Ether, needing Excedrin.

My 15 year old son recently informed us that he gets extra credit if he reads the entire Book of Mormon for seminary.  He doesn’t really need the extra credit, but since he hadn’t read it cover to cover before we said we could help him read it as a family.  We decided to start in Ether to hit the chapters chronologically rather than sequentially.  While our little family project has stalled a bit (meaning stopped completely after Ether), it was an interesting book for family scripture study.

When taken alone, this is a weird little book.  Here are a few things my kids pointed out:

  1. There are people named Nimrod and Moron in the book, which they obviously found hilarious.  Several named Moron, actually.  On the upside, my daughter won’t be complaining about her name anymore.
  2. Jesus invented touch sensor lights.  Talk about likening the scriptures unto us.
  3. Apparently you can get a husband by dancing like Miley Cyrus.  The daughter of Jared came in like a wrecking ball!
  4. The name Akish sounds like you are saying “a kiss” with a slurring, drunken voice.   As in “How about Akish?” slurred while swinging on a wrecking ball.
  5. If an entire society is involved in secret combinations, how are they still secret?  Actually, I think we need to do a follow up FHE centered around The Godfather II to explain this one.
  6. Even when you are writing on plates, presumably in a very difficult manner, you can still take the time and effort to write in long, repetitive, awkward sentences.
  7. A war can end in 100% total annihilation.  Literally every single person dead but the victor, like the Hunger Games, but millions of people.
  8. Child soldiers, even toddlers, existed in the book of Ether.  Did they arm actual infants or was Coriantumr left with a bunch of crying babies to tend?
  9. You can struggle for breath, even without a head.
Never ask me about my business.

Maybe next we’ll have to tackle the Old Testament.  I think that’s probably the only book that can compete with Ether for weird stories that are bigger than life, and intermittently boring and utterly bizarre.  Perhaps that’s why Ether includes one of my favorite scriptures, Ether 12:27:

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

Too bad the Bible didn’t come with the same qualifier.  I was teaching my 11 year old daughter’s Primary class on Sunday, about Jacob being fooled by his crafty uncle Laban into marrying mustachio’d spinster Leah instead of nubile hottie Rachel.  One of the questions in the lesson was why Jacob was instructed to go to Laban’s house to find a wife.  One of the girls said it was because all the other people were idol worshipers, but Laban wasn’t.  However, this is not accurate, as we see in the entertaining exchange in Genesis 31 between the duplicitous Rachel and the vengeful Laban when Rachel steals her father’s idols, then sits on them and says she can’t stand up because she has her period (“the custom of women is upon me”).  Apparently the tiny green apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  The lesson manual made it sound like Laban was righteous and observant if dishonest and manipulative in his dealings with Jacob.  Perhaps the Bible redactors forgot to take out the bit about his idol worship, which was prevalent throughout ancient Israel for centuries, despite what Cecil B. DeMille portrayed in the Ten Commandments.

What scripture stories do your kids (or you) find bizarre or incomprehensible in our day?  How do you address it when your kids are flummoxed by these stories?