Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Alma 31
1. Now it came to pass that after Alma had been taunted to tears by Richard Dawkins, he did receive word that the Zoramites were perverting the ways of the Lord and Zoram, who was their leader, was leading the hearts of the people to bow down to green papers with presidents printed on them, and his heart began to sicken because of the iniquity of the people.
2. And I, Mormon, have precious little room on these plates. Therefore, I will repeat exactly what I just said, using more words, but offering no useful additional detail. And yea, Alma’s heart began to sicken because of the iniquity of the people.
3. Now the Zoramites had gathered themselves together in a land which they called Antionum which was East of the land of Zarahemla which – oh hell, no one is ever going to find any evidence that these places existed and it isn't relevant to the rest of the story, so there really is no point in trying to lay out the geography.
4. Now the Nephites feared that the Zoramites would enter into a correspondence with the Lamanites and that would be a great loss to the Nephites, so Alma’s presence in Antionum was really political as much as it was spiritual, but we'll pretend it was all about saving souls.
5. Now as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead people to do that which the religious leaders tell them to do, yea, it had a greater effect on getting minds to reject facts in favor of fairytales than swords, therefore, Alma thought that he would try the virtue of religious indoctrination.
6. Therefore Alma did get himself a small posse of missionaries and went forth with them.
7. Now the eldest of his sons, Hetheman, did not come with him. Why that is relevant, I know not.
8. Now the Zoramites had broken away from mainstream Nephitism, therefor they had had the word preached unto them before.
9. But they had fallen into great errors for they would not observe to keep the commandments of God, and his statutes, according to the law of Moses.
10. For the law of Moses commanded sacrifices of animals with cloven hooves and none in the promised land had domesticated animals with cloven hooves.
11. Yea, they did pervert the ways of the Lord in very many instances for they did commit abominations in eating oysters and they did not force women who had issues of blood to be deemed unclean for doing so did force the Zoramites to discuss menstruation and behold, it must never be mentioned ever. For mentioning it would actually help people understand that it is normal. [Although to be fair, I Mormon, doubt that telling women they were unclean really helped their self-esteem.]
12. Now when they had come into the land, behold to their astonishment, they found that the Zoramites had built churches, and they did gather themselves together on one day of the week, which day they did call the Sabbath, and they did worship in a way which Alma and his brethren had never beheld;
13. For they had a place built up in the center-front of their church, a place for standing which was higher than a person’s head.
14. And on the first Sabbath of every month, they did go up onto the place one by one, place their hands on the sides of the wood at the top of the place, and announce to the multitude with a tearful voice, saying:
15. I’d like to bear my testimony that I know this church is true. I love our Heavenly Father.
16. And I know that He loves us. I know that Joseph Smith restored the true gospel to this Earth, that had been lost after the apostles were killed. I’m so grateful to be a member of this church because when I see those who don’t have the gospel, I see that their lives really are missing something important and they’ll never have it until they reject the errors of their fathers, open their hearts, and accept the gospel.
17. Brothers and sisters, we truly are the elect of God and I know that he saved us all for these latter days because every one of you here is a wonderful, spirit. I feel so sad for those who have rejected the gospel for they will never know true happiness in this life or the next so long as they reject it.
18. I know that this is the only true church and that we are so blessed to be members in it. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
19. And when it came to pass that when Alma and his brethren heard these testimonies, they were astonished by the arrogance of it. For behold, Alma himself did teach unto the people that faith is not to have a sure knowledge of things and yet the Zoramites with their stiff neckedness did claim to have sure knowledge.
20. And behold every man did go up and offer up the same testimony. And yea, even the little children who had knew not what they said, but wanted attention did go up and “bury” their testimonies as told to by their parents.
 21. Now this place was called by them Rameumpton, meaning pulpit with a microphone.
22. Now from this stand, they did offer up, every man, woman, and child, the selfsame testimony unto the congregation, thanking their God that they were chosen of him, and that he did not lead them away after the tradition of their brethren (typically Evangelicals, but often Catholics as well, although rarely were the traditions of their brethren named), that their hearts were not stolen away to believe in being saved by grace alone or praying to saints.
23. Now after had all offered up thanks in this manner, they returned to their homes and ate green Jello in abundance to break their fasts.
24. Now when Alma saw this, his heart was grieved; for he saw that they were a wicked and perverse people; yea what kind of people can hunger with such a lust for green Jello?
25. Yea, he saw also that believing that they were chosen of God and the only church with all truth, and believing that they knew things based only on easily misinterpreted feelings, had made them lift up their hearts with great boasting in their pride.
26. And he lifted his voice up to heaven and cried saying: O how long, o Lord, wilt thou suffer that thy servants shall below in the flesh to behold such gross wickedness among the children of men. 
26.5 And Alma realized not that he had just done as the Zoramites by implicitly placing his righteousness above that of the others.
27. And Alma continued: Behold o Lord they cry unto thee and yet their hearts are swallowed up in their pride. Behold o Lord they cry unto thee with their mouths while they are puffed up even unto greatness with the vain things of the world.
27.5 And the Zoramites did look upon Alma with wonder that he could be so rude as to enter their place of worship and loudly condemn them.
28. And Alma continued: Behold o God, their costly apparel, and their suits, and their silk dresses, and their Winnie the Pooh ties. Behold their hearts are set upon them, and they cry unto thee and say -- We thank thee o God that we have a shopping mall that cost more than all that has been spent on humanitarian aid during our lifetimes yea that we may have a place to visit Dillards in downtown SLC while others in third world countries perish.
29. Yea and they say thou hast made it known unto them that Christ will return this generation and they say that thou hast been saying that for eight generations and they don’t see the logical flaws in that.
30. O Lord God, how long wilt thou suffer that such snobbery should be among this people? For I have a headache from rolling my eyes so much from hearing about how they found their missing glasses just in time to not be late for an important job interview when the glasses were upon their heads. O Lord God, thou knowest that such is not a miracle. Why didst thou make them so fucking stupid?
31. And yea, the others talk about their vacations as though they intend to bolster the faith of their brethren by bragging about how their children got to see Mickey Mouse when they had looked for him all day long and thought that they would have to return home with sad children who had not seen Mickey, but at the last moment, Mickey did appear. For yea, Mickey is everywhere in Disneyland and, if anything, not being able to find him was the miracle.
32. And verily, O Lord, others do discuss conspiracy theories while more do tell stories that appear to have no spiritual context. Others do proclaim that thou hast spoken to them in ways that make them appear to have schizophrenia. And yet more do announce that they know that their deceased loved ones are watching over them at all times as though that is not seriously creepy.
33. And that last man did brag about how wonderful he was for offering a ride to a stranger when he was actually caught by members of the ward driving around with another man’s wife and hopes that announcing that he gave a stranger a ride, he will trick the congregation into believing that no affair was taking place.
34. And yea verily, that teenager did accidentally slip and announce that she’s had to talk to the bishop about her sins, making all wonder what she and her boyfriend have been up to.
35. And Lord, their souls are precious, but not so precious that I wouldst consider not praying about them in an incredibly condescending manner while they stand around me.
36. And it came to pass that when Alma had said these words, that he clapped his hands upon all them who were with him and they were filled with the spirit. And he clapped his hands again and the spirit left them. And he clapped his hands once more and the spirit was upon them. And Alma marveled at how the spirit worked like a gimmicky light switch from the 1990s.
37. And they did say until Alma with one voice: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU? And none of them were moved by his hypocritical prayer.

38. And it came to pass that they did all return home and eat their green Jello, and pig out on steaks even though the Zoramite law of health forbade meat except in time of winter or famine and it was a pleasant summer day in the middle of a three year stretch of bountiful harvests. But verily, they did not eat potatoes for potatoes, being native to the Promised Land, must never be mentioned in this book. Same with maize. And Quinoa. And llamas. And tomatoes and tapirs and gila monsters.

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