OK. I’m not sure if that title bears exactly directly on what this post is about, but as an R&B fan I had to use it before my time runs out. I’m a guest-blogger, which means I’m only supposed to get two weeks. I’m not sure if today is my last day or if I’ve managed to sneak past Cerberus at the gates. For about the past month I’ve been questioning an assumption that I had. My assumption has been that Mormons have a responsibility to base their personal opinions and positions on scripture — and not just on a single verse or a few verses, but on as inclusive a sampling of relevant scriptural texts as is possible. In other words, on topics where scriptural instructions are widely available, my assumption has been that Mormons should not base their personal theology or opinions on a single verse to the exclusion of other relevant verses and texts. Is this assumption correct? I’ll stop with that question. I can hear barking …
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. (Psalms 122:6) News reports are rampant with rumors that Yasir Arafat is either dead, in a coma or on life support. What seems certain is that Arafat’s end is nigh.
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (Phillipians 4:5) We have often heard the saying “moderation in all things.” But the words moderate, moderation and moderately only appear sparingly in the scriptures and the phrase “moderation in all things” does not appear at all. Then again, on second glance, this may simply be an interpretive or editorial choice. The King James Version prefers the words tempered, temperate and temperance and the Book of Mormon follows the KJV’s example. Thus we see the phrase “temperate in all things” more than once scripturally (1 Corinthians 9:25, Alma 7:23, Alma 38:10). As one ponders these phrases, “moderation in all things” or “temperate in all things”, a question may arise. Is it possible that these sayings fall prey to the human tendency to use superlatives (as Bob Caswell pointed out so well in this comment), to over-magnify the importance of a principle being taught? Is there ever a time when the moderate (or temperate) person is wrong and the extremist is right? Is there a situation where pure idealism utterly vanquishes practical wisdom? Or in other words, to phrase things in the predictable annoyingly absurd way, should we ever be moderate in our use of moderation, temperate in our use of temperance?
The metaphor of a marriage is often used to describe the relationship between the Savior and His Church. The Savior is the Bridegroom and the Church is the Bride. This metaphor is useful because the Church can instruct husbands that they should love their wives with all their hearts; to be willing to give up their lives for their wives just as the Savior gave his life for the Church. This metaphor also has other potential applications, pointing towards the festivities that will take place when The Bridegroom and The Bride ultimately unite in their bond of holy matrimony.
I was given an assignment in a Hebrew class years ago to write an essay about the topic of nostalgia. Feeling slightly rebellious I decided to bend the rules a little and write a poem instead. I don’t have the Hebrew original in my possession anymore but from memory and with a little bit of effort I’ve fleshed out a new revised English version. Feel free to give it a read and think whatever you will. I don’t claim to be a good poet. For me this was simply an opportunity to meditate, to ponder an idea, to imagine, to answer some questions in my own way.
Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of that mirth is heaviness. (Proverbs 14:13)
William Blake wrote two poems that are usually studied together. These two poems, titled “The Lamb” and “The Tyger” explore the idea that as the Lord God created these animals, He isolated his own (seemingly contradictory) characteristics of meekness and ferocity and imbued each of these creatures with one of them. William Blake is inviting us to ponder how the isolated characteristics of a lamb and a tiger can share the same space in the heart of divinity. I only mention these poems in order to recognize that the issues and questions I’m raising and discussing have been pondered since a long time ago by far greater minds. And perhaps by some rather silly ones as well.