The Temple Imagery of 3 Nephi

By dltayman, 31 July, 2010, No Comment | Print This Post Print This Post

jbmrsThe latest issue of the Journal of Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture has a wonderful article by John Welch entitled Seeing Third Nephi as the Holy of Holies of the Book of Mormon. This study builds off of and expands upon some of the themes Welch has explored in his books Illuminating the Sermon at the Temple & Sermon on the Mount: An Approach to 3 Nephi 11-18 and Matthew 5-7 and the more recen

The premise is summed up in the opening paragraph:

Worthy of highest celebration are the words and events recorded in the sacred book of 3 Nephi, the pinnacle of the Book of Mormon. This text truly documents one of the most glorious and crowning moments in all of history. The more I study the book of 3 Nephi, the more I come to see it as the Holy of Holies of the Book of Mormon and to appreciate it metaphorically as the most sacred inner chamber of the Nephite record. Opening to view the most sublime public experiences ever enjoyed by Lehi’s branch of the house of Israel, the book of 3 Nephi allows attentive readers to glimpse the radiant appearance, at the Temple in Bountiful, of the resurrected Savior and Redeemer, the Creator of all things from the beginning. Indeed, it would seem that everything in 3 Nephi, as I shall argue here, has been composed to echo and to call to mind the solemnity of the presence of the Lord, which was traditionally associated in ancient Israel with Jehovah’s appearance in the inner sanctum of the temple, his holy house.

The paper takes into consideration much of the recent scholarship that has been done concerning the ancient temple, including that of Methodist scholar Margaret Barker, the founder and leader of studies in Temple Theology. Read the rest of the paper here at the Maxwell Institute’s website.

A Want of Clearness in Articulation: The First High Council Disciplinary Charge

By dltayman, 23 July, 2010, 1 Comment | Print This Post Print This Post

I couple days ago, I finished a re-read of what is now Doctrine and Covenants 102, which contain the revised minutes of the organization of the High Council of Zion. (see here for early versions of the text)

I find this section of particular historical interest, because I currently serve on the High Council of our Stake. For the most part, the practical elements of D&C 102 are still fully in force, especially when it comes to the details of convening and carrying out a Disciplinary Council.

However, In 1834, Church organization was significantly less expansive than it is now. At this point, there was no Quorum of Twelve Apostles, nor Quorums of 70. Presidents of Stakes as we understand them now would come significantly later.

Prior to the organization of the High Council, the General Church Government consisted of a Presidency (with many assistants), and the Bishop. As the Church expanded and Stakes were established, the patterns were expanded, and Bishops were situated in additional stakes as their presiding officers. For example, there was a Bishop in Kirtland, and a Bishop in Zion (Independence, MO).

It was at this time that the first High Council was established, with General Churchwide jurisdiction, and with the President of the Church and his two counselors (Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams) as the Presidency of the Council.

Once the Quorum of the 12 was established a short while later, they were originally established as a Traveling High Council, with jurisdiction only over what may be referred to as 'The Mission Field', or over branches in areas where full stakes were not yet organized.

Early Church Organizational Structure

Church Structure 1835-1839

While the High Council was generally established to convene difficult matters concerning offenses in the Church where one's membership and standing would be in question, I found that the first recording meeting of the High Council for such a purpose was a bit more, shall we say, for a far less serious offence than what would call for such a council today.

In short, an Elder was called to the council on the charge that he was...preaching too loud.


Here's how the official charge read on this matter:

Elder Hodges was being called to account " for an error in the manner of his address, which consisted of loud speaking, and a want of clearness in articulation"

One witness testified that, "Elder Hodges talked so loud at a prayer meeting that the neighbors came out to see if someone was hurt...he raised his voice so high that he could not articulate so as to be understood.” Another testified that, "Elder Hodges was guilty of hollowing so loud that in a measure he lost his voice, and uttered but little else distinctly than ‘Glory to heaven's King’."

While he originally pleaded not guilty, the words of the President of the Council (Joseph Smith) made him rethink his position.

Joseph said, apart from noting Elder Hodges lack of humility, that, even "if he had the Spirit of the Lord at the meetings, where he hollowed, he must have abused it, and grieved it away."

All the council agreed with this assessment, and Elder Hodges "then rose, and said he now saw his error, but never saw it before...He said that he had learned more during this trial than he had since he came into the Church; confessed freely his error, and said he would attend to the overcoming of that evil, the Lord being his helper."

"The Council forgave him, and adjourned".1

Can anyone question why I love Church History so much?

Makes me wonder if Elder Hodges preaching was anything like this:

  1. History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2:33 []

How I Study Restoration Church History – The Early and Kirtland Years

By dltayman, 8 July, 2010, No Comment | Print This Post Print This Post

A relatively short while ago, I decided I was going to pursue an in-depth study of the progressive doctrinal development within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to have a better grasp on its history, using the Revelations as an anchor point. There's a lot of doctrinal folklore in the Church, and one of my key purposes was to identify the origins of such teachings, determining the context of who, when, and under what circumstances the ideas orignally arose.

It's certainly a slow process, time wise, but absolutely fascinating, and has proven to be well worth the effort I've put into it. I thought it may be of interest to some of you to know the resources I use for such a study. I know there are many who have an interest in Church History, but don't know where to start, or where to go. I'll divide my sources into categories for convenience, with a focus on the early years of the restoration, through the Kirtland era (which is where I currently am with my studies).

The Temple: Part 2 – Three Degrees of Glory (section a, The Bronze Laver)

By dltayman, 29 June, 2010, No Comment | Print This Post Print This Post

Apologies for the delay, and still this isn’t the ‘final’ Part 2. This part of the collaboration video with David Larsen from Heavenly Ascents presents the introduction to Part 2, as well as a discussion of the symbolism surrounding the Bronze Laver in the outer courts of the Solomonic temple. Work, Family and other responsibilities have kept me from proceeding on this part as fast as the first, but I’m hoping to add onto this one in the short future.  for those who missed the introduction, this is part of a series of videos illustrating David Larsen’s work which discusses the nature, function, doctrines, and ritual of the ancient Temple, in a manner that will be especially of interest to those desiring to understand the connection with modern Latter-day Saint Temples.

This and the other parts are presented on the YouTube channel for Visions of the Kingdom, As well as  on David Larsen’s Heavenly Ascents YouTube channel.

Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature – Papers of Interest

By dltayman, 2 June, 2010, No Comment | Print This Post Print This Post

The weekend of November 20-23, the Society of Biblical Literature will be hosting their massive annual meeting in Atlanta, GA. Daniel McClellan, who has more than one paper being presented, has compiled a list of papers and sessions that would be especially of interest to latter-day saints. Of special note is a presentation by Margaret Barker speaking as a response to Hugh Nibley’s classic ‘Christian Envy of the Temple’.

My wife says attendance would be an appropriate Birthday gift for me, so if the stars all align, I hope to be there! Go here for registration information. Note that there’s a special reduced rate for spouses…my beloved may potentially be coming with me as well!

Also, right now the SBL member price for signup is $100 less than that for a non-member. An annual associate membership only costs $60, so signing up for a membership would not only get you all the membership benefits, but also save you about $35!

Here’s the list as presented by Dan:


The program book for this November’s annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Atlanta, Ga. is available online here. I’d like to list some papers and sessions I think are of general or particular interest to Latter-day Saints. If the session isn’t listed you can just search for the name in the program book. You can read each paper’s abstract by clicking on its title in the program book. Let me know if you have any questions or comments. (If you can’t figure out how it’s relevant, the author is probably LDS.)

Tod R Harris, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Still Water, Rushing Water: A Comparison of the River Descriptions in Genesis with Parallel Portrayals in Old Norse Eddic Literature

James F. Berlin, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—Translation Division
"The Stick of Ishmael": A Latter-day Saint Perspective of the Qur'an

Kristian Heal, Brigham Young University
The Irresistible Joseph: Continuity and Discontinuity between Syriac Sources and the Quran

Cory Crawford, Brigham Young University
Rethinking the Relationship between Temple and Tabernacle

John Gee, Brigham Young University
History of the Book of the Dead I

Dave Nielsen, Duke University
Singular Readings in the Text of the ‘Unknown Gospel’

Daniel O. McClellan, University of Oxford
El Elyon, Begetter of Heaven and Earth

Latter-day Saints and the Bible
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD

Margaret Barker, Independent Scholar
“The Christian Envy of the Temple”: Revisiting Hugh Nibley's Landmark Paper after 50 Years.
John F. Hall, Brigham Young University
When the Lights Went Out: Hugh Nibley on the Passing of the Primitive Church
Laurence Hemming, Lancaster University
High Nibley and Attestations of Missing Traditions: The Lost 40 Days
Marco Frenschkowski, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz
Hugh Nibley and German Biblical exegesis

Unity and Diversity in Early Jewish Monotheisms
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD

Theme: Key Terms in the Debate about Monotheism

Joel Burnett, Baylor University
What is an elohim? Reflections on Chronicles’ Use of the Term
Larry Hurtado, University of Edinburgh
What comprises ‘Jewish Monotheism’ in the late Hellenistic and early Roman Period?
Daniel McClellan, University of Oxford
What is Deity in LXX Deuteronomy?
Michael Hundley, University of Cambridge
What is divine presence?
Robert Barrett, Georg-August Universitaet-Goettingen
What Does it Mean to Follow Other Gods?

Matthew J. Grey, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“Epigraphical Rabbis” and Epigraphical Priests: Using Inscriptions to Evaluate the Relationship between Priests and Rabbis in Late Antiquity

Aaron Schade, Brigham Young University Hawaii Campus
Fronted Word-Order in Phoenician Inscriptions

Latter-day Saints and the Bible
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD

David J. Larsen, University of St Andrews
Hugh Nibley and the New Year Festival
Frederick M. Huchel, The Frithurex Athenaeum
How the Lights Went Out: The Loss of the Temple in both Testaments
Dana M. Pike, Brigham Young University
"Formed in and Called from my Mother's Womb"
Michael Biggerstaff, Vanderbilt University
Bloodless Sacrifice and the Fulfillment of the Mosaic Law of Sacrifice
Dustin M. Naegle, Brite Divinity School – Texas Christian University
Approaching Isaiah: Hugh Nibley’s Use of Isaiah in Approaching Zion
Stephen D. Ricks, Brigham Young University and John W. Welch, Brigham Young University
Hugh Nibley and the Continuing Pursuit of the Forty-day Literature

Salt Lake Temple Open House…Sort of.

By dltayman, 28 May, 2010, No Comment | Print This Post Print This Post

An extraordinarily detailed cut-away scale model of the Salt Lake Temple has been unveiled in the visitor’s center at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, which allows all interested to see in exacting detail the inside of the Salt Lake Temple. See this article at the LDS newsroom for additional pictures.

I have only had the occasion to enter this extraordinary building once, and was blown away by its beauty. I greatly look forward to my next opportunity, and this is a fantastic resource for those who have an interest in LDS temples to get an authentic glimpse of the experience within.

Joseph Smith’s First Vision As More Than An Origin Story

By dltayman, 20 May, 2010, 2 Comments | Print This Post Print This Post

When teaching or reciting the story of Joseph Smith's First Vision of Deity, Latter-day Saints are accustomed as a people to state simply that the young Joseph wondered which Church was the True Church of Jesus Christ, read James 1:5 which directed him to ask God, obeyed what he learned, and in response received his First Vision, which served as a Prophetic Call, and was the Origin Story of the Restoration of the Gospel In These Latter Days.

This way of telling the story is true, and serves an important role in condensing the overall Narrative of the Restoration. However, once we accept the event as Historical, is that as far as we should go in exploring and applying this sacred account to our lives?

Read More →

Expanding the Vision

By dltayman, 19 May, 2010, 1 Comment | Print This Post Print This Post

Part Two of the Temple Video is still in the works – it’s just coming together a bit more slowly due to additional responsibilities and other such Events of Life.

While the posts up to this point have had a specific focus with Old Testament and other ancient symbolism, I'm going to be expanding the range of posts on this site to include thoughts on the Scriptures and Doctrines of the Restoration.

I've been a self-study student of Church History since the beginning of my relationship with the Church, but recently I've had greater means and resources to study. In addition to my studies of Ancient History and Ancient Scripture, I've been complimenting it with a study of the Beginnings of the Restoration, right now with a focus on the Kirtland Era of the Church. There were some fascinating doctrinal developments, as well as some background information which I think is just as important to gaining the full impact of the scriptures as any of the Old Testament-related symbolism I've been writing about.

I’ve been wanting to explore some of my thoughts and discoveries, and had wondered the best way to do so. I had considered beginnning a separate Restoration-themed blog, but in the end decided to keep it consolidated here.

So from now on, you never know what you're going to find here. At one moment I may be writing about Kingship Rites in Ancient Israel, and the next be discussing the First Vision of Joseph Smith. I've found that there are times when the study of the Ancient and Modern together shed fascinating light on each other. Not only can the Ancient help us understand the Modern, but at times, the plethora of details we have of the Modern can help in filling in the no longer extant details of the Ancient.

I plan to have posts at times (such as this one explaining how understanding how the Pseudepigraphical Book of 1 Enoch was produced helps us understand the nature and purpose of the Joseph Smith Translation ) that connect those dots. Hopefully everything I present will be edifying, and add to one’s love and understanding of the scriptures, and assist in seeing the scriptures point more clearly towards the Savior of the World.

New Temple Video Series: Part 1 – Sacred Space

By dltayman, 21 April, 2010, 8 Comments | Print This Post Print This Post

I’ve teamed up with David Larsen from Heavenly Ascents to present a series of videos illustrating his work which discusses the nature, function, doctrines, and ritual of the ancient Temple, in a manner that will be especially of interest to those desiring to understand the connection with modern Latter-day Saint Temples.

Although I’ve posted my own YouTube videos before on my original personal YouTube account, for this I’ve opened up a YouTube channel for Visions of the Kingdom. This will also be presented on David Larsen’s Heavenly Ascents YouTube channel as well.

I have very much enjoyed working with David Larsen on this, and look forward to our further collaboration!

New Server and Location

By dltayman, 20 April, 2010, No Comment | Print This Post Print This Post

I’ve moved the main site over to a new server. Previously, the domain was just a shortcut that led to – however, is now its own entity separate from, and further posts will be presented over here, and not there. Feel free to update your bookmarks and RSS feeds accordingly! Apologies for any inconvenience!

Oh, and don’t be surprised if you find rusty nails and unpainted walls around the new place. I’m still trying to fix it up…