Review of Sterling, Mack C. “Job: An LDS Reading.”

Sterling, Mack C.  “Job: An LDS Reading.”  In Temple Insights: Proceedings of the Interpreter Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference “The Temple on Mount Zion” 22 September 2012, edited by William J. Hamblin and David Rolph Seely, 99-143.  Temple on Mount Zion Series 2.  Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation / Eborn Books, 2014. [Israel/Mormon/Ritual/Covenant/Ascent/Presence]

This is a clear-eyed view of the book of Job, clearly and insightfully written.  Sterling sees the story of Job as a temple-text.  He proposes that “the book of Job is a literary analogue of the temple endowment ritual.”(p. 99).  The essay was enlightening and compelling.

In its most simple outline the story of Job parallels that of the endowment in that Job starts out in the prologue to the story very much like Adam and Eve are in the Garden of Eden, in the presence of God experiencing great blessings, but with limited comprehension. Job experiences something of a personal fall from this paradisaical state into a dark and bitter world where he loses nearly everything and is beset by three “friends” who serve as opposition to his quest to return and meet God.  His journey through the dreary wilderness is lonely, but he has “four great revelatory insights” that propel him forward in the quest, despite his own misunderstandings and doubts.  He prepares to meet God by binding himself “in covenant fidelity” to God and by withstanding a final onslaught by Elihu, who Sterling views as an emissary/symbol of Satan.  Finally, Job penetrates the veil and enters into the presence of God and a transformed life.

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