What’s a Rameumpton, Daddy?

The following is stolen in its entirety from a letter to the editor of Dialogue:  A Journal of Mormon Thought (Winter 1989).  It was written by Robert Nelson Jr.

Illustrator’s Conception of the Book of Mormon Rameumpton

“What’s a Rameumpton, Daddy?”

“Well, the Book of Mormon says it was a place where the Zoramites stood to worship and pray.”

“But my Primary teacher said it was a tower that evil people used.”

“I can see how someone could think that.  The Book of Mormon says it was ‘a place for standing which was high above the head’ and only one person could stand there.”

“Was it like a speaker’s stand in church?”

“A speaker’s stand?  You mean a pulpit?  Yes, I suppose it was.  In fact the word ‘Rameumpton’ means ‘the holy stand.'”

“What’s so evil about a holy stand, Daddy?”

“Well, it wasn’t the stand that was evil.  It was how it was used.  The people gathered there in their synagogue . . .”

“What’s a synagogue?”

“Just a different word for chapel or church, honey?”

“Oh.”

“They’d gather in their synagague one day a week.”

“Which day, Daddy?”

“I don’t know, honey.  It just says ‘one day’ and that they called the day “the day of the Lord.'”

“It must have been Sunday.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because Sunday is the Lord’s day.”

“Well, maybe it was. . .  Anyway they’d gather there and whoever wanted to worship would go and stand on the top of the Rameumpton.”

“Could anyone go up there?”

“Well, no, that was part of the problem.  Apparently they had to wear the right clothes . . .”

“You mean like us when we wear our Sunday clothes, Daddy?”

“Well, not exactly but in a way yes, I suppose.  Some of us might have a hard time accepting certain kinds of clothes or people in sacrament meeting.  But we wear our Sunday clothes to help us be reverent don’t we?”

“Yes, Daddy.”

“So anyway, where was I?”

“They went to the top of the Rameumpton . . .”

“Yes, they’d do up and worship God by thanking him for making them so special.”

“Were they bearing their testimonies?”

“Well, uh, I guess maybe they were in a way, but they weren’t true testimonies.”

“How come?”

“Because they were too proud?”

“What do you mean ‘proud,’ Daddy?”

“Well, they would talk aabout how they were ‘a chosen and holy people.'”

“My Primary teach said Mormons are the chosen people and we’re a special generation.”

“Yes, honey, but that’s different.”

“How?”

“Because we are.”

“Oh.”

“Besides, they were very, very proud about how much better they were than everybody else because they didn’t believe the ‘foolish traditions’ of their neighbors.”

“What does that mean, Daddy?”

“It means that they believed everyone else was wrong and they alone were right.”

“Isn’t that what we believe?”

“Yes, but it’s different.”

“How?”

“Because we are right, honey.”

“Oh.”

“Everyone would stand and say the same thing . . .”

“That sounds like testimony meeting to me.”

“Don’t be irreverent.”

“Sorry.”

“Then after it was all over they would go home and never speak about God until the next day of the Lord when they’d gather at the holy stand again.”

“Isn’t that like us, Daddy?”

“No honey. we have Family Home Evening.”

“Oh.”

To learn more about the Rameumptom, read the Book of Mormon, Alma 31.

From Wikipedia:

According to the Book of Mormon, a Rameumptom is a high tower or stand from which the apostate Zoramites gave a pre-determined, vain prayer.  The practice of preaching from a Rameumptom was viewed by several Book of Mormon characters (including Alma the Younger and his companions) as sinful.  Based on this passage in the Book of Mormon, the term “Rameumptom” has come to have a metaphoric meaning in Mormon culture, signifying self aggrandizement or hubris.

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9 Responses to What’s a Rameumpton, Daddy?

  1. openminded says:

    Great share! I have a question about this part:

    “It means that they believed everyone else was wrong and they alone were right.”
    “Isn’t that what we believe?”
    “Yes, but it’s different.”
    “How?”
    “Because we are right, honey.”

    Isn’t today’s response something along the lines of “well they have bits and pieces that are correct, but we have the fullness of the truth”?

  2. zo-ma-rah says:

    Awesome. I loved this. This was originally written in 1989? The father’s response is exactly what would happen. “Yeah, we’re doing the same thing they are but it’s ok because we’re right.”

    It’s like the excuse I always hear that it’s ok if we alter the ordinances because we have the proper authority to do so. But it wasn’t ok for the Catholic Church to do it because they didn’t have the authority.

  3. Keri says:

    Love this! I was just teaching this lesson to 11 year old’s on Sunday and I was thinking the same thing! lol! Perfect!

  4. poetsawyer says:

    Everything we know about “the gospel” has come through prophets. To deny that is to practically throw away all biblical scripture of any kind. Changes do occur, have occurred. When they occur, then it must be done through a prophet…. or you do get the kind of changes that result in an apostasy. Authority is like a natural law such as gravity. Every natural and man made organization or organism depends on it. None could survive intact without it. The better question here is whether or not the church is led by a living prophet. Each prophet of any age you choose, including Christ, who was making drastic changes in the status quo, were not accepted by the mainstream. Yes, it was OK for Christ to change things even though it was NOT OK for ANY other organization to do so. If your willingness to follow change comes through a personal testimony of the “current” prophet’s authority to do so, then you would be no better or worse than a follower of Christ as Peter declared when asked who He, (Christ) was. “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.” Don’t you think there were many in Christ’s day who were incensed that he dare change anything in the Mosaic Law? Of course there were!

    • It’s kind of interesting that Christ said he came not to change the law, but to fulfill it. In other words he was restoring what was lost due to changes made by previous generations. This also was the role of Joseph Smith. He didn’t change the ordinances of Jesus, he just brought them back to the true gospel that the Catholic church had altered: he “restored” the “fulness” of the gospel. This is what true prophets do. False prophets pretend that they can change the law to suit the times because they are “living prophets.” Living prophets actually have a far different calling. Their calling is to judge the cause of the widow and the orphan. No one can judge righteously except by the spirit of revelation.

  5. rogerdhansen says:

    When looking at all things related to the universe, we need to think process instead of static acts. For example, the Earth wasn’t created, it is still being created. The same goes for religion. Christ added to Judaism, just as Joseph Smith added to NT Christianity. That is not to compare Christ and Joseph Smith so much as to point out the dynamic nature of all things, including religion.

    The key is that Joseph Smith started to restore the “fullness” of the gospel. But unfortunately he died before his work was complete. The last 2 or 3 years of Smith’s life were remarkably productive from a theological perspective. Again, Mormonism is a living, breathing animal, and not a static rock. Thus, the need for prophets.

  6. roger hansen says:

    Sure. A good eraser is always a handy tool. Not everything is going to work.

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