The Lamanite Curse
Moving on with the narrative. The skin of the Lamanites was dark. This was a curse brought upon them by transgression and rebellion of their fathers against their brothers, Nephi, Jacob, Sam and Joseph. Whoa! Holy cool cross reference Batman!
Go to 1 Nephi 2:23. This is the Lord talking to Nephew. I’ll copy it in for convenience.
“For behold, in that day that they shall rebel against me, I will curse them even with a sore curse, and they shall have no power over thy seed except they rebel against me also. “
The sore curse the Lord is referring to is that the Lamanites’ skin will become dark. And that they will never have power over the people of Nephi except Nephi’s people rebel against God as well. This can be looked at two ways. If the Nephites rebel against God, they will be delivered into the hands of the Lamanites. That I think is the most common conclusion. The second comes in light of talking about wayward Nephites. The Lamanites will never have power over you unless your seed rebels against God…and leaves the city…joins the Lamanites…and then attacks the city. Even then, it is fair to say that God kept his promise because even with Nephite turncoats leading the Lamanite armies, most of the time, the Nephites still won. It was only when the Nephites rebelled, they lost. A house divided cannot stand. Because you need to love the love and hate the other, you can’t serve God and Mammon.
How The Lamanites Got That Way
Cross reference 2 Nephi 5:21-24. This is the chapter when the Nephites and Lamanites split up. This is talking about the changes that came to the Lamanites because of Laman and Lemuel’s rebellion. Because their hearts had become like flint, their skin changes from white, fair, and delightsome, to blackness, as to them not being enticing to the people of the Lord. Also cross reference Moses 7:8. The darkness of skin also came upon the children of Canaan. The Lord has used this curse before. Nothing new.
Verse 24 says that the people became idle, full of mischief and subtlety and sought in the wilderness for beasts of prey, all because of their cursing. Odd that a cursing would make them want to become that way. Well, let’s look at it for a second. They rebel against the people of Nephi, so they are already walking out, mad probably. Then God curses them with black skin. They were probably cursing God at that point. Now they are mad at the Nephites and God for what happened. Lama ke lamaan (eventually), they start doing other bad things that lead to mischief, idleness, and subtlety.
The Lord says that anyone that mixes with the Lamanites will get the same curse to come upon them.
One last thing on mixing. This has no relevance, but it’s a fresh thought. The Assyrians were incredibly warlike. The battles were very intense. Normally, the bravest, most courageous, strongest, etc…soldiers would die because they just fought so epically. They gave it 200% till they died. The soldiers that were less so, those that were more careful or brave/courageous (if you can call it that.) were the ones that survived from battle to battle. Therefore, the strength of the Assyrians was also its downfall. Because the careful people were perpetuated till the Assyrian armies could be conquered and the civilization overthrown. That comes from the Old Testament Institute Manual. The same thing happens of for all wicked people. God in the Old Testament had Jerusalem attacked, or the flood because the evil people were perpetuated. To make a video game reference, if all your command centers are controlled by the enemy, it’s impossible to get things done. So it’s necessary to wipe out the bad people so we can have a solid group of righteous people again established. It wasn’t wickedness per se that brought calamities, up was the failure to repent. God knows we are going to mess up, but failure to repent is like driving in the….passenger seat….I didn’t think that through before writing it. But you can’t drive in the passenger seat! You may be heading to your destination for a little while, but since you let Satan drive the car, he is going to off some jumps, drifts corners, and drag race on forbidden roads. You won’t be on the road again. You’ll be on the highway to hell. But don’t stop believing.
Nephite Record Keeping
Skipping all the way down to verse 12. The verses in between describe pretty much what the people in 2 Nephi 5:21-24 do. But verse 12 is interesting. I’ll tell you why after I copy it in.
“And it is they who have kept the records which are true of the people and also of the people of the Lamanites.”
This verse is about the Nephites. What this is saying is that the Nephites are the true record keepers of the nation. Not only for the Nephites, but also for the Lamanites. I don’t believe we have a complete record of the Lamanites or even the Nephites. But what we do have is 100% true. I wonder if the Lamanites kept records at all. What it seems (this verse) to be implying is that, if you are looking at any record but not one of Nephite origin, it may not be entirely accurate. But what I was going to say was that the Lamanites probably didn’t keep any records. One sign of a degrading society is they stop keeping records. I imagine that for the most part, the Lamanites maintained an oral tradition. And if the Book of Mormon is saying that you can have complete confidence in Nephite record keeping, the Nephites must have taken it very seriously. At least, the scripture part. Probably only entrusting record keeping to the most trusted and righteous of the people. Which we know is true because the files were passed from prophet to prophet. From king to king. One day maybe we can find more of the records from the people scattered outside the Book of Mormon geographical area but still in the Americas. Well, maybe we already have it, just haven’t been connected to the Book of Mormon….yet.
Unwittingly Fulfilling Prophecy
Verse 18 tells us that the Amlicites didn’t know that they were fulfilling a prophecy of God by marking themselves. I wonder how many prophecies are fulfilled today because of our ignorance towards God or prophecies he has given. How many things happen around us that we pass off as normal or directly related to some other cause? Rather than a fulfillment of prophecy. From this, one can see the importance of the scriptures. If you don’t know the prophecies, you don’t know the scriptures. If you don’t know those things, how can you be on the lookout or know what to do? You can’t. You look at the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other Old Testament prophets and you can see that they prophesied about attacks on Jerusalem. All if the people didn’t repent. They didn’t, and they had Babylonians take them captive. If you were unfamiliar with the written word, you might say that battle happened for this and that reason. While that may be true, you still fail to see the bigger picture. That God is disappointed in you and has raised up your enemies to manhandle you a bit.
Bring Curses Upon Ourselves
Verse 19 points out that the Amlicites brought that curse upon themselves and ties that generally speaking to all. That whenever a curse is brought upon you, it is because you brought it. This is a scary point when you realize that you are the cause of your fall. That you can’t blame it on anyone else. Not the devil, just you. You realize you have been deceived by the adversary and led by his whims. The enemy supports no one but himself. When you have ripened in iniquity and are dressed for destruction, calling on iniquitous acquaintances for help, that is when you are abandoned.
I think often the reason nations are plagued and communities left desolate is not because God is wrathful unto the destruction of us all, but because our wickedness left him no choice. Even then, people cry out in wailings about how unfair and unjust God is for letting it happen. Why beholdest thou the [supposed] mote in the eye of your God when you cannot see the [very real and not imaginary] beam in your eye.
Another Lamanite Army Appears
Not many days after this battle is fought on the banks of the river Sidon, another Lamanite army is found at the same place where the Amlicites met them. I wonder why another army was sent? Do you think their object was to come upon the Nephites? Was the first Lamanite army coming up to war with them? I would say yes to both. But I think with the first, the intention was not to attack the capital. I think maybe they just wanted to rough up the Nephite people on the outskirts of their land. Perhaps, eventually making their way to the center of the Nephite civilization. But then, the Amlicites came and convinced the to think of more lofty conquests. Maybe that is why they headed straight for Zarahemla with an army as numerous as the sands of the sea. This second army was maybe just tossing around the towns again. But I don’t know. This is all speculation. I’ll just refer you back to the scriptures. If the scriptures don’t give a reason, it’s hard to draw conclusions.
Always on the Defensive
Notice how the Nephites are always on the defensive. Even in this instance. It says that the Lamanite army, “Came in upon the people of Nephi.” That’s why they sent the army. To defend their country. I was just thinking, if you were always going to be fighting on the defensive, you would have to have a good “alarm” system. You would have to be able to get information relayed quickly from the far reaches of the land to the headquarter so that an army could be mobilized. Which means you would have to have a lot of watchtowers or something to alert you before you opposing army were warned. It seems to me that the Nephites had it all figured out.
Alma is Still Recovering
When the book says that it was an army of Lamanites, does it mean native Lamanites or a combination of native Lamanites and apostate Nephites? My first impression was just native Lamanites. But ultimately I don’t know. Alma himself did not join this army to drive them out. He was recovering from a wound. Cross reference Alma 2:29-33. It appears that this injury was received in fighting with Amlici and the Lamanite guards and king. I like that it explicitly tells us what part of the battle he was wounded in. It must have been a pretty serious injury because I’m sure Alma would not have liked leaving his men behind to fight without him. But having faith in God and being appreciative to Alma for his service, his soldiers pledged that they would fight the good fight. It was probably motivating to have a wounded leader. It would have also been motivating to have a not wounded leader. Truly, when things are done in the spirit, everything shall be for thy good and benefit and experience. That was a lame example because I’m not even sure if that is how it happened.
The Reign of the Judges Thus Far
The army slays many Lamanites and drives them out of the borders of the land. The army returns and peace is again established in the land. All this happened in the fifth year of the reign of the judges. This whole Amlici conspiracy occurred in one year. What a crazy year. Let’s add that to our list of events in the reign of the judges:
- 1st-Nehor the antichrist comes among the people but is killed.
- 2nd-Much persecution of the saints. Many leave the church, but many also remain steadfast and prosper. Those who are wicked have the law exercised upon them.
- 3rd-5th-Peace abounds in the land generally speaking (no record)
- 5th-Amlici seeks to be king and rebels, causing a small civil war to erupt.
The fifth year of the reign of the judges was a particularly bloody one. Look at verse 26. It says thousands and tens of thousands of souls were sent to the eternal world. That’s a lot of family history work that needs to be done! In a vision that one of the prophets had, the Prophet met Joseph Smith. Joseph was in a great hurry. The prophet asked why it was so. Joseph had told him that in every dispensation in the world, there had been adequate time to do the work required. Except for this last and great dispensation. There is no extra time to complete what we must accomplish. Food for thought. Get to the temples. Do family history work.
Receiving Wages From Our Employer
Verse 27 tells an important truth. Every man receives the wage of whom he listeth to obey. In keeping with the analogy of salaries, I’ll compare it to a store or company. If you are working for Satan and Associates law firm, you are going to get a salary from them. If you are working for Heavenly Father&Sons law firm, you are going to get a salary from them. You can’t get money from Satan’s law firm if you aren’t working for it. And vice versa. Also going along with that, if you 100% believe you are working for Heavenly Father, and you aren’t in reality, doesn’t mean you are getting wages from him. No matter how much I think I’m working at Burger King, doesn’t change the fact I’m working at McDonald’s. Don’t be deceived. Work for Heavenly Father&Sons. They have better benefits.