0 comments Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I loved being a Sunday School Teacher at church. We had terrific youth and great subject matter--The Book of Mormon. This morning I mowed the lawn and listened to 1 Nephi 11. To any passage of scripture there is usually enough to cause whole volumes of commentary. This blog will serve as a contribution to the Book of Mormon commentary that exists in various forms. The most famous author of Book of Mormon commentary is likely to be Hugh Nibley. I cannot compete with his scholarly approach to investigating the complexities of the book. Let's see though, if I can add some small contribution.

1 Nephi 11 takes place in response to Nephi's father, Lehi, re-telling his vision of the tree of life. Nephi, having unanswered questions regarding the vision ponders and inquires as to the meaning of the things his father saw. Two things stuck out on me today. The first were in verses 9 & 10 when Nephi is conversing with the heavenly messenger:

9 And it came to pass after I had seen the tree, I said unto the Spirit: I behold thou hast shown unto me the tree which is aprecious above all.

10 And he said unto me: What desirest thou?

Verse 9 showed that Nephi had listened well enough to his father's words to recognize the tree when he saw it. How well do I know the processes of heaven? Will I be able to recognize them?

The second thing I care to mention tonight is Nephi's greatest "OH WOW!!" in all of the Book of Mormon. To explain this I'd like to present you with the following 'puzzle.' Without being told anything decipher the characters below as something meaningful:
٠ ١ ٢ ٣ ٤ ٥ ٦ ٧ ٨ ٩
Give up? Here's a hint--count how many of them you see. Now which one looks like something you're familiar with? Did you guess it? They're numbers. In some parts of the world it is still perfectly normal to write numbers in this manner. Now, let's talk about Nephi's version of normal when it comes to Christ.

Nephi at this point in the scriptures doesn't 'know' Christ. He knows a lamb being offered by his father (or another priest) on behalf of his sins. This is what he knows of God. It's not bread and water. Now in the chapter Nephi is asking to understand what is the meaning of the tree. The scripture records this conversation.

18 And he said unto me: Behold, the avirgin whom thou seest is the bmother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
19 And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the aSpirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!
20 And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a achild in her arms.
21 And the angel said unto me: Behold the aLamb of God, yea, even the bSon of the Eternal cFather! Knowest thou the meaning of the dtree which thy father saw?
22 And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the alove of God, which bsheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the cmost desirable above all things.
23 And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most ajoyous to the soul.

Once Nephi sees the child in v. 20 the angel uses a specific and significant title to introduce the child. "Behold the LAMB of God..." Nephi has an OH WOW experience connecting the lamb that he has seen sacrificed with the actual physical person who would be born approximately 600 years from the time they left Jerusalem.

I've included v 23 because I marvel how even an angel is so impressed by Christ that he has to add his own two cents to the testimony. Certainly we cannot say enough about the magnitude, and the beauty of this plan of our loving heavenly Father, and his son Jesus Christ.

This oh wow moment of Nephi's carries over as a theme throughout the Book of Mormon. Notice in King Benjamin's speech he talks about types and shadows (Mosiah 3:15). Nephi's brother, Jacob, makes a commentary regarding the law of sacrifice and Abraham sacrificing Isaac. (Jacob 4:5). There's more to the meaning of the tree, but that will have to wait. In the meantime you can see one more addition to the complexity of the book. Mormon full well knew Nephi's words would set a pattern for the book, and he wisely included them unabridged.

Sorry for preaching. I couldn't let the opportunity slip by, and when the opportunity passes again I may take advantage of it once more. By the same token, the view off our back porch was phenomenal and worth sharing. I hope you enjoy.

0 comments Saturday, July 26, 2008

It started off as just a typical morning. I went and did PT with the guys in class up on base. At the end of one course we'll usually play sports for PT. This was no different. We played a version of football that was a lot like ultimate frisbee. I would have rather had the frisbee. Something about a sport with a ball doesn't really appeal to me (unless it's soccer).

After PT I hopped in the car to take care of an appointment at the house. I arrived and tidied up. Chrissy had been on the road for several hours at this point and I'll let her talk about the insanity of her trip. I sat and waited, got the phone call that they were coming, and somewhere close to 10:00 the movers arrived.
We unloaded the van all day. The quiet, clean, empty house began filling up with brown boxes. The bedroom closet got full. The master bedroom got full. The kitchen got full--so we put kitchen stuff in the garage. The garage got full. The movers we had were great! They were courteous and very careful with everything they unloaded. Of course, some things got damaged during shipment. Our cheap bookshelves that we've had for years didn't like this move and broke. The terracotta pots didn't survive. Other little things were damaged and the walls in the house got their first scratch as the old blue couch was being moved in.

The soundtrack for the day was from over the hedge--granted this place seems to be away from the suburbs--but it seemed rather appropriate.

At the end of the day they tried to help assemble the beds. By this point I knew Chrissy was fast approaching and the beds were a must. We looked diligently for the box that had the hardware, to no avail. So we started working on the paperwork. It was pretty easy. There was a whole crate of our stuff missing. I contemplated living without a dryer and our flat panel TV and decided quickly that I like both of those things too much to do without them. The paperwork was easy because we just wrote in big letters "SHIPMENT INCOMPLETE." The movers had a tornado of their own to deal with finding the crate. A mislabled crate in a warehouse is a difficult thing to find.

At the house the tornado arrived about twenty minutes after the movers left. I found the box of hardware for the beds. Our neighbor (Stacie) has four kids. The younger three like to come over and visit. While the movers were here their presence was somewhat obtrusive. When they came by after dinner though they were quite helpful. Austin helped me put together Eliza's bed--definitely a two person job--couldn't have done it without him! Christie and Kyla helped me with the boys bunk-bed--Definitely a two person job--couldn't have done it without them! Things were looking up.

Chrissy was going to arrive sometime around midnight and that gave me just a few hours to get things ready for their arrival and breakfast in the morning. I started with the clothes on hangars--got those boxes empty and remembered that my kids really like cereal. In order to eat cereal they'd need bowls. So I found a box labled "Kitchen, Glassware" and began to empty it. About the middle of the box I realized that there weren't any bowls in there and that there were about 4 boxes labeled "Kitchen, Glassware."

With Chrissy's arrival there was more than just me emptying boxes. Now the house is cluttered with a mixture of boxes and unboxed items strewn across the house. The last boxes showed up yesterday with the dryer. The house is messy--it's probably my fault.

Last night we went shopping. In addition to not talking about our goals and getting frustrated as a family, Daniel ran a shopping cart into the back of my left leg--knocking me over. We got home and vented. The adults got out on the front porch and enjoyed a "sit" and at 9:00pm it was still warm enough for the kids to run around in the sprinklers.

It might have the fact that my camera doesn't take good photos at night--but some of these photos make it look like once we're finished with this moving tornado we've got three smaller ones coming.

0 comments Monday, July 21, 2008

A while back I got to noticing that I was lazy when it came to reading my scriptures. I took a look at what I was doing with my time and noticed that I spent quite a bit of time enjoying being entertained. Since part of that entertainment was with my MP3 player I decided that I could listen to the scriptures online. When I did a search in iTunes for "The Book of Mormon" I was amazed that I couldn't find a podcast that would allow me to easily download chapters in the book for listening.

I decided to do something about it. So I created a podcast for the book of Mormon. Now it's time to let people know it's out there.

The URL for the Book of Mormon feed is: http://www.roeckerfam.com/bom.xml

I would like to encourage anyone who reads this and blogs, or creates anything online to create a link to this blog entry or to the Book of Mormon podcast feed listed above. By doing this the internet's search engines will start listing the podcast as a viable source for downloading this unique book of scripture. Please take the time to blurb about it on your blog.

I've also noticed that there's a great podcast for the Ensign that's put together by the church. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

The Ensign: http://ensign.libsyn.com/rss

I've got a 15 minute drive to work back and forth. This is a great way to pass the time and I'd welcome anyone who'd like to join me.

Do you listen to the scriptures in the car? Know of a good uplifting feed? Add it to the comments of this entry.

Subscribing to the podcast:
Automatic: Click on the cool image to the right
Select"Advanced" "Subscribe to Podcast" and then enter http://www.roeckerfam.com/bom.xml
Odeo: http://odeo.com/channels/2116792-The-Book-of-Mormon

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1 comments Saturday, July 19, 2008

It's been a very busy set of three weeks. It's also been fun. First we started off with getting ready for living at the FOB (Forward Operating Base by going to several ranges and doing other prepatory training. Katie, Jacob, and Myself stuck together through most of it and relied on each other to get through. There was one day in particular where the range was organized to take up the entire day. the day waiting foIt was set up so that most of us where out of water and food and forced to wait in the heat ofr our turn. It was rough. In fact for a large chunk of our training water has not been as easy to find as other Army schools.

With one training family firmly established I got to meet someone that's actually a relative here at Fort Sill. Matt Hargrave is Haley's husband and is also a 2LT in the Army. With a bit of phone calling I was able to get his number and meet him after our duty day was done. We agreed to meet on Saturday. It was that same Saturday that I went to the temple in the morning to do baptisms for the dead. It was a neat experience. The baptism coordinator interrupted us a few times to share insights and give us instructions.

I had an insight as well. The font's interior shape was smooth and resembled a circle. Circles are often used to show perfection because it is perfectly round. The interior formed a circle minus the steps entering into the water. From a particular angle the whole thing looked like a keyhole. I shared with the youth the idea that the Aaronic Priesthood holds the key to baptism and that having a body helps them to act as a key. Those who stand in the font literally act as the key to salvation others.

It was a great day. Please don't ask me for driving directions though. I was following another ward member who took a wrong turn. There was also a tremendous downpour as we entered the building. It was wet enough for us to seem as though we had done baptisms before we even got to the door. After the temple I was set up to meet Jacob Snyder and his real family in OKC. They were visiting the OKC Bombing memorial and I managed to meander my way to that part of town.

When I got there I realized that the area required a quiet reverence and respect that I had trouble mustering. I was reverently and emotionally drained from the temple. I visited for a few minutes and then left.

I drove home to Elgin and waited for Matt to arrive. He showed up in the afternoon. We cooked hot-dogs and had several great conversations. It was cool. It was nice to finally talk to him for more than a few minutes. We both acknowledged that we had met for ten minutes in Rexburg back before his graduation and their wedding.

The next week marked our first week in the FOB (Forward Operating Base). It seems the Army is migrating away from camping when it comes to conducting operations. Instead we train similar to the way we conduct business in Iraq and Afghanistan. In both of those countries the military operates out of bases to conduct operations. Now in training it seems as though we're doing the same thing.

The mock up FOB here at Fort Sill is pretty close to accurate—minus the living space. We've got 21 males crammed into a small room. Males tend to smell pretty bad without wearing all their gear during the heat of the day. When they do wear their gear it gets rather stinky fairly quick. Luckily we all had the fourth of July to look forward to. When the weather would get hot, and things would seems to get a bit tedious we'd all talk about the things that we're going to do over the weekend. I went shopping.

As it turns out Lowe's was doing a military discount and so I picked up some pickets to keep the trees in the yard growing straight. I met up with Matt and Haley on Saturday and picked up a lawn mower and a safe. The safe is to accommodate the rifles that arrived around the time of graduation.

Saturday afternoon was full of family. Katie was visiting relatives but the normally empty and quiet house was full of fake and real relatives. It was fun getting to know Matt and Haley and peeling back the layers of who they are. Jacob (Snyder) showed up after a fun day out at the wilderness refuge. With Hovan's and Hargraves it was truly a re-onion.

After the weekend life got a bit interesting as we were forced into week six on the FOB with full time operations. Now I've done 24 hour operations in a lot of different circumstances. Here 24 hour ops consists of the cadre doing 12 hour shifts and us doing missions every 3-4 hours. The week concluded with a 10 mile ruck march beginning at 0345. It was my longest hike with that much gear in years. I carried the M249 SAW the entire way. The weapon weighs 15 pounds, and I added it to my 46 pound rucksack it was a significant load.

At the time of writing this, I have blisters on my feet that have been draining for the past 12 hours and are still leaking. I fell asleep last night at 1800. It seems that the training I did before coming here wasn't quite enough to toughen up my feet. I did try--the photos are proof. I'd rather be hiking in Utah.