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Tidbits & Insights

  • Book of Mormon YouTube Videos
    Here are the Book of Mormon videos I have been producing for You Tube. Enjoy.
  • Lot and his wife in the Bible........
    JAMES (age 4) was listening to a Bible story. His dad read: 'The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city but his wife looked back and was turn ed to salt.' Concerned, James asked: 'What happened to the flea?'
  • We are but dust..........
    The Sermon I think this Mom will never forget.... this particular Sunday sermon... 'Dear Lord,' the minister began, with arms extend ed toward heaven and a rapturous look on his up turned face. 'Without you, we are but dust...' He would have continued but at that moment my very obedient daughter who was listening leaned over to me and asked quite audibly in her shrill little four year old girl voice, 'Mom, what is butt dust?'
  • Kerry Shirts author: Mormon Times links to the Internet School of the Prophets -
    I was just notified that the "Mormon Times" has linked to our Internet School of the Prophets showing we are serious about studying Hebrew and recognizing the great Spiritual heritage of Judaism, our Brothers and Sisters in Israel. This is very nice to be specified as the best blog for today. Here's the link.

Interesting websites

Great Books

  • Did God Have a Wife?: William G. Dever

    Did God Have a Wife?: William G. Dever
    Dever, one of the world's most renowned archaeologists has finally asked the BIG question, and his research, archaeology, and scholarship have come up with the most stunning answer. Yes, God was married! His analysis of the folk religion, and how the common folk worshipped was one of the powerful aspects of this book, the stuff that never made it into the Bible, yet is reflected in the archaeology of the people in the countryside. This is archaeology at its level-headed best. A very shocking book, as well as revealing for his amazingly coherent, and provocative challenges, and answers to the nay-sayers of Asherah being God's wife. I highly recommend it. (*****)

  • Giorgio Santillana, Hertha von Dechend: Hamlet's Mill

    Giorgio Santillana, Hertha von Dechend: Hamlet's Mill
    This is not the easiest book to read or understand, but it is by far one of the most influential ones I own for the sheer power of generating ideas and themes to research and write on. It is archeoastronomy detective work like no other text. Scholarly, erudite, difficult, astounding, breath-taking. I also rate this one as one of those books in my all time favorite top 10. I know others have not found their overall thesis convincing, but archeoastronomy is indepted to this book for having a serious start, and it has also come a long way since, especially with John Major Jenkins work on "Maya Cosmogenesis 2012" and "The Galactic Alignment." Archeoastronomy became a hobby of mine directly because of this book. I highly recommend it. It was reprinted for the 3rd time in 1992, and well worth shelling out the dough for it. (*****)

  • Hugh Nibley: The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri
    This 2nd edition has been enlarged, updated, totally checked footnotes for accuracy of quotes and use of sources, all new pictures and more than what the original edition had, and all footnotes put at the bottom of the page for easier reading. John Gee, the LDS Egyptologist at BYU/FARMS (Now the Neal A. Maxwell Institute) spent 17 years checking the accuracy of every single quote and deserves our accolades and congratulations. So does FARMS for putting back all the materials that were supposed to be originally in here. It has gone from a 270 page text to over 600. It is a magnificent tome, very useful indexes, much nicer to read and understand, and is one of my all time favorite top 10 books. (*****)
  • Jason Lotterhand: The Thursday Night Tarot

    Jason Lotterhand: The Thursday Night Tarot
    In his down to earth style and humor, Lotterhand opens up the world of the Tarot symbolisms and what they can mean for us in our every day to day lives. Without stuffy erudition, nor with New Age silliness, Lotterhand goes through the Major Arcana of the Tarot Cards and analyzes their interpretations as he understands things. You can't help but come away from this book feeling good. This is the collection of his classes he has taught for years and years, including questions from many of his students and his responses. I have read it many times, and will continue reading it as a perfect introduction as to what the Tarot symbolisms and use really means, not what phony prognosticators of the New Age Movement have hijacked the Tarot to mean. Their use of it is an "adulterated use" to quote Paul Foster Case, another of the true Tarot interpreter geniuses. The overall view of the Tarot following Lotterhand's interpretation is one of love.... love for God, our fellowman, as well as for ourselves. That Tarot has nothing at all in any form to do with Satan worship, devil loving wickdness, and magic is more than proven by Lotterhand's scholarship in this fascinating area. I highly and strongly recommend this cure for the disease of understanding Tarot as an evil Devil inspired system. (*****)

  • John W. Welch, David & JoAnn Seely, editors: Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem
    The most complete, insightful look into Jerusalem as she existed in 600 B.C. just before the Babylonian captivity. It analyzes and looks into the social life, economic, political, physical, spiritual, archaeological, and in every way possible to understand what life was like for Lehi as a parent, and Nephi as a child. The updating of the Lachish Letters, of the reform of King Josiah, the Rechabites, International affairs occurring, Egyptian connections, etc., is powerfully transforming our understanding on the very real background and pathbreaking work that the FARMS group (now called the Neal A. Maxwell Institute) is performing on all aspects of the LDS scriptures, culture, doctrine, and history. A most delightful read! (****)
  • Kevin Townley: The Cube of Space
    This book (Archive Press, 1993) is the singular most comprehensive description, discussion, meditation, and writing of the Sefer Yetzirah's description of the Cube of Space in existence. Townley has written a book like no other, although his followup book "Meditations on the Cube of Space" (Archer Books, 2003) is also in-depth and provocative. David Allen Hulse's book "New Dimensions for the Cube of Space," Samuel Weiser, 2000) is a simpler guide, with different developments, discussions and assignments for the Tarot Card symbolisms on the cube however. Townley has discussed every single available notion of the cube, its symbolisms, significance, and interest in both the Jewish Kabbalistic texts, as well as for us in our modern meditations for further understanding of the cosmos. His two books are nothing less than a tour de force, which gives years of pleasant reading. (****)
  • Leonora Leet: The Secret Doctrine of the Kabbalah

    Leonora Leet: The Secret Doctrine of the Kabbalah
    This book just simply stunned me. It is one of the most fascinating analysis of Sacred Geometry and modern Quantum Physics along with a detailed discovery after discover after discovery of the Jewish religious system called Kabbalah. Leet's geometric charts make the book even easier to understand, but the depth of her cogent reasoning concerning the cosmos, geometry, and music is a sight to behold. Her follow up book "The Universal Kabbalah" is quite interesting in the first few chapters and then bogs my mind down with so much detail and analysis that it is far over my head, though I am working on deciphering it. Leet spent over 20 years analyzing and writing about her discoveries. The most significant one concerns the Kabbalah Tree of Life diagram which is remarkably elucidated by Leet, both in the historical aspects of its changes, as well as the reasons why it is the shape and form that it is, and the meaning of sacred geometrical extensions of the already existing lines of the Tree of Life. A most significant contribution, not only to my own understanding of Kabbalah and Geometry, but for my own enthusiasm of learning more about the Kabbalah (****)

  • Margaret Barker: The Great High Priest

    Margaret Barker: The Great High Priest
    With her astonishing range of scholarship and working with ancient archaeological and linguistic data, Barker has changed our understanding of the ancient Hebraic Priesthood as well as religion. This book is a milestone. (*****)

  • Menas Kafatos, Robert Nadeau: The Conscious Universe

    Menas Kafatos, Robert Nadeau: The Conscious Universe
    The Quantum Physics notion of Complementarity (two particles being connected, no matter how far apart they are in the universe), as well as understanding how the part relates to the whole is what is explored in this gem of a little book. This is no spiritual guru linking of science and religion together by mis-representing one or the other or both of the disciplines, but a sober, real look into the ideas of consciousness, and how Quantum Physics has come around to recognizing the universal aspect of consciousness in *all things*. An amazing book, quite technically written, but with amazing conclusions. The main conclusion being that consciousness can no longer be separated from the problem of the way science operates. (****)

  • Robert Eisenman: The New Testament Code

    Robert Eisenman: The New Testament Code
    Again, with his impeccible schoalrship and thirst for detail Eisenman extends his analysis and evidence for a First Century Early Christian provenance for the Dead Sea Scrolls using the internal materials of the scrolls themselves, their literary usages, their dramatis personae, and their descriptions of what sins abound with the wicked foreign leaders, which can only possibly apply to the Herodians. I wish Eisenman's writing style was easier however. For this reason I can't give it a 5 star rating. His information is astonishingly useful however, and rather controversial, my kind of book! (****)

  • Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism: Howard Schwartz

    Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism: Howard Schwartz
    Magnaminous! This compilation from all periods of Jewish mythology, using hundreds, if not thousands of the texts, shows without doubt or question that there was a Jewish mythology, and its power of presentation for relevance is unsurpassed in all of mythology. From the Creation, the the Shekhinah as the wife of God, to Israel's woes, and successes, this detailed, and humorous, insightful, powerful book has so much in it from the lives of the Patriarchs, the prophets, and the rabbis, that it will take many months to read all the way through it. I have referenced it several times, and spent not a few very delightful evenings (even rainy days) browsing through its pages, and the excellent scholarly discussions by Schwarts itself placing things in context. This is a book I turn to again and again and again with new "Aha!" insights from every single page. (*****)

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March 30, 2008


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Great to find you on YouTube; I want to help in the translation into Spanish...

Translations simplify our message, and strip away those things which we cannot say in the other language. I would also like to share with you some things/words which I have discovered over the past decade of giving away copies of the Book of Mormon with the Hebrew Alphabet, in both english and spanish texts.

I am also the moderator of a SabbathYearLDS discussion group on Google and Yahoo, after having made a link between Mormon's timeline and the Sabbath Year observance...starting in Alma Chapter one and counting the seven year intervals to the end of the chronology given in Mormon chapter 8...490 years of sabbath observance or neglect, with attending blessing and cursing, as outlined in Levi. 25 and 26. a stunning example of the words forgive men their trespasses until 70 times seven...pleas look at this and comment on my email, or join our group.

Bill Hamblin

תּוֹדָה רַבָּה

Bill Hamblin

Well, that didn't come out right.
You should post your favorite Hebrew grammar books for your listeners.

Kerry Shirts

Hey! I would LOVE to somehow find a way to bring in Hebrew fonts on my blog. How did you do that Bill? And yes, I need to post my favorite grammars. I will do so tonight. Thanks for the obvious idea. I should have mentioned them in my podcast eh? lol

Reed Russell

Hear! Hear! Kerry! Great podcast!

Absolutely, we should - as a Mormon people - be at the forefront. If, though, as you suggest - there was a class during the block - do you really see more than three people coming week after week? I guess that's your 95% rule you mentioned. Undoubtedly, the emulation of the School of the Prophets begins and thrives in the individual homes of the members - but - a forum like the one you are providing - helps to bring it into the community. I hope it will grow.

In addition to you posting your favorite grammars and resources, I wonder if Brother Hamblin might do the same?

Thanks so much.

Bill Hamblin

I wrote it in a word processor, and cut and paste. If you use a Unicode font, it seems to work. But the vowels got messed up.


Frederick A. R. Phillips

It is very important to be able to understand Hebrew, Greek, and every tongue we are able to. I believe the more we progress here, the further along we will be beyond the veil.

Frederick A. R. Phillips

It is very important to be able to understand Hebrew, Greek, and every tongue we are able to. I believe the more we progress here, the further along we will be beyond the veil.

Kerry Shirts

Well thank you for your ideas and thoughts. I always enjoy sharing what very little I can cram into this noggin of mine. Something in me for decades said "READ!" Now it says "SHARE!", so, here I am yammerin away. GRIN!
Hebrew Grammars which I find simply outstanding:
1. Menachem Mansoor, Biblical Hebrew, 2 vols., with tapes speaking it available. VERY NICE to help learn pronounciation
2. John H. Dobson, "Learn Biblical Hebrew," with a CD-ROM, also a magnificent way to begin. He makes it EASY, truly.
3. Bonnie Kittel, Vicki Hoffer, Rebecca Wright, "Biblical Hebrew: A Text and Workbook" another truly astounding method of learning Hebrew.
4. Page Kelley, "Biblical Hebrew: An Introductory Grammar," very complete, and easy to learn.
5. Thomas O. Lambdin "Introduction to Biblical Hebrew" a very scholarly, and more difficult text, but nice to have.

There are others which I have, and they make great references, but above all Mansoor, and Dobson are certainly the top two which I would propose getting.

Reed Russell

Hey Kerry - You mentioned the importance of the shapes of the Hebrew alphabet. Are you familiar with Stan Tenen's proposals that the shapes are derived from hand-gestures? Curious what your take on that is, if you are.

Reed Russell

For those not familiar with Tenen's work, the following video is an excellent primer - well worth checking out:

Frederick A. R. Phillips

Are we as LDS truly ready to receive the training as in the School of Prophets? Look at how the services were, I believe it was quite common to refer to the Holy Bible even in common speaking. However our society is not the same.

Frederick A. R. Phillips

If our Home teaching and visit teaching and our homes were more spiritual by continued personal and family prayer.

How many of us are LDS live the teachings of Christ; not just on Sundays, but everyday in our homes?

Not me, but I have my days.

Kerry Shirts

Well, these are great questions. I think we LDS could get ready. I know there are several who have expressed a desire to learn more Hebrew, and I think doing a few podcasts with the reading of Hebrew is also very feasible and can be done, which I will do. In fact, I will do that this weekend, inbetween conference sessions.

David Larsen

When I was a student at BYU, I was surprised that there were so many more people studying Arabic (at least it seemed to me) than were studying Hebrew. Now, there's certainly nothing wrong with that-BYU has one of the best Arabic programs in the nation, but it would be nice to see more people interested in the Hebrew as well. We really should be more naturally interested in learning these ancient languages. The language of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament becomes so much more colorful and beautiful when you can read it in the original language.

Kerry Shirts

Yes, this was more than likely the Nibley hey day of it all. I'm going to start the "Internet School of the Prophets" beginning tomorrow with my podcasts teaching Hebrew. We'll see if anything comes of it.

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