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    Liberal Feminazi Pheidippides's Avatar
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    Default I taught in church today

    A few people have requested that I give general outlines of my lessons on here, so I created this thread. I don't want to monopolize it by any means, so others who are teaching (or who are not) should feel free to post here too.

    Because of ward conference earlier this year, we're a week behind most other wards. This week was Lesson 5: This is the Spirit of Revelation. The focus is on Sections 6, 8 and 9.

    Last we talked about Oliver Cowdery a lot, and we've already established that he had some prior experiences seeking for religion and spirituality. Oliver has only known Joseph a few days or weeks at most during these sections. Oliver, as we know left the church (actually was excommunicated) but was rebaptized just before he died of tuberculosis at the home of David Whitmer. In between, he studied law, became a successful lawyer, and ran for office several times, most of the time losing only when his ties to the Mormons came up. Well educated before he met Joseph, he's clearly a very intelligent and spiritually minded young man.

    So it's no surprise that he wants to translate and is fascinated by the process. And it looks like it's pretty simple: he's offered it on a silver platter (D&C 6:25-28). See also D&C 8:1-3 and 10-11, and notice that last bit about Moses, the Red Sea, and the Spirit of Revelation in verse 3.

    Side note here: this really underscores the egalitarianism that Joseph had with a lot of his early church. If he could have this power, why couldn't anybody else? Revelation is not limited to one person.

    But as we know, Oliver didn't translate. We get the studying out in the mind versus, where all of a sudden just asking isn't enough. See D&C 9:7-9. Jeff and Jacob pointed out the discrepancy here - what gives?

    Think about that for a bit while we go back to Sections 6 and 8. 6:10-12 tells us that Oliver has another gift, a sacred gift. Section 8 hints a bit more, and especially verse 7: the gift of Aaron. Now this is prior to the restoration of the Aaronic priesthood, so that can't be the gift - what is it? Well, the original manuscript of the revelation tells us: the word "gift" is "rod". The Rod of Aaron is the gift. This is a clear reference to Oliver's practice using divining rods. We've already talked about the folk magic practices that Joseph had, and his preference for his old seerstone over the Urim and Thummim, the autumnal equinoxes and Moroni's visitation, the general superstitions that pervaded the northeast (and elsewhere) at this time. This is part of that.

    So let's talk about Aaron, Moses and their rods (rimshot optional). Exodus 7:10: Aaron turns his rod into a serpent. Exodus 7:19: Aaron turns the Nile to blood with his rod. Exodus 17:5-7: Moses takes the same rod and strikes the rock to get water. And remember D&C 8:3? Moses splits the Red Sea with...you guessed it, his rod! This is the spirit of revelation?

    Now, do you know why Moses doesn't get to see the promised land? Turn to Numbers 20:10-12 to find out. Moses faces the same whiny Israelites asking for water again, and he asks the Lord. The Lord tells him to take that same rod, that same rod, and go to the rock and not smite it, but speak to it. Now, do you think by this point Moses might be enamored with his rod (again, optional rimshot)? Maybe he is forgetting where the real power comes from - remember the Lord telling Oliver in D&C 8:7 that the power has to come from God? Maybe he's trusting a lot in this thing, this thing through which God has worked before. It's his spiritual crutch, and he can't put it away, so he smites the rock - and doesn't get to enter the promised land as a result.

    The rod at this point may have become a magic artifact, a talisman, if you will, to Moses, and God is telling him to trust Him, not the magic, but the source of it. And Moses fails.

    You see this pop up all over the scriptures. Mosiah 8 - the urim and thummim are magic translators. Moses and Aaron and their rods. Joseph Smith and his seerstone, the urim and thummim, Oliver's rod, even the golden plates. These are talismans, spiritual crutches underlying a lack of faith, physical tools through which God works, but they are not God Himself.

    We don't know how Oliver tried to translate, but no doubt he took whatever magic thing - maybe the seerstone, maybe his rod, maybe the urim and thummim - and thought having the magic talisman and asking was enough. Poor Oliver - the magic is not in the thing, but in God.

    Now turn to Ether, Chapters 2 and 3. Here's the Bro. of Jared trying to build these boats, and first he just asks - Lord, how are we going to travel? Lord, how are we going to breathe? And he gets simple answers. Then he says, Lord, how are we going to see. And the Lord comes back with something different this time - what do you want me to do? Study it out in your mind, kid, and then come back with some ideas.

    So the Bro makes his own talismans, his own magical things, and brings these not-yet-magical rocks to the Lord to touch, except this time he sees the finger of the Lord and then the Lord himself. He's passed the point of his talisman - he has a direct relationship with Jesus now. The stone are useful for light, but they are not a source of spirituality. He has that directly. He's moved passed the item into the relationship.

    Towards the end of his life, Joseph gave one last revelation at Hyrum's request. Now, look at all the Section headings of the D&C, and see how many of these are given through Joseph's talisman, the urim and thummim. Hyrum even asks Joseph to use the U&T for this revelation. But Joseph refuses, saying more or less, "I got this". He'd moved past his own talisman to the direct source - it was unnecessary.

    The key here is the personal relationship with Jesus, something which we should all seek and to which we are entitled. What talismans do we have holding us back? What are our magic things that interpose themselves in the relationship? I have mine, as do we all.
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    This will be one of the better resources on CUF.

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    Default Re: I taught in church today

    Thank you for posting this. We attend gospel essentials because our friend teaches it (and GD in this ward is awful) so I will follow this thread with interest. Look forward to your insights.
    "You know, I was looking at your shirt and your scarf and I was thinking that if you had leaned over, I could have seen everything." ~Trial Ad Judge

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    it's all a blur mtnbiker's Avatar
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    That's really interesting, Niku. I like where you went that we may start with a crutch (possibly leaning on the testimony of others), but need to establish our own relationship with God.

    I have always interpreted those scriptures differently, however. Moses said he was slow of speech and was afraid the people would mock him, so the Lord, exasperated with Moses' reluctance, said, essentially, 'Ok, I'll talk to you and tell you what I want you and the people to do, and you tell Aaron what I said, and Aaron, who is more eloquent, will instruct the people.' So my interpretation with Oliver is somewhat similar, that he was better educated, and could a) help with the translation process by being a great scribe and b) be an eloquent spokesman for Joseph. Although I'm not so sure how that interpretation might work with D&C 6:11, where the Lord tells Oliver to exercise his gift, '...that thou mayest find out mysteries, that though mayest bring many to the knowledge of the truth....' Being a spokesman can certainly bring many to the knowledge of the truth, but it seems that the gift also pertains to finding out mysteries, or things pertaining to God and the gospel that were not generally understood at the time.

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    I'm glad you posted this, Niku. I've never thought about the connection to Aaron or the Brother of Jared, and I really liked your ideas.
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    Default I taught in church today

    Quote Originally Posted by thesaint258 View Post
    I'm glad you posted this, Niku. I've never thought about the connection to Aaron or the Brother of Jared, and I really liked your ideas.
    I have to give credit to my wife for the Bro of J connection. She raised it and brought it up to me when I was developing the lesson.
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    Senior Member Katy Lied's Avatar
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    Very interesting read Niku. Comments:

    Your egalitarian point is taken up by Bushman in RSR. Instead of seeing it as rejection for Oliver, he interprets it as encouragement by JS for everyone to develop gifts.

    A couple of places, Joseph talks about the U&T and the wording he uses makes it clear that not only were they used in translation, but the mere possession of them aids in translation. (I'm at work so I can't get you the exact reference, but one is at the beginning of either the BOM or the D&C.) So you could own them, but choose to use or not use them. So maybe they were talismans that could be used to aid in translation, but were not necessary. You call them spiritual crutches, while I see them more as learning devices. They focus the spiritual gift, but after a while as the seer gets more expert, they are not necessary.

    This whole emphasis on learning, and JS being a seer-in-training, leads me to reexamine the "study it out in your mind" requirement. Others have said that this seems a cop out, but when it happened to the Bro of Jared, he had come to the well already, and got what he sought previously. Now, the challenge was to learn a little more, and give more thought prior to asking. I wonder if Oliver was also in the same position; he had previously asked and received, and was now asking for more without giving more effort. Now, the answer he gets is not a cop out, but is more in line with an increase in effort and preparation prior to getting what you ask for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Lied View Post
    Very interesting read Niku. Comments:

    Your egalitarian point is taken up by Bushman in RSR. Instead of seeing it as rejection for Oliver, he interprets it as encouragement by JS for everyone to develop gifts.

    A couple of places, Joseph talks about the U&T and the wording he uses makes it clear that not only were they used in translation, but the mere possession of them aids in translation. (I'm at work so I can't get you the exact reference, but one is at the beginning of either the BOM or the D&C.) So you could own them, but choose to use or not use them. So maybe they were talismans that could be used to aid in translation, but were not necessary. You call them spiritual crutches, while I see them more as learning devices. They focus the spiritual gift, but after a while as the seer gets more expert, they are not necessary.

    This whole emphasis on learning, and JS being a seer-in-training, leads me to reexamine the "study it out in your mind" requirement. Others have said that this seems a cop out, but when it happened to the Bro of Jared, he had come to the well already, and got what he sought previously. Now, the challenge was to learn a little more, and give more thought prior to asking. I wonder if Oliver was also in the same position; he had previously asked and received, and was now asking for more without giving more effort. Now, the answer he gets is not a cop out, but is more in line with an increase in effort and preparation prior to getting what you ask for.
    I got the egalitarian point from Bushman, actually. Several people in my class have read him and he's the unofficial text behind my lessons.

    Your point about owning but not using makes sense, although I don't wonder that Joseph primarily uses his seerstones instead as they were the familiar. Still, he reputedly told his mother that the U&T were marvelous and he could see anything with them.

    My wife also used the term learning devices instead of crutch, and I think that's right - but I intentionally chose the word crutch to drive at the last point of applicability: what crutches do we use that get in our way of a relationship with God? I had to dance around the wording in class on that one to be sure I wasn't saying something I wasn't.

    I'm going to reach back on this lesson when we get to Hiram Page. I wish you all were there to make the discussion fun, although I have a few sharp cookies in my class.
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    Senior Member Katy Lied's Avatar
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    Just for completeness, what were the tools used in translation?

    1. JS's favorite seer stone, in hat

    2. U&T

    3. The plates themselves. (There are some writings from JS where he described the writing on the pages of the plates, the fact that the writing went from right-to-left, etc, that leads one to conclude he translated through direct handling.)

    4. Nothing- direct revelation

    Anything else? I seem to remember about another seer stone, although my memory is not clear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Lied View Post
    Just for completeness, what were the tools used in translation?

    1. JS's favorite seer stone, in hat

    2. U&T

    3. The plates themselves. (There are some writings from JS where he described the writing on the pages of the plates, the fact that the writing went from right-to-left, etc, that leads one to conclude he translated through direct handling.)

    4. Nothing- direct revelation

    Anything else? I seem to remember about another seer stone, although my memory is not clear.
    There were two seerstones. One of them was the one he dug up in Willard Chase's well a couple of years prior. Not sure where the other one came from. I've seen pictures of both of them, btw. I will confess that I don't know if he used the second for the BOM however.

    I wonder if Oliver tried to use his rod to translate. Sections 6 and 8 could be read to insinuate that kind of thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Lied View Post
    Just for completeness, what were the tools used in translation?

    1. JS's favorite seer stone, in hat

    2. U&T

    3. The plates themselves. (There are some writings from JS where he described the writing on the pages of the plates, the fact that the writing went from right-to-left, etc, that leads one to conclude he translated through direct handling.)

    4. Nothing- direct revelation

    Anything else? I seem to remember about another seer stone, although my memory is not clear.
    A Treasured Testament by Elder Russell M. Nelson

    [...]

    The details of this miraculous method of translation are still not fully known. Yet we do have a few precious insights. David Whitmer wrote:

    “Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man.” (David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, Richmond, Mo.: n.p., 1887, p. 12.)

    [...]
    I believe I read that the U & T was only used for the first 114 pages which were, of course, lost.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. Funk View Post
    Thank you for posting this. We attend gospel essentials because our friend teaches it (and GD in this ward is awful) so I will follow this thread with interest. Look forward to your insights.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Ted View Post

    I believe I read that the U & T was only used for the first 114 pages which were, of course, lost.
    BTW, I use that talk by Elder Nelson, along with an earlier one, even more speculative, by Elder Anderson (July 1977?)

    Did you mean 116 pages, or did you mean 114 pages? If you meant 116, then that makes sense -- if he only used the U&T for the first 116, then taking away the interpreters for a season would mean no translation. If this happened later on, after JS developed his seer gift independent of the U&T, he could have continued translation without (as Niku calls it) his crutch.

    Contrariwise, if you really meant 114, then that will open a new can of worms that I refuse to speculate about until you confirm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Lied View Post
    BTW, I use that talk by Elder Nelson, along with an earlier one, even more speculative, by Elder Anderson (July 1977?)
    That RMN talk is gold when confronted with a "you shouldn't read anti-Mormon lies" or "stick to what the church says" argument (I've only had to confront the latter lately).
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikuman View Post
    That RMN talk is gold when confronted with a "you shouldn't read anti-Mormon lies" or "stick to what the church says" argument (I've only had to confront the latter lately).
    We had a talk last Sunday from our SP warning us against all of the lies regarding church history, etc. that are found on the internet. He got pretty worked up. The problem with that line of reasoning is that the internet is an equal opportunity tool for dispensing information. If there is a lie posted about the church it can be debunked rather easily. The real problem facing the church and that is the real challenge to testimonies is not the lies, but the facts. We need to come up with a better way to address this than calling them lies.
    So that's what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Lied View Post
    BTW, I use that talk by Elder Nelson, along with an earlier one, even more speculative, by Elder Anderson (July 1977?)

    Did you mean 116 pages, or did you mean 114 pages? If you meant 116, then that makes sense -- if he only used the U&T for the first 116, then taking away the interpreters for a season would mean no translation. If this happened later on, after JS developed his seer gift independent of the U&T, he could have continued translation without (as Niku calls it) his crutch.

    Contrariwise, if you really meant 114, then that will open a new can of worms that I refuse to speculate about until you confirm.
    114 or 116... whatever it takes. Yes, I meant 116. It seems I read somewhere that the original 116 was translated by the U&T. Niku, have you read this in your studies?
    "If there is one thing I am, it's always right." -Ted Nugent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Ted View Post
    114 or 116... whatever it takes. Yes, I meant 116. It seems I read somewhere that the original 116 was translated by the U&T. Niku, have you read this in your studies?
    Going from memory but that's what I remember about it. The lost pages were translated via the U&T and when they were lost, Moroni retook everything, the gold plates, the U&T, and that cool sword of Laban. Then, when JS was allowed to translate again, he did so using seer stone(s). I had thought that one of the stones came from the U&T but my memory is real fuzzy. I had also "heard" that one of the reason's that the U&T wasn't used anymore was because it was awkward for JS to use as it was designed to fit a larger man - a Jaredite. And JS was larger than average in stature. But I admit that much of this could be Mormon lore.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Ted View Post
    114 or 116... whatever it takes. Yes, I meant 116. It seems I read somewhere that the original 116 was translated by the U&T. Niku, have you read this in your studies?
    Yes, I read that as well. I think it's at least implied, if not explicit, in Bushman. That took place 1828, with discovery of the loss taking place in July (the translation had finished in April if I am not mistaken - Harris took the manuscript all the way back to Palmyra from Harmony, Emma had a baby that died, got close herself, and then once she's stabilized Joseph went up to Palmyra to see about the manuscript. The Anton story happened somewhere between April and July, IIRC.

    Anyway, the U&T were confiscated from Joseph by Moroni, but later returned to him on September 22 during the annual interview (I didn't know they still had these until I read that). Then Joseph is too busy preparing for the winter to do much, Emma is probably not in the greatest mood, and life just goes on until Samuel and Oliver show up on April 5 of 1829. The accounts do vary a bit - Emma and David W both talk about the stone in hat method, but Oliver mentions the U&T. Oliver was the primary - but not only - scribe; Emma helped at least with the 116 and maybe more, and both David and John Whitmer spelled Oliver from time to time.

    But the process is very different than the 116; then there was a tablecloth dividing the room with Harris on one side and Joseph on the other, presumably (although we don't know) looking at the plates through the U&T.

    Emma, however, says there was nothing between them and the plates were wrapped in cloth (this is why I presume she was involved in the second round as well). David Whitmer seems to indicate the same. Whatever the case, there was no dividing cloth and no actual looking at the plates (wrapped on the table). This make sense if you consider that Oliver is trying to translate something he's never seen - else why would he need to do the whole three witness thing later? As much as any of this makes sense, I mean.

    I wonder if the shift to the seerstone from the U&T was a reaction to having the U&T taken away. Maybe Joseph, in his heart of hearts, wants to do it his way? Maybe he's still ascribing magic to the item and not the Person and is preparing against the eventuality that they are taken from him again? I don't know, and other stories - like the one where he couldn't translate after a spat with Emma - seem to counter that.
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    Senior Member Katy Lied's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikuman View Post
    Emma is probably not in the greatest mood,
    I read a blurb somewhere from one of the midwives that Emma's baby was born horribly deformed and stillborn. It was her first and she nearly died. She experienced trials that we never think about. I wonder if she thought the baby's death was some sort of sign or trial.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Lied View Post
    I read a blurb somewhere from one of the midwives that Emma's baby was born horribly deformed and stillborn. It was her first and she nearly died. She experienced trials that we never think about. I wonder if she thought the baby's death was some sort of sign or trial.
    I read that in Emma's bio too. Emma is one of my heroes of the early church - she went through a lot.
    Awesomeness now has a name. Let me introduce myself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nikuman View Post
    I read that in Emma's bio too. Emma is one of my heroes of the early church - she went through a lot.
    So have you read?...

    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Mormon-Enigma-Emma-Hale-Smith/dp/0252062914/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1360714140&sr=8-2&keywords=Emma+Smith"]Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith: Linda King Newell, Valeen Tippetts Avery: 9780252062919: Amazon.com: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41C5q24w8qL.@@AMEPARAM@@41C5q24w8qL[/ame]

    I am just wondering if this review is accurate:

    I voted with my feet

    I bought and read this book many years ago. I got about half way through this book, when I felt a dark feeling. I didn't like that feeling and quit reading it. I threw it in a dumpster. I didn't want anyone else to read it. I have read many other works of Mormon history and not had that feeling. I do not recommend the book.
    I am guessing it must be a pretty good book given the other reviews, however.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Ted View Post
    So have you read?...

    Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith: Linda King Newell, Valeen Tippetts Avery: 9780252062919: Amazon.com: [email]Books

    I am just wondering if this review is accurate:



    I am guessing it must be a pretty good book given the other reviews, however.
    Almost done with it. Fabulous book. Very much Bushman and not Brodie (I like both Bushman and Brodie).
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    The best thing about this thread is it inevitably sets up a "I not in church today" thread which could have a lot of potential.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    The best thing about this thread is it inevitably sets up a "I not in church today" thread which could have a lot of potential.
    I prefer "I fought in church today".

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    It is NOT a monkey! creekster's Avatar
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    I am sad to see this thread has not been updated. Pheidippides? KL? Any ther lesson outlines or discussions?
    PLesa excuse the tpyos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by creekster View Post
    I am sad to see this thread has not been updated. Pheidippides? KL? Any ther lesson outlines or discussions?
    Haven't had the time to update. I have one I'll try to type up later - today we're spending a lot of time on the new scriptures and then talking about how faith is not mutually exclusive of doubt, but rather they are companions. We're teaching from Alma 32 instead of the D&C - sort of a curveball in the manual.

    Edit: I also haven't taught since the last update because of stake conference and a lesson taught by my team teacher.
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    aka Benito Hazard thesaint258's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pheidippides View Post
    Haven't had the time to update. I have one I'll try to type up later - today we're spending a lot of time on the new scriptures and then talking about how faith is not mutually exclusive of doubt, but rather they are companions. We're teaching from Alma 32 instead of the D&C - sort of a curveball in the manual.

    Edit: I also haven't taught since the last update because of stake conference and a lesson taught by my team teacher.
    I've been reading The God Who Weeps, and one of the ideas I really liked was that of a crossroads. In life, we're presented with evidence regarding God (or the Gospel in general), both for and against. When we are, we stand at a crossroads, and we can choose which way to go. For example, we can interpret a feeling to do something as a hunch or a prompting from the Spirit. This is where faith is. We choose, in faith, to go one way or the other. While the authors don't really say this, I think doubt is part of that as you evaluate the evidence and choose what kind of significance you want to attach to an event. Faith can acknowledge and accept doubt, and I think doubt can make faith stronger.
    Not that, sickos.

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    Senior Member Soccermom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCcoug View Post
    I prefer "I fought in church today".
    Or we could get really bold and have a thread called "I thought in church today."

  29. #29
    It is NOT a monkey! creekster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soccermom View Post
    Or we could get really bold and have a thread called "I thought in church today."
    Or if you're into origami maybe "I wrought in church today."
    PLesa excuse the tpyos.

  30. #30
    Time to camp HuskyFreeNorthwest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by creekster View Post
    Or if you're into origami maybe "I wrought in church today."
    We could discuss The Strange Case of Origami Joseph Smith.
    Get confident, stupid
    -landpoke

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