We are on chapter 8 of Mosiah, and it is absolutely staggering what's in here. I've been missing everything all these years. We can't stop for everything, but nevertheless it's jammed in here. Remember that Ammon has come to King Limhi and has been invited to speak to the king. He's in the palace now, and it follows strictly the proper palace procedure as you get it in all the epics, etc. Limhi makes an end of speaking. He tells his story, and then he invites the guest to speak and tell his story. This is a thing that is common in epics, of course. When Odysseus comes to the Phaeacians, the king of the Phaeacians is Alcinous, and he gives a long speech that runs through two books explaining how they happened to get there. Then he says to the guest as he is about to leave at the beginning of the ninth book, "Now tell us your story." So Odysseus starts out, "I am Odysseus, the son of Laertes, noted throughout the world for my sufferings [everybody is watching my sufferings] and my fame goes to heaven. I live in Ithica [and he describes what a beautiful land it is]. It's rough but it's a good land, a nourisher of people rather than nothing." The way it skips along is a marvelous thing, and then two lines later he tells how he lived for ten years with the nymph Calypso. But how beautifully it skips along. So he tells his story, and the same thing happens in the story of Dido and Aeneas. [If you are studying] Latin, you remember that. Aeneas comes to Dido's kingdom. Dido was a queen of Carthage in North Africa. They had come from Phoenicia back in the year 800 B.C. When they came, Dido and her sister settled there. She tells her story first. "We've suffered a lot, so we know how to accept and be kind to somebody else." Then she assures him, "We're not as uncivilized as you think. The sun doesn't yoke his chariot as far away from [Carthage] as you think; we have some culture, too." Then Aeneas tells his story, etc. So this is the procedure.
Limhi told his story and then Ammon told his story. He stood up before the multitude and delivered a formal discourse. He gave his report by invitation, and remember, he clued them in on the last words of Benjamin and what had been going on in the old hometown. After he had done this, the king dismissed them all. Everybody had been there, and they all went home. Notice, it was small stuff here, but they used exactly the same vocabulary in exactly the same sense with small groups that they did with big groups. I've been thinking about the Hopis, and it's so very true, everything they say here. I make reference to the Hopis because their migrations, their cities, their wars, etc., are so much like this.
It happens now that Limhi's people had kept a record of a minor migration. These people were always migrating—always meeting, joining, separating, fighting, etc. This was the story, and they kept records of it, too. I'll mention the four Hopi stones later because I'm one of the very few who have ever seen the real one, the big one. They showed it to me on two occasions. Verse 5: "He caused that the plates which contained the record of his people from the time that they left the land of Zarahemla [Hopi stone number four is a very careful record of the migrations up from the 'great red city of the south.' They think it may have been Palenque, but the red city is Zarahemla], should be brought before Ammon, that he might read them." So he read the record, too. As soon as he read the record, the king said, By the way, do you know anything about how to interpret languages? [paraphrased]. The king told him the story about how they got these twenty-four plates that he wanted Ammon to read. Where was this land of many waters? [verse 8]. Was it the Great Lakes country? It was great in metallurgy because they found all these breastplates of bronze, etc., there. There were great copper works up east of the Mandan country. Around the Great Lakes they found prehistoric metal work in great abundance. They mined those iron and copper mines up there in prehistoric times.
In verse 7 King Limhi said they were desperate for relief. "And the king said unto him: Being grieved for the afflictions of my people, I caused that forty and three of my people should take a journey into the wilderness"—let's go back and see if we can get some help from the old country. They were going back to find Zarahemla, but they had been gone for three generations now. Would they be able to find it? He looked to Zarahemla, the mother city, for aid, which colonies always do. Then he said to Ammon, By the way, can you read these things? [paraphrased]. Incidentally, the interesting thing about these people who have kept their records and their legends, etc., is that you can check them because they left their marks everywhere. That's what these glyphs are. The tribes have their particular marks, and they cover vast distances. They don't think anything of crossing the country. During the forties and fifties all our Navajo and Hopi students were very primitive and poor. They would walk home and think nothing of walking back to northeast Arizona and New Mexico. They would walk home for vacation and then walk back again. They could get rides, too, but they thought nothing of walking. These people really cover distances, so don't worry about Book of Mormon geography. I'm not going to worry about that or even talk about it because there are endless points of argument.
Well, forty-three people (that's the size of a company or a troop) took a journey to find the land of Zarahemla. Instead of that, they found where the Jaredites had been, among many waters with the ruins of buildings and the twenty-four plates of pure gold. He asked Ammon if he could translate them. Now we come to the mystery of language. What did he mean by "translate" them? Translate them in general. Some people can; they actually have that gift. Canst thou translate? What do you mean? Which languages? Translate how far? Well, there are people who can do that. George Smith did it at the British Museum. He could read Babylonian tablets before anybody could read them; he just knew what was on them. It turned out that he was right when they finally deciphered them. He stacked hundreds of them in the British Museum. It was the same way with Llewellyn Griffith. He could read Meroitic, the Book of Mormon Egyptian. His students couldn't, and nobody has read it since. But he could do it we know now because we have parallel texts, etc. Some people have this gift. And, as a matter of fact, just last week there was a remarkable manifestation of the gift of tongues in the Provo Temple. I won't go into that. My daughter and son-in-law were there, and it was most astonishing what happened. Well, I can confide so much of it. It had to do with the sealing of names of a very ancient Chinese family, going back to 200 A.D. My son-in-law and daughter had just got back from China on a short assignment back there, and they had picked up these names and got permission overnight to do the work. It was very unusual because these were very important people. Anyway, they were Cantonese. Nobody speaks Cantonese. Mandarin is what everybody learns in Chinese, but Cantonese is vicious. They can't learn that. Here was this little old man from Provo who had never been out [of the country], and they had this long list of Cantonese names to read off. I was there when they did the work for a lot of Illyrian or Dalmatian royalty from the Croatian coast. The sealer was a professional linguist, and he had an awful time with those names. But this man read off these long Cantonese names, with at least three parts to each name, without one slip in a perfect Cantonese accent and without one moment's hesitation. It was a remarkable demonstration. I couldn't hope to do a thing like that in a million years. And there was a lot more that happened besides that. We won't go into that, but it was quite a session. We have them every once in a while. There is such a thing as the gift of tongues. It comes and goes; those who deal with languages know that's so. It depends more on faith than anything else. If you lose your faith and confidence, the page will be perfectly blank to you. On days when you have had good sleep and feel "gung ho," it's easier than English and you say, "Why did I ever stop at this?" That's the way it goes.
They want to know the cause of their [the Jaredites'] destruction. What can this tell us about destruction? Notice, there is always that theme in the Book of Mormon. How do people get destroyed, etc.? Then Ammon explains this business about seers. Verse 13: "I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records . . . of ancient date; and it is a gift from God [we know a man back home, Mosiah, who has this gift from God, and he can interpret]. And the things are called interpreters [well, the gift is the urim and thummim], and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish [very dangerous, lots of power]. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer. And behold, the king of the people who are in the land of Zarahemla is the man . . . who has this high gift from God."
Now it is very interesting that the oldest and highest office held by a Pharaoh was that of the wr m3•w. It means "the great seer" or "the greatest of seers." The title appears both ways—the wr m3 or wr m3•w. You write it this way, and these things are the two stones he used to see with. He was the high priest of Heliopolis—the oldest center, the original center in Egypt. The high priest of Heliopolis was the On of the Bible, as the name shows. This was the ancient observatory, and he was the great seer, the great observer. He saw everything with these two stones. As I said, that's the oldest title that Pharaoh had, and it's the "great seer of Heliopolis" because he had the gift of seers and the two stones. It's an old tradition that he is referring to here. It comes up in a very striking way in the book of Ether, which comes later on and is archaic.
Verse 16: "And Ammon said that a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have. . . . A seer can know of things which are past [and present, and future], and also of things which are to come." As Homer said, ". . . of things that are, things that shall be, and things that were." That's the gift of the seer; he knows all these things. Notice [in verse 17] that this knowledge is a great blessing: "Hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known." This knowledge is by revelation and it comes through faith. Verse 18 is a marvelous verse; it really packs a punch.
While I'm here on this subject of knowledge, since I took the trouble to lug the darn book up the hill, I'm going to read what Brigham Young had to say on this particular subject—why we are here and the great importance of knowledge. There's a reference later on that's very important, that comes in this very story. Brigham Young said, "What will feed and clothe you? Will education feed and clothe you, keep you warm on a cold day, or enable you to build a house? Not at all [ho, ho, is he ever wrong; he should come around today]. Should we cry down education on this account? No. What is it for? The improvement of the mind [and he underlined the mind], to instruct us in all the arts and sciences, in the history of the world, in laws, and in how to be useful while we live—in the things of the mind that are greatly useful. Truth, wisdom, power, glory, light, and intelligence exist upon their own qualities." Now this is Brigham. Remember, he had only been to school eleven days in his life. He was an uneducated man, but he was the best speaker of his time. He never made a note. Nothing is written down; it was all from the cuff. There were people eager to take it down. He would fling these things out in this powerful, vigorous, straight-forward, very moving prose.
He never dropped his style, a marvelous gift. You see he had a gift. "Truth, wisdom, power, glory, light, and intelligence exist upon their own qualities. They do not, neither can they exist on any other principle. Truth is congenial with itself, and light cleaves unto light. It's the same with knowledge and virtue and all eternal attributes; they follow each other. Truth cleaves unto truth because it is truth, and it is to be adored because it is an attribute of God, for its excellence, for itself. Like knowledge, it is an attribute to God himself. There can be no ulterior motive in the study of heavenly things ['knowledge is power' is a slogan of a rascally world, he tells us]. What do you love truth for? Is it because you can discover beauty in it, because it is congenial to you, or because you think it will make you a ruler or a lord? [all these powers mentioned by Bacon who was a very ambitious man]. If you think you will attain to power upon such a motive, you are much mistaken. It is a trick of the unseen power that is abroad amongst the inhabitants of the earth that leads them astray, binds their minds, and subverts their understanding." He goes on. It's a long discourse, but we won't continue with it here. But this is the point: this knowledge is a great blessing, whether we believe it today or not. There are other things we would rather have than knowledge, unless it's knowledge that will make you rich such as the knowledge that comes in the stock market—previous knowledge that is slipped to you by somebody who works in the office.
Verse 18: "Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings." It's all through faith, and it actually is something that couldn't be done without faith, which is miraculous. And they [seers] are very beneficial to the human race. That's a powerful statement. God wants us to ask, and he wants us to know. "And now, when Ammon had made an end of speaking these words the king rejoiced exceedingly, and gave thanks to God, saying: Doubtless a great mystery is contained within these plates, and these interpreters were doubtless prepared for the purpose of unfolding all such mysteries to the children of men. O how marvelous are the works of the Lord." But are we interested? This is how people react to that. Now this is a remarkable thing. Occasionally, we have breakthroughs in the Book of Mormon of what is known as the "wisdom literature." Recently, it's the big thing. More articles and studies are written today about this than anything else in Egyptian and Hebrew, showing that Egyptian and Hebrew wisdom literature are the same. Way back years ago the great Erman discovered parallel passages and whole speeches (well, Proverbs, etc.; that's an Egyptian Amenimit), and he hid it. He was ashamed of it because [he felt] this shouldn't be. The Egyptians and Hebrews shouldn't be like that, but today everybody is getting on the bandwagon. The Hebrew and Egyptian wisdom literature are very close. Then you have the Sophia, the literature of the Greeks.
But this idea is interesting here: "How blind and impenetrable are the understandings of the children of men; [Why? Because they're stupid? No.] for they will not seek wisdom, neither do they desire that she should rule over them!" I think it's an interesting thing that wisdom, which is Ḥokmāh and Sophia and m3c•t and the Norns or anything you want to call her, is always personified as a woman. Even in our scriptures, too; there it is. You all know about Athena who is wisdom personified. The ancient axiom explaining this is that wisdom is feminine, Mother Earth. Wisdom comes from the Norns. Remember, Mother Earth, Erde, speaks wisdom. The sacred spring ran, and he went to the sacred spring to consult it. And the sibyls and the Delphic oracles were all women. They held the secrets. The Egyptian was Seshat. Her name means secret. She held the secrets to the knowledge that the men wrote down, etc. She was the bookkeeper; she held control of things. You always have the woman in here in control. Then, of course, there were the perversions in witches which were always superior to wizards. This bit of wisdom literature is nice here because it is true. "They will not seek wisdom [which should be capitalized], neither do they desire that she should rule over them!"
Verse 21: "Yea, they are as a wild flock which fleeth from the shepherd, and scattereth, and are driven, and are devoured by the beasts of the forest." Well, here is a parable, but what is "the beast of the forest" in this particular case? There are monsters out. Aristotle [described] it very well at the beginning of the Metaphysics. He said, Why do we study these things? Because we know darn well that if we don't we are in real trouble. What you don't know can scare you [paraphrased]. See, it's the distant drum. William James defined intelligence as "the ability to react to an absent stimulus." If you touch it, a bug or a mouse will react. But a person who thinks reacts to an absent stimulus. He can hear the rumble of a distant drum. He can hear the danger of the flood water [far away]. Animals have that gift, too; they have it instinctively. There are some very remarkable cases. But in this case, there's the idea that the beast of the forest is waiting for you out there. This goes back, you might say, to prehistoric memories; it's an atavism, so to speak. There are monsters out there. In prehistoric times there were monsters, and they live on in fairy tales, etc. in the gnomes and the trolls. Tolkien capitalizes on it. We have the ancient folk tales, etc. [According to Aristotle] seeking for knowledge is like flight from ignorance because you're scared of it. It's like ignorance pushes in on you on all sides and is suffocating. Like an airbag or a fog, you have to keep pushing it out all the time because you are in danger if you don't. So this knowledge is very important for survival. If you don't pay attention to things, it may be the end of you. This has happened again and again, and, of course, today we are not paying attention to a lot of things. As it says here, they don't seek wisdom even when she should rule them, and the beasts of the forest are waiting for them there. They flee from the shepherd who could give them good advice and take care of them, but they run away. They know best themselves and they destroy themselves by this agnosia, ignorance.
In the next chapter we have a flashback. Notice that it has a title: "The Record of Zeniff—An account of his people, from the time they left the land of Zarahemla . . ." In Omni  we read about how they went out and left Zarahemla. [Limhi] is the third generation after they left Zarahemla. They [Zeniff's group] were trying to go back to the land of Lehi-Nephi; now they are in this position. [Limhi] is the son of Noah, they are living in a enclave. Limhi told how they had been completely surrounded by Lamanites. The enclave is very interesting, and we will get to that here. We also learn that Zarahemla was bilingual because he says, "I, Zeniff, having been taught in all the language of the Nephites." Notice how he starts out with a formal introduction, which is required. We have hundreds of Egyptian autobiographies. The most popular form of writing in Egypt is autobiography, believe it or not. This is a formal beginning: "I, Zeniff, having been taught in all the language of the Nephites." That's [very much] like what Nephi says in the beginning: "I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father." Notice that the Nephites had their own language; they kept their dialect. The Zoramites still have theirs in Zarahemla. That still happens on First Mesa, which is about four or five acres. It must be smaller than that, but there are three villages. There is Tiva at one end and Walpi at the other. In the village of Tiva they speak a totally different language than they do on the rest of the mesa. They have lived together for hundreds of years right on the same mesa. The whole mesa is about the same size as this building [the Harris Fine Arts Center]. I asked one of the Tiva brethren, "How many Tiva are there? How many people speak Tiva?"
"Oh, lots of people speak Tiva; a hundred people speak Tiva." They have kept their language all that time, so you can be sure that the dialects flourished here. Being scattered, as we find them in the Book of Mormon, with all these migrations going out and settling here and there, they would preserve local dialects and languages. They are mixed up in the proper names, etc. He was taught in the language of his father, and he knew where they had come from. Now, this is the flashback. He knew the old Nephite country which had been taken over by the Lamanites. Remember, when Mosiah and his group went out of Lehi-Nephi, the Lamanites took over. They left it to them and went out and joined the people in Zarahemla. Then Mosiah became their king. But Zeniff knew about the territory of the Lamanites that they had taken over from the Lehi-Nephites, and they wanted to occupy it again. That's exactly what they wanted to do, as we find out. This is one of the very few cases where the Nephites were aggressors—Zoramites actually. "And having been sent as a spy among the Lamanites that I might spy out their forces, that our army might come upon them and destroy them." So he was sent as a spy to spy out the land. After Mosiah's departure, others were absorbed into the Lamanite people, and they [his group] reinforced the people of Zarahemla. Now the descendants of Mosiah want the land back again; they are expanding.
Zeniff is not a Rambo or a John Wayne. Note that it's wise to adopt the enemy's good things. After all, what did we adopt from the Indians? Corn, potatoes, tobacco, chocolate, cotton, all sorts of nice things. Of course, we had cotton in the Old World. In armies and in war you always adopt what the enemy has. That's why armies get to be very much alike. You can't afford to let him have the advantage of a weapon or anything at all that will give him an advantage for any length of time. You immediately have to copy it. That's the best thing to do; you steal it and copy it. That's why spying is so important before anything breaks out to find out what they've got that we don't have because that will give them an edge. In a very short time armies come to look exactly like each other. Notice that we adopted the German and British type of helmets in [recent wars]. The first thing we wanted when we got into Normandy was something the Germans had that was far better than anything we had. It was their field kitchens. They had these big pots of lentil soup cooking. It was marvelous stuff, very nourishing and hot, etc. It was so much better than our tricky little K rations with all their high priced packaging. What a lot of nonsense. So the command was, "Go out and steal all the field kitchens you can find." So all through World War II we were fed on German rations in German field kitchens because they were so much more efficient, so much more simple and effective than what we had. We adopted them, and there's no shame in that, you know.
So Zeniff sees that they have some good things. Why waste it? Let's make a treaty with them and see if we can make some arrangements, he says [paraphrased]. But we see that the leader was Rambo, and he wanted Zeniff to be executed for treason. Zeniff wanted to give aid and comfort to the enemy, which is a definition of treason. This is rough and tough, so they had a wild melee. The breaking up of these groups is a very common thing, of course. They fight, the leaders fight, and they break up. It's a long, tragic story among the Indians, but elsewhere, too. This wild melee wrecked them. It failed completely, and they had to return crestfallen to Zarahemla. We think of Jamestown. They quarreled among themselves, and that was the end of it. We think of the Donner party. They quarreled among themselves, and that was the tragedy. There were very few survivors; the only eminent one was Mary Johnson. Marysville, California, was named after her. She was the only Mormon in the troop. She survived and went down the Feather River and the American River. But that happened to the Donner party because they quarreled among themselves.
There's a new book out called The Last Place on Earth, the story of Captain Scott and Amundsen. Amundsen got to the South Pole, not easily, but he got there. There was no quarreling or fighting among them; they were in high spirits. But Scott was a very authoritarian person. You did what he said and nothing else, and as a result they all died. He became the great hero, but he didn't get to the South Pole until after Amundsen because they fought among themselves. He was pulling rank, and they were always fighting because there were various officers, etc. It's a sad story, but this is what happens here. There was this bloody melee. "Father fought against father, and brother against brother, until the greater number of our army was destroyed in the wilderness [quite a group]; and we returned, those of us that were spared, to the land of Zarahemla. As I said, they returned crestfallen. But Zeniff was still over-zealous. He was gung-ho and not to be discouraged by that. Colonists and miners are not, you know. They always go again and make another try. This third verse is a nice psychological touch. Zeniff himself wasn't so idealistic as he was greedy. "And yet, I being over-zealous to inherit the land of our fathers, collected as many as were desirous to go up to possess the land." So he started again and organized another company to be run by himself. He soon ran into trouble because it was impulsive; they weren't properly prepared. Like Scott and his group in Antarctica, they were smitten with famine and sore afflictions. And they were slow to remember the Lord. They were not up to it. They didn't have the necessary preparation here. In Mosiah 7:21 we find, "And ye all are witnesses this day that Zeniff, who was made king over this people, he being over-zealous to inherit the land of his fathers." He just couldn't wait, you see. We don't have heroes and villains here. We just have human beings, typical men. He wasn't as bad as the other leader, but he was bad enough because actually you can see that it was a fight between Zeniff and the other guy. The other guy wanted to eliminate him as his rival, but he immediately took over. He was a direct descendant of Zarahemla and the [father] of King Noah.
I see I've been taking too much time with these things, but I think it's rather interesting. So he wanted to make the takeover on the cheap here, and it didn't work. Like all prospectors and settlers, setups didn't stop him. He organized his own migration and soon ran into trouble, impulsive and ill prepared like the first handcart company. Brigham sent them message after message, "Don't go—October is too late! You'll get caught in the mountains." The leader said, "No, we'll go," and it was tragic, as you know. In 1856 the handcart company went against orders because they thought they could get there. This is the sort of thing that happens all the time.
Like Arctic explorers, they [Zeniff's group] reached the camp marking their last advance. They got back to the old camp—a sad sight to see only bloody remnants there. It marked their last advance and the defeat. They were in country familiar to Zeniff. It was near a city where Ammon was to arrive later, incidentally. He had no trouble in seeing the king and making a deal. (Remember, Ammon had trouble later on.) So he met the king and made a deal. Zeniff should have been suspicious, but, as he says, he was blinded by a promising real estate deal. He was overeager, so he could be taken in, you see. They say that Utah is a fraud capital; that's only because people are eager to get a lot of money in a hurry. Verse 6: "And I went in unto the king, and he covenanted with me that I might possess the land of Lehi-Nephi [which is what he wanted], and the land of Shilom. And he also commanded that his people should depart out of the land, and I and my people went into the land that we might possess it." Now, that's a funny thing; that should have made him very suspicious. (That was a common procedure in ancient times to move out and make way for other people to occupy. A classic example of that is in Caesar's Gallic Wars. The Gallic tribes were doing this all the time; they were a big outfit.) Here is an explanation of the king's behavior in verse 8. Why did they do it? Because the land was run down and needed a lot of rebuilding and repair. The Nephites were industrious, and the Lamanites were not industrious. If you look at verse 12, you see that his own people "were a lazy and an idolatrous people." They didn't want to work, and they had allowed the land to get run down. Verse 8: "And we began to build buildings, and to repair the walls of the city." They had to rebuild and repair things. No wonder the king was eager to let them go in and take it over and fix things up. Then he would just close in on them. See, they were an enclave, completely surrounded by Lamanites. (I never used to have to pause for words that way. Something is wrong here—old age takes its toll.)
Then they began to till the soil. Now here's an interesting touch. King Laman knew what he was doing. Notice that it was the Nephite custom to work in the fields—King Mosiah and King Benjamin did. The Nephites were agricultural right down to the ground, so to speak. He [King Laman] knew he could trust them if he gave them the land. They would make it flourish, and then he could take it over. This is [similar to] what the Egyptians did in the Delta with the Libyans. Five generations before the twenty-second dynasty the Sheshonqides, a Libyan family, were made royal patrols, policemen, etc. But before long the Libyans began to take over the land. Finally they ended up as their own dynasty; they took the throne. This is exactly what King Laman is afraid of, because it began to happen. Verse 11: "Therefore it came to pass, that after we had dwelt in the land for the space of twelve years [things were really flourishing then] that king Laman began to grow uneasy, lest by any means my people should wax strong in the land." You can see why—they were becoming prosperous, and this is what happened. The Libyans were able to take over Egypt after they were invited in to guard the frontiers and cultivate the land, etc. The same thing happened with Israel. When Israel grew strong, Pharaoh was afraid of them and grew jealous. He cracked down on them and made things harder and harder for them. They finally had to leave. But they were invited in to the land of Goshen to cultivate it. Then he [a later Pharaoh] wanted to exploit them and put them all to work. This was the pattern they followed in ancient times—getting people to work for you. Well, that's what we have here. So in verse 11 the Nephites began to get too prosperous.
Well, what about the Palestinian problem? The Jews were easily able to go in and take over militarily. But the Palestinians had been there for many centuries, and they were quite competent tillers of the soil. That's what has happened today. If the Israelis give them all they want, they will become just as powerful because they are increasing much faster. They are having children much faster than the Israelis are having children, and the Israelis are really worried about it. So what can you do? You have to put the lid on. Naturally, they react. This is the same pattern. The Israelis didn't let them in. They were in already, but they allowed them to live in certain enclaves like the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The same thing is happening here. Verse 12 is the classic confrontation between nomad hunters and farmers. Both of them work hard, but they work hard at their own thing. The nomads have a rough time; they wander seeking the grass, etc., but they take cities and farmers. They take serfs and slaves and put them to work and exchange them with each other as gifts. The farming goes on, but it is their serfs that do it. It was the patres and the plebs in Rome where the same thing happened. They [the Lamanites] wanted this sort of an order. They desired to bring the Nephites into bondage for that very reason, so they would work for them. They had the upper hand and would hold the Nephites in bondage. That's the feudal system with the lord and his power. Norman laws against the Saxons made it a capital crime for any Saxon to own a weapon—to own a bow as a matter of fact. The punishment was terrible. It was an evisceration in a most horrible manner if any Saxon had any weapon at all. They couldn't trust them because they were more numerous, etc. They settled things later on, but they wanted to bring them into bondage for that reason. The [Norman] laws did bring them into bondage. There were forest laws; they could no longer gather in the forest. They no longer had the village green and couldn't have the commons anymore. The Normans took over everything and said, "Now, you can go back to it again, but we take the profits." It was a sharecropping sort of thing. Well, that's what good old Laman wanted.
Here we have the people of Zeniff forming an enclave completely surrounded by the Lamanites, just as we have the Hopis today in an enclave completely surrounded by Navajos. Their original reservation was quite large, but completely surrounding it is the Navajo Reservation. And completely surrounding the Navajos are the whites. So what do you do if they have a lot of coal, oil, and uranium there? It's their land and their nation; the United States has a treaty with them. Well, the Bureau of Indian Affairs appoints a tribal council of their own men, and the tribal council decides that the land shall be given [to the U.S. government]. Well, they made a law when uranium was discovered that no Hopi should be seen outside of the mesa, because they might go exploring for it. They didn't get any of it. Then they passed another law when others started exploring for it that no one with capital of less than ten million dollars should be allowed to explore for uranium. Well, these things go on. Today it's the coal and the oil, especially the coal right now. The Hopis form an enclave that is completely surrounded, and they [government agencies] have been steadily reducing and cutting in on it. The interesting thing is that now suddenly the corporations, "Ah, we must champion the Hopis against the Navajos." They pit them against each other. The Navajos haven't been out there for ages; they just do some grazing out there. But [the corporations] have put them to fighting, and this has been going on in the courts—the claims of the Navajos. Of course, they are going to prove that they [the Hopis and the Navajos] are both incompetent at governing, etc. This is used as a front for the giant corporations. They have set the Navajos and Hopis contending in court and fighting with each other so they can take over the lands of both, which they are doing.
The Armenians want to be independent; they are an enclave. They keep quarreling with the Turks, and the Russians can control them that way. This is the way things go. There was a surprise attack. Well, we may go into this later. But the situation today is very much like this. They are just completely surrounded with Lamanites, and what are they going to do? In verse 14 they [the Lamanites] launch a surprise attack, the real blitzkrieg. It was a raid; all ancient wars are raids. They just go in to get stuff. The fresh invaders find everything up for grabs, an exhilarating victory. In German victory movies of when they moved into Belgium, Norway, etc., surprise is the whole element. The Germans emphasize that very, very much. For eight months I was at Camp Ritchie where Camp David is today, and I was put to translating secret German documents from World War I. They were fascinating documents. Of course, there are entirely different tactics now. But the big thing is always surprise; anybody will tell you that. Napoleon said that the one thing a general should never do is be surprised. This [in Zeniff's society] was a surprise attack, and the fresh invaders came in, numerous hosts all at once. They attacked in force and didn't mess around. They didn't filter in or anything like that this time. It was a real blitzkrieg that hit them all at once. It caught them in the fields and with their flocks. They ran to the high places. [People] always do—to the Acropolis; or to the capitol, which means the highest place and is a defense; or to the castle. That's where they would go. If people were in the fields, they ran to the castle. That's what they did. They fled to the castle, to the city, to the redoubt, the altimoenia Roma. They called on [Zeniff] for protection, and there were weapons awaiting them there because Zeniff had arms ready for them. He had foresight here, and he would have more later.
Now this is the Lord's plan in operation in verse 17. Remember, the Lord told Nephi in 1 Nephi 2:24, I'll always have the Lamanites breathing down your neck to stir you up to remembrance. They will have no power over you as long as you behave yourselves, but if you don't then this is what will happen [paraphrased]. And it did stir them up to remembrance. "We were awakened to a remembrance of the deliverance of our fathers." That's what the purpose of this was, and it did stir them up to remembrance, as we read in verse 17. So the plan was in operation. What had happened? A major Lamanite horde had been brought to a halt. The commentary on the population is very interesting—3043 against 279 dead. If ten percent of them were killed, that would mean there were only 30,000 male Lamanites that the king was able to put into battle. It may have been three percent, which is considered the minimum. At the very most, the male Lamanite population would have been 300,000, but it was probably 30,000 or even 15,000. They lost, but since they retreated, they could have saved themselves. There are all sorts of calculations here that you can use. In my division in World War II, we had to make these calculations, and it was figured that in the average operation three percent would be lost. But this was a disaster; they got beaten. This gives us a hint about the population. Thirty thousand for a nation is about what it would have been. Don't expect anything fabulous—nothing out of Arnold Freiberg and all that nonsense of gigantic, super cities, etc.
Now in the next chapter the subject is the quest for coexistence. The first verse is very interesting. It was necessary to make a reassessment of the situation after what had happened. They were geared for peace, and it lasted twenty-two years, but they had to be wary all the time of the Lamanite administration. They couldn't trust them anymore, not after that sneak attack, as it tells us here. "We again began to possess the land in peace. And I caused that there should be weapons of war made of every kind [they were preparing], . . . that the Lamanites might not come upon us again unawares and destroy us." They kept a guard all the time; the Lamanites were no longer to be trusted. They lost but look out, they're dangerous! Notice in verse 3: "We did inherit the land of our fathers [that's what they came for] for many years, yea, for the space of twenty and two years." Again the question comes up, what do they mean by many? If it said many years without twenty-two, how would you know? Well, fifty years, a hundred years, two hundred years [you wouldn't]. But it says twenty-two years.
Then we get the normal, typical Indian culture carrying on—farming with characteristically Indian division of labor. Notice that the men do specific things, and the women spin. Among the Hopis the men spin, and among the Navajos only the women spin. At Moenkopi there's a big cave. The old men sit there and sing songs as they weave away, just like Penelope at the loom. Verse 5: "And I did cause that the women should spin, and toil, and work, and work all manner of fine linen, yea, and cloth of every kind," while the men did the tilling of the ground. The division is different, of course. Women make pottery among the Hopis; women don't among the Navajos, etc. That's the way it goes. "Thus we did have continual peace [the culture carried on] in the land for the space of twenty and two years." Then Laman died and there was a new administration. His son was "gung-ho," and the people were eager to go [to battle]. After all, that was supposed to be their living, so he had no difficulty in stirring up his people. "And he began to stir his people up in rebellion against my people; therefore they began to prepare for war, and to come up to battle against my people."
Question: When it says, "stir up the people in rebellion," the word rebellion sounds like the Nephites might have gained some kind of power.
Answer: Yes, after twenty-two years they resented the success of the [Nephites]. They had no power over them, and it tells us why. Remember their traditions were that they had been offended and that the Lamanites were the true masters, and that Nephi was in a state of rebellion. It tells us a little later on that they always taught their children that the Nephites were rebels and they had rebelled against the true authority that should be theirs [the Lamanites]. So it was always preached to them as rebellion. That's a good point to bring out. These subtle things hit us all the time in the Book of Mormon.
Laman died, and, given the nature of the society, they were "chomping at the bit." As we see in verse 12, they were adapted to living by exploitation. A young man took over who was eager to get going. It was an easy matter to stir up his people with the Nephites and Lamanites bordering on each other on all sides. He stirred up his people here to get them to make certain claims. But Zeniff had sent out spies. So this sort of thing goes on. That the Book of Mormon [story] should still be going on and still be relevant, and with the same people that we thought had disappeared into nothing, is strange. All my youth I studied Arabic. At Berkeley I was Professor Popper's only pupil. Nobody knew anything about it. The Arabs were the poorest forgotten people; they were nobody. They were dirt poor and lived on the sand and had nothing else. Now they are the richest people on the earth, and this happened in about five years. All of sudden there was this big change. They have become big princes and powers. Everybody is petitioning them, and they can buy up anything they want. They bought up the land west of the Salt Lake Airport. What a surprise; you would never expect that. The last people in the world you'd expect [to do these things] would be Arabs. [We thought] we'd never hear from them again; they died hundreds of years ago. Then all of a sudden they own the world. So these things are still happening, though they seem to be happening on a very small scale down there among these people. But what is happening is very serious, and the Lord knows what's going on.
I don't know if we should go on bit by bit, but the Book of Mormon is really worth considering in this regard. People ask, "What should we read in this course?" Well, there's plenty to read here. I read that passage from Brigham Young, and you want to find out for yourself. The Bible is relevant here; we get into the prophets. We had to read Jeremiah for the first class. Isaiah is going to be extremely important later on. We also have the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. They all go together. And you'll notice in your book that you have footnotes giving you reference to other sources. It's an apparatus down here; why don't you look those up once in a while? You'll see how things hang together in the story. They will mention Bible parallels, and the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, and other passages in the Book of Mormon. Here I see he is quoting John 13:3 and Titus and 1 Nephi. If you will just look up notes in the apparatus at the bottom of the page (I think you have a fuller one than I have now), then you will have plenty of reading. If you think about it, you will find it entertaining. And don't go to bed before 3:00 o'clock [laughter]. That's the way it used to be; anybody who went to bed before 3:00 o'clock was just being lazy. Well, you can go to bed at 2:00 o'clock, but make sure you keep going until then.