17 April 2014

Guess what book replaced the Book of Mormon as the #1 book on the list of life-changing books

Yesterday there was an article in the Deseret News entitled, "The Book of Mormon claims No. 1 spot on list of life-changing books." It was great news for the Salt Lake City newspaper, a paper owned an operated by the LDS Church.

Here are some excepts:

The Book of Mormon climbed to the top of a list of life-changing books from BestBookRead.com Wednesday, April 17, thanks to user votes and social media interaction.
On Wednesday, the Book of Mormon claimed the No. 1 spot on the list with help from a blog post by LDS Media Talk.

The post, published April 11, prompted readers with the question "How has the Book of Mormon changed your life?" Readers were encouraged to vote for their life changing-book at BestBookRead.com.

After the post, the Book of Mormon went from No. 25 on the list to No. 1, with more than 4,000 votes.

"This is an example of what Latter-day Saints can do when we stand for what we believe and we share it with others," reads the post from LDS Media Talk.

Before the post on April 11, the Book of Mormon ranked #25, with 235 votes; five days later it ranked #1, with more than 4000 votes. As the author of the #1 generating post said, "This is an example of what Latter-day Saints can do when we stand for what we believe and we share it with others. If you haven’t voted for it yet, just visit BestBookRead.com."

The joy at LDS headquarters in SLC was short-lived, however. The Book of Mormon has fallen to #4, following #3 "How to Kill Yourself." The new #1 is "Mein Kampf" by Adolf Hitler.

(The Bible, by the way, is #36, just barely beating "Porn Star 1" by one vote.)

16 April 2014

Alma 12: "This is the thing which I was about to explain..."

After Amulek shut Zeezrom up, Alma hopped on the soapbox and continued preaching. A crowd had gathered, and he wanted to take full advantage.
Now Alma, seeing that the words of Amulek had silenced Zeezrom, for he beheld that Amulek had caught him in his lying and deceiving to destroy him, and seeing that he began to tremble under a consciousness of his guilt, he opened his mouth and began to speak unto him, and to establish the words of Amulek, and to explain things beyond, or to unfold the scriptures beyond that which Amulek had done. 12.1
Now the words that Alma spake unto Zeezrom were heard by the people round about; for the multitude was great, and he spake on this wise: 12.2
He continues to give Zeezrom a hard time, and call him an agent of the devil.
Now Zeezrom, seeing that thou hast been taken in thy lying and craftiness, for thou hast not lied unto men only but thou hast lied unto God; for behold, he knows all thy thoughts, and thou seest that thy thoughts are made known unto us by his Spirit; 12.3 
And thou seest that we know that thy plan was a very subtle plan, as to the subtlety of the devil, for to lie and to deceive this people that thou mightest set them against us, to revile us and to cast us out -- 12.4
Now this was a plan of thine adversary, and he hath exercised his power in thee. Now I would that ye should remember that what I say unto thee I say unto all. 12.5 
And behold I say unto you all that this was a snare of the adversary, which he has laid to catch this people, that he might bring you into subjection unto him, that he might encircle you about with his chains, that he might chain you down to everlasting destruction, according to the power of his captivity. 12.6
By this point even Zeezrom was convinced. He began trembling (a universal sign of guilt in the Book of Mormon),  and started to ask some real questions to Alma. Zeezrom asks about the resurrection of the dead, and if everyone is brought before God for judgment after their death.
Now when Alma had spoken these words, Zeezrom began to tremble more exceedingly, for he was convinced more and more of the power of God; and he was also convinced that Alma and Amulek had a knowledge of him, for he was convinced that they knew the thoughts and intents of his heart; for power was given unto them that they might know of these things according to the spirit of prophecy. 12.7 
And Zeezrom began to inquire of them diligently, that he might know more concerning the kingdom of God. And he said unto Alma: What does this mean which Amulek hath spoken concerning the resurrection of the dead, that all shall rise from the dead, both the just and the unjust, and are brought to stand before God to be judged according to their works? 12.8

Alma answers him in very vague terms, basically saying that some people get to know the mysteries of God, and some don't. The better you behave, the more you get to know, and the worst-behaving people are punished by receiving less and less knowledge of God, which is a vicious cycle that ends up sending them into the jaws of Hell. Seems fair.
And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him. 12.9 
And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. 12.10 
And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell. 12.11 
Then if our hearts have been hardened, yea, if we have hardened our hearts against the word, insomuch that it has not been found in us, then will our state be awful, for then we shall be condemned. 12.13
Zeezrom also asked whether people are judged by their works or not. Alma answered that God judges people by their works, their words, and even their thoughts. On the judgment day a person will not be found faultless, and they would be happy to let a mountain fall upon them rather than look upon God and be judged. Indeed.
For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence. 12.14
Alma then gives a nice description of Hell:
Then is the time when their torments shall be as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever; and then is the time that they shall be chained down to an everlasting destruction, according to the power and captivity of Satan, he having subjected them according to his will. 12.17
When Alma was done speaking, the people were astonished. Or most of them, at least. There was still one doubter among them. His name was Antionah, and he was their chief ruler. He said:
"What do you mean, that people can live forever? Didn't God place cherubim and a flaming sword on the east of the Garden of Eden, so that our parents couldn't eat from the tree of life and live forever?"
Now it came to pass that when Alma had made an end of speaking these words, the people began to be more astonished; 12.19 
But there was one Antionah, who was a chief ruler among them, came forth and said unto him: What is this that thou hast said, that man should rise from the dead and be changed from this mortal to an immortal state that the soul can never die? 12.20 
What does the scripture mean, which saith that God placed cherubim and a flaming sword on the east of the garden of Eden, lest our first parents should enter and partake of the fruit of the tree of life, and live forever? And thus we see that there was no possible chance that they should live forever. 12.21
 Alma said: "Oh yeah, I was getting to that."
Now Alma said unto him: This is the thing which I was about to explain, now we see that Adam did fall by the partaking of the forbidden fruit, according to the word of God; and thus we see, that by his fall, all mankind became a lost and fallen people. 12.22
Then he explains how the fall of Adam was all part of the plan, because people would have been miserable if they lived forever in the Garden of Eden, because they wouldn't have the proper "predatory state", and then redemption wouldn't have been possible. It all makes sense if you really think about it (or if you don't think about it very hard).
And now behold, I say unto you that if it had been possible for Adam to have partaken of the fruit of the tree of life at that time, there would have been no death, and the word would have been void, making God a liar, for he said: If thou eat thou shalt surely die. 12.23 
And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead. 12.24 
Now, if it had not been for the plan of redemption, which was laid from the foundation of the world, there could have been no resurrection of the dead; but there was a plan of redemption laid, which shall bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, of which has been spoken. 12.25 
And now behold, if it were possible that our first parents could have gone forth and partaken of the tree of life they would have been forever miserable, having no preparatory state; and thus the plan of redemption would have been frustrated, and the word of God would have been void, taking none effect. 12.26
But behold, it was not so; but it was appointed unto men that they must die; and after death, they must come to judgment, even that same judgment of which we have spoken, which is the end. 12.27

Then Alma finishes the way he usually does, with a call to repentance.
And now, my brethren, behold I say unto you, that if ye will harden your hearts ye shall not enter into the rest of the Lord; therefore your iniquity provoketh him that he sendeth down his wrath upon you as in the first provocation, yea, according to his word in the last provocation as well as the first, to the everlasting destruction of your souls; therefore, according to his word, unto the last death, as well as the first. 12.36 
And now, my brethren, seeing we know these things, and they are true, let us repent, and harden not our hearts, that we provoke not the Lord our God to pull down his wrath upon us in these his second commandments which he has given unto us; but let us enter into the rest of God, which is prepared according to his word. 12.37

15 April 2014

And I beheld when the moon became as blood

(Since there's a lot of Christian hysteria over the tetrad of lunar eclipses that began last night, I thought I'd repost this from August 27, 2007.)

Did you see it last night? I did. The moon darkened and turned red, just like the Bible said it would.

I'm not sure just what to make of it, though.

Does it mean that Jesus is back?

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matthew 24:29-30

Well, the moon was definitely darkened, but the sun seemed normal enough and I didn't see any stars fall. Still, Alberto Gonzales resigned yesterday and Larry Craig pleaded guilty of lewd conduct charges. So maybe "the powers of heaven were shaken" a bit.

Or is it the end of the world, "the great and terrible day of the Lord" that I've heard so much about?

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. Joel 2:31

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come. Acts 2:20

Or has the sixth seal of Revelation been broken?

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood. Revelation 6:12
God has a strange way of communicating, doesn't he? The naturally occurring signs and wonders are all part of God's special sign language. Last night's central lunar eclipse was one of his most spectacular signs and was clearly a fulfillment of the Bible's prophecy (that there have been hundreds since the prophecies were made only shows how accurate the prophecies have been).

But what was God trying to tell us? (It must be a really important message since God repeats it so often.)

04 April 2014

How many did God kill in the Book of Mormon?

In a previous post, I compared the number of people killed in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Quran. Since then, my son Philip and I have taken a much closer look at the Book of Mormon, and it turns out that I missed quite a few killings in that first attempt nearly eight years ago. So here's a new, more complete list. (I've also updated the previous list to include the missed killings.)

I've tried to use the same standard for the killings in the Book of Mormon as I did for the Bible in Drunk With Blood. But there are probably some that shouldn't be on the list, and others that should be. Let me know what you think.

In future posts, I'll try to tell the stories for each of the BoM killings. Heck, maybe there'll even be a Drunk With Blood: The Book of Mormon edition.

BoM Number Estimate
1 1 Nephi 4:10-18 Laban 1 1
2 Jacob 7:15-20 Sherem 1 1
3 Words of Mormon 14 Lamanites - 10,000
4 Mosiah 9:18 Lamanites 3,043 3,043
5 Mosiah 10:19-20 Lamanites - 10,000
6 Mosiah 19:16-24 Noah is burned to death 1 1
7 Alma 1:15 Nehor 1 1
8 Alma 2:16-19 Amlicites 12,532 12,532
9 Alma 2:27-28 Amlicites and Lamanites - 10,000
10 Alma 2:30-31 Amlici 1 1
11 Alma 2:33-36 Amlicites and Lamanites 10,000
12 Alma 14:8-13 Women and children burn to death - 100
13 Alma 17:36-38 Lamanite robers - 10
14 Alma 28:2 Lamanites - 30,000
15 Alma 28:11 Lamanites - 10,000
16 Alma 30:2 Lamanites - 10,000
17 Alma 30:59 Korihor 1 1
18 Alma 44:12 Zerahemnah 1 1
19 Alma 44:17 Naked Lamanites - 1,000
20 Alma 50:22 Wicked Nephites and Lamanites 5,000
21 Alma 51:19 Dissenters 4,000 4,000
22 Alma 51:34 Amalickiah 1 1
23 Alma 57:14 Lamanites 2,000 2,000
24 Alma 62:9 "King-men" - 10
25 Alma 62:10 Freedom deniers - 10
26 Alma 62:11 Freedom haters - 10
27 Alma 62:25 Lamanites - 20
28 Alma 62:36 Lamanite king 1 1
29 Alma 62:38 Lamanites - 10,000
30 Helaman 1:7-8 Paanchi 1 1
31 Helaman 11:6 God and Nephi's famine - 5,000
32 3 Nephi 4:11 Giddianhi and his robbers 1 10,000
33 3 Nephi 4:21 Robbers - 30,000
34 3 Nephi 4:27 More robbers - 1,000
35 3 Nephi 4:28 Zemnarihah 1 1
36 3 Nephi 8:14 Jesus destroys large cities - 20,000
37 3 Nephi 8:15 City folks - 1,000
38 3 Nephi 8:16 People carried away in whirlwinds - 20
39 3 Nephi 9:1-15 Jesus destroyes 16 cities - 16,000
40 Mormon 2:15 Lamanites - 5,000
41 Mormon 3:8 Lamanites - 1,000
42 Mormon 6:9-15 Nephite soldiers 230,000 1,000,000
43 Ether 9:30 King Kom's people - 1,000
44 Ether 9:31 Poisonous snakes bite the people - 1,000
45 Ether 11:7 Wars, famines and pestilences - 100,000
46 Ether 14:25 God's wrath kills the Jaredites - 10,000
47 Ether 15:2 Two million mighty men, with their wives and children 2,000,000 8,000,000
48 Ether 15:19 God destroys the Jaredites - 1,000,000
2,251,587 10 million

21 March 2014

Bill Maher: Holy Ship (and Drunk With Blood)

In case you missed it last week, here it is again for you.

And here's a tweet that Bill Maher sent today.

Thanks Bill!