Saturday, April 11, 2020

Forbidden to write -- Part 2

In part 1, we started looking at examples in the Book of Mormon where the author is forbidden to write certain things. We saw two examples from Nephi and one from Mormon. In this part we will look at one more example from Mormon and two from Moroni. That gives two examples each for the three main Book of Mormon authors.

3 Nephi 28:13-14, 25

13 And behold, the heavens were opened, and they were caught up into heaven, and saw and heard unspeakable things.
14 And it was forbidden them that they should utter; neither was it given unto them power that they could utter the things which they saw and heard...
25 Behold, I was about to write the names of those who were never to taste of death, but the Lord forbade; therefore I write them not, for they are hid from the world.
I can understand the one in verse 14. We are not going to get a full description of what they saw in heaven. It wasn't possible for them to express in words anyway. But it makes me think. How many times do we speculate about the afterlife, try to describe or imagine conditions there, the nature of the Godhead, etc. When we learn that power from God is required to enable us to utter those things, we should be humble and realize that a detailed knowledge of the heavens is beyond our comprehension at the moment.

Regarding verse 25, Mormon was forbidden to write the names of the "3 Nephites". They were to be "hid from the world". I don't know why knowing their names would make much of a difference. We already know the names of the 12 disciples from 3 Nephi 19:4, so it would have to be 3 of them I would suppose? But the Lord forbade it for a reason. Perhaps it is just to avoid needless speculations like this? I really don't know.

Ether 4:4-7

4 Behold, I have written upon these plates the very things which the brother of Jared saw; and there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared.
5 Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them. And he commanded me that I should seal them up; and he also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord.
6 For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.
7 And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.
The brother of Jared is one of a few people in the scriptures that are described as seeing everything. In the case of the brother of Jared
25 And when the Lord had said these words, he showed unto the brother of Jared all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and also all that would be; and he withheld them not from his sight, even unto the ends of the earth.
26 For he had said unto him in times before, that if he would believe in him that he could show unto him all things—it should be shown unto him; therefore the Lord could not withhold anything from him, for he knew that the Lord could show him all things. (Ether 3)
The brother of Jared was commanded to write it down and Moroni was commanded to seal the translation of it. We learn that we will not get it until we repent and show the same kind of faith that the brother of Jared had. My guess is that we will have to wait for the millennium. We learn from Ether 4:2 that the people had access to it after Christ had visited them and they lived in a righteous Zion-like society for many years. When wickedness started prevailing again, we read
yea, there were many churches which professed to know the Christ, and yet they did deny the more parts of his gospel, insomuch that they did receive all manner of wickedness, and did administer that which was sacred unto him to whom it had been forbidden because of unworthiness. (4 Nephi 1:27)
I wonder if at least part of "that which was sacred" could be the record of Jared's brother?

Ether 13:13

And I was about to write more, but I am forbidden; but great and marvelous were the prophecies of Ether
Another case of Moroni being forbidden to write while abridging the Book of Ether. Right before Moroni gets this message, he writes about Ether's prophecies concerning the gathering of Israel, the New Jerusalem and related end-time events. Why is he not allowed to write more? Here is my theory: Remember the first example in part 1, where Nephi is not allowed to continue because that is John the revelator's domain? The last thing Nephi wrote before that was the wrath of God poured out upon the "mother of harlots" (1 Nephi 14:17). This is something we read about in Revelation 17-18 too. In the remaining chapters of Revelation, we read about the gathering of the Lord's elect, his second coming, the millenium and the New Jerusalem, just what Ether was talking about. But because that is John's territory, Moroni gets the same commandment as Nephi to not write it down.

Mormon's references to Alma 5

Alma 6 is a short transitional chapter between sermons in Alma 5 and 7, where Mormon moves from quoting Alma's words on the plates of Ne...