What was the breastplate worn by the Levite Priests used for?

What was the breastplate worn by the Levite Priests used for?

Question

 

Gramps,

What was the breastplate worn by the Levite Priests used for?

Karen

 

Answer

 

Dear Karen,

The Lord Himself dictated that the “holy garments” made for Aaron, the first Levitical high priest, were largely ceremonial in purpose “for glory and for beauty” rather than utility (Exodus 28:2).

The breastplate proper, known as the breastplate of judgment, was designed to be integrated with other articles of the sacred vestment. The ephod (a sort of tunic or shirt) had a stone on each shoulder with fasteners. On these stones were engraved the names of the twelve tribes of Israel in order of birth, six on each stone, for a “memorial unto the children of Israel: … [the high priest] shall bear their names before the Lord upon his two shoulders for a memorial” (Ex. 28:9-12). From each fastener came a gold chain that connected to two ends of the breastplate. The breastplate had two more gold chains which bound it to the ephod, and two blue ribbons (or laces) which also bound it to the ephod (Ex. 28:22-28). Both the breastplate and the ephod bore the same four colors: gold, blue, purple, and scarlet (Ex. 28:15). The breastplate had another parallel to the ephod in that it also had attached stones bearing the names of the twelve tribes. In the case of the ephod, however, each tribe was engraven on its own stone in four rows of three. The names are not scripturally indicated, but some later Targums (Jewish commentary and tradition inlined within the scriptures themselves – see, for instance 2 Nephi 27) fill them in with differing orders (Targum Pseudo-Jonathan Section 20). And just as the shoulder stones served as a memorial, so also did these serve the intention that the high priest “bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually” (Ex. 28:29).

The breastplate was cloth that was twice as long as it was wide (like the Holy Place of the tabernacle), but was folded to a square (like the Most Holy Place, or Holy of Holies of the tabernacle) to form a pocket for the Urim and Thummim. Because of this special function, Josephus calls the breastplate “Essen, which in the Greek language signifies the Oracle“, signifying that this was the place to receive revelation (Antiquities of the Jews 3.7.5). In fact, he describes the breastplate as showing divine favor in battle. “God declared beforehand, by those twelve stones which the high priest bare on his breast, and which were inserted into his breastplate, when they should be victorious in battle; for so great a splendor shone forth from them before the army began to march, that all the people were sensible of God’s being present for their assistance” (Antiquities 3.8.9).

As a symbol, Josephus recognized that the tabernacle was a microcosm of creation, and that the high priest’s holy garments served the same function. “Now the vestment of the high priest being made of linen, signified the earth; the blue denoted the sky, being like lightning in its pomegranates…. And for the ephod, it showed that God had made the universe of four elements; and as for the gold interwoven, I suppose it related to the splendor by which all things are enlightened. He also appointed the breastplate to be placed in the middle of the ephod, to resemble the earth, for that has the very middle place of the world. … Each of the sardonyxes [stones on the shoulders] declares to us the sun and the moon; … And for the twelve stones, whether we understand by them the months, or whether we understand the like number of the signs of that circle which the Greeks call the Zodiac,we shall not be mistaken in their meaning” (Antiquities 3.7.7).

Additionally, the clothes served as a physical reminder of judgment and responsibility. The anointed high priest served in the temple with the twelve tribes weighing on his shoulders and heart. If he served faithfully he would find that he was endowed with power equal to the charge, because his breast was now a receptacle of light and truth through revelation.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

What is known about military ships named after church leaders during WWII?

What is known about military ships named after church leaders during WWII?

Question

 

Dear Gramps,

I have heard that during WWII, there was a naval vessel named Joseph Smith, and another one named Brigham Young.  What can you tell me about these two ships, and how they came to receive their names?  Where are they now?  Also, were there any other ships named for LDS church leaders?  Thanks.

Robert

 

Answer

 

Robert,

Interesting question.  I was aware and knew something of these ships but I had to do some additional research to form an answer for you.

During WWII there were approximately 2700 liberty ships built between 1941 and 1945.  Their primary purpose was to transport cargo, oil and troops.  They were manned by civilians with a small crew of military personnel on board who were assigned to man the gun posts.  Due to the mass production of these ships, many of them were lost due to hull cracks.  Only a handful still remain.  Any group that could raise $2 million in war bonds could propose a name for a ship.  Many of these ships were never officially naval vessels as they were never commissioned as a USS (United States Ship).

The SS Brigham Young was originally launched in August of 1942 as a liberty ship.  In March of 1943 she was officially acquired by the military and renamed the USS Murzim.  She was manned by U.S Coast Guard personnel and was mainly used as a cargo ship to transport ammunition to various locations around the world.  Her crew earned the distinction of being the only crew during wartime who were ordered to “abandon ship.”  While sitting dockside a fire broke out while fully loaded with ammunition.  The fire was controlled.  She was decommissioned in Pearl Harbor in June of 1946.  She was towed to Suisun Bay in 1947 and remained there until 1969 at which time she was sold for foreign scrapping.

Not much is known about the SS Joseph Smith.  It was launched in May of 1943.  In 1944 it broke up and was scuttled in the Atlantic.

As far as any other ships of this type, I am unaware of any.  I have perused the entire list of liberty ships and couldn’t find another named after a leader within the Mormon Church.

There was, however, one ship named the USS Bennion.  It was named after Mervyn S. Bennion.  While he wasn’t a church leader, he was a notable Mormon.  It was commissioned in 1943 after Bennion’s death in 1941 during the Pearl Harbor attack.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

Why did we have the Civil War?

Why did we have the Civil War?

Question

Gramps,

Why did we have the American Civil War and what does it mean as said in DC 87? Will those people be saved due to fighting for their country? What about temple work for them?

Dallas 

 

Answer

Dallas,

The reason for the American Civil War was fundamentally the same as the reason for all wars: the failure of humans to live in accordance with the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. At the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003, President Gordon B. Hinckley offered a conference sermon regarding the Church’s stance on war and responsibilities of Church members in wartime. I believe that, generally speaking, the principles President Hinckley outlined were as true at the time of the Civil War as they are now.

As for the salvation of those involved in that or other wars: The Lord has instructed us to do temple work for as many as possible and, to my knowledge, has made no provision for barring temple work on the basis of participation in any particular armed conflict. For these individuals, as with the rest of us, “the Lord’s way of final judgment will be to apply His perfect knowledge of the law a person has received and to judge on the basis of that person’s circumstances, motives, and actions throughout his or her entire life” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Judge Not” and Judging).

 

Gramps

What level of exaltation will Hitler obtain?

What level of exaltation will Hitler obtain?

Question

 

Dear Gramps,

Will Hitler be given a chance to hear the gospel in the spirit world?  Will he be given a chance to accept proxy baptism and all the other ordinances necessary for exaltation?  What level of salvation could he possibly attain having done what he did in mortality, but not having the full light of the gospel?

Robert

 

 

Answer

 

Robert,

All who have lived on this earth will either in this life or in the Spirit World be baptized for themselves or by proxy. This would include Hitler although he committed atrocious crimes toward the human family.

As we read our scriptures regarding the type of glory people will obtain it is most likely Hitler will be received within the Telestial Kingdom, however this is not a judgement I am worthy or authorized to give.

All of us, despite not having the full light of the gospel, have been given the “light of Christ” to teach us the difference between good and evil. Hitler will receive judgement according to the knowledge he had and according to the “light of Christ” he accepted and the good he denied.

 

Gramps

 

 

What is the Church’s stance on Pre-historic man?

What is the Church’s stance on Pre-historic man?

Question

Gramps,

I cannot find any official statements on the Church’s stance on pre historic man, i.e. Homo Erectus, Neanderthals etc. Can you help?

Nikolai

 

Answer

Nikolai,

Unfortunately I cannot because there are none. You see, the LDS Church is a religion. As such it is concerned with religious matters as a rule. There are areas where religious matters enter, and thus have an impact upon, society. In these areas the LDS Church seeks to councel and advise its members primarily, followed by any others interested in hearing what is said.

The matter of cavemen, or the possible evolution of mankind is not a religious matter, but a scientific one. For all the information the scriptures, and by connection the Lord himself, have given us it is entirely possible that evolution was part of the process of God creating man. We simply don’t know for sure one way or the other right now.

The Bible merely says God created man. It fails to explain how, or how long it took.

Gramps

Is there any archaelogical evidence concerning horses and elephants on the American continent during Jaredite and Nephite times?

Is there any archaelogical evidence concerning horses and elephants on the American continent during Jaredite and Nephite times?

X-From_: [emailaddress] Tue Sep 14 17:22:54 1999

Dear Gramps,

In the Book of Mormon it states the Nephites and Jaredites had horses (1 Ne. 18:25; 2 Ne. 12:7; Enos 1:21; Alma 18:9-12; 3 Ne. 3:22, 21:14; Ether 9:19) and elephants (Ether 9:19). If they did, why did the Indians (Lamanites) not know about horses when the explorers came to the new world? And do you know if there is any archaeological evidence that there were horses and elephants on the American continent when the Jaredites and Nephites were around?

Thanks Gramps,

Gidgt

(more…)

Is it true that it never rained before Noah?

Is it true that it never rained before Noah?

Question

Dear Gramps,

Is it true that it never rained before Noah?  Is there any authoritative references on this subject?

Timothy

 

Answer

Dear Timothy,

Prior to the natural creation of man on we read in Genesis 2:5, Moses 3:5 and Abraham 5:5, that the Lord had not caused it to rain. Carefully read Moses 3:5:

“And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air.”

The point where it states that the Lord had not caused it to rain was prior to the natural creation of Adam. Once the earth and Adam were created naturally, natural laws would take effect. President Packer, quoting from the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, stated in his October 1993 conference address: “Natural and spiritual laws which govern life were instituted from before the foundation of the world.They are eternal…”

To put forth the hypothesis that it did not rain prior to the time of Noah from this scripture does not make sense. From the time of Adam to when Noah was born was 1056 years. Noah lived for 950 years and died 350 years after the flood. This means that from Adam to the end of the flood was some 1656 years. The water cycle, including rain, would have been in effect during this period of time, otherwise everything would have dried up and died.

Enoch, who was Noah’s Great Grandfather, speaks of rain in Moses 7: 28 “And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?” He would have been familiar with the process of raining as he compares it to the heavens shedding tears

The rainbow was a token or remembrance of the Lord’s everlasting covenant with Enoch that his city of Zion will return, Noah that the earth will not be covered with water, and with all of us that the Lord will once again return to the earth to live. In the Bible Dictionary we read the following: “The rainbow no doubt existed before the flood, but with Noah the rainbow took on a new significance as the token of the covenant. JST Gen. 9: 17-25 enlarges the terms of the covenant to include not only that the earth will never again be covered with a flood of water, but also that the Zion of Enoch will return and the Lord will come again to dwell on the earth.”

 

Gramps

Book of Mormon Location

GRAMPS,
Thanks for answering, but what is the tale? Kimball is quoted in the J. of D. V 4 PG 105 as making the statement of the vision, and as to sticking with what Joseph has said, in 1843 he was editor in chief of the church newspaper, and said that the towns described in a book of travels by John Stephens in 1841 to Central America and Mexico, that one of the cities was Zarahemla. He Also identified in the Oct 1 1842 Times and Seasons 3 927, the names of other Nephite cities such as Palenque and Quirigua. What do you have that Joseph said that is contrary to that? You suggested that we stick to what Joseph has said, and I refer you to “Teachings” pg 267, where Joseph says Lehi—landed a little south of the Isthmus of Darien”, which would put a Central American location for the Nephite colonies, and particularly the hill Cumorah. Also, two new books, one by John Lund, and the other by Sorensen, concerning the geography of the B. of M. are very convincing as to the Mexico, Guatemala location for the Book of Mormon events.
True, the church has never identified a B of M. location, and probably won’t, but the prevailing scholastic opinion is now leaning very strongly toward Central America.
In conclusion, your answers are usually quite lengthy and good, but the one on visiting the cave leaves people with the idea that the New York site once contained “wagon loads of gold plates”.
BRUCE (more…)

Page 1 of 3123
Copyright © 2015 Ask Gramps - Q and A about Mormon Doctrine. All Rights Reserved.
This website is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. The views expressed by individual users are the responsibility of those users and do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. For the official Church websites, please visit LDS.org or Mormon.org.

Pin It on Pinterest