I have not yet seen the film The Tree of Life although the title alone draws my interest. This particular sequence depicts the creation in a manner that is very similar to the creation sequence in the presentation of the LDS temple endowment. In both instances, we see the earth being organized and life appearing.
In this Hollywood version, we see the process of evolution being depicted and I realize that some people might have a problem with that. Personally, I do not have any problems with evolution being part of the creation process (that’s a whole other subject) but if you do, I invite you to focus on the symbolism, the principles and overall beauty of the story being told here and the surprising little gem towards the end.
At 12 minutes in you have this really powerful and thought-provoking scene that seems to be symbolically depicting the first act of grace or mercy where one dinosaur decides to not kill another one that is evidently injured or dying. What makes the scene striking is how such a thing does not fit within the law of the jungle.
In a creative twist, showing an act of mercy coming from a dinosaur rather than a human is making a bold statement. It is unexpected and makes the principle stand out even more.
It is a moment where compassion, this sense of caring and love enters the scene of creation for the first time. Like the temple video, I think we can pause on being literalistic and appreciate the principles being symbolically illustrated. Indeed, if we are to be instructed by symbolic teaching at all, we must suspend literalism and learn to view things from many facets.
All in all, I absolutely love this entire sequence and was quite amazed to find something of this nature coming out of Hollywood.Go to Comments
The Interpreter Foundation has announced the availability of the videos of the presentations given at the 2014 Temple on Mount Zion Conference which took place on 25 October 2014 in Provo, Utah. Videos of each of the presentations are now available for free viewing on The Interpreter Foundation’s YouTube channel, or on MormonInterpreter.com. They are also embedded below for your convenience. There is also a YouTube playlist available of the conference presentations. The conference proceedings will also be published in book form in the future.
Donald W. Parry’s Introduction to the 2014 Temple on Mount Zion ConferenceGo to Comments
I love symbols, and I love spirals and how they are used in architectural symbolism. The following videos are not about architectural symbolism, but the principles that are presented are worthy of consideration on a whole myriad of levels.
Vi Hart, the woman presenting the videos talks a little fast which can be a little irritating but I love how she explores spirals so these are definitely worth the watch. All the information builds up to a very interesting theory as to why these numbers appear in nature and I think it’s spot on.
There are some really interesting implications behind what she presents here that apply to many different topics, but I’ll let you ponder those things for yourself ;)
Video 3Go to Comments
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 PostGo to Comments
I was listening to the This Week in Mormons Podcast when I heard this chapel mentioned. As I looked at the photos, some things stuck out to me.
I wish there were some better photos of this chapel. The only ones I could find were small and, unfortunately, dark and look like they were taken with a camera phone.
I’d like to see a better view of the front of this building, especially the very front were there are 3 areas with some kind of “cross” or “T-like” motifs towards the top. The number three is connected to the following doctrines or themes:
- Beginning, Middle, End
- Past, Present, Future
Symbolically speaking, the numbers 3, 4 and 8 are perhaps the most appropriate to be featured on a chapel considering the purposes of which it exists. 3 signifies divine unity while four expresses mortality and perhaps the Aaronic priesthood in that the square is a sign associate with this authority. Eight is a symbol connected with rebirth and especially Christ and we see a lot of the number eight in LDS chapel construction.
I love the fact that there are Read Full PostGo to Comments
This list was obtained from a blog post over at Gently Hew Stone.
The first impression I got was to scrutinize the list but it appears that these were very wisely chosen. I did something similar back in the mission field where I created a pamphlet that summarized each book in the Book of Mormon.
It’s very interesting through exercises like these to observe how Christ-centered the Book of Mormon is. I really like this version where particular scriptures sum up entire books of the Book of Mormon though so here it is. Read Full PostGo to Comments
Eagles and Angels
Now I realize that Tolkien’s trilogy “Lord of the Rings” is fiction, but I remember wondering at the end of Return of the King, “Why couldn’t the eagles have just flown the ring to Mordor and drop it into Mount Doom”? Every now and then I’ll read a similar criticism here and there online or in discussing the topic with friends.
This past Tuesday I was reading in 1 Nephi 3 where after two failed attempts at retrieving the brass plates, an angel intervenes to stop Nephi’s enraged brothers from beating him. The angel appears and says:
“Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities? Behold ye shall go up to Jerusalem again, and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.” (vs. 29)
Just for kicks I pondered the question, Read Full PostGo to Comments
There are at least five core elements that are used in the ordinance of the sacrament. Back on June 16th of this year I took down some ideas in my notebook concerning them so here they are. I will also be placing any number that I think is numerically significant next to the title.
1. Altar or Table (4, 1, 2)
- A place where heaven and earth are bridged via covenants.
- Altar: Zabach (Hebrew) – “to slaughter an animal”.
- The life of the animal is represented by its blood.
- Altars are temples in their most simple form, and the covenants made at them can vary.
- We place things on the altar to be completely consumed, we do not expect to see them again. It is expected that all ungodliness is treated this way. Read Full Post
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.Go to Comments
Well, I guess this is “brother-in-law” day today at oneClimbs! I owe this post to Brad who emailed this to me a few hours ago, and I also posted The Enchiridion by Epictetus from my other brother-in-law.
I’ve seen the older version of this “Scale of the Universe” presentation and the new one is even better. I think it is awesome because it illustrates just how large or small we are depending on what perspective you are coming from.
I think that it is also interesting to note that this spectrum of size has a beginning and an end. I guess we assume that there must be a “smallest” particle and there must be a point to where to have the largest thing; but why do we assume this? Perhaps eternity isn’t just a linear thing as we usually suppose, but maybe things are eternal on scale as well. Is eternity something that exists in all directions?
Maybe there is something to this. In another article I was comparing the human body (a microcosmos) to the universe (a macrocosmos) and noting the similarities.
[In observing a photo of thousands of galaxies], I wonder if that is how a field of atoms would look like if you were able to see such a sight up close with your naked eye. Trillions of electrons orbiting nuclei through the vast cosmos of your body; each like a miniature solar system or galaxy with a vast (comparatively speaking) sea of nothing in between; the same nothing that fills the void of space. But we know each of these systems were not ‘big banged’ into existence; every birth of a child is the intentional organization of a whole new microcosmos, a literal universe of atomic particles on a smaller scale. (Link)
It gets more interesting when you understand another truth, that our bodies are constituted of individual intelligences separate from our own. Though we don’t know very much about these “intelligences” we do know some things. God has said that our bodies are of the dust, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Genesis 3:19)
In Helaman 12:7, man is condemned for being less than the dust of the earth, “O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth”. It is furthermore stated, that “the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God.” (Helaman 12:8).
The only way this comparison could be made is if free will and obedience were in play. You cannot compare something intelligent to something that is not. Comparing a man to a rock isn’t fair if the rock is just dead matter. Dust moves at the command of God, and I don’t think that this means he is using “supernatural” power to move things. That’s not how he works.
In the Genesis account of the creation, God is creating by speaking to things. Why speak if you can just force things to obey your will? The answer is revealed in Abraham 4:18 where it states that “…the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed.”
Everything is based on agency. D&C 93:30 states that “All intelligence is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.” So here we have a class of beings that are perhaps “smaller” than man if we consider that we are made of a practically innumerable host of intelligences.
Looking into the other direction we know of at least one being larger than that of man: the earth.
According to the Book of Moses we have an account of Enoch hearing the voice of the earth cry out.
And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying: Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face? And when Enoch heard the earth mourn, he wept, and cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, wilt thou not have compassion upon the earth? Wilt thou not bless the children of Noah? (Moses 7:48-49)
The earth is made up of not only the intelligences of the “dust” but also another class of intelligences: mankind. It could be that perhaps this idea that the earth “speaks” is just allegorical, but you have to note the similarities between the path of salvation for man and the earth.
The earth was created of the dust, just like man. The earth fell from glory, just like man and was baptized in the flood and will be baptized by fire in the second coming of Christ and become a Celestial Kingdom. The earth seems to have a life cycle of its own and thinking further, this makes one wonder if the universe itself is also a living thing.
What it life? What is intelligence? How vast is the atonement and how could a single intelligence atone for it all. These are big questions that I hope we find answers to one day.
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