Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sword of Laban

Ok, so earlier I promised a post about the sword of Laban. Its a fascinating concept to wrap one's mind around and gives some context to the form of theocracy that is practiced in the Book of Mormon.

The obvious interpretation of the sword is that the political/religious leader should use force to ensure access to scripture. Given that the sword was preserved and handed down through time to land in the hands of an important military leader at the end, it seems safe to presume that it was held as something of an important symbol and that its cultural presence influenced the behavior of various leaders. For a history of see this post. Quick summary: religious freedom had a rocky road resulting from structural problems. Many incidents occurred that would not be tolerated in any free country.

So, back to how the sword influenced events. Since the sword ensured access to religious ideas but did not enforce the ideas themselves, it probably contributed to the early somewhat ok record of religious freedom as exampled by Sharem. From Nehor on, however, the examples become worse. There is a creep towards enforcing opinions instead of protecting access to opinion. Given how strange it was for the Book of Mormon to espouse religious freedom in he first place, one has to wonder how much effect this social symbol had on their society.

In any case, nothing really profound here, I just thought it was nifty. The original post on Book of Mormon religious liberty I made earlier is much more interesting. Read that instead if this bored you. :)

There is a problem with this symbolic presentation. If force is used against a religion, the counter force used to prevent access from being denied can just as easily deny access to a different religion. This is nothing really specific to the Book of Mormon, but the symbol of Laban's sword produces an interesting

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