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    Lectures on Faith.com is now LIVE!

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    Well, today was like Christmas for me when I noticed that a domain that I have been wanting for quite some time had dropped!

    Screenshot 2014-07-08 21.12.46

    I’m now the owner of “LecturesOnFaith.com“! You can find the Lectures online, but the websites are pretty terrible. I was surprised that nobody has taken the time to make a site worthy of the Lectures. Within a few hours, I built a brand new site where anyone can read the Lectures on Faith for free! On the main page, be sure to read everything there to understand the history behind them.

    They originally constituted the “Doctrine” portion of the Doctrine and Covenants and contain some of the most simple and profound teachings concerning faith and how one may exercise it in a manner to bring salvation to one’s soul.

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    The Shelf vs. The Garden

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    There is a phrase I hear repeated every now and then among members of the church. Typically when there is a an issue they come across that challenges their faith, they are able to either reconcile that issue one way or another or remain undecided.

    Without the necessary information to arrive at a satisfactory understanding, the person says that, for now, they will put the issue “on the shelf”.

    “The shelf” is the proverbial repository for issues that you no longer want to deal with at the moment for whatever reason. You don’t have the time, resources, information or desire to pursue an answer to the question so you “shelf” it.

    Here’s why I really dislike this metaphor.

    When you put things on shelves all they do is

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    Isaiah: Four Latter-day Keys to an Ancient Book

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    By Avraham Gileadi

    Avraham Gileadi, “Isaiah: Four Latter-day Keys to an Ancient Book,” in Isaiah and the Prophets: Inspired Voices from the Old Testament, ed. Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate Jr. (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1984), 119–38.


    The book of Isaiah has effectively remained a “sealed book’’ until the last days because only in the last days have the means to its interpretation become available. On the one hand, the Book of Mormon alone brings together the keys essential to understanding Isaiah, while on the other, time itself sets the stage for Isaiah’s prophecies to be fulfilled (cf. 2 Nephi 25:8). In the Book of Mormon, two keys for understanding Isaiah are given by Nephi and two by the Savior, though all overlap. The first two keys, which appear in 2 Nephi 25:4 and 5, may be defined respectively as the spirit and the letter of prophecy. The spirit of prophecy is spoken of as making “plain” the words of Isaiah, while the letter of prophecy causes one to “understand” them. The third and fourth keys, which appear in 3 Nephi 23:1 and 3, consist of the requirement to “search” the words of Isaiah in order to make meaningful connections, and the necessity of viewing his prophecies typologically: of seeing the past, things that “have been,” as a type of the future, things that “will be.” Used together, these keys enable us to penetrate the deepest mysteries of the book of Isaiah and in the process recognize the book for what it is, namely, a blueprint for the last days. I will first discuss the spirit and letter of prophecy.

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    Questioning the Comma in Verse 13 of the Word of Wisdom by A. Jane Birch

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    The following article was published at Mormon Interpreter. I’ve been waiting for someone to do the research and put together some good information on this subject and I think Jane did a great job. She’s the author of the book Discovering the Word of Wisdom which she wrote following her own personal journey toward health and wellness by seeking to follow the principles in D&C 89.

    Of all the things going on in the world, the Word of Wisdom might not seem to be very significant, but when the revelation itself states that it is “showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days” and that “In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation”, it sounds pretty relevant to us today.

    I don’t personally feel like it is my duty or obligation to tell people how they should live the principles of the gospel, but I do believe that giving people as much information as possible so that they can make their own decisions as guided by the spirit is my duty and obligation.


    Abstract: The 1921 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants included an additional comma, which was inserted after the word “used” in D&C 89:13: “And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.” Later authors have speculated that the addition of the comma was a mistake that fundamentally changed the meaning of the verse. This article examines this “errant comma theory” and demonstrates why this particular interpretation of D&C 89:13 is without merit.

    In 1921, a committee of five apostles who had recently completed a new edition of the Book of Mormon began preparing a new edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C). Elder James E. Talmage, a member of the committee, noted that previous editions of the D&C contained “many errors by way of omission.”1 The most significant change in this new edition was the removal of the “Lectures on Faith,” but the committee also expanded the headnotes, revised the footnotes, and divided the pages into double columns.2 Numerous smaller changes were also made. As one of the many changes published in the revised 1921 edition, a new comma appeared in verse 13 of section 89, [Page 134]also known as the Word of Wisdom. This comma was inserted between the words used and only:

    Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;

    And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine. (D&C 89:12–13)

    In his detailed analysis of the textual changes throughout the history of the D&C, Robert J. Woodford relates the following interesting story:

    It [the comma] was never found in any text prior to the 1921 edition of the D&C. According to T. Edgar Lyon [prominent LDS historian and educator], [Apostle] Joseph Fielding Smith, when shown this addition to the text, said: “Who put that in there?” This is a significant statement since Elder Smith served on the committee to publish that edition of the D&C. Thus, the comma may have been inserted by the printer and has been retained ever since.3

    This story supports what has become a very popular interpretation of verse 13, namely, that the inserted comma is a mistake that reverses the meaning of the text and that the true meaning is understood only Keep Reading

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    The Holy Priesthood After the Order of the Son of God

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    “Events in daily life can be interpreted as a dialogue with God”

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    In an article called A Model of Mormon Spiritual Experience by Kevin Christensen, he mentions this paradigm where “…you begin interpret external events as God speaking to you, and you answer through your own actions.” (p.11)

    This added a bit of enlightenment to the same way that I currently have come to view my daily relationship with God. A few pages later Kevin mentions this quote which gives a little bit better understanding of what he’s getting at.

    “One understands oneself to be addressed [by God] through events … A person replies through the speech of his life; he answers with his actions. Events in daily life can be interpreted as a dialogue with God.” – Ian Barbour, Myths, Models, and Paradigms, 55. (p.18)

    In the newer Karate Kid movie, Jackie Chan dramatically states to his young student, “Kung Fu lives in everything we do, … It lives in how we put on the jacket, how we take off the jacket. It lives in how we treat people! Everything… is Kung Fu.”

    In the same manner, the process of being born again and fully converted to God causes us to see and respond to things differently. It is the difference between trying really hard to force yourself to act a certain way and the grace of enabling and understanding brought about by a true relationship with God that allows you to see clearly and empowers you to act in faith.

    The rest of the article is absolutely worth the read, it has some amazing thoughts that I’ll probably comment about on another post:

    DOWNLOAD PDF

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    “Turning the Hearts of the Jews to the Prophets and the Prophets to the Jews” by Avraham Gileadi

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    B’nai Shalom Presentation by Avraham Gileadi, 3rd April 2014

    As some of you may know, this year’s Feast of Passover, which occurs on April 15th through 22nd, coincides with the first of four consecutive blood moons or total lunar eclipses on the main Jewish feastdays of Passover and Tabernacles of this year, Passover and Tabernacles of next year, with a total solar eclipse occurring at the Jewish New Year, also next year. We may thus expect to see important developments for the Jewish people this year and the next. Back-to-back blood moons on Jewish feastdays occurred in 1492, when the Jews were expelled from Spain; in 1948, when the State of Israel was founded; and in the 1967 Six-day War, when Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

    We might have guessed that God commanded the feast of Passover to be observed “throughout your generations” as “an ordinance forever” (Exodus 12:14) not just to commemorate Israel’s release from bondage in Egypt but also as a type or foreshadowing of an end-time deliverance from bondage and from the taskmasters who would enforce it. Even as we speak, therefore, an end-time Pharaohand his taskmasters in this land are implementing the very enslavement the prophet Isaiah predicted when he quotes the Lord as saying, “My people are taken over without price; those who govern them act presumptuously, and my name is constantly abused all the day long” (Isaiah 52:5).

    Still, the Lord promises to reverse his people’s circumstances when they repent of their transgression, as it further says, Keep Reading

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    Doodling in Math: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant

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    I love symbols, and I love spirals and how they are used in architectural symbolism. The following videos are not about architectural symbolism, but the principles that are presented are worthy of consideration on a whole myriad of levels.

    Vi Hart, the woman presenting the videos talks a little fast which can be a little irritating but I love how she explores spirals so these are definitely worth the watch. All the information builds up to a very interesting theory as to why these numbers appear in nature and I think it’s spot on.

    There are some really interesting implications behind what she presents here that apply to many different topics, but I’ll let you ponder those things for yourself ;)

    Video 1

    Video 2

    Video 3

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    Two Awesome Isaiah Seminars with Avraham Gileadi are Coming to Vegas!

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    I really like the work of Avraham Gileadi and I think it is very important to helping understand and search the words of Isaiah as Jesus commanded (3 Nephi 23:13 Nephi 20:11).

    One of the keys to understanding Isaiah is understanding the manner of prophesying among the Jews (2 Nephi 25:1) and this is where Gileadi comes in as a literary analyst and one who has learned about the manner of prophesying among the Jews through his time spent in a rabbinical school in Jerusalem. He has expanded his research and as Truman Madsen said:

    “Avraham Gileadi takes one by the hand to explain nuances of language, setting, and Jewish modes of thought. Suddenly Isaiah, a book foreign and opaque, becomes a book of light. Its prophetic intimacy is tied to the world around us and within us, and is full of meanings for the head and the heart.”  

    Hugh Nibley said of Gileadi:

    “Dr. Gileadi is so thoroughly familiar with the book of Isaiah that he can set before us in straightforward, uncomplicated form a clear exposition of what it is all about. He gives the reader a sense of intimacy with Isaiah which is unique. …The work inspires reflection rather than contention. Above all it leads the reader into a spiritual state of mind that brings Isaiah to life.”

    For what it’s worth, I’ll add my endorsement of his work. The tools and insights I have gained from Gileadi’s research have enabled me to approach Isaiah Keep Reading

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    Joseph Smith Explains How God Will Judge the Nations

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    I love this quote from Joseph Smith on how mankind will be judged. The truths expressed are so clear and plain, you cannot help but stand in awe at the incredible balance of justice and mercy God extends to each of us.

    “But while one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard; He views them as His offspring, and without any of those contracted feelings that influence the children of men, causes “His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” He holds the reins of judgment in His hands; He is a wise Lawgiver, and will judge all men, not according to the narrow, contracted notions of men, but, “according to the deeds done in the body whether they be good or evil,” or whether these deeds were done in England, America, Spain, Turkey, or India. He will judge them, “not according to what they have not, but according to what they have,” those who have lived without law, will be judged without law, and those who have a law, will be judged by that law. We need not doubt the wisdom and intelligence of the Great Jehovah; He will award judgment or mercy to all nations according to their several deserts, their means of obtaining intelligence, the laws by which they are governed, the facilities afforded them of obtaining correct information, and His inscrutable designs in relation to the human family; and when the designs of God shall be made manifest, and the curtain of futurity be withdrawn, we shall all of us eventually have to confess that the Judge of all the earth has done right.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 218)

    Joseph’s doctrine suggests that God isn’t just involved in the lives of “his people” but that everyone, no matter what religion or culture, is experiencing a life that is purposeful and accountable. While it is true that having access to the blessings of the restoration is something to be grateful for, it should not cultivate an attitude of elitism in anyone’s heart.

    Rather, we should each be grateful for what we have as well as what others have as well. It isn’t that we have all the truth and everyone else is wrong. We have all been given portions of truth to serve specific purposes on this earth and it is only gathering all things into one that each of us can truly be blessed in a manner that is universally beneficial.

    Brigham Young once taught:

    It is our duty and calling, as ministers of the same salvation and Gospel, to gather every item of truth and reject every error. Whether a truth be found with professed infidels, or with the Universalists, or the Church of Rome, or the Methodists, the Church of England, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Quakers, the Shakers, or any other of the various and numerous different sects and parties, all of whom have more or less truth, it is the business of the Elders of this Church (Jesus, their Elder Brother, being at their head) to gather up all the truths in the world pertaining to life and salvation, to the Gospel we preach, … to the sciences, and to philosophy, wherever it may be found in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people and bring it to Zion (DBY,248).

    Perhaps instead of saying to our neighbors, “Hey, I have some missionaries you need to listen to,” we could begin the conversation by asking, “Will you share with me what you believe?” and go from there. I’ve been blessed many times in my life by inviting others from various religious traditions to express to me some of their most sacred beliefs. When there is truth being expressed, the Spirit will attend, no matter who is speaking.

    We cannot gather up all the truths in the world, if we don’t take the time to listen to others. You just might find that inviting others to share first, builds fertile ground for an even exchange of cherished beliefs.

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