Archives for the month of: January, 2020

I believe that passages of scripture can have multiple layers of meaning, allowing people at differing levels of understanding to see the same words differently and both be correct. I don’t believe that means that any or every interpretation is correct or equally helpful. Some interpretations are incorrect. I have heard teachers  describe the fruit of the tree of life in Lehi’s vision as though any member who had received sweet and sacred spiritual witnesses had tasted of the fruit of the tree of life. Another commentator said: “Partaking of the fruit of the tree represents the receiving of ordinances and covenants whereby the Atonement can become fully efficacious in our lives” (source). The Book of Mormon gives us some significant keys to interpret the meaning of the fruit and the other symbols in the scene. It can help us evaluate the helpfulness and validity of these interpretations. Put together, these keys reveal that Lehi’s vision is a story of heavenly ascent. Read the rest of this entry »


God Inviting Christ to Sit on the Throne at His Right Hand
Pieter de Grebber, 1645

There is an interesting detail obscured by the versification of 1 Nephi 1. Here are verses 8-10 without verse divisions:

And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God. And it came to pass that he saw one descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day. And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament.

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There is a tension within Mormonism revealed by studying two general definitions of the word “oracle”. I alluded to this tension in my previous post, but I think the idea is worth exploring explicitly. 

The first definition is given by Webster’s 1828 Dictionary as follows:

“4. Among christians, oracles, in the plural, denotes the communications, revelations or messages delivered by God to prophets. In this sense it is rarely used in the singular; but we say, the oracles of God, divine oracles, meaning the Scriptures.”

The second definition is outlined by two other entries from the same Dictionary: 

“6. Any person or place where certain decisions are obtained.

    1. Any person reputed uncommonly wise, whose determinations are not disputed, or whose opinions are of great authority.”‘

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