Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday October 29, 2006

Sacrament Meeting
The primary gave the program today.

At the end the Bishop reiterated his challenge to become a unified ward. He also quoted from Matthew where he states to become like a little child.

Sunday School
We finished up Isaiah today.

Someone share that when you set up a tent the further your stake are out the stronger the tent becomes. This was related to the statement in Isaiah 54:2 to enlarge the habitation and strengthen stakes.

If we strengthen ourselves we will then beable to lengthen the cords and strengthen and add to the stakes.

Joint Priesthood/Relief Society
We had a presentation from LDS Family Services. They reviewed what they do and some new things that they do or at least changes in policy. They do adoptions, family counseling, 12 step programs for addiction (the 12 steps are free and based on LDS doctrine and values), and ecclesiastical consultations.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Richard Neitzel Holzapfel - BYU Sperry Symposium 10-28-2006

Notes from an address given at the BYU Sperry Symposium on How the New Testament Came to Be.

Richard Neitzel Holzapfel - Professor Emeritus of Ancient Scripture - Brigham Young University
The Da Vinci Code, the Gospel of Judas, and Other Bad Ideas
He listed some bad ideas and then went on to discuss them:
1. We can learn something about Jesus Christ and early Christianity from The Da Vinci Code.
2. The Dead Sea Scrolls are proto-Mormon documents that can help us prove the Church is true.
3. The Gospel of Judas, along with other Gnostic texts such as the Nag Hammadi Library, provides insights into the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
The New Testament apocrypha contains the “plain and precious things” removed from the Bible.
The 1611 King James Version is a new revelation from God and is superior to the original Hebrew and Greek texts on which the translation was based.
New Testament scholars are evil, they are atheists (agnostic at best), and they deserve to go to you-know-where.
Past Latter-day Saint scholarship is the best scholarship.
The Joseph Smith Translation is only a footnote to the King James Version text.

He recommended David Daniell's book, The Bible in English as the best book on the history of the English Bible to that date.

Robert J. Matthews - BYU Sperry Symposium 10-28-2006

An address given at the BYU Sperry Symposium on How the New Testament Came to Be.

Robert J. Matthews - Professor Emeritus of Ancient Scripture - Brigham Young University
Joseph Smith and the New Testament
The current dispensation is conducted in the same way as previous dispensations. The ordinances are the same as well.

Men do not appoint themselves, but must be called of God by revelation.

"...if one man cannot understand these things but by the Spirit of God, ten thousand men cannot; it is alike out of the reach of the wisdom of the learned, the tongue of the eloquent, the power of the mighty." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 205;See reference sited in the later work - Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith Chapter 33: The Spiritual Gifts of Healing, Tongues, Prophecy, and Discerning of Spirits 379–89)

The natural man does not have the Holy Ghost, so he can not understand the things of God.

e [Elder Pratt] mentioned that as Joseph used the Urim and Thummim in the translation of the Book of Mormon, he wondered why he did not use it in the translation of the New Testament. Joseph explained to him that the experience he had acquired while translating the Book of Mormon by the use of the Urim and Thummim had rendered him so well acquainted with the Spirit of Revelation and Prophecy, that in the translating of the New Testament he did not need the aid that was necessary in the 1st instance." (Minutes of the School of the Prophets, Salt Lake City, 14 January 1871, Family and Church History Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.)

Joseph understood much about previous dispensations since he had been visited by the leaders of those dispensations. He had been schooled by them and the Lord to restore that which had been lost, so he had to understand what had been before.

The complete gospel plan was preached in every dispensation beginning with Adam. The new testament dispensation was unique since it contained the Savior's birth, life, and ministry, but the doctrines were the same.

Men were saved by this great plan of redemption as much before the coming of Christ as since.

Our current New Testament is marvelous, but it is just a hint of what it once was.

The Book of Mormon does not lessen the New Testament or the holy land, but enlarge of view of an active and caring savior who is God of the whole world.

The Topic Jesus Christ in the Topical Guide in the Latter-day Saint scriptures contains 19 pages of scriptures supporting many subtopics about Jesus.

1 Nephi 13 talks of the Book of Mormon restoring the plain and precious things that have been removed from the Bible.

There are places in the Bible where there is ambiguity, which has caused some confusion. Mark 15:2 states "And aPilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto him, bThou sayest it." Some have stated that Jesus did not answer that he was the Son of God, but with, "That's what you say."

Joseph Smith's translation of this verse states,
3 And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews?
4 And Jesus answering, said unto him, I am, even as thou sayest.

The ten commandment, the beatitudes, and the articles of faith all start with our relationship with God and they end up with out relationship to man, which matches with what the Savior said in Matthew 22:
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt alove the Lord thy God with all thy bheart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy cmind.
38 This is the first and great acommandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt alove thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the alaw and the prophets.

The first four beatitudes are missing from the New Testament and if we know the pattern we can immediately see that something is missing. The Savior teaches us about our relationship to God and then our relationship to man.

One o fthe purposes our scripture is to keep the Lord's commandments in front of our eyes.

Robert L. Millet - BYU Sperry Symposium 10-28-2006

An address given at the BYU Sperry Symposium on How the New Testament Came to Be.

Robert L. Millet - Department of Ancient Scripture - BYU
The Closed Canon: Blessings, Challenges, and Prospects
He talked of a canon of scripture being authoritative and books are included because they are deemed authoritative. There was a lot of discussion about books to be included in the Bible. There was a lot of Christian writings at the time, but they tried to determine which were authoritative.

Luke 24: 44-45
44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be afulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
45 Then opened he their aunderstanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

Jesus continued to teach His people from the Law of Moses, the words of the prophets, and other sacred writings. Those records testified of him to and it was of continued importance that the people learn and understand those scriptures too.

He described some of the history of how we got the Bible in the form we have it today. There was much debate of the the books to be included Old Testament and even the entire Old Testament itself. There were also disputes over what to include in the New Testament. There was also much that was removed and attempted to be removed that didn't match what some people wanted to believe. For example Martin Luther not like the Epistle of James because it talked so much about the need for works.

Some books were removed from the canon because they were not in narrative form. They didn't tell a story. They were trying to make Christianity more palatable to the rest of the world.

Professor N.T. Wright, a bishop in the Church of England stated, "The canonization of scripture, both Jewish and Christian, was no doubt complicated by all kinds of less than perfect human motivations."

Some writers in the early Church add titillation to their writings to make them more palatable to non Christians often taking liberties with the doctrines. The canonized books of the Bible helped keep some of that in check.

On the other hand too much reliance on the canon can shut off people to being open to further instruction from God. It can also lead to complacency if a point of doctrine is not dealt with directly in the Bible some may assume that God doesn't care how we deal with it. It can border on scripture worship.

Scripture points away from itself and toward God and delegated to Christ.

One Protestant scholar has inquired tellingly into the erroneous doctrine of a closed canon. He writes: “On what biblical or historical grounds has the inspiration of God been limited to the written documents that the church now calls its Bible? . . . If the Spirit inspired only the written documents of the first century, does that mean that the same Spirit does not speak today in the church about matters that are of significant concern?”(Lee M. McDonald, The Formation of the Christian Biblical Canon, rev. ed. (1995), 255–56.)

Who authorized the canon to be closed?

2 Nephi 28:26-31
26 Yea, wo be unto him that ahearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!
27 Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we aneed no more!
28 And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are aangry because of bthe truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the crock dreceiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall.
29 Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we aneed bno more of the word of God, for we have enough!
30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon aprecept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn bwisdom; for unto him that creceiveth I will give dmore; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.
31 Cursed is he that putteth his atrust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the bprecepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Didn't the apostles in New Testament times declare that the canon was no more closed .

The Bible is a wonderful tool in the hand of God, but horrible when used as a weapon.

We do not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, but we do believe that what we have today is what God intended for us to have.

Before we can write the Gospel in our own book of life we must learn the Gospel as it is in the books of scripture. - Bruce R. McKonkie 1982

We read the Bible through the lenses of restoration scriptures. Christians have been likewise taught to read the Old Testament through the lenses of the New Testament. They would probably rather read the book of John or other writings of the apostles than the book of Leviticus they nonetheless confess a love for the entire Bible. The same is true for Latter-day Saints. We would most like modern scripture, but we love all scripture.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunday October 22, 2006

Our meeting schedule was reversed today due to needing to change our bishop. In order for the stake presidency to be there they needed to have Sacrament meeting last.

The instructor talked of a time when he knew of a minister that was studying with the missionaries. He commented on the sacrifice that would be required of that man to accept the gospel. He probably went to college to be a minister. If he choose to join the Church he will still be able to be a "minister", but he will have to get a different job and possibly start his education over again in order to get that job.

The instructor pointed out that Nephi's brother Jacob was eye witness to many miracles. He quoted from a conference talk or a scripture the phase, "Oh be wise. What can I say more?" If we are being wise in our behaviors we will be obeying the commandment. If we think about the things that we do. How many of them are foolishness and if we thought about what we were doing and tried to be wise would we be wetter off?

The instructor pointed out that we should focus on principle and people rather than on programs.

A phrase was used today that I know I have heard a while ago. "Catch others doing something right." We often catch others doing wrong or what we perceive to be wrong, but how many times do we recognize the good that others do? When they do a good parenting thing. When they go out of their way to help someone else.

We talked of motivating others with love and sincere appreciation and not with guilt.

Sunday School
I was reflecting back recently on illnesses my kids have had and how they have wanted to be held by me when taking medicine or cleaning a wound. It has made me think about the story of Joseph Smith getting his leg operated on. I have often thought about how hard that surgery would be for him and for his father to watch, but now I see a new perspective. How it is to have built a relationship with your children where just being held by you gives them comfort as they have pain and allows them to shoulder the pain.

Sacrament Meeting
They released Bishop Brown today and called Bishop Wagner. Everyone was saying good bye, so there was little to really document.

Sunday October 15, 2006

7am Priesthood meeting
President Alexander was released since he is moving due to his work.

Sacrament Meeting
Prophets are more important than scripture. The scriptures told the Jews that they were the chosen people. Paul told them that the Gentiles were to be given the opportunity to be chosen as well.

Sunday School
I missed Sunday school today.

Agency makes us responsible for our actions. We fought in the war in Heaven for our agency. Why was it so important that it would cause a war.

Someone stated that evil is not a paying job. They quote President Woodruff in saying, "I have never committed a sin that didn't cost me more than what it was worth."

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sunday October 8, 2006

Fast Sunday
Sacarment Meeting
Many expressed gratefulness for having conference last week.

One brother expressed an interesting thought. He said that his sister had told him before, in trying to teach him to be a better listener, that if you listen long enough, even to a fool, you will learn something.

Sunday School
We watched a video called Touch of the Master's Hand that was a video representation of the story about the beat up old violin at an auction. It was being auctioned for only a few dollars. Then someone came from the back and cleaned and tuned it. They then played a song on it. After that it was auctioned for thousands.

The short video was all we had time for since the testimonies given in sacrament meeting ran us way long, but the teach gave us a handout that I have entered below.

"The Wonderful Things the Savior has Done for Us."
  1. The Savior opens the door to Heavenly Father's presence (Isaiah 22:22).
  2. The Savior shows mercy for those in Spirit Prison (Isaiah 24:21-22).
  3. The Savior is a strength and a refuge (Isaiah 25:1-4, 32:1-2).
  4. The Savior will prepare a feat and destroy the vail (Isaiah 25:6-9).
  5. The Savior wipes away our tears (Isaiah 25:8).
  6. The Savior will bring the resurrect (Isaiah 26:19).
  7. The Savior is our sure foundation (Isaiah 28:19).
  8. *The Savior will restore the gospel to the earth (Isaiah 29:4, 9-14, 18, 24).
  9. The Savior knows our trials and directs our paths (Isaiah 30:19-21).
*Isaiah 29:4 -> Moroni 10:27
Isaiah 29:9-10, 13 -> Joseph Smith - History 1:18-19
Isaiah 29:11-12 -> Joseph Smith - History 1:63-65
Isaiah 29:14 -> Doctrine and Covenants 4:1, 6:1

We went over Chapter 10 of Teachings of the Prophets, Wilford Woodruff titled Following the Living Prophet.

We talked about that different prophets seem to have a theme or something that they particularly drive. President Bensen's theme many would say was to read the Book of Mormon. We asked what President Hinckley's would be. He seems to be focused on getting temples to the people, but also on strengthening the youth. Examples of this would be the statements that missionaries need to prepare better before their missions. They should no longer live a wayward life and then repent before going on their mission.. They should also no longer gain their testimony after they are on their mission. They need to have a testimony before they leave.