Stefan Molyneux is someone that I enjoy listening to for his perspectives on various topics. This was an interesting conversation between Stefan and Dr. Duke Pesta where they are discussing the 10 Commandments and I thought that there were some really interesting points made that Latter-day Saints might find useful.
One of my favorite lines from the video: “When you get rid of the big rules we end up with the tyranny of little rules.”
We talk a lot about receiving and following revelation, but I’ve learned in my experience that the process itself is not as simple at it may first seem. There are real dangers involved because not all revelation that crosses our path comes from God.
The word revelation in Greek is apokalupsis and means “disclosure:–appearing, coming, lighten, manifestation.” The English word revelation comes to us from the French revelare around the 1300s and means to “unveil, uncover, lay bare.”  In its plainest sense, when revelation is happening, we are basically seeing something that was unseen before.
The trick is determining what exactly we are looking at, its source, and what we should do with it, if anything. If we simply swallow any new information without vetting it first, we are going to have potentially disastrous problems.Read Full Post
Credit to JR Ganymede for bringing this to my attention (love that blog) and credit to Albert Jay Nock who wrote this essay in The Atlantic Monthly in 1936 (full essay). While the context of the original essay was political, I want to use Nock’s interesting summation of Isaiah’s situation to point out something related to the Book of Mormon. Here’s the excerpt that I’m drawn to:
In the year of Uzziah’s death, the Lord commissioned the prophet to go out and warn the people of the wrath to come. “Tell them what a worthless lot they are.” He said, “Tell them what is wrong, and why and what is going to happen unless they have a change of heart and straighten up. Don’t mince matters. Make it clear that they are positively down to their last chance. Give it to them good and strong and keep on giving it to them. I suppose perhaps I ought to tell you,” He added, “that it won’t do any good. The official class and their intelligentsia will turn up their noses at you and the masses will not even listen. They will all keep on in their own ways until they carry everything down to destruction, and you will probably be lucky if you get out with your life.”
Isaiah had been very willing to take on the job — in fact, he had asked for it — but the prospect put a new face on the situation. It raised the obvious question: Why, if all that were so — if the enterprise were to be a failure from the start — was there any sense in starting it?
“Ah,” the Lord said, “you do not get the point. There is a Remnant there that you know nothing about. They are obscure, unorganized, inarticulate, each one rubbing along as best he can. They need to be encouraged and braced up because when everything has gone completely to the dogs, they are the ones who will come back and build up a new society; and meanwhile, your preaching will reassure them and keep them hanging on. Your job is to take care of the Remnant, so be off now and set about it.”
So, I like this quite a bit and while you might find some inspiration to get you through today’s politically heated climate, turn your thoughts to the Book of Mormon. I would say that Isaiah’s mission mirrors several others in the Book of Mormon and five-six in particular come to mind: Lehi, Abinadi, Samuel, Nephi (the disciple), and Mormon/Moroni.
In each of these cases, they spoke to civilizations that each ended in destruction – they were the final warning. Their primary audience in large part, or in some cases, entirely, rejected their words but those words were carried to a remnant. Isaiah the prophet influenced each of these key players in Book of Mormon history, including Samuel. They were all involved in going forth to proclaim an unpopular message to a people that would turn their backs, but they were obedient nonetheless.
How much did reading and understanding Isaiah’s words give them the confidence to follow through with the Lord’s instructions? Did focusing on “the Remnant” help them to stand strong and even suffer death by fire to maintain their convictions? If so, think of what that can mean for us today when we find ourselves before a troubled world. Isaiah saw our day and so did the people of the Book of Mormon, perhaps that is a reason why their words are interwoven in the record we have before us today.
True are the words from Steven Kapp Perry’s song, “From Cumorah’s hill there comes a witness and a warning…”
To understand Isaiah better, I personally recommend brother Avraham Gileadi’s excellent translation and commentary of Isaiah that can be found free of charge at IsaiahExplained.com. Reading a modern translation straight from the Hebrew without the framework of “King James English” is phenomenal. Isaiah comes through clear as a bell and you’ll better understand why the Book of Mormon prophets and Jesus himself valued his words so much.
Zeal isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I think it tends to amplify our actions whether they are misguided or on point. Sometimes we can focus too much on the letter that we miss the spirit, or the weightier matters. Those are some the lessons reflected on in this great video from the Messages of Christ YouTube Channel.
Because of the weakness and imperfections of human nature, and the great frailties of man; for such is the weakness of man, an such his frailties, that he is liable to sin continually, and if God were not long suffering, and full of compassion, gracious and merciful and of a forgiving disposition, man would be cut off from before him in consequence of which he would be in continual doubt and could not exercise faith: for where doubt is, there faith has no power, but by man’s believing that God is full of compassion and forgiveness, long suffering and slow to anger, he can exercise faith in him and overcome doubt, so as to be exceedingly strong. (Lecture 3, Question 18)
One of the six characteristics of God mentioned in Lecture 3 of Lectures on Faith is mercy. In describing mercy, we see terms like long suffering, compassion, graciousness, forgiving and slow to anger. I think much of mercy can be expressed in the word patience. Noah Webster defined patience as:
PATIENCE, noun pa’shens. [Latin patientia, from patior, to suffer.]
1. The suffering of afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, provocation or other evil, with a calm, unruffled temper; endurance without murmuring or fretfulness. patience may spring from constitutional fortitude, from a kind of heroic pride, or from christian submission to the divine will.
2. A calm temper which bears evils without murmuring or discontent.
3. The act or quality of waiting long for justice or expected good without discontent.
4. Perseverance; constancy in labor or exertion.
5. The quality of bearing offenses and injuries without anger or revenge.
As a disposition of God, it is clear that this is something that we must develop on our own. It seems that patience is impossible to develop without situations that require it. Patience is, in fact, a response to afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, provocation or evil. Patience must be developed, and it seems that it cannot exist without there being situations that require it.
In other words, you are not going to sit and tolerate something difficult unless Read Full Post
A friend of mine was interested in the symbolism of the beehive and bees so I sent him this article.
We were talking about John the Baptist and how he ate locusts and honey and what that might have meant. Then some lights started going on and I thought of something I hadn’t considered before. I haven’t thought this whole thing through yet, but here are some of my initial ideas.
Throughout the scriptures, we see teaching through contrast and complimentary opposition. Themes of chaos/disorder/cursings are juxtaposed with themes of creation/order/blessings. For an example, look up the word “otherwise” as it is used in the Book of Mormon. That’s a great keyword to see where these contrasting themes are presented, here are a few examples:Read Full Post
“…lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not…” – Moroni 7:19
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:21
The scriptures encourage us to seek after that which is good and there are ways explained that illustrate how we can do that.
Like many kids, I enjoyed collecting things such as baseball cards, coins, rocks, fossils, etc. Over the years my interests changed; I no longer collect any of the things that I valued so highly as a child.
What I have enjoyed collecting over the course of my adult life is truth.
The scriptural admonitions that encourage me to lay “hold” on good things drive me to dig and discover the good in everything I explore. If you think about it, truth and good are not hard to find, but they can be difficult toRead Full Post
In the King James Version of the Bible, we find the terms “Holy Ghost” and “Holy Spirit,” while in modern translations we typically see only “Holy Spirit” used. Technically, the modern translations are more correct since the Greek words behind Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit are actually the same. So let me repeat this important fact: in the New Testament, there is no distinction between the words (pneuma= ghost, spirit; hagion = holy) that are translated as Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit.
In LDS theology, having these two terms is helpful because we actually do make a distinction between the personage in the Godhead and his influence. Though this distinction exists, the terms do not seem to beRead Full Post
When I was bored in middle and high school (which was very common) I would often read dictionaries, which sounds boring, but I loved discovering new words and ideas. When I was a teenager, I read and studied the entire Bible Dictionary and it provided me with greater knowledge and enlightenment that I had ever achieved up to that point in my life.
The Bible Dictionary is a sealed book to many Latter-day Saints because I suspect that few have ever read it or really delved into the great stuff that’s there.
There are two definitions of the Bible Dictionary that have impacted my life more than any others: the section on prayer and the section on repentance. As the years have gone by, I have realized how powerfully interconnected these two principles are as I have come to understand the doctrines they are built upon.
I’m going to share the small excerpts from the full definitions that I think everyone can really benefit from!
“…the words of Isaiah are “not plain” to men, but they become plain when understood through the spirit of prophecy – the Holy Spirit”
Avraham Gileadi, The Book of Isaiah: A New Translation with Interprative Keys from the Book of Mormon, p.12
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 Post
What do Goliath, Laban and global, latter-day secret combinations often referred to as the “New World Order” all have in common?
Their stories all end the same way and the scriptures show us exactly how.
The Philistine champion, Goliath of Gath, fell to a shepherd boy named David who stood in front of him and prophesied:
“This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee;” 1 Samuel 17:46
Moments later the prophecy was fulfilled when David dropped Goliath with a single blow to the head with a stone and then:
“…David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith.” 1 Samuel 17:51
Goliath, a nine foot “giant” whose presence caused every Israelite soldier to tremble lay there in the dirt, beheaded by his own sword.
The sons of Lehi who were charged with securing plates of brass that contained the holy scriptures which were intended to instruct countless millions over 1000 years in a new land. Laban, also a military man of sorts was a Goliath-like threat that stood between them and this sacred record. After threatening to murder Lehi’s sons twice and violently robbing them of their wealth, Read Full Post
The following article is from TempleStudy.com
Professor William J. Hamblin has offered some good starting points in considering the relationship between the ancient Israelite temple ritual and the modern day LDS temple endowment. It is from this vantage point that we should approach trying to understand these ancient ritual systems and the connections they might have with the Latter-day Saints temple ritual.
“When considering the possible relationship between ancient Israelite temple system and the LDS Endowment, the first thing to note is the basic purpose of the ancient temple was to reconcile Israel with God and bring all Israel (represented by the twelve stones inscribed with the tribal names) back into the presence of God (that is recapitulating the Sinai theophany), symbolically represented by the Holy Place and Holy of Holies within the veil.
“The second thing to note is that Israel had exoteric rituals in the outer courtyard of the temple which could be witnessed by all (though only priests officiated). Esoteric rituals performed inside the temple itself could only be performed and witnessed by priests. LDS Endowment broadly corresponds to the esoteric rituals performed inside the temple, not the exoteric rituals performed outside. The ancient exoteric Israelite temple rituals correspond with the LDS weekly sacrament (the bread/wine offering of the Israelite temple).” (William Hamblin, Mormon Scripture Explorations)
Another important point to realize is that Christ was the last great blood sacrifice when He came in the meridian of time and offered the Atonement, which ended sacrifice by the shedding of blood (3 Ne. 9:19; cf.Mosiah 13:27; Alma 34:13; 3 Ne. 15:2–10). Since Christ was the last blood sacrifice (all precursors pointing to Him), from that point onward the outward nature of sacrificial ritual changed, but still pointing towards Christ, and still a sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit (3 Ne. 9:20–22; Psalms 51:16–17;Psalms 34:18).
See the gallery below for various artists’ depictions of the rituals inside the ancient Israelite temple. Click each image to enlarge.
“…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38)
I love this verse on many levels. We learn that God was with Jesus and “anointed” him with the Holy Spirit and with power. There are two simple things that Jesus is described as doing:
- Going about doing good
- Healing those oppressed by the devil
As Latter-day disciples of Jesus, what should this say about our core purpose in daily life? What if we simply focused on just doing good and healing where possible?
by Truman G. Madsen
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Reprinted by permission from By Study and Also By Faith: Essays in Honor of Hugh W. Nibley on the Occasion of His Eightieth Birthday (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1990), 1:458–81.
Aristotle observed that “nothing is by nature a name or a noun.” That is, words or word-names have no inherent or necessary meaning. Instead they are arbitrarily assigned to objects or persons. For different reasons, it is a standard view today that names, as well as concrete or abstract terms, are no more than a flatus vocis, a mere sound.
This tendency to reduce language to whimsical convention without concern for more profound origins may be symptomatic of the secularization of men and even the trivialization of life itself. At any rate, it reflects a diminishing of the religious consciousnessRead Full Post
It always amazes me how we acknowledge the historical certainty of the rise and fall of nations in the past, but we don’t seem to think that the same fate is an eventuality today.
Sure, men wanted to take over the world back then, but not today.
Sure, there were men trying to take over the world in the last century, but not today.
Sure, the newly appointed (unelected) “President” of the European Union, Herman Van Rompuy, recently stated: “2009 is also the first year of global governance, with the establishment of the G20 in the middle of the financial crisis. The climate conference in Copenhagen is another step towards the global management of our planet.”
To think that we will ever be at the mercy of power hungry men bent on world domination and global plunder is surely just some kind of crazy conspiracy theory isn’t it?
I could not more highly recommendRead Full Post
First off, let’s start with the word “worry”, it actually doesn’t appear anywhere in the King James Bible. In Matthew 6, however we see the phrase “take no thought” which is often translated as “don’t worry” or something along those lines. The Greek word used as the source of these translations is “merimnao” which means “to be anxious about”.
If we take the word “anxious” and look it up in the good ‘ol 1828 Dictionary it can mean that one is “Greatly concerned or solicitous, respecting something future or unknown; being in painful suspense;” What purpose does worry serve? I can understand worry because I often find myself plaguedRead Full Post
I have felt lost at various points in my life; for different reasons and in different ways. I would like to focus specifically on the question of “Where does one begin?” in the context of finding the point in which one begins to return to God and in what manner it is done.
When I began, my path was full of detours, looking beyond the mark and simply being confused in mists of darkness. If I had understood the scriptures properly I might have found what I was looking for earlier on, but fortunately, we have a very patient and intensely wise Father in Heaven who never gives up on us.
So here we go then; I hope the information provided here can be of help to others that are searching as I was.Read Full Post
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.
Every now and then I come across a comment, an article or a discussion about the Eternal nature of God and what it means. This subject has always been very thought-provoking to me so I’d like to put down some thoughts on the matter.
Some who question Church doctrine quote Moroni 7:22 and Mosiah 3:5 which read:
Moroni 7:22 – For Behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting…
Mosiah 3:5 – …who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity…
These scriptures are brought up and compared to an excerpt from Joseph Smith’s “King Follet Sermon” where Joseph states:Read Full Post