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Flattery will get you nowhere. ;-) [Typo corrected 4/19/04.]

1. Being smart and a smooth talker has nothing to do with being right. Even if you think you are.

2. Hearing voices can be a good thing and may not require medication.

3. You should be really careful to whom you are sassing because He or She might be hearing the Right Voice and have the Power of Smiting.

4. Smiting hurts. Sometimes you don't live through it.

5. It's okay if a faith-based argument comes down to He-said/He-said as long as you're right.

And finally,

6. If you see a guy getting smote, it's a good indication that this is a BAD time to revert to your old Starbucks habit, get too busy to read the scriptures, and promise you'll pray more next week just before taking Sacrament. Repent! And read some more edifying stories.

Whoa, Alaska. I may trade barbs with know-it-alls on other sites, but here, as host, I work hard to be fair and polite to all visitors. No trick questions either--my summary of Jacob 7, while using informal language, is quite faithful to the text. I wasn't slanting it my way or any way, just summarizing what's there. I present the summary because some viewers do not know LDS scriptures, and others don't remember the story.

Sherem "was learned, that he had a perfect knowledge of the langauge of the people" (v. 4), which I summarized as "he was smart and a smooth talker." The word "supernatural" is not perjorative, it simply distinguishes natural experiences (thunder and lightening) from supernatural ones (angelic visits, etc.).

Likewise with the balance of my summary: Jacob said, "if God shall smite thee, let that be a sign unto thee" (v. 14), which in context is plainly a suggestion to God to smite Sherem, which immediately occurs in verse 15.

Matthew 5 says turn the other cheek; Jacob 7 appears to say go ahead and use one's divine power to smite. So I think the whole "smiting" issue is central to the question of what one is supposed to learn from Jacob 7.

Sounds like you think Sherem got what he deserved.

::brushing teeth to get that terrible foot taste out::

I apologize, Dave, really, and humbly.

First, I said some of the above tongue in cheek. I'm sorry if it came off as disrespectful and/or irreverent. I suppose it really was both of those things and I shouldn't have posted so off the cuff.

In truth, I don't know the scriptures that well. I *read* them, but I don't have a lifetime of Sunday school to draw on and that DOES tend to leave me with a rather shallow depth of understanding.

Unwise smartmouthing on my part aside, I suppose I *did* think Sherem got what he deserved because while he had a lot going for him -- in talents and virtues -- he didn't seem to be challenging *Jacob* for a sign. After all, they're not debating Jacob's existence. Rather, he challenged God. That's a really high degree of arrogance. Or do I have it all wrong?

Alaska, who swears she'll sit on her hands after this post until she's a) got more sleep and b) studied some.

No problem, Alaska. Study is good, but don't let that stand in the way of making comments. If people waited until they really knew what they were talking about before posting comments, there would be about ten a day on the entire Web.

It was intended as a testimony of Jesus Christ to those who still followed the law of Moses--although I appreciate #6 on Alaska's list!

Be careful what you ask for -- you might get it!

It is better that one man should perish than that an entire nation should dwindle in unbelief.


Sherem is certainly a scriptural oddity. He was a law-of-Moses follower, but an anti-Christ. Unlike atheiests (viz Korihor), that's not a group that church members have to deal with today.

I think the real question is, "What does Sherem show that Korihor doesn't?" Sherem is really Korihor's weaker, less interesting little brother. (Search for both on LDS.org, note the difference).

Given that we have Korihor, it seems that the reason for Sherem is to highlight the importance of the atonement. It's not enough just to believe that God created the Earth (Korihor); Sherem apparently believed this, but was also struck down because he did not believe in Christ.

It seems to me that this contrast between Sherem and Korihor brings out an interesting detail about the Book of Mormon. Sherem is a much earlier figure than Korihor and focuses on the Law of Moses, still feeling a strong connection back to Jerusalem. Following Margaret Barker, it seems that there was a kind of Jewish schism; Lehi and Nephi seem to represent the pre-exilic side relatively well, but perhaps the seeds of post-exilic thought that were already contributing to conflict in Jerusalem were perpetuated and made it to Sherem.

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