In recent essays on this website, I have discussed two critical Book of Mormon scriptures (2 Nephi 4 and Jacob 2 and 3). The exegesis of those verses by the LDS Church (hereafter also referred to as “the Church”) has been woefully inadequate and misleading. I’ve hypothesized that these two scriptures contain troubling messages which contradict current LDS teachings, thus motivating the Church to ignore, downplay, confuse or misrepresent their messages. In this short essay, however, I will discuss a scriptural passage that’s not only extremely important to all students of the Bible and/or the Book of Mormon, but should be crowned the most overlooked scripture in the entire LDS canon. It’s 3 Nephi 15:22-23 (when considered in connection with 3 Nephi 16:4).
Before proceeding any further, I encourage readers to read 3 Nephi 15:22-23 in context from the excerpt following this paragraph and ask themselves two questions: First, do you remember ever in your lifetime hearing any lesson in Sunday School, Relief Society, Priesthood meeting, seminary, Institute or college religion classes, or any talk in general conference, stake conference or sacrament meeting which discussed these two verses? Continue reading
In Part 1 of this essay I included the excerpt below from the LDS Church’s Teacher Manual for seminary (i.e., high school aged) students. This excerpt is taken from the Book of Mormon lesson wherein the content of Jacob 2 and 3 is addressed. Readers may wonder why I didn’t include material from the lesson covering Jacob 2 and 3 in the Church’s Book of Mormon Teacher Manual for Institute (i.e., college aged) students. (I truly do hope readers wondered that. It would mean the reader is intellectually engaged in the discussion of this topic, for one thing, and that question naturally inheres in a discussion about how the LDS Church teaches difficult subjects. But in this case, the question also leads to a very interesting answer.) Continue reading
By Scott S. Mitchell
Two Sundays ago, the lesson in my LDS priesthood meeting centered around a talk by Becky Craven in the April 2019 general conference entitled “Careful Versus Casual.” Predictably, two things occurred during the classroom discussion. First, the discussion quickly focused on two of the most prominently discussed Law-of-Moses-type items on Mormonism’s long checklist of do’s and don’ts–wearing the temple garment and Sabbath Day observance. Second, two or three members of the class self-censored the comments they felt were most important to make. (It should be obvious who one of them was.) Had they not self-censored, they would have pointed out that neither temple-garment-wearing nor Sabbath Day observance were part of Jesus’ gospel when he preached that gospel to the Nephites. Thus, as non-commandments, the rules of garment wearing and Sabbath proscriptions didn’t merit the attention LDS Church members give them. In fact, it might also have been added that Jesus never even mentioned the word “temple” or anything about sabbath observance to the Nephites in all his teachings,1 nor were these items part of his teachings to the Jews.