In each short clip, Tom talks about a curious and intriguing facet of the study of linguistics. On the surface, that’s cool enough, but it’s really a lot about humans, society, and culture, all as expressed by their language.
It made me think even more about our scriptures. A long time ago, here and here, I wrote about where our scriptures come from and how that impacts how we should use them.
In particular, the video clips from Tom that got me thinking the most were the ones where he talks about the difficulties in translating one concept from one language to another. Like this one: https://youtu.be/2TtnD4jmCDQ At one point, he talks about the problems of electronic translation systems: https://youtu.be/GAgp7nXdkLU
So, God, in His powerful purity, teaches concepts of Truth to human prophets, who have to figure out some way to write down the concepts in a complicated and messy human language. Sometimes many years later, some other human tries to translate that into another messy human language with a completely different cultural framework, and hopes that somehow it still makes sense. Many of the books of the Bible have gone through several generations of translations to be what we have now.
Now, I want to make it clear. I believe in our scriptures. I believe the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price all are words that came from a loving God, who wants us to use those words to learn how to take care of each other.
I also am learning that as I read my scriptures, it’s not a good idea to get too hung up on words and phrases, and rather than debating the meaning of this verse or that chapter, to focus on a bigger picture of the instructions God is sending to me, personally.
Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his Dutch Oven blog.
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