First, go out and see Witnesses if you haven’t already. And if you have already seen it, go see it again. Preferably with extended family, neighbors, and friends in tow.
Until 2020, so far as I can recall, there has been only one full calendar year in which I didn’t spend at least some time in my native California. That was the middle year of my missionary service in Switzerland. (If one has to miss California for an entire year, Switzerland is one of the best possible substitutes. Even if I did spend that year tracting.) There was one year, roughly a decade ago, where I almost missed going to California. I seriously contemplated driving over beyond Reno or just past Las Vegas and Primm so that I could at least stick my foot across the border. Fortunately, I ended up going legitimately.
The plague year of 2020, though, messed up my record. And I felt it.
So here I am, back in an area that I’ve loved since I can remember. I’ve even already had my traditional date milkshake at the Crystal Cove Shake Shack. It’s one of my earliest memories, from the days when my parents and I would drive down to visit my father’s sister and brother in greater San Diego.
Curiously, I’ve had an old song by Peter, Paul, and Mary going through my mind all day. (I’ve been listening to music from my youth lately, wallowing in nostalgia. Some of it — including some that I once really liked — hasn’t stood the test of time very well, with me at least. The Beatles have, though. And so have most (though not all) songs by Peter, Paul, and Mary — which has surprised me just a little bit. Anyway, the song is “Man of Constant Sorrow.” However, one of the lines would need to be changed in my case: “I’m goin’ back to California — place where I was born and raised.”
It’s good to be back, although I don’t always like what’s been done and what is being done to my native state.
Here, as a reminder, are three more links to articles published in a prior issue of Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship:
Review of Brian D. Stubbs, Changes in Languages from Nephi to Now (Blanding, UT: Four Corners Digital Design, 2016) and Exploring the Explanatory Power of Semitic and Egyptian in Uto-Aztecan (Provo, UT: Grover Publications, 2015).
Abstract: Following several articles and presentations over the past two decades on tantalizing finds linking Uto-Aztecan languages with Near Eastern languages, LDS linguist Brian Stubbs has recently published two significant works offering extensive details and documentation. The more comprehensive volume intended for scholars and serious students of language is Exploring the Explanatory Power of Semitic and Egyptian in Uto-Aztecan, a highly technical work providing 1,528 sets of cognates with intricate details linking Uto-Aztecan languages with two versions of Semitic and with Egyptian. This is followed by an analysis of puzzles in Uto Aztecan explained by Egyptian and Semitic ties as well as an exploration of grammatical and morphological parallels and many other details that further strengthen the case for an ancient connection to Near Eastern languages. Stubbs has made his work more accessible to general LDS readers with a less technical and highly readable work, Changes in Languages from Nephi to Now, that relates his findings to the Book of Mormon and what we can infer about the languages of Book of Mormon peoples. The changes in those languages, correspond remarkably well with the infusions of Near Eastern language that can be seen in abundance in Uto-Aztecan. Numerous questions remain that may require lifetimes of further research, but the meticulous foundation Stubbs has laid must not be treated like past amateurish and erroneous efforts over the centuries to find Hebrew in Native American languages. This is a serious, scholarly work that rises above the standards typically used to establish authentic language families. The evidence for, say, Hebrew in Uto-Aztecan is actually more impressive than the linguistic evidence for Hebrew influence in Yiddish. While implications for these finds on the Book of Mormon can be overstated, what Stubbs has uncovered may be among the most impressive scholarly finds related to the Book of Mormon.
Abstract: Lehi’s dream in 1 Nephi 8 and Nephi’s related vision in 1 Nephi 11–14 contain many features related to the biblical garden of Eden, including most prominently the tree of life. A close reading of the features of Lehi’s dream in light of the earliest Book of Mormon text shows further similarities to the biblical garden, suggesting that the setting of Lehi’s dream is actually the garden of Eden. But the differences are also informative. These include both substantive features absent from the biblical Eden and differences in the language used to describe the features. Many of the variant features are also found in other ancient creation accounts. In view of these observations, it is likely the Book of Mormon presupposes a variant account of the garden of Eden. This variant account forms the backdrop for Lehi’s dream and for other references to the garden in the Book of Mormon.
Abstract: Contrary to the generally accepted view, it seems likely that much of the wording of the Doctrine and Covenants was transmitted to Joseph Smith as part of the revelatory process. Apparent bad grammar and a limited reading of “after the manner of their language” (D&C 1:24) have led to the received view that “the language of the revelations was Joseph Smith’s.”1 This judgment, however, is probably inaccurate. Abundant cases of archaic forms and structures, sometimes overlapping with Book of Mormon usage, argue for a different interpretation of “after the manner of their language.” Scholars have chosen, for the most part, to disregard the implications of a large amount of complex, archaic, well-formed language found in both scriptural texts. As for the 1833 Plot of Zion, transmitted words in Doctrine and Covenants revelations, a key statement by Frederick G. Williams, and a small but significant amount of internal archaic usage mean that the layout, dimensions, and even some language of the city plat were specifically revealed as well.
Posted from Newport Beach, California