Category Archives: Recording My Impressions

My Thoughts: “Be Not Afraid”

Sharing my thoughts after reading our assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.

“As you read Matthew 14-15Mark 6-7; and John 5-6, look for truths that are meaningful to you. You might ask yourself questions such as ‘How do the accounts in these chapters relate to me?’, ‘What messages do I find for my life?’, or ‘What would I like to share with my family or with others?’ ” [Header, Lesson for Mar 25-31, 2019, “Be Not Afraid”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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In Sunday School on Sun 17 Mar and in our priesthood lesson this past weekend (Sun 24 Mar), some folks voiced the idea that the Pharisees get a bad rap for being hypocrites and for working against the law of God, when really they were just following the culture and traditions of their time. I had never heard this idea before. I came home and started researching references to “Pharisee” or “Pharisees”. In the Four Gospels, there are 96 references, with only two that do not condemn the attitudes and practices of the Pharisees in the harshest of terms. The entry in the Bible Dictionary is consistent with that tone, as is each reference in Jesus The Christ, by James E. Talmage (*).

I agree that we should not use references such as these to justify bad behavior towards anyone, be they pharisaical, Pharisees, descendents of Pharisees, or anyone unassociated with Pharisees. I also agree that we should not dismiss references such as the ones in the paragraph above as irrelevant simply because they identify bad behavior or invite us to avoid bad behavior. Does anyone know where a source of info might be that might support the idea that such sweeping criticism of the apparently puritanical practices of the Pharisees may not be justified?

 

(*) See Page 465 in particular. If you happen to have an edition different than mine, see Chapter 27, “Continuation of the Perean and Judean Ministry”, under the section header, “Derision of the Pharisees Met; Another Illustrative Parable”, for this quote:

…They had grown arrogantly proud of their humility, but God knew their hearts, and the traits and practices they most esteemed were an abomination in His sight. They posed as custodians of the law and expounders of the prophets … those Pharisees and scribes had tried to nullify the law.

See also KJV Matthew 15:6 (more generally, verses 2-9), KJV Mark 7:13 (5-13), and JST Mark 7:10-12.

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

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My Thoughts: “Who Hath Ears to Hear, Let Him Hear”

Sharing my thoughts after reading our assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.

“As you read Matthew 13 and Luke 813, think about how you will prepare yourself to “hear” [I add: maybe in General Conference?] and appreciate the Savior’s teachings in these parables. What will you do to apply these teachings in your life?” [Header, Lesson for Mar 18-24, 2019, “Who Hath Ears to Hear, Let Him Hear”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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I found especially poignant the JST (Joseph Smith Translation) equivalent of KJV (King James Version) Matthew 13:30, footnote b, completely reversing the words and the meaning of the content of the verse: Not “first the tares”, but rather the tares second, with “first the wheat into my barn; and the tares are bound in bundles to be burned.” (Italics in footnote, indicating words that are absent in the original KJV text.) How may we listen first to the wheat of the words of the prophets and have ears to hear regarding the content of General Conference next month?

I also like (yet again) Christ taking care to teach deliberately the local people who are rebellious (leaders, Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, others) about power: The power to heal (that they should have held as holders of the priesthood of God), or the power to understand the doctrine (that the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath [KJV Mark 2:27]). See also JST Mark 2:26-27.

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

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My Thoughts: “These Twelve Jesus Sent Forth”

Sharing my thoughts after reading our assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.

“As you read Matthew 10-12Mark 2; and Luke 711, make note of the impressions you receive from the Holy Ghost. Consider pondering and recording them.” [Header, Lesson for Mar 11-17, 2019, “These Twelve Jesus Sent Forth”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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I like Jesus’ defense of John the Baptist in Matthew 11:7-11 and in Luke 7:24-30. I also like that He turns on the heads of local “powerful” folk the things that they are most getting wrong regarding power, such as His actions regarding the sinful woman with ointment [Luke 7:36-50] and regarding the picayune complainers [Luke 11:37-54].

You may also wish to explore your own impressions regarding the small write-in opportunity on Page 43, regarding Matthew 10 (“The Savior gave His disciples power”) and “Impressions I receive” (“God will give me the power I need to do my work”).

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

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My Thoughts: “Thy Faith Hath Made Thee Whole”

Sharing my thoughts after reading our assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.

“As you read Matthew 8-9 and Mark 2-5, be responsive to impressions you receive from the Holy Ghost. Consider writing down the promptings you receive and the things you can do to act on those promptings.” [Header, Lesson for Mar 04-10, 2019, “Thy Faith Hath Made Thee Whole”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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As I read these chapters this time around, I was impressed yet again by Christ’s indirect focus and carefully indirect teaching about power—Spiritual power, political power, leadership power, community power, personal power, power over elements, power in every sense. In every sense, Christ is teaching-by-doing that real power is not at all about what the World perceives as power. Note that he uses power in all of these senses always in order to promote healing in these various senses. His clear message is that real power is about building family, about building stronger families, about connecting with God more powerfully, about teaching others with power and authority of God. Note well that these actions happen to be home-centered, church-supported actions.

What that means in our everyday lives, how that emerges in our daily to-do lists, depends on what Heavenly Father wants us to do and on what we ourselves want us to do.

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

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My Thoughts: “He Taught Them As One Having Authority”

Sharing my thoughts after reading our assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.

“When we read the scriptures with a question in mind and with a sincere desire to understand what Heavenly Father wants us to know, we invite the Holy Ghost to inspire us. As you read Matthew 6-7, pay attention to these impressions.” [Header, Lesson for Feb 25-Mar 03, 2019, “He Taught Them as One Having Authority”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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I thoroughly enjoyed all the changes to these verses and the teachings restored to us according to the spirit of revelation through the Joseph Smith Translation. It never ceases to amaze me how much richer these verses are with their original impact restored. Here are two examples of a dozen or so present in the chapters of this lesson, two that were especially meaningful to me as I read them this time through:

King James Version (KJV)—Italics indicate words absent in earlier translations.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? [KJV Matthew 6:30.]

Joseph Smith Translation (JST)—Italics indicate words absent in earlier translations.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he not provide for you, if ye are not of little faith? [JST Matthew 6:34.]

King James Version (KJV)

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. [KJV Matthew 7:7-8.]

Joseph Smith Translation (JST)

(Jesus teaches His disciples that the Father gives revelation to all who ask.)

Say unto them, Ask of God; ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

For everyone that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

And then said his disciples unto him, They will say unto us, We ourselves are righteous, and need not that any man should teach us. God, we know, heard Moses and some of the prophets; but us he will not hear.

And they will say, We have the law for our salvation, and that is sufficient for us.

Then Jesus answered, and said unto his disciples, Thus shall ye say unto them,

What man among you, having a son, and he shall be standing out, and shall say, Father, open thy house that I may come in and sup with thee, will not say, Come in, my son; for mine is thine, and thine is mine? [JST Matthew 7:12-17.]

As a father of six kids and five sons, I found verse 17 of the JST deeply meaningful.

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

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My Thoughts: “Blessed Are Ye”

Sharing my thoughts after reading our assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.

Pay attention to impressions you receive as you read Matthew 5 and Luke 6, and record them in a study journal. This outline can help you identify some of the most important and relevant principles in these chapters.” [Header, Lesson for Feb 18-24, 2019, “Blessed Are Ye”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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I like in Luke 6 how Christ points out to the Pharisees the extent of their hypocrisy simply by healing a withered hand, and how later, in verse 19, He healed everyone who did come unto him:

And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all. [Luke 6:19.]

I love the differences in the Beatitudes of Matthew vs. the Beatitudes of Luke: “Blessed are ye that weep now; for ye shall laugh.” [Luke 6:21.] And many others…

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

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My Thoughts: “Ye Must Be Born Again”

Sharing my thoughts after reading our assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.

“As you read John 2-4, the Spirit will teach you things about your own conversion. Make note of His promptings. You may find additional spiritual insights from the study ideas in this outline.” [Header, Lesson for Feb 11-17, 2019, “Ye Must Be Born Again”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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I love the interactions (with JST improvements) between Mary and Jesus. The video of the wedding in Cana highlights these interactions beautifully.

The same is true of the interactions between Jesus and Nicodemus. I love how Christ points out to him (lovingly, I’m sure) that, as a leader in Israel, Nicodemus should have at hand the ability to speak, to act, to think, to know the things of God. [John 3:10.] Similarly, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we ourselves should take care that we speak/act/think/know and that we teach with power and authority of God. Note in the video how, as Christ walks away from the scene, he turns and waits, inviting Nicodemus to join him.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the woman at the well and story of the woman at the well, as well. The video of it highlights perfectly all the important things!

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

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My Thoughts: “The Spirit Of The Lord Is Upon Me”

Sharing my thoughts after reading our assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.

“Begin by reading Matthew 4 and Luke 4-5, and pay attention to any insights you receive. The study ideas in this outline can help you identify important principles in these chapters.” [Header, Lesson for Feb 04-10, 2019, “The Spirit of the Lord Is upon Me”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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In the painting at the top of this lesson, Christ Triumphs over Satan, by Robert T. Barrett, notice Satan’s face in the darkness, positioned importantly at the feet of Christ.

As in my recorded impressions of the previous lesson, as I read these chapters, I again was impressed that the local religious leaders in Christ’s day were stunned by the use of power and authority of God, power and authority that they themselves no longer possessed—and were jealous of it.  And I love JST Luke 5:23 (KJV Footnote a):

Does it require more power to forgive sins than to make the sick rise up and walk? [KJV Luke 5:23; click on the hyperlink of Footnote a to display JST. Italics indicate words absent in earlier translations.]

Note how Christ focused on the use of power, which is the actual topic at issue here, despite the Pharisaical focus on discussing other things as a mask.

And I LOVE the painting at the end, The Call, by Jorge Cocco. I truly enjoy his painting style, and this one is probably my favorite of his.

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

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My Thoughts: “Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord”

Sharing my thoughts after reading our assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.

“Begin by reading Matthew 3Mark 1; and Luke 3. As you pray for the Holy Ghost to help you understand these chapters, He will give you insights that are especially for you. Record these impressions, and make plans to act on them.” [Header, Lesson for Jan 28-Feb 03, 2019, “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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I was impressed by the number of JST (Joseph Smith Translation) changes in Matthew 3 and was struck by why the medieval translators would have altered these sections in particular. I was also impressed, not so much by the fact that the evil spirits obeyed Christ, knowing full well who He is, but rather I was impressed more by the fact that the Jews, as keepers of the Priesthood of God, apparently had lost all ability to exercise with authority the Priesthood of God, and here specifically, had lost all ability to exercise authority over evil spirits. In general, the leaders of the Jews (who had lost much of the ability to teach with power or to act with power and authority of God) were threatened by the doings and doctrines of Christ in a similar manner to how the leaders of Christian churches (who had lost much of the ability to teach with power or to act with power and authority of God) were threatened by the doings and doctrines of Joseph Smith. Similarly, I have known people in our day who happened to be active baptized members of the restored church of Jesus Christ who had lost much of the ability to teach with power or to act with power and authority of God and consequently were threatened by a person teaching with power and authority, so much so that some of the people I have known fight against even the idea that one might be able to achieve teaching with power and authority. (Thus ignoring latter-day counsel given here, here, and elsewhere.)

I point this out in my recorded impressions today simply to stress the corollary lesson that as many as believed in such preaching with power and authority of God, who were converted or yet-again-converted unto the Lord, never did fall away, even in our day. Hence, the weekly nature of the Sacrament. So many corollary lessons, so little time…

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

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My Thoughts: We Have Found The Messiah

Sharing my thoughts after reading our assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.

“As you read and ponder John 1, record the impressions you receive. What messages do you find that will be of most value to you and your family? What could you share in your Church classes?” [Header, Lesson for Jan 21-27, 2019, “We Have Found the Messiah”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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Note well the pattern, the repeated pattern, that people gain their testimonies of Christ based on the testimony of someone they know and trust. Not everyone who knew and trusted Andrew internalized Andrew’s testimony of Christ, but Peter did. And that’s important for all of us.

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

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My Thoughts: We Have Come To Worship Him

Another post to share my thoughts after completing the reading assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.

“Begin by reading Luke 2 and Matthew 2, and pay attention to any spiritual insights you receive. The study ideas in this outline can help you identify some of the most important and relevant principles in these chapters.” [Header, Lesson for Jan 14-20, 2019, “We Have Come to Worship Him”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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I’ve always loved the words about Christ’s childhood after infancy [Luke 2:40-52]. I loved in the video, “The First Christmas Spirit“, a depiction of Christ being self-aware of His Father’s will even when quite young. The video has a brief scene [Time 1:30] with Joseph watching Jesus at about age 10, as Jesus watches a couple of tethered lambs as the owner takes one of them away, presumably to the slaughter, possibly at the temple. The 10-year-old Jesus simply stares, seemingly understanding all too well the deeper meaning of this scene as a type of things to come. Joseph approaches the 10-year-old Jesus and puts his arm around Him, as if to give Him strength for that day yet a far way off.

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

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My Thoughts: “Be It Unto Me According To Thy Word”

Second post in a series, “Recording My Impressions,” which I use to share my thoughts after completing the reading assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.

“As you read and ponder Matthew 1 and Luke 1, record the spiritual impressions you receive. What doctrinal truths do you find? What messages will be of most value to you and your family? The study ideas in this outline may help you discover additional insights.” [Header, Lesson for Jan 7-13, 2019, “Be It unto Me according to Thy Word”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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Family history and the doctrine of the family are of vital importance. Jesus descended from Ruth and Boaz and from the root of Jesse through King David through Mary and also through Joseph. (Matthew 1 records not Mary’s lineage but Joseph’s.) I’ve always loved the interaction of Elisabeth and Mary and the in utero interaction between John and Jesus. Makes me wonder whether or not any child in the womb might be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from her/his mother’s womb [see Luke 1:15]. Maybe some of those leaps and kicks are more purposeful than mere stretching for space than we care to admit! I love that Elisabeth and Zacharias prophesied after receiving a spiritual confirmation from on High. To me, it’s cool that it may have been the same Gabriel who delivered messages both to Elisabeth and to Mary. I’ve always wanted to meet him (them if two separate personages) after this life. [The Bible Dictionary (BD) entry for Gabriel says that all occurrences of Gabriel are the prophet Noah.]

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

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My Thoughts: We Are Responsible For Our Own Learning

In 2019, as we begin to improve our efforts in a home-centered, church-supported approach to gospel living, learning, and teaching, we are invited repeatedly in each lesson to record our impressions. I call this series of posts “Recording My Impressions,” and I’ll use it to share my thoughts after completing the reading assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families. I hope you enjoy reading them.

“The purpose of Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families is to help you come unto Christ and become more deeply converted to His gospel. This resource can help you understand the scriptures and find in them the spiritual strength you and your family need. Then, in your Church classes, you will be prepared to share insights and encourage your fellow Saints in their efforts to follow Christ.” [Header, Lesson for Dec 31-Jan 6, 2019, “We Are Responsible for Our Own Learning”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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love the title of this lesson! To me, there is little or no excitement in the tendency inside of us to relegate to others our responsibility for personal, individualized gospel education. We are responsible to receive the Holy Ghost ourselves, to achieve successfully answers to our own questions and concerns, through the spirit of revelation. [See Alma 17:2-3.]

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

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