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Robert F. Smith

Bokovoy On Temple Imagery In The Book Of Mormon

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Tuesday Aug 16 was David Bokovoy's first presentation of his 4-part BYU Ed Week "Temple Imagery in the Book of Mormon," and I hope that he publishes the material because the Power Point simply goes too quickly to get it all into notes. Some highlights from his Power Point:

-- main purpose of ancient and modern temples: to serve as a sacred space to prepare people to enter "the presence of God" (Hebrew lipney YHWH "the face of YHWH" = KJV "before the LORD"), and to bring them into the presence of God is to bring them into holiness.

-- He cites Menahem Haran that the phrase "before the Lord" (lipney YHWH) indicates a temple site.

-- just so, Ex 3:2 "angel of the LORD" = JST "presence of the LORD" requires one to put off the shoes from one's feet because that ground is a holy "place" (Hebrew maqom "place" = "temple"), as Muslims do when entering a mosque.

-- Gen 28:11 "place"; 28:17 "gate of heaven"; 28:19 Bethel "House of God (temple)"

-- Prof. Ziony Zevit (Univ. of Judaism in Los Angeles), lecturing in Boston on Israelite theology said, approximately:

-- "It's not so much that God is anthropomorphic, as that the people are theomorphic."

-- according to N. Wyatt in Ugarit-Forschungen 31, at his enthronement, an ancient Near Eastern king is transformed into a god (his apotheosis).

-- Wyatt also cites Psalm 19:8-10 as an anointing ritual, the oil not being specified, but certainly implied (cf. Ex 29, Lev 8 .

A large crowd was present in the Assembly Hall of the Hinckley Center, and David obviously enjoyed his presentation as much as the crowd did.

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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Tuesday Aug 16 was David Bokovoy's first presentation of his 4-part BYU Ed Week "Temple Imagery in the Book of Mormon," and I hope that he publishes the material because the Power Point simply goes too quickly to get it all into notes. Some highlights from his Power Point:

Sounds marvellous.

-- just so, Ex 3:2 "angel of the LORD" = JST "presence of the LORD" requires one to put off the shoes from one's feet because that ground is a holy "place" (Hebrew maqom "place" = "temple"), as Muslims do when entering a mosque.

This was also a feature of ancient synagogues as they became associated with temple concepts and sanctity.

This had died out at the Western Wall by the end of the 19th century, though in this case it is hard to tell if it lingered on in Judaism, or was reintroduced via Muslim customs.

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Tuesday Aug 16 was David Bokovoy's first presentation of his 4-part BYU Ed Week "Temple Imagery in the Book of Mormon," and I hope that he publishes the material because the Power Point simply goes too quickly to get it all into notes. Some highlights from his Power Point:

-- main purpose of ancient and modern temples: to serve as a sacred space to prepare people to enter "the presence of God" (Hebrew lipney YHWH "the face of YHWH" = KJV "before the LORD"), and to bring them into the presence of God is to bring them into holiness.

-- He cites Menahem Haran that the phrase "before the Lord" (lipney YHWH) indicates a temple site.

-- just so, Ex 3:2 "angel of the LORD" = JST "presence of the LORD" requires one to put off the shoes from one's feet because that ground is a holy "place" (Hebrew maqom "place" = "temple"), as Muslims do when entering a mosque.

-- Gen 28:11 "place"; 28:17 "gate of heaven"; 28:19 Bethel "House of God (temple)"

-- Prof. Ziony Zevit (Univ. of Judaism in Los Angeles), lecturing in Boston on Israelite theology said, approximately:

-- "It's not so much that God is anthropomorphic, as that the people are theomorphic."

-- according to N. Wyatt in Ugarit-Forschungen 31, at his enthronement, an ancient Near Eastern king is transformed into a god (his apotheosis).

-- Wyatt also cites Psalm 19:8-10 as an anointing ritual, the oil not being specified, but certainly implied (cf. Ex 29, Lev 8 .

A large crowd was present in the Assembly Hall of the Hinckley Center, and David obviously enjoyed his presentation as much as the crowd did.

WHAT?!! Now I'm offended!! I would have expected you, Robert to come up and introduce yourself. Would love to meet you in person.

Aside from that, thanks so much for coming and sharing these notes. Education Week is a lot of fun, since you have a group of adults that are really excited to hear the things that you yourself are passionate about. It's a good time. The problem with a series like this, though, is that time passes really quickly and there's only so much you can share.

I am going to put all of this and more into a book, so I'll make sure to send you a preliminary version so you can offer a critique. Would love to get your feedback.

Best,

--DB

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David Bokovoy, 2nd Ed Week lecture, Wednesday Aug 17, 2011, “Alma’s Use of Old Testament Temple Imagery,”

Climactic entrance liturgy à la Nancy Declaisse-Walford in Psalms 22, 23, 24, a progressive ritual journey culminating in the Lord’s presence.

In Alma 5, the High Priest asks a series of questions, especially 5:19 “can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands?”

This parallels Psalm 24:4 “He that hath clean hands and a pure heart,” which is a chiastic reversal of phrase following Seidel’s Law: An OT author citing an earlier text will reverse the phrase.1 Alma is thus quoting the Israelite temple liturgy [possibly from the Brass Plates].

Psalm 24 features the ancient Israelite Hallel-prayer gesture of upraised hands by the HP, thus showing his clean hands and exposing his heart – a gesture of ritual purity.

A sampling of other parallels:

Psalm 22:4-5 ∥Alma 5:4-6

Psalm 22:7-8 ∥Alma 5:30

Psalm 23:1 ∥Alma 5:38-39

cf. Psalm 73:13 lamenting “I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.” The formula is constantly used and reused, here in a continual state of atonement, and God grasping him by the right hand (Ps 73:23-24). According to Hans Joachim Kraus, the right hand clasp is a royal procedure denoting the conferring of charisma and privilege to the king.

Isaiah 56:4-5 “take hold of my covenant; . . I will give in mine house . . . a place (hand) and a name (yad washem) . . an everlasting name (shem ‘olam), . . .”

The Garden: When the Lord God was “walking” (mithallek) in the Garden, Adam & Eve hid themselves from his presence (Gen 3:8 ). The ritual word here is “walk.”

Once a year, on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), the Jewish HP would walk into the Holy of Holies of the Temple, into the presence of God.

Cf. Akkadian cylinder seal temple presentation scenes, for example from Ur III, with initiate being led by hand to a seated god, and wearing a garment draped over the left shoulder.

Similarly for the presentation scene of Book of Abraham facsimile 3, which is given a new, but appropriate Sitz im Leben by Abraham and Joseph Smith.

Citing G. Wenham, he notes Gen 6:9 “Noah was a just man and perfect (zadiq tammim) in his generations, and Noah walked (hithallek) with God.” Just so Abraham is blameless (tamim Gen 17:1), as are all Israel (Deut 18:13), and Job (Job 12:4). Likewise in Psalm 15:1-2, only the blameless (“walketh uprightly” holek tamim) may dwell in God’s holy hill/tabernacle.

Same in Ps 84:11 the Lord will give grace and glory to those who “walk uprightly”

Compare this formula with Alma 5:27 “Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? . . . That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?”

Alma 7:22 “. . . your duty to God, that ye may walk blameless before him, that ye may walk after the holy order of God, after which ye have been received.” Cf. The priestly duty in II Chron 8:14 (note the priestly “porters” at the gates, which elsewhere are termed “doorkeepers,” I Chron 15:23-24, for the same Hebrew sho’arim).

Alma 13:8 “. . . ordained . . . called with a holy calling, and ordained with a holy ordinance, and taking upon them the high priesthood of the holy order, which calling, and ordinance, and high priesthood, is without beginning or end,” etc.

Ether 3:1 mtn experience connecting heaven and earth: Mt Shelem so called “because of its exceeding height.” Bro of Jared carrying stones in his hands upon the top of the mount.

Ether 3:6 “the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, . . .” (Nephi also has a mountain experience) [cf. Rev 2:17 white stone and new name]

incense ladles (kappim) in the shape of arms with cupped hands (Hebrew letter kaf is a hand-glyph) used by priests in Israel and Egypt (illustrated), incense being a gift to God. Hebrew mil’eta et yadam “to fill the hand” = KJV “to consecrate” (Ex 28:41, 29:29).

-----------------------

1 B. Levinson, Deuteronomy and the Hermeneutics of Legal Innovation (Oxford, 1997), 17-22; M. Fishbane, Biblical Interpretation (Oxford, 1985), 504 n. 11.

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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I would love to have heard this. I'm scarcely able to make it to my own Ed Week lectures, and have attended nobody else's.

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I would love to have heard this. I'm scarcely able to make it to my own Ed Week lectures, and have attended nobody else's.

You really should be there, since I hold both you and Bill personally responsible for the development of my obsession in these matters. I still recall my excitement over your analysis of Book of Mormon ascents, with Bill suggesting a possible conceptual link between Shelem and סלם, i.e. Jacob's ladder connecting heaven and earth. My life's never been the same, dang it!

I know it's a crazy time of year. I'm finishing summer term grades, my wife is getting her elementary classroom set up, kids need to get things done in order to start school, my parents are here visiting, etc., etc, so I haven't been able to get to much of anything myself.

On a side note, it was great to finally meet Robert yesterday. I really enjoyed chatting with him.

They did film the presentation (though to what end, I know not), which means that I hope I don't get in trouble for getting so excited that I accidently dropped the word "fricken." It made my Mom cringe.

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You really should be there, since I hold both you and Bill personally responsible for the development of my obsession in these matters. I still recall my excitement over your analysis of Book of Mormon ascents, with Bill suggesting a possible conceptual link between Shelem and סלם, i.e. Jacob's ladder connecting heaven and earth. My life's never been the same, dang it!

Let's not forget Facsimile 3, where the deified Egyptian priest that is being brought into the presence of his gods is identified by Joseph as Shulem.

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David Bokovoy, 3rd Ed Week lecture, BYU, Thursday Aug 18, 2011, “Jacob’s Use of Old Testament Imagery,”

Nephites had an advanced, high Christology, and saw the Law of Moses as a type of Christ’s coming (cf. Alma 25:15)

Nephi was both king and priest. Even built a temple, and consecrated both Jacob & Joseph (II Nephi 5:26, Jacob 1:18).

We should see Jacob as an ancient Israelite priest.

Temple Priest had the responsibility to answer for the sins of the people (Jacob 1:19); each year on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) the Jewish HP reversed the effects of the Fall.

Leviticus is of prime importance here.

Temple Sermons

At the Sanctuary of the Lord in Shechem, Joshua charges the people to obey the Lord (Joshua 24:14-15, 19-20), and they respond with a formal covenant to obey (24:16-18, 21) taking an oath and bearing witness (24:22-27).

The Leitwort (theme word) here is “serve” (Joshua 24:15), “service,” which is repeated over and over as a literary device – note the use by King Benjamin in his Temple Sermon (2:11-21), and the Law of Moses continues to be observed in his day.

“This day” (one word) is a covenant word

Jacob 1 - 3

Hermann Gunkel emphasized Psalms 95 and 100 as temple entry hymns (Gunkel, Introduction to the Psalms, 41-42)

Jacob 1 - 2 ∥Ps 95

Jacob 1:7 ∥Ps 95:8-9 in the provocation . . . day of temptation

Jacob 1:15 ∥Ps 95:8 harden not your heart

Jacob 2:6 ∥Ps 95:1-2 before his presence

Jacob 3:1 pure in heart, pray, console your afflictions, plead your cause, send down justice upon those who seek your destruction – all suggest temple as well as divine council context; cf. Isaiah 3:13 plead, and standeth to judge the people

cf. also, I Sam 1:6-7, 2:1-10, the temple prayer of Hannah (song of individual lament) with Psalms 6:1-10, and 13 lament (petition and certainty of hearing)

Holiness (Hebrew qodesh)

holiness is “a state of being in places, objects, persons, and time that corresponds with the presence of God.”

“temple, sanctuary” Hebrew miqdash

Lev 10:3 “I will be sanctified” (‘eqqadesh); 11:45 “be holy, for I am holy”; Moses 6:57, 7:35 “Man of Holiness”

Lev 10:10 holy versus unholy, clean versus unclean

both holiness and ritual impurity can spread and are contagious

the late Jacob Milgrom pointed out that death is the common element in impurity, whatever form it takes (Leviticus Continental Commentary), while holiness is life

Blood

blood is the symbolic detergent used to cleanse impurity

blood is intrinsically holy (Lev 8:24)

kill the goat of the sin-offering (Lev 16:15-16)

blood is the force of life (Lev 3:2-4, Ezk 44:7)

Jesus offers his blood (wine) to the Apostles, so as to absorb their impurity and make them holy

Jacob speaks as a priest: “death hath passed upon all men” (II Ne 9:6); “the way of deliverance of our God, the Holy One of Israel” from “death, . . which is the temporal, shall deliver up its dead; which death is the grave” (9:11 She’ol); death unto life (9:13,15); uncleanness versus purity (9:14,16); “the righteous, the saints [haqqedoshim “holy-ones”] of the Holy One of Israel” (9:18); mercy of our God (9:19); holiness of our God (9:20); holy one (9:23); Holy One of Israel (9:25); God who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel (9:26); carnality is death, while spirituality is life (9:39); keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel (9:41); whoso knocketh to him will he open (9:42); happiness which is prepared for the saints (9:43); am rid of your blood (9:44); Holy, holy are thy judgments, O Lord God Almighty (9:46); I will praise the holy name of my God (9:49).

How could a farm boy from upstate New York come up with this great, sophisticated theological work?

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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To hear these lectures alone I would leave the bosom of the Pacific for the hills of Utah. :::sigh:::

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To hear these lectures alone I would leave the bosom of the Pacific for the hills of Utah. :::sigh:::

Good to have friends like you, Ron to build one up. Today is actually my favorite presentation in the series. It shows how Nephi's question and answer session with the Spirit of Lord reflects ancient temple imagery. I'll be presenting on this same topic at this year's Sperry symposium and will have to send you the paper.

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Good to have friends like you, Ron to build one up. Today is actually my favorite presentation in the series. It shows how Nephi's question and answer session with the Spirit of Lord reflects ancient temple imagery. I'll be presenting on this same topic at this year's Sperry symposium and will have to send you the paper.

I would love it. I was just looking over yours and others schedules and maybe next year I can swing the Education Week program. In fact, my wife and I have been discussing moving to Utah when I retire in three years.

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To hear these lectures alone I would leave the bosom of the Pacific for the hills of Utah.

Isn't "the bosom of the Pacific" also called "Davy Jones' Locker"?

Lehi

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David Bokovoy, 4th Ed Week lecture, BYU, Aug 19, 2011, “Nephi’s Use of Old Testament Temple Imagery,”

“Temple imagery is the heart and soul of all the great Book of Mormon sermons.”

Mountain as Temple

I Nephi 11:1 “caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain”∥Moses 1:1-2 “caught up into an exceedingly high mountain, . . his presence”

Acts 8:39 “the Spirit of the Lord caught away [Greek herpuzen] Philip”; see II Cor 12:2-4, etc. for similar experiences

– mountain a physical place to find the presence of God

– formulaic language of Bible and Book of Mormon is not superfluous

– we need to read our Scripture like the ancient Israelites

see Hamblin & Seely, Solomon’s Temple: Myth and History (Thames & Hudson, 2007), re primordial hillock of Creation as site of temple.

Divine Council

Deut 33:2 “The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran; with him were myriads of his Holy Ones (Saints), at his right hand proceeded the gods” (Divine Council), Bokovoy using a more literal translation than the KJV here. Cf. Abraham 3 - 4.

– the gods likewise act as witnesses in an Akkadian text from Ur (a judicial decision; C. J. Gadd in Iraq, 25 [1963]:179), typical of other Divine Council imagery, as in Psalm 82:1 “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment” (NRSV); KJV has “congregation” for Hebrew ‘eda

– see J. Milgrom, Studies in Cultic Theology and Terminology (Brill, 1983)

Helaman 10:6-7 “I am God. Behold, I declare it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have power over this people,” etc. “Behold, I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven,” etc.

– the sealing power is given in the presence of angels (Hebrew mal’akim “messengers”) as witnesses

– Nephi on mountain: Spirit converses with Nephi to get answers so that he can bear witness to the answers (Council context)

Ether 12:6 “ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith”

I Sam 1:9 HP Eli “sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord”’ 12 “Eli marked her mouth,” i.e., bore witness of Hannah’s prayer and vow.

Psalm 15:1-2 walketh uprightly (tamim) and speaketh the truth in his heart ∥I Nephi 16:3

Mosiah 5:1 “desiring to know . . . if they believed the words which he had spoken unto them” (Benjamin functioning as a temple priest) ∥I Nephi 11:2ff “what desirest thou?” – series of questions by Spirit

Mosiah 5:6 “the words which king Benjamin desired of them”

– at close Benjamin took the names of those making the covenant (Mosiah 6:1)

Temple Gates

Psalms 24:3, 118:19-20 Gates of Righteousness open only to the righteous

II Nephi 4:32-33 gates of h*** contrasted with gates of righteousness

Type Scene

– a literary convention employed by a narrator across a set of scenes already familiar to the audience; it offers the poet a scaffolding to be adapted to each scene for specific purposes

Book of Mormon Temple Type Scene

1. Sacred space attested (temple/mountain)

2. Desire to know expressed

3. Inquiry by God or prophet

4. Testimony of belief required

5. Instruction on advanced religious truth

we can see this in Ether 3:1ff

3:1 Mt Shelem, because of its exceeding height

3:2 desire

3:12 I know thous speakest the truth

3:13 the presence of the Lord

and with the psychopomp (spirit guide) in I Enoch 24:5 - 25:5

on temple mtn

tree & flowers

Michael the chief angel

Enoch inquires about the tree

summit is theme of God

fragrant tree is for the righteous, pious, elect with fruit for life

D&C 62:3 the testimony borne is recorded in heaven and angels rejoice over it

--------------------------

Q&A

heavenly host = divine council, which apparently includes women (B. R. McConkie), continues to function throughout OT period and into the present, making decisions on such matters as who to appoint as an apostle (Heber J. Grant story).

The Jewish High Priest is intrinsically holy, and can therefore consume the meat of a sacrifice and absorb the impurity (the carcase must be disposed of); cf. Jacob shaking his garments to rid them of blood. Even though blood is life, it can contaminate.

Bill Hamblin sees Jacob’s temple sermon as an occasion of the Day of Atonement

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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Robert, thanks so much for attending every day, and typing up these notes. But did I really cite Bill Hamblin twice yesterday?

Edited by David Bokovoy

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To begin with, I feel comfortable with my knowledge of the BOM and the temple.

Sorry, folks, just don't see it.

I see the temple referenced in 2 Ne chapter 2, but this other stuff, Nephi/Brother of Jared on the mountain, Jacob's speech, etc.... it just isn't there. I'm sure that the lecture was well-meaning, there will books, lectures, articles written, but to my way of thinking, this was just more twinkie theology.

The temple is basically an open pallet where you can relate almost anything to it. "Whew", I wipe my brow, "I have had a hard day". I go back to the house and change my clothes.

Surely that has profound temple significance. Are you going to include that in your notes?

Anyway, sorry to interrupt.....

Edited by cdowis

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To begin with, I feel comfortable with my knowledge of the BOM and the temple.

Sorry, folks, just don't see it.

I see the temple referenced in 2 Ne chapter 2, but this other stuff, Nephi/Brother of Jared on the mountain, Jacob's speech, etc.... it just isn't there. I'm sure that the lecture was well-meaning, there will books, lectures, articles written, but to my way of thinking, this was just more twinkie theology.

Anyway, sorry to interrupt.....

Your feelings may reflect the fact that I wasn't teaching about "the temple," I was teaching about the Book of Mormon. I believe we gain different insights into the text depending upon the interpretive lens we use as readers. The series illustrated some of the ways in which the Book of Mormon comes alive with literary and religious depth when read through the lens of ancient temple conceptions. At least that has been my experience as a student of the ancient Near East.

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For those interested in the material shared yesterday, I'll be presenting much of the same research in a paper at the forthcoming Sperry Symposium this Fall.

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Your feelings may reflect the fact that I wasn't teaching about "the temple," I was teaching about the Book of Mormon. I believe we gain different insights into the text depending upon the interpretive lens we use as readers. The series illustrated some of the ways in which the Book of Mormon comes alive with literary and religious depth when read through the lens of ancient temple conceptions. At least that has been my experience as a student of the ancient Near East.

For those who might wonder, this is where I wholeheartedly agree with David. If the temple continued to be important as active ritual in Nephite society, then we ought to see traces of it in their preaching. That isn't to say that it will be spelled out, for that would be rare in this kind of document. It would be a part of their lives so well understood that the speaker could use references that the audience would immediately recognize. The ability to recognize such things presumes a shared cultural context. That is one of the reasons that David will see such things was sooner than I will (I suspect I will see them only after he, or someone else, points them out).

For the record, these are not the Hebraisms on which David and I have a disagreement. This kind of information is quite different and ought to be present in translation (content-dependent, not solely vocabulary-dependent). Because it relates to a temple tradition that not only came with Lehi, but was supported by the brass plates, there is every reason to suppose that it continued in the New World.

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We can agree on that.

I have spent time actively looking for those references in the BOM. I got a sense that they were aware of the temple, but it was very subtle. Outside 2 Ne 2, there was nothing very explicit, just a hint here or there.

Edited by cdowis

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We can agree on that.

I have spent time actively looking for those references in the BOM. I got a sense that they were aware of the temple, but it was very subtle. Outside 2 Ne 2, there was nothing very explicit, just a hint here or there.

In terms of identifying ancient temple imagery in narratives and sermons, one needs to know what to look for. The purpose of the series was to provide students with some basic skills to assist in identifying these themes, whether explicit or subtle. In my own studies, I have found that ritualization in the Book of Mormon is oftentimes very explicit when one reads the text in terms of ancient conceptions.

Again, for an introduction to this type of methodology, I would recommend reading the link I provided.

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For those who might wonder, this is where I wholeheartedly agree with David.

See, I knew I was on the right track! ;) But don't let him kid you, I'm very appreciative of the Mesoamerican lens that Brant and others bring to the text that provides so many fresh insights into the Book of Mormon.

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Robert, thanks so much for attending every day, and typing up these notes. But did I really cite Bill Hamblin twice yesterday?

I'm sorry I couldn't be there. I like it when people cite me twice.

Alas, my ankle bracelet radius does not extend far enough to permit me to attend.

Seriously, from the reports it sounds like it was a great presentation! Congratulations!

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They did film the presentation (though to what end, I know not)...

Would it be something they'd provide access to online do you think? I'd really like to get to see/hear some of your presentation, it's sounded awesome thus far.

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