Saturday Afternoon Session: Open General Conference Thread

April 1, 2006 | 128 comments
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Ready for Round Two? Here is the open thread for the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference.

128 Responses to Saturday Afternoon Session: Open General Conference Thread

  1. Gordon Smith on April 1, 2006 at 4:14 pm

    Several people wondered about President Hinckley’s failure to speak in the morning session. I just checked the Church’s website, and he has made opening remarks in the Saturday morning session of every General Conference back to April 1997, the earliest one available there. I didn’t check all of them, but it appears that he normally does not speak in the Saturday afternoon session.

  2. Mary Ward on April 1, 2006 at 4:22 pm

    I enjoyed the different arrangement of the song “Have I Done Any Good.” The difference in tempo and harmony made me stop and consider the message more than I might have otherwise.

    My husband, who has been pretty much inactive in the last couple of years, jsut said to me, “Remember, when they ask you to raise you hand in favor, you don’t have to do it. It’s radio.” Actually, I’m listening over the internet as our local cable provider has for some reason begun to broadcast the morning session again. Truthfully, I wanted to raise my hand. I told him that way the Lord knows that I sustain the general authorities and I know that sustain them.

  3. Mary Ward on April 1, 2006 at 4:23 pm

    I meant to say that I know that I sustain the GAs, also. Making the gesture, even in private, seemed important.

  4. Razorfish on April 1, 2006 at 4:25 pm

    Hearing the afternoon statistics and having real time Conference analysis is like listening to quarterly earnings estimates on Wall Street.

    — “Convert baptisms 250K in 2005. That represents 1.99% growth…slightly below analyst estimates….”

  5. Seth R. on April 1, 2006 at 4:37 pm

    Alma and Corianton as a model for preisthood interviews.

    But after sleeping with a harlot … Corianton is allowed immediately back into the mission field …

    Well, I’m not sure we want to take the analogy too literally!

  6. SRD on April 1, 2006 at 4:41 pm

    Elder Bednar has given “much quoted” talks in Gen Conference. Let’s see if this is another.

  7. Seth R. on April 1, 2006 at 4:44 pm

    Elder Bednar says that “strong spiritual impression” is rare.

    I’d never heard that before.

  8. SRD on April 1, 2006 at 4:48 pm

    But he just said we should recognize the Spirit more often.

  9. Kim Siever on April 1, 2006 at 4:51 pm

    Mary, I agree. I particularly liked the chorus.

    Seth, how do you know Corianton slept with a harlot?

  10. Seth R. on April 1, 2006 at 4:58 pm

    Even more importantly, Elder Bednar is a “Liahona saint.”

    Who knew?

    Am I the only one not taking a nap right now?

    Final question: If you have a quote from Brigham Young describing a vision and what Joseph Smith said to him in the vision …

    Just whom are we quoting?

    (note: according to the guys who do the graphics for in-conference quotes, it’s apparently a quote from Joseph)

  11. Mary Ward on April 1, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    How many of you sing along with the congregational hymns, even if listening over the internet? Just curious.

  12. Seth R. on April 1, 2006 at 5:00 pm

    Kim,

    I don’t know …

    Maybe they just hooked up for 20 minutes out behind the stables for the “war-antelope.” I guess “sleeping” isn’t really a requirement.

  13. Mary Ward on April 1, 2006 at 5:02 pm

    Seth, remind me what is a Liahona saint and what is the opposite. I once knew but have not thought about it for awhile and cannot recall . . .

  14. Costanza on April 1, 2006 at 5:07 pm

    I’ll let Seth define Liahona saint for you, but its opposite is an “Iron-Rod saint.”

  15. Seth R. on April 1, 2006 at 5:08 pm

    There was a big discussion on the bloggernacle earlier asking “are you a ‘Liahona saint’ or an ‘Iron Rod’ saint?” To grossly chariacature each (I’m sure neither applies to any of our General Authorities):

    Liahona Saint: If it feels good, do it! Why listen to my priesthood leaders when I’ve got the Spirit?

    Iron Rodder: If it’s not in the Church Handbook of Instructions, it’s not true.

    And yes, I do sing along with the internet stream. I even harmonize sometimes.

  16. SRD on April 1, 2006 at 5:10 pm

    52,000 missionaries from 27,000 wards and branches, that’s only 1.9 per unit. That seems low,

  17. SRD on April 1, 2006 at 5:11 pm

    I just love to sing along too.

  18. Costanza on April 1, 2006 at 5:13 pm

    Mary, if your interested, in reading more about this subject (smile), the terms come from a talk by a Mormon historian named Richard Poll, entitled “What the Church Means to People Like Me.” He originally gave the talk in a Palo Alto, Ca. sacrament meeting in 1967 and it has been reprinted in Dialogue and elsewhere over the years.

  19. Seth R. on April 1, 2006 at 5:17 pm

    Wolfgang H. Paul

    Take-home message:

    People who “do what they want” are likely going to hell.

    Russel M. Nelson wants you to put down your gameboy.

    Note: every single Apostle who has spoken today has talked about sinning and repentance.

  20. Costanza on April 1, 2006 at 5:17 pm

    Kim said “Seth, how do you know Corianton slept with a harlot?” Whatever he did with her, Alma says it was “most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost….”

  21. Julie M. Smith on April 1, 2006 at 5:18 pm

    And Elder Nelson brings the house down with the gameboy critique . . .

  22. Kimball Hunt on April 1, 2006 at 5:20 pm

    It’s something along the lines of “liahona”: inwardly mystical; “iron rod”: outwardly orthodox, I think.

  23. SRD on April 1, 2006 at 5:21 pm

    More than just repentence as a theme. It all points to virtue and staying away from the worldly vices (immodest behavior, porn, etc)

  24. Kimball Hunt on April 1, 2006 at 5:22 pm

    Re Corianton’s harlot: You think maybe she just posed for a Maxim type portrait for him?

  25. SRD on April 1, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    Anyone keeping a sin counter? I’ve heard pornography several times, but not a single reference to drinking, smoking, gambling, tithing, or fasting.

  26. Costanza on April 1, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    Did Elder Nelson say something about immoral language intruding into married sexuality?

  27. Mary Ward on April 1, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    Thanks for the reminder of Liahona / Iron Rod. I remember a couple of bloggernacle discussions now. Spent the winter having chemotherapy and sometimes I wonder if the term “chemo brain” is more than just a joke.

    I find it touching that Russell Nelson is talking about marriage and caring about each other considering he probably misses his wife very, very much. They were together a long time and he always gave her great credit. I suspect she deserved every praise and his adoration. A career as a cardiac surgeon was probably a challange to their marriage . . . probably more on some days than a gameboy would be to the couple he mentioned.

  28. Julie M. Smith on April 1, 2006 at 5:25 pm

    Re #20–Yep.

  29. Costanza on April 1, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    That’s a little strange. I wonder if there is a problem with talking dirty in the church?

  30. Costanza on April 1, 2006 at 5:29 pm

    I mean, of course, among church members. Not necessarily IN the CHURCH.

  31. Melissa Proctor on April 1, 2006 at 5:30 pm

    Sort of makes you wonder if the leaders *are* reading FMH!

    Elder Nelson’s is the best talk of the conference so far.

  32. WillF on April 1, 2006 at 5:30 pm

    Elder Nelson’s tie looks cool on the closeup http://byu.tv feed. All shimmery.

  33. Seth R. on April 1, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    Paper or plastic?

    L. Tom Perry chooses glass!

  34. SRD on April 1, 2006 at 5:33 pm

    I feel like there’s a push to get beyond immodest behavior. The counsel seems to be at the core, including coarse language, thoughts etc. There’s a definate problem in the church with immodesty. Again not in the actual buildings but within the membership.

  35. Costanza on April 1, 2006 at 5:34 pm

    Elder Perry gets huge laugh with prop—beats out Elder Nelson’s non-prop gameboy joke

  36. SRD on April 1, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    That’s the 2nd quote today for D&C 59:9 “And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of bprayer and offer up thy csacraments• upon my holy day;

  37. Mary Ward on April 1, 2006 at 5:41 pm

    When Elder Perry and others of his generation of leaders are gone I will miss the stories of the “old-time” church. The leadership of my generation and those to come will not have those kind of stories to tell. Their stories will be different and have a different kind of warmth and inspiration. Elder Perry reminds me of the humble people I knew in various Wasatch Front and western wards as I grew up. I like his stories and the cadance of his speech.

  38. Costanza on April 1, 2006 at 5:41 pm

    Elder Perry’s talk is nicely focused on the central rite of Christianity and the reality for which the symbol stands.

  39. SRD on April 1, 2006 at 5:42 pm

    Why don’t they pass the sacrament at Stake or General Conference? Tradition?

  40. Rjohnson on April 1, 2006 at 5:42 pm

    It’s interesting that Elder Perry’s discussion of the sacrament evokes none of the levity that the other talks have. I wonder if the participants in this blog unknowingly constitute a type of metric.

  41. Costanza on April 1, 2006 at 5:45 pm

    We renew ALL gospel covenants when we partake of the sacrament, not just baptism. I thought that was the case, but I have never found any direct confirmation.

  42. Sheldon on April 1, 2006 at 5:46 pm

    I love Elder Perry’s “pirate” accent… ARRdinances!

  43. Kimball Hunt on April 1, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    I was considering trying to download BYU-TV’s internet feed but I now have to go and transport a pool table for a friend (in my minivan to her house), oh well. Forget the temple, General Conference is where the Saints’ get their true pageantry!

  44. Mary Ward on April 1, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    My Utah aunts and uncles speak like that. It reminds me of the voices I love and miss the longer I go without seeing them.

  45. SRD on April 1, 2006 at 5:49 pm

    Constanza,

    Did you come up with the notion that we renew “ALL” covenants? I’ve never heard that B4.

  46. danithew on April 1, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    Are mp3s available anyplace yet? I thought I remembered being able to pick up hour-long podcasts of General Conference last time. My current RSS feed for that is not showing anything.

    I know … be patient.

  47. Mary Ward on April 1, 2006 at 5:52 pm

    I missed the beginning. What choir is this? The arrangements are really getting my attention. Theire sound is so clear. This can’t be an artifact of my (cheap) speakers.

  48. Julie M. Smith on April 1, 2006 at 5:54 pm

    Combined BYU choir? Is that right?

  49. Sheldon on April 1, 2006 at 5:55 pm

    This choir is plagued by “Choir Mouth” – that strange phenomenom where the choir singers open their mouths super wide in an uber-dramatic fashion, and they do that weird thing with their eyes, where there eyebrows point upward… it looks silly.

    …or maybe the cameraman should stop zooming in on them so much.

  50. WillF on April 1, 2006 at 5:56 pm

    I sure wish that they would publish the details of the music on the website — something like NPR’s Music Interludes site. I really want to find these arrangements for my ward choir.

  51. SRD on April 1, 2006 at 5:57 pm

    Who was the conductor? Ronald Stahlei is the normal BYU conductor, but he’s in Reno at the Nevada State Choir as a guest conductor.

  52. Razorfish on April 1, 2006 at 5:59 pm

    At what point does a closing prayer at a Conference session cross over and qualify as a bonified and full fledged talk?

  53. Mary Ward on April 1, 2006 at 5:59 pm

    I bet if you write or call the music department at BYU they might point you in the right direction. I would like to do this, also. There’s one benefit of onlybeing able to hear the sound with no picture, no distraction of “choir mouth” and other strangeness.

  54. Seth R. on April 1, 2006 at 6:00 pm

    Yes, it’s the BYU combined choirs. And choir-mouth is actually encouraged by some conductors as a method for better sound.

  55. Mary Ward on April 1, 2006 at 6:03 pm

    Razorfish: I have wondered the same thing but not only for general conference talks, but also stake conference and other prayers. There are times when I have wondered if the prayer giver has forgotten to whom he or she is speaking. At times I have wondered if I really want to say “Amen” to what has just been “prayed.”

  56. Mary Ward on April 1, 2006 at 6:05 pm

    “Choir mouth” does help with diction, which I thought was clear with this choir. I used to encourage my ward choir members to do it. My thought was that if they exaggerated diction in practice time, it would help them to be more precise in performance. I agree, however, that it can be distracting to watch in TV closeups.

  57. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 1, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    Choir mouth is encouraged (pounded!) at BYU.
    The conductor is Rosalind Hall — conductor of Men’s Chorus and Concert Choir.
    I think the prayer was longer than usual in part perhaps because they had extra time. Even with how long it is, the session ended a couple of minutes early.

  58. WillF on April 1, 2006 at 6:19 pm

    SRD (#51), I think that is Rosalind Hall conducting the choir. They sounded wonderful – amazing blend and unity of pronunciation.

  59. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 1, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    re: sacrament and other covenants…this hints at that concept and gives a lot of meaning and depth to the sacrament….

    When the priest offers the scriptural prayer on the bread at the sacrament table, he prays that all who partake may “witness� unto God, the Eternal Father, “that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son.� (D&C 20:77; Moro. 4:3.) This witness has several different meanings.

    It causes us to renew the covenant we made in the waters of baptism to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ and serve him to the end. We also take upon us his name as we publicly profess our belief in him, as we fulfill our obligations as members of his Church, and as we do the work of his kingdom.

    But there is something beyond these familiar meanings, because what we witness is not that we take upon us his name but that we are willing to do so. In this sense, our witness relates to some future event or status whose attainment is not self-assumed, but depends on the authority or initiative of the Savior himself.

    Scriptural references to the name of Jesus Christ often signify the authority of Jesus Christ. In that sense, our willingness to take upon us his name signifies our willingness to take upon us the authority of Jesus Christ in the sacred ordinances of the temple, and to receive the highest blessings available through his authority when he chooses to confer them upon us.

    Finally, our willingness to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ affirms our commitment to do all that we can to be counted among those whom he will choose to stand at his right hand and be called by his name at the last day. In this sacred sense, our witness that we are willing to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ constitutes our declaration of candidacy for exaltation in the celestial kingdom. Exaltation is eternal life, “the greatest of all the gifts of God.� (D&C 14:7.)

    That is what we should ponder as we partake of the sacred emblems of the sacrament. As we do so, we glory in the mission of the risen Lord, who lived and taught and suffered and died and rose again that all mankind might have immortality and eternal life.

    Dallin H. Oaks, “Taking upon Us the Name of Jesus Christ,� Ensign, May 1985, 80 (emphasis in original)

  60. Costanza on April 1, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    SRD (#45): I must have heard someone teach it at some point, but I could never find any written source. When I heard Elder Perry say it in his talk my ears perked up.

  61. Wilfried on April 1, 2006 at 6:51 pm

    (57) “Choir mouth is encouraged (pounded!) at BYU. The conductor is Rosalind Hall — conductor of Men’s Chorus and Concert Choir.”

    Choir was wonderful, as usual. However, about “choir-mouth” of the BYU’s choir, I had the experience about two years ago to have a friend from Europe over in Provo and, of course, wanted to impress him by taking him to a concert of the men’s chorus. He was impressed, certainly, but as a musician he still made a gentle remark, precisely about choir-mouth: “There is one risk with this emphasis: artificial perfection. They concentrate so much on their mouth, that they may forget their heart when singing”. I’m not a musician, but I remembered his (gently spoken and well-meant) remark. And indeed, I don’t have the impression the Mormon Tabernacle Choir does choir-mouth. As a matter of fact, it’s surprising to see some in close-up and nothing that resembles efforts for articulation.

  62. diogenes on April 1, 2006 at 7:00 pm

    Kim said “Seth, how do you know Corianton slept with a harlot?� Whatever he did with her, Alma says it was “most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost….�

    I wish people would read more carefully. In Alma 39:4 Alma says that “these things” are an abomination, etc., etc. The antecedent to “these things” in the previous verse is forsaking the ministry. Alma then spends most of the rest of the chapter warning his son about what a serious sin it is to lead people away from the truth — what he calls in 36:14 a form of “murder.”

    In addition to which, it is probably a mistake to assume that “Isabel” refers to an actual person. As Nibley pointed out 40 or 50 years ago, “Isabel” is neither a Nephite nor Jaredite name, but is a cognate of Cybele, Astarte, Isis, Ishtar, Ashteroth, etc. — file it away under Goddess, which the OT refers to as harlot, abomination, etc.

    Bottom line: Corianton went on a mission to represent the Lord, got involved in Goddess worship among the Zoramites, and not surprisingly, kept a whole lot of people from taking his father’s preaching seriously.

    There may or may not have been any sexual sin involved. Even if there was, that is not what Alma “has against” his son.

  63. Blain on April 1, 2006 at 7:04 pm

    25 — Pres. Monson talked about immorality, porn and drugs this morning.

    42 — Yeah, I hadn’t noticed, but he’s got the Icelandic “ar” for “or” thing going on. Watch for it in words like “Spanish Fark.” Utah dialects are very interesting to study because the history of them is very traceable. It makes American dialect maps very interesting, because you can trace things from the East Coast to the Midwest, and then they appear on the West Coast, with these strange things going on in the Jello Belt that they don’t really talk about.

  64. another viewer on April 1, 2006 at 7:11 pm

    Re #62–yes, but Bruce R McConkie’s canonized headnote to Alma 39 equates “these things” with sexual sin. There is also some scholarly thought that Isabel was a temple harlot, which is more abominable than normal harlotry in that it mocks the sacred temple precincts as well as the sacred body/temple.

  65. annegb on April 1, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    #7 Seth, they all seemed especially emotional to me today. Did you get that impression?

  66. Sandefur Schmidt on April 1, 2006 at 7:14 pm

    It is interesting to read comments about “choir mouth” from music appreciators, but perhaps not vocally trained appreciators. Every choir conductor in the world worth his/her salt encourages, even demands, good diction. Understanding the words is a large part of communicating the meaning, intent and spirit of a song. Try to get good diction and a good singing tone without opening your mouth–it just doesn’t work. As I watched the BYU Combined Choirs this afternoon, I was very impressed with both the musical part of their songs–but also with their facial expressions, which truly showed their hearts and spirits. As for the Tabernacle Choir–they are a very good choir, and continually improving. But do not judge all choirs by them, please. As fast as they are required to learn and perform music, sometimes they are doing well (and are very blessed) to simply get through the pieces. There is often not sufficient rehearsal time to emphasize all the aspects of singing that professional choirs and college choirs (who meet every day) are able to perfect. The BYU Choirs sang Robert Manookin’s “Come, Follow Me,” (used to be published by Sonos) and David Zabriskie’s arrangement of “Have I Done Any Good.” (go to ldsmusicsource.com) The May Ensign, if it follows past practice, will publish the titles of all music perfomed in the five sessions, as well as publishers.

    SS

  67. annegb on April 1, 2006 at 7:17 pm

    #11 Mary, I used to sing and raise my hand to sustain them and go along with the prayers and all that, but that was when I was more rigid and less loving. I’m not criticizing you or anyone who does that, but for me, it was less a sign of my devotion and more a sign of my fear that I wasn’t worthy. Sometimes I forced my kids to do it as well, which didn’t go over well when they got older.

  68. annegb on April 1, 2006 at 7:19 pm

    #25 or blogging

  69. Jack on April 1, 2006 at 7:27 pm

    What in the heck else are ya gonna go after a harlot for? C’mon. Alma flatly states that the people wouldn’t believe his words when they saw Corianton’s conduct. What was it that he did? Walk away? Worship a few strange Gods? I’m not convinced. I think the act of fornication on the part of a missionary, because it was a crime in the Nephite culture regardless of one’s affiliation with the church, would have been more problematic .

  70. Kevin Barney on April 1, 2006 at 7:28 pm

    I had to work today and didn’t see any conference. Is it true what some intimated above, that the GAs are going after “pillow talk” now? I thought we had gotten out of the business of trying to micromanage the marital bed.

  71. Wilfried on April 1, 2006 at 7:45 pm

    Thank you, Sandefur (66), for that helpful clarification and the information !

  72. Julie M. Smith on April 1, 2006 at 7:54 pm

    Kevin, I cannot recall the exact wording, but Elder Nelson condemned lewd talk among spouses. It seemed unusual to me; I imagine there is a story or two or even a trend of some sort that sparked the comment.

  73. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 1, 2006 at 8:00 pm

    #67
    This is interesting, as today I commented on how it is a favorite part of conference for me — to literally raise my hand to sustain my leaders — whether at home, in the car, or at the meeting. For me, it is completely an action of heart. I also love to sing anywhere, anytime, so singing with the congregation is also pretty much normal and heart-felt for me. Why not do all of this as part of the worship as though I am there?

  74. tracy m on April 1, 2006 at 8:10 pm

    Were we missing an Apostle today? I seemed to miss someone… maybe Elder Uchtdorf?

  75. Julie M. Smith on April 1, 2006 at 8:12 pm

    Yes, tracy m, I saw when they panned around and he wasn’t there. I seem to recall another empty seat–but cannot remember whose it was.

  76. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 1, 2006 at 8:20 pm

    #74 — They always have at least one apostle not at the Conference, so that, in case of extreme catastrophe, someone with the keys would still be alive.

  77. Julie M. Smith on April 1, 2006 at 8:22 pm

    m&m–

    Sounds like material for my black comedy thread: arguments in the quorum over who gets to stay at home in his jammies, eating doritos straight out the bag . . .

  78. Proud Daughter of Eve on April 1, 2006 at 8:23 pm

    Didn’t anyone else get the feeling that this was the last time they were going to see President Hinckley in this life?

  79. Lisa F. on April 1, 2006 at 8:28 pm

    Eve — I did wonder the same thing, and thought about how long and well he has served. But I would love to hear him speak again.

  80. a nonny mouse on April 1, 2006 at 8:50 pm

    i think the real reason that one of the apostles is always missing is because one is presiding in the overflow session in the tabernacle… but, maybe they put somebody over there in case of emergency…

  81. grego on April 1, 2006 at 9:02 pm

    Quote:Elder Bednar says that “strong spiritual impression� is rare. I’d never heard that before.

    I think he’s talking about sudden inflowing of pure intelligence, where you strongly and suddenly know that the Holy Ghost is guiding you. In lots of life’s decisions, happenings, etc., it is rare, in general, to feel that.

    If anyone has ever seen a close-up of any great opera singer, you will truly understand the definition of “choir mouth”. I don’t like listening to the MTC for one main reason–can’t understand much of what they’re saying (i.e., lack of choir mouth)!!

    Isn’t it that two or so apostles usually attend in the other buildings–the Assembly Hall, for example? Don’t they usually mention it in particular? But at least it was glossed over in general in the beginning session.

  82. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 1, 2006 at 9:04 pm

    #78
    I was listening to Elder Hales again (missed the beginning) and the way he began his talk with such emotion, referring to the prophet gave me the same thought — just said out loud a couple of minutes ago, actually that this may be his last Conference. It’s almost like someone has hit me in the gut. It is hard to imagine not having his lively, loving persona as part of our world.

    The fact that he hasn’t yet spoken is really something. He usually speaks a couple of times each day during Conference. It’s not surprising, given the fact that he just had surgery and then went to South America (he’s amazing!) — but still is very strange having him not participate in speaking.

  83. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 1, 2006 at 9:07 pm

    #80 — actually, no one is in the tabernacle cuz it’s being renovated. :)

  84. Kristine Haglund Harris on April 1, 2006 at 9:11 pm

    Something like choir mouth is probably necessary for good diction. It’s part of the reason the BYU choirs sound better than Mo-Tab. It probably needs to be emphasized more at BYU because Utah dialect has some very distinctive vowel pronunciations that have to be corrected.

  85. tracy m on April 1, 2006 at 9:47 pm

    I got an e-mail from a friend in Utah who’s in a ward with one of the twelve, and (take this with a grain of salt) she said the Apostle told everyone to watch this conference closely because it will be the last for Pres. Hinkley. I deleted it because it sounded like a Mormon urban legend, but now his lack of addressing us and looking at him, maybe there was something to it.

  86. Starfoxy on April 1, 2006 at 10:05 pm

    I’ve expected every conference since Sister Hinkley died to be his last. He just hasn’t been the same since, and I’m rather suprised he’s lasted as long as he has. Yeah, we’ll miss him dearly, but the man has worked hard and probably deserves a break.

  87. jjohnsen on April 1, 2006 at 10:10 pm

    So the twelve already know when President Hinckley is going to die? Creepy.

    Elder Perry gets huge laugh with prop—beats out Elder Nelson’s non-prop gameboy joke

    What was the Gameboy joke?

  88. DKL on April 1, 2006 at 10:21 pm

    Julie M. Smith: Elder Nelson condemned lewd talk among spouses

    Don’t you mean “between spouses”?

    Anyway, I missed the afternoon broadcast, because I was attending to family matters. But I’m anxious to hear the archive on this one (the archives are posted here). Elder Nelson’s is not posted yet, but I’m anxiously hitting reload hoping that it appears tonight.

    Kevin Barney, I’m not so much concerned with the micromanagement aspect of it as much as I am with the sheer silliness. I mean, what exactly is lewd? Do we have to use the term make love, or do can we just refer to having sex. Can we say screw, or is it just the F word that’s off the table? Maybe we should just use biblical terms (Husband says to wife, “Do I know you?”). Clinical terms like coitus or intercourse are real mood-killers.

    Anyway, I’m reminded of a Woody Allen joke from “Take the Money and Run.” A therapist asks Woody Allen if he thinks that sex is dirty. Woody Allen replies, “Well, yeah. If you’re doing it right.” If Elder Nelson’s comments are to be taken at face value, then perhaps “doing it right” runs contrary to the spirit of the restored gospel.

  89. Seth R. on April 1, 2006 at 10:46 pm

    Pres. Hinckley surprised me at the end of Priesthood session with a powerful sermon. He expressed sorrow at all the hatred in the world (a touch of weariness here perhaps?). Then he launched into a blistering condemnation of racism which he says is apparently being practiced among Church members. He reaffirmed the divine source of the 1978 revelation and said that any who demean or discriminate based on skin color are unworthy of the Priesthood.

    Then he harshly condemned husbands who refuse to work to support their wives and families as “worse than an infidel” (quoting Paul).

    After that he gave an unfortunate annectdote of a non-LDS youth who grew up in Utah and was constantly persecuted by all the Mormon kids.

    He called on the men of the Church to rise above the hatred and be men of honor and forgiveness.

    Well, taken all together, it’s been a pretty harsh Conference for the saints. If you don’t count Elder Uchtdorf’s very motivational talk, and Pres. Monson’s largely upbeat address, all the messages from the Apostles and First Presidency so far have been largely messages of condemnation of sin and calls for repentance.

  90. KatherineF on April 1, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    “Choir mouth,” huh? I hope wasn’t afflicted too severely while singing in the choir this afternoon… To second what’s been said already, it’s done to encourage clear diction and consistent tone, but perhaps I’ll pass along the word about us looking dorky.

    The arrangements of “Have I Done Any Good” and “Come, Follow Me” were identified in #66; the third song was “I Saw a Mighty Angel Fly,” arranged by Christopher Lewis, a member of the BYU Concert Choir. As far as I know, this arrangement hasn’t been published.

  91. Julie M. Smith on April 1, 2006 at 11:02 pm

    “Julie M. Smith: Elder Nelson condemned lewd talk among spouses

    Don’t you mean “between spousesâ€??”

    *chagrined*

    Yeah, well, I’m sure he would condemn it among spouses, too.

    “Pres. Hinckley surprised me at the end of Priesthood session with a powerful sermon. He expressed sorrow at all the hatred in the world (a touch of weariness here perhaps?). Then he launched into a blistering condemnation of racism which he says is apparently being practiced among Church members. He reaffirmed the divine source of the 1978 revelation and said that any who demean or discriminate based on skin color are unworthy of the Priesthood.”

    I wonder if this is the formal-retraction-of-the-folk-doctrine-supporting-the-priesthood-ban that some quarters have been clamoring for?

    Seth, I think you are right about the tone, but I’d note that I thought Pres. Monson’s talk was very condemning for him. (Which isn’t a criticism, just an observation.)

  92. Seth R. on April 1, 2006 at 11:09 pm

    No, no, I meant Monson’s talk in Priesthood session (which was much more upbeat). You’re right about his general address. That was condemning.

    Gee guys, we even got nailed by Monson!

    Is it occurring to any of you that maybe it’s time to shape up? It’s sure occurring to me…

  93. DKL on April 1, 2006 at 11:10 pm

    Julie, no reason to be chagrined. I just wanted to make completely sure. I haven’t heard the talk yet, but if the church is going to re-introduce polygamy, then they’ll need to relax the Word of Wisdom thing, too.

  94. Kim Siever on April 1, 2006 at 11:27 pm

    Costanza,

    It is interesting that before Alma stated Corianton’s actions (and not a single action) were “most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost”, he twice mentioned how he forsook his ministerial responsibilities. But that’s not nearly as exciting as having illicit sex.

  95. diogenes on April 1, 2006 at 11:40 pm

    Re #62–yes, but Bruce R McConkie’s canonized headnote to Alma 39 equates “these things� with sexual sin.

    I sincerely hope that this is meant jokingly — particularly the implication that we should take the headnotes as authoritative, but also the implication that we should take anything produced by Elder McConkie as authoritative. When I said I wished people would read the text more carefully, I didn’t exclude apostles. Especially that apostle.

    There is also some scholarly thought that Isabel was a temple harlot, which is more abominable than normal harlotry in that it mocks the sacred temple precincts as well as the sacred body/temple.

    The actual practice of temple harlotry, even with regard to the OT where we have better corollary records and archeological evidence, is a matter of some dispute. This is why I am largely agnostic on the question of whether Corianton in fact committed sexual misconduct. There’s nothing explictly in the text that says he did so, and you have to make several inferential leaps to read it into the text. If someone really wants to infer temple harlotry, I’m willing to allow that the inference is not beyond consideration.

    But in either event, sexual misconduct is clearly not the point of Alma’s sermon — he is concerned about his son committing a form of murder, which is why he compares it to physical murder and to blasphemy against the Holy Ghost (i.e., assenting to deicide). Not suprising that it would be a serious concern, since committing “spiritual murder” by leading people astray ran in the family (see verse 12) — Corianton’s father and grandfather both started their careers that way, and after repentance spent the remainder of their lives trying to repair the damage. No wonder Alma says “it is not easy . . . to obtain a forgiveness.” No one would know that better than he.

  96. Mike B on April 2, 2006 at 12:17 am

    (Re: Pres. Hinckley’s remarks on racism) Some of you may be aware that within the past month a problem came to the attention of the (SLC) news media that there have been multiple instances of racially inappropriate remarks made at school athletic events in Utah County. This may be what he’s referring to.

  97. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 2, 2006 at 12:41 am

    #88, Julie….The archives usually don’t come out until Wed. or Thurs of the week following conference. HOWEVER, you can access Conference replays at byutv.org….if you download Move media’s player, you can watch anything that has played on byutv, anytime you want. It’s like a DV-R feature…very cool. I listened to half of the first session again today right here on my ‘puter. Gotta love technology.

  98. Robert C. on April 2, 2006 at 1:08 am

    Regarding Isabel (#62 and others), I think it’s worth considering that Alma is referring to forsaking the ministry rather than sexual immorailty, even though I’m not convinced yet.

    Diogenes, do you remember where Nibley makes the point about the temple harlots not engaging in fornication? The on-line Hebrew dictionaries I’ve checked suggest prostitution as an aspect of the OT q@deshah’s and zahnah’s (are there other words translated as harlot?). Rev 2:20 suggests fornication in the case of Jezebel, and I don’t think there’s any doubt with Tamar, but there seems to be disagreement about Rahab….

    Also, although OT usage is interesting, it doesn’t necessarily establish a link to BOM usage. In Mosiah 11:14 the harlots of the priests of Noah is used in parallel with the Noah’s “riotous living with his wives and his concubines” where I think riotous suggests sexual deviance in this context.

    But I think the strongest evidence is in Alma 39:9 where Alma explicitly mentions lust as a sin Corianton needs to repent of (there also might be a rhetorical link between cross as used here and in 3 Ne 19:20 in relation to fornication).

  99. Robert C. on April 2, 2006 at 1:23 am

    Diogenes, sorry I hadn’t read #95 before posting #98 (had to tend to a crying baby). Looking at Alma 39:12 and Alma 36:14 (this one esp.) has pretty much changed my view. That is, I think a stronger case can be made that the abomination above all except murder Alma is referring to is spiritually leading others to destruction, not sexual sin (although I do think the stronger case is that the sin with Isabel was sexual….)

  100. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 2, 2006 at 2:29 am

    Although Corianton may have forsaken the ministry (which is serious), for what reason did he forsake it? Multiple prophets have explained that the sin he committed, about which Alma was so grieved, was unchastity. (Pres. Packer mentioned this concept again today when talking about this scripture in Al. 39.) The fact that he forsook the ministry for sexual sin simply makes his sin a double-whammy in my mind. Also, note how Alma again mentions going after harlots (plural!?) is the conduct that kept the Zoramites from believing.

    One other point…this concept of “crossing onself” ties into the Savior’s own counsel regarding chastity:

    3 Nephi 12:28-30
    28 But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart. Behold, I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart; For it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell.

    For anyone who is interested, following are several quotes that support the concept that the second-only-to-murder sin to which Alma referred is unchastity. There are more where this came from, but this was already too many (I’m not trying to be obnoxious)…but I think it’s important and helpful to just look at what the prophets say. Especially if it’s repeated by multiple leaders, throughout the past century at least (it’s been mentioned over two dozen times in General Conference alone in the past 60 years…and more before that and in other sources) — those with authority to interpret the scriptures — then it’s pretty clear doctrine.

    Here’s one more thought: If forsaking the ministry is really the second-most grievous sin, wouldn’t missionaries who leave their missions early (not for sexual sin, but just because they want to go home) be severely disciplined? They aren’t, but those who violate the law of chastity are. And this isn’t the standard just for missionaries. Breaking the law of chastity carries serious consequences. That in and of itself testifies of the seriousness of the sin.

    —-
    What is there in all of this that prompts Alma to warn his son Corianton that sexual transgression is “an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost?�
    Jeffrey R. Holland, “Personal Purity,� Ensign, Nov. 1998, 75

    To his missionary son Corianton, who had violated the law of chastity, Alma said, “Behold, O my son, how great iniquity ye brought upon the Zoramites; for when they saw your conduct, they would not believe in my words� (Alma 39:11).
    Richard G. Scott, “To Help a Loved One in Need,� Ensign, May 1988, 60

    The Book of Mormon teaches that unchastity is “most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost.�
    Dallin H. Oaks, “The Great Plan of Happiness,� Ensign, Nov. 1993, 72

    Alma reminded his wayward son, Corianton, regarding sexual impurity: “Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord?�
    Richard C. Edgley, “Satan’s Bag of Snipes,� Ensign, Nov. 2000, 42

    One of the most solemn statements about being chaste is that of Alma to his son Corianton: “Know ye not, my son,� he said, “that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all the sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost?� (Alma 39:5; emphasis added). Very few of us will ever be guilty of murder or of the sin against the Holy Ghost. But the law of chastity is frequently broken and yet it stands next to these other sins in seriousness in the eyes of the Lord.
    Ezra Taft Benson, “The Law of Chastity,� Tambuli, Oct. 1988, 36

    You will recall Alma’s teaching his son Corianton that unchastity is the most serious offense there is in the sight of God, except for murder or denying the Holy Ghost. (See Alma 39:5.)
    Marion G. Romney, “We Believe in Being Chaste,� Tambuli, Feb. 1982, 1

    Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., The Way to Perfection, p.236
    Murder, the shedding of innocent blood, is a sin unto death, and Alma taught Corianton that unchastity was second only to murder.

    Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p.62
    The Lord apparently rates adultery close to premeditated murder, for he said: “And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife; nor seek thy neighbor’s life.” (D&C 19:25.)

    Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, p.161 – p.162
    As I study the scriptures, I read of Alma reprimanding and warning his son Corianton, recognizing that his own son was guilty of great sin. Speaking of sexual impurity, Alma reminded his loved but rebellious and defiant son: [quotes vs. 5, 7-9]

    President Harold B. Lee:
    I want to warn this great body of priesthood against that great sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, which has been labeled as a sin second only in seriousness to the sin of murder. I speak of the sin of adultery [he also mentions homosexuality….]

    The prophet Alma grieved because one of his sons had broken the law of chastity. Alma said to his son Corianton, “Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost?� (Alma 39:5). Unchastity is next to murder in seriousness.
    Gospel Principles, Unit Eight: Family Salvation, 39: The Law of Chastity, A Note to Parents, 247

  101. Kimball Hunt on April 2, 2006 at 2:44 am

    I believe that elder Nelson’s warning against too of lewd talk with spouses can end up giving a perfect illustration of perhaps the more esoteric “liahona” approach to divine truth versus that of the perhaps more exoteric “iron rod.”

    The esoteric approach is to accept the spirit of Nelson’s counsel. As all ethical philosophies admonish the transcendence of more selfish of impulses and the cultivation of ones more sublime, elder Nelson’s as well counsels the avoidance of selfishness within interactions with spouses and engaging as much as possible in behavior that’s affirming. But to those who wish to abide by the spirit of Nelson’s counsel, the actual words they might use with their spouses would be less important than the context or tone with which they use them, Nelson’s overall counsel being taken as to affirm as much as they can, by whatever means they sense best to do so, the worthy goal of upbuilding in the spousal relationship.

    The exoteric approach is for people to label some expressions as essentially carnal and selfish and others as upbuilding and loving and to impose a hard line rule so as to protect these individuals from transgressing the ethical principles underlying this rule. Either approach is valid and the “esoteric approach” people shouldn’t think to harshly judge the “exoteric approach” people or vice versa.

    In fact, part of the true trick for success with the more flexible approach is not to rile up the more rigid people over little points of contention but to really just abide by the spirit of the teachings, instilling from them what’s found useful, the gold from the dross (that is, they obviously keep their bedroom shenanigans, whatever they might be, in their bedroom). And the most effective use of the more rigid approach is for it to be done in a spirit of meekness and tolerance, as well (that is, they obviously don’t puff themselves up in righteousness nor slander their neighbors).

  102. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 2, 2006 at 3:01 am

    #101 I think one of the things that sheds light on what he was talking about is that he mentioned the crude language in the same breath as pornography. I think he was just reminding us that sex is sacred and ought to be treated (and talked about) with the respect and care that it deserves.

  103. Loyd on April 2, 2006 at 5:08 am

    elder packer switched “these things” with “unchastity” while quoting alma 39 without pointing out the change. i don’t believe such a change is appropriate for the text. corianton was hardly guily of mere unchastity, he was involved with prostitution during his ministry. while i do agree that sexual sins do need to be recognized and dealt with, i often wonder if too much is placed on those sins, ultimately crushing those who have transgressed, and placing to much on the action itself and not what the action entails (ie. objectivication, abuse, using others for personal gratification, etc.)

  104. Robert C. on April 2, 2006 at 7:24 am

    m&m (#100), just to be clear about my previous post (#99), I was speaking specifically about support in the scriptures regarding Corianton’s abominable sin being sexual in nature. But thanks for providing the quotes—I do think it is important and relevant for us as church members that our leaders have interpreted this passage as sexual sin, though I’m a little hesitant to view General Conference statements as the last and final word on scriptural interpretation (I think there’s precedent for overturning interpretations of scripture, even when given in General Conference, for example interpreting the command to “multiply and replenish the earth” as a prohibition on birth control, or the curse of Ham discussed in Abraham being an immutable ban on the priesthood for blacks). I think the D&C 19:25 citation is particularly interesting in suggesting a link between seeking a neighbor’s life and seeking a neighbor’s wife, supporting a connection in Alma 39 between the murder and sexual sin. Chapters 2 and 3 in Jacob could also be cited as evidence regarding the seriousness of sexual sin.

  105. Robert C. on April 2, 2006 at 7:28 am

    [Please scratch the article “the” in the penultimate sentence above (i.e. “the murder” should just be “murder” in #104)—I’m not suggesting Corianton murdered Isabel!]

  106. Seth R. on April 2, 2006 at 9:47 am

    Alright guys, I started this whole Corianton-sex thing.

    You’ve debated what the scriptures really mean. But my post only referenced to what Elder Packer really meant. I think it’s pretty clear that Elder Packer at least, has always understood Corianton’s sin to be extra-marital sex. I think that’s what he was thinking when he mentioned it in his talk yesterday.

    So, was Alma indeed one of the first of a long tradition of overly permissive mission presidents?

    (note: tounge firmly in cheek here)

  107. Costanza on April 2, 2006 at 10:08 am

    “I wish people would read more carefully.” No, you mean you wish people would conform their readings of the scriptures to your (read: Nibley’s) reading of the scriptures. Not exactly the same thing.

  108. diogenes on April 2, 2006 at 10:23 am

    If forsaking the ministry is really the second-most grievous sin

    No, it’s not forsaking the ministry alone that is the grievous sin — it’s Corianton’s own special way of forsaking the ministry, which is a sub-category of willfully or perhaps recklessly leading people away from the Church. As a result of his forsaking his ministry, “going after” Isabel, the Zoramites rejected the Gospel.

    And according to Alma that would be third most serious sin, not second:

    1) Denying a sure knowledge of Christ (which Joseph Smith equates to virtual participation in the Cruxifiction)

    2) Committing physical murder

    3) Committing spiritual “murder”

    wouldn’t missionaries who leave their missions early (not for sexual sin, but just because they want to go home) be severely disciplined?

    We’re not talking about missionaries who go home early. We’re talking about missionaries who lead people into apostasy, or bring the Church into disrepute, and in the modern cases where that has occurred, they are dealt with as severely as the Church is able.

    Consider this: which is really more serious, and which easier to repent of — an act of fornication, or responsibility for convincing a group of people not to accept the Gospel, effectively damning them? I don’t think there’s any question. Think D&C 18:15-16 in reverse.

    This is not to say that sexual misconduct is not extremely serious, and if modern apostles want to class it as number two or three or whatever on the serious sin hit parade, fine with me. I just don’t find any basis in Alma’s injunction to Corianton support that claim.

    And as Robert C. points out, it wouldn’t be the first time that a long line of general authorities proof-texted a scripture for a proposition it doesn’t actually support (think, e.g., LeGrand Richards and everyone after him).

    Oh, and on the “lusts” point: note that Alma commands Corianton not to go after the lusts of his eyes. The metaphorical qualifier bears thinking about. Again, we need to read more carefully than we tend to.

  109. diogenes on April 2, 2006 at 10:41 am

    Diogenes, do you remember where Nibley makes the point about the temple harlots not engaging in fornication?

    Robert, sorry if I was unclear about this. Nibley makes the point that Isabel is not a Nephite or Jaredite name (and that anti-Mormon commentators try to make a big deal about an apparently Hispanic name in a purportedly Hebrew record), but that it is one of the names of the Great Mother, and since we know that the Zoramites were idolators who engaged in “abomination,” the name actually fits right in with OT practice. He hints that maybe Asherah worship came over with the Mulekites.

    (And, regarding your point about King Noah’s harlots, recall that he was an idolator and practioner of “abomination” too.)

    The business about the practice of temple prostitution is not from Nibley. It is extremely voluminous and seems to go in waves. There was a wave in the late 50s and 60s questioning the bias of the Priestly OT writers — essentially arguing that the winners get to write the history, and the Priestly writers had an agenda to throw the Canaanite pantheon into disrepute, so maybe they made the Asherah worshippers out to be more depraved than they really were. Then in the 70s (maybe due to the sexual revolution?) there was a wave of scholarship, especially feminist critics, who reaffirmed temple prostitution — essentially asking what’s wrong with temple prostitution after all, maybe the ancients were really liberated, and the Hebrew record was factually correct even if the writers were biased and sexually repressed. Then there seems to have been another wave of scholarship in the 80s and 90s questioning whether the previous wave wasn’t just reading their own cultural biases into the interpretation of Asherah/Astarte worship. And so on.

    I’m not about to try to sort it out; as I said in my previous post, I think that either way it is peripheral to Alma’s point.

  110. diogenes on April 2, 2006 at 10:57 am

    “I wish people would read more carefully.� No, you mean you wish people would conform their readings of the scriptures to your (read: Nibley’s) reading of the scriptures.

    No, I meant I wish people would pay attention to what is actually in the text rather than what they assume is in the text. Nibley didn’t make the point about the antecedent to “these things” being “forsaking the ministry,” or about Alma 36:14. You don’t need any special training in history or archeaology (or even literary criticism) to see which words follow other words in the text.

    The Nibley etymological point provides some nice corroboration, but with regard to what Alma is referencing in verse 5, the text just is what the text is. You can ignore it if you want to, but then you’re no longer reading scripture, you’re just using the BoM as a sort of Rorschach blot for free associating.

  111. Robert C. on April 2, 2006 at 11:06 am

    Diogenes, thanks for the further clarifications. I have two further questions: (1) With LeGrand Richards do you just mean his narrow interpretaion of “marvelous work and a wonder” being the restoration, and a general proof-texting approach, or is there something else specifically you have in mind? (2) Regarding “lust of his eyes,” it’s hard for me to think too alternatively here, I’d love to hear you brainstorm on this (lust for Isabel w/o action implied? nonsexual visual lust for Isabel, or something else?). If we’re threadjacking too much here, feel free to comment here at the Feast wiki (where the explicit goal is to read the scriptures more carefully; notice some pages there are very high quality while others are very mediocre).

  112. DKL on April 2, 2006 at 11:22 am

    I never knew that we had such a strong tradition of apologetics for Corianton. The apostasy interoperation is counter-intuitive to say the least. I’ve got a few questions:

    1. With a father talking to his son, why would he only refer to apostasy euphemistically. As a matter of usage, outside of eschatology (and the Book of Mormon provides no evidence for a Nephite or Jaredite eschatological tradition), metaphors are traditionally used in connection with apostasy to emphasize what’s wrong with it, not to identify it.

    2. What exactly constitutes a Nephite or Jaredite name? Since the only source we have for Nephite and Jaredite names is the Book of Mormon, no serious claim can be made about what constitutes a “Nephite” or “Jaredite” name unless its simply to point out which names Joseph translated/transliterated/interpreted as being names from the source of his translation. Nor are we under any obligation to defend any instance in which Joseph rendered a name in a non-traditional (or even anachronistic) manner.

    3. Temple prostitutes not engaging in fornication? Are you serious? I realize that the Old Testament is often polemical and propagandistic given a modern view of history, but when temple prostitutes all over the world are fornicating with their patrons, I don’t see why a special exception should be made for the Hebrews. And by the time Alma appears on the scene, Nephite and Lamanite culture are several hundred years distant from Hebrew culture anyway (and that’s assuming that there is anything Hebrew about Lamanite culture in the first place–an assumption I don’t make).

    In short, the subtlety that you’re trying to introduce strikes me as more of a distortion than a clarification.

  113. Costanza on April 2, 2006 at 11:28 am

    “You don’t need any special training in history or archeaology (or even literary criticism) to see which words follow other words in the text. ” I’m sorry, but the fact remains that the most direct antecedents of “these things” are: 1) Forsaking the ministry in order to 2) go after the harlot Isabel (Alma uses the term “who” to describe how she had “stolen away the hearts of many”, indicating that Isabel was a person, not some composite term for idol worship) which resulted in Corainton’s 3) not tending to the ministry. Yes, Corianton abandoned his ministry, but the most obvious reading of the text, all of your condescending strutting notwithstanding, is that he went after a harlot who had stolen away the hearts of many persons and in so doing committed sins that were second in gravity only to the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost. Part of this involved the abandonment of his ministry, the references to which bracket Alma’s lament of Corianton’s involvement with Isabel. You’re reading of the text ignores (you) or attempts to explain away (Nibley) the references to Isabel in order to favor and foreground an interpretation that focuses exclusively on Corianton’s forsaking of his ministry, as if that event had no connection with Corainton’s going “after the harlot Isabel.” Before you start insulting people by implying they are failing to read the text, please be sure that you are in fact reading the text correctly.

  114. diogenes on April 2, 2006 at 12:33 pm

    With LeGrand Richards do you just mean his narrow interpretaion of “marvelous work and a wonder� being the restoration, and a general proof-texting approach

    Basically yes — all of the “restoration” scriptures that probably have little or nothing to do with the Restoration, as well as Old and New Testament prooftexting to support our view of the Godhead and other basic doctrines.

    (My favorite comeback from a Protestant minister, to all the citations about God’s hand, back, etc as evidence of God having a physical body: “When the Bible refers Jesus gathering his people as chicks under his wings, do Mormons think this means God is some kind of a cosmic chicken?”)

    “lust of his eyes,� it’s hard for me to think too alternatively here, I’d love to hear you brainstorm on this (lust for Isabel w/o action implied?

    I think that M&M is on the right track with the citation to 3 Nephi 12:28-30 about “committ[ing] adultery in his heart” — although since that passage purports to come from 70 years in Alma’s future, it’s hard to know who is quoting whom — did Jesus adopt the “cross yourself” text because it was familiar to the Nephites from Alma, or are Jesus and Alma both drawing from the same earlier text? I tend to think the latter; so, significantly, in Matthew’s version of the sermon, Jesus follows this injunction with a metaphor about “plucking out the eye if it offends.” And both the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon at the Temple shortly afterward include the passage:

    The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light

    But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

    No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

    The bits about “keeping the eye single [to God]” not serving “two Masters” and “How great is that darkness!” if you fail to do so seems particularly pertinent to Alma’s warning about Corianton’s problem.

  115. diogenes on April 2, 2006 at 1:04 pm

    I never knew that we had such a strong tradition of apologetics for Corianton.

    Hardly apologetics. We’re arguing that he did something along the lines of murdering many of God’s children, “or rather led them away unto destruction.” (cf. Alma 36:14). Incredibly serious stuff, and almost impossible to set right. Not a little fling with the local libertine.

    1. With a father talking to his son, why would he only refer to apostasy euphemistically.

    I’m afraid I don’t follow this query. Alma is very explicit, and quite blunt, in versus 11 and 12 about Corianton’s complicity in leading souls away from God. I don’t see that it’s euphemistic at all. Alma 36:14 uses the same language, and isn’t a bit euphemistic. Separation from God is spiritual death, and helping to separate sould from God is tantamount to spiritual murder.

    This bit is purely speculation on my part, but it seems to me that Alma might be classifying spiritual murder as somewhat less serious than “shedding innocent blood” because unlike physical murder — where you forcibly take away someone’s mortal probation without their consent — you can’t forcibly take away someone’s ability to accept the Gospel. They have thier agency, so it will generally be at least partly their choice. But you can help, and knowingly convincing people to stay out of the Kingdom is about as serious a sin as I can imagine.

    What exactly constitutes a Nephite or Jaredite name? Since the only source we have for Nephite and Jaredite names is the Book of Mormon, no serious claim can be made about what constitutes a “Nephite� or “Jaredite� name

    Nibley spent a good chunk of his career on essentially the opposite proposition: since the only source we have for Nephite and Jaredite names is the book of Mormon, that is exactly how we know what consitutes a Nephite or Jaredite name — the question is simply empirical. The Nephites names in the text appear to be a mix of mostly Hebrew and Egyptian proper names, with the occasional Phoenician or Greek name thrown in (Lachoneus, Timothy) — more or less what you would expect the Lehi colony to have brought with them.

    The names out of Ether don’t fit that pattern at all, (Akish, Riplakish, Shiz, Lib) or any other readily identifiable pattern although Nibley went through some (not entirely convincing) linguistic gyrations to connect them to Eastern languages.

    (and, interestingly, a number of names like “Kishkumen” — and for that matter “Corianton” — that pop up among the Nephites fit the same linguistic pattern as those in Ether).

    Isabel is an outlier — doesn’t fit either pattern, which is why the name is such a favorite target of anti-Mormons.

    If you want to argue with his assumptions, fine, but the names are there. The question is what you do with them.

    unless its simply to point out which names Joseph translated/transliterated/interpreted as being names from the source of his translation.

    Actually, there is a fairly strong argument that the names are the only items to come through the translation process intact (together with a few other untranslatables, like curlom and cumom).

    Nor are we under any obligation to defend any instance in which Joseph rendered a name in a non-traditional (or even anachronistic) manner.

    Even adopting that view, “Isabel” is still a cognate for Cybele, Astarte, Ishtar, etc.

    3. Temple prostitutes not engaging in fornication?

    Part of the debate is whether there even were any temple prostitutes, or whether what they were doing was prostitution. As I said, I’m agnostic, at least until I can figure out which wave of scholarship has the upper hand.

    And by the time Alma appears on the scene, Nephite and Lamanite culture are several hundred years distant from Hebrew culture anyway (and that’s assuming that there is anything Hebrew about Lamanite culture in the first place–an assumption I don’t make).

    Again, I don’t see that this is much of an issue. We have a huge amount of Hebrew culture embedded in ours, despite the fact that we are 2000 years, half a world, and a whole lot of Greco-Roman and Germanic influences away from the development of the record that produces those influences. Records matter — which is, after all, quite possibly the major theme of the BoM.

  116. diogenes on April 2, 2006 at 1:11 pm

    I’m sorry, but the fact remains that the most direct antecedents of “these things� are: 1) Forsaking the ministry in order to 2) go after the harlot Isabel (Alma uses the term “who� to describe how she had “stolen away the hearts of many�, indicating that Isabel was a person, not some composite term for idol worship) which resulted in Corainton’s 3) not tending to the ministry.

    New ideas seem to upset you, so I will just try to gently point out that, first, would you really not refer to Astarte or Ba’al or Zeus or Cthulu or even Uncle Sam as “who”? (Or maybe sometimes “whom”?)

    And, second, “stolen away the hearts of many” is entirely compatible with good old OT “whoring after other gods” — misplaced allegiance — as it is with commiting acts of fornication — in fact, probably more so, since actual prostitutes are generally less concerned with capturing hearts than with capturing wallets.

  117. Costanza on April 2, 2006 at 3:32 pm

    “New ideas seem to upset you.” Irrelevant ad hominem–always a very nice sign that one is losing the argument diogenes, thanks!

  118. Costanza on April 2, 2006 at 3:41 pm

    I should also point out that your goals keep changing. First you castigated some for not reading carefully enough and for placing upon the text the burdens of assumptions for which the text has no support. Now you are arguing that we are not reading creatively enough because some of us actually beleive that when Alma refers to a woman and calls her a harlot and worries that his son, and many others have lost their hearts over her (notice that Alma is not addressing Isabel’s motives, but rather on the effect that she has on those who “go after”her) that that is actually what he means. So now we are to be blamed for not reading things into the text! U-oh, I guess I am getting upset again by these newfangled ideas that…

  119. DKL on April 2, 2006 at 3:42 pm

    diogenes, it’s not a matter of arguing with Nibley’s assumptions. It’s a matter of rejecting them as nothing more than a complex web of inane speculation with non sequitor conclusions (nothing new for Nibley). For one thing, even adopting his assumptions, there’s no reason to believe that Mormon didn’t just choose a biased sample of names.

    As far as Alma murdering souls, if we are to take this at face value, then we must engage in a little bit of interpretive gymnastics in order to square this with the concept of work for the dead and Joseph’s later, more thorough understanding of free agency. Alma may well be responsible and accountable for suffering and misery, but the question of spiritual murder is out of the question. Work and progression in the afterlife along with proxy ordinances ensure (as justice demands) that one’s spiritual death is always one’s own fault.

    Regarding immorality, it seems to me that a fling at the local house of ill repute by the son of a man who’s preaching repentance is exactly the kind of thing that would undermine Alma’s mission to the degree described.

    And Alma does not identify the harlot as apostasy, so that there is no metaphor. This kind of thing is what does not occur outside of eschatological literature. Moreover, the tone of his description places the leading away of souls as a cause of his immorality. For example, Alma tells Corianton, “Thou shouldst have tended to the ministry wherewith thou wast entrusted.” This is more the sort of thing that one tells someone distracted by women than someone who is guilty of wholesale apostasy. Again, “Suffer not yourself to be led away by any vain or foolish thing; suffer not the devil to lead away your heart again after those wicked harlots.” This is the kind of thing that you tell someone who has had moral challenges, not someone who has discarded the faith altogether.

  120. diogenes on April 2, 2006 at 8:35 pm

    For one thing, even adopting his assumptions, there’s no reason to believe that Mormon didn’t just choose a biased sample of names.

    I’m still having a good deal of trouble following your argument here. Are you claiming that we couldn’t take — pick a book: the Illiad, Orlando Furioso, Vanity Fair, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas — and draw some conclusions about the milieu in which it was produced based on the distribution of names in it? That strikes me as a rather extraordinary claim, not the other ‘way round.

    And Alma does not identify the harlot as apostasy, so that there is no metaphor.

    Still having trouble parsing your argument here. I don’t think anyone claimed the harlot was a metaphor, for apostasy or anything else. The claim was that the act of worshipping the Great Mother, via temple prostitution or otherwise, both 1) indicates personal apostasy and 2) when done by a missionary can (apparently did) lead others into apostasy.

  121. diogenes on April 2, 2006 at 8:37 pm

    Now you are arguing that we are not reading creatively enough because some of us actually beleive that when Alma refers to a woman and calls her a harlot and worries that his son, and many others have lost their hearts over her (notice that Alma is not addressing Isabel’s motives, but rather on the effect that she has on those who “go after�her) that that is actually what he means.

    I can tell that you are going to have trouble with Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea later on in Gospel Doctrine this year. Give us a call when you get there.

  122. Julie M. Smith on April 2, 2006 at 8:44 pm

    I have no opinion (and haven’t been closely following) this scuffle over the interpretation of Corianton’s sin, but I’ve read enough to know that some of you could be kinder in your comments. Please play nice. Sarcasm, ad hominem attacks, etc., do not help your arguments; they make you look incapable of making an argument.

  123. Howie on April 2, 2006 at 9:46 pm

    Yes, Mom.

  124. Adam Greenwood on April 2, 2006 at 11:54 pm

    Mary Ward, #37, #44,

    Amen. There’s a beauty there that we are able to see now that its going.

    Seth R.,

    On the subject of castigating talks: one very upbeat and encouraging talk was Bishop Burton’s on Saturday morning, on the works of charity the Kingdom is doing.

  125. Costanza on April 3, 2006 at 8:07 am

    “I can tell that you are going to have trouble with Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea later on in Gospel Doctrine this year. Give us a call when you get there.” LOL. Well argued as usual diogenes.

  126. Jim F. on April 15, 2006 at 3:59 pm

    If Julie is “Mom,” then I’m certainly not “Dad,” but she’s right. Some of you are getting nasty. Let’s stop it before it gets bad. Nastiness almost always gets in the way of the argument even if–especially if–it feels oh so witty and, therefore, satisfying. And nastiness on one side is best responded to with no response rather than by pointing out the nastiness, defending oneself, or making a remark that is counter-nasty. Let’s play like adults are ideally supposed to play.

  127. Ben S. on April 15, 2006 at 5:43 pm

    As a side note, I think Isabel is simply a more accurate representation of KJV Jezebel (the Sidonian princess married to Ahab), spelled in Hebrew with an initial aleph, ‘iyzebel.

    How or why the KJV translaters represented it in English as they did (some) Hebrew names beginning with y, I have no idea.

    Some I-y names get represented by J, ie., Jeremiah=Yirmiyah, Jonathon=Yehonatan.
    Other I-y names get represented by I, ie. Isaiah= Yeshayahu, Ismachiah=Yismakyahu.

    Jezebel, as far as I know, is the one of two names spelled with a J in English that begins with aleph in Hebrew (the other being the hapax Jeezer in Num. 26:30) and is thus highly unusual. So, the fact the BoM has Isabel, potentially a more accurate Anglicization of a Hebrew name, is quite interesting to me.

  128. DKL on April 15, 2006 at 10:28 pm

    diogenes, don’t sell yourself short. You evidently follow my argument about names quite well, as you’ve demonstrated by trying to field a counter argument.

    In all the books you name, we have a great deal of complementary information about the cultures they come from. The fact that it is plausible to hypothesize that the Mulekites lied to the Nephites about their Hebrew lineage (as Orson Scott Card does), it demonstrates how little we know about the people depicted. In the Book of Mormon, we do not know for certain if there is a peculur ruling class, a peculiar priestly class, a warrior class, or how any of these may have developed or changed over the millennium that the book covers (the time factor is a whole different problem; 250 years ago, almost nobody was named David in English speaking countries, and now it’s among the most common names–that’s 1/4 the time covered in the Book of Mormon). Perhaps everyone depicted is from the ruling class or the priestly class. Izabell may be one of the few depicted who is from neither. There are an indefinite number of plausible hypotheses to explain the name distribution. This is one of the reasons I have such disdain for Nibley. What he sells as scholarship is, at best, mildly informed speculation.

    Regarding the use of the term harlot as a metaphor, I am the one that said that the notion of a harlot as apostasy was a metaphor used in eschatological contexts. The Great Mother simply is not a harlot in any literal sense.