Saturday, October 27, 2012

That Promised Day: the Coming Forth of the LDS Scriptures

I just watched the movie "That Promised Day" distributed on DVD by Covenant Communications, and produced by BYU Broadcasting. What a wonderful DVD.
It took me twice as long to watch it as it would anyone else because I paused to write down quotes and repeated several key parts. (I'm kinda sick that way)

My son and I had a good discussion about it afterward when I highly recommended he find some time to watch it. He was born in 1990 and has no experience of life before the current scriptures he uses. Its easy for our children to believe these have always existed or to not fully comprehend the tremendous effort that went into bringing them to the world. Truly do ANY of us fully comprehend the value of them? or the miracle of them?
That Promised Day DVD
When I was a child, the daily use of scriptures was much different in any given home - even in strong Latter-day Saint homes, than it is today. I was raised in an in-active Latter-day Saint home. I realize that the politically correct term is "less-active" but trust me, my home was pretty in-active as far as the gospel is concerned. And since I'm talking about 'me', I can say whatever I want. Regardless of what kind of home you came from, as of 1971, when you read the Bible at home or in the classroom, it was from any one of several editions of the King James Bible available at the time.

It became increasingly evident to those responsible for church curriculum that relying on these editions was no longer the best option. The Brethren felt emphasis on personal study of the scriptures should be given priority. Existing editions of the King Jame Bible were inadequate for the new emphasis and after much deliberation it seemed that that the time was at hand that the church needed to produce their own edition of the King James Bible.

It was agreed that many improvements needed to be made that would be of great and lasting value to the Latter-day Saints. Improvements such as better chapter headings, more footnotes which cross referenced each of the standard works, a topical guide, a bible dictionary and maps. All these things would not only aid the personal experience of the casual reader, but would make the scriptures more accessible and meaningful to all who embarked on a serious study of them.

Elder Thomas S. Monson was assigned to head the committee that would oversee the production of hte new LDS edition of the King James Bible. Elders Boyd K. Packer and Bruce R. McConkie (the doctrinal expert) were also on the committee. It was felt that the members of the church must be more scripturally literate, so the project's goal was to assist in "improving doctrinal scholarship throughout the church".

Thousands of hours were dedicated by hundreds of volunteers, and prayerful energy was applied to every aspect of the work. Those who laboured therein felt the Lord's hand in it and knew they were part of a great undertaking. Doctrinal experts joined the team. Eminent men in their fields such as Ellis Rasmussen - fluent in Hebrew, Robert Patch - fluent in Greek, Robert Matthews - an expert in the Joseph Smith Translations, and many others.

Computers were in their infancy when the work began, but they proved to be a god-send in organizing the tremendous amounts of human research. Those working most intimately with the project felt the computer was developed for this precise purpose, seeing no coincidence in its implementation. President Kimball said "I believe that the Lord is anxious to put into our hands inventions of which we laymen have hardly had a glimpse ... If we do all we can, the Lord will bring more discoveries to our use .. of that I have great faith."

Speaking of the topical guide reference of Jesus Christ, Elder Boyd K. Packer said "these references constitute the most comprehensive compliation of scriptural information on the mission and teachings of Jesus Christ that has even been assembled in the history of the world."
"However talented men may be in administrative matters [or] worldly things they will be denied the sweet whisperings of the spirit that might have been theirs unless they pay the price of studying, pondering, and praying about the scriptures."
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie

"Never since the day of Joseph Smith has there been such a opportunity to increase gospel scholarship as has now come to those who have our new English edition of the scriptures."
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie

"Therein" says Boyd K. Packer "is contained the fulness of the ever lasting gosepel. Therein we find principle of truth that will resolve every confusion and every problem and every dilema that will face the human family or any individual in it."
Elder D. Todd Christofferson said "I believe we have a stronger generation than we had ever before, in large measure because they've had ready and constant access to the scriptures. .. We have a greater need than people at any other time in the world's history, to have that constant and immediate access to the scriptures. ... [to be] able to turn to them instantly, at our convenience, at any moment, and to carry a copy with us."

A gift not to be taken lightly. A gift not only from God, but from every individual who sacrificed time, energy, means - and in yesteryear even life - to bring us our present edition of the King James Bible that we so freely hold in our hands. Hopefully we will never take it for granted.