Forgotten Stories from the Old Testament: The Purpose of Circumcision

Have you ever wondered why the Lord has his people practice the law of circumcision? Obviously it was part of the Abrahamic covenant, but what did it represent? Sacrifice was a reminder that Christ would one day sacrifice His own life, so what was circumcision supposed to remind them of?

The answer is kind of interesting, actually. Here’s the account in Joseph Smith’s translation of Genesis 17:3-12


3 And it came to pass, that Abram fell on his face, and called upon the name of the Lord.

4 And God talked with him, saying, My people have gone astray from my precepts, and have not kept mine ordinances, which I gave unto their fathers;

5 And they have not observed mine anointing, and the burial, or baptism wherewith I commanded them;

6 But have turned from the commandment, and taken unto themselves the washing of children, and the blood of sprinkling;

7 And have said that the blood of the righteous Able was shed for sins; and have not known wherein they are accountable before me.

• • •

11 And I will establish a covenant of circumcision with thee, and it shall be my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations; that thou mayest know for ever that children are not accountable before me until they are eight years old.

12 And thou shalt observe to keep all my covenants wherein I covenanted with thy fathers; and thou shalt keep the commandments which I have given thee with mine own mouth, and I will be a God unto thee and thy seed after thee.

Forgotten Stories from the Old Testament: Adam was a Christian

Society often argues about when exactly Christianity began. I don’t know what other churches believe, but in the Lord’s true church, we know that Adam knew of Jesus Christ, and believed in Him. Joseph Smith’s translation of the book of Genesis, known as the book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price, tells about Enoch’s ministry. Enoch became quite prominent in his time and ministry, doing great miracles, and stirring up attention wherever he went. But what is it that so riles up the people? It’s his teaching that Jesus Christ would come in the meridian (middle) of time.

Though people were deeply offended by his teachings, they were also fascinated to listen to a character who was so willing to say such “crazy” things. People are still like that today – they love a good controversy or fight. It’s kind of pathetic really, but it was very good in this instance, because it got them to listen to a prophet.

People would instruct their servants, “Tarry ye here and keep the tents, while we go yonder to behold the seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land; a wild man hath come among us.” (Moses 6:38)

When Enoch was born, Adam was still alive. It’s likely that Enoch knew Adam personally as a young man (up to about age 60 – which was young in those days). But whether Adam himself told him, or the Lord revealed it to Enoch, Enoch explained to the people that Adam taught his posterity about Jesus Christ and the plan of Salvation.

Here’s the account:
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My Musical Journey: The Message

The Message

When I was nine, my sister Ria had piano lessons. Being the little brother, I thought I should be able to have piano lessons, too. To me it looked like fun, and I wanted a turn. So mom signed me up.

A lady in our neighborhood, who was also in our ward, taught many kids piano lessons, and for only $3 a week, it was a pretty good way to go, though I didn’t find out until later what a generous teacher I had to charge such a small fee for those valuable lessons.

The lessons were fun, and I learned all the basic musical terms and skills, and obtained a very basic piano proficiency. By the time I had been taking lessons for a year, however, I was tired of practicing, and after a few weeks of dragging my feet, I stopped going to piano lessons.

Years went by, and I didn’t touch my piano books. They were a thing of the past, and any time I considered playing, I remembered how boring practice was, so from the time I stopped the lessons, I stopped playing the piano entirely.

As a young man of fourteen, I loved listening to music while drifting off to sleep. I would stick in a favorite cassette and let it play through to the end. However long it took me to fall asleep, I would always get completely wrapped up in the music. As I made a habit of this, I soon found that the mere act of turning on music and closing my eyes did something to me. It was as if the sounds were wrapping around me, filling me. I don’t know how to describe it, but that simple, quiet music had an overwhelming effect on my whole system.

It was at that time that I came to a realization of the power of music – just a few simple notes, played at just the right… well, everything! The tempo was perfect, the notes were perfect, played at the perfect volume at just the right moments. What was it about this mix of sounds that drew a person in so completely? Was it the flawless skill of the artist, or was it something independent of the musician? Did the music itself somehow convey the sense of completeness and power that I felt?

Much of the music I listened to was religious music, and the powerful feelings I felt while listening to that music were always accompanied by an intense spiritual high that made me want to be better, do more good, and reach out more to bless the lives of more people. But a lot of the music I listened to was simple New Age music, which at that time was sometimes called Easy Listening music.

One night, while listening to some of this gentle music, I felt something unique – or I heard something, but with my feelings rather than my ears. It was as if someone or something was sending a clear message through while my mind and heart were in such a susceptible state. The message was simply this: “You can give this gift to others.”

I lay motionless, still wrapped in the feelings and power of the music. The words had been clear. You can give this gift to others. What gift? Music? The ability to play music? The feelings that the music expressed? Though the message had been clear, I didn’t know for sure what it meant.

The more I thought about it, the more I felt that it was time to go beyond simply listening to and enjoying music. I needed to make music.

But how? I didn’t play any musical instruments, and my voice was nasally and boisterous. I would have to learn to play an instrument. A flute? A brass instrument? I didn’t have any instruments, and I didn’t have access to any instruments – except…

Yes. The piano. The family had a piano. I would would get out my old lesson books and start learning to play first thing after school the next day.