Thoughts on Spy Wednesday

Thoughts on Spy Wednesday March 27, 2024


Jebel Musa in Sinai
Jabal Musa, in the Sinai — the traditional site of Moses’ encounter with God
(Wikimedia Commons public domain photograph)

Before the Interpreter Foundation altogether disappears (as has been reliably predicted), I would like to call your attention to a few more of its most recent last gasps:

Conference Talks: The Priestly Interests of Moses the Levite: 2020 Tracing Ancient Threads in the Book of Moses Conference, presented by John W. Welch and Jackson Abhau

John W. Welch and Jackson Abhau spoke at the Tracing Ancient Threads in the Book of Moses Conference on Saturday, September 19, 2020 about “The Priestly Interests of Moses the Levite.” The Bible states that Moses was the son of Amram, who was of the tribe of Levi (Exodus 6:16-20; 1 Chron. 6:1-3). Moses’s brother Aaron was the High Priest. As Levites, Moses and Aaron would have had particular interests. My exploration asks the question, In what ways do identifiable Levitical interests, concerns, and needs inform the contents, wordings, and purposes of the Book of Moses?

All of the conference presentations were filmed, and both video and audio recordings of each presentation are available. Videos, audio recordings and transcripts are available at The videos are also available on the Interpreter Foundation YouTube channel at A YouTube playlist is also available at

Nibley Lectures: Come, Follow Me Book of Mormon Lesson 14: Be Reconciled unto God through the Atonement of Christ (Jacob 1-4)

This week, we have lectures 23 and 24 from Hugh Nibley’s Book of Mormon classes at Brigham Young University, covering 2 Nephi 32 through Jacob 2, and Jacob 3—4, respectively.

During 1988, 1989, and 1990, Hugh Nibley taught Honors Book of Mormon classes for four semesters at Brigham Young University. The lectures were video-taped and audio cassettes and printed transcripts were made of the lectures. We believe these recordings will be interesting to listen to and valuable to your Come, Follow Me study program this year. Each week, we will include the lectures covering the Book of Mormon chapters being studied that week.

All 112 lectures are immediately available in PDF, audio, video, and electronic formats, as well as in paperback books that are available for purchase. Links for all of the available online sources can be found in the Complete Bibliography for Hugh Nibley at

The Book of Mormon in Context Lesson 14: Be Reconciled unto God through the Atonement of Christ (Jacob 1-4)

For the 10 March 2024 Come, Follow Me segment of the Interpreter Radio Show, the team of Mark Johnson, Martin Tanner, Terry Hutchinson, and Kevin Christensen discussed Book of Mormon lesson 14, “Be Reconciled unto God through the Atonement of Christ” covering Jacob 1-4.

Their discussion is now available to you at no charge and free of commercial breaks.  The other segments of the 10 March 2024 radio show can be accessed at

You can listen to the Interpreter Radio Show live every Sunday evening from 7 to 9 PM (MDT), on K-TALK, AM 1640, or you can listen live on the Internet at

Come, Follow Me — Study and Teaching Helps (2024): Lesson 14, April 1-7: Jacob 1-4 “Be Reconciled unto God through the Atonement of Christ”

Editor’s Note: Four years ago, Jonn Claybaugh began writing the Study and Teaching Helps series of articles for Interpreter. We now have these wonderful and useful posts for all four years of Come, Follow Me lessons. Beginning this year we will be reposting these articles, with dates, lesson numbers, and titles updated for the current year’s lessons. Jonn has graciously agreed to write new study aids for those lessons that do not directly correspond to 2020 lessons.

Scrovegni Judas
“The Arrest of Jesus,” a fresco done between 1304-1306 by Giotto, in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua.  (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

I’m delighted that material that is oriented to Latter-day Saints continues to appear (or, perhaps more accurately, continues to swim across my radar screen) for Holy Week.  Here is a link to BYUtv:  “Easter Holy Week Collections: Inspiring Content for Every Day”

By the way:  Today, the middle point of Holy Week, is often known as “Holy Wednesday.”  Curiously, though, it is also sometimes called “Spy Wednesday.”  It should not be confused with “Ash Wednesday,” which was well over a month ago.

The term spy — which typically refers to a person who secretly collects and reports information about the activities of another country or organization or person, or to something (like a “spy plane”) that analogously performs the same function — is used in this context as an allusion to Judas Iscariot.  Why?  Because he is believed to have agreed on this day to betray Jesus to the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem.  He revealed the Savior’s presence in the Garden of Gethsemane and identified him to the arresting soldiers by a kiss on the cheek.

HBLL entry
The entrance to the Harold B. Lee Library, the multi-million-volume main library at Brigham Young University, a portion of which is visible behind the brightly lit entrance pavilion and a significant portion of which is underground.  (Wikimedia Commons public domain photograph)

I would also like to call your notice to the Brigham Young University devotional that will be held next week, on Tuesday, 2 April 2024, at 11:05 AM.  The speaker will be Rick Anderson.  “His remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv, (and archived for on-demand streaming), KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYUradio 107.9 FM, and SiriusXM 143. Video, text, and audio are archived on”

Brother Anderson, who is the University Librarian at BYU, is also a friend of the Interpreter Foundation.  He has, in fact, contributed three essays to our principal publication, Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship.  So I commend his upcoming devotional address to your attention.

Squaw Peak, October 2012
This Wikimedia Commons public domain photograph was taken in October 2012 from the Provo, Utah, campus of Brigham Young University.

Here’s just a bit more on the question of “church” attendance and on the demographics of contemporary religious life in the United States:

“Religious service attendance, mapped: Share of adults who say they never or rarely attend religious services”

“How Many Atheists Are There in Your State?  And, what factors predict higher rates of atheism?”

Not far from Sharon, Connecticut
Near Sharon, Connecticut  (Wikimedia Commons public domain photograph)

I’m saddened to hear news of the (relatively) untimely death of the former Connecticut senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman — as the result, it seems, of complications from a fall.  Senator Lieberman was a good and decent man, a fair-minded man and, so far as I could tell, a kind one.  He was also a devoutly observant Orthodox Jew.  I voted against him on the one occasion when I had the opportunity to do so, but I appreciated his moderation and his common sense.  I also liked his 2012 book, written with David Klinghoffer, entitled The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath.

Unfortunately, people like Senator Lieberman appear to be a vanishing species among our politicians and in our public life.  He will be missed.  He is already missed.


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