Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Zeezrom Syndrome

Since I wrote that last blog post on the Book of Mormon story of Zeezrom, I thought it would be interesting to see if there were any other bloggers/writers out there who had shared some insights into the man and his life.

I found that one man, Rod J Vessels, had actually written a whole book about him, called, "The Zeezrom Syndrome"

Immediately I was fascinated, and I started to look up some of the references there in the Google search. Even though there were a lot of mentions of the book at various sites, there was precious little information about it. A few pages gave me some basic hints, but none of them actually told me what "The Zeezrom Syndrome" actually IS.

I was, however, intrigued. I love the story (I mentioned it's one of my all-time favorite Book of Mormon stories). It turned out that I had some Affiliate money stored up in my account over at Amazon, so I went ahead and bought it. When it arrives, I'll read it and review it here.

In the meantime, here are some other references which I found interesting:

Based on my brief encounters with second and third hand information about the book, I'm guessing that the Zeezrom Syndrome has something to do with being caught up in pride and materialism, bringing on lessened spirituality.

But that's just a guess.

More to come on this great Book of Mormon Mystery!

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: A Birthday Dutch Oven Gathering, and Keyword Analysis Research,

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Book of Mormon Story - Save the Lawyer!

"Martyr", the song I wrote and posted last week, was inspired by the story of Alma and Amulek, from the Book of Mormon. As I was reading it, researching the song, I was reminded of the story that bookends that one. It's one of my all-time favorite Book of Mormon story. That's the conversion of Zeezrom.

Zeezrom starts out, in chapter 11 of the book of Alma, as a lawyer trying to trip up Alma and Amulek. He tries a few strategies to try and trick them in their words, and at one point, even tries to buy them out of their testimonies.

But Alma and Amulek can sense, by the Spirit, his trickery and they call him on it. And this catches him off guard. Before long, his questions start to get sincere. Pretty soon the crowd is getting more and more angry at Alma and Amulek, and as Zeezrom starts to stand up for them, they get mad at him, too. Pretty soon they haul the two missionaries off to jail.

In what I imagine is their "trial" they are accused. Because Zeezrom is a lawyer, I imagine that he was working for their defence. Who knows what the Nephite due process was at that time in the Book of Mormon, but there must have been some set order to things. In the end, the bad guys run Zeezrom out of town. At that point, he's pretty much a believer.

He travels to another town, where another family of believers takes him in, feeds him, and cares for him. It turns out that he's so wracked by guilt over all the things he'd done over the years, persecuting and (I imagine) prosecuting the righteous, that he's in bed, sick with a fever.
I wonder if he was there at the scene of the martyrdom, of the burning. For him to see the righteous being burned a live, with their scriptures, and knowing that he'd played a role in inciting the people to that point must have eaten away at his soul. Small wonder he lay in bed.

Then, after Alma and Amulek tear down the walls of the prison the come to the town where he is. When Zeezrom hears that they're alive, he takes courage and sends for them. He must've wondered if they'd harbour any resentment for him. It must've taken some courage for him to send for them.

They come to Zeezrom, and with no recrimination or anger at all, bless him and heal his illness. Zeezrom jumps to his feet, praising God, and "...went from that time forth, to preach unto the people."

So many of the stories of the Book of Mormon are about armies, generals, leaders, and history. This is one of my favorites because it's very personal. One man makes a complete turn around. It just gives hope for me, too.

Mark Hansen

More by Mark: Mark's Black Pot: Dutch Oven Swirled Bread

Sunday, July 19, 2009


It's not a very common thing for me to write a new song these days. But the muse started smacking me upside the head tonight. I know that sounds painful, but it's cool.

In Alma, Chapter 14, in the Book of Mormon, it tells the story of Alma and Amulek witnessing the burning of the scriptures and the believers in a horrific place of martyrdom. At one point, Amulek suggests they use the power of God to stop the carnage, and Alma says that the Spirit of God is holding him back, saying that they're being welcomed up unto God in Glory. That thought always stuck with me. From our point of view, here on earth, these scenes of humans mistreating and murdering other humans is terrifying and saddening. From God's perspective, he's welcoming them home, knowing that they held firm to their beliefs.

So, I wanted to write a song about the martyrs in and for the Book of Mormon, but more from that more joyful perspective. I'm imagining that I'm one of the angels called up into the choir to welcome them back.

It's a work in progress. The middle verse, about Haun's Mill, needs some work. I did some research, but it's tough to sum it all up in six lines. I'll keep redoing it all and gel it all together.


By Mark Hansen

The fires rise high on a moonless night
Marked by shouts and cries of fright
The scriptures burning up in ash and smoke

As they throw the scared believers in
Two men think to stop the din
But a still voice whispers, "No", to let them go

They've stood up to the last
Their sorrows now have past
Their souls are rising fast
And I'll join with the choirs and sing
And sing the martyrs home

It's just about 4:00 when the men ride in
The time for the truce was at an end
In the blacksmith's shop they ready their final stand

The riders surround and open fire
And in the end, when they retire
The blood of eighteen souls is on their hands

Who stood up to the last
Whose sorrows now have past
Their souls are rising fast
And I'll join with the choirs and sing
And sing the martyrs home

In an Illinois Jail, four men wait
For the end of the story brought by fate
One man sings a hymn in the evening sun

A shouting mob rushes up the stairs
Bullets fly and bullets tear
And a prophet and his brother's lives are done

And they've stood up to the last
Their sorrows now have past
Their souls are rising fast
And I'll join with the choirs and sing
And sing the martyrs home

Mark Hansen

Friday, July 10, 2009

Zelaya and Micheletti, The Fight of the Decade?

Since I was a missionary in Honduras many many years ago, I've been watching the current crisis between "former president" Manuel Zelaya and "interim president" Roberto Micheletti in Honduras. I put those titles in quotes for a reason. Zelaya is the "former president" because, right or wrong, he's not in power. He can't even get back into the country. I also think calling Micheletti an "interim" president is also a bit laughable. Will he give up power when elections happen? Meantime, both men are claiming that the other is a criminal and a traitor, and now talks in Costa Rica have broken down.

I've been following the follies of Zelaya and Micheletti mostly on the BBC, and usually, I find them to be pretty fair in their reporting. I can't seem to find any real sense in any of it. Zelaya wanted to ammend the constitution to give him another run at the presidency. That seems fair. Let him try it. If it's really that big of a deal, he'd have been voted down. The referrendum was supposedly non-binding anyway. Judging from the mixed reactions in the public, I'd say he probably didn't have a lot of popular support.

But instead of letting him just fall flat, his "successor" decided to have him arrested at gunpoint and deported. Seems to me that he's really the one who's messing with the constitution, here. But then, especially in central america, constitutionality has often been decided by which end of the gun barrel you were on.

Here's my take: This seems to be a lot of petty bickering between two guys who want to be in charge.

These two guys are really coming across like a couple of snotty-nosed kids trying to kick each other out of the sandbox. It's not even like the mess in southern africa a while back, where one guy was clearly evil and the other guy was good, but defeated. Zelaya and Micheletti both need to stop and look around and see what the world is seeing.

But one guy who's really showing what an idiot he can be is Hugo Chavez. He's criticizing Obama for not intervening strongly.


Did I just hear that right?

Chavez is mad because the US isn't meddling in Central American sovreignty enough?

That's what I thought I just said. It just doesn't sound right.

I love the Honduran people, and I'm sorry they're going through such a mess. Between this and Mitch (the hurricane), they've had a tough decade. I'm honestly not sure that this is something that the US SHOULD get involved in, though. I guess it's one of those situations where we're &^$%*&$ if we do, and (^%*&*#^@ if we don't. (Don't try to figure out what those words are. I just hit random keys with the shift key held down)

Mark Hansen


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