A Song and a Psalm for the Sabbath: Psalm 51

Psalm 51 gets a special mention with this weeks readings, so I've set it off with this post I've been holding for this week.Every Sunday when the sacrament comes around, I pull out my scriptures and read Psalm 51. chonneni 'elohim kechasdeycha, kerov rachemeycha, mechey pesha'ai... … [Read more...]

Short Gospel Doctrine lesson 23: 1 Samuel 18-24

Saul and David, by Rembrandt

Here's the podcast on these chapters, with some useful notes.The purpose of this lesson is to focus on the friendship between David and Jonathan, but the narrative is primarily about David trying to avoid being killed. The guy trying to kill him is no other than his father-in-law Saul (since he married Michal), who is also Jonathan's father.  Your in-laws don't seem so bad now, eh?Along the lines of "friendship" it's worth pointing out that Joseph Smith said "Friendship is the grand fu … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 22: 1 Samuel 9-17

David and Goliath, Sistine Chapel

I don't have enough time this week to write about everything I wished, (trying to finish my medical application by Monday), so go listen to my  podcast here where I talk about David, Goliath, and the Philistines. … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 21: 1Samuel 1-3, 8 (updated)


First, here is my podcast for this lesson. Now, as we move into books like Samuel and Kings that are more historical in nature, we need to discuss just what that means. How should we read and understand these? … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine 20- Ruth and Samuel 1 (updated!)

Ruth and Naomi, from http://www.womeninthebible.net/paintings_ruth.htm

Today, I guess we're focusing entirely on Ruth, and then just on a small section of Ruth. (I'd really like to write a long article for Ruth as I did for Judah and Tamar, but my list of projects is long.) Ruth is a short and masterful novella. If you haven't read it yet, give it a quick read. It's four chapters, minimal characters. I'll assume you know the story for the rest of this post. Update But I do have a podcast on Samuel 1, here! … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine 20- Ruth Podcast, listen ahead of time!


I have my last major exam coming up, so Ruth/Samuel won't go up until Saturday. Ruth is a really important book for grasping the concrete Israelite idea of "redemption." I presented a conference paper last year  about redemption and two other Israelite ideas that have all merged in LDS thought (redemption, salvation, and atonement), which will be published in Fall... once I clean it up and submit it, after the MCAT is over.In the meantime, I strongly suggest you go listen to my Ruth podcast a … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine 19- Judges


(I have two exams this week, and two the week after, so I needed to get this out early.)The Book of Judges begins with the death of Joshua, and is arranged in very distinct and obvious cycles: Israel prospers, forgets God and embraces idolatry, is allowed to be enslaved/captured by its neighbors until it repents, and then God raises up a charismatic military leader or "judge" who delivers Israel from captivity. Wash, rinse, repeat. … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine lesson 18- Joshua


We are now out of the Pentateuch, into what's called the Deuteronomistic History, or DH.This refers to the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. … [Read more...]