Mike Reed

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Everything posted by Mike Reed

  1. Mike Reed

    Cross on the temple

    Great points, and I agree with you. I am not proposing that the Church adopt the symbol of the cross as a dominant expression of their faith. But I do think it wise to reconsider the cultural taboo that has no real doctrinal basis. For example, I think it is a shame that new members often feel compelled to abandon, discard, or hide heirlooms/artwork that were once spiritually meaningful to them. Moreover, I think an open mind is useful, if it is given that God communicates to people according to their own language/understanding. On my mission an investigator believed that a dream of a cross (confirmed by feelings of the HS) was an answer to prayer, letting him know that he should join the church. And as I also mentioned in the youtube video linked to above, Spender W. Kimball had a similar answer to prayer, when he asked God to confirm to his soul that he was indeed divinely called to serve in the quorum of the 12.
  2. Mike Reed

    Cross on the temple

    To insist that the cross is merely a symbol of death is to fail to understand what a symbol is. A thing becomes a symbol when it is intended to communicate something *beyond* that which is depicted. There are scriptural literary symbols, and the cross is one of them. The cross is the dominant symbol for the atonement in LDS scripture (not the empty tomb or garden of Gethsemane) in the BoM, D&C, and NT. If the cross is acceptable as a literary symbol, then why does it suddenly become taboo in a visual or material form? If it is a symbol of death, and only a symbol of death (and if it is to be assumed that symbols related to Jesus death are inappropriate because Jesus lives), then why is the literary symbol of the cross even found in scripture? Another thing to consider (I am purposefully being vague here) is this: Read Isaiah 22:23, and ask whether similar (if not identical) symbolism is found in sacred LDS ordinances. A consideration of the sacrament/communion and 1 Corinthinans 11:26 may also be in order.
  3. Mike Reed

    Cross on the temple

    Actually, the disuse of the cross in Mormon culture has a more complicated basis than that.Here again is the video I posted: Here is a pretty good newspaper article (from the Deseret News) that covered my research: Sunstone speaker attempts to explain LDS 'aversion' to cross | Deseret News And if you are interested, you can preview my book on Amazon here: Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo: Michael G. Reed: 9781934901359: Amazon.com: Books If you'd like to read a book review from respected Mormon scholar Boyd J. Peterson, you can read one at the following link: Reed, "Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo" (reviewed by Boyd J. Petersen) - Written Works - AML Discussion Board
  4. Mike Reed

    Cross on the temple

    This Sunstone Symposium presentation on the Cross in Mormon culture may be of interest:
  5. Some here have expressed interest in my research, and so I'm posting this brief thread to anounce that my book is finally available. You can find it on Amazon at the following link: Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo:Amazon:Books Please spread the word! Thanks!
  6. Mike Reed

    Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo

    Link was changed. Try this one: The Mormon Book Review » Blog Archive » An Interview with Michael Reed “Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo” (Episode 12)
  7. Mike Reed

    Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo

    If you are interested, a podcast interview about the book was made available today: The Mormon Book Review » Blog Archive » An Interview with Michael Reed “Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo” (Episode 11)
  8. Mike Reed

    Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo

    Wonderful! I hope you enjoy it. :)
  9. Mike Reed

    Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo

    Thanks! It may end up being that my research helps facilitate such a revival. But no... this was not the aim of my book. My aim was simply to explain how and why the cross taboo emerged in Mormon culture, and does not take a position on what I may or may not think Mormons should or shouldn't do.
  10. Mike Reed

    Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo

    In case you haven't yeard... the first review of my book is in, and I am pleased to say that it is overwhelmingly positive: For the entire review see the link below: Reed, "Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo" (reviewed by Boyd J. Petersen) - Written Works - AML Discussion Board
  11. Mike Reed

    Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo

    The plan is to first publish pb, then a month or so later HB, and finally... if there is a significant demand for it, a Kindle edition. A kindle edition would require a lot of work and money on my part, since I'd need to get permissions for republishing the photos I use digitally.
  12. Mike Reed

    Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo

    Many LDS readers have helped me to be objective and neutral in my book. My blog has never gone through this process. Moreover, much in my life has changed since I last posted on my blog. And FWIW... I am actively attending Church again.
  13. Mike Reed

    Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo

    This is precisely what I do. As do I. Good news is that it doesn't instruct the Saints or their leaders on what they should do. It simply traces the complex development of LDS Attitudes toward the cross.
  14. Mike Reed

    Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo

    Hi Vort. This is a blurb that appears on the back caver of my book, written by Robert Rees. This was not my agenda. My book will help readers to understand the basis of the cross taboo in LDS culture (ie. that is was sort of a historical accident, rooted in a desire to disassociate the Church from Catholicism). By understanding that the taboo has no authoritative revelatory or doctrinal basis, I think some Mormons may feel persuaded to reconsider any negativity they may have towards the symbol. My book will also undermine the assertions of critics, who insist that the absence of the cross in Mormon culture proves that they aren't Christian. This wasn't my agenda either, however. What was my agenda? Simply to trace the development of Mormon attitudes toward the visual/material symbol of the cross.
  15. Mike Reed

    Christian shirts with crosses.?

    Token? Are you alluding to something along these lines?: Isaiah 22:23An symbol of one of the instruments used to killed Jesus? Certainly this has no place in Mormonism... or does it?
  16. Mike Reed

    Christian shirts with crosses.?

    Nikkie85, My point is this: If the phrase is "figurative," then it is symbolic. If it is symbolic, then scriptural passages like these undermine the popular rationale you promote, which asserts the cross should be avoided since it represents Jesus' death.
  17. Mike Reed

    Christian shirts with crosses.?

    Figurative... as in "symbolic"?
  18. Mike Reed

    Christian shirts with crosses.?

    This quote says nothing of the cross. Nor is this quote even from Joseph Smith. Bruce R. McConkie is the author of DNTC. What is the point of this lengthy cut and paste? None of these quotes justify rejecting the material/visual symbol of the cross.
  19. Mike Reed

    Christian shirts with crosses.?

    Wear T-shirts with crosses on them? Probably not. He probably wouldn't wear a white shirt and tie either.
  20. Mike Reed

    Michael R. Ash: What was the Liahona?

    Wow! I didn't think the copy/paste feature would work for the images on a message board. The sofware this forum uses rocks!
  21. Mike Reed

    Michael R. Ash: What was the Liahona?

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010 Liahona, a Mineral Compass? While considering the Smith family involvement in money-digging, and the treasure lore imbedded in the Book of Mormon (Helaman 13:33-36; Mormon 1:18), it has always seemed rather curious to me that Lehi found outside his tent the Liahona (compass), rather than a divining rod (Alma 37: 38-40). Granted, the Book of Mormon says nothing about the Liahona being used for treasure seeking. Though this be the case, it is also true that some treasure seekers believed the divining rod (like the Liahona) could not only direct the practitioner to desired locations, but the rod could also communicate the will of God. Some scholars have associated the Liahona with the Masonic globes of Enoch, quoting the following from Thomas Smith Web’s The Freemason’s Montor (1818): They are the noblest instruments for improving the mind, and giving it the most distinct idea of any problem or proposition, as well as enabling it to solve the same. Contemplating these bodies, we are inspired with a due reverence for the Deity and his works, and are induced to encourage the studies of astronomy, geography, navigation, and the arts dependent on them. With all due respect to these scholars, I am of the opinion that this connection quickly unravels when the quote’s entire context is considered. Unlike the Book of Mormon narrative’s description of the Liahona, there is nothing in Web’s description to suggest that the globes had mechanical “spindles” to “point the way.” Web instead describes the globes in this way:These globes are two artificial spherical bodies, on the convex surfaces of which are represented the countries, seas, and various parts of the earth, the face of the heavens, the planetary revolutions, and other important particulars. The sphere with the parts of the earth delineated on its surface is called the terrestrial globe, and that with the constellations and other heavenly bodies, the celestial globe. Now, considering these two quotes together... of course the terrestrial and celestial globes would “encourage the studies” of “geography [and] navigation,” but this is because the globes were maps, not compasses that could communicate the will of God. The terrestrial globe, a map of the earth. The celestial globe, a constellation map. Is there a better connection to be made elsewhere—perhaps from a 19th century source—that could have been known by a family involved in treasure digging? While researching 19th century treasure lore yesterday, I stumbled upon the following advertisement in The Plattsburgh Republican, 18 July 1874: A compass used for treasure digging!! Is this the answer? Could it be that the Smith family assumed mineral compasses could communicate the will of God, like divining rods could? Had they even heard of mineral compasses? Unfortunately, the advertisement was dated fifty years too late, so I then looked for earlier sources and finally ended my search (of all places!) at an Encyclopedia Britannica (1824) entry under Bletonism—“a faculty of perceiving and indicating subterraneous springs and currents by sensation.” Under this entry the following is found: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Joseph Antley said... Interesting stuff, Mike. I don't think it's especially likely since, as you noted, the compass had a more traditional purpose: directing them which direction to travel. Unless they're just clearly apparent, I don't know that we need to look at any other sources beside the traditional use of a compass combined with the revelatory aspects of biblical religion in order to find the inspiration behind the Liahona. But interesting all the same. Mike Reed said... Thanks for your feedback, Joseph. We both agree that the Liahona was no ordinary compass, but rather was said to innately have special magical/divine powers. Similar to the Rod of Aaron, it could receive direct communication from god (1 Nephi 18:28), and worked according to the faithfulness of those using it (18:12). And similar to the Rod of Aaron, there were things done to the Liahona to "Prepare" it for use (2 Nephi 5:12). If it is given that the BoM is a 19th century document... then would you agree that a Divining rod could have served the purpose just as well? This is where I am coming from. Unlike you, I start with the conclusion that the BoM is19th century, and then ask, "Well... why wasn't a divining rod used in the narrative?" I think my find provides a probable answer to that question, and one that seems far more likely than the Enochian globes connection. Do we agree on that much? George Miller said... Interesting find Mike. I have to agree that I have long thought that this particular Mormon-Masonic connection has always been in my mind weak if a connection at all. I like this connection and I think that your further analysis in the response above is essential to your argument. Mike Reed said... Thanks George! One point of clarification for readers. In my response to Joseph Antley, I said "rod of Aaron" instead of "divining rod." Joseph Smith equated the two, as did other treasure seekers of his day. Here is a blog entry I wrote last year that provides information about this: Cultural Mormon Cafeteria: Joseph Smith Jr’s Cane: A “Thing of Nature”? Joe Geisner said... Mike, I find your discovery quite interesting. I will have to think about this idea further, but I see possibilities. I appreciate your discovery and believe this is what makes history exciting. Discovering new material and causing scholars to look at the evidence differently. I do find the Masonic link compelling. The idea that the globe is able to give "the most distinct idea of any problem or proposition, as well as enabling it to solve the same" seems to suggest a link to the Liahona. But I believe Smith was quite comfortable pulling ideas from various sources and incorporating them into his theology and teachings. Mike Reed said... Fair enough, Joe. While pondering this possibility, here is a beautiful illustration that I found online of terrestrial and celestial globes. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_GTn_xtdv6MA/SwTFw-z2t1I/AAAAAAAAEoU/-BapOxO-KoU/s1600/globes.jpg I could be wrong, but I am unaware of any Masonic globes having "spindles," as described in the Book of Mormon. All the best. George Miller said... @Joe- I understand your thought on this. However, there are other aspects of the Masonic context of these globes that should dissuade a historian from drawing a parallel with the liahona. As mentioned by Mike these globes were associated within the Masonic context interchangeably with the pillars of Enoch, the pillars in front of King Solomon's temple Jachin and Boaz, and with similar pillars within the Masonic lodge. In this context they would have ranged in size from the proportions of a human head to much larger and they would all be physically part of the pillar and not separable from the columns. These physical motifs are widely disparate from what Joseph Smith was describing in the Book of Mormon with regards to the liahona. Contrary to apologetic claims to the contrary, Joseph Smith was very well informed about Masonic content in his early years, likely even before the Morgan Affair. Joseph Smith's description of the secret combinations within the Book of Mormon clearly show a sophisticated understanding of Masonic legend and history that is far deeper than what he could have learned from Anti-Masonic sources following the Morgan Affair. Because of Joseph Smith's demonstrated knowledge of detailed information concerning the Fraternity as displayed in the Book of Mormon and repeatedly through the Kirtland and Missouri periods, I would suggest that Joseph Smith understood Masonic workings in detail at the time he wrote the Book of Mormon. For Joseph to have made this association, which is largely can only be made if one doesn't understand the Masonic context, is unlikely. Joe Geisner said... Mike, I want to make clear that I believe your discovery is very important. New information often takes a while to assimilate in ones mind. As you point out, the Mineral compass would have the “spindles” to “point the way”, an essential feature found in the Liahona. Great work. Mike Reed said... Joe, I know what you mean. Clair Barrus recently pointed out to me that I was misinterpreting a BoM passage in one of my posts. I had always interpreted it this way, so it took an extra while for me to chew it over and see his point. I appreciate your kind remarks. George, Great points. Joe Geisner said... Thanks Mike. George, I agree with you and think your point about the globes being on the columns and the large size are problems for the comparison. I am in complete agreement about Smith and his knowledge of Masonry. Mike Homer is working on a book about Mormonism and Masonry. I will send him a link to Mike's post and see if he will comment. Rick Grunder's Mormon Parallels has a couple of entries that continue to cause me to believe Smith would adapt the globes for his use. Jeremy L[add]CROSS, THE TRUE MASONIC CHART. 1826 writes about the globes, "They are the noblest instruments for improving the mind, and giving it the most distinct idea of any problem or proposition, as well as enabling it to solve the same. [p. 24]" William MORGAN,(1774-1826). ILLUSTRATIONS OF MASONRY, BY ONE OF THE FRATERNITY 1827 wrote, "They also have two large globes or balls, one on each [pillar]; those globes or balls contain on their convex surfaces all the maps and charts of the celestial and terrestrial bodies, they are said to be thus extensive, to denote the universality of masonry, and that a Mason's charity ought to be equally extensive. Their composition is molten, or cast brass, they were cast on the banks of the river Jordan" page 52 George Miller said... @Joe- Hmmmm .... Remembering that these globes are introduced in the Fellow Craft degree which is entirely about obtaining an education in the seven liberal arts and sciences (including astronomy and geometry). I don't find anything in the above statements that suggest a connection to the liahona. Remember that I was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in Nashville, I am currently serving as the Junior Warden for my lodge in Michigan, I belong to two Masonic bodies of research, I am a 32° Mason, I have not only been the candidate in but given the lectures above discussed multiple times. I have also been a temple worker in three Mormon temples and I am extremely knowledgeable in history of both organizations. I have to say even today after sitting through the rituals multiple times, I don't see what you are getting at here. Just FWIW I am a STRONG advocate of the Mormon-Masonic connection and see MANY connections between the organization which have never been published or discussed in the public arena. Given that I just don't see this one ... Perhaps you can explain what you mean. Joe Geisner said... George, I think we are in more agreement than not. I will defer to you as an expert in both areas. My only other comment would be that as a non-Mason, I look at the information completely different than you. Even with Smith being immersed in the Masonic culture, he would not see Masonry symbols as an expert would i.e., someone like yourself. George Miller said... @Joe- I think you make a good point. My idea is premised on Joseph Smith being much more familiar with Freemasonry during the 1820s than most historian have suggested. That being said, I have a substantial amount of evidence that Joseph Smith was substantially more informed about Freemasonry during thing the New York, Kirtland and Missouri periods than historians have even fathomed. Clair Barrus said... Lehi's use of the Liahona reminds me somewhat of Isaac Bullard, a prophet with a small band of followers who had settled in Woodstock, NY. Around 1816 he had a rod that would point the direction of travel as they searched for their promised land. The they traveled from New York, to Ohio, and onto Missouri where he identified his "New Jerusalem." An 1826 Palmyra newspaper stated that when they "landed at the Little Prairie, [Missouri]. The prophet's staff, which by the direction of its fall had hitherto pointed out the way, now stood still; and he declared that here he was commanded to settle and build a church;" Mike Reed said... Here is a source describing a mineral compass as being encased in a curcular brass box: “The ores of most frequent occurrence in Sweden, those of magnetic iron, are always more or less polar.... For this reason explorations for iron ore are invariably made with a compass, specially constructed for the purpose. This instrument, invented in the last century by the celebrated Swedish miner, Daniel Tilas, consists of a circular brass box, in which a magnetic needle is horizontally suspended on a long vertical brass pin, by means of a long glass cap. The brass terminates above in a short steel point on which a cap rotates. At the bottom of this is a brass stirrup, provided with fine holes, through which pass the horizontal pins supporting the needle. To enable the needle to dip, there is a long slot cut along the middle of it. Thus the needle can move both in a horizontal and in a vertical plane; and it is balanced in such a way that it takes a horizontal position when acted on by terrestrial magnetism alone. In using this instrument for prospecting purposes, it is necessary to observe merely the dip of the needle. In this way it is easy to ascertain the existence of attractive iron ore, and the approximate extent of the deposits, even when they are covered by other strata or by water.” Journal of the Society of Arts (10 December 1897), 67, Journal of the Society of Arts - Google Books Mike Reed said... Thanks for sharing that Clair. If the "mineral rod" was believed to do such things, I think it is likely that similar superstitions would have been assumed about the "mineral compass". According to Henry Defrance's_Modern Dowser_ (first published in 1930), "Long ago, in the time of Baron de Beausoleil, we read of a certain mineral compass; we are not told much about it, but it seems to have been an accessory of the rod." Modern Dowser - Google Books Unfortunately, Defrance does not document his report. Mike Reed said... Mike Ash's most recent Mormon Times article is about the Liahona. Michael R. Ash: What was the Liahona? | Mormon Times He didn't talk about the mineral compass, though. Bummer.
  22. Mike Reed

    Christian shirts with crosses.?

    This thread has derailed long enough. I'll think I'll go rent a movie now--"Latter Days" sounds good--and then get back to my studies. So long!
  23. Mike Reed

    Christian shirts with crosses.?

    And yet your posts that followed continued in the same "caustic nature". Right. Sure you are... You can talk out of both sides of your mouth, I see. I wonder why anyone would think that. Did you happen to SEE that he/she had a new, incomplete profile to begin with. I did. OF COURSE changes would be made to it. Here is a question for you. How would you fit into your "research" the fact (yes, FACT) that I have never seen the movie "Latter Days"? Would you conclude that I am lying? Would you conclude that I still am the owner of the page, but initially made a typo that is now corrected/hidden? Would you conclude that my hypothetical friend is the owner of the page, and therefore a "wolf among sheep"? Would you conclude that my hypothetical friend is the owner... and that the friend made a typo? Would you conclude that your computer is demon posessed and misled you? Or that you're dillusional? Or would you conclude nothing, except to simply concede the sad reality that you are clueless? Inquiring minds want to know.
  24. Mike Reed

    Michael R. Ash: What was the Liahona?

    I tried to upload it, but the forum software tells me it is an invalid file. Sorry. Maybe someone else knows how to do it for you.
  25. Mike Reed

    Christian shirts with crosses.?

    I am sure that, no matter how I answered your question, you'd find red flags. Hypothetically, if I were to tell you "No, it isn't my page. My friend owns it," you'd not be satisfied until I revealed the owner's name. Obviously, LDScross wants to be anonymous... otherwise, they'd use their real name. So no. I won't answer your question. I am satisfied with allowing you to wallow in your own ignorance over the matter. Besides, it shouldn't matter. I am sure there are a lot of things you fail to see. I won't bother trying to explain things to you. Call it a dodge, if you will. I don't care. Perhaps I do. I will tell you this: there are a couple pages associated with the concept. What I initially linked to in this thread merely was the most recent development. So no. The page wasn't created to respond to this thread, as you speculate. LOL! What a waste of time that would have been!