D&C Gospel Doctrine Lesson 42: Some important background and resources on OD2

Rubens, Cain Slaying Abel (Public domain)

Rubens, Cain Slaying Abel (Public domain)

This, I think, is important enough for a post. Lesson 42 on Continuing Revelation highlights Official Declaration #2, the written aftermath of the 1978 revelation. So whether you’re teaching or commenting, you should get informed, because there’s a lot of misinformation and tradition out there.

First, get familiar with the Gospel Topics Essay called Race and the Priesthood. If you’re a teacher, Elder Ballard thinks you ought to know this material “like the back of your hand” and “If you have questions about them, then please ask someone who has studied them and understands them.” Well, below are two. Continue reading “D&C Gospel Doctrine Lesson 42: Some important background and resources on OD2”

Church History/ Doctrine&Covenants Gospel Doctrine Resources


Several things make next year extremely challenging for me. D&C is the book I have taught the least, read the least, know the least about, and have the most limited mental bibliography. The arrangement of the manual is not chronological nor section-by-section, but a hybrid topical/chronological mix. Some lessons draw on multiple D&C sections and others none at all, like this one. Continue reading “Church History/ Doctrine&Covenants Gospel Doctrine Resources”

Necessary background on grace, faith, works, law, justification for the coming LDS Gospel Doctrine discussions (updated)

[Please see my newer version of this post here.]

Let me open by saying, this is a wide-ranging and complex subject, on which I am not an expert and may well prove to be wrong on this or that point. You may well quibble with some of what I’ve written, and I may be missing important nuances here or there, and it’s a bit scattered and repetitive. Let’s get those disclaimers out of the way.

I have, however, read a bit, and I think sharing some of that can help our Gospel Doctrine classes, as we see these ideas pop up again and again in Paul, and in LDS discussion. Moreover, there is a variety of LDS views, and while I don’t necessarily endorse any of them, I wish LDS to be aware of these ideas and discussions that are happening. There is much to read and explore on these points, and more informed discussion is better, more edifying discussion. Better doctrinal understanding leads to better discipleship, I firmly believe. Continue reading “Necessary background on grace, faith, works, law, justification for the coming LDS Gospel Doctrine discussions (updated)”

Recommended NT Resources, Part 2: General and Reference

george-cattermole-the-scribe (Cross-posted at Times&Seasons) Many of these can be purchased in paper, kindle, or from Logos or Accordance. (I’m a big Logos user.) As with all my recommendations, take them with a grain of salt. I neither fully endorse nor vouch for everything said in these, but you will certainly learn and grow by reading them.

Samples are often available from Amazon or Google books, and in some cases I’ve linked to others here or in the past.

If you missed it, part 1 is here. Continue reading “Recommended NT Resources, Part 2: General and Reference”

Recommended NT Resources, Part 1: Translations, Text, and the Bible in General


My bookshelf- Quad, UBS Greek NT, Reader’s Edition of the Hebrew Bible, Jewish Annotated NT, Jewish Study Bible, NIV Study Bible

( Cross-posted at Times&Seasons, where there are more comments.) We’re 80% of the way through our Old Testament, and the time has come to start looking forward. As I did for the Old, so I will do for the New. This time, I’ll break it up into a few posts, probably a few weeks apart. (Part 2 is now posted.)

As before, the absolute best and easiest thing you can do to increase the quality and frequency of your Bible study is to replace/supplement your KJV with a different translation. You can do it with a free app or website, or go old school and buy hardcover. I do both. Below are some recommendations on Bibles.  Continue reading “Recommended NT Resources, Part 1: Translations, Text, and the Bible in General”

The Rediscovery of the World of the Old Testament Screencast

I’ve presented a version of this as a fireside in Paris (in French!) and Jacksonville, Fl, and promised to make it available online. It’s the first screencast I’ve ever done, and I made it between finals and leaving the country for several weeks, so it’s a little rough.

How can we contextualize the Old Testament, and understand it? Most people are unaware of the major discoveries of the last 150 years which have revolutionized our knowledge of Israel’s neighbors and Israel itself, Israelite scripture. In the screencast, I answer three questions.

1) Why “Rediscovery”? In short,  the full “World of the Old Testament” was lost. We had nothing but the Bible. It was akin to having a deep textual tradition about Cuba (like Israel, a relatively small, powerless, and insignificant country) but knowing nothing about Spain, Russia, or the USA, the major influences on it, then discovering their own massive records. Israel was surrounded by much larger and influential nation-states and empires, like Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon.

2) What Have We Discovered? Here I picked 7 major rediscoveries of a textual or linguistic nature, e.g. The Behistun inscription, which cracked open Akkadian; the Lachish Letters; The Elephantine Papyri; The Rosetta Stone, and so on. We have hundreds of thousands of non-Biblical texts that we can read today. Most are only of interest to specialists, but all tell us something.

3) How Have these Discoveries Changed our Understanding? Here I gave several specific examples of things we now understand in the Bible thanks to these discoveries, divided into general areas: Linguistic, Literary, Historical, and Cultural/Religious/Weltanschauung. (BTW, I can’t writeWeltanschauung without linking to Calvin and Hobbes. The first time I wrote it on the board in an Institute class, I also misspelled it, and a German-speaking RM corrected me. )

The whole thing is about 55 minutes, so consider it a Gospel Doctrine lesson that runs over a little.  Enjoy.

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