The Egypt trip was amazing. Life changing and bowel changing. I thought that I would be strong stomached but I was hit by the curse of the mummies and it was fun, but everyone bonded in their weakness...of bowels. I think we could count on one hand the number of people who did not get diarrhea while there. I feel like everyone is like a family now. So on the way to Egypt we stopped at a Jewish Kibutz where they live a life that is not dissimilar to the law of consecration.
It was really interesting.
Other things we sas on the way down included some places where Abraham had lived that had thousands of years of history just screaming from the stones (like Beersheba). We saw where the Israelites stopped while wandering in the wilderness. Talk about wilderness! Desert WASTELAND. I have no idea how the Israelites survived in that for 40 years. This wasteland forced these people to rely completely on God. I guess we all have our wastelands that point us to God.
We went to Giza/Cairo on the first night in Egypt and got to see the Sound and Light show where they light up the pyramids and the sphinx at night. It was amazing to see these huge monumental buildings lit up at night. We got up the next morning and went to see the three great pyramids and the sphinx in the day time. They only let 150 people in every day and we had 80 in our group so we had to go early to get in line. It was worth it though and it was blazing like Vegas or Phoenix and there were vendors everywhere. We went inside the biggest one and I almost suffocated because there is virtually no ventalation and tons of people going inside at once so you breathe in everyone's CO2, but it was totally worth it becuase when do you get to go inside of this pyramid again?! Actually, these pyramids were tourist attractions when Moses was there. Seriously they are old and I'm not joking about the Moses thing. We saw some other things and bought some Papyrus from a factory there in Cairo. I waited till Luxor to buy mine and I am glad, becuase everyone got ripped off in Cairo (to some extent).
(this is what it looked like from our hotel)
The next day we went to Luxor and had an unmatchable experience. We had two and a half days in Luxor. This is when everyone got sick like dogs. You cant drink the water or eat the fruit or anything fresh. I was on a diet of stright carbs. Bread, noodles, potatoes etc. It was crazy too because we stayed in some nice hotels where it looked like you were on a cruise the food was so good. It was funny because their salad bar remained untouched because all 80 of us knew it was unsafe. Some people disobeyed and paid the price. I obeyed but still got hit. Ok, Luxor in a nutshell.... like I said, we stayed in an amazing hotel on the nile and rode Falucca boats up the nile to a place where we rode camels through a village and sailed back on the nile to our hotel. The poverty there was enough to throw you into shock. Worse than anything I saw in Chile, and it was bad there too. On the boad ride back to the Hotel, some jumped in and got even sicker.
We saw the temples of Karnak and Luxor (both in Luxor which was formerly Thebes). Karnak was my favorite of everything in Luxor. It's the one in the picture where I am standing by the huge pilars. There are so many similarities between our temple ceremonies and what is all over the walls of Egyptian temples. I will show you later with pictures I have taken of it all. Wow. It was amazing. I will blog on it later the next time i go to Hebrew U. We also went to the Valley of the kings...this is where all the Pharaoh mummies were found including King Tut. It was amazing too. Temple stuff on these walls too. They knew EVERYTHING, and wrote it on their walls...they just didn't have the priesthood even though they acted like it. We went to the place near there where we get some of what we have in the Pearl of Great Price. (pit tomb 33). This is said to be the place where Anthony Lebolo retrieved the mummies and manuscripts that eventually ended up in the hands of Joseph Smith who then translated them into the writings we have today in the Book of Abraham. I thought of all the things in the book of Abraham from which I base much of my motivation to be righteous. I actually (accidentally) dropped my scriptures in the dirt there. I can't get it all out, but I kind of think it is cool to have dirt from the place it is from in the pages and binding of my representation of the real manuscript.
We also went to Hapshetsut's temple complex (picture on the blog) which also had lots of initiatory inklings on its walls. We shopped a little in this market that was really cool at night and then took a midnight train from Luxor to Cairo over night. That is when my bowels were wonderful. Wonderfully loose that is! AHH. Yuck I know. The next day we had sacrament meeting (on a Friday). In the same day, we went to a museum where they had all this cool stuff that was taken from the tombs (king TUT was amazing!) The real thing. Wow. But...The number 1 coolest thing is that they had the actual body (mummy) of Ramses II - the man who may have shook Moses' hand. If it was Ramses II though...think of it! I saw the face of the man who saw Moses and who Moses was afraid of when he said to God "who am I to speak to Pharaoh..." He was VERY WELL preserved. Just looked like an old man, hair and all. Here is a picture of the net of him. That was amazing. We went to Hard Rock cafe and then to the largest open air market in the world (on the same day as sacrament meeting so it was a weird day and i had a huge headache, but it was worth it).... We drove from there to Sinai the next day. Jacob was actually mummified too but I guess he is already a resurrected being so he would be a little more glorious than this guy!
We saw lots of desert and some of the Red Sea here and there. We stopped at some of the places where Moses and the Israelites would have stopped in the Exodus. Rephidim was my favorite. The sun was just going down and we saw the traditional place where Moses held up his arms while Joshua and the Amalekites battled below. We got to the hotel in the middle of a bunch of mountains at nightfall.
We awoke at 2 am and hiked up Mount Sinai with beduins and watched the sunrise from the top. There were camels passing us the whole way up until the final ascent. The whole time I was thinking about what Moses would have been thinking as he ascended this mountain. You can watch the time lapse video of me hiking down after the sun came up and I will post more pictures soon.
I have been reading Truman G. Madsen's book called The Highest In Us. Reading this book has caused me to think much about becoming the Andrew Scot Proctor who God is familiar with. It takes you through all of these evidences of why we are more than just organisms who live for about 70 years and that's it. I was asked to be the student who gave the devotional at the top of the mountain. I was so exited that I read Moses 1 and Exodus 3 the night before. I am so glad I did. I thought about the Lord appearing to Moses there, but also about how Satan was appeared there. I came up with a new reason for why Satan came. God wants us to become the highest person we can become. Moses ascended to this highest place and God was going to teach Moses about who he really was and what he could become. Satan didn't want this to happen so he came too. God said: "Moses My son..." declaring that he was divine offspring. Satan said: "Moses son of man..." saying that Moses had no divinity within him. But Satan was cast out and Moses was shown everything: "worlds without number". God showed Moses that He was really God, and then He told Moses that His whole purpose was to help him to become the same. In other words God said: Moses, look at what I have done as a god, you are capable of doing this. And, oh, by the way...helping you to get to that point is what I work on all day every day..." OR "This is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39).
It was neat thinking of this on the top of this huge mountain where this all happened. After this grand theophany, Moses finally understood who the highest in him was. Who is the highest in you? How is Satan trying to distract you from becoming your highest self?