The festival of Sukkot concludes on Monday

The festival of Sukkot concludes on Monday September 26, 2021


Siloam Silwan
The biblical pool of Siloam is located near the modern Palestinian village of Silwan, just below the south end of the ridge upon which sat the ancient city and temple of Jerusalem.
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)




Here are two very recently posted items on the website of the Interpreter Foundation:


Book of Moses Essays #74: The Family of Adam and Eve (Moses 6:1–12)


Interpreter Radio Show — September 19, 2021

You can listen to or download the 19 September 2021 broadcast of the Interpreter Radio Show. It featured Martin Tanner, Kris Frederickson, and Mike Parker, who, in the first hour of the broadcast, discussed why the Restored Church will not fail. The second portion of the show was given over to a roundtable discussing the upcoming Come Follow Me lesson #44 (D&C 124). The Interpreter Radio Show can be heard on Sunday evenings from 7 to 9 PM (MDT), on K-TALK, AM 1640, or you can listen live on the Internet at




I hope that you’re aware of the Interpreter Foundation’s series of virtual firesides about the founding prophet of this last dispensation, “‘A Life Lived in Crescendo’: Selected Punctuation Marks of Joseph Smith’s Final Years.”  Please mark your calendar for the next one, on Sunday, 17 October 2021, which will feature Jeffrey Mark Bradshaw discussing “Freemasonry and the Origins of Latter-day Saint Temple Ordinances.”




Yesterday, a friend visually confirmed that the DVD of Witnesses is available at the Deseret Book outlet that is located directly across the street from Temple Square.


I expected as much, but it’s good to know.  I hope that very many will now be able to see the film who, for whatever reason, did not see it in a theater, and I also hope that many who saw it will want to see it yet again, and to own it for themselves.  Watching the film and discussing it afterward would make for a very good family activity, for instance.




“What religious groups oppose vaccination — even during epidemics?”


I desperately don’t want Latter-day Saints to follow down this road:


“The gospel of Sherri Tenpenny: COVID-19 misinformation meets Christian nationalism: Her claims are discredited by scientists and politicians trying to stem the spread of COVID-19. But her appeal to faith has a constituency all its own.”


“Post-Trump, Christian nationalists preach a theology of vaccine resistance: Recent rallies have intermingled resistance to COVID-19 vaccines with calls for a resurgence of Christian influence.”


“Funeral homes in Idaho are running out of room due to the Covid-19 surge, coroner says”


From a Latter-day Saint physician at the Stanford University School of Medicine:


“We owe it to the vulnerable to get vaccinated: Dr. Tyler Johnson says his Mormon religion ‘teaches me I have a moral obligation to seek out facts and to seek to understand the world as it is,’ which means rejecting vaccine conspiracy theories and misinformation.”


I expect, by this point, that there are few if any voluntarily unvaccinated people who are still reading my blog who will be influenced by any exhortation on the subject by me.  Nevertheless, I persist:  Get the shot!  Just do it!  If not for yourself, for those around you.




The annual Jewish festival of Sukkot (or Succoth [pronounced roughly soo-KOTE], or the Feast of Tabernacles, or the Feast of Booths) concludes on Monday.  Here are a couple of interesting recent articles about it:


“How did Jews celebrate Sukkot 2,000 years ago? Archaeology offers answers: While no traces survive of the ancient booths Jews built to celebrate the holiday, archaeology provides important evidence of the centrality of Sukkot.”


“Sukkot is the Jewish holiday that teaches us the joys of doing withoutLiving in a hut teaches us that what we really have is not what we own, but what we are.”


The second article should resonate with Latter-day Saints, who are accustomed to the practice of monthly fasting.  However, it should also evoke thoughts of General Conference:  Tt’s no coincidence, I think, that the schedule of  Church’s April and October conferences more or less fits the annual cycle of planting and harvest — which is the same agricultural cycle that influenced the timing of the ancient Jewish festivals.  In pre-COVID (and, let us hope, post-COVID) days, Latter-day Saints from around the world would gather at Temple Square in Salt Lake City in a not-too-distant analogy to the gathering of ancient Jews to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.


And the associations with the temple should be quite plain, as well.  The notion of the ascent to the Mountain of the Lord is difficult to miss, as are such things as the ritual washings at the Pool of Siloam (a little pond that is still to be seen in the Arab Palestinian village of Silwan, at the end of Hezekiah’s famous tunnel) that were to be undergone before entering onto the platform of the temple itself.


By the way, Latter-day Saint scholars have argued that the sermon of Jacob that is recorded at 2 Nephi 6-10 and the great sermon of King Benjamin that is recorded at chapters 2-5 of the book of Mosiah (and that, by the way, is cited by Stanford’s Dr. Tyler Johnson at the link that I’ve provided above) were given during the fall festival season and, most likely, during Sukkot.


On Jacob’s sermon, see, for example, John S. Thompson, “Isaiah 50-51, the Israelite Autumn Festivals, and the Covenant Speech of Jacob in 2 Nephi 6-10,” in Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, ed. Donald Parry and John Welch (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1998), 124-125, and barring that, for a very concise summary, Lesson 8: O How Great the Goodness of Our God,”


On King Benjamin’s address, see, among many other discussions, “King Benjamin and the Feast of Tabernacles,” a genuinely classic essay (in my opinion) that was published in 1990 by my late friend John A. Tvedtnes (available online but, of course, no longer easily accessible [or even accessible at all] at the website of BYU’s Maxwell Institute), as well as my own little 2014 Deseret News column “October’s Feast of Tabernacles” and Book of Mormon Central’s concise but very helpful 2016 “Why Did the Nephites Stay in Their Tents During King Benjamin’s Speech?”



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