Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book of Mormon painting eight.

Smack bang in the middle of the Book of Mormon, there are a lot of wars.  I wrote about that here, and how the Book of Mormon was literally written for our day because we learn how earlier disciples of Christ lived with war.

In and around Alma 43 - 46, the Nephite nation was put in jeopardy because of wars, dissension, and much contention – not just from the Lamanites, but from themselves.  Dangerous.

Some were just too eager for power.

The solution (for us too) was to exercise faith in Jesus Christ, and follow His prophets and other righteous leaders – like their military leader at the time, Captain Moroni.  Mormon wrote: “If all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.” (Alma 48:17).
Right there is a fine role model.  We too can remain “firm in the faith of Christ” in trying times (Alma 48:13).

Captain Moroni came up with brilliant strategies to defend the Nephite people.  And what I love most is that he started fortifying the people and their cities well in advance, as well as seeking the counsel of the prophet, while there was no threat upon them.

Talk about good judgment, as well as obedience to God’s counsel.

And what a contrast to the intentions and tactics of Amalickaih, the wicked man stirring up trouble at the time.  Actually, Mormon plainly lists the striking differences between the two for us – see Alma 48 and 49.

Arnold Friberg’s next painting in his series on the Book of Mormon is of Captain Moroni, after rallying others in a righteous cause, physically displaying his cause.

To do so, he rips his clothing - which was a symbol of making a covenant - and writes on it, making a huge banner for all to see.  He writes:  In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children.

Moroni then fastened the 'title of liberty' to a pole, and placed it high for all to see in every tower.
[Alma 46:12–15, 36]

Captain Moroni Raises the Title of Liberty
Arnold Friberg

Moroni, who was the chief commander of the armies of the Nephites, … rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole. …

(And he called it the title of liberty) and he … prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren. (Alma 46:11–13)

“We are reading the thought itself that Captain Moroni expressed on his banner. Now I am supposed to picture how he wrote it. He didn’t write it in English. English was not yet invented. He wrote it in Hebrew. Mormon said he was engraving the plates in Reformed Egyptian because it takes less space. But if Moroni could write it in Hebrew it would be a lot clearer. . . . So I went to the Rabbi here [in Salt Lake City] and asked him to write the message in what would have been the common characters Lehi brought with him. It didn’t look anything like present- day Jewish script [second line of the Hebrew text below]. That squarish letter we now know as Jewish came in closer to the time of Christ. [The first line of the Hebrew text below is more ancient and more correct], so I put it on the flag even though there were those who insisted that I letter it in English.”
(Hebrew writing reads from right to left)   [1]

Sometimes we must stand, as Moroni’s people did, in defence of what we hold dear.  Our liberty, our lands, our families, our peace.

There are times when we must stand up for right and decency, for freedom and civilization, just as Moroni rallied his people in his day to the defence of their wives, their children, and the cause of liberty (see Alma 48:10).” [2]

There are times when, in remembering our “civic responsibility that ‘the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’ (Edmund Burke). . . . Do something meaningful in defence of your God-given freedom and liberty”. [3]

We read that Captain Moroni caused the title of liberty to be hoisted upon every tower which was in all the land … and thus Moroni planted the standard of liberty among the Nephites. (Alma 46:36)

“This is our need today—to plant the standard of liberty among our people throughout [our country].  “While this incident occurred some seventy years B.C., the struggle went on through one thousand years covered by this sacred Book of Mormon record. In fact, the struggle for liberty is a continuing one—it is with us in a very real sense today.” [4]

If you wish to order a free copy, let me know or click here.
Feel free to read or listen to it here.

[1] as quoted in Vern Swanson, ‘The Book of Mormon Art of Arnold Friberg, “Painter of Scripture”, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: Vol 10, 1, 26-35, Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute, 2011
[2] Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Nov. 2001, 72
[3] Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1988, 51
[4] Conference Report, Oct. 1962, 14–15

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