Saturday, February 27, 2021

February 22-28: D&C 18-19

This lesson focuses on the concept that "the worth of souls is great." 

Notice how the verse begins:

Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;

(Doctrine and Covenants 18:10)

One way to understand this is emphasis; i.e., the Lord emphasized to Joseph, Oliver and David that the worth of souls is great.

Another interpretation is that the Lord was reminding Joseph of something he already knew, or had read previously. I like this interpretation because it shows the Lord interacting with Joseph, similar to the way he interacted with Oliver when he reminded him of a previous experience.

22 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things.

23 Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?

(Doctrine and Covenants 6:22–23)

This interpretation also shows us how the Lord works with our individual "mental language bank," meaning the words and concepts we learn. As we "treasure up" the things we learn, the Lord can draw on them in the future.

85 Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.

(Doctrine and Covenants 84:85)

I think this verse explains how Joseph translated the plates. From a young age, Joseph "treasured up" the scriptures and writings of Christian authors, and the Lord "meted" those words through the translation. That's the gist of my book, Infinite Goodness, which will be released in March 2021.

The phrase "worth of souls" is unique in all the scriptures to D&C 18:10. In fact, the word "worth" doesn't appear at all in the New Testament and appears disproportionately more in the Book of Mormon. Here are the statistics from WordCruncher:

This raises the topic of intertextuality, which we discussed in this week's podcast. Because we used a lot of PowerPoint slides, I'm providing a link to a version of the PowerPoint for your reference here.

Intertextuality points to Joseph as the translator and it's an exciting new approach to understanding the Book of Mormon as the fulfillment of Christian hopes and aspirations for centuries.

We'll discuss this more in upcoming podcasts and blog posts.

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