LDS Perspectives #53: Tabernacle Camps with Daniel Smith

Tabernacle Camps
with Daniel Smith

Audio file: http://traffic.libsyn.com/ldsperspectives/LDSP_Daniel_Smith.mp3

Daniel Smith is creator of the YouTube channel “Messages of Christ.” Smith’s channel has been viewed over 1 million times.

Smith has a particular interest in ancient tabernacles and their artifacts, including building replicas of the tabernacles and making authentic tabernacle clothing.

Smith recounts how and why he creates tabernacle cloth (using a Lego machine) to create the tabernacle breastplate, what exactly happened in the tabernacle in biblical times, and why it’s important for members of the church to understand these things today.

Sometimes, Smith explains, the best way to understand something is to experience it.

Tabernacle camps are popping up — typically in Youth Conferences — in stakes all over the United States. There’s even one coming to BYU in the coming months, which will be used to teach students about the ancient biblical context of the tabernacles.

LDS Perspectives #52: The (Im)patient Job

The (Im)patient Job
with Michael Austin

Michael Austin overturns our Sunday School understanding of Job.

Job didn’t constantly praise God in the midst of his trials, and he certainly wasn’t always patient.

The satan mentioned in the story is not Lucifer but someone else entirely.

We may think it is evil to be impatient in the midst of trials. Yet when we consider with Austin the full text of Job, we find Job is much more than the often one-dimensional figure we make him out to be. And in learning that, we learn so many gospel truths that we otherwise miss.

Listen as Sarah Hatch of LDS Perspectives Podcast interviews Michael Austin about wisdom literature, a more complete understanding of the nature of Job and his relationship with God, and what we can learn from arguably the greatest ancient poem ever written.

LDS Perspectives #51: Joseph Smith’s Education in Sephardic Hebrew

Joseph’s Study of Hebrew and the Book of Abraham with Matthew J. Grey

In the winter of 1836, 100 church members enrolled in a seven-week, intensive Hebrew language course. Matthew Grey sees this study of Hebrew as a direct outgrowth of the larger translation project that Joseph had begun in the summer of 1835.

In July 1835, Joseph had purchased Egyptian scrolls and mummies from Michael Chandler. Shortly thereafter he translated what became known as Abraham 1 and Abraham 2 and began working on a “Grammer and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language” (GAEL). In the fall of 1835, Joseph started looking for a teacher of Hebrew for the Kirtland School. By January, the school committee had hired Joshua Seixas as a Hebrew teacher.

Joshua Seixas used his native Sephardic Hebrew in his transliterations, which varied substantially from the more common Ashkenazi Hebrew spellings. Because of the distinctive Hebrew transliterations in Seixas’s texts, we can trace Joseph’s use of his Hebrew training in succeeding years.

Traces of Sephardic Hebrew can be seen in revelations found in the Doctrine and Covenants, the Book of Abraham, and recorded Nauvoo speeches. Joseph’s insights into Hebrew form a foundation for Nauvoo teachings regarding the nature of God, expansions on the plan of salvation, and verbiage in the temple ritual.

Laura Harris Hales talks with with Matthew Grey on the influence Joseph’s Hebrew study had on Joseph’s subsequent teachings and the role Sephardic Hebrew plays in unraveling the puzzle of the Book of Abraham translation puzzle.

Revisiting William Seely

Kate Vasicek Challis brings forward expanded information about William Seely (1816-1851?), first husband of Lucy Ann Decker, the first woman Brigham Young would covenant with as a plural wife. Meg Stout provides a brief response after Kate Challis’s comments.

A New Perspective on William Seely

Kate Vasicek Challis is a 30 year old wife and mother of 4 children living in Iowa, USA. She has a BA in French Teaching and a minor in TESOL K-12 (BYU ’09). She has been blogging at Czech Out Your Ancestors since 2013 and is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Although I enjoyed Meg Stout’s post of 31 March 2014 titled “Wives of Sorrow,” I feel the post had some erroneous and misleading information about William Seely (1816-1851?), the first husband of Lucy Ann Decker Seely Young (1822-1890).

Meg wrote: “Lucy Ann Decker Seeley, born in 1822, was abandoned by her first husband, William, a non-Mormon who was allegedly abusive and an alcoholic.”

He was (at least at one time) a Mormon, according to his own 1840 deposition about being kidnapped by the Missouri mob at the battle of Crooked River, as well as early LDS membership records here and here. Also, according to a biography of Brigham Young, Lucy was told that William was dead, inferring that that knowledge could have influenced her decision to marry Young.

Meg continued: “William left Lucy with the couple’s three tiny children, leaving her a widow for all intents and purposes.”

It is possible that he first abandoned her with their three children (she also had an unnamed stillborn child, according to the above source), but eventually Lucy would travel west with her two children (one of the three died) in the company of Brigham Young. Continue reading

LDS Perspectives #50: Prayers and Pterodactyls with Steven Peck

Prayers and Pterodactyls with Steven Peck

Steven L. Peck is a BYU professor who has emerged as a powerful advocate for science and evolution, publishing two books about the topic in as many years.

His latest offering, Science the Key to Theology, is an impassioned plea to members of the LDS Church to teach the compatibility between science and religion, rather than their supposed conflict. Too many feel they need to make a choice between believing science and believing in religion, and are choosing science.

Steven himself became less active as a youth after learning that his Seminary teacher didn’t believe in dinosaurs. Then Steve went to BYU and found professors who modeled a healthy fidelity to both scientific and religious truths. These professors helped Steve appreciate how science speaks to the “how” of creation, but religion is still needed to speak to the “why.”

Laura Harris Hales and Steven Peck talk about the harm caused by maintaining a faulty tension between science and religion.