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Joseph Smith Translation, education in temple concepts

SANDY, Utah — When Joseph Smith produced a new translation of the Bible, it was for him a tutorial in temple-related concepts, the author of a forthcoming book on the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price said Thursday at the 2008 FAIR conference, an annual event highlighting defense of the Mormon faith.Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, a senior research scientist at Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Pensacola, spoke in the afternoon session of the conference, which continues through Friday. His book "In Gods Image and Likeness" is to be published late next year.Though the temple ceremonies and ordinances that Latter-day Saints recognize today were not taught by the Mormon prophet until the Nauvoo period of LDS Church history, evidence from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible and other revelations shows they were known to Joseph Smith a decade earlier, Bradshaw said."I have come to believe that the most significant aspect of the translation process as a whole was the early tutoring in temple-related doctrines received by Joseph Smith as he revised and expanded Genesis 1-24, in conjunction with his later translation of relevant passages in the New Testament and, for example, the stories of Moses and Elijah," he told the gathering at the South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy.What Mormons accept as the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price constitutes a portion of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, undertaken in June 1830, a time of "great exuberance" but intense persecution for the church, he noted.Displaying a projected image of the first page of the manuscript of that translation, Bradshaw said, "the manuscript appears to have been flowingly dictated in a single setting. That the Prophet could find the time, strength and inspiration necessary to receive and record this beautiful and complex account of the vision of Moses during such a busy and difficult period is a wonder to me."Citing numerous temple-related teachings from the Book of Moses and from ancient traditions, Bradshaw said they help illuminate the meaning of the stories of the Creation of the world and the Fall of Adam.For example, from the pattern of construction given to Moses for building the Israelite tabernacle, the sacred structure appears to be what Mormon scholar Hugh Nibley called "a scale model of the universe," based upon Moses vision of the Creation, Bradshaw said."Donald Parry has argued that the Garden of Eden can be seen as a natural temple where Adam and Eve lived in Gods presence for a time and mirroring the configuration of the heavenly temple intended as their ultimate destination," he said."In modern temples, the posterity of Adam and Eve likewise trace the footsteps of their first parents both away from Eden and then in a journey of return and reunion," he noted.The Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research (FAIR) is not an official part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but is dedicated to answering to criticisms of the church.