I have a tough problem. I am interested in so many different facets of LDS studies/apologetics that I may never become an expert in any one topic. Instead, I tend to reach for breadth instead of depth, which I think is a lamentable thing. I keep telling myself I need to try and focus on only one or two issues, and become expert in them. Unfortunately, I have yet to discipline myself enough to do that.
Recently I caught “Book of Mormon fever” again. It comes and goes, leaving me super excited about the BoM every now and then. I have been trying to catch up on all the scholarship, especially things about MesoAmerica.
The title I gave this post is “By Small and Simple Things.” The Book of Mormon contains so many details that are so easy to pass right over without recognizing their importance. For example, when Ammon offers to stay and live among the Lamonites, King Lamoni immediately offers Ammon his daughter’s hand in marriage! That is a story that just doesn’t make much sense to us. However, when we realize that this story was written from the vantage point of an ancient MesoAmerican, it comes to life and means so much more.
Below is a video of Brant Gardner, M.A. Anthropology, speaking at the FAIR Conference in 2004 on the topic of the story of Ammon and King Lamoni. Gardner offers a MesoAmerican context with which to understand the story, and demonstrates that small things like this can make a big difference. The Book of Mormon seems much more alive, to me anyway, once it is placed in it’s proper context.