I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but on more than one occasion, I have seriously considered stealing scriptures from the temple.
And apparently I am not the only one because the last time we were there, I noticed that they had new stickers in them saying PROPERTY OF THE HOUSTON TEMPLE PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE.
Why would I consider stealing scriptures? Because the ones in the temple have the following awesome features:
–Hard backs, so you could stand in front of a class and teach from them without it flopping around your hands.
–No supplemental material, which means that the Bible is no thicker than the Triple Combination.
But you can’t buy these amazing scriptures! So I’m still considering swiping them. I figure that I don’t have to feel guilty about it if I make a donation to the temple fund for what the scriptures would cost, right? Right?
But this is not really the point of my post. The point is this: the Church is test-driving a new scripture format, which you can read about here.
And I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about this format.
On the plus side, I think getting rid of the supplemental material is a good move in general. People tend to treat it, in my experience, as if it were infallible scripture, and that is not a good thing. (I do think they should have left the JST in. To me, that is a different category than the rest of the supplemental material.) Given that most people have access online to these study aids if they want them, it seems to make sense to save back strain and paper costs by not printing them. In fact, even better study aids are available from the Church online.
On the other hand, it makes my heart hurt to think about studying the New Testament without the Old Testament in hand. Let me try that again: I don’t think you can really study the New Testament without the Old Testament in hand. There is almost no passage of the New Testament–and certainly nothing Jesus said–that cannot be better understood with reference to the Old Testament. The Old Testament is quoted over 400 times (some say over 600 times; depends on what you count) in the New, and there are many more allusions and thematic links.
So I’m glad to see the Church experimenting with different scripture formats, but I don’t like the idea of packaging the NT for study at Church (by Primary kids and adults in Gospel Doctrine) without the OT. Maybe we could keep the size down by omitting the supplemental material and footnotes, but keeping the OT and NT together? And go ahead and put the hard backs on while you are at it. Because I really don’t like the idea of having to go through a temple session with a bible hidden under my clothes.