There Is No Charge for Awesomeness
The title doesn't have anything to do with my blog other than I thought that was the best line from "Kung-Fu Panda." (And speaking of movies, which is also not the topic of this blog, I experienced a movie theater first today. The power went out during "WALL-E" (which is a super cute movie and I actually really liked it. I'm always impressed when so much story can be conveyed with so little dialogue). Imagine - a theater full of small children with no lights and now, no movie. A movie they had been chanting for and calling out the names of characters before the characters even spoke (way to go, Pixar/Disney promo machine). I braced for impact. Instead it was eerily calm, but that could be because a lot of parents took their kids on bathroom breaks. It was sort of like the old days of cinema with the timely intermission.)
So back to my now bleary-eyed typing and original topic, I love public speaking. I love teaching. It seems really weird with my introvertedness - you'd think that I would shy away from such things. But I don't. I really enjoy them.
I'm adoring teaching the Book of Mormon to teenagers. They're actually shushing each other now when someone talks out of turn. I think they get excited because I'm excited.
Like when I recently taught about King Benjamin, after doing some research, I found out that a lot of his speech directly correlated with Jewish traditions/holidays. Like the Jubilee, where the words spoken are recorded in Leviticus (and are just like what Benjamin says). The Jubilee, for those that don't know, is the celebration of seven periods of seven years (with some debate over whether it was actually celebrated in the 49th or 50th year). So, wanna know what's interesting about that?
The people of Central America kept two calendars. One calendar was based off of 20-day months. The other was our 365 day calendar.
Every 52 years the two calendars would coincide. As you can imagine, this was not only the cause of some concern, as the world might end or a god would wreak havoc on them (part of the reason Cortez wasn't killed - he arrived in the end of that 52-year cycle and since they were expecting an otherworldly type visitor, he fit the bill and didn't get cut down on sight), but it was also a time of great celebration. When the night passed and they hadn't all died (the gods had seen fit to give them another 52 years), they partied like it was 1999 (or 99 or 999 as the case may be). The celebration was even more grand based on the fact that most people would only expect to see the culmination of the 52-year cycle once in their lives. (And as a side note, if you've heard of the Maya prediction that the world will end in 2012, guess what happens then? Yep, another end to a 52-year cycle.)
So, is it at all possible, that the people from Israel and the people already living in Central America might have combined their traditions since they were so close together? It would make sense to me, as we have evidence of other civilizations combining cultural/religious traditions in order to unite them as a people (which was also a very big concern for Benjamin). Constantine did it with Christianity and the pagans. Christmas was celebrated in December, now in lieu of the winter solstice festivals (which had been big pagan holidays previously).
Stuff like that gets me all stoked, and it makes my kids laugh because I'm so excited about it.
And coming up soon - we're going to act out the battle at the waters of Sebus with Ammon and the thieves/robbers (we can have more discussion on the distinction between the two later). I want to show them what weapons were used and why, and why it wouldn't have made sense for all the bad guys to rush Ammon at once. I want them to get a feel for daggers and slings and Maya swords so that they can really imagine how the fight would have felt, what it would have looked like.
First, because it will engage them. This is something they'll probably always remember. They'll learn.
Second, and probably most important to me, I want them to feel the way I do about the people in the scriptures. I can't tell you how thrilling it's been to me to teach these recent sections of the Book of Mormon on men that I've come to feel like I know.
Not just what I've invented in my head, but what they said and what they wrote.
In my senior year of high school in my AP English class, we were each to choose an author to read and do a year long study of (with a final report that was like ten pages, which made all our jaws drop. Not soon after, ten pages would be an overnight thing in college. LOL). I chose Mark Twain.
I read everything Twain wrote. I read biographies on him. As I wrote my report on him, I remember thinking that if Mark Twain walked down the street, I would know him.
Epiphany moment - I realized a second later that this was one of the ways that I would get to know the Savior, as well. By reading His words and the biographies written by those who knew Him, I could get to know Him.
Maybe these kids won't ever know these prophets and missionaries the way that I feel like I do. But we'll take one more step toward really studying the scriptures and understanding them, instead of just reading them.