Wouldn’t you be angry if a random person in your town claiming to be a prophet came to you and “testified” of your “wickedness and abominations”? Maybe this is the way the Lord wanted it, but I have to think there could have been a more tactful way if Lehi REALLY wanted people to listen to him. Bottom line: I’m glad I didn’t live in Jerusalem at the time because I probably would have been annoyed at Lehi (big mistake!).
Bob has a point — where is the commitment pattern, the “building relationships of trust,” the rest of the missionary toolbox that we use today? Condemnatory prophecy — “Hey, Bob, I testify to you that you are wicked!” — doesn’t seem to be the most effective missionary tool. Why do they seem to use it so much in the scriptures?
A few possibilities come to mind:
1. Lehi really didn’t care if anyone followed him (and note — no one did!). He was just concerned about “washing his hands” of their blood. Kind of callous, if you ask me.
2. This was just how they did things back then. We can’t expect Lehi to have access to modern tools. He may have been a bad missionary, but he was doing the best he knew how. (Query: Why would God allow people to be bad missionaries for thousands of years?).
3. The people were just so wicked that you had to yell at them. But wouldn’t that be an unusual circumstance. In contrast, we hardly see any soft missionary tools used in the scriptures? Perhaps a few, but the standard tactic seems to be to walk up to someone and tell him that he’s wicked.
4. We’re all a bunch of pansies now, with our “building relationships of trust” and whatnot. We should be telling more people that they’re going straight to hell.
5. For some reason, scriptural writers almost uniformly left out the touchy-feely commitment pattern stuff and just wrote down the bold proclamations of wickedness and destruction. (Why?)
I’m not thrilled with any of these, but perhaps (likely) there are possibilities I’m missing here.