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28 March 2015

For I am Meek

Elder Eyring used a verse tonight in the Women's Broadcast that has been a puzzle to me. The parts I understood, I have liked for a long time; it's one of my favorite passages. But that word... meek. What is it?

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
-Matthew 11:28-30

I determined a while ago that I didn't think that the usual definition of meek worked very well.

humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others.
overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame.

I wasn't sure what meekness was, scripturally speaking, but I was confident that this isn't it. I started to study it, reading various verses in the scriptures, but without the meaning of the word, I didn't really get anywhere; the various verses were less defining it than admonishing us to have it. I ended up getting distracted by other questions about the scriptures.

Anyway, I'm not sure if it's a disadvantage or an advantage, but I am sick as a dog, and listened to the broadcast from home tonight. So when he used this verse, I could get totally distracted by trying again to figure out this word meek, and that's what happened. I don't have any idea what else Brother Eyring said, but I did figure out the word, and I'm pretty excited about that!

I went to the Online Strong's Concordance, and I typed in "meek." That brings up a list of all the places that the English word "meek" appears in the Bible. I looked around there, and it was interesting, but I wasn't finding what I was looking for. Not until I noticed at the top of the search results were a number of tabs, and one of them is labeled "dictionaries," and it looked like there were 2 results there. It was at the second one where I found what I was looking for, in Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words:

The meaning of prautes "is not readily expressed in English, for the terms meekness, mildness, commonly used, suggest weakness and pusillanimity to a greater or less extent, whereas prautes does nothing of the kind. Nevertheless, it is difficult to find a rendering less open to objection than 'meekness'; 'gentleness' has been suggested, but as prautes describes a condition of mind and heart, and as 'gentleness' is appropriate rather to actions, this word is no better than that used in both English Versions. It must be clearly understood, therefore, that the meekness manifested by the Lord and commended to the believer is the fruit of power. The common assumption is that when a man is meek it is because he cannot help himself; but the Lord was 'meek' because he had the infinite resources of God at His command. Described negatively, meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest; it is equanimity of spirit that is neither elated nor cast down, simply because it is not occupied with self at all. ..."

And then it made so much more sense. The Savior's mild response to the Adversary's temptation had nothing to do with weakness, and everything to do with the assurance that comes with complete control - and that is the heart of meekness.


20 March 2015

Weekly Wrap-up

It's funny how often I get to late Friday or Saturday and realize that the wrap-up post I'd meant to do isn't done, and, well, oops. This week, I'm starting early, so hopefully I'll have it ready to go on Friday!

We had some good progress in math this week, with Hero working on some fractions work. 

This page turned out to be pretty difficult, and we worked on it a couple days, and did some DragonBox and other games on the other days for a break. Miquon says it goes through 3rd grade, and by that, we're probably a little bit "behind," since I don't think we'll be finished with these books by the beginning of summer, but given the actual difficulty, I'm pretty comfortable with that. We'll take our time, and then move into Singapore, probably, when Miquon is finished.

Hero's also been doing some independent reading about the Revolutionary War. He started a chapter book about Benedict Arnold - I think that I'm going to have to read that one as well, since I'm pretty vague on who he was. And, he spent a fair amount of time watching and learning from the Daddy while they built a new computer for the kids to use from parts that we mostly already had. It's so cool to watch my kids and my husband work together. I had other plans, but when I realized what nice things were happening, I just kept out of the way and let them do their thing. They worked on the computer, and they also made some big progress on getting Hero's first Pinewood Derby car ready for the big race next week. (One of these days, I'm going to have to look up the word "derby." I think Cub Scouts is pretty much the only context that I ever see it in, and I have no idea what it means, other than cute little wooden cars the boys make.)

Dragon has been doing good things, too, this week. His reading is coming along nicely; he can do the Bob Books pretty well now. And his violin lesson this week was easily the best that he's ever had. He was so excited to show his teacher what he'd been doing that he ran in and started opening his case while she and I were still chatting, which just doesn't happen: she has to compete for his attention with her daughter, who is just Dragon's age, and violin lessons just don't usually compete very well with the fun games they make up! But this week, he was excited. So he made some big progress.

We had a fantastic week for nature study. It was a good visit out to the pond. We saw our first wooly bear caterpillar of the season, though I'm not sure if it counts, since it was in the parking lot, partly squished, but the kids were excited about finding it. And we got to look at the ice, and the way that it grabs onto the sticks on the pond with all the freezing and thawing and freezing again that we're doing. And the kids found some of what we think might be wild raspberry canes at the park. I'm wondering if there isn't a way that we can get a little piece to grow at home without disturbing what's at the park, but I don't know. I need to talk to the park people. Then, when we got home, we spent some more time looking at the nest cams. The Bald Eagles were quite active today; we think they might be close to hatching time. And the Barn Owls were eating lunch and copulating. It was a big day on the nest cams, though Dragon was really disappointed that we couldn't find any Ospreys to watch.


19 March 2015

Fallacy Study

One of the problems with our public discourse is that a huge portion of it is completely illogical. Logic is as basic to good, rational thinking as addition facts are to math. But nearly nobody learns logic in school anymore. This week, I actually had someone tell me that logical fallacies are "subjective." She didn't like what I was saying, so she tried to make it untrue. However, that thinking is as wishful as the child who tries to deny that 1+1=2. 

We were discussing this article. Whatever your opinions about vaccinations, this article is fantastic for the study of logical fallacies. So much so that I plan to print it out and save it for when we do the study of logic in a few years. Honestly, I don't blame this mom for being irrational. She is clearly grieving the loss of her oldest, worries for her second child's health, and is terrified about what's going to happen to her newborn, following a possible measles exposure. And all this is going on while her brain is steeping in the postpartum hormone stew. Nope, I don't blame her one bit for being irrational. It is highly unlikely that I would do any better at all, in her place. That's a tough spot, and I have a lot of sympathy for her. 

But she's still irrational.

Her words on Facebook have gone somewhat viral, and there's a whole lot of people looking at them and nodding their heads. It is indicative of the serious failings of public schools that so few seem able to see the many deep flaws in the thinking. But they don't; if they did the post wouldn't be viral. Even some very smart people who are supposed to be very well educated are falling prey to it. This showed up in my feed, posted by a woman who was valedictorian of my sister's class. Her comment? "Well said." Though I like the girl that posted it, I have to disagree with her assessment. This piece is irrational. And if we are to keep our freedoms, we absolutely must do better than the emotional gibberish that this article typifies. 

In a couple years, I will ask my kids to look at this and other news items, and identify the logic faults. Name the fallacies, and explain how the piece they are looking at exemplifies that flaw. I am doing the same exercise here. If you haven't already, it may be useful to read the complete original. Most of my fallacies have been taken from this Intellectual Self Defense list, though a few do come from other places. I've tried to link those to an explanation.

Logical fallacy #1: False Cause
She blames *all* non-vaccinators for the (possible) exposure of her child, even though she knows nothing about the sick child.

Logical Fallacy #2: Begging the Question
She takes as a premise the safety and reliability of vaccines, and then tries to use that to prove... the safety and reliability of vaccines. It doesn't work. You can't prove a thing simply by repeating it in slightly different words.

Logical Fallacy #3: Ad Hominem. 
This one is to attack the person, rather than the argument. "...then I am happy to call you an imbecile as well as misinformed." Classic. She's not even *trying* to address the actual concerns of non-vaxxers. She's just calling names. In addition to being a bad, non-persuasive argument, it's just plain old bad manners.

Logical Fallacy#4: Ad Misericordiam. 
This fallacy is an irrelevant or exaggerated appeal to our sympathy. She herself said that her daughter's death is unrelated to the vaccine question. "The fact is, there was no vaccine for her. Not for her illness." But we're not supposed to notice that, because "she died. She died and now she is gone." She's invoking a strong societal norm (it's rude to argue with a grieving mother) to quash any dissent. It's not an argument; it's manipulating the situation to discredit any dissenters by making them appear heartless. It's common enough in our public discourse, but it only works because the vast majority don't reason well.

Logical Fallacy #5: Confirmation Bias. 
This is only accepting evidence that confirms what you already believe, and she's not shy about it. "There is no, none, nada, nothing in science that proves this. If you want to use google instead of science to 'prove me wrong' then I am happy to call you an imbecile as well as misinformed." She's come right out and said, in the most insulting way she can, that there is no evidence that will persuade her to reconsider. She announces her bias, loud and clear.

There are others. Straw Man. Red Herring. Appeal to Authority. Misleading Vividness. And so on. We've all but banished logic from our schools. Rather than examining fallacies and propaganda, in order to avoid them, our schools are teaching them, explicitly, as "persuasion" techniques. Really, it's no wonder that our public discourse consists of so much of bullying the opposition into silence. 

I sympathize with this mom's anger and pain. What she is going through is enough to make almost anyone a little crazy. She wrote this in a moment of intense stress. But it doesn't make her premise or her arguments logically sound. Nor does it bring any justice to her blame. A sizable percent (I believe it's around 1/3) of measles cases are in the vaccinated population, and it's not unheard of for the recently vaccinated to "shed" the germs. There is no way to know which way those odd ran. I don't blame her for her poor logic, or even making for her rant public; she is grieving, terrified, and in the throes of the dramatic postpartum hormone shifts. It's a perfect storm, and she can easily be excused for her irrationality. I certainly can't guarantee that I'd do any better in the same place; I, too, know a thing or two about grief, and know from experience that it does not lend to clear thinking. But our public discourse must be better than irrational, emotional tirades. Alexander Hamilton had the right of it:

"For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution." (Federalist #1)

What this mom has really discovered is that life is risky business. No matter what you do and how careful you are, you cannot eliminate risk or pain from life. Wesley was right: "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is selling something." Vaccinated or not, kids get sick sometimes. And it sucks. People get sick. Sometimes they die; the survivors mourn. The pain is real and legitimate. But we can't let that pain be a reason to let our public discourse be rants and bullying, not if we want freedom. America must do better than this.

18 March 2015

Mormon Bible Study: Psalm 2 (part 4)

It's taken a long time to look at the Second Psalm and all the passages that cite it. This last bunch are all in the Book of Revelation, and they all reference verses 8 and 9 of Psalm 2:

Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. -Psalm 2:9

So much of what I have seen as I studied the 2nd Psalm has been repeating the theme: God Is In Control! In the tumultuous times we live in, this is a very comforting theme. After a short break to talk about the nature and majesty of God, that theme is back again. God is in control!

So, the first of the verses in Revelation is 2:27. Chapters 2 and 3 are a series of little letters to various churches that the Lord instructs John to send. In several of the letters there are references to stars (angels/servants - see the JST) and candlesticks (churches). Each one begins with a unique greeting which describes the Lord, and then there are a couple of verses of instruction and warning to the recipients. The verse that references the 2nd Psalm is from the middle of the fourth letter. The Psalm is a Messianic Psalm, that is, it's talking about the Messiah, and this passage also looks like it is referencing the Lord:

And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. -Revelation 2:27

Right off the bat, the imagery of a "rod of iron" suggests a connection to Lehi's dream. And this makes sense, considering that Lehi, Nephi, and John the Beloved all saw basically the same thing. But the differences in what happens with the rod - breaking vs ruling - are very interesting. That distinction suggests to me the different outcomes  that come from what we choose to do with the word of God. If we choose to have our lives ruled by scripture, then we will find ourselves guided and directed in the way of happiness and peace. Scripture is designed to teach us to live happily. But, if we so choose, scripture, and the eternal laws it contains, are also a rod we can break ourselves upon.

"We are too inclined to think of law as something merely restrictive, something hemming us in. We sometimes think of law as the opposite of liberty. But that is a false conception. That is not the way that God's inspired prophets and lawgivers looked upon the law. Law has a twofold purpose. It is meant to govern. It is also meant to educate . . . God does not contradict himself. He did not create man and then, as an afterthought, impose upon him a set of arbitrary, irritating, restrictive rules. He made man free—and then gave him the commandments to keep him free. We cannot break the Ten Commandments. We can only break ourselves against them—or else, by keeping them, rise through them to the fulness of freedom under God. God means us to be free. With divine daring, he gave us the power of choice."
-Richard L. Evans
(Commencement Address, Brigham Young University, May 31, 1957) (CR, Oct. 1959, 127)

So, here again, is this idea of the futility of resisting the law of the Lord. We can be guided to happiness by a loving Shepherd, but if we won't have that kind of relationship with him, well, the rules don't simply go away. In that case, we end up breaking ourselves upon His rod. And this is as true of nations as it is of individuals.

There is no nation or kingdom that has not received its power from him, whether it be much or little—whether for a day, an age, or century. Whether they make good or bad use of it, all power is ordained of God and is in his hand. He sets up a kingdom here, and pulls down another there at his pleasure. He breaks the nations like a potter's vessel; he forms a nucleus, and around it builds up a kingdom or nation, permitting the people to act upon their own agency, that they may do right, or corrupt themselves, as did the children of Israel; and after they have become ripe for destruction, they will be scattered to the four winds. If the people of God in ancient days had  continued holy, they would have continued in power and authority to this day.
-Brigham Young JD7:148

So, that's the first of the Revelation references to Psalm 2. The second one is in Revelation 12:5. I blogged the process I used to go through that passage and try to unravel the symbols in the chapter. At the end of my study, I think that, again, this passage illustrates the power that God has to direct events, and to see to it that His work continues and flourishes, even in the face of opposition.

At this point, I turned my attention to the final New Testament Reference of Psalm 2, which is from Revelation 19:15.

And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

One of the first things I wanted to know about here is winepresses. So I visited YouTube to see one in action. I watched several, and I'm glad that I did. This first one shows the particulars of how to use this type of winepress, which apparently is a pretty traditional design. Some of the clips showed the lever going all the way around, rather than racheting, but otherwise, they were all pretty much the same.

"Don't go too fast," she said. That really struck me. The process takes time, and can't be rushed. The Savior spent all night in the Garden of Gethsemane; His process was not rushed, either.

Here's another one video. This first lady was making apple juice, and she had the best explanation of the mechanics of the press, but the symbol in the scriptures was specifically wine, and I've always understood that to be grapes, which is partly an assumption, I think, but one based on how the olive trees were commonly grown in the same garden as grapes for wines, which is why the gardens were referred to as vineyards. That imagery occurs over and over in the scriptures, so I'm guessing the wine is grape wine. When I looked at one that was specifically wine, it was easy to figure why that would be used as a symbol. The red grapes, being crushed, are a very vivid image.

The symbolism of the red juice from the grapes is striking. It stopped me in my tracks, watching the stains on the side of the press; it's so vivid. It took a while for me to see the connection to the theme of the rest of the things in these verses, but once I found it, it's so beautiful:

God is in control. His power is sufficient to still the storm - both the external storm of nations and events, and also, if we just let Him, His power is sufficient to still the internal storm, the one within us. Stilling the internal storm is the reason that Christ "treadeth the winepress."

Peace; be still.

16 March 2015

Artist Study: John James Audubon

We've finally pretty well wrapped up our work with Winslow Homer. There's a local museum that's got some of his works on display that I want to get the kids to, but otherwise, I think we've done all we're going to. The idea was to look at a painting a week for 7 weeks, and we started clear last July. It's taken way longer than that to do it, and we didn't do all the paintings. But we did do an artist study, and the family did get increased exposure to some good art. We even did some art copywork, and Hero and I tried our hand at painting something that Homer had painted. That's something. It was fun. We learned stuff. So I'm going to call it success, and we're going to do it again, this time with John James Audubon.

Having the pictures pre-selected and on my blog was key to how we managed to keep the project going, even if it was slower than anticipated. So Here are the pictures that we'll be working on from Audubon:

Carolina Pidgeon (now Mourning Dove)
photo credit: Wikipedia

American Crow
photo credit: Wikipedia

Townsend Rocky Mountain Hare
photo credit: WikiArt

White-Headed Eagle
photo credit: WikiArt

Red-winged Starling (now Red-winged Blackbird)
photo credit: WikiArt

13 March 2015

Housing Birds

At Cub Scouts the other day, Hero built a cute little birdhouse. He and his daddy finished it off at home, and he's been painting it. But I knew just enough about birdhouses to suspect that the door was too big. (That's a common failing of kit houses.) So we did some reading on several of Cornell's bird projects, decided to try to attract Bluebirds (they like the 1.5" door we had), and called the local bird shop to see what it would cost to feed them, too.

Oh. Oops. Bluebirds like meadows, not suburban yards. Well. We've got this house...

Bring it in, they said. So we did. And it'll work for either wrens or chickadees, with an adapter for the door. Cute little one like this is too small for the bluebirds, anyway. And they advised us to loose the peg: predators like to sit on those while they destroy the eggs. 

So. We pulled out the peg, and we got the fancy new door on there (and called the other moms in our den), and fixed up that feeder; the wrens Hero hopes to attract will be here soon. We also decided that it's just about time to check our favorite nest cams, to see when our birds start doing stuff. 

The eagles are already sitting on eggs. The ospreys should be back in their nest soon, hopefully. Spring is a wonderful time.

11 March 2015

Marking My Scriptures

There are as many ways to study and mark scriptures as there are people. As long as it helps you understand and remember better, it's probably working. Here are some things I like to do. I'm starting out looking at Revelations 12, as part of an ongoing study of Psalms 2. (Revelations 12:5 quotes Psalm 2:9.) When I started today, my page was nearly blank. 

I recently decided that I like to mark the names of Deity. I read a little about inductive study a while back on Pinterest, and it sounds interesting, but my favorite thing was how they marked all the names of Deity, so I've started doing that. I draw little triangles, then go back with a blue crayon and fill them all in. I don't have any really fancy tools, just a .5 fine line pen in both blue and black (I like Zebra pens because they don't bleed), and a big set of the regular Eagle Scripture Markers. The little cardboard packaging inserts make great straight edges. 

This also gives me a chance to orient myself to the context of the section I'm studying. If I'm following footnotes or other non-linear study methods, reading the area around my focus verse can be really useful. This being the Book of Revelation, I'm really needing to take my time. In my first look, I notice that the woman is fed "a thousand two hundred and threescore days." I convert this to years -it's not quite 3.5 years- because that's a lot more meaningful to me, and make a small note in the little space before the end of the line. 

The next step, since this is the Bible, is to check through the footnotes for both Greek translation notes and JST passages. I mark them in yellow in the text and also the footnotes, to make the connection easier to find quickly next time I'm in this section. I've been doing this for years, and it really works for me. This is a photo of Hebrews 5, which I studied last week because it also references Psalm 2, and it's got a pretty typical look, with the yellow anchoring the text to the footnotes. 

This chapter in Revelations is kind of a special case. First, there are no Greek translational clarifications at all. And, while there is something from the JST, rather than being just a few words in the footnotes, it's the whole chapter, at the back of the book. So instead of highlighting a word or two, I draw a line down the side that outlines the clarified section. I do still anchor it to the footnote.

Next, I flip to the back, to see what clarifications Joseph Smith was given as he was studying. I love the JST. According to my college Institute teacher, the JST is not a return to the original text (that was news to me, at the time), rather it is clarifications and further understanding he received during his period of instruction. The Bible Dictionary also has an interesting blurb on what the JST is -- and isn't.

In this case, it's really interesting: in addition to the usual clarifications, he switched the order of the verses. In JST Revelation 12:7, the woman is identified as the church, which is really useful: I had been guessing that this was possibly a vision of the birth of the Lord. Knowing that she is the church makes the passage make a great deal more sense. I underline it in pen in the JST, 

And I head back to Revelation 12 and make a note near the beginning of the chapter. 

That's my basic orientation to the area, and already, I'm feeling much better about this chapter. But, if the woman is the church, I'm really unsure about who the child is. I had thought it might be the Newborn Lord, vulnerable and under attack as he entered the world, but that now makes much less sense. I look to see which verses deal with the child, and head to the Scripture Citation Index to see if I can get more insight from the ways the Brethren have used these verses. Clicking through, I see that Revelation 12 has been cited 177 times, which is good. With that many uses, it is likely that I will be able to learn some more from the talks that have used it. Verse 4 has a lot of citations, and it talks about the child, but that's a pretty vivid account of the War in Heaven, so I look at verse 5 first. There's only 3 talks that use it, so I go look at those. Quickly, my visit pays off. Orson F. Whitney used this verse, and he identifies the child as the priesthood:

"The result of this widespread departure, this apostasy from the primitive faith, was the withdrawal of the power of the Priesthood, typified by the “manchild”of the Apocalypse, which was taken into the heavens to preserve it from the mouth of the Dragon which sought its life; there to remain until a more auspicious time should arrive for the establishment of the work of God, and the winding up of the great plan of human redemption."

Brother Whitney was eventually called as an Apostle, but was a Bishop at the time he said this, and it's not a Conference talk, so I evaluate using the same standards that I use for things that any ordinary member says. However this interpretation, combined with the woman as the church from the JST, makes the whole passage come into focus. This makes sense with the rest of the passage and what I know of the scriptures, and the Spirit approves. Following what is happening here is now much simpler, and it fits with what I know already about scripture. I make a note of this quote, including who said it and its Journal of Discourses volume and page,  in the margins of my Bible, so that I'll remember it the next time I come through. The citation hardly takes any room, and including it means that I can find the talk again if I ever want to do so. In this case, because I've included Bro. Whitney's title as a Bishop, it also clues me in that this quote is less binding than most of what I put in my margins: the majority of from Apostles and Prophets, and much of that from Conference. But not all. Some is other church leaders, or even occasionally local members, and there are some notes of impressions I have received through the Spirit.

I said before like the Zebra pens because they don't bleed. But they also work really well for tiny writing. If I'm careful, I can get 4 lines into the margin. They are the only pens I've found that can handle work that small; gel pens are just hopeless for this kind of work. So, even though they aren't the smoothest writers or the nicest to hold, I love the little Zebra pens for marking my scriptures. I put the quote from Brother Whitney on the side of the page.

At this point, it's late, and I need to go sleep so I can be an effective mom in the morning, so I pack it up. I make a distinction between my ordinary reading, which I work hard to do daily, and what I think of as my "study projects," which I try to work on a couple times a week. This way, I'm in the scriptures daily, if only a little bit, but my serious study, where I dig in deeply takes time, and in this busy season of my life with young children, I don't always have a chunk of time. By combining the methods, though, I'm gradually feeling like I am gaining a clear understanding of the scriptures and the Gospel. 

Ok. So, the second time I sat down to study this verse (more than a week later - we all got sick, but study projects are patient), I start by reviewing a bit, then going back to the verse that brought me to this chapter in the first place: Revelation 12:5

And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

Going back to this verse, after working on the chapter's symbols, is very interesting. With those interpretations, you might read it like this: "And the [church] brought forth the [power of the Priesthood], which was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and the [Priesthood] was caught up to God, and to his throne. And the [church] fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared of God...(vs. 5-6)"

At this point, I realize that the JST says that she hid in the wilderness for 1260 years. I erase the old note (happily, it erases, kind of, and without damaging my page), and note that it's years, not days.

Then I'm back to pondering verse 5, trying to figure out exactly what it means. I go have a look at those other two talks in the Scripture Citation Index. Turns out that Brigham Young also says that the man child is the Priesthood:

Soon after the ascension of Jesus, through mobocracy, martyrdom, and apostasy, the Church of Christ became extinct from the earth, the Man Child—the Holy Priesthood, was received up into heaven from whence it came, and we hear no more of it on the earth, until the Angels restored it to Joseph Smith, by whose ministry the Church of Jesus Christ was restored, reorganized on earth, twenty-three years ago this day, with the title of “Latter-day Saints,” to distinguish them from the Former-day Saints. (JD2:31)

I'm really glad that it's there, because while the church in hiding and the Priesthood returned to Heaven is familiar, the idea of the Priesthood ruling the nations is a new one for me, outside of Christ's millennial reign, and we don't usually talk about it in those terms. I'm not sure if this is talking about that, so I flip back to the JST version again, to try to determine the timeframe. Even with the JST, this is not easy. After looking again, I'm not sure that the timeframe is as important as the fact that the manchild is "to rule the nations with a rod of iron." This is slightly different from the Psalm, but close enough that I can see the reference. I check the footnotes, to make sure that it's not there, and then add the cross reference. 

I also realize that I haven't marked the text to point the child to the quote on the side, so I do that. I like straight lines, because I find that they let me read the text more clearly even when it's been marked, so I use a straight edge to help me draw a box around the word child, with a little arrow pointing to the margin.

For my birthday, my sweetheart got me a huge version of Strong's Concordance. I'm still figuring out how to use it. (You can find a tutorial with a link to an internet version here. Strong's rocks.) I decide that the phrase "rod of iron" is a good one to try. Turns out, the word "rod" appears in the Bible 86 times. It is, once again, late, so I can't look through them now, but I'm looking forward to digging into that the next time I can work on this study project.

Another day, a little more study, and this time it's late at the start, and I've really only got a couple minutes before I have to get some sleep, but my project is calling me, so I'm sneaking in a couple of minutes. I grab my Strong's, and look up "rod." Glancing through them, I realize that, although the "iron rod" is among the most common of Book of Mormon themes referenced at church, it's not at all common imagery in the Bible.  Only Psalm 2:9 and a couple verses in Revelation that reference this Psalm use this image. That's useful information: when talking with non-member Christians, this idea of the iron rod as scriptures may need some explanation. It comes from the Greek rhabdos, and this word is used for a variety of different meanings: stick, staff, scepter, and rhabdos is, itself, a derivation of the Greek rhapizo, to strike. It looks like we might get our word "rap," as in to hit, from this Greek root. This is interesting, but I don't know that it adds enough that I'll add it to my margins. At least, not now. I am, however, feeling much better about how well I understand this passage. The end of the chapter could still use a little help, but the beginning part that I'm most interested in today, I'm feeling much better about. I think it's time to say this section is finished for this run-through, and continue on to the next of my verses that references the 2nd Psalm. The great thing about studying the scriptures is that there's always, always, more to learn.


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