Monday, April 16, 2007

Alma 2

The Protection of God

The authors of the Book of Mormon are trying to convince us, the readers, that God really does play an active role in our lives. Not only will God guide our individual lives, but he will bless or punish an entire nation. Briefly put, God influences our lives on an individual basis and on a national level.

The beginning of Alma 2 sets the stage for this important lesson. Amlici is a wicked man who not only wants to destroy the church, but he wants to rule supreme over the entire land and impose his will on all those who oppose him.

The choice is put to a vote. Amilci loses and decides to fight his way to a dictatorship. A war ensues and the Nephites soon discover that they are truly outnumbered.

After the Nephites slaughtered the Amlicites in the first battle, they rested and Alma sent spies to find out the designs of Amlici. The spies discovered that the Amlicites had allied themselves with the Lamanites. The Lamanites are so numerous, that they are described as the sands of the sea! (Alma 2:27) The Nephites, after fighting one battle, having lost over 6500 soldiers, have to immediately fight a host of Lamanites. But the Nephites had a more powerful piece on the board in their favor. God heard their prayers and answered them.

Here begins the lesson and symmetry of the lesson. The Nephites, as a nation, prayed to God and God heard them and answered their prayers. On a smaller scale, we later read that Alma engages in sword-to-sword combat with Amlici. Alma also prays to God with all his heart and the Lord answers his prayers. Alma defeats Amlici and then Alma and his guards defeat the King of the Lamanites and his guards. Lastly, we read of the end of the battle with the Nephites sweeping the Lamanites before them and ending the bloody battle.

The moral of the story of Alma 2 is that if you are faithful to God as an individual and as a nation, God will deliver you from evil. This is the message of the Book of Mormon, over and over again.

Aminhu and Hermounts

I've always thought all the names in the Book of Mormon are interesting and unique. Two words I've always thought were interesting are Amnihu and Hermounts … the names of two geographic locations in Alma 2.

Amnihu stuck out like a sore thumb when I came across it while reading this chapter as a missionary. There are three towns in central Guatemala that sound a bit like Amnihu … Senahú, Tucurú and Tamahú. All three of them are found in the Polichic Valley in Alta Verapaz. If I remember correctly, "hu" meant paper or book. So perhaps the "hu" on the end of Senahú and Tamahú meant forest or something similar.

As for Hermounts, I read that Egypt has a place named similarly (Hermonthis). Hermonthis was named after the Egyptian war god Menthu. According to the article on Wikipedia, "Menthu was an ancient god, his name meaning nomad, originally a manifestation of the scorching effect of the sun, Ra, and as such often appeared under the epithet Menthu-Ra. The destructiveness of this characteristic lead to him gaining characteristics of a warrior, and eventually becoming a war-god."

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