BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 10: 2Ne 26-30

Not a lot of time today, so here's a short post, on Nephi's non-contextual application of the Isaiah chapters to his people.A note on 2 Nephi 26:29, wherein Nephi defines "priestcraft"- priestcrafts are that men 1) preach and 2) set themselves up for a light unto the world, that 3) they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion. Nephi's translated definition dovetails well with Webster's 1828, which says "The stratagems and frauds of priests; fraud or i … [Read more...]

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BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 9: 2Ne 11-25

Last week was insane, and I didn't get a post up. Today I'm trying and failing to  catch up, so my offering this week is meager.First, a PSA. Someone asked me a question about the Amazon support links I post at the bottom. They had clicked on it and gone to Amazon looking for a special tick box or option that said "Benjamin the Scribe," because that's how some of Amazon's other programs work. I'm part of the Amazon Associates program, which means that there's nothing special you need to cl … [Read more...]

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BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 8: 2Ne 6-10

It's been a hectic week, I'm on the road without wifi, and Patheos did some upgrades this week causing some technical issues with my blog. I'll try to correct/expand as possible.And first, Joseph Spencer's book on typology and the Book of Mormon appears to finally be back in print. Good stuff, and relevant to today's material as well as Nephi's interpretive Isaiah material.Jacob is speaking by assignment on a topic from Nephi. (2Ne 6:4), which topic is Isaiah. Now, if you’ve read my Old T … [Read more...]

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BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 7: 2 Nephi 3-5

A bit of news, connected to today's lesson. (If you haven't read the last one, you absolutely must for the proper background to this one.) One of my interests that happens to be both academic and pastoral involves the nature of scripture and inspiration. I'll be presenting a paper April 8/9 at the Mormon Scholars in the Humanities Conference on "Science, Scripture, and Secularism: Rethinking Some Common Assumptions" which will verge into this territory. I see a spectrum of views about … [Read more...]

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Teaching Seminary with Cuneiform, Shortbread, and The Shining

Back in fall, I got interviewed about teaching early-morning Seminary. I even attended one morning, to get the lay of the land. I got very excited about shaping young minds, but I was also up front that they would probably hear from some parents. As long as they were fine with that, I was on board. I'd heard that they'd called someone else, but then a few weeks ago, received the formal call.  A friend (jokingly?) said, "I'm frankly kind of shocked they allow you to do this."I only teach … [Read more...]

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BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 6: 2 Nephi 1-2

A post up before Saturday night! Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles...Today we enter into 2 Nephi, which immediately raises the question, why is there a second Nephi? What's the motivation for the break in 1 and 2 Nephi? In the divided books of the Old Testament, it was largely due to practical concerns; When translated into Greek, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles were each too long to fit on one scroll, and split into two, hence 1 and 2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings.Brant Gardner points out in h … [Read more...]

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Some Quick Book Notes and Thoughts on Tradition and “Doctrine Creep”- UPDATED

I've had this half-written for a while, and had to finish it this morning, since the bits at the bottom are time-dependent.Two of my most-read posts have dealt with the flood in Genesis 6-9. This one looks at the Flood in terms of genre, and tries to steer Mormons away from the false interpretive dichotomoy of "literal/figurative" into a more productive and accurate way of looking at scripture, while also giving some ancient Near Eastern background. The second one responds to an older Ensign … [Read more...]

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BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 5: 1 Nephi 16-18

Not a lot of time for more than anything but some rough notes this week.1Ne 16:10 If you want to win some Mormon trivia, ask which book the Liahona is named in. Most people will give you 1 Nephi, but note that here it's only called "a ball." Later on, it will be glossed as "the ball or director" (Mosiah 1:16). We don't learn the name Liahona until Alma 37:38- "the thing which our fathers call a ball, or director-- or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass;" … [Read more...]

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