Sunday, September 2, 2012

BYU Education Week wrap up

Yes, I did go to Education Week this year.  No, I didn't attend as many classes as in the past.  Yes, once real life encroaches on your former visit/vacation place the extras and everyday are harder to manage. Glen and I were in good form on the first day, Monday.  Then Glen got pulled into business concerns and I had many things to attend to before the next week's guests arrived.  I found that if I worked hard at home in the morning, I found easy parking on campus in the afternoon, thus my late afternoon and early evening Education Week experience.

My yearly wrap up is a bit late due to the arrival of the fun guests (see above) and a quick trip back to Arizona.  This Sunday seems like a good time to share some of the insights I gained and want to remember.

* Prophets of the Restoration by Robert Freeman

The life of each of the Latter-day Prophets was reviewed as well as the historical context of their time, and their unique contributions to The Church of Latter-day Saints.  The presenter stressed this point, "Each was uniquely selected for a time and a situation." Some of the items new to me:

-Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were contemporaries of John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and Lorenzo Snow who followed them in service, all having been born in the early 1800's.

-Lorenzo Snow attended Oberlin College in Ohio, while in England presented a copy of The Book of Mormon to Queen Victoria, and called the first sister missionaries to service.

-Joseph F. Smith was an orphan at age 13 and then watched 13 of his own children die, served 5 missions with the first to the Sandwich now Hawaiian islands when 15 years of age, introduced Family Home Evening, and worked hard to purchase church historic sites.

-Heber J. Grant had the 2nd longest presidency with Brigham Young serving the longest.  He served during the turbulent times of Prohibition, USSR formation, Stock Market crash and Depression, Hitler, Pearl Harbor, WWII, atomic bomb dropped on Japan and then dies shortly after the end of WWII.  He serves during the same time as US Presidents Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, and F. Roosevelt.  Before becoming president he serves as one of the first missionaries to Japan later helping with the translation of the BOM into Japanese.  While president he begins the modern Welfare Program, opened the first Deseret Industries, and established the Utah-Idaho Sugar Co.  He was the first prophet to have not known the first prophet, Joseph Smith.

-George Albert Smith was the first widower to become president.  He was also the first LDS president to appear on the cover of a national magazine cover, Time magazine.  He was a nature lover and avid scouter who saw the milestone reached of 1,000,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

-David O. McKay oversaw the internationalization of the Church.  During his presidency Queen Elizabeth becomes queen, Alaska and Hawaii become states, the Civil Rights Movement occurs, the Berlin Wall is built, the Cuban Missile Crisis occurs, John F. Kennedy is assassinated, and Neil Armstrong walks on the moon.  He serves during the presidencies of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon and is the longest living president when he dies at age 96.

-Joseph Fielding Smith was born in 1876, still pioneer times but lived until 95 which was long enough for him to have the privilege of flying in a fighter jet.  He stated, "That's about as close as I can get to Heaven now."  During is services Nixon is president and the United States is embroiled in Viet Nam.

-Harold B. Lee had a short presidency and died at age 74 on the day after Christmas in 1973.  As a stake president in Salt Lake City during the Depression, he instigated the kernel of temporal welfare which became the Welfare Program.  He was especially dedicated to the youth of the church and I still remember his visit to Mesa when I was a college student and how President Lee came to a very crowded Tri-Stake Center specifically to meet with those my age.  It was an astounding experience!

-Spencer W. Kimball doubled the missionary force creating 51 new missions.  He also made the official declaration in June 1978 giving the Priesthood to all worthy males..

-Ezra Taft Benson was the last president born in the 1800's and was born when President Snow was president in 1899.  He served both God and country and was Secretary of the Agriculture under Eisenhower.  He also served a post WWII tour of Europe bringing much aid and comfort to all.

- Howard W. Hunter served the shortest presidency, less than a year.  He was a musician and played 7 different instruments.  He had a dance band that played on cruise lines. He was instrumental in the construction of the Orson Hyde Garden at the Jerusalem Center.

-Gordon B. Hinckley became the longest living president and was known as the "media president" with strong skills in public relations.  He was an articulate person who gave international and national interviews.

-Thomas S. Monson, current prophet and president, was our first "veteran" president having served in the Navy.  He was the youngest apostle called since the early 1900's.  He had responsibility over the Eastern Europe Area for 20 years and dedicated the first stake and temple in Frieburg, East Germany before the dismantling of the Berlin Wall.  He told the Saints to prove their trustworthiness to the East German government as he also tried to do and it allowed them religious freedoms not given to other congregations.

*The Chiasmus Story 45 Years Later presented by John Welch

August 16, 1967 is the day that John Welch calls "Chiasmus Day."  We, his students, celebrated with him the 45th anniversary of his discovery of the poetic device of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon while a Mormon missionary serving in Germany.  As a BYU student before his mission he took a class from Hugh Nibley who was always looking for poetic forms in the Book of Mormon.  He also had Robert K. Thomas as an instructor who taught the Bible as literature and encourage his students to read the BOM as literature.

In 1966, John Welch, was serving in the South German Mission in Bavaria.  In 1967 he was transferred to Ravensburg with a companion for 9 months.  While there John saw a flyer telling about lectures on Friday mornings (the missionaries day off or D-Day much has the current P-Day) on the New Testament.  They attended and John first heard about chiasmus as a Hebrew writing device.  He learned of Paul Gaechter who had published a book in 1965 which tried to show that Matthew was more Jewish than Mark because he used symmetry arranged elements and argued that Mark was more Greek.

On August 16, 1967 early in the morning, John Welch was reading his German BOM and came to Mosiah 5:6-15, which because of the German layout of the words jumped out to John as a chaismus.  John Welch stated that further study of King Benjamin's speech determined that it is in its entirety a chiasmus.  Mosiah 5:18-19 is the dead center of his speech.  There are 2467 words before and 2476 words after this scripture verse.

In jest, he also shared that August 16 was also the middle day of his mission.  He shared with us letters from his mission showing the progression of what he had learned and what he was finding in his Book of Mormon.  He also wrote to his BYU professors letting them know what he had found.  On Nov. 20, 1967, John Welch gave his first formal presentation about chiasmus.  On his way home from his mission he went to visit Paul Craecher, a Jesuit priest, in Innsbruck.  Gaechter marveled at his discoveries, told him that the BOM was a beautiful book, and said two things.  "You must continue this work" and "You have found a life's work."

When back in Provo, he went directly to the home on 700 North to see Hugh Nibley even though it was already after 9 PM.  Nibley kept him late into the night wanting to know about everything that was in the briefcase he carried. (John's suitcase had been stolen but luckily all his important papers were in the briefcase.)  Nibley agreed to be John Welch's mentor for a Masters thesis on Chiasmus.

Much as been published about chiasmus in the last 45 years.  For a more detailed telling of this story go here.

*The Pearl of Great Price presented by David A. LeFevre

I attended the Pearl of Great Price adult religion class in the Mesa East Stake last school year so attended these presentations as a summation of a year of study.  I always enjoy David LeFevre's presentations, much information in a short period of time.  The thing I want to share is that as Egyptoligists learn more, Joseph Smith's translation of Abraham looks better and better.  One hundred years ago, it was mostly negative but now every year it looks better.

*The Doctrine of Baptism for the Dead as Practiced in Nauvoo (1841-1845) presented by Susan Easton Black

Black's presentation was a comprehensive history of how baptism for the dead came to be practiced, how it proceeded from baptisms in the Mississippi River to a wooden font, and the building of the Nauvoo Temple with its stone font.  Such baptism was the main religious activity during this time period until the endowment was introduced. She also gave a detailed telling of the temple activity which took place before the people left Nauvoo and their temple behind.  I always enjoy Susan Easton Black's great historical perspective.  Side note:  Black and her husband were seated behind us at the Beach Boys Fourth of July Concert in Provo.  It really was a disconnect for me; Black, Beach Boys, sports stadium :)

So that is it for this year.  I have fewer notes in my notebook but a determination to return Ed Week to a priority next August.  Maybe I need to sign up for housing in the dorms!

1 comment:

Laraine Eddington said...

You took great notes Laurel. When I type mine up, I'll share them with you. I learned some fantastic things this year.