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Conference on Chiasmus

Yvonne Bent has been researching sacred geometry for over ten years. As  a result of her research, she submitted an art project that was displayed in the Church’s 8th International Art contest at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City. A photo of her work was in the Ensign magazine, as well.
 
Added to her study of the Articles of Faith and sacred geometry, a milestone connection was made to demonstrate the same pattern as we see in the Hebrew literary style called chiasmus appearing in other fields and even in nature itself.

Yvonne Bent has organized a conference on May 15, 2010 at the Rose Wagner Auditorium in downtown Salt Lake City to have various presenters address conference attendees on the widespread sacred patternism, including chiasmus.  She invited me to speak, and I will be among those who will participate in the program. 

 
The conference will consist of lectures from persons who have discovered remarkable chiastic patterns in art, literature, architecture, science and math. In the evening there will be a concert to demonstrate the chiasm pattern in music.
 
I do not yet have the final information about the event, but thought I’d put this brief announcement on the blog for those who may be interested.

His Words are Commandments

A great resource for understanding how to gain eternal life is found in D&C 1: 38.  The Lord’s word is law.  What He says will not return void.  It will all be fulfilled. 
Immediately following his father’s death, Moroni writes concerning the plates his father had made, which he was then completing.  He recorded that the plates are “of no worth” in an economic sense, because of the Lord’s “commandment.”  (Mormon 8: 14.)  He says the Lord had spoken the words: “no one shall have them to get gain.”  (Id.)  This means that since the Lord had spoken that the gold plates could not be obtained for economic gain, this meant the Lord had “commanded” that the plates could not give a person any economic gain.  The only gain to be had was “of great worth” to the soul.
Moroni equates the Lord’s remark on the plates’ lack of economic value to a “commandment.”  This is exactly how it works.  This is what D&C 1: 38 is affirming, as well:  “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”
Salvation consists in getting the word of the Lord spoken to you as a promise of eternal life.  When you obtain that word, it cannot be broken.  It becomes a “commandment” of the Lord’s which cannot fail.  This is the kind of commandment we should seek.
I’ve tried to answer questions about “commandments” and I’ve tried to discuss the subject more fully in The Second Comforter: Conversing with the Lord Through the Veil.  Instead of focusing on a list of things to do or not do, I would commend to you the idea of getting from the Lord those words which will assure you eternal life.  Not His words spoken to others found in scripture, but words spoken by Him to you.  If you obtain this from Him, then you have a sure promise, though the heavens and earth pass away.  This more sure word guarantees you, by covenant from Him whose words cannot fail, that you will be granted life with Him.

The Sacrifice

Abraham’s great test in sacrificing his son Isaac was all the more difficult when you consider he was nearly sacrificed when he was younger, by his father, on an altar, in a false religious practice.  When the true God whom he worshiped asked him to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac, Abraham was put in the exact position he knew from his own past experience to be evil.
Despite this, Abraham complied. 
Then God Himself provided a sacrifice.  (Gen. 22: 8.)
Not the ram found in the thicket on that day, but a living Son, later– in a direct corollary to what had first been asked of Abraham.
Many have stood back in amazement and considered the task given to Abraham to be outrageous, inexplicable and offensive.  It was.  But it was designed to make us realize how outrageous, inexplicable and offensive the sacrifice of God’s Only Begotten was on our behalf.  Abraham was one of the few men whose experience allowed him to identify with God the Father. 

Cool Change


I think Cool Change was Little River Band’s greatest song.  I found this video on YouTube which couples the song with video of swimming dolphins and whales. 

These are mammals in the video.  They are warm blooded and breathe air. Because they must breathe they are required to return to the surface.  But in the video they seem to be playing, jumping, enjoying the jump into the heavens and out of the waters where they live.  One of the dolphins leaps and twists like one of the Olympic events we just finished watching.

The upward leap seemed a symbol to me of what all life here was intended to do: reach up joyfully to that God who gave us life.  Hope you enjoy the video and song as much as I did as I watched it with a daughter last night.

Keep the Commandments

I was asked about a list of “commandments” to keep.  The person was sincerely trying to keep the commandments, but lacked a comprehensive list of them.

It is not possible to list all commandments.  In one sense there are only two:  Love God.  Love you fellow man.  All others are extensions of those.

If you love God you will do what He asks of you.  Whenever something comes to your attention He would have you do, you do it.  For example, Christ was baptized and said to “Follow Him.”  So because of your love of God, you follow Him.

But Christ also showed repeatedly, that the second commandment was greater than the rules.  Keeping the Sabbath day holy, for example, was subordinate to loving and freeing His fellow man.  He freed men from sin on the Sabbath by forgiving sins.  He freed them from physical injury or disease by healing on the Sabbath.  Both were considered work, and therefore an offense to the commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy.

Your individual path back to God will begin with following the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  At some point, however, you will find that individual service and obedience to God’s will for you will create disharmony between you and others.  Can’t be avoided.  If you’re following Christ, you will find the same things He found.  Helping someone in need will take you away from Church meetings on occasion.  You can’t make a list and keep it, because as soon as you do the list will interfere with loving God and loving your fellow man.

So the whole matter can be reduced to this:  Follow Christ, receive the ordinances, accept the Holy Ghost, who will teach you all things you must do.  Any list beyond that will inevitably result in conflicts and contradictions. 

Elder Oaks

My wife also suggested I add something about Elder Oaks’ talk at Harvard, since some readers may not have access to the information:
 
When discussing our beliefs he explained that personal revelation is fundamental to Mormon beliefs.  “some wonder how members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accept a modern prophet’s teachings to guide their personal lives, something that is unusual in most religious traditions.  Our answer to the charge that Latter-day Saints follow their leaders out of ‘blind obedience’ is this same personal revelation.  We respect our leaders and presume inspiration in their leadership of the church and in their teachings.  but we are all privileged and encouraged to confirm their teachings by prayerfully seeking and receiving revelatory conformation directly from God.”
 
When asked by a Divinity School student why Joseph Smith was any more reliable than Mary Baker Eddy, he responded: “If you want to know go to the ultimate source.  The answer to that question can only come from God himself.  That’s what I encourage anyone who asks me about it.  I can’t promise when it will happen with anyone, but I can promise it will happen.”

Trials

On Friday Marie Osmond’s son died in LA of an apparent suicide.  My heart goes out to her.  Some trials in life are not meant to be understood, but only to be endured.  The suffering from unexplainable ordeals can bring us closer to the Lord, who alone can comfort us in such extremities.

In Chile there are over 200 dead and many missing.  There is a race to rescue about 100 people trapped in a building.  Aftershocks and injuries threaten those who are trapped.

There are no magic words to console those who endure tests in mortality.  But we do have the promise from Him whose word is law and cannot return to Him unfulfilled:  “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”  (Rev. 7: 17.)  If God intends to do this in the final day, the only God-like conduct we can imitate is to lessen the burdens felt by those with a sense of loss today.

Trials

On Friday Marie Osmond’s son died in LA of an apparent suicide.  My heart goes out to her.  Some trials in life are not meant to be understood, but only to be endured.  The suffering from unexplainable ordeals can bring us closer to the Lord, who alone can comfort us in such extremities.

In Chile there are over 200 dead and many missing.  There is a race to rescue about 100 people trapped in a building.  Aftershocks and injuries threaten those who are trapped.

There are no magic words to console those who endure tests in mortality.  But we do have the promise from Him whose word is law and cannot return to Him unfulfilled:  “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”  (Rev. 7: 17.)  If God intends to do this in the final day, the only God-like conduct we can imitate is to lessen the burdens felt by those with a sense of loss today.

Missionaries in Chile

According to this morning’s Deseret News, all LDS missionaries in the affected areas of Chile are safe and accounted for.  My wife suggested that there are readers outside Utah who may want news like that put onto the blog.