Making Sense of the Scriptures

Making Sense of the Scriptures February 6, 2018


A beautiful view of Shanghai
Thanks to one man, Jeff Lindsay, Shanghai has become a significant center of faithful Mormon scholarship in recent years.     (Wikimedia Commons public domain photo)


It’s going to take me a while to offer even the barest suggestion of the treasures to be found in John W . Welch, et al., eds., Knowing Why: 137 Evidences That the Book of Mormon Is True (American Fork: Covenant Communications, 2017).  So I’ll keep plugging away at the effort.


“Why Is the Lord’s Hand ‘Stretched out Still’?”  (115-116)

Modern Latter-day Saints often understand this as a positive thing, signifying the Lord’s mercy and his never-ending compassion.  But, in ancient minds, the meaning was almost certainly negative.  The Lord’s hand is stretched out in a threatening manner, expressive of the fact that “his anger is not turned away.”

Similar imagery is found in Canaanite, Akkadian, and Egyptian texts.  It is a punishing hand.  This is plainly how the idiom is used in Isaiah 5:25 and 2 Nephi 15:25, its Book of Mormon equivalent.


“Why Did Moroni Quote Isaiah 11 to Joseph Smith?”  (117-118)

Fully four years before the first word of the Book of Mormon was translated, the message of the biblical prophet Isaiah was connected with it.  When Moroni visited the teenaged Joseph Smith on 21 September 1823, he quoted approximately thirty-one passages from the Bible, fully ten of which were from the book of Isaiah.  The longest of these quotations came from Isaiah 11 (e.g., reference to “a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people”).  Moroni said in 1823 that this prophecy “was about to be fulfilled” (Joseph Smith — History 1:40).  This is (impressively) consistent with the Book of Mormon itself, in such passages as 2 Nephi 29:8 and 3 Nephi 21:1-7, where the coming forth of the Book of Mormon is described as a sign to the world of the beginning of the last days.




I’ve already mentioned two KnoWhys that the amazing Jeff Bradshaw (of the Congo) has posted on the Interpreter Foundation website for what I assume will be this weekend’s Gospel Doctrine lesson in most Latter-day Saint congregations:


KnoWhy OTL06A — Was Noah’s Ark Designed As a Floating Temple?


KnoWhy OTL06B — Was Noah Drunk or in a Vision?”


He’s now posted a third:


“KnoWhy OTL06C — What Was All the Confusion About at the Tower of Babel?”




And here’s another good little piece from the amazing Jeff Lindsay (of Shanghai):


The Explanatory Power of an Ancient Setting for the Book of Abraham: One Example”




I now note a couple of pieces from Tarik LaCour that are well worth a look.


First, I was pleased to be reminded of Anatol Rapoport’s four rules:


“Jeremy Runnells and Rapport’s Rules”


And, second, here’s an interesting point of view on a topic that remains rather controversial:


“Four Philosophical Perspectives on a Priesthood Ban Apology”



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