Category Archives: Uncategorized

A few articles on the Portland Temple

I have never thought, for some reason, to look for drawings of the Portland Temple floorplan. I did some searching this morning and didn’t find much, but I did find these blog posts on the temple and learned a few other things. Mostly right now, I’m just archiving them here in case I want to revisit them:


Red Cross classes?

I am struck by how often the Relief Society sisters of the past cooperated with and also took classes from the Red Cross.

I’m looking into their classes this morning. I’m already considering having Emma take the babysitter’s course. Online it is only $29.

There is a child & infant first aid and emergencies class online as well. I wonder if it would be ok for one of us to pay and a group to complete it together at the Church? We would not all have the certification, but we would have the information.


Photos this morning

I think if I were to gather these together and name the group, the name would have something to do with the Heavens, playing on heaven as the sky and heaven as the place God lives. Here are a few ideas:

“May I Reflect Thy Glory?”

“Heavens Reflected”

“Pattern of Heaven”

“Heavens Within the Temple”

“The Heavens Between Brick Walls”

“Heaven In Glass”

“Through a Glass, at Dawn”

“Glass Stained With Heaven”

or even’

“Glass and Bricks Stained With Heaven”


Alma 19:1-15: A bunch of notes :)

In case I don’t get to these individually, here is a list of a bunch of thoughts from study group:

  • v. 2 is parallel to Alma 47:33 (Amalekiah)
  • v. 3 “desired to know” – a lot like Alma 18:13-14 only the Queen isn’t afraid
  • v. 4 why doesn’t she ask Ammon to raise her husband from death/sleep?
  • v. 4-5 Queen wants a confirmation of something she knows/feels
  • v. 9 Ammon confirms her knowledge/feeling
  • v. 10 possibly one reason Ammon is so excited is that her faith is confirming his knowledge/feeling too!
  • 2 witnesses, 2 or 3 gathered…
  • v. 10 why “exceeding”? There is also “sufficient” faith in 3 Ne 17:8. What is in excess? What was sufficient for the situation, and what about her faith is in excess of that?
  • We spent a long time discussing why her faith was greater than the Nephites, but we didn’t come to any conclusions. A few thoughts
    • She believes on words alone
    • She is actually not trusting just words but a feeling from the Spirit (even though she doesn’t know what that means yet)
    • She is believing in something that is parallel to Christ’s resurrection before being taught about that
    • By saying this, he is helping her see that he doesn’t think all Nephites are superior to the Lamanites. By saying that there hasn’t been greater faith among them, he is elevating her as a Lamanite.
    • Likewise, he is helping her/us see that he doesn’t think all men are superior to women. He doesn’t say that her faith was greater than Nephite women’s faith.
  • We noted that story repeatedly makes us think about class, gender, and race. The traditional roles are reversed or made equal in this story
  • v. 11 why doesn’t she come back at the appointed time? Is she watching to be there the very second? Is it out of love? Is it tradition to stay by a dying person’s bedside anyway? Will people try to talk her into burying him if she leaves that room? Is she essentially standing guard so that no one tries to take his body?
  • v. 12 We talked a ton about this verse and the words “the woman” and also “blessed art thou.” We talked about grammatical terms and uses of woman (or lack thereof) elsewhere, but I didn’t take specific notes for most of it. 🙂 You’ll have to ask Joe if you want to know more about that part. 🙂
  • v. 12 interesting that he just says “name of God.” I like it. It’s as if he is in a transitional state from thinking of God as a Great Spirit to thinking of him as God, but still not sure what to call him. Or, it’s as if he is trying to communicate to his spouse that there is another name to call God but if I just say that, then you won’t know what I’m taking about.
    • He could also be using a form of praise used in other places in scripture. (“Blessed be the name of ______”means something like “may that person have a great reputation,” or, “I’m adding to that person’s reputation by blessing their name” – a name being symbolic for how they are known in the world)
  • v. 12 ALSO, note that when the Queen wakes up she uses a name (Jesus) and also note that when Lamoni first prays he says “Lord”
  • v. 13 sounds like an oath!! One of the best insights of the night. He wants her to believe what he has seen, so he begins by swearing to her an oath. “For as sure as thou livest, behold, I have seen my Redeemer.”
  • v. 13 interesting that he talks about sure it is that she is living, when it was recently unsure if he was living!
  • v. 13 “born of a woman” – means he will be mortal at some point, which has got to be news. He previously called God a “Great Spirit”
  • v. 13 sees Queen as a sort of Eve figure – the mother of all living – “as thou livest” could be related to Eve’s name
  • “Christ is not without his mother, neither is his mother without Christ”
  • v. 13 the Queen being “overpowered” by the Spirit is similar language to Mary being “overshadowed” by the Spirit
  • v.14 when Ammon falls, it is the first time the Lamanites & Lamanitish servants have seen Ammon by conquered by anything. Is this why the servants of the King (we are assuming these are these are the same Lamanitish servants from before) are so scared?
    • Note they cry unto God himself, not just cry out in fear. Watching and learning from all the teaching and exclamations going on.


Faith is faith on a word about Christ

I was rereading Moroni 7 today, and verses 20-34 seemed to have such a clear logic and flow that I wonder why I hadn’t seen this so clearly before! I guess that’s why we keep reading over and over and over again! So many things yet to be noticed that are right in front of us.

Mormon says his speech is going to be about faith, but he has some groundwork to lay down first. Mormon says that without Christ, none of us could have any good thing. “Otherwise men were fallen, and there could no good thing come unto them” (verse 24). But how do we lay hold upon good things then? “Thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing” (verse 25). Faith is also what gives us power to do good things: “If ye have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me” (verse 33). And most importantly, along with repenting and being baptized, Christ says, “have faith in me, that ye may be saved” (verse 34).

So we see know that faith is necessary to lay hold upon good things, to do good things, and even to be saved. But how does faith come about? What is faith? Does God have a plan to make all of this possible?

Well, of course, he does. “For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold, he sent angels to…make manifest concerning the coming of Christ (verse 22). “And God also declared unto prophets, by his own mouth, that Christ should come” (verse 23). “Wherefore…men began to exercise faith in Christ” (verse 25). We get a little more detail on angels in verses 31-32:

“And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfill and to do the work of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him. 

“And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth a way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.”

This is all so remarkably clear to me today. God creates the possibility of faith by sending messengers (either by calling prophets or by sending angels to chosen men, women, and children who then bear testimony). The possibility of faith is conditioned on God sending words and messages about Christ into the world. That is faith. Faith is believing on a word, and that faith creates a place for the Holy Ghost to empower, teach, sanctify, etc. It all seems to start with faith, and faith seems to start with a message, and that message seems to start when God speaks or sends angels.


I was very impressed with the idea laid out here that the work of the covenants (the Abrahamic Covenant being the big example) is accomplished through speaking! I knew that angels ministered and that they did the work of fulfilling covenants, but for some reason I had separated those as two different jobs. But I think verses 31-32, quoted above, are clear that ministering messages is how they fulfill the covenants. They teach, which brings the Holy Ghost, which changes people, and that gathers Israel or whatever other promise is given through a particular covenant. Teaching. Teaching. Teaching. Wow. I’m again shocked at the value and power of teaching.

Abraham in Egypt

I was reading through the book of Abraham yesterday and enjoying chapter 1, as usual. As I reviewed the italicized information at the top of the page, it struck me that I’ve never thought to read the book of Abraham as it would sound to someone in Egypt (the italicized information says this was written by Abraham while in Egypt). How would the history of Egypt parts sound? How does this part about them claiming history sound? It’s written for his descendants, so may be that’s not the right question. How would Abraham’s location be influencing what he’s choosing to write about? It would seem rather important for him to differentiate his priesthood from theirs when he’s immersed in their culture, for example. Anyway, a slight twist on the context of the book.

Another thing I thought about was how this fits in with Abraham’s own history. When he goes into Egypt, he has not had any children yet. He and Sarah have to pretend to not be married so that they can have the possibility of having children in the future! As he relates his appointment to the priesthood, and to be a father of many nations, etc., he hasn’t had any children yet. Fascinating! But what’s more, the story of the creation ends with Adam and Eve being together in the garden. I assume there was much more that could have been translated, but in the form we have it that’s rather appropriate. Adam hadn’t had kids yet, and neither had Abraham. Both Eve and Sarah were being created or preserved as a help or partner to their husbands.

Anyway, just a few thoughts that struck me after I reread that introduction.

Receiving the Blessings of the Oath and Covenant

More many years I’ve heard and thought about the idea of enjoying the blessings of the oath and covenant of the priesthood. At first it seemed so general, something like “enjoying the blessings of the priesthood” like blessings when you’re sick, etc. Then I took it to mean something a little stronger, such as ordinances that have been restored because of the restoration of the priesthood through Joseph Smith. When I went to the temple, I thought about temple ordinances. But what about the oath and covenant of the priesthood? How do you enjoy that? So I’ve spent years and years studying what the oath and covenant might be. Sometimes it’s led me back to the beginning: the oath and covenant is just another way of saying priesthood generally, so the blessings of it are the same as the blessings of the priesthood. My recent studies in Hebrews, D&C 84, and D&C 132 lead me in a somewhat opposite direction: the oath and covenant has something to do with those who receive the highest priesthood, the keys of the priesthood, who are prophets and exalted on earth. But of course, that seems to have little to do with me, except for the idea or promise that potentially anyone could build a Zion and have it translated up to heaven and/or have their calling and election made sure while here on earth, etc. etc. But those are things you wait for. You don’t seek after appointments to higher ordinances.

And yet, there’s a sense in our discourse at least (and I think in the scriptures?) that the blessings of the oath and the covenant are meant to be felt now, and by  many. So I’ve been thinking about that. And I think I’ve finally hit on something that makes sense to me. The “oath and covenant of the priesthood” may very well be something grand and attached to the highest forms of priesthood, such as the keys held by the president of the high priesthood (President Monson, currently). But the fact that those keys are on the earth has ripple effects that do bless me and millions of others.

It’s something like the distance that D&C 84:39 uses in its wording. Our blessings are “according to” the oath and covenant, which “belongeth to” the priesthood. It doesn’t belong to me, nor does it need to, in order for the blessings to be poured out and reach to my home. The blessings aren’t just for those who receive the oath and covenant themselves; the blessings are “according to” or “in accordance with” or “follow from” or “exist because” someone holds the keys of the priesthood.

Perhaps this is actually exactly what the verses in D&C 84 leading up to verse 39 are trying to say:

36 For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;

37 And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;

38 And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.

39 And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.