Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Two shameless promotions, but closely tied to the purposes of this site!

Posted by joespencer on September 21, 2007

Two new podcast sites are worth advertising here.


Both of these sites can trace themselves back to the influence of Jeff Batt, who has pushed a few of us in this interesting direction. The first site listed above is his, dedicated to recordings that bear on teaching and studying the scriptures. Today it has only a single recording up, but it will have close to a dozen by the end of the weekend. Many of the recordings are Robert Couch and myself discussing various scriptures. There is a discussion also of Jeff and myself discussing aspects of teaching: preparation and teaching by the Spirit. There is a study group of youth discussing 2 Nephi 31, a study session with a few missionaries looking at the facsimiles in the Book of Abraham, and two talks (my wife’s and my own) from a mock zone conference held for the young men in our previous ward. There will be more added weekly.

The second site is my own, and it is limited to one thing: my early morning seminary class this year. I am trying to upload the new lesson within an hour or two of its being taught, both for my students’ families’ benefit, and for anyone else who wants to listen in. It is an “honors” seminary class in which four (only four!) students are being helplessly dragged through only three books from the OT: Genesis, Job, and Isaiah. The texts considered are considered in far greater detail than in most seminary classrooms. The year is going to culminate in a research paper for each student (and for myself) that will be collected into a one-time-publication for the ward (and we’ll post them somewhere online, I imagine). Class started two weeks ago, so there are nine class sessions up now, and they will be added on school days.

For both of these sites, you can set up iTunes, RSS feed, or whatever you prefer so that you can get the recordings directly. You can download the recordings or listen to them right on the site. If you have any questions, let me know.

I hope you all enjoy. Feel free to bring up issues these recordings might raise–whether scriptural, semi-philosophical, or didactic–here on the blog. Thanks, all.

11 Responses to “Two shameless promotions, but closely tied to the purposes of this site!”

  1. Joe Spencer said

    Here are the two sites linked:



  2. mjberkey said

    Excellent. Do your students know all of what you have in store for them? How did they react to hearing about the research paper? And why only those three texts? Why not Exodus? Aren’t you going to cover any of the history between Jacob and Isaiah?

  3. JakeW said

    Yeah. What Mike said.

  4. Robert C. said

    I can’t speak for Joe, but I’ve been thinking about this breadth vs. depth trade-off quite a bit lately, and I think focusing on a few key books (however they are decided on) is a great way to approach a seminary class. In fact, along these lines, I’m hoping to start a series of posts based on just one phrase of a verse at a time (I haven’t decided on what verse yet, but probably from 2 Nephi 2 or Alma 12 or perhaps Alma 42—I’m open to suggestions, though I’m probably going to do something with the term law in it because I’m feeling quite intrigued and baffled by that term lately…).

  5. Joe Spencer said

    The students have agreed to write the papers, though I’ve not told them of the fact that I’d like to have them printed. We are planning a few field trips to the best research library in the area for religious studies (Mount Angel Abbey Library: a monastery!), and I’m excited to see their work. They are also quite aware of how the year will be structured, that is, around three texts, etc.

    As for why to do that: If you listen to the first two weeks of lessons you will see how much of Exodus we have already begun to cover, often in some detail, not to mention Leviticus. We’ll yet get to Numbers and Deuteronomy. The idea is that we are going to get the whole penteteuch through Genesis. I recognize there are major difficulties with this approach, but I think it will be far richer than any other approach I can “get away with.”

    As for history generally, I plan to use Job as a means to teach Israelite history. Because of its non-historical setting, we will be able to spend two or three weeks coursing through Israelite history in order to get a sense for when the book might have been written, for what purpose, and with what audience in mind. In order to work through the “three books of Isaiah,” we will have to cover much of the same history, or at least three major parts of it.

    In the end, though, my decision comes down to this point: I am very much more interested in teaching my students (1) what the Old Testament is and (2) how to read it than I am in making sure that they go home with however many dozens of take-home lessons about this or that different moment or book in the OT. What is at work in the OT is far too important to be reduced to something like that.

  6. mjberkey said

    That sounds pretty exciting. I can’t wait to listen to some of these classes.

  7. Rex said

    This is great. My son is currently struggling with his early morning experience and expressing just this – his wish that there were a more “advanced” class for his age group (junior). I will direct him to the site.

    My only nit with both sites – and I hesitate to complain – is that the sound quality is a tad less then optimal.

    Great work though – keep it up!

  8. Joe Spencer said

    Thanks, Rex. My apologies on sound quality. I have only a little handheld digital recorder, and the room we meet in is simply not very good for recording. You’ll notice that the sound quality gets better after the first two lessons or so (it took me a couple of days to figure out where it sounded best), so if that’s all you’ve listened to, it gets better. Unfortunately, mp3’s really do down the sound quality of straight voice as well (the difference is quite noticeable between the wav file and the mp3 I have to make to upload it). So I apologize for that.

    But I do hope it helps. Thanks again for your compliments.

  9. Jeff Batt said

    I just wanted to make a comment about the sound. We are getting better and as we have been doing these podcast have been discovering what works best. The latest podcast are a lot better for the Teach Ye Diligently podcast so please bear with us in the sound but we are improving

  10. robf said

    OK Joe, you’re almost halfway through the year. What’s your take on how your seminary class is going?

  11. […] example, Joe has mentioned that when asked to teach seminary, he decided to make it an “honors seminary” by only […]

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