User:RobertC/Journal 2005

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1 Ne 11:14 Why does the angel ask Nephi about his beliefs and what he has seen?[edit]

Perhaps the angel wants to know what Nephi believes, so as to build on Nephi's beliefs. This is a great way to teach--rather than just lecturing someone by going into an explanation based on your own vocabulary and/or frame of reference, you should find out where the other person is coming from so as to build on that frame of reference. This is the kind of relating to others advocated by Buber and Levinas [I'd like to study the differences between these two better sometime; here is a good starting point].

If the angel could read Nephi's thoughts (I've heard God can read our thoughts, but Satan can't--no idea where this comes from...), this takes on added meaning: it is for Nephi's benefit not the angel's. In teaching, it is often more important to ask students questions so they can start to formulate the answer in their own vocabulary. Then, when the teacher adds more understanding, it can be described in that vocabulary and it will stick better. --RobertC 16:10, 15 Aug 2005 (CEST)

Moro 7:45 bear and endure[edit]

1 Cor 13:7 also says that charity "beareth all things" and "endureth all things." Does anyone know the Greek words used here? Is there a good online reference for Greek New Testament word usage for us non-Greek readers? I did check the other resources page and found the following note here(accessed via the crosswalk site):

v7. Beareth all things--without speaking of what it has to bear. The same Greek verb as in 1 Cor 9:12. It endures without divulging to the world personal distress. Literally said of holding fast like a watertight vessel; so the charitable man contains himself in silence from giving vent to what selfishness would prompt under personal hardship.

Here's an explanation of the difference between bear and endure in English (emphasis mine):

Bear pertains broadly to the capacity to withstand: “Those best can bear reproof who merit praise” (Alexander Pope). Endure specifies a continuing capacity to face pain or hardship: “Human life is everywhere a state in which much is to be endured and little to be enjoyed” (Samuel Johnson).

My sense is that bear has more of a 'take it without losing your composure' sense (cf. "submit cheerfully" in Mosiah 24:15), and endure has more of a 'get through the long ordeal any way you can' sense. Maybe there are some circumstances we need to be reminded to be more cheerful in our hardships, and some circumstances we need to just be encouraged to get through it, and the scriptures mention both in order to let the Spirit tell us whichever interpretation is most relevant for us at the time (which is my theory regarding the use of hendiadys in the scriptures--cf 1 Ne 11:13 lexical notes).

[Probably some legit exegesis or lexical notes here--I'll add links and/or edit into commentary when I have more time....]--RobertC 16:36, 16 Aug 2005 (CEST)

Aug 29 start date[edit]

I'd like to stay a week ahead of the BYU club readings, so club members don't face as many empty pages on this web site. So it's high time to start on Pres. Hinckley's challenge.

1 Ne 1:1: "a great knowledge of the goodness of God"[edit]

I found a good talk by Elder Neal A. Maxwell from the GC Index. NAM says:

Laman and Lemuel did not partake of the tree of life, which is the love of God (see 1 Ne 11:25). The love of God for His children is most profoundly expressed in His gift of Jesus as our Redeemer: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). To partake of the love of God is to partake of Jesus’ Atonement and the emancipations and joys which it can bring. Clearly, however, Laman and Lemuel did not have such faith—especially in a Christ yet to come! (see Jarom 1:11).

What strikes me here is the link between God's love and faith. I guess this is obvious, but for some reason I've never thought of quite like this--that faith is the direct link to God's love. We can't really experience God's love without faith. Faith is something I really feel I need to understand better. So-called Christian virtues make more sense to me--love, patience, and humility are all traits that seem to have obvious benefits. But faith? It's always seemed less tangible. But NAM has provided a good answer--the benefit of faith is experiencing God's love. Conversely, when I'm not feeling God's love, I must lack faith. Interesting, b/c a lack of faith isn't usually what I think the problem is when I'm not feeling God's love....

NAM continues:

In contrast, Nephi, “had a great knowledge of the goodness … of God,” hence Nephi’s firm declaration: “I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things” ( 1 Ne 1:1; 1 Ne 11:17). If we have a love of God and know His goodness, we will trust Him, even when we are puzzled or perplexed.

This is the benefit of faith I usually think of--faith that gives us the strength to endure trials and uncertainty. And that is why I often feel I don't fully appreciate faith as a virtue distinct from patience. As a result, when I face adversity, I often tell myself to just have more patience rather than have more faith. The distinction is important, b/c the former is more self-berating and the latter is more...well, grace-centered I guess.


1 Ne 14:3 - Digging our own pits[edit]

I like Jim Faulconer's quetions and cross-references about sinners digging their own pits. I'm going to put all relevant passages here together (and a couple others I thought of/found) for easy reference and studying:

From JEF:

And that great pit, which hath been digged for them by that great and abominable church, which was founded by the devil and his children, that he might lead away the souls of men down to hell—yea, that great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men shall be filled by those who digged it, unto their utter destruction, saith the Lamb of God; not the destruction of the soul, save it be the casting of it into that hell which hath no end. 1 Ne 14:3
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves Rom 1:24
...if ye should transgress and go contrary to that which has been spoken, that ye do withdraw yourselves from the Spirit of the Lord, that it may have no place in you to guide you in wisdom’s paths that ye may be blessed, prospered, and preserved— Mosiah 2:36
and now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; Hel 14:30
But, behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed. Morm 4:5
Do ye suppose that ye shall dwell with him under a consciousness of your guilt? Do ye suppose that ye could be happy to dwell with that holy Being, when your souls are racked with a consciousness of guilt that ye have ever abused his laws? Morm 9:3


And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God. 2 Ne 28:8
Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness. Alma 41:10
For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all. Alma 41:15

2 Ne 10:3 - Titles[edit]

Jim Faulconer's study question "The word 'Christ' is a title, not a name. Why does Jacob speak of it as a name?" has got me thinking about titles. (Note many other scriptures use the term Christ as a name--few in fact use the article "the" in front of Christ, even though that would seem more natural in English for a title....) I usually try, to no avail, to get my students to call me Robert instead of Prof. or Dr. Couch. But I think there's a point to the tradition of using titles--it reminds us of our calling.

I've also thought a lot about the title 'Father' since I've become a father. That's a title I am called, and it's a title I call God--a sobering thought. As a new father, I've reflected a lot on the change I feel--I no longer live for myself, or even just for my wife, there's a whole new dimension of responsibility I feel. And that's a good thing b/c it reminds me of my responsibilities.

But in using titles with God, I am the one using the title, not the one being called a title. Perhaps this is to remind me of God's calling (Moses 1:39) and my part to play in relation to that calling.

It's interesting that many other Christian religions (Evangelical in particular) use the name Jesus more frequently than we do, and the title Christ (or title Christ as a name) less frequently. Perhaps this is a subtle but significant way in which to remind ourselves of the sacred responsibility that goes with being a disciple of Christ. Titles makes us reflect more on our relationship to the person we're addressing, rather than addressing that person more independently/agnostically. Perhaps it is more than coincidence that religions that use the name Jesus more than the title Christ seem less focused on our responsibility to follow Christ's teachings in manifesting our faith in him, his calling, and his work.

This makes me think of a few recent General Conference addresses on reverence and formality, let's see if I can find some of them:

"May I suggest that wherever possible a white shirt be worn by the deacons, teachers, and priests who handle the sacrament. For sacred ordinances in the Church we often use ceremonial clothing, and a white shirt could be seen as a gentle reminder of the white clothing you wore in the baptismal font and an anticipation of the white shirt you will soon wear into the temple and onto your missions.
That simple suggestion is not intended to be pharisaic or formalistic. We do not want deacons or priests in uniforms or unduly concerned about anything but the purity of their lives. But how our young people dress can teach a holy principle to us all, and it certainly can convey sanctity. As President David O. McKay taught, a white shirt contributes to the sacredness of the holy sacrament (see Conference Report, Oct. 1956, p. 89)."
"We should address prayers to our Heavenly Father in words which speakers of that language associate with love and respect and reverence and closeness...
...Modern English has no special verbs or pronouns that are intimate, familiar, or honorific. When we address prayers to our Heavenly Father in English, our only available alternatives are the common words of speech like you and your or the dignified but uncommon words like thee, thou, and thy which were used in the King James Version of the Bible almost five hundred years ago. Latter-day Saints, of course, prefer the latter. In our prayers we use language that is dignified and different, even archaic."
  • I'm not finding the ones I thought I'd find. One is a talk that I thought was given by Pres. Packer during a Priesthood session dealing with the unwritten rules of the church (e.g. although it's not written in scripture, the presiding Priesthood authority should be served the sacrament first out of respect). And in some talk, I remember them specifically talking about the lack of respect and reverence shown in modern society. I couldn't find a quote like this in any of the talks. (Thanks to anyone who can help me find these talks. Everyone should always feel welcome to comment on these journal pages of mine....)

Study groups[edit]

Looking for this emphemeral reverence/formality talk, I stumbled on a reference to a First Presidency statement warning members about study groups. I've been trying to track down that statement, if anyone can help I'd appreciate it! Here's a reference to it:

"Recently the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve Apostles issued a statement alerting members of the Church to the dangers of participating in circles which concentrate on doctrine and ordinances and measure them by the intellect alone.
If doctrines and behavior are measured by the intellect alone, the essential spiritual ingredient is missing, and we will be misled.
Personal testimony is confirmed to us initially and is reaffirmed and enlarged thereafter through a harmonious combining of both the intellect and the spirit."

Other related talks include:

"There are some among us now who have not been regularly ordained by the heads of the Church and who tell of impending political and economic chaos, the end of the world—something of the “sky is falling, chicken licken” of the fables. They are misleading members to gather to colonies or cults.
Those deceivers say that the Brethren do not know what is going on in the world or that the Brethren approve of their teaching but do not wish to speak of it over the pulpit. Neither is true. The Brethren, by virtue of traveling constantly everywhere on earth, certainly know what is going on, and by virtue of prophetic insight are able to read the signs of the times.
Do not be deceived by them—those deceivers. If there is to be any gathering, it will be announced by those who have been regularly ordained and who are known to the Church to have authority."