Monday, April 19, 2010

Lehi's Dream and Psalmic connections?

"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word." -- Psalms 119:9.

That is the King James Version. But reading the Jewish Publication Society translation of this passage of the Tanakh opens up a rich field of contemplation for me.

"With what shall a young man keep his way pure? By holding to thy word."

Holding to the word (bmr in Hebrew) immediately brought to mind the vision of Lehi in 1 Nephi 8, in the Book of Mormon. Then the similarities seemed to leap out at me. I hardly think I can be accused of paralellomania but judge for yourself:

The writer of the psalm has sought the Lord with his whole heart and pleads "O let me not wander from thy commandments." He prays that his eyes may be opened, as one might when wandering in a mist of darkness. He is a stranger in the earth, just as the visionary was in a broad field as it were a world.

He says the Lord has rebuked the proud who are cursed, which do err from the commandments, who held him in reproach and contempt as one who kept the commandments ... even princes sat and spoke against him.

The way of God's testimonies brought him joy.

I really believe Lehi, as a pious Jew, could have had this psalm in mind the night he beheld his great vision -- especially if his mind was harrowed up with concerns for his sons, his young men, as he specifically stated that it was.

Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

Visiting a friend's Christian blog recently, on the subject of the proverbial "wolves in sheep's clothing," I was struck by a terrible fact: In order for a wolf to put on the "clothing" of a sheep, a sheep must first die. Or rather, a soul must become vulnerable to the enticings of the evil one and leave the safety of the flock, where the wolf can possess it and thus gain entry to the flock.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Apiculture in Ancient America

On a certain internet forum, some 13 pages of discussion revolve around whether the Book of Mormon account of honeybees in the Jaredite settlements of the New World proves said Book of Mormon to be false.

13 pages!

Once, I took a very long journey, from Washington State to Utah to Texas to Germany to Hungary. The trip was by air, with a soujourn in Utah for some training. It should be obvious to anyone that by the time I finally reached Hungary, the contents of my suitcases had changed slightly.

Had I scribbled down an inventory of my original baggage, would some hypothetical person at the other end of the flight have been able to disprove not only my journey but my very existence, by the changes in my stuff?

Notice, the Book of Mormon says the Jaredites started their journey in the Old World with honeybees. Who knows for how long they traveled before they finally made their trans-oceanic crossing? Who knows what they kept with them and what they jettisoned along the way? The Book of Mormon makes NO mention of honeybees once the Jaredites finally reached America.

Could it be possible that they didn't bring the bees with them in their boats? Can critics squeeze that possibility into their cranial spaces? Or do they simply derive endless joy from kicking a straw-man?