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Posts posted by firepatch36

  1. 4 hours ago, DispensatorMysteriorum said:

    Does any one think it likely we will see a greater increase in female "area" leadership like what was announced for Europe?  Or, what about a greater role for the stake president's wife or the bishop's wife?

    I wish the wives of the apostles would speak, not just the apostles. In priesthood session when the first presidency talk about their families, I wish that the final three speakers would be their wives, not the first presidency. Give a different perspective.

  2. Two other comparisons are of note but difficult to see: the flood and Eve. These are longer so I'll spin them off from the above.


    One famous baptism imagery is that of the Great Flood. Noah’s flood is discussed as a symbolic baptism of the Earth (e.g. 1 Peter 3:20–21). Anne Kilmer in her article “Of Babies, Boats, and Arks” relates the flood to human gestation. The length of the flood is given as:



    150 days (Gen. 7:24) = 5 months (including the 40 days), calculated

    as 1 January to 1 June of Noah’s 600th year.

    121 days = 4 months (Gen. 8:5) when the flood waters receded, calculated

    as 1 June to 1 October.

    Total number of days = 271. If we add the 7 days (Gen. 8:12) after

    which the dove landed for good, the total is 278 days. (page 159)



    Forty days is highlighted as the length of time of the rain and the flood (Gen 7:12, 17). In ancient lore, the soul entered the body during the first 40 days of pregnancy (Stol, Birth in Babylonia and the Bible, page 17-19).

    The 150 days is most likely the maximal reach of the flood. In human pregnancy, 150 days, or 20 to 22 weeks is significant as


    it is then that the fundus of the uterus reaches the umbilicus; this is measured by palpation and permits the midwife or obstetrician to determine whether the size of the fetus and progression of the uterus are adequate and “healthy.” The umbilicus is the fixed reference point by which one can measure the height of the fundus and is used as a benchmark by which to estimate the day of birth. Thus when Gen. 7: 18 tells us that “the water swelled and increased greatly,” it seems to be reporting that all was well “with mother and baby” at close to the halfway point in a normal pregnancy. (page 161)

    In Genesis 8: 4 the ark rests secure on the mountain in the seventh month (and 17th day). This is significant as before modern medicine a birth would be viable only after seven months had passed, before then it would have been a virtual guaranteed death. Here we have the inhabitants of the arc resting on land where it would be feasible to leave, but they remain inside the safety of the ark for some time more.

    All together, when they do leave the ark, the final time enclosed is 278 days, or 9 months and 1 week, which is the normal length of human gestation.

    After leaving the ark, the ground remained wet for an additional amount of time:


    In Gen. 8: 13 we are told that, after an additional 36 days, “the earth was dry.” I would suggest that this could well refer to the normal period of postpartum menstruation, which, maximally, is considered to end at six weeks, or 42 days, after which the new mother may resume all normal activities. (page 162)

    Additionally, in Gen. 7:16 God “shut Noah in” (the ark) with the verb sgr, which is used in 1 Samuel l:5 and 6 to describe Hannah’s womb. In Genesis 8:16 the verb ys’, or “to come out,” is used to describe leaving the ark. This is the same verb used in the Old Testament to describe babies being born.

    All told, the typical approach to Noah’s flood as being akin to a baptism sells the story short. If we approach baptism as a rebirth, then we see that the significant dates of the flood – 40 days, 150 days, 7 months, 9 months and a week – all correspond to gestation.


    The last comparison between Christi and mothers is with Eve. In the creation story Eve referred to as a helpmeet. This phrase can come across as condescending; Eve was made to help out Adam. But an analysis of the word you get an opposite sense – a helpmeet is someone with a superior strength.

    The word used in Hebrew for help is 'ezer, which appears 19 other times in the Old Testament. Three times the help comes from a man, (Isaiah 30:5; Ezekiel 12:14, Daniel 11:34) but the help is ineffective. In Psalms. 121:1 it is used a question, and the answer is given that helps comes from the Lord. The remaining 15 times help comes from God. Thus, 'ezer, relates to only two people in the scriptures – Eve and Jesus Christ (God of the Old Testament). To reiterate this point:


    The other usages of 'ezer in the Old Testament show that in most cases God is an 'ezer to human beings, a fact which makes us question whether “helper” is an accurate translation in any of the instances it is used. A more accurate translation in this context would be “strength” or “power.” Evidence indicates that the word 'ezer originally had two roots, each beginning with different guttural sounds. Over time, the two gutturals were merged into one word, but the two meanings, “to save” and “to be strong,” remained. Later, the meanings also merged into one word, “to help.” Therefore, if we use the more archaic meanings of 'ezer, and translate 'ezer as either “savior” or “strength,” we clarify not only the context we are discussing but also the other passages in the Old Testament where 'ezer is used, especially when 'ezer refers to God in his relationship with humankind. 'Ezer translated as “strength” or “power” also fits in nicely with the second word in the phrase, kenegdo, which has traditionally been translated as “meet for” or “fit for.” Because kenegdo appears only this one time in the Old Testament, earlier translators had little upon which to base their translations. An important clue to the meaning of this word is found in its usage in Mishnaic Hebrew, where the root means “equal.” Kenegdo, then, means “equal to” and the entire phrase 'ezer kenegdo means “power or strength equal to.” Thus, when God makes ha-'adam into two beings, he creates woman, a power or strength equal to man. (Jolene Edmunds Rockwood “Eve's Role in the Creation and the Fall to Mortality” in Women and the Power Within, 1991)


    Using the Hebrew, if you translate the word “helpmeet” as Savior it follows that the word would be used for Christ. It is profound that the only other person to whom this relates to is Eve.

    A last comparison can be found in the names. Jesus’s name was Yeshua, (Joshua). The name means “Jehovah is salvation.” Eve (Chawwah) comes from the word to breath or to live; that is it relates to physical life. From the very names, we get that Jesus is the source of spiritual life, and Eve (mothers) the source of physical life. We can see that throughout the scriptures, Christ and other authors relate spiritual life with physical, perhaps as a way to show the two should not be separate, but one.

  3. This is what I've been studying since COVID broke out. If anyone has any verses/commentary to add, I'd appreciate it. I suspect there could be more using Hebrew or Greek, but I can’t do any of that.


    This comparison between mothers and Christ is present across the scriptures, with Christ being described in maternal terms many times. These references are sparse individually, but when collected together show a different way to look at Jesus.

    Perhaps the most common term, although usually not thought of as such, is that of rebirth. In John 3:3-7 Jesus tells Nicodemus baptism is being born again. Portraying baptism as being born again is omnipresent, although linking it to mothers is typically not done. However, Christ potentially did right before the atonement. In John 17:1, Jesus states that “the hour has come,” which was a phrase used for when labor started. This link shouldn’t be surprising, in John 16:19-22 the disciples were confused about his death and resurrection, and Christ compared himself to a mother giving birth. This is done in the Deuteronomy as well in 32:18 (use the footnote translation).

    Christ giving birth is in Isaiah. In chapter 46 there is a switch from is maternal to paternal:



    3 Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb:

    4 And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.



    This notion of deity giving birth to us appears potentially at the beginning of the Bible. Genesis 14: 19 and 22 in the KJV has God as the “possessor” of the earth, with the footnote giving an alternate translation of “creator” The word used in Hebrew is the same word used when Eve gave birth to Cain in Genesis 4:1. [I found this on a web page; I don’t know any Hebrew]

    This notion is echoed later in James 1:18 "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."A different translation changes the gender neutral begat to “he gave birth to us.” The NIV renders it “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.”

    After having given birth to us in a spiritual sense, Christ refers to himself as a mother, typically as an animal metaphor. The most frequent maternal image of Christ is Jesus as a mother hen. This occurs in Matthew 23:37. Luke 13:34, 3 Nephi 9:4-6, D&C 10:65 and D&C 43:24. The comparison is to a mother eagle in Deuteronomy 32:11-12, and a bear in Hosea 13:8. Hosea 11:4 is also maternal, although harder to see in the KJV. The NIV has



    I led them with cords of human kindness,

        with ties of love.

    To them I was like one who lifts

        a little child to the cheek,

        and I bent down to feed them. [like a mother bird bends down]



    This imagery potentially goes back to the second verse in the Bible. Genesis 1:2 can be translated as: “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2). The KJV uses the word “moved” instead of hovering.” This word in Hebrew is rachaph means “to move or shake or flutter or brood over.” The verse in Deuteronomy 32 describing the eagle uses the same word. [I found this on a web page; I don’t know any Hebrew]

    The imagery of God as a bird in used several times in Psalms. “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings” (17:8), “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast” (57:1), and “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler (91:4). While none of these give a gendered image of the bird, it is consistent with the Christ as a mother bird symbolism.

    Isaiah deviates from animal imagery to a direct comparison to a mother. In Isaiah 49:



    15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.

    16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.


    and then in Isaiah 66



    12 For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her alike a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.

    13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.


    It is of note that the Hebrew word for compassion, el rachum, derives from the word for womb.

    This imagery was picked up on by others. Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:6-8 compares the apostles to nurses of children and Paul compares his work to giving birth to those he preached to in Galatians 4:19.


    I've read through a lot finding this verses but feel like there's no way I've found them all. Any help on these would be appreciated. Especially why a mother hen so many time. 

  4. On the fountain of living waters and tree of life symbolism, I view them as having two meaning. One is that they both represent Christ. The other is that they both represent motherhood. I think it was Valerie Hudson who pointed out that the placenta and umbilical cord look like a tree. When a child is in the womb they are surrounded by fluid, which we call water (water breaks). 

    The tree of life can have two meanings then - spiritual and physical. We are physically born from a tree of life surrounded by living waters in the womb. Spiritually we are born of Christ (tree of life) by his blood (living waters-sacrament water/wine symbolism). Christ said baptism was like being born again. Baptism by immersion is akin to being back in the womb by being completely surrounded by waters and then you come out reborn. 

    I find the comparison's that Christ makes to himself that are maternal interesting. E.g. 3 Nephi 10:5 Christ compares himself to a mother hen gathering her chicks; Isaiah 49:15 compares himself to mother. This essay from Square Two makes a connection between priesthood and motherhood. I need to reread it and think about it more before I fully endorse it but I found it highly thought provoking. 

  5. 1 hour ago, Boanerges said:

    Cherry trees don't blossom in this part of New York until mid to late May. I wouldn't call that "early in the spring."

    I was going by memory of what was said on one of the podcasts. He was going through what could have been present. 

  6. 6 hours ago, pogi said:

    I think you meant to say Joseph instead of Nephi, but I like that symbolism a lot. I have never considered that before. 

    Joseph was seeking for wisdom and found it in a grove of trees. That is pretty cool!

    Whoops, I do mean Joseph. Can't see an edit button.

  7. 3 hours ago, pogi said:

    Are you suggesting that Heavenly Mother was in the vision, or simply that there is some symbolism surrounding the experience? 

    I'm suggesting her symbolism was present. For all we know she could have been there, but it was never related to us. 

  8. In listening to the church's podcast on the First Vision, I got to thinking about Asherah and the vision. Today I read Val Larsen's article that hints at this, but I wanted to go a little further than he did.

    Nephi wanted wisdom (name for Mother in Heaven) and went to a grove (her symbol). In one of the podcasts it mentioned that it was springtime and one of the trees that could have been present was a cherry tree with white blossoms. White fruit is a known symbol of Asherah (Margaret Barker mentions this in her BYU Studies article). When Joseph Smith left the grove, he wrote that his soul was filled with love for many days. The tree of life in Nephi's vision associated with Asherah and is defined to be the love of God.
    This got me thinking about the Lehi/Nephi vision of the Tree of Life. Joseph Smith was adrift spiritually (in the wilderness) and then read the scriptures (iron rod). Holding fast to the scriptures he read he began going to the tree of life (grove) but was stopped by a "thick darkness" (mist of darkness). He had the vision in the grove, and then after leaving was mocked for his testimony (great and spacious building). 
    The river of filthy waters didn't immediately come to mind as a parallel. One way I thought of was that water is typically a positive symbol - Christ as the living waters, the waters of baptism, or even positive references to water in the Tree of Life vision. Dirty waters could then be an apostate form of the gospel. This is what Joseph Smith was explicitly warned against ("draw near to me with their lips..."). 
    Is there something here? Or am I seeing what I want to? 
  9. On 5/10/2019 at 4:00 PM, The Nehor said:

    I was hoping OP was claiming they were mentioned in the Book of John and was ready for some really nice crazy. Thread title did not deliver. :( 

    Sorry to disappoint. I'll have to come up with a better discussion next time.

  10. On 4/27/2019 at 5:29 PM, changed said:


    I love parables - fun thread!

    Yang's explanation was a bit confusing??  I always thought the unjust steward was just a lesson on being more forgiving of others when we realize how far short we are ourselves.  We are judged based on how we judge others.  If we forgive others - discount the debt of others - are friendly and see the best in others, that is how we will be treated in return. -  It was a rebuke to the Pharisees, who bound heavy burdens on others but themselves shirked them, while pretending hearty obedience to the Law.  Moral - the Pharisees should feel sympathetic with the poor Jews who keep it only partially. 


    I like that interpretation. I liked what Yang said although he didn't give a master= this and unjust steward=that.

  11. I'm doing a lesson in a week on parables and am looking for different interpretations on them. If you have any insight for the parables of Jesus, please share. 


    Some of what I've found:

    Elder Yang on the Unjust Steward

    John Welch on the God Samaritan 

    For the Great Supper (Matthew 22:1-14) the three excuses to not go to the supper were had new land, had new oxen, just got married. This can be read as people don't come to God since they care more about investments, possessions, others.

    For the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) the rich man could be an actual High Priest (Caiaphas)  who was learned but no wisdom or understanding//Lazarus could refer to Eliezer, Abraham's servant who was denied inheritance (Gen 15:4), but now being on Abraham's bosom meant opening the gospel to all

    The Prodigal Son could be the Gentiles and the first born the Jews.

  12. On 12/14/2017 at 9:27 AM, Brant Gardner said:

    Anyway, finally to Jacob 5. There are none of the tree of life markers here that would suggest any connection to that mythico-religious complex. In Jacob, the tree is a tree, behaving as a tree would. Sometimes a tree is just a tree, and in Jacob--it is just a tree (and actually a better analogy for being common).


    I wondered if this were the case and wanted to see what others had to say. Thanks for the response, I enjoyed your book.

  13. Val Larsen has suggested that part of the tree in Jacob 5 could be our Mother in Heaven (in Square Two and in a footnote 26 in his Interpreter article). I’ve read and thought about this and am not sure what to think. Here’s an idea I had and I would appreciate other thoughts on this.

    Jacob 5 refers to a mother tree 4 times, but all towards the end (54, 56, 60). There are various trees in the vineyard that had to originate somewhere. The mother tree could have been the original source of all the trees including the tame olive tree (verse 3). The mother tree then is not present in the vineyard in the beginning of the parable as those trees are the different people of the earth, not of heaven. After all the trees became corrupted, or the great apostasy, it was then necessary to restart. In order to do so the mother tree had to return. The restoration began in a grove, or another way to refer to Asherah (the mother tree).

    I’m not sure if this reading of mine fully works. But I think that exploring the Asherah-Jacob 5 link could be profitable if someone explored it that knows more than myself.

  14. 18 hours ago, pogi said:

    Happy Mother's Day.  I have uploaded my talk for anyone interested. 

    Mother's Day Talk.docx

    When I changed wards recently I asked the Bishop if my final talk could be on a Mother in Heaven. He said that'd be fine, and I talked for about 40 minutes on it (only a youth speaker besides me). I talked some about the history of it (Barker, Dever, Peterson) and then discussed the talk from BYU studies that others have referenced. I think more people should talk about this, I only had positive feedback. I'm assuming Pogi had the same. 

  15. But much of what the GAs say is for both genders. The priesthood manual can be for both genders because many of the ideas in them are general, for all members of the church and not for one specific gender identity.


    Why can't the priesthood discuss something that is more specific for women? Don't women discuss the priesthood in Relief Society? If the lesson is on being a good parent and has more quotes on being a mother than a father, why would that make it unteachable in priesthood? In the talks I've read from the Relief Society sessions, I didn't feel like it wasn't applicable to me as a man. 

  16. Here's a Brigham Young quote that I find humorous:


    I do not know anything to the contrary of my ribs being equal on both sides. The Lord knows if I had lost a rib for each wife I have, I should have had none left long ago… As for the rib out of Adam’s side to make a woman of, he took one out of my side just as much. ‘But,’ Brother Brigham, ‘would you make it appear that Moses did not tell the truth?’ No not a particle more that I would that your mother did not tell the truth, when she told you that little Billy came from a hollow toad stool…. The people in the days of Moses wanted to know things that were not for them. (Discourse from October 8, 1854 contained in the book “The Adam – God Maze”)


  17. This is tangentially related, but I found this story to be fascinating and only heard of it a couple of days ago. 


    My father named me Muhammad after the prophet of Islam. He expected me to emerge as a leader among clerics, capable of leading a jihad, or holy struggle, to convert nonbelievers to Islam throughout our entire Nigerian homeland. And though I spent more than two decades striving to fulfill his dream for me, my life took an unexpected turn when I found the gospel of Jesus Christ and joined the LDS Church—a decision that would cost me my family and my freedom.
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