Episode 73: Mormon 9

March 30, 2015


Click to Listen: Episode 73: Mormon 9

In this one, Moroni does his very best to try and convert me. And it’s a pretty impressive attempt, especially since he’s doing it from beyond the grave. Will he succeed? Will I finally stop dwindling in unbelief? You’ll have to listen to find out!

“Drink” Count – 7

Just a tad more than one beer (weak, I know…)


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12 Comments on “Episode 73: Mormon 9”

  1. colddodger2015 Says:

    First post! Woohoo!

    Loved it. Didn’t care that it was short. These videos are the best mental floss. I’m here at BYU-I. I got away with not going to church for a little while, but finally got threatened by my bishop. If he doesn’t like my act, he can just send me home. Just like that.

    Mormon 9 is a chapter that I often revisited in defense of the Book of Mormon. I served a mission in the mid-west. I met all sorts of people, both religious and secular. Mormon 9 is supposed to be something like Moroni’s last “huzzah for Israel.” He addresses everyone — lukewarm Christians, deists, those that deny Christ’s coming. When I was 19, I was convinced this chapter had some of the soundest Biblical logic about why we should believe in a God of miracles and receive the Book of Mormon.

    On no less than four places, the Book of Mormon says not to condemn it for its imperfections. Not that I know of any, says the author, but of there are… Don’t condemn them.

    When I read the Book of Mormon as a 17 year old for the first time, I immediately recognized that this was some of most terrible syntax in all of English. Moroni says here not to condemn his imperfections, and then says if he could have written in Hebrew, there would be no imperfection. It made sense to me at the time. That must be why the book had such terrible syntax — They were using the sacred language to transmit their spoken language, and it just didn’t fit perfectly, but condemn it not for its imperfections.

    At the beginning of the 19th century, The Egyptians were the talk of the town. Napolean, the Emporer of France, had conquered Egypt and excavated it on a massive scale. The English eventually came on and kicked them out, but not before a huge interest in Egypt was sparked and relics, scrolls, and other trinkets like mummies were making their way around Britain and France and their colonies.

    No one could read Egyptian yet. Many thought the language contained long lost secrets of an ancient civilization more advanced than their own. Some even thought it contained mysterious existential secrets. It was anyone’s best guess at the time, and there was no way to check someone who pretended to know what they said except to be skeptical. I’m thinking this had a lot to do with why the ‘reformed Egyptian’ route sold as well as it did in the early American frontier.


  2. Duke of Earl Grey Says:

    Since Mormon 9 is the only mention of “Reformed Egyptian” in the Book of Mormon’s sacred text (because the Introduction is by its own admission not part of the sacred text), it’s about time we see what Reformed Egyptian apparently looked like:

    This is the famous “Caractors” document, said to be the very piece of paper on which Joseph transcribed some text from the plates at Martin Harris’ insistence (though I always wished he had thought to do a pencil rubbing), so that Harris might take them around to a college professor or two and get them authenticated as legitimate ancient writing, a fun story which I don’t want to tell about, and maybe we don’t have to yet…

    Moroni’s quotation of the words of Jesus to his disciples concerning speaking in tongues, drinking poison, handling serpents, etc. is taken word-for-word from Mark chapter 16, in fact, from the “Long Ending” of Mark. These verses are not found in all the ancient manuscripts of Mark, suggesting that they were not in the original version, but added later by another writer. It’s funny how Jesus decided to quote a scriptural forgery to the Nephites, but I guess he’d do whatever it takes to get people to believe their prayers will be answered.

    Speaking of that passage, your typical modern TBMs, while they will claim to uphold the statements here about a God of miracles, are not into speaking in tongues, like some Pentecostals still like to emphasize. Early Mormons were big on it, though, and it survived pretty well through the first century of church history. They claimed the unknown tongue they were speaking was “Adamic”, the original language of Adam, before that Tower of Babel incident happened. These days, when Mormons talk about the “gift of tongues”, they usually are referring to how well and how quickly (and by implication, how miraculously) our 19-year-old missionaries are able to learn Spanish, or whatever. Well, ten hours of language training a day for ten weeks straight helps a little, too, I suppose.

    Lastly, I’d like to make an appeal or two…

    Well, we’re getting close to the end. I had calculated, at the rate you’ve been reading, David, that there was enough material left to get us to around Episode 80 or so. With this short episode, maybe we’ll get to 81, or 82 if you do a special wrap-up episode of your overall impressions. (By the way, this would be the perfect week to give us another mid-week special, I think, to make up for this short one. It’s been like 7 or 8 weeks since the last mid-weeker, I’ve noticed. Huh? What do you think?) But I say this out of the hope that you’ll continue on into the Pearl of Great Price after you finish up the BoM. It’s about a tenth the size of the BoM, and full of fun stuff (maybe even a certain story I didn’t want to talk about earlier), and I know you’ll regret not reading it. I’m prophetic that way.

    So, if you’ll permit me to break out my best missionary-style, official “Commitment Pattern (TM)” question-asking voice: Will you, David Michael, read the Pearl of Great Price, and record yourself doing so, for our edification and amusement?


    • jwartena Says:

      I haven’t commented for a long time, but I’m throwing my support to the Duke’s proposition!

      David, you’ve mentioned several times about continuing with the Pearl of Great Price or D&C.

      Reading D&C would be terrible. While the Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price are mostly cohesive stories, D&C is the footnotes of Joseph Smith’s administrative actions in the early 19th century.

      It’s incredibly dry and doesn’t make any sense unless you have a pretty good grasp on Church History. Most members don’t even know what’s going on in D&C; they only use select passages.

      To make matters worse, D&C doesn’t have any narrative, and the sections are often out-of-order. So even if you do know the history, it’s all cut up.

      But PoGP, now that’s just perfect. I’ll even go out on a limb and say it’s better suited for the show than most of the BoM.


  3. Chinfat Says:

    Just FYI… Mormons consider members of the church “saints”. Hence, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day SAINTS. Just a different definition.


  4. Dave Says:

    “I am a Latter-Day Saint” – remember that song near the end of the Book of Mormon Musical? Mormons do not think of saints like the catholics do… a saint is another Mormon word for christian. Joseph Smith first named the church in 1830 “The Church of Christ” then in 1835, renamed it “The Church of the Latter Day Saints” then, after some cognitive dissonance over book of mormon passages where jesus says to name the church in his name, Smith renamed the church in 1838 ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”… Jesus’s christian church in the last days


  5. help3434 Says:

    I am really looking forward to hearing David read the Book of Ether


  6. Clint Kimball Says:

    I second the motion that at the end of the series David Michael reads the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price.


    • Dave Says:

      Pearl of Great Price absolutely! However, the D&C will be painful at times! There are some fantastic gems (D&C 77, 78, 89 132, 133, 138) but at times it is worse than the Quran! Do we really want David to go insane?


      • Clint Kimball Says:

        It’s true, I was thinking of the gems, but if anyone can get us through it, it’s David. He did survive the Isaiah chapters after all.


      • ohokyeah Says:

        I’m so very much looking forward to both the Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants by David. I’m not sure I can fully express how excited I am to hear his reactions. I really hope David does read them on a podcast, though I’d suggest if he’s making a separate podcast that he make Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price all in one since they’re combined not as long as the Book of Mormon.

        If David was feeling some ridiculous commitment, he could do the Journal of Discourses and/or the History of the Church, but those aren’t really canonical books but there would be a lot of “wtf” reactions I would bet.


  7. Ephima Morphew Says:

    Mormon Exceptionalism:
    Saints are the putative residence of Mormon Heaven and earth too.

    I’m saddened that you take umbrage at being scolded to Michael.
    The word of Elohim (god) can be a bitter pill for those that think for themselves.
    Your agency is tested as we, collectively, move through the MOST CORRECT words ever written and rewritten ad nauseum. And it came to pass redundancy is mildly offensive as the point is redundancy; god wishes to punish wickedness. He makes the rules and misses nothing, is a constant theme for the Saints to swallow.
    Mormon Saints are special, they, while living are half way to heaven thus the saintly title is conferred to those blessed by the brain of Joe Smith.
    Yay, Ether commeth, we get another snort of the hot gas of Ether. Here’s hoping you can endure so much more of the same –– redundancy.

    We pray for you Michael


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