K.C. and Michelle Woolf

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Books I Can Remember I Read Update. Review of View of the Hebrews

Mark Twain once said after reading the Book of Mormon, “It is chloroform in print. If Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle. Keeping awake while he did it, was at any rate.” Well, if Joseph Smith used Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews as the main source for the Book of Mormon, as many critics claim, it is a miracle for the same reason. I dozed off several times in my attempt to get through these 220 pages of rambling, 19th century, anecdotal evidence that Native Americans were the 10 lost tribes of Israel. It was slumber inducing not only because it was a tedious read, but also because the more I read the more at peace I was that this book was no smoking gun disproving the veracity of the Book of Mormon. With the exception of quoting a few of the same verses of Isaiah, this book does not resemble the Book of Mormon at all. And even if Joseph Smith had access to this book and was somehow able to fit a copy of it into his hat along with the Spalding Manuscript and his sear stone, it in no way explains how he was able to dictate 500+ pages in less than 3 months, with no internal inconsistencies, using no notes (unless they were hidden in said hat), or how he was able to finish a dictation in the middle of one page and then resume precisely where he left off several days later without asking for the last line or even glancing at the manuscript. (Fawn Brodie’s best explanation for this was that he must have been having some type of rare seizure.) View of the Hebrews also doesn’t explain how Joseph Smith was able to so thoroughly convince 11 other men that they had seen the golden plates that none of them ever denied it to their dying day, although many of them left the church. (Fawn Brodie’s best explanation for this was that Joseph Smith was a powerful hypnotist.)

So, although I cannot recommend View of the Hebrews for it’s entertainment value, I do believe that any Mormon who has ever been confronted by someone who claimed that Joseph Smith “plagiarized” the Book of Mormon from this book should read it just so they can they, “no he didn’t.” Latter-day Saints have nothing to fear from this book.


Books I Can Remember that I’ve Read (In no particular order)

I'm only counting text books if I read the entire thing.
I'm counting books that I read more than half of but stopped because I couldn't stomach it (Lolita) or hated (Moby Dick). I'm not counting books that are mostly pictures (The Cat in the Hat) although they are still some of my favorite books. I'm counting books twice if I read them in English and in Spanish. Also, I have not counted all the Bathroom Readers I've read, mostly because I'm ashamed of how much time I spend on the pot. I've read almost all of them however.

***** - I really liked
**** - I liked
*** - OK
** - I didn’t like
* - It sucked.

1. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald****
2. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - James Joyce**
3. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen****
4. Walden - Henry David Thoreau**
5. Claudius the God - Robert Graves*****
6. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez***
7. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess****
8. As I Lay Dying -William Faulkner***
9. Animal Farm - George Orwell****
10. The Book of Mormon - Written by the Hand of Mormon. Translated by Joseph Smith Jr.*****
11. The Holy Bible - King James Version*****
12. The Doctrine and Covenants - Joseph Smith, others****
13. The Pearl of Great Price - Moses, Abraham, Joseph Smith****
14. Travels with Charley (In Search of America) - John Steinbeck****
15. A Series of Unfortunate Events. The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket***
16. A Series of Unfortunate Events. The Reptile Room - Lemony Snicket***
17. A Series of Unfortunate Events. The Wide Window - Lemony Snicket***
18. Les Liaisons Dagereuses - Pierre Choderlos de Laclos****
19. Tom Sawyer Abroad - Samuel Clemens***
20. The Monkey Wrench Gang - Edward Abbey****
21. The Hero With a Thousand Faces - Joseph Campbell***
22. The Faith of a Scientist - Henry Eyring****
23. The Power of Myth - Joseph Campbell****
24. What are People For - Wendell Berry***
25. The Miracle of Forgiveness - Spencer W. Kimball****
26. The Greatest Salesman in the World - Og Mandino***
27. 1984 - George Orwell****
28. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Samuel Clemens*****
29. On the Road - Jack Keroac****
30. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens****
31. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller****
32. Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra****
33. Uncle Tom’s Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe***
34. Deliverance - James Dickey****
35. The Best of Edward Abbey***
36. Rosaura a las Diez - Marco Denevi****
37. Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow****
38. Tom Sawyer Detective - Samuel Clemens***
39. The Iliad -Homer****
40. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkein*****
41. Notes from the Underground - Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky***
42. The Double - Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky***
43. The Trial -Franz Kafka***
44. Moby Dick - Herman Melville**
45. Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison***
46. Principles of Surgery Companion Handbook - Schartz, Shires, Spencer*
47. Standing for Something - Gordon B. Hinckley***
48. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis*****
49. The Sound and the Fury -William Faulkner**
50. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck****
51. Slaughter House-Five - Kurt Vonnegut****
52. Tender is the Night - F. Scott Fitzgerald****
53. Under the Volcano - Malcolm Lowry**
54. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer -Samuel Clemens*****
55. Darkness at Noon - Arthur Koestler*****
56. The Call of the Wild - Jack London****
57. Kim - Rudyard Kipling***
58. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens****
59. Howards End - E.M. Forster****
60. Sons and Lovers - D.H. Lawrence***
61. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad***
62. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance -Robert M. Pirsig****
63. The Stranger - Albus Camus****
64. To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf***
65. The Lonely Men - Louis L’Amour***
66. Sacred Clowns - Tony Hillerman***
67. The Covenant - James A. Michener****
68. Prentice Alvin - Orson Scott Card****
69. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy -Douglas Adams****
70. The Quick and the Dead - Louis L’Amour***
71. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee*****
72. The Gift of the Jews - Thomas Cahill****
73. The Last Battle - C.S. Lewis****
74. Iberia - James A Michener**
75. Ender’s Game -Orson Scott Card*****
76. People of Darkness - Tony Hillerman****
77. The Horse and His Boy - C.S. Lewis****
78. The Silver Chair - C.S. Lewis****
79. Memory of Earth - Orson Scott Card***
80. The Odyssey - Homer****
81. The Source - James A. Michener*****
82. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger****
83. The Story of England - Christopher Hibbert****
84. A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway****
85. The Changed Man - Orson Scott Card****
86. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl****
87. El Milagro del Perdon -Spencer W. Kimball****
88. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley****
89. A Marvelous Work and a Wonder - LeGrand Richards****
90. A Treasury of Classical Mythology - A.R. Hope Moncrieff****
91. The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien****
92. Pure Drivel - Steve Martin***
93. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens****
94. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens****
95. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone - J.K. Rowling*****
96. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling*****
97. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban -J.K. Rowling*****
98. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire -J.K. Rowling*****
99. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling*****
100. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling*****
101. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling*****
102. The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis*****
103. The Magician's Nephew - C.S. Lewis*****
104. Out of the Silent Planet - C.S. Lewis****
105. Prince Caspian - C.S. Lewis*****
106. The Voyage of the 'Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis*****
107. Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis****
108. That Hideous Strength - C.S. Lewis****
109. The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway***
110. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov**
111. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley****
112. I Claudius - Robert Graves*****
113. Anthem - Ann Rand***
114. Lord of the Flies - William Golding****
115. As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner***
116. The Secret Agent - Joseph Conrad***
117. Starship Troopers - Robert Heinlein****
118. A Room With a View - E.M. Forster****
119. Lord Jim - Joseph Conrad***
120. Citizen of the Galaxy - Robert Heinlein****
121. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesley****
122. Tunnel in the Sky - Robert Heinlein****
123. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum****
124. Speaker for the Dead - Orson Scott Card****
125. Xenocide - Orson Scott Card****
126. Songmaster - Orson Scott Card**
127. Saints - Orson Scott Card****
128. Red Prophet - Orson Scott Card****
129. Cruel Shoes - Steve Martin***
130. The Great Brain - John Dennis Fitzgerald****
131. Me and My Little Brain - John Dennis Fitzgerald****
132. Jesus the Christ - James Talmage*****
133. The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas****
134. Dracula - Bram Stoker****
135. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown***
136. Angels and Demons - Dan Brown****
137. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West - Gregory Maguire****
138. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator - Roald Dahl**
139. How the Irish Saved Civilization - Thomas Cahill***
140. Fundamentals of Family Medicine - Robert B. Taylor***
141. Medical Physiology - Rodney A Rhoades and George A Tanner**
142. D'aulaires Book of Greek Myths - Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aurlaire****
143. El Libro De Mormon - Un Relato Escrito por la Mano de Mormon. Traducido de las Planchas por Jose Smith, Hijo*****
144. Generation X - Douglas Coupland***
145. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe****
146. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice****
147. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde****
148. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen****
149. History of the English-Speaking Peoples - Winston Churchhill****
150. A Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking - Barbara Bates**
151. Complete History of the World - Richard Overy****
152. The American Religion - Harold Bloom***
153. The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck****
154. In Cold Blood - Truman Capote****
155. A Rumor of War - Philip Caputo****
156. Religion in the New World - Richard E. Wentz***
157. The Moon Is Down - John Steinbeck****
158. The Pearl - John Steinbeck****
159. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck****
160. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold - John le Carré****
161. The Education of Little Tree - Forrest Carter*****
162. The Chosen - Chaim Potok****
163. The Work and the Glory, Pilar of Fire - Gerald N. Lund*****
164. The Work and the Glory, Like a Fire if Burning - Gerald N. Lund*****
165. The Work and the Glory, Truth will Prevail - Gerald N. Lund*****
166. The Work and the Glory, Thy Gold Refine - Gerald N. Lund*****
167. The Work and the Glory, A Season of Joy - Gerald N. Lund*****
168. Stepen King On Writing, A memoir of the Craft - Stephen King***
169. Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris****
170. Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited, The Evidence for Ancient Origins - Edited by Noel B. Reynolds. **** (March '08)
171. The Millionaire Next Door - Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko****
172. Naked Ape : A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal - Desmond Morris****
173. Johnny Tremain - Esther Forbes****
174. Mormons and Masons, Setting the Record Straight - Gilbert W. Scharffs* (March '08)
175. San Manuel Bueno, mártir - Miguel de Unamuno****
176. Critiquing the Critics of Joseph Smith - Hartt Wixom**** (March '08)
177. Mormon Country - Wallace Stegner****
178. The House of God - Samuel Shem**
179. The Way of All Flesh - Samuel Butler****(March '08)
180. The Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean M. Auel**** (April '08)
181. Religions of the World - A Latter-day Saint View - Spencer J. Palmer, Rober R. Keller, Dong Sull Choi, James A. Toronto****
182. Julius Caesar - William Shakespear****
183. Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare****
184. Hamlet - William Shakespeare****
185. Macbeth - William Shakespeare****
186. One Minute Answers to Anti-Mormon Questions - Stephen W. Gibson*** (May '08)
187. Jay's Journal - Beatrice Sparks**
188. Blueprints in Obstetrics and Gynecology - Tamara L. Callahan, Aaron B Caughey and Linda J Heffner***
189. Clinical Microbiology Made Rediculously Simple - Mark Galdwin and Bill Trattler****
190. Prescription for the Boards USMLE Step 2 - Radhika Breaden, Charyl Denenberg, Kate Feibusch, Stephen Gomperts***
191. The Instant Exam Review for the USMLE Step 3 - Joel s. Goldberg**
192. Appleton & Lang's Review of Pediatrics - Martin I. Lorin**
193. Pathology - Arthur S. Schneider and Philip A Szanto**
194. Internal Medicine - Edward D. Frohlich**
195. The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers - J.R.R. Tolkien****
196. The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien****
198. The Mountain Meadows Massacre - Juanita Brooks****
198. A Thief of Time - Tony Hillerman****
199. Naked Pictures of Famous People - Jon Stewart**
200. La Casa de Bernarda Alba - Federico García Lorca***
201. Why Things Are and Why Things Aren't - Joel Achenbach****
202. Why Things Are - Joel Achenbach****
203. Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise? And Other Imponderables - David Feldman****
204. First Aid for the Family Medicine Boards - Tao Le, Christine Dehlendorf, Michael Mendoza, and Cynthria Ohata*** (May '08)
205. Why Don't Cat's Like to Swim - David Feldman****
206. The Naked and the Dead - Norman Mailer**** (June '08)
207. Encounters with the Archdruid - John McPhee***
208. Desert Solitaire - Edward Abby***
209. Family Medicine Board Review - Robert L. Bratton, MD*** (July '08)
210. View of the Hebrews - Ethan Smith** (August '08)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Book of Mormon Lesson 30

Rough Draft

Book of Mormon Lesson 30
“The Great Plan of Happiness.”

I. Introduction.
A. Today we will be continuing Alma’s counsel to his son Corianton.
1. Alma spends 2 chapters (albeit long chapters) counseling his son Helaman. He is passing the torch to Helaman. He then spends one short chapter talking to his son Shiblon - almost a pat on the head. But then he spends 4 long chapters counseling his son Corianton, and it is in these chapters that we learn some of the most wonderful details about the plan of salvation and of God’s justice and mercy.
a. Why do you think Alma spent so much time talking to Corianton? He had committed a great sin and needed the most help.
b. Can you parents who have had children who have made mistakes understand this?
2. Remember that in chapter 39 Alma gives Corianton a very harsh reprimand for going “after the harlot Isabel.” (One of only a handful of women mentioned by name in the Book of Mormon.) In Chapter 40 it appears that he abruptly changes the subject saying, “Now my son, here is somewhat more I would say unto thee; for I perceive that thy mind is worried concerning the resurrection of the dead.” Why the sudden shift in subject? Why does Alma spend the next 3 chapters talking about the plan of salvation to his son who was morally unclean?
B. The plan of salvation.
1. Plan of Salvation outline. This is the visual aid I used on my mission to teach the 4th discussion. Although this is rather cartoonish and most of us have known this plan since we were children, this was wonderful, new information for the people I taught on my mission.
2. Neal A. Maxwell: “The Lord has described his plan of redemption as the Plan of Happiness. …Conversationally, we reference this great design almost too casually at times; we even sketch its rude outlines on chalkboards and paper as if it were the floor plan for an addition to one’s house. However, when we really take time to ponder the Plan, it is breathtaking and overpowering!”
3. These chapters we are about to read are one of the few places in the Book of Mormon where doctrine is presented that is not clearly taught in the Bible. I once heard a non-Mormon religious scholar say that if you want to know what Mormon’s believe that is different from the rest of Christianity, you shouldn’t read the Book of Mormon but the Doctrine and Covenants. I would have to agree for the most part. Most of the “doctrine” taught in the Book of Mormon is just explaining and reemphasizing things that are taught in the Bible. These chapters are the exception. This is where we learn about Spirit Prison and Paradise and what will happen at the resurrection.
C. When I was 17 years old the Church was not that important to me. I was more interested in my friends and other activities. I wasn’t living the gospel to it’s fullest. Then one day for seminary we had an activity where we broke up into groups and took turns going into one of 4 classrooms where the different seminary teachers played characters from each of the 4 degrees of glory. One of the rooms was Outer Darkness. They had the lights low and Brother Duncan was dressed in black and told us how when he was on the earth he was a leader in the church who had received revelations of the truth of the gospel but then became angry with the church and actively fought against it and spread lies about it. We then went to the Telestial Kingdom, where Brother Gardner had beer bottles spread on his desk and was dressed in an AC-DC T-shirt. He told us how when he was on his mission he snuck out of his apartment one night and slept with a divorce’ they had been teaching and never repented. We then went to the Terrestrial Kingdom - I can’t remember how they portrayed the Terrestrial guy - probably a good guy who rejected the gospel. Then we went to the Celestial Kingdom and Brother Dunham was there with his family, all of them dressed in white (he actually had his wife and kids there). He pointed out that this was the only kingdom where there were families. I can’t remember everything that they said that day, but I remember walking out of seminary terrified that I was going to get hit by a car that day, before I was ready. I didn’t want to be in one of those lower kingdoms. It motivated me to repent and do better.
1. I think that is what Alma is doing here with Corianton. One of the best ways to motivate people to repent is to remind them that there are eternal consequences to the choices we make in this life.

II. Who made the resurrection possible
A. Read Alma 40:2-3. Alma makes it clear from the beginning that the resurrection and the entire plan of salvation is dependent on the Savior.
B. Read Alma 40:4-5, 8, 20. Alma admits that he does not know all the details or chronology of the resurrection, just that it will happen.
1. What lesson can we learn from the fact that Alma does not seem too bothered that he doesn’t know all the details about the resurrection?
a. With all we know about God’s plan and the gospel, there are still many more things we don’t know or understand. We shouldn’t spend too much time trying to fill in the blanks ourselves. We should feel comfortable say “I don’t know” sometimes.
C. Read Alma 40:11-14.
1. Alma explains that immediately after death there will be a judgement and we will be designated to go to Paradise or Spirit Prison. He describes Hell, but what is new is that this is not a permanent state. Just until the resurrection.
2. Parley P. Pratt said: “the Spirit World is not the heaven where Jesus Christ, His Father and other beings dwell, who have, by resurrection or tradition, ascended to eternal mansions and been crowned and seated on thrones of power; but it is an intermediate state, a probation, a place of preparation, improvement, instruction, or education, where spirits are chastened or improved, and where, if found worthy, they may be taught a knowledge of the Gospel. In short, it is a place where the Gospel is preached, and where faith, repentance, hope and charity may be exercised, a place of waiting for the resurrection or redemption of the body; while, to those who deserve it, it is a place of punishment, or purgatory or hell, where spirits are buffeted till the day of redemption. As to its location, it is here on the very planet where we were born.”
D. Read Alma 40:23.

III. The Justice of God.
A. Read Alma 41:3-4.
B. Read Alma 41:6-8. It is interesting that Alma says we will be our “own judges.” The judgement is not God deciding if we were good enough. We just are who we are.
C. Read Alma 41:9. We see the point Alma is trying to make with Corianton. “Don’t risk one more offence” because there are eternal consequences for your actions.
D. Read Alma 41:10. What does it mean “wickedness never was happiness.” There seem to be a lot of wicked people who sure seem happy.
E. He then explains what Restoration means. Read Alma 41:13. We will be restored to the state in which we have placed ourselves - not restored to a perfect state unless we take advantage of the Atonement.
F. Read Alma 41:14-15.
1. What hope does this offer Corianton?
2. How does “restoration more fully condemneth the sinner and justifyieth him not at all”?

IV. Mercy and Justice
A. Read Alma 42:4. What is this probationary time? This life.
B. Read Alma 42:12-16. How can mercy and justice co-exist? Only through the atonement.
C. Read Alma 42:24-25.

V. We should let our sins trouble us.
A. Read Alma 42:29-30. Are we sometimes to eager to forgive ourselves and to dismiss the mistakes we have made? We don’t believe in “cheap grace.” Not only are there consequences in the after life for our choices, but in this life. We do have to truly humble ourselves in order to receive forgiveness.

VI. We learn in the next chapter that Alma and his sons continue their missionary work - presumably with Corianton. So we have to assume that Alma’s sermon to Corianton was successful, that he did realize the eternal consequences of his sins and her repented. I hope that Alma’s word’s can do the same for us and motivate us to repent and want to be better people.