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Laban Killed During Passover (Part 5 of 12)

This week in Sunday School, we’re talking about the story of Nephi killing Laban in the Book of Mormon.  Historian Don Bradley has some extra information about this story!  Have you ever wondered why Laban was drunk?  Historian Don Bradley thinks Laban was celebrating the Passover feast.  What else does Don know about this story that is part of the missing pages of the Book of Mormon?  Don tells about an account from a non-Mormon named Fayette Lapham.  Lapham gives details from the Lost Pages telling additional information not found in our current Book of Mormon.

Don:  Again, he doesn’t remember names, so he doesn’t name Nephi and Laban but he’s describing them.  [Lapham says] This prophet’s son goes back to get this record and he finds the guy who he tried to get it from. That guy is lying drunk in the street–it’s obviously [Laban] who he’s talking about. But he says that the reason that the guy was drunk is because there was a great feast going on in the city at the time. So think like Jewish festival, right? So [there is a] Jewish festival being celebrated in Jerusalem. Now think about that. Our Book of Mormon text doesn’t say that. The small plates don’t say that. Think about what the small plates do say. They say, among other things, that Laban was out by night among the elders of the Jews, and he comes home drunk. If he’s just out carousing, he’s got really high-profile drinking buddies, right? He’s out with the elders. Notice something else that’s crucial to the story. He’s wearing armor and he’s carrying a sword.  He got with his drinking buddies? I mean, the first and final days of Passover, in Judaism are known as holy convocations, per the Hebrew Bible. They are group celebrations where the Israelites get together, they have these feasts. This would be an occasion to dress up, if you will. So this account that Laban was drunk, from Joseph, Sr., that Laban was drunk because of the feast being celebrated, would help to explain why Laban is out in armor and sword, drinking by night with the elders of the Jews, and why when Nephi pretending to be Laban goes to Zoram and he’s like, “Hey, yeah, let’s go get the brass plates/scriptures and take them out to the elders, my brothers.  Zoram’s like, “Yeah, that makes sense.”  He doesn’t seem to bat an eye about that.  Well, if it’s Passover and there’s a religious celebration that makes sense.  If Laban’s out carousing with his drinking buddies, it kind of makes less sense.

Don also discusses a bit about his spiritual journey in this episode.  Check out our conversation….

Don Bradley has found records adding additional information about the story of Laban. Was he killed during Passover?
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From the Desert to the Land Bountiful

In our next episode, we’ll continue along the Frankincense Trail and get to the Land Bountiful.  George Potter has some interesting insights into why Laman and Lemuel might have rebelled, and we will discuss Nephi’s broken bow.  George has some interesting insights.

George:  There is a guy named Nigel Groom who is the expert on the Frankincense Trail.  He is a British scholar.  He has written two books on the Frankincense Trail.[1]  He has also written a book called A Dictionary of Arabic Topography and Place Names.[2]  This is the only dictionary that exists like this.  You can go right there to mujahareen and see it translates to the “most fertile pieces.”  It’s his own writing:  “most fertile parts.”  Pieces and parts are synonyms.  Again, a Book of Mormon place name, right along the Frankincense Trail.  There are villages that were through the most fertile part of the trail.  So Nephi describes they went through the most fertile parts, then they went through the more fertile parts.  Finally they travelled, he said for a space of many days, and then they had to stop and look for food.  In other words, it ain’t fertile at all.  They had to go hunting in the mountains.

GT:  This is where Nephi broke his bow, right?

George:  It’s where Nephi broke his bow.  It just so happens that the area there where bow-wood grows in Arabia is a very small area, about 150 miles long.  Atum is the name of the wood, and again it would have been right along the trail where Nephi would have been.  So, we document all of this in our films and our books.[3]  This is amazing, and it’s up in the mountains.  Up in the mountains is where all of the game is.  They are not down in the desert, they are up in the mountains.  So Nephi would have made his bow out of atum would, which is a type of olive.  He would have then gone up to the mountains to get his game.  So, it is all in context.

From there they travel and they get to a very desperate part of the trail.  This is where there is open rebellion.  Laman and Lemuel are contemplating killing Nephi and Lehi.  They want to go back. Ishmael dies.  They call the place Nahom.

We’ll also talk about the Land Bountiful, a land flowing with honey.  Why is that significant? Check out our conversation!  Don’t forget to check out our previous discussion about the Frankincense trail!

Fruit and honey were welcome sights after going through a desert wilderness

 

[1] Nigel Groom has written Frankincense and Myrrh: A Study of the Arabian Incense Trade, see https://amzn.to/2HLl9tt, and Sheba Revealed: A Posting to Bayhan in the Yemen, see https://amzn.to/2EYhLs6 .

[2] The entire name is A Dictionary of Arabic Topography and Place Names: A Transliterated Arabic-English Dictionary With an Arabic Glossary of Topographical Words and Place Names.  See https://amzn.to/2HMw6us

[3] See http://www.nephiproject.com/Our_films.htm

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Black Pete: Former Slave Becomes First Black Mormon

I really enjoyed sitting down with Dr. Mark Staker of the LDS Church History Library.  Mark is a historian and has written about the first community that accepted the Mormon Church in Kirtland, Ohio.  I was surprised to learn that a former slave by the name of Black Pete was one of the leaders of this early Mormon community!  In part 1 of our interview, we’ll talk about Black Pete’s introduction of speaking in tongues and his leadership in the fledgling Mormon community in 1830-1831.  I think it’s a great interview!  Please listen.

Here’s a transcript, or you can get one on Amazon.com as well!  Check out the video below!