Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Provo Pillar of Fire (2 Nephi 14)

I do not own these books.  Maybe if I did I might be able to explain some of these chapters better.  I read some of this Isaiah stuff and, like many of you, just say, "What?"  I might just as well be 5 years old.

This is my pre-school (Head Start) class picture.  I was 5 years old.  This was 40 years ago.  40 years ago?!

So anywayz, in this long and lengthy 6-verse chapter of 2 Nephi 14, I'm just going to talk about the last 2 verses.  You can talk amongst yourselves and figure out who the 7 women and 1 man are, and what the reproach is that the women want taken away in the 1st verse.
 1.  And in that day, seven women shall take hold of one man, saying: We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach.
Now, I can sit here and think...

We must take upon ourselves the Name of Jesus Christ, so the one man must be Christ, and the women need to take upon themselves His name in order to take away their reproach.  Reproach probably means guilt in this context.  That makes sense.  Why are there 7 women?  Well, Isaiah used the number 7 to symbolize.... uh...  I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Let's talk about The Temple instead :)

This is the Provo Temple.  I took this picture while I was in the Missionary Training Center, preparing to serve a mission for The Church.  Back then the spire was this orange-ish color.  Nowadays the steeple thing is white, and the angel Moroni is standing atop, sounding his trump.  I prefer the orange-ish spire, and I'll tell you why.

When I was that 5-year old pictured above, my family went to the open house of the new Provo Temple.  That is, all of my family except me.  I had the chicken pox.  My parents dressed me in my favorite outfit, my Casper the Friendly Ghost costume, and dropped me off at my Aunt and Uncle's house.  Everyone else got to go see the temple but me.

 Wait for meeee!!!!

From that time forward it was my goal to go inside the Provo Temple.  Spanish Fork is 7 miles south of Provo, but Utah Valley is shaped like a... like a valley, and the Provo Temple was visible to me from nearly everywhere in my growing up world.  That white, shining building with its bright, orange steeple thingy on top was like a magnet to me.

Can you see it? 
From age 5 to age 20 I had a goal to get inside the Provo Temple.  We used to take rides in the car around the Provo Temple when I was a young feller.  Later, when preparing to go on a mission by working the graveyard shift at Signetics in Orem, UT, I used to park next to the temple during my lunch break at 3am.  I had some very edifying experiences there.  Sometimes I would swing through the parking lot and look inside the doors.  When I took my lunch late, I would often see people in white in the front lobby.  Many of the opposition's "don't go on a mission" attacks on me were confounded in the parking lot of the Provo Temple in the middle of the night, looking at that big white building with the big orange carrot on top.

So, what's my point?  What does this have to do with 2 Nephi 14?

2 Nephi 14: 5-6
5.  And The Lord will create upon every dwelling-place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for upon all the glory of Zion shall be a defence.

6.  And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and covert from the storm and from rain.

Ya see kids, the Provo Temple was designed to represent the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, which guided the children of Israel through the wilderness to the promised land.  It served the same purpose for me.  And when I was finally able to enter therein on December 20, 1986 at 10am, it and all LDS Temples really became for me a place of refuge, and a defense from storm and rain, and a shadow during the heat of the day.

Peace be with you...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The plague of pride (2 Nephi 13)

Remember after he received the 10 Commandments from The Lord how Charlton Heston Moses walked down off Mt. Horeb to find the children of Israel in open rebellion against God, and worshiping a golden calf? 

Charlton Heston Moses was pretty ticked off.  I was a little bewildered myself.  I mean, these people saw some stuff, right?

Not to mention the 10 plagues in Egypt...

So, why did the children of Israel rebel so often, and get lost in sin?  Seems pretty dumb of those folks...

Oh shoot!!!  I do the same thing!!!  Man, I hate it when I do that!!! 

I'm brushin' up on lookin' down, I'm workin' on my roar.
2 Nephi 13: 8-11
8.  For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen, because their tongues and their doings have been against The Lord, to provoke the eyes of His glory.

9.  The show of their countenance doth witness against them, and doth declare their sin to be even as Sodom, and they cannot hide it.  Wo unto their souls, for they have rewarded evil unto themselves!

10.  Say unto the righteous that it is well with them; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.

11.  Wo unto the wicked, for they shall perish; for the reward of their hands shall be upon them.

We will all receive the consequences of our own sin.  That is, unless someone else takes upon Himself those consequences.  When we repent, Christ pleads our case in love, and provides the mercy that saves us.  If we don't, Christ judges our case in love, but must abide by the justice that is necessary. 

2 Nephi 13: 13
13.  The Lord standeth up to plead and standeth to judge the people.
Photo by Steve Bloom
Did you hear about the cannibal lion who finally humbled himself?  He swallowed his pride. 

The last part of 2 Nephi 13 is about the inevitable fall that follows pride.  It talks about women who wear too much jewelry, and make a tinkling sound as they go.  I always thought these verses were pretty funny.

24.  And it shall come to pass, instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle, a rent; and instead of well set hair, baldness; and instead of a stomacher, a girding of sackcloth; burning instead of beauty.

Let's all be humble instead of bald, long-necked, stinky girls.  Isaiah is just giving a warning to Israel about pride, which is apparently what leads people toward wrong choices. 

Remember, the greatest example of humility was He who had the best reason not to be...

Next time we'll talk about the Provo Temple...

Peace be with you.