The question has come to me a few times: “What is this lachish thing? That is a strange name . . . what does it mean?”
Well, let me give you some history, and then you will know just how geeky I am.
It all started when I was a baby, and I learned to crawl without my head scraping across the floor . . . Wait a minute. That is too far back.
Actually it started when I went “on-line” with this new thing called the internet. I had been accessing wildcat BBS sites, gopher sites, and such for a while, but the first few times I logged into internet chat rooms to talk to other computer geeks, I realized I needed to have a nick. That is short for nickname for you chat-room challenged people out there. In case you are worried about the types of chat rooms I was spending time in, trust me, I was not in those chat rooms to improve my social life. I was in there for totally nerdy, linux, unix, command-line, and scripting, reasons. I am a computer geek.
By the way, you know what the difference between a nerd and a geek is, right? A geek has a personality. And they also bite the heads off of chickens in the traveling circus.
Anyway, it became apparent to me that I wanted to have a nickname, or login name which I could use all the time, and which nobody else in the world would ever use. It had to be so totally unique that nobody would even think of it. Not even my mother, who knows just how “different” I am.
Now I am going to get very serious. No more jokes here.
When I was in college, I took a fantastic class called “Honors Book of Mormon, with Hugh Nibley“. That class was a dream come true for me. It was like drinking doctrine and world history from a fire hose. This was a special occasion for Dr. Nibley too. He was retiring from teaching, and had decided to let the entire class be filmed. That is right, the entire class, all four semesters, was held in the basement of a building on campus, in a TV production studio. I attended the fall semester in 1988, the first of four.
You can buy the DVD releases of the four semesters at most any LDS bookstore. For those of you who have seen the first DVD for semester one, I am in the class audience. There is my proof. And because it makes me feel special, I want to tell you that I got an A- in the class. One Essay. No quizzes or tests. And I got an A-. I think I got points taken off from a full A, because Dr. Nibley had to correct some of my french quotes in the paper. Nice. He spoke more languages than I have fingers and toes, and he had no problem correcting my french.
At any rate, I developed a profound love and respect for Dr. Nibley. What an incredible man. I have said it many, many times since the class, that Dr. Nibley eternally impressed me with his smarts; I wish I could be just like him. But I was even more impressed by another thing about him: His testimony of the gospel. Unapologetic. Firm as granite. Full of fire. I could not give him and his writings a higher recommendation. He KNEW the gospel to be true, and although he was very deep, he wasn’t weird.
During that class I read quite a few things which he had written. One of those published works was called “The Lachish Letters”. I will let you go do the research on that if you wish. Basically it talks about some clay pot shards which had letters written on them, detailing the turmoil and problems within Judah as the area was about to be destroyed by invading armies from Babylon. The paper which Nibley wrote emphasized that these “Lachish Letters” were evidences supporting unique Book of Mormon characteristics and claims.
This paper, and the class, deeply impressed me. I had my own burning testimony of the Book of Mormon, but the fact that archaeology was finally coming up with other proofs, was very exciting to me. Since that time, additional important discoveries have been made. They have even found metal plates, bound by rings, in several places.
I chose the name “Lachish” for my user name, as a reminder of these things:
1. My testimony was forever strengthened by Dr. Nibley. It is a tribute to him.
2. Lachish is a city in ruin in southern Israel. It is a reminder to me, that unless I continually repent, I am also in danger of being destroyed.
3. I love the scriptures. I have just as strong of a testimony of the Old Testament and New Testament as I do the Book of Mormon and other scripture. It reminds me to read them often.
4. It is a great conversation piece. Let me tell you about what I believe . . .
I hope that was helpful, even enlightening. You now know why I call this blogsite “lachish-letters”. I hope I can do it justice.