Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Early Church Authority

Q: What is the Mormon position about the original church authority? Were the apostles the only real authority? Or were others allowed some? Who was authorized to baptize new believers? Who had the authority to make important decisions? Did everyone have some authority but others had more? Or did new believers have no authority and had to wait to be given it by others who already had it? This is important because (correct me if I'm wrong) the Mormon position is that all such authority was lost and thus in need of a restoration. Therefore, I am wondering what exactly that authority was.

A: To answer the question we need to differentiate between priesthood authority, priesthood keys, and priesthood power.

We know that the original church was organized with a chief apostles Peter at the head of 12 apostles (Eph. 4: 11). The church also had 7 evangelists or presidents and had seventy elders. On the local level we have individual bishops (episcopate) who had authority over elders (presbyter) and deacons (deaconos). We also get a clue from the Bible that Elders were authorized to do things deacons didn't do. When the Bible says who can bless and annoint, it says call upon the elders (James 5: 14).

Clement criticizes those in Corinth who removed their Bishop, and said Bishops were to be appointed by eminent men in the hierarchy and not voted in by the congregation. And then the appointment, Clement said, was to be presented before the church for a vote of consent and sustaining (1 Clem 41:1, 42:5, 44:1-5).

Ignacius tells the church to do nothing without the Bishop including baptisms, lords supper etc. So if there is a priesthood of all believers, there still is the issue of keys (Epistle of Ignatius to Hero: 3,Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans: 8). You should remember that while the sealing authority was given to all the Apostles In Matt 18, only Peter was given Keys (Matt 16:18-19).

Okay, so what's the difference:

Priesthood Authority
Priesthood authority is the authority to act in the name of God and perform an ordinance, sacrament, covenant marriage, Lords Supper that is valid in heaven in the eyes of God.

Priesthood Keys
Priesthood keys are not just the authority to administer an ordinance, but it is the the authority to authorize that a baptism, Lords Supper, or covenant marriage can be done. A person may have the authority to administer the ordinance, but keys are necessary to authorize that the ordinance be done. The concept of keys is genius because it prevents a person from receiving priesthood authority and then splitting off and thinking he can form his own authorized church. All authority is derived from the same keys. And only Peter and all the Apostles together held all the keys.

Priesthood Power
Even with priesthood keys and authority, there still is the issue of power. Just because someone has authority, a person must empower that authority. This empowerment of priesthood authority is based on the atonement of Jesus Christ, repentance, and personal righteousness. And the power of the Priesthood is the Holy Ghost and the Holy Ghost does not dwell in unholy temples (1 Cor. 3: 16). This is why the Apostles were unable to cast out devils on one occasion and Christ told them these did not come out but by prayer and fasting. There wasn't a problem with authority but empowerment (Matt. 17: 21).

So, after the death of the Apostles and many of the Early Church Fathers and Bishops, the keys of the Priesthood, which are passed down in succession by the laying on of hands (1 Tim. 4: 14), was lost to the Earth. While individual Bishops are given some keys to preside over a local congregation only the Chief Apostles, and the Twelve Apostles as a group hold and exercise all Priesthood keys. Another important aspect of the kingdom of God is its hierarchy. The Bible and the Early Church Fathers made it abundantly clear that church leadership was supposed to be appointed from the top down and not elected from the bottom up. Voting does not represent and does not always reflect the mind and will of God.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Trinity: Logical Proof or Contradiction

Some of my Evangelical Christian friends have tried to use the following argument to support their belief that God the Father is only a spiritual reality and has not physicality or physical reality. They used the following New Testament scriptures as a kind of logical expression that they solved to say that God the Father was spirit only in favor of the Trinity doctrine put forth in the Nicene Creed. Here are the three scriptures:

1. John 4: 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
2. Luke 24: 39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
3. John 10: 30 I and my Father are one.

Using these three scriptures, I asked my wife's cousin who is currently working on a PhD in Methematical Logic if he could express these statements as logical mathematical arguments, and what would be the result? He responded with the following in an email.

Your scripture/logic question is interesting. Here is how I would formalize the argument, and the result is a contradiction.

Sx: x is a spirit
Bx: x is/has a body
g: God
j: Jesus

Logical symbols:
^: conjunction (AND)
~: negation (NOT)
->: implication (IF/THEN)
<->: iff (IF-AND-ONLY-IF)(x)(p(x)): for all x, p is true of x (where p is some logical formula);the overall formula is said to be universally quantified
=: equality

John 4:24 (ignoring the part about worshiping God in spirit and truth): Sg
Luke 24:39: Bj^[(x)(Sx -> ~Bx)]
John 10:30: g = j

The most natural deduction (to me, anyway) is the following:
1. Sg Given
2. Bj^[(x)(Sx -> ~Bx)] Given
3. g = j Given
4. (x)(y)(x=y <-> [(F)(Fx <-> Fy)])

Leibniz's law:
Any x and y are equal/identical iff for every property F, F holds of x iff F holds of y (i.e., equality means having all identical properties)

5. g=j <-> [(F)(Fg <-> Fj)] from 4 by axiom for universal specialization
6. (F)(Fg <-> Fj) from 3 and 5 by Modus Ponens
7. Sg <-> Sj from 6 by axiom for universal specialization
8. Sj from 1 and 7 by Modus Ponens
9. (x)(Sx -> ~Bx) from 2 by axiom for eliminating conjunction
10. Sj -> ~Bj from 9 by axiom for universal specialization
11. ~Bj from 8 and 10 by Modus Ponens
12. Bj from 2 by axiom for eliminating conjunction
13. ~Bj^Bj (a contradiction) from 11 and 12 by axiom for introducing conjunction.

Most logicians, including me, prefer to avoid contradictions (though there is a branch of logic that studies "paraconsistent" systems), so I would disagree if your friend claims that these verses, taken together,constitute an obvious, meaningful argument. I think that when logic breaks down in the real world, it is usually because there are some hidden axiomsa nd subtleties of definition. Probably both you and your friend would be reluctant to say that one or more of these verses is false, so resolution of the contradiction hinges on the interpretation of key phrases. The verse from Luke seems entirely straightforward, so in a Bill Clinton-esque way the matter depends on what "is" (or "are") means. Again, "God is a Spirit" seems straight forward (even if we don't know exactly what a spirit is, from Luke we know that it doesn't have flesh and bones), so I would conclude that "I and my Father are one" does not mean equality in the sense of Leibniz. Whether that is consistent with the doctrine of the Trinity would be something your friend would have to (try to) answer.

Take care, William

I also had a mathematical and logic computer science professional try the same experiment letting him interpret and convert the 3 verses into logical arguments in computer language and he came up with the same result.

What can we conclude from this exercise? The point here is that it is not logical for logical Evangelicals to use these 3 verses of scripture as logical arguments to somehow prove the doctrine of the Trinity and that God the Father is only a spiritual reality and only a spirit.

The truth is that the nature of God is the unification and harmonization of both the spiritual and physical and that God is both a spiritual and physical reality. This may seem trivial, but it happens to be the number one misunderstanding concerning the nature of God and leads many Christians to infer and interpret other scriptural truths as only spiritual realities. Many Evangelicals extrapolate this misunderstanding and apply it to their understanding of the Church not being an organization or hierarchy but only a spiritual body of believers. They extrapolate this misunderstanding to believe that their exists a general priesthood of all believers but ignore that there also is order and an actual priesthood authority. Evangelicals see the temple as the body of the believer only, and salvation is by grace without the need for any type of works, repentance, or ordinances. All these spiritual points are true, and the correct spiritual reality, but they are not correct apart from the associated physical reality. LDS doctrine recognizes both the physical and the spiritual reality of all these truths.

When you consider the historical context of John 4: 24, the verse stresses the spiritual nature of God. That is because the Jews being spoken too had swung the pendulum, with regard to their understanding of the nature of God, too far towards the physical. They knew God spoke to Moses face to face, and they were looking for the Messiah who would come and physically and politically redeem Israel from the oppression of Rome. And the Jews misunderstood the physical and outward requirements of the Law of Moses thinking they resulted in salvation alone. John 4:24 was spoken to remind the Jews that God was also a spirit and those that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth, word and deed, outward ordinances, and inward commitment and devotion. grace and works.

Now Satan has deceived many Christians by getting the pendulum of belief to swing too far to the spiritual side of things to the exclusion of any physical reality to Scripture and Religion. John warned of this in the Bible saying that the spirit of the Anti-Christ would deny that Christ came in the flesh, and that the mouth of the Beast would blaspheme the tabernacle (physicality) of God. This kind of things started with the Gnostic's but is perpetuated thanks to the Nicene and other non-Biblical Creeds that were contentiously debated, politicked, voted upon and ratified by slim majorities and split decisions resulting in later schizms and not a promised unity of the faith. Unfortunately, voting on doctrine doesn't make that doctrine true and voting does not represent the pattern God has set forth to reveal truth to man.

I hope that accepting the physical and spiritual nature of God and God the Father will lead all Christians to a proper understanding of the physical and spiritual realities of all doctrine and all truth. While my Evangelical friends were trying to use these 3 verses to make a logical argument to say that the Father is spirit only. Another scripture, Matt. 5: 48 says:

Matt 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Therefore, with this understanding I would reject a recent statement by Ravi Zarcharias that only the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost together constitute the perfect expression of deity. Matt 5 says that God is perfect and complete alone. Christ came to perfect man and not the Father.

Also, Justin Martyr to Trypho used the creation story in Genesis which says: "Let us make man in our image" and "Now man has become as one of us" to disprove the "Royal We" argument and to prove that the Father and the Son are seperate, distinct, rational and intelligent individuals, persons, personages, and beings present. Even Pastor Ken Clause on the Luthern Hour radio program recently taught that the Father and the Son were separate and distinct "individuals".Therefore the word "homoousios" in the Nicene Creed saying that God the Father and the Son Jesus Christ are "One Substance." is incorrect and Stephen in the New Testament and Joseph Smith really did see God the Son standing on the right hand of God the Father.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Synopsis of the Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon really begins with the Jaredites and the Book of Ether which is the second to last book. The Jaredites are a small group of Christians who lived after the flood in Babel of Babylon about 2000 BC. The Jaredites pray that God would not confound their language. God makes a covenant with them to give them the land of promise, a land even better than the fertile cresent. What land could be better than the trigis-eurphrates river valley? Well, if this group had the words from Adam to Noah, they would know about the land the Patriarchs lived in before the flood. They would have known about America. During their preparation to travel to America, the Brother of Jared sees the pre-mortal Jesus Christ and they speak face to face.

The new ideas here are that: 1. Christ was revealed from the beginning of time. 2. Then Patriarchs like Adam, Enoch, and Noah recorded scripture 3. The fact that we no longer possess the records of the patriarchs proves that apostasy happens and that God allows man to neglect and alter scripture requiring new dispensations and truth to be re-revealed. 4. America is a promised and sacred land like Jerusalem.

When the Jaredites arrived in America they form an advanced civilization with a king which leads to much warfare. Eventually, the civilization dies out as each competing side executes a war of extermination or genocide upon the other. A prophet named Ether kept himself hidden and wrote the history of the Jaredites on 24 gold plates. The King Coriantumr survived to see the promised land given to another covenant people. This next group, the Nephites, find the record and ruins of the Jeredites in the land Northward of the narrow neck and translate their records. The Nephites learn of the fate of the Jaredites but history repeats itself.

The record of Ether which contains a brief account of the Jaredites from the tower of Babel, the vision of the Brother of Jared, to Coriantumr is an abridgment of the 24 Jaredite plates by Moroni, the son of Mormon. This abridgement was written by a Nephite one thousand years later as an appendix to the Book of Mormon after which Moroni himself writes a few words himself describing the destruction of his own people the Nephites and includes a few doctrinal letters written to him by his father Mormon. Moroni then buries the golden plates in the ground to be discovered by the next covenant people who would be granted by God to possess the promised land of America. Moroni is hopefull the Gentiles would learn from the words of the Nephites and the Jaredites and not suffer the same fate as these other 2 covenant groups.

The golden plates would be made of an alloy of copper and gold. 100% gold would be too heavy and too soft to engrave. Alloys of copper and gold called Tumbaga were commonly used by the Inca and most likely represent the material used for the golden plates. The Omec civilization corresponds to the correct location and time of the Jaredite civilization.

The Book of Mormon itself begins with the Book of Lehi and then the Book of Nephi which contains a brief abridgment of the Book of Lehi which recounts the journey of the Nephites from Jerusalem to America. Nephi comments how he is instructed to recount some of the same details as his father Lehi for a special purpose. After Martin Harris loses the 116 pages of the Book of Lehi, the important details are preserved in the Book of Nephi and God commands Joseph Smith not to retranslate the Book of Lehi again. Nephi describes how the family travels south through Arabia along the Red Sea to a place called Nahom and then heads east through the desert until they find a rare oasis on the coast of southeastern Arabia with milk, honey, timber, iron ore, fruits and flowers. Khor Kharfot and Wadi Sayq in Southern Oman both fit this discription perfectly.

After arriving in America, the Nephites are forced to split up into two groups because of strife over birthright and leadership rights. The Nephites separate from the Lamanites and move from the Land of Nephi north to the land of Zarehemla. In this northern land, they Nephites discover another people known as the Mulekites who also were led away from Jerusalem in 600 bc at the time of the Babylonian captivity. Mulek was a son of King Zedekiah. But because they did not bring scripture with them, their language had been corrupted. The Mulekites and Nephites unite and make the Nephite King, King Mosiah their ruler. The Mulekites have a small record of Coriantumr the Jaredite who lived among them for a few months before his death.

Nephi passes his record on to his brother Jacob and then down from father to son for several generations. Each generation writes a few words of these small plates of Nephi until the plates themselves are full. These small plates are given to King Benjamin and kept by the king with the other official history of the Nephites which was recorded on what was called the large plates of Nephi.

Mormon, a prophet-general-historian who lived 400 AD, was guven custody of a large repository of Nephite writings including several important artifacts. Mormon makes an abridgment of the Large plates of Nephi from the Reign of King Benjamin (son of King Mosiah) in 125 BC to the appearance of Jesus Christ in America. Mormon then skips a period of 300 years of peace and picks up the story again to describe the fall and fate of the Nephites after they reject the truth of Christ.

During the abridgement by Mormon, Mormon includes excepts from several groups. Mormon includes the writtings of Alma which recounts the happenings of a group of Nephites who return to the Land of Nephi to possess their original city. In the city of Nephi to the south, there is a great prophet Abinadi who testifies before the court of King Noah of the wickedness of the king, the coming of Jesus Christ, and the impending judgements of God. Abinadi is burned at the stake by King Noah. However, Abinadi's message converts Alma, a preist in Noah's court, who goes into exile, record's Abinadi's words and begins teaching the Christian message and making converts at the waters of Mormon. The Lamanites eventually place both the people of Alma and the people of the city of Nephi in captivity. King Noah is burned at the stake like Abinadi, and King Limhi comes to power. Both the people of Alma and the people of Limhi are delivered from the Lamanites by miraculous means and return to the Land of Zarahemla. They also bring with them 24 plates of the Jaredites that they discovered incidentally.

Mormon then includes detail of missionary work by the sons of Alma to the Lamanites. The Lamanites had been taught the language of the Nephites and also have becaome a more civilized and agriculture-based people. They are no longer the hunter-gatherers described in Jacob and Enos. The Book of Mormon describes the curse of the Lamanites as a rejection of the truth of God as well as a rejection of the basic principles of civilization. The Book of Mormon recounts the restoration and redemption of the Lamanites through the process of literacy, agriculture, industry, trade, and then freedom of religion. The Sons of Alma have difficulty preaching to the Lamanites until they convert a son of the Lamanite King who decrees that Christian missionaries be free to preach the gospel of Christ throughout the land. The newly converted Lamanites are now described as faithful and steadfast in their testimony of Christ.

Mormon then includes details of wars between the Nephites and Lamanites. The Nephites had adopted a representative democracy or republican form of government. But there is a schizm among the Nephites where a minority desire to re-establish a king over the land who would promise to hand out political favors. Many of these king-men who oppose representative democracy fail to take the Nephite government by vote, then by force, and then move to live among the Lamanites where they continually incite the Lamanites to go to war against the Nephites. Eventually a Nephite apostate, Amalikiah, is made king over all the Lamanites. Mormon includes writings of Captian Moroni, Lehi, and Helaman which give detail of the Nephite victory over the Lamanites and the protection of Lamanite converts (People of Ammon or Anti-Nephi-Lehi's).

After the days of Captain Moroni, the Lamanites take half of all Nephite lands and cities. Captian Moroni's son General Moronihah suspends the war efforts and gives up on retaking the rest of the Nephite lands. Prophets Nephi and Lehi preach among the Lamanites and convert the Lamanites to Christianity resulting in the Lamanites giving the Nephites back the rest of all their lands and cities without having to result to warfare.

Alma 31: 5 And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.

So, now at 30 BC, the Nephites and the Lamanites are vitually united as a people and enjoy free trade and freedom of religion. The apostate Nephites had failed to take control of the government by election, by open rebellion, and by treason in allying themselves with the Lamanites. So, now they decide to overthrow the government by secret combination, organized crime, or conspiracy. So, this group infiltrates the goverment and they also move into the mountains and draw away followers. They become known as the Gaddianton Robbers. At this same time a righteous Lamanite prophet preaches to the more wicked Nephites the sign of Jesus Christ's brith and death.

The sign of the birth of Jesus Christ is given of a day and a night and a day as one day. However, many explain the sign away and are not convinced. Gaddianton Robbers threaten to come down from the mountains to destroy the unified Nephites and Lamanites. King Lachoneus gathers the people together in one place and successfully defends against the Robbers. The Robbers subsist on plunder and becasue the Nephites had taken all their grain with them, they suffered starvation without food to steal. The combined people of Nephi are humbled by their victory over the Gaddianton Terrorists.

However, the Nephites quickly lose their humility and forget Christ. This allows the Gaddianton Robbers to continue to infiltrate the governement until they were able to successfully murder the Chief Judge again for a second time. The government of the Nephites falls apart into tribes. Apostate king-men are still unable to conquer the land and flee northward. The sign of the death of Jesus Christ appears as 3 days of darkness, tempests, and a great earthquake. All the wicked are destroyed while the more righteous are preserved.

Christ appears in America and teaches the Nephites the higher law of the gospel of Christ. The Nephites live in complete peace for 3 generations. This peace is not automatic but the result of dilligent preaching by the Nephites. However, after 3 generations there begins to be a division again among the Nephites. Apostate Nephites reject Christ and adopt the Lamanite culture again and their false religious traditions.

By 350 AD Mormon gives a personal account of the final battles of the Nephites and the Lamanites. The Lamanites are described in Apocolyto-like terms and the Nephites are said to be even more blood thristy and ferrocious. Mormon refuses to lead the Nephite armies because of the wickedness of the Nephites. There are only a small number of true Christians in all the land. Mormon had been given custody of all the Nephite records and important artifacts and during this time writes the abridgement which is the Book of Mormon. The Lamanites engage in a war of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and extermination of the Nephites. The Nephites are forced to flee to the land northward and make a final stand at a place near the Hill Comorah. The Nephites experience a terrible defeat in this final battle.

By 420 AD, Mormon's son Mormoni is given custody of all the Nephite records and artifacts. Mormoni seals all the records up in a place called the Hill Comorah, but takes the small abridgement of his father Mormon together with the small plates of Lehi and Nephi added to the front and escapes extermination. Moroni finishes the record of his father by adding the last couple chapters to the Book of Mormon itself, then writes the abridgement of the Jaredite history which is the Book of Ether, and then writes his own short book which contains several letters written by Mormon about doctrinal matters such as Charity and the Baptism of Chrildren.

Before depositing the golden plates in Upstate New York for Joseph Smith to find 1500 years later, Moroni gives us the complete account of the vision of the Brother of Jared which constitutes what Joseph Smith called the Sealed Portion of the Book of Mormon. When compared to what Joseph Smith was allowed to translate, the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon is twice as big. This portion of sealed scripture is promised to be translated in some future generation.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon

Hebraisms are grammatical forms in a translation that make more sense in Hebrew than in English. The Book of Mormon contains many of them. How did Joseph Smith know to include them?

"And it Came to Pass"
"Wherever he found his speech growing too modern -- which was about every sentence or two -- he ladled in a few such Scriptural phrases as "exceeding sore," "and it came to pass," etc., and made things satisfactory again. 'And it came to pass' was his pet. If he had left that out, his Bible would have been only a pamphlet." -- Mark Twain

The present edition of the Book of Mormon contains the phrase "it came to pass" 1297 times. However, this phrase also occurs 457 times in the KJV of the Old Testament. The phrase is translated into English from a single Hebrew word, hâyâh, which means "now it happened." The Hebrew Old Testament has 1114 occurrences of the word hâyâh. Most of these have either been ignored or reduced to simply "and."

Chiasmus- In English when we transmit a thought we usually tend to open our thought with an introductory thesis statement, then we support the thesis with supporting arguments, and then we conclude restating the thesis. Therefore it can be said that when western writers write, we tell you what we are going to say, say what we are going to say, and then tell you again what we just just said.

Ancient Hebrew writers did not use the thesis, body, conclusion pattern. Ancient Hebrews conveyed ideas using a list of supporting arguments and then rewrote the same list of arguments in the exact reverse order [ABCCBA]. The focal point or thesis statement would be placed as the central argument in this poetic form. This form is known as chiasmus and The Book of Mormon is loaded with Chiasmus.

Examples of Chiasmus in the Bible: Isaiah 6:10, Isaiah 2:3-5, Psalms 124:7
Examples of Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon: Mosiah 3:18-19, Mosiah 5:10-12, Alma 36, Alma 34:9.

Compound Prepositions: "from before": 3 Ne. 9: 5, 7-9, 11, 1 Ne. 4: 28, 30, 1 Ne. 11: 12, 29, Morm. 2: 24-25, Morm. 4: 20, 22, 1 Ne. 20: 19, 2 Ne. 9: 8, Mosiah 17: 4, Alma 2: 32, Alma 44: 12, 3 Ne. 4: 12, Ether 13: 22, Moro. 9: 15; "and also": 1 Nephi 8:3.

Colophon: Statement by the author at the beginning or the end of a piece stating that he is the author of the work. 1 Nephi 1:1, Enos 1:1, Jacob 7:26.

Construct State of Nouns vs. Possessives: River of Water, Rod of Iron, Works of Darkness, Name of the Lord, Kingdom of God, Sword of Laban, Plates of Brass, Temple of Solomon, Land of Promise, etc.

Repetition of the Definitive Article for each noun in a list: 2 Nephi 5:10.

Cognitive Accusative: work a marvelous work, judge righteous judgment, curse them with a sore cursing, dreamed a dream, yoketh them with a yoke, build buildings, tax with a tax, etc.

Many "ands": 1 Samuel 17:34-35 vs. Alma 46:12-13

"If", "and" Conditional Clauses vs. "if", "then": 1 Ne. 17:50 (corrected before publication in 1830), Moroni 10:4 (1830 ed.) Hel 12:13-21 (1830 ed.), 2 Nephi 31:20 (1830 ed.).

2 Nephi 31:20 Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: And ye shall have eternal life ("And" removed by Joseph Smith in 1837 ed.).

Simile Curses and Oaths: Associating a physical object with a curse or oath. Mosiah 12:3, Mosiah 12:11, Alma 46:22, 3 Nephi 4:28-29, Alma 44:12-15.

Poetic Parallelisms: Synonymous Parallelism:2 Nephi 25:2, Antithetic Parallelism: 1 Nephi 17:45, Repeated Alternate Parallelism: 1Nephi 19:10.

Prepositional Phrases vs. Adverbs: with harshness, with joy, with gladness, with patience, with diligence, in righteousness, in the spirit, of worth, of a surety.

Book of Mormon Names: Hebrew Names found in Elephantine Papyrus and Dead Sea Scrolls: Alma, Sariah, names with -iah endings and not -jahu. Other Hebrew Name: Mosiah = Redeeming Savior, Mulek = King. Phonetician (Greek) Names: Laconeus, Timothy, Jonus, Sidon, Egyptian Names: Nephi, Pahoran, Paanchi Pacumeni, Nahom, and Deseret = red crown of the honeybee.

FARMS Article on Book of Mormon Names.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Mormon Ritual and Ancient Temples

The Following video was shown at the Open House to the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple. Latter-day temples are the most powerful signs of the restoration of God's kingdom on the Earth. Most Jews and Christians await the restoration of the temple at Jerusalem, but many forget that the everlasting covenant and the temple of the New Testament would be established to all Gentile nations before eventually being restored to the Jews at Jerusalem. While the pattern and covenant of the Old Testament temple was meant to bring Israel to the Son Jesus Christ, the purpose and pattern of the New Testament temple is to perfect, sanctify, and prepare us through Jesus Christ to enter into the presence of God the Father, As you will see by this video presentation, these buildings are truly worthy to bare the words HOLINESS TO THE LORD, THE HOUSE OF THE LORD.

View Inside LDS Temples

Curitiba, Brazil Temple

Panama City, Panama Temple

Several LDS Temples

Sacrament Mistake, Exact Obedience and Atonement

Today during our sacrament meeting the young priest who was saying the blessing over the bread before it was passed to the congregation made a very small one-word mistake on the prayer. This happens from time to time and what happened today which was typical of other times a mistake is made on the sacrament prayer. The young priest simply repeated the prayer a second time, but without the mistake.

Until today, I am not sure I really realized the significance of that. I'm not sure I really thought about why we expect priests to say the prayer over the Lord's Supper word-for-word and mistake-free other than its important to obey with exactness. But, today I realized the significance of this expectation for exact obedience is more than the LDS church was just being strict.

Some Christians may feel that making the young priest repeat the prayer after he has done his best is being abusive. Why don't we just accept best first effort. And I realized that the reason really illustrates the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ and what the atonement is all about. The truth is that God really does not look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. And the atonement of Christ is not just about overlooking our sins and imperfections and letting us into heaven anyways despite all our sins. What the atonement of Christ is about is allowing us a do-over, and then empowering us the second or third or seventieth time to do it right. And while none of us do everything with exact obedience all the time, we do know that by the end of the Millennium, Christ have completed the work of sanctification in us and that eventually we will be empowered to obey with exactness all the time.