Monday, August 1, 2011

Good priests versus bad priests

Mosiah 23 draws a contrast between Amulon and company with Alma and his company.

Level of industry

Though in the wilderness for just about as long as Alma’s people, Amulon’s people have only barely begun to possess the land and till the ground. Evidently they lived by raiding for a while, and then increased security measures to prevent theft forced them to farm.

Alma’s people, on the other hand, immediately start tilling the ground and after several years, they have prospered exceedingly, built a city, and have multiplied.

Response to threats

When Amulon’s people are found by the Lamanites, the priests hide behind their (stolen) wives and make their wives plead for mercy for their husbands. There is an atmosphere of panic.

When Alma’s people are found by the Lamanites, they fearfully go to Alma, who encourages them to pray for deliverance. Then they all go to give themselves up into the hands of the Lamanites. It sounds very calm at the end.

Level of helpfulness

When the Lamanites ask the Amulonites the way to the land of Nephi, the Amulonites join the Lamanites in the search and allow them to wander. The Amulonites play dumb, even though they know the way back very well. (After all, they’ve gone back to steal stuff from the Nephites, to steal women from the Lamanites, and who knows what else.) From the Amulonite perspective, if they really help the Lamanite army get back home, they lose their independence; the Lamanites will take them over. But the Amulonites can’t refuse to help because after all, they are outnumbered by a Lamanite army. So they work to stay on the Lamanite army’s good side by pretending to help, while actually leading them on a wild goose chase. Maybe they hope to tire the Lamanites out so they give up. Evil priests lead people away from the goal, rather than to it.

Contrast this with Alma and his people. When the Lamanites ask Alma the way to Nephi, he tells them the way immediately. He knows the way, even though he hasn’t been back since they first left that region. The righteous priest leads people to the goal. (This is probably what makes Amulon so mad at Alma; Alma wrecks Amulon’s plan to get the Lamanites off their backs.)

2 comments:

Kimberly said...

Interesting-by their fruits you shall know them.

Michaela Stephens said...

Yup.