Thursday, April 28, 2011

Die Like Shiz

I mentioned in my last Easter post that I don't want to die like Shiz, so I thought I'd clarify what I mean by that.

For my readers who are not familiar with The Book of Mormon, I've just got to say:

In this instance, Shiz is not a slang word used in place of mild profanity.

It's someone's name.

Shiz was a blood-thirsty, revenge-seeking, fear-mongering leader of a faction of the Jaredites, people who inhabited the Americas a long, long time ago.  At the end of the Book of Mormon, we read an abbreviated account of their arrival in the promised land, their rejection of God's prophets, the reversal of their great civilization into anarchy, their relentless wars, and the complete extinction of their people.

Cheery, story, huh?  Well, the "best"/most riveting part of this story is when the two wicked, rival leaders of the people--Coriantumr and Shiz--battle each other to the death.  Even though a prophet of God has called Coriantumr to repentance, and warned him that if he does not repent, he will live to see every last person in his country killed in war....he still does not repent, but choses instead to continue the fight.

Even after seeing TWO MILLION Jaredite people killed in various battles, Coriantumr and Shiz do not "bury the hatchet".

Instead they gather the only remaining men--an army of 32 men verses an army of 27--to battle with vengeance.  They fight all day long until they are so exhausted that they sleep on their swords, only to rise again in the morning to follow after their desire for revenge.

Finally, Shiz and Coriantumr are the only two people left alive, and they engage in a duel to the death.  Then Coriantumr does Shiz in.

And trust me when I say:  You do not want to die like Shiz:

31 And it came to pass that when they had aall fallen by the sword, save it were Coriantumr and Shiz, behold Shiz had fainted with the loss of blood.
 30And it came to pass that when Coriantumr had leaned upon his sword, that he rested a little, he smote off the head of Shiz.
 31And it came to pass that after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised up on his hands and afell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died.
After reading this I thought, "What an awful and gruesome way to die.
I don't want to die like Shiz!!"

I immediately did a dramatic reenactment of this scene for my husband.  (It was Oscar-worthy, I tell you!)  And then, once I had his attention, I shared with him what the Spirit taught me as I was reading this story, which I am now going to share with you.

Obviously, being decapitated and having your body flail around gasping for air would be a horrible way to die.  But the thing that disgusted me was the fact that after realizing that TWO MILLION people had died on account of their stubbornness and wickedness they STILL WEREN'T WILLING TO STOP FIGHTING...

Disgusted by this fact, I thought about how sad, stupid, and pathetic this was.  They'd rather let their whole civilization die a bloody death than repent, forgive, compromise, or humble themselves.

Surely...I'd never do something like that.  How foolish!

Then the Spirit told me that, in essence, we do this in our own lives when we fail to forgive others.  Sometimes, we choose to allow an entire family relationship to "die" out of our own selfish desires to be right, or to be apologized to, or for a million other reasons.

I am guilty of this, because I have been unable to forget about past hurts that I have experienced in my own family.  So while, I can sit here and judge Coriantumr and Shiz, I knew in that moment that the gruesome scene laid out in this story had a parallel in our lives.  Families lie in shambles all over our great land, because of wickedness, because of pride, because of an unwillingness to bury the hatchet.

So when I say that I don't want to die like Shiz...I mean, that I don't want to let my pride kill off my entire family, my relationships with those who I love most.

And I hope that you won't either.

This is going to be my new "magic word" to remind me to work toward forgiveness:

"Don't Die Like Shiz!"

This story also has implications and possibly prophetic warnings for the current civilization living on the American continent today...

The Family Proclamation says, "....we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets."

Speaking of the downfall of the Jaredite people, Elder Maxwell has said, "Anarchy was the “order” of the day! That strange and sad state is in some ways like that foreseen by Orson Pratt which could befall our latter-day America and bring circumstances of great unrest and strife among factions—with people seeking refuge across the landscape of this beloved land. (See Masterful Discourses and Writings of Orson Pratt, Bookcraft, Inc., 1962, p. 156.)"  

How can we keep our world from falling into a state of anarchy like the Jaredite nation?  


One day at a time.  One dinner at a time.  One bedtime story at a time.
One Family Home Evening at a time.

One act of forgiveness at a time.

We can do this.

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  1. I never thought to "liken" that story to myself. Thank you for your insight!

  2. Thank you so much for your insight. I had never thought about family grudges that way!

  3. Wonderful insight! This story also causes me concern over what it happening to the children. It seems that the Jaredites were so surrounded by bloodshed and hatred that is was the norm, the 'order' of the day. I worry that our own children, particularly our sons, are so surrounded by violence and bloodshed in the media,through entertainment, on the playground etc. that is becoming, if it hasn't already, a societal norm. The Book of Mormon clearly teaches the outcome of such norms. Again, as you so perfectly stated, I think the answer is to strengthen and protect our families. I often think of Capt. Moroni who 'abhorred' violence in all of its forms and was yet the strong, courageous and protective at all costs leader that he needed to be. This is the way I am hoping my sons will follow, not the world's way. Okay - this comment is way too long! :) Thanks for listening to my rambles - great post!

  4. This is my favorite gorey story of all time. My grandmother use to tell us about having chicken, chopping off their heads and how their bodies would run about a bit before keeling over dead...ready for processing. Somehow, visualizing that scene as a child, made the Shiz story so real.'s a swearword? I thought it came from Wicked which is really apropos. Don't you think?

  5. As I was reading, I was really enjoying it and thinking about the last time I read this account in the BoM. BUT!! I got to the end and I realized that you went a completely different way than I had expected. It was perfect! While I am not personally struggling with forgiveness at the moment, it made me think of a dear friend who recently expressed concern on the matter. I'm going to send her the link to this post. Awesomeness!!

  6. Of all the stories I've ever personally connected to... Shiz wasn't among them! But I love your connection. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Thank you! I totally needed this today. I'm totally loving the month of Jocelyn so far!

  8. I love this! I remember my seminary teacher doing a particularly dramatic reenactment of Shiz's death as well. It was a highlight of the year! ;)

    I have to say, this part of the BofM also struck me pretty forcefully this time through. Up to now I think my brain glossed over the numbers and I just thought "yes, a lot of people died..." But when I read those numbers this time - 2 MILLION! - I was on the verge of tears as the reality of it hit me. So many lives wasted, down to the last two remaining souls in their civilization, and still no sign of repentance.

    When I started the book of Ether a week or so ago, I asked my husband "why do we have this record? It goes so quick - it just seems like a fast-forwarded account of who killed who until there was no one left. What's the point of including that?" He said that obviously Heavenly Father wants us to know about these people as an example of what wickedness can do. By the time I finished it this time through, I understood. I can now say that I truly have a testimony of the book of Ether. Their story is such a tragedy - and one that we need to be fully aware of in our day.

    Thanks for your post (as always!)

  9. Great thoughts on this story. I've been pondering it too lately.

  10. Oh, THANK YOU!! This is a VERY timely reminder for me. We're almost to that part of Ether in our family scripture study and I'm struggling with a 13 yr-old who feels it's necessary, vital even, to be rude/mean to a former friend who is being mean to another girl. Last night we had a LONG conversation about bold, firm politeness as a way combat cruelty, but she insisted that anything short of vengeance was the weak way out of the situation and ineffective. And, of course I as her mother and former teenager, couldn't possibly understand. *sign* I think I shall reenact that scene for a FHE very soon! Thank you again!

  11. This was such a super great analogy. Too bad I didn't get to see the dramatic object lesson like your husband did;)

  12. good thoughts, I'm publishing my book today FHE for Empty Nesters and Singles which I hope can strengthen and bring the blessings of Family Home Evenings to those in their more mature years...

  13. Wonderful story and excellent insights.

    I laughed out loud when I saw the title of your post.


  14. Thank you for this post! We were just speaking with one another about a family situation that has been hard to get past. We never would have looked at these verses in that context. You have given us so much to think about. Also, we would wish we could have seen the Oscar worthy

  15. Oh my goodness, I LOVED this post!!!! My 13 year old son LOVES that part of the Book of Mormon... I can't wait to share your post for FHE. I tend to hold grudges, especially against family members and I really needed to hear this :) Thanks, I don't want to DIE LIKE SHIZ!!

  16. I love your insight, thank you! Reminds me too of a quote I read this morning (I honestly don't know if the attribution for the quote is correct, but here it is):

    " readily we trade inner peace for something less, for some sort of upset. How readily we take offense and then escalate disturbance around us. How easily we have unsatisfied expectations of how others should treat us or what they should be doing for us...we are often not at rest, or at peace, in the principles of tolerance and love, of overlooking, of letting go, of forgiving." - M. Catherine Thomas

    It is so true that we often so willingly INVITE the contention/disturbance/lack of peace in our lives and then complain about it. We are such strange creatures to purposefully make ourselves miserable! (Guess that's the tendency of the natural man.)

    Anyway, I agree with your point too that it starts with the family! Every little bit makes a difference towards a better future. :)

  17. Thanks again for an enlightening post. I myself have felt sorrow over not being able to forgive another and or the other person not being able to forgive me. It can be deadly in a family. I will ponder on this and forward it to our family where our motto is "No Empty Chairs".
    Blessings to you for a wonderful post!

  18. Excellent post-that is one of the saddest stories in the scriptures. So many people died just because of pride and hatred. The really sad thing is that this keeps happening in our world. So many conflicts in the world stem from the same things as in Ether. So many innocent people have died for powerful people's pride.

    But I especially love how you applied it directly to us. How our lack of forgiveness can in a sense kill our relationships. That is a humbling thought-to be like Shiz-how awful!

  19. Really great post! Amazing!
    Thanks for stopping by and becoming a follower on my blog!!! I live in Fayette County, the southwestern part of PA! Our branch is tiny and it serves the entire county! It's nice to know other ladies are out there, sharing their testimonies! Keep it up! I live for the encouragement!

  20. Thank you for sharing this! What a great lesson to be taken from this story.

    I grew up in the Harrisburg PA stake until I was 13. I found your blog recently and have really enjoyed what you have to say. Thanks for your efforts to contribute something meaningful through blogging!

  21. LOVED this post!!! My brother in law made up a BofM quiz game that he calls 'You don't know Shiz about the Book of Mormon' so the first part made me chuckle hearing his name.
    But in all honesty, I struggle with this too with certain family members. After hearing Elder Packer's talk where he said, "Let it go", I decided to let go of my grudge, of my hurt feelings, of my anger and love the person I was having problems with. It's been difficult at times and we still butt heads and get hurt feelings sometimes but it is much better than before.

  22. We just read that part this morning. I am sharing this with the girls tomorrow. It really brings the point home. I know that is not a way that I want to die either.

  23. Awesome ... the goal of being forgiving. I never thought about looking for the application of this story. (More and more I'm seeing the "purpose" for all of those dreadfully bloody war chapters.) I have friends/family who have refused to forgive a perceived injustice at Church and in so doing have killed the testimony in their hearts and in their children's, cutting themselves off from the source of life.

  24. Hmmm...I've been thinking a lot about forgiving those in our families who do things that totally bug us. Thanks for your insights. Looks like it's time for me to step up and not die like Shiz.

  25. Thank you for this. I needed this.

  26. Awesome post! What a great way to make this applicable in our lives!