Come Follow Me: D&C 20-22

My blog post on Come Follow Me: D&C 20-22

D&C 20:1
Ever since Elders B.H. Roberts and James Talmage gave their opinion on this verse about a century ago, many members have understood it to mean that Jesus was born on April 6, AD 1. However, early Church members, including Joseph Smith and Brigham Young never seemed to read this revelation in this manner.

First, a problem arises when one considers archaeology and history. According to the Bible, King Herod the Great sought to kill the infant Jesus, and slaughtered all children from 2 years and under in Bethlehem. Archaeology shows that Herod died in 4 BC, so either the Bible is wrong on this story of Herod, or Jesus was more likely born around 6 BC.

Next, with the new Joseph Smith Papers Project, we now see that D&C 20: was not intended to be part of the revelation initially, but was an introduction header to the section provided by John Whitmer, the scribe. Somewhere along the line of publishing, it was included as part of the revelation. The question then becomes, does an introduction approved by the Church membership as doctrine equate to a revelation establishing the date of Jesus’ birth? Thanks to the JSPP and the Church’s recent 2013 online scripture updates, we will be able to understand the revelations we have even better, and perhaps reduce the amount of speculation on just what the scriptures say.

So, when was Jesus born? Around 6 BC, and we do not know exactly which day, although April 6 may be as good a day as any.

Racism circa 1000 AD

At times it is useful to reflect on how similar our troubles are to troubles our forebears suffered. When we can’t see our way to the bright future for which we yearn, it can be helpful to see how our forebears brought about their bright future, which we take for granted.

In 1000 AD there was no England.

Instead, the term used was Angelcynn, kin of the Angles, the Germanic peoples who hundreds of years earlier had conquered much of the territory of the island the Romans had called Brittania.

The problem was that by 1000 AD a large swath of the island of Brittania was occupied by Danes or people of Danish descent. 1 They had their own approach to law. They looked like Scandinavians, with blonde hair and fair skin.

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  1. This area was called the Danelaw and covered much of modern England north of London.

Peril of the Neophyte

This past week I got an e-mail from a Dan Judd, suggesting he had documents I would be very interested to hear about.

Now, this sort of approach always intrigues me, as I am always interested in documents that might related to plural marriage in Nauvoo. But I was afraid this Dan Judd might be one of several who have tried to convince me of Denver Snuffer’s interpretation of (not) plural marriage in Nauvoo.

Still, I e-mailed Mr. Judd and sat back waiting to hear more.

Dan Judd wrote, saying he thought I would be interested in what he had to say because he thought we might have worked together during his engineering career, back before he joined the Church in 2013. But I still didn’t recognize the name. 1

Dan had two interesting claims. And I found him to be an earnest fellow. But I’m not sure either of his claims are correct.

First, Dan claims that his ancestors rescued 116 sheets from someone who had stolen them. These pages were passed down through the generations. Dan and others have seen the pages, but at this time the pages are in a safe place, known only to Dan.

Second, Dan claims the family stories identify the man who rescued the plates as Lamoni Judd, an Indian who was adopted by Zadoc Judd in the 1850s. The family legend is that Lamoni married Alice Fredericka Smith, grand-daughter of Joseph Smith Jr.

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  1. The Dan Judd talking to me was not Daniel K. Judd, a counselor in the General Sunday School Presidency some years ago.

Come Follow Me: D&C 18-19

My blog post on Come Follow Me: D&C 18-19

Excerpt:As we continue studying the revelations of Joseph Smith, we see that some doctrines are expanded and some are completely reinvented, as God gives us higher understanding of his kingdom. Joseph’s revelations will become more complex, intricate, and expansive as the years go by.

D&C 18
This revelation was given in June 1829, about the time the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored by the ancient apostles, Peter, James and John. The Book of Mormon translation was not yet finished. With these two key ideas in mind, let’s see what the Lord taught Oliver Cowdery.

Zoom, zoom, zoom…

Many of us have been using Zoom for any number of meetings, whether with friends,family, work, or church. But Church is about to go hardcore Zoom.

Tonight I attended our Stake training for the new Zoom accounts, which it appears the Church has purchased for all units, worldwide. As a non-profit and with bulk-buy discounts, this will be much less expensive than having each unit purchase several licenses to support their various activities.

Part of the reason the Church probably gets a significant discount is that recording is disabled for these Church accounts. So no need for lots of cloud storage and the associated costs.

A benefit of the new accounts is that they make more effective use of breakout rooms. The cool part of this is that you can just dial in to “Church,” then peel off to the particular “room” associated with your class. For instance, this allows a ward where families have enough devices to schedule Elders Quorum, Relief Society, Primary, and multiple Young Men and Young Women classes simultaneously, with only one tech-savvy host required to help stragglers transition from the “hall” to their appropriate room.

That is super cool.

Another benefit is that anyone who is attempting to disrupt these Zoom meetings can be blocked. So all may attend, but bad actors can be evicted.

In our stake, we also got training on how to make the most of the experience. Aside from instruction on Zoom itself, someone who uses video-conferencing extensively for international business shared the following tips:

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