NoCoolNameTom’s 25 new scripture mastery verses

For the first three months of this year, NoCoolNameTom has been translating scriptures into Greek, and giving context around the 25 scripture mastery verses.  Beyond just being awesome to actually see the options for translation, and getting a good feel for which ones are twisted out of context, and which are fairly accurate, he has explored the ideas of “Why this verse” compared to others.

This week, he posted his own suggested list of 25 New Testament scripture mastery scriptures for teenagers struggling to go through Junior High/High school without specific Mormon rhetoric.  I think this list touches the TBM, the NOM, the agnostic and the atheist in illustrating what teenagers need to hear as well as illustrating how much damage the current seminary program does to teenagers already struggling.

Regardless it is thought provoking and worth reading.

Full list here:

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25 Responses

  1. Andrew S. says:

    I had been paying attention to the series via RSS, and I loved each entry. Thanks for making this post to raise more attention to it.

  2. chanson says:

    @2 same! Is it really over?

  3. Seth R. says:

    I like all his suggested verses.

    I was concerned with one thing however. All his verses are focused on pretty-much the “I’m OK and you’re OK, and that’s OK” message. Basically – doesn’t matter what you’re doing – Jesus loves you – the end.

    I don’t think that’s a realistic message to send alone to any demographic of humanity – teens included.

    Because people do bad things. If you just raped a girl and aren’t sorry about it – the message “well Jesus loves you anyway” is NOT the right message.

    Any message that tries to sweep the reality of human deficiency under the rug cannot be said to be honestly addressing the human condition. That’s nothing more than denial.

  4. Parker says:


    I think Russell Nelson has already give the “Jesus’s love is conditional” sermon, which according to reports at the time even made some of his associates uncomfortable.

  5. Seth R. says:

    Well sure – and I’m one of the first people to dislike the Mormon culture of “works righteousness.”

    But on the other hand, over the years, I’ve increasingly started to see the “Jesus loves me unconditionally” movement as insufferably self-serving.

  6. Parker says:

    Good point–after all religion is self serving. I like your perceptive insights.

  7. Seth R. says:

    Actually, the “Jesus love me” movement is pretty strongly anti-religion.

    It’s not hard to find examples. Just go on any forum where Evangelicals and atheists are fighting with each other and you’ll inevitably hear something like the following exchange:

    Atheist: Religion is corrupt
    Evangelical: I agree – religion is corrupt. That’s why I’m not religious, but a follower of Jesus.

    It’s almost like a bog-standard non-denominational conservative Christian rejoinder to atheist criticisms of religion. “I’m not religious.”

    Thing is – a lot of Protestants actually are fairly anti-religious. They hate organized religion and are relentless in their condemnations of such corrupt man-made institutions. I had to deal with a lot of them when I was skirmishing several years ago over on the Evangelical anti-Mormon circuit. They have a sort of knee-jerk hostility toward all ritual, hierarchy, system, tradition, or ceremony in general. All of which they view as restrictions on their open free-form practice of spirituality.

    So when you claim that the “Jesus loves me” movement is “religious” Parker, you have to take this movement into account.

    Anyway however, I see little difference between such Christians “doing their own thing” and a secularist “doing their own thing.” Both of them have made some significant break with tradition, regulation, rules, and ritual. Both hold the older more social models in contempt. And both are rather fanatical about personal liberty and free expression.

    In fact, I often have a hard time telling the difference between the two half the time.

  8. Holly says:

    @3, @5, @7–

    Oh my god, he can suck the interest out of and poison ANYTHING, can’t he.

    You leave sentiments like that to fester in religion and the whole world is going to end up hating it. It’s amazing there’s anyone who still values religion with people like him pissing in the well.

  9. Chris F. says:

    Here’s the thing about organized religion. Religious texts have been translated, editted, and interpretted, and not to mention written, by several men before it got to its current form. Religions are built around another man’s interpretation of those religious texts. The farther you get from the source, God himself, the more imperfect and twisted the meaning becomes. Following a specific religion is basically relying on the imperfect interpretation of an imperfect text by an imperfect man. It’s like playing a several millenium old game of telephone.

  10. Seth R. says:

    Problem is – if you aren’t with other people, and interacting with them – then you aren’t even remotely near God. No matter how much meditating you’ve been doing down by the river.

  11. Parker says:

    Seth, I’m not really sure what kind of word generation program you used to construct #7, but I think it shorted out. The Jesus loves me movement is anti religious? Just what do you think the Christian religion is founded upon? What I can hardly wait to hear is how you deal with all of the Jesus loves me/you assertions in General Conference.

  12. Seth R. says:

    Parker, the “Jesus loves me” movement is actually deeply anti-organized religion in many sectors. Which you figure out pretty quickly if you spend any amount of time debating with them.

    It’s become a bit of a fad in certain Protestant circles to identify the word “religion” with the corrupt man-made component of worship, and to renounce it.

    I’ll await a response from you more substantive than shaking your head in confusion and hand-waving.

  13. Andrew S. says:

    re 11,


    you may be unfamiliar with it, but it’s an entire phenomenon of people who say, “I don’t have a religion, I have a relationship with Christ.” I think this phenomenon mostly comes as a response to the current falling out with mega-churches and the trappings therein — so now, the emphasis is on “personal relationship”

  14. Chris F. says:

    Parker @11- My take on Seth’s arguments @7 is that saying “Jesus loves me” is incomplete. It would be more accurate to state “Jesus loves me no matter what”, which is taken to mean “I am free of the structure and moral code presented by organized religion because no matter what I do, Jesus will still love me.

    I could be wrong though.

  15. Seth R. says:

    Chris, that is often what I’ve found to be the theme. However, you won’t get most to admit that second part. The – “I’m free from the… moral code” part. They tend to skim over that when confronted about it. But it’s hard to avoid concluding the rejection of moral restraint when so many of them cite escape from moral restraints as their prime motivation in embracing this idea.

  16. Parker says:

    Thanks, I am unfamiliar with the “Jesus loves me movement.” I am hearing here is that there are people who profess a relationship with Jesus, but no affiliation with organized religion. They are somehow distinct from people who profess a relationship with Jesus through and within organized religion. (That is an assumption). So if you say “Jesus loves me” within the boundaries of a Church, that is acceptable, but outside of Church it is unacceptable? Is that what Seth is saying, even though he seemed to be including anyone who says Jesus loves me, or that teaches that Jesus has unconditional love.

  17. Holly says:

    OK, not having heard about this before, I took a while to check out NCNTom’s translations and analyses, and I have to say, the project is really, really cool!

    It’s occasionally hard not to be jealous of the incredible resources available to people now. Not quite sure how a curious seminary student would find his site, but I can imagine it being very useful. Partly because I have a good memory and stuff like this is easy for me, and partly because I liked winning prizes, and partly because I was obsessed with being a scriptorian, I was extremely invested in the whole scripture memorization thing in seminary. I was scripture chase champion at my seminary every year we had one–I even competed in a regional scripture chase competition–and every year but my freshman year I won a prize for memorizing and passing off all 40 scriptures (yes, there used to be 40, and at least some of them were LONG, like all of D&C section 4) over night.

    And I thought about the scriptures I memorized, and thought some of them were icky and weird, and wondered why someone at CES thought it was a good idea to have us memorize them. Something like NCNTom’s project, offering so much insight and analysis, would have been really welcome.

  18. Seth R. says:

    Parker, I was talking about the excesses inherent in a movement.

    One of those excesses being the tendency to reject certain varieties of human company.

  19. Holly says:

    re: the whole “Jesus loves me whatever my religious affiliations or lack thereof”–well, Paul did say, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” in Galatians 3:28, so however annoying Seth and other curmudgeons might find it, there’s a reasonable biblical basis for saying that Jesus doesn’t care about your religious identity.

    But no one has bothered to point out that Seth’s wrong in this:

    All his verses are focused on pretty-much the “I’m OK and you’re OK, and that’s OK” message. Basically – doesn’t matter what you’re doing – Jesus loves you – the end.

    it’s just not true. I mean, look at this: 1

    Matthew 6:19-21

    19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

    How on earth does that convey, “Jesus loves you no matter what you do–the end”?

    or this 2:

    Matthew 7:7-8

    7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

    or this 3:

    Matthew 11:28-30

    28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

    I mean, sure, Christ is offering solace. but he’s not saying, “Hey, rapists and murderers! I can show you how to justify all your sins!”

    Or this 4

    John 11:35

    Jesus wept.

    or this 5

    John 13:34

    A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

    Yeah, that’s totally “Jesus loves you no matter what–the end.”

    Or this 6

    1 Corinthians 13:11

    When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

    or this 7

    Galatians 5:22-23

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

    or this 8

    Philippians 4:8

    Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

    or this 9

    Ephesians 2:10

    For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    or this 10:

    1 Timothy 2:5

    For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

    or this: 11

    Hebrews 13:5

    Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

    or this 12:

    James 1:5

    If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

    or this 13:

    1 Peter 3:15

    But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.

    or this 14:

    1 John 1:7

    But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

    or this 15:

    Revelation 3:20

    Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

    These scriptures are NOT all ‘focused on pretty-much the “I’m OK and you’re OK, and that’s OK” message.’ Instead, they stress righteousness, a loving and open heart, and work. They teach basic christian doctrine.

    I numbered them to show that not only is Seth flat-out wrong in what he says ALL of NCNTom’s “verses are focused on pretty-much,” but that it’s not even true that that’s what MOST of the verses are focused on.

    Seth sometimes professes to regret when he gets us off-topic. Here, he was never on topic. He was always wrong. So why are we basing so much of our conversation on his completely inaccurate assertion? His spleen and his spirit of contention mar the discussion from the first moment he comments.

  20. chanson says:

    Here, he was never on topic. He was always wrong. So why are we basing so much of our conversation on his completely inaccurate assertion?

    Well, MSP doesn’t really have a stay-on-topic rule. Even if TCNTom’s verses weren’t ‘focused on pretty-much the “I’m OK and you’re OK, and that’s OK” message,’ that could be an interesting discussion topic.

    Seth’s topic is actually a little more closely related to your new post.

  21. Seth R. says:

    Chanson, contrary to what some may think, I actually don’t enjoy debating the gay marriage topic whatsoever. It’s a topic I feel forced to debate, because of the real harm our societal trajectory is presenting to my family and my children’s future. Gay marriage is part of that problem.

    But I don’t enjoy the topic whatsoever. Nor do I enjoy the unhinged irrational hatred I get subjected to by people who hypocritically claim to part of the “tolerant side” every time I weigh in on it.

    Some other time.

    I only have so many of those sessions in me at any given time.

    So yes – I saw the post. And no – I’m not participating.

  22. Andrew S. says:

    See, when you try to present your opposition to gay marriage in terms of “real harm” to YOUR family and YOUR children’s future, you shouldn’t be surprised when people want you to back that up, and when they aren’t amused when they find that you can’t or just don’t want to.

  23. Seth R. says:

    Andrew, there’s a difference between presenting reasons that people don’t agree with and not presenting reasons at all.

  24. Suzanne Neilsen says:

    And the majesty and depth of those reasons are on full display by the proponents in the Prop 8 trial.
    ” But Your Honor, you don’t have to have evidence for this from these authorities.”

  25. Holly says:

    Chanson 20:

    Well, MSP doesn’t really have a stay-on-topic rule. Even if TCNTom’s verses weren’t ‘focused on pretty-much the “I’m OK and you’re OK, and that’s OK” message,’ that could be an interesting discussion topic.

    I know. Which is one reason I find Seth’s “Hey, we’re off-topic here! Who did that?” protestations so annoying, particularly when it’s pointed out that he’s responsible.

    The majority of commenters here don’t care if a topic evolves–I dare say many of us like it, in fact. But Seth says he cares, so I’m pointing out another place where he’s gotten us off-topic. That way, you know, if he really does care, maybe he could stop.

    Seth @23:

    Andrew, there’s a difference between presenting reasons that people don’t agree with and not presenting reasons at all.

    Not in your case, Seth.

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