An ancient idiom in 2 Nephi 4:33, as well as a demonic attack in Lancashire

An ancient idiom in 2 Nephi 4:33, as well as a demonic attack in Lancashire September 2, 2022


Heber J. Grant dedicated it.
The temple in Laie, Oahu, Hawaii, adjacent to the Hawaii campus of Brigham Young University, where Matthew Bowen teaches (LDS Media Library)


It’s Friday, so yet another new article has appeared in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship:


““But That Thou Wouldst Clear My Way Before Me”: A Note on the Personal and Emotional Rendering of an Ancient Idiom in 2 Nephi 4:33,” written by Matthew L. Bowen

Abstract: The biblical Hebrew collocation pinnâ derek or pannû derek (cf. Egyptian Ἰr wꜣ.t [n]), often rendered “prepare the way” or “prepare a way” in English, is an evident stylistic feature of Nephi’s writings. The most basic meaning of this idiom is “clear my way,” which is how it is rendered in 2 Nephi 4:33. Zenos’s use of “prepare the way” (Jacob 5:61, 64) in the context of “clear[ing] away” bad branches also reflects this most basic meaning.


And I shouldn’t overlook this item, which went up on 31 July:


Interpreter Radio Show — July 31, 2022

In the 31 July 2022 installment of the Interpreter Radio Show, Terry Hutchinson and Martin Tanner took the lead. The first hour of the show featured as a guest the prolific Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, a vice president of the Interpreter Foundation, discussing his new book on Freemasonry and the Origins of the Latter-day Saint Temple Ordinances. The second hour, the segment devoted to the “Come, Follow Me” curriculum, had guest Kerry Muhlestein discussing the Hebrew biblical book of Isaiah (“Come, Follow Me” lesson #37 [Isaiah 1–12]). The 31 July 2022 broadcast of the Interpreter Radio Show has now been delivered from the bondage of commercial and other interruptions, archived, and made available to you conveniently and at absolutely no charge.  And there is even more glorious news!  The Interpreter Radio Show can be heard every single Sunday  evening of the year from 7 to 9 PM (MDT), on K-TALK, AM 1640.  And, if that doesn’t work out for you, you can listen live on the Internet at


My wife took this photograph just the other day of the house at the corner of Fox Street and St. Wilfrid Street in Preston, Lancashire, England. It’s astonishing to me that the building still stands. It’s abandoned, though, and I hope that somebody will step in to make sure that it’s preserved and not demolished.


In connection with our recent trip to the United Kingdom, and particularly to Preston, Lancashire — and because we’re moving into our Six Days in August film project (for which I interviewed James Allen about three or four weeks ago) — I recently re-read the important 1992 volume by James B. Allen, Ronald K. Esplin, and David J. Whittaker entitled Men with a Mission: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the British Isles, 1837-1841.  Here’s an intriguing episode that’s recounted in the book:


Even while the elders felt blessed by the power of God, they were also keenly aware of the powers of darkness arrayed against them. One encounter came the night before their first baptisms. The two apostles occupied a tiny room on the top floor of a Saint Wilfred Street lodging house, and Elders Goodson, Russell, Snyder, and Richards occupied the floor below. The missionaries knew that Isaac Russell had long been troubled by what he thought were devils, though Heber Kimball, at least, did not fully believe all Russell had said about his difficulties.  Tormented again during the early morning of Sunday, July 30, Russell went upstairs and awakened Elders Kimball and Hyde, asking for a blessing. Heber stood up and Orson sat on the bed while the two apostles laid their hands on Russell, prayed, and rebuked the spirits. As Heber later wrote:
While thus engaged, I was struck with great force by some invisible power and fell senseless on the floor as if I had been shot, and the first thing that I recollected was, that I was supported by Brothers Hyde and Russell, who were beseeching a throne of grace in my behalf. They then laid me on the bed, but my agony was so great that I could not endure, and I was obliged to get out, and fell on my knees and began to pray. I then sat on the bed and could distinctly see the evil spirits, who foamed and gnashed their teeth upon us. We gazed upon them about an hour and a half, and I shall never forget the horror and malignity depicted on the countenances of these foul spirits, and any attempt to paint the scene which then presented itself, or portray the malice and enmity depicted in their countenances would be vain.
I perspired exceedingly, and my clothes were as wet as if I had been taken out of the river. I felt exquisite pain, and was in the greatest distress for some time. However, I learned by it the power of the adversary, his enmity against the servants of God and got some understanding of the invisible world.
Any doubts Heber had about the reality of Isaac Russell’s confrontations with the powers of darkness were erased. Joseph Fielding, who also had doubted some of Russell’s claims, was not present, but after he heard of the experience, he summarized in his diary the lessons of the night:
Upon the whole we got considerable Instruction from the Maneuvers of the Devil. The Spirit of the Devil produces Confusion, Disorder and Misery; the Spirit of God produces Calmness, Order and Happiness. If we never before knew that there were evil Spirits, we did now. We also knew how [to] feel for dear Bro. Russel.
It was only natural for Heber to conclude in his diary that “it seames that the devels an determined to distroy us and prevent the truth from being declared in England.” When Joseph Smith later heard of it he rejoiced for, he said, “I then knew that the work of God had taken root in that land.”


I guess that one lesson that we might draw from such stories is this:  Opposition to the Church doesn’t prove it true.  But a lack of opposition might prove it either false or completely ineffective, or both.



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