Thursdays with Moroni, Part 3: We Like Short Books
From Nephi himself, the Book of Mormon moves on to his brother Jacob, who tells us that he "cannot but write a little of my words, because of the difficulty of engraving our words upon plates." But that apparently didn't stop Nephi from engraving significant portions of Isaiah, nor does it stop Jacob from repeating a lot of the stuff that Nephi had already said. Jacob reiterates how the coming of Jesus was foretold by the prophet Zenos. Funny how we've never heard of this prophet outside the Book of Mormon, and his name doesn't look particularly Jewish, but more like a misspelling of the Greek term for "stranger." Another theme that Jacob touches on is monogamy. No, seriously. One passage reads, "And now it came to pass that the people of Nephi, under the reign of the second king, began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices, such as like unto David of Old, desiring many wives and concubines, and also David, his son; yea, and they also began to search much gold and silver, and began to be lifted up somewhat in pride." Hey, is Joe Smith planting prophecies about himself again? It's kind of weird that mainstream Christians and Jews tend to be opposed to polygamy despite the fact that I don't think there are any specific Biblical passages forbidding it, yet the religion most closely associated with polygamy claims it's a sin right in its holy book.
The next book, Enos (named after Jacob's son, and not Fry's grandfather), is a really short one, dealing primarily with what happened to the Lamanites when they turned away from God and Nephi. The Native Americans, whom Smith claims are descended from the Lamanites, are said to be "wild, and ferocious, and a bloodthirsty people; full of idolatry, and filthiness." That's right, Enos, get down with your racist self!
Our next alleged writer is Enos' own son Jarom, who must not have been as talkative as his ancestors. His brief book says a little about the wars between the Nephites and Lamanites, and how the former were eventually victorious. The Nephites then spent their time making buildings, machinery, and metal weapons, of which there is (surprise!) absolutely no sign in the American lands where they supposedly lived.
The title of the book of Omni is somewhat misleading, because only the very beginning is attributed to Jarom's son Omni, the rest being supposedly written by his descendants. And none of them really say much, making it seem like this book was just to allow for some time to pass in Smith's fictional...um, sorry, hidden history of America.
Next come the Words of Mormon, which basically just say that some guy named Mormon finished up the engravings on the plates and buried them. That's still not the end of the book, though. But you'll have to wait until next week for the next part.