Notes of Institute. Yes, I decided to go to ANOTHER institute class, so I’m currently enrolled in 3 at the moment 🙂

Recording Disclaimer: I audio record institute classes occasionally for my own use and reference, in case I can’t write down a quote quick enough or didn’t quite understand a concept that was taught, etc. Please do not share audio link without permission.

Many Prophets prophesied about Jesus Christ

  • Isaiah 7:14
  • Isaiah 9:6
  • Micah 5:2
  • 1 Nephi 11:8-22 (the Tree of Life vision)
    • *Note that verse 11, when the Spirit of the Lord (the Holy Ghost) is in the form of a man, this is 1 of only 2 times in the scriptures that He is mentioned taking on the form of man.
      • We believe the Holy Ghost to be an actual personage of spirit
      • Brother Jacobs didn’t tell us the second time this is mentioned, but he will later on.
    • Nephi is learning the meaning of all the components of the Tree of Life THROUGH learning about Christ’s life
      • He sees Mary, the virgin mother of Christ, and then says “Oh, I know now, the tree is the Love of God.”
        • John 3:16 – God so loved the world that he gave His Son
      • He sees Christ crucified by wicked men and then says “Oh, now I know that the great and spacious building is the pride of the world.

The Condescension of God

1 Nephi 11:

16 And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescensionof God?

 17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children;nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.

What does this mean?

Elder Bruce R. McConkieElder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“The condescension of God(meaning the Father) consists in the fact that though he is an exalted, perfected, glorified Personage, he became the personal and literal Father of mortal Offspring born of mortal woman(Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 155).

Brother Jacobs shared stories of meeting with members of other faiths and discussing the Virgin Mary.

President Harold B. Lee (1968)
(Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, 1996, edited by Clyde J. Williams, p.14)

Teachers should not speculate on the manner of Christ’s birth.
We are very much concerned that some of our Church teachers seem to be obsessed of the idea of teaching doctrine which cannot be substantiated and making comments beyond what the Lord has actually said.

You asked about the birth of the Savior. Never have I talked about sexual intercourse between Deity and the mother of the Savior. If teachers were wise in speaking of this matter about which the Lord has said but very little, they would rest their discussion on this subject with merely the words which are recorded on this subject in Luke 1:34-35: “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

Remember that the being who was brought about by [Mary’s] conception was a divine personage. We need not question His method to accomplish His purposes. Perhaps we would do well to remember the words of Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Let the Lord rest His case with this declaration and wait until He sees fit to tell us more.

I found the comment “making comments beyond what the Lord has actually said.” particularly interesting.

  • The Lord really hasn’t revealed a whole lot on the subject, other than what is found in Luke 1:34-35, so the second we start trying to discuss the topic, we are “making comments beyond what the Lord has actually said.”

We need not question Heavenly Father’s methods to accomplish His purposes, as President Harold B. Lee stated.

We watched a video of Mary. Brother Jacobs rarely shows videos, but he found this one important to observe and ponder regarding Mary and her divine calling. He invited us to contemplate what was going through her mind through all of this-


Tad R. CallisterBrother Tad R.Callister, Sunday School general president

“God the Son traded his heavenly home with all its celestial adornments for a mortal abode with all its primitive trappings. He,‘the King of heaven’ (Alma 5:50),‘the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth’ (Mosiah 3:5), left a throne to inherit manger. He exchanged the dominion of a god for the dependence of a babe. It was a trade of unparalleled dimension. The great Jehovah,creator of worlds without number, infinite in virtueand power, made his entry into this world in swaddling clothes and a manger” (The Infinite Atonement [2000], 64).

Speaking on the topic a Christ being born in a manger, Brother Jacobs shared a story and picture that President Russel M. Nelson shared regarding the likelihood that Chris’s manger, rather than being a classic wood structure like we often imagine, was likely one of stone. (Institute of Religion Seminar, November 18,2005)

Scholar Bruce H. Porter shared similar account of stone mangers. Porter is often interviewed by Ryan Porter, the producer behind the Nephite Explorer series, one of my family’s favorite series that dives into some very interesting findings, scriptures, and topics involved the American Covenant and ancient history. I’m sure I’ll continue mentioning the Nephite Explorer in future journal entries. Fascinating stuff.

In this video, at 3:15, Bruce Port talks about cutting out stone mangers.