Saturday, April 4, 2009

dear diary, Nephi 1.1

This is like tearing out my own nails with a rusty pair of pliers, or it could be that I'm just in a bad mood. I haven't even started and I'm already burnt out. Where was I...

When you meet someone for the first time it's polite to introduce yourself. Apparently barbaric ancient societies weren't above this obligatory kindness. Nephi gets us started with something in this vain and proceeds to tell his life story. Brace yourself. The whys, the hows and the what fors are all accounted for in the first few verses. It's probably helpful to remember that the book was not written in verses originally, as a point of fact, neither was it written in English, the soup of the day was reformed Egyptian. Don't get me started (prepare yourself for a post about this lost language very soon).

Who was this Nephi and what gave him the right to go around making up his own languages? Well, if we cheat and skip ahead we find that Nephi was the son of a well-to-do "visionary" man, who had a joyous surplus of gold, silver and precious things stashed away. A popular children's song in the LDS faith proudly proclaims that we like Nephi of old are "born of goodly parents." I have a feeling that the song is assessing the moral character of his (and our) parents and not their financial status, while I'm almost certain that the former is what Nephi had in mind when he carved out his freshly concocted characters on metal sheets. This embarrassment of riches allowed for an education in the "learning of his father", which included, but was not limited to "the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians", confirming the truism that free education only occurs in Europe. Given the extra time afforded by being uber rich, with a dearth of drugs, TV, and other less than constructive recreational options, I too would probably make up a lot of stuff and/or write in my journal.

More tomorrow. If you're lucky and I'm good...

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