31 January 2013

Mosiah 18: Mormon, Mormon, Mormon, Mormon, Mormon...

We met Alma last chapter, when he tried to convince King Noah not to kill Abinadi.  It didn't go so well... it ended with King Noah burning Abinadi at the stake, and ordering the death of Alma, too.  Alma managed to escape, and after he did he started preaching to the people in private.
And now, it came to pass that Alma, who had fled from the servants of king Noah, repented of his sins and iniquities, and went about privately among the people, and began to teach the words of Abinadi 18:1 
 And many did believe his words. 18:3
Apparently he was a pretty good speaker, and he created quite the following.  He took his followers to a land called Mormon.  It's called "Mormon" because it's infested with wild beasts. Makes sense.
And it came to pass that as many as did believe him did go forth to a place which was called Mormon, having received its name from the king, being in the borders of the land having been infested, by times or at seasons, by wild beasts. 18:4 
Alma takes his followers to the Waters of Mormon and baptizes them all.  Then he ordains priests, one for every 50 followers.

Alma and Helam were buried in the water; and they arose and came forth out of the water rejoicing, being filled with the Spirit. 18:14 
And again, Alma took another, and went forth a second time into the water, and baptized him according to the first, only he did not bury himself again in the water. 18:15 
And after this manner he did baptize every one that went forth to the place of Mormon; and they were in number about two hundred and four souls; yea, and they were baptized in the waters of Mormon, and were filled with the grace of God. 18:16

The priests were required to support themselves, though. Alma didn't want any spoiled priests like Noah had.
18:24 And he also commanded them that the priests whom he had ordained should labor with their own hands for their support.
He also seemed to favor progressive taxation. He demanded little of those with little, and more from those with more to give.
And again Alma commanded that the people of the church should impart of their substance, every one according to that which he had; if he have more abundantly he should impart more abundantly; and of him that had but little, but little should be required; and to him that had not should be given. 18:27
Everything seemed to be going well in the land of Mormon.  They didn't even mind the word "Mormon" back then.  They actually seem to use it an amazing amount.
And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever. 18:30
 Of course, nowadays you are supposed to call them "Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints".  You could turn this verse into a whole page if you did that!

Everything was good until King Noah sends out spies and found out about them.  Of course, Noah sent his army out to destroy them, and they fled into the wilderness, as usual.
But behold, it came to pass that the king, having discovered a movement among the people, sent his servants to watch them. Therefore on the day that they were assembling themselves together to hear the word of the Lord they were discovered unto the king.  18:32
And now the king said that Alma was stirring up the people to rebellion against him; therefore he sent his army to destroy them. 18:33  
And it came to pass that Alma and the people of the Lord were apprised of the coming of the king's army; therefore they took their tents and their families and departed into the wilderness. 18:34
Earlier we learned that there were 200 followers of Alma, but 450 people flee from King Noah's army.  It must have been hard to depart in the wilderness with so many small children, but I'm sure they are used to it.  

26 January 2013

Mosiah 16-17: The end of Abinadi

Chapter 16 wraps up Abinadi's speech, and thankfully, it's the last we'll have to hear from him  He continues with the usual threats (but this time quoting language from Matthew 22:13):
And then shall the wicked be cast out, and they shall have cause to howl, and weep, and wail, and gnash their teeth; and this because they would not hearken unto the voice of the Lord; therefore the Lord redeemeth them not. 16:2 
But there will also be rewards for the righteous:
If they be good, to the resurrection of endless life and happiness; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of endless damnation, being delivered up to the devil, who hath subjected them, which is damnation -- 16:11 
And, one last time, he calls for the sinners to repent (or at least tremble):
And now, ought ye not to tremble and repent of your sins, and remember that only in and through Christ ye can be saved? 16:13 
King Noah doesn't listen. Instead, it came to pass that he commanded his priests to kill Abinadi.
 And now it came to pass that when Abinadi had finished these sayings, that the king commanded that the priests should take him and cause that he should be put to death. 17:1 
But his words were not spoken in vain. There was at least one who heard him. He was a descendant of Nephi, and his name was Alma.
But there was one among them whose name was Alma, he also being a descendant of Nephi. And he was a young man, and he believed the words which Abinadi had spoken, for he knew concerning the iniquity which Abinadi has testified against them; therefore he began to plead with the king that he would not be angry with Abinadi, but suffer that he might depart in peace.  17:2 
But King Noah's mind was made up. He was going to kill Abinadi, and now he was going to kill Alma, too.
But the king was more wroth, and caused that Alma should be cast out from among them, and sent his servants after him that they might slay him.17:3 
But Alma got away from Noah's priests, and he hid in the woods for a few days. Noah threw Abinadi in prison, and then brought him out to hear his sentence: Death. Abinadi held to his words, and threatens Noah one more time.
Now Abinadi said unto him: I say unto you, I will not recall the words which I have spoken unto you concerning this people, for they are true; and that ye may know of their surety I have suffered myself that I have fallen into your hands. 17:9  
Yea, and I will suffer even until death, and I will not recall my words, and they shall stand as a testimony against you. And if ye slay me ye will shed innocent blood, and this shall also stand as a testimony against you at the last day. 17:10 
This almost scares King Noah enough to release Abinadi.  But then his priests goad him on, and he is forced to burn Abinadi to death.  That's how it goes sometimes.

And now king Noah was about to release him, for he feared his word; for he feared that the judgments of God would come upon him.17:11   
But the priests lifted up their voices against him, and began to accuse him, saying: He has reviled the king. Therefore the king was stirred up in anger against him, and he delivered him up that he might be slain.17:12  
And it came to pass that they took him and bound him, and scourged his skin with faggots, yea, even unto death. 17:13
While he was burning, he cursed them pretty good.  He covers all of his the basics: they will be burned, afflicted with disease, hunted by their enemies...
 Ye shall be afflicted with all manner of diseases because of your iniquities. 17:16
Ye shall be hunted, and ye shall be taken by the hand of your enemies, and then ye shall suffer, as I suffer, the pains of death by fire. 17:18
Thus God executeth vengeance upon those that destroy his people. O God, receive my soul. 17:19 
So Abinadi died, sealing the truth of his words by his death.  (Don't worry, it didn't make sense to me, either)
And now, when Abinadi had said these words, he fell, having suffered death by fire; yea, having been put to death because he would not deny the commandments of God, having sealed the truth of his words by his death. 17:20

24 January 2013

2 Machabees 9: God killed Antiochus with an incurable bowel disease

I'm in the process of adding the Apocrypha (or Deuterocanonical books) to the SAB, highlighting and annotating as I go along. In 2 Machabees 9, I came across the story of Antiochus.

Anitochus was a Seleucid king who, according to 2 Machabees, mistreated the Jews. So God paid him back by giving him "an incurable and invisible plague" that caused "a dreadful pain in his bowels ... and bitter torments of the inner parts."
The Lord the God of Israel ... struck him with an incurable and an invisible plague ... a dreadful pain in his bowels came upon him, and bitter torments of the inner parts. 2 Machabees 9:5
While Antiochus suffered from his God-given bowel disease, worms swarmed out of his body, "his flesh fell off, and the filthiness of his smell was noisome." No one could get near him because of the "intolerable stench." It got so bad, in fact, that Antiochus couldn't even "abide his own stench."
Worms swarmed out of the body of this man, and whilst he lived in sorrow and pain, his flesh fell off, and the filthiness of his smell was noisome. 
The man that thought a little before he could reach to the stars of heaven, no man could endure to carry, for the intolerable stench. 
Being admonished by the scourge of God, his pains increasing every moment.
He himself could not now abide his own stench. 9:9-12
As you can probably imagine, this was getting annoying to Antiochus. So he did what any wicked man would do in his situation: he became a Jew and begged God to stop tormenting him.
Then this wicked man prayed to the Lord ... to obtain mercy.
Yea also, that he would become a Jew himself, and would go through every place of the earth, and declare the power of God. 9:13-17
But God didn't stop. Antiochus "died a miserable death" from his God-given bowel disease
Thus the murderer and blasphemer, being grievously struck ... died a miserable death. 9:28
Or did he?

There's another story about Antiochus's death in the same book. In this one, Antiochus is smashed with stones as he entered the temple in Jerusalem. His head is cut off and his body chopped into pieces -- all with God's help and blessing, of course.
When Antiochus was come in: and opening a secret entrance of the temple, they cast stones and slew the leader, and them that were with him, and hewed them in pieces, and cutting off their heads they threw them forth. Blessed be God in all things, who hath delivered up the wicked. 2 Machabees 1:16-17
Although neither story is true, both give God the credit, so so will I. 

(There's another account of Antiochus's death in 1 Machabees 6:1-16, in which he is scared to death by the Jews, without any clear involvement from God. No mention is made of bowels, worms, stench, dropped stones, decapitation, or dismemberment.)

25 Jan 13 note: Added How did Antiochus die? to the contradictions.

20 January 2013

Mosiah 15: O, how beautiful upon the mountains are their feet!

In Mosiah 15, Abinadi continues his speech.  He's done quoting Isaiah, and now he's getting to the important bit about Jesus and God, who are the same guy as it turns out.  Here we go:
Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people. 15:1  
And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son. 15:2
The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son 15:3
And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth. 15:4
And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God... 15:5
In case you didn't get enough Isaiah last chapter, Abinadi has sprinkled some more of this wise book into his speech:
 And these are they who have published peace, who have brought good tidings of good, who have published salvation; and said unto Zion: Thy God reigneth!15:14
And now he starts talking about the folks who are spreading the word about God.  They must have had some nice feet, because he just can't stop talking about it.

 And O how beautiful upon the mountains were their feet! 15:15 
Lets hear it once more!  (In case you missed it) 
And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace! 15:16 
One more time, with feeling!
And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and forever! 15:17 
But wait!  That's not all!  
And behold, I say unto you, this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of peace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people. 15:18

One day, everyone on the planet will have heard the teachings of the Mormons. (This is why they have so many missionaries out there...)    
And now I say unto you that the time shall come that the salvation of the Lord shall be declared to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. 15:28
Then he finishes up the chapter with a few more quotes from Isaiah 52:
Yea, Lord, thy watchmen shall lift up their voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion. 15:29
Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. 15:30
The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. 15:31

16 January 2013

God is as strong as a unicorn (You can't prove a negative)

"God ... is as strong as a unicorn." Numbers 23:22

Believers (and many skeptics) often say that you can't disprove the existence of God because you can't prove a negative.

But if that is true for God, isn't it also true for unicorns?

How do we know that unicorns don't exist?

(How could God be stronger than a nonexistent being?)

For these and other important questions, see Stephen Law's post, "You Can't Prove a Negative".

12 January 2013

Mosiah 14: A Complete Waste of a Golden Plate

In the last chapter, Mosiah 13, Abinadi was busy lecturing Noah and his priests about the 10 Commandments.  Without explanation, he starts quoting his favorite book of the bible, Isaiah (chapter 53).
I would call it plagiarism, but he did cite his source.
Yea, even doth not Isaiah say: Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? 4.1
Mosiah must have had a pretty good memory, though, to directly quote the King James Version of the Bible (Which wouldn't be translated for another 1,700+ years...)

So after this speech was written on plates, Joseph Smith did a pretty good job translating it, since it is a word-for-word duplicate of the King James Version of Isaiah 53.  (Not to mention the fact that the translators of the KJV were 100% accurate).  To translate so accurately, Joseph Smith must have had a pretty good knowledge of reformed Egyptian.  I don't know that much about it, mainly because it doesn't exist.

Here's the rest of Mosiah 14 (or Isaiah 53) in case anyone out there is interested or suffering from insomnia and needs to be put to sleep.
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground; he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 14.3 
Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 14:4
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 14:5
All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all. 14:6
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb so he opened not his mouth. 14:7
He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgressions of my people was he stricken. 14:8
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no evil, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 14:9
Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 14:10
He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 14:11
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. 14:12

If you made it this far, you might be saying to yourself, "Sounds like he's talking about Jesus!"  Well, you're not the first one.  Christian apologists often claim that Isaiah is talking about Jesus here, but Jewish people think he is actually talking about Israel.

Either way, it seems strangely out of place in the middle of Abinadi's speech.

11 January 2013

President Obama should follow Kyrsten Sinema's example: Swear on the Constitution, not the Bible

On January 20th, President Obama will be sworn in to his second term in office on a stack of Bibles -- using Michelle's family Bible, the Bible Abraham Lincoln used in his first inaugural, and Martin Luther King's Bible.

Which, of course, is triply ridiculous.

As Lawrence O'Donnell so rightly said in his January 10th "Rewrite",
The president, following one of our most absurd traditions in the government that invented the separation of church and state, will put his hand on this book filled with things he does not believe, filled with things that no one in the United States of America believes, and with his hand on this book he will recite the oath of office. And his hand on this book is actually supposed to make you believe that he really believes what he is saying in the oath of office even though the book is filled with things that you and he do not believe.

Wouldn't it be better for the president to be sworn with his hand on the same document that he swears to preserve, protect, and defend in his inaugural oath -- the U.S. Constitution?

That's what the newly-elected Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) did when she took her oath of office.

President Obama should go and do likewise.

07 January 2013

A Jefferson Bible for the Twenty-first Century

A Jefferson Bible For the Twenty-First Century

The American Humanist Association has just published a new book -- A Jefferson Bible for the Twenty-first Century. It includes the entire text of the original "Jefferson Bible," along with lists of the best and the worst passages from the Gospels, Hebrew scriptures, Book of Mormon, Quran, the Bhagavadgita, and Buddhist sutras.

Thomas Jefferson created "The Jefferson Bible" (or, as he called it, "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth"by cutting the best verses of the gospels and pasting them into one coherent story. He removed all of the miracles and traces of the supernatural, including the virgin birth and resurrection, and only included the best teachings of Jesus, leaving behind the more nasty stuff. Here is how he described it:
I have performed this operation for my own use, by cutting verse by verse out of the printed book, and arranging the matter which is evidently his [Jesus's], and which is as easily distinguishable as diamonds in a dunghill. The result is an octavo of forty-six pages, of pure and unsophisticated doctrines.
The AHA's new book is well worth the price for its inclusion of the Jefferson Bible alone. And the lists of the best and worst in each of the (supposedly) holy books are extremely useful.

I was, however, a bit disappointed by the lists. They were quite short (3 or 4 pages in each list) and they seemed to leave out many verses that should have been included, and to include many that should have been left out

Of course, lists of this nature are necessarily subjective; what seems bad to one person may seem good to another. Still, there are thousands of bad verses in the Bible and hundreds of good ones (with similar, though somewhat smaller, numbers for the Quran and Book of Mormon). So it seems to me that three dozen or so of the "best" (or "worst") verses should, at the very least, seem good (or bad) to everyone.

Here, for example, are some of the book's more questionable "best" and "worst" selections from the Bible, Quran, and Book of Mormon.

The worst from the gospels?
John answered and said, A man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven. John 3:27  (OK, this verse is absurd. But is it one of the worst?)
The best of the Hebrew Bible?
The first five passages in the "Best of the Hebrew Bible" are from Genesis (13:8; 18:22-25; 33:3-4, 8-11; 39:7-9; 50:18-21). I don't see much good in them (or anything else in Genesis, for that matter).
And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselvesExodus 18:25-26 (That's nice, but is it that nice?)
The worst of the Hebrew Bible?
Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. Leviticus 19:27
Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together. Deuteronomy 22:11
(OK, these are silly rules, but  do they belong on the top 40 list of worst passages in the Old Testament?) 
The best of the Quran? (I guess these are good. I'll take their word for it.)
And let not thy hand be chained to thy neck nor open it with a complete opening, lest thou sit down rebuked, denuded. 17:29
Lo! with hardship goeth ease. 94:6
The worst of the Quran? (The AHA made a good selection here. Of course, there is a lot to choose from.)

The best of the Book of Mormon?
Now, he says that the Lord has talked with him, and also that angels have ministered unto him. But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these things, and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes, thinking, perhaps, that he may lead us away into some strange wilderness; and after he has led us away, he has thought to make himself a king and a ruler over us, that he may do with us according to his will and pleasure. And after this manner did my brother Laman stir up their hearts to anger. 1 Nephi 16:38
Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law -- to do your business by the voice of the people. Mosiah 29:26
For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted. Helaman 5:2
The worst of the Book of Mormon?
Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of? 2 Nephi 12:22
What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God. Alma 42:25
O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth. Helaman 12:7
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 3 Nephi 13:27
Still, the lists in the book were useful to me, since there were quite a few verses that I hadn't yet marked in the SAB. And while they wouldn't make my best and worst lists, they they are worth highlighting, and I have since done so.

Here are the new additions to the SAB that I found in the book:

Bad stuff in the gospels:
John answered and said, A man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven. John 3:27
Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Matthew 15:13
Good stuff the Hebrew Bible:
If thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Leviticus 25:35
Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen. Deuteronomy 27:18
Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen. Deuteronomy 27:19
The path of the just is as the shining light. Psalm 4:18
Fools die for want of wisdom. Proverbs 10:21
There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches. Proverbs 13:7
Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Ecclesiastes 5:5
Bad stuff in the Hebrew Bible:
Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it. Genesis 2:17
Bad stuff in the Quran:
Make not Allah, by your oaths, a hindrance to ... making peace among mankind. 2:224
If the debtor is in straitened circumstances, then (let there be) postponement to (the time of) ease. 2:280 
Good stuff in the Book of Mormon:
Teach them to never be weary of good works. Alma 37:34
See that ye are not lifted up unto pride; yea, see that ye do not boast in your own wisdom, nor of your much strength. Alma 38:11 
Ye should do alms unto the poor; but take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them ... ye shall do your alms do not sound a trumpet before you. 3 Nephi 13:1-2
Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them. 3 Nephi 14:12
Why do ye ... suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not? Mormon 8:39
Bad stuff in the Book of Mormon:
For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil. Alma 5:40
Alma cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ. And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk. Alma 15:10-11
On the whole, it's an interesting book that would be a useful addition to anyone's library.

10 Jan 13 update: The American Humanist Association is sending a copy of this book to President Obama and all 535 members of Congress.

17 Jan 13: Todd Stiefel President of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation discusses "A Jefferson Bible for the Twenty-First Century."
Also available at the Apple book store

02 January 2013

Mosiah 12-13: Abinadi's Trial

Chapter 12 starts out telling us that Abinadi has somehow managed to remain hidden from Noah's guards for 2 years, and and then he came back in disguise, to prophesy again to the people. He blew his cover awfully quick, though.  He quoted the Lord, and unfortunately the Lord used his name directly.  (Shoot!  I put on a fake mustache and everything!)
And it came to pass that after the space of two years that Abinadi came among them in disguise, that they knew him not, and began to prophesy among them, saying: Thus has the Lord commanded me, saying -- Abinadi, go and prophesy unto this my people, for they have hardened their hearts against my words. 12:1
Abinadi says that the Lord says that "this generation" will be killed and their dead bodies fed to the vultures, dogs, and wild beasts. God will strap loads on their backs like they were a bunch of dumb asses, make them howl all day long, send hail to smite them and insects to pester them, and then he'll kill them all with disease and starvation. When God gets done with them there will be nothing left but the "record they shall leave behind them" (written on golden or brass plates, no doubt).
Thus saith the Lord, it shall come to pass that this generation ... shall be slain; and the vultures of the air, and the dogs, yea, and the wild beasts, shall devour their flesh. 12:2
And it shall come to pass that I will smite this my people with sore afflictions, yea, with famine and with pestilence; and I will cause that they shall howl all the day long. 12:4 
I will cause that they shall have burdens lashed upon their backs; and they shall be driven before like a dumb ass. 12:5
I will send forth hail among them ... and insects shall pester their land also, and devour their grain. 12:6
I will utterly destroy them from off the face of the earth; yet they shall leave a record behind them. ... And many things did Abinadi prophesy against this people. 12:8
They brought Abinabi to King Noah and told him what Abinabi said that the Lord said about him: that he was like a burning garment, a dry stalk that is trampled on by beasts, and (worst of all) like the blossoms of the thistle.
And it came to pass that they were angry with him; and they took him and carried him bound before the king, and said unto the king: Behold, we have brought a man before thee who has prophesied evil concerning thy people, and saith that God will destroy them. 12:9
He also ... saith that thy life shall be as a garment in a furnace of fire. 12:10
He saith that thou shalt be ... a dry stalk of the field, which is run over by the beasts and trodden under foot. 12:11
He saith thou shalt be as the blossoms of a thistle. 12:12
When King Noah heard about Abinadi's prophesying, he threw Abinadi in prison and called his priests to a meeting to decide what to do with him.
 And it came to pass that king Noah caused that Abinadi should be cast into prison; and he commanded that the priests should gather themselves together that he might hold a council with them what he should do with him. 12:17 
The priests started interrogating Abinadi, but somehow he managed to start asking the questions.
And now Abinadi said unto them: Are you priests, and pretend to teach this people, and to understand the spirit of prophesying, and yet desire to know of me what these things mean?12:25 
Therefore, what teach ye this people? 12:27
They try to defend themselves, but Abinadi is too clever for them.  He pioneers the argument tactic of calling your opponent a whore, insisting that you are right, and then quoting the bible.  People have been using it ever since.  
And they said: We teach the law of Moses. 12:28  
And again he said unto them: If ye teach the law of Moses why do ye not keep it? Why do ye set your hearts upon riches? Why do ye commit whoredoms and spend your strength with harlots, yea, and cause this people to commit sin, that the Lord has cause to send me to prophesy against this people, yea, even a great evil against this people? 12:29
 Ye know that I speak the truth; and you ought to tremble before God. 12:30
Thou shalt have no other God before me.12:35
Now Abinadi said unto them, Have ye done all this? I say unto you, Nay, ye have not. And have ye taught this people that they should do all these things? I say unto you, Nay, ye have not. 12:37 

Just in case you want the DVD version.

Mosiah 13

Noah is getting sick of Abinadi's preaching.  He orders his men to grab Abinadi, but they can't.  Apparently God will smite them if they do.
And they stood forth and attempted to lay their hands on him; but he withstood them, and said unto them: 13:2 
Touch me not, for God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon me. 13:3 
So it looks like they are stuck listening to him, and so are we.  He finishes going through the 10 commandments, and rambles on about all of the usual stuff: stiffnecked people, salvation, the coming of the Lord.

The most notable part of his speech is when he talks about the law of Moses.  He says that we should keep with the law of Moses for now, but there will come a time when we will need to abandon it.  Also, salvation doesn't come simply from following the Law of Moses.  There's more to it than that.

And now ye have said that salvation cometh by the law of Moses. I say unto you that it is expedient that ye should keep the law of Moses as yet; but I say unto you, that the time shall come when it shall no more be expedient to keep the law of Moses. 13:27   
And moreover, I say unto you, that salvation doth not come by the law alone; and were it not for the atonement, which God himself shall make for the sins and iniquities of his people, that they must unavoidably perish, notwithstanding the law of Moses. 13:28 

The next chapter is straight out of Isaiah, but after that we have more of Abinadi's riveting speech. Until then!

1 Machabees 6-7: Elephants, sleeping soldiers, and a hanging head and hand

The killings in the first part of this story can't be blamed on God. Still, I have to tell you about them. Because of the elephants.

There was this battle, you see, between the Greeks and the Israelites. The Greek army had 100,000 footmen and 20,000 horsemen and 32 elephants.
The number of his army was an hundred thousand footmen, and twenty thousand horsemen, and thirty-two elephants, trained to battle. 6:30
To get the elephants ready for battle they showed them "the blood of grapes, and mulberries." (Nothing gets an elephant riled up more than seeing grape and mulberry blood.)
And they shewed the elephants the blood of grapes, and mulberries to provoke them to fight. 6:34
Each elephant had 1000 men and 500 horsemen, with a tower on top of each elephant and an engine on top of the tower, with 32 valiant fighting men on top of each tower, and an Indian to rule the elephant.
There stood by every elephant a thousand men ... and five hundred horsemen set in order were chosen for every beast. 6:35
Wheresoever the beast was, the were there: and withersoever it went, they went. 6:36
And upon the beast, there were strong wooden towers ... and engines upon them: and upon every one thirty-two valiant men, who fought from above; and an Indian to rule the beast. 6:37
Luckily for the Israelites, Eleazar (one of the Maccabees brothers) was with them. When the battle began, he saw an elephant that was bigger than all the others. Since it was so big, he figured the king ought to be on it. So he ran up to the elephant, killing soldiers left and right, going between the feet of the big elephant and killing it. Whereupon the elephant fell on him and killed him too. But at least he got himself an everlasting name.
Eleazar ... saw one of the beasts ... and it was higher than the other beasts: and it seemed to him that the king was on it. 6:43
And he exposed himself to deliver his people and to get himself an everlasting name. 6:44
And he ran up to it boldly in the midst of the legion, killing on the right hand, and on the left, and they fell by him on this side and that side. 6:45
And he went between the feet of the elephant, and put himself under it: and slew it, and it fell to the ground upon him, and he died there. 6:46
It probably looked a lot like this:

As far as I can see, God's not really involved in any of this. So I left it out of God's killings. But in the  next chapter, God is there.

It all begins with the Israelite priests weeping and praying to God in the temple, asking God to let Nicanor and his army fall by the sword for their blasphemies.
The priests went in, and stood before the face of the altar and the temple: and weeping, they said ... Be avenged of this man, and his army, and let them fall by the sword: remember their blasphemies.  7:36-38
Judas asked God to kill the Nicanor's soldiers the way he killed 185,000 in Sennacherib's army. (Sennacherib supposedly blasphemed God, so God killed 185,000 of his soldiers while they were sleeping. Very resourceful!)
Judas prayed, and said: O Lord, when they that were sent by king Sennacherib blasphemed thee, an angel went out, and slew of them a hundred and eighty-five thousand. 7:40-41
Destroy this army in our sight today. 7:42
So God helped Judas kill Nicanor and his army. First they killed Nicanor and the rest was easy. All of Nicanor's soldiers threw down their weapons and ran away. The Israelites slaughtered them all as they ran.
And the armies joined battle ... and the army of Nicanor was defeated, and he himself was first slain in the battle. 7:43
And when his army saw that Nicanor was slain, they threw away their weapons, and fled. 7:44
And they were all slain with the sword, and there was not left of them so much as one. 7:46
Then they cut off Nicanor's head and hand and hung them up over Jerusalem. "And the people rejoiced exceedingly, and they spent that day with great joy."
And they took the spoils of them for a booty, and they cut off Nicanor's head, and his right hand ... and they brought it, and hung it up over against Jerusalem. 7:47
And the people rejoiced exceedingly, and they spent that day with great joy. 7:48
Nothing can cheer God's people up more than a hanging head and hand.

So how many did God help kill in this exciting episode?

The story in 1 Machabees doesn't provide a number, but 2 Maccabees does.
So fighting with their hands, but praying to the Lord with their hearts, they slew no less than five and thirty thousand, being greatly cheered with the presence of God. 2 Machabees 15:27
So we can add another 35,000 to God's body count.

The 2 Machabees account also provides some gory details that are missing in 1 Machabees. Here we find that not only was Nicanor's head and hand cut off, but his shoulder was as well.
Judas ... commanded that Nicanor's head, and his hand with the shoulder should be cut off, and carried to Jerusalem. 2 Machabees 15:30
And Judas not only showed everyone Nicanor's head and "wicked hand," but he had his tongue cut out and fed, piece by piece, to the birds. Then he hung the hand and head over the temple and castle, respectively, as "an evident and manifest sign of the help of God."
And shewing them the head of Nicanor, and the wicked hand ... he commanded also, that the tongue of the wicked Nicanor, should be cut out and given by pieces to birds, and the hand of the furious man to be hanged up over against the temple. ...
And he hung up Nicanor's head in the top of the castle, that it might be an evident and manifest sign of the help of God. 2 Machabees 15:32-35