Monday, April 29, 2013

Seer Stones

Dear Josten,

Today my scripture study led me someplace really unique, and some big words are sticking out at me.

Last week in the mail, you saw how I received a big box of stones.  They were a graduation gift, and WaWa let me open them up early.  They were a set of 57 massage stones, to be used in a "hot stone" massage.  We were all overjoyed, even though you and your siblings really didn't know what we all so excited about.

Yesterday, when doing some blog exploring, I can across a really interesting site called One Climbs.  The author created an image of what s/he believes the interpreters used by Joseph Smith looked like, when he translated the Book of Mormon.  (If s/he gives me permission, I'll update this post and include the artwork.)  They included "seer stones", and the depiction is quite fascinating.  Made me want to explore the topic some more.

(When I took this pic, I had no idea this post would be written a few days later... or that this would have such a fun connotation to this post!)

So this morning, as I opened up my scriptures, I knew it was time again to do my time tested method of deciding where to read: close my eyes and ask "where should I read today?"  It's been a few weeks since I had the time to just sit and listen to the answer, even though it usually pops in my head before I get to finish asking the question.  D&C 32.

This section is quite short actually.  And some words and phrases impressed me.  It's a revelation given to Parley P. Pratt.  Love him.  (Read The Key to the Science of Theology on my bookshelf, or for free on the Kindle App by clicking that link.  He has some marvelous thoughts on angels, spirits, and dreams, which few contemporary authors have expounded upon.  Love that book.)  Anyways, using the footnotes next to Parley's name, I went to D&C 50:37 and started skimming what was going on there for him.  A few verses down, verse 44 says

Wherefore, I am in your midst, and I am the good shepherd, and the stone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this rock shall never fall.

Did somebody just say stone?  Last night after thinking about the seer stones used for translation, I remember learning somewhere along the way about two of the stones used by the brother of Jared.  When preparing to cross the ocean, the brother of Jared was perplexed as to how there would be light within the barges which the Lord instructed him to build.  The brother of Jared asked the Lord to touch 16 stones so that they would give light within the barges.  After the Nephite civilization was destroyed (whether it be their structure, or their lives in general), Moroni deposited the plates he inscribed upon, along with a breatsplate, the sword of Laban, and the Urim and Thummim.  My understanding is that there were two of these stones, touched by the finger of the Lord, which made up the U&T.

(Not quite like the Urim & Thummim... but close?:)

Back to the verse, the Lord is the good shepherd, the stone of Israel.  It was His light, his finger touching stones, that gave literal light within the barges.  It was these stones, touched by his finger, that allowed for the Book of Mormon to be translated.  If we build upon Him, we shall never fall.

I flipped back to D&C 32, and skimmed the page.  On the right side, I found D&C 33:13.

And upon this rock I will build my church; yea, upon this rock ye are built, and if ye continue, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.

We used to refer to this idea on my mission, when teaching the 3rd discussion.  We would say that Christ was the foundation, Peter the chief cornerstone, and then start building a makeshift church with Dixie cups.  We would end up focusing the remainder of the discussion on the church as a whole, and less on the idea that Christ is the rock.  But for this post, I want to re-focus back on the rock.  What does that mean, really?  If we build on Him?  Feel free to let that sit with you for awhile.  There are lots of references to Him being the rock EVERYwhere.

In some of the random classes I've been to over the years, I've learned some fun properties about rocks.  This year in school you learned all about the rock cycles.  How rocks are forms, how long they take to form, and different things they can/can't do.  In my classes, I've learned how some rocks like quartz are actually some of the best conductors of electricity on the planet.  How interesting that the Source of Light would touch His finger on 16 rocks, at the request of Jared's brother, and those stones would hold the energy from his touch for months while they crossed the ocean(s).

Another thought I saw someone present on another blog's comment thread is that we need to depend more upon God Himself, rather than people, an institution, or even our own intuition.  That last one struck me.  So very true.  I should not be trusting my intuition so wholly as I should be trusting God Himself.  I do not know of any source in the scriptures where I am told to trust myself, but only the Spirit of God within me.  Perhaps that's what I'm getting at, when I say or am told to "trust your/my gut".  Perhaps my intuition is based upon my connection to God, but even my intuition has been known to make mistakes.

Anyways, very long post.  I hope you get the idea.  Run with it!

Love you!

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