One Good Question Leads to Another – James Faulconer Webinar

May 05
James Faulconer Webinar

Please watch this great presentation by Dr. James Faulconer on how to get more out of the scriptures.

Bio: James E. Faulconer is a Latter-day Saint philosopher and senior research fellow at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. Faulconer received his B.A. in English from BYU. He then received master’s and Ph.D. degrees in philosophy from Pennsylvania State University. His area of interest in philosophy is contemporary European philosophy, particularly the work of Martin Heidegger and late 20th and early 21st-century French thinkers, particularly as that work bears on religious experience. Dr. Faulconer is author of the Maxwell Institute’s “Scriptures Made Harder” series (2013–2015) and other books such as Scripture Study: Tools and Suggestions (1999), Faith, Philosophy, and Scripture (2010), and The Life of Holiness: Notes and Reflections on Romans 1, 5–8 (2012).

Before joining the Institute, Faulconer served as Richard L. Evans Professor of Philosophy at Brigham Young University, director of BYU’s London Centre, and Resident Senior Research Fellow and Associate Director of the Wheatley Institution. He also previously served as the dean of Undergraduate Education and the chair of the Philosophy Department at BYU.


Oak Norton: All right, well we’re right on three o’clock here so we’ll go ahead and get started, and this is being recorded so that others can catch up, I know we have a number of people that sign up so they can be notified when it becomes available and so we’ll go ahead and get this moving.

My name is Oak Norton and I’m with scripture notes, those of you that are signed in know that, and our guest today is Dr. James Faulconer with the Maxwell institute at BYU.

Dr. Falconer is a senior research fellow at the Maxwell Institute and he received his bachelor’s degree in English from BYU and then received his master’s and PhD degrees in philosophy from Penn State University.

He actually informed me that he knew me when I was very little as the little five year old that would run to the Chapel doors to go to church. And I don’t know what his experience was seeing me in church because I’m pretty sure after I ran to the doors, it was mostly falling asleep on my mom’s lap as a young child. I don’t have many memories of that time frame, but anyway, it has been a pleasure to connect with Dr. Faulconer. Some of you will be well aware of his various writings and stuff that he’s done. He has the “Made Harder” series of various scripture books, like the Book of Mormon Made Harder. They’re very, philosophical very excellent to provoke thought about the scriptures that we’re studying. He’s also done a number of other books and writings one I guess from a few years back, is “Life of Holiness: Notes and Reflections on Romans,” several of the chapters there.

And he continues to work on some other projects that he may touch on in the presentation, but I’m really excited to have you with us, Dr. Faulconer, and let me just ask if people that have logged in, I didn’t ask this as I introduced I hope they can hear me. In the chat if somebody wants to just let us know that you’ve heard the introduction and we’re good to go.

Yes, loud and clear okay excellent, so I think we are ready, so the format today will be, Dr. Faulconer is going to be presenting to us and then after that we’ll have time for some questions and answer and so have your questions typed up and we’ll see if I can use the system real quick to allow you to come on audio and ask your question, at the bottom of your screen there’s a raise hand button and so when we get to that point if you raise your hand I’ll unmute you and allow you into the call, and you can ask your question directly and then we’ll mute you when you’re done and move on to the next question. There’s also a Q&A area, if you want to just post a text question there. I’ll try to monitor the chat while we’re going and if something comes up that’s immediately relevant, Dr. Faulconer if you’re good I’ll interrupt you and ask the question if somebody has the question at that moment, otherwise we’ll just keep them until the end, and so with that I’ll turn the time over to you and let you share your screen and get started.

James Faulconer: So you can see my screen all right?

Oak Norton: Yep we’re good to go.

James Faulconer: Okay. First of all, I want to thank Oak Norton for the invitation. I really enjoy talking about scripture and it’s a pleasure to be here, but it’s especially a pleasure for me.

Oak mentioned that I knew his name, when he was very young. He doesn’t remember me and I didn’t expect him to but I, I want to just say publicly how much I owed to his parents and I and all the other graduate students at Penn State in those days were tremendously influenced by his parents and their generosity and kindness, so I’d just like to say thank you, vicariously but thank you to them through Oak.

I want to talk today about scripture study that’s why I’m here to, basically asking questions, and I want to start with scripture when I’m studying scripture rather than just my own ideas.

And so I’d like to let me begin with the story that some of you may have heard but a story that says a lot about how I got started doing scripture study the way that I do it.

I was in graduate school, this is in Pennsylvania, in the early 70s and one of my professors was professor of science, philosophy of science.

And he was also an observant practicing Jew, and it was obvious that for him his religion was important, he didn’t hide that in his classroom or in the ways we met with students and things, and so after some time working for him, I really was interested in talking with him about Genesis and particularly about the first chapter or two three parts most relevant to the temple so I went to him and asked if it would be possible for us to study together for a while and so I went to him and he said yes right and so Professor Goldman, He’s now Emeritus at Lehigh but then he was Penn State.

So I went to Professor Goldman and asked if we could said he said yes, why don’t we do this in my office next semester come to my office for lunch once a week we will talk, the first time we meet I want you to bring page at least 10 questions bring them with you and we will talk about your questions.

So this is on Chapter 1 we had in fact, had to negotiate this because I had said, I wanted to study all of Genesis, he wanted to study only Chapter 1 for the Semester.

I couldn’t imagine spending the whole semester on Genesis 1, and so we went back and forth until He agreed to go to Genesis 3 or, as far as we could get it’s kind of the way we said things. Anyway, I came and I had really struggled to come up with 10 questions about Genesis 1. I had questions about things like how the creation stories related to the scientific stairs theory of evolution and other kinds of things like that.

But I didn’t really have very many questions that I thought were great, but I thought you know these are the kinds of questions I should ask.

Professor Goldman took my questions and he looked at them and he read over them and he had a disappointed look on his face. He wadded them up, wadded up my paper and he just tossed them out, he said, look, these are not worthy of the scriptures that you’re reading. You need to up your game, you need to get better at this and so to do that let’s talk about my questions, so we started talking about his questions.

And I was really quite surprised at how many questions he could ask, most of which I had no way to answer. I just I’m sure I looked dumbfounded most of the time he talked and most of my responses were gee I don’t know.

And, but we talked for an hour once a week and he showed me more and more about studying Christian scriptures. In 12 weeks we covered only Genesis 1 through 3. I felt like we had really dug deep, he felt like we were really rushing.

But I have to say I was very surprised by how many things in those chapters he taught me. Things that opened my eyes to the temple in particular.

For example. We talked about what the word dominion means in chapter 1, and he argued by using words and dictionaries and things that it had it was about rule, of course, but  it had much more to do with responsibility than it did with power, and so when we were told that we have dominion over the earth, he said he understood that we have a responsibility for the things of the earth.

He understood replenish the earth and subdue it to mean consecrate the earth and to build it up build civilization make things beautiful.

When Genesis 2 in verse 5 for example as well the scriptures say that there was no man to till the earth, and this word till occurs in a number of different places.

But the interesting thing about that word is that the same word that’s translated work in other places and serve in other places and the most common use in all the scriptures to use, you know the Old Testament scripture is to use the word, that translates serve in terms of worship in terms of service in the temple, for example, so the phrase that says, Adam was set to dress it to dress and keep the garden he understood that to mean to serve and garden it so he said look, this is telling us that Adam was a priest, and this day the Garden of Eden, was the first temple so you know, we talked about those ideas we investigated the sources for with what he was saying, and I became convinced that he knew much more about the things that we believed than I knew even though I had been to the temple and he hadn’t.

For his part he was surprised to discover that there I knew things already because of the teachings of the church I knew things that he did that he didn’t expect me to know, and I think the most obvious example is that I was the only Christian, who he could remember talking to, who didn’t believe that the fall was just a disaster that, in fact, it was a fortunate fall that it’s in the part of the plan.

So we had a really I had a really good experience, and I have tried, since then I have not kept in touch with him, but I’ve tried, since then to use the things that he taught in my own life to study the scripture and to read and study other things like the things you’re teaching so that I could learn more. So what I’d like to do, then, is to talk about the principles of scripture study.

And the first one is it seems obvious, but I think sometimes we need to be reminded, and that is that we have continuing revelation. The prophets and then we also have the scriptures, the standard works, and those are the sources of our doctrines and our teachings. Those are the truths of the gospel.

It isn’t that the prophets of the scriptures and the latter days teach us about the Gospel, it’s not the Gospel this thing over here, and then there are these teachings over there and somehow maybe they match up. It’s that the scriptures and their teachings are the Gospel, that’s the good news, the news is that what we learn the things that are conveyed to us, and this is the news that we’re given and they’re the standard by which we are to measure our personal revelations.

We allow it, of course, are expected to live our lives by revelation but the way we know when our revelations are in accord with the will of the Lord is, we can judge them by the standard of the scriptures and of latter day prophets and so that’s the first principle.

The second principle is another one that I think is on the one hand, obvious and on the other hand, more difficult than we might think. Assume that the scriptures mean exactly what they say, and assume that you don’t already know what they say.

That’s not necessarily literalism, because there’s various ways of thinking about literalism. I’ve written about this problem of what literal means. It turns out literal usually means whatever I think the scripture should mean is what the literal meaning is.

So I don’t worry too I’m not gonna worry too much about what that word means, but I want to say is when I say that we should assume the scriptures mean exactly what they say that sometimes they say things to disturb us or that make us think wow I just I’m not sure I believe that.

And when they say that that’s the time for us to stop and take stock and say if the scriptures mean what they say if they really mean what they say, how do I think about my own beliefs in with regard to them, maybe I need to revise them, my beliefs.

Many years ago, I was teaching a Sunday school class and we were talking about the law of consecration, and so I used some of the section from the doctrine covenants to talk about what the law of consecration is now and, what it will be and an older gentleman in the class raised his hand and said Brother Faulconer. If that’s what the law of consecration means then I’m not going to I refuse to live it. Now I’m not sure I got it right, when I was explaining it, but I thought that that’s it, I have to. I wanted to be careful with having that attitude in my own life, and I think sometimes I do have you know, I come to the scriptures with that attitude, well I already know what they mean so they better say what I expect them to and that’s why they a second part is as a student you don’t already know what they say. Don’t, you know, we shouldn’t go into expecting that we already have answered all of those questions.

And then the third main principle is to focus on questions, and those are especially questions that the scriptures ask me rather than that I’m asking them.

Of course, sometimes I have spiritual questions that I take to my scripture study with me and my scripture study helps me resolve them, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. But I think when I’m really working on my scripture study, especially as I extend over a long period of time, months or a year or more.

What I should be looking for is what kinds of questions are the scriptures asking me? How are they asking me to rethink what I know? Rethink what I say ? Rethink what I’m sure, that I have confidence in in my own interpretations? So how do they make me revise my own thinking about the world?

So they’re not, the scriptures are not just the manual of some kind, on the one hand, so you can just flip through them and look for your answers, how to make this or that operate, on the other hand, they also aren’t they’re not some kind of mystical thing that we go to just get whatever comes to us they’re books, written by prophets over thousands of years that have been preserved by those followers of Christ, who have thought, these things are valuable to us, these things are worth keeping.

They have helped us learn and understand who the father is, who the son is, who we are in relation to them and how we should live our lives.

And so, with all that in the background, when we go and you say now, since these are invaluable to people in the past, how are they valuable to me how, what could they have to teach me?

The most important of the principles for scripture study, though, is prayer. I think it’s important to begin scripture studying with prayer. Where we ask the spirit to be with us, where we ask for our hearts and our minds to be open, we asked for Heavenly Father to at least in my case, to heal of our stubbornness and our arrogance and we ask that we can learn, and then, when we’re done we pray. We pray that we might remember the things we have been thinking about that we may carry the study over to our next session that the things we’ve learned might be an influence their lives that we might become more like our Father in heaven.

Now, as I said, I think all of this means is a matter of asking good questions and I have a don’t. First, don’t start by asking about doctrines. I think when we do scripture study we certainly learn about doctrines.

I’m not if I don’t say there are none or anything like that that would be foolish, but I do think that we learn about doctrines by studying the scriptures to see what they have to say.

Don’t start with big ideas and maybe this is the same as don’t start with by asking about doctrines but

because I teach philosophy, people often want me to answer questions like, why is there evil other philosophical questions.

And there are ways of talking about those problems as philosophical problems, but I don’t think that that does the proper questions to take to scripture study. My philosophical problems are a different kind of animal in the kinds of things that I want to know from scripture. I want to know the scripture, how should I live my life. How am I related to my Father in heaven, what do I do, how you know, in relation to that and members of my ward, my neighborhood, and my family.

All of those are the kinds of questions that the Gospel is supposed to teach me and what’s the why is there evil, may not be an answer to any of those kinds of questions so I’d try to leave those questions to the side to talk about them when I’m doing philosophy but when I’m talking, thinking about scripture study I try not to do that.

But there are more than the don’ts, there’s some do’s.  One is start by focusing on details this is the thing that perhaps I learned the most from Professor Goldman and that was really read closely.

Christians and Jews have been doing this kind of reading for millennia. They’ve been looking at things very closely, sometimes to a fault, there’s no question that sometimes people can get carried away with paying attention to all the little details.

And sometimes they invent strange systems, out of the details that really don’t have that much to do with the text as you’re saying.

But good reading means looking closely at what’s said and asking yourselves what’s going on here? Why is it being said this way? What am I learning from this? Without trying to bring things into it that will, you know, a priori say that’s what this means. So focus on the details of the text, we’ll talk more about that in a minute about how to do that, but that’s my first thing as a do, the other thing is to reread. The prophets counsel us to reread the scriptures all the time.

Before I began working with Professor Goldman, I had been a convert of approximately six or seven years, and so, while I was a missionary I had read the standard works. I’d read the Book of Mormon and when I picked, every time I picked up the Book of Mormon I thought, I’ve already read this I know what it says, I don’t, you know there’s nothing new here.

Oddly enough though Professor Golden and I didn’t read the Book of Mormon, he taught me by reading Genesis that I didn’t know what that I didn’t know how to read. And that the problem with that of my boredom and I said I find reading the Book of Mormon over and over and over again boring, the problem was that I was not a good reader. I wasn’t reading carefully, and once I learned to read more carefully I just never found any of the scriptures boring again.

So reread, don’t, and rereading means starting again, it means not assuming that what I learned the last time, is the only thing there is to learn. And then, another way to ask good questions is to use your imagination, to ask what if, what if I understood this differently than I do? Right? that’s an you can experiment, you can say just as a trial, suppose that I think about this meaning differently. How does that work? Right? Notice that the question when we’re thinking this way, what do I learn from these scriptures by thinking a certain way about it, rather than which one of these is the right one?

Three people could be reading the same scripture and they might come with three very different approaches and I think that the three of them might teach each other lots of different things.

And it would be a mistake to say, well, which one of them was right? The question was, what did they learn from what they were doing? And what do I learn? Is just, that’s the more important question than am I right or wrong? What’s right is what the scriptures teach, what’s right is what the prophets teach, not, but the real question for me is what do I learn from them?

So that’s the, this is the see the I would say my five principles for good reading. Let’s also look at some examples of questions to start with, they’re you know we can look at different examples.

One way to ask a question is to say, does this perhaps say something different than I’ve always believed it said? I recently spent some time really thinking long and hard about section 121 and this question helped me a lot, does, especially the last half.

Is it, saying what I thought it said? Maybe I don’t even remember what I thought it said.

But you know is it saying what you know if I go to Sunday school class and I just listen to the standard answers we give to what does this mean? Or what is that verse about? Is that what it was really saying? Now usually people who give those answers, including me and you, we’re not completely wrong by repeating the same things that people have always said. But often there are things we’re missing by not asking is that really what’s going on here? is that is that really the fullness of what this scripture says?

The other thing to ask is, and I think this is another important question. What question is the person who wrote this answering? The Prophet Joseph Smith said that I’m paraphrasing, obviously, but he said something like for me the key to studying scripture is to always ask what was the question that this prophet was asking and if I know that, then I have opened the key, I have the key to opening the door to understanding the scripture that I’m reading.

So when I read Isaiah, one of the things that I should be asking is, not necessarily what does this teach me about my future, or about the future of the earth, but what question was Isaiah answering? What question was this answering? Was this revelation he received answering? How did it, what kind of an answer was it to the first inhabitants who heard it, the first people of Jerusalem, who heard it from Isaiah? What was it, how is it an answer the questions the Nephites had? How is it an answer to what questions we have? So what questions does it answer is maybe the most important question, we can ask.

Another important question is what particular details do I not understand?

My experiences is that, very often, when we come to a place in scripture that we find difficult we skip over it quickly. We assume that we can make sense of it by trying to match it into whatever came before and after it or into some pre-understanding we have. And, or we can, especially if it’s in the Bible, and it’s something that’s hard to understand, it’s not uncommon to say well this must not be translated correctly.

So our tendency is to put the blame on other people rather than to say when I don’t understand something that’s a problem I’m having. Now there are problems of translation I’m not going to say there are not, I just think there are fewer of those problems than we sometimes think, for example in the King James version, there are places in the Pauline letters that are difficult. And we use Peters point that they’re difficult teachings in Paul to excuse ourselves from understanding what Paul is saying often.

But what Paul, the reason we have difficulty with Paul are twofold.

First of all, the King James translation itself, is a very literal translation of the Greek, and sometimes where they have translated a Greek sentence very literally, had they translated it less literally it’s not difficult, but the literal translation makes it difficult. And then of course, on top of that, there is the problem of the fact that this is 16th and 17th century language, and that can make it difficult. Now I’m going to be talking a bit about how to overcome that. I think what I would also say is, I’m not one of those who thinks we should give up on the King James translation. I think that we should, because it’s the language of the Book of Mormon we should, continue to use it, but that means learning how to read it, and that so that puts a burden on us, we have to learn to read King James English, so that we can understand the Book of Mormon and the Bible.

The other question that we can ask, initially is the grammar complicated? And, if so, can I figure out what the sentence structure is, can I parse it so that I really am sure that I understand it? And to do that, I think we need to, we need to, look at a whole, first of all. So more on generating initial questions, the first thing to do is start with a whole, a pericope. And now a pericope in Greek just means a cutout so it’s a piece that’s been cut out of a larger piece.

But that cut out if you’re cutting out a piece of scripture, itself should stand on its own, it could be a story, it could be a parable, a sermon, a psalm, some other larger form, but we rarely understand scripture well if we if we go down to the verse level or we get too fine grained, we need to see these things in a larger context. So pick out something that is a whole. Now, obviously, if you pick out something that’s too big, then it’s too hard to study, but if it’s really big then it probably has pieces and each of those can be thought of as a whole that can be put together with other wholes, but I’m going to use the word pericope because it’s a common used, commonly used word in scripture study and you may see it in other documents, so start with a pericope.

When you do that, then ask yourself to whom was this passage originally addressed? For example, when you read the letters of Paul back to Paul and some of the problems ,if you read the the Book of Romans, it’s important to remember that this is a book that was addressed to members of the Church, not to unbaptized people. And so, the assumptions that Paul makes, are that those who hear him have already been baptized. So some of the problems we have when we argue, about the contents of the Book of Romans have to do with the difference between interpreting it as something written for members, versus something written to try to convert people. And I think it’s written for members more than it, now it is to try to convert members, I should say that, but it’s not to try to convert people who are just completely unconverted yet.

This is, you know anyway, ask that question, who was the original addressee? Who is this supposed to be for? In the Book of Isaiah, it was supposed to be for the Israelites, so what does this mean to them then? That’s a place to start and it’s important to remember that this was something addressed to people living in that at that time.

The other thing to ask is, how is it related to what comes immediately before and after? Think, for example, about the parable of the prodigal son. That parable occurs in with some other parables. Parable about lost sheep and about a piece of silver, the very next to a chapter, the parable of the unjust steward, and so you have this group of parables that occur all together. I would like to, if I’m trying to think about the prodigal son parable, I want to think about that in the context of those other parables rather than just only but, and I will maybe pick it out as pericope and use that, but I want to remember, it has a context and I may want to go back to that context to try to think about it as well.

As you’re thinking about these kinds of questions remember the scriptures did not originate the biblical scriptures did not originally have chapters and verses in them. The Book of Mormon had chapters, but they’re not the chapters that we now use in our scriptures, they had different chapters it didn’t have verses.

If you’re interested in seeing the original chapters of the Book of Mormon and I think they can be quite informative and very interesting, they’re very study versions of the Book of Mormon that include not only the versification that we use now, it’s very handy for being able to locate things it includes not only that, but they include mentioned, you know numbers, or whatever that show what the original Book of Mormon chapter was so look at these the piece that you’re looking at, the pericope you’re looking at, look at it in its context, remember it doesn’t stand alone.

And then ask yourself how might what comes before and after contribute to the meaning of your pericope? How do these other parables contribute to the parable of the prodigal son for example?

We can also have structural questions when you’re looking within the pericope itself, and the first part is to ask what parts it has, does it have, for example, a beginning if it’s a story, does it have a beginning a middle and an end, and what are they? Where would you see those divisions?

You can also, of course, pay attention to grammatical structure which is often neglected I think, so when you’re looking at something that you are trying to understand, ask yourself, where are the sentences? Sometimes in scripture the sentences are very long, and it might they might go over four or five verses. Look at those four or five verses as a sentence and don’t take them apart and then try to understand the various pieces only by themselves, so ask yourself what are the sentences that make it up? When you look at a sentence ask what the main verb is. If you look at that sentence, and you can figure out what the main verb is, then you’re beginning to understand what the sentence is about, you’re beginning to look at the topic, if you find the subject, the main subject, that also will tell you this is the subject of the verb now I know what the sentence is really about.

Now if it’s a long sentence then it’s going to have a lot of other kinds of parts and you may want to look at those as well, but while you’re looking at this sentence ask about pronouns. It’s not uncommon in the scriptures for there to be a number of pronouns referring back to a previous noun, but as we read along, sometimes we forget that he, she, it, these refer back to something. When you get to those, if you’re not absolutely certain, check to see, okay, what is that referring to? What could I put in here as the name or the noun that would fill in this placeholder because if you don’t understand that, then you won’t understand the sentence. And then, as I was talking earlier, the sentence may have subordinate parts, it may have clauses within a phrases, look at each of them, try to figure out how they’re related to the sentence as a whole.

When I was in elementary school, I’m not sure the fifth or sixth grade, something like that. I had to begin to learn how to diagram sentences using this system of drawing a line on the board and making various marks and dividing the sentences up in a variety of ways. Now that was a very useful system, I don’t think I can do it anymore, I don’t remember all the techniques, but it was very useful for helping me to get to think about sentence parts. I don’t know whether that’s taught anymore I don’t think that it is, but I do think that, even without the tool, that tool, a person can sit down and say there are parts in this sentence, the punctuation will help you see the parts. There are other markers there are parts in the sentence, and I want to know how those parts are related to each other and that’s an important question to be thinking about, is you’re trying to understand.

So we also can think about in terms of structural questions. How are each of the sentences or groups of sentences related to each other? Right? This is like that first question how’s the pericope divided up? You can think about the order, could the piece I’m studying have been ordered in a different way? Here, for me, maybe one of the best examples and it’s the best example because it’s one that I did, I was looking at when I was doing some recent study, is the Book of Mosiah, where the chronological order if someone were just arranging that story, and there are those that you know the things to happen if the editor were just arranging that story in chronological order, it would be very different than it is in the narrative order, so it begins with Benjamin transferring his kingly power to his son Mosiah, and then it goes backwards and tells us about something that happened earlier, when the first Mosiah had sent Ammon out to find the people of Zeniff, and then, so we break off on the story of the Zeniffites and then everything comes back together, so, it’s like there’s a story within the story, and it makes there’s a kind of a circle of time there. Asking that question really made me think differently about order, because I realized, I should have realized this from the previous however many readings, of the Book of Mormon I had done.

I’d never realized until last year that the sermon, excuse me, the sermon that King Benjamin gives comes quite some time after Alma’s conversion. But because of the narrative order, because the story is told in a different order than that, I didn’t realize it was, you know some years between the two, and with Benjamin’s sermon coming later. So these are things that one can find out by asking about order and could it be ordered differently.

Many of you, probably, maybe all of you have heard about chiasmus, it’s a rhetorical structure that one can use for structuring what a person writes. But there are other rhetorical patterns as well, that are used in ancient writings that were used in contemporary writings too, but ancient writers, who were probably more conscious of using these, there are many of them, there used to be long handbooks with hundreds of different rhetorical patterns in them, there’s antimetabole which just means having words in the A-B-B-A order in some way. There’s parallelism where sentences say or phrase to say the same thing in different words, there’s polyptoton where you use the same root for, in different words, and I think it’s in Romans 9 where Paul talks about honor and dishonor and he uses honor and dishonor back and forth between the two that’s called polyptoton.

There’s where you chain phrases by having, the phrase begins with A and ends with B. The next phrase begins with B then ends with C. The third phrase begins with C and ends with D. That’s called anadiplosis. There are lots of these different patterns, you don’t have to know the names of them, you don’t have to care whether they have names, but watch for these kinds of structures in what you’re reading, because those structures will help you see things you might not see otherwise. With the chiasmus, might very well if you see one might very will help you see oh, this is something the writer is trying to stress, but the other things will do the same thing. Rhetorical patterns are used to create stress, emphasis on a particular idea, or to create contrast between ideas, and it, they will help you see what it is the writer is trying to get you to see.

When you’re thinking about words, obviously, the first thing to do is to go to a dictionary, but be careful, the desktop dictionary that we use very commonly, it’s on our phone perhaps, or we have it on our computer, maybe we have a hardback copy on our desk. Those dictionaries are meant to tell us what language means today.

But they don’t necessarily answer the question, what did those things mean in scripture, and it’s not uncommon for people to make the mistake of thinking that the word “now” means the same thing that it did 200 years ago, but all you have to do is think about your children or grandchildren and their use of language to know that language does change and sometimes quite rapidly.

So if you want to know what the Old Testament and New Testament words mean, what are the Hebrew and the Greek words that are used there, and what do they mean, the best place to find an answer to that question is with something called Strong’s Concordance. You have access to that through Oak’s application (, you also, if you just go online to the Blue Letter Bible, you can find it there.

And it will allow you to click on any word and find out what it’s Greek or Hebrew root was, not root but the word behind the translation of what it was, and what that Greek or Hebrew word means. So the those are for the Old and New Testaments. If you’re just thinking about the language of the King James Bible itself, what does this word mean in the King James Bible, then you want a historical dictionary, I think the very best one is the Oxford English dictionary, it’s a large set of books in hardback, so few people own it. There was at one point, a, one volume a very tiny print edition was offered by a book club a lot of people bought, and you might have one of those.

It’s online, but unfortunately, if you want to use it online, you have to be able to go through a library of some kind, most university libraries have access, if you have a city library, they may have access, but that’s a place to go, if you can’t then it’s, consult with the librarian to see where you can find a good historical dictionary. It will tell you about words that you wouldn’t know otherwise and their meanings in the King James Bible.

If you’re trying to find out the meaning of words in latter day scripture, the Book of Mormon the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, then probably the best place to go is Webster’s 1828. That’s again something that’s online, it’s not I don’t know whether it’s with Blue Letter Bible or not, is it Oak?

You’re muted Oak.

Oak Norton: Yes I just unmuted go ahead, is it with Blue Letter Bible?

James Faulconer: Blue Letter Bible.

Oak Norton: I’m not sure what you mean is it with that, I do have it in the app.

James Faulconer: Can you get to the 1828 through Blue Letter Bible or is it through your app (Scripture Notes)?

Oak Norton: Through my app yeah, through Scripture Notes.

James Faulconer:  Yeah so it’s not difficult to find and it’s very handy for learning the meanings of words at the time the scriptures were written.

You know, there are additional things if you’re looking for the in something in the Bible, then you can look and see how other translators have translated a word, then this one of those places where, again, I am very much in favor of the King James Bible, I like it, I think it’s beautiful, I think we ought to continue to use it so that we see the connections between its language and the language of the Book of Mormon.

But when the language of the King James Bible is difficult it’s helpful to see, what did another translator, how did they see that word, how do they understand it? And I think, again, another translation may not be right. But they are often very good, and especially if you look at 4 or 5, 3 or 4, you look at a number of them, you will see, begin to see agreement and that will help you understand and help you make judgments about which ones, you can trust and which ones you don’t feel that you can, but look at another translations here’s where the Blue Letter Bible is helpful again.

For any scriptures, one of the things that I try to teach students, when we talk about this, is to let the scriptures themselves do the defining. So if you’re looking at the way a word is used by prophet, and you don’t really understand it or you’re not sure, then ask yourself what scriptures were available to that prophet at the time that he wrote and what was that word used in them and what did it mean? Now in here, and I think a good example is the betimes in section 121 verse 43 reproving betimes with sharpness. I think that people are beginning to learn that that doesn’t mean sometimes, but I think just the it’s the similarity of the two words, sometimes in betimes, makes people tend to think that it means sometimes, but if we look at, for example at Genesis 26 one it becomes clear that the word means early, it means right away, it doesn’t mean sometimes, and that’s what it meant to Joseph Smith, as we can see, even if we don’t look at the 1828 dictionary, all we had to do is say, well, where else in the Bible, or in other scripture do we see this word? Every time that we see it, it means early, so it must mean early here too, so use the scriptures to themselves to define the words that we’re looking for.

What I’d like to do to end this, mercifully I suppose you were thinking or some of you may be thinking.

What I’d like to do is look at Mosiah 4, and I want to look at Mosiah 4 as a way of sort of talking about the kinds of questions that a person might have, right? What kinds of questions would arise in thinking about it? We won’t really be able to go into a lot of detail, but we can talk about what are the questions there? And what kinds of things could a person be thinking about as they did this, so let’s start with verse 1, if you’d like to take a look at your scriptures and take a look at verse 1.

As I’m reading this there are lots of questions that come up, but in this particular verse the question that comes to me is that the writer or the editor in this verse 1 reminds us of what the angel has been that has told King Benjamin. But King Benjamin mentioned that, when he began telling us what the angel said, so and this again that chapter division is not there, so the question is why repeat, why repeat it at the end, why resay that very point, why remind us that this has already been given told to us by an angel?

Now, there’s an obvious easy answer that but it’s been a while there wasn’t, the angel had a sermon to teach, a longer sermon and so the editor’s saying don’t forget that what we just read were the words of an angel, but I think there’s more going on than that, and I think that it’s we you know we could spend some time if we were doing a scripture study of Mosiah 4, we could spend some time just thinking about that question. Why is the editor reminding us that the angel has said, these words?

And I would say that that would be in context of this same question I also would ask here. Why, what causes these people to be afraid? They’re responding to what the angel said, and so, in fact, I’ve gone back several times and re-read that and thought, what would make it so that when I heard this angel sermon told to me by Benjamin, suppose I were there, what would make me afraid, so afraid that I would fall to the ground? And I have to be honest, I still am not quite sure I understand that, but the question is, you know, you have this question, why do these people have a fear of the Lord? What the angel taught to Benjamin in Chapter 3, why that, why is that making them afraid?

I think it takes us to verse 2. The people cry out and what are they responding to? They’re responding to what they’ve discovered. And perhaps this discovery is what makes them afraid. They’ve discovered that they’re less than the dust of the earth. Again, I have to confess, that’s something that I, I have a difficult time understanding this experience and saying, what would it be like to have that experience?

And so I should be asking myself about that, I should be asking what would it be like? Why would they think that? Why would they do what they’re doing, and if I’m not thinking of those terms, then the chances are that I’m not understanding.

This phrase, carnal state when I did a word search it only appears in the Book of Mormon I find that really odd.

I would, in the interest of time I don’t want to try to answer that question why, but I think it’s an interesting question, why is it only in the Book of Mormon? Does the Book of Mormon have something special to teach about this? And in verse 3, the question, how are these verses related to each other? Did the experience they had in verse 2 cause them to have the spirit that says that they have? That is experienced of fear does that would help them or the spirit come to them?

Verse 4 and 5, what does Benjamin think his people have learned?


He thinks that they’ve learned they’re worthless and fallen and this is one of those places that I think quite clearly goes against the kind of thing that we think we know. And so it’s a difficulty for us it’s a difficulty for me to say in what sense would I be able to say I’m worthless and fallen?

These are people who King Benjamin earlier has already said, these are people who obey. They obey the law of Moses so in what’s you know, why are they afraid? Why do they think they’re worthless and fallen? and why does King Benjamin think this is really an important thing for them to know?

What prevents them from having depression? Or how do I teach this without making people feel like they shouldn’t be depressed they should feel terrible.

That’s I think is an issue that comes up. Verse 6 Benjamin repeats in verse 6 what he just said in verse 5 right? And this is what he said, he’s been talking about the goodness of God and now he expands on that. Maybe this is because of what they’ve learned they’re fallen and he wants them to understand God’s goodness in relation to that to prepare them to talk about to prepare them to hear what he has to say about the atonement. Again, these are, all of these are things that I would want to spend some time meditating on, thinking about, doing word study going back to the scriptures and looking at, but questions that I would use to try to understand this chapter.

In verse 7 I would notice that salvation there is not being used the way we often use it when we’re talking about our doctrines. It doesn’t mean just salvation from death, this means probably something like exaltation in this context. Verses 8 and 10, they have a list of requirements they had in verses 9 through 10. And how are they related to what he said in verses 5 through 7? What’s going on here? He gave us these discussion of their worthlessness and of the atonement and then he gives a list of these requirements of what they should be doing.

In verse 11 again, he repeats something. He said this already at least once but why does he repeat it?

In verse 12, then, in verse 12 it’s interesting to me that that King Benjamin makes a promise he tells us that there’s a promise that comes with the kind of repentance he’s describing, and I think that that promise begins in verse 12 if you notice in verse 13 it begins with, and, I would say, this is the way of connecting not just verse 13 but to things that have come all the way from several verses earlier.

Verses 14 and 15, the verse the promise started in 12, I think, and we can ask where it goes, and I would say it probably goes the promise probably goes, at least to the end of verse 25 and that’s that means that the things that we often think of as commandments are in fact actually a set of promises of what happens if we will we will accept the atonement that’s been offered.

All of this can be summed up, I think. In medieval times there were people called alchemists. Alchemists were the forerunners of chemists today. They did a lot of things, many of which turned out to be actually quite beneficial, one of the things that since they didn’t understand atoms and molecules, one of the things they hoped to do was to try to they wanted to learn how they could take a base metal like lead and turn it into something like gold, and so they spent a lot of time trying to do that. They never succeeded, but they had a motto that I think we can use to try to turn our base leaden scripture study into golden scripture study and the motto is “Lege, lege, lege, labore, ora, et relege”.

Read, read, read, work, pray, and reread. And so we’ve been talking almost exclusively about the work part here, and the work part comes in the reading, reading, reading, but I think that is the key to scripture study read, read, read, work pray and reread.

Thank you. I’ve used up quite a bit of time, but I’m ready to take what time you want to for the discussion.

Oak Norton: Alright well, thank you very much for that presentation Dr. Faulconer, I found that very informative and it gave me a few things to think about and go back and review this after. I’ll ask a couple of questions, while we get people either everyone’s welcome to either toss a question in the Q and A, if you just click Q and A at the bottom of your screen, you can ask there. I’ll also kind of monitor the chat and, if you want to ask it live, just click the raise hand button at the bottom of your screen and then I can unmute you and allow you to just ask that question live so while people are queuing up I’ll ask a couple of things.

I was really fascinated when you shared that your former Professor had shared that insight with you that Adam was a priest, because he was to till the garden, I thought that was very insightful and I just wondered has that, I can’t remember your former professors name is it Steven?

James Faulconer: Goldman yes Steven Goldman yes.

Oak Norton:  So I don’t know, has he ever written a book about some of those insights?

James Faulconer: No, no he’s, everything he writes is about the philosophy of science. He was just doing it, he, there was a small Jewish congregation in State College and he was I guess, roughly the equivalent of an LDS bishop guy, someone who volunteered his congregation to help out because he had a good Jewish education, he thought of this as something that anybody who studied the Bible would know.

Oak Norton: Well, probably not anybody, but.

James Faulconer: Yeah well, right. But like, as I said, he I mean he just thought that because we didn’t study the Bible.

Oak Norton: yeah but I thought that was very, very interesting. So another question, as you had the example going there in Mosiah 4 for with King Benjamin’s sermon. I may not get my question exactly right on the spot here, but as you as you go through you know your kind of frame of mind, is there a, how do you notice, maybe, I’m not sure if I’m going to ask this right way. You’re very careful as a reader obviously, and you notice the little things when you’re trying to parse a verse and trying to dissect it and you’re doing the definition work, you’re doing the all the “okay I’ve got this all down”, but making the connection to like “Why is angel mentioned again.?”

You know how, how do you formulate or how do you pay attention to those kind of things that they queue you in on maybe it’s a cultural thing, you know, for the writer to bring that back up, or you know how, do you have a thought process that tries to pull in those kinds of questions that aren’t just textual?

James Faulconer: Hmm. I probably do, but I don’t know what it is. You know there probably is some method to my madness, but, from my point is it looks like madness.

I really. I wish I could answer that question better because it might be helpful. But sometimes,

it’s partly a matter I think it’s partly a matter of saying, What is there here that I am, oh is there something I’m not looking at? So sort of asking myself to go back and say what have I not looked at? Not just the word things and grammatical things, but these other questions about, for example, about the relationship between Chapter 4 and Chapter 3. Maybe it’s thinking about that relationship help me say, well, I wonder why the writer or the editor brings up the angel again right, I mean. And so that I think is one way.

I know that helps me a lot in other things I’m thinking about.

Some years ago, I was trying to write about Alma 42 and trying to say, is there, what am I missing here that I haven’t seen? How am I not thinking about this right? And I decided to read Alma 43 and realized that there is in Alma 33 I mean it gives, a precede right? A synopsis. He tip picks out the the most important points and but what he picks out are not usually the kinds of things we find in talks about 42.

So just all of a sudden, I thought wow Amulek sees the scriptures really differently than I do, and maybe I should trust Amulek more than I trust myself. So then I had to go back and reread and try to say how do I put Alma 43 together with Alma 42?  How do I make sense of those things? Or to ask that last half of Alma 42, what does it have to with the first half? It’s not just a narrative there’s I think there’s  a theological doctrinal connection between the story of the Zarahemlites. Excuse me not the, the people of the Rameumptom, my brain just went blank, anyway.

Oak Norton: The Amulon, the Ammonihaites? [Actually it was the city of Antionum]

James Faulconer: Yeah, whoever they are, the Rameumptom people.

The people of the Rameumptom, and this story, and so I should be thinking about, why is this all put together? The person who edited or wrote it could have left out the story of the poor people who are cast out of the synagogue and just had Alma’s sermon and said here’s a great sermon, but he decided not to do that, so when he decided to put them together, I should be looking at, for some reason for these two to be together, so I think that comparing before and after is often very helpful.

Oak Norton: Yeah. Does anybody else have another question? I haven’t seen a hand pop up or a question pop up here. Okay, here we go we’ve got a couple here. So Brad asks reading, regarding close reading and study. Do you record your questions and answers for later reference? That’s part one.

James Faulconer: Okay, the answer is, I think writing is really important to scripture study. Writing down what I’m thinking. Not just taking notes, and again, this is a personal thing, it may not work for other people as well, but, for me, I make notes as I’m reading, I make notes in my scriptures and now I do that electronically. And I use those notes and I try to produce something which says, right now I’m reading, you know Mosiah 4, or whatever it is, I’m reading that, and here’s what I have to say. And I write an essay that makes a point I try to do that, because that makes me think better. Now do I use it for later reference? I always think I’m going to, and then I never do, so I have mountains of notebooks of things that I’ve written and I rarely go back and look at them. For me it’s the work of doing the writing and the thinking that goes into that, making those notes and writing those essays. That’s the study and that’s the benefit and there’s not some you know I don’t really get, I can’t really use this stuff later.

So. Now I’m not advocating that that’s what everybody should do, I’m just saying that’s the way I do it and that helps me.

Oak Norton: Got it. Alright his second question is in the future when rereading scriptures that you’ve already done a close reading on do you reference prior notes?

James Faulconer: Yeah, no I well I wouldn’t say completely no. The notes that I make in my scriptures are usually notes about word meanings things like that So yes, I would. Those, I would look at, and then I would say, well, I looked at this word before, so I don’t have to look up the word of the time, the meaning of the times again, I can be reminded of that. So I do use those notes, but I don’t really look at other notes very much, I just do it again.

Oak Norton: I think digitally I think that the generation that has sort of started digitally like I’ve got a number of notebooks I’m sure nowhere near the volume that you do, but you know I never review paper notebooks anymore, but I found that digitally, if I record something from many years ago, I can come back to it and it’s always there you know right next to the verse and I just you know, I see the questions.

James Faulconer: Yeah that would be. I should hire somebody to take my notebooks and input them but I probably won’t.

Oak Norton: Right. Alright Jennifer here has a question. She said I’ve been a member for a few years, and I still struggle just becoming familiar with the scriptures. How do you transition to studying the scripture versus just reading the scripture to become familiar? I’ve never learned how to study scripture so I’m not sure where to start, how do I keep from getting overwhelmed trying to keep things straight?

James Faulconer: Well I’ve been a member of the church since 1962 and I still sometimes get overwhelmed trying to keep things straight. It’s a function partly of the fact that I don’t have the best memory, that’s why I do depend on I’m really happy to have digital stuff to help me remember. But I think that it’s just a matter of you know the old thing about eating an elephant, you just do it a bite at a time. So I would say. It is important to be familiar with the scriptures. I think that means it’s important to read the Book of Mormon regularly to read the New Testament regularly. To read the Doctrine and Covenants regularly, I think it’s important to read the Old Testament regularly, even though I think that’s maybe the most difficult scripture of all for us.

I would at least focus on the others and not worry quite as much about that one, but I would read them until I at least felt like yeah I kind of know the basic story here in each case, and then, and only after that would I really start in on careful close reading and of course, as you go along, if you don’t understand a word look it up, I mean I always would do that, but my advice to any beginner would be, start by getting familiar with the books. So you sort of know here’s the story. I’ve seen this before I know what’s going on now once you have that familiarity, then you can begin to do the close reading.

Oak Norton: I think one thing that’s helped me is, sometimes I’ll take like I’ve got a one of those easel board sort of large flip board paper sets and there’s been a few times when I’ve said I’m not following exactly what’s going on here, and so I make my own timeline or a big chart of things or I’ll pull up a spreadsheet and like when I wanted to compare creation stories years ago, you know I took the verses from Genesis, Moses, and Abraham, and put them side by side to try and understand those better and so.

James Faulconer: That’s interesting because I’ve done all of those things, when I was doing Mosiah, I really did have to get out a whiteboard and say okay, let me just start with dates right, if I can use the dates at the bottom of the page and try to sort out what is the story? And once I had it sorted out, I could understand the whole thing a lot better than before and that’s a case where I actually thought I was familiar with the story. It’s only when I began to think about what’s the timeline like? I realized it’s actually more complicated than I thought.

Oak Norton: Right. And there’s tools out there, people have I mean, you know there’s tons of things people have made and published online that if you’re looking for a timeline, you know, pull it up in a search browser, timeline of Mosiah. I’m sure somebody has you know or several people have those things out there and so I think when you’re starting out you’ve got to get that you know what are the stories? Because stories, you can attach to stories right and so, once you have the stories down you start to put the dates into place, and you go okay this happened before this and now I’m kind of getting that put together and then you just kind of naturally go well, I understand this what’s next and..

James Faulconer: Yeah I think that’s a very good point and I think that’s why the Old Testament is so hard, is that it doesn’t have an overall story, there are stories within it. The stories that I learned in Sunday school when I was a child, but it doesn’t have an overall story, you know where does Leviticus fit in the story so…

Oak Norton: Yeah. And even some of those stories, you know the books aren’t necessarily exactly chronological and you know it, you know okay here’s something I just read all this stuff and now wait this kind of seems familiar, it is it flashing back is this parallel? is this, who wrote this?

James Faulconer: Yeah Kings and Chronicles. I find the Old Testament difficult too, but I mean, I want to make a plug for the Old Testament I think that there are so many things there for us to learn from, and I think that it’s been mis-portrayed as, sometimes people talk about the Old Testament there’s this idea that somehow we have an Old Testament God and the New Testament God. I think it’s really important for us to remember that Joseph Smith taught us that’s the same God it’s Jesus Christ in the Old Testament and, in fact we’ve been taught by a false tradition that the Old Testament is mean and angry and vicious. They’re terrible incidents in the Old Testament and I won’t deny that and I think that’s what it’s difficult sometimes to come to terms with, but the teaching of the Old Testament is, in the end it’s the same as the teaching of the New Testament. That was Jesus’s testimony.

Oak Norton: Yeah one thing, I mean I don’t know how you look at the Old Testament, but when I read in it, I have to remind myself, okay, everything God does is from a point of mercy and love, so how does that fit into this story this piece of the narrative?

Okay, we got another one here. Your experience with Professor Goldman is very insightful, so if you were to do a close reading of the Book of Mormon with someone, would you give yourself a timeline and if so, and no constraints, how long would you take to do a close reading? So I guess, just like if you had to break it up, based on your experience there you know, would you go through the whole Book of Mormon.

James Faulconer: Now let me first say that that I don’t only do close reading. I try to read the scriptures as a whole, fairly regularly because I think it’s important for me to remember where whatever it is I’m studying closely fits in the larger hole. So if I were doing a close reading of the entire Book of Mormon beginning to end, it would take several years. I’m not positive, but at the same time I’d be reading my Sunday school materials and I’d be studying, whatever else. I think it’s important to keep this broader perspective, while I’m studying closely, but the only reference that I have there is that I did do the close reading of Mosiah, and even then I would say only parts of Mosiah and that took me several, about 6 months to do about 6 chapters of Mosiah.

Oak Norton: And how much time, were you spending like per day doing that?

James Faulconer: Well, since I’m a full time researcher. I didn’t spend eight hours a day, to be honest, I can’t do it, my brain won’t let me do it, I have to do other things as well, but I spent, I would say 2 or 3 hours a day for several months.

On 6 or 7 chapters of Mosiah, so I would that’s why I say it would take several years to do the Book of Mormon that way. I think it’s worth it, but I also think that’s where prayer is a very important part of this whole process because I usually move from one pericope to another based on answers to prayer. So you know, I’ve been doing a lot in the Book of Mormon, but recently I’ve been thinking, I really need to go look at the New Testament again. It’s been a while, since I did that so I’m probably going to the next little bit, find a pericope from the New Testament and really look at it closely, try to do that.

Oak Norton: So, when you say you’re going to try and find a pericope, that’s a brand new word for me from the New Testament how big a bite do you look for? I mean do you say well, I’m going to study Matthew, I’m going to study the parables, I’m going to…

James Faulconer: No it wouldn’t be Matthew, probably but it might be, I mean right now I don’t know Matthew, but it might be several chapters or a chapter in Matthew, I would look at closely. It might be one of Paul’s letters, if it wasn’t it wasn’t Romans, Romans is too long to do all at once, for me. I did do Philemon with the class once, right it’s only one page, so, we got through that in less than a semester. That took us about a month. What I would probably do is to start, I mean I would read the New Testament through beginning to end, and, as I was reading things would pop up as interesting, oh that  really you know that attracts me, for some reason, and based on that attraction I would go back and say, well, there were these three things or four things or whatever that I really found interesting, I’m going to look at those more closely. One of those, I’d pick one out. I did spend some time once on the parable of the prodigal son. I wouldn’t probably do that one again right away, but that would be a pericope that I would find interesting, but it also might be, an entire letter by Pau or one of the other Apostles.

Oak Norton: Cool alright. Let’s see I haven’t had another. Oh here we go. Okay Fran says one thing I enjoyed doing several years ago was reading 1 Nephi then reading it again. Then reading 2 Nephi then reading it again and so on. So that’s another idea while something’s kind of fresh in your mind because it does take, like when you go through a book, it can be difficult to remember what’s in that book when you go so long and so, a little bit faster reading I kind of like that idea.

James Faulconer: I think that’s a good idea.

Oak Norton: Yeah so, faster repeat reading and then move on.

James Faulconer: You know I do think that anytime you do a really close reading of something ,when you are done whatever that means, when you get to the place where you feel like, well I’m ready to move on, go back and reread that thing in its context all at once, so that you don’t lose the fact, this is a whole. The problem with close reading is that sometimes you can get so focused in on the details that you forget that there really is the bigger picture, so I think it’s important to get that big picture back again when you’re done that’s a really good way to do it.

Oak Norton: Yeah I like it because I get into the weeds a lot, you know I’m reading along and like okay I’m going to read this chapter this morning and I get three verses down and suddenly I’m off, you know. That’s as far as I get, because I’m studying all the little things that I search out for it, and so it can be a challenge to try and feel like I’m accomplishing you know or staying on track for Sunday school because I honestly just never do and so one thing I do sometimes is, I will just listen to the chapters in my cars I’m driving and then I’m like well I’m getting it, but I’m still having fun, while studying the scriptures and so that helps me feel like I’m capturing the flow of the content, while still trying to do, close reading.

James Faulconer: That’s another good method, I like it.

Oak Norton: Well, I think we are at the end of our comments and questions. I really appreciate your time today, and I think this has been valuable for us and I’m just…

James Faulconer: Thank you very much.

Oak Norton: Really grateful that you came on and I don’t know if you have any parting thoughts, you want to share or will…

James Faulconer: I think I’m about shared out, I don’t know that I have that much more to say, but I really do appreciate being able to talk with people about scripture and I hope that something I’ve said today has been valuable to someone.

Oak Norton: Absolutely, so thank you very much, thanks everybody for attending today and we’ll shoot out the recording announcement, if you want to go through this again later. I know I do, and take few notes, when I can be looking closer at Mosiah 4, and some of the things that Dr. Faulconer’s covered, so we’ll go ahead and close this out thanks for being here.

James Faulconer: Thank you, thank you very much.


About the Author

Oak Norton - Just trying to share a love of the scriptures with others.