Today's Favorite Verse: 3 Nephi 1:29-30
"And there was also a cause of much sorrow among the Lamanites; for behold, they had many children who did grow up and began to wax strong in years, that they became for themselves, and were led away by some who were Zoramites, by their lyings and their flattering words, to join those Gadianton robbers.
And thus were the Lamanites afflicted also, and began to decrease as to their faith and righteousness, because of the wickedness of the rising generation."
I love reaching 3rd Nephi in the Book of Mormon, for this is when the Savior appears. It begins with it being 600 years since Lehi left Jerusalem and the five year from Samuel the Lamanites' prophecy, that the sign of Christ's birth would appear. Because it looks like the time is past the unbelievers rejoice that the words are not fulfilled. They set a date that if the sign of his birth isn't given they will put to death all those that believe in the traditions of their fathers, the coming of Christ.
Nephi, son of Nephi prays mightily to God in behalf of his people, because they are about to be destroyed. He cries all day unto him, and then the Lord speaks and tells him that the time is at hand, and on that night the sign will be given, and tomorrow he comes into the world. The sun goes down and there is no darkness during the night. The prophecy is fulfilled and many believe. This happens in the 92nd year of the judges.
The verse I pondered on happens in the 94th year of the judges. In only two years after the sign of the birth of the Savior already people are turning wicked. The Lamanites at that point have been converted. They are righteous but there is something wrong with their children. I wondered what does it mean to be strong in years and they became to themselves? I think it means they became of legal age. They were probably 18-21 years of age, about the age of college students. Well that made me wonder who these Zoramites are their children were listening to. They were powerful enough to lead these children away with lyings and flattering words, enough they join the Gadianton robbers. I did a little cross referencing because I couldn't really remember this group.
The Zoramites were Nephite dissenters. They were prideful and rebellious. They stirred the Lamanites up against the Nephites. Alma went to preach to them and found them worshiping upon a tower called Rameumptom, a very public platform. They rejected the Law of Moses. Worship could only be in their synagogue, and the poor were not allowed to enter. They had a memorized prayer with their arms raised upwards, thanking God for making them better than the Nephites and stating there would be no Christ. After they prayed they would finish and just continue their day, not talking about God until they met again the next week.
Alma 35:5 says something interesting "Now their rulers and their priest and their teachers did not let the people know concerning their desires; therefore they found out privily the minds of all the people."
After reading this all together I think the Zoramites sound a lot like college professors. Their synagogue is the university were only the rich can attend. They are denying the belief in Christ and filling the students with ideas that they are better than others. It makes these youth prideful and rebellious. This is rather a new and terrifying thought. I don't think I am every going to look at the story in Alma 31 describing them any other way. I never could figure out that description of their religion, but now it seems to make sense. They are practicing a secular religion. Can I liken this to my day? Oh, yes I can. Is something very destructive and dangerous happening on our college campuses and to our students? Yes it is. It is becoming the breeding ground for Gadianton robbers.
Day 354 Tami Fitzgerald Harris