Helaman Chapter 3 Critique
Setting: Many Nephites migrate
to the land northward—They build houses of cement and keep many
records—Tens of thousands are converted and baptized—The word of God
leads men to salvation—Nephi the son of Helaman fills the judgment
seat. About 49–39 B.C.
Verses 1-2: And now it came to
pass in the forty and third year of the reign of the judges, there was
no contention among the people of Nephi save it were a little pride
which was in the church, which did cause some little dissensions among
the people, which affairs were settled in the ending of the forty and
third year. And there was no contention among the people in the forty
and fourth year; neither was there much contention in the forty and
Note: The word “church” developed from medieval Europe.
Old English cir(i)ce, cyr(i)ce, related to Dutch kerk and German
Kirche, based on medieval Greek kurikon, from Greek kuriakon (dōma )
‘Lord's (house),’ from kurios ‘master or lord.’ Google definition
Verses 3-6: And it came to pass
in the forty and sixth, yea, there was much contention and many
dissensions; in the which there were an exceedingly great many who
departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and went forth unto the land
northward to inherit the land. And they did travel to an exceedingly
great distance, insomuch that they came to large bodies of water and
many rivers. Yea, and even they did spread forth into all parts of the
land, into whatever parts it had not been rendered desolate and without
timber, because of the many inhabitants who had before inherited the
land. And now no part of the land was desolate, save it were for
timber; but because of the greatness of the destruction of the people
who had before inhabited the land it was called desolate.
Note: Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica was never desolate during this time.
Between 1800 and 300 BC, complex cultures began to form. Many matured
into advanced pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations such as the:
Olmec, Izapa, Teotihuacan, Maya, Zapotec, Mixtec, Huastec, Purépecha,
Totonac, "Toltec" and Aztec, which flourished for nearly 4,000 years
before the first contact with Europeans. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 7: And there being but
little timber upon the face of the land, nevertheless the people who
went forth became exceedingly expert in the working of cement;
therefore they did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell.
Note: Cement was not used as a primary building material in Pre-Columbian America.
They most often utilized limestone, which remained pliable enough to be
worked with stone tools while being quarried, and only hardened once
when removed from its bed. In addition to the structural use of
limestone, much of their mortar consisted of crushed, burnt, and mixed
limestone that mimicked the properties of cement and was used just as
widely for stucco finishing as it was for mortar. However, later
improvements in quarrying techniques reduced the necessity for this
limestone-stucco as their stones began to fit quite perfectly, yet it
remained a crucial element in some post and lintel roofs. Wikipedia
Verses 8-9: And it came to pass
that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land
southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they
began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the
sea north, from the sea west to the sea east. And the people who were
in the land northward did dwell in tents, and in houses of cement, and
they did suffer whatsoever tree should spring up upon the face of the
land that it should grow up, that in time they might have timber to
build their houses, yea, their cities, and their temples, and their
synagogues, and their sanctuaries, and all manner of their buildings.
Note: Archaeologists have never found Synagogues in America.
The earliest archaeological evidence for the existence of very early
synagogues comes from Egypt, where stone synagogue dedication
inscriptions dating from the 3rd century BCE prove that synagogues
existed by that date. A synagogue dating from between 75 and 50 BCE has
been uncovered at a Hasmonean-era winter palace near Jericho. More than
a dozen Second Temple era synagogues have been identified by
archaeologists. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 10-11: And it came to
pass as timber was exceedingly scarce in the land northward, they did
send forth much by the way of shipping. And thus they did enable the
people in the land northward that they might build many cities, both of
wood and of cement.
Note: Pre-Columbians did not utilize large ocean ships.
A Balsa is a boat or ship built by various pre-Columbian South American
civilizations constructed from woven reeds of the Totora bullrush. They
varied in size from small canoe sized personal fishing boats to large
ships up to 30 metres long. They are still used on Lake Titicaca in
Peru and Bolivia. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 12-16: And it came to
pass that there were many of the people of Ammon, who were Lamanites by
birth, did also go forth into this land. And now there are many records
kept of the proceedings of this people, by many of this people, which
are particular and very large, concerning them. But behold, a hundredth
part of the proceedings of this people, yea, the account of the
Lamanites and of the Nephites, and their wars, and contentions, and
dissensions, and their preaching, and their prophecies, and their
shipping and their building of ships, and their building of temples,
and of synagogues and their sanctuaries, and their righteousness, and
their wickedness, and their murders, and their robbings, and their
plundering, and all manner of abominations and whoredoms, cannot be
contained in this work. But behold, there are many books and many
records of every kind, and they have been kept chiefly by the Nephites.
And they have been handed down from one generation to another by the
Nephites, even until they have fallen into transgression and have been
murdered, plundered, and hunted, and driven forth, and slain, and
scattered upon the face of the earth, and mixed with the Lamanites
until they are no more called the Nephites, becoming wicked, and wild,
and ferocious, yea, even becoming Lamanites.
Note: Pre-Columbian writing was mostly about astronomy.
Mesoamerican civilizations shared an interest in the recording and
keeping track of time through observation of celestial bodies and
religious rituals celebrating their different phases. Not surprisingly
a large portion of the Mesoamerican literature that has been delivered
down through time to us deals exactly with this kind of information.
Particularly the true precolumbian literature such as the Mayan and
Aztec codices deal with calendrical and astronomical information as
well as describing the rituals connected to the passing of time.
Verses 17-20: And now I return
again to mine account; therefore, what I have spoken had passed after
there had been great contentions, and disturbances, and wars, and
dissensions, among the people of Nephi. The forty and sixth year of the
reign of the judges ended; And it came to pass that there was still
great contention in the land, yea, even in the forty and seventh year,
and also in the forty and eighth year. Nevertheless Helaman did fill
the judgment-seat with justice and equity; yea, he did observe to keep
the statutes, and the judgments, and the commandments of God; and he
did do that which was right in the sight of God continually; and he did
walk after the ways of his father, insomuch that he did prosper in the
Note: Pre-Columbians were polytheistic pagans.
Early religious phenomena can only be deduced from archaeological
remains. Numerous clay figurines found in tombs afford little evidence
of religious beliefs during the agricultural Pre-Classic periods of
Zacatenco and Ticomán (roughly 1500 to the 1st century bc). It is
possible, however, that terra-cotta statuettes of women were meant to
represent an agricultural deity, a goddess of the crops. Two-headed
figurines found at Tlatilco, a site of the late Pre-Classic, may
portray a supernatural being. Clay idols of a fire god in the form of
an old man with an incense burner on his back date from the same
period. Britannica Encyclopedia.
Verses 21-24: And it came to
pass that he had two sons. He gave unto the eldest the name of Nephi,
and unto the youngest, the name of Lehi. And they began to grow up unto
the Lord. And it came to pass that the wars and contentions began to
cease, in a small degree, among the people of the Nephites, in the
latter end of the forty and eighth year of the reign of the judges over
the people of Nephi. And it came to pass in the forty and ninth year of
the reign of the judges, there was continual peace established in the
land, all save it were the secret combinations which Gadianton the
robber had established in the more settled parts of the land, which at
that time were not known unto those who were at the head of government;
therefore they were not destroyed out of the land. And it came to pass
that in this same year there was exceedingly great prosperity in the
church, insomuch that there were thousands who did join themselves unto
the church and were baptized unto repentance.
Note: Sidney Rigdon inserts religious thought on Solomon Spauding's bad sociology.
Church word origin: Old English cir(i)ce, cyr(i)ce, related to Dutch
kerk and German Kirche, based on medieval Greek kurikon, from Greek
kuriakon (dōma ) ‘Lord's (house),’ from kurios ‘master or lord.’ Google
Verses 25-26: And so great was
the prosperity of the church, and so many the blessings which were
poured out upon the people, that even the high priests and the teachers
were themselves astonished beyond measure. And it came to pass that the
work of the Lord did prosper unto the baptizing and uniting to the
church of God, many souls, yea, even tens of thousands.
Note: Baptism was never practiced in Pre-Columbia America.
The Christian rite of baptism has similarities to Tevilah, a Jewish
purification ritual of immersing in water which is required for
conversion, but differs in that Tviliah is repeatable, while baptism is
to be performed only once. John the Baptist, who is considered a
forerunner to Christianity, used baptism as the central sacrament of
his messianic movement. Christians consider Jesus to have instituted
the sacrament of baptism. The earliest Christian baptisms were probably
normally by immersion, though other modes may have also been used.
Verses 27-28: Thus we may see
that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their
hearts, call upon his holy name. Yea, thus we see that the gate of
heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of
Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God.
Note: The name Jesus Christ did not exist in Pre-Columbia America.
English form of Ιησους (Iesous), which was the Greek form of the
Aramaic name יֵשׁוּעַ (Yeshu'a). Yeshu'a is itself a contracted form of
Yehoshu'a (see JOSHUA). Yeshua ben Yoseph, better known as Jesus
Christ, was the central figure of the New Testament and the source of
the Christian religion. Google Definition
Verse 29: Yea, we see that
whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and
powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and
the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and
narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared
to engulf the wicked—
Note: Sidney Rigdon paraphrases the New Testament.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any
two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and
of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of
the heart. Hebrews 4:12.
Verse 30: And land their souls,
yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of
heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with
all our holy fathers, to go no more out.
Note: Sidney Rigdon paraphrases the New Testament.
“And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down
with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 8:11.
Verses 31-32: And in this year
there was continual rejoicing in the land of Zarahemla, and in all the
regions round about, even in all the land which was possessed by the
Nephites. And it came to pass that there was peace and exceedingly
great joy in the remainder of the forty and ninth year; yea, and also
there was continual peace and great joy in the fiftieth year of the
reign of the judges.
Note: Pre-Columbian rulers were never known as judges.
Inscriptions from Maya cities show that Teotihuacan nobility traveled
to, and perhaps conquered, local rulers as far away as Honduras. Maya
inscriptions note an individual nicknamed by scholars as "Spearthrower
Owl", apparently ruler of Teotihuacan, who reigned for over 60 years
and installed his relatives as rulers of Tikal and Uaxactun in
Guatemala. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 33-35: And in the fifty
and first year of the reign of the judges there was peace also, save it
were the pride which began to enter into the church—not into the church
of God, but into the hearts of the people who professed to belong to
the church of God— And they were lifted up in pride, even to the
persecution of many of their brethren. Now this was a great evil, which
did cause the more humble part of the people to suffer great
persecutions, and to wade through much affliction. Nevertheless they
did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their
humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the
filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the
purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification
cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.
Note: “Faith of Christ” did not exist in Pre-Columbia America.
The pre-Columbian Maya religion knew various jaguar gods, in addition
to jaguar demi-gods, (ancestral) protectors, and transformers.
Verses 36-37: And it came to
pass that the fifty and second year ended in peace also, save it were
the exceedingly great pride which had gotten into the hearts of the
people; and it was because of their exceedingly great riches and their
prosperity in the land; and it did grow upon them from day to day. And
it came to pass in the fifty and third year of the reign of the judges,
Helaman died, and his eldest son Nephi began to reign in his stead. And
it came to pass that he did fill the judgment-seat with justice and
equity; yea, he did keep the commandments of God, and did walk in the
ways of his father.
Note: Pre-Columbia Indians were polytheistic pagans.
At different sites throughout Mesoamerica (especially in the Central
Highlands, the Oaxaca area, and the Yucatán Peninsula), many female
clay figurines have been found in what were the agricultural fields.
Scholars hypothesize that these figurines were placed in the fields to
propitiate the gods and ensure the fertility of crops. Encyclopedia.com
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CATHOLIC CHURCH INDEX