Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Final Exam Essays: Alisa Hulme

Short Essay:
          In the biblical account of the war in heaven, the greatest difference in the two, presented plans was the idea of agency.  As the plan that favored agency was selected, you are free to “choose this day” whether you will “serve the Lord God who made you” (Moses 6:33).  With the ability to make choices, there are inevitably different sides striving to persuade man one way or the other.  Neither the side of the Lord nor the devil has the ability to physically force man to follow them.  However, both sides use rhetorical tactics to accomplish this purpose.
          The devil chooses to employ flattery, logic, fear, deceit, and an appeal to man’s natural tendencies to “lead away the hearts of the people” (3 Nephi 6:16).  The Lord also uses rhetorical techniques, often presented through scriptures and modern day prophets.  Occasionally, these techniques involve more extreme means, such as Christ driving the moneychangers out of the temple.  However, it is often through “the small and simple means” that God accomplishes His purposes (Alma 37:6).
          Augustine, one of the great rhetoricians of the 4th Century, converted to Christianity.  In his piece, “Of Christian Doctrine,” he discusses the importance of having an eloquent and capable preacher to expound upon and preach the word of God.  Though he focuses on the vitality of rhetoric in portraying religious ideas, his own conversion was prompted by the voice of a young child singing the lyrics, “Take up and read.”  He understood this simple declaration to be God prompting him to read the Bible.  This experience is what led to his further conversion (learn more).  If a mastery of rhetoric is what causes conversion, how could the untrained and unintentional words of a child make the difference in Augustine’s religious choices?
          Christ was not an earthly king who gave national speeches, but rather a humble carpenter who often gave individualized sermons.  While Christ and many of His leaders in past and present dispensations do employ, whether consciously or subconsciously, rhetorical techniques, God has in place another rhetorical device, of sorts, that acts as a trump card.  In this sense, the importance of typical rhetorical skills is often given more credit than needed in a religious sense.  We are taught that it is the Spirit that provides “the power of God unto the convincing of men” (D&C 11:21).  This is what is taught to our modern-day missionaries as they attempt to fight God’s battle to win the souls of men.  It is not through fancy rhetoric, “Bible bashing,” or the doctrine itself that will truly convince (convert) people.  Rather, a spiritual confirmation through the Spirit has the most powerful impact. 

Short Rhetorical Analysis:
            In the second and third chapters of Jacob, Jacob is speaking to the people of Nephi, the men, women and children (audience).  He is addressing them at the temple following the death of Nephi, their beloved leader and prophet (kairos).  He begins by establishing his ethos by acknowledging that his authority was given him by God, that he was coming to them in total humility, and reminding them that he has magnified his calling in the past.  Throughout the piece, he continually acknowledges the importance of God’s power in helping him to present the message (supernatural).  He also continually quotes God directly and indirectly (authority).
            Though primarily speaking to the men, he begins by apologizing for having to speak such harsh things in the presence of women and children, creating pathos for the husbands and fathers.  He reiterates this point at the end as well (coenotes).  He continues by talking about how the Nephites previously prospered in the land and were favored of God, but have since lost that favor and committed sin (past/future fact).  He states that the people should seek the kingdom of God before they seek riches (parallelism). 
            After explaining their sin of pride, he “must speak of a grosser crime” (degree).   In speaking of their fornications, he poses many rhetorical questions such as, “Do you suppose that God justifieth you? (anthypophora).  He explains that they explain themselves based on what has been written concerning David, but argues that his actions offer no justification for their actions (similarity/difference).  Referring to them as needing to “awake from their slumber” (metaphor), he compares them to the Lamanites—even claiming that they are more wicked than their enemies (juxtaposition).
            Following his chastisement, Jacob arranges his speech in a way that then addresses the atonement.  After discussing the possibility that they have for change, however, he ends with emphasis on his most powerful point.  He again brings up how their actions are hurting those who they love (cause/effect).  By describing how the husbands should love the wives and the wives should love the husbands (syncrisis), he ends his sermon by calling the Nephites to action.

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