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The Book of Laman Paperback – July 2, 2017
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Through it all however the lesson is that God loves us despite our follies even when they ascend to sinning. And we also see that even those great saints struggle with some weakness. "Every sinner has a future and every saint has a past" might be one way to say it but this even suggests that every sinner has some good and every saint has some sin now.
Reading her afterward helped me see the authors own way of learning the lessons in the book. Very good read, and well done with several characters in the plot. It made me want to check out some of her others books.
But that's not what this book is doing, at least not for those of us who have an increasingly hard time as we try to read the Book of Mormon more thoughtfully. The point of this book isn't to say that the Book of Mormon is uninspired or that Nephi wasn't a prophet. It doesn't make light of sacred things. Rather, it's a thoughtful exploration of the questions we generally shrug at in Sunday School--like, how could Laman and Lemuel see an angel and not believe? Why won't they just trust God?
Well, it's really easy to see the black and white of the situation a couple millennia later, when you've only got one perspective to draw from. This book wades into the gray area, and I have discovered that I definitely needed that gray area.
Laman, our narrator, would be the first to admit that he is not as faithful or righteous as Nephi. But this book has shown me why his actions may be generally reasonable or at least understandable, and the ways in which most of us are more like him than Nephi. (And also why most of us might *want* to be more like him in some ways than Nephi.) Laman fails, and fails, and fails again, as we all do. But in spite of what he thinks, he cannot fall beneath the reach of God's love.
There were definitely some interpretational decisions I strongly disagreed with--if you read it, I'd love to discuss. (Frankly, I'd love to have a Sunday School series on this, but I have a feeling the Church would take exception to that idea.) And at times the writing (dialogue especially) is wooden, anachronistic, and not subtle enough for my taste. But overall, I found this an extremely helpful look at the way things might have been. It offers compelling potential explanations for why people behave the way they do--and what Nephi might have been leaving out in his interpretation of events. Highly recommended for the right kind of Mormon.
Some very orthodox mormons may take issue with the portrayal of prophets Lehi and Nephi as having flaws, both in character and personality.