What I Learned in Primary: The Covenant Path

I teach the CTR-7 Primary class in my ward. I’ve taught this class several times over the years, and these 7 year olds turning 8 are always a hoot.

Today’s lesson was on Lehi’s Vision of the Tree of Life.  I let the kids tell the story.  Here were some of their observations:

7 year old boy:  “I would go to the Great and Spacious Building…..and PUNCH IT!

Me: “Why does’t this building have a foundation?”  7 year old boy, “Because the devil can’t build Legos!”

8 year old girl:  “I would throw the fruit at the people on the path!”  “Why?”  “Because so they could have a snack!”

7 year old boy, “You better be careful around that water!  You could drown!”

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Love Makes a Family and Other Lies

This morning for our family devotional I felt prompted to take a slight detour from our regular Book of Mormon reading and read the Family Proclamation.  I found out a few days ago my older son was having a lesson on families today.  The school district we live in has partnered with a prominent LGBT activist group to teach “kindness, tolerance, and diversity”.  That’s not really their goal though.  Their goal is to introduce and normalize LGBT propaganda to young children.  There are plenty of programs out there that teach tolerance, kindness and diversity without an LGBT focus  I found out about this group and their program at the parent night which was held the first week of school.  As much as we all hate going to those things, it was a good thing I went, and noticed in the display of books on the teacher’s desk of the curriculum materials from this group.  Friends, pay attention, and be “that parent”.  I’ll share my experiences meeting with the superintendent of the school district about this program in a later post. Continue reading

Pres. Nelson’s Second Challenge

Pres. Nelson issued four challenges to the sisters in the Saturday night Women’s Session of General Conference. They are:

1. Participate in a 10 day social media fast — removing negative influences from your life, and things that cause you to have impure thoughts.

2. Read the Book of Mormon between now and the end of year (that’s 84 days as of today).

3. Establish a pattern of regular temple attendance. If you’re far from a temple study the standard works and other church materials on temples.

4. Participate fully in Relief Society.

Saturday night and over the course of Sunday, my Facebook feed filled with girlfriends signing off of social media for 10 days. But, let’s not forget the other three parts of the challenge. I wanted to focus first on the Book of Mormon reading challenge — as that is something I can do without having to rearrange life too much. Continue reading

The Witnesses of the Book of Mormon

By June 1829 Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer had verbalized a desire to be the special three witnesses alluded to in the Book of Mormon.

D&C 17 records a revelation affirming their roles as witnesses and was given to Joseph Smith through a seer stone he apparently found while digging a well in 1822.

As witnesses, the three were very different. Martin Harris was zealous, impetuous, and even a bit eccentric. Oliver Cowdery was an intellectual. And David Whitmer was regarded as clear-thinking, down-to-earth, and honest.

David Whitmer was, perhaps, the strongest witness because he lived so long, never wavered in his testimony of the vision, and gave several newspaper interviews that give us additional details regarding the experience. David reported seeing several plates, the sword of Laban, the Liahona, and the Urim and Thummim.

Joseph Smith was understandably relieved to have others to testify of the existence of the plates. Larry Morris concludes that the experience of the Three Witnesses was both an empirical and spiritual experience.

Join Nick Galieti of LDS Perspectives Podcast as he interviews Larry Morris as part of the Revelations in Context podcast series.

The Book of Mormon as a really interesting, well, piece of literature

Grant Hardy became intrigued with world religions, especially those of East Asia, as a young missionary. He has reasearched and written widely on various topics, but his study of the Book of Mormon led him to publish two landmark books that share important insights.

In his brief overview to Understanding the Book of Mormon, Hardy gives us ten observations about the Book of Mormon:

  1. It is a long book.
  2. It is written in a somewhat awkward, repetitious form of English.
  3. It imitates the style of the King James Version.
  4. It claims to be history.
  5. It presents a complicated narrative.
  6. It is a religious text.
  7. It is basically a tragedy.
  8. It is very didactic.
  9. It is a human artifact.
  10. Its basic structure is derived from the three narrators.

It is this last observation that forms the thesis for the majority of his work. Hardy contends that “If you’re not seeing the narrators at every turn, you’re not really reading the Book of Mormon–because that’s how the book is constructed, regardless of who the author(s) may have been.”

The three main narrators (Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni) each had distinct approaches as they presented history and revelation in their writings.

Join Laura Harris Hales of LDS Perspectives Podcast as she has an enjoyable back-and-forth with an outstanding Book of Mormon scholar.

Check out LDS Perspectives for links to materials referenced in this podcast.