Old Testament

Jan 14, 2013
4 min read

A Few Notes About Temple-related Clothing From the Temple Institute

All of the notes below are taken directly from the Temple Institute which is an organization seeking to rebuild the third temple on Mount Moriah.


the-temple-institute

Moses was instructed by G-d that the garments of the priests were to be both dignified and beautiful; as precious as the garments of royalty. Indeed, the Talmud informs us that when the wicked Persian king Ahasuerus made a feast for his advisors and officers and sought to impress them with his greatness (as recorded in the scroll of Esther, which tells the story of Purim) he put off his own royal vestments and donned the uniform of the High Priest… which was more precious than his own. These priestly garments were in his possession since the First Temple had been destroyed byRead Full Post

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Jan 6, 2013
1 min read

VIDEO: Mormonism and the Temple: Examining an Ancient Religious Tradition – UPDATED: Jan 23, 2013

The following is taken straight from TempleStudy.com, thanks Bryce for putting these videos together in one place.

The conference “Mormonism and the Temple: Examining an Ancient Religious Tradition,” which took place on October 29, 2012 in Logan, Utah, was filmed, and some of the videos are now available for free in 1080p HD resolution on the Academy for Temple Studies YouTube channel, the Academy’s TempleStudies.org website, as well as embedded below here. The rest of the presenters’ videos are forthcoming.

***Four new videos added Jan 23, 2013: 

  • Laurence Hemming – “Chapel, Church, Temple, Cathedral: Lost Parallels”
  • John Hall – “Ancient Mediterranean Temple Ceremonies”
  • Le Grande Davies – “Temples—Bridges of Eternity”
  • John L. Fowles – “The Temple, The Book of Revelation, and Joseph Smith”

Introduction – Gary N. Anderson & Philip Barlow

Panel Discussion – “Introduction to Temple Studies”

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Dec 31, 2012
5 min read

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

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

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

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

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Jul 22, 2012
4 min read

Isaiah Explained by Avraham Gileadi

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. [5] 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.

4 Comments
Feb 3, 2012
6 min read

Challenging some peculiar ideas about peculiar people

“LOL, ROFL” ok, got it out of your system? As tired as this old cliché is, I think it is high time we bury it. I understand that it can be fun sometimes to play on misunderstandings of words, but when I hear people in a Gospel Doctrine setting or church talk perpetuate the peculiar = weird idea as doctrine I think we need to get our heads out of the cartoons for a while.

By continuing to perpetrate the idea that ‘peculiar’ means ‘odd’ or ‘weird’ we not only teach false doctrine, we corrupt our own understandingRead Full Post

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Jan 8, 2012
11 min read

The Justified Slaying of Laban

Today was the first day of Sunday School for the new year and each year we begin the study of a new collection of scripture. The cycle repeats itself over four years, so we spend two years on the Bible, one on the Old Testament and one on the New Testament. Then we spend two years on restoration scripture, one on the Book of Mormon and one on the Doctrine and Covenants and a collection of various scriptures referred to as “The Pearl of Great Price”.

We just finished up the Book of Revelation in the New Testament in December so this next year invites us to a full study of the Book of Mormon. Part of what we covered today was the beheading of Laban by Nephi, a dramatic event that any new reader to the Book of Mormon encounters almost immediately.

In the beginning of the narrative, Nephi, a young man of unknown age is living peaceably in the city of Jerusalem and just a short time later, he stands before the drunken body of Laban as the Lord commands him to slay the man; what a contrast of situations for anyone to be placed in!Read Full Post

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Jan 3, 2012
8 min read

Sustaining the servants of the Lord

We do a lot of sustaining in the church and by sustaining I am speaking in terms of raising our arms to the square to indicate our willingness to support those called by the Lord via priesthood authority to positions in the church. There is much more to sustaining than meets the eye and when we understand more about this principle it can help us truly fulfill what we are actually promising by lifting an arm.

Sustaining in church

“All of those in favor, please indicate by the uplifted hand.” says a member of the priesthood leadership on some Sabbath day morning, to which a congregation will usually raise their arms to the square indicating their approval.

This same ritual is repeated time and time again, usually each Sabbath day as new callings are announced and presented before the congregation out of respect for the doctrine of common consent. Joseph Smith once said: “No man can presideRead Full Post

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Jul 31, 2011
18 min read

The Everlasting and Eternal God

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

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Jan 10, 2011
4 min read

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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Nov 22, 2010
64 min read

Atonement and the sacred thou at the center of Joseph Smith’s Revelations by Blake T. Ostler

Visit http://blakeostler.com/ for more books, articles and information about Blake T. Ostler

by Blake T. Ostler

Blake T. Ostler

It is significant, for reasons that I will explain shortly, that Joseph Smith did not arrive at his understanding based on a theological analysis. Given his penchant for the prophetic, it is understandable that his views are not expressed as a systematic logic of carefully crafted axioms and assumptions. His ideas are not the result of logical calculation but of sacred revelation, not of evidential proof but of intimate experience. His views are expressed as rhetorical exhortations and devotional observations rather than analysis and argument. His religious vision was more like sparks flying from a flint wheel than a seamless fabric of postulates and premises. However, these sparks did not careen off the wheel at random; rather, they flashed in a common direction and in interesting patterns. His insights are like embers of thought deep in the heart seeking to catch fire; like fuel for creative contemplation.Read Full Post

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Nov 15, 2010
3 min read

Holocaust

What does “holocaust” mean? Most people might instantly without thinking throw out a reference to the mass slaughter of humans (esp. Jews) by the Nazis during World War 2.

To illustrate, a person on Yahoo Answers asked the question: “Why is the holocaust called the ‘holocaust?” To which the ‘best answer chosen’ was:

“Because the word “holocaust” means “an act of mass destruction,” in the case of “The” Holocaust it was the mass destruction of 11 million lives.”

Technically the word “holocaust” doesn’t mean “an act of mass destruction.” That may be what the general understanding of the word today is, but words are complex things and most often have intriguing histories behind them.

Let’s turn to a modern dictionary to find out. Dictionary.com defines “holocaust” as:

  1. a great or complete devastation or destruction, esp. by fire.
  2. a sacrifice completely consumed by fire; burnt offering.
  3. (usually initial capital letter) the systematic massslaughter of European Jews in Nazi concentration campsduring World War II (usually prec. by the ).
  4. any mass slaughter or reckless destruction of life.

Sounds pretty much like what we would have expected to find inRead Full Post

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Sep 20, 2010
33 min read

The Two Trees

by Valerie Hudson Cassler

[Author’s Note: This presentation was given with an accompanying PowerPoint that utilized visuals to illustrate the points being made…Also, as a transcript of an oral address, the speech is more colloquial than an academic would normally use; my apologies.]

I’m delighted to be here today with you at FAIR. I think I came last year with Ralph Hancock and Richard Sherlock and we talked a little bit about SquareTwo. [Slide Two, on SquareTwo, is shown.] So to repeat the refrain may I simply remind you that SquareTwo is aiming to be the best online journal of LDS thought concerning the important issues of the world today. Our articles and comments are always reviewed. When we’ve had extremely controversial issues discussed, we’ve had up to 50,000 viewers of our various articles. In fact, just in our last spring issue, the very last issue, we had one of the only articles written about polygamy by a faithful Mormon woman. So there is a female perspective on polygamy, perspective such as D&C 132 makes it absolutely plain that polygamy is an Abrahamic sacrifice. And from what we know of Abrahamic sacrifices, they are always temporally bounded and there is always a ram in the thicket, whether that be in this life or the next life. And that is why we do not baptize those who are living polygamously even in countries where that practice is legal, because outside of a commandment to perform an Abrahamic sacrifice, an Abrahamic sacrifice is always an abomination. However, monogamy is never an abomination; it is rather one of the chief blessings of God. So that’s one of the things you can lay on some of those 16 year old girls who ask you.1

All right, let’s get to the real talk here. I didn’t join the Church because I was a feminist, butRead Full Post

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Aug 14, 2010
3 min read

The Brass Plates vs. The Old Testament

  • 1 Nephi 13:23

And he said: Behold it proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew. And I, Nephi, beheld it; and he said unto me: The book that thou beholdest is a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets; and it [The Bible] is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many; nevertheless, they contain the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; wherefore, they are of great worth unto the Gentiles.

I heard a recent story about two Latter-day Saints arguing about whether the records of the Old Testament we have today were more numerous than the Brass Plates that the Nephites had. Now, the brass plates did only go up to Jeremiah, but Genesis to Jeremiah is 1020 pages (in the LDS edition of the Old Testament), and from Lamentations to Malachi is 164 pages. Let’s say, just for fun, that the Old Testament we currently have is 100% complete, well then the Nephites were only missing about 7% of the Old Testament.

Consider the other prophets quoted from the Brass Plates mentioned in the Book of Mormon that we do not have record of in the Old Testament: Zenos, Zenock, Neum, and Ezias (1 Nephi 19:10; Helaman 8:20) as well asRead Full Post

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