In Context

I came across this meme on facebook recently. I don’t know the person who shared it, nor was there any commentary on the original post.

I was curious about what the whole verse said, so I looked it up because it didn’t really “sound” like something Nephi would have said.

Behold all ye that kindle fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks, walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks which ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand—ye shall lie down in sorrow.

YIKES! That was a huge misquote with the potential to lead people in the wrong direction, if they didn’t take the time to find and read the whole verse.

This is indicative of a larger problem in our instant media world. Have you ever just read a news headline and passed on reading the article because you thought the title said it all? Have you observed later on that the story wasn’t what its title suggested it was? It happens far too often and inflames people in unhealthy ways. Media companies, blogs,social media pages/accounts, and podcasts do this for SEO, or search engine optimization. In other words headlines are written to get the most clicks, even if clicking the headline leads you to something false, or intentionally misleading.

This brings us back to context and why it matters. The media is guilty of selectively editing interviews, and print material to suit their agenda to get clicks and to manipulate you. It’s vital that we look at primary sources for things when there are questions. Read the whole statement, watch the whole video, click thru and read the whole article! A lot of needless strife and contention has come from selective editing and outright lies that get told on a daily basis. The result of which is, like Nephi stated, we have a lot of people walking around in the spark of their own fire thinking that they’re in the light, when they’re really just burning up and will soon be sorrowing. Don’t be that person.

Context matters if we want the truth.

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About Joyce Anderson

Joyce is a mother, wife, sister, school teacher, Bulgarian speaker, conservative, lover of good music, social media junky and a two time culinary arts Grand Champion bread baker. She and the family reside in a remote mountain community where great discoveries have been made. When not changing the world, she enjoys the occasional bowl of chips and salsa. She can be found at: http://pinterest.com/TheAtomicMom

12 thoughts on “In Context

  1. Unless of course this is intentional… and someone is trying for a reallly deep cut burn. (Nah, I don’t believe it either, if they wanted to use scriptures from the Book of Mormon to lay down the burn, they would have used Jacob.)

  2. Chapter 7 of 2 Nephi is Jacob quoting Isaiah 50, so it’s not even an original statement from a Book of Mormon prophet!

  3. Eric, True. But once again, If I was looking for an OT prophet to bring the pain, Isaiah wouldn’t be my first choice, Jeremiah is far more direct, and way more brutal

  4. Joyce, excellent point. Many people are being manipulated these days by half-truths, fake news and misleading headlines. I have seen it happen to “intellectuals” as well as people who don’t consider themselves intellectuals. And these people create an entire worldview based on false information. Very dangerous.

  5. I don’t know. Isaiah did name his son Maher-shalal-hash-baz. Seems like he was pretty direct, too.

  6. As a historian with a good memory I see this all the time. In fact, it happens so frequently I thought about starting some kind of meme vetting business. I’ve seen false quotes attributed to Thucydides, Confucius, Sunzi, and so many more.

    I’ve seen one Sunzi quote that was probably from Game of Thrones. It was about burning the country down to inherit the ashes. It’s a great line, but there is a chapter on fire warfare in Sunzi and its discussed as a valid tactic, not as a critique of the character of potential rulers. That kind of condemnation would be found in a Confucian text and not in a text that was condemned by Confucians for being amoral. Not to mention the line didn’t remotely have the cadence you would expect from the four character style in classical writing. https://youtu.be/cFZen-XO5II?t=193

    For kicks and giggles I searched for it and the fake quote was easy to find: https://daisygwoods.medium.com/an-evil-enemy-will-burn-his-own-nation-to-the-ground-to-rule-over-the-ashes-sun-tzu-18ce1e4d4b3e

    It looks like I’m not the only one that sees it frequently: https://shibumimanagementcanada.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/invented-sun-tzu-art-of-war-quotes/

    Even worse than that, when I point out they are spreading misinformation no one seems to care. They end up attacking me for doing the homework and showing why its false!! Personally, I think most quotes are pretty lame. If you have a good idea you want to share then just share it. But putting a flower border or cool picture with it seems to grant legitimacy or something. It is even more suspect when you consider how easy it is to spread false memes.

    Thanks for clearing this one up. It’s an evocative line but ripped out of context it has been twisted into the opposite meaning. Good job.

  7. Many do not realize that the media always selectively edits interviews. It is what they do, distill lengthy sources down to manageable pieces of information. Make connections and conclusions, saving readers and listeners time. It is when the selected quotes are not true to context and when placed in context the quotes do not allow one to reach the conclusions of the media’s conclusions that there is a problem.

    But another example is that practically everyone does this at church with scripture. Yes, even the General Authorities do it quite often if one pays attention. We politely call it “proof-texting.” But it is using scripture out-of-context to support our preconceived notions. But the potential for harm is great in all cases. Look at how scripture was misappropriated to support the priesthood ban.

  8. Since I knew the whole verse, I read the meme as dismissive, not inspirational. 🙂 In fact, I probably wouldn’t have ever considered that it might be meant as inspirational without this blog post.

    Now let’s do all the positive misinterpretations of “And his hand is stretched out still.” 🙂

  9. And so our world grows into n misinformation. Such creates people who deny the holocaust, think the Covid Vaccine contains nano chips, etc. We are preparing a people to live in a dystopian society, rather than Zion.

  10. Well, if building Zion is a cooperative effort between the covenant people and God, it stands to reason that building Hell is a cooperative effort between the Adversary and those he has deceived.

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