Ken: Hi everybody, Ken Krogue here with Robert Kay. I had a chance to see Robert present several different times and I was absolutely enthralled. You’ve got a unique perspective and I’m going to go ahead and ask him to tell us a bit about his background that makes him, especially when we’re studying Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, when the Nephites talked about the way of manner of the Jews, that’s where you came from, right?
Robert: That’s correct.
Ken: Tell us about it.
Robert: So, my birth father is from New York, and they come from an Ashkenazi family out of Europe that came over from Poland. My mother’s family, my mother’s mother is a Sephardic Jew from Portugal and not many people realize that in the south there are many people of Sephardic lineage settled in the south. In fact, my mother’s grandfather was one of the first people to establish a synagogue in a little town of Jasper, Alabama.
Ken: Oh, my heavens.
Robert: And so, I grew up primarily in the south. My mother’s husband was basically…
Ken: I don’t hear any southern accent.
Robert: Yes, I’ve been out west long enough to get rid of my accent? I have a little one every now and then.
Ken: It was my mission in South Carolina, that’s where I met my wife, Crystal. And I can bring out some south in the mouth if I need to.
Robert: Okay, okay. My mom, I moved her out here now with me. So, if I were to bring her here, she would charm you with her southern accent. But, not many people realize that many Jews, Crypto Jews as well, settled in the southeast, changed their names. My last name is Kay; however, our original name was Cohen, or actually a Polish version thereof, technically Ukrainian version thereof and it’s actually would have been the original, Kway, and it was traditional Cohen. At the same time, like my mother’s family, many people who have the Richardson Line at the South East are actually Jews who came in from Portugal and then they changed their name. So, a lot of people changed their names because of persecution.
Ken: You a member of the church?
Robert: I am a member of the church now. So, when I came into the church, it was through a family member originally. How I really came to discover that, what the church was and primarily the Book of Mormon was from the Book of Mormon itself. So, I discovered the Book of Mormon itself on a bookshelf from a missionary copy of the Book of Mormon in a library in the south. The cover was torn off and I didn’t know who this was. At the time that I found this, I was also finishing up studies in the Talmud. My father made me read all these volumes at the Talmud, at 13 and from 13 to 15. So, I’m finishing up that, I’m also learning at the same time foundations of Hebrew, which for me at the time was torture. A child is tortured but as you become an adult, you begin to appreciate the torture your parents do. But, I found out later it was a real gift.
Ken: Wonderful. So, you used that gift in all of the presentations that I’ve seen you present, It’s amazing.
Robert: Well, thank you. It was not always a gift. We were taught under discipline not to ever reveal who we were, especially in the south. There was, especially my grandmother was like fifties and sixties and many of the tensions down there, whether it be racial tensions or whatnot, was not something that you advertised. To this day my mom was like, she doesn’t like me telling people, however I have sisters who are literally practicing in Orthodox and Judaism in different states. And so, it gave me a good cultural blend of seeing Mormonism, a little bit of Christianity, as well as a world of Judaism that I was taught by my father and somewhat of his father. And then when I was in my twenties, I felt a very strong need to return to that understanding. Because the very things I saw in the Book of Mormon that converted me, were the very things I wanted to know more about. That’s when I’m going, okay, I need to go back to that. And that was when I did that, many things from the Book of Mormon began to open up.
Ken: Wow, now you’ve got a blog out. Tell us about your blog.
Robert: So, I do have a blog. It’s called mormonyeshiva.blogspot.com and so Yeshiva is like a school. So, I did get to attend one of those. I call it the yeshiva of Dad and Granddad who basically put you through the ringer and having to write endless papers. All the while you have to keep this quiet among people because it was very difficult in the southeast. It’s not very popular to let people know that, you know, you’re a Jew. And so, finally I mean, even when I joined the church, I was scared.
Ken: Has it been a challenge being in the church with that background?
Robert: Actually, the church has probably been the most welcoming place. It was a place where I felt a best of both worlds because I never felt at home in Orthodox Judaism and I never felt at home in Christianity.
Ken: How come, what was missing?
Robert: I wasn’t raised in the environment like my grandparents were, of observance to the extent of having separate kitchens, those kinds of things. We were raised to understand cusha? law, but cashroute? from a rabbinic perspective is very different than what you read from law of the Torah. So, that aspect of having that rabbinic tradition, I see it as being thankful not to be so immersed and exposed to it, but not living in it. That is a part. Even my nieces and nephews to this day who are in an Orthodox observant family, had that same struggle. It’s the cultural aspect can feel, especially to children, a little strangling, but at the same time, it’s also very rich. Now the Christian aspect. So, my mother’s mother was a Sephardic Jew. She married a Christian minister, which was normal in the south. Intermarriage was quite normal. And, so having that aspect of my grandfather teaching us about Christianity and about Christ, and I believed that because he also raised me for a part of my life. And so, having those two aspects, it was both a struggle in this, as a trying to determine who you were, where you fit in because you didn’t feel like you fitted in anywhere. And then at the same time as I grew older, I began to realize having exposure and those kinds of things was actually a gift, because I couldn’t tell the bishop in the ward. I was scared, and I was scared my father would find out. At the same time, I was scared my grandfather, my mother’s father would find out I joined the lds church or that I was the active there. And so, with them, it was difficult. But finally, as I got older and I really got into the church and went through some personal struggles, it was opened up to me was the fact of the church itself has a lot of good people. Every church does. But the lds church actually is more closely aligned. The people, the lds church, I think are more closely aligned and have more in common with families who are in a Jewish observant, Jewish home and Jewish practices than they realize.
Ken: Wow, that’s beautiful. Well, there’s a lot of things you’re going to be sharing that are more closely aligned than we realize. I’ve been so excited to see. Now you’ve been approached, I mean, as you know in Book of Mormon, one of the things that I’ve been actually quite concerned about is this ongoing, I hate to say the word – battle between the Geography question, where did the Book of Mormon happen. What about the DNA question? And you’ve actually been approached by groups from both parties, the Mezzo guys, the Heartland guys and you’ve got a bit of a scholarly background, but you’ve chosen not to really go down there. If you could maybe talk about that a little bit if you don’t mind.
Robert: Sure. So, I’ve been approached, I’ve done a couple of conferences for the heartland model. I’ve been approached by some gentleman who are involved, I guess with the Mezzo model and I tend to stay away from that for taking a firm position either way. While I tend to believe…
Ken: We’re the same way, by the way. We don’t care if it happened in North America, South America, Central America, we know it happened.
Robert: Yes. And while I tend to believe, or it makes in some ways a little more sense for the North American, they also have some good arguments too. But to me, you’re living here for a 1000 years and migration didn’t take place one way or the other?
Ken: Yeah, that’s got to be the case.
Robert: Exactly. So, at the end the day I look at it and say, well, what is more important? Is it the actual location? It is important, yes. But what is more important is the covenant message in the Book of Mormon. That is what we need more because whether I live in the United States or Mexico or South America, we’re all interrelated somehow.
Ken: Beautiful. So, two advanced degrees, talk about some of your schooling, if you don’t mind.
Robert: Okay. So, well my first schooling, I basically got my MBA in business as any true Jew would. But then what I wanted to do a number of years ago was to, I really had always wanted to go back and study in depth Semitic cultures and specifically Jewish studies, which while I was able to do partially with Jerusalem University and the University of Chicago, a program that they had, which I was able to tag on to my masters. Having family who are observant Jews also enabled me to talk to many observant orthodox rabbis. And, what I enjoyed was being able to learn from the varying traditions. So, people often think there’s only one Jewish tradition, actually, there are many Jewish traditions. And each tradition has preserved its own uniqueness, whether you have a Jews out of Poland or Ukraine, those of who are more of your Ashkenazi nature, who preserved more of the Lurianic tradition of Isaac Luria, that came that direction. Very unique tradition. A lot of teachings that are very similar to those things we find in the Book of Mormon and that in Judaism attributes to ancient day. And there’s the Sephardic tradition and other traditions that feed into that as well. And then I have family who are what we call Mizrahi Jews, and they are from the middle east; Iran, Iraq, Pakistan. And I’ve recently, because of a death in the family, had an opportunity to go, and we all met in California and while I was there I spent a week there and I was able to spend time with family members who are from the Middle East and we were able to discuss their tradition. I learned things, and I have a nephew who is from Ethiopic background for example, even I mean, we always wonder about the full valet of the different traditions of what they preserve. But I was talking to them about some of the names in the Book of Mormon such as Moroni. Well, in this case they present, well we have a word called Maroni. It means the fire of the mountain or the heart of the fire. And they said it’s still a name that is preserved in their tradition now yet in the Ashkenazi tradition. And you don’t hear anything about that, or even the Sephardic Jewish and you don’t hear anything about that.
Ken: You’ve done a lot of research. I mean you’ve spent hours and hours and hours and years, but yet you’ve chosen not to really go down the path of the typical scholarly model. Maybe talk about that, I mean they’ve got some constraints thereunder.
Robert: Well, I mean many of the…I have a lot of respect for the scholars and the professors and intellectuals. They also in my opinion, probably have some balancing acts that they have to walk. And so, I respect that they have to walk these things because they may be teaching at an institution, they may be trying to teach to a broader audience without getting too technical or too deep. Whereas by not going down that road and wanting to understand the uniqueness of each of the traditions, I have no desire to publish or perish. I had no desire to really spend time in the intellectual circles. Strangely enough, I love sharing these things. I find things in the scriptures that give me that I call that an Aha moment, that life that comes into you and you’re like, ah, I can see an eternal truth here. And then when I begin to see that, not only in the Book of Mormon, in the Torah and in other ancient, disciplines that are preserved by Judaism, I’m going, okay, if it’s here and if it’s here over, well then to find it with Joseph Smith, a person who is a non-Jew in a nonobservant culture in the 18 hundreds, shows me the hand of God.
Ken: That’s beautiful. Well, we’ve had a chance to interview so many wonderful scholars. We just, the other day we’re visiting with Joseph Spencer and we met with Ann Madison and Victor Ludlow, and it’s been just a wonderful thing to learn the different perceptions. There’s a lot of very different perceptions about the same thing, but you bring a new one. I know in the book of Mormon it talks about the ways and manners of the Jews are necessary to even understand what Nephi was thinking and particularly why he put in those Isaiah chapters. Our research is showing that’s one of the toughest obstacles for people to get through, are those Isaiah chapter. So, I think we’ve mentioned searchisaiah.org is our project and we’re really grateful you’ve been willing to join us and particularly everybody, what Robert’s willing to help us with in the near future. We’re going to start building some courses on how to learn and the way and manner of the Jews. Could you just give us a bit of an overview of what that even means?
Robert: Sure. So, we have to begin with the premise that Lehi and Nephi were Jews and that is probably the biggest misunderstanding. The term Jew, what does it mean? When we talk about a Jew, a lot of people believe that, okay, that means they’re just from the tribe of Judah. That’s actually not correct. By the time of Lehi, the northern kingdom had been gone for almost 200 years. The 10 tribes who were referred to as the 10 tribes were gone. But many of the residents of that northern kingdom fled to the southern kingdom for protection. So, you had a confederacy, a conglomerate of all these remaining remnants of these tribes in the southern kingdom. And they became collectively referred to as Jews. Okay, so like in my family, so I have a line that is Judah. I have a line that is also a [inaudible 00:15:53.21]line. So, if that’s the case, what am I? So, to a Jew, they’re going to say, well, you’re all Jews. You’re all from the southern kingdom, yet I’m not fully from Judah. And so, it’s one of those things that when you look at, that basic premise changes a lot, because if Lehi and Nephi are Jews and they’re working with the scriptures of the Jews, then they’re also learned in mannerisms and the pattern in which those scriptures are recorded. And there is a science and a discipline, a scribal sign and a discipline to the whole thing.
Ken: And you’ve been able to learn in the way of three or four different orders of the Jewish background.
Robert: Yes, and I have family members. If I have a question, some are in Israel, some are in California, some are in New York, I can call them up or text them and say, have you ever heard anything like this before? Tell me what you know about this. And what’s interesting is that you will see two different perspectives from two different traditions and yet they both have commonalities.
Ken: Wow. Now everybody, I hope if you haven’t already, that you’ll go out and you’ll take the Isaiah challenge. It takes about a minute and it asks you what level you’re at in terms of studying the scriptures. Level 1, now this is for our book of Isaiah, is you just skip it, you skip the Isaiah chapter, but that’s level 1. Level 2 is just skim it. Level 3 is you read it, 4 is study, 5 is search and 6 is search diligently, which is what Christ commanded us to do in 3rd Nephi and then level 7 is to feast upon it. Now I was so enthralled because when I saw you present, you talked about four basic levels of actually studying and it was just beautiful. We’ve had you give us a full presentation already on that, but can you just give us a quick summary of those 4.
Robert: Sure. So, there’s an acronym used in Judaism; Prds? And, the idea is…
Ken: Like, p a r…
Robert: P a r d e s. Okay, but they of course with the importance being on the continent.
Ken: The continent. So Prds?
Robert: Prds. So, [inaudible 00:18:14.29] is your literal level. So, here’s what I tell people, and this is, I understand the level one, literal, like you’re reading a book. So, if you’re going to read a book, obviously we do not speak the king’s English. And the Book of Mormon is drawing upon an older English that we’re not as familiar with. So, what I usually tell people to do, is don’t be afraid to look at a more modern translation while you read the Isaiah, so they can kind of give you an idea because we don’t have kerchiefs anymore. We don’t have these things.
Ken: We’re really stuck in that King James English as a latter-day saint culture, aren’t we?
Robert: We are. And there are good things about the King James, but because we don’t speak the King’s English or even Shakespearean English, what is helpful is to look at an alternate translation such as your English versions, your new living translations, and read them alongside. If you’re not reading for comprehension, it’s not going to do you much good.
Ken: So what level is comparative or side by side of those 4 levels?
Robert: So that would be your first shot level. So comparative, but right now to start with, I’m going to be reading at my literal level. So, if I need a literal translation to know historically what is going on, I need to understand the words that I’m reading. So, what I tend to do is, there are several things online, Esau, Blue Letter Bible, where you can pull up two screens together. You can read the King James version on one, you can read even the Hebrew on the other and you can read Standard Living Translation and you can go back and forth. Because translator bias plays a huge role, and their approach. So, to understand Isaiah, you want to at least understand who he is speaking to. So, it’s very literal. When you first literally read it, take off your Christ’s glasses. Take your Christianese glasses off, and put your Torah glasses on and say, this was given at a time when both kingdoms existed, both northern and southern existed. This prophecy literally has something to do with them. So, let’s understand what its literal application was at that time. That’s your first literal level.
Ken: So, your level one is ‘P’ literal.
Robert: So, [inaudible 00:20:33.20], there is more of your allegorical meaning. This has to do with metaphors. It’s also a technique used in Judaism where I may refer to something, a part of a scripture and yet refer to the whole thing of the scripture, so for example, if I were to say something like, love God, and you were to say, yeah, that’s the greatest commandment. But if I were to say that toward a Jew, [inaudible 00:21:00.09] the Lord our God, The Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength. So, the idea being, a prophet will often quote a portion of scripture and it occurs also in the Book of Mormon. They quote a portion referring you to back, it’s in their culture, it’s kind of understood, I say this word, oh, you know I’m referring to this and those are things that are in our culture that we kind of skip by
Ken: And you mentioned earlier, it always goes back to the Torah.
Robert: It goes back to the Torah, That’s their baseline. So, if you have the baseline, you have the key to unlock it. Like for example, when they talk about praying in the name. Okay, we in our culture say, literally say this in the name of the Lord. That’s our literal thing, but in a Hebrew culture, when we pray in the name, we’re talking about in the manner of this person, so if I pray after a manner of a Rabbi, when the disciples said, teach us how to pray, and they teach us how to pray in the name. It’s not just praying, saying in the name of the Lord, it’s, I’m praying in the manner in which, or after what he would ask for. Ideally, the best way to define it would be, I’m praying to fulfill his commandments. So, whatever you ask in the name, whatever you ask to fulfill God’s commandments, he will give you. So, level 3 is drosh. Drosh is using teachings or prophecies from sages in Israel that had been drawn upon to teach something in the present. So, in a sense Nephi is using this particular technique. These events that occurred in Isaiah already occurred once before. So now he’s taking specific portions and now he’s applying those teachings, those recorded prophecies to something that his people, his descendants will experience. And so now it’s understanding, okay, this is the pattern that occurred here.
Ken: That’s why Isaiah can be so challenging because all of his metaphors and types and shadows were all historical, but then he grabs them and has them be a symbol at counterpart to our day.
Robert: Exactly. So, like when I was redoing the Isaiah translation in the book of Mormon, I came across the idea of the hypocritical nation.
Ken: Wait, you’ve done an Isaiah translation of the Book of Mormon, a Hebrew translation?
Robert: A Hebrew roots translation of the Book of Mormon.
Ken: Tell us what that means. I’m jumping ahead, but this is cool.
Robert: Okay, so what I did was I… the Book of Mormon originally had no punctuation. It was the printers that added it. But if this is a truly Israelite book, it should be able to follow the scribal laws that can be applied without actually having the plates. And people say, but wasn’t it written in reformed Egyptian? And I said well, reformed Egyptian understand, still exist to this day. Even in Yemen, we have Egyptian demotic characters, but their Hebrew words are written in Egyptian demotic. And it’s there. They’re even calling it in Israel, reformed Egyptian, yet they’re not Mormon. So, I suspect that the book of Mormon was something similar. There are even legends that the original Torah was written in Hebrew but was written in Egyptian with Hebrew words.
Ken: Wow. So, what you’re saying is, you stripped out the punctuation…
Robert: Stripped out the punctuation.
Ken: And put words and concepts back to their Hebrew origin?
Robert: Well, what I did is, I took it back. I took out all the punctuation first, then what I began to do is use some of the scribal laws to allow the text to speak for itself. So, for example, in Hebrew, many things are written in what we call block pictures or block logic. So, it paints a picture for you and the commencement of a new word picture is, and it came to pass. So, every seat where you see that, and it came to pass, is the commencement of a new thought or a drawing of the new picture.
Ken: And the existing structure doesn’t always align with that.
Robert: Exactly. Because I think when we look at the traditional Book of Mormon, it’s written, I think to follow the pattern of many Bibles to enable a person to search back and forth very easily. But sometimes, things are chopped where they should not be chopped up. Ideas and an entire picture are broken up where they should not, which should not have been broken.
Ken: That aligns also with the chiasm contained within the [inaudible 00:25:36.13]
Robert: Yes, and I didn’t even do it for that reason. I was not looking for chiastic structures. It fell into place using those scribal laws. Now, like I said, not all could be used, but what was nice is, when I started look at word joiners, sometimes it was called [inaudible 00:25:48.00] that give me the natural breaks in the Hebrew. What was nice about it was that the parallelisms and the chiastic structures began to present themselves with very little… I did it just for the cost of printing and I literally did it just so that I could share it with other people because I wanted to see the book of Mormon for English speakers but placed into a format that was as close as an English speaker could get, because we don’t have the original…
Ken: Where do we get a copy of this if we want?
Robert: You can just go to Amazon for the cost of printing and it’s ‘Voices from the Dust.’ It was so large, I could not put it into one volume. It really was. So, 1st Nephi through the words of Mormon are one volume, then you have Mosiah and Alma are the second and largest volume, and then you have a healing him to the end as the third volume. So, three volumes, available right now on Amazon. Like I said, and it’s only for the cost of printing. The reason I did it that way is I always look at it that I don’t want to charge for God’s word. I mean, Amazon may have to charge for it, but for the printing…
Ken: So, we’re at three levels; P, R, D. Tell us about the fourth level.
Robert: So, sod is the highest and the deepest level. Sod has to do with those things that are referred to the divine council. It has to do with the progression or ascension of man. Man returning to the presence of God and how the instructions of how and what to do that.
Ken: So, is this the mystery, the greater things?
Robert: Partly, these are the mysteries. How it’s expressed in Israel’s, no one can reveal to you the sod level. What they can give you, are the keys to unlock the sod level, but to truly understand the sod level of the scriptures, it must be experienced. Revelation. So, for example, Nephi can listen to his father’s rendition of his vision, but Nephi had a sod level experience when he experienced that vision.
Ken: Like what Joseph Smith said, where he said, you can get more by staring into heaven for five minutes than you can by reading every book ever written on [inaudible 00:28:09.11]. That’s what we’re talking about.
Robert: That’s exactly what we’re talking about. So, what is encapsulated in there is, imagine a book, whether it be Isaiah or the book of Mormon, written in truly a Jewish fashion, so easy that a child could understand it, but layered with the most sublime knowledge designed to elevate man here on Earth, designed to bring back those conditions that we read about in 3rd Nephi, when the Lord comes to his people. He’s teaching you how to create those conditions of holiness but written in a truly Jewish form in also a symbolic form so that a person reading and has no real sincere desire won’t be condemned, but for those who do have a sincere desire and seek, they’ll be filled.
Ken: Now, we’ve got Isaiah on the brain right now, we’re so immersed in Isaiah, but we particularly wanted to bring out the Isaiah chapters in the book of Mormon. And we’ve talked about Christ, himself and 2nd Nephi 23, commanded us to search diligently. That sounds like a lot what we’re talking about here. This is the level to find the real meanings he’s trying to give us, the real blessings. I don’t think there’s any other book of scripture where Christ, himself has commanded us to do that, is there?
Robert: Well, no, not that I know of, but I will tell you this, it’s also important to understand the nature of Isaiah. Isaiah in Judaism, and of course, this is up for debate by some Rabbis, but traditionally it has been part of what we call [inaudible 00:29:44.07] literature, [inaudible 00:29:47.03], or the idea of literature that teaches a person how to enter into the presence of God. So, it’s written at all four layers at the same time. So, when people say it’s either this or this or this, and I go, yes, it’s all of them. And it’s done in such a manner that it’s like you really have to unlock it. But it’s also done so simply. So, imagine for example, you’re reading the book of Mormon, and you begin to read an Isaiah scripture. You understand that the very first thing that he’s doing is that Nephi is literally giving something here regarding instruction that he wants you to know. That’s the literal reading. So, you’re going to read the historical pattern and you’re going to get that there’s a pattern there. Then you’re going to realize, okay, what has been, shall be again. This cycle will repeat.
Ken: It’s that history versus our day.
Robert: Exactly. So, when cycles repeat, it won’t happen 100% the same way, but the pattern will repeat, and it will have a specific application to the person or persons who is to receive the record. So, in this case, these Isaiah chapters on the 2nd level are meant to teach a remnant of Jacob on this continent. A prophetic picture of what they will experience from their destruction, to their scattering, to their restoration as a nation. They were written to all of us. And each party’s role in that. But then on top of that, just like that, but wait, there’s more. But then on top of that, then you have in that those recorded writings of Isaiah, there are teachings from a drosh level that are borrowed from an even more ancient source. That comes with the searching, where does this source come from? What is he talking about? Is there a teaching from ancient Israel, more ancient than Isaiah, that we can draw from to help us understand that 3rd level? What is the principle that he’s trying also to communicate?
Ken: Well remind everybody, we bring up what we call Nephi’s journey, So, Lehi’s father has… this was about to be destroyed. Once the family get away, they go out in the wilderness just outside of Jerusalem. Come back three times, get the plates, go back, get the family of Ishmael. Then they go out into the wilderness.
Robert: A place of correction.
Ken: Okay, interesting. Eight years I’ve tried, it’s about a seven-month journey, it didn’t take eight years and he’s allowed to see the tree of life vision that his father saw and then an angel even comes and walks them through it. So, there’s like three walkthroughs in this tree of life journey here. And then he sees basically the same vision of John The revelator. But he said, “I was forbidden to say more.” So here he is, if what you’re saying is he’s trying to write for us, warn us, prepare us. He saw, but then he couldn’t tell us. And then all of a sudden everything stops with his narrative and he has to go build a ship or to make tools and sail to America…
Robert: Or what seems to be stopping. See, now this is where an understanding of ancient Hebrew science comes in.
Ken: So, there might be more to this, more levels of this.
Robert: So, a lot of times we read little statements, ‘and my father dwelled in a tent.’ Now we think, okay, Lehi, he’s camping, but the reality is, that is what we call an ancient marker. Anytime there is a temple teaching, you will be prefaced with,’ and my father dwelled in a tent.’ The michgan in the wilderness was a tented dwelling. Okay, my father dwelled in a tent, is referring me back to the Michgan in the wilderness. The Tabernacle in the wilderness. So, He’s given me a teaching on all those…
Ken: Brace yourselves, we’re going deep here.
Robert: Brace yourselves. Other words for those who have eyes to see, if he says, and my father dwelled in a tent, you know that there’s something right around that scripture he’s teaching you, that is to help you ascend to the promise land.
Ken: Some of the things you’ll guide us through in our little…
Robert: Sure, I can certainly share those things.
Ken: That would be beautiful. And then, so he’s wondering out there in the wilderness and all of a sudden, he gets to America, builds his ship, gets to America and the next thing he does is quote Isaiah. I mean, 1st Nephi, 20 and 21 is Isaiah 48 and 49. There must be something really important in there.
Robert: Well, and besides the very first three levels, then you miss the most important level, which is the sod. So, imagine he’s giving you a literal interpretation, he’s giving you a prophetic for-warning. He’s also teaching you key principals, but then, now comes the mystery of the heavenly. What knowledge is Isaiah, that particular portion of Isaiah, which is actually some of the most ancient teachings and important teachings that teach us how to connect with Heaven, that are encoded at that point. In other words, it’s not by happenstance. Their ancient knowledge encoded meant to both conceal as well as to reveal. If we understand that it’s meant to do that, not to trip anybody up, but so that a person out of mercy would not be condemned, who was insincere.
Ken: It’s almost like a parable.
Robert: Yes, imagine a parable while it has that other dimension. It also contains principles of, I know this sounds strange to us, principles of Math, principles of Geometry, principles for lack of a better word, I call a spiritual Science; that helps us in understanding if I were to restore people, what conditions would I want to be there. And those particular sections of Isaiah contain specific instructions that an Israelite, who is trained in that discipline would recognize.
Ken: Wow, that’s what you did, then you had the chance to grow up, trained in several disciplines in the manner and the ways of the Jews as it was your family culture. Will you take us through that culture? Will you help us as if we were your kids? I’m just excited. What a rare opportunity.
Robert: Well, I can certainly share, yeah, I’d be happy to share. The biggest things I look at is that these are things that have helped me. If they help someone, I think this is the biggest, like we’ve talked about it, about intellectualism that exist. There’s a difference between a person that’s in the publish or perish, and I understand that world as well. But the biggest part is I would rather share with you if you find value in it and it helps you, great. And if you don’t, you are always welcome to disregard. Strangely enough that even amongst some of the earliest teachings of the Jews at that same principle that the Book of Mormon reiterate has taught, it’s given to many to know the mysteries of God. Nevertheless, there laid under a strict command to impart only that portion. Now what is that portion? Well in the Israelite mind, and that was what was taught to me. It’s what you’re willing to receive. And if you’re willing, if any person is willing to receive, not to covet, but to bestow upon another, then more is given. So, if I’m here to receive from God, to bestow upon somebody else, then I receive more.
Ken: I see. So, if you give, you receive more. The more you give, the more you receive.
Robert: Yeah, and that’s the underlying principle behind loving God and loving your neighbor. I’m receiving from God to love you, therefore, I’m loving God because I’ve loved my neighbor.
Ken: A beautiful loop that continues to… Well, this is fascinating, so we’re going to invite Robert back. We’re going to roll up our sleeves, get more into a workshop style, and have him guide us through the ways and manners of the learning of the Jews of Israel. Is that okay?
Robert: Sure, sounds like a plan.
Ken: Thanks everybody for joining us today. Anything else you’d like to add, Robert? In fact, how about this? What’s the first thing we should do or start thinking just to get started, to prepare ourselves? I’m probably putting you on the spot, but where do we start?
Robert: I always tell people to start with simple words. Simple words such as faith and hope and charity. Don’t assume that you understand the meaning.
Ken: So, an open mind, I know all about an open mind.
Robert: What would a Jew’s definition of faith be? What would a Jew’s definition of hope be? I mean, Jews wrote the Book of Mormon. Maybe we should consider finding out what their definitions are.
Ken: So, the precepts or the thought processes we may have had, we might want to open them up and look again.
Robert: Just tweak them. Mormonism has a lot of amazing gifts. It’s not about one over the other. It’s about bringing the two together and taking the richness from both worlds.
Ken: Adding more to what we already have.
Ken: Thank you for spending time with us today. We’re going to be back. Next time we get together, we’re going to roll up our sleeves and jump in and learn as best we can along the lines of what Robert spent his whole life doing.
Robert: It sounds great.
Ken: Thanks again.
Robert: Thank you, sir.
Ken: You bet