1: "This Is My Work and My Glory" (Moses 1; Abraham 3)
We made it to the Old Testament year for Come, Follow Me! But before we begin with the book of Genesis, we need to make an important stop in the Pearl of Great Price. Moses 1 and Abraham 3 contain what we like to call a “love letter” from our heavenly parents to us because these words give us a greater understanding of our divine potential. So grab your scriptures, and let's dig into the Pearl of Great Price.
Testament = Covenant
“It is a miracle that the Bible literally contains within its pages the converting, healing Spirit of Christ, which has turned men’s hearts for centuries, leading them to pray, to choose right paths, and to search to find their Savior” (M. Russell Ballard, “The Miracle of the Holy Bible,” April 2007 general conference).
Background of the organization of the Old Testament:
“. . . over the years several efforts were made to collect and organize the authentic inspired words of the prophets. One important effort happened during the third to second century BC. The original language of most of the Old Testament was Hebrew, but at this time Jewish scholars translated the Old Testament writings into Greek and decided to organize them categorically. This Greek version of the Old Testament, referred to as the Septuagint, was the version commonly used by the Jews in the Savior’s day. The order of the books in the King James Version of the Old Testament today follows this same organization” (“Lesson 5: The Bible,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Material, 2018)
Organization of the Bible:
Genesis–Deuteronomy: The Law
Joshua–Esther: The History
Job–Song of Solomon: The Poetry
Isaiah–Malachi: The Prophets
The Hebrew Bible or TANAKH organization:
T=Torah= Genesis–Deuteronomy: The Law
NA=Nevi'im=The Prophets (this division includes the books which cover the time from the entrance of the Israelites into the Land of Israel until the Babylonian captivity of Judah)
Kh= Ketuvim= The Writings (Poetic books= Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Ruth, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles)
“Joseph Smith taught that ‘many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled.’ He also said that the Bible was correct as ‘it came from the pen of the original writers,’ but that ‘ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors’” (History of the Church, 1:245; 6:57) (Bible Dictionary, Bible).
“It's been assumed, because the Pearl of Great Price is a little, thin book, that anybody can handle it and write a commentary about it. Actually it is the most difficult and portentous of our scriptures, and we can't begin to approach the ancient aspects of this most difficult of books unless we know a lot more than we do now. The Prophet Joseph says, ‘The things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out.’ It's no small thing to approach a writing like the Pearl of Great Price” (Stephen D Ricks & Hugh Nibley, Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol. 2: Enoch the Prophet, Deseret Book, 1986, 3).
Moses 1:4, 6
Demuth=Similitude: In the likeness of, to be like, to resemble (this is our word of the week).
“Never forget, my dear young friends, that you really are a child of God who has inherited something of His divine nature, one whom He loves and desires to help and bless. I pray that our Heavenly Father will bless you. May He smile with favor upon you. May you walk in His paths and follow His teachings” (President Gordon B. Hinckley, “You Are a Child of God,” April 2003 general conference).
Kolob=The nearest star to God’s throne (see Bible Dictionary).
“At first glance, it may appear that Abraham is dealing with two separate ideas, each deserving a chapter of its own. A more careful reading, however, reveals that the second part of the chapter is a deliberate restatement of the first. Each principle describing the relationship of one star or planet to another proves to be equally descriptive of the nature and relationship of pre-earth spirits one to another. The revelation on planets ends in the eighteenth verse where the revelation on pre-earth spirits begins. The two parts of the revelation are welded at that point with the words ‘as, also,’ which is simply to say what is true of the stars is ‘also’ true of the spirits” (Joseph F. McConkie, “The Heavens Testify of Christ,” in Studies in Scripture: Volume Two, the Pearl of Great Price, ed. Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson , 239–40).
“. . . the word intelligent often refers to the light and truth an individual has received. We gain intelligence, or light and truth, by obeying God’s commandments; thus, the more obedient we are, the greater our intelligence can be. (See D&C 93:28, 36.) Jesus Christ is nearest to an most like Heavenly Father because of the light and truth He has received through His perfect obedience” (Lesson 24: Abraham 3,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Material).
“So, sisters, what about us? What about you and me? Is it possible that we were among the noble and great? I have to tell you, I believe it is more than possible. The Prophet Joseph taught that "every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose . . . before this world was." President Spencer W. Kimball added that "in the world before we came here, faithful women were given certain assignments." I simply cannot imagine that we who have been to bear and rear and lead and love a chosen generation of children and youth this late in the final dispensation were not among those deemed noble and great.
“Noble and great. Courageous and determined. Faithful and fearless. That is who you are, and that is who you have always been. Understanding that truth can change your life, because this knowledge carries a confidence that cannot be duplicated any other way. I doubt many of us feel noble or great.
“But then neither did Enoch, who was stunned when the Lord called him into service: "Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech? (Moses 6:31)” (Sister Sheri Dew “Knowing Who you Are and Who you Have Always Been” 2001 BYU Women’s Conference).
Holy Moly, we did it! We made it to the Old Testament. You guys, I am so excited! I have purposely chosen my guests today, because their intense study of the Old Testament and the discussions we've had have been incredible. Our Old Testament study begins with some books that maybe you've been wondering, Why are we studying here? Well, by the end of our study today, we will understand why we're starting here and the importance of the books we're going to be studying today.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshop Plus Original, brought to you by LDS Living where we take the Come Follow Me lesson for the week, and we're going to dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. All right now, if you're new to our study group, real quick, I just want to make sure you know how to use this podcast. So, follow the link in our description. It's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your Come Follow Me study, just like my friends, Barb Larson and her son Lincoln. Hey, Lincoln, tell your mom to make you a nice treat while you listen today.
Now, another awesome thing about our study group is that each week we're joined by two of my friends, so it's always a little bit different. Toda we've got, oh my gosh, I'm so excited. We have, who we love, the 'sistahs in Zion'. It is Tamu Smith and Zandra Vranes. Hi, friends.
Tamu Smith 1:13
Zandra Vranes 1:15
Oh, and by the way, let me just add, we also have an extra-special bonus guest: we have Tamu's granddaughter who is here joining us. Our youngest ever listener/participant in the podcast, which will be so fun. She's eight months old. Okay, I love these women so much. First of all, how long have you two known each other?
Tamu Smith 1:35
We go back like, I don't know, like roaches in the projects? Like white on rice
Zandra Vranes 1:39
We go back like, Jesus and the 12 Apostles? Hopefully I was I was taking it all secular. Tamu was so spiritual.
Tamu Smith 1:51
And then I was asked to be a host for Time Out for Women. And that's when I really got to know the two of you because we traveled together. And you know, Tamu and I got stranded in Pennsylvania together. That was fun, but I just loved getting to know the both of you, and we just became fast friends. If nothing else, that year was worth it just to meet you guys.
Okay, well, if you want to see pictures and learn more information about my guests, you can find them in our show notes, which are at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. So I just have to start out by telling you how excited I am about this new Journal that we're using for Sunday on Monday. And actually, anyone can use it. It's a Hebrew word-of-the-week Journal. So I went through all the lessons for this whole year, and I found one specific Hebrew word we will discuss for the week. And there are lines, like in a journal, so you can just record your thoughts and impressions as well as your takeaway at the end.
And so if you have your Hebrew word of the week, your Sunday on Monday notebook, open it up to this week, because we are going to talk about and cover so much. And also make sure you have marking pens and pencils and a pen to write with. So there you go, just a couple things you're going to need today. But I promise it'll be worth it. So friends, grab your scriptures and your journal, and let's dig in. Okay, so ladies, tell me your overall thoughts on the Old Testament? Like, why do you think so many of us are afraid to study it?
Zandra Vranes 3:09
I don't know why, because I love the Old Testament. I think a little bit about why I don't have a trepidation about the Old Testament is I look at a lot of scriptures as allegory and parable, regardless of whether it's explicitly said in there. So when I read the Old Testament, I'm just looking for the lesson that God has for me, regardless of if I'm confused about all the minutiae. It can be confusing, like, how did Noah get all those animals on the ark? Why did he take two mosquitoes? What was the purpose?
Yeah, oh, I love how you just said that. I will say in the time that I've known you, you have the gift of being objective. You can look at something and take it for what it needs to be taken for. Uh, what about you, Tamu? What is it about the Old Testament? Are people afraid of it? What are your thoughts?
Tamu Smith 4:08
Well, I grew up in a Pentecostal church. And you learn to fear God and everything around that. And so that's why you behave in a very well manner, because you are afraid of everything, especially the Old Testament where God just was the god of 'I will destroy everything, cuz y'all are sinful and evil.' And so that's the perspective that I grew up with with the Old Testament.
And it actually wasn't until a few years ago, having a conversation with you and other people, where you're like, I love the Old Testament, and I was like, What? How? I just wanted to know how did Mormon folk - and I know that, yah, I'm Mormon now - but y'all, I used to be. I used to say, Well how did Mormon folk teach kids to love the Old Testament? That was the book that I always avoided. If we were studying the Old Testament I was like, I just, I don't have the capacity to do it because I don't believe in hell because I'm LDS now. But I do believe in hell because I'm Pentecostal, also. So I believe in 'hell-ish'.
Zandra Vranes 5:25
There's like, we believe in, you know, we don't believe in like, that "hellfire and damnation". You know, "you're going to hell in a handbasket" hell; we believe in that three degrees of glory. Heaven is still, hell is, heaven hell. So
Tamu Smith 5:37
Absolutely. Wherever the hell was, I knew that I was gonna go there like, for no reason, just for no reason.
Just cuz the Old Testament says, yeah, yeah.
Tamu Smith 5:48
I think because of the Old Testament, so I always avoided it. And then when I started hanging out more with Tammy, she was like, I love it. And I can tell you why. And this is what you're supposed to tell people when you say you love it. She's like, I love it. I love the stories. What about the stories do you love? You love Lot's wife getting turned into salt? I don't get it, Tammy. And so, for me, I love it because when I started reading it through my adult eyes, through the eyes of a parent, through the eyes of a caretaker, I really developed a love for the Old Testament. This is Rain, you guys. She has a testimony of the Old Testament; in my family now, I'm giving it to them early.
Zandra Vranes 6:33
Her middle name is Genesis, so we knew that she was gonna chime in, regardless.
Tamu Smith 6:37
Her middle name is Genesis, I forgot that. And so, but when I started looking at how it prepares us to have a relationship with our Heavenly Father, it really changed for me. And now I cannot read a story that used to be so daunting and dark to me before, without seeing it as something that is preparatory for me to have a relationship with my Heavenly Parents.
Well, thank you both of you so much for setting this up perfectly for our discussion about the Old Testament. Here are a couple things you just want to think about. If you go to the very beginning of your Old Testament, go to the cover page where it says "Old Testament", that's where everyone needs to turn to. All I want us to do is just mark a couple of cool words, where it says the Old Testament, what it really is saying, in Hebrew, the word 'testament' is 'covenant'. So this is the old covenant that we're going to be studying this year. Everything about the old covenant is symbolic for Christ.
And then next year, we're going to learn about the New Testament or the new covenant, which literally is Jesus Christ and His gospel that will replace the old covenant. And so throughout this year, my challenge for all of us is to find Jesus, how you're able to see him in the stories, and that is what this Old Testament is about. Here's a really cool quote by M. Russell Ballard. And Zandra, will you read this for us.
Zandra Vranes 8:01
"It is a miracle that the Bible literally contains within it pages, the converting, healing Spirit of Christ, which has turned men's hearts for centuries, leading them to pray, to choose right, ask, and to search to find their Savior."
Thank you. So right now, if everyone can do this, find a sticky note, find a note card, anything, and all I want you to do is right on it, "Find Jesus". We're going to do that this whole year. Our goal is to find Jesus in these stories, just like Zandra pointed out, which I love, because Jesus is there and it's going to be so cool to study these. And so we are going to now take a look at Genesis chapter 1. Look at the section heading in Genesis chapter 1, and tell me who wrote the book of Genesis.
Tamu Smith 8:48
Moses, okay. He also wrote the book of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. And Zandra, I know you know the words to the books of the Old Testament. Sing it, sis.
Zandra Vranes 9:00
(to the tune of hymn "Do What is Right") Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers; Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, and Ruth.
Yeah, I love it.
Tamu Smith 9:09
If somebody had given me a Beat, I would've turned that into, from, it would've went from, I don't know, from KSL to Gospel.
That would have been incredible. But okay, speaking of the books of the Old Testament, we actually are not going to start out with the book of Genesis this year. And you're thinking, What? And I'm saying, Yeah, that's right. In the next segment, I'm going to tell you where we're going to begin, and why.
Segment 2 9:30
The Bible has gone through so many translation processes. Like, we don't actually have any of the original documents on which the books of the Bible were recorded. The oldest known sources of the Bible are actually copies of copies of copies of copies. So knowing that, what do you think would happen if we only had copies of copies of the Bible?
Tamu Smith 10:00
It's the old game of "Telephone".
Zandra Vranes 10:02
Right. Which is why we have to use our spiritual gifts; we have to use the Holy Spirit when we read the scriptures, because we have to recognize that, like Tamu said, it's a game of "Telephone". So that receiver that we have to help us through that is the Holy Spirit.
Awesome. In fact, Nephi saw this in a vision. Let's go to First Nephi chapter 13. And we're going to look at verses 26-28. And it's so wonderful; in these verses Nephi sees the Bible in this vision, and notice what he teaches us about it. It says right here that he's shown the 12 Apostles of the Lamb, and then he's shown this great and abominable church of all other churches, and they took away things from the gospel that Jesus Christ will bring back that are very plain and precious. And I love how 27 says they did this, that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord and blind the eyes. But then verse 28, I love how it says this about what we just talked about. So Tamu, will you read verse 28.
28 "Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.
Thank you. So through that game of "Telephone", as you said, Tamu, there were many plain and precious things taken. So here's what we need to know, and I've been dying to share this with everybody. Over the years, several efforts were made to organize all the authentic, inspired words of the prophets. And one important effort happened during the 3rd to 2nd century B.C. Now the original language of most of the Old Testament was Hebrew. But at this time, Jewish scholars, they actually translated the Old Testament writings into Greek, and they decided to organize them categorically. So the Greek version of the Old Testament is referred to as the Septuagint. And this was the version that was commonly used by the Jews in the Savior's day.
The order of the books in the King James version of the Old Testament today follows the same organization that the Savior would have used - the Septuagint. Now, this is what is so cool. I want you to turn to the page in your Bible that says "Books of the Old Testament. Now, here is what this organization ends up looking like in your Bible. And it is so cool, it totally blew my mind the first time I learned it, and it kind of gives us a really great framework for how these books are set up. Alright, so we're going to bracket off Genesis through Deuteronomy. So in your scriptures, just put a little bracket from Genesis down to Deuteronomy. And label those 'The Law'. This is where we are going to learn about the ethical framework, the rules and laws for God's people.
Okay, then we're going to bracket off from Joshua all the way to Esther. And to the outside of that put 'History'. That is where we get the history of God's people all throughout the Bible. From Job to the Song of Solomon, this is called 'The Poetry', or 'Wisdom Literature' books. I love that because they're very poetic and beautiful. And then bracket off from Isaiah to Malachi. These are the writings of the prophets, and you can just put to the outside 'The Prophets'. And what we need to know about this is these are God's spokesmen throughout the history books that you just bracketed off and marked as 'History'. That's where the prophets come into play.
Now, here's another side note that I thought was kind of cool, because the Jewish Bible is called the Tanakh. And it's kind of set up the same way. In fact, the name Tanakh is an acronym for Torah, Navim, and Ketuvim. And the Jews do the same thing; they have from Genesis to Deuteronomy is 'The Law'. Then they have 'The Prophets', which are the Navim, and then the Ketuvim are 'The Writings' or 'The Poetry' that we marked. So I thought that was kind of a cool similarity.
Okay, now, here's what we know. It is believed that Moses wrote Genesi-Deuteronomy. However, the majority of Moses' writings contain information and revelations from his own lifetime. So how was he able to write about the creation? We don't have the backstory like, how did Moses get Genesis 1? And where did this come from?
So as copies of the Bible texts were made, translated, and transmitted, there were scribal errors, both unintentional and kind of intentional, which perpetuated with each succeeding copy. And this is why the Lord commanded the Prophet Joseph Smith to go through the Bible and translate, restore, and revise under inspiration. That, combined with the Pearl of Great Price - which is sacred text that Joseph received through revelation and ancient scrolls - it gives us a more clear context for the first part of the Bible, as well as reclaiming some very important doctrinal truths that have been lost through the translation process. You know, here's a really good quote that supports the needs for the Joseph Smith translation and the Pearl of Great Price. Zandra, will you read this quote for us.
"Joseph Smith taught that many important points touching the salvation of men had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled. He also said that the Bible was correct as it came from the pen of the original writers, but, that ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors."
Segment 3 15:04
I've been fascinated to read it in Hebrew, and go, Wait a minute. In English it says this word, but in Hebrew it says this. Like, they clearly mistranslated that word and that word changes everything. Like, we'll study that some more when we get Isaiah. But it has been so cool to just really see what Joseph saw and what the Lord showed him, and how grateful we are for those translations. I'm so grateful for the Pearl of Great Price, especially what we're going to talk about in the next segment, because if the book of Moses was actually at the beginning of Genesis, where it belongs, it would completely change the way we view ourselves and Deity. So I can't wait to talk about it, it's gonna be so fun.
Here's what two LDS scholars, Hugh Nibley and Steven D. Ricks, had to say about the Pearl of Great Price. Tamu, will you read this quote for us, please.
Tamu Smith 15:34
"It's been assumed because the Pearl of Great Price is a little thin book, that anyone can handle it and write a commentary about it. Actually, it's the most difficult and portentious of our scriptures. And we can't begin to approach the ancient aspects of this most difficult of books unless we know a little more than we do now. The Prophet Joseph Smith says, 'The things of God are of deep import in time and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. It's no small thing to approach a writing like the Pearl of Great Price.'"
So, we are going to try to approach the writings of the Pearl of Great Price. So good luck to all of us, this is where it fits in. And if you're wondering where's the Pearl of Great Price, if you have a combination, go past the Doctrine and Covenants. And there it starts, Pearl of Great Price. And if you want to know more about the Pearl of Great Price and how we got it and where it came from, we are going to dig into that in Episode 7 with Professor Kerry Muhlestein from BYU. So, stay tuned, it's gonna be so good. And the book of Moses and Abraham contain very important truths, touching on the salvation of men that have been taken from the Bible. And so in the next few segments, we're going to discuss what some of those really important truths are, and how they were restored through the Pearl of Great Price.
Segment 3 17:15
For those of you listening, I just want you to think about this question. Who are you? And how would you describe yourself? I want you to take a minute in your journal, and just write down how you would describe yourself. And you're not gonna have to share it with me or anybody else. But just kind of think about those words: Who are you? And how would you describe yourself? Now I'm going to ask that to Tamu and Zandra, Who are you? How would you describe yourselves?
Zandra Vranes 17:48
I'm gonna let you go first. Because, you know, I let my elders go first.
Tamu Smith 17:52
Oh, if she were here, I would pinch her. (Laughter) You know, that's a really complex question. Who am I? I see myself through my matriarchal line, I think. I am Tamu LaTonya Shashine Thomas Smith, the daughter of Suzy May, daughter of Edna Catherine Thomas, daughter of Susie May Thomas. I'm a follower of Christ. I'm big when I have to be, meaning, when I have to stand up and I have to stand hard for something, I do that. But I, I have found myself to be really kind of shy. If I could sit back and watch and just chill and laugh, I love to laugh. I'd rather do that than be up front. But oftentimes, it seems that I'm pushed to the front, which I don't shy away from, but I'm shy inside. Like,
Zandra Vranes 18:45
Yeah, I would say you're an ambivert. I don't think you're, I think you're a good mix of the two. I agree with you.
Tamu Smith 18:52
Well, thank you for sharing that about yourself, Tamu. Zandra, who are you?
Zandra Vranes 18:58
Well, I'm Zandra. But I'm a person that gives room for that question to be answered day to day. I think the reason why I do that is because when my Heavenly Parents made me, I think that they sent me off on a journey and they were allowing me to find out who I am. They knew I belong to them, and they knew who they desired me to be. But I think the beauty of our Heavenly Parents is that they allow us to become, and so I am 'a becomer'. Every day I hope that I'm becoming more Christ-like. Every day I hope I am becoming more joyful. Every day I hope that I am becoming more of a healer. And so I am a person that recognizes life isn't simple, but each day I try to focus on who I am becoming, and I try to focus on the things that help me become who I want to be.
Zandra, I really like how you just taught us that we are 'becomers'. I just wrote that down, hold up, please, because I'm writing it, still. I think Moses felt the same way. Like he is such a good example of someone who became, through the graces of God. In fact, I want us to turn to the book of Moses so we can see this. And we're going to read verses 4 and 6, skip verse 5. So Zandra, will you please read verse 4, and then verse 6 for us. And as Zandra reads these verses, let's mark the phrases or the words that teach us who we are.
Zandra Vranes 20:44
4 "And behold, thou art my Son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease.
6 "And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all."
Thank you. What are some things that stood out to you or that you marked? What did Moses just learn about who he is? And in turn, who we are?
Zandra Vranes 21:30
So first and foremost, we are children of God.
And He calls him His son twice, specifically, "Thou art my Son". And for those of us women, put daughter next to that, 'Thou art my daughter'. Keep going,
Zandra Vranes 21:43
And that we were intentionally and wonderfully and divinely made, because He uses the word workmanship. And workmanship is something intentional, right? So everything about us, who we are, how we see the world, our perspectives, what makes us tick, the way we think, it's intentional.
Wow, I love that. Hold, please, cuz I gotta mark that. Love that you just brought up the word workmanship. What stood out to you, Tamu?
Tamu Smith 22:13
And also workmanship, when I think of workmanship I think of something that is created, something that is kind of like a whittling with the hands. And He said, He goes on to say that you are the workmanship of my hands, and that his "works are without end".
Oh, I love that. I love how at the end of verse 6 He says and "I know them all." A key. He's absolutely aware of every single one of us. And to go back to what you said, Zandra, who we are becoming. The word in verse 6 that we have to highlight is when He teaches Moses "and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten". Highlight that. That word 'similitude' is our Hebrew word of the week, and it is "DEMUTH". And it means to be in the likeness of or to resemble. Isn't that crazy that we would be in the likeness of or resemble the Savior, Jesus Christ?
That is so powerful when we talk about finding Jesus throughout the Old Testament and finding Jesus in our own lives. And if somebody said, Who are you? If you were able to say, I resemble Jesus Christ? Or could you say - maybe that's the answer - Maybe I'm thinking, Could I say, I resemble Jesus Christ? Because Zandra, I love how you said "every day is a different day", cuz there's some days when I don't. (laughes)
Tamu Smith 23:26
Can you just like, "I resemble Satan, but Satan was like Jesus, too, so I guess we all just related. (laughter)
Totally, I love that!
Tamu Smith 23:38
You know, I love it whenever I see in the scriptures that we are in the similitude of the Only Begotten
Tamu Smith 23:45
Because I think about our individuality and our individual worth. And just as Jesus was His Only Begotten. Jesus Christ the Savior, I am His only begotten Tamu Smith. I love that because we are all His only begotten; we're made in the similitude of the Only Begotten.
Zandra Vranes 24:07
Right. And I love that, like that the reason why I love the word 'workmanship' is because workmanship is not something that is done in a day, right? So why I consider myself 'a becomer' is because God is still working on you. The crafting that He's doing is still in effect. We are still being crafted, molded, shaped in His hand, as He said to Moses. And so I love taking that a step further in what Tamu said, and recognizing that we are His only begotten of ourselves. There's no person that is exactly like you. I just love that Tamu invoked that, that we are His only begotten of us, just as Jesus is His Only Begotten, of our Savior.
I love that, too. In fact, Tamu, it reminds me I have this quote by President Hinckley in the 2003 General Conference. His talk was called "You Are a Child of God". And Tamu, will you read this quote from him, please.
Tamu Smith 25:15
"Never forget, my dear young friends, that you really are a child of God who has inherited something of His divine nature; one whom he loves and desires to help and bless. I pray that our heavenly Father will bless you. May He smile with favor upon you, may you walk in His paths and follow His teachings."
Can we just take a minute now? Because I want us to think about what we just learned. Can you imagine what if this was really the first thing people read when they open their Bible? And just as James 3:9 teaches us, we are made after the similitude of God? How do you think that would affect the way people read the Bible or the way they feel after they read that?
Tamu Smith 26:00
Well, personally, I think they would get a lot further along in the Bible, because this starts off like a love letter instead of a history lesson. It's a letter from your parents, I guess; it would start off very different if that were at the beginning. And maybe people would make it more toward the middle. But when you start off with a history lesson, you feel like it's not as personal. God forgot this, and in the beginning, He did this. And as opposed to 'let me tell you who YOU are first, and where you fit into this creation.'
You know what, that is such a great point, Tamu, thank you so much for showing that.
Zandra Vranes 26:40
It's like when we read journals from our ancestors, or if you've ever found something that someone that you love that has passed on, has written. When you read that you are looking for a connection with the person, you're not looking for chastisement, you're not looking for, How is this supposed to make me feel guilty; what you're looking for is to connect with the person. And so I think if we knew that what we were essentially reading was kind of our Heavenly Parents' journal, our engagement with it would be, as Tamu said, very different. And would feel like a love letter, as opposed to a history lesson.
I am just taken aback with what both of you said. And I think we just need to pause for a minute and think about this. And for those of you listening, write down what you're being taught right now. Write down who you think you are based on what we've just discussed, because it IS a love letter. And it IS a connection to our Heavenly Parents. And I think that is what is so powerful about this theme; this would be the first thing we'd read if we opened up the Bible. And how powerful to be able to read that God loves you, He created you, you are His child. And how you both put it is so powerful and so beautiful, and it is a saving truth. Because like the quote we read earlier, there are many saving truths that have been omitted from the Bible. And this is the most important one.
And what if everybody could just open up the Bible and read: they're children of our Heavenly Father. Done. It is so powerful. So thank you for sharing that, both of you, and I think that will keep coming up. Okay, so in the next segment, you guys, we're going to learn about another point of saving truth that has been entirely and purposefully omitted from all biblical texts. Because this incredible truth gives us power that Satan never even wanted any of us to know about. We'll talk about that next.
Segment 4 28:36
So, recently, my daughter was having a very difficult time spiritually. And I went down and I talked to her and she was crying. And then she said, I just think I need to get my Patriarchal Blessing. I've been thinking about it a lot. And then it hit me. And I said, Oh, my goodness. Just so you know, what you're experiencing right now is a truth that you have to understand, which is, most often when there are major decisions to make, either before spiritual experience or after, Satan will come in with a vengeance. He will try to get you to not have the spiritual experience or, if you've had it, he'll try to get you to deny it. Have you guys ever had that experience Zandra or Tamu?
Tamu Smith 29:30
It is a very personal story. But it is also a very powerful story that I have told at a few different firesides. But I had an opportunity to participate years ago on a worldwide training with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I was really kind of going through having some feelings at that time about our leadership, and do they love us? So participating in this worldwide training, it was with Elder Holland and all of these people from the General Relief Society board, people who were in the General Relief Society, General Primary presidencies, these other Seventys.
Like, I'm in a room with doctors and attorneys and educators. And Elder Holland said at the very beginning, 'I need you to say what you have to say and I need you to say it in a very plain manner. Like, I know that you are all very highly educated, I know that you can use these these words, but I need you to say it so that, 1- it can be translated, and that even our third-grade children would be able to listen to this or read this and have an understanding of what we're talking about.' And so to see him stop at several times, say to some very influential people, Hey, we know that you're really highly intelligent, but can you say it a different way? Can you said it in this manner?
I got to see how leadership spoke up for members of the church that would never, ever in this lifetime lay eyes on them, physical eyes on them in the flesh, yes. And so I got to see how they love us; I got to see how they stood with us. Now, this whole time, I have been on such a spiritual high that my head feels like it's going to explode. And I don't know if you have ever been in that situation, and I didn't actually want to be in that situation, because I went there with some different feelings, right?
So I'm on this spiritual high. And at the same time - it's almost like in the cartoons, where you have the devil on one shoulder and the angel on another shoulder. And as he's saying, 'I want you guys to know that I love you, and I appreciate you.' This thing was saying, Yeah, but not you. Like he doesn't really know YOU, so how could he love YOU? That's just what they say. And then this one was saying, No, he loves you. You feel that, experience that, embrace that. And by the end of his testimony, and the end of the prayer, the voice of negativity won out. And I'm packing my bags, and I'm just like, I'm, this is crazy, I'm leaving. I'm like, how can he love us if he doesn't even know us?
I leave to leave out of the room and all of these other General Authorities, other General Leaders were going up to him and telling him what a great job he did. And he comes out to the hallway and he calls my name. And I turn around and he said, "Sister Smith", and he grabs my face, and he said, "Thank you, I love you." And of course, then it was the ugly cry. But to leave the 99 to go after the one who needed it at the time. And he didn't know like, the whole, I kept thinking, Was I having an out-loud conversation like, what is going on? But that he knew I had just had this spiritual high, and then to have Satan be able to enter in that presence, unapologetically, and talk me out of what I knew what was true.
Uh, okay. How have I never heard that story before? Holy cow, Tamu! Thank you so much for sharing that deeply personal experience. I mean, that was so good. That's exactly what we needed to hear to appreciate this next part of Moses' story, because he learned who he was and how important he was to God. I mean, is there anything more spiritual than that? In fact, go to Moses chapter 1, just look at verse 10 and 11. His experience was so powerful that he actually passed out. I love how it says in verse 10, that he later received his natural strength again. It was so spiritual. In verse 11, it says he was transfigured. I mean, it was an incredible moment. And then here we have verse 12, which is exactly what you described, Tamu. Zander, will you read verse 12, so we can find out what happened after that spiritual experience.
Zandra Vranes 33:53
12 "And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me."
I mean, right there, Satan comes in. It says, "tempting him". And here this whole time Moses had been called the Son of God, God's child, and Satan's like, Nah, you're just the son of man. So I asked Zander and Tamu to kind of just help me tell the story because we have this, this back and forth conversation between Moses and Satan. And starting in verse 13 until verse 22, ladies what happened, what's going on right here?
Zandra Vranes 34:32
Moses and the devil are in a back and forth. I think it's really interesting to get this perspective in the scriptures, because just like how we're talking about, like, you can have these highly spiritual moments. I think sometimes we think of prophets of the Lord, as Moses was, as unsusceptible to this kind of back and forth that we're about to recount. It just gives us so much grace for ourselves. So basically, Moses has been told you are the Son of God, you were made in the similitude of the Only Begotten. Satan is telling him, No, you're the son of man. And Moses has to retort that and constantly go back and forth, and Satan's not letting up.
They're going back and forth. And Moses is affirming his testimony, that he IS who God says he was. And Satan is shooting that down. It's like the most epic yo-mama battle in the scriptures. At the end of the day, that's what's going on. This is a episode of Maury Povich. And, you know, that Satan says, Satan's telling Moses the end results are about to deny you. And Moses has to stand firm and strong in his belief that God is his baby- Daddy, you know what I'm saying? God is gonna be his Father at the end, at the end of this story.
And I think that, you know, for those of us who, you know, whether that's your, your real life, you know, that's, that's real life in my family um, you know, (laughter), you know. We could have been Maury Povich. But you know, what I'm saying is that, that's why I don't have any fear about the Old Testament, because I think that the stories are so real. If you look at this, and you can liken this to any part of your life, have you ever doubted who you are? Have you ever, has someone ever tried to tell you that you are not who God says you are? Or you're not who you are? Have you ever doubted? Have you ever been susceptible to that? Do you always feel like you have to fight to say that you are God's child? Has it not come easy for you? Do people not believe you? Do people constantly put that doubt or that fear into you?
Well, that has been happening since Genesis, in the beginning. And what Moses is showing us is it's difficult even for him. He had to stand firm in that belief and shout it, shout it from, you know, the mountaintop, shout it from the rooftop, whose he was, and whose he was going to continue to be.
Zandra, have you ever had to convince someone that you were God's child?
Zandra Vranes 37:22
All the time. You know, God doesn't want us to be out here having to convince our brothers and sisters, that we are His, you know, we're not here to, to have to prove that. I know that, like, we would like to think that we're all walking around and singing the song "I am a child of God" and internalizing it. But sometimes we have spiritual rituals that we have memorized, but not internalized.
And so there are times in my life where the same people say, I'm a child of God. They sing that song; they don't recognize if I am a child of God, then how would you respond to me? If I am a child of God and you truly have a belief in that, then how would you treat my burdens that you don't experience yourself? And so, you know, I just have to tell those people, bless their hearts, and recognize that we haven't become as good as we can be in that area. But I always see it as an opportunity for me to do some internal checking, you know, just make sure that if I'm ever in that situation, that I'm not doing what was done to me.
Zandra, I love what you just said, we're not here to prove that because we all are. And and what you just said, that's, that is what Satan's trick was with this conversation with Moses is; he was trying to disprove that relationship. In fact, let's mark in our scriptures, because one of the things that Moses will do throughout this story is that whenever Satan comes up and says, Nah, this isn't true, Moses specifically will say, You need to leave. In verse 16, put a #1 number next to that. He says, "Get thee hence, Satan".
Satan's not leavin'; no, he's still fightin'. And so then we have another one in verse 18, put a #2 there. Moses again says, now, "Depart hence, Satan. Then in number three, we have another one and this time I love how verse 20 says, "And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly;" Isn't that interesting that now Moses is starting to go, Well, maybe this doesn't work. Maybe I really, maybe Satan might be right because you're not leaving and I'm asking you to leave and, and I'm starting to get nervous.
And then verse 21, let's go there. Because Moses commands now, in the name of the Only Begotten, that Satan should leave. And Satan has the tantrum of all tantrums, I mean, a tantrum of epic proportions. Verse 22, he cries with a loud voice, he weeps, he wails, he gnash's his teeth. I mean, come on. Anyone who's ever seen a child have a tantrum, and believe me, when I was single I saw it all the time; I knew exactly how to solve the problem. Apparently, I wasn't like, I was a really great mom when I was single. But this is just such a tantrum. But I love that Moses did it in the power of the Only Begotten. This is so powerful. And here's the verse I love in the whole story. Tamu, will you please read verse 23.
Tamu Smith 40:04
23 "And now of this thing Moses or record; but because of wickedness it is not had among the children of men."
Okay. When it says "it is not had", 'it' meaning the story about a man being able to cast out Satan. Did you know that nowhere in all of Scripture is there another story where a man casts Satan out? Jesus will do it plenty of times in the New Testament, but there is no scriptural story of a human being being able to do that. In fact, there is so little information about Satan in the Old Testament. But in the eight chapters about the book of Moses, his name is referred to more than 30 times, teaching about who he is, and the tricks he does, and all of that. And that could have been at the very beginning of the Bible. So my question is, again, How would this information affect the way we view ourselves and read the Bible?
Zandra Vranes 40:59
I think it affects the way we engage, period, regardless of with the Word of God or just in life, when we have this information. I think one of the most powerful things that I love that Moses said, he said, "In the name of the Only Begotten". Now that's significant to me, because, as Tamu had just said earlier, we are God's only begotten as well. So that means when Moses says that, and God has said to him, You are in the similitude of mine Only Begotten, that Moses is essentially unifying himself with his Savior. And so when he says, "In the name of the Only Begotten", it's talking about him, too, which is where that unified power, that connecting with the Savior gives us the ability to rebuke the devil, right? And that's what and that's what he does.
And so I think that when you look at what the Prophet Joseph Smith is saying, that because of wickedness, this knowledge was not among us.,the beginning of Genesis is the story of the first temptation that we're going to learn about in the Garden of Eden, right? And so if we start the book of Genesis, knowing that we have power over Satan, that we have the ability to rebuke Him, that we can unify with that atoning sacrifice of the Savior and say, In the name of the Only Begotten, meaning that we know whose we are, and we know who we're unifying with, the Only Begotten Son, then we read that story very differently, right?
Anytime we learn in Scripture, that something was intentionally withheld from us, that should become something that we immediately look at how would I put this into practice? How is this supposed to change our discipleship? How is this supposed to change the way we engage with the Word of God? How is this supposed to change our connection to our Savior? How is this supposed to change how we keep our covenants, now that this has been restored to us?
Oh, my gosh. I loved all of your connections and all of your comments; ladies, that was incredible. Wow, that was so good. Thank you, better than I even imagined it would be, what a great discussion. Okay, in the next segment, we are going to talk about another piece of doctrine information that has been omitted from the Bible. So, we're gonna do that in the next segment.
Segment 5 43:31
Let's pretend that I'm Alex Trebek, may he rest in peace. And I'm going to say, This is Jeopardy. Okay. Pretend you're on Jeopardy right now, and one of the categories is: Most Obscure Hymns.
Zandra Vranes 43:45
If I Could Hide to Kolob.
Wow, that was great, a Daily Double! (laughter) That is exactly the answer I was looking for. I didn't even have to give you a clue, Zandra. That is 100% true. It is so obscure, right? I love that it was a poem written by WW Phelps, but, boy, when you get to the "there is no end to", you're kind of like, by the end like, there is no end to this song - over and over and over again. So, I want us to just think about this because the title of the song, "If You Could Hie to Kolob, the word 'hie' actually means 'to hasten, to move, or to run'. So here's WW Phelps saying if you could run to Kolob, if you could get there as fast as you could. And then his whole hymn talks about what it would be like. And so the word Kolob comes from Abraham chapter 3. I asked, you know if
Zandra Vranes 44:35
If You Could Hie to Kolob, I know that I would quit my job.
Tamu Smith 44:41
I always, always thought that hie to Kilob meant hike. So I don't even know where Kolob like, is it by Mount Timpanogos?(Provo) What is it and where is it at? I never knew it was like hie to Kolob. I thought they were just like, it don't rhyme with the hike, so we're just gonna say hie.
Right, I love it. I love it. And now it's 'if you could run to Kolob'. I'm kinda already out cuz I hate running.
Zandra Vranes 45:07
it will be a lot better. I'm just gonna tell you right now God is gonna have to translate me to Kolob because after they closed the Underground Railroad, I don't believe my people gotta run nowhere. I'm not running,
Tamu Smith 45:18
I'll take a Uber. (Taxi service)
Yeah. Maybe a nice casual walk. I could do that, because I wouldn't run for my own life. So, for this next segment, we are just going to study Abraham chapter 3, verses 1-17, and I'm going to go full-blown Institute on you. But before we do, I'm just curious, Tamu and Zandra: did anything stand out to you? Or what did you think as you read these verses, because I asked you to read them ahead of time and just kind of maybe share your thoughts.
Zandra Vranes 45:44
I love these verses because - I know that this is not like super-spiritual - but I love astrology. (laughter)
Oh, that's so perfect, Zandra. Okay.
Zandra Vranes 45:53
Yeah, I really like astrology. And so I just like, you know, I'm a Pisces; I think like, I fit my sign. To me, Abraham has always been the place where the fun of astrology and actual spirituality collide for me. And so I've always been a fan of, of Abraham. So we start off in Abraham with the Urim and Thummim. I love that because the Urim and Thummim is something that we see throughout all of the the scriptural work. So even if you're not LDS, the Urim and Thummim is in the Bible and the Urim and Thummim was essentially a tool of divination in, you know, in the scriptures it gives sometimes some more detail talking about that being stones that were inside of a bre, a breastplate.
But right off the bat, what that teaches us is that the Lord always provides us with resources. So we're not resourceless. And it's really important that we know this, because like, we're talking about things have been taken from the scriptures. That's the crux, right? People often say like, once it's been translated so many times, and if we don't even know what's true, then why believe in God? Why believe? Why, why have faith? Why go to church? Why do any of this? I think the important thing I get when I, when I read Abraham is that I'm recognizing that God knew the Scriptures were going to be corrupted. And so God did not leave us resourceless. And your spiritual life should literally be a journey of discovering all of the tools that Heavenly Father has laid out, knowing that people, entities, whatever, would make it difficult for you to glean truth.
Oh, my gosh, that was awesome. It's exactly what we needed as we're going into these verses. So here's what I want everyone to do. In your journals or on a piece of paper, I want you to make two columns. We're going to go through a couple verses. Very first thing we're going to do is Abraham chapter 3, verse 2. And in that verse, we're going to mark "I saw the stars". So let's write 'stars' in our column. And what were the stars? They were 'very great'; write that down. And then it says, one of them was nearest to the throne of God. So let's put that, 'nearest to the throne of God.' And then we're going to write 'there were many great ones'. So put that in that first part of the column of Abraham chapter 3, verse 2.
Then go to Abraham chapter 3, verse 3; we learn something cool. It says, "...the Lord said to me: these are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob." Now, I don't know about you guys, but growing up I used to think Kolob was actually where God lives. But it's not. It's actually the planet that is closest to where God lives. And so it says right here, it's closest to him. It says, "because it is near unto me." So in, you can put for Abraham 3:3 in your column, 'the great one is called Kolob'. The Lord says, "it is near unto me." And then how cool is this in that verse? It says, Kolob is set to govern all the other stars. So let's write that, 'set to govern all the other stars'.
Now, if you turn the page, just one page over, and you see that crazy-looking picture. I don't know about you guys, but when I was little, I colored it with colored pencils. Maybe some of you did, too. This is facsimile #2, and it's a round circle and we'll talk more about that again in Episode 7. But what you need to know, is there's a definition. In the picture, look on the right-hand side, where it says Explanation. Figure 1 tells us a little bit more about Kolob. It says it was "the first creation" of all of God's creations. So put 'first creation' next to Kolob there.
Then we have another thing. Let's go to Abraham chapter 3, verse 4. This verse is really cool. And here's what you need to know about this verse: it is telling us that there are times and seasons; that there are revolutions that everything does in the planetary system. Everything has a specific set time that the Lord is very aware of, but let's pay attention to verse 10. Mark in it, it says,
10 "And it is given unto thee to know the set time of all the stars that are set to give light, until thou come near unto the throne of God."
So let's put 'the stars have a specific set time to give light and God knows when that will be'. Okay, then the next verse we want to look at is verse 13. I loved when I learned this in my Hebrew class. In verse 13, you have all these weird words like Shineha, Kolob, Olea, Kokaubeam. You guys, some of those are Hebrew words mixed with the Egyptian words. Kokauvim, or Kokaubeam as it looks right there in verse 13, actually is the plural form for the word 'stars', which is Kokau. Olea in Hebrew is 'moon'. Shinehah is actually, I think, an Egyptian word for 'Sun' is what I found out about that. But the point of that is, how cool that the Lord has names for everything in his solar system.
And then we want to go to Abraham chapter three. And we want to look at verses 16 and 17. If you go down to where the footnote letter B is, it says "Kolob is the greatest of all the Kokaubeam". So "Kolob is the greatest of all the stars, that thou hast seen because it is nearest unto me." And then it tells us in verse 17, that if there are two things, one exists above the other, like, that's a great verse, too. You can highlight that, but mostly you want to know verse 16. Okay, we have right in here, all of these verses. And we're going to pause there for just a minute because that is kind of the end of this lesson, this astrology or astronomy lesson from the Lord to Abraham.
I can see, Zander, why you like it so much, because it's so exciting to see how God operates. And now you're probably thinking, Well, why would God take the time to teach this to Abraham? Why is this even important to us? We've talked about earlier that there are important truths that have been lost from Scripture. This is not in the Old Testament, but should be; then the question is, But why? We are going to talk about the why in the next segment, and you're going to love this.
Segment 6 52:00
So we're just going to jump right back into Abraham chapter 3, and we're going to answer the question we asked in the last segment, What does this matter to us, and why would this be in Scripture? Let's go to verse 18. And I just want you to highlight two words. 18 starts with "Howbeit that he made the greater star; as ,also,". That's it. Highlight "as also". Now listen to this quote, you guys. This is by Joseph F. McConkey in the book called <Studies in Scripture, Volume Two, The Pearl of Great Price>, by Robert Millet and Kent P Jackson.
"At first glance, it may appear that Abraham is dealing with two separate ideas, each deserving a chapter of its own. A more careful reading, however, reveals that the second part of the chapter is a deliberate restatement of the first; each principle describing the relationship of one star or planet to another proves to be equally descriptive of the nature and relationship of pre-earth spirits one to another. The revelation on planets ends in the 18th verse where the revelation on pre-earth spirits begins. The two parts of the revelation are welded at that point with the words 'as also', which is simply to say, what is true of the stars is also true of the spirits."
Now listen to it, you guys. That list we just made in the last segment, that list is us. Let's go back; look over everything you just listed in your journals or on your paper. We're going to skip over Abraham chapter 3, verse 2, because I want to save that verse for last. Abraham 3:3. You guys, the Great One is Kolob because He is near unto me. Who is the Great One? It's Jesus Christ and He is the nearest to our Heavenly Father. I had you turn to facsimile 1 where it says that Kolob is the first creation. You bet. Christ is the firstborn. He is the first one that God created. How cool is that? Go to Abraham chapter 3, verse 4. It corresponds with Abraham chapter 3, verse 25, where we have times and seasons and revolutions. Verse 25, says, after everything has been created, God and Jesus look down on the earth and they say,
25 "And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them."
That's our time. That's our season. Let's go into this one. Oh my gosh, how much did I love this? If we all have times and seasons, in Abraham chapter 3, verses 4-10, it teaches us that all of the planets revolve around Kolob. Hello! All the planets revolve around the sun. All of the stars revolve around the sun. Not s u n, but S O N. Then we have to go to verse 10. Because this one is probably my favorite connector. Remember, we started out with talking about in verse 2, "And I saw the stars". I want you to highlight the word 'stars' again and write 'US'. It is totally God's Children, all of us; I'll come back and tell you why, but you just need to know that.
Go to verse 10. "...it is given unto thee to know the set time of all the stars (us), that are set to give light (us),until thou come near unto the throne of God." Cross-reference that with Doctrine and Covenants section 138 verses 55 and 56. If you go there, it will say that we have a specific time when we are each coming to this earth. I mean, that is amazing. The very set time where we will each give our light. It is not some cosmic mishap that you were born when you were born. It is not some cosmic mishap that you are here on this earth right now. I just think it's so cool.
This is your time to give your light. This is the time for all you teenagers listening to give your light; it has been set in motion by our Heavenly Father. And when you revolve around the Son, you will do nothing but shine as bright as you possibly can. That's a promise from keeping commandments; I just think that is so cool. Okay, go to Abraham chapter 3, verse 13, because this is the best. We have all the names. If God is going to take the time to name the stars and the moon and the sun, you better believe He knows your name. He absolutely knows who you are, and how important you are to Him.
And then we go to Abraham chapter 3, verse 16. Look at that. Kolob, Jesus Christ, is the greatest of all the stars, all the Kokaueam that that has seen because it is nearest unto me. We know that Christ is nearest unto Him. I mean, that is so cool. Okay, okay, but we have to go back to the way we started. Everyone go back to Abraham chapter 3, verse 2, because this is the coolest verse.
2 "I saw the stars," [which is us] "that they were very great," [you've gotta highlight 'very great'] "and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God", that's Jesus Christ. You guys look at this, "and there were many great ones which were near unto it." Okay. Now go to Abraham chapter 3, verse 21. What makes a star a star? It's His light, right? It's how it shines. And so if you look in verse 21, I'm going to read verses 21 and 22. And as I do, Zander and Tamu, I want you to mark every time you hear me say the word 'intelligence', Okay? That's what I want us to look for. Here I go.
21 "I dwell in the midst of them all;" [meaning us] "I now, therefore, have come down onto thee to declare into thee the works which my hands have made," [Oh, see, there's that connection again, you guys, the 'works'.] "wherein my wisdom excelleth them all, for I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning; I came down in the beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen."
22 "Now the Lord had shown it to me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these" [you have to turn two pages right here] "there were many of the noble and great ones."
How many times did you see the word 'intelligences' there?
Zandra Vranes 58:04
Is it three times?
Yeah, and I love this because the word intelligence refers to light, to the light and truth that an individual has. So I love, Zander, how you connected that to us. And that is exactly what we are. Before we ever were born on this earth we were light; we were intelligences. And then how amazing that verse 22, so you just have to turn the page, because how does it end? What wording describes us as intelligences, what were we?
Zandra Vranes 58:31
And it says "Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;"
And so there we have in that verse where it says "the noble and great ones", just like Abraham chapter 3, verse 2: very great, great ones. I mean, that is us. It's talking about every single one of us. It's Tamu. It's Zandra. And I love, Zander, how you started us at the beginning, how we're becoming. And I think it ties beautifully into this because we are becoming brighter and greater, and are stars, we are shining more and more with more knowledge and just like the word intelligence means. I mean, we, the more we learn, the more we grow, the greater we shine. I mean the glory of God is intelligence, that means US. We are His glory.
In fact, if you look at verse 26, you're gonna see some weird wording that you're like, what does that mean? Verse 26 says they who keep their first estate - that means in the spirit world, those who chose Christ will then be able to come down and keep their second estate, which is Earth life. Those of us who chose to follow Christ, many of the noble and great ones, and I love this cross-reference: Doctrine and Covenants section 138, verse 53, and then verse 55-57 will teach us this. But then I love this quote by Sherry Dew. She just finished quoting Elder Bruce R McConkey about who the noble and great ones were where he said, "Surely there were women who were among the noble and great." But then she said this to the women at the talk. So Zandra, will you read the first paragraph of this quote, and then Tamu, the second paragraph.
Zandra Vranes 1:00:06
"So sisters, what about us? What about you and me? Is it possible that we were among the noble and great? I have to tell you, I believe it is more than possible. The Prophet Joseph taught that every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world, was ordained to that very purpose before this world was. President Spencer W. Kimball added that in the world before we came here, faithful women were given certain assignments. I simply cannot imagine that we, who have been to bear and rear and lead and love a chosen generation of children and youth this late in the final dispensation were not among those deemed noble and great.
Tamu Smith 1:00:52
"Noble and great, courageous and determined, faithful and fearless, that is who you are. And that is who you have always been, understanding that truth can change your life, because this knowledge carries a confidence that cannot be duplicated any other way. I doubt many of us feel noble or great, but then neither did Enoch, who was stunned when the Lord called him into service. 'Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad and all the people hate me? For I am slow to speech.'"
Thank you. Here we have another truth not in the Old Testament. So my question to you ladies is, How would people feel about themselves if they knew first off the bat, that they were children of Heavenly Parents, that they had power over Satan, and now that they're noble and great?
Zandra Vranes 1:01:47
As Sister Dew said, we all come here with a purpose, a mission, a ministry. And I think it changes how empowered we feel about that ministry to know 1) that we are children of heavenly parents, that we are in the similitude of their Only Begotten Son, and that we too, are their only begotten. 2nd) that we have the ability to rebuke Satan; to cast out the negativity and that presence of doubt among us. And 3rd) that we are noble and great, not because of what we will do on this earth, but because we already were; we already are, it is just who we are. And it's one of those things that so much of what we do in our spiritual lives is about who we need to become.
And this is an opportunity for us to understand who we just inherently are. And that should then be the path which which we then go out to become even better, but knowing that I don't have to do anything. I don't have to prove myself. I don't have to earn it. I just am noble and great. I just am a child of God, already off the bat. That's a beautiful starting place.
Absolutely. Thank you so much, Zandra. Tamu.
Tamu Smith 1:03:17
For me to quickly sum it up: if the beginning was a love letter to us, this is an invitation to us to step more into our call; to step more into who we were born to be; to step more into who we were in the pre-existence. I mean, Zandra pretty much summed it up. And that's what I would add to it, is this is our invitation to become - to continue to become.
Zandra Vranes 1:03:43
So good, ladies
Zandra Vranes 1:03:44
And I think it was a McConkey quote that you read talking about how at first glance, Abraham looks like something that should be two separate chapters, but we'll find out is that it's just a restatement. And I think if we look at the word of God is that, that so much changes. The Holy Scriptures are just restatements of the same truths over and over again, but said in a different way, because we need to hear it a multitude of different, of different ways. For me, I really connect with Abraham. I love to think of things in symbolism; I love, I love symbolism. I love to think of things like as stars. For other people, they really love to connect with things more tangibly. Some people like parables, some people like allegory. At different parts in our lives, we love different things.
I think, how good is a God that is not saying to us, You gotta get it the first time. What God is saying is, I will say it again. And this time I'll say it differently. If you didn't get it this way, it's okay; I'll say it another way for you. I really I love getting to know a God that is that personal. And then it helps us with how we engage and look at and care for and love others. To know I'm not just great and noble, they are one of God's great and nobles. I'm not just light, they are light; they have something to teach me, I will receive them, and intelligence through them.
Thank you so much, Zandra. Thank you, both of you. Wow, what a great discussion - that was so good today, so good. Okay. I feel like you need to take a break, maybe need to go to McDonald's to get an ice cream cone and french fries. So let's do this. Gather your thoughts. And let's think about what our takeaways were, what is something that we learned from our discussion today, or it may be something you want to teach somebody.
Zandra Vranes 1:05:51
My takeaway is that the greatest commandment to love others, as we love ourselves has new meaning to me when I put all of this into practice. Because if I love myself, then I will recognize that I'm a child of God; if I love myself, I recognize that I am great and noble. And if I have to love others, as if they are God's great and noble, if they are true children of God, I'm supposed to look at my brothers and sisters and recognize that they are in the similitude of the Only Begotten and that they are one of God's only begotten themselves, and increase my feeling of responsibility for how I interact when I truly see someone as a great and noble, only begotten child of loving Heavenly Parents.
That's an excellent takeaway. Tamu, what's your takeaway?
Tamu Smith 1:06:50
To read the introductory notes. In the introductory notes, I would have known years ago that Joseph Smith said that several revisions have been made at the time that he said it. If I read the introductory notes, I would know a lot more stuff. I barely just read the Three Witnesses at the beginning of the Book of Mormon, so don't judge me people. I'm getting there, right? Zander said, "I'm becoming".
You are becoming.
Tamu Smith 1:07:16
I'm still becoming. To read the introductory notes though. It'll give you a greater understanding.
Amen! Oh my gosh, I loved it. I love this whole discussion. And mine was that, that we're all becoming. And I love the idea that it's a love letter. I mean, can you imagine how loved this world would feel if they could read that love letter at the beginning of Genesis, the most widely-read book of all time; if they knew that they were children of our heavenly parents; if they knew that they were that love? And so I just, there were so many things that stood out to me and I'm going to be reeling from all of this. So thank you. I love you both so much. Thank you for joining me today. This was awesome.
Alright, I want to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode. So if you haven’t joined the discussion group on Facebook or Instagram. Go there, you just have to. It’s just such a great place to ask questions as you study. And I try to answer them and so do people in this community, it’s really fun. And then at the end of the week, usually on a Sunday, we post a call asking for what your big takeaway was. So comment on that post that relates to this lesson and let us know what you’ve learned. I read all of them and I love it! You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode at ldsliving.com/sundayonmonday.com. And it’s not a bad idea to go there anyway, because that’s where we have the links to all the references and the transcript for this entire discussion so go check that out. The Sunday on Monday study group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original brought to you by LDS Living. It’s written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall. And today our awesome, so great, perfect study group participants were Tamu Smith and Zandra Vranes. And you can find more information about these friends at ldsliving.com/sundayonmonday. Our podcast is produced by Katie Lambert, and me. It’s mixed and recorded by Mix at 6 Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here, we’ll see you next week, and please remember: you are God’s favorite.
I'm gonna turn this fan on but my sister, my sister is visiting me and she has the house like a sauna and I just I'm sweating the black off on the podcast like, you can't—
I haven't been this happy in a long time, "sweating the black off myself." (laughters!)