Dr. Hugh Nibley’s opening remarks in his earthshaking address, “Leaders to Managers: The Fatal Shift,” given at the BYU commencement ceremony on August 19, 1983, would have fit even more perfectly in an Oxford setting. In refering to his statement in a commencement prayer he gave in 1960 in which he said, “We have met here today clothed in the black robes of a false priesthood,” he took this opportunity to explain:
Why a priesthood? Because these robes originally denoted those who had taken clerical orders; and a college was a “mystery,” with all the rites, secrets, oaths, degrees, tests, feasts, and solemnities that go with initiation into higher knowledge.
But why false? Because it is borrowed finery, coming down to us through a long line of unauthorized imitators. It was not until 1893 that “an intercollegiate commission was formed . . . to draft a uniform code for caps, gowns, and hoods” in the United States. Before that there were no rules. You could design your own; and that liberty goes as far back as these fixings can be traced. The late Roman emperors, as we learn from the infallible DuCange, marked each step in the decline of their power and glory by the addition of some new ornament to the resplendent vestments that proclaimed their sacred office and dominion. . . . [Read more…]
As I mentioned in Part 1, the more interesting aspects of the Egyptian ankh are not necessarily what it means standing alone, but how the Egyptians used it in their texts and illustrations.
There are three principal ways that the Egyptians used the ankh symbol, by itself, in their drawings:
Probably the most common depiction of the ankh is being clutched in the hand by the gods and goddesses on the upper loop portion of the symbol. Wikipedia notes:
The ankh appears frequently in Egyptian tomb paintings and other art, often at the fingertips of a god or goddess in images that represent the deities of the afterlife conferring the gift of life on the dead person’s mummy… ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ankh))
In other words, the Egyptians believed that their gods “held” eternal life in their hands, and could bestow it upon certain persons at their pleasing. Chevalier and Gheerbrant note: [Read more…]
I was driving in my car on Saturday listening to a radio program called “The Other Side” with Steve Godfrey. Steve believes himself to be a psychic medium, someone through whom people can connect with loved ones who have passed on to the “other side.” I do not deny the possibility of communicating with those who are on the other side of the veil, as many have done just that within the Church, but the way these so-called psychics say they connect with relatives on the other side just seems a little shady to me. To me it seems like more of a show than any actual communication going on – Steve asks the person lots of questions in order to divine what the person on the “other side” might be saying. A lot of “wait a minute,” and “hold on,” and “just a second,” are thrown into the mix as Steve receives his revelations from passed loved ones. His website says his “mission in life is to help you believe that there is life after death, and love eternal,” which is a good cause, but I am very skeptical of his methods and motives.
But he said something on the program that night which resonated with me, and with LDS beliefs. [Read more…]
Since today is Presidents Day, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at the inauguration of the President of the United States into office. It is rightly called an oath of office or presidential oath. Wikipedia defines such an oath:
An oath of office is an oath or affirmation a person takes before undertaking the duties of an office, usually a position in government or within a religious body, although such oaths are sometimes required of officers of other organizations. Such oaths are often required by the laws of the state, religious body, or other organization before the person may actually exercise the powers of the office or any religious body. It may be administered at an inauguration, coronation, enthronement, or other ceremony connected with the taking up of office itself, or it may be administered privately. In some cases may be administered privately and then repeated during a public ceremony.
Some oaths of office are a statement of loyalty to a constitution or other legal text or to a person or other office-holder (e.g., an oath to support the constitution of the state, or of loyalty to the king). Under the laws of a state it may be considered treason or a high crime to betray a sworn oath of office. ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_office))
The actual formal act of taking this oath consists of the President raising their right arm to the square, following the lead of the officiator or Chief Justice of the United States who wears the formal ceremonial regalia, the President also usually extends and places their left hand on the Bible or other sacred object, and repeats the oath after the officiator as follows:
Here is a link to photos of several Presidents taking this oath. Here is a link to photos of other government leaders around the world taking similar oaths. Below is a video of the last 13 Presidents of the United States taking this singular oath of office, noting that each time it is considered a highly solemn, sacred and respected moment: