Water, Blood & Oil

Sunday thought: Family history

Posted in Uncategorized by Tod Robbins on November 16, 2014


By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog

2nd Sunday before Advent

In five days I have gone from little interest in family history (or better put, feeling I had no time to prioritise it) to burning the midnight oil trawling through old censuses and BMD records. Tolkien once said that all cosmic music — even the bad — will eventually bend to God’s harmony; in the case of the evils of the Great War it seems that one small positive is a renewed interest in family history in Britain. This was my conversion: I went to a talk on Remembrance Day about the battle of Gheluvelt fought in 1914 by my local regiment (the Worcestershires). My interest piqued — and being a Worcestershire man — I typed some family names into Family Search and became aware of the service of a number of g-grand uncles.  One was badly injured at Ypres in 1917 and reading his medical records was…

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Ordain Women, Women’s Ordination

Posted in Uncategorized by Tod Robbins on April 8, 2014

Very cogent.

All Eternity Shakes: Letters from the Vineyard

At the outset, I should say that at this point nothing is going to stop Ordain Women, whether you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing. It’s clear that no amount of criticism or shaming will fracture the movement. In fact, these have really only served (unsurprisingly) to strengthen it and add to its numbers. OW may have begun as an organized movement but has become something of an event, in the philosophical sense of that word–the eruption of something new that breaks with the prevailing order, something which marks a before and after. Those who are riveted by an event (like Paul’s encounter with the risen Christ, after which he was never the same again) can only understand certain truths in its wake. As Daniel Bensaid put it in his interpretation of Alain Badiou’s philosophy of the event:

Truth, following in the wake of ‘that which happens’…

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An address to all believers in Christ (1887) by David Whitmer

Posted in Uncategorized by Tod Robbins on November 12, 2010

A recently digitized copy of An address to all believers in Christ (1887) by David Whitmer, one of the original three witnesses to the Book of Mormon, caught my interest as I was reading some blogs today. The work is influential for a number of reasons. One reason being the affirmation of Whitmer to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon as shown to him by an angel. Whitmer also takes issue with Joseph Smith’s evolved Mormonism, which he had left long before 1887, and that discussion is worthy of reading for a greater understanding of some of the issues surrounding early Mormonism. Have fun.

An address to all believers in Christ (1887) by David Whitmer

The Gospel and the Church

Posted in Uncategorized by Tod Robbins on October 3, 2010

A great sermon by a great man.

The Seer

Posted in Uncategorized by Tod Robbins on September 20, 2010

My wife and I were watching the Joseph Smith Commemorative Program on DVD this evening and it caused me to reflect on the great words written by John Taylor entitled The Seer. The moving text is as follows:

The Seer.
Written for the dedication of the Seventy’s Hall, and dedicated to President Brigham Young:

By John Taylor

The seer;—the seer:—Joseph the seer—
I’ll sing of the Prophet ever dear:
His equal now cannot be found,—
By searching the wide world around.
With Gods he soared, in the realms of day;
And men he taught the heavenly way.
The earthly seer! the heavenly seer,
I love to dwell on his mem’ry dear:—
The chosen of God, and the friend of men,
He brought the priesthood back again,
He gazed on the past, on the present too;—
An ope’d the heav’nly world to view.

Of noble seed—of heavenly birth,
He came to bless the sons of earth:
With keys by the Almighty given,
He opened the full rich stores of heaven,
O’er the world that was wrapt in sable night,
Like the sun he spread his golden light.
He strove,—O, how he strove to stay,
The stream of crime in its reckless way—
With a mighty mind, and a noble aim
He urg’d the wayward to reclaim:
‘Mid the foaming billows of angry strife—
He stood at the helm, of the ship of life.

The saints;—the saints; his only pride,
For them he liv’d, for them he died!
Their joys were his;—their sorrows too;—
He lov’d the saints;—he lov’d Nauvoo.
Unchanged in death, with a Savior’s love
He pleads their cause, in the courts above.
The seer;—the seer—Joseph the seer!
O, how I love his memory dear,
The just and wise, the pure and free,
A father he was, and is to me.
Let fiends now rage in their dark hour;—
No matter, he is beyond their power.

He’s free;—he’s free;—the Prophet’s free!
He is where he will ever be,
Beyond the reach of mobs and strife,
He rests unharm’d in endless life,
His home’s in the sky;—he dwells with the Gods,
Far from the furious rage of mobs.
He died; he died—for those he lov’d,
He reigns;—he reigns in realms above,
He waits with the just who have gone before,
To welcome the saints to Zion’s shore;
Shout, shout ye saints—this boon is given,
We’ll meet our martyr’d seer in heaven.

[Text via Joseph the Seer: His Dreams, Visions, and Revelations]

BOAP.org Beta is “live”

Posted in Uncategorized by Tod Robbins on September 7, 2010

I finally got around to setting up my web-space: http://www.todrobbins.com

This allowed me to upload my work with Bill Smith of BOAP.org. As I have posted on previously, I am revamping the look and usability of the BOAP.org site. Specifically, I have been working on the Presidents of the Church section. Currently, only Brigham Young, John Taylor and Gordon B. Hinckley have loadable content. Below are some screenshots of the site to perhaps entice you, and of course a link to the “beta”. Feel free to comment about all the things you like and loathe. Cheers.

BOAP.org Beta “Presidents of the Church”

Concerning “We Can Live With God Again”

Posted in Uncategorized by Tod Robbins on September 1, 2010

I was browsing the new.lds.org this morning and came upon this paragraph in the “We Can Live With God Again” section of the site:

It’s comforting to know that God has a plan for us. He created our spirits before we were born and they’ll continue into eternity.

It brought me back to recent discussions on By Common Consent and elsewhere that the progression of pre-earth life is one of continual debate. Here, on the official Church website (albeit a “beta”), the doctrine or belief being proffered is that God the Father “created our spirits” somehow. Strange that Joseph Smith once said that if we have a beginning we will certainly have an end, and that God never had the power to create the spirits of humankind. Of course, this concept of viviparous spirit birth (a Brigham Young favorite) with its adjacent tripartite existentialism (thanks? be to B.H. Roberts) continues to kick around, and apparently is accepted enough by Church correlation to appear on the official site.

What are your thoughts on the subject?


Posted in Uncategorized by Tod Robbins on July 29, 2010

Once I lay my troubles aside
in Adam-ondi-Ahman,
I’ll count my friends, all around me,
new bodies at the coming
of Christ from heaven
and light from within.
Once I lay my sins behind
and bow before the peace of the dove,
I’ll count my children
by the crowns on their heads
and alight my hands on air.
I’ll lay my weary side
upon the fields of Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Salt Lake 5th Ward Chapel

Posted in Uncategorized by Tod Robbins on July 8, 2010

Salt Lake 5th Ward Chapel [Photo by Jonathan Kland]

A new post on the Salt Lake Architecture blog is a wonderful building and community history of the Salt Lake 5th Ward Chapel, with a diverse history of use. Architect-Blogger Jonathan Kland has really outdone himself and provided a very useful local history for researchers interested in Salt Lake City history, the LDS Church, or architectural versatility in communities. Enjoy the read, it’s well worth the time.

The Granite Stake Tabernacle

Posted in Uncategorized by Tod Robbins on July 3, 2010

Why do I love building histories so much? I may never know. Good work Madam Mormon Times.