Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Scripture Guys - A Few More Thoughts

There are so many stories that we could liken to ourselves, so much drama of good and bad. Here are a couple of stories that seem to me to be ones that once you put your self there, everything kind of changes. Briefly:

David and Bathsheba. We always read the story that David had Uriah killed so that he could have Bathsheba for his wife. It seems to me that David actually fell in love with Bathsheba. He had lots of wives and concubines in his life, but you never see a lasting relationship. Then he takes Bathsheba as a lover, she gets pregnant and things get complicated.

Uriah has been off at war and with the troops. David calls him back and wants to smooth over the pregnancy with a short leave from the war. But Uriah doesn't want to help with this little plan. David tells him to go into Bathsheba and Uriah declines, sleeping in the gates of the city so that everyone will know that he didn't enjoy his time at home while his comrades-in-arms were away from their families. So now what? David gave him a chance but he refused. We can never know whether he was a patriot and Boy Scout at heart, or if he suspected that things weren't as they seemed and was determined to play dumb and keep the king and his little wife on the hot seat for a while. Not being and expert at the Mosaic law, I don't know this, but suspect that if she would have been found with child, that she would have been stoned. Did Uriah and David have an intense, smouldering interview with not too much said, but everything understood? Was Uriah just totally clueless and just as dangerous to Bathsheba? We will never know. Uriah went back to the front, and David gave the order for him to be put in the hottest part of the battle, and then left to fend for himself. We know the rest of the story. Not a lot of ambiguity there. Still, it seems like it was a lot more complicated of a situation than a casual reading would indicate.

Thought #2

Potiphar's Wife: The conventional idea of Potiphar's wife is that she was an experienced sexual predator and trying to get Joseph by hook or by crook. Some how I see her as young, and totally gaga. Potiphar would be in his late 40's or early 50's. A little heavy with bad teeth and worried much more about trade and business then bringing this new little bride flowers, jewelry or perfume. Or what ever was the romantic gift of the day. So he was gone a lot, and Joseph was maybe 20. Trim, gentle, learned perhaps. Pious, certainly. What a catch!

It could have been the other way too. Plenty of possibilities. Somehow it seems like less of s stretch to have a younger girl attracted to a very desirable guy more her age. Less creepy too.

Well, that is enough speculation. No revelation here, just curiosity. Then there is Baalam and the talking donkey, Lehi and his gang of permanent grouchy campers, Noah and the great boatbuilding project. And what a muddy mess the world would have been in when they got out of the stinking ark. No wonder Noah got drunk and slept the tent. Daniel and the lions, Paul and the shipwreck. The Resurection and everyone's experience there. Joseph's visit by and angel telling him to grab Mary and Jesus and book it for Egypt. Mary's reaction to that. That is a great story....."Annie, I had a dream and an angel warned me to take you and the baby as soon as you wake up and go to Mexico. The CIA is after the baby to kill him..... " Happy reading.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Scripture Guys -Adam and Eve

We have been told that we should to liken the scriptures unto ourselves. I take that to mean that we should try to put ourselves back into their world, or find a good analogous situation in our world, and take the lesson to heart. I like to do this, but sometimes the results of my imagination lead me to conclusions or at least conjectures and are best not shared in Gospel Doctrine. I don't mean to say that they are evil conclusions, but sometimes they are pretty unorthodox, and GD isn't the place to try out a new theory. Gospel Doctrine isn't an idea factory, it is a class that has a subject, and a limited time to reinforce the subject matter in our mind and then class is over and off we go to the next meeting.

But when you put yourself back in the scriptures in time, place and culture and try to see how things might have happened, you have to relax a little and let your imagination go, within the confines of what we know from the text.

Case in point: You go back to Adam and Eve and try to wrap their reality around you and you find a lot of gaps. We have all been camping, and we think that we are roughing it. But when you get chucked out of the Garden of Eden with a coat of skins and that is it.... It is just kind of shocking. No sleeping bag, no gun, no fishing pole, no metal, no plastic, no leather, no chapstick, no Walmart, no car. No job to get back to. No library, no Harry Potter, no scriptures, no Garden of Eden, no face to face talks with Heavenly Father any more. No Monday night football, no stores, no TV, internet, text messages or camera phones.

In the film they go forth bravely, but how many times in 900 years did they wonder if that apple wasn't over priced? Then, there is the whole sexuality thing which I really don't want to explore, and I have never been asked to in GD either.....strange. Child birth must have been quite an event. YIKES!!! Not even a coffee table to crawl under. Sickness, fever, broken bones, snake bite, spider bites , ant bites... I know that they were taught by Heavenly Father in the Garden about a lot of things, but I can't help but feel that not only was the Lone and Dreary World uncomfortable but very lonely as well. They had only each other to hang onto, and prayer to communicate with Heavenly Father. No Conference, no Institute, no BYU/Utah football games. No council, no advice.... just the stars at night and the sun in the day.

Maybe he cheered on her efforts to learn to sew with a bone needle, and to spin thread and weave cloth from wool and cotton, and linen etc. Maybe she cheered on the first watermelon that he got to grow in the garden. I am with Mark Twain on this one. Twain said that he knew it wasn't a watermelon that they ate in the Garden, and we know this because they repented. I feel certain that Adam made the first fire, and am also pretty sure it was a dark rainy night when he finally got it to work. She was shivering in the dark and damp, and she cried a little for the comfort and hope that the flames gave in the dark night. He probably got carried away with making it a bigger and warmer fire and might well have started the thatch on the roof on fire. Good thing that it was raining, and they could get it out quickly. Of course this became her favorite story that she told the children about their sojourn from the Garden.

Who learned to milk and make cheese and butter first? It isn't the obvious thing to do. Likewise butchering chickens and other animals..... with stone tools. How did he learn to make the stone tools in the first place. I have tried this and I have not had much happen except lacerated hands and a blackened fingernail or two. Grandpa did learn to flake obsidian but he didn't teach me. He would have been a handy guy to have around.

Did they sing? Was he a poet? Was she a composer? Did she paint? Did he whittle? Did they have an aniversary? At least he couldn't forget her birthday. He had to bring her a rose or a lilly sometime. What was it for? I guess we will never know. Did they fight? Probably, but I hope not too much. How lonely that would be.

Was he the potter, or was she? How much fun did they have firing the first pots and having an air bubble inside the clay? How about glazes? Did they leave that for the kids or what.

When we read the scriptures we buzz over them and it is like they moved into a new home and just had to deal with kids and the PTA. Speaking of kids, this had to be a really tricky dating and marriage situation. How did that work? Maybe I don't want to know. We know the kids went wild pretty quick because it wasn't that long before God was whispering to Noah to build a big boat, and not to worry about the HOA.

Well, enough speculation. Most of this we will never know, or need to know. I think the thing that we do need to know is that things weren't easy for people who tried to follow the Gospel even back then. When we read about them we don't have the details, and we tend to just assume that they were more faithful and that it was easier for them to obey. Enough. Time to pick some tomatoes from the Garden of Delta and make some BLT's. We aren't told who made the first BLT, but my hat is off to them.