Amidst the confusion caused by the resurging pandemic, mask requests, and a campus filled with smoke, Professor Donald Parry (Asian & Near Eastern Languages) delivered two inspiring messages on the opening day of Education Week. Both classes filled the Wilkinson Center ballroom to capacity and had audiences alternating between laughter and tears—an experience that, although muffled by masks, was both refreshing and faith promoting.
“God’s favorite way to teach is through symbols,” taught Parry. His decades-long studies of the Hebrew language has given him an incredible depth of understanding. He has an uncanny ability to teach about these symbols in a way that is intellectually stimulating, entertaining, and Christ centered.
Parry used his knowledge of sacred symbols, architecture, angels, and temples to provide evidence of an almighty God and creator of the universe who continues to connect with mankind.
Parry shared the example of the Hebrew translation of “making a covenant,” which in Hebrew is more literally translated as “cutting a covenant.” This translation has connections to the sacrifices offered in ancient temples and to Christ’s atoning sacrifice. Parry also taught how Christ is sometimes referred to as the almond tree, or “the first to wake,” because the almond tree is the first tree to bloom in Israel.
The connections he drew between ancient and modern temples were especially profound and reinforced the answer to his central question, “How did the Prophet Joseph Smith Get it Right?” Parry’s answer, found through decades of research, is that time and time again there is a beautiful correlation between what was restored by Joseph Smith in modern-day temples to what was established anciently. “I invite you to study the symbols and try to understand them,” urged Parry, “and you will be richly blessed.”