Saturday, April 25, 2020


"And it came to pass that as many as did believe him did go forth to a place which was called Mormon, having received its name from the king, being in the borders of the land having been infested, by times or at seasons, by wild beasts. Now, there was in Mormon a fountain of pure water, and Alma resorted thither, there being near the water a thicket of small trees, where he did hide himself in the daytime from the searches of the king." (Mosiah 18:4-5)

Over the past year I have received significant outrage from some because of the usage of the word "Mormon" in my blog Mormon Yeshiva.  In fact saying the word "Mormon" in some circles is now treated more like a 4-letter word than with the sacredness it should be revered with. The beauty of the Book of Mormon as an Israelite document is that not only is the narrative designed to bring our hearts and minds back to the God of Israel, but even the many names used are designed to draw our attention to many ancient and sacred teachings meant to be passed down to future generations.  The word or name "Mormon" is one example of a sacred word meant to draw a picture to draw our hearts and minds to the source of all righteousness.

Many scholars have debated over the years about the meaning and etymology of the word Mormon.  In fact it was an object of much speculation during the time of Joseph Smith when some scholars began to attribute the word Mormon to a Greek word 'mormoo'  meaning a hob-goblin or spectre.  In more recent LDS circles the name was associated with the idea of meaning "more good".  But the peoples oF the Book of Mormon were an Israelite people with deeply rooted Israelite/Jewish origins.  Examining the word "Mormon" from this perspective reveals an ancient Israelite teaching hidden in plain sight.


In Hebrew the word Mormon would be connected to the Hebrew root of Mem- Resh- Mem***:

Here the letter MEM carries the meaning of water as in waves of waters which can be clearly demonstrated from the Early Hebrew more so than in the Modern Block style hebrew that came into predominate use after the Babylonian captivity.

The Letter Resh is pictured as follows:

Here the letter Resh is puctured in the Early Hebrew as a head and is where we get the concepts associated with Rosh Hashana (Head of the Year) and Rosh Chodesh (Head of the Month).  It also carries with it the idea of being the origin or source of something.

If we put these these ideas and word pictures together we see that the word Mormon from the root Mem- Resh- Mem or even the base root Resh Mem carries with it the meaning of "The source, origin, or head of waters".   We find this idea demonstrated in the Book of Mormon in the Book of Mosiah where the name Mormon and it's origin are explained:

"And it came to pass
that as many as did believe him did go forth
to a place which was called Mormon
having received its name from the king
being in the borders of the land
having been infested
by times or at seasons
by wild beasts.

Now, there was in Mormon
a fountain of pure water
and Alma resorted thither,
there being near the water a thicket of small trees
where he did hide himself in the daytime
from the searches of the king."
(Mosiah 18:4-5)

A fountain is the head or source of water.  The source or head of the waters is where we would find the purest waters coming forth. The idea of a pure fountain is connected to the idea of living waters that come from the fountain head which in Israelite theology comes from the Throne of God and The Tree of Life. We see this concept demonstrated earlier in record of 1st Nephi:

"And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God." (1 Nephi 11:25)

The concept of Living Waters is among the most ancient of symbols employed in the TaNaKh (Old Testament) as well as in the writings of the New Testament.  The idea of living waters is connected to the grace and mercy (chesed) of God but is also a symbol for the living revelations that proceed forth from the Throne of God.  The fountain/head/ or source of these waters is the mouth of God himself as all the words or revelations of God are considered living waters.  This same concept is also preserved in the words of the Messiah:

"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." (John 7:38)

"Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." (John 4:10)

In addition to this, the concept of ritual immersion called tevilah (often associated with baptism by immersion) in living waters or a gathering of waters (Mikveh) demonstrates this idea of being immersed not only in the grace and mercy of God but also in his word.  The Book of Mormon also preserves this ancient teaching where Alma the elder and his followers are baptized/immersed in the waters of Mormon:

"And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

 And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts.And now it came to pass that Alma took Helam, he being one of the first, and went and stood forth in the water, and cried, saying: O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart.

And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he said: Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world. And after Alma had said these words, both Alma and Helam were buried in the water; and they arose and came forth out of the water rejoicing, being filled with the Spirit. And again, Alma took another, and went forth a second time into the water, and baptized him according to the first, only he did not bury himself again in the water." (Mosiah  18:8-15)

Here the waters of Mormon (or the fountain of pure/living water) was the location where ritual immersion could take place legally fulfilling the legal requirements of this ordinance.  Over the years I have had people ask the question why did not Alma baptize like we do but instead go under the water himself.  This patter of immersion is actually quite traditional and is still preserved in some sects of Judasim to this day where at the commencement of a ritual immersion the priest or rabbi would go down under the water with the first recipient to be immersed.  In other words, the picture being described is very Israelite/Jewish.


Connected with the idea of pure of living/water we also see it's opposite portrayed in the vision of Nephi:

"And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the fountain of filthy water which thy father saw; yea, even the river of which he spake; and the depths thereof are the depths of hell." (1 Nephi 12:16)

And they said unto me: What meaneth the river of water which our father saw?

"And I said unto them that the water which my father saw was filthiness; and so much was his mind swallowed up in other things that he beheld not the filthiness of the water. And I said unto them that it was an awful gulf, which separated the wicked from the tree of life, and also from the saints of God." (1 Nephi 15:26-28)

Many critics of The Book of Mormon zone in on this "apparent contradiction" where Lehi describes a fountain of living waters and then Nephi describing the filthiness of the water.  However if we understand that the symbolism of the living waters also represents the pure revelations of God that come from his head/fountain/or source then Nephi's description of the waters as filthy would represent the corruption or pollution of the pure revelations of God.  In fact we see this motif played out in Nephi's description of  the taking away or many plain and precious truths:

"Wherefore, these things go forth from the Jews in purity unto the Gentiles, according to the truth which is in God. And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away. And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men." (1 Nephi 13:25-27)


The beauty of the word Mormon being associated with Pure of Living Waters carries with it deep Israelite roots and teachings.  Perhaps by re-examining this precious word we will begin to look beyond the Title of "The Book of Mormon"  to see its as "The Book of Pure or Living Waters" as this record was written to restore many of those plain and precious truths. And those who call themselves by that name being like Alma's followers having immersed themselves into the Pure or Living Waters of God.

*** The paleo-Hebrew graphics used in this article were taken from the marvelous work done by Jeff Benner.  Please check out his work at

Tuesday, April 21, 2020


The Prophet Alma and his son Alma the younger stand as pivotal figures in The Book of Mormon. The usage of the name Alma seems strange and has been a focal point that many critics of the Book of Mormon zone in on as the name in Hebrew (Almah) means a young maiden/woman.  As the word is connected with something feminine in gender it would be highly irregular to name a male Israelite with this particular rendition of the word Almah. While at a cursory glance this criticism may appear to apply, in truth the name Alma reveals a hidden mystery and the deep Israelite roots of the Book of Mormon.

It has always been my contention that many of the names for people and places in The Book of Mormon are the phonetic spellings of Hebrew words into English.  The name Alma is one such name/word.   As mentioned, the Hebrew word Almah means a young maiden/woman. The first mention of this phrase in the Torah/Old Testament is in Genesis 24:43 where Abraham's servant Eliezar finds the young maiden Rebekah:

"Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin (ALMAH) cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink..."

While in the King James Version the word was translated as virgin the more accurate translation would be a young maiden.  In Middle Eastern culture when young maidens were sent to a well or outside the home, the wearing of a veil was common.  Also the idea of children (both boys and girls) were considered to be under the covering/veil of their father.  Just as Almah is translated as young woman the word Elem is translated as young man or stripling.  The two words Almah and Elem share a common root as follows:

The connection between the two Hebrew words is not just in the description of a young man or woman, but of family members who come under the concealment or covering of their father. They both share the common base letters of Ayin- Lamed- Mem:

The base root Alam meaning something that is hidden or concealed. The beauty of the Book of Mormon is that in true poetic form, the text itself reveals the mystery of Alma's name using a poetic parallel and play on words:

 But the king was more wroth
and caused that Alma
should be cast out from among them
and sent his servants after him
that they might slay him.

But he fled from before them
and hid himself 
that they found him not
And he being concealed 
for many days did write
all the words which Abinadi had spoken.

The prophet writer of the Book of Mormon uses similar devices throughout the text so that his definitions of many words are actually couched in the poetic structure of the text itself-VERY ISRAELITE OF HIM!  The name Alma as we have it in The Book of Mormon is defined as something that is hidden or concealed.  With this in mind it makes one wonder what is being hidden or concealed in The Book of Alma-"The Book of the Hidden or Concealed".


The mystery of Alma does not stop there.  As the root of his name is constructed from the letters Ayin-Lamed-Mem we find an even greater mystery.  As we discussed in the articles regarding the 72 Names of God  we find couched in the Book of Mormon not only an ancient practice of meditation/prayer as taught in the prophetic schools of ancient Israel, but we also found that these names were connected to the Angelic language of God as given to the Prophet Enoch. In existing traditions of Judaism to this day, these 72 names were also connected to Angelic beings/forces.  Of note we find two in particular:

Among the 72 Names of God which is equated to angelic beings/forces we find the name ALMA (Ayin- Lamed- Mem) as the fourth name which in arrangement stands next to the fifth name Mem-Hey-Shin (associated with the Prophet Moses).  In traditional Jewish practice the 4th name Ayin -Lamed- Mem is pronounced phonetically "AA(long a)- LAH-Me" (short e).  That the 72 names capture the names of God associated with angelic forces or beings finds a unique fulfillment in The Book of Mormon as both Moses and Alma were taken by the Hand of God and translated into Heaven-i.e. They were angelified:

"And when Alma had done this he departed out of the land of Zarahemla, as if to go into the land of Melek. And it came to pass that he was never heard of more; as to his death or burial we know not of.Behold, this we know, that he was a righteous man; and the saying went abroad in the church that he was taken up by the Spirit, or buried by the hand of the Lord, even as Moses. But behold, the scriptures saith the Lord took Moses unto himself; and we suppose that he has also received Alma in the spirit, unto himself; therefore, for this cause we know nothing concerning his death and burial." (Alma 45)

Just as in the prophetic arrangement of the 72 names, we see Moses and Alma side by side connected to the idea of being angels or translated beings. We see the beauty of this mystery even as the Prophet Alma himself declares:

"O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might for forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with a voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth."

Saturday, April 11, 2020


"The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?" 
(Amos 3:8)

In a prior article (see THE RESTORATION OF MIRACLES: THE BOOK OF MORMON AND THE 72 NAMES OF GOD)  we discussed the Israelite discipline of contemplative/meditative prayer as part of the prophetic teachings of Israel.  Among these teachings is the meditative practice known as calling on or upon THE NAME (YHVH).  References to this discipline have been recorded in many ancient texts such as The Sepher Yetzirah, The Bahir, The Zohar with many Jewish scholars pointing to the Prophet Enoch as the source of this great teaching.  While the 72 names of God are not names like Tom, Dick, or Harry, they were considered conduits through which the light of God is manifest in this world.

Among some of the oldest teachings preserved by the various traditions in Judaism regarding this discipline is a teaching often referred to as the 'Roaring of the Lions'.  This teaching is still to be found among various teachers such as Moses ben Nachman and Isaac Luria. This teaching is connected with the idea that both the voice of God and his angels are like unto a lion's roar. In some traditions it is referred to as the language of angels (mal'akim)  It is expressed by the prophet Amos wherein he declares, "The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?"

In the Israelite prophetic tradition, it was taught that the 'Roaring of the Lions" was connected to the 72 letter name of God (72 names x 3 letters each = 216 letters) and the prayer/meditative discipline connected with it.  Those disciples who walked the paths of the prophetic undertook this discipline to connect with Heaven. It was taught that when the names were pronounced as one was filled with the ruach or spirit that the power of God would then be made manifest to fulfill the will of God. In following the prophetic science we find that the 216 letter name is equated to the word gevurah (strength) whose numeric value is also 216 and with the word aryeh (lion) whose numeric value is also 216, thus yielding the spiritual equation or teaching called 'The Roaring of the Lions'.

The Pearl of Great Price and The Roaring of the Lions

As we read through the scriptures of the restoration, we often pass-over (no pun intended) some of the greatest of truths standing before our very eyes.  In the Pearl of Great Price we read the record of Moses regarding the Prophet Enoch and the establishment of Zion:

"And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the drivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him.” (Moses 7:13)

Here it is recorded that the "word" and the "power of the language" of the Prophet Enoch was so great that nations stood afar off, the earth trembled, and the mountains fled.  Hidden in plain site among the records of the restoration we find the same ancient teaching associated with Enoch that was passed down through the House of Israel regarding a "spiritual technology" given to the fathers by which they and those prophets of Israel connected with God and made manifest the powers of Heaven according to the principles of righteousness.


This ancient teaching is what came to be connected to the Israelite concept of "the tongue of Angels".  It was a gift and teaching open to all who sought to walk in the path of the ancients. It was this same teaching referred to by the Prophet Nephi in the Book of Mormon. After explaining that we are to enter in by the gate, he explains,"For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost...And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done?

He then goes on:

"Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a clove of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure (heb. walk forward on the path) to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the away; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen." (2 Nephi 31)

After entering in by the gate we then find ourselves in the way.  It is here that the prophet Nephi once again touches on this ancient teaching known as the language of angels, the 72 letter name of God, aka the roaring of the lions:

"And now, behold, my beloved brethren, I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way. But, behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts?

Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost (the record of heaven, the Ruach Elohiym) ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?

Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ (Hebrew code phrase: prayer and contemplative meditation); for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.

Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock (hebrew code phrase equated with prayer/meditation/ calling upon the name); wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark." (2 Nephi 32:1-4)

Thursday, April 2, 2020


"So the message of the LORD spoken through Jeremiah was fulfilled. The land finally enjoyed its Sabbath rest, lying desolate until the seventy years were fulfilled, just as the prophet had said."
(2 Chronicles 36:21)

For many years prior to the Lord calling the Prophet Jeremiah, the people and specifically their government had not observed the commandments of God. In doing so they brought about a covenant violation and left themselves exposed to impending judgments.  Because the rulers and subsequently the people left the God of Israel, they then found themselves without a covering of protection.  This resulted in national judgment; financial ruin, slavery, massive homelessness, and disease. It was then that God decreed that because they had not followed his commandments he would take them from the land and allow the land to remain empty for seventy years to accomplish a Sabbath rest for the land.

It seems that history has a way of repeating itself. The new restrictions that have been placed on the people during the COVID19 crisis is causing a ceasing of all regular activities and commerce around the world. For the first time in many years, people are staying home with their families. The number of automobiles and other transportation has decreased.  For the first time in decades the air quality in many urban areas is starting to greatly improve, fish are returning to once overused water ways, and people are actually being forced to spend real time with their families instead of running from one activity to another.  Strangely enough, while this ceasing has been imposed upon the people, it is also demonstrating the importance of the Sabbath day.

In western culture we often see the Sabbath as just a day of religious observance. While religious observance can be good, the observances can become a heavy burden and in some cases a day of work for not only the people but the religious leaders. We get the word Sabbath from the Hebrew word Shabbat which mean 'rest' or 'ceasing'.  But while the weekly sabbath was one day in seven for rest it was in actuality part of a much large cycle of rest and renewal that God instituted for his covenant people to follow in the respective covenant land grants that they occupy.

You see far more than just a religious observance, the Sabbath is itself a blessing because in our rest or ceasing we and our land become renewed. Our strength is restored and the land will again yield it's abundance.  It serves as mark upon God's people so that the destroying angel will pass us by.


Each week when we observe the Sabbath Day we are observing an Appointed Time.  The Feasts (or Appointed Times) of Israel are what are termed ‘High Sabbaths’.  Like the weekly Sabbath they are days specifically set apart by God for all his people to observe:

 “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.

Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings. These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.” – (Leviticus 23:2-4)

The keeping or remembering (to both say and to do) the Appointed times falls under the commandment:

 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”- (Exodus 20:8-11)

Besides fulfilling the commandment to ‘remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy’ the observance of God’s appointed times served as times for his people to come, appear before him, and call upon his name. In many ways the modern Mormon events of General Conferences and Solemn Assemblies echo back to the observance of these divine appointments.  Examples of the observance of God’s appointed times can be seen with Adam at Adam-Ondi-Ahman, Moses and Israel at Mount Sinai, Jacob and the Nephites at the Day of Atonement, King Benjamin at the Feast of Tabernacles, Christ at Passover, Christ at the Temple in Bountiful, Joseph Smith and the receipt of the plates at the Feast of Trumpets, Passover at the Kirtland Temple Dedication, among many others.

What are the specific Appointed times?

Besides the weekly Sabbath and the new moon of each month there are 7 High Holy Days appointed for all Israel to be observed through all their generations. There are Seven specifically appointed times divided into Three Seasons of Observance:

Appointed Times of Israel:


1. Passover (Pesach)
2. Unleavened Bread (Chag Ha Matzah)
3. First Fruits (Ha Bikkurim)

4. Pentecost (Shavuot)


5. Day of Trumpets (Yom Teruah)
6. Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
7. Tabernacles (Sukkot)

What would be the purpose in observing the Appointed Times now?

Besides honoring God and fulfilling his commandments, the Lord warns his people of pending judgment soon to be poured out upon our nation and gives them instructions regarding his appointed times.  The Lord commands his people to call your solemn assemblies:

Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the Lord your God, and hear the word of the Lord concerning you— The Lord who shall suddenly come to his temple; the Lord who shall come down upon the world with a curse to judgment; yea, upon all the nations that forget God, and upon all the ungodly among you. For he shall make bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of their God.

Wherefore, prepare ye, prepare ye, O my people; sanctify yourselves; gather ye together, O ye people of my church, upon the land of Zion, all you that have not been commanded to tarry-go ye out from Babylon, be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord, call your solemn assemblies, and speak often one to another. And let every man call upon the name of the Lord. (D&C 133:1-6)

Through the mouth of his Servant Joseph Smith, God has declared a curse of judgment upon the nations that forget God and upon all the ungodly. As a result the eyes of ungodly Nations and peoples shall see the revelation of  the arm of the Lord in the experiencing of these judgments to their destruction to their salvation.  Oh, The Greatness and the Mercy of our God, for even in the midst of judgment and calamities, he remembers his people both Gentile, Remnant, and Jews in giving them divine instructions to prepare them for the days ahead:

1. Set yourselves apart by gathering together
2. Be clean
3. Call our solemn assemblies
4. Speak often to one another
5. Call upon the name of the Lord


I find it interesting that each year general conference is held both in the Spring and in the Fall of the year- ironically very close or sometimes even on (depending on the year and the calendar) the Feasts of Passover and Sukkot (Tabernacles).  We may not observe these appointed times according to the manner of the Jews, but the intent of our observance is no different-Appear before the Lord in Solemn Assemblies, Speak often to one another, and Call upon THE NAME of the Lord.

In the current pandemic that we are experiencing, the observance of the Sabbath Day and The Appointed Times carries great blessings and promises.  The blessings of observing the Sabbath are typified in God's instructions regarding the Observance of THE HIGHEST SABBATH IN ALL ISRAEL-YOM KIPPUR (The Day of Atonement):

“Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast.
Shout aloud! Don’t be timid.
Tell my people Israel of their sins!
Yet they act so pious!
They come to the Temple every day
and seem delighted to learn all about me.
They act like a righteous nation
that would never abandon the laws of its God.
They ask me to take action on their behalf,
pretending they want to be near me.

‘We have fasted before you!’ they say.
‘Why aren’t you impressed?
We have been very hard on ourselves,
and you don’t even notice it!’

“I will tell you why!” I respond.

“It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves.
Even while you fast,
you keep oppressing your workers.
What good is fasting
when you keep on fighting and quarreling?

This kind of fasting
will never get you anywhere with me.
You humble yourselves
by going through the motions of penance,
bowing your heads
like reeds bending in the wind.

You dress in burlap
and cover yourselves with ashes.
Is this what you call fasting?

Do you really think this will please the LORD?

“No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

“Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind.
Then when you call, the LORD will answer.

‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.
“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!


Feed the hungry,
and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
The LORD will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength.

You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.
Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
and a restorer of homes.

“Keep the Sabbath day holy.
Don’t pursue your own interests on that day,
but enjoy the Sabbath
and speak of it with delight as the LORD’s holy day.
Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day,
and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.
Then the LORD will be your delight.
I will give you great honor
and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob.
I, the LORD, have spoken!”

(Isaiah 58)

Recently a Fast was declared.  In light of Isaiah's words the question we may want to ask of ourselves is what was the purpose of our fast, "To afflict our soul so God will give us our stuff (money, jobs, toys) back?  or "To sacrifice a portion of what we have so that another may have life"?

At this time of General Conference and The Coming Passover, let us remember the Sabbath Day and the instructions God gave to Israel through the Prophet Isaiah so that during this time of crisis and the potential economic aftershocks so that we can them claim the promises of the Sabbath that our, "light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.The LORD will guide you continually,giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes."

Let us remember that the blessing does not come from religious observance, but from taking the light we have received from God to bestow upon others.  We do this by freeing those who are wrongly imprisoned; lightening the burden of those who work for you, letting the oppressed go free, removing the chains that bind people, sharing your food with the hungry, and giving shelter to the homeless, giving clothes to those who need them, and not hiding from relatives who need your help.

As we observe General Conference this week, let us remember the true purposes and blessings of the Sabbath. In the trying times ahead, those who are healers on the Sabbath will find that their substance never diminishes and their light is never extinguished. Let us submit to God's rest and not be forced to rest like ancient Israel.