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Engineering Joseph’s Visionary City (Part 1 of 8)

We’re going to get acquainted with David R. Hall, Chairman of Hall Labs in Provo, Utah. He’s an amazing inventor and gets his ideas from Joseph’s planned city.  We’ll get more acquainted with Joseph’s plans for Independence and Kirtland.

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David: My name is David Hall. I’m the son of Tracy Hall, who was a very famous scientist. He started what I’m now running, Hall Labs, clear back in 1954. Hall Labs is really a multi-functional lab with scientists in all the disciplines. We spin off companies, really many times, even before they’re profitable, in order to have money to go on to the next fun job. So, we’re turning the money constantly, all the time. What our Apollo project is, what excites us to get up in the morning and solve another problem actually comes from what is known in the LDS culture as the plat of Zion. We’ve renamed it with our own name called New Vista. But there are so many problems to get a New Vista running, that we never run out of issues. So, we work on them one at a time, but we’ll never get them all figured out. They’ll always be there.

GT:  I just want you guys to know–I’m sure you’ve never heard of David Hall before. I hadn’t heard until he reached out a couple of months ago. But I’m telling you, this is like Elon Musk and Bill Gates combined, and he’s LDS. So, that’s even better.

David: Yeah, and I don’t have nearly the money, that’s for sure. We probably have as many projects.

GT:  But, the amazing number of things that you’re working on is just mind blowing. I seriously feel like we just did a tour of the future. Because, I really am amazed. I don’t think it’s an understatement to call you a visionary. Holy cow!

David: Or crazy.

GT:  Visionaries are crazy. Right?

David:  Right, so [they go] kind of together.

GT:  The reason why I wanted to talk to you here on my podcast was, I love Independence and the city of Zion. Recently, there have been some high-resolution maps of what the original plot that Joseph Smith had in mind for Independence. It’s been amazing to me, as you said, you’ve taken this idea that Joseph Smith had, and you’re trying to solve these problems, and it’s created all these amazing new companies. First of all, can you tell us a little bit about Joseph Smith’s plans for Independence, and kind of how that’s inspiring you?

David:  Well, the plans actually came when they were at Kirtland. So, they were for Kirtland first, and then secondarily, Missouri. That’s where we have forgotten what the real history was. What was happening in Kirtland in 1832 and 33 is they were getting enough people that people were starting to say, “Well, let’s build a schoolhouse or let’s build a church, or let’s do something.”  Of course, the plan to build a community in Independence had already been thought of and talked about, but really, the core people were in Kirtland still when it came to that. So, Joseph Smith had probably been working on a plan since the early 1830s, after he finished the Book of Mormon, or he probably had some of the ideas when he was doing the Book of Mormon. But, when he starts to get into his studies about Enoch, he runs into the city that disappears.

David:  So, you’ve got all of these thoughts about a kind of ultimate city and community environment happening. Kirtland needs something. He already has the plat that we call the plat of Zion in front of it. If you read section 94 [in the Doctrine & Covenants] carefully, it tells him that the patterns have already been given to you, and you’ve got to follow it. So, in front of them, if you go into Joseph Smith Papers, you can search the 1833 plat and see the original. Imagine they already have that in front of them when they receive Sections 94 and 95. In fact, you can’t understand sections 94 and 95 unless you put it out in front of you, and really study it. Because there’s actually some unique numbers. There’s a building number five that has a big one by it, and a building number 17 that has a big two by it. Those were the two buildings that they were commanded to build. Now, they’re sitting there looking at 24 buildings.

GT:  Right. Now we’ve talked about that before on the podcast about there were really only 24 temples planned, and maybe temples isn’t the best word.

David:  Temple was–that name was not used. That came into existence later. They were called houses of the Lord. The real correct name for that is community center. So, there were supposed to be 24 community buildings. By the way, the actual size of the building was three or four times what they built in Kirtland. But they got a lot of it right. They’re looking at this plat wondering what to do, and how to build the buildings.

Check out our conversation….

David R Hall is trying to build Joseph’s city.
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Richie T’s 3 Questions (Part 6 of 6)

I stepped into The Cultural Hall with Richie T. Steadman, and he asked me my thoughts on The Cultural Hall.

Richie:  Now. Rick, I need to ask you what I always love and I love to save to the end. Have you ever actually listened to an episode of The Cultural Hall before?

GT:  Yes, I’ve been listening lately.

Richie:  Oh, nice. Ever, ever since we talked? And I said, Hey, why don’t you come on? Is that what brought you to start listening?

GT:  I was like, Well, I better find out what The Cultural Hall is all about.

Richie:  Nice. And your thoughts from one podcaster to another?

GT:  So it’s interesting. You have a much more variety than I do. I’m strictly Mormon history, science and theology. And you do more news and current events and that sort of thing. So, that’s been kind of interesting to check it out.

Richie:  Yeah. So we’ve been around. I think you started Gospel Tangents in 2011. Not the podcast, but that was some sort of project with your kid as I gleaned from the internet.

GT:  Yeah. So my kids were very young. I think they were seven and nine, if I remember, right. And they didn’t know some of the common Book of Mormon Stories. I was sad that they didn’t know that. And so I was like, “Hey, let’s make a little book of some of the Book of Mormon stories.” And so, they were like, “Oh, well, we could sell it.”

And I’m like, “Nobody’s gonna buy this. Are you kidding me?” But anyway, so had them [draw pictures} and they’re like, stick figures. They’re terrible. But you know, they were were seven & nine. That’s what they do. And so, since Brandon wanted to sell it. I was like, Okay, well…

Richie:  Brandon is your son, I presume?

GT:  Yeah. So he’s 18 now. But he said, “Well, we could sell it.” So I just threw it up on Amazon just to see if anybody would buy it. I only sold it for $1 and I was shocked that people were buying. So I was like, well, let’s do Doctrine & Covenants. Let’s do a Pearl of Great Price. [There is even a Triple Combination.] Let’s do a Bible. And for the Bible. I was like, “Well, the Bible. That’s going to be whole Christianity. So I’ll sell that one for $3,” and still it sold and so that’s where I got the name. Gospel Tangents podcast didn’t start till about 2017. And so yeah, that’s where it all started.

Check out my answers to his big 3 questions. Check out our conversation….

Richie T always asks his guests the big 3 questions.

Don’t miss the rest of our conversation!

604: Mormon History Groups

603: Rick’s Family History

602: South America, Heartland, Meso

601: Malay, Baja, New York

600: BoM Geography: From Middle East to Africa

 

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Mormon History Groups (Part 5 of 6)

Richie Steadman of The Cultural Hall Podcast asked me more about some Mormon groups. We’ll talk not just about some old Mormon groups, but discuss MHA, Sunstone, and the JWHA.

Richie:  The other thing I want to ask you is you said you became a member of the Mormon History Association. Where do I pay my dues? Do I get a patch? Is there a summer camp? Is that a thing that anybody can be a part of? How does that whole thing work?

GT:  Yeah, absolutely. So, they typically meet in June, usually about every two or three years they meet in Utah, because that’s where the majority of the members are. But, they try to travel around.  This past June, it was supposed to be in Palmyra, but ended up going virtual because of the pandemic. I actually interviewed Barbara Jones Brown. She is the executive director for the Mormon History Association. She asked me to film an interview she did with Richard Turley, who had just recently retired. He used to be the…

Richie:  I know who he is.  He’s been here in the Cultural Hall. You don’t have to…

GT:  Oh, has he?  Oh, wow.

Richie:  You don’t have to church-splain to me who these people are.

GT:  Okay.  (Chuckling) So, anyway, I filmed that. I’m going to be re-releasing that on my podcast here in about a month or so. I can’t remember where it’s supposed to be next year. I think next year, they’re trying to get it back in Palmyra. But, they usually have it in Salt Lake every two or three years, for convenience, but they also try to hit other sites. To register, go to Mormonhistoryassociation.org. You can sign up to be a member. They’ll send you, if you sign up, they’ve got a quarterly magazine, basically, that has a lot of very scholarly articles that will whet your appetite. But, the funnest thing is to do the in-person meetings. Because, now, there’s three meetings that I typically try to go to. Mormon History Association, by far is the best scholarly one you’ll see. John Whitmer is probably a close second. I went to my first one that was also in Palmyra two years ago, so that was fun. Sunstone is the third you know, Sunstone. I like Sunstone a lot. You’ll get a lot of scholarly people there. You’ll get a lot of not scholarly people there. You’ll get people who love the church. You’ll get people who hate the church. Yeah, so it’s a little bit more of a mixed bag. I’m usually a little bit more picky about who I go to see. But you know, like Matt Harris goes to Sunstone, Newell Bringhurst, Brian Hales has been to Sunstone. So you’ll get some fantastic people there. And you’ll also get some people that have a bone to pick and I usually try to avoid those.

GT:  You’ll get some weird stuff. I did attend one that was a stripper that attended the Gospel Principles class, and she was going to get a temple recommend. And you just kind of raise your eyebrows and go, Wow, that’s kind of an unusual lifestyle.

Have you attended Sunstone, JWHA, or MHA?  What are your thoughts?  Check out our conversation…

We duscuss Cutlerites and other Mormon schisms.

Don’t miss our previous conversations!

603: Rick’s Family History

602: South America, Heartland, Meso

601: Malay, Baja, New York

600: BoM Geography: From Middle East to Africa