Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Excommunication and Redaction


I don't keep my religion a secret at work.  I hope I don't shove religion down people's throat, but I do wear it on my sleeve.  When a prominent LDS general authority was excommunicated several weeks ago, several of my work colleagues wanted to know more about it.  They actually had heard about it before I had. While the LDS Church has rightly kept the details of the matter in confidence, I considered the situation a positive for the Church even if it was a tragic negative for the individual. It's good for the LDS Church to have an occasional  excommunication because it shows that its keeping its house clean and not sweaping dirt under the rug. 

Similarly,  Elder Jeffery R. Holland was very forthcoming in his redaction of an amazing missionary story that was shared at a leadership meeting.  Elder Holland shared a story about a miraculous prodigal conversion that went viral on social media. While the prodigal return did occur, it turns out that some of more spectacular details of the story were not accurate. When Elder Holland learned that many of details of the story were not accurate, he forthrightly made a public correction.  Making mistakes is human, but openly and publicly confessing mistakes and setting the record straight is divine. 

D&C 1:24-28 Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding. And inasmuch as they erred it might be made known; And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed; And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent; And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Reformed Egyptian Example



1Nephi 1:2 Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.

Mormon 9:32 And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.

Stefan Wimmer's 2008 book Palastinisches Hieratisch (Palestinian Hieratic) has dozens of examples of a writing system used in Israel about the time of Lehi that renders Hebrew vocabulary and syntax in Egyptian Hieratic script.




It turns out that there are many examples of the Aramaic and even the Hebrew language written in various Egyptian scripts.  Hieratic was used as a shorthand for business transactions and was known to be very efficient and compact. The compactness of Egyptian heiratic was precisely the reason Mormon gave as the reason why the script was used for the Book of Mormon.

Mormon 9: 33 And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew;

Using this and other sources, Jerry Grover has been able to make a translation of the available Book of Mormon characters recorded by Joseph Smith, John Whitmer, and Matin Harris from the Gold Plates. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Book of Mormon Insurgency

Dear Bro. -------- --------,

My name is David Brosnahan and I just finished listening to your talk at the 2016 FAIR conference about insurgency.  I write a blog at ldsdoctrine.blogspot.com.  I very much enjoyed your talk as it really got me pondering about your topic. 

It seems that this talk was a bit in reaction to "Even unto Bloodshed" which used the Book of Mormon to justify the current US war on terrorism. While I agree with your disaproval of that book and its conclusions, I don't think your disapproval took you in the right direction.  Your tone in the talk seemed slightly critical of certain aspects of the Book of Mormon as well as certain aspects of Church policy that might be viewed as harsh or might cause guilt (eg. talk on pornography). 

It seemed to me that you were more in favor of policies that show unconditional love in most circumstances and less supportive of policies that might "enlarge the wounds of those who are already wounded" (Jacob 2:9). This is, in fact, a major theme of the Book of Mormon.  Teaching according to the Holy Order in the Book of Mormon was compared and contrasted to Nehor, priestcraft, and the corrupt practice of only preaching a positive-only, "popular" doctrine.  The true prophets, on the other hand, were duty bound to call the people to repentance and as Nephi from his tower commented a bit sarcastically, "why have ye gathered yourselves together? That I may tell you of your iniquities?" (Hel 17:13).

The truth is, that abscesses like sins sometimes need to be painfully drained before healing salve applied. God instructs us to sometimes reprove each other, followed up by a demonstration of increased love.  

I think there may be a misunderstand about the nature of conspiracy and consequently a possible misunderstanding about what Captain Moroni and others like Lachonus were fighting against. 

We first need to understand the term robber vs. thief. The term robber is not being used in the Book of Mormon to vilify the socially and politically marginalized. Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute has explained that robbery in the Bible (hamas), was a great sin leading to the Great Flood.  "the whole world was filled with violence" (hamas = robbery).

Rabbi Richman goes on to explain the meaning of robbery using the following anecdote.  Imagine there is a bean-seller selling beans in the market. If one person stole all this man's beans, the bean-seller would be bankrupt and the law broken.  But if all the town conspired against the bean-seller to only steal one bean each, the bean-seller's business would still be destroyed but no law would be broken.  This conspiracy to destroy within the constraints of the law is the true meaning of robbery (hamas).  

Because we fail to understand the nature of secret combinations, works of darkness, and conspiracy in the Book of Mormon, many LDS and non-LDS are blind to the true nature and operation of conspiracy in the world around us today.  I agree with you in your disapproval of the seemingly endless wars in the Middle East, but I don't think that we need to criticize Captain Moroni or sympathize with the ISIS insurgency to arrive at this same conclusion.  In my opinion, the Book of Mormon does not justify the current preemptive US war on terror.  But if we really understood the warning of the Book of Mormon we would realize the secret combinations around us have already gotten above us (Ether 8).

So, what was really going on in the Book of Mormon?  The Gadiantons were not a picked-on ethnic minority. Although Gadianton-leaders no doubt recruited the marginalized.  Gadianton leaders were king-men whose main purpose, like the Lamanites, was to steal (legally or illegally) from the workers instead of producing for themselves.  The early Lamanites found it easier to steal from the industrious Nephites instead of learning to plant and cultivate their own fields.  This is why the Lamanites permitted the Nephites to return to the Land of Nephi fully intending to enslave them later.

Pretty soon, Nephites fell prey to the same greed to live off the sweat and productivity of others.  After establishing a Republic, the king men first tried to overcome via election. When that failed, they didn't give up but joined together with the Lamanites (Amlici, Amalikiah) seeking to enslave their own people and glut themselves off their labors.  But the king-men failed again and again.  

By the way, a king works solely for the interests of the king-men like a CEO works for the interests of the principle shareholders. Its the king-men and not the king that holds true power via hidden influence over perceived authority. If a king goes rogue, he is assassinated and replaced

After many failures, the king-men devise yet another strategy. Instead of openly confronting their opposition politically or militarily, they went underground forming secret combinations and infiltrating the government from within via the courts and corrupting the laws with endless loopholes that judge a king-man by the loophole letter and not provable intent. The Nephites built up these secret combinations by joining with them in their spoils. 

The reason why the free-men gave land to the king-men, was because these certain king-men had repented and finally covenanted to subsist on their own labors and not the labors of others. This is why Lachoneus' strategy was so brilliant.  By gathering in the center of the Nephite lands, the skill-less Gadiantons, who subsisted purely on pillaging (hired pillaging), couldn't provide for themselves. 

Isa 65:21-22 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.  They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

Sincerely,
David Brosnahan MD

Saturday, July 08, 2017

4-Fold Mission of Christ's Church



The purpose of God is to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39).  This is achieved only by and through Jesus Christ, the Holy Messiah. The purpose of the Church of Jesus Christ is to help the entire human family to come unto Jesus Christ through its four missions.

1. Live the Gospel (Matthew 5:48): the Church and its members are to come unto Christ by administering sacred covenants and ordinances.  Church members are to promote true discipleship, more perfect repentance and virtuous living.  The body of Christ creates a community of safety and caring. 

2. Share the Gospel (Mark 16:15): the Church and its members are to continually share the good news of Christ's gospel with all peoples by word and example.

3. Turn hearts to their Fathers (Malachi 4:5-6):  Christ's atonement overcame death.  Accordingly, the gospel of Christ is still being preached in the Spirit World (1 Peter 3:19).  Baptism can be performed by the living and accepted by the dead (1 Cor 15:29). Genealogy identifies our progenitors who we hope will accept these covenants by ordinances performed by vicarious proxy.

4. Care for Poor and Needy (James 1:27): Pure Religion involves caring for the poor and needy, especially the fatherless and widow. Welfare is the primary business and duty of religion because only religious organizations can collect voluntarily, give with accountability and effectively rehabilitate where needed. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Jerusalem Temple on Mount Zion

 

Ps 48:12-13 "Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.  Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the [last] generation."

The ancient temple at Jerusalem may not have stood on the Haram al-Sharif or so-called "temple mount" where the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock stand today. Some historians and archaeologist are claiming that what is known as the temple mount today is likely the ancient Roman Antonia Fortress.  Instead, the ancient temple would has stood 600 ft to the south on Mount Zion in the City of David. 

1. Jesus Christ prophesied that not one stone of the temple complex would be left upon another (Matt 24:1-2, Mark 13:2). The reason why every rock was up-turned on the temple complex was because when Titus burned the temple, its gold melted and flowed down in between the foundation stones.  Soldiers overturned all the stones to get at the gold.  Josephus commented that the  destruction was so complete that no one would have guessed a temple stood in that location. 

2. The Antonia Fortress would have been a massive structure housing the 10th Legion comprising 6000 soldiers and at least 4000 additional support persons including numerous horses.  The Fortress would not have been a small appendage to the temple complex but would have dwarfed it.

3. According to Josephus, the Antonia Fortress was built around a massive 75 ft rock.  The Romans built massive walls around the rock (Foundation Stone) and then back-filled the area creating a plateau on Mount Moriah whose southeast tower looked down on the temple complex.  The higher elevation of the Antonia Fortress  explains why the Roman soldiers "ran down" from the Fortress to arrest Paul just outside the temple gates for inciting a riot (Acts 21:32).  The Antonia Fortress complex was connected to the temple complex by two 600-ft colonnades (arms) flush with its western wall.

4. The Bible indicates the Holy Temple stood in on Mount Zion, in the City of David (Ophel), over the Gihon Spring which flowed beneath its southeast corner (Ezek 47:1-12).  Josephus said that the temple complex stood on a 600ft crescent ridge between the Kidron and Tyropoeon (Cheesemonger) Valleys.

5. The Gihon Spring is a siphon fed by an aquifer under Mount Scopus.  Vertical  channels from the spring would have supplied the temple with needed fresh water.

6. During the time of the Maccabees, the Temple was descrated by Greeks . Simon the Hasmonean decided to purify and remove Mt. Zion, leveling the citadel (Akra) and throwing it into the Tyropeon Valley.  After Simon's leveling of the Ophel and Akra of the City of David, the hill west in what became known as Upper Jerusalem began to be called Mt. Zion.