Vile Sinners

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 StumbleUpon 0 Email -- Filament.io 0 Flares ×

While reading the Book of Mormon last night, I came across Mosiah 28:4, which said in part that the sons of Mosiah “were the very vilest of sinners”. I thought this was interesting, and it made me wonder a few things. Is Mormon speaking relatively here (they were the vilest when compared to all the sinners among the Nephites)? Is he speaking absolutely (no other sinner previous to them in all the world had been as vile as they)? Was Mormon suggesting it was their sins that were the vilest (convincing others to leave the church) and not that the extent to which they committed them was the vilest?

8 thoughts on “Vile Sinners

  1. Has no one ever thought about this before? No thoughts? Kim and I were discussing this the other night, and I don’t have an answer, but I would really like to hear what others think about this.

  2. I actually think these questions are the result of too-close reading and parsing of the passage. The meaning I get is that they felt really bad about having done really bad things, and were really grateful to be redeemed from those sins. They felt really obliged to do all they could to make up for those actions. As to whether the superlative was technically correct, or exactly where the superlative should be applied, that’s probably just going too far with the interpretation.

  3. Well, we weren’t making an interpretation, just posing the question. Like, what might this mean in reality? Why would these questions be a result of too-close reading? Studying the scriptures and asking questions like this helps one understand them better, don’t you think?

  4. Yes. But you also have to ask whether the questions make complete sense. In this case, I just doubt that it makes sense to look for extremely precise meaning in the word “vilest.” But I could be wrong.

  5. Why doesn’t it make sense though? I thnk Kim’s question is valid. What exactly is meant by vile? Their exact behaviour, or the meaning behind it? To what extent is it meant? What’s wrong with asking those questions? Enquiring minds want to know.

  6. “The meaning I get is that they felt really bad about having done really bad things, and were really grateful to be redeemed from those sins.”

    So you’re leaning toward the first question I posed?

  7. I have always thought this meant they were committing serious sins. Not all sins are of equal weight in my opinion.

  8. Kim, what I’m saying is that in this context, “vilest” might just mean “very vile.”

Leave a Reply