Wednesday, February 14, 2007

New Home

The Theology blog has a new home

If you are a contributor and I haven't switched you, or if you want to become a contributor, email me and I'll get you switched!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Scriputre for the day

D&C 104:
79 And it is my will that you shall humble yourselves before me, and obtain this blessing by your diligence and humility and the prayer of faith.
82 And inasmuch as ye are humble and faithful and call upon my name, behold, I will give you the victory.

Diligence + humility + prayer of faith = Deliverance and VICTORY!

The Seed Growing By Itself (Mark 4:26-29)

26 ¶ And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

"In a talk titled "Planting Gospel Seeds of Spirituality," Elder David B. Haight told of a woman who spent much of her life planting gospel seeds. Her plantings were cared for and increased by God's eternal power, though the mortals "knoweth not how, "until many souls have received the blessings of the gospel. Elder Haight related:

"Some years ago such a precious seed was planted in fertile soil in Germany.

Robert Frederick Lippolt, his wife, and daughters lived in a small city in Central Germany. Robert, a house painter, provided a moderate living for his family. One Sunday, while on her way to the Protestant church, Robert’s wife was approached by Mormon missionaries, who invited her to attend sacrament meeting. She attended and was impressed.

After subsequent visits by the missionaries, she was baptized and became active in the Church. From the moment of his wife’s baptism, her husband grew in animosity and bitterness toward the Church. Their daughters were also baptized, resulting in more bitterness.

Robert could bear the Mormons no longer; he moved his family from Germany to Mexico, and then on to Brazil. As soon as they were settled, Robert’s wife continued to spread the news of the gospel. She was causing excitement in Brazil, for the doctrine that she preached was completely new.

Bitterness filled Robert. He hated the Mormons. He prevented his children from going to public school, for fear they would learn to read and would thus be further indoctrinated with Mormon literature.

Finally, in desperation, he took his family away from civilization to the interior of Brazil. They settled in the remote, peaceful valley of Ipomeia, in the state of Santa Catarina.

Filled with a burning testimony and a desire to share the “good news,” Robert’s faithful wife wrote to the mission president in Germany, who in turn referred her to the Argentine Mission president. She asked that he visit Brazil. President Reinhold Stoof visited Brazil in 1927 and reported that much success could be realized among the German-speaking people of Brazil.

From the tiny seeds sown by missionaries in Germany and carried across the Atlantic, the First Presidency established a mission in Brazil in February 1935. The work now flourishes. Hundreds, then thousands heard the good news. Now there are four missions in Brazil and four stakes of Zion.

Even Robert Frederick, the once bitter husband and father, was eventually touched by the seed of truth, for at the age of 83 he was carried in his wooden rocking chair to the nearby River Rio de Peixe and baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Mothers and fathers need to plant the seeds of the gospel firmly in the hearts of their children, to create in them a desire to serve and also to know how to serve—seeds of hard work, seeds of courtesy, seeds of thrift.

Then, deep in their hearts, your sons and daughters need to have planted the more valuable seeds of spirituality—the seeds of cleanliness, the seeds of love, the seeds of virtue, the seeds of courage." (Understanding the Parables of Jesus Christ, p. 16-17)

I was really impressed when I read this talk yesterday! It's amazing that the sucess in Brazil started with just one faithful woman! There are now at least 27 missions in Brazil and 4 temples.

Recife Brazil Temple

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thank you!

I have so been wanting to join in on these discussions but as of yet have not done any of the reading. I know I have the CES book somewhere but I can't seem to find it (probably what happens to most of us after 2 moves, across the country, in 1 year).

Anyway, I just want to thank those of you who have been studying and who have shared your thoughts. I love to hear what others are thinking and gaining from scripture study. Sometimes, with kids and all, I don't feel like I get a whole lot out of it. When I read what your thoughts are, I think, ya...I really felt that too. It helps me recognize what promptings I recieve when I study.

Thank You!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I was studying last night the story of the lady with the issue of blood where she comes up and touches Christ's robe and is healed. He confronts her on it and tells her, "Daughter, be of good comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole." (Matt 9:22, Mark 5:34, Luke 8:48)

A lot of thoughts went through my head as I read those familiar passages. They definitely spoke directly to me as I studied last night. Faith has definitely healed many wounds in my life.

(I can't get my thoughts together beyond that. Its hard to put into words what some things mean to me.)


PS--If you are studying with the Understanding the Parables of Jesus Christ book, make a note of where the parables start in the Teachings of the Apostles book (Chapter 10). For me its easier to read everything congruent with each other.

I had to take a photo of all the books I'm simultaneously studying! I have to have post-it notes all over the place to keep me on track! But I'm really enjoying the study!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


OK, so this isn't from this week's reading, but I was particularly touched by a passage in Luke 1 where Zacharias is prophesying about his son John and also about the Savior, whose purpose was:

77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

I had never noticed these verses before. They're so beautiful. I feel like this is exactly what the Savior has done in my life. He's given me knowledge and experience of salvation through the tender mercy of repentence. There have been many times in my life when I've felt His love and a testimony of the atonement like a dayspring in the darkness of my circumstances. And I've never felt so much peace as when I'm doing what I know He wants me to do. I guess it just shocks me a little when I read something that so concisely reflects my own experiences.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


I’ve read this one somewhere else before, but it’s worth repeating:

“As far as the guilty “getting away” with their sins, my colleague Larry Dahl has offered an illustration worthy of repetition here. A young, unmarried couple he knew had become sexually involved. After some time, an unexpected pregnancy, and no small scandal, they repented, were married civilly, and a year later were sealed in the temple. But some of the local sisters were indignant at how “easily” this pair had gotten off. One sister was overheard to say, “Well, if it’s that easy to get away with it, why don’t we all just have our fun and then repent when we get caught?”

The mistake this sister makes, as Brother Dahl points out, is in thinking that sin is something desirable and that those who sin and repent somehow enjoy an advantage over those who do not sin. Her reaction was not one of moral superiority—it was the envy of a carnal nature positively drooling over the goodies others got to enjoy and anger because she couldn’t have them too. In short, she was green with envy. In her case, sexual misconduct was something she wanted to do but didn’t “get” to do, and she felt cheated.

Of course, the correct view is that the righteous who have kept the commandments “get” to live faithfully, “get” to have the companionship of the Spirit, and “get” to become more Christlike, while the poor sinners around us are stuck in the mud until they repent. The recently repentant should envy us our uninterrupted service to the Master rather than us envying their recent bondage to the adversary. The proper perspective is that I “got” to enjoy a relationship with Christ for thirty years, while that poor soul has enjoyed life in Christ only for thirty days. I am way ahead of him or her, not behind. I think I’m behind or at a disadvantage only if my hidden value system puts a higher desirability on wickedness than on righteousness! It’s a matter of which you really feel is best—the life of sin or life in Christ. If the former, then letting sinners off the hook bothers you, and you want them to suffer (to balance out all that extra fun and pleasure they had and you didn’t). If the latter, then you know that their sinful lifestyle was already its own punishment, and you rejoice with the angles over those who have repented and been redeemed.” (Following Christ, Stephen E. Robinson, p. 88-89)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Week 1

It was a little hard getting into the new lesson book this week. I ordered the "Joseph Smith's 'New Translation' of the Bible" book, but it hasn't arrived yet and I wanted to study the versions side by side without all the headache of switching pages all over the place.

So to keep myself busy I started reading the book "Following Christ" by Stephen E. Robinson instead. It is FANTASTIC! I've read 80 pages in two days! He writes in a way that reminds me of C.S. Lewis' writings (Mere Christianity to be exact). I love the way he puts things into parables that are easier to understand than what they would be on their own.

Here's a part that stood out in today's reading:

"Where once we lived and talked with heavenly parents for thousands, perhaps millions, of years, suddenly we have been separated from that divine influence. What comfort, what security must our parents have given us as we grew up under their loving care. How much a part of our lives they must have become in those premortal aeons. Now, like homesick freshmen, we suffer from a tremendous separation anxiety, a sense of loss brought about by the Fall, but because the veil has been drawn over our minds, we cannot remember what it is that we so desperately miss. The resulting condition might be called severe spiritual trauma, like being hit on the head, kidnapped, and waking up as a slave with amnesia in Timbuktu. In our spiritually more sensitive moments, we may feel that something isn’t quite right about all this, but until we find and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ we can’t really know what is wrong with this life or how to fix it. Somewhere deep within us, we grieve for the loss of a home and a life we cannot remember. We only feel the loss in our bones."

Monday, January 01, 2007

Blogger Beta

This blog is now on the new blogger. I think you'll have to update your current blog to the new beta to post. SORRY! I hate change too!!!

Sunday, December 31, 2006


Back at RedCliff the basic skill all students began their program with was fire making. It was essential for making food and keeping warm. We used the Bow Drill form of making fire. It is hard to learn and hard to master, but most staff could make fire within a few weeks of working. I understood all the elements of bow drill fire making. I was very good at teaching students how to make fire. But for the life of me I couldn’t make a fire of my own. After a month or two of trying it became embarrassing to not know how to make fire. Nathan or a student would always make the daily fire and it was unknown to anyone beside Nathan that I couldn’t make fire. Believe me, I tried, and tried, and tried, and tried to make fire. I’d spend days on our off shifts trying to get it. I knew how to make fire. I’d bow until I had bloody knuckles and blisters on both hands to no avail, I didn’t have sufficient down-pressure to make a coal. I have arthritis-like problems in my left wrist. The left hand is the down-pressure hand and because I couldn’t put sufficient weight on my wrist I couldn’t get the friction I needed between the fire board and spindle to produce a coal. After trying for so long to no avail I basically gave up my fire making attempts.

Sometime after I’d worked at RedCliff for something close to a year a bold student announced to the group that he’d never seen me make a fire and said that I probably didn’t know how to. We laughed at him (yeah right, how could a staff not know how to make fire?!) but the comment got me trying to make fires again.

Nathan had broken in a perfect fire set for me. He found and cut a special fireboard made out of cotton root (softer than the regular sage). He’d made me a perfect bow, and skinny spindles (requires less down-pressure). I still remember the moment precisely. I’d gone away from the group a little bit while they were making dinner. I probably lied and said I was breaking in a new fire set. I got to bowing and the fireboard started smoking. Then it smoked more and more and for the first time ever I yelled, “COAL!” No one paid much attention (a staff getting a coal isn’t newsworthy), but I saw Nathan beaming from one ear to the other as I put the coal in the nest and a few moments later yelled, “FLAME!”

I stomped it out and made another fire. I stomped it out and made another, then another. From that day forward making a fire was never hard, even later when I started working with sage on sage kits. My wrist was stronger and the mental block was finally gone.

A couple months later was the big quarterly Shindig where all the groups get together for a big wilderness party. Most of the entertainment is a series of competitions between the students. The last competition of every Shindig is the Staff Bow Drill Competition. It is the big finale. I entered the contest with at least 15 other staff members. We started in the “regulation” pose, standing over our equipment. Stone Bear yelled “GO!” and we all huddled down and started bowing. Surprising even myself, a few moments later I yelled “COAL!” I carefully dumped the coal into the nest and stood up as I blew into the nest. My group and Nathan were excitedly screaming encouragement. I knew I had it. A moment later I yelled “FLAME!” and Stone Bear yelled “Timber wins with a 25 second flame!!! This might be a record!” I dropped the flaming nest and ran to hug Nathan.

That moment of winning sticks out in my memory as one of the most paramount moments of my life. It was the culmination of countless hours of hard work. No one besides Nathan knew the blood, tears and sheer frustration I’d put into making fire. No one knew how ridiculously long it had taken me to make that first fire. No one knew the downright achievement it was for me to win a competition like that. If there was ever a moment in history where the underdog won, it was the moment I yelled “FLAME!”

As I look back on this year, I think of that moment in my life. I’ve always wished that I could have gone on a mission. I wish that I could have set myself apart and studied and taught and felt that missionary Spirit that Nathan and Amy and Cari all wrote home with. I’ve always held a sad spot for missing out on that one unique experience. It’s a feeling somewhat like how I felt about wanting to make fire and being frustratingly incapable. What I learned this year, and what will make 2006 stand out for the rest of my life is that this is the year that I gained a missionary-like understanding.

I set the goal of doing the CES independent study coursework for the Old Testament. I dedicated an average of 1 hour per day to the study of scripture. On some days I studied for something closer to 4 or 5 hours. It was hard to study that much and keep on track. But I can easily say that what I gained was far greater than what I expected. I found that same Spirit of the Lord that missionaries find on their missions. Like those on their missions I carried that Spirit with me every day. I can’t say that I effectively taught a single person this year, but I gained more insight than I have ever before in my entire life. I understand the Gospel better. My testimony is stronger. My love and supreme appreciation for my Savior deepened. I know that my Savior loves me. I don’t have to look beyond Nathan’s car accident to know that we are being watched over and protected. There is nothing more central in my life than this feeling of joy.

Today marks the end of one of the hardest goals I have ever set for myself. As I closed the final CES book and Bible I felt something like a missionary stepping off the airplane and realizing that everything I poured myself into for so long is now over. But unlike the missionary, a new chapter has already begun for me. Today begins next year’s study of the New Testament. If there is any one thing I learned from my hours of study in 2006, it is this: The Spirit I feel is worth it.

Quote of the Day

“I am convinced that each of us, at some time in our lives, must discover the scriptures for ourselves—and not just discover them once, but rediscover them again and again.”

~President Kimball

Thursday, December 28, 2006

New Testament Reading List 2007

OK! Here is the week-by-week list that I came up with. It's not flawless, and it's not totally chronological, but I tried my best to keep things together! (See the first post for links to each book)

~CES 211 = The Life and Teachings of Jesus & his Apostles.
~CES 212 = Same book, 2nd half
~PJC = Understanding the Parables of Jesus Christ
~JtC = Jesus the Christ
~UBR = Understanding the Book of Revelation
~The New Testament chapters to be read weekly are the ones congruent with the CES and Parry books (it lists them at the beginning of each chapter).

Email me and I'll send you an Excel copy of the list. It's easier to read and can be kept in the book to keep you on track!


Jan 1 - 6
CES 211--Ch. 1,2,3

Jan 7 - 13
CES 211--Ch. 4,5,6

Jan 14 - 20
CES 211--Ch. 7,8,9

Jan 21 - 27
CES 211--Ch. 10,11,12

Jan 28 - Feb 3
PJC--Ch. 1,2,3

Feb 4 - 10
PJC--Ch. 4,5,6

Feb 11 - 17
PJC--Ch. 7,8,9

Feb 18 - 24
CES 211--Ch 13,14,15

Feb 25 - Mar 3
CES 211--Ch 16,17,18

Mar 4 - 10
PJC--Ch. 10,11,12

Mar 11 - 17
PJC--Ch. 13,14,15

Mar 18 - 24
PJC--Ch. 16,17,18

Mar 25 - 31
PJC--Ch. 19,20,21

Apr 1 - 7
CES 211--Ch. 19,20,21

Apr 8 - 14
PJC--Ch. 22,23,24

Apr 15 - 21
PJC--Ch. 25,26,27

Apr 22 - 28
CES 211--Ch. 22,23,24

Apr 29 - May 5

May 6 - 12
CES 211 25,26,27,28

May 13 - 19
JtC--Ch. 1-5

May 20 - 26
JtC--Ch. 6-8

May 27 - Jun 2
JtC--Ch. 9-11

Jun 3 - 9
JtC--Ch. 12-14

Jun 10 - 16
JtC--Ch. 15-17

Jun 17 - 23
JtC--Ch. 18-19

Jun 24 - 30
JtC--Ch. 20-21

Jul 1 - 7
JtC--Ch. 22-24

Jul 8 - 14
JtC--Ch. 25-26

Jul 15 - 21
JtC--Ch. 27-28

Jul 22 - 28
JtC--Ch. 29-30

Jul 29 - Aug 4
JtC--Ch. 31-32

Aug 5 - 11
JtC--Ch. 33-34

Aug 12 - 18
JtC--Ch. 35-37

Aug 19 - 25
JtC--Ch. 38-39

Aug 26 - Sept 1
JtC--Ch. 40-42

Sept 2 - 8
CES 212--Ch 29,30,31

Sept 9 - 15
CES 212--Ch. 32,33,34

Sept 16 - 22
CES 212--Ch. 35,36,37

Sept 23 - 29
CES 212--Ch. 38,39,40

Sept 30 - Oct 6
CES 212--Ch. 41,42,43

Oct 7 - 13
CES 212--Ch. 44,45,46

Oct 14 - 20
CES 212--Ch. 47,48,49

Oct 21 - 27
CES 212--Ch. 50,51,52,53

Oct 28 - Nov 3
CES 212--Ch. 54 UBR 1,2,3

Nov 4 - 10
CES 212--Ch. 55 UBR 4,5,6

Nov 11 - 17
CES 212--Ch. 55 UBR 7,8,9

Nov 18- 24
CES 212--Ch. 55 UBR 10,11,12

Nov 25 - Dec 1
CES 212--Ch. 55 UBR 13,14,15

Dec 2 - 8
CES 212--Ch. 55 UBR 16,17,18

Dec 9 - 15
CES 212--Ch. 56 UBR 19,20,21

Dec 16 - 22
CES 212--Ch. 26 UBR 22

Dec 23 - 31
Catch-up week!


Welcome to Theology 101. The goal for 2007 is an intensive study of the New Testament. I'm really excited about this goal and I look forward to sharing ideas with anyone who wants to come on this year-long trek with me!

I'm compiling a week-by-week reading list. Having it set in that format helped me out tremendously last year as I studied the Old Testament. The books I'm including in this years reading are:

~The New Testament (King James Version (online) & Joseph Smith's "New Translation" of the Bible[JST]) (online)

If you have other books that would fit in with this years study, please let me know.

I'll post the week-by-week guide as soon as it is done.

I'd like this to be a community blog. If you would like to join the discussion, email me at and I'll add you! More opinions make for a better study!