A recent reply I shared on an online forum:
Catholics are heavily immersed in ritual, so I think they “get” ritual more than most, or are at least more accustomed to it. Latter-day Saint Sabbath services and surroundings at church are nowhere near as elaborate as the richly meaningful proceedings conducted in ornate cathedrals.
Maybe we wish that church and the temple were equally as rich in symbolism and ritual, it’s a captivating thought, but I kind of like it the way it is. If we were around the temple all the time, would we appreciate the contrast? How wonderful it is to go to the temple and experience stepping out of one world and into another (which is intentional). Home after a long journey is never the same, but it hasn’t changed, you just see it with different eyes.
A temple is a model of the cosmos; the cosmos above which holds all of creation, and the cosmos below which is man. That which is common is profane, but contrast parts light from darkness, revealing everything in between. Worlds without end for us to explore, and we think this only refers to orbiting planets. The endowed are veiled with a garment, a reminder of where the true temple is. How many dwell perpetually in the outer courtyards of consciousness, never setting foot inside the Holy of Holies within.Go to Comments
Simple truths in a text message exchange this morning with a friend:
Steve: Desire will blossom into whatever it is fed.
Chris: So desire is the appetite of the heart?Go to Comments
I really liked this post from the guys over at Junior Ganymede. When I saw the title and began reading it I thought I knew where the author was taking the subject but I was pleasantly surprised to see how this topic went in a direction I didn’t expect. I have my own thoughts about these things but found this such an interesting post, I had to share it.
There is going to be a part two, so give this one a read and leave your comments below, let’s talk about this.
While once trying to explain to a non-Mormon friend why missionaries had such a strict dress code, I talked about showing respect for others, about norms of economic equality between rich and poor missionaries, but none of it seemed to register. Finally I said, “Look, becoming a missionary is like joining the Army. They have a collective goal, and everything is focused on that goal, to the point where things that you might otherwise find bothersome really don’t matter. If you are so concerned about individuality that you resent having to wear a uniform, then Read Full PostGo to Comments
Announcing the Hebraeus Foundation Zion Conference, “A Time of Awakening,” Grand Ballroom, Utah Valley University, Saturday May 14th 2016, 9.00 am to 9.00 pm.
Featuring a Twelve Tribes youth color guard; top speakers, including Avraham Gileadi, Karen Prier, Thomas Harrison, and David Warwick; a tasty dinner & dessert; inspiring activities; and a fabulous music and dance concert. Only $50. Register now as seating is limited to about 500.
Although all Ten Virgins had fallen asleep before the coming of the Bridegroom, the five wise had “received the truth . . . taken the Holy Spirit for their guide . . . and not been deceived” (Doctrine & Covenants 45:57) – at a time of when all but the very elect would be deceived (Matthew 24:24). Come, and receive a fresh supply of oil for your lamps!
Please register at www.IsaiahInstitute.com/p/events_11.html or www.JosephandJudah.com/p/events.html. Or contact Robin Young, secretary, Hebraeus Foundation, at email@example.com, or call her at 541-490-0880.Go to Comments
I love reading anything by Margaret Barker, if you don’t know who she is then you need to look her up and buy some of her books or read some of her articles online. She’s a Methodist scholar and has brought some amazing insights into Judeo-Christian studies that have piqued the interest of LDS scholars. Over the years, she has made many wonderful contributions to LDS research and I am grateful for the interest and respect she has for LDS theology.
The following transcript is her analysis of how Joseph Smith’s contributions to an understanding of the ancient world match up with some of the things we have discovered in modern scholarship. Enjoy!
A Transcript of Her Response
The Worlds of Joseph Smith
An International Academic Conference at the Library of Congress
May 6, 2005
– – –
It isn’t easy to respond in twenty minutes to such a rich and interesting paper. Professor Givens has set Joseph Smith in the religious and cultural context of his time and has raised many important issues. I should like to take a few of these issues and set them in another context—Jerusalem, in about 600 BCE.
Do the revelations to Joseph Smith fit in that context—the reign of King Zedikiah, who is mentioned at the beginning of the First Book of Nephi? (King Zedikiah was installed in Jerusalem in 597 BCE.)
I am not a scholar of Mormon texts and traditions, and I must emphasize that. I’m a biblical scholar specializing in the Old Testament. Until some Mormon scholars made contact with me a few years ago I would never have considered using Mormon texts and traditions as part of my own work.
“Are the revelations to Joseph Smith consistent with the situation in Jerusalem about 600 B.C.E?”
Since that initial contact I have had many good and fruitful exchanges and have begun to look at these texts very closely. I’m still, however, very much an amateur in this area. What I offer can only be the reactions of an Old Testament scholar—“Are the revelations to Joseph Smith consistent with the situation in Jerusalem about 600 B.C.E?”
First, Professor Givens raised the question of ongoing revelation and an open canon. As far as we know there was no question of a canon in 600 BCE and ongoing revelation from the prophets was accepted, even if what the prophets said was uncomfortable.
One generation earlier there had been the great upheaval in Read Full PostGo to Comments
I was out for a walk recently at my in-laws and followed this trail that was laced with hundreds of bluebonnets. Deep into the trail, I found a quiet area that seemed to be a nice place to pray for a bit. It was a little chilly so that somewhat distracting, but otherwise it was fairly peaceful.
I thought of the contrast between this beautiful place and the terror and horror that is out there in the world. It is strange that two extremes can exist at the same time in reality and how one or the other can consume your entire awareness. I pondered whether I am at peace because of the setting or because of something much Read Full PostGo to Comments
“And now, when [King Lamoni] heard these words, he said unto [his servants]: Now I know that it is the Great Spirit; and he has come down at this time to preserve your lives, that I might not slay you as I did your brethren. Now this is the Great Spirit of whom our fathers have spoken.” (Alma 18:4)
King Lamoni was dead wrong about Ammon being the Great Spirit. He goes further than just stating this as a theory, he says, “Now I know that it is the Great Spirit,” but how can he say that he knows something that is later proven untrue?
How many times do we hear people testifying that they ‘know’ something? Maybe they do know, but then again, maybe they don’t, so what sense can we make of this?
Here’s where things get interesting to me, although Lamoni was wrong about Ammon’s identity, he was right Read Full PostGo to Comments
Junior Ganymede had a great post about Lehi’s Vision and the people pointing the fingers. The post author had been out with the missionaries and the woman they were teaching had some insights that were expounded upon, here’s a small snippet:
The fingers are being pointed to single out people for mockery. But she also saw it as a way of shifting responsibility. I think she is right.
The pointing finger is the finger that assigns responsibility. When it points to mock, it is designating the scapegoat. If the scapegoat is not explicitly given the blame, then the role of the scapegoat is to validate the existence of the inner circle by creating someone who is not part of the inner circle. And in an inner circle, by nature, questions of responsibility do not arise. One is not judged on merit but on membership.
The great and spacious building is key to understanding the modern structure (the Cathedral, That Hideous Strength, the Clerisy, the New Class, the Polygon, etc.). It explains its relationship to status. It highlights its divorce from reality, its existence in a purely social and symbolic world.
Understanding that the modern structure is a way of shifting blame and avoiding responsibility is also a valuable insight. It explains the victim sweepstakes and the grievance mongering. (A spiritually degenerative pursuit, obviously).
The blame-shifting aspect is what caught my attention. Today’s pointing fingers manifest themselves as Read Full PostGo to Comments
OneClimbs commenter Chip recently asked:
“…just curious if you have any insight or analogy for tithing. I love the whole symbolism of climbing the mount that you apply to principles. So was just curious if you had examples or ideas on tithing like that.”
I realized that after all these years and closing in on 400 posts, I haven’t said anything about tithes. There are several topics that I have intentionally not referenced at this point because I’ve been pondering them for years and I don’t have anything to say or share on those things as of yet; they are still growing in the garden.
Tithes, surplus, and consecrationGo to Comments
I have put the words that I believe are related directly to the divine Mother motif in ALL CAPS AND BOLD. The following verses in this article area all connected to each other and certain key points have been emphasized.
I encourage you to open your scriptures and take the time to ponder them in context and look for other connections because they are everywhere.
The Tree and the Virgin
1 Nephi 11:7
which bore the fruit
which thy father tasted
1 Nephi 11:8
I looked and beheld a TREE
the beauty was far beyond
yea, exceeding of all beauty
and the whiteness thereof
did exceed the whiteness
of the driven snow
1 Nephi 11:13
I beheld a VIRGIN and she was
exceedingly fair & white
1 Nephi 11:15
A VIRGIN most beautiful and fair
above all other VIRGINS
1 Nephi 11:18
the VIRGIN which thou seest is the
MOTHER of god after the manner of the flesh [original manuscript & 1830 edition]
1 Nephi 11:20
I beheld the VIRGIN again
bearing a child in her arms (vs.7 – tree which bore the fruit)
1 Nephi 11:21
knowest thous the meaning of the TREE?
Note that the tree itself (not the fruit) and the virgin are both ‘exceedingly’ beautiful/fair and white (another word for pure). The virgin and the tree are synonymous but that is Read Full PostGo to Comments
OneClimbs commenter and general all-around good guy Richard Nobbe left a comment on one of my recent posts and I thought he had a host of excellent questions.
I was intrigued with the challenge of providing some of my own thoughts and takes on the aforementioned questions. So let’s begin by taking Read Full PostGo to Comments
Our stake president asked me to design a refrigerator magnet for an upcoming ward conference. The objective was to design something that would remind the members of 3 spiritual and 3 temporal goals that the stake wanted to emphasize.
I started with something kind of standard and boring but then decided to spice it up a bit and do something a little more colorful and fun so this was the result. I’ve included a vector PDF with the original artwork if anyone would like to use it for any reason, you can do so without attribution.Go to Comments
A couple of years ago I wrote a post about something that I dubbed the “Agency Continuum” where the choices that you make are part of a connected cycle.
I’d like to take the model I presented in that post, particularly the figure eight shape, and point out a few things in light of the word “continuum.” First off, let’s define the word itself:
Continuum: a continuous sequence in which adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from each other, although the extremes are quite distinct. (Oxford advanced learner’s dictionary)
Often the choices that lay before us are not perceptibly different and it isn’t until the Read Full PostGo to Comments
Today at the beginning of Sunday School I was handed a little white slip of paper with some scripture verses to read. Here’s what I read in class:
And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.
And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters. (1 Nephi 13:12-13)
It was reinforced in the class that the “man among the Gentiles” is Christopher Columbus. I suppose that in reading verse 12 you would think that the Spirit coming down and working upon someone would mean that they were righteous and sent by God to do good. In this country we celebrate Columbus Day and it seems as though many Latter-day Saints hold him with a kind of reverence, see him as a visionary, and perhaps even a prophet of sorts.
God does not always work upon people to bring blessings and happiness, sometimes he sends them as a scourge:
And after they have been scattered, and the Lord God hath scourged them by other nations for the space of many generations, yea, even down from generation to generation… (2 Nephi 5:25)
Lehi prophesied about it:
“Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten.” (1 Nephi 1:11)
Wait a minute, am I suggesting that Columbus was sent as a scourge, how is that possible? Well I started out Read Full PostGo to Comments
It’s happened to me several times, in fact, the first 17 years of my life were lived without any real sense of the presence of God; at least that was my perception at the time.
Time went on, and God did manifest himself to me many times and in many ways. Some of these experiences were subtle and sublime, while others sound like something you’d read about in the scriptures. But then something unexpected happens…
Life was at times like a sailboat on a vast ocean, the wind filled my sails and pushed me forward with purpose and vision. Then, for no apparent reason, the wind ceases and there is a perfect calm. Often it isn’t this sudden, the winds fade slowly, almost imperceptibly, until the profound stillness dominates the scene.
I’ve noticed that God appears to leave me alone at certain points in my life. Alone to the degree that there seems to be nothing I can do to bridge the gap and I find myself in a void. Prayers feel unheard and questions begin to enter the mind. What happened, where did he go? Did I offend him in some way, is there something I’m doing wrong? I tend to look inward during these times and take an inventory of my life.
While such a practice can be healthy, it can also turn to doubt, fear, confusion, disaffection, anger, and apostasy. I think that it is common for many to reach this state of windless waters and abandon ship thinking all is lost.
Like I said, I didn’t always know there was a God, but I do now. Yet I’ve felt a little hurt at times where I’ve been in these situations where I’ve felt like I needed answers and the heavens were quiet. I know that the heavens must hear me, but I don’t know why there is no perceptible reply.
What I’ve wanted to know is “why,” why this abandonment? I’ve been in this most recent void for a while now, surviving on rations of remembrance and continuing my pursuit of faith through exploration and just living life.
It is through that continued exploration that I think I found my answer. A thought hit me while pondering Read Full PostGo to Comments
This is kind of a first for oneClimbs.com, I’ve never posted a particular location where I will be appearing at before. However, since I’m pretty much already doing that on facebook, I might as well extend an invitation to anyone who happens to be in the area to stop by the JRNL.com booth at Rootstech and say hi!
I’ve mentioned JRNL before here on my blog recently, it’s one of the projects I work on professionally. I’m very passionate about journaling so it is an absolute pleasure to work on something like this with a great team of people. We’re going to be releasing some really cool new features sometime in the next couple of weeks so stay tuned!
We just released a short promo video that introduces the product, check it out:
Here’s a screenshot of my personal journal. The calendar on the right shows each day with a blue line under it for every day that contains a journal entry, so yeah, I journal a lot.
Here’s another exclusive screenshot that hints at Read Full PostGo to Comments
For it were not possible that our father, Lehi, could have remembered all these things, to have taught them to his children, except it were for the help of these plates; for he having been taught in the language of the Egyptians therefore he could read these engravings, and teach them to his children, that thereby they could teach them to their children, and so fulfilling the commandments of God, even down to this present time. (Mosiah 1:4)
I was listening to this chapter yesterday and then read it again today. I don’t know that I have anything profound to say about it but I wanted to point a few things out that I think are of interest.
The plates and the information they contained was critically important in perpetuating the covenants between the people and God. Lehi was taught in the language of the Egyptians, it never says how but that information might have been in the book of Lehi that was unfortunately lost.
This verse says that the engravings on the brass plates were in the Egyptian language, but I guess that somehow I missed that detail. I had speculated that perhaps Lehi knew Demotic and that was the language they wrote their plates in.
The brass plates might have been an unprecedented artifact, something akin to the Antikythera mechanism or the Codex Gigas, crafted by some passionate visionary and retained in a private treasury. Read Full PostGo to Comments
Consider that the tree of life and temple ascension are at their deepest levels tied to birth concepts and actually symbolize the placenta (tree or link between mother and child) and the umbilical cord (iron rod and covenants made by dividing and reconnecting things).
At birth we are cut off from the tree of life and the rod, so Lehi’s vision shows us how we can return. Note that after Nephi was shown the tree, he was shown a woman, Mary.
Nicodemus’ question may have been more insightful than we realize: “How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” The temple patterns illustrate a symbolic return to the womb, innocence, Eden, etc. In fact, the original Nauvoo temple architect Wandle Mace said: “The order of architecture [on the Nauvoo Temple] was unlike anything in existence; it was purely original; being a representation of the Church, the Bride, the Lamb’s wife.”
Read Full Post
Junior Ganymede has become one of my favorite blogs. I thought this post was interesting and timely, particularly the point about the many voices we hear today. It’s true, nothing has changed in human nature, it’s only the voices that continually change (both in rhetoric and in volume). Without a foundation, you never know what to expect from the mocking voices emanating from the great and spacious building.
Come on, Elder Kimball, I thought. You can’t really expect me to believe there were millions of perverts running around, even in the 70s. You are telling me a stretcher.
I was reading what President Kimball said at the first session of the April 1971 conference and I just wasn’t buying it.
But he was right and I was wrong.
As I read on, I saw that he didn’t just mean pedophiles and folks with outlier sexual quirks. He wasn’t even referring to Les Gibituqs, as would have fit with the blunt way they talked back then. He meant cads, sluts, fornicators, being too sex-minded in general, embracing birth control as an entitlement because sex was seen as a right and a demand . . . . He meant most of us in America 2015. Read Full PostGo to Comments