Sunday, July 16, 2017

The 21st Century Book of Mormon

[This is a rough draft of a book proposal I have in mind. There is a 21st century series edited by one of my friends, I've also seen a think tank that a has a similar series. I thought the Book of Mormon could use the same treatment. What do you think? Is the idea unique enough to warrant its own book? What topics unique to the 21st century would you like to see discussed? What do you think overall of the proposal?]

The Book of Mormon is listed as the 4th most influential book in American history. It is revered by millions as a book of sacred scripture, and was a guiding book for the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, as well as numerous Senators and public officials. Yet despite its contribution to shaping American history and the worldview of America’s leaders, an academic study of the book still remains in its infancy.

Over one third of the book is devoted to warfare, yet there are only a handful of texts are exclusively devoted to a study of warfare.  Sadly, just a few of those books maintain high academic standards. Warfare in the Book of Mormon, is a collection of essays from a conference held almost 30 years ago.  War and Peace in our Times: Mormon Perspectives, includes a good deal of research, but also branches out to other disciplines and approaches that move away from the Book of Mormon. Some aspects of study, such as placing the historical practice of warfare within a specific time and place, wait further research what are considered likely Book of Mormon locations in Mesoamerica.  And any research is hampered by the intense disputes about the book’s historicity. 

The Book of Mormon is a complex text that deserves to be taken seriously by policy makers and generals. This book proposes a series of essays that uses the Book of Mormon to discuss and analyze key issues such as preemptive war, peace strategies, ethno religious insurgency, partisan strife, grand strategy, refugee policy, income inequality, and social justice. The end result should make vast strides in understanding the text and making judicious application during a turbulent period. 

Preliminary Table of Contents:

 Preemptive war- Morgan Deane (M.A. military history, study at Kings College London, author Bleached Bones and Wicked Serpents: Ancient Warfare in the Book of Mormon
Peace strategies- Joshua Madsen (author Non Violent Reading of the BoM) / Patrick Mason
Ethno Religious Insurgency- David Spencer (PhD., National Security Specialist on Latin American Insurgency, author of Moroni’s Command: Dynamics of Warfare in the Book of Mormon.)
 Income Inequality- Michael Austin (author, Rereading Job)

Social Justice- Grant Hardy (PhD, author of Understanding the Book of Mormon.

[Thanks for reading. I work as a freelance writer, if you found value in this work please consider making a donation using one of the pay pal buttons at the bottom of the page.] 


LL said...

In a real sense, it's a record of lost battles or campaigns. The Nephites wandered for 480 years without the capacity to actually hold land until they stumbled onto Zarahemla and the Mulekites. We don't know much about those years except we do know there were many wars with the locals. Knowing that the Nephites survived means that they must have been able to give as good as they got, but the lack of capacity to hold onto turf is telling from a military perspective. We understand from reading (Mosiah 7, etc.) that the expedition to the land of Lehi-Nephi failed, and those stalwart souls including Alma, were repatriated with the main body of Nephites at Zarahemla. They traveled there in search of land they could call their own and ended up as satraps to the Lamanites/locals.

I agree that once the Nephites had the Mulekite numbers and land, they flourished and that's where you take the winning campaigns from - but for those first 480 or so years, it must have been hard scrabble.

I'd like to see some sort of academic study of the first 450 years. We know that Nephi had a temple constructed based on the Temple of Solomon, but we don't know much more than that in terms of buildings and of course, we know at somewhere around 425 that the Limhi expedition set out to find land they could call their own - and that didn't work out.

Morgan Deane said...

Thanks. I'll see what sort of 21st century lesson we can draw from that. You might like my post on Jacob's futile victory which discusses some of the earliest warfare in Nephite history.

LL said...

The lesson is that to flourish, one must take and hold territory. Whenever you cede territorial integrity, you lose. Whether it's kinetic war or war by other means. Israel is an example. (More 20th than 21st Century, but it's still valid).

The Nephites only grew strong when they were able to identify static borders that they chose to defend. I realize that war requires maneuver, but you must maneuver for a reason. That reason is usually to either take or defend some choke point or vital territory. The lessons in the BOM are considerable as are the lessons in modern (and other ancient) warfare.

I'll look through your blog for Jacob's futile victory.

Joseph said...

It seams to me that more and more that "secret combinations" are a 21st century topic. I recently listened to Dinesh D'soza's "Stealing America" on government corruption, Mexico is awash in Gangs, the franchization of terrorism seems to be accelerating. Regular old "organized crime" is metastasizing over the internet. i see this a a seperate question from Gurilla warfare and the Gaddianton robbers. As a side note, Afghanistan appears to me a prime example of the pattern of victory followed by defeat that happened in Helaman 11:25-31.

Morgan Deane said...

Good point.