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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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Rick’s Family History (Part 4 of 6)

Back in Nov 2019, I sat down over Zoom with Richie T Steadman of The Cultural Hall Podcast. He asked about my background.

Richie:  Rick Bennett is one of those names that I’m like, I feel like I know 10 Rick Bennetts. Right? Like it’s a common name or like, you know, like, you could say out loud. Hey, you know, Rick Bennett? And I could affirmatively say yes, knowing that somewhere in the combination of people that I know, there has been a Rick Bennett, but this particular Rick Bennett, he is the host of the Gospel Tangents podcast, so I’m sure we’ll talk a little bit about that. He’s a church history nerd. So we’ll try and avoid getting really deep into that stuff. He and I but I also want to get a chance to get to know him. Welcome to the Cultural Hall. Rick,

GT:  I’m glad to be on the show. This is great. By the way, I’m the second Rick Bennett in my family. I am not unique.

Richie:  Are you a junior? Is that how that works?

GT:  I am a junior. Yep, that’s right.

Richie:  So, is there a third?

GT:  By the way, there’s a BYU professor named Richard E. Bennett. So, I call him my much shorter twin. He’s a lot shorter than I am. He’s from Canada, though. My dad’s from New Jersey.

Richie:  Born in the USA, that’s what you are. Now let me ask you this. Is the Richard E. Bennett at BYU, is he a history or religion professor? Does it get crowded or complicated as far as that goes?

GT:  Oh, yes, he’s actually–I’ve interviewed him on my podcast, believe it or not.  He’s a big time church history nerd, like me. Even more of a history nerd than me, probably.

Richie:  I hope that that episode was called Richard E. Bennett squared. If it wasn’t, you missed a great opportunity on that.

GT:  I need to have you helped me title my stuff.

Richie:  You can call me anytime, people know that. Now, let’s get to you. You said Jersey-born. So, how do we get from New Jersey to here?

GT:  Well, you’re talking about my dad. So my dad grew up in New Jersey, non-Mormon, really rough life.  He joined the Air Force at 17, forged his dad’s signature to get in.  He met a Hawaiian girl in South Dakota, believe it or not.

Richie:  Oh, that’s how you do it.

GT:  She introduced him to the Church. Then, after he got on the Air Force, they said, “Well, where do you want to live?” He said, “Well, now that I’m a Mormon, I’ll live in Utah.”  So, that’s where he met my mom, and that’s how we got to Utah. I grew up in mostly in Utah. I lived about four years in New Hampshire. My dad took a job back East. So, I got to see the east coast a little bit, and then South Carolina on my mission. So, I’ve been kind of on both coasts, but mostly Utah.

Check out our conversation….

Rick sat down with Richie T Steadman over Zoom in The Cultural Hall Podcast.