Saturday, June 19, 2010


One thing I have learned about myself has become apparent in the last few weeks: I despise blogging. Knowing this, I hope you all appreciate this blog that much more.


Valley of Elah, the site of the battle between David and Goliath.

The Philistinian perspective.

This is a popular image here in Jerusalem, emphasizing that Jerusalem was at the center of the ancient world. The city has been conquered a known 44 times (and attacked over 56), which provides for a lot of history.

Home---the Jerusalem Center on Mt. Scopus.

An average day in the Old City.

I went to Dormition Abbey, a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Imagine my surprise upon seeing la Virgin de Guadalupe! A sign underneath her said (in Spanish) that she was in Mexico, but desired to be here in Jerusalem. She and I battled in California for two years.

I was craving pizza one day. The only problem is that the mixing of beef with milk is not kosher, so they don't have pepperoni (Exodus 23:19). Let me spare any of you the trouble on this one: tuna-fish pizza is not good. And green olive pizza is only slightly better.

The Dome of the Rock, built in the 7th century on the Israelite Temple Mount (Haram-al-Sharif).

Non-Muslims are not allowed to go inside. The building covers the area in which Abraham bound Isaac to be sacrificed.

Also on the Temple Mount (a stone's throw from the Dome of the Rock) is the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in the Islamic world. One of the largest issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the settlement of this Temple Mount, considered sacred by both sides.

This windmill was part of the first Judaic settlements in Jerusalem since the destruction of the 2nd temple.

Espana! I am pointing at Santander. ¡Que Espana gane la Copa Mundial!

Snorkeling in the Red Sea outside of Eilat. This was absolutely amazing---fish of all shapes, colors, and sizes. And I am very white. comment. :)

These mines were used for cistern plaster during the Roman Period.

This was a funny experience. I was at the house of a Palestinian family when I found myself somehow surrounded by all the men in a circle. This man took of his turban and put it on me---it felt like a ceremonial rite-of-passage of some sort. They were funny people.

One of the security guards hooked us up with a basketball game in Jerusalem. Upon arriving at the gym, we discovered that we were playing a semi-pro Palestinian team! These guys actually get paid to play. It has been really fun. We are 2-0 right now, but they are pretty good.

We had the chance to speak with some of the students at Bethlehem University. This is Omar; to his right is Adam Rogers (A.K.A. "Mr. Rogers"), who served with me in Ventura.


Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

This is taken outside the Temple Institute. These religious zealots are preparing for the time when a third temple will be placed in Jerusalem. They already have all of the clothing and necessary pieces of the temple. This is the golden menorah, completely ready to enter the temple when it comes. However, they have a few issues left to resolve.

1. The Temple Mount is in the hands of the Muslims. Getting the Temple Mount would spark WWIII.

2. They do not have the Ark of the Covenant, although they think it is hidden underneath the Temple Mount.

3. The sacrifice of a red heifer is required to dedicate the third temple (Numbers 19). However, they can't find one! They thought they had found one in Texas, but then they found some white hairs in its tail. They are currently trying to genetically alter heifers to obtain one.

4. They have no high priest. I asked our tour guide how they would get a high priest. She responded that the Sanhedrin would choose one. A bit confused, I pursued the point and asked where they would get the Sanhedrin. She responded by telling me that they did have a Sanhedrin in place in the 2000's, but it had "dissolved." She had no further explanation.

Obviously, there is a bit to work out before their dream comes true.

This is part of the separation barrier, about a 20 minute walk from the center. This was built to stop suicide buildings in the last decade. This conflict is very complicated and interweaving. Both sides have been victimized and struggle to look past it. I can easily see how the traditions of the past centuries form the mindframes held today; case in point, change isn't easy. Roots run deep. However being here as allowed me to see the good in people from each side of the conflict as well.

Garden Tomb

A few weeks ago I had the chance to talk with two Jewish boys, about my same age, studying in a yashiva (a Jewish school). I asked if they ever had doctrinal conflicts in Judaism----they said that conflicts occurred all the time. They explained that they approach conflicts by comparing opposing rabbinic commentaries from various time periods and then basically choose which viewpoint they like better. A pretty crazy way to find truth.

The interaction helped me realize how blessed I am. Knowing that we have a living prophet and that the restoration has occurred significantly affects how I view the world. I pray for the day when these people can share that same knowledge.

Have a good one.


  1. For a moment there I thought you had brought the great Idaho tradition of slinging eggs to Israel....but you are a great actor, as the pictures attest. Despite not liking to blog, you blog has great pictures and commentary, and I did thoroughly enjoy it. Keep living the dream! I wanted to go to Jerusalem the entire time I was a student at BYU, and they only opened it up right before my last semester. Darn. Oh well. Just more reason to plan a trip there, before WWIII is sparked. Have an awesome time, cuz!

  2. Looks like an awesome adventure. I thought about going to Jerusalem, but before I got the chance they closed the center for all those years.

  3. This blog has gotten pretty boring, I have not seen a new post for months!!! Could you work on that please!