David Ridges – Where His Interest in Isaiah Started

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David Ridges explains what peaked his interest in Isaiah

Kelsey Wilding: So, where did you get your interest in Isaiah?

David Ridges:  My interest in Isaiah came when I was teaching seminary and every time we had a segment or a little bit of unit on Isaiah I felt bad because I had read that if you really have the Spirit, Isaiah would become plain to you and that certainly wasn’t that case for me.  And so, I felt bad that I didn’t really understand Isaiah except for the very basics, which we all quoted like, Isaiah 1, 18, ‘Come now, and let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow,’ and so forth.  I love that, but one summer, I was attending a summer class for CES teachers at the Institute of Religion, brother Ellis Rasmussen, of the religion department of BYU, was our teacher for a special unit of Isaiah, and the very first day the first thing he did after introducing himself and kind of getting acquainted with us, he quoted the first verse of Isaiah 53, and then looked up at us, and where it says, ‘Who hath believed our report,’ and he just looked up and said, what this really means is who believes us prophets anyway.  And that for some reason just struck a chord, just resonated with me, and I said to myself, it was an ‘aha’ moment for me, I said, ah Isaiah can be understood.  So, I took lots of notes, writing in my Scriptures while brother Rasmussen was teaching us that summer.  It intrigued me and I went on in that time to study several others, but especially brother Nyman when he wrote his book, ‘Greater the words of Isaiah,’ and then probably my favorite of all would be Victor Ludlow book, ‘Isaiah Prophet, Seer & Poet’,  because he explained things in ways that I could understand, and he gave great references, he broke it down to simple English for me and that really got me going.  After that I ended up teaching Isaiah at education weeks several times for many years.  And I also, as an institute teacher at the Institute of Religion, I was given permission to do some Isaiah verse by verse classes, and the students that signed up for those, really wanted it and so I just had them use their use their scriptures and put little notes right in their scriptures, and when a student would miss, and this is important because this kind of got me into the part where I was doing the book, ‘Isaiah made easier’, but when they would miss a class for whatever reason, their scriptures by now were technicolor.  I had them mark different colors for different things, whatever they wanted to do, but just differentiate scriptures as you know they have a lot of extra space in it, so we did what I called micro scrunching and later they would have to have a magnifying glass to be able to read what they wrote when they got older.  But any rate, once one of our students would miss class and they would come back and say brother Ridges, what do I do, look at my scriptures, they were technicolor and then blank, nothing in one chapter or two chapters.  And so, I took pity on them and I started downloading that chapter from the web and then I would type in verses, little preface notes and also between verses so that they could take that and write those notes in their scriptures, basically covering what we had covered in class, and I’d even do a lot more verbally in class than you can ever capture in Scriptures but the essentials for understanding them were right there and so at the end of that semester, I had those chapters of Isaiah all written out on the computer with notes in the verses and in between, and then one of my friends got a hold of that and encouraged my wife and  me to publish that and he was wealthy and he said if it doesn’t sell or whatever, I’ll just buy them all, so you won’t be out of any money.  That is a pretty good gift.

Kelsey Wilding: That is a pretty good gift, yeah.

David Ridges: And then, so we did, and then I was very busy at the time because of my Ecclesiastes following and working on several other things, and so I let that go, I didn’t republish it, just didn’t have time.  Then in 2001 I guess, an editor for CFR publishing that lived in our ward, ran into my wife at the produce department at the local grocery store, and he asked her if I would be willing to maybe write for their publishing company and she said, yeah, I think so.  And then she told me, and I said, yeah, I think that’s a pretty good idea.  I was just ready to retire from CES, after teaching thirty-five years and so they published Isaiah, my book on ‘Isaiah made easier’, both in the book of Mormon, all the book of Mormon chapters, and all of the Bible chapters of Isaiah.  And they were a little reluctant because that’s not really the most popular subject, but it actually worked, and the rest is history. They kept me writing and I kept writing and I’m still doing that.  I have written thirty-three books thus far.

Kelsey Wilding:  Are you writing anymore?

David Ridges:  Right now, I’m mainly working with you guys.  I did just do a book of Mormon chronology chart and that’s gone to press now, a simplified book, but I don’t know what’s next, I’m not done yet I don’t think, but I’ll find out.

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I’m a connoisseur of the esoteric, whether in scripture or desserts. Isaiah’s air of mystery reaches through the ages to draw me in and compels me to uncover his ancient mysteries. While design is my calling, occasionally I lend my words to Searchisaiah.org.

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