M* Welcomes Michael D. Jensen

M* is pleased to welcome Michael D. Jensen as the newest member of our blogging team.

Michael D. Jensen lives in Vancouver, Washington with his wife and 4 kids. He loves running, reading, cooking, technology, and is a huge BYU fan. He currently serves in Church as an early morning Seminary teacher. He has a BS in Nutritional Science from BYU and a PhD in Biochemistry. Michael is an entrepreneur and is founder of several companies including EdgeAbove.comSyncBox.comTweetBeep.comSoloSEO.com, and LDS Scriptures (LDSScriptures.com). He developed the widely used app “LDS Scriptures App” as well as several other business apps and games. He blogs on his personal blog at mdjensen.com and can be found on TwitterFacebook, and Google+.

We look forward to reading Michael’s contributions to M*! Welcome, Michael!

Taking the sacrament to the homebound

When I was younger, before the consolidated block we have now, the sacrament used to be administered during junior Sunday School. Aside from making me feel really old, I have some unique memories from attending church.

One of my favorite primary songs we sang as the bread was being broken was “We Bow Our Heads.”

For the first time in my life, I was invited to take the sacrament to a sister in the ward who is recuperating from surgery.

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Language Unique to the Book of Mormon: “On The Morrow Month”

[Cross posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

The Book of Mormon records that Giddianhi, the leader of the antagonist Gadianton Robbers, wrote a letter to Lachoneus, the leader of the protagonist Nephites, demanding that they relinquish all their property and join their cause. In his letter he gives an ultimatum:

“And behold, I swear unto you, if ye will do this, with an oath, ye shall not be destroyed; but if ye will not do this, I swear unto you with an oath, that on the morrow month I will command that my armies shall come down against you, and they shall not stay their hand and shall spare not, but shall slay you, and shall let fall the sword upon you even until ye shall become extinct.”

It was a few years ago that the peculiarity of Giddianhi’s ultimatum really stood out to me for the first time.

As an English major with a particular interest in literature written before the 20th century, I had read a variety of texts from the Old English, Middle English, Renaissance, Early Modern,18th and 19th Century periods. At the time I had been reading a great deal of early American writing, often in the original spelling and grammar, which had been written between 1500 and 1860. I had just finished a handful of books published around the time when Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon and the phrase “…on the morrow month…” in Giddianhi’s letter really stuck out as an unusual construction.

I wondered if “on the morrow month” was in common usage in the 19th century, when Joseph was translating the Nephite record, but had since fallen out of use. Or maybe it was a construction adapted from the Jacobean language of the King James Bible. I had never run into it in any of my other reading, so I started to investigate.

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Report from the 1st Annual Expound Symposium

(cross-posted from www.heavenlyascents.com)

On Saturday the 14th of May I had the opportunity to attend and participate in the 1st Annual Expound Symposium, which was held in Provo at the Brigham Young Academy building.  For anyone who was there, I hope I had a chance to talk to you — I met so many bright and interesting people there. If you didn’t attend, I’m sorry you missed out on a great event!  But no worries, they are already planning next year’s symposium, which, according to current plans, will focus on the topic of temples.  If you didn’t make it this time, you should start making plans to be there next year!

The symposium was very well put together and everyone, both the speakers and attendees, were very well taken care of (we’re talking lots of free food, free drawings for awesome publications, no entrance fee — it doesn’t get much better than this as far as these types of conferences go)!  LDS author Matthew Brown was largely responsible for putting the event together and he did an incredible job of making it a very enlightening and worthwhile experience for everyone involved.  A big thanks to him, his wife, and also to Jeffrey Bradshaw for making this event more than worth it for me to go from Scotland to Provo to be a part of it.  I also want to thank my wife and kids for letting me go and my parents virtually killing the fatted calf for their prodigal son’s return (albeit knowing it would be very short-lived).

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Remembering

The word ‘remember’ is used frequently in the scriptures. In an October 2007 Conference address, President Eyring provided timely counsel and stressed the importance of remembering.

Today was an important day for remembering as I attended my maternal grandmother’s funeral and graveside service.

As my aunt, uncles and mother spoke at the funeral service, they spoke of memories that guided and shaped their lives.

A flood of memories rushed into my mind as I reflected on the impact my grandmother had on my life; my upbringing; the upbringing of my children.

I also reflected on how I want to be remembered by my family, friends, and my own children.

In response to President Eyring’s questions, “Did God send a message that was just for me? Did I see His hand in my life or the lives of my children?” I can respond without hesitation—yes!

Over the past several months, I have leaned and relied heavily upon the Lord; especially with the recent passing of my grandmother.

The Lord has blessed me richly and abundantly as I have remembered and followed Him.

Thanks be to God for rich blessings in store for those who but do His will–the promise of eternal life and exaltation.

I testify that He lives and that He loves each of His children. May we always remember Him and our Savior, Jesus Christ.