(June 30, 2015)
I had a couple of brief thoughts as I read through these chapters. The first was on the change in perspective and narration in these chapters (it went back and forth between first- and third-person). This, of course, isn’t a huge deal – it may be perfectly accurate in how it is presented (with the narrator stepping in to describe his participation from time to time) or it may be a mistake somewhere. Neither option bothers me. The value in this, though, is in contradicting the anti-Mormon argument that the similar change in perspective which occurs once in Helaman’s letter to Moroni ‘disproves’ the Book of Mormon. Whether it is correct, in that it was edited and redacted by Mormon (which, I think, is the most likely scenario) or some different explanation, the takeaway is that things like this happen even in scripture.
The second thought was on those who generated chaos. Rather than respond to the truths presented (which, I believe, they knew they couldn’t) they instead resorted to a different tactic. They generated chaos and confusion and disorder, and then they blamed that chaos and confusion and disorder on the Disciples.
I see this on a macro- and micro-level. On a macro-level, our current political process is being destroyed by this satanic behavior. Crises are generated by the very people demanding their preferred political remedy for the crises. Chaos and confusion are everywhere, and by design.
On a micro-level, there are those who demand certain responses or else they will take destructive actions (or take the destructive action and demand responses or they will continue those actions). In both of these cases, what we see is an abrogation of agency, and a willing engagement in any sort of behavior to acquire the control they desire.
Of course, this behavior is incompatible with the life of a disciple of Christ (and to the extent we engage in any such behavior, we must repent). But even more than that, we must learn how best to respond to such behavior. And in this respect, I really don’t know the right answer. Turning the other cheek and giving in seems to embolden and encourage such behavior. But we are not to resist evil, either. I wish I knew, because I am facing just such a bullying set of behaviors right now and I struggle to know the right thing to do. I muddle through as best as I can, but it would be easier if I had more clarity.