Sunday, September 17, 2006

Resurrection and Restoration

By Wade of "Blogger of Jared"

My first real introduction to symbolism came while I was serving my mission. It was in my last area (Aurora Colorado), and I was with my last companion. I was lucky to have a dedicated companion during my final months.

This companion happened to bring along an audio tape that would end up changing my general perspective about God and the Gospel of Christ. It was an obscure recording of a CES instructor, Todd B. Parker. I have tried to find a copy of the tape; my efforts have been in vain. However, the lecture impressed me so much that I took notes. Moreover, I have been able to find parts of this lecture on-line (in a FARMS publication).

This post will serve as part one in a series of posts in which I plan to share insights from the lecture.

I was reminded again of these insights when I visited Tyler’s blog earlier today. In the thread to one of his posts, an anti-mormon attempted to argue that Joseph Smith “fabricated [the Book of Mormon] out of thin air.” My first thought in response to this was: if he fabricated it out of thin air, he must have been a genius inspired by either God or the devil himself. Indeed, the lecture by Brother Parker reveals that Joseph would have to be a genius on many levels!

To begin, Joseph brought forth two verses of scripture that reveal this basic truth: all things are created to bear record of, and to symbolize/typify Christ. (See 2 Nephi 11:4; Moses 6:63).

Of course everyone knows the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ — its subtitle declares it “Another Testament of Jesus Christ”. But the coming forth of the book typifies Christ in a different manner, or from a different perspective. The manner in which it does this, you will see, is not coincidental. A simple list of the physical characteristics of the Book’s coming forth will show what I mean:

  • The coming forth of the Book was declared by an angel (Moroni)

  • Christ’s coming forth was declared by an angel (Gabriel)

  • The Book came forth in a time of apostasy to restore truth

  • Christ came in the meridian of time to restore truth

  • It was taken from the receptacle by a man named Joseph

  • Christ was put into the receptacle by a man named Joseph (of Arimathaea)

  • An angel was there to see the coming forth of the plates (Moroni)

  • An angel was there to see the coming forth of Christ from the tomb

  • The first to see the plates (Joseph) was forbidden to touch them

  • The first to see Christ (Mary Magdalene) was forbidden to touch him

  • The book was attested to by 12 special witnesses (the 8, the 3, and Joseph himself)

  • Christ had 12 special witnesses

  • The Book of Mormon is the Word of God

  • Christ is referred to as the Word of God

  • The Book of Mormon teaches the fulness of the gospel

  • Christ taught the fulness

So, if Joseph did fabricate the book out of “thin air”, he was a genius like the world had never seen, nor seen since. He would of had to consider all of these intricate types and shadows, on top of writing the book without extensive resources. And on top of it all, for some reason he decided not to expound upon his masterpiece; for I’ve never read of Joseph discussing these types.

Truly Joseph was the servant of God and brought forth this ancient record under the direction of the Almighty. This record, known as the Book of Mormon, testifies of Christ in more ways than one.

A comment of interest left by Tyler on July 19th, 2006

Thanks, Wade.

Elder Talmage talks about two general types of evidence for the veracity of the Book of Mormon: internal and external. I have always been impressed by the external evidence: chiasmus and the rest. Recent reading and pondering, however, have led me to be more impressed with the internal veracity of the Book of Mormon (I’m not sure, exactly, if the evidence of which Wade speaks here is internal or external).

I have, in particular, found it quite enlightening to study the Book of Mormon by prophet, searching for themes. I kind of like to pretend that I am compiling a “teaching of the living prophets” book for Nephi, or Jacob, or Mormon. My favorite, though, is Alma. A quick review of his sermons shows a wonderful consistency–no other prophet of whom I am aware gives more touching and profound insights into the process of rebirth effected by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. What is striking, of course, is how naturall this theme flows from his life experience–being snatched from the flames of hell by angel in accordance with the prayers of his Father prepared Alma for his beautiful testament to the saving power of the Christ.


Eric Nielson said...

Thanks Wade.

The fact that one way or another Joseph Smith produced this Book is something that must be dealt with. The claims the Book of Mormon makes seems to put one in a postion to either say it is the word of God, or one of the most amazing frauds ever pulled off.

The content of the Book of Mormon, and the spirit it brings provide an answer to the humble truth seeker.

JandS Morgan said...


I grew up in the same ward as Bro. Parker and I remember hearing him give versions of this talk on various occasions. Several years ago he became a religion professor at BYU where you can find his email. I bet if you mailed him he would have some sort of write-up of the talk he could send you.

TGP said...

The plates were born of a virgin.

Christ was born of a virgin!

The plates were sealed in one portion.

Christ never leaked, so he was sealed!

The Book of Mormon talks about God.

Christ talks about God!

The plates were translated with a seer stone.

Christ made people see and he touched many stones.

I worry that sometimes I think symbols can mean whatever we want them to mean...

Jettboy said...

Trailor Trash, I agree that we can go too far with symbols. An old saying is "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar," and English departments are notorious for finding them in everything.

However, there is a difference between a good symbol and a bad one. The preposterousness of some of your choices shows that. Yet, the Scriptures demand, almost as much as an English department, that symbols mean something. Just look at the much argued and confusing Book of Revelations or the Book of Daniel. Then there is all the symbolic names of Jesus Christ (the Living Water, Bread of Life, Tree of Salvation, Lamb of God, Light of the World, etc. to name a few). If we dismiss relavant symbols, we must be prepared to discuss why they are not of value.