Two of my favorite gospel study tools are the Websters 1828 Dictionary and a Strong’s Concordance. Back before I had a smartphone I used to use website versions of these tools that you can still access under the tools menu here at oneClimbs.
For quite a while now I’ve been using app versions of these tools as they are much more convenient and efficient. I have an iPhone but I believe there are Droid versions of similar apps if you look hard enough. The first app is called simply “Strongs KJV” and it’s very simple, free and gets the job done. I used the free one for a while but got tired of the ad at the beginning and just paid the $4.99 for the full app which I felt was worth it.
If you aren’t familiar with a Strong’s Bible, it’s basically Read Full PostGo to Comments
What if there was a doctrinally-based way to make every single day of your life significant, meaningful and amazing?
Well, there is and it is so simple. I’ve only been doing this for a few days now and am still starting to get the hang of it, but I see the potential and I understand the doctrine. Have you ever started working out only to notice a few days later that your pants are fitting you better and your muscles are feeling more solid? That’s about where I’m at.
First, a little background…
I’ve been really enjoying Elder Bednar’s book Increase in Learning. I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit it but this book, which was given to me as a gift from one of the wisest people I know, didn’t really impress me much at first. The title of the book really intrigued me and my expectations were pretty high since I really admire Elder Bednar. In the beginning, it didn’t really grab me and felt really “watered-down” and intended for a novice audience. I grew impatient and skimmed on through finding a couple nuggets and then shelved it about halfway through.
Big mistake. Read Full PostGo to Comments
A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe is probably one of my favorite books in the whole wide world. Is it the be-all, end-all, of all things ever? Nope. So what’s the big deal about it? It is a “switch-flipper” an “ah-HA!” generator and an incredibly fun read!
Latter-day Saints are a people that are swimming in a world of symbolic meaning, especially those that attend the temple, but how many really ‘get it’? The problem is with the way that we think and author Denver Snuffer hit it right on the head:
“Exposure to the culture of ceremony and symbols is a priceless advantage to anyone coming from a secularized and demythologized society. The power in the temple’s rites and symbols, lies in the reorientation of the individual and their minds from what is in society today to a different setting and different world-view…one in which you are prepared for companionship with those who, behind the veil, live in a culture of symbols and ceremony where deep meanings and eternal patterns are seen endlessly.” (Denver Snuffer, The Second Comforter: Conversing with the Lord through the Veil, Millcreek Press, pps. 260-61; 374-75)
I love that quote. In our “secular and demythologized society” we are dense to anything beyond what we see in front of us. Want evidence? Think of any number, how about the number 5. What doctrinal concepts come to mind? How is the number five used throughout the universe, what properties does it have? What principles are communicated through its attributes?
If you are thinking, “Uhhhhh…” then you just proved my point.
It is hard to know where to begin, but I believe that this book, “A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe” is a wonderful place to start. I believe that it does a phenomenal job of flipping that switch in your mind that will help you understand symbolic things and see truths hidden in plain sight!
The author, Michael S. Schneider is a mathematician and the purpose of his work can be beneficial to anyone regardless of their particular belief system because he is looking at the numbers 1-10 from a mathematical foundation and then simply following where the number leads into astronomy, geology, biology, art, music, architecture, myth, legend and so much more!
Once you begin to see how everything is connected and understand that everything in existence, seen or unseen is created with the numbers 1-9, you immediately begin to see the world differently.
Suddenly the world becomes a very exciting place and everything in it can beging to speak to you. If you are a Latter-day Saint and enter a highly symbolic place like the temple, you’re going to be in for quite an enlightening experience. You will see things you never noticed before and you will begin to be able to “read” the temple as it was intended.
The author is not a member of the LDS faith and LDS temples themselves are not mentioned in this work, but the self-evident qualities of number explored in this book translate incredibly into our symbology which is based off the same principles.
The book is structured a lot like a school textbook. There are tons of pictures and things you can try or make to experiment and “play” with the numbers in physical forms using a square and compass, paper strips, piano wire strung between nails to “hear” the numbers and a lot more. The first time I read the book it took me a week and I couldn’t put it down.
I do believe that this incredible book is an essential addition to every Latter-day Saint home or especially for anyone who associates with symbolism through religion, scripture, sacred rites or sacred architecture. I think even young teenagers would get a kick out of it.
You can pick up a copy for about $12 on Amazon so it’s a steal as far as books go. I have purchased copies for just about everyone in my family and have two copies myself (mine and another I lend out). Trust me, just buy this book, read it and enjoy how interesting everything in the world suddenly becomes ;)
If you would like to explore some LDS symbolism right now for free, head on over to LDSSymbols.com and share it with your friends!Go to Comments
I’ve recently begun a study of the Avraham Gileadi translation of Isaiah. I’ve found his site, Isaiah Explained a surprisingly rich and interesting resource. Not only do you have a parallel translation of Isaiah with the KJV translation to the left, but audio commentary of each verse in every chapter.
The audio commentary is amazingly exhaustive; for example, chapter 1 has over 95 minutes of commentary on a verse by verse basis! The visual design of the site itself is pretty poor; (I’m a web/graphic designer for a living so I’m probably a little overly critical in this area) but is nevertheless quite usable and easy to navigate.
Bro. Gileadi is a fascinating individual; here’s some information about him via Wikipedia:
Early Life and Education
Gileadi was born in 1940 in the Netherlands during World War II. In the course of the war, his father served in the Dutch resistance whose local chapter helped a New Zealand pilot escape to England. After the war, many emigrated from war-torn Europe to new lands of opportunity. Although his father prospered, idealism led him to emigrate to New Zealand.
In New Zealand, Avraham Gileadi went through a period of introspection, reevaluating his priorities and internalizing spiritual principles. After becoming religiously active and involved, he yet “sensed a lack of spiritual fulfillment.” Israel’s history in the Old Testament became the focus of his attention. He recognized what he believed to be “a partial fulfillment of prophecy in the modern State of Israel,” which led to his desire to participate in it.
In 1968, Gileadi left New Zealand to settle in Israel, where he lived five years. Life in Israel soon involved him deeply in the Old Testament and its religious ties to Judaism. He states that “Judaism attracted me because of the unique manner in which the Jews view the Law and the Prophets. Among the Jews, I felt a depth of understanding that, as a Gentile, I had not hitherto known.” In Israel, he settled in Jezreel. His studies in Israel also took him to an orthodox religious kibbutz, at which time he was formally received into the Jewish faith and became an Israeli citizen. The climax of his life as an orthodox Jew came when he studied at Yeshivat Hatfutzot, a rabbinic school in Jerusalem. While visiting a library in Israel, the librarian handed him a copy of the Book of Mormon and suggested he read it. Gileadi took the book to be polite and studied it out of curiosity, which led to his conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was baptized a member of the LDS Church in the Pool of Siloam, where Jesus healed a blind man by having him wash his eyes in the pool (John 9:5-7). In 1973 Gileadi moved to the United States, where he married and raised a family of nine children.
Gileadi received academic degrees from Brigham Young University: a B.A. in University Studies (1975), a M.A. in Ancient Scripture (1977), and a Ph.D. in Ancient Studies (1981) withHugh Nibley as chair. During his academic years, Gileadi taught Hebrew, Religion courses, and an Honors Philosophy class in the literary analysis of the Book of Isaiah. He also sought out and studied with Professor R. K. Harrison, a renowned Old Testament scholar of Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, Canada, who was noted for his conservative theological position. Being fluent in Hebrew, he worked with the Hebrew Masoretic Text, the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah, and the Septuagint Version to provide a translation of the Book of Isaiah intelligible in English that remains true to the Hebrew. He used lexical tools constantly in order to catch every nuance of meaning in the original language, finishing his translation of Isaiah during his Ph.D. program.
Academic Career and Church Discipline
Gileadi was hired by BYU to produce footnotes clarifying translation problems in the Hebrew prophets for the Latter-day Saint edition of the Bible, and he revised the Hebrew translation of the Book of Mormon for the Church’s Translation Division. After publishing several books, he became well known as an author in the LDS community. On completing ten years of post-doctoral work further developing his Ph.D. thesis (“A Bifid Division of the Book of Isaiah,” Brigham Young University, 1981), he published his first major work, The Literary Message of Isaiah (1994, 2012), which examines a complex literary structure in the Book of Isaiah that radically impacts the book’s interpretation.
In September 1993, Gileadi was disciplined by the LDS Church and excommunicated along with five others, a group known as the September Six. In Gileadi’s case only, however, the church afterwards reversed its disciplinary action and expunged it from the church’s records, as if it never happened.  Today, Gileadi continues to research the writings of Isaiah and related scriptural texts. Gileadi is the author of ten books, a majority of them on the Book of Isaiah.Go to Comments
So I’m in love with my new “Reader’s Edition” of the Book of Mormon and I’ll explain why here in this review. First of all, I understand the value of the “official” scriptures the church puts out; they are brilliant for cross-referencing and studying.
However, I find them quite terrible for reading. If you don’t agree with me it might be because you grew up reading the four thin columns of highly compressed text and are used to it. But to many novices to scripture, especially the LDS editions, it might be a bit of a struggle if you are used to reading novels and other modern books presented in elegant typographic style.
I’m note really a novice to the LDS version of the scriptures, I’m quite used to the highly compressed text in the four neat little columns, but I’ve come to realize that when you are just trying to read the text, the thin columns, chapter divisions and headings and division into verses just don’t help when trying to follow a narrative.
I first came across some brilliant versions of the scriptures from Ben Crowder; my two favorites are the “Plates Edition” of the Book of Mormon and the “Words of the Prophets” edition with selected sermons from the Book of Mormon.
These editions got me thinking about purchasing a hard-copy of a “readers” edition of some kind for my usual reading and study. I actually find the version of the scriptures on my iPhone much faster for searching and cross-referencing, so I wanted to improve my reading experience.
I decided to buy this edition and am not disappointed – I’ll explain why.
A wonderfully objective and informative introduction
Grant Hardy’s introduction to this edition is fascinating. He covers the origins of the text, the literary styles used, and the religious significance of the book while touching on concerns of past and present critics as well as a historically accurate description of the translation process and the loss of the 116 pages of the Book of Lehi.
I believe that much of this information is extremely valuable to any investigator of the church and really, this edition as a whole speaks well to those completely unfamiliar with the faith and the Book of Mormon in general. Even though they are a bit pricier than the ever-thinning (how much thinner can they get that paper?) blue copies, I’ve decided that I’m going to be buying these to give out to inquiring minds instead.
It reads like a champ
The text is laid out beautifully, the pages are larger and there’s more room to breathe as you read. It is an altogether superior reading experience. You feel less like you are reading scripture because of the layout, which in a way, gives you a unique perspective on what you are reading. In many ways, it’s like I’m reading the words in a whole new light, like it is my first time encountering them.
It is still easy to find your way around. The chapter breaks remain intact but are more subtle and the verse indicators are there too but are indicated by small superscript numbers that stay out of your way.
I was really excited to see this new feature, many of the verses have been “set into poetic form with clear line breaks and stanzas, giving particular attention to Hebrew-style parallelisms”. This not only makes the Isaiah chapters easier to read as you can see in the image above, but it helps highlight the many places in the Book of Mormon where these kinds of writing styles were used. I was particularly touched by the last words of Jacob done in this style (see above).
This makes the text very fun and even exciting to read because it alters your experience and introduces you to additional hidden beauty in the text itself. Since the introduction of this edition highlights the ancient literary merits of the Book of Mormon, an entire appendix at the back of the book introduces us to the complex chiasmus scattered throughout the book and notes some significant uses of this ancient technique.
Most, I believe, were made during the second edition by the prophet himself to correct many of the errors made in the first printing. This edition publishes many of the most significant textual changes for the benefit of the reader.
Those familiar with the changes will see that most were done to simply make the meaning clearer or to improve grammar and especially punctuation, since the original manuscript had zero punctuation (the original, being a translation of a hieroglyphic-based characters, did not obviously include periods commas and semi-colons, etc.).
This edition includes the testimonies of 2 additional witnesses to the Book of Mormon, Mary Whitmer and Emma Smith. I was really excited to see these in here because Mary claims to have been the only other person to have had the plates shown to her by an angel.
Emma’s account is even more fascinating since she was a scribe and witnessed some very interesting things about the translation process as well as some intimate encounters with the plates where she described feeling their shape under a linen cloth and thumbing her fingers through the pages and hearing the metal plates clink together.
Another welcome addition is a bit of extra detail and history about each of the three witnesses under their testimony. Good stuff.
Charts, graphs and more
The back of the book is a nice little treasure trove of additional history and information worthy to be included with the Book of Mormon. I found several interesting charts that I’m going to take some time to look more into.
There’s so much more to explore this edition, but I was so excited about it that I restarted my reading of the Book of Mormon over again to experience it all fresh. I’ve been hooked from page one and highly recommend this edition to anyone looking to improve their reading experience with the Book of Mormon or would like a much richer and informative version to hand out to new readers.Go to Comments
I don’t often recommend books, but I was just so impressed by Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” that I had to share some of my perspectives on it.
First off, for years I misjudged this book by its title. I think many if not most of us have heard of it before and I personally always thought that it was one of those ‘self help’ books for introverted people with no friends. A family member read the book and recommended it; this was enough to pique my interest.
I am pleased to say that I highly enjoyed this read and only regret not having read it much earlier in my life. I was impressed by the years and years of research that Mr. Carnegie put into discovering the principles of human interaction and formulating simple ways to apply true principles to our every day lives easily.
I purchased the audio version of the book and listened once through and enjoyed it so much that I’m going through it again so the principles can stick more firmly in my mind.
I found the book a wonderful treasure-trove of easy to understand concepts that anyone can put into practice to live in greater peace and happiness with those around them. The ideas are not new, they have been taught through time immemorial, you’ll read them in the scriptures and hear them preached over the pulpit. The book is full of valuable encounters of human situations that vividly illustrate certain principles that we can apply in our own interactions with people.
Now this is a book ‘recommendation’ and not a review. I personally don’t feel that I could do the book justice by trying to break it down for you, so I will simply leave an open invitation to read the book for yourself.
I have already noticed a huge change in the way that I deal with people. I have been surprised at how my relationships with virtually everyone I have come in contact with, from old friends, to family to strangers has been enhanced and improved. I look forward more to interacting with people and how the power of kindness can win over just about anyone.
So there you have it. Pick up a copy and give it a read, it’s fun and almost addicting putting these principles in practice and immediately reaping the rewards.Go to Comments