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Painting: Gary L. Kapp
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This is the same painting as the fifth of five paintings I showed in my just previous Post 40j.
As you were told in that post, this painting is a depiction of the unexpected appearance of an angel of the Lord. After having totally startled and shocked all five of the young men shown here, the angel then called one of them, Alma, the son of the now, Prophet Alma, to repentance.
Later, we find that what Young Alma's four accomplices witnessed and heard, brought them to total repentance and brought each of them to a strong commitment to serve the Lord in bringing back His lost sheep instead of scattering His flock as they had been doing under the leadership of Young Alma.
The Angel's message caused Young Alma to suddenly see vividly the evil of his ways and to feel overwhelmingly the impact of his many sins. This caused him to go into a state of despair and subsequently into a comatose state.
With Alma's father and surely his father's close associate, King Mosiah, (the father of the four friends of young Alma who were with him when the Angel of the Lord appeared), both fathers had surely been praying that their sons would repent. The Lord was to answer their prayers in a remarkable way!
With Young Alma remaining in his comatose state for three days, it appears that much praying took place on the part of many righteous people who were aware of what had occurred.
Suddenly, while in the midst of great agony caused by intense guilt, Young Alma, appealed with all his heart and soul to the mercies of Jesus Christ, about whom he remembered hearing his father, Alma, teach the people of the church founded by the Lord through him.
Immediately upon Young Alma's appealing to the mercies of Jesus Christ, He, the Lord caused that his appeal for mercy was fully granted and Alma the Younger felt great peace and total forgiveness. That divinely imposed experience totally changed him.
I promised in Post 17 that I would provide further evidence in post 18 that the Book of Mormon was not thought up and authored by Joseph Smith as biased critics insist. This post, 40k, is a somewhat modified and updated version of Post 18. I also promised I would show that the Book of Mormon is a record Joseph Smith translated through the gifts and power of God.
As in post 18, I state now in this most recent post of mine, 40k, that the Book of Mormon was originally written by prophets of God on the ancient American Continent, including many direct writings by the young Alma who had become, through this traumatic yet blessed experience, a prophet like his father. Reports on the very successful missionary efforts of all four of the sons of King Mosiah are also found in the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
|Alma the Elder Baptizing at the Waters of Mormon -by Arnold Friberg|
Back in late July, 2008 several weeks before I published my Post 18, on a Sunday morning in the Murray 3rd Ward of the Murray Utah (U.S.A.) Stake, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our regular teacher was unable to be with us and a former member of our ward bishopric substituted for her.
He taught us about chiasmus, which is an ancient so-called "poetic" form of writing that is very unique in its form. I'm going to show you what he showed us on the blackboard and on a piece of paper we each were given. I have seen presentations like this before under the auspices of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute of Scholarly Research at BYU, Provo, Utah (U.S.A.). This Sunday School presentation was a very effective presentation.
First, some background about Chiasmus: A young American LDS missionary serving in Germany back, I think, in the early 1960s, by the name of John W. Welch, was invited along with his companion to attend a lecture given by a notable German authority on the scriptures. I believe he was a minister of perhaps an Episcopalian Church.
The two Mormon missionaries attended the lecture in which this scriptural expert discussed the phenomenon of chiasmus, a form of Hebrew poetic (or particularly clarifying) form of writing found often in the Bible. Nonetheless, most readers of the Bible are unaware of the presence of chiasmus in that book and most people (perhaps including you) know nothing about chiasmus.
After returning to their apartment, Elder Welch found himself obsessed with what they had learned at that lecture. He knew that Book of Mormon prophets were from a Jewish background and that they had the "Plates of Brass" filled with scriptures, many of which are found in our Old Testament, along with many other scriptures that are not found there.
For this reason, after his companion had gone to bed, this intrigued missionary began reading through the Book of Mosiah (a sub-book of the Book of Mormon) searching for evidence of the use of Chiasmus by King Benjamin.
His search lasted for several hours and it was way past bedtime. He was, after all, looking for something he had first learned about, that evening. He almost gave up.
John Welch has written that instead of giving up his search, he knelt in prayer pleading for the Lord to help him find chiasmus in the Book of Mormon.
Not long after that prayer, his guidance by the Spirit in his searching resulted in his finding chiasmus in the writings of King Benjamin. He was elated and grateful.
John Welch pursued his research on Chiasmus after having earned a law degree and becoming a teacher of law at BYU. He is listed as the founder of that which became the Neal A. Maxwell Institute of Scholarly Research at BYU.
I have reproduced below an example of Chiasmus in diagram form of Alma 36: 1-30 some of which we have delved into above, but first I'll give you the opportunity of reading for yourself, this striking scripture. Note: you can listen to it while reading also. It is one chapter long. Listening will help you feel the power of this scripture.
Please note that this is the very scripture recorded by Alma the Younger in which he tells of his experience with the angel. Alma, perhaps instinctively, knew that which he told his son about this most crucial event in his life would need the power of Chiasmus!
Now, please examine closely the structure of the chiasmus diagram below.
There is a comment about, each of the thirty verses of this chapter in this diagram. You'll notice at the end of each line a verse number, which is a verse of chapter 36, i.e. (2), (3), etc., up to 30. You will also notice that that each line is headed by a letter in the alphabet, from (a) to (q), then it repeats backwards, going down, from (q') to (a'). You will have noticed that the last half's letters have a ' indicating they are in the last half.
Now you may have also noticed that some instructions for his son and the impacts on Alma of his experience with the Angel are listed in the top half (a to q) and the positive outcomes of his conversion experience are listed in the second half (q' to a').
Each letter of the alphabet and it's message corresponds to the same letter of the alphabet in both half's.
A CHIASMUS DIAGRAM: Alma Chapter 36 of the Book of Mormon
(a)My son, give ear to my words (1)
(b) Keep the commandments of God
and ye shall prosper in the land (2)
(c) Do as I have done (2)
(d) in remembering the captivity of our fathers (2);
(e) for they were in bondage (2)
(f) he surely did deliver them (2)
(g) trust in God (3)
(h) supported in their trials, troubles, and afflictions (3)
(i) shall be lifted up at the last day (3)
(j) I know this not of myself but of God (4)
(k) born of God (5)
(l) I sought to destroy the church of God (6-9)
(m) my limbs were paralyzed (10)
(n) Fear of being in the presence of God (14-15)
(o) pains of a damned soul (16)
(p) harrowed up by the memory of sins (17)
(q) I remembered Jesus Christ, Son of God (17)
(q') I cried, Jesus, Son of God (18)
(p') Harrowed up by the memory of sins no more (19)
(o') Joy as exceeding as was the pain (20)
(n') Long to be in the presence of God (22)
(m') My limbs received their strength again (23)
(l') I labored to bring souls to repentance (24)
(k') Born of God (26)
(j') Therefore my knowledge is of God (26)
(i') and raise me up at the last day (28)
(h') supported under trials, troubles, and afflictions (27)
(g') Trust in him (27)
(f)') He will deliver me (27)
(e') As God brought our fathers out of bondage and captivity (28-29)
(d') Retain in remembrance their captivity (28-29)
(c') Know as I do know (30)
(b') Keep the commandments and ye shall prosper in the land (30)
(a') This is according to his word (30).
Now that you have been shown the technical aspects of this chiasmus, go through the diagram, reading all of Alma's comments, beginning with (a) then dropping down to (a') and then from b to b', etc. The message of each letter is related to its corresponding letter in the other half of the diagram. You will begin to feel the power of that which Alma had experienced and learned.
Alma, in chiasmus form has given his son (and eventually each of us) a very dynamic view of the impact of the Angel's appearance to him. You will find that Chiasmus is a very effective way of telling such a dynamic experience.
In our day, and in most countries of the world, we are not familiar with this writing form. Again, chiasmus was a part of Alma's culture, being basically a Hebrew culture literary form.
In a culture in which memory was heavily relied upon because of the lack of printing presses, computers or even typewriters that we have today, the form that Chiasmus takes on itself helps the users of this form of speech (and writing) to be guided by its very systematic repetitive form to remember the entire message much more easily.
When Alma told his son, Helaman, about the visitation of the angel and what happened to him as a result, Alma strongly desired that his son remember this experience which had such a profound effect upon his own life.
Chiasmus definitely is not a part of any literary cultures of our day. It is my understanding that it wasn't even known by Americans or even the British in Joseph Smith's day.
Again, chiasmus is used extensively in the Bible as the minister of another church taught Elder John W. Welch and his companion, many years ago. It is very logical that it should be found in the Book of Mormon and it is found there in a good number of places. That is because the writers of that which is found in the Book of Mormon were brought up in a culture where chiasmus was a real part of their culture!
Now good readers, this is just one more remarkable piece of evidence that the Book of Mormon is a history of very complex matters that could never have been imagined by a young citizen of the State of New York in the 1820s. No one in that part of the world at that time was capable of figuring out Chiasmus then. However, it is an integral part of the very important writings contained in the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
For your further enlightenment and spiritual strengthening please click on the following link to experience a very touching and inspiring video (From the Mormon Messages' series):
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As noted in the first paragraph of this post I have initiated as of today, June 7, 2010 an Index for all of the key subjects found in the approximately 200 posts I have published in this blog beginning in March of 2008. I am still in the process of including each of those posts in this Index. However, I feel it best to make that which is already in this new Index available to you now. I believe you will find it a very helpful tool as you search for information related to the subjects covered in this blog!
Credits: I give credit to Fabiola Sikes for suggesting the need for this Blog Index. Without her suggestion I most likely would have never set this up. Corollary credit needs to be given to: Richard K. Miller for suggesting electronic linking for this index. He made useful suggestions for doing that.
Jonathan Smith of Genoa, Utah, a relative through my marriage. His technological advice helped me apply some principles learned from Richard Miller.
Bryce Mitchell of Herriman, Utah, a step-grandson. He helped me understand some of the technological advice given me previously.
Bruce Westonskow of Murray, Utah, a member of our LDS Ward. He is a professional in the Internet field. His help was crucial! My lack of training in Internet matters made it difficult to pull all of the advice together that I had been provided by the above-named skillful persons! Please check in on the progress being made in my blog.
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