Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Violence and Bloodshed and Mayhem

Violence and Bloodshed and Mayhem

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 29, 2010

A reader who insists on remaining completely and totally and irrevocably and eternally ANONYMOUS sends in this drawing recently found in the papers of her 8-year-old daughter. Yes, a girl. Eight years old.

“I was wondering,” said anonymous reader writes, “where she was exposed to all these images, so I asked, and it turns out that this is a battle between the Nephites and Lamanites. Should I restrict her reading? No more scriptures???”

For your edification, know that the woman behind the gate is saying “Huny be carfle [careful]” and the person in the tower is also saying “Be carfle.”

Be carfle indeed. There is some anatomical correctness going on here.



  1. This is pretty inspiring. Things I like:

    1. the beheaded fellow/gal on the hill most proximate to the walls

    2. the loin-clothy things on at least 4 of the figures (this clearly demarcates them as Book of Mormonish)

    3. the varied weaponry: three swords and a battle-axe/battle-mallet

    4. the look of anxiety in the figure who is saying “Hes not ded yet Hes unconches.”

    5. and of course, the figure with the bared breasts, pony-tail, and left-arm with a cloven hoof

    Awesomeness all around.

    Comment by oudenos — October 29, 2010 @ 1:48 pm

  2. ANONYMOUS: Rather than focus on the violence in the picture, I recommend that you appreciate your daughter’s ability to grasp and vividly capture the drama of good and evil as portrayed in the Book of Mormon. I see real potential here!

    By the way, I once curated a children’s art exhibit on themes from the Book of Mormon. I was amazed at the number of entries depicting violence, which of course, is dramatic, concrete, and fairly easily conceptualized on paper. There were lots of Nephis cutting off the head of Laban and plenty of battle scenes. My favorites were those of Ammon. One abstract collage, in particular, featured charming, woolly sheep, swords, and bloody stumps. It was so impressive that it is the image that always comes to mind when I read those passages from the Book of Mormon more than 20 years later.

    Comment by blueagleranch — October 29, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

  3. This reminds me of a discussion with my 4-year old son about the reasons we avoided certain tv shows, movies etc., When I explained that our family tried to choose the right by avoiding violence, his face fell. He said “But Dad, I like violence. Violence is my favorite part of the Book of Mormon.”

    Comment by Martin Willey — October 29, 2010 @ 2:11 pm

  4. Oh my goodness. I’d love to see a collection of art like this in the Friend. The readership would probably go up among the young male, and certain segments of the young female, population.

    Comment by Researcher — October 29, 2010 @ 2:44 pm

  5. Yes, submit it to The Friend!

    Thanks, Ardis, for sharing a little mayhem today. [wink]

    Comment by David Y. — October 29, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

  6. Makes my Halloween costume look positively tame. (Lame?) Time for some serious alterations.

    And, thanks, oudenos, for pointing out those details–I might not have noticed them without your help.

    blueeagleranch–do you really have to spoil things by trying to find a moral in this story?? : )

    Comment by Mark B. — October 29, 2010 @ 3:13 pm

  7. Upon further review, I am amending one of my initial observations. I don’t think that the woman with the bared breast has a pony tail after all. I think that her tongue is hanging out due either to death or unconsciousness (unconchesnes) based upon the hanging tongues of the other two figures in the foreground who are either dead or unconches. Also, if it were a pony tail then the figure has spikey hair up front and a pony tail in the back and I am discounting the likelihood that the artist intended the figure to be mulleted.

    Comment by oudenos — October 29, 2010 @ 3:26 pm

  8. 8 year old daughter? Speechless! But she’s obviously been either reading, or listening carefully to the stories, so good for her.

    Comment by kevinf — October 29, 2010 @ 3:31 pm

  9. Well, oudenos, your second comment simply proves that this is a work of art that deserves further review!

    Comment by Mark B. — October 29, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

  10. Oh snap. The more I look at this piece the more I realize that I rushed to judgment. The figure on the hill most proximate to the wall isn’t beheaded, he/she is crying out “HELP.”

    And now I am doubting that the female figure is female. What I though were bared breasts I now think are either saggy pectoral muscles on a man, or, based upon the recumbent figure yelling “NOOOO!” and the figure yelling “ahh!” are features of a cuirass (chest-plate).

    Comment by oudenos — October 29, 2010 @ 3:35 pm

  11. Definitely Friend material. Don’t they have a section for reader submissions? They should. Imagine.

    Comment by WVS — October 29, 2010 @ 6:52 pm

  12. There is nothing wrong with being exposed the violence of the Book of Mormon. However, it is important that we put it in the proper context. It is horrible and tragic. I agree with Nibley that in our imperial zeal we often glorify the wars of the BoM. In doing so, we missed much of the point of the book.

    That said, my militaristic 8 year old son will be happy to know such girls are out there.

    Comment by Chris H. — October 30, 2010 @ 7:48 am

  13. If the friend isn’t interested, she may try Sunstone.

    Comment by Chris H. — October 30, 2010 @ 7:49 am

  14. To build off of Chris’s comment, an appropriate question to ask this girl would be to ask her lovingly “Where do you see Jesus Christ in this picture?”

    If she can answer that question, that’s how you can know if she truly understands what she’s reading and hearing. If she doesn’t, this is a great opportunity to help her come to that understanding.

    Comment by Paradox — October 30, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

  15. If I knew this child, I would make sure she has a sketchbook and pen in her church things.

    Comment by Mommie Dearest — October 30, 2010 @ 11:17 pm

  16. I like the little X’s over the dead (ded) people’s eyes. Now that’s a work of art. Take that Friburg!

    Comment by Steve C. — October 31, 2010 @ 3:22 pm

  17. Story in #3 is classic. Thanks for posting. Too bad the Improvement Era isn’t still around. This is certainly funnier than the lame jokes.

    Comment by Clark — October 31, 2010 @ 3:27 pm

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