The Personal Homepage of Nathan Richardson

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LDS Stuff

LDS Stuff

I am an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (AKA Mormons, or Latter-day Saints). Here I'll post whatever ruminations or thoughts I want to share on topics related to LDS beliefs, or religion in general.

Sometimes, in a fit of pensive fervor, I feel the need to write down some of my thoughts. Take a look if you like, but be forewarned: these musings are fairly impromptu and only roughly sketched.

  • Revelation and Helicopters.
    What do helicopters have to do with personal revelation and the Spirit? Read on.
  • Three Spirits, Three Churches.
    What's the difference between the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit of Promise? What about the Church of the Lamb and the Church of the Firstborn? What do they have to do with each other?
  • Water, Oil, and Blood. In progress
    Three liquids with obviously deep meaning. I know I'm only skimming the surface.
  • Three Orders, Three Missions. In progress
    How many orders of the priesthood are there? If you said two, you might be surprised at Joseph Smith's answer.
  • Dinner and a Movie. In progress
    Maybe there's more to that common phrase than you first thought. . . .
  • Judge or Advocate?.
    In the proverbial courtroom we will stand in someday, is the Savior going to be our judge or our defense lawyer? Why do various scripture passages give different answers?
  • Intimacy Deafness.
    Who would have thought that a comment from my acoustics professor would apply to marriage relationships?
  • The Triforce and the Gospel.
    What do Nintendo's "Legend of Zelda" video games have to do with the plan of salvation? Find out here.

Gospel Studies
When I'm reading the scriptures, sometimes I like to collect quotes, diagram things, or put passages into parallel columns to compare.

  • Heavenly Mother references.
    This is a compilation of virtually all the references to Heavenly Mother in the Church magazines and curriculum from 1971 to 2002.
  • The Book of Zenos.
    This is a collection of all the times the prophet Zenos is quoted in the Book of Mormon, formatted with chapter headings and all, as it might have been if the original book had made it into the Old Testament. Heck, if you want, print it out and stick it in your scriptures—canonize it!
  • War Chapters Harmony.
    There are about four-year's worth of parallel accounts in the war chapters of Alma. This was an attempt to figure out which events were happening at the same time.
  • Children of the Covenant comparison.
    In 3 Nephi 15, the Savior starts to give a sermon. At the end of chapter 16, He stops short and decides to finish the sermon the next day. But when He continues with his sermon on day two, He does not immediately start where He left off, with an Isaiah quote. He reviews and summarizes some of the previous day’s teachings first. This document is a side by side comparison to better understand the structure of His summary on the second day, as well as to look at any insights this comparison reveals.

Formatted Scripture
I've gotten in the habit of taking sections of scripture and reformatting them. It helps me notice things that I might miss otherwise. I actually didn't originally intend to ever share these. I think it would be more useful for individuals to do this exercise themselves, since you learn the passages so well in the process. But my Dad told me, "Don't you think that's a little selfish? Put them out there where they might be helpful to some people who learn differently." So here you go.

In general, I superscript all chapter and verse numbers, insert headings where there seems to be a natural break, color spoken dialogue according to who's speaking, and put colored boxes around portions that seem to be quoting other documents or that are otherwise distinct from the surrounding narrative. Some of these have notes to myself reflecting my thoughts at the time. Don't take them as doctrine; I'm just thinking out loud.

By all means, if you disagree with some of my divisions or headings or comments, change them, please! Make your own version of these reformatted passages. That's the whole point of this exercise: to start looking at the scriptures more closely.

  • Moses.
    This version highlights things such as what appears to be Enoch's lengthy quote from the Book of Remembrance.
  • Acts.
    My New Testament teacher, Jeffrey Chadwick, says that that book of Acts would make a great movie or mini-series some day. After reading this book for the first time, I agree. It's exciting!
  • Revelation.
    I read an article by Gerald N. Lund about the book of Revelation and its structure ("Things which Must Surely Come to Pass," from A Symposium on the New Testament [SLC: TCoJCoLDS, 1984, p. 114–21]; in Selected Writings of Gerald N. Lund [SLC: Deseret, 1999], p. 60–80. It was so helpful that I used it to format the whole book. One of the most helpful insights was that "the chronological narrative of the vision is interrupted periodically with 'teaching interludes,'" five, to be specific.
  • Zenos's Allegory of the Olive Tree.
    Zenos's allegory can be kind of hard to understand. Making this helped me see the patterns better. I've also made a brief PowerPoint presentation that might help people visualize what happens in the allegory.
    Visualizing the Allegory of the Olive Tree
  • 3 Nephi: Children of the Covenant sermon.
    The Savior gives a sermon to the Nephites in 3 Nephi, but the chapter breaks divide it pretty awkwardly. This version of it (hopefully) shows the structure a little more clearly, as well as showing when He quotes prophetic passages.
  • Mormon's letters: 1.
    Mormon's letter on faith, hope, and charity.