Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Old Testament and trip to Mayaguez

I have been reading the Old Testament.  I would say again, but I must confess that I have not read the Old Testament, at least in sequence, straight through.  The layout of the books in the OT is not chronological, but I want to do this. I have studied the OT a lot and I think I have read most of the OT over the years of quite intense study in institute and Sunday school classes.  However, I need to read it all. My goal is to do it before we finish here on May 8.
Benjamin, next door. A sweet man with severe Parkinsons, always smiling.
A study of Genesis must include Moses and Abraham.  I really enjoyed reading those books. Genesis and Exodus contain several timely and informative chapters.  Leviticus and Numbers have been a challenge, but I made it.  I confess, I have read the chapter headings in those books and skimmed the chapter contents, except for the chapters that get away from the detailed descriptions of each specific sacrifice and when it is to be offered.  That is interesting information to somebody who is studying the history of ancient Israel.  I am not.  I am studying and reading in order to meet a goal, and to renew my acquaintance with the detailed studies of bygone days.  I anticipate Deuteronomy to be much like the rest of the Moses books.

I love the Old Testament, but I find that the best commentary on the OT is the Book of Mormon, which I just finished reading, again.  This time I read the edition put together by Grant Hardy.  He organized the standard text of the Book of Mormon as a narrative history, the product of Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni.  It was extremely enlightening for me to read the standard text organized in that format.  

To this point, I have read the missionary edition that was published sometime before 1981(I think in 1924), the one I used on my mission in 1966-68.  I have read parts of the printed version in Afrikaans, which we did not even have when I was a missionary a hundred years ago.  I am not sure it is even printed now. I have read the printed English version that was published in 1981 as part of the “new” scriptures.  Some people still call them that, but that was more than 30 years ago.  I have read a facsimile of the First Edition of the Book of Mormon as it appeared in 1830, just before the Church was formally organized.  I have read the Yale Edition, the result of the exhaustive work of Royal Skousen in the Book of Mormon Critical Text Project.  I have written the changes suggested by Dr Skousen into my personal copy of the Book of Mormon so every time I read or study the printed version, I see those textual changes that have been suggested by the Critical Text Project.  Next will be the 2013 edition, which is almost the same as the 1981 edition except for a few minor changes.  

The last time I read the Book of Mormon was on my computer.  That is what I am doing with the OT, also.  It gets away from the narrow two-column format of the printed scriptures, which I find sometimes hard to read.  Looking up cross-references is also much simpler with the electronic version.  My printed books, however, will always be my standard.  I write comments in the margins, I have written in my own cross references, and I feel a connection to the printed version that I have not yet acquired with the electronic version.  I suppose it is a generational thing.

On Friday Gaye and I went to Mayaguez, clear on the western end of the island, to sign a contact for a new apartment for some sisters living there.  We took Elder Horner with us.  He is one of our office elders, but his companion was chauffeur for President as he went to interview missionaries, so he came with us.  At first it seemed like an imposition, because we would not have time to just talk between the two of us.  As the day progressed, however, it became apparent that he was a very valuable asset to us.  Not only does he speak Spanish, he has a youthful refreshing view of missionary work that has been a boost to us.  We look forward to more such excursions.  

We never really know what we will be doing from one day to the next, but there is always something that requires our attention.  President said that when we are finished we will not be replaced.  The TO&E (that will be familiar to military personnel) calls for one couple and one single sister in the office.  The previous president had four couples and one sister, and right now we have two couples and two young elders.  I think cutting back that far will really put the new office couple and senior sister under a lot of pressure, but that will not be something that I need to deal with.
Chorister in Caparra Ward
Street in Old San Juan

Stay tuned.

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