When I first saw the pictures of Joseph Smith’s primary seer stone my first thought was, “Oh, cool, I’m glad they released some pictures. I knew it was a small, chocolate-colored stone but I didn’t realize it had stripes.” and that was that.
I see conversations around the web indicating that some members of the Church are upset about the seer stone and the part it played in our history. Some were unaware of its existence, but I remember learning about it as a teenager. I didn’t know that much about the process of the translation and how the seer stone and Interpreters fit into the picture, but I did when I cared enough to research it on my own.
Skeptics find humor in the seer stone looking like just a plain old rock and are no doubt enjoying the opportunity to further paint Joseph Smith as an occultic scheister.
Instead of trying to address all of the legitimate concerns and questions, I want to write about my own perspective and the much larger themes at play.
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In the book The Name of God: From Sinai to the American Southwest, James R. Harris asks the question:
“Was the Shepherd of Israel, known as Jehovah, also known as Quetzalcoatl (The Feathered Serpent), as Pahana, as The Great Mystery, as Gucumatz, or as Kumastramho, by our Lord’s other sheep who left their witness on the rocks of the Negev in Israel, Jordan, the East Desert of Egypt and on the rocks of the American Southwest?” (p.1)
Living in the Las Vegas area of Nevada, I have hiked out to see many of the petroglyphs in New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah so this book by Harris really interests me.
Harris’ research examines a script called “Old Negev” (a Canaanite script derived from Proto-Sinaitic) which appears on petroglyphs in the Middle East. He shows how these petroglyphs may be translated and understood. This script was used in the Negev from 1200BC to the 6th century BC.
Where it gets really mind-boggling is his hypothesis that a very similar script also shows up in the Southwestern deserts of the United States and Mexico. He provides photos and sketches of these petroglyphs along with his translations. Here is a comparison of Proto-Sinaitic, Proto-Canaanite, Old Negev and some of the signs we find in the American Southwest.Read Full Post
First off, let me just say that I was really blown away by this conference; the insights presented were so rich, edifying and paradigm-shifting. Posting this today is a bit symbolic to me personally because today I celebrate two birthdays; the day I was born of my mother in the flesh and the day I was baptized by water and the Spirit by ordinances administer by my father.
As important as fathers and priesthood authority are, it is equally important to understand mothers and motherhood and how each plays an essential role in our salvation.
Just so you know, I don’t post anything on oneClimbs.com unless I feel that it is of particular value. I recommend viewing all of these videos and not skipping a single one because they build upon each other.
If you are a woman, then stop what you are doing and watch this conference!
I was the only boy in my family and was blessed with three little sisters, and as a father, I have been blessed with three little daughters, so the role and divine purpose of women is something close to my heart. I think that the information presented in this conference will be part of a greater understanding of women in the plan of salvation.
The beauty and inspired nature of LDS doctrine concerning men and women in God’s plan is seen afresh and in a new light, or perhaps, a more correct light. The truth is right there in front of us, we just don’t really understand what it is we are seeing, or worse, Read Full Post
Today was the day, 186 years ago that the Nephite record known as The Book of Mormon passed from immortal to mortal hands. Interestingly enough, that night as these events unfolded to the knowledge of a few, the Jews blew their shofar trumpets celebrating Rosh Hashanah (the Feast of the Trumpets) on the other side of the world.
What significance did this high holy day have to coming forth of the Book of Mormon? Read, Joseph Smith’s Receipt of the Plates and the Israelite Feast of Trumpets, and you’ll never see this event the same way again.
In 34 A.D. Jesus Christ taught a remnant of Jacob living upon the American continent “Behold, I say unto you that the law is fulfilled that was given unto Moses” (3 Ne. 15:4) but adds that Read Full Post
Throughout my day I come across interesting motifs and symbols and usually take pictures of them. It didn’t occur to me until yesterday to use something like Instagram to document and share the things I come across. Since this is just really brand new, I put some images up that I already had on my phone and made a few comments and insights on the images.
If you’d like you can follow oneClimbs and share in the discovery of interesting things all around us in plain sight!
Did you know that you can “read” temples? What if all of the temples around the world today constituted a vast library of new scripture just waiting to be read if we had eyes to see? This presentation covers some basic concepts relating to LDS Symbology and a guide to approaching the subject of learning symbolism.
This video presentation incorporates my first attempt at presenting principles related to “reading” temples. The content of the video is suitable for all ages and anyone interested in learning how understanding symbols can play an incredible part of their spiritual lives.
Pictured above is my latest rendering of the Nephite Interpreters that were in the possession of Joseph Smith for a time. I have always wondered what these instruments must have looked like so I began by creating a few simple illustrations. Over time, the illustrations evolved into a more realistically rendered piece of art and this is the latest version. One day, I think it would be interesting to try to construct a physical model.
You can begin to get an idea of what these interpreters must have looked like by examining quotes from witnesses that actually saw them; from there you are left with gaps that can only be filled in with speculation. Here are the aspects of this version that I feel are pretty solid:
- Triangular shape of the “stones”
- Figure-8 design of the frame
- “Glass” setting for the interpreters
Here are the characteristics that are speculations and assumptionsRead Full Post
Below is a transcript of a presentation by Don Bradley on some temple-related themes that may have been present in the lost 116 pages via fairlds.org. He makes some really interesting points and I was fascinated with the relationship between the items in the ark of the covenant and the Lehite relics (Brass plates, Liahona, Interpreters/Breastplate and Sword of Laban) that may have served a similar purpose in the New World temples.
I’d like to do a little more research and perhaps put together an article on those four relics and the parallels to the decalogue tablets, manna and rod of Arron in the ark. Anyway, on to Don Bradley’s presentation!
Since you’ve all read the title of my presentation today, “Piercing the Veil: Temple Worship in the Lost 116 Pages,” I should begin by answering a few questions.
First, no, my research did not require any trips to the Point of the Mountain to visit Mark Hoffman. While he was also at one point working on a book related to the lost 116 pages, his book differed from mine in that it was supposed to actually be the lost 116 pages. I’m sure it’s a lot easier to sayRead Full Post
This Christmas I had some thoughts about the gifts that were given to the young Jesus by the wise men. I haven’t had time to really dig down deep and see what I can unearth concerning gold, frankincense and myrrh but I did have a few unique ideas that I don’t think I’ve ever read about anywhere else so I thought I’d take note of them here.
Gold can be primarily obtained by mining it from the earth or panning it out of rivers in tiny flakes. It is rare and must be sought for diligently and then purified by immense heat to flush the dross out. Gold does not rust under the same circumstances as other metals, it is extremely stable and attractive.
Frankincense and Myrrh
These two I am going to mention together because there are a host of dynamics that they seem to share. Both frankincense and myrrh are tree sap that is obtained by cutting into the trunk and allowing the sap to bleed out; ponder that for a bit.Read Full Post
How about taking a nice long trip down the rabbit hole of symbolism? Scott Onstott’s mind-blowing video details some of the world’s most fascinating symbolism hidden in plain sight, from Egyptian lore tied deeply within major cities of the world like Washington D.C, San Francisco, London and Paris, to the ratios of the universe and solar system embedded in to ancient megaliths.
Set aside a good 3 hours and 43 minutes for a mind-bending tour laced with unbelievable parallels that defy coincidence. At first, the video might seem a little conspiracy-theoryish, but give it a chance and wait for the math. You’re in for quite a ride to unlock mysteries more captivating than any fictional thriller. Truth is truly stranger than fiction and it is all right under your nose.
That said, hopefully this film can help to expand your vision and open your mind to a greater capacity to realize the immensity of hidden truths that do, in fact, surround us.
Did you know that Moses had to veil his face around the Israelites? Read the account is taken from Exodus 34:29-35 CEV:
Moses came down from Mount Sinai, carrying the Ten Commandments. His face was shining brightly because the Lord had been speaking to him. But Moses did not know at first that his face was shining. When Aaron and the others looked at Moses, they saw that his face was shining, and they were afraid to go near him. Moses called out for Aaron and the leaders to come to him, and he spoke with them. Then the rest of the people of Israel gathered around Moses, and he gave them the laws that the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai.
The face of Moses kept shining, and after he had spoken with the people, he covered his face with a veil. Moses would always remove the veil when he went into the sacred tent to speak with the Lord. And when he came out, he would tell the people everything the Lord had told him to say. They could see that his face was still shining. So after he had spoken with them, he would put the veil back on and leave it on until the next time he went to speak with the Lord.
The apostle Paul referenced this account in a letter to the Corinthians:
The Law of Moses brought only the promise of death, even though it was carved on stones and given in a wonderful way. Still the Law made Moses’ face shine so brightly that the people of Israel could not look at it, even though it was a fading glory. So won’t the agreement that the Spirit brings to us be even more wonderful? If something that brings the death sentence is glorious, won’t something that makes us acceptable to God be even more glorious? In fact, the new agreement is so wonderful that the Law is no longer glorious at all. The Law was given with a glory that faded away. But the glory of the new agreement is much greater, because it will never fade away.
This wonderful hope makes us feel like speaking freely. We are not like Moses. His face was shining, but he covered it to keep the people of Israel from seeing the brightness fade away. The people were stubborn, and something still keeps them from seeing the truth when the Law is read. Only Christ can take away the covering that keeps them from seeing.
When the Law of Moses is read, they have their minds covered over with a covering that is removed only for those who turn to the Lord. The Lord and the Spirit are one and the same, and the Lord’s Spirit sets us free. So our faces are not covered. They show the bright glory of the Lord, as the Lord’s Spirit makes us more and more like our glorious Lord. (2 Cor. 3:7-18 CEV)
Most people are familiar with a bride wearing a veil as part of the wedding ceremony. There are some deep roots to this tradition that traces back to Rebekah and Jacob in the book of Genesis. The Jewish tradition incorporates a veiling ceremony known as “Bedeken”. An article over at Chabad.org features some intriguing points behind this tradition:
There are a number of interpretations of the veil’s symbolism, all of which reflect truths that are worthy of being dramatically enacted before the wedding service.
The veil is a symbol of the married woman. It expresses a dignity, which Isaiah (3:18) calls tiferet, and which was reserved for women of station. Ezekiel (16:20) speaks of “covering with silk” the woman he loves. Interestingly, Rebecca does not wear a veil while on the journey in the company of the servant, Eliezer, but instinctively dons it when sighting Isaac. This may account for the insistence of major authorities that the groom himself veil the bride, and that it should never be done without him—it is only his presence that makes her veil significant.
The veil is symbolic of her new unapproachability to others, not only sexually, but as hekdesh, a sanctified object in the temple. The sacred objects of the tabernacle were “veiled” before being taken up to be carried by the Levites. The betrothal ceremony is likened, in a legal sense, to those sanctified objects of the temple. This is the significance of the term kiddushin: the groom, in marriage, sets the bride aside as hekdesh. The analogy strikes deeper if we compare it to the face of Moses, which radiated light after he received the commandments. Moses placed masveh (a veil) over his face as though to imply separateness, withdrawal, almost an other-worldliness. [source]
See also: White Cloth, Fire and the Glory of God
by John E. Clark
For the past 46 years, the carved stone monument known as Izapa Stela 5 from southernmost Mexico has been discussed as a possible depiction of Lehi’s dream reported in 1 Nephi 8. From this the stela has come to be known in some Latter-day Saint circles as the “Lehi stone.” My purpose here is to present the latest drawing of this monument, to discuss how this drawing was made, and to suggest its implications for the Lehi hypothesis. This brief article is not meant to be the final word on the matter. In fact, I will avoid talking about most of the technical details and only highlight the most significant features of the scene on the stone in order to assess the implications of recent study.
The intriguing idea that a carved stone monument from the tropical forest of southern Mexico shows Lehi’s dream was first proposed by M. Wells Jakeman of the BYU Department of Archaeology in the early 1950s (see the article in this issue by Stewart Brewer for a history of this proposal). Since then the stone has been the subject of intense study by numerous scholars, the most thorough and persuasive being that by V. Garth Norman. The bottom line of all the discussion over the years is that every scholar who has taken a serious look at thisRead Full Post
I was driving down my street the other day and noticed that there was a family gathering going on at one of the homes. Seeing the turbans I figured that they must be of the Sikh faith. I realized how little I knew about their beliefs and thought I’d do a little research since I like to study other religions.
It is a very simple faith with some unique aspects that I found fascinating.
The Sikh (pronounced ‘seek’) religion that originated in southern Asia around the 15th Century. The word Sikh means ‘disciple’ or ‘student’ and the core purpose of the faith is to seek oneness with God. In order to escape the cycle of reincarnation, and become one with God, one must overcome the five obstacles which are: lust, anger, greed, attachment and ego.
Seemingly corresponding with the five obstacles are symbolic emblems that are continually worn called the “Five Ks”
- Kesh (uncut hair, usually tied and wrapped in the Sikh Turban, Dastar.)
- Kanga (wooden comb, usually worn under the Dastar.)
- Katchera (specially made cotton underwear as a reminder of the commitment to purity.)
- Kara (iron bracelet, which is a symbol of eternity.)
- Kirpan (curved sword, comes in different sizes.)
Each of these symbols are a “representation of the ideals of Sikhism, such as honesty, equality, fidelity, militarism, meditating on God, and neverRead Full Post
Several years ago, scientists discovered what they believe is the largest diamond known to man: “a compressed heart of an old star that was once bright like our Sun but has since faded and shrunk.” LINK
A BBC article reported:
The huge cosmic diamond – technically known as BPM 37093 – is actually a crystallised white dwarf. A white dwarf is the hot core of a star, left over after the star uses up its nuclear fuel and dies. It is made mostly of carbon.
For more than four decades, astronomers have thought that the interiors of white dwarfs crystallised, but obtaining direct evidence became possible only recently.
The white dwarf is not only radiant but also rings like a gigantic gong, undergoing constant pulsations.
“By measuring those pulsations, we were able to study the hidden interior of the white dwarf, just like seismograph measurements of earthquakes allow geologists to study the interior of the Earth.
“We figured out that the carbon interior of this white dwarf has solidified to form the galaxy’s largest diamond,” says Metcalfe.
Astronomers expect our Sun will become a white dwarf when it dies 5 billion years from now. Some two billion years after that, the Sun’s ember core will crystallise as well, leaving a giant diamond in the centre of the solar system.
“Our Sun will become a diamond that truly is forever,” says Metcalfe. LINK
This made me think of Doctrine and Covenants 130:6-9 which speaks of our world, when redeemed, becoming like crystal or a sea of glass:
The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth; But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord. The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim. This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ’s.
Interesting that there is at least one crystal celestial body floating around out there that is not only “radiant” but “rings like a giant gong undergoing constant pulsations”. I wonder what these pulsations are and how they occur.
Until recently, I had NO idea that this was at Temple Square. It is amazing to me that there it is, right in front of the Salt Lake Temple and I’ve never seen it. It’s fantastic, and appropriate that such a monument dedicated to true freedom and liberty stands right in front of the Lord’s house.
Jim Davila posts some information from a man named Peter Thonemann who was in contact with a Mr. David Elkington who is allegedly in possession of the main cache of ‘plates’. The more I read about this David Elkington character the more I become suspicious of his motives and the validity of these so-called ‘plates’.
Here is part of Mr. Thonemann’s reply to Mr. Elkington:
The text on your bronze tablet, therefore, makes no sense in its own right, but has been extracted unintelligently from another longer text (as if it were inscribed with the words: ‘t to be that is the question wheth’). The longer text from which it derives is a perfectly ordinary tombstone from Madaba in Jordan which happens to have been on display in the Amman museum for the past fifty years or so. The text on your bronze tablet is repeated, in part, in three different places, meaningless in each case.
The only possible explanation is that the text on the bronze tablet was copied directly from the inscription in the museum at Amman by someone who did not understand the meaning of the text of the inscription, but was simply looking for a plausible-looking sequence of Greek letters to copy. He copied that sequence three times, in each case mixing up the letters alpha and lambda.
This particular bronze tablet is, therefore, a modern forgery, produced in Jordan within the last fifty years. I would stake my career on it.
Ok, so click here and then read down to the post titled: “HEBREW-INSCRIBED-METAL-CODICES WATCH: A FAKE”. I tend to agree with some of the commentary that I have been reading that is critical of these plates. I’m probably about 95% convinced that they are indeed very well-crafted fakes. Well, physically crafted at least; the forgers apparently went through all this trouble and didn’t even read what it was that they were writing.
Too bad though. I believe there are so many more amazing and astounding things left to be discovered, but it’s too bad that there are people out there that are dishonest and do so much harm to the acceptance of truly genuine artifacts out there that may prove to be just as controversial.
As for now, I’m probably not going to post any more news about these ‘plates’ until we can ascertain 100% one way or the other just what these things really are. It’s made for a fun few days though ;)
Updated: April 4, 2011
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- The cave is less than 100 miles from Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered
- 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.
- Many of the books are sealed on all sides with metal rings, suggesting they were not intended to be opened.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Israeli Antiquities Authority believed the booklets were forgeries on the basis that nothing like them had been discovered before.
- 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.
- Jordan is trying to do everything is can to get the records returned to them.
- 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.
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…
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:
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