“Experiential Knowledge”

“Experiential Knowledge” April 8, 2022

 

I've been all through it after its dedication, but have never performed an ordinance in it.
The Vancouver British Columbia Temple (LDS Media Library)

 

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It’s Friday!  Accordingly, two new articles — both of them from authors with strong ties to Canada (whence the flimsy rationale for the photograph that I’ve chosen above) — appeared just a few minutes ago in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship:

 

“Experiential Knowledge and the Covenantal Relationship in Alma 7,” by Godfrey J. Ellis

Abstract: A favorite scripture of many faithful saints is Alma 7 where it describes how the Savior came to Earth to understand, in the flesh, not only human sin, but human suffering. He did this in order to succor and heal us. Despite its obvious appeal, two points may seem curious to some readers. First, the doctrinal power of verses 11–13, which form a chiasm, has as its apex not the “mercy in succoring us,” as might be expected, but the “in the flesh” detail. Why? Upon closer examination, it appears that, in addition to performing the Atonement, Christ needed a mortal experience in order to add a complete experiential knowledge to his omniscient cognitive knowledge. That could only be obtained, in its fulness, “according to the flesh,” hence the emphasis in the chiasm. A second possible curiosity is that Alma ends his beautiful teaching with his brief testimony, which lends an air of closure. Then, the topic appears to change completely and seemingly inexplicably to a discussion of repentance and baptism. Again, why? Closer examination reveals that the next two verses (14–15) form a second chiasm. If the first chiasm can be viewed as a statement of what Christ offers us, the second may be viewed as what we offer Christ. He runs to us in 7:11–13; we run to him in 7:14–15. When viewed together, the two chiasms form a two-way covenantal relationship, which Alma promises will result in our eternal salvation.

 

“Interpreting Interpreter: According to the Flesh,” by Kyler Rasmussen

This post is a summary of the article “Experiential Knowledge and the Covenantal Relationship in Alma 7” by Godfrey J. Ellis in Volume 51 of Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship. The full article can be read at https://interpreterfoundation.org/experiential-knowledge-and-the-covenantal-relationship-in-alma-7/.

An introduction to the Interpreting Interpreter series is available at https://interpreterfoundation.org/interpreting-interpreter-on-abstracting-thought/.

The Takeaway: Ellis uses two chiastic passages in Alma 7 to emphasize Christ’s need to gain experiential knowledge “according to the flesh” in order to heal and succor his people, proposing that these chiasms outline the covenantal relationship that the atonement creates between us and the Savior.

 

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As we approach Easter — or what might much better be termed “Resurrection Day” — some of you will appreciate and enjoy this:

 

“VIDEO: Church Releases Moving Easter Message, “The Good News””

 

And you might even consider sharing it with others.  There is no greater message, no greater news, than this.

 

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I want to thank those of you who have been saying some very kind (and, sometimes, even blush-inducing) things about my blog, and giving it good ratings.  I’ve never cared much about ratings for this blog.  Truth be told, until a month or two ago I had never even noticed that there were ratings.

 

And it was only very recently that I realized that a malicious but obsessively dedicated individual — posting as “Professor Sham Wow,” “Chewbarker,” “Bark Chewer,” “DoctorScratchOwnsYou,” “Dr. Demento,” “Posts During Work Hours,” “Chapstick,” “Defund the Police,” “Cobra Kai 4 Life,” and “Gollum” — has, for the past several months, been methodically giving every single one of my blog entries the minimum rating possible.  (This at a time when virtually nobody else was rating them at all, so that his ratings stood alone and, thus, entirely determined the overall ratings by themselves.)  I’ve now gone back to check, and I see that he even gave my eulogy for my dead brother several down-votes.  Likewise, he down-voted a reflection on my mother’s childhood home in St. George, as well my posts supporting Ukraine against Vladimir Putin.  He’s a real gem of a fellow.

 

I had already noticed that very brief (always insulting, sometimes very crude) comments under those various pseudonyms would arrive in batches on my blog, always within a few minutes of each other.  Since all of those pseudonyms had been “shadow banned,” though, only I could see the comments.  So they promptly went to the appropriate file, and I was left to ask myself what — beyond the obvious venting of their author’s impotent personal hatred — their point could possibly be.  Now I understand, though, that they were the necessary vehicle for rating my blog entries.

 

When, a couple of days ago, I invited other readers to contribute their own ratings, it wasn’t because I crave validation or adulation.  It was simply to compensate for the unchallenged negative ratings that “Professor Sham Wow”/”Chewbarker”/”Bark Chewer”/”DoctorScratchOwnsYou”/”Dr. Demento”/”Posts During Work Hours”/ “Chapstick”/”Defund the Police”/”Cobra Kai 4 Life”/”Gollum” has been giving my blog.  Some have told me that low ratings can damage its reach.  Others have denied that.  I don’t know one way or the other, but uniform one-star ratings of even funeral eulogies and criticisms of Vladimir Putin seem to me . . . well, unjust, to say the least of it.  And I dislike injustice.

 

So, once again, thanks to those who’ve begun to rate these blog entries more fairly.  I appreciate it.

 

I doubt that it will affect this poor, hate-consumed fellow in any of his multiple personalities.  I have too much experience with this sort of psychological type to expect such an outcome.  For example, I have on file literally hundreds and hundreds of hateful and, now, increasingly obscene personal emails from an anonymous person — maybe [who knows?] the very same unfortunate soul as “Professor Sham Wow”/”Chewbarker”/”Bark Chewer”/”DoctorScratchOwnsYou”/”Dr. Demento”/”Posts During Work Hours”/”Chapstick”/”Defund the Police”/”Cobra Kai 4 Life”/”Gollum” — who will, by my reckoning at least, mark the tenth anniversary of his efforts this coming August.  Although he typically sends no more than two to four such messages on any given day and sometimes misses several days at a time, he achieved his own personal best by sending me eight [8] such emails last Wednesday.  And my Malevolent Stalker — who may or may not be an altogether distinct individual from my anonymous hate-mailer and from this blog’s multiple-personality down-voter — has maintained his implacable fixation on me over at the Peterson Obsession Board for approximately fifteen years now.

 

But it’s important to take a stand for civility, and against tribalism and what’s come to be called “cancel culture.”  Yet again, thank you!  You’re all very kind.

 

 

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