Talk:D&C 130:1-23

From Feast upon the Word ( Copyright, Feast upon the Word.
Jump to: navigation, search

130:6-10: God and Time[edit]

Important question, Rob. What light do verses 8-9 shed on it? Higher and lower kingdoms and time? I don't know, but could it be that the past, present, and future, are before them precisely in that they have these Urim and Thummim? I think there is also a ritual reading one could offer to this passage: in a (mythic) drama, the past, the present, and the future are all before one (in the endowment, for example, the creation, the crossing of the veil, and this very moment of telestial existence, are all before me at once). Is there a constant mythic drama at play in the heavens (like the one described in Rev 4-5)? Hmm.... --Joe Spencer

130:6-10: White Stones[edit]

It seems to me that verse 10 also raises the issue of how we understand folk magic and the Restoration. Notice that it uses Urim and Thummim in a generic way, which is consistent with Joseph's use of the term to reference his seer stones, rather than our modern tendency to think of the term as referring to a particular object, namely the "spectacles" found with the plate. I find it facinating that the promised revelations are tied to possession of a particular object. We aren't promised a future where we simply are able to see things. Rather we are promised a future where we get an object that we use to see things. Why the object? What is the role or function of seeric tools? --Nathan Oman 22:10, 19 June 2007 (CEST)

Hi Nathan, You ask "why the object?" Do you think this question would be answered in a different way than the question of why we need ordinances? --Matthew Faulconer 03:57, 20 June 2007 (CEST)
I hadn't thought of that, but it makes an interesting comparison. I suppose that both of them point beyond merely mental or subjective experience. When we make a covenant it isn't enought that we simply mentally commit ourselves, but there must be some external ritual. Likewise, the promised revelatory miracles of the Celestial Kingdom are not simply mental events but also involve some external focus. I am still not quite sure what to make of this. It seems to me that one of the things that virtually all ordinances do is re-enact some story with the participants in the ordinance taking the part of some actor in the story. I don't see that this is the case with the promised "white stone."--Nathan Oman 15:25, 20 June 2007 (CEST)

Your comment immediately set my mind racing to find a counter argument. How's this? An ordinance like baptism is a re-enactment of probably more than one thing, but to keep it simple lets say death and resurrection. It helps us to remember the great things Jesus did for us in resurrecting from the dead and making it so we will. In a similar way this white stone (as is made explicit) is a urim and thummim. It helps us remember how God provided the translation of the Book of Mormon. (Again there is probably more than one re-enactment, but the BOM translation is one.) Of course, ordinances and an object like the white stone are still different in lots of ways but maybe they are the same in the way they use their physicalness to re-enact, to help us remember something else physical. Anyway, thanks for the thoughts. --Matthew Faulconer 16:44, 20 June 2007 (CEST)

Good thoughts, guys. I imagine it is worth bringing D&C 88 to bear on the question, since it seems to place a remarkably heavy emphasis on all things physical. That section remains perhaps the most obscure moment of the restoration for me, perhaps precisely because it deals so explicitly with the physical, and because I am so Western, etc. It is probably also worth considering some of the insights of the several phenomenologies of the flesh (Merleau-Ponty, Michel Henry, Julia Kristeva, etc.).--Joe Spencer

I need to read D&C 88 again. FWIW, I don't agree with my previous comment. To say baptism is a re-enactment of death and resurrection is different than saying using a white stone is a re-enactment of translating the Book of Mormon. Because then the question is what is using a stone to translate the Book of Mormon a re-enactment of. Maybe a more familiar comparison is using oil to anoint the sick as part of a blessing to heal them. In both cases it isn't obvious what the need for the physical is.

Also, a historical question. Does anyone know...I had heard somewhere that Joseph Smith translated with a stone at first but then didn't use it later. I don't think I read this though. I heard it from someone. If so, maybe that says something interesting about the use of the stone--that it is something to help someone who needs it to augment their faith--but later not needed. (Though that explanation doesn't really seem to fit well with the idea of getting one in the Celestial Kingdom.) --Matthew Faulconer 06:25, 21 June 2007 (CEST)


Rameumptom, I removed your comment that the white stones are a description of the world's first computer because I didn't understand what you meant. Perhaps we should add something back to the page like "some people believe that the white stones are some type of computer." But before doing that, would you mind explaining what you mean and responding to my concerns below?

First off, I don't think you meant that the white stones that Joseph Smith describes are the world's first computer. Let's suppose it is true that the world's first computer used passwords (we could check but I doubt it). I assume you don't believe that actually that first computer is going to be used by people in the Celestial Kingdom to learn about a higher order of kingdoms. Right?

Next, I don't think these white stones sound much like a computer. They are described as "stones." Next, on them is written the new name/key word. Often computers are setup so that you have to use the password in order to get information out of them; however, we aren't told here that the white stones needs the new name to make them work; instead, the white stones provide the new name.

In sum, I don't agree that simply because what is described has a new name/secret key word on it that that fact suggests that there is any connection between these stones and a computer. Note: I'm not saying that these things might not be computers. But our purpose (see policy #2 in Policies for commentary pages) is not to speculate but rather to learn about what the scriptures tell us.

--Matthew Faulconer 03:07, 2 Aug 2005 (CEST)


The exegesis is interesting. Somehow I think it should be modified to also note that there is precedent for changing scripture when mistakes have been made. The fact that this scripture hasn't been changed yet could mean that a) no one has had a chance to carefully consider the arguments as laid out on the commentary page, b) such arguments have been considered and it was decided to leave the current scripture unchanged. If a, we might see this scripture change in the future. If b, then the exegesis is interesting historical information but more important is what the scriptures say. --Matthew Faulconer 15:07, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

I like the suggestion about noting the precedent for changing scripture. Additionally, the exegesis could be summarized into the main idea with a link to a discussion page that gives the elaborate discussion and references. I will not undertake doing the summary at this point because it reflects my personal preference more than anything else, but if there is some consensus I would be happy to do it. MJ 16:04, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Here's my consensus. does anyone have any objections? --Matthew Faulconer 05:23, 1 Jun 2006 (UTC)