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    Gospel Knowledge vs. Gospel Know-how

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    Just because someone seems to know a lot about something, doesn’t mean that they can properly execute in that arena.

    Someone may know a lot about baseball; they may know all the rules and regulations, they may know all the tricks and insights but they may not be able to hit the ball or throw well. Another person may be able to hit, run and throw with great proficiency but know little about various insights or philosophies involving the game.

    In that same vein, it’s one thing to have knowledge and quite another to do well in applying it. I have had wonderful moments of awakening where previously complex doctrines or mysteries of the gospel have been clarified to me through the Spirit, and I love and cherish those moments.

    One can obtain the most incredible command of gospel knowledge on earth and it would mean nothing if they do no have love or charity in their hearts for their fellow man.

    It has always been significant to me that there are many in this world, of my faith, other faiths or in no faith at all who I have seen demonstrate perfect Christ-like love to their fellow man. No gospel knowledge at all was required.

    So I have to remind myself that in all my studies of the gospel, I must not forget to put the principles I learn into action. I have to remember to not be like the man who hid his talent in the earth, but instead seek wisdom in order to better serve my fellow man in this life. People matter most of all.

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    Profane

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    Consider the origins of the word “profane”:

    Profane: late 14c., from L. profanare “to desecrate,” from profanus “unholy, not consecrated,” from pro fano “not admitted into the temple (with the initiates),” lit. “out in front of the temple,” from pro- “before” (see pro-) + fano, ablative of fanum “temple” (see feast). Related: Profaned; profaning. The adjective is attested from late 15c.; originally “un-ecclesiastical, secular;” sense of “unholy, polluted” is recorded from c.1500.

    Temples are sacred spaces and there are prerequisites for entry; one must be “consecrated” but what does that mean? In Hebrew we have the word qadash which means:

    Qadash: a primitive root; to be (causatively, make, pronounce or observe as) clean (ceremonially or morally):–appoint, bid, consecrate, dedicate, defile, hallow, (be, keep) holy(-er, place), keep, prepare, proclaim, purify, sanctify(-ied one, self), X wholly.

    For some other interesting insight on the word consecration, this article from TempleStudy.com is enlightening.
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    Commentary on Lecture 1:18-24

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    Just some thoughts on the following verses from Lecture 1. (Lectures on Faith)

    18 The Savior says, (Matthew 17:19-20), in explaining the reason why the disciples could not cast out the devil, that it was because of their unbelief: “For verily, I say unto you,” said he, “if ye have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place! and it shall remove: and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

    Faith without belief isn’t real faith. Faith is centered in something, while belief expects something. The less that you expect that your faith will bear fruit, the less fruit you will find. There is a fine line here that becomes more tricky to walk as your belief and faith increase. Your expectations must be based on what it is possible for God to do, or what his will is concerning you. To know this, you must Keep Reading

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    Approaching Truth, Keeping an Open Mind

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    I have found this to be a very peaceful way to truth. Contention, on the other hand, often arises when prideful individuals play intellectual ‘king of the hill’ and declare things about God, heaven and earth that they may only believe and not really know. A particular verse from the Qur’an reads:

    “Satan…always commands you…to say things about God that you do not really know.” 2:169

    Joseph Smith echoed something similar when he said:

    “Men of the present time testify of heaven and hell, and have never seen either;” – Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 160

    Is bearing testimony of something that you don’t know is true good, or is it bearing a false witness? Even if well-intentioned, does bearing false witness tend to bring the Spirit or does it invite contention? To what degree does bearing a ‘wishful witness’ contribute to the endurance of problematic paradigms?

    “I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.” (1 Nephi 11:17)

    In this verse, Nephi is experiencing a vision and is being asked questions by an angel. One of the questions is, “Knowest thou the condescension of God?” to which Nephi answered with the one thing that he does know, while acknowledging what he didn’t know. It’s ok to say, “I don’t know,” but I don’t think it is ok to pretend that you know things that you don’t; isn’t that called lying?

    Like Nephi, we can be comfortable with the knowledge we have, while acknowledging that Keep Reading

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    Korihor, Elsa, Cain, and Karl

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    What if we modernized Korihor’s philosophies and compared them to the kinds of things we hear people saying today?

    For morning study a couple days ago, I started off reading about the sons of Mosiah but then felt like reading about Korihor. As I read, I had my trusty 1828 Dictionary app out to further analyze the words Joseph Smith used to translate Korihor’s ideas. Then, I looked in a modern dictionary to discern how his theories might be composed by someone presenting the same arguments today.

    This exercise revealed a very familiar-sounding rhetoric. I also began to think about song lyrics from the movie Frozen (because I have 3 daughters) that reminded me of some words Cain spoke, and then all of it together reminded me of something Karl Marx wrote; all from pondering Korihor’s doctrines.

    As for my modernized version of Korihor’s ideas, I claim ownership of my interpretations and any errors that I might have made. This is merely a personal exercise, so feel free to go back to the original text in Alma 30 and try this out yourself.

    Keep Reading

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    They Were Also Living Souls

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    “And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also; nevertheless, all things were before created; but spiritually were they created and made according to my word…

    And out of the ground made I, the Lord God, to grow every tree, naturally, that is pleasant to the sight of man; and man could behold it. And it became also a living soul. For it was spiritual in the day that I created it; for it remaineth in the sphere in which I, God, created it, yea, even all things which I prepared for the use of man; and man saw that it was good for food. And I, the Lord God, planted the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and also the tree of knowledge of good and evil…

    And out of the ground I, the Lord God, formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and commanded that they should come unto Adam, to see what he would call them; and they were also living souls; for I, God, breathed into them the breath of life, and commanded that whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that should be the name thereof.” (Moses 3:7,9,19)

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    David O. McKay Temple Address

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    I’m not aware of any other documents quite like this one. Here we have a general authority, David O. McKay, explaining temple ceremonies and covenants to a group of missionaries just before they receive them. I’ve had this in my personal collection for a few years now, I got it from a public pdf hosted on the BYU Idaho website. I think this would be a great thing to study for anyone preparing to enter the temple, and an insightful read for anyone who has already experienced temple worship.


    An address on the Temple ceremony by President David O. McKay given Thursday, 25 September 1941, at 8:30am, Salt Lake Temple Annex (Manuscript in BYU Library Collections.)

    “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20.)

    Such was the commission given by the Savior to His Apostles just prior to the Savior’s return to heaven, following His resurrection. Such is the admonition and authority He has given you, my fellow workers, and I congratulate you this morning upon this calling and upon your acceptance of the privilege to preach the Gospel. It is not only a privilege but a great responsibility to be commissioned as a missionary in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    In that commission the word “teach” is used and repeated. You are teachers. Very young men and young women to go out and show the world the philosophy of life, to teach them the proper way of living, but that is your calling.

    I congratulate you on being worthy to go through the House of the Lord. Your presence here indicates that you have lived a pure life, each of you, that you are worthy to go into the presence of the Father. Are you?

    I have come over here this morning particularly because I have met so many young people who have been disappointed after they have gone through the House of the Lord. They have been Keep Reading

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    The Questions the Temple Creates

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    “In God’s great wisdom he has deliberately made the symbols of the temple unique, because their very uniqueness demands the mind ask the questions: Why do we do that? What’s the meaning of that? What’s the significance of this? These are the very questions God wants us to answer, the danger is not that we will ask the questions, the danger is that we become so familiar we stop asking the questions.” – Michael S. Wilcox, Blessings of the House of the Lord, 1999

    This quote goes great with this article – think about it.

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    Legal Repentance and Evangelical Repentance

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    If you look up repentance in a Webster’s 1828 Dictionary (the fifth “standard work”):

    2. In theology, the pain, regret or affliction which a person feels on account of his past conduct, because it exposes him to punishment. This sorrow proceeding merely from the fear of punishment, is called legal repentance, as being excited by the terrors of legal penalties, and it may exist without an amendment of life.

    3. Real penitence; sorrow or deep contrition for sin, as an offense and dishonor to God, a violation of his holy law, and the basest ingratitude towards a Being of infinite benevolence. This is called evangelical repentance, and is accompanied and followed by amendment of life.

    Repentance is a change of mind, or a conversion from sin to God.

    Let’s define evangelical:

    1. According to the gospel; consonant to the doctrines and precepts of the gospel, published by Christ and his apostles; as evangelical righteousness, obedience or piety.

    Seriously, I don’t know how any Latter-day Saint gets by without the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. It’s rare that I ever open the scriptures and not refer to it at least once.

    Here’s the online version I’ll use when on my laptop: http://webstersdictionary1828.com/

    And here’s the app I use on my iPhone: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/1828/id483256257?mt=8

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    Macrocosm, Mesocosm, Microcosm

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    Macrocosm: the harmonious order of the natural Universe.

    Mesocosm: the harmonious order reflected in the organization of society, in art, architecture, music, and sacred objects made by people.

    Microcosm: the harmonious order of the Macrocosm reflected in miniature within the human being.

    These explanations were provided by Michael S. Schneider in his DVD A Journey From 1 to 12 which is one of my prized possessions! It’s either a great companion to or a decent substitute for his wonderful book, A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe (which I highly recommend).

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