Short Take: “There Shall Be Showers of Blessing”

Author's Note
My neighbor and I are writing short columns for our monthly ward (congregation) newsletter, focusing on the Old Testament and related scripture in 2014. Here’s this month’s “short take.”

God commanded Ezekiel to “prophesy against the shepherds of Israel.” His people’s leaders were neglecting their duties – and worse. “Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves!” he said. “Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? . . .

The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick . . . bound up that which was broken . . . brought again that which was driven away, [or] sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.

And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field.

God will hold the shepherds accountable, he says, but then he makes us a happier promise: Even if others fail us, one Shepherd is devoted and tireless. When no mortal notices or cares, he will find us and save us himself.

I will seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered. . . .

I will feed them in good pasture. . . .

I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick. . . .

I will save my flock. . . .

I will make with them a covenant of peace . . . and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness. . . .

There shall be showers of blessing. (Ezekiel 34:1-31)

What Mormons Mean: Translating General Conference (into English)

Every church or religion has its own vocabulary, which can easily make its meetings seem strange to outsiders. The Mormons are no exception.

Oh, boy, are we not an exception. We even think friendship is a verb; the ripples from this barbarous pebble are conspicuous at times. It’s a good thing the Lord is merciful. He gives us excellent, beautiful languages, and we insist on . . . But I digress.

A year or two ago, as I watched the first minutes of a Mormon general conference broadcast, I was struck by how many terms one would have to understand in the way Mormons do, in order to get just ten or fifteen minutes into a two-hour meeting. So this week I went back and watched the first 15 minutes of two previous conferences, making a list as I did so.

Here are some words and phrases you might have wanted to know, if you had been watching with me. The vocabulary will be approximately the same tomorrow, if you watch the first general session of the October 2014 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The definitions are brief, though the temptation is to be expansive.