Category Archives: General Religion and Spirituality

Who ya gonna call? (Holy) Ghostbusters!

Here’s another funny one…

I can’t remember where I got this from (otherwise I’d link to the original), but here is a cartoon I’ve had saved for a while. My wife and I love the two Ghostbusters movies. No matter how hard they try, I don’t think Egon, Ray and Peter would be able to catch the Holy Ghost :-)


UPDATE: In the comments Braden linked to the original. Apparently it is an xkcd cartoon

Parents losing race to monitor kids’ social media activity: report

I am the parent of 3 kids. The oldest is 10 years old, so we’re just on the verge of starting the teenage years. However, my wife and I both serve with the youth in our ward, and we are well-aware of the dangers online.

Yesterday there was an Associated Press article on the Globe and Mail web site that talked about how hard it is for parents to keep up with all of the various social media sites that their kids can access. One parent said that it used to be that you had the “sex ed” talk with your kids. Now you have to have the “online ed” talk.

I’m still struck by how poor the decision making is sometimes. It’s not like this is new technology. We’ve had several years now of stories of people who have posted, tweeted, or sent information online and it ends up haunting a person. People are fired from jobs, kids are suspended from school, politicians resign in disgrace. How many more examples do we need before people in general, and youth specifically, wise up and start being responsible online?

23 Miraculous Pop Culture Last Suppers

The other day I came across a site that has renderings of “The Last Supper”, but instead of Christ and the Apostles, there are The Simpsons, Star Wars, etc. I know that some people might think this sort of thing is disrespectful, but I think it is all in good fun. I’m impressed with some of the creativity :-)

Check it out at

“Positive Messages in Movies” Youth Fireside

20130217 Youth FiresideSo, now that I am the YM President, that means I have to come up with interesting/entertaining ways to teach the youth. As you can imagine, this is not always an easy task!

I did a fireside with the youth back when I was bishop and it has been long enough that I figured none of the youth were in the youth program at that time, so I went ahead and did the same sort of thing again. For the fireside I showed clips from some movies and asked the youth to think about a gospel principle or scripture that would relate to the movie. It seemed like a good way to talk about a few different gospel themes, and to have fun. I think it went well.

Here are my notes from the fireside. If you wanted to do something like this, you can find lots of movie clips on YouTube.


Have a youth read pg 11 “Entertainment and Media” from For the Strength of Youth.

Satan uses media to deceive you by making what is wrong and evil look normal, humorous, or exciting. He tries to mislead you into thinking that breaking God’s commandments is acceptable and has no negative consequences for you or others. Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable. Have the courage to walk out of a movie, change your music, or turn off a computer, television, or mobile device if what you see or hear drives away the Spirit.

How can you decide what movies are appropriate?

Read Moroni 7: 12

Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.

The thought is expanded in Moroni 7: 13

But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

Why does it lead to do goo? Because of the Holy Spirit that accompanies it. Read D&C 11: 12

And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.

So, the media we watch/listen to needs to motivate us to do good, to be better.

I’m not saying that these movies are the best and are of God. I’m just highlighting a small clip. Only you and your family can decide what is appropriate.

The Movies

  1. Star Wars Episode 1 (YouTube clip) – 8 s
    Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering

    1. 2 Nephi 2: 25 –  25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
    2.  1 John 4: 8 – He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
    3.  2 Timothy 1: 7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
  2. The Lion King (1:03:34-1:05:10) – 1 m 35 s
    He lives in you;  remember who you are

    1. Genesis 1: 27 – So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
    2. 1 John 3: 2 – Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
  3. Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix (YouTube clip) – 21 s
    Sirius says to Harry “we’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

    1. Mosiah 3: 19 – For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
    2. 2 Nephi 2: 11 – For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
    3. 2 Nephi 2: 27 – Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
  4. Kung-Fu Panda (0:30:36-0:31:12) – 36 s
    Master Oogway  says today is a gift that it is why it’s called the present

    1. Mark 1: 15 – And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
    2. Alma 34:32 – For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.
    3. Ecclesiastes 3: 1 – To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven
  5. Spider-Man (YouTube clip, 01:00-1:33) – 33 s
    with great power comes great responsibility

    1. Luke 12: 48 – But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
    2. D&C 82: 3 – For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.
  6. Aladdin (YouTube clip) – 1 m 14 s
    just bee yourself

    1. John 8: 32 – And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
    2. 1 Samuel 16: 7 – But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
  7. Batman Forever (0:19:25-0:19:39) – 14 s
    Caffeine’ll kill ya

    1. D&C 89: 9 – And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.
  8. Finding Nemo (0:13:15-0:16:08) – 2 m 53 s
    Nemo hates father, touches boat (butt), gets captured. Marlin will do anything to save him
    NOTE: The YM thought the “butt” part was relevant (don’t touch the butt) :-)

    1. D&C 18: 10 – Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
    2. Exodus 20: 12 – Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
    3. Luke 15: 4 – What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
    4. Luke 15: 32 – It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
  9. Harry Potter: The Half-Blood Prince (0:30:51-0:31:55) – 1 m 2 s
    The dark sides greatest weapon is you

    1. Joshua 24: 15 – And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
    2. Matthew 6: 24 – No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.
    3. Luke 22: 31 – And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat
  10. Finding Nemo (0:32:00-0:32:39) – 39 s
    Just keep swimming (persevere, endure)

    1. Matthew 24: 13 – But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
    2. 2 Nephi 31: 20 – Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
  11. Wreck-It Ralph (1:31:00-1:33:03) – 2 m 3 s
    be happy/thankful with who you are as there are benefits you might not expect

    1. 2 Nephi 32: 5 – For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.
    2. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice evermore.
      Pray without ceasing.
      In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
    3. D&C 78: 19 – And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.
  12. The Dark Knight Rises (2:29:08-2:29:44) – 36 s
    Just before Batman takes the nuclear bomb away, he tells Commissioner Gordon that a hero can be anyone, including people who do simple things

    1. Alma 37: 6 – Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
    2. 1 Timothy 1: 4 – Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
      (BD says “The reference is probably to exaggerated stories of the heroes and patriarchs of early Hebrew history”)
  13. Tarzan (1:17:00-1:17:50) – 50 s
    Kerchak is about to die. He apologizes to Tarzan

    1. D&C 64: 10 – I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.
    2. Alma 4: 19 – And this he did that he himself might go forth among his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them.
    3. D&C 54: 2 – Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, my servant Newel Knight, you shall stand fast in the office whereunto I have appointed you.
  14. Batman Begins (YouTube clip, 0:00-2:31) – 2 m 31 s
    always mind your surroundings; sacrificed sure footing for a killing stroke

    1. 1 Samuel 15: 22 – And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
    2. D&C 87: 8 – Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.

I saved this one for the end, not because it is the best one, but because it kind of is related to this year’s theme. We had a mutual activity where we talked about what it meant to be on firm ground, how to stand properly, and the importance of good footing. We need to make sure that we are not sacrificing our sure footing for something that will put us in danger.

Old Testament Institute Lesson – Week 5

Religion 301 Old Testament Student Manual
Genesis through 2-Samuel

Here is the next entry in my series from the Old Testament Institute class that I was teaching. These notes cover Exodus 1 – 19. I have decided not to include any pictures since I’m not sure of copyright issues with them.

To recap… I was a Stake Institute Teacher. I taught a group of about a dozen YSA in my home on Wednesday evenings. It was a great calling! I decided I would post my notes for the classes. They are just that… notes. They were meant to help me direct the discussion and have references to pictures and quotes. I’ve included the quotes, but not the pictures.

Chapter 1
Israel and all of his sons die; Pharaoh dies. About 430 years passes
SHOW SLIDE 2 picture of statue of RAMESES II
New king doesn’t like how big Israel’s descendants are in number, so afflicts and oppresses them

The more they were oppressed, the more they grew

Midwives told to kill male babies, but refused. God blessed them and Israel continued to grow

Plan to throw baby boys in the river

Chapter 2
SHOW SLIDE 3 of artwork showing Moses in basket
Moses is born, He’s beautiful. He’s hid for 3 months and then put in ark and set off in river. Mother was Jochebed
Talk about Moses and read Moses 1: 6, Acts 7: 17-37, D&C 110: 11

His sister Miriam stood by the river and watched

Pharaoh’s daughter finds Moses. Miriam volunteers to get Hebrew nurse and fetches Jochebed. Moses is raided and when older is taken into Pharaoh’s house. This was probably when he was 3 and weaned.
Moses name means what?
Bible suggests it means “drew out” since he was drawn out of the water
Etymology suggests Egyptian could mean son or Hebrew could mean deliver

SHOW SLIDE 4 of artwork showing Moses killing Egyptian
Moses kills Egyptian; tries to stop fight between Hebrews but they knew about killing. Moses was afraid and Pharaoh found out, so Moses fled to Midian

SHOW SLIDE 5 of Moses helping Jethro’s daughters
Helps Jethro’s daughters get water. Jethro meets him and gives him Zipporah. They have Gershom (stranger)

40 years passes and Israel suffers greatly. God remembers them.

Chapter 3
SHOW SLIDE 6 of artwork of burning bush
Moses sees burning bush, but it is not consumed by the fire. The Lord speaks to him and tells him to go to Pharaoh

“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?”

SHOW SLIDE 7 picture of Mount Sinai
Serve God on this mountain (Horeb or Sinai). Same place, different names
Elijah also went there. See 1 Kings 19: 8


Jehovah is the Anglicized rendering of the Hebrew, Yahveh or Jahveh, signifying the Self-existent One, or The Eternal. This name is generally rendered in our English version of the Old Testament as LORD, printed in capitals. The Hebrew, Ehyeh, signifying I Am, is related in meaning and through derivation with the term Yahveh or Jehovah; and herein lies the significance of this name by which the Lord revealed Himself to Moses when the latter received the commission to go into Egypt and deliver the children of Israel from bondage: “Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” In the succeeding verse the Lord declares Himself to be “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” While Moses was in Egypt, the Lord further revealed Himself, saying “I am the LORD: and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto[Pg 37] Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.” The central fact connoted by this name, I Am, or Jehovah, the two having essentially the same meaning, is that of existence or duration that shall have no end, and which, judged by all human standards of reckoning, could have had no beginning; the name is related to such other titles as Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

James E Talmage, Jesus the Christ, pg 36-37

Moses was to take the elders of Israel to the king

The Lord knew that the king would not let them go

The Lord will smite Egypt

Chapter 4
Moses says they won’t listen but God says he’ll take care of it. Moses throws rod on ground and it turns into snake, picks it up and it goes back to a rod

2nd sign – leprous hand

3rd sign – bloody water when poured on dry ground

Moses isn’t a good speaker. Aaron will be mouthpiece
Why wasn’t Moses a good speaker? He may have had a speech impediment. He may also have lost confidence in the language of Hebrew or Egyptian as he had spent 40 years with the Midianites.
Compare to Enoch in Moses 6: 31

Moses went back to Egypt with his family

The Lord tells Moses that Pharaoh won’t listen, and tells him what to say

The JST explains more about this episode of circumcision.
Moses was going to save the covenant people, but his own son didn’t have the sign of the covenant.

Moses and Aaron go and speak to elders

Chapter 5
Let my people go. First encounter with Pharaoh

Pharaoh makes them get their own straw for bricks

Hebrew foremen upset with Moses. Moses asks God why he was sent

Chapter 6
The Lord promises to bring Israel out of captivity

Moses tells them but they refuse to listen

v10-13, 26-30
They are supposed to go see Pharaoh again

Chapter 7
Aaron and Moses told to go to Pharaoh. The Lord knows he won’t listen

Aaron and Moses go to Pharaoh
SHOW SLIDE 9 showing artwork of 10 plagues
Pharaoh tries to have his wise men and sorcerers turn rod into serpent. It works, but Aaron’s snake eats them. Pharaoh wouldn’t listen.

“All down through the ages and in almost all countries, men have exercised great occult and mystical powers, even to the healing of the sick and the performing of miracles. Soothsayers, magicians, and astrologers were found in the courts of ancient kings. They had certain powers by which they divined and solved the monarch’s problems, dreams, etc. One of the most striking examples of this is recorded in Exodus, where Pharaoh called ‘the wise men and the sorcerers’ who duplicated some of the miracles the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron to perform. When Aaron threw down his rod, it became a serpent. The Egyptian magicians threw down their rods, and they also became serpents. . . .
“. . . The Savior declared that Satan had the power to bind bodies of men and women and sorely afflict them [see Matthew 7:22–23; Luke 13:16]. If Satan has power to bind the bodies, he surely must have power to loose them. It should be remembered that Satan has great knowledge and thereby can exercise authority and to some extent control the elements, when some greater power does not intervene.”
Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 1:176, 178

Aaron and Moses told to go back
Turn Nile to blood, fish die, and river smells

They go back, but the magicians could do the same things. Pharaoh wouldn’t listen

Chapter 8
Go back to Pharaoh again

Frogs come, but magicians could get them to come as well

Pharaoh wants this to stop. Moses says they will be gone by tomorrow, then prays that it will be so. They died, but Pharaoh wouldn’t listen.

Go back to Pharaoh again

Gnats/flies/lice/mosquitos come. Magicians try but fail. They think it is God, but Pharaoh wouldn’t listen.

Go back to Pharaoh again

Blood sucking gadflies come (“Gadfly”, a fly that annoys horses and other livestock). Pharaoh says to go and worship. Moses prays that the flies will go. There remains not one. Pharaoh wouldn’t listen.

Chapter 9
Go back to Pharaoh again

The livestock of Egyptians die, but Pharaoh wouldn’t listen

Go back to Pharaoh again

Boils come on the Egyptians, but Pharaoh wouldn’t listen

Go back to Pharaoh again

Thunder, hail, and fire (lightning) come down. Pharaoh tells Aaron and Moses he was wrong. Moses prays for it to stop. Pharaoh wouldn’t listen.

Chapter 10
Go back to Pharaoh again

Aaron and Moses say locusts will come. Pharaoh servants say to let the people go. Pharaoh asks Aaron and Moses who will go. Everyone. Pharaoh say, “Not so!”

Locusts come and eat everything

Pharaoh says he has sinned. Moses prays that the locusts will leave. They do, but Pharaoh wouldn’t listen

Darkness comes. Pharaoh says they can go, but wouldn’t give them livestock to sacrifice. Pharaoh says to leave. Moses says they won’t see him again.

Chapter 11
Last plague is that the firstborns will die

Chapter 12
SHOW SLIDE 11 of door frames
Kill lamb/kid and put blood on the sides of and above the door frames. Eat the whole thing, and then burn the bones and other inedible parts. The firstborns will be killed in the houses where this wasn’t done. You need to always remember this

Moses tells elders of Israel to do this

SHOW SLIDE 12 of firstborn being killed
The firstborns are killed

Moses and Aaron were told to take the people and livestock and go

The people gathered their items and asked for jewels and gold from the Egyptians. There were about 600,000 men in the group (not counting women and children).
NOTE: There is an enrichment section in the book about numbering in the Bible

Passover as a symbol of Christ
1.    Lamb without blemish
2.    Blood of the lamb saved them
3.    No broken bones
4.    Only covenant people could partake
5.    Those who will not obey will die
6.    A day of remembrance is observed every 7 days (Sabbath)
Christ instituted the sacrament at the Feast of the Passover

Chapter 13
First real description of the Law of Moses version of sacrifice

Moses took the bones of Joseph with him

Pillar of cloud by day, pillar of fire by night. The pillars did not from before the people.

Chapter 14
SHOW SLIDE 13 map of the exodus
The Lord tells Moses where to go and that Pharaoh will come after them

The Egyptians come after the Israelites

The Israelites are afraid and complain

“I desire to call your attention to the principle of loyalty, loyalty to the truth and loyalty to the men whom God has chosen to lead the cause of truth. I speak of ‘the truth’ and these ‘men’ jointly, because it is impossible fully to accept the one and partly reject the other.
“I raise my voice on this matter to warn and counsel you to be on your guard against criticism. . . . It comes, in part, from those who hold, or have held, prominent positions. Ostensibly, they are in good standing in the Church. In expressing their feelings, they frequently say, ‘We are members of the Church, too, you know, and our feelings should be considered.’
“They assume that one can be in full harmony with the spirit of the gospel, enjoy full fellowship in the Church, and at the same time be out of harmony with the leaders of the Church and the counsel and directions they give. Such a position is wholly inconsistent, because the guidance of this Church comes, not alone from the written word, but also from continuous revelation, and the Lord gives that revelation to the Church through His chosen leaders and none else. It follows, therefore, that those who profess to accept the gospel and who at the same time criticize and refuse to follow the counsel of the leaders, are assuming an indefensible position.”
Marion G Romney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1942, pp. 17–18


“In the Church we sometimes find two groups of people: the builders and the murmurers. Let each ask himself: ‘In which class should I be placed?’
 “We are called upon to perform duties. When the priesthood and auxiliary leadership introduce new programs, many of the members will say, ‘Yes, we will do it. Let us perform in these new programs.’ But sometimes we hear a murmurer, a faultfinder, who will say, ‘No. We cannot do that.’ Misjudging motives, some soon find themselves with Laman and Lemuel instead of with Nephi, whose actions expressed willingness to follow the voice of God. (See 1 Ne. 17:17ff.)
 “Let us watch ourselves and be true to the examples set by our leaders. The warning is sometimes expressed: ‘Speak not against the authorities.’ What does it mean? It means ‘be not a murmurer.’ Murmuring against priesthood and auxiliary leadership is one of the most poisonous things that can be introduced into the home of a Latter-day Saint. Why are leaders called to their positions? To benefit themselves? No, not once can one point to an instance in this Church where a person was called for his personal benefit. When a call is made, it is made to bless someone, some class, or humanity at large. That is the mission of every member, from the President of the Church down to the latest convert. Everyone holds his position to build up, to bless, to establish righteousness, purity, and virtue among mankind.”
David O. McKay , “Four Guideposts,” Improvement Era, Mar. 1969, p. 3

SHOW SLIDE 16 of parting the Red Sea
Moses parts the Red Sea

The Israelites went through on dry ground

The Egyptians pursued, but their wheels got stuck

Moses closes the path. They all died

Chapter 15
Song of the Israelites praising the Lord

Miriam led the women in song and dance

They traveled but had no water. The people murmured. The Lord promises that if the people keep commandments, they won’t have the plagues of Egypt. They arrive in Elim where there is water.

Chapter 16
The people complain again

Manna and quail are provided

Sabbath is mandated

Israelites ate Manna for 40 years!

Chapter 17
There is no water and the people murmur

SHOW SLIDE 17 of Moses striking rock
Moses strikes rock and water comes out

SHOW SLIDE 18 of artwork of Aaron and Hur holding up Moses arms
Amalekites come to fight. Joshua chooses men. Moses, Aaron, Hur go to top of hill. Moses raises hands, people prevail. He gets tired and hands get heavy. Moses sits down and Aaron and Hur hold his hands up

“I think that is the role that President [N. Eldon] Tanner [Second Counselor in the First Presidency] and I have to fulfill. The hands of President [Joseph Fielding] Smith [President of the Church] may grow weary. They may tend to droop at times because of his heavy responsibilities; but as we uphold his hands, and as we lead under his direction, by his side, the gates of hell will not prevail against you and against Israel. Your safety and ours depends upon whether or not we follow the ones whom the Lord has placed to preside over his church. He knows whom he wants to preside over this church, and he will make no mistake. The Lord doesn’t do things by accident. He has never done anything accidentally. And I think the scientists and all the philosophers in the world have never discovered or learned anything that God didn’t already know. His revelations  are more powerful, more meaningful, and have more substance than all the secular learning in the world.
“Let’s keep our eye on the President of the Church and uphold his hands as President Tanner and I will continue to do.”
Harold B Lee in Conference Report, Oct. 1970, p. 153

Chapter 18
Jethro, Zipporah and others are reunited. They rejoice together.

Moses sits to judge the people. Jethro counsels him. Suggests finding able men to help. It works.

Chapter 19
The people commit to follow the Lord

The people are preparing to be taught by Moses after he talks with the Lord.

SHOW SLIDE 20 of Mount Sinai
The people come to the mountain and the Lord is there in smoke and fire.

“Jesus was… a lot less clean cut than this iconic image of him that floats around culture”

The Belief Blog on had a posting recently by someone who talked about how “dirty” Jesus was (apparently he’s written a book about this). The main point of the article was that Jesus lived like a person and gave a couple of examples:

He was the “earthly” son of a carpenter, and life in the first-century was both more lurid and unfinished than our collective religious memory seems to recall.

To that end, I suggested recently to several astounded colleagues of mine that Jesus actually had to go to the bathroom, perhaps even on the side of the road between Capernaum and Jerusalem.

What tipped them over the edge was when I insinuated that Jesus, like almost every other human being living in the rural world in that time, might have even had dysentery on an occasion or two.

The author then goes on to say:

…the Jesus of the Bible was more human than most people are conditioned to think.

I call this the dirty side of Jesus. He was grittier, and a lot more like us than maybe we believe, and that’s one of the reasons why so many thousands of people followed him so quickly.

They could relate to him.

I have no idea if Jesus had to go to the bathroom or if He ended up with diarhea. Ultimately it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that however He lived His life, he understands me. He somehow knows what I am going through. He feels my pain and knows how to relieve it. He can relate to me. I don’t know if I can relate to Him (His perfection, His knowledge), but I want to. I want to learn more about Him. I want to be more like Him.

The author closes with this:

He was the God who became dirty so that the world’s souls might be made clean.

A very nice thought!

More in the Dr. Charles A Sankey lecture series

A while ago I went to a lecture at the local university. They started a series about freemasonry, and I thought it would be interesting to listen to and see if there was any connection to the Church (in particular in the 1840’s in Nauvoo). As my blog posting noted, it was kind of a disappointing lecture.

I haven’t attended any more lectures, but the series continues. The 4th one was just held.

If you are interested, you can read more about the Brock University partnership with the Grand Lodge of Canada. You can also learn more about the lecture series itself.

For Mormons, a Cautious Step Toward Mainstream Acceptance

The New York Times has a good article about how the election has helped Mormons become more mainstream:

On Tuesday, Dr. Peterson, 59, did something that seemed wondrous and nearly unthinkable: he entered a voting booth and cast his ballot for a Mormon, Mitt Romney, for president.

“I have to say that when he first announced, I thought, ‘Not a chance, never going to happen,’ ” said Dr. Peterson of Mr. Romney’s nomination, still marveling that he was wrong. “I don’t want to sound too triumphalist about it, but Mormons have had a feeling of insecurity about their status in America; we were driven from state to state. I think a lot of us see this as maybe a kind of arrival on the American scene.”

Old Testament Institute Lesson – Week 4

Religion 301 Old Testament Student Manual
Genesis through 2-Samuel

Here is the next entry in my series from the Old Testament Institute class that I’m teaching. These notes cover Genesis 12 – 23. I have decided not to include any pictures since I’m not sure of copyright issues with them.

To recap… I’m a Stake Institute Teacher. I teach a group of about a dozen YSA in my home on Wednesday evenings. It is a great calling! I decided I would post my notes for the classes. They are just that… notes. They are meant to help me direct the discussion and have references to pictures and quotes. I’ve included the quotes, but not the pictures.


  • SHOW SLIDE 2 about covenant people

As you begin to study the expansion of the covenant line, remember one thing. Sometimes we tend to oversimplify the concept of a covenant people and the heritage of certain groups of people. For example, we tend to think of the Arabs as descendants of Ishmael or Esau, the Jews as descendants of Judah, the American Indians and South Pacific Islanders as descendants of Laman, and so forth. In broad terms all of these statements are true, of course, but through centuries of intermarriage and conversion, the “pure blood lines” (an impossible term in reality) of the various ancestors have been vastly intermingled. Surely down through nearly four thousand years the descendants of Isaac have intermarried with the descendants of Ishmael and the other sons of Abraham. We know that after the ten tribes were taken into captivity the term Jew was used in a nationalistic sense (to mean a member of the kingdom of Judah) and not just in a tribal sense (to mean a descendant of Judah, son of Jacob). Thus, Lehi, who was of Manasseh (see Alma 10:3), and Ishmael, who was of Ephraim (see Erastus Snow, in Journal of Discourses, 23:184–85), were Jews, that is, were living in Judah…

The important thing is that being Israel, or a covenant person, involves faithfulness as well as blood lineage. Thus, as Nephi said, repentance and faith in the Holy One of Israel is what determines whether one is of the covenant (see 2 Nephi 30:2), a concept also taught by Paul (see Romans 2:28–29). In other words, while the blood lineage is significant, it can be overridden by one’s own faithfulness or lack of faithfulness.

Chapter 24

Lord blessed Abraham in all things

Isaac can’t marry a Canaanite

Go to Abraham’s homeland to find a wife

Servant pays for a wife for Isaac
The servant had faith. He presented a plan and prayed about it.

Rebekah was Isaac’s cousin

See JST Genesis 24: 16

Servant speaks to Rebekah


  • SHOW SLIDE 3 artwork of Rebekah at the well

How much can a camel drink? Rebekah was a willing worker!

Servant welcomed by family

Rebekah is given to Isaac

Rebekah chose to go

Isaac Loved Rebekah

Chapter 25

Abraham remarries

Abraham lived to be 175

Ismael had 12 sons

Isaac lived 137 years

Rebekah is barren for 20 years (Isaac was 40 in v20, 60 in v26)
Isaac prays, she conceives and gives birth to Esau and Jacob

Esau sells birthright to Jacob for pottage (lentil stew)

  • SHOW SLIDE 4 artwork of Jacob and Esau

This story is about Esau’s disregard for his birthright, not Jacob’s deceit

Chapter 26

The Abrahamic covenant continues through Isaac

Isaac lies about Rebekah being his sister, the king finds out, promises to leave them alone

Chapter 27

Isaac is going blind

Story of Jacob being blessed instead of Esau

  • SHOW SLIDE 5 artwork of LEGO Jacob and Isaac

Can someone really get a blessing if it was intended for someone else?
Was Jacob deceitful?
Priesthood keys can both bind and loose (see Matthew 16: 19). Isaac never revoked the blessing.

Chapter 28

Jacob not to marry a Canaanite

Abrahamic covenant continues with Jacob

Jacob has dream of ladder

  • READ SLIDE 6 quote from President Romney about working way up ladder
“When Jacob traveled from Beersheba toward Haran, he had a dream in which he saw himself on the earth at the foot of a ladder that reached to heaven where the Lord stood above it. He beheld angels ascending and descending thereon, and Jacob realized that the covenants he made with the Lord there were the rungs on the ladder that he himself would have to climb in order to obtain the promised blessings—blessings that would entitle him to enter heaven and associate with the Lord.
“Because he had met the Lord and entered into covenants with him there, Jacob considered the site so sacred that he named the place Bethel, a contraction of Beth-Elohim, which means literally ‘the House of the Lord.’ He said of it: ‘. . . this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’ (Gen. 28:17.)
“Jacob not only passed through the gate of heaven, but by living up to every covenant he also went all the way in. Of him and his forebears Abraham and Isaac, the Lord has said: ‘. . . because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.’ (D&C 132:37.)
“Temples are to us all what Bethel was to Jacob. Even more, they are also the gates to heaven for all of our unendowed kindred dead. We should all do our duty in bringing our loved ones through them.”
Marion G. Romney, “Temples—The Gates to Heaven,” Ensign, Mar. 1971, p. 16

Jesus himself appears and continues the covenant

Chapter 29

  • SHOW SLIDE 7 showing Jacob’s genealogy

Jacob meets Rachel

Says he’ll work 7 years to marry Rachel

Time flies… Jacob loved Rachel

Jacob didn’t know he had been with Leah?

Is given Leah

Is given Rachel

Leah has Rueben, Simeon, Levi and Judah

  • SHOW SLIDE 8 showing listing of children

Chapter 30

Jacob marries Bilhah

Jacob has 2 more children… Dan and Naphtali

Jacob marries Zilpah, has Gad and Asher

Mandrakes were plants that superstitiously supposed to excite and win love. It obviously did nothing here (see v 22)

Leah has another son Isaacher, then Zebulun, then Dinah

God opened her womb

Rachel has Joseph. He is son 11, child 12

Chapter 31

Angel called Jacob; Jacob didn’t say who is there. He said here am I
Story of Jacob leaving, Rachel taking the idols/tablets, Laban looking for them
Jacob and Laban covenant to be at peace
The heap of stones was called witness heap
The pillar was called watchtower

Chapter 32

Jacob literally wrestles with God?

  • SHOW SLIDE 9 with artwork of Jacob wrestling an angel
  • SHOW SLIDE 10 with quote about wrestling with being
“Who wrestled with Jacob on Mount Peniel? The scriptures say it was a man. The Bible interpreters say it was an angel. More than likely it was a messenger sent to Jacob to give him the blessing. To think he wrestled and held an angel who couldn’t get away, is out of the question. The term angel as used in the scriptures, at times, refers to messengers who are sent with some important instruction. Later in this chapter when Jacob said he had beheld the Lord, that did not have reference to his wrestling.”
Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:17

Jacob’s name changed to Israel

Chapter 33

Jacob and Esau talk about Jacob’s gifts

Chapter 34

Dinah is defiled
The brothers say they will live there if everyone is circumcised, but end up killing all of the males

Jacob is upset

Chapter 35

Name change reiterated

Covenant given again

Rachel has son, Jacob’s 12th, Benjamin

Reuben had sex with Bilhah
Reuben had the birthright, but lost it. Therefore it went to the firstborn of the next real wife (Rachel)

Chapter 36

Esau’s genealogy

Chapter 37

Starting the story of Joseph of Egypt


  • SHOW SLIDE 11 showing picture of Donny Osmond as Joseph

Coat of many colours
Ornate, distinctive, long tunic with sleeves

First dream… sheaves worship sheaf

Stars, sun, moon worship Joseph

Israel pondered over this dream

Conspiring to kill Joseph, decide to sell him

Shekels or pieces of silver
This was about 8 oz. or 230g total. In today’s money silver is about $35 per oz., so that would be $280

Chapter 38

Story of Judah
Married Shua, had Er, then Onan, then Shelah
Er married Tamar. He was evil, so he died
Onan was told by Judah to marry Tamar. Wouldn’t have children with her, so he died.
Shelah was too young
Judah has sex with Tamar but doesn’t know it

Perez and Zerah are born

Chapter 39

The captain of the guard was also the chief executioner

Though a servant, Joseph prospered

Joseph was blessed, and when put in charge of Potiphar’s house, it too was blessed.

Joseph was goodly person and well favoured
NIV – well-built and handsome
NAS – handsome in form and appearance
AMP – attractive person and fine looking

Story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife

  • SHOW SLIDE 12 artwork of Joseph resisting

If Potiphar was executioner, why wasn’t Joseph killed?

Chapter 40

Butler’s dream
Vine with 3 branches, lots of grapes, put juice in cup, in 3 days would be freed

Baker’s dream
Baked goods eaten by birds
Would be beheaded

Butler released, baker beheaded, butler forgot about Joseph

Chapter 41


  • SHOW SLIDE 13 showing artwork of Pharaoh’s dreams

Pharaoh has dreams of cows and corn

The magicians and wise men couldn’t interpret them

Baker remembers Joseph

Joseph called from jail. He was there for at least 2 years!

Joseph hears dreams and interprets them

Joseph suggests plan

Joseph put in charge of the plan

Joseph marries Asenath

Manasseh and Ephraim are born

What trust! “What he say to you, do”

Chapter 42

Jacob has 10 sons go to Egypt

Joseph recognizes them, but they don’t recognize him

Demands that the younger one comes

Joseph loads them up with grain

Jacob doesn’t want Benjamin to go

Chapter 43

They run out of food, have to return to Egypt

Nuts = pistachios

Provender – dry food, as hay or oats, for livestock or other domestic animals

Chapter 44

Benjamin is “caught” stealing, has to stay
Judah explains how Jacob might die after hearing this news

Chapter 45

Joseph reveals who he is

Joseph is a type of Christ

  • SHOW SLIDE 14 with listing of ways Joseph is a type of Christ
  1. Joseph was the favoured son of his father; so was Jesus (see Genesis 37:3; Matthew 3:17).
  2. Joseph was rejected by his brothers, the Israelites, as was Jesus (see Genesis 37:4; John 1:11; Isaiah 53:3; 1 Nephi 19:13–14).
  3. Joseph was sold by his brothers into the hands of the Gentiles, just as Jesus was (see Genesis 37:25–27; Matthew 20:19).
  4. Judah, the head of the tribe of Judah, proposed the sale of Joseph. Certain leaders of the Jews in Jesus’ day turned Jesus over to the Romans. Judas (the Greek spelling of Judah) was the one who actually sold Jesus. (See Genesis 37:26; Matthew 27:3.)
  5. Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver, the price of a slave his age. Christ was sold for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave His age. (See Genesis 37:28; Matthew 27:3; Exodus 21:32; Leviticus 27:5.)
  6. In their very attempt to destroy Joseph, his brothers actually set up the conditions that would bring about their eventual temporal salvation—that is, Joseph, by virtue of being sold, would become their deliverer. Jesus, by His being given into the hands of the Gentiles, was crucified and completed the atoning sacrifice, becoming the Deliverer for all mankind.
  7. Joseph began his mission of preparing salvation for Israel at age thirty, just as Jesus began His ministry of preparing salvation for the world at age thirty (see Genesis 41:46; Luke 3:23).
  8. When Joseph was finally raised to his exalted position in Egypt, all bowed the knee to him. All will eventually bow the knee to Jesus. (See Genesis 41:43; D&C 88:104.)
  9. Joseph provided bread for Israel and saved them from death, all without cost. Jesus, the Bread of Life, did the same for all men. (See Genesis 42:35; John 6:48–57; 2 Nephi 9:50.)

They plan to bring Jacob back

Chapter 46

Jacob travels to Egypt

There are 67 people in the family who travelled; 70 people in family total

Israel/Jacob sees Joseph again

Chapter 47

Famine continues

Chapter 48

Ephraim gets first-born blessing, even though he is not first-born

Chapter 49

Israel leaves blessing on family

Reuben, Simeon, Levi are worried

Judah will be the leader

Judah would rule until Shiloh (Christ) comes

People persecuted Joseph, but he remained strong

The blessings of Joseph are greater than the blessings on his ancestors

Jacob dies

Chapter 50

They mourn for Jacob
Joseph asks permission of Pharaoh to bury Jacob. Pharaoh tells him to go

The brothers are afraid that after Jacob’s death that Joseph will exact revenge. Joseph doesn’t

“Am I in God’s place?”

Short Prophecy
2 Nephi 3 has a longer version of the prophecy that was on the brass plates
JST Genesis 50: 24-36 has 13 extra verses that aren’t in Old Testament

Joseph lives to be 110 years old


  • SHOW SLIDE 15 about what we learn from Joseph
“Joseph vividly demonstrated why he was favored of the Lord, or, as the scriptures said, why ‘the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man. . . .’ (Gen. 39.) His reliance was upon the Lord. His trust was in the Lord, and his allegiance ran to the Lord.
“I believe this is the greatest lesson that can be learned by the youth of Zion—to do the right thing because you love the Lord. It is so vitally important that, I feel, if you do anything in righteousness for any other reason than you love the Lord, you are wrong—at least you are on very shaky ground. And, somewhere your reasons for acting in righteousness will not be strong enough to see you through. You will give way to expediency, or peer group pressure, or honor, or fame, or applause, or the thrill of the moment, or some other worldly reason. Unless your motives are built upon the firm foundation of love of the Lord, you will not be able to stand.”
Hartman Rector, Jr., “Live above the Law to Be Free,” Ensign, Jan. 1973, p. 130

Communicating in the Lord’s way

On Saturday I was talking with my wife about communication. I suggested that the next time she was assigned to speak in Sacrament Meeting, she should talk about communication. Then the next day someone actually did speak on that in Sacrament Meeting. The person used the talk Christlike Communications by Elder L. Lionel Kendrick as the source of many of her quotes. Then on Monday the blog Entitled to Revelation had a posting called Promises: All This and Greater Also that also kind of dealt with communication. (Isn’t it interesting how those sorts of things happen?!)

You can read both of those articles/postings yourself. The main point that my wife and I were talking about, was that people need to communicate. We’re talking about this in its most basic form. People need to talk. We need to share. The scriptures are literally full of examples of people who talked/shared. They preached, they counseled, they asked questions, they communicated. Very rarely do we see examples of people who know things but don’t share them (Mary obviously being one exception in Luke 2: 19).

I’ve seen too many times where leaders get frustrated because they find something out too late. When I was a bishop, I remember one time where a family had a car accident and it was weeks before I found out. Others knew but never said anything. I know of other leaders serving with me at the time who would get frustrated when I would forget to share something with them. The end result is that people can’t serve effectively, and the people we should be helping are not getting the full benefit of the resources of the Church.

Obviously we can’t share everything. Some things are confidential. Some things just aren’t important. However, generally, we need to share. We need to be open. We need to care.