I’ve always been fascinated with sacred real estate disputes, and we certainly have our own. The most salient–the American “Temple Mount”–is probably the Temple Lot in Independence, the story of which makes for fascinating reading: a geographically precise, small plot of land is prophesied by Joseph Smith as the location of a future temple. After his death various branches legally fight over ownership. The ones who end up winning the prize are a small, numerically marginal branch known as the Church of Christ (Temple Lot, AKA Hedrickites), after forming an alliance of convenience with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints against the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that includes gathering some of the few first-hand accounts from Joseph Smith’s living wives. While one historically prominent exegetical strand among members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds that D&C 57 should be interpreted as indicating that we will some day return to Independence and build the temple at the Temple Lot site now occupied by the Hedrickites, there are other ways to read that scripture given the historical context; I’m personally less inclined to the traditional interpretation, but I might be wrong and would not be surprised if it does end up happening the way Brigham Young thought it would. Whatever the case with the Temple Lot, it looks like the Hedrickites are comfortably ensconced there, have no plans to sell any time…
Literary BMGD #31: Ode for the Fourth Day of July and Columbia—My Country
The 10 chapters in this week’s Sunday School lesson (#31) are among the most exciting in the Book of Mormon—at least if you are a 10-year-old boy. They tell the story of Captain Moroni, the battles he fought for freedom, and his “Title of Liberty.” Of course, even for adults they are important chapters, detailing a struggle for liberty and raising the kind of questions that so many in the world have to face, even today, when addressing what kind of government their country needs. Even in most western democracies, the issues of liberty have at least a peripheral connection to what we choose at the ballot box. After all, if it is possible to choose a democracy, then it must also be possible to choose not to have one!
Literary BMGD #24: Why Should the Christian Sigh
One of the most stunning acts of persecution in the scriptures has to be the attack on the believers in Ammonihah described in Alma 14. Those who have heeded the words of Alma and Amulek, men, women and children, are taken by the mob, bound and cast into fire, along with their scriptures while Alma and Amulek are forced to watch. In consternation, the missionaries face the problem of evil in a very personal and immediate way and Alma is constrained by the spirit not to intervene.