A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe is probably one of my favorite books in the whole wide world. Is it the be-all, end-all, of all things ever? Nope. So what’s the big deal about it? It is a “switch-flipper” an “ah-HA!” generator and an incredibly fun read!
Latter-day Saints are a people that are swimming in a world of symbolic meaning, especially those that attend the temple, but how many really ‘get it’? The problem is with the way that we think and author Denver Snuffer hit it right on the head:
“Exposure to the culture of ceremony and symbols is a priceless advantage to anyone coming from a secularized and demythologized society. The power in the temple’s rites and symbols, lies in the reorientation of the individual and their minds from what is in society today to a different setting and different world-view…one in which you are prepared for companionship with those who, behind the veil, live in a culture of symbols and ceremony where deep meanings and eternal patterns are seen endlessly.” (Denver Snuffer, The Second Comforter: Conversing with the Lord through the Veil, Millcreek Press, pps. 260-61; 374-75)
I love that quote. In our “secular and demythologized society” we are dense to anything beyond what we see in front of us. Want evidence? Think of any number, how about the number 5. What doctrinal concepts come to mind? How is the number five used throughout the universe, and what properties does it have? What principles are communicated through its attributes?
If you are thinking, “Uhhhhh…” then you just proved my point.
It is hard to know where to begin, but I believe that this book, “A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe” is a wonderful place to start. I believe that it does a phenomenal job of flipping that switch in your mind that will help you understand symbolic things and see truths hidden in plain sight!
The author, Michael S. Schneider is a mathematician and the purpose of his work can be beneficial to anyone regardless of their particular belief system because he is looking at the numbers 1-10 from a mathematical foundation and then simply following where the number leads into astronomy, geology, biology, art, music, architecture, myth, legend and so much more!
Once you begin to see how everything is connected and understand that everything in existence, seen or unseen is created with the numbers 1-9, you immediately begin to see the world differently.
Suddenly the world becomes a very exciting place and everything in it can begin to speak to you. If you are a Latter-day Saint and enter a highly symbolic place like the temple, you’re going to be in for quite an enlightening experience. You will see things you never noticed before and you will begin to be able to “read” the temple as it was intended.
The author is not a member of the LDS faith and LDS temples themselves are not mentioned in this work, but the self-evident qualities of number explored in this book translate incredibly into our symbology which is based on the same principles.
The book is structured a lot like a school textbook. There are tons of pictures and things you can try or make to experiment and “play” with the numbers in physical forms using a square and compass, paper strips, piano wire strung between nails to “hear” the numbers and a lot more. The first time I read the book it took me a week and I couldn’t put it down.
I do believe that this incredible book is an essential addition to every Latter-day Saint home or especially for anyone who associates with symbolism through religion, scripture, sacred rites or sacred architecture. I think even young teenagers would get a kick out of it.
You can pick up a copy for about $12 on Amazon so it’s a steal as far as books go. I have purchased copies for just about everyone in my family and have two copies myself (mine and another I lend out). Trust me, just buy this book, read it and enjoy how interesting everything in the world suddenly becomes ;)
If you would like to explore some LDS symbolism right now for free, head on over to LDSSymbols.com and share it with your friends!