Moses’ Parting Sea

And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.” (Exodus 14:21)

As we imagine this scene from the Bible, we trust movie representations and primary stories over the actual text. We imagine an adrenaline inducing explosion of water.

I went 23 years trusting the primary and Hollywood stories, before I realized they were misrepresentations. The text reads, “the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.

It took all night.

Does it matter?

No.

I don’t think God cares if you’ve mastered scripture trivia. But it should awaken us to realize much of our understanding of scripture is shaped by our environment and upbringing. We insert and change the details of the stories as read superficially read over them. You may be 45 years old and read this story several times, but never realized that the parting of the Red Sea was not instantaneous. It should make you reflect on how carefully you read the scriptures.

If you were mistaken about this trivial detail, how do you know you haven’t overlooked something significant? Something related to the nature of God, or the gospel and teachings of Jesus Christ?

[However, this story is actually significant in terms of teaching about the gospel. Paul identifies this as the baptism of the Israelites by Moses.]

D&C 121 . . . RLDS style

In the RLDS edition of the D&C, I came across an interesting quote from Joseph Smith III. After proposing a sustaining vote for a member of the quorum of the twelve, he said, “Be merciful, for to him that is merciful shall mercy be shown.”[Source]

I would welcome adopting that level of humility in our sustaining rituals. An opportunity to be merciful for the body. An opportunity to receive mercy for the sustained. Rather than a dogmatic hammer to submit to or cut yourself off from the church, it’s ordinances, and your eternal family.

The Old Testament God Shows His Face

It is unfortunate that the widespread notion among Christianity, is also common among Mormonism—the idea that we should contrast the vengeful, hard Old Testament God with the loving, soft New Testament God.

God is not divided, God is “one.” God is the same OT, NT, and forever.

While it isn’t hammered home within the New Testament, we are informed from history that in 70 A.D. Jerusalem was destroyed yet again (this is in the New Testament era, mind you). Just like in the Old Testament where the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian Empires came with destruction and God’s judgements, the Romans delivered judgements upon God’s covenant people after Christ.

Mormons also have a unique volume of scripture which shows God’s judgement and wrath upon the seed of Lehi after Christ (over 300 years into the New Testament era).

Additionally, we are warned that at some future date, Lehi’s seed will tread down and tear the Gentiles and no one will deliver as a sign of God’s judgement on the unrepentant.

I don’t doubt “the Old Testament God” will soon show his face.

Cookie-cutter testimonies – Part II

Let’s say an bodiless entity (perhaps manipulated by some unknown committee) uses an undefined amount of money from an undefined source to produce a set of words for a script. This entity then employs bodied individuals to set the script to moving images and an accompanying audio track. By watching this creation, the entity believes that you will obtain an increase of faith.

As I discussed recently (here), Mormon seems to suggest faith is obtained by praying for charity, then confessing in meekness that Jesus is the Christ, and then obtaining a hope of eternal life. Cleverly, we can bypass such processes by watching a short digital movie streaming over the world wide web.

Every line a truism. Pure gold. ##modprophz

Now with this newly obtained drop of oil in our lamp (never mind that in the original parable that Jesus spoke a lamp’s worth of oil is conveniently purchased at a store), we have enough faith to share this video (like I did). You too can join in the fun! #thechurchistrue

Someone else will see it and likewise gain the desired drop of oil in their lamp! No doubt blessings will be obtained by all involved! You don’t even need to comment on or weigh in on the message shared. Hell, you really don’t even need to believe it. You just post and leave and reap faith/blessings/oil/another cycle on this merry-go-round.

It’s so easy to #sharegoodness.

Not actually share goodness, though. Because virtues and divine attributes and characteristics can’t simply be shared one person to another. But bodiless entities certainly would love for you to believe a few more clicks of the button will make all that is right in Zion even better.

“From now on you will be phishers of men.”

 

Cookie-cutter testimonies

“Brothers and sisters, dear friends, we need our unique talents and perspectives. The diversity of persons and peoples all around the globe is a strength of this Church.”

– President Uchtdorf, Come, Join with Us (October 2013)

 


Are mormons too homogeneous?

Is that necessarily a bad thing? After all, Enoch’s Zion were of one heart and mind (Moses 7:18).

How do you obtain that level of unity (a true Zion)?

Elder Uchtdorf indicates a diversity of peoples and their unique perspectives is a strength to the church.

If diversity of perspectives is a strength, what does the church do to promote or encourage unique perspectives?

Does the church even promote independent thinking? Or does it stifle independent thinking?

When you attend a fast and testimony meeting, what evidence is there of unique perspectives?

When the church asks its members to share the gospel by social media, is there propriety in allowing ‘Mormon Messages‘, The Official LDS Facebook Page, ‘Bible Videos’, LDS Messages on Twitter, ‘I’m a Mormon’ videos,  or other Media to do our speaking and thinking for us?

When thousands of church members “like” or “share” one of these messages, are they strengthening the church with their unique perspective?

When thousands of church members “like” or “share” one of these messages, are they of one heart and mind, building Zion?

Do these cookie-cutter testimonies help members articulate what they already believe?

If you “like” or “share” the testimony of another voice (be it a person or bodiless entity), are you required to internalize it? Or does it bypass the necessity of obtaining a unique voice for yourself?

Are you sharing the gospel by engaging in social media mormonism? Or have you become the vehicle for others to share their words?

The Pharisees and Sadducee of the New Testament era were a vehicle for the words of former prophets. The claimed to believe these prophets’ words were inspired and helped preserve the prophets’ testimonies. Did they have to understand or internalize what the prophets taught in order to act in the capacity as a vehicle of their [the prophets’] words?

Are you more like the apostle John or the parchment he wrote on?

Is the parchment moral? Can unconscious material objects be righteous?

If only serve as a vehicle for others’ testimonies and words, are you moral or righteous? Is your body even necessary? Why do you exist?