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More Details on the Liahona (Part 11 of 12)

One of the most sacred relics in the Book of Mormon is the Liahona, a compass-like object that Lehi found outside his tent while leaving Jerusalem.  The details of this object are not described very well in the Book of Mormon.  Historian Don Bradley has uncovered records that give more details about this mysterious object.

Don:  In Gladden Bishop’s description, he says that around the outside side of the Liahona, and it’s still difficult for me to picture exactly, what it was supposed to look like, but it sounds like he’s talking about a face like maybe a compass face.  There are 24 diagrams or symbols around that central circle. So the pointers can point to these symbols. He doesn’t go into detail about how the Liahona functions, but picture it as having these symbols along the outside of a circle, and then having two spindles on it. Suppose that Lehi and his family want to go get food or suppose that they’re going to be led to get food, how will they know what the Liahona is pointing them to? How will they know if it’s pointing them to the promised land or to food or to water or to some other necessity? Well, the pictures around that central circle could be pictures telling what it’s pointing to. So one pointer could point to a picture of wild game, and then another pointer points the direction, so that the function of the two spindles would be, it points them to something and also tells them what it’s pointing them to.

Check out our conversation….

Historian Don Bradley has found additional clues in historical records about the Liahona.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Don.

363: How Did Nephites Get Priesthood?

362: Who Stole the Manuscript?

361: Exonerating Lucy Harris

360: Masonic Golden Plates & Temple Theology

359: Temple Endowment in Lost Pages

358: Laban Killed During Passover

357: More than 116 Pages Lost?

356: How Much of BoM is Missing?

355: Re-Writing Oliver’s Words: Dirty, Nasty, Filthy Scrape?

354: Dating Fanny Alger

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How Did Nephites Get Priesthood? (Part 10 of 12)

According to the Law of Moses, priesthood holders had to be from the Tribe of Levi.  Lehi was from the Tribe of Joseph, so that’s a problem.  Nephi built a temple on the model of Solomon’s Temple.  So how did the Nephites get priesthood?  Historian Don Bradley says the answer might be in the lost pages, and speculates how Nephite priesthood functioned.

Don:  That model of priesthood, where you have a king, who is a priest, has biblical precedent. The precedent is not ancient Israel’s Levitical priesthood. The precedent goes back earlier to the time of Abraham, when you have Melchizedek who is portrayed as a king and a priest. So the idea of people being ordained kings and priests, the gendered equivalent of which might be queens and priestesses, might be familiar to some people associated with Mormonism. I don’t know, maybe, the model for that, and one that Joseph Smith explicitly invokes in Nauvoo, talking about people being made kings and priests, queens and priestesses is Melchizedek.

So the model of priesthood among the Nephites is not Levitical. They replace a Levitical model priesthood with a Melchizedek model of priesthood. Those terms, Levitical or Aaronic, among others, are so familiar to Latter-day Saints. But they’re kind of familiar to us mostly in a different context that would give a different twist on what they mean. The model of priesthood here is Melchizedek in the biblical sense of Melchizedek being both King and high priest. So that’s the Nephite model of Priesthood.

Check out our conversation….

Historian Don Bradley believes he has found historical records that explain how Nephites exercised priesthood despite having no Levites among them.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Don.

362: Who Stole the Manuscript?

361: Exonerating Lucy Harris

360: Masonic Golden Plates & Temple Theology

359: Temple Endowment in Lost Pages

358: Laban Killed During Passover

357: More than 116 Pages Lost?

356: How Much of BoM is Missing?

355: Re-Writing Oliver’s Words: Dirty, Nasty, Filthy Scrape?

354: Dating Fanny Alger

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Who Stole the Lost 116 Pages? (Part 9 of 12)

If Lucy Harris didn’t burn the lost manuscript, who stole it?  Historian Don Bradley thinks a big suspect might have been an extended member of the Harris family.  What else does he know?

Don:  It turns out, for instance, the Harris’s had a son-in-law who was a con man. He was a swindler. His name was Flanders Dike. Flanders Dike came from an entire family of swindlers. Two years after the manuscript disappeared, Flanders Dike is mentioned in a newspaper article saying he has skipped town. He’s left Palmyra, with about $1,000 of other people’s goods and money. There’s another notice in the paper several years later saying he’s escaped from jail after doing similar shenanigans again. There are accounts of other swindles carried out by various [relatives] like his father and his brothers. Lucy Mack Smith gives an account in her memoir, saying that Flanders Dike, at one time before the manuscript disappeared, he stole the Anthon transcript temporarily. So, this guy had already stolen documents, other documents associated with the coming fourth of the Book of Mormon. Then just four months later, the Book of Mormon manuscript goes missing. Why wouldn’t we suspect this guy?

I was also surprised to find out that Martin Harris missed his daughter’s wedding because he was helping Joseph translate the Book of Mormon!  What other surprises does Don have in store?  Check out our conversation….

If Lucy Harris didn’t burn the manuscript, who stole it? Historian Don Bradley has a likely suspect.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Don!

361: Exonerating Lucy Harris (Bradley)

360: Masonic Golden Plates & Temple Theology (Bradley)

359: Temple Endowment in Lost Pages (Bradley)

358: Laban Killed During Passover (Bradley)

357: More than 116 Pages Lost? (Bradley)

356: How Much of BoM is Missing? (Bradley)

355: Re-Writing Oliver’s Words: Dirty, Nasty, Filthy Scrape? (Bradley)

354: Dating Fanny Alger