Tag Archives: church history

Kirby: Scrutiny of LDS Church history serves up surprises

Robert Kirby is a columnist for the Salt Lake Tribute. I don’t really know anything about him other than the fact that his columns seem to be commentaries with a bit of humour. One of his recent ones is about some of the “surprises” you find when studying Church history. I love reading the stories… warts and all. It never bothers me. I find it interesting, and if anything, it strengthens my testimony to know that these leaders were just men. They were trying to do what the Lord wanted them to do, but were influenced by family, friends, society, and more, and therefore sometimes made mistakes.

Anyway, Mr. Kirby has the following gem in that recent commentary:

Making a church is like making a hamburger. It’s all so yummy when presented in a bun on a plate — and something altogether different when you consider the back story involves bashing one of God’s simplest creatures in the head with a hammer.

Love it! It isn’t the most beautiful comparison, but is seems quite fitting. I love a good hamburger. I understand that in order to get that meat to my plate, sometimes things aren’t pretty, but the end result is tasty. I guess in a way the Church is kind of like that. Through the growing pains, and assimilation into the surrounding culture, things haven’t always been pretty, but the Church provides me with the bread of life, and the end result is good.

(I realize that this is a simplistic analogy. The things that have happened in Church history are much more complex. I’m just commenting that it is an interesting comparison, and one that I’ve never thought of before)

“The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life”

This is one of my all-time favourite quotes. We sometimes can get into a debate about the “spirit” of the law and the “letter” of the law. Which is better? Which is right? Which do we follow?

Apparently this was written to one of Joseph F Smith’s sons who was on a mission. He had asked his dad about whether to anoint with oil with the right hand.

The question you ask about anointing seems very simple to me. I think it is the general practice to pour the oil with the right hand. I suppose because most people are right-handed. But there is no law or rule against anointing . . . with the left. We shake with the right hand. In the endowments the signs and tokens are made and given with the right hand. When we lay but one hand on the sick it should be the right. We take the Sacrament with the right hand. The practice makes the rule. But always remember that it is not the rule, or practice, which gives life or force, but the true spirit. There is no good in splitting hairs nor in tickey-technical rules. “The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”

Scott Kenney, ed., From Prophet to Son: Advice of Joseph F. Smith to His Missionary Sons, p. 93.
Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:103.

The practice makes the rule, but the rule doesn’t give force. Only truth or the Spirit gives force. I guess according to President Smith, the debate is over… the Spirit wins!

Gospel Art sub-domain at LDS.org

To go along with my post from Friday about the new Gospel Art Book, apparently the Church has had a sub-domain for a while where you can browse the available image libraries. GospelArt.LDS.org redirects you to a part of the Gospel Library. You can view photographs of scriptural sites, Church History sites, and temples, as well as the (almost) complete Gospel Art Picture Kit. I commented in that last post that I figured there were some copyrighted material, and there does seem to be some pictures missing, but the vast majority of them are there.

I’ve added this to the Official web sites of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints page. There are now 59 different official web resources listed.

New Gospel Art Book

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Quite a few years ago my wife purchased the Gospel Art Picture kit. It was around $30, and seemed like a great resource to have around the house. Now, the Church has released a nice new resource called the Gospel Art Book. I’m sure this will end up replacing the Gospel Art Picture Kit in most homes (this is probably not something that will end up in PDF format on the Church site, because there are some copyrighted images in the book).

This book contains 137 pictures that can be used in the home or at church to enrich gospel teaching and learning. The pictures are organized into six sections: (1) Old Testament, (2) New Testament, (3) Book of Mormon, (4) Church History, (5) Gospel in Action, and (6) Latter-day Prophets.

An index lists the pictures and corresponding references to scriptures and other sources. The book includes the index in each of the following languages: Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish.

The book is spiral bound (like “Preach My Gospel”) and has some beautiful pictures in it. The only drawback I can see is that you can’t show two pictures at the same time, since the pages don’t come out.

It is priced well, too. It is $3.50 for a single book, but only $1.50 when purchased in a box of 20. We’ll probably buy a box for the ward so the members get the cheaper price.