Tag Archives: Jacob

Study group on Jacob 1:19 (blood/sins on garments)

We spent a study group looking at Jacob 1:19 and other verses in the Book of Mormon that talk about other people’s blood on someone’s garments unless they teach & preach.

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We looked at the Old Testament passages that talk about the blood sacrifices in the temple, and especially the ones where blood is sprinkled on the priest.

Jacob’s calling/office would have been consecrated by blood, we assumed.

We also talked about the Day of Atonement, where one goat is killed to sanctify Israel and the priest, and the other goat is given all of Israel’s sins and then banished to wander in the wilderness.

We noticed that Cain & Abel fit that model (one is banished, one dies)

We also noticed that Judah & Joseph fit that too (Judah sends a goat to the prostitute, and Joseph’s brothers use goat blood to pretend that Joseph is dead)

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We realized part way into our study that there’s a New Testament verse about shaking sins/blood from garments. In Acts 18:6, Paul shakes clothes to symbolize that he’s tried to teach Israel, then he goes to teach Gentiles.
We also thought it was interesting in some way that Paul says in Act 20:22 that he held clothes: “And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.”
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Alma & Alma the Younger? Thyself destroyed, not on parents’ head?
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Finally, we wrapped it up by talking about whether this talk of having blood of others on you unless you teach them was just for those in a certain priesthood office who had willingly taken on them the responsibility to teach, or whether through places like D&C 88 and D&C 68 this is now spread to every member of the Church?
We talked about stewardship and what that may mean and not mean.
We read D&C 121, which warns priesthood holders that it is tempting to use priesthood authority to force or control. If you think it’s your job to save everyone else so that you aren’t responsible, it could be tempting to use priesthood authority in the wrong ways. We thought it was particularly important that is says that you can’t go about your priesthood office in order to cover sins (don’t go around warning/judging/teaching others about their sin in order to distract from your own!) and that you can’t go about your office in vain ambition (don’t be so ambitious about preaching judgments on others! Don’t think you’re going to save them yourself!). D&C 121 seemed to us to be very applicable to our discussion.
We also noted that D&C 68 could be referring to those parents which teach children to not believe — that is, teach them that belief is not important, that repentance is not important, that faith is not important. This lines up with how the Book of Mormon talks about Laman & Lemuel in 2 Nephi 4 and how the Nephites began to dwindle in unbelief in 4 Nephi.
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We also talked about the difference between works & grace here. If you think you have to teach everyone or else you’re out of heaven, you are working on a works model. It’s Christ who saves, not us! We thought about 3 Nephites who, out of love, wanted to stay on earth and keep teaching. That seems to be the idea here — people who willingly want to teach because of love.

Jacob and the Lamanites

Last Friday’s study group was on Jacob 6:9. I could record a hundred little insights, but mostly I want to focus on what we learned about the book of Jacob and how it relates to the Lamanites.

We were looking at why Jacob is talking about “shame” as well as “guilt.” Joe’s philosophical reading defines shame as something you are responsible for, but you aren’t in control of (your mere mortality, weakness, etc., or something you inherited from previous generations, etc.). We came to a point where we wondered if all of chapter 6 was aimed at the (future) Lamanites, rather than his current Nephite brethren. We looked before Chapter 5’s allegory of the olive tree, and found that chapter 4 could be read as written to the future Lamanites. This would mean that chapter 5, though about the Jews, could be “likened” to the Lamanites specifically. That led us to read Chapter 6 as also directed to future Lamanites, so we could read 6:9 as Jacob trying to help the Lamanites not be ashamed of their fathers (and the curse that they inherited from them for a time) and rather receive the covenant that God is extending to them (also because of their fathers). (See Jacob 4:3.)

Beyond this, I suggested that perhaps all of Jacob’s writings could be aimed at softening the blow to the Lamanites so that they would read and accept this book. Joe is often pointing out how Jacob, in chapters 2-3, is criticizing the Nephites for how they are treating the Lamanites. Jacob explains that the Nephites are not keeping certain commandments that the Lamanites are keeping; the Nephites don’t treat their families well and that will have future consequences; the Lamanites behavior was taught them by their parents and they aren’t responsible for much of their tradition, etc. So what if we read all of that as Jacob’s attempt to invite the Lamanites into this book where their people will so often be described in a negative light? What if Jacob is trying to reach out to them through his contribution to this book? What if he wants them to know that the Nephites were often wrong in how they viewed their people? But, none the less, there was a curse brought on by their first parents that did affect them, and necessitated a book being written and brought to them?

We all liked that idea a lot, and thought it made good sense of Jacob 4:2-3:

“but we can write a few words upon plates, which will give our children, and also our beloved brethren, a small degree of knowledge concerning us, or concerning their fathers—

Now in this thing we do rejoice; and we labor diligently to engraven these words upon plates, hoping that our beloved brethren and our children will receive them with thankful hearts, and look upon them that they may learn with joy and not with sorrow, neither with contempt, concerning their first parents.”

Joe and I summed it up yesterday by saying it’s as if Jacob and Nephi are playing “good cop bad cop” with the Lamanites. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 


Answering for sins

I’m still thinking on this topic after last week’s study group. For now I just wanted to record some verses that are getting me/us thinking:

  • 2 Nephi 2:7

    7 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.

  • Jacob 1:19

    19 And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.

  • Jacob 3:10

    10 Wherefore, ye shall remember your children, how that ye have grieved their hearts because of the example that ye have set before them; and also, remember that ye may, because of your filthiness, bring your children unto destruction, and their sins be heaped upon your heads at the last day.

    (also verse 9:Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, which is the word of God, that ye revile no more against them because of the darkness of their skins; neither shall ye revile against them because of their filthiness; but ye shall remember your own filthiness, and remember that their filthiness came because of their fathers.)

  • Mosiah 2:28

    28 I say unto you that I have caused that ye should assemble yourselves together that I might rid my garments of your blood, at this period of time when I am about to go down to my grave, that I might go down in peace, and my immortal spirit may join the choirs above in singing the praises of a just God.

  • Mosiah 29:30

    30 And I command you to do these things in the fear of the Lord; and I command you to do these things, and that ye have no king; that if these people commit sins and iniquities they shall be answered upon their own heads.

  • Mosiah 29:31

    31 For behold I say unto you, the sins of many people have been caused by the iniquities of their kings; therefore their iniquities are answered upon the heads of their kings.

  • Mosiah 29:38

    38 Therefore they relinquished their desires for a king, and became exceedingly anxious that every man should have an equal chance throughout all the land; yea, and every man expressed a willingness to answer for his own sins.

  • Mormon 9:35

    35 And these things are written that we may rid our garments of the blood of our brethren, who have dwindled in unbelief.

  • Ether 12:38

    38 And now I, Moroni, bid farewell unto the Gentiles, yea, and also unto my brethren whom I love, until we shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments are not spotted with your blood.

  • Moses 6:54

    54 Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world.


Cross/Crosses and Shame (Joe’s paper from SMPT)

Here are a few notes I took from Joe’s SMPT paper:

Shame – feeling a sense of responsibility for something you can’t actually respond/change/control.

Ashamed of accent – belongs to you, and yet, you didn’t try to learn to talk that way

Ashamed of weakness

As God says, though, He gave us weakness. Don’t be ashamed of shame. Shame here = weakness

Hebrews 12:2 says that Christ despised the shame of the cross. Doesn’t say that there wasn’t shame involved, but that he despised that shame. Joe did some work on the Greek and the work for despised means something like ignored, didn’t engage with, wasn’t worth thinking about.

He also did a lot of philosophical thinking about the word shame, and about how shame was involved with crucifixion. His reading is that what is shameful about it is that your human weakness is fully on display. Naked. Bleeding. In pain. But also: can’t swat at flies, can’t stop from peeing, etc. All human, mortal experience is on display, and you can’t cover any of it.

(Makes me think of Adam and Eve trying to cover their nakedness. I like to think in part that this is symbolic of their realization that they are weak and have no protection from whatever God might do to them. Not just that they should wear clothes like we do, but that they are completely vulnerable.)

So what does this say about Christ despising the shame of the cross? (I am summarizing my thoughts from a half-hour long philosophical paper, mind you.) It means that Christ was not ashamed of his shame. Was not ashamed of his weakness. Did not try to cover his weakness. Did not shrink from his weakness and ability to feel pain. He was mortal and did not hide that fact from the world.

In the Book of Mormon, Jacob talks in two different places about us and crosses. The discussion centered around what that might mean for us. Mostly, we talked about how the crosses of the world might be when the world wants us to feel ashamed of our shame — ashamed of our weakness. Times when the world wants to join in public social disapproval of us. (As people, or as the Church as a whole.)

(This also makes me think of the partakers of the fruit of the tree of life who were mocked by the people in the worldly building. Those who were ashamed left, and were no longer seen at the tree or the building.)

Joe also discussed the difference between not being ashamed of shame, and being completely unashamed. Here’s a summary:

Ashamed of shame = hiding of body, weakness

Not ashamed of shame = recognition of body, weakness

No shame = embrace of body, weakness

You might also say this:

Ashamed of shame = hiding of body, weakness = trying to be fully in control

Not ashamed of shame = recognition of body, weakness = admitting what we do and don’t control

No shame = embrace of body, weakness = pretending to have no control

(Only the middle one really takes up agency in a productive way)

Question for future thought: what does all this mean about our own resurrection?

 

 

 

 


2 Nephi 9:3 — Rejoice now, because later generations are redeemed?

We had a nice study group last Friday on 2 Nephi 9:3. My interest was on the Abrahamic Covenant, which was mentioned in verse 1. The verse didn’t seem odd to me because a lot of Nephi’s writings or compilations have to do with this same theme: our future posterity will be redeemed because of the Abrahamic Covenant. In fact the very title page talks about how the Book of Mormon lets the future Lamanites know that they are not cut off forever because of the covenants of the Lord. So even Mormon and Moroni are thinking about this.

But, most of the discussion revolved around the question: can you make someone feel better now by telling them that something good will happen in the future?  They were relating it to ways we try to comfort people by telling them their problems will all be fixed in the resurrection. Does that work? they asked. (They general consensus was no, it doesn’t.)

In the end, I kinda liked some combination of our discussion and the focus on the Abrahamic Covenant. What if we read verses 1-3 as saying something like this:

In the future, your family (your very descendants) will be redeemed and enjoy the blessings Isaiah describes of Zion and prosperity. In addition, remember that God has spoken through his prophets from the beginning of the world, and most especially to the house of Israel. Thus, you find yourselves in the middle of a story. God has spoken comfort to your family before, in generations past, by establishing covenants. And you have the promise now that your future family will be redeemed because of those same covenants. Therefore you, right now, are still covenant Israel. You have left Jerusalem but you are still a holy people. We have been divided into Lamanites and Nephites, but we are still a covenant family. Take the future redemption as a sign that you are still a holy people, right now. And live in light of that fact. That huge cool experience in the future won’t happen to you, true, but take it as a sign that God is watching over you now. And let that cause you to rejoice!