Friday, August 30, 2013 6 comments

The 2013 Edition of the Scriptures is Here!

They’re here!  YAAAAAYYYYYY!

I posted back in March about the church’s announcement of a new edition of the scriptures to come out in August.  Well, folks, it’s here and I had to go out and buy it, and I thought I would post what I think of them so far.

The first thing I noticed when I unwrapped my new quad (normal size, black) was that the cover felt really nice.  The little insert that is included under the shrinkwrap says, “This simulated leather is specially designed to look and feel rich and supple.”  Let me tell you, it feels LOVELY.  I found myself wanting to pet and caress it.  Buttery soft, believe it or not. 

Two bookmark ribbons are included and I noticed they are a little bit longer than the old edition.  Also, I was surprised to discover that my new 2013 quad was thinner than my old one! 

Old on the left.. New on the right.  (Also notice the difference in cover texture)

The Topical Guide is 18 pages shorter, and the Bible Dictionary is 31 pages shorter.  I felt like the Topical Guide was a little more readable with the change of starting a new paragraph for references in a different standard work.  Also the Bible Dictionary gained a small space between entries that makes it more readable.

The font for the main scriptural text has been changed.  When I opened it up to look at it, I thought, “Whoa, there is something way different about this!”  I’m not sure what it is; something about the spacing of the letters is much more even.  Words don’t seem chunked together like they were in the old edition.  It took me about a day to get used to it, but I’ve decided I like it. They have kept the scriptural text on the same pages so that they don't have to reprint any page number references in lesson manuals.

The font for the Joseph Smith Translation Appendix is the same size as normal scripture text, and that is lovely.  It feels like the words are stronger and more real, not some little afterthought that can be ignored.

The font for the footnotes is wayyyy better, much more readable. 

Something else I’ve noticed that is exciting to me is that the side-to-side margins are a bit larger than they were before.  (Yessssss!  More room for writing margin notes!)

I also noticed that there are more pictures in both the Bible sections and at the end of the Index.  Pictures now take up a full page instead of half-pages.  They aren’t printed on shiny paper as in the old edition, but their paper is a little thicker than the delicate onionskin used for the rest of the scriptures.   And of course, the photos are gorgeous.

If you are interested in seeing a more detailed list of textual adjustments that have been made, you can look here.  Probably the most exciting thing to me is that more Joseph Smith Translation has been added to footnotes and appendix. 

(Happy sigh) I’m really enjoying my new scriptures.  I will grant that I did have a pang or two over letting my old ones go, since they were just beginning to be nicely marked up, but I have faith that I will learn more with the figurative slate wiped clean. (By the way, anyone want my old set? ;-) )

If I could make any suggestion for more improvements I'd just ask for one thing--I would ask for the footnote superscripts to be circled which go to JST footnotes and appendix entries.  When I get new scriptures I have to spend 4 hours circling all those superscripts and footnotes so that I can tell at a glance there is a JST entry to consider.

Okay, so you might wonder how much the new edition costs.  Well, they aren’t exactly cheap at $60, so you can understand why the brethren have said that we are not required to buy them.  But if you can afford it, they are nice.

Do they have mini-quads and large print editions out yet?  No. I’ve heard those aren’t available until October, so if you’re a diehard fan of one of those sizes, mark your calendars. 

Yaaaaaaaayyyy for scriptures! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 0 comments

Re-examining “Choose You This Day” Joshua 24:15

I happened to run across Joshua 24:15, that lovely scripture mastery verse that we know and love so well and I noticed something about it that I hadn’t seen before.

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Josua 24:15)

We often look at it as presenting a choice.  “You can choose to serve the Lord, or you can choose to serve other gods.”  But when I started thinking about the choice and the consequences of it, I started to see that the choice was supposed to be obvious. 

All they had to do was consider the result of worshipping those other gods Joshua mentioned.  If they chose to worship the gods on the other side of the flood they only needed to remember that the flood destroyed all those people, so worshipping those antediluvian gods would lead to destruction.  Those gods couldn't save the people from drowning; they didn't exist.   If the people thought of worshipping the gods of the Amorites who lived in the land before the Israelites, they only needed to remember the Amorites had been destroyed.  Did the Amorite gods save the Amorites from being destroyed?  No.  They were all alike swept off.

You can see by the context of the other verses that come before this one that this is exactly what Joshua is trying to do; he reminds the Israelites of the way the Lord delivered the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites into their hand. 

So the point Joshua was really trying to make was, “If you worship any other god besides Jehovah, you will be destroyed, but you can still choose.  I’ve made my own choice to follow Jehovah.” 

The Israelites really get it.  They say in response: “the Lord drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the Lord; for he is our God.” (Joshua 24:18)  It is obvious to them that God has power to deliver.

So along with the principle that we should choose who we serve, a few other important principles we can get that are implied are that our choice has real consequences, we can learn from scriptural history about the consequences of choices before we make them, and serving God is the only real path to salvation.

I know this is true.  Other ways brought some pleasure, but it would turn to ashes and emptiness and destroy my peace. Serving the Lord has always been the most productive and efficacious thing I could do, resulting in the best good for me.  

Today, let's think about how our choices to serve the Lord have influenced our growth and happiness and consider the miserable condition the Lord has saved us from.
Saturday, August 24, 2013 0 comments

Education Week notes for Friday

“Undoing Self-Destruction Routines: Consistently Living our True Identity (Mosiah 5:7)”  Jennifer Brinkerhoff Platt
Live intentionally, Make your bed, spend time reading a conference talk each day to make friends with the prophets.
Prophets are consistent in their message. 
Rituals can make routines rich, but sometimes we ritualize bad behavior. (“I’m just grumpy these hours of the day; don’t talk to me.”
If we say, “Take me as I am, and let me be” we trivialized the atonement. People can change.
The process of becoming who we are meant to be is sticky and uncomfortable.
Trust people who are in the process and accept and honor the process.
Change requires much of us, and change changes us.  How do we respond to changes in our life?
How do we respond to unwanted change?  Do we turn toward the Lord or turn away?
Reflect:  What do I really need to change?
What do I really believe? Is it aligned with true doctrine?
Are you willing to be still and be honest with yourself about yourself.
What are my weaknesses and am I humble enough to seek to make them strong?  (Have to come unto Christ for weak things to become strong)
Have I trained others to accommodate my poor behaviors?
“I want to be a giver” (Woudneh Mulugela)
King Benjamin warns
Mosiah 2:32-41  Listing to obey the evil spirit leads to drinking damnation
Mosiah 3:24-27  every man judged according to works; do we want an awful view or a glorious view?
Mosiah 5:10  not taking the name of Christ puts us on the left hand of God. So choose Christ.
WE have to remind ourselves of important truths daily when we are trying to change.
We’re in the process of learning lessons that we can only learn in a body.  Having a body means we can progress.  If we don’t like our bodies, we need to remind ourselves of the truth.
Have we ritualized the lie?  Did I plan for it?  Have I participated in it every day?  Have a remembered it? 
Satan will try to make us believe that our sins are not forgiven because we remember them.  Remembering will help us avoid making the same mistakes again.  Our memories will be softened over time as part of the healing and sanctification process. (Uchtdorf, April 2007)
True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behaviors, so confront painful lies with truth.
Try to avoid repeating the negative communication patterns of our parents. 
How to un-ritualize the behavior
-diligently and consistently study truth that can counteract the lies
--create order (re-evaluate what a typical day is like, change routines or move them to improve)
--ask for help and support (talk to VT and HT, seek out mentors and act for coaching)
--be honest and patient  (change happens incrementally)

“From ADHD to PhD: Providing Hope and Encouragement to Those Who Struggle with Similar Challenges” Todd R Pennington
Spiritual partnerships – We can partner with Heavenly Father as we work with others, even if we’re intimidated by opportunities.  He can help us.  Our covenants is how we access the power of God.  God binds us to sustain, sanctify, and exalt us in return for our commitment to serve Him. (Christofferson (April 2009))
Loved physical activity and moving around when young.
His mom was a special ed teacher.  He was never made to feel dumb; he was told he learned differently.
His guidance counselor told him BYU wasn’t a possibility because of his reading and comprehension levels, which really was disappointing.
He was committed to Heavenly Father to do his best, but he was in remedial classes with peers who weren’t so motivated. 
With his mother’s approach he thought everyone had summer school and personal tutors in something.
The role of adversity – Personal righteousness does not prevent loss and suffering.
He had friends who were making bad choices and were mocking his good choices.
He wanted to be included and treated nicely.  He prayed for them. 
Be an example
With our sacrifices, we obtain the witness of the Spirit that our course is right, which makes our faith unbounded, having assurance that God will eventually turn our affliction to our gain. (Christofferson, April 2009)
The ACT test didn’t go very well for him.  Not very many accommodations.
Applied to BYU
Was admitted to BYU, has saved that letter of admission.
Freshman year was great socially, but wasn’t best for an ADHD student.  He had reading comprehension troubles. (Couldn’t remember the meaning of each sentence as he read it.)
Found himself over his head academically.  Was grateful for his mission call. 
Ezra Taft Benson began emphasizing the Book of Mormon, reminding the saints that it was the new covenant and that its study should be a lifetime pursuit.
His companionship started studying the Book of Mormon.  He noticed that he started to be able to remember things that happened previously in the chapters that he had just read.
The moment you begin a serious study, you will find power to avoid deception, stay on the straight and narrow path.  When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance. (Ezra Taft Benson Oct 1986)  Abundance may be different for each person.
He said to himself, “This must be what it is like to be smart.”  He didn’t know if the blessing was only for missions or whether he could still have it in school, but he continued to read back in college.
Current Research on good things for ADHD
Connectedness – God, family, family history, friends    (Places we can go for support and help)
Play – imaginatively involved, lights up the brain   (the thing that our mind does, so channel it, Legos, athletics, strategy, find the things that are play and find out how to make it into a living)  Patriarchal blessings can help identify those play things.
Practice – this comes from play  (willing to practice things that are play, which leads to mastery)
Mastery – progress your improvements, increase motivation.  Leads to recognition.
Recognition – comes through your mastery and leads to more connections with those recognizing your talents.  This can become cyclical.
ADD blessings – racing mind, very creative, (can seem restless)
Tips from the trenches
Relationships with Heavenly Father, family, friends
Technology (CAUTION)  Technology can isolate us.  ADD are vulnerable to technology addiction because of hyper-focus.
Interpersonal interaction (critical for children & parents to have individual time together at least 20 minutes a week with no distractions)
Nutrition – eat foods that help rather than hurt the brain.  Avoid sugars, processed foods. Perhaps use essential oils. (Intune essential oils mix.  Q96?)  Try green shakes and smoothies for breakfast.  Try to be well-balanced
Structure – outside help with organization of life, work, school, etc.  This can result in following weekly and daily routines.  Establish routines for them.
Physical activity is very important.   Minimum of 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity (walking)
Identify Closers – Identify people that understand your challenge with ADHD and have different skills related to the project, assignment, etc. and willingly take on the role of helping us complete the task when we have troubles finishing.  They hold you to due dates and hold you accountable.
“Delivered from Distraction”  (Hallowell & Ratey)
“Driven to Distraction” (Hallowell & Ratey)
“Married to Distraction”  (Hallowell & Ratey)

“Treasures on Church Websites” Fernando V Camillo
Music, leadership training library, gospel topics, Mormon channel, newsroom, lds tech, bible videos, LDS store, Patriarchal blessings, MoTab
Music – music library, music player, calling support, member-submitted music
Music player – plays hymns, transposes up keys, can play only a particular singing part, (Does not play on your tablet, is a flash website), can print music once transposed, (Will work on a tablet if used on a Flash browser like Photon.)
Can increase tempo.  If switching languages, will not have the player.
Submitting music
Can find all the different music that people have submitted and download. 
Savior of the world (play)-- can download music, orchestra parts, etc.
Music from the Friend can be found there.  (Library menu option)
Leadership training library – shows videos based on Handbook 2.  Calling-based training, worldwide training, leadership. >> Resources >> Leadership Training
More information is available if you are logged in to your account.
Much navigation is at the bottom of the page. (Doesn’t make sense, so send feedback about this!)
Lots of training for different callings, and some general principles.
Gospel Topics – help for FHE, talks, and lessons, expanded topics. 
Good for preparing talks and lessons.  or >> Teachings >> Topics
Gives scriptures, a brief entry, conference talks, sometimes videos, related music,
This is a great place to point youth to when they are given a speaking or teaching assignment so they can get up to speed very fast.
Also a good way to study by topic.
Mormon Channel – live stream, music stream, Spanish channel, downloadable content, mobile app. 
Is also intended for people who are non-mormon. 
(Roku box plugs into internet through wiki or internet cable and then into TV and you can get the Mormon channel for free on it. (also BYUTV))  or
Can stream the mormon channel on mobile device if the mobile app is downloaded on your phone, then can listen to stuff on the way to work..
Mormon messages to share, interviews with GAs and other Mormons who have done great things, Bible videos, I’m a Mormon videos, The District, Gospel Solutions for Families, CES devotionals,
Has radio streams, 24/7 music (from EFY to MoTab), audio of church magazine content so you can listen while you work
Much of what is on the Mormon Channel is available for download on iTunes.
Mormon Newsroom – Official news for media from the church, announcements, country-specific news. 
Country-specific  news will be in their language, but can use Google Translator.
Has topics and background to share with others
Has a blog written by church employees
LDS  Tech – technology projects, wiki and white papers (how to work with church technology sources), meetinghouse technology support, tech news.  (not accessible from
Lots of tech support for church website aps
Bible Videos
There is a Bible video app.  Make sure you have memory. Stream is best.
Some videos are under a minute, others are 10 minutes
12 apostles had to approve all these videos.
LDS Store
(has free shipping)
can get New scriptures, renew your magazines, garments and temple clothing, cheaper copier ink for library copier. 
Patriarchal Blessings – copies of blessings, direct-line deceased ancestor blessings, mailed copy.  >> sign in >> patriarchal blessing
Mormon Tabernacle Choir –
Can get tickets for concerts
Videos, shop for MoTab CDs
Daily messages  --can subscribe on and get daily email messages >> teachings >> daily messages
Can comment on something that was posted.
There’s an app of this site
Can go to personal progress or duty to God
Other treasures:
--Joseph Smith Papers 
--Church history

“Five Ideas to Help You Discover and Achieve Your Life Mission” Randal A. Wright
The Lord wants you where you are.  You have a special mission to perform.
Heavenly Father has a plan for us, choosing us for certain pre-determined missions in life.
If we ask who am I, where are we from, where am I going?   We want to know “what is MY role?”
Faithful women were given certain assignments while faithful men were foreordained to certain priesthood tasks.  WE don’t remember, but that doesn’t alter the reality that we’re accountable for what we are expected to do. (Spencer W. Kimball Nov 1979)
The Lord puts “Helped wanted” signs around.  “I need someone to ______”
Thomas Edison had this urge of what he had to do.
Founding Fathers all came at the same time right there in American Colonies.
All kinds of different people known for different things.
Amber Douglas got involved in building a school for kids from India who were children of lepers.
Conversion of Paul – “Lord, what wilt thou have me do?” (Act 9:6)
Tara Collins  took her daughter to India to give her some balance to counteract the affluent high school.
Every one of us has been foreordained for some work as God’s chosen servant “(N. Eldon Tanner)
Patriarchal blessings can be a guide, a personal Liahona to chart your course and guide your way.
Analyze blessing:
·      Gifts and talents you possess
·      Opportunities you will have
·      Blessings you have been given
·      Counsel and teachings
·      Warnings included
·      Insight into your life mission
“The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you discover why you were born.”
Ponder carefully what the Lord would have you do with your lives with the special skills, training, and testimonies you have.
Paint a Mental picture of what you are to do.
“The Problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities.. that never were and ask, Why not?” (Spencer W Kimball, Oct 1974)
The Lord did not put us on earth and tell us to consume media and shop til we drop like no one else.
Really think about what you’re doing.
If you can’t see it, how are you going to do it?
Carve away everything that isn’t important.  If we don’t know what we’re going to do, we’ll only have shavings (waste)
Write down your attainable goals and work on them according to their importance.  Pray for divine guidance in your goal setting. 
Write down 100 life goals  (what the Lord wanted me to do, not necessarily bucket list)
Have a detailed plan how you will reach those goals
The Lord had his plan for how to form the earth.  If man is to reach his destiny, he must also have a plan.
“any good builder can erect a magnificent building if the architects can conceive it and the builder can follow the plan.”
God gave to man the challenge of raw materials, not the ease of finished things so that man may know the joys and glories of creation. God created the quarries, but he carves the statues only by the hand of man.
Is your mission right in your own home?  The children?
Maybe it’s outside it.

“Making sure We are not the Difficult Person”  Steven Eastmond
BE sure that when you are scrutinizing yourself that you do it with love instead of being mean.
Ask yourself, “Would I use the same language on someone else that I am using on myself?”
Look in the mirror  “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.” (John 8:7)
“With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged” (Matt 7:2-5)
When you read stories about others, look at yourself and see if you see times when you’ve done the same thing.
Pride is the root of the “difficult person”
IT can be readily seen in others, but is rarely admitted in ourselves. (Ezra Taft Benson, April 1989)
The standard by which we judge others is generally based on how se see the world – how we would act if we were in that same situation.
Alma 56:28-30  Are ye stripped of pride? Envy?  Do you make a mock of your brother or heap persecutions on someone?
If these things exist, we are not prepared to meet God.
Difficult behaviors
·      Control/Narcissism – Doesn’t listen, has to be right, has to be in charge, unforgiving
·      Anger/explosiveness – unpredictable, irritable regularly, frightening and intimidating to others, argumentative and contentious.
·      Selfish – envious, jealous, greedy
·      Critical/demeaning – faultfinding, name-calling, insulting, passive-aggressive, judgmental
·      Pessimist – sees the negative about everything, complains and murmurs all the time, whines
When we are in the pattern, then when we’re with those who do it too, it drains you and sucks the life out of you.  Emotional vampire.
Work on the opposites.  Positive attributes injects energy into the interaction
How to not be a controller
Do we pay attention to how stubborn we can be?
Instead forgive others.  Not forgiving is an attempt to control the offender
Heaven is filled with those who forgive and are forgiven.
To forgive is divine.
Forgiveness – Letting go of all hope of having a better past
--does not require an apology
--is usually a process, not an event (keep making the decision daily)
--is not synonymous with trust
--does not mean that the perpetrated act was okay, or ever will be okay
When you get defensive you look guilty.  The more defensive you get, the more guilty you look.
If you’re wrong, own it. How bad can it be? 
How to not appear defensive:
Ask questions.  Listen.   Validate their feelings.  Ask if it is okay to explain your side.  (Can’t be left out because otherwise you look defensive) Explain your position on the issue.
Do you know everything?
Being right is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Be pliable and willing to learn.
Controlling anger and explosiveness
Can be a factor if we think we’re not mad and others think we are.
Happens if you tend to be very animated.
Assertive people protect their rights but not at the expense of others.
Don’t assume that others need to toughen up and quit being babies.
Don’t assume that you are justified in being a bully.
Don’t assume you don’t need to control how you come across to others.
Reducing Selfishness
Don’t be envious when good fortune comes to others. It will happen sometimes.
Be grateful that God is kind.
Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.  It is the comparison that makes you proud; the pleasure of being above the rest.  (C. S. Lewis)
Opposite – generosity.  Giving of ourselves to others helps us change from greedy and insatiable to unselfishness.
Time is a great commodity that we can share with others.
The more our hearts are turned to assisting others less fortunate, the more we will avoid the cankering effects that result from greed and selfishness.  Our resources are a stewardship not our possessions.  We will account to how we have used them to bless lives and build the kingdom.
Paying tithing helps us become more charitable.
Not being critical or demeaning
Judging others
--get past our own roadblocks and don’t blame them for those roadblocks
When angry, try to talk with no energy and animation, keep the eyebrows down.  This allows the other person to hear what you say and not stumble over the way you are saying it.
“Why beholdest thou the eyebrows on the other person and considerest not thine own..”
Ask yourself, “What else could be true about this person or situation?”
Maybe we are doing things that are causing the problem.  Maybe they have difficulties that we don’t even know about.
Does it have to be that our first judgment of someone is the only explanation?
Couples may think the other person had to mean something even though the other one doesn’t say so.
Bashing should be replaced with charity.  Bashing doesn’t change behaviors.
Praise instead of faultfinding.
How far do kind words go?  A VERY LONG WAY.
Even a simple “Hi! How ya doing?” can go a long way to help someone feel better.
Don’t withhold good words.
Not being pessimistic
Pessimism is like covering your eyes.
What did murmuring do for Laman and Lemuel?  Robbed them of their faith “How is it that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands?”  It robbed them of happiness “we might have been happy”  It robbed them of revelation “The Lord maketh no such thing known unto us”  We can’t see options
“If you put 1/10th the energy you put into complaining and apply it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things can work out.”  (Randy Rausch, “The Last Lecture”)
The opposite of complaining is the expression of gratitude.  IT has a healing nature.  It helps bring peace that helps us overcome the pain of adversity and failure.
Don’t get defensive
Be teachable
Control temper
Don’t judge others
Use kind words
Some complaining and express gratitude

“Women as Gospel Scholars” Stephanie D. Sorensen
Scholar – a learned or erudite person, especially one who has profound knowledge of a particular subject.  A student or pupil; a student who has been awarded a scholarship.
The more we know, the more power we have to influence others for good.
“We need more women who are gospel scholars and more men who are Christians.” (Elder Neal A Maxwell)
Why study the gospel?
What to study?
How to study?
Why study the gospel?
--become more familiar with the truths of the scriptures
--helps us love our neighbors
--to lift others up (not to show off)
--for help in nurturing and teaching
--moves us toward salvation
--parallel spiritual development with men to stand side-by-side in the eternities
--ensure eternal joy
--it is an unfailing guide in our lives
--challenges come day to day, so it is best to learn day-to-day
What to study?
Start with a question or desire to learn.  What are you curious about?
Start with a personal need.
Characteristics that you want to acquire
Ask God, not Google.
People sometimes turn to the internet culture of discussion for answers that should come from God.  [Personally I disagree with the idea that the internet will not have anything of value, partly because I do my best to put on the internet things about the scriptures that I believe are of value.]
Primary resources – prayer and revealed, inspired, authorized sources
Amos 3:7  Surely the Lord God will do nothing but he will reveal it to his servants the prophets
What can we study that we know is the word of God?
1)   Scriptures + guides, study helps, manuals
See Elder Scott’s GC talk about scriptures (oct 2011)
Study the scriptures relating to our church lessons.  Not very many people do, and it will prepare us to contribute more to the lesson.
2)   Words of living prophets and apostles.
Favorite Research tools
Scriptures    archives>>past impressions [search discussions]  scripture round tables   seminaries and institutes, (sign in with lds id stuff) lesson resources 
How to study?  Approach your questions with faith.  Assume that Heavenly Father wants to answer you.
Obey the principles you learn
John 31:5
Alma 32:27
John 7:16-17
How a busy mom can study her scriptures:
Don’t wait for quiet time
Use it to start your day right
Study for your children
Keep a scripture journal
Show your children your scripture study can change you
Women must reflect righteousness and articulateness.  Women of the church must be seen as distinct and different in happy ways.

The Command to Pray Without Ceasing, Mosiah 26:39

Here are some of the conditions in the church under Alma the Elder once the church was set in order:
And they did admonish their brethren; and they were also admonished, every one by the word of God, according to his sins, or to the sins which he had committed, being commanded of God to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things. (Mosiah 26:39, emphasis added)
It seems the church was commanded by God to pray without ceasing.  I see no reason why this commandment would be invalid today.

I think as members of the church we are inclined to dismiss not only the command to pray unceasingly, but we tend to dismiss examples of people who prayed unceasingly.  For instance, whenever the story of Enos comes up, how many of us have heard teachers say, “Now, do we have to pray as long as Enos did?  No…” which pretty much invalidates the lesson of Enos’ example and essentially does what Satan does—teaching men to not pray.

There are more scriptures that teach about praying always.

Jesus taught about praying always: “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1) “And [Jesus] commanded them that they should not cease to pray in their hearts.” (3 Nephi 20:1)

The apostles recognized the importance of praying always: “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:4)

When Paul talks about the armor of God, right afterward he mentions prayer: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18)

Nephi wrote about how important it was to pray always and especially before doing anything for the Lord: “But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.” (2 Nephi 32:9)

Praying always is integral to resisting temptation. 
Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work. (D&C 10:5)
We’ll never know how safe we can really be if we don’t try it.  Constant prayer will shield us from temptation by making a way for us to escape carnal desires that beset us, helping us feel like sin is incompatible with our identity.  With this understanding we can see why Jesus would castigate the Pharisees about how their prayers didn’t match their actions:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. (Matt. 23:14)
Jesus was so disgusted because prayer would have helped the Pharisees resist the temptation to be selfish and greedy, but they sinned anyway.  Praying a lot wasn’t the problem.  It was sinning anyway that was the problem, sinning in spite of prayer.

Constant prayer can bring riches of the Spirit that are greater than any material things we could ever own.
Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing—yea, even more than if you should obtain treasures of earth and corruptibleness to the extent thereof. (D&C 19:38)
I suspect that we have no idea what the height and breadth and depth of the spiritual blessings that the Lord can pour out on us, how quickly our pale outlook on life might turn golden and sparkling, how our deep soul-hunger might fill to fatness and satisfaction, how our uncertainties might turn into rock-hard stability and trust even when from the outside it might look like we’d fall apart any minute.

We are promised that if we pray always the Lord will pour out his Spirit upon us (rather than dribbling or dripping it).

Elder Perry was asked in an interview with New Era staff members in the January2004 issue how we can pray always. He said:
Carry a prayer in your heart. You don’t have to express it out loud all the time, but there are very few hours in the day when you don’t need guidance and direction in the course that you would want to follow. It is a wonderful, satisfying thing to know that the Lord is there. And He is there “24/7,” as they say. He is always available to us.
I really like that thought that there are very few hours in the day that we don’t need help from God.  I suppose then it is a matter of thinking about each thing we do in terms of how we might need the Lord’s help with it, then exerting our faith that it is worth praying about, then asking and thanking.

Have you tried praying always?  If so, what experiences have you had with it?

Friday, August 23, 2013 0 comments

Education Week Notes from Thursday

We woke up feeling pretty fried on Thursday, but prayed for strength and stamina and we made it through pretty well.  Our legs are a bit sore from walking, but that's just a sign that we're getting stronger!  (Yaaaay!)  Today we went to a lot of classes that my husband was interested in, and it gives a nice mix.  Here are our notes for that day.

“Exciting Stories from Church History” Lawrence R. Flake
“If Mormonism can endure through the 3rd and 4th generation unaltered, it will become the greatest force the world has ever known.” (Tolstoy to Andrew Dickson White)
Andrew Dickson White told Thomas Yates (an LDS student) this story
Yates starts the LDS seminary program.
Yates probably told Joseph Fielding Smith about this.
Joseph Fielding Smith made a talk called “The third and fourth generation”
President Kimball heard this story when he was a boy and realized he was a part of the third generation and firmly decided to stay true to the gospel.
Evan Stephens (great musician) heard the talk and wrote words to hymn “Shall the Youth of Zion Falter?” (True to the Faith)
Next story…
Stillman Pond and wife Maria lived in Nauvoo, family 9 children.  3 children died of disease.  Maria got consumption, all had malaria. Went west in that condition.
Lived in a tent in Winter Quarters.  Lost 4 children there, lost wife to disease.
He still went west and made a great contribution.   Remarried and had more children.  Great sacrifices.
Next story…
Building the Jerusalem Center was a great work, getting clearance was a great work by Elder Hunter.  Lots of miracles associated with it.  Opposition was like combining all the opposition to all the times together.  To a Jew, missionary work among the Jews is the same thing as the Holocaust, an attempt to wipe them out.
Elder Hunter made 25 trips.  125 senators were involved in helping.
In late 1800s missionaries were sent everywhere they could.  13 missionaries sent to middle east.  2 missionaries sent to Haifa Palestine.  Had no success, died there.  Were buried in cemetery of Haifa.  Their families thought their mission was a failure.
Back to trying to build the Jerusalem Center…  Orthodox Jews tried to prevent any new religions from coming to Israel.  The burial of those missionaries was a way that the church could argue that the LDS religion was not new in Israel because they were buried there 100 years ago. 
Next story…
A couple of teens moved to Montana from Texas.  He got a job at a service station, they scraped by.  A baby came.  One night they woke up and discovered the baby had died. This crushed them and they had no family to turn to.  She was 16.  She decided to pray and asked for some way to find out if she could ever be with her baby again.  The missionaries were there 10 minutes later.

Michaela and Devon amuse themselves coming up with new Education Week class titles:
The Miracles of the Jerusalem Center Building

“Profound Music of the Baroque Era-Oratorio and Da Capo Aria” Jaren S. Hinckley
1600 – 1750
George Frideric Handel
Hallelujah Chorus sing-along (not same as the one we think of)
Hallejuah chorus that we recognize
Boy soprannos, male altos, tenors, basses, soloists (male and female)
Christopher Hogwood’s film of  Messiah is on Youtube and is worth a look.
Handel was really good at counterpoint music.
His career. Played the violin in an opera house orchestra when young.
Also composed on the side, began writing operas.  (Julius Caesar, Xerxes, ect.)
Wrote tons of operas, and some oratorios at the beginning, but 45 operas and 27 oratorio by the end.
Oratorios are on sacred subject matter, Biblical.
Opera has some stage action, costumes, acting, sets.  Chorus not as big a part.  Orchestra hidden.
Oratorios has people standing around singing.  Choruses is a big part of the whole.  Orchestra visible.
The premier performance of Handel’s Messiah was a benefit concert to help release people from debtor’s prison.
Why did Handel switch to oratorios?  Oratorios were cheaper to produce (he had his own opera house for a while) and there was another opera house across the street that competed too much.   Oratorio was very big business during Lent, while opera was considered sinful entertainment and the pope at the time banned opera for its sinful nature.
Influential and popular form – da capo arias
Aria – solo song in an opera or oratorio
De capo aria form  -- A  B  A’  (A’ meant the singer was to  improvise and ornament the section)
A Voi ell’ Erebo from La Resurreczione   written when Handel was in his 20s, depicts events of Christ’s resurrection.
D.C. written in music is da capo (go back to the top)
Ferma l’ali, e sui miei lumi from La Resurreczione
Harpsichordists had to improvise the chords from the bass line of the music because the bass was all they were given.
Libretta came first.  Handel’s libretto for Messiah was written first by someone else who pulled scriptures from all over the Bible and Handel loved it.
[Idea for more oratorios on other scripture series]
Work painting with the melody came from the Renaissance

“Little Known Stories from the Lives of Joseph F. Smith, Heber J. Grant, George Albert Smith, David O McKay, Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B Lee” Lawrence R. Flake
Joseph F Smith
Served 47 years in the First Presidency, 52 years as a general authority.  (David O McKay served 64 years as a general authority)
He’s the son of Hyrum Smith, and his son also became president too.
David O McKay
He wrote a little-known poem while a missionary about a newborn baby that wondered how much the baby knew before coming to earth.
Back to Joseph F Smith
While prophet was in Liberty Jail.  Hyrum wanted to see his baby, asked his wife to bring the baby. She was sick, but she came 40 miles in winter in open wagon.  Her sister went with her. Her sister declared she would never sell the honor of being locked up in prison for a night with the church leaders for any gold.
Joseph F Smith prophesied while in the Vernal Tabernacle that someday a temple would be there.  (Vernal temple built out of that building)
He beat up a schoolteacher who was bothering his sister and would have been in trouble with the law, but the church leaders sent him on a mission.
Heber J Grant
Eliza R Snow prophesied that he would one day be prophet (happened when he was 18 months old)
At age 22, called to be stake president
An apostle at age 25
He struggled with his calling at first.  He prayed about it.  The Lord gave him a vision in which his calling in heaven was given and saw it was at the behest of his father and grandfather.  He also saw the revelation of his calling given to John Taylor.
He was more comfortable after that.
He was determined to improve himself.  Worked to throw a baseball into a hole in the barn at different distances.  
He loved golf, was rather fanatical about it. Didn’t like to play alone, kept after James Talmage to play with him, even though Talmage didn’t know golf.  Talmage came once.  Talmage got a hole-in-one on his first shot and said, “What’s so hard about that?” then that was the end of it.
Gave away more than 100K books in his life of various subjects.  He’d give a book to every missionary serving. When asked how he could afford to give away so many books, he said,  “I do it with my cigarette money.”
He helped the church get out of debt. 
Welfare program
One of his old businesses honored him with a copper box with 1K silver dollars.  Sent the dollars a friend to be made into paperweights with his signature and sent them to people he knew and asked them to donate them to donate $100 to the children’s hospital.. $100,000 was given to the hospital.  Then.. Letters were later sent to those who had donated asking them to donate the paperweight back and it was given to others who would donate $100 again.  They did.  This is still going on today.  
George Albert Smith
Descended from Joseph Smith Sr.’s brother
St. George is named after George A. Smith (his grandfather, also an apostle)
Was very sick for many years.  Possible lupis.
He was blind in one eye.  Lived to 81 years, died on his birthday, during general conference.  Sunday afternoon session of conference was his funeral.
He was the first president to have his picture on cover of Time magazine, but it was a sort of anti-Mormon cover, not very flattering.
Was sent to England to represent ZCMI in an international trade conference.  At a formal end meeting/banquet hosted by an egotistical lord, (anti-Mormon, anti-American).  Host kept needling Smith, who bore it with patience.  Others got irritated about it.  Host got more drunk.  Host said, “What’s that pin on your lapel?”  Smith said, “This represents when my great-great-granddaddy whipped your great-great-granddaddy.”
Harry Truman loved George Albert Smith for sending aid to Europe.
When Smith died, Truman sent condolences 30 minutes after the death.  Other first condolences came from a paperboy who knocked on the door and said, “I’ve lost my best friend.”
David O McKay
Some people practically joined the church based on his looks as a prophet.
Considered the prophet making the church into a world church.
Built 3 temples outside the US
While pres of the church, there were 7 men in the quorum of the twelve who later became presidents of the church.
Lived to 96 years, only outlived by President Hinckley at 97.
Times said at his death, “The prophet has been replaced by a youngster of only 93.”
Joseph Fielding Smith
Read the BofM twice before he was 10 years old
Knew doctrine very well.
Took a bag lunch with him to work to keep from wasting time.  When asked where he got his gospel knowledge, answered, “It’s in the bag.”
Outlived 3 wives.  His last wife was very funny.
He’d ask her to speak in priesthood meetings.
She’d say, “What do you get when you grow marijuana on the stake farm?”  “high counselors”
Harold B Lee
His grandmother was told he would give birth to a prophet.
She had 10 children who died as babies.  11th baby was the father of Harold B Lee.
Back to Joseph Fielding Smith…
His wife drove him everywhere.

“Jedediah Grant’s “Blank Text” Sermon; the Transfiguration of Brigham Young”  Walter A. Norton
These stories illustrate how the Spirit comes to the aid of those who preach the gospel and lead the church.
Jedediah Morgan Grant  (the presenters great-great-grandfather)
Morgan Utah is named after him.
Born 1816 in Windor New York
William Smith married Jedediah’s sister
After his baptism, Jedediah moved to Ohio, went on Zion’s camp.
Called to quorum of 70.  Served lots of missions.
Jedediah had to carry the news of the martyrdom to the apostles in the east, just after he was married.
Appointed one of the captains of a wagon company.  Led a wagon train to SL valley 1847.  His wife and a daughter died on the plains.
1849 He married again.
Elected first mayor of SLC, also called second counselor in first presidency.
He got a reputation as a good improvivational speaker.
He studied the gospel carefully, but didn’t prepare sermons.  Others didn’t believe this could be done.
He was challenged to preach a sermon on a text chosen by others the instant before he would begin.  The “blank text” sermon.
The text was blank of any text.
“You believe that out of nothing, God created all things, and now you want me to preach a sermon from nothing.”  He uses work “blank” often, all the while tearing up the creeds of Christianity, and teaching the gospel.
The audience was so impressed they took up a collection to provide him a better set of clothes.  A minister didn’t want to, but he was compelled by the audience.  Collection purchased clothes, horse, and saddle for him.
Elder Grant was challenged to a discussion at another church.
Elder Grant asks, “Who stands at the head of your church?”  “I do, how about yours?”  “Jesus Christ, sir.” 
The Transfiguration of Brigham Young
On the day of the martyrdom, there was a pall of deep gloom over Nauvoo.  Many of the apostles felt deep depression that day, though they didn’t know why at the time.
Death masks of Joseph and Hyrum were done by George Cannon, father of George Q. Cannon
Who was to lead the church?  (succession crisis of 1844) Saints were completely shocked.  No one had thought about what to do if such a thing were to happen. Joseph had predicted it would happen, but they didn’t understand.
Principles Joseph had taught before his death.
D&C 107  Quorum of 12 has authority equal to first presidency
Where there is no prophet, the 1st presidency dissolves and the quorum of 12 leads
D&C 112  Revelation about the 12 and their role
D&C 124  the 12 hold the keys to open the authority of the kingdom over the earth
1841  “The 12 will be called to stand in their place next to the 1st pres.
Joseph ordained priesthood keys on the 12 with authority necessary to lead the church after Joseph’s death.
When Brigham Young told the people the 12 had the keys of the priesthood.
Sidney Rigdon also came back to Nauvoo from Pittsburg, declaring he had a vision that he was to lead the church.  Aug 2, 1844
Two elders came later. They met with Sidney.  Sidney wanted to lay plans to appoint a guardian of the church.  Sidney had a meeting claiming to be one spoken of by prophecy to lead.
Another meeting called for the purpose to choosing a guardian for the church.
They delayed the meeting until the rest of the apostles arrived.  Apostles counseled together.  Sidney proposed to be a guardian to the church to build up the church to Joseph Smith.
Another meeting.  In the grove.  Sidney made his argument. The more he talked, the more the people were convinced he should not lead them.
When Brigham Young stood, he spoke with great power and authority and inspiration.  He was transfigured before them, appearing to be Joseph Smith.
120 pages in the BYU Studies Magazine with 101 accounts of people who were there and witnessed it.
What was the purpose of this manifestation?
The church stood on a pivot, not knowing which way to turn.  The power of God made the voice of Brigham Young the voice of Joseph to show he would have the same power.  The people saw and heard for themselves that it was by the power of God.  All voted to sustain the twelve and Brigham Young.  But there were still people who split off following various people.
Why does the presiding member of the 12 become president?
Quorem of 12 presides over the church when prophet is dead.  So then, the president of the quorum, who presides over it, is also president of the church.

“Today: Pivotal Perspectives of Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews” Victor Ludlow
The Scattering of the House of Israel
--Lost ten tribes (721BC and following centuries)
--Lehites (600 BCE (and Mulekites around 586BCE)
--Jews  (586 BCE and 70CE and following centuries
--Scattered remnants of Israel (Identified as “gentiles” D&C 10:60-67  D&C 133:30-34;  unknown events, and events, we’re waiting for records of them)
Ludlow supposes that the most quoted prophet in those 3rd scriptures will be Isaiah
The Gathering of the House Israel foreseen by Jeremiah to be a greater miracle than the Exodus from Egypt (Jer 16:14-15)
Goes in reverse order – last to be scattered are first to be gathered
--Scattered remnants, starting in 1820, key date April 3, 1836.. when D&C 109 is given.  Moses restores the keys of the gathering of Israel.
--Jews, starting in 1880s.  key date May 15, 1948 when Israel is re-established as a nation.  Before less than 17K Jews in Palestine under Ottoman Turks.
--Lehites, starting in 1830s, key date 1975 when 9 new stakes organized in Mexico City.  Top baptisms from Central, South America and the Phillippines.
--Lost Ten Tribes , unknown dates and events still in the future
3-step Process to Conversion
--  1 Nephi 19:15 – a change of attitude, and a gathering to take place, when they no more turn aside their hearts against the Holy One of Israel (neutral instead of negative?)  In 1830 Jews had a negative attitude about Christians and Jesus Christ.  Not so much any more.
--  2 Nephi 6:11  a change of knowledge, and a gathering to take place.  They know more about teachings of Christians, now reading and studying the New Testament. (Used to never touch it.)
-- 2 Nephi 10:7 a change of belief, and a restoration to take place. (hasn’t yet happened)
7 Jewish prophecies fulfilled since 1830
--Elijah the prophet to return, 1836 in the Kirtland temple
--the descendents of Judah to gather, 1880s because of pogroms in Russia and eastern Europe.  Many went to America.  Some went to Palestine.
--The wealth of nations to reclaim the land 1901, Fourth Zionist Congress, started a fund Jewish National Fund to establish Palestine and buy land for the Jews.
--Land to become productive, 1920s. France and England took over middle east from Ottoman Empire after WW1.  Started to farm.
--Jews to be attacked but delivered  1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 1991, 2006, ??? (happens every decade)
--Jerusalem to be under Jewish control , 1967
--Jews begin to believe in Jesus Christ,  1975  President Kimball said the time of the Jews is about ready to come in.  “Now is the time of the Jew” (Spencer W. Kimball) We’re getting more Jewish converts in the east and west US.
The above are still being fulfilled.
Challeges of the middle east
Arabs, Persians, Turks, Afro-hamites, Kurds, Jews, Armenians
-Semitic (culture, traditions, languages)
-Also +/- European/American influences that aren’t really positive. (Icky media)
-Islam (Sunni/Shi’a), Christianity (Armenian, Coptic, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Pretestant, LDS, etc), Judaism (ultra-orthodix, orthodox, conservative, reform, setc.), Druze, Baha’i, various
Middle East Governments – monarchy, emirate, constitutional monarchy, theocratic republic, military republic, republic, parliamentary democracy, ..
Middle East hot spots
Poverty – Egypt, Yemen, Palestine-Gaza
Politics – Egypt, Syria, Palestine-WestBank
Terrorists – Iran, Yemen, Palestine-Gaza
Women’s rights – Saudia Arabia, Yemen, ??? many
Civil Conflict – Egypt, Iraq/Syria, Lebanon/Cyprus
Intolerance – Iran/SA, Yemen, Palestine-Gaza
Iraq has 6 ethnic-religious groups.  How to form a government to represent them all!
Gaza is extremely densely populated.  4000 people/squar km  versus 30 for US
Gaza has 40% unemployment rate
Who is a Palestinian?  Canaanite? A Philistine? A Byzantine?, An Arab? A mixture of all these?

“The Kirtland Safety Society: Its Rise, Fall, and Aftermath” Jeffrey N Walker
Only one lawsuit ever filed against Joseph over the Safety Society.  But this was a big case.  Rounds v.Smith, et al.
Opinion – majority of losses sustained by members of the church
Smith family was most hurt, then Rigdon family, then Johnson family.  This adds up to almost 60% of interest in it.
Once the bank failed, it was clear Kirtland wouldn’t be a good place for the Saints to stay.  Many saints believed their losses in Kirtland would be paid back with land in Missouri as an inheritance.
Rise of the safety society
Banking in Jacksonian America.  Central banking Terminated, no national currency. 
Metal money (specy) shortage, notes from banks (bank notes), promissory notes (promises to pay at a certain time)
Using bank notes, increase money supply, increase liquidity, increase loans
Kirtland in the 1830s
Booming economy, agricultural products, manufacturing, rapid population increase, significant land sales.  Money shortage  (major inflation)
Men went on missions poor and came back rich because of their land.
The Church’s involvement
Missionary efforts
United Firm (merchantile business ventures, land development ventures, printing,  increasing debt obligations, terminations of the United Firm)
Stores were stocked, but people coming didn’t have any money. 
Bank notes had high risk, short terms  60-90 day loans.  When it comes due, you either have to sell the merchandise, or roll it over into another larger loan. Church debt increased.
Church decided to get into land sales instead.  Large farms bought, then subdividing, then selling at marginal (small) profits.
Major issue – church needed money and church was building the temple at the same time.
Church is 40K in debt for the Kirtland temple
October 1836 – Returning from Salem MA they decided to start a bank to increase the money supply, liquidity, and loans.
They began taking payments for stock -- $50/share, small installments, 36 subscribers by end of October
November 1836 they had a organization meeting.  32 directors.  Director was Rigdon, JS was cashier, They adopted a “constitution”, They approved purchases of printing plates, safe, stock ledger, etc.
December 1836: Getting a charter
They sent Orson Hyde, who was not a politician.  Made no alliances.  Couldn’t even get the bill read to be considered.  Also opposition from Gradison Newell, who wanted his own town to be the center and was angry at upstart Kirtland. He wanted a railroad that could have authority to issue banknotes too.
Oliver gets the equipment for the bank.
They can’t be a bank. They will be an “anti-bank” as a joint-stock company as a partnership.  All directors are jointly liable for losses.
Changed their articles of agreement. Changed the names of the offices and roles
First run was $10K
Business opens.  1st run loaned in 3 days. Road improvements, increased land sales, increase in Whitney Store
January-Feb 1837
Bought the Bank of Monroe, Michigan in order to become a branch bank of it.  Agree to purchase a controlling interest. Oliver Cowdery becomes director and vice president.  He moves to Monroe.  Seemed pretty clever.
Banknotes have nothing printed on the back.
Then there is the Panic of 1837.  Starts in New York goes to the entire US
Every single bank of Ohio and Michigan fail.  Safety society is caught in that.
Banks across nation begin to close in March 1837
Grandison Newell decides to try to make Safety Society fail.  He buys up notes and redeems species.
Warren Parrish & John Johnson start executing bank notes and putting htem into the market.  Johnson starts selling his property to make it good. When he’s sold everything, the bank is dead.
Lawsuit is qui tam lawsuit – A whistleblower suit, needs statute to support and be in the state’s interest.  Operating a bank without charter.
Samuel Rounds was a strawman to bring the lawsuit.
Defendents were key directors of the bank.  Six lawsuits based on 1816 statute.
$1000 fine per transaction
Defense – the statue used for lawsuit was not in force
New statute overrides it of 1823 saying there is no problem with unchartered supply, but there is no recourse.
The court rules against them, but they don’t finish the suit.
Agents were left to turn out Joseph’s debts.  Grandison was overpaid.  After Joseph’s death, he has probate set up to get the Kirtland temple.
The case defaulting possession to the RLDS of the Kirtland was a total fraud because the judge didn’t allow them to have it, but the RLDS people ignored the last sentence.
Later another case gets the temple for RLDS
The temple is still there for a reason, not destroyed.  It reminds us of the great events of the restoration.

 “Maccabees—A Family and a Legacy”  Jared L. Ludlow
1 and 2 Maccabees – come at 200-100BC after Malachi in the Bible
1 Maccabees is modeled after books of Kings and Chronicles
Starts with Alexander’s conquests, but focuses on Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) rain to John Hyrcanus I
Lacks miraculous interventions from heaven, but sees hand of God in Jewish victories
Includes copies of letters and contemporary poems
2 Maccabees is an abridgement of a 5 volume history (we don’t have) written by Jason of Cyrene..  Parallels 1 Maccabees 1-7:50
Themes – sanctity of the temple, celebrate the deeds of the martyrs who precipitated the revolt
Historical background
Alexander conquers middle east, breaking down Persian empire,
Whole region under greek dominance, spreading greek thought, language.
Hellenistic Empires split between generals
Antigonid (greek and macedon)
Ptolemaic (Egypt)
Seleucid (Syria, Babylon, Persia) Has the hardest time keeping it and loses pieces little by little
Israel is right between two and that plays a role.  They switch
Greek colonies founded, culture is spread, which creates issues for Jews.  They have to decide whether to embrace it/promote it or eschew it as a taint.
Hellenizers versus traditionalists
Hellenizers established gymnasium (greek school, exercising in the nude) in Jerusalem and even removed marks of circumcision
Antiochus III (Megas) 223-187 BCE
5th Syrian War, took the land of Israel at the Battle of Paneas, defeating Ptolemy V
Fights with Rome in Asia Moinor (Battle of Magnesia 189BCE), losing, ceding most of Asia Minor to Rome in the Treaty of Apamea, paid yearly tribute
How to pay tribute?  Tax people, use your money, or plunder other people.  They choose to plunder others.
Common target of plunder is temples in the middle east because they are the storehouse of much wealth.
Antichus IV (Epiphanes)
In the 6th Syrian war, marched on Alexandria Egypt for its wealth. Then retreated at Roman threat.
What’s left?  Jerusalem temple.  Series of acts against Jews of Judea.
Raided Jerusalem and took temple treasure.  (Historians think he was crazy.  Others think extreme Hellenized Jews are whispering in his ear to try to get Jews to abandon tradition and convert to greek religion.)
Antiochus’ troops and Hellenized Jews built a fortress (Acra) near the temple to dominate Jerusalem.
Requires pagan sacrifices.Wanted entire empire to have one custom (religion).
Sacrifices of swine, altars to greek gods on the temple site.  (Gasp)
Hellenizers wanted to make a covenant with the gentiles, gymnasiam, etc.
Jewish worship, prayer and Sabbath were forbidden, Violations were punished by torture or death.
Hebrew scriptures (OT) were destroyed by fire
Jews having scriptures were tortured and killed
Circumcized sons had their whole families killed brutally.
Jewish Response
First, abandon tradition
Some, Martyrdom (1 Macc 1:62-63; 2 Macc 6-7)  Chose to die rather than profane themselves.
Tests of whether they would eat the pigs or break the Sabbath
Jews realize the trials come because they haven’t been as faithful as they should be.
They encourage each other to die honorably.
ThThird response: revolt  1 Macc 2; 3:59-60
Hasmonean family – Mattathias (father) with five sons (Joannes, Simean, Judas Maccabeus, Eleazar, Jonathan) united with Hasideans (pious ones) for legitimacy
Modern Jews don’t want to do martyrdom again, so they will build up their military and protect themselves.
Maccabeus  --“the hammer”
They take Phineas as an example (Phineas the priest in Numbers, who spears the immoral couple in the tent)
Mattathias is told to sacrifice.  He refuses.  Mattathias kills another Jew who is about to sacrifice, kills the king’s officers, tears down the altar.  Calls the town to unite and leave with him and went to the wilderness.
They revolt.  It becomes a guerrilla war that keeps escalating.
Antiochus keeps sending larger and larger armies trying to stamp it out and it doesn’t work.
They retake the temple and rededicate the temple  1 Macc 4:36-51
The First Hanukkah 164BC
7-stand manorah  temple mannorah, used in temple.
8-day manorah   Hanukkah
9-day mannorah  Hanukkah  (middle candle used to light all the other candles)
Hanukkah involves presents to make sure Jewish kids don’t miss out on Christmas.
The miracle of the oil is in the later rabbinic stories, not in Maccabees.
We can see lots of Jewish thought and passion and how to deal with the outside gentile world in it.
It shows the importance placed in the temple and the law of Moses and there’s lots we can learn from that.