17 April 2005

The Old Testament and Importance of Scripture

Ben had an interesting post at M* about the Old Testament. I've mentioned before that I love the Old Testament for many of the same reasons that Ben lists, but I also agree that many members of the Church aren't very comfortable with the OT.

There are obvious reasons for this. We talk about the symbolism of Isaiah and the difficulties we might encounter there, but we rarely mention similar difficulties throughout the OT. We focus on Isaiah because of the emphasis Nephi placed on Isaiah, but there is still work to be done with other books of the OT. It is also important to remember that some books of the OT (like Ezekiel and Daniel) could not have been on the Brass Plates since they were written after Lehi left Jerusalem, so Nephi's not mentioning them does not necessarily make them of less value.

The OT is very different from any other book of scripture. It is quite the hodgepodge of different things- genealogy, poetry, prophecies, children's stories, allegories, lots of history, etc. I imagine that Mormon was working with a collection of texts that was somewhat similar to the OT when he edited the Book of Mormon. One person's going through the entire OT and editing and possibly adding some other ancient texts would make for an "easier" OT- not that I'm advocating that.

All these things contribute to people's reluctance to reading the OT. Still, I think the primary reason we ignore it is that the OT is not emphasized in our Church the way the Book of Mormon is or the Gospels. Our focus on the Book of Mormon is good, but I wish it didn't exclude the Bible, especially the OT.

4 comments:

Julie M. Smith said...

Great post.

You wrote, "It is also important to remember that some books of the OT (like Ezekiel and Daniel) could not have been on the Brass Plates since they were written after Lehi left Jerusalem, so Nephi's not mentioning them does not necessarily make them of less value."

I'm just being a little weird here, but you'll note that the Book of Revelation gets mentioned even though it obviously hasn't been written yet.

Amira said...

True. You know, I've always wondered how Nephi would have written Revelation. It would have been interesting to have more than one version.

Mark said...

My mind was re-opened to the glories of the Old Testament the other day when I did initiatories in the temple.

That's all I'll say, so you can explore for yourself.

MRKH

Amira said...

Thanks, Mark. I love to do initiatories, and one change in particular ties in well with the OT. I love that.

The only problem for me with the change is that now everyone wants to do initiatories. I've always preferred doing initiatories and now I can't do them whenever I want.