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If Ye Keep the Commandments of God, Ye Shall Be Saved


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Mosiah 12

33 But now Abinadi saith unto them:

I know if ye keep the commandments of God, ye shall be saved—

yea, if ye keep the commandments

which the Lord delivered unto Moses in the mount of Sinai, saying:

34 I am the Lord thy God,

which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt,

out of the house of bondage.

35 Thou shalt have no other God before me.

36 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,

or any likeness of any thing in the heaven above,

or things which is in the earth beneath.

 

37 Now Abinadi saith unto them:

Have ye done all this?

I say unto you:

Nay, ye have not.

And have ye taught this people that they should do all these things?

I say unto you:

Nay, ye have not.

 

It was at this point Noah ordered the priests to kill Abinadi, saying he was crazy.

 

Questions:

  1. If the commandments are anything but literal (e.g., sentimental hyperbole), such that you cannot say what they mean in actionable and specific terms and cannot tell you are breaking them until someone comes and scolds you and threatens you to get you back on your undefined and unknowable tasks, then:
    1. Why would not God simply literally ask people for what literally he wants out of them, rather than literally ask them for what he literally does not want?
    2. Is it fair to punish or reward people, or promise such, for their (dis)obedience to rules and standards and tasks God literally neither asked from them, nor told them about, and which they cannot possibly know without being informed in actionable and specific terms?
    3. Why persecute and kill Abinadi?  Or Jesus Christ, for that matter?
  2. On the other hand, if, as Abinadi is here saying (v. 37), and as the law says (Deut 4:2, 12:32; cf. Alma 37:20), the commandments are literal, then:
    1. Why might people get angry and call you crazy and try to kill you for teaching v. 36?
    2. What does Mosiah 13:12-14 and Mosiah 13:24 mean in modern English, and what would the practical consequences of taking them literally be for one's way of life?
Edited by Jared Livesey
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You are expected to talk with God about questions like these.  You do realize that, I hope.  And you are free to think whatever you want to think on your own.

Welcome to mortality!

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Alternative question set for #1, supposing that God's commandments are nonliteral:

  1. Is it possible to run a business by solely issuing directives whose literal readings are the only things they don't mean?  Could you generate even so much as a shopping list that way?
  2. Suppose you tried to run a business by only issuing directives whose literal readings are the sole disallowed meanings.  How could your employees know what behavior you will reward or penalize them for?
  3. Why persecute the messengers God sends to teach his commandments, since nothing they say is to be taken at face value?  (How could he send the messengers, since his commandments are nonliteral?  And what about God answering prayers about what to do?)
Edited by Jared Livesey
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