There are 3 thoughts on “An Intelligent, Thoughtful Work on One of the Richest Portions of the Book of Mormon”.

  1. Thank you for your review. I was frankly disappointed in Givens’ work. Clearly he is a gifted writer and thoughtful in his work. But in this 93 page book, it is not until page 62 that he really begins to seriously discuss 2 Nephi directly. So we have 32 pages to discuss Lehi’s final blessings to his children, Jacob’s sermon, and Nephi’s final words. Very little (one page) is said regarding Nephi’s insertion of Isaiah between chapters 12 and 25. It looks to me like Joseph Spencer spent more time on 2 Nephi 4 in his treatise on 1 Nephi than Professor Givens does here. I wanted or at least had hoped for so much more with regards to this magnificent book of scripture.

  2. “Cast off forever” One of my favorite topics in the BoM.

    Another productive way to view the phrase “cast off forever” is in the context of the second spiritual death taught in Hel. 14:11-19. For me, your footnoted references to 1st Nephi can all be applied to “whosoever repenteth the same is not ahewn down and cast into the fire; but whosoever repenteth not is hewn down and cast into the fire; and there cometh upon them again a bspiritual death, yea, a second death, for they are cut off again as to things pertaining to righteousness. (Hel. 14:18).

    A core doctrinal thread that runs throughout the BoM is helping the reader prepare to meet God at his pleasing (or pleading) bar. The point is that mankind is not cast off (does not suffer spiritual death) forever. Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ we’ll all be brought back into the presence of God. The concern is being separated from God a second time.

    Lehi “feared lest they should be cast off from the presence of the Lord.” (1 Ne. 8:36) To me that means Lehi’s fear was that they should suffer the second spiritual death.

    The same fear continues in 1 Ne. 10:21. “Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever.” Again, to me that means Lehi’s fear was that Laman & Lemuel would suffer the second spiritual death by being separated from God a second time.

    In context the same fear surfaces in 1 Ne 15:33-35. “Wherefore, if they should die in their wickedness they must be cast off also, as to the things which are spiritual [second spiritual death] … wherefore, they must be brought to stand before God, to be judged …and if they be filthy … they cannot dwell in the kingdom of God …wherefore the final state of the souls of men is to dwell in the kingdom of God, or to be cast out because of that justice of which I have spoken.”
    Again in 1 Ne. 17:47 Lehi summarizes his ever-present fear & anguish for Laman & Lemuel. “Behold, my soul is rent with anguish because of you, and my heart is pained; I fear lest ye shall be cast off forever (suffer the second spiritual death)….”

    Finally the title page reference, “that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever” is a preparatory reminder that events which transpired in the Garden of Eden are fully covered by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The BoM writers are constantly reminding readers of the consequences of the fall. Because of Adam & Eve’s transgression we’re all separated from God’s presence. The unique good news taught in the BoM is that the “Son of God [came] to redeem all those who shall believe on his name…. and if ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins, … [and] whosoever repenteth the same is not hewn down and cast into the fire…” (Hel. 14:2-18). Or as Lehi worried, “cast off forever.”
    Additionally it is more productive for me when I view the title page phrase “that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever” as two issues. 1) BoM teaches us about the covenants the Lord has made with members of the house of Israel, and 2) BoM teaches that “Christ aredeemeth … all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of the Lord.” This promise is “both universal and without condition” per Eld. Christofferson in his conference talk “Redemption.”

    Instead of worrying about being cast off or out of the land of their first inheritance, for me, Mormon’s primary concern throughout is addressing the worry and possibility of being cast off forever from God’s presence.

  3. Sounds great. I’ll have to get it and read it, in spite of the fact that Givens has Jesus being born in Palestine instead of Judea.

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