Defending the restored church of Christ - I created this blog several years ago to provide an alternative to what I saw at the time as a lot of bad "Mormon blogs" that were floating around the web. Also, it was my goal to collect and share a plethora of positive and useful information about what I steadfastly believe to be Christ's restored church. It has been incredibly enjoyable and I hope you find the information worthwhile.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

How an LDS father and son reimagined Book of Mormon study without changing a word

(by Morgan Jones deseretnews.com 3-19-18)

What if the Book of Mormon read like a script? What if instead of verses and chapters, it had episodes? What if you could always tell who was speaking? What if you knew where and when each part took place?

“A New Approach to Studying the Book of Mormon” is the brainchild of father and son Lynn and David Rosenvall. The self-published book is really just the Book of Mormon reformatted. Not a word is changed, but it allows readers to do all of the aforementioned things.


The Rosenvalls' names will not be recognizable to most. They even took their names off the cover of the most recent edition of the book, and they’re only charging what it costs to self-publish ($14.99).

“It’s not our book. It felt a little awkward to make money on a book that so many people sacrificed to get to us: Joseph Smith, all of the Book of Mormon writers and so many others,” David Rosenvall said. “For us, it was never about the money. ... If I could get it out for free, I would.”

This isn't the first project involving LDS scripture that the Rosenvalls have undertaken. When David returned home from his full-time mission in 1987, they created an electronic version of the scriptures, which they say was later donated to the LDS Church.

It's what ultimately led them to explore the idea of reformatting the scriptures. They began asking themselves if the electronic scriptures helped them better understand the sacred text.

“We had to honestly say 'no,'" David Rosenvall said. So they began to explore what they could do with the electronic version to help them better understand. Nearly 30 years later, “A New Approach to Studying the Book of Mormon” is the result of that exploration.

When Lynn Rosenvall, now 79, purchased his first computer, they were priced at about $3,500, a luxury he couldn’t afford. However, the former LDS stake president and temple president was on his way to a stake meeting when he happened to look at the local newspaper classifieds. He had never looked at the classifieds before and he hasn’t since. But for some reason, on that particular day, he did.

He noticed there was an Apple computer for sale. When they went to look at the computer, its owner, who had lost her son in a drowning accident, was impressed that young David Rosenvall was interested in computers. She offered them the computer for $1,100. The Rosenvalls were sold.

“That was a blessing from heaven because without that first computer at the low price, that was brand-new and state-of-the-art, David and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get into computers at the ground level,” Lynn Rosenvall said.

Lynn, who has a Ph.D. in geography, had been interested in electronics his entire life. This fascination with technology created a natural curiosity in computers, but he had no professional training. So the father and son began teaching themselves to use the computer. They began to experiment with Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Their practice subject? The scriptures.

As they learned about the capabilities of HTML, they thought about the possibility of clicking on a verse and going to a footnote, or clicking on a footnote and going to a verse. They later donated their work to the church, which now offers its members digital scriptures through the Gospel Library app and scriptures.lds.org.

With the help of the electronic scriptures, they were able to experiment with different formats. At the time, Lynn Rosenvall was serving as an Area Seventy in the North America Central Area and recalls working on the formatting in airports and hotels.

“If you were a filmmaker, where would you start and end your episodes? We were trying to kind of make it so that if you started reading, you could cleanly stop at that event,” David Rosenvall said. “Where we got messed up is when we put it into chapter form.”
 
 

Instead of verses and chapters, they separated the text by speakers and events. It was one way, they found, of helping the Book of Mormon come alive for them.

After using the format personally, they eventually decided to make the format available to the public. The Rosenvalls say they went through a process to get approval from the LDS Church to reprint the text.

They decided to call the book “A New Approach to Studying the Book of Mormon.” They were told by a book publisher that if the book could sell 3,000 copies, it would be a blockbuster. To date, the book has sold more than 25,000 copies.

But more than numbers, the father and son have been blown away by the feedback they’ve received — especially when others tell them that their work has helped them better understand the Book of Mormon.

“Nothing thrills me more,’” Lynn Rosenvall said

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https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900013151/how-an-lds-father-and-son-reimagined-book-of-mormon-study-without-changing-a-word.html

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Two declarations that bookend LDS life

(by Jerry Earl Johnston deseretnews.com 3-14-18)

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we sometimes forget that two of the most revered declarations in the church were never written with members of the church as the intended audience.

They were written with everyone else in mind.

The Articles of Faith appeared in a letter that Joseph Smith wrote in 1842 to John Wentworth of the Chicago Democrat newspaper.

And "The Family" began, I understand, as a proclamation “to the world,” aimed at society in general.
Today, when I read the Articles of Faith from Wentworth’s point of view, I hear overtones in them that we don’t always capture.

I hear Joseph saying, over and over, Mr. Wentworth, tell your readers they don’t have to be afraid of us. We’re a lot like them. We’re not dangerous.

We believe in a Christian godhead, the Articles say.

We believe in traditional Christian principles and ordinances.

And as far as fear mongering goes, we are not violent, delusional or threatening.
We believe in being good citizens — wherever we live.

We believe in “obeying, honoring and sustaining the law.”

We don’t force people into our way of life. We believe everyone should be free to worship however they choose.

We believe in being honest and kind.

Like you, Mr. Wentworth, we seek the best things in life.

If I were Wentworth, I’d hear Joseph telling me that Mormons don’t want to change American society. They just want to belong.

They just want to be Mormons.

And in that same respect, I see "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" as the flip side to the Wentworth letter.

If the Articles of Faith are saying, in effect, "Mormons don’t want to disrupt American society," "The Family" proclamation says, "We don’t want American society to disrupt us."

As President Gordon B. Hinckley declared in 1995, "The Family" proclamation was released to “warn and forewarn.”

In my lifetime, I have seen many forces try to shape American culture. When I was a boy, we members all hoped that LDS values would one day influence secular culture.

Now that I’m older, the bigger concern seems to be in keeping secular culture from having too much influence on Mormonism.

The refrain “truth is marching” has added a second line: “Don’t tread on us.”

The Articles of Faith and "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" are bookends for LDS life over the past 150 years.

The Articles were eventually accepted as scripture.

I know many people who hope the same fate awaits the "The Family" proclamation.

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https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900012873/two-declarations-that-bookend-lds-life.html

Thursday, March 1, 2018

'Prophetic Events of The Last Days' is a compelling overview of second coming calamities

(by Alivia Whitaker deseretnews.com 2-19-18)The calamities of the last days and the triumphant Second Coming of Jesus Christ are topics of intense interest for many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For LDS readers wanting to know more about these subjects, Richard L. Judd’s book titled “Prophetic Events of the Last Days” could prove a fascinating read.
“Prophetic Events of the Last Days: Understanding the Signs of the Second Coming” is an efficient and interesting overview of the prophecies made regarding episodes to come leading up to Christ’s Second Coming.

With chapter titles such as, “Avoiding Deception: There Are False Prophets Rising Within And Without The Church” and “I Wonder Where He’ll Come Again: Personal and Public Appearances,” Judd does an excellent job attracting even the most casual student of the Second Coming and of laying out the facts about the last days in an organized and helpful way. It is researched and cited with great care and surgical precision, and the sources are cited within the text.

The book is an excellent and well-researched collection of scripture, quotes and doctrine and even provides visual word examples as well as helpful charts, lists and references. Interesting highlights in “Prophetic Events” included personal examples from the author, such as when a mentally ill man entered his institute building claiming to be the Christ. One downside to the book is that it is somewhat lacking in personal voice and experience and, at times, can seem a bit academic-heavy. However, this is understandable as the book is about prophecies of things to come in the future.
The book is a wonderful and quick read and is written in such a way that mentions of disturbing future events are written from the perspective of scripture, quotes from church leaders and doctrine, and are not graphic in any way.

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https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865696030/Book-review-Prophetic-Events-of-The-Last-Days-is-a-compelling-overview-of-second-coming.html