I recently came across an issue that has troubled some members of the Church. It is simply that some scriptures and the words of some Church leaders seem to indicate that the Earth is only about 6000-7000 years old, and that there was no death before the Fall of Adam and Eve. This causes significant cognitive dissonance for some because it seems clear from geologic and biologic evidences that the Earth has been around for much longer than that, with birth and death throughout. Because of the conflict between these two thoughts, it has caused some to even lose their faith and leave the Church. Let’s explore these issues some more and see if there is a reasonably plausible solution or reconciliation of these views. [Read more…]
This is a continuation of a series of posts that I started a few years ago. Of course, it could easily fit within the series very recent posts on the same subject of the law of consecration, including Hugh Nibley quotes from Approaching Zion, “Are we required to live the law of consecration, now?“, and Mormon Channel Episodes On The Law Of Consecration And The United Order.
In this post we will examine this question – “What is tithing?”
This seems to be a pretty basic question, with a Primary answer. We all know what tithing is, right? I mean, even the etymology of the word tithe itself, coming from the Old English teoþa or even earlier to the Hebrew tithes in Malachi 3:8 (ma`aser or מַעֲשֵׂר, or an even earlier root `asar or עֶשֶׂר meaning “ten”), means a “tenth” part. What could be more simple? This seems to be a commandment that we could easily say we keep or do not keep. We either give a tenth part of our income annually, or we don’t. Is there any more to it?
The truth of the matter is that everything we think we know about tithing is most likely wrong. This could come as a shock to some, but when you get right down to what tithing is, as revealed by the Lord through the prophet Joseph Smith in this dispensation, it is not what we commonly think it is. Personally, I think this is unfortunate, because we do not know what the Lord revealed and commanded, and if we are thus ignorant, how do we expect to be able to follow His word? What does the Lord say? What do our scriptures teach? [Read more…]
Since the recent events surrounding the seeming forgery of the Jordan Lead Codices, I thought it would be good to bring back to mind the authentic discoveries made within the last century of ancient writings on metal plates. There are literally hundreds of examples of such plates all around the world. I’m indebted to William Hamblin and John Tvedtnes for there scholarship on these findings.
Of course, in Joseph Smith’s day, such discoveries had not been made yet, and so Joseph was mocked for his story of having discovered gold plates with the writings of ancient people inscribed on them.
Today it is becoming commonplace to find such ancient texts, which is why in the dozens of media reports on the emergence of the lead plates this past week, not one questioned the fact that the writings were on metal. In fact, one scholar specifically noted that there were examples of ancient metal tablets made out of copper, bronze, and gold.
Here is a summary of only some of the most prominent findings. [Read more…]
UPDATE: See the latest updates about this discovery at Jordanian Lead Plates: Authentic or Forgery?
David Larsen at HeavenlyAscents.com has pointed out an interesting recent discovery (see his posts here and here). A collection of dozens of books made from metal plates have been found in Jordan that initial tests show date from the first century AD. [Read more…]
Music is a fundamental part of worship, and was even more so anciently than it is today. Before the printed word made the sacred word so accessible to the masses, it was passed on from generation to generation orally. But this was not just the spoken word. In order for the word to be remembered and said the same way over and over again, over decades and centuries, a mnemonic device was employed to facilitate the reciter. This device was music. The sacred word, every word, was put to music.
This can be seen in the way the Bible is written in Hebrew, one of the oldest languages in the world. In Hebrew, particularly the Hebrew Bible, there are cantillation marks that specify how the text should be sung: [Read more…]