King Noah and His Kingdom, Part 2
“For behold, he did not keep the commandments of God, but he did walk after the desires of his own heart. And he had many wives and concubines. And he did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord. Yea, and they did commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness” (Mosiah 11:2).
Noah was a polygamist who walked after the desires of his own heart. There have been times when the practice of plural marriage has been authorized by revelation and commandment, and at other times received God’s censure (D&C 132:29, 34-35; Jacob 2:23-24). Noah and his priests weren’t the first, or the only people in history that sought to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which are written about ancient kings (ibid.). His example and teachings caused his people to commit sin, though neither he nor his people believed they were living in sin (Mosiah 12:13-14).
Like the Pharisees’ reaction to the Lord, Noah and his people were surprised “that we should be condemned of God or judged of this man (ibid.). They were surprised that somebody would challenge their righteousness. The wicked priestly class of Christ’s day was surprised at His message of admonition and repentance. In their view, they were the only people actually keeping all of the commandments. To them, even Christ and his disciples transgressed “the tradition of the elders” (Matt.15:1-3). Christ taught them that it was precisely by way of their tradition that they “transgressed the commandment of God” (ibid.). Their pride had blinded them.
Remember, this story is being told to us in retrospect through the lens of a righteous prophet-writer. It is that prophet-writer who makes it clear to us that Noah and his people were wicked. Prophets have a very different view of history, and of the unfolding current events than do those who belong to or sympathize with Babylon. Because prophets commune with God, they are able to see things as God sees them.
If we were to read a history about Noah and his people written by their own hand it would, of course, be highly complimentary. Conspicuously absent from the record would be any details about human failure and weakness, especially of the king. Their record would tout their accomplishments. It would tell us about what great progress they made in the kingdom by way of building projects, for example. They certainly kept and preserved records. Otherwise, how would Mormon know so much about them.
Since the king and his priests spoke “flattering,” and “lying and vain words” unto the people we shouldn’t expect that their record would reflect a greater degree of honesty (Mosiah 11:7, 11). The ultra-religious always think they’re better than they really are, and they’re happy to talk about it.
The wickedness and abominations of Noah and his priests led them to pride. Their pride led them to boast in their own strength. They believed that it was not possible that they should be brought into captivity, or into bondage. They thought that because they had “prospered in the land,” they would always prosper (Mosiah 12:15). But it was not to be so.