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What is the “eye of faith”?

There is a three word phrase that is found only in the Book of Mormon and it has always intrigued me. We read of looking forward or beholding with an ‘eye of faith’ things that are either to come or things that currently exist but are invisible to temporal vision.

The three verses

We find the phrase “eye of faith” in the following scriptures listed below.

Alma 5:15
Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?

Alma 32:40
And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.

Ether 12:19
And there were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong, even before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil, but truly saw with their eyes the things which they had beheld with an eye of faith, and they were glad.

In both of the verses in Alma, we are admonished to ‘look forward’ with this eyeRead Full Post

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The “Face of Jesus” on the Lead Plates and more…

I came across this new story on the plates today and there are some interesting new factors that I’ll sum up for you below:

  1. One of the booklets appears to bear the words ‘Saviour of Israel’ – one of the few phrases so far translated as well as a face that some think might be that of Jesus.
  2. According to sources in Saham, they were discovered five years ago after a flash flood scoured away the dusty mountain soil to reveal what looked like a large capstone. When this was levered aside, a cave was discovered with a large number of small niches set into the walls. Each of these niches contained a booklet. There were also other objects, including some metal plates and rolled lead scrolls.
  3. The cave is less than 100 miles from Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered
  4. The codices seen by The Mail on Sunday range in size from smaller than 3in x 2in to around 10in x 8in. They each contain an average of eight or nine pages and appear to be cast, rather than inscribed, with images on both sides and bound with lead-ring bindings. Many of them were severely corroded when they were first discovered, although it has been possible to open them with care.
  5. Many of the books are sealed on all sides with metal rings, suggesting they were not intended to be opened.
  6. The books are currently in the possession of Hassan Saida, Saida, who is in his mid-30s and married with five or six children and claims he inherited the booklets from his grandfather.
  7. Saida’s motives are complex. He constantly studies the booklets, but does not  take particularly good care of them, opening some and coating them in  olive oil in order to ‘preserve’ them.
  8. In contrast to Saida’s story, there are claims that they first came to light five years ago when his Bedouin business partner met a villager in Jordan who said he had some ancient artifacts to sell. Saida was said to have purchased the books because he thought they contained magical powers and then smuggled many of them into Israel.
  9. The Israeli Antiquities Authority believed the booklets were forgeries on the basis that nothing like them had been discovered before.
  10. Samples were sent to the Swiss National Materials Laboratory at Dubendorf, Switzerland. The results show they were consistent with ancient (Roman) period lead production and that the metal was smelted from ore that originated in the Mediterranean. Dr Northover also said that corrosion on the books was unlikely to be modern.
  11. Jordan is trying to do everything is can to get the records returned to them.
  12. The director of Jordan’s Department of Antiquities, Ziad al-Saad, has few doubts. He believes they may indeed have been made by followers of Jesus in the few decades immediately following his crucifixion.

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*UPDATED: Possible First Century Christian Lead Plates Discovered in Jordan

I actually came across this today at TempleStudy.com and thought it was absolutely fascinating! I love ancient artifacts especially when those artifacts give us new light into the past. If these lead plates are found to be authentic, there are some major implications in so many areas that I haven’t even had time to collect my thoughts on the subject!

One of the most significant features of the plates are their ties to ancient Christianity. It would make these documents the oldest Christian documents ever discovered in this region and can shed some new light into what some of these early believers taught and understood about the Gospel.

Then there are the obvious similarities of these records to the Book of Mormon, the original version written of plates of Gold and bound together with three rings. Here are the lead plates:

***UPDATE (Sat, April 2, 2011):

It appears that more and more there is evidence that these are indeed incredible forgeries. TempleStudy.com has a great write up on the current state of these ‘plates’. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see what the investigations reveal about their origins; very interesting…

http://www.templestudy.com/2011/03/31/jordanian-lead-plates-authentic-forgery/#more-2396
http://danielomcclellan.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/on-the-lead-vs-bronze-codices/

These aren’t the only examples of ancient people writing on metal plates, here are some photos of several other authentic records that have been discovered:

Links

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The Meaning of Meekness

“Cool” was once used to describe temperature instead of something “neat-0, awesome, or swell”.

“Sick” was once used to describe illness rather than something “crazy, cool or insane”.

“Fast” used to mean firm and solid instead of “quick”.

Another old phrase”…’by and by,’ which first meant ‘immediately,’ has now come to mean ‘after an interval.'” (William Shakespeare, William George Clark, William Aldis Wright – 1873, 81)

From The New York Times we read:

Here’s a thought that might help: A word that means the opposite of another is an antonym; a word that looks as if it means one thing but means quite another could be called a phantonym, and warrants wariness.

I love that. We have synonyms that are words that mean the same thing, then we have antonyms which are words that mean the opposite of each other and last of all, “phantonyms” which are words that mean the opposite of what we think they mean! Casual observation leads me to believe that the number of phantonyms in our current vocabulary is staggering.Read Full Post

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Video: The Fluoride Deception

The element Fluorine exists in the form of a toxic gas, however, we interact with it mostly through compounds. The naturally occurring compound that is found in many of our water supplies is called calcium fluoride. All other compounds are man-made and do not occur anywhere in nature. So here are a few of the facts that I have discovered about this issue thus far and the video is below all the content.

The main reason fluoride compounds are put into the water supply are for both topical and systemicRead Full Post

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Three: The Exploration of Archetypal Symbols Series

With three points we have for the first time, dimension. Three was considered to be the first number whereas one and two were looked upon as the parents of numbers (A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe, by Michael Schneider – 1st ed., 39). Although three becomes the first number, it only exists in the 2 dimensional world. No matter how you configure the points, it will always produce a flat plane of undefined thickness that does not exist in the three dimensional world.

We can construct a perfect equilateral triangle with using various points of the vesica piscis. Three occurs all over scripture and there is something about the number three that makes things feel complete. The most obvious reference in Christianity is to the holy Godhead made up of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

We have the elements of three occurring in our physical birth into the world and also in our spiritual rebirth as children of Christ. This is illustrated in Moses 6:59-60:

That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust  a living soul, even so ye must be born  again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy  the words  of eternal  life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;

For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;

The temples of the Old Testament were made up of three areas:Read Full Post

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Sanctuary Vesture: A Brief Overview and Comparison via Temple Study

Link to the article on TempleStudy

The link to the article is above, but I would like to interject a little commentary on the topic as well.

It is common knowledge that Latter-day Saints wear white clothing in the temple as a symbol of purity and many other things in relation to their relationship with God.

Matthew Brown begins his article by stating:

“It is publicly acknowledged that Latter-day Saints who participate in the central temple rites of their faith dress in several layers of ceremonial clothing, consisting of a “white undergarment” (which is worn as part of everyday life) and “other priestly robes” (which are only worn during times of temple service).” Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 2:534

Many people are familiar with the “white undergarment” that LDS members who have gone through the Endowment ordinance wear on a daily basis under their normal clothes. Others might not be as aware of the other ceremonial clothing mentioned in the above quote.

That ceremonial clothing has similarities to the priestly robes worn during ancient temple service. You can read about that particular clothing in the Old Testament in Exodus 28 among other places:Read Full Post

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The universe in the diatonic musical scale

I read this in “A Beginner’ Guide to Constructing the Universe” and found it fascinating. It is about how the number seven is tied to the seven-note diatonic musical scale as a representation of the universe.

“In ancient times it was traditional to arrange the strings to play the scale downward, as if it were descending from heaven. The modern names of the seven familiar notes in the descending order DO-SI-LA-SOL-FA-MI-RE-DO, were proposed by Guido d’Arezzo, inventor of the musical staff, around 1000 A.D. These popular names are only the first letters of Latin words whose translation reveals a cosmological structure derived from an earlier age:” (Beginners, 234)

DOminus: Lord – Absolute

SIder: Stars – All galaxies

LActea: Milk – Milky Way Galaxy

SOL: Sun – the Sun

FAta: Fate – Planets

MIcrocosmos: Small universe – Earth

REgina Coeli: Queen of the Heavens – Moon

DOminus: Lord – Absolute

You see “DO” repeated twice, it is meant to imply that everything begins and thenRead Full Post

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Two: The Exploration of Archetypal Symbols Series

Just like the number one was not considered a number by the ancients, two was also in the same boat.

When you start with one point and then add a second point, you have just created distance which can be represented by connecting the two points into a single line but a “line” doesn’t exist in nature just like a single point doesn’t exist in nature.

Thus, two was not considered a ‘number’ but, like one, an originator of numbers.

“In the Dyad we see the Monad refract as Two. The Dyad emphasized difference. It foreshadows the world’s apparent boundaries, conflict and echoes our own sense of separation. Opposites appear when separateness begins. (A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe, by Michael Schneider – 1st ed., 36)

This is where things get interesting. Ponder the prior quote when reading Lehi’s words in 2 Nephi 2:11-13:Read Full Post

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One: The Exploration of Archetypal Symbols Series

Interestingly enough, the number “one” wasn’t considered a “number” according to many groups like the Pythagoreans (around 500 B.C). One was the progenitor of all numbers, it was the source by which all numbers came into being. It represented unity, but not any kind of unity that was conceivable in this world.

Confused? Think about it, a single point does not exist anywhere in nature. Even a dot on a sheet of paper is not a point, because upon magnification, we find a circle that has a radius and circumference so therefore it doesn’t constitute an actual point without sides, length, height and depth. Because of this otherworldly connotation of one, it had divine qualities attached to it. “Just as unity is in every number / thus God the one is everwhere in everything” – Angelus Silesius (The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images, by Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism and ARAS, 710)

The shape that is best suited to represent the number one is a circle. A shape without sides or other dimensions, the center of the circle becomes emblematic of the invisible point that we know as “one”. Like a stone dropped into a pond, the single point radiates outward into endless circles. The circle can represent:

  • God
  • Unity
  • Heaven
  • Eternity (eternal time)
  • Covenants (circumcision, arrangement of people or objects in a circle)
  • Blood (the sacrament cup, properties of liquid)
  • The Spirit (via the symbolism of the Liahona)
  • A complete cycle (orbit, seasons, return, etc)
  • Water (water pulls itself into a spherical shape, ie: drops)
  • Bounds or Perimeter (Proverbs 8:27  When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:)
  • Space
  • The Sun
  • The Moon

Since a compass is the tool used to create circles, the compass may also beRead Full Post

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Natural Rights and Civil Rights as Taught by Thomas Paine

“Natural rights are those which always appertain to man in right of his existence. Of this kind are all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind, and also all those rights of acting as an individual for his own comfort and happiness, which are not injurious to the rights of others.”

“Civil rights are those which appertain to man in right of his being a member of society. Every civil right has for its foundation some natural right pre-existing in the individual, but to which his individual power is not, in all cases, sufficiently competent. Of this kind are all those which relate to security and protection.”

And there you have it, two points beautifully illustrated by the incomparable Thomas Paine.

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The “All-Seeing-Eye” Symbol and the Urim and Thummim Connection

 

Chances are that you are familiar with the “All-seeing-eye” symbol, but your feelings toward it vary on the context that is it presented in. There are connections to this symbol ranging from the Masons, to the so-called New World Order, the occult and, yes, Christianity.

Probably one of the most common usages of it is on the back of our one dollar bill. The eye is topped with the words “Annuit Coeptis,” which means “He approves (or has approved) [our] undertakings” the ‘He’ being God indicating his approval of our actions during the Revolutionary War.

The eye within a triangle shows up anciently in Egyptian mythology, Buddism andRead Full Post

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Documentary: That Promised Day

This is an amazing documentary and I’m so glad that the story is finally able to be told for all of us to enjoy!

Link to BYU TV

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Has the final thread snapped?

The now famous or infamous “White Horse” prophecy is something that has made the rounds over the years. It is an alleged record of a prophecy recorded by Edwin Rushton and Theodore Turley who claim that they heard Joseph Smith make some predictions in their own home around May 6, 1843.

It may very well be all true and recorded accurately, partially true at least, but some of the details of the statement are in doubt since we don’t have record of Joseph stating many of the details elsewhere. The main oft-repeated idea from the ‘prophecy’ is the concept that the Constitution of the United States would “hang by a thread” and that the “Elders of Israel” or “The Church” would be the means somehow “preserve” it or “bear it away” from total destruction.

President Joseph F. Smith said in the October 1918 General Conference  said that the prophecy “…was never spoken by the prophet in the manner in which they [Rushton and Turley] have put it forth.” What Joseph Smith actually said, that we have record of was:

“Even this nation will be on the verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground and when the Constitution is on the brink of ruin this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction.” – President Joseph Smith, Jr (19 July 1840, as recorded by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray; ms. in Church Historian’s Office, Salt Lake City)

Eliza R. Snow recollected Joseph Smith saying:Read Full Post

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The Gospel Vision of the Arts by Spencer W. Kimball

Spencer W. Kimball, “The Gospel Vision of the Arts,” Tambuli, Feb. 1978, 1

In our world, there have risen brilliant stars in drama, music, literature, sculpture, painting, science, and all the fields of excellence. For long years I have had a vision of members of the Church greatly increasing their already strong positions of excellence till the eyes of all the world will be upon us.

President John Taylor so prophesied, as he emphasized his words with this directive:

“You mark my words, and write them down and see if they do not come to pass.

“You will see the day that Zion will be far ahead of the outside world in everything pertaining to learning of every kind as we are today in regard to religious matters.

“God expects Zion to become the praise and glory of the whole earth, so that kings hearing of her fame will come and gaze upon her glory. …” (September 20, 1857; see The Messenger, July 1953.)Read Full Post

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A Visit to the Decalogue Stone at Hidden Mountain

A week ago, I had the opportunity to visit the famous decalogue or “ten commandments” stone outside of Los Lunas, New Mexico. I didn’t have much time to spend with it, but I was able to snap some up-close photos which can be hard to find. I’ll have to admit, I love stuff like this. I felt a little bit like Indiana Jones tracking down some kind of ancient artifact.

Here are the coordinates if you’d like to find the stone yourself (Easy as hunting a geocache): 34.785217°N 106.996512°W

Finding the entrance to the mountain is a little tricky. I wasn’t sure where to find the way over to the mountain because there was fencing all along the way with no roads in. I followed the road along the fence up to this small, white checkpoint and found that it was the entrance to a dump. I told the guy that I was looking for the stone and he knew exactly what I was talking about; it was apparent that I wasn’t the first to have asked him about this. He instructed me park about 50 yards away and go through this gap in the gate.

Follow the directions!

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Parley P. Pratt’s call to the Apostleship

In accordance with one of the early revelations to the Church concerning the calling and ordination of Twelve Apostles, this quorum was now being filled. Among those chosen for this high and holy calling was my brother Orson and myself. He being still absent, and the other members having been already ordained, a meeting was convened at Kirtland, and very numerously attended, in which, on the 21st day of February, 1835, I took the oath and covenant of apostleship, and was solemnly set apart and ordained to that office; and as a member of that quorum under the hands of Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer; the minutes of which in the Church History are as follows:

“Kirtland, February 21st, 1835. Pursuant to adjournment, a meeting of the Church was held, and, after prayer by President David Whitmer, and a short address by President Oliver Cowdery to the congregation, Elder Parley P. Pratt was called to the stand, and ordained one of the Twelve by President Joseph Smith, Jr., David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery. ‘O, Lord, smile from heaven upon this thy servant; forgive his sins, sanctify his heart, and prepare him to receive the blessing. Increase his love for thee and for thy cause; increase his intelligence, communicate to him all that wisdom, that prudence and that understanding which he needs as a minister of righteousness, and to magnify the apostleship whereunto he is called.

“May a double portion of that Spirit which was communicated to the disciples of our Lord and Saviour, to lead them to all truth, rest down upon him, and go with him where he goes, that nothing shall prevail against him; that he may be delivered from prisons, from the power of his enemies, and from the adversary of all righteousness.Read Full Post

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The Constitution—A Glorious Standard by Ezra Taft Benson

Ezra Taft Benson, “The Constitution—A Glorious Standard”, Ensign, Sept. 1987, 6

From an address delivered at a BYU devotional held Tuesday, 16 September 1986, in commemoration of the bicentennial of the Constitution of the United States.

On the 17th day of September, 1987, we commemorate the two-hundredth birthday of the Constitutional Convention, which gave birth to the document that Gladstone said is “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.”1

I heartily endorse this assessment, and I would like to pay honor—honor to the document itself, honor to the men who framed it, and honor to the God who inspired it and made possible its coming forth.

To understand the significance of the Constitution, we must first understand some basic, eternal principles. These principles have their beginning in the premortal councils of heaven.

Some Basic Principles

The first basic principle is agency. The central issue in that premortal council was: Shall the children of God have untrammeled agency to choose the course they should follow, whether good or evil, or shall they be coerced and forced to be obedient? Christ and all who followed Him stood for the former proposition—freedom of choice; Satan stood for the latter—coercion and force.Read Full Post

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The Sower, the Tree of Life and the Degrees of Glory

We have a parable and two visions to look at here. The parable of the sower is a familiar New Testament parable related by Jesus Christ to a multitude from a ship on the sea shore about the various types of ground certain seeds were cast on to. The first vision is an account in the Book of Mormon by a prophet named Lehi who sees a vision revolving around a tree of life and a description of the various types of people he observes. The second vision is an account from Joseph Smith in the Doctrine and Covenants concerning the degrees of glory that exist in the hereafter and a description of the characteristics of those inhabitants.

The Sower

In the parable of the sower, we are taught by the Master about seeds cast into various situations and what the consequences were. The parable is found in Matthew 13 in the New Testament.

  1. Good ground: (Brought forth fruit; some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.)
    Interpretation: To those that hear the word and understand it, they will all bear fruit but at varying degrees.
  2. The way side: (Fowls came and devoured them up)
    Interpretation: When any one hears the word of the kingdom, but doesn’t understand it the adversary can come and steal away whatever was sown in his heart.
  3. Thorns: (The thorns sprung up, and choked them.)
    Interpretation: This is one that hears the word, but the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word.
  4. Stony places: (There was not much earth so when they sprung up they were scorched by the sun because they had no root and they withered away.)
    Interpretation: This is one that hears the word and receives it gladly but because ‘he hath not root in himself’, he endures for a while but is immediately offended when tribulation and persecution arise.

Lehi’s Vision of the Tree of Life

In Lehi’s vision there are multitudes of people pressing towardRead Full Post

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The Inner Life of a Cell – Amazing!

I’ve always wondered how deep this complexity goes; we’re not even looking at things at the sub-atomic level! I think we all can agree that life is amazing and precious. Even the smallest creature is a world within itself.

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