This is a liveblog of the conference entitled “Third Nephi: New Perspectives on an Incomparable Scripture,” which is taking place at Brigham Young University on September 26-27, 2008, from 6:30pm on the 26th to about noon on the 27th. See my previous post on the subject, or the program of the conference here. Note: Those reading this in an RSS feed or an email will have to visit TempleStudy.com to see the liveblog feed below. Press the play button below to load the liveblog. In the liveblog window, you can participate live with me by entering your name, your question/comment, and clicking on send. Enjoy!
His talk was mainly about gaining knowledge through a lifetime of learning, especially spiritual knowledge. He used the example of Michael Phelps Olympic gold records were only possible by building on previous accomplishments.
One of the points he particularly noted was that by increasing our knowledge and capabilities throughout life, we can bless the Church and its work. He gave an example of family history work. Deseret News reports:
In the 1970s, Elder Theodore H. Burton presented the concept of computers being used for family records and research. “He was even bold enough to teach and proclaim that the computer technology was given to man for his use to hasten the day of family history, genealogy and temple work.”
His proclamation was met with reservations about the size and expense of computers for personal use and how few Latter-day Saints would be able to afford or operate them. Other concerns were the complexity how to make them compatible with temple records.
“All seemed to be reasonable reservations for their time,” he said, yet “today, we are embarking on a new era of family history computer technology.”
He then related details about the New FamilySearch which is being put into place as we speak, and is currently available in half of temple districts around the world.
The lesson in that story is simple, he said. “Never dwell or hold on to the past or attempt to protect your comfort zone against the inevitable changes that will be required to meet future advancements. … Our endings only usher in our new beginnings. The ending of one era ushers in a new era. Lifelong learners do not dwell on the past.
“Past learning creates a valuable foundation of experience upon which to build, not a comfortable place to dwell for a lifetime.”
He then said some valuable words to mothers, that they too can be lifelong learners. I recommend you read the story at Deseret News. I look forward to a transcript of his talk.
[Update 8/20/08: An mp3 (audio) format of his talk is now available here.]
[Update 9/8/08: A video (wmv) format of his talk is now available here.]
[Update 11/17/09: Here is the transcript of his talk.]
[Update/Disclaimer (8/1/08 8:10pm MDT): Because of the different use of the term “liberal” that President Lee uses in this talk, in contrast to the common modern political usage, care should be taken when reading it. President Lee’s use of “liberal” was strictly used in the sense of a standard of living the gospel, and is therefore applicable to all members regardless of political affiliations. I personally found much good counsel for myself in the prophet’s words.]
A couple days ago, Tim Malone from the excellent blog Latter-day Commentary pointed me in the direction of a talk in 1971 by President Harold B. Lee on the subject of religious liberalism. Last night, by random coincidence, as I made a passing remark to my father about some members in the Church who claim it improper to use the terms “the only true Church,” he immediately referred to a quote in the same talk. Something is telling me to pay close attention to the words of President Lee. My hope is that all the Saints would too. This man was a living prophet of the living God:
I sincerely pray for the spirit of this great conference during the few moments that I shall stand here.
Sometime ago there appeared in the Wall Street Journal a thought-provoking article, written by an eminent theologian at the Columbia University, under the subject heading “An Antidote for Aimlessness,” which you recognize as a condition that is prevalent in the world today. I quote from this article by Rabbi Arthur Herlzterg:
“What people come to religion for, is an ultimate metaphysical hunger, and when that hunger is not satisfied, religion declines … the moment that clerics become more worldly, the world goes to hades the faster. [Read more…]
Some more tidbits of information from Wells’ The Oxford Degree Ceremonies that might interest you:
- The oath or charge to “observe the ‘statutes, privileges, customs and liberties’ of his university” and the accompanying affirmation “Do fidem” (“I swear”) are most likely over 700 years old, and initially were important to keep a unity among those who had subscribed to the university, and to keep out encroachments. ((Joseph Wells, The Oxford Degree Ceremonies, 19-20.))
- The M.A.s are “exempt from Proctorial jurisdiction…” and “It is the M.A. who is admitted by the Vice-Chancellor to ‘begin’, i.e. to teach (ad incipiendum), when he is presented to him,” and many universities now call the end of the academic study “Commencement” because of this. ((ibid., 23.))
- A degree is a “‘step’ by which the distinction of becoming a full member” of the university is acquired. Wells notes Gibbon’s idea that “the use of academical degrees is visibly borrowed from the mechanic corporations, in which an apprentice, after serving his time, obtains a testimonial of his skill, and his license to practise his trade or mystery.” ((ibid., 24.)) [Read more…]
For those of you who don’t want to wade through my analysis of the Oxford degree ceremony in the last part, or if you’d just like to see what the presentation is like, the degree ceremony that took place on September 28, 2007 at Oxford University was formally videotaped and posted on YouTube just recently. Be prepared to hear some Latin. It is divided into seven parts, and is about an hour long total. I think you will find the ceremony very interesting to watch.
You may see them below: (See below these for another version, with subtitles).
There is also a homemade videotaped version of the ceremony posted on YouTube. It follows the experience of a graduate named Jacob and his family as he goes through the commencement exercises. It is shorter, divided into three parts, and has subtitles in English (for those of you who are not fluent in Latin). You can see it here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.