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This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series The Book of Mormon as a Political Thriller

In this series, I’m going share pieces of a project I’ve been working on: reading and telling the Book of Mormon story in a political and legal context. This project has grown out of imagining what the events of Mosiah and Alma would look like if it were depicted in the style of Game of Thrones. No, I’m not talking about the recent kickstarter for a Braveheart-style retelling of the war chapters of Alma. (That project strikes me, so far, as an insertion of modern American / revolutionary assumptions into an ancient context.) No, what I’m talking about is (in part) turning the books of Mosiah and Alma into a political thriller of sorts, and one based on a serious study of these characters and their political context.

The end result of this project is a fleshed out version of story told in the books of Mosiah and Alma, set in an ancient political context. I want readers to understand these characters as real people, facing off against real and believable antagonists. Amalakiah was more than just a scheming, moustache-twirling villain. He was once a teacher in the church. Why did betray his people? Why did he set his heart on power? Was Ammoron a former friend of Moroni? Did Amlici know Alma the Younger when Alma was among the dissenters in Zarahemla? These are just a few of many unanswered questions I’ve been asking of the text.

Why serialized screenplay storytelling, instead of a novel (or a series of novels)? I’m sure both could work. But a serialized version of the story would allow me to flesh out an ensemble of characters, include more “B-plots,” and tell a variety stories along the larger arc of The Story. It allows me to think of the story in terms of a “slow-burn” thriller of sorts, building up protagonists, antagonists, and plot-lines piece by piece over time, until they come fruition in explosive ways. Nothing “just happens” that wasn’t foreshadowed earlier. It’s also a bit less intimidating for now, as I can focus more on characters and story than description and setting.

In this series, I will post season and episode outlines, character studies, reflections on the politics and history of the various factions. Some of this will be entirely fictional, and other bits of it will reflect my considered opinion. I will try to differentiate when I can. But it’s safe to take nothing in what follows as the fact of the story, but rather my imaginative extrapolation from it. Note also: the installments in this series can and will be revised as I have new and better ideas. What you read may not be what was originally there. I intend these to reflect my latest notes on the subject, not my earliest notes.

And above all, this is all just for fun. Don’t take it too seriously.

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