A few days ago I read a post by James over at his superb blog, Lehi’s Library, entitled, “Looking Beyond the Mark: Insights from Margaret Barker.” In it, James refers to an excellent article by Kevin Christensen who talks about the Deuteronomist de-Christianizing of the Old Testament and Josiah’s reforms ((Kevin Christensen, “The Deuteronomist De-Christianizing of the Old Testament,” FARMS Review, 16.2, http://farms.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=16&num=2&id=547)). I thought he made some great points that I want to reiterate and further discuss. [Read more…]
In recent weeks I have encountered what I consider to be one of the most damaging forms of criticism of the Church. You might think that it is from all the anti-Mormon literature or propaganda. Or perhaps it is those who are so vocal as to picket the curbs at our General Conferences with signs, profanity, and filth. You might think it is those who have become disaffected, have left the Church, and are now eager to tear it down or “expose” it for what they see as serious problems. You might think it is the work of scholars who have been excommunicated, and now find intellectual haven in promoting arguments against the learned. You might even think that it is those tribulations that come from the adversary himself. But this is not the case.
There is a much more gross and pernicious form of criticism of the restored gospel and of the Lord’s restored Church. It is that criticism which comes from within the Church.
I know that this runs in the same current as several of my latest posts, but I strongly believe that “it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor” (D&C 88:81). And it also has a direct relationship to the covenants we make to God in the temple. [Read more…]
Note: This is a comment I made on my last post, but I thought it was pertinent enough to make it into a post of itself.
The concept of “keys” is not absent from the Book of Mormon. Whenever God has chosen to give authority to man to perform ordinances in His name, it has been by ordination and a dispensation of keys.
Taking the example of Alma, where did he get his authority? President Joseph Fielding Smith said this:
We should take into consideration in the study of the Book of Mormon the fact that it is an abridgment taken from the records or history that had been kept by the prophets among the Nephites. Therefore, many of the details are lacking. This is equally true of the history of Israel as it has come down through the years to us in the Bible. We are left to accept the fact that Lehi, when he left Jerusalem, held divine authority and that this divine power was handed down from generation to generation until the time of the visitation of the Savior. Moreover, while the detail is lacking, the evidence is very clear that the Melchizedek Priesthood was possessed by the Nephites. [Read more…]
There are a couple good firesides/lectures coming up, for those of you who are in the Salt Lake/Provo area.
First off, there will be a lecture given by John Gee this Thursday, June 19th, at 7:00pm at the Olivewood Bookstore in Provo (3330 N. University Ave., Suite C). He will be speaking about the message of the Joseph Smith Papyri. Dr. Gee received his doctorate degree from Yale University in Egyptology. He is currently William “Bill” Gay Assistant Research Professor of Egyptology at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, where he is a series editor for Studies in the Book of Abraham and a member of the editorial board of the Eastern Christian Texts series. He is also on the board of directors for the Aziz S. Atiya Fund for Coptic Studies at the University of Utah. I have read his short book A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri, and it was a great learning experience and introduction to the Joseph Smith Papyri. Anyone who is familiar with Hugh Nibley’s classic Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment knows that this papyri has a lot to do with the temple. This will certainly be a great lecture. If permitted, FAIR might videotape it and put it on YouTube. Seating is based on a first-come, first-served basis, so make sure to arrive there early.
Secondly, the Isaiah Institute (which I haven’t heard of before) is presenting a fireside with Avraham Gileadi on Thursday, June 26th, at 7:00pm at the ScenicView Academy in Provo (Room 245, 5455 North River Run Drive). He will be speaking on “The Learning of the Jews: Isaiah’s Impact on the Book of Mormon.” Dr. Gileadi obtained a Ph.D. in ancient Near Eastern studies and Hebrew Bible from BYU under the tutelage of professor R.K. Harrison of Wycliffe College, Toronto, Canada, with Hugh Nibley as chairman. He has translated and published the book of Isaiah into modern English and published it with analyses of many literary patterns in Isaiah’s prophecy discovered during many years of postdoctoral research. This fireside has been described thus:
Book of Mormon prophets don’t just quote Isaiah. Isaiah shapes their entire world view, their concept of God’s covenant people, and their understanding of the latter days. The learning of the Jews is key to interpreting the words of Isaiah and the Book of Mormon. Come and learn the learning of the Jews!
You are asked to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to make sure there are enough refreshments.
In thinking further about your interesting paper on the genesis of the ring dance, I remembered that there is a marvelous example of a prayer circle and therefore a type of ring dance in the Book of Mormon. While teaching 2500 people at the temple of Bountiful, Christ organized them in concentric rings of righteousness and then He prayed with them. He was the center of these rings. Then came a ring of little children; next a ring of fire and angels; with the outer ring made up of righteous adults (see 3 Nephi 17:12, 15, 23-25). The message in forming these concentric rings of righteousness was in visual representation of the Savior’s imperatives found in 3 Nephi 11:37-38. To come unto Christ and become like Him we as adults must become sanctified little children.
I think that this might very well have allusions to a type of prayer circle when Christ visited the New World. Where else might we find hidden treasures such as this in the Book of Mormon?