Friday, August 31, 2012

Because of Your Peaceable Walk

The shalem followers of Christ, who must be the children of God (per Alma, John, and Ether, and see Matthew), walk in a shalem fashion among the "children of men"... the people who are not shalems.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I Would Speak Unto You that Are of the Church

Moroni records an address of Mormon.  It is apparently given to a mixed audience, only some of whom are shalem ("peaceable") followers of Christ.  Hence, naturally, the talk is given at a "synagogue" rather than in the temple.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Save They Took Upon Them the Name of Christ

Read this verse carefully.  The clear implication is that the Nephites didn't take the name of Christ upon them at baptism, but that the taking of the name was a second step.  Moroni assures us that (in his day, presumably), the church only accepted new members who were serious; not only were they baptized, but they also took upon them the name of Christ (a covenant action that King Benjamin administered to his people at the temple).

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bless and Sanctify This Bread

The shalems took upon them the name of Christ in the shalem feast.  This is a temple prayer, said "with the church" and not "in church."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

In My Name, In Mighty Prayer

This sounds like an ordinance, because Christ lays his hands on his disciples and calls them by name.  What is "mighty prayer"?  It's what the children of God do together in private.  It's how Nephi prays in the presence of the Lord, drawing down ministering angels.  It's how Enos prayed.  It's how Alma prayed for the people of Ammonihah.  And it's what the disciples were engaged in after Christ's ministry among the Nephites that drew his return.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

In a Secret Pass

The Jaredite nobles are devotees of the dark mysteries.  We know this because Gilead's "high priest" is "one of the secret combinations."

Friday, August 24, 2012

He Hid Himself in the Cavity

Ether hides "in the cavity of a rock," and creeps out at night to look around.

This might just be a cave.  On the other hand, it might be an evocation of the same imagery that underlies this passage in Isaiah.  The foundation stone in the holy of holies of the Jerusalem temple has a hole in it, that leads to a cave underneath.

Hiding in the cavity of a rock might therefore just mean a cave.  Or it might mean that Ether hid in a temple, a sanctuary.  Or maybe he hid in a cave, and Moroni means to evoke for us that his hiding place thereby became a sort of hallowed ground.

1 Nephi, John and Ether as Temple Texts

Bill Hamblin has a great article in the new Mormon Interpreter.

I should also point out that the Interpreter's inaugural article was David Bokovoy's essay about liturgical language in 1 Nephi and Ether.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

There Are They Who Were First

The temple context of Ether 13 and the New Jerusalem prophecy tells us that this famous couplet likely has a shalem, temple sense.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

And the Holy Sanctuary of the Lord

The New Jerusalem of Ether / Moroni explicitly comes out of the temple.  It isn't a city that will descend from the sky, it's a city built on temple principles -- the practices of the temple, and the content of the oaths sworn by its visionaries.  Later the city is explicitly to be "built up."

Monday, August 20, 2012

After the Waters Had Receded

Ether's vision of the waters receding is a very old one.  It's a vision of creation that underlies the "Song of the Sea," which we have repurposed as a tale of the Lord defeating the Egyptians in Exodus 15.  The vision is a temple one: read Exodus 15 and notice the temple / holy mountain imagery in verses 13 and 18.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

Then Will I Make Weak Things Become Strong

The foregoing thorough connection of faith with temple miracles changes the tenor of this famous verse.  we have to "come unto" the Lord and humble ourselves "before" him -- approach him humbly in his temple -- to have this promised blessing.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Behold It Was By Faith

Moroni continues his lecture on faith, listing miracles that happened as a result of it.  Since faith leads to obtaining the heavenly gift (the shalem experience at the veil), we shouldn't be surprised if there is a temple flavor to what Moroni reports... and there is.  Without going through it exhaustively, consider the list: priests of the order of Melchizedek were called; the law of Moses was received (on Mount Sinai, remember, a temple experience), and Christ also prepared a "more excellent way"; prison escapes and baptisms by fire; the three disciples are promised that they will not taste death, and the brother of Jared could not be kept from behind the veil, "for so great was his faith in God."

This last note is particularly interesting, since the earlier account clearly says that "because of the knowledge of this man he could not be kept from beholding within the veil."  I don't think we've thought hard enough about the spiritual gifts of faith, hope, and knowledge.  They're clearly temple gifts.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Place at the Right Hand

Ether appears to know and teach the doctrines of the Day of Atonement: two flocks at the judgment, under the right and left hands of the Lord.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Prophets Mourned

How do these prophets appear and withdraw?  What's going on here?

Alma and Abinadi tell us the answer.  The ordinary MO of the visionary men is to operate as an underground movement.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

He Did Gain Favor in the Eyes of the People

Curious story about Morianton.  He "establishes himself" king by force.  He eases up on the people, gains their favor, and they anoint him king.  This in itself is interesting -- was he crowned twice?

But the sequel is the provocative moment.  He indulges in "whoredoms," and is therefore "cut off from the presence of the Lord."  This implies that he had been in the presence of the Lord, which usually means entry into the Holy of Holies.  Read in the light of the two preceding verses, it suggests that Morianton's second crowning was coronation as a shalem king in the temple, and that crown was one he lost, by personal wickedness.

Friday, August 10, 2012

They Must Prepare the Way of the Lord

When the Jaredites again go bad, prophets come crying that the people must prepare the way of the Lord.

This same phrase occurs in Isaiah, Malachi1 Nephi, and John.  Its location in the latter two books suggests that it can be read as a reference to the Worship of the Shalems, though the former references sound like Day of Atonement allusions: in other words, the way of the Lord is the path by which people approach the Lord, or the path by which he comes to them.  This makes perfect sense, of course, since the path in either case is the path through the temple, traversed in the one case inward and in the other outward.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

He Did Rejoice and Glory

After the wicked wipe each other out, the Jaredites enjoy a succession of righteous kings.  We are given particular notice of Emer, who is identified as being virtuous in unmistakably shalemish terms:  he sees "peace," and the Son of Righteousness (a title that appears to combine the Son of God and the King of Righteousness, Melchizedek), he rejoices and glories.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Behold, I Am Fair

The daughter of Jared, whose ambition and twisted filial piety launch the false mysteries among the Jaredites, is "fair," like the Virgin.  Where the Virgin will give birth to the king, the daughter of Jared desires the king's head.  Moroni must have seen her as the Virgin's antitype, the whore of Babylon.

Friday, August 3, 2012

He Had Set His Heart Upon the Kingdom

The false mysteries rise to prominence among the Jaredites as a weapon given into the hands of one of the losers in their brutal dynastic politics.  What does Jared want?  The "kingdom" (but not the kingdom of God) and the "glory of the world."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Broke Down the Door of the Prison

In the sequel, Corihor's son Noah imprisons Shule and plans to execute him, but Shule's sons rescue and re-enthrone him.

Shule's name and the enthronement motif are provocative.  I am reminded of Lehi and Nephi's jailbreak; they are rescued by the temple, as it were, "encircled" by fire, with mists, and a voice that comes down from above the mist.  Peter and John are similarly rescued from prison by an angel, who immediately sends them into the temple to teach.

I note also that in the oldest Isaiah materials, preserved by Nephi, the Son of the Morning, before he is cast down (into the "pit," like the Azazel-goat on the Day of Atonement), will not release his prisoners.

Why all these prison-escape stories?  Did the Worship of the Shalems include a symbolic-spiritual deliverance from captivity?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Shule Waxed Strong

Corihor enslaves his father, King Kib, but then Kib has a final son, who rebels and restores his father.

The narrative of this righteous rebel prince echoes the story of the brother of Jared in Ether 3.  His name is Shule (compare with Mount Shelem).  He goes to a hill (Mount Ephraim), and there he "moltens" steel to make swords.  These swords must in some sense be temple weapons, and the tale of the temple-sword-prince Shule (shalem?) giving battle to Corihor in the land of Nehor must have resonated with Moroni at the end of Nephite civilization (given that the record he carried contained both Korihor and Nehor as the names of major apostates).

Shule wins, and receives "the kingdom," over which he executes judgment in righteousness.