23 September 2010

1 Nephi 13 revisited: Satan founded the Catholic church, God blessed America (and cursed the Native Americans) , and the BoM fixed the Bible

It’s easy to get distracted by the strange words and phrases in the Book of Mormon and thereby miss the even stranger messages that lurk therein. That’s what happened to me the first time I read chapter 13 of 1 Nephi. (And that's why I'm revising my original post for this chapter. I'm trying to deal with it a little more thoroughly than I did in my first blogging attempt.)

And chapter 13 has some strange phrases. There are eleven “And it came to passes", four “I, Nephis", three “exceedinglys" and one “dwindle in unbelief.” But there’s a lot more to it than that.

I must say, though, that I’d never have understood this chapter without the help of Mormon guides. Luckily I found several sources that reveal the meaning of the angel’s words. (I found this one particularly helpful.)

So I’m going to go through the chapter verse by verse, trying to figure it out as I go along. Let me know if I miss anything.

The angel begins by showing Nephi the "great and abominable church" (the Catholic church) and its founder, the devil.

And the angel said unto me: Behold the … most abominable above all other churches … And it came to pass that I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it. And I also saw gold, and silver, and silks, and scarlets, and fine-twined linen, and all manner of precious clothing; and I saw many harlots. 1 Nephi 13:5-7

Mormons don’t like to talk about this one. The anti-Catholic bigotry is too obvious; it seems more like something an American Protestant might say in the early 19th century that an angel in 600 BCE.

Next, the angel gives Nephi a geography lesson, showing him a Google Earth view of the Old and New Worlds and the “many waters” (Atlantic Ocean) between them. Nephi and his brethren will live on one side of the “many waters” and the “Gentiles” on the other.

I looked and beheld many waters; and they divided the Gentiles from the seed of my brethren 1 Nephi 13:10

The angel told Nephi that “the wrath of God” is upon the seed of his brethren.

The angel said unto me: Behold the wrath of God is upon the seed of thy brethren.1 Nephi 13:11

But Nephi already knew this, since the angel told him in the last chapter that God would darken the skin of some of his brethren (those that became the Native Americans) and make them a dark, loathsome, filthy, idle, and abominable people.

The angel told Nephi that God would select one of the “Gentiles” and send him across the “many waters” to visit his brethren in the “promised land” (America). The Mormons say that the “Gentile” here is Christopher Columbus.

And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.1 Nephi 13:12

After Columbus other “Gentiles” will cross the "many waters" – which the Mormons say refers to the Pilgrims arriving at Plymouth Rock in 1620.

I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters. "1 Nephi 13:13

The angel said that many more Gentiles (Europeans) would cross the ocean to smite Nephi’s brethren (the Native Americans).

I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten.1 Nephi 13:14

God would inspire the Europeans (who "were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful" just like Nephi's descendants before the evil, dark-skinned Lamanites killed them all) to slaughter the Native Americans.

So that’s what happened. God inspired the Europeans to slaughter the Native Americans. And “the Gentiles ... did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them.”

The Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain. … The Gentiles ... did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them.1 Nephi 13:15-16

Later the “mother Gentiles” (the British) would cross the ocean to fight against the Gentiles that God favored in the American Revolutionary War.

Their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them1 Nephi 13:17

The power of God was, of course, with the American colonists and his wrath was on the British.

The power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle.1 Nephi 13:18

And it has happened just like that in every war since then. God helped the USA win all of its wars. (Except maybe Vietnam.)

The Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations. 1 Nephi 13:19

Then the angel showed Nephi a book that "procedeth out of the mouth of a Jew" (the Bible, which was a lot like the brass plates). The good American white people that God liked so much carried this book around with them.

I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them ... And he said: Behold it proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew ... like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass. 1 Nephi 13:20-23

The angel told Nephi that the "great and abominable church" (the Catholics) ruined the Bibe by deleting the "plan and most precious parts."

A great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away. 1 Nephi 13:26

God favors the Americans above everyone else on earth and has made them the most powerful nation on earth, but he will not allow them to completely destroy Nephi's evil brethren (the Native Americans).

The Gentiles who have gone forth out of captivity, and have been lifted up by the power of God above all other nations, upon the face of the land which is choice above all other lands ... The Lord God hath covenanted with thy father that his seed should have for the land of their inheritance; wherefore ... God will not suffer that the Gentiles will utterly destroy the mixture of thy seed.1 Nephi 13:30

The chapter finally ends with the angel explaining how the Book of Mormon and other Mormon scriptures will restore the “plain and precious things” in the Bible that were removed by Satan’s Catholic church. Only by believing in both (Bible and Mormon scriptures) can a person be saved.

These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.1 Nephi 13:40

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Next episode -- 1 Nephi 14: There are only two churches - the church of God (the Mormons) and the church of the devil (everyone else)

22 September 2010

Masturbate to Christine O'Donnell Day

Don Savage has a great idea: A Masturbate to Christine O'Donnell Day! (Or actually 41 days -- every day until the election on November 2nd.)

Christine O'Donnell is the Tea Party wacko who won the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat in Delaware. She is famous for three things: getting her loony ass endorsed by Sarah Palin, viciously gay-baiting her straight primary opponent, and opposing masturbation because it makes the baby Jesus cry.

I'm all for masturbating to Christine O'Donnell, HATEFUCK, but why limit it to one day? So I hereby declare every day between now and November 2 — when O'Donnell's nomination costs the GOP a Senate seat — to be Masturbate to Christine O'Donnell Day. Rub one out for freedom, people!

Still, I think it would be even better to declare a single day for committing adultery (in your heart, so to speak) with Christine O'Donnell. This is something everyone can do by him-or-herself and yet enjoy with millions of others at the same time (with Christine O'D's help, of course).

What do you think? A single day or 41 days? And if a single day, which day would be best?

How about Halloween, since she dabbled in witchcraft? Or October 30, the day of the Rally to Restore Sanity and the March to Keep Fear Alive? I don't know. On the one hand, I wonder if people would be too busy rallying and marching to take care of their O'D business. But on the other hand, it would give those of us who can't attend something else to do.

In any case, whether one day or 41, using one hand or the other, let's all make up our minds to do it together, alone.

18 September 2010

Who wins the Bible's Quiverfull prize?

Have you heard of the Quiverfull movement? It's a whacked-out group of fundamentalist Christians who try to have as many kids as they can, because they believe that children show God's favor on the men who father them.

The movement takes its name from Psalm 127, which says:

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them. Psalm 127:3-5

Which got me to thinking. If children are a blessing from God, and happy is the man that has his quiver full of them, which man in the Bible was the happiest? Who had the fullest quiver, so to speak?

So I started with Adam and worked my way through all the quivers in the Bible. But Adam didn't seem too interested in children. His first son (Cain) killed his second son (Abel), yet Adam didn't bother having any more kids for another 130 years or so, when he finally had Seth. He and Eve were diddling for six score and ten years and all he had to show for it was two arrows in his quiver. He lived another 800 years after having Seth, but all the Bible says about it is this: "And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters." No names, no numbers, no cigar for Adam.

Well then, maybe one of the patriarchs. Take Methuselah, for example. He lived to be 969, so he must have had lots of kids. But he was a slow starter, waiting until he was 187 before fathering his first son (Lamech). And although the Bible says he had other sons and daughters sometime in the next 782 years, it doesn't name names or give numbers. So forget Methuselah. No prize there either.

How about Methuselah's son, Lamaech? Lamech was the first of a long, proud line of polygamists in the Bible. But even with two wives he couldn't fill his quiver. When he was 182 he had his first son (Noah) and then had the usual nameless sons and daughters sometime in the next 595 years. What the fuck did he do with his wives, anyway?

OK, then what about Lamech's son, Noah? Nope. Noah waited until he was 500 to start a family. But he started with a bang, having three sons in a single year. I'm not sure how he managed that, since there is no mention of twins or triplets and the Bible only mentions one (nameless) wife. Fucking miracles, I guess. Anyway, the Bible doesn't say whether Noah had more children after the flood, though God did tell him and his sons to "be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth" (after God had drowned everyone on it).

What about King David? No one even tried to keep track of all his wives and concubines, so he must have had lots of children. 1 Chronicles 3:1-9 lists 19 sons and one daughter (which ties him with Jim Bob!). David must have had a hard time coming up with so many names because two sons are named Eliphelet and two are named Elishama. I suppose that's one of the hazards of a full quiver. You just can't keep your arrows straight.

Solomon was one of David's sons and he must have had quite a family since he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. If he kept up with the Duggars he'd have about 20,000 arrows in his quiver. But Solomon was the patron saint of birth control. The Bible only mentions one son (Rehoboam) and two daughters. The guy must have never taken his condom off!

It turns out that Solomon's (only?) son, Rehoboam wins the quiverfull prize, depending on how you keep score, that is. Rehoboam, like his dad, was a big-time polygamist, with 18 wives and 60 concubines. But unlike his dad, he used his wives to fill his quiver. And he had a quiverfull by the time he was done -- 88 total: 28 sons and 60 daughters.

But there were a few others that probably beat Rehoboam. Both Gideon and Ahab had 72 sons. But since the Bible doesn't mention their daughters, I guess Rehoboam can keep his prize. (Both sets of sons had unhappy endings: Gideon's 70 sons were murdered by one of their brothers, and Ahab's 70 sons were beheaded by Jehu at God's command.)

And there are several honorable mentions. Ibzan had 30 sons and 30 daughters. Abdon had 40 sons and 30 nephews. Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives, and begat 22 sons, and 16 daughters. And Jair had 30 sons that rode on 30 ass colts and had 30 cities.

Oh, and Heman (who wasn't quite as wise as Solomon or as happy as Jim Bob Duggar) had 14 sons and 3 daughters.

Here's a little table to keep the quivers straight.

Happy quivering!

Name Sons Daughters Total Verse
Rehoboam 28 60 88 2 Chronicles 11:21
Gideon 72 ? At least 72 Judges 8:30, 9:4-5
Ahab 72 ? At least 72 2 Kings 1:16-17, 10:1-7, 9:24-26
Ibzan 30 30 60 Judges 12:9
Abdon 40 ? At least 40 Judges 12:14
Abijah 22 16 38 2 Chronicles 13:21
Jair 30 ? At least 30 Judge 10:3-4
David 19 1 At least 20 1 Chronicles 3:1-9
Heman 14 3 17 1 Chronicles 25:5

For more information on the Quiverfull movement see Vyckie Garrison's blog, No Longer Quivering.

17 September 2010

Solutions for masturbaters

Christine O’Donnell, the 2010 Republican senate nominee from Delaware, was on a crusade during the 90s to stamp out masturbation. Here's what she said about it.

The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery. So you can't masturbate without lust.

And I think she's right about that. You can't masturbate without lust. (Go ahead and give it a try.)

And Jesus said that whoever lusts commits adultery.

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28

So there you go. Masturbation is adultery.

Now the Bible is clear on what we should do with adulterers (masturbaters).

And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. Leviticus 20:10

So whether you commit adultery with another man's wife or you commit adultery with your own hand, it's all the same to God, Christine O'Donnell, and the Republican Tea Party. You shall surely be put to death.

But there is a way out, if you're man (or woman) enough to do it. Don't commit adultery with your hand; cut if off instead.

If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. Matthew 5:30

When you consider the options, it makes a lot of sense. Masturbation is adultery, adulterers must be executed, and God tortures dead masturbaters forever in hell.

So the next time you're tempted to commit adultery with your own hand, take Jesus and Christine O'Donnell's advice. Cut it off instead (hand, eye, whatever).

Or do as Stephen Colbert suggests and marry your hand!


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08 September 2010

Don't burn the Quran (or the Bible). Read it.

Nearly half of the world's 6.8 billion people believe (or pretend to believe) in either the Quran or the Bible. Yet few believers have read the book that they claim to believe in. And there's a good reason for that: it is nearly impossible to believe in either book once you have read them.

Go ahead and try it for yourself. If you believe in the Quran, read it (in a language that you understand). Do likewise if you believe in the Bible. Read the book that you claim to believe in and see if you still believe it after you've read it.

Better yet, read them both. Whether you believe in either, both, or neither, the Quran and the Bible are too important to ignore. Read them and then decide for yourself what to think about them.

We need to read these books. And it's hard to read them after they're burned.

07 September 2010

Douglas Wilson: Believers should know and meditate on God's killings

As I mentioned before, Doug Wilson and I seem to agree on everything these days.

Here, for example, is what he said about God's killings in the Bible (emphasis mine).

More than one Israelite man went to worship the golden calf because there was a good prospect there for getting laid. It sort of gave the 'golden calf theology' that little extra appeal. God struck twenty-three thousand of them down because of it. We should be well acquainted with God's treatment of them, along with His destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, His judgment in the Flood, and so forth. These things were written for us as examples, and apparently God thinks them to be effective examples. We must know them and meditate on them.

Doug says that believers should know and meditate on God's killings, yet he conflated two of God's more impressive killings in his post and got the number of victims wrong.

First God killed 3000 people by forcing friends and family members to kill each other to punish them for dancing naked around Aaron's golden calf in Exodus 32:27-28. And then, in a completely separate mass murder, he killed 24,000 (not 23,000) with a plague because some Israelites had sex with Midianite women in Numbers 25:1-9.

Still, I like the way he's thinking. Bible believers should know and meditate on God's killings.

To help them out with that, I've made a list and written a book. I hope they find them useful.