I’ve been getting ready to study the Book of Mormon for Sunday school in 2012. I wanted to create a way to more easily place the first three prophets of the Book of Mormon (Lehi, Nephi, and Jacob) into context related to the prophetic books, and some historical writings like Ezra, of the Old Testament. After some research and experimentation with layout, I put together this timeline of Old Testament and Book of Mormon prophets between 800 B.C. and 400 B.C.
One of the important aspects of the LDS doctrine of personal revelation is that the Holy Spirit can and does sometimes instruct individuals to act contrary to our own reason and understanding.
So here is a little supposal:
Think of a presidential candidate that you do not support. Now put the candidate’s name into the appropriate places in the following passage:
And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should support [a specific candidate] for President; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I supported a [candidate of that ideology/party/record]. And I shrunk and would that I might not support [her/him].
And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold it is the Lord’s desire that [that candidate] be President of the United States…
We spend a lot of time debating and defending our political beliefs, and comparing political candidates to our ideals. But what if, regardless of political party, or ideology, or record, or aptitude, or personality, or anything else we might use to judge our candidates, the Lord for His own reasons wants you to support a candidate different than the one you would choose?
In the months I was preparing to visit Israel last year, I listened to a great deal of the Old Testament while riding my bicycle to and from work. Listening instead of reading helped me approach the scriptures in a way that prompted new insights and ideas, and I unexpectedly found that listening inspired me with some ideas for poetry to write.
Though I am not a prolific poet, the poetry I write is usually infused with gospel concepts and imagery. But I had never thought of poetry so directly inspired by scriptural narratives before.
As is usual for me, the time between when the idea for a poem occurs to me and when I actually write it is substantial. It has been well over a year, and I am now approaching the one year anniversary of my trip to Israel for Sukkot, the Feast of the Tabernacles.
This last Sunday, I sat down and wrote a draft of the first poem, and then honed it during the next day and a half. Hope you enjoy it.
A few years ago my brother, Ben, visited Ghana to do some research into how music, drums, and rhythm are used in traditional practices and shamanism. While he was there he shot a lot of video and during part of the visit he got to go teach with some of the missionaries there.
With all of the potential pop-cultural misperceptions of Mormon missionaries resulting from the “Book of Mormon” Musical, I thought it would be useful to share a taste of real LDS missionaries in Africa. Enjoy and share!