Nels Nelson on LDS Preaching, Teaching, and the Life of the Mind

I’ve been thinking a good bit, and collecting various notes and ideas, around something Betsy VanDenBerghe said to me on Facebook.

What comes out of our mouths, as Jesus said, reflects the state of our hearts and minds, what we’ve been reading and contemplating, and coming to conclusions about…. The quality of your talk, sermon, or lesson will not exceed the quality of what you’ve been reading and thinking about.

If our spiritual diet mostly consists of Twinkies, social media, and a few minutes of scripture before bed, well, that’s not good for the quality of our discussions with family, friends, neighbors, and students. Continue reading “Nels Nelson on LDS Preaching, Teaching, and the Life of the Mind”

Revisiting Temple Preparation

Elder Bednar in General Conference talked about the spread of temples throughout the world, as well as doubling the number of available languages of the presentation of temple ordinances. This got me thinking again about something I think about from time to time: the state of our collective temple knowledge and how it affects our temple experience.

Since I have a lot of links below, let me summarize with these three bullet points. Continue reading “Revisiting Temple Preparation”

Suggestions for Missionaries in Lockdown

I have a young friend currently serving a mission in Norway, who is confined to her apartment except for groceries and cabin-fever prevention walks. She asked me to send her some reading, which prompted this post.

Missionaries tend to be out and about. Being in an apartment with minimal internet or personal connection can lead to feelings of wasted time and lack of utility. But it’s also a real opportunity for missionaries to dedicate time they wouldn’t otherwise have to some intensive and important study, about our own scriptures (especially the Book of Mormon), scripture we share with other Christians (especially the New Testament), or Church history and doctrine. Continue reading “Suggestions for Missionaries in Lockdown”

March Madness! With books and deals!

I’ve been a user of Logos for almost 20 years. It’s my research library. I’ve written about how to use its free software; you buy the books, and can buy extra functionality, but you can download and get a lot of usage out of it for free. My previous posts about using Logos to get at Greek and Hebrew (instead of using Strong’s) here and here. I made some video demos, and there are many more on the site.

Every March, Logos holds March Madness uh, March Matchups. It’s a little different every year, but books, authors, or collections go into a bracket, and users vote. Every week, the winners move forward, with increasing discounts, until there is only one.  The winning books/collections this year get 60% off, which can be significant. Below is my “voting guide” for LDS users. Continue reading “March Madness! With books and deals!”

Robert Alter, at BYU and on deep sale

Robert Alter is an emeritus professor of Hebrew, Literature, and Jewish Studies at UC-Berkeley. He recently completed his entire translation and commentary on the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament, in traditional Christian terms). It’s a lovely 3-volume hardcover set retailing for $125. However, Amazon

currently has it for about $65, with a checkbox coupon for another $21 off. This is a screaming deal on the magnum opus of a wonderful scholar, Continue reading “Robert Alter, at BYU and on deep sale”

2020 Come Follow Me Resources: Book of Mormon (Updated)

Black Friday sales are coming (Kofford Press already has theirs up), as are Christmas present opportunities, so I wanted to get this post out the door.

I have written elsewhere that you cannot fully learn from scripture unless you are also actively learning about scripture.The first is the act of a disciple and the second that of a scholar, although in an ideal world, they blur together. So this list includes both kinds of thing, and aimed at different audiences. I’ve got a section for Seminary teachers, for example.

The BoM is really kind of a double-edged sword; on the one hand, people haven’t been writing about it for 2000 years, so the bibliography is a bit more manageable. On the other hand, we tend to assume that because the Book of Mormon is easy to read,  it’s easy to understand, and therefore “we don’t really need anything else.” But the Book of Mormon rewards slow, careful, deep reading and teaching.

And of course, this list is all enhancement. I don’t want to imply that if you’re not reading these, somehow you lack all spiritual insight (spiritual in-tune-ness has little to do with Oxford Press) or that you are a clueless chump who knows nothing. I can, however, testify that these books have taught me things and rid me of some of my ignorance. They’re worth reading. 

Continue reading “2020 Come Follow Me Resources: Book of Mormon (Updated)”

New Testament Gospel Doctrine Resources (Post 2): The Bible, Text, and Translation

My updated bookshelf: Mission triple, quad, Jewish Study Bible, Reader’s Hebrew Bible, Reader’s Greek New Testament, Jewish Annotated New Testament, Hart’s New Testament.

(Link to Part 1, the Short List)

I want to emphasize that the absolute best and easiest thing you can do to increase the quality and frequency of your Bible study is to supplement your KJV with a different translation. Continue reading “New Testament Gospel Doctrine Resources (Post 2): The Bible, Text, and Translation”

New Testament Gospel Doctrine Resources (Post 1): Top 5 Books

My old bookshelf

It’s that time of year when sales happen, Christmas money appears in your stocking, and January is coming and bringing changes. Of course, we’ll start studying the New Testament,  but our Church-oriented Gospel Doctrine experience will happen half as often with the new 2-hour schedule. Continue reading “New Testament Gospel Doctrine Resources (Post 1): Top 5 Books”