By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Life of Josephus, Part 1

I am still plodding along with Josephus, though not very quickly. I keep doing other things. In earlier posts, I mentioned that he was Jewish, though not seeming all that religious, and that he had looked into the various sects, at last joining the Pharisees, apparently more for their political power than for any other reason. He studied and was an educated man. Now, this quote shows what happens next:

3. But when I was in the twenty-sixth year of my age, it happened that I took a voyage to Rome, and this on the occasion which I shall now describe. At the time when Felix was procurator of Judea there were certain priests of my acquaintance, and very excellent persons they were, whom on a small and trifling occasion he had put into bonds, and sent to Rome to plead their cause before Caesar. These I was desirous to procure deliverance for, and that especially because I was informed that they were not unmindful of piety towards God, even under their afflictions, but supported themselves with figs and nuts. Accordingly I came to Rome, though it were through a great number of hazards by sea; for as our ship was drowned in the Adriatic Sea, we that were in it, being about six hundred in number, swam for our lives all the night; when, upon the first appearance of the day, and upon our sight of a ship of Cyrene, I and some others, eighty in all, by God's providence, prevented the rest, and were taken up into the other ship. And when I had thus escaped, and was come to Dieearchia, which the Italians call Puteoli, I became acquainted with Aliturius, an actor of plays, and much beloved by Nero, but a Jew by birth; and through his interest became known to Poppea, Caesar's wife, and took care, as soon as possible, to entreat her to procure that the priests might be set at liberty. And when, besides this favor, I had obtained many presents from Poppea, I returned home again.

So at a young age, he appears to be developing some influence. He is active in the politics and current events of his time, which makes him a reasonably knowledgable historian.

Rather than start right in on his Antiquities of the Jews, I wanted to read his Life and so learn a bit about him directly.

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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Instruments in the Hands of God

Relief Society General Conference was good last night. It inspired me and motivated me to try to do better. In some ways I am charitable, but in other ways it is a struggle. I find it, for example, easy to give money, but when it comes to give time and effort, well, let's just say I need to improve!

I am sure we all struggle with aspects of charity and service. I feel that we should recognize what we do right and that we are improving, rather than just beating ourselves up for not being perfect. That was one thing that was mentioned last night, more than once.

I do have to admit that the theme, "Instruments in the Hands of God," always makes me think of that old, yet famous, sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." I am glad we focus on more positive aspects of the gospel and in encouraging one another, rather than hearing those types of sermons, although it might do us good once in awhile!!

Next week is General Conference. Can't wait!!

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Wastin' Time

Lately, I've been reading Gospel Doctrine which contains segments from speeches by President Joseph F. Smith.

They certainly were a lot more blunt about things in the late 1800's and the early 1900's, weren't they? Last night I was reading the section on amusements and fashion. President Smith came down hard on card playing, novel reading, and current women's fashions. We have a lot more than that going on now, but the intent is the same. One of the several things that I think he was getting at was the enormous waste of time the cards and novels could engender.

Earlier in the book, President Smith talked about moderation in all things. Somehow, we humans can get carried away with some things. It can be different for each person, although games and entertainment of various kinds are probably the ones we most go overboard with. I know I certainly don't go overboard with cleaning house or any other constructive thing!

What makes life difficult is that we do need some recreation, even time-wasting recreation. But knowing when to stop recreating and get back to work seems to be the problem. The motivation for doing the right things at the right time, whether you feel like it or not, needs to come from within. It's fine for little kids to depend on Mom and Dad to make them do chores and homework, but, one hopes, somewhere along the line Mom and Dad will teach them the whys and wherefores and consequences so that said kids can motivate themselves.

Still, all is not lost. It is never too late to turn over a new leaf. I think about what President Smith said about spending one's life in a worthwhile manner and also setting long range goals so that the things you do are leading in the direction you wish to go, toward the end you envision. It requires discipline. It requires pondering on the whys and wherefores and consequences. It requires doing the right things, the constructive things, the things that lead toward your personal goals for your life. It requires being able to say no to yourself when you want to watch TV or surf the net, but you need to clean house or make out a budget or write the book you want to publish. Even the things you enjoy can be very hard work as you seek to improve the level of your performance.

I think spending some time on the paperwork to make a time budget, a money budget, and a list of goals would be a good investment of effort. It seems to help me to take ephemeral thoughts and write them down in black ink upon white paper. It is then concrete. Flexibility is desirable, of course, as long as we don't flex ourselves right out of accomplishing anything.

It is hard to be a grown-up. But so worthwhile.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Are We Learning the Lessons from Katrina?

Are we learning lessons from the disaster of Hurricane Katrina? Are we evaluating our own preparedness--not just temporally, but spiritually and mentally and emotionally and socially and character-wise? Are we making 72-hour kits and then teaching and encouraging our friends and neighbors about them? Are we making evacuation plans? Are we thinking about what it would mean to have to leave home? Do we ponder how we can help others do the same?

Do we strengthen ourselves so that we can get past the ever-present desire for ease and comfort? Can we get past expecting instant gratification? Can we let go of material things to save ourselves and others? Do we need to overcome selfishness, impatience, greed, or other things that can hold us back?

Are we as physically fit and healthy as we can be so that we can withstand the rigors of "the road?" Have we developed any skills we might need, such as camping skills?

Do we study the scriptures to receive guidance? How many times in the history of the world have people had to leave home to start life anew? How did they do it? Can we trust God to help us after we have done our part? What is our part?

I hope that I can take my own advice and study all aspects of personal preparedness and then put what I learn into action.

Lots to ponder in learning lessons from the world around us.


Monday, September 05, 2005


NOW faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith. Ether 12:6

And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them. 3 Nephi 26:9

And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true. Alma 32:21

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:5


Sunday, September 04, 2005

In Memoriam

For my children and my parents.

Dixie Leone Adams
10 February 1975-5 September 1979

James Verlin Adams
19 November 1977-5 September 1979

Verlin Meric Moody
17 May 1916-7 September 1981

Dixie Della Moody
6 December 1920-8 December 2003

I love them and I miss them.