Monday, June 1, 2009

Laman's, Jaredites and Elantrians Oh My


I'm gonna cram a bunch of these together.

THERE WERE JAREDITES, by Hugh Nibley
The method of writing the whole thing as discussions between different professors struck me as odd and smells of a secret aspiration of Nibleys to write fiction. But overall I love his work. The opening chapter on the Heroic Age grabbed my attention and fired the imagination. I love how in so many of his works, he connects ancient myths to the truths they are based upon. So having mention of the Jaredite Age as one in a number of great heroic epochs appeal to me. I will be using number of his hypothesis in something I'm writing using Jaredite characters. I probably got more mileage out of his Book of Mormon Teaching series 1-4 and Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri but I would still highly recommend this to anyone with even a faint interest in the ancients.

STUDIES IN THE BOOK OF MORMON, by Avraham Gileadi
I liked the intro where Avraham described how he came upon the gospel and even resisted it initially. I was expecting a little more into the esoteric end of things, like in his Book of Isiah and Last Days projects. I was hoping for completely new insights and I didn't get them as much as I wanted but I am not gonna say it wasn't worth reading. My favorite sections were, The Three Nephites, What Is A Seer, The Zoramites-A Type, Out Of Weakness Made Strong and Remembering Our Lord.

ELANTRIS, by Brandon Sanderson
It did not initially grab me as much as I had hoped but I still enjoyed it. Just took me a little longer to get into it. The different view-points and conflicts were enticing and liked the secondary characters more than some other fantasy's main characters. I always love a new take on familiar stories, so starting the book with Raoden being cursed to the Elantrian existence is ideal. On the down side I did not like the quick wrap up of the epilogue though.

THE NEPHIAD, by Micheal R. Collings
This is an epic poem modeled on Milton's Paradise Lost (which I love) Collings does not disappoint. he weaves together the many Book of Mormon and Biblical references so familiar to Mormons but also throws in the classical Greek myths just as Milton did. I think that is what I liked so much about Milton, you have to be well read in scripture and myth or you miss things. So many of Collings descriptions moved me with their poetic flair, I especially liked Collings referring to the Brass Plates as a Chronicle of Gold and Laman calling Nephi a Sage of Sands, a Desert bound Divine.
Book 12 (out of 12) opens with Nephis vision where a sees
"A noble dusk-toned man, with flashing eyes,
And coppered flesh beneath his raven hair
(And by such outward signs knew Nephi well
That here was one who shared rash Laman's blood,
That here was one who shared rash Laman's curse
Of darkened flesh to signify his sin--
Laman's sin--of willfulness against God)
I mention this not to display what could be considered non-PC material but because I utilize many of the same descriptions in my own work and have been taken to task already. But its in the Book so what do you do? For me I look at all of it as prophecy that can swing both ways. Sometimes the Lamanites were more righteous and I hope to display that in my stories. Besides we already know its the Nephites who are destroyed for wickedness. In fact I don't know if I'm going to accomplish it by anyone else's standard but I hope to do the most Pro-Lamanite Book of Mormon story yet.

3 comments:

lachish said...

You have mentioned some great reads in there. And Hugh Nibley gained my very highest respect. Not just because of what he knew and wrote about, but because of his testimony. I felt his testimony several times in person.

You mention the Book of Mormon Teaching series. If you are talking about the last 4 semesters he taught at BYU, starting in Fall of 1988, the books are great. But in my opinion, the DVDs are better. You get a feel for him as a person.

And in the first Semester, I was there . . . Watch the video. I am one of the students sitting in the class, almost always on the second row. :)

Great post.

David J. West said...

I am talking about the last four semester books, they are awesome.
I think I am more of a book guy though. I tried watching the first semester (got it from the library)and just about started falling asleep. But I love the books, they are among my most valuble source materials.

Th. said...

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(long list lengthened)