I love the Bible. I learned the Bible stories as I wandered into many different churches as a child, seeking direction and haven from the chaos, filth, and degradation of home. The Bible was and is much more real to me than the Book of Mormon. I’ve read both books cover to cover countless times, but my heart stays with the Bible, which really, is kind of a confusing mess. Outstandingly dysfunctional.

I learned the words to the song “The Old Rugged Cross” by heart when I was eight. I loved the melody and didn’t register the horror of the cross. I was thinking maybe I’ll have somebody sing it at my funeral; the words “exchange it one day for a crown” kind of appropriate for a funeral. They sang it at my grandma’s funeral—my grandma that I didn’t meet until she was 16 and was a Methodist. I felt a kinship when I read the program and realized she, too, must have loved that song.

There’s a stigma to the cross among Mormons—it’s almost sinful to consider it and it’s definitely not PC. Since the pants controversy, I’ve realized how many things are NOT sins. I didn’t support that action, but I realized that I’ve always been nervous about even walking through the chapel in my jeans….you know, I’m there to clean and will walk all the way around rather than soil the chapel with my pants. We are so silly.

But that stigma applies somewhat to the Bible, too. All evidence to the contrary, the Bible is dismissed far too often in our meetings. I actually feel guilty when I’m reading the Bible and have, at times, studied both books so as not to slight my Mormon faith.

Not this time, though. I’m back reading the Bible from cover to cover and have been struck by things I didn’t pick up on before, most noteably the reference to Melchizedek in Genesis.

This is what I learned on the internet: Salem is Jerusalem. Melchizedek is either Shem or Jesus. (I know, we believe something else). Abraham did a lot of livin’ before Sarah had Isaac. I don’t have a firm opinion, but it’s possible that Abraham (then Abram) went to Jerusalem after he rescused Lot and met with either Shem or Jesus (Jehovah) to pay tithes and give thanks before he returned to Canaan.

The Book of Mormon is more clear on stuff like this; I was trying to set up a timeline to keep track of the people called Nephites and Lamanites (The multiple Mosiahs being confusing to me) and it was easier to figure out than a lot of the Bible.

Still, I love this crazy book. Which, I believe, is not all the word of God, but is quite editorialized depending on who’s translating. It’s kind of the Seinfield scripture.