Why Cosmology?

Ancient Skies
Ancient Skies

I get this question all the time.

“Why study all this cosmology and symbolism stuff when today’s prophets and apostles emphasize gospel principles? Isn’t that an indication of where we should spend our time and efforts?”

I respond:

Yes. The brethren focus on the basics for the benefit of potential converts and the newest church members because their mission is worldwide conversion and the building of the kingdom. That’s why their message is repetitive. They consistently emphasize the basics. And there is great wisdom and virtue for each of us in revisiting those basics on a regular basis. That’s why we consistently hear that same, vital counsel.

But once firmly grounded in the faith, the responsibility to move forward is wholly ours. The brethren are not there to do what we can do for ourselves. We are responsible for our own salvation. This has always been true.

Inquirers then ask, “Then, why bother with traditional, cosmological imagery? How is this useful? Isn’t this information really irrelevant to our salvation, just a curious sideline?”

Here’s my response: (more…)

The Missing Writings

Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics
Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics

The statements of the Lord to Nephi in the Book of Mormon present today’s Latter-day Saints with a significant conundrum. Let’s take a close look to see what it’s all about.

We begin by quoting the germane passages from 2nd Nephi, chapter 29, in an order that clarifies and lends weight to the Lord’s vital message:

“Know ye not that . . . I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?” (2 Nephi 29:7) Well, that’s good news. And it seems only fair that all the “nations of the earth” should have the word of God. That’s the assignment of the church. That’s why we do missionary work. We go door-to-door with our revealed scriptures and our sacred message of restoration.

“Wherefore . . . neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.” (2 Nephi 29:10) What? More writings than what came out of the Restoration? Curious. Isn’t what we have enough? Is God telling us that there is much more out there than what we have in our present canon?

“For I command all men . . . that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; . . . (2 Nephi 29:11) Okay. That puts a bit of a different spin on the previous verses. This verse seems to imply that God has revealed his “words” to people everywhere, down through time. Again, that seems only right and fair. So far, so good.
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The Prophecy Enigma Solved

Decoding the Prophets’ Symbolism

You may have heard of the Bible Code. This is not about that. In fact, the Bible Code, as portrayed in Christian and pop literature, is a fallacy.

This essay is about a very real code, though it was never meant to be such. It happened quite by accident. You are probably very aware of it, though you’ve probably never thought of it as a code.

This is about the Prophets’ Code: the vocabulary or lexicon used by the prophets that I call the “language of the prophets.” It is characterized by the odd and often bizarre imagery found everywhere in scripture, including latter-day revelation. Examples of this imagery are such things as wheels, candlesticks, monsters or beasts, stars, trumpets and references to arcane ideas such as fire from heaven, the heavens reeling to and fro, the moon turning to blood, Alpha and Omega, the Son of Man and so forth.

So we must ask: Why the use of such symbolic or coded language? Why a Prophets’ Code? Why mystify any of the gospel? Why not simply speak plainly so all can understand?

I maintain that the prophets’ imagery was “plain language” as it was first used and understood. From the days of Adam until the demise of the Savior and his Apostles, it was a common denominator in all ancient cultures, easily comprehended by people who could neither read nor write. But because the means to understand that language has since been systematically erased or expunged from our culture over time, it has become an enigma rather than a teaching tool.

Therein lies a remarkable story.

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The Forgotten Promise

We may have overlooked a significant promise given us by a prophet of God.

Moroni, writing his own observations in the Book of Ether, had this to say to us, the members of the modern church:

Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you, because of unbelief.

Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up  from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel.

And then shall my revelations which I have caused to be written by my servant John be unfolded in the eyes of all the people. Remember, when ye see these things, ye shall know that the time is at hand that they shall be made manifest in very deed. (Ether 4:14–16, italics added for emphasis.)

In these verses, Moroni seems to be saying that the day will come when John’s enigmatic Revelation in the New Testament, also known as the Apocalypse of John, will be fully understood.

Is that possible? Well, if Moroni is to be believed, it must be.

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