The Nephite nation by this time had separated its religious and political
spheres. There were many who did not belong to the Church and so were not
bound by the Mosaic Law, which is why Alma only had the power to
excommunicate. The death penalty was given only by the chief judge.
Death penalty under the Mosaic Law in Israel ceased to work efficiently
after just a few hundred years. Israelites in the Book of Judges were
already committing adultery and idolatry, and no death penalty was
sought. King David should have been stoned, but the Lord allowed him to
live. Though the law was there, it often was not followed closely, as the
Israelites mingled with other nations.
At this point in Alma, the Nephites had begun to mingle with Mulekites,
and who knows what other nations in the Americas. The Mosaic Law was not
forced upon these people. Rather, they were given freedom to choose how
they would worship. Worship of conscience was not against the law, nor
punishable by the Nephite system of judges- only actions like that taken
by Nehor (murdering Gideon) was used to incite the death penalty.
The law given to Noah also demanded the death penalty for murderers, but
we don't see the prophets pushing for the death penalty to be strictly
enforced. Such a command is a minor one, compared to the rites and
ordinances proscribed by the law. Remember, the Mosaic law was not the
end-all law. It was a terrestrial law given as a stop gap measure until
the people were more prepared to hear the celestial law of Christ.
Gerald/gary Smith gszion1 @juno.com http://www
"No one is as hopelessly enslaved as the person who thinks he's free." -
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Can someone explain to me how there could be total freedom of religion
people observing the Mosaic law? How can there have been a command
blasphemy and a death sentence if conditions like Alma portrays were
true? How could there have been a climate of religious freedom?
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