A Righteous Man

Abraham 1:25-27

“Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal.

“Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.

“Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry.”

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Can you have no right to priesthood and still be righteous? Is Pharaoh’s imitation of the patriarchal reign what made him righteous? Does this record define Egypt’s idolatry as pretending to the right of priesthood (rather than multiplicity of Gods)?

Abraham describes himself thus in verse 2:

“I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.”

Didn’t Pharaoh receive the “blessings of the fathers” (verse 26)? Is priesthood the “right . . . to administer [the blessings of the fathers]”?

Notice that Pharaoh is “of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood.” It DOES NOT say Pharaoh is “of that lineage which could not have the right of Priesthood.”

“Which” and “by which” are not the same.

Abraham himself was in a situation where “[his] father was led away.” What is the difference between Pharaoh’s and Abraham’s example? Did Pharaoh ever seek for the “right”? Was he content with seeking to “imitate”?

Should we be content with righteousness?

Should we be content to imitate?

The Boise Askew

I apologize if this topic is no longer cutting edge news. It is however a remarkably candid confession from Elder Oaks. At his recent anti-Snuffer fireside, Elder Oaks defined the scriptural term special.

A timely warning from the ‘Prophet’

A quick search of the dictionary would yield a definition such as this (much thanks to the Google, I know you spy on me, but I love you):


 

spe·cial adjective
better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual
Of course, this sort of a definition is secular and not necessarily what is meant when the term is used in scripture. Take for example Doctrine and Covenants 107:23, a scripture which Elder Oaks helps us to understand.

The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.
We may be tempted to right in the typical definition of special into this verse, but you would do so at your eternal peril. Elder Oaks shines a light on this dark and obscure passage:

. . . modern apostles are called to be witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world, Doctrine and Covenants 107:23. This is not to witness of a personal manifestation. To witness of the name is to witness of the plan, the work, or mission such as the atonement and the authority or priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which an apostle who holds the keys is uniquely responsible to do.

Of course apostles are also witnesses of Christ just like all members of the Church who have the gift of the Holy Ghost. This is because the mission of the Holy Ghost is to witness of the Father and the Son. In addition, while some early apostles and other members of the church have had the sublime spiritual experience of seeing the Savior and some have made a public record of this, in the circumstances of today we are counseled not to speak of our most sacred spiritual experiences, otherwise with modern technology that can broadcast something all over the world, a remark made in a sacred and a private setting can be said abroad in violation of the Savior’s commandment not to cast our pearls before swine.

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Thank you Elder Oaks for your great aid to our study of the scriptures. “Apostles are also witnesses of Christ just like all members of the Church who have the gift of the Holy Ghost.” So special in Doctrine and Covenants 107:23 really means “just like [everyone else].”

When we understand the true meaning of the words, we can read Doctrine and Covenants 107:23 as such:

The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or . . . witnesses of the name of Christ [just like all members of the Church who have the gift of the Holy Ghost] in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.
When the verse mentions that they “thus [differ] from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling,” the cynical, apostate Snufferite may be tempted to say “Hey they don’t differ at all, because special actually means ordinary!” There is an ounce of truth to this criticism, but clearly their witness differs because they are witnesses in all the world.

Obviously! What other explanation could there be? There you have it.

P.S. I get pretty damn pissed when being referred to as a swine.

 

Let’s play another game

So here we are at long last. Judgement Day. You are brought before the Lord. Your eyes don’t meet his. You think of your failings. You know your heart. You await judgement.

Silence persists till you can’t bear it any longer. What sort of judgement is this? you think.

Finally a voice: “Do not fear. We are awaiting another to be judged before you.”

Another moment passes. Another person is brought to the throne next to you. It is someone you know. [Imagine someone who has harmed you (or someone you love) and left a mark you will never forget, someone whose actions cannot be defended].

As you look at them, you remember what they have done to you.

A moment passes. Again a voice, directed at you: “How do you recommend we judge this one?”

The Apology

I recently read this from Plato’s The Apology:

“Socrates reasoned with himself that he might be wiser than the men thought to be wise. For they thought that they knew something, when they didn’t. But Socrates, not knowing anything, at least didn’t think that he knew. Hence in this trifling particular Socrates appeared to be wiser than the self-acclaimed wise man, because he didn’t think that he knew things which he didn’t know. As Socrates continued to examine those from various professions that were most celebrated for their wisdom, they appeared to Socrates to be most remote from it; but others who were considered as far inferior to the “wise men” possessed more of wisdom.”

Socrates wisdom came in acknowledging his great deficit. I believe this is a good pattern; I wager this “philosphy of man” mingles well with scriptures (not to give a wholesale endorsement of Socrates’ ideas).

In the thousands of years that separate us from this philosopher, not much has changed. Fools parade as our teachers. It may actually be in our interest to listen to those considered “far inferior.”

Untitled Hymn

[Verse 1]

All nations stagger hopeless

            for want of drink and bread

Their dreams of feasting fail them;

            they awake but are not fed.

Jehovah poured upon them

            the spirit of deep sleep!

Both oppressor and defender

            of Ariel do weep.

[Verse 2]

Behold a sign in heaven

            representing things on earth:

a woman clothed in glories

            from darkness now comes forth —

clear as the sun at noon day,

            fair as the moon at night,

as a devastating army

            with banners and fierce might!

[Verse 3]

She now brings forth her pure son,

            the kingdom of our Lord.

The seers of all ages

            wept with joy this to behold.

Cast your eyes to heaven upward!

            Enoch’s Zion now return

with Jesus their Great Priest King

            peace to bring, all sin to burn.

[meter 7676D]

‘Merica (A Type)

The holiday we celebrate today is not “the Fourth of July.” Celebrating a month and a day would be arbitrary. But we set aside “Independence Day” to honor our founders’ dissent from their monarch.


But are we “independent” today? And from what? If we are not “independent” is it appropriate to set aside a day?


We live in a post-industrial nation. Manufacturing occurs primarily oversees. Most economists argue that it is actually beneficial for the majority of manufacturing and industry to be in countries other than our own. It allows countries to specialize and increases the efficiency of production. There are counter arguments to the division of labor, but I am not addressing pros and cons (so don’t mistake statements for endorsements as imperceptive zealots are prone to do).


We, as the United States of America, are economically interdependent (not independent). Economics and politics are obviously not exclusive of each other. I would argue we are not independent. We are not secluded from the rest of the world.


We honor a fading ideal of Independence today. We live in a vastly different world than the founding fathers of the United States. Independence from the rest of the world and foreign influence is a doubtful proposition.


At my young age, the thing that is most evident in other people is an innate lack of self-criticism – the inability to question, think critically, and wrestle with complex and difficult issues regarding who they are and their personal beliefs. There is a beauty and virtue in that journey. That is why I think, despite the irony of the holiday, Independence Day is worth reflecting upon. I admire the founders of this nation and their reasoned attempt to create “a more perfect union.” Their example is both inspired and inspiring.


Eat, drink, beat your chest with pride, make merry, post pseudo-patriotic promoting thoughts and videos on facebook if you must. All is right in America.