Parsing Nephi: First Nephi II (1 Nephi 6-9)

Here’s the introduction to this series, and here are the first and second entries. Go read them (if you haven’t already), including comments, then come back here.

So, Nephi has written the first chapter of his “reign and ministry” record on what we refer to as “the small plates”. As noted, Nephi touches on almost every major point of contention between him and his brothers: primogeniture leadership, the brass plates, the sword of Laban, divine calling, being led by God out of Jerusalem, and so on.

Nephi’s second chapter (which maps to 1 Nephi 6-9 in modern editions) is shorter and covers just three major themes:

  • how Nephi’s reign-and-ministry record (the small plates) fits in with all the other plates (the brass plates and Nephi’s other plates)
  • the second trip back to Jerusalem for Ishmael and his family
  • Lehi’s vision of the tree of life

Let’s look at each of these (after the jump).

Read more »

Scandal or no Scandal?

Some time ago, I stumbled across this recipe for a chocolate cake that includes a can of Coke. I thought it was funny and mentioned it to my sister. She is more conservative than I am and, more importantly, was living in a more conservative ward and heavily-Mormon town at the time. She claimed that it would be a scandalous item at a Church pot-luck. What do you think? Read more »

Are PG 13 movies by definition bad?

Recently I planned as part of a YM High Adventure a viewing of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  The kids were stoked.  Major male bonding moment.

However one of the families in our ward does not watch PG 13 movies.  Of course they went to the bishop and since they are politically powerful  he squashed the idea.   What is funny is that the BC that conveyed the message to me has a wife who loves a few certain PG 13 movies and even has incorporated themes from these movies into her home decor.

So are PG 13 movies inherently bad?  I am of the view that they are not.

Two of the Greatest Posts Ever

Our very own annegb and a random john have written two incredible descriptions of what went on at Banner of Heaven on The Bloggernacle Times’ ongoing retrospective on the 5-year anniversary of Banner of Heaven.

Here’s a random john’s post.

Here’s annegb’s post.

These posts are worth reading even if you’re not terribly interested in Banner of Heaven, because of the insights that they both bring to bear on the bloggernacle itself.

Thoughts on Drudge Report Headlines

I always read the Drudge Report, started when the Bush-Gore debacle happened. He’s biased, but I like the way the news is presented, the “fung shei” of the site, so I read it daily.

I couldn’t come up with anything terribly profound for a post today, but there are some things on Drudge that gave me pause.
Here are a few:

Naked woman leads police on chase in Utah.

Boy, I bet she was embarrassed when she sobered up. The really embarrassing thing is that she stole two cars—and one was a police car! I bet it was West Valley City. Read more »

Summary Scriptures

There are some scriptural passages that succinctly get to the point, telling us in one way or another what is crucial – what is most important.

Here’s a number of summary scriptures: Read more »

Evolution vs. creationism: a startling new perspective

From a trusted news source:

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—The process of evolution, through which single-celled organisms slowly developed over billions of years into exponentially more sophisticated forms of life, has inexplicably culminated in local Albuquerque resident Mitch Szabo, leading evolutionary biologists reported Monday.

According to baffled sources within the scientific community, the exact same mechanisms responsible for some of nature’s most spectacularly ingenious adaptations have apparently also produced a 35-year-old office assistant who has only worn pants that actually fit him a total of five times in his adult life.

“The identical processes that have given us the remarkable camouflage of the stick insect and the magnificent plumage of the bird-of-paradise have, it would seem, also given us a man who cannot scramble an egg,” University of Pennsylvania biologist Ann Goldwyn-Ross said. “Despite evolution’s emphasis on the inheritance and replication of advantageous traits, a man walks among us today who sweats profusely in any temperature and went to see Anger Management in theaters twice.”

“Mitch poses a real challenge to the whole notion of survival of the fittest,” Goldwyn-Ross added in reference to the biological triumph who has never held a full-time job for longer than seven months. “He’s turning evolutionary theory on its head.”

. . .

Creationists, meanwhile, have been surprisingly muted in their celebration of a man whose existence would seem to disprove so much of evolutionary theory.

“It’s great that Mitch has been so disruptive to the evolutionist camp,” Jim Moore of the Colorado Springs–based Genesis Ministries said. “But quite honestly, there’s no way we can explain him in terms of a perfect or loving God, either.”

“We’re just going to sit this one out,” Moore added.

Read the whole thing. ..bruce..

P.S. The First Nephi series will continue next week.

The Second Coming is Right Around the Corner. Any Day Now. I’m Sure.

I know you’re wondering how I know that. Let me explain: Read more »

Father’s Day: Don’t Men Have Anything Better to Do?

Rumor has it that Father’s Day is the biggest day of the year for collect calls — presumably children calling their fathers. Whether that is literally true or not, this rumor seems to capture something inescapably stereotypical about fatherhood.

A recent poll by Rasmussen Reports found that,

The majority (71%) of American Adults continue to believe that being a father is one of the most important roles a man can fill in today’s world, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Twelve percent (12%) disagree, and 17% are not sure.

An interesting related fact:

Sixty-four percent (64%) think that being a mother is the most important role for a woman to fill in today’s world.

It’s tempting to conclude from this that the options open to women in today’s world include more roles that trump parenthood than the options open to men.

Of course, plenty of famous people were never fathers. Jesus and George Washington come to mind.
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Disability Conundrum

My ward has a huge controversy in the YM’s program. We have 3 disabled kids in a 10 kid quorum. The three disabled kids are quite the handful and they are totally dominating class time with their behavior. Take the worst church class situation you have ever seen and make it worse.

The parents of the non-disabled kids are in an uproar over the situation. They want changes. They are claiming that its so bad and their kids are really getting tired of it. Some of them have even said that they worry about the retention of their kids long term in YM’s.

I am not responsible for this quorum and my opinion matters little but when its all said and done I agree with our Bishop that the disabled kids are staying in the quorum during 3rd hour.

The Bishop is under a lot of pressure on this from both the disabled kids parents and the non disabled parents. So far he has had meetings and sent out lots of emails to calm the non-disabled parents down. I wonder how long he will able to hold ofF these parents.

Now since we are in the bloggernaccle we are going to solve this problem right here in this post.

If you were the bishop what course of action would you take?

If you were a parent of a nondisabled kid and he was potentially going inactive or being otherwise harmed by the class situation over this what would you do?

If you were the parent of one of the disabled kids what would you do?



This past week I heard someone use a Yiddish word I had never heard before: sitzfleisch.

I asked that person what the word means and was told:

“sitzfleisch means the ability to sit down and learn, to study, for extended periods of time.   It is the opposite of ADD.”

Literally translated into English, the word means “sit flesh” – a phrase that conjures quite the image of what the word is about.

Looking it up further online, I came up with a few more meanings that were also very interesting:

“The ability to endure or carry on with an activity.”

“A term used in chess to indicate winning by use of the glutei muscles–the habit of remaining stolid in one’s seat hour by hour, making moves that are sound but uninspired, until one’s opponent blunders through boredom.”

Signs of the Times: Church Plans Approved for Non-Cookie Cutter Temple

The end of days is upon us. First, the Utes go the Pac-1?. Now, the Church breaks with their current temple mold. Behold:

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Parsing Nephi: First Nephi I (1 Nephi 1-5)

Here’s the introduction to this series, and here’s the first entry. Go read them (if you haven’t already), including comments, then come back here.


So, Nephi is now starting his second historical record on plates, the first being his transcription/abridgment of his father’s record along with his own historical additions (the “Book of Lehi”, lost with the first 116 pages of manuscript, along with the first few chapters of Mosiah [I told you you should go back and read]). He’s trying to set the record straight, as he sees it, because his brothers are determined to kill him and take over (or wipe out) his people.

And, boy, does he try, touching on almost every major issues between him and his older brothers all within the space of his first chapter (more after the jump).

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Inventions Crying out for an Inventor

I’m an idea (wo)man, folks. I have no technical know-how, money for ventures, or entrepreneurial appetite, but I do have some ideas for products that would make my Sundays easier. Read more »

MHA 2010 Roundup

I apologize it took so long to get this up.

This year’s 2010 MHA Conference in Independence, MO was sensational — the best I can remember. It was well attended, and loads of fun. If you haven’t made plans to attend the upcoming conference for the John Whitmer Historical Society in Amboy, Illinois this year, I urge you to do so. And please plan to attend next year’s MHA conference over Memorial Day weekend — you won’t regret it.

As always, there were too many excellent papers presented to see everything one wanted to see.
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How Many Supreme Court Justices Can You Name?

Iread this article from the AP entitled “Most Americans can’t name one Supreme Court justice”. I always find these interesting (there are always articles about how dumb we are around geography, civics, etc.). Anyway, the article (pasted below) says that 2/3 of Americans couldn’t name a single Supreme Court Justice. At the end of the article, there is a series of other questions that people were asked about US History and the responses were sobering. Anyway, how many Supreme Court Justices can you name?

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A hill to die on

Sometimes in our callings we have to pick a hill to die on. To me this means that we feel strongly enough about a topic or practice that we are willing to make people angry or uncomfortable about it.

In my YM’s callings I have 2 hills I die on.

1. Teaching the LOC (Law Of Chastity) and proper family formation.   I essentially do not believe in watering down this doctrine.  Kids need to hear the truth about the importance of 2 parent families and chastity before marriage as taught by modern prophets. 

2. Attending church and YM’s activities.  This is directed at parents who punish kids by not allowing them to come to activities that the kid wants to come to.  After all the filth they see at school I hope you will let them get away from it all and come be with kids that are good influences.  You should hear the stories I hear from your kids about what goes on at school.

PH leaders need to be really careful what hills they decide to die on. We once had a bishop who died on the hill of Halloween parties. Year after year no matter what he was willing to anger lots of people over Halloween. He died all right….

What hills do you die on for church callings?

Things I’ve Learned From Eclectic Non-Fiction Reading

I’m on a non-fiction kick with my reading. Don’t know why; some glitch in my brain or something.

Anyway, I read The Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell (my new writer crush –wow!); that book about Chernobyl, a book about a woman who was in a Turkish prison because she bought some antique relic (redundant?) from a street vendor, and I’m working on a book about the hunt for Eichmann. I have Sarah Palin’s book waiting in the wings, which looks quite boring to me, but we’ll see.

This is what I’ve learned: Read more »

Not Normal

I don’t think I realized until I was in college that Dialogue and Sunstone were a different sort of publication than church magazines and anything from Deseret Books. Read more »

Parsing Nephi: First Nephi, title and introduction (1830 edition)

Here’s the introduction to this series; briefly put, it is looking at the original ‘chapter’ divisions in the Book of Mormon manuscripts (original and printer’s, resulting in the 1830 first edition). As noted in the introduction, it appears from original manuscript evidence that these chapter divisions were somehow indicated on the plates themselves and thus would represent editorial decisions by the author, in this case, Nephi1 (whom I’ll just refer to as “Nephi” hereafter). All my chapter-and-verse citations will use the modern edition, and I’ll link to the LDS Church’s on-line edition; however, when I quote text directly, I will quote from The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text (Royal Skousen, editor, Yale University Press, 2009), following Skousen’s layout.

Here is a table that shows how the 1830 edition chapters map into the chapters in the present-day edition.

The rest is after the jump.

Read more »

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