Monthly Archives: September 2012

My funny kids

On Sunday we had our Ward Conference, so the Stake Presidency, along with many other stake leaders, were there. My oldest son (10-years-old) asked me after Church if I knew the Stake President. I said yes, and he said the next time I am bishop I need to ask him for his autograph. I asked why, and he said, “because he’s the stake president!”

Funny stuff! The first thing is the “next time you’re the bishop” like he just assumed it would happen. The other thing is that he thinks the Stake President is “famous” enough to get his autograph.

I sent an email to the Stake President to let him know that, and he thought it was pretty funny. He said that years ago someone had asked him to get a General Authority to sign something (he didn’t say what it was), and the GA told him that President Hinckley had asked them not to sign things since they aren’t rock stars.

The other funny thing was on Monday at Family Home Evening. My 4-year-old daughter was in charge of the lesson so we told her to get The Friend magazine and pick something. She saw a story with a picture of Jesus and she wanted to read that. I helped her with the lesson and asked a few questions about Jesus. I started off by asking where Jesus was born. My oldest son said Jerusalem. I told him it was a very close answer, but there was specific place the scriptures mention. After a few seconds my daughter blurted out, “Agrabah!” (For those that don’t know, that where Disney’s Aladdin took place). Perhaps that is why there was a party in Agrabah 🙂

Old Testament Institute Lesson – Week 1 (Introduction, Genesis 1-2)

Religion 301 Old Testament Student Manual
Genesis through 2-Samuel

As I’ve mentioned before, my current calling is to be a Stake Institute Teacher. It is a very rewarding calling. I love meeting with the YSA and I love teaching, so it seems like a perfect calling.

Previously we have studied the Pearl of Great Price, the Book of Mormon, The Gospel and the Productive Life and Scripture Study – The Power of the Word. This school year, the overwhelming choice was to study the Old Testament.

I’ve decided that I will post my notes each week. Let me first say that I am not an expert on Old Testament language, geography, or anything else. In fact, I probably haven’t studied the Old Testament since I was a missionary. However, I love the gospel and I do prepare for my lessons, so they seem to go ok.

The notes that I share are just that… notes. If the students are interested in a specific scripture, we’ll spend more time talking about it. If they aren’t interested in something, we may go through it quickly.


Introduction

The Old Testament is read by many different religions. It can be viewed and interpreted in many different ways. Like all scripture, it is meant to help us grow closer to Christ. It is ok to have a view of the Old Testament that might not be the same as someone else, as long as it helps you grow closer to Christ. We also must accept that some people will have less orthodox views that us.

NOTE: The manual is rather old, so some quotes are “old school”

Read:

  • 2 Timothy 3: 15-17
  • 1 Nephi 17: 17-43
  • John 5: 39

Whenever ancient scriptures talk about scriptures, it is the Old Testament they are referring to.

It is sacred scripture

If it was important to them, is it still important for us now?

If it is important for us now, why is it so difficult to study?

  • Language
  • Genealogy
  • Parts have been fulfilled
  • Seems irrelevant

So what is there for us?

Think for a moment about yourself. Does your motivation to study the scriptures come from a desire to learn more about God and His dealings with His children? Are you seeking to draw power from the scriptures in order to perfect your life by coming  to Christ? Paul and Nephi have said that, like all other scriptures, the Old Testament will help you accomplish these goals. Do you want to learn more of God and those who were faithful to Him? Then search the stories of the prophets and patriarchs. Would you be inspired by examples of men and women who overcame their weaknesses and went on to perfection? Read of Joseph and Abraham and Sarah and Job and dozens of others. Would you like to find principles of daily living that bring you closer to God? They are there in abundance. Would you like to better know Jehovah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to earth as our Redeemer? Then turn to the Old Testament, for, like the other scriptures, it is a  witness of His divinity, His love, and His mercy.

Discuss “facts” about Old Testament

  • 66 books in current bible
  • 39 books in Old Testament
  • 27 books in New Testament
  • 4 categories of books
    1. Law – Genesis through Deuteronomy
      • Also Pentateuch or Torah
      • 5 books of Moses
      • Believed by Jews, Christians, Muslims
    2. History – Joshua through Esther
      • Most books contain history
      • This section deal almost entirely with history
    3. Poetry or Writings – Job through The Song of Solomon
      • Almost 1/3 of the Old Testament is poetry
    4. Prophecy – Isaiah through Malachi
      • The prophets spoke for Jehovah

What is the purpose of the Old Testament?

  • To help us see how God led/protected His people

Who was the God of the Old Testament?

  • Jehovah

Almost everything in the Old Testament bears witness of Christ

  • He speaks
  • His prophets speak and testify of Him
  • Even if there is a question of literalness, you still learn about Christ

Genesis Chapters 1 and 2

There are 3 accounts of the creation

  • Genesis 1-2
  • Moses 1-3
  • Abraham 4-5

The story of the creation has inspired people from the beginning of civilization

GO OVER THE DAYS OF THE CREATION AND WHAT WAS CREATED WHEN

Who created the Earth?

Abraham records that in the midst of “many of the noble and great” premortal spirits was one “like unto God,” who said to them, “We will go down . . . And We will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell” (Abraham 3:22, 24; emphasis added). This passage suggests that others besides Adam may have assisted in the Creation.

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith taught:

“It is true that Adam helped to form this earth. He labored with our Savior Jesus Christ. I have a strong view or conviction that there were others also who assisted them. Perhaps Noah and Enoch; and why  not Joseph Smith,and those who were appointed to  be rulers before the earth was formed? [Abraham 3:2–4.]”

Doctrines of Salvation,1:74–75

At what point was “man” and woman” created?

  • Genesis 1: 27 – male and female were created
  • Genesis 2: 19 – woman was created from man
  • Was this before or after the 7th day?
  • Genesis 2: 23-24 is the marriage of Adam and Eve

How as the Earth created?

  • We don’t know

The Garden of Eden

  • Meaning of Eden is not certain, but it might mean “delight” or “fruitful, well-watered”
  • Was Eden a place, and a garden was there? Was all of Eden a garden?

Definitions

  • Beginning
    • President Brigham Young explained:
      “When was there a beginning? There never was one; if there was, there will be an end; but there never was a beginning, and hence there will never be an end; that looks like eternity. When we talk about the beginning of eternity, it is rather simple conversation, and goes far beyond the capacity of man.”
      Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 47
    • When was the Earth created?
    • How long did it take?
    • A day is
      • 24 hours
      • 1000 years
      • An unspecified length of time
    • The church has no official stance on how long it took
  • Create
    • Formed, prepared, fashioned
  • Dominion
    • Rule
    • Authority
    • How should we treat what we have dominion over?
  • Replenish
    • How can you replenish if it wasn’t there?
    • Proper translation is “to fill”
    • Some people would say that the Earth is full. God has not said that yet
  • Man
    • Genesis 1: 27
    • God create man, male and female he created
    • A complete man is male and female person together
    • “‘And I, God said unto mine Only Begotten, which was with me from the beginning: Let us make man [not a separate man, but a complete man, which is husband and wife] in our image, after our likeness; and it was so.’ (Moses 2:26.) What a beautiful partnership! Adam and Eve were married for eternity by the Lord. Such a marriage extends beyond the grave. All peoples should call for this kind of marriage….
      “This is a partnership. Then when they had created them in the image of God, to them was given the eternal command, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it’ (Gen. 1:28), and as they completed this magnificent creation, they looked it over and pronounced it ‘good, very good’—something that isn’t to be improved upon by our modern intellectuals; the male to till the ground, support the family, to give proper leadership; the woman to cooperate, to bear the children, and to rear and teach them. It was ‘good, very good.’
      “And that’s the way the Lord organized it. This wasn’t an experiment. He knew what he was doing.”
      Spencer W. Kimball, “Speaking Today,” Ensign, Mar. 1976, p. 71
  • Evolution
    • Must remember role of Adam
    • There was a Fall and we needed a Savior
    • Theories change; policies change
    • Doctrine is eternal

Shark vs Fish

I saw this on a car window today. As a Christian, I’m not sure if I should be offended at this, or laugh at it. Since I’m not easily offended, I guess I’ll laugh 🙂

My Darwin Shark Ate Your Jesus Fish!

Elder Holland speaks at CES Devotional

Did you watch the devotional on Sunday night? I know it was for college-aged adults, but since it available on the Church web site, anyone can watch. I figured since I am a Stake Institute Teacher, it’d be good for me to know what the leaders are saying to the YSA.

It was fantastic! There was a 10-minute section of the middle where I wanted to yell out “Amen!” at the end of every statement. I’m not sure what the “title” of his talk was, but he spoke about how the scriptures are filled with examples of how God called his people to move to a place where things would be well. They would flee or escape and then settle and build. This time in world history we are not doing that. Rather than fleeing, we are attacking. We need to stand for what is right. It was great!

Here are my notes:

Elder Jeffrey R Holland

  • God is always calling the children of Israel to a place where things will be well
  • They would flee and seek, run and settle and escape and build
  • Our dispensation is different
  • It is a time of might accelerated change
  • We will never again flee
  • Zion is not where you are but how you live
  • Told 3 stores of “Babylon”
    1. Basketball player
      • told a story about a basketball player who left a team to play for another
      • when he returned to the original town to play, the people booed him
      • one fan said they checked their religion at the door and just were fans
      • for the establishment of Zip in the latter-days, you never check your religion at the door
      • We stand as witness at all times and in all places
    2. Girl with rainbow hair
      • spoke of seeing a girl that had hair the colour of all the flavors of sno-cones and lots of piercings
      • how we respond to someone like her needs to make things better
      • we can still have standards, but we need to live them and defend them in a righteous way
      • this is no small task to be able to compassionate, yet still stand up for what you believe to be right
      • there is a sheepfold, and we are all supposed to be in it
      • we can never dumb down our doctrine
    3. Story of family living in awful conditions
      • told a story about visiting a location and speaking with a member who was a policeman
      • the policeman talked about a situation where the family was living in horrible conditions
      • we need to take gospel values to our communities
      • we can’t solve every problem overnight
  • Israel, Israel, God is calling
  • we aren’t fleeing; we are attacking
  • when He comes again, I want to be caught living the gospel
  • God loves you and needs you

I’m looking forward to reading the text of Elder Holland’s talk when it is available.

Lego replica of Salt Lake Temple

I’ve mentioned before that my kids love LEGO. They thought Brick of Mormon Stories was awesome, and they were amazed by the great LEGO replica of the Bountiful Utah Temple. Well, here is another one to add to the list. The blog Sixteen Small Stones has posted pictures of someones replica of the Salt Lake Temple. It looks fantastic!

I love the golden LEGO figure on top 🙂

Be sure to follow the link above to see a larger image, along with several others.

NPR’s On Point – Mormon Moment

I think I’ve mentioned before that I go for a walk every day at lunch along the Niagara Parkway in Niagara Falls, Ontario (I work there). I usually listen to a podcast (sports talk show out of Toronto, various NPR shows, or Church-related shows). The other day I listened to an On Point episode from last week called The Mormon Moment. It was quite a good show. Host Tom Ashbrook had 3 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on to talk about how Mormons felt about this “moment” and what it meant to them and the Church. There was time for a few callers, and the questions were respectful. Unfortunately, many of the comments on the On Point web site are not.

If you have some time or like to listen to podcast while walkin/running or driving to work, you should definitely check it out.

Among the 200 most influential people in the world

On Saturday as we were out running some errands we stopped at a few garage sales. As is often the case, several of the garage sales had boxes of books. One place had an old book (30-50 years old?) that was about the 100 most influential people in the history of the world (I can’t remember the exact title). There was a page or two about each person along with a photo or artwork.

I flipped to the back and found Joseph Smith in the index. I flipped to the page, but it was actually a list of the 2nd group of 100 influential people. It was strictly a list, so there was no information about him. But I still found it interesting that out of all of the people who have ever lived, at one point he was found to be among the top 200 most influential people of all time.

The place of religion in today’s world

I have an original Samsung Galaxy Tab (7″) that I read most of my news on. One of the best news apps is Huffington Post. They certainly do have a bias about some things, but when it comes to quantity of news articles, the app really can’t be beat. The app is also nice because you can rearrange the topics so they fit in the order you want.

I know that this isn’t an authoritative example of where religion fits into our society today, but I still found it interesting to see where the default position of the Religion topic is. Here is what you see when you use the app:

  1. Front Page
  2. Politics
  3. Business
  4. Money
  5. Media
  6. Tech
  7. Entertainment
  8. Celebrity
  9. Comedy
  10. Sports
  11. Style
  12. Stylelist
  13. Stylelist Home
  14. Culture
  15. World
  16. Green
  17. Science
  18. Food
  19. Kitchen Daily
  20. Crime
  21. Weird News
  22. Travel
  23. TV
  24. Healthy Living
  25. Health and Fitness
  26. Health News
  27. GPS for the Soul
  28. Women
  29. Black Voices
  30. Latino Voices
  31. Voces
  32. Gay Voices
  33. Parents
  34. Weddings
  35. Divorce
  36. Huff/Post 50
  37. Arts
  38. Books
  39. Religion

I have no proof of this, but I assume that the layout of the app would be based on what people are most interested in. It’s kind of sad that religion is so far down the list!