Many people take a quotation-centered approach to their study of the Book of Mormon, according to the author of “Beholding the Tree of Life.” While thMany people take a quotation-centered approach to their study of the Book of Mormon, according to the author of “Beholding the Tree of Life.” While this method is useful for talks and lessons, it reduces the Book of Mormon to a collection of scriptural sound bites while ignoring its value as a literary work, or selecting the parts over the whole. Kramer proposes that a rabbinic approach is also appropriate because the Book of Mormon is a story of Jews in exile written not only for the descendants of the Nephites and Lamanites, but also for modern Jews, who would be most familiar with rabbinic methodology.
Most students of the Book of Mormon are unfamiliar with a rabbinic approach, so the author has provided detailed information and examples of this method. He contends that study of the Book of Mormon requires sustained mental effort, attention to details, consideration of deeper levels and alternative perspectives, a connection with other works of scripture, experience with God, and the creation of a personal divine relationship with the book rather than integration of textual information.
The view of works of scripture as multi-layered texts is common, but Kramer goes further, explaining that as rabbis study Hebrew Scriptures, they work at four levels, called peshat, remez, derash, and sod. Each requires a level of devotion and gives the student a different result.
Peshat involves the hard work required to not only determine the literal meaning, but to examine details and put them in context. Peshat can be seen in Lehi’s life as he studied the plates of brass and lived his life in accord with what he learned.
Further understanding comes through remez as the reader works to comprehend allegories, and understand ideas. Nephi’s explanation of Lehi’s dream of the allegory of the tree of life is an example of remez, as he moves beyond the surface meaning to the principles and truths contained therein.
Sermons leading to a better life are found in derash. The student of the scriptures must seek for the lessons beyond the original setting through this living art form. Nephi encouraged his readers to liken the scriptures unto ourselves, which is the essence of derash.
The final level is the mystical one of sod. This is where the scriptural scholar learns of God. While this approach is different in English than with Hebrew Scriptures because of the nature of the languages, we can still take this approach with the Book of Mormon, as noted by King Benjamin as he stated that the scriptures contained the mysteries of God.
The rabbinic approach is not for the casual reader, so Kramer provides details on how to read closely. He explains the importance of considering opening sentences as they set the tone and often have deeper meaning that what we see. The importance of context is identified through the contiguity principle, which states there is no meaning in isolation. Kramer also encourages the reader to consider similarities and differences between accounts of the same events and learn from the comparisons. He states that we should strive to understand the purpose behind repetition and redundancies as well as word order.
Additional suggestions made by the author include reading with others to help improve our experience with God, and looking at the roots of the Book of Mormon. As we understand its relationship to other scriptures, we receive additional witnesses of the truth and affirm words of the prophets. In addition, we are then able to see what we believed to be academic points, such as the Nephite experiences with kings into principles such as the societal dangers of having a king. Comprehension of historical context also helps with application to modern life and the significance of events such as Moses as a type for Christ.
Many may choose to argue that guides such as Kramer’s work are not required as the Holy Ghost is the only assistance required to understand the scriptures. He argues that guides, such as prophets, have always been provided to help in our search for understanding of God’s will. Many of these prophets felt they were failures because their contemporaries rejected their messages; however they have provided much guidance for future generations and continue to be sources of prophetic hope despite historical setbacks. Kramer argues that the Holy Ghost does not eliminate the need for guides, but is a supplement to them.
The author provides a type for our scripture study within his book. He encourages us to persist and continue in a lifelong study of the scriptures although his book has ended, as he writes that his conclusion isn’t really an ending. I will be continuing to use this book as a model for my scripture study in the coming year. I found its methods, while they may seem innovative, have been proven over centuries as appropriate for a lifelong relationship with the divine.
Penumbras is the second in the Middle Grade Magic series by Braden Bell. The previous title, The Kindling, introduced us to three middle school friendPenumbras is the second in the Middle Grade Magic series by Braden Bell. The previous title, The Kindling, introduced us to three middle school friends, Connor, Lexa, and Melanie, whose beginning magical powers attracted the attention of dark forces placing them in danger.
Sounds like a novel that would capture the attention and imagination of a junior high student with plenty of action to keep them enthralled, doesn't it. Why would I recommend that you read this with your youngster?
Bell's work has many layers. Below the entertaining story line is an undercurrent of complex emotions and relationships, giving adults who have forgotten those difficult years great insight into the tween and early teen years.
The situations include friendship becoming romance, which open the door for important discussions regarding dating behavior.
Some of the characters have worries they don't express to others, allowing you a chance to pry some concerns loose from your own kid.
Reading together is a great bonding activity, and this title can be enjoyed by adolescents and adults.
You don't have to worry about the content, language, or situations.
The danger posed by the Darkhands gives you an opportunity to review important safety precautions with your family.
A discussion of good and bad secrets will occur when you read the major plot twist in this volume.
Connor's memories of the Shadowbox allow the readers to discover that few people are entirely good or completely evil, a difficult lesson even for adults.
The emphasis is on communication and relying on trusted adults, which can help reinforce faith in parents.
This is true literature with the impact of "The Kite Runner" without the horrific details. I enjoyed this book so much I suggested it to the 9th gradeThis is true literature with the impact of "The Kite Runner" without the horrific details. I enjoyed this book so much I suggested it to the 9th grade English teachers at my school....they thanked me. Do yourself a favor and get your copy now. ...more
Oh, the excitement of that first job. I worked in a Mexican restaurant. I was thrilled to enter through the "Employees Only" door. My mother made a coOh, the excitement of that first job. I worked in a Mexican restaurant. I was thrilled to enter through the "Employees Only" door. My mother made a copy of my first paycheck and framed it. What I didn't realize was that I also needed to begin planning for my retirement.
People who wait until middle age or later to plan for the future may not be able to retire. They face the unappealing prospect of dying at their desks rather than doing what they wish in that beach house. Why do we put it off?
I believe the first reason is fear. We fear thinking about our "golden years". We worry our future will be stolen by greedy corporate executives, thanks to those at Enron. Worst of all, we have no clue where to start.
John Hauserman, the chief executive officer of Retirement Journey, LLC, has written a book to guide you through this daunting process. I was interested to read this book because I don’t have a lot of experience with financial planning and am considering my retirement options.
Retirement has changed in recent years. I remember my grandfather retiring at age 65, getting his pension, and spending his time travelling, working in his garden, and building furniture. He had no financial worries. My mother took a lump sum payment when she retired, and how scrimps and lives very simply. I participate in the Texas Teacher Retirement System. Because my pension is in the hands of politicians, I'm assuming it will be bankrupt before I retire.
Few people can now spend their adult life working for a single company and counting on a consistent pension. Many have no clue where to begin retirement planning, and their inattention to this important life event may mean that they have to work for the rest of their lives.
Hauserman teaches you how to set goals, and compute how much money you will need to save. He also details what information you need to gather before beginning to plan. Readers will discover how much investment risk they can tolerate and how to select a professional they can trust.
This book is written in layman’s terms and is easy to read and understand. If you were as confused as I was about financial planning, I can highly recommend this guide. I was especially interested in the sections on risk assessment and was very unsure about how to choose a professional to help with my retirement planning.
Take some time to plan for your future so that beach vacation you're planning doesn't change into a job as a greeter in Walmart. ...more
This true story is difficult to get through at times due to the subject matter, but can be a valuable tool for the family members of those who commitThis true story is difficult to get through at times due to the subject matter, but can be a valuable tool for the family members of those who commit suicide. The author took a courageous leap, sharing intense personal emotions and events while attempting to understand the incomprehensible. I believe that this work will help many people find peace in the face of tragedy. Definitely worth the effort it takes to face the unthinkable. ...more