and 10 of 1 Nephi share nearly identical narratives. A similar pattern emerges by comparing chapters 45 and 62 of Alma, which mark the beginning and end, respectively, of Helaman's prophetic ministry.

(Verses 1-19: Alma the Younger confers the records and his prophetic mantle upon his son, Helaman, then disappears.) (Verse 43: Moroni confers command of the Nephite army upon his son, Moronihah, then retires.) 
20 And now it came to pass in the commencement of the nineteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, 44 And Pahoran did return to his judgment-seat

that Helaman went forth among the people to declare the word unto them.

and Helaman did take upon him again to preach unto the people the word of God; 
 21 For behold, because of their wars with the Lamanites and the many little dissensions and disturbances which had been among the people, for because of so many wars and contentions 
it became expedient that the word of God should be declared among them, yea, and that a regulation should be made throughout the church.it had become expedient that a regulation should be made again in the church.
(Nowhere else in the Book of Mormon does the word 'regulation' appear in singular form, by the way.) 
 22 Therefore, Helaman and his brethren went forth 45 Therefore, Helaman and his brethren went forth, 

At this point, the parallels continue (albeit in slightly different sequence, hence the color highlights), though the outcomes of Helaman's first and final evangelical travels couldn't be more different: 

Alma 45
Alma 62
to establish the church again in all the land, yea, in every city throughout all the land which was possessed by the people of Nephi. And it came to pass that they did appoint priests and teachers throughout all the land, over all the churches.

23 And now it came to pass that after Helaman and his brethren had appointed priests and teachers over the churches that there arose a dissension among them, and they would not give heed to the words of Helaman and his brethren;

24 But they grew proud, being lifted up in their hearts, because of their exceedingly great riches; therefore they grew rich in their own eyes, and would not give heed to their words, to walk uprightly before God.

and did declare the word of God with much power unto the convincing of many people of their wickedness, which did cause them to repent of their sins and to be baptized unto the Lord their God.

46 And it came to pass that they did establish again the church of God, throughout all the land.

47 Yea, and regulations were made concerning the law. And their judges, and their chief judges were chosen.

48 And the people of Nephi began to prosper again in the land, and began to multiply and to wax exceedingly strong again in the land. And they began to grow exceedingly rich.

 49 But notwithstanding their riches, or their strength, or their prosperity, they were not lifted up in the pride of their eyes; neither were they slow to remember the Lord their God; but they did humble themselves exceedingly before him.

 50 Yea, they did remember how great things the Lord had done for them, that he had delivered them from death, and from bonds, and from prisons, and from all manner of afflictions, and he had delivered them out of the hands of their enemies.

51 And they did pray unto the Lord their God continually, insomuch that the Lord did bless them, according to his word, so that they did wax strong and prosper in the land.

 52 And it came to pass that all these things were done. And Helaman died, in the thirty and fifth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.

What a great framing device! 

Assuming this was his literary mechanism and not that of another historian he was abridging, Mormon's tacit exhortation to persist in our duties despite their apparent futility echoes his later counsel to his son, Moroni: 
And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God. (Moroni 9:6)

(By the way, did you catch that little chiasmus in Helaman 45:23-24?)

A and they would not give heed to the words of Helaman and his brethren;

B But they grew proud, being lifted up in their hearts

C because of their exceedingly great riches

C' therefore they grew rich 

B' in their own eyes

A' and would not give heed to their words, to walk uprightly before God.

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