7/09/2008

I like Mormon Blogs.

I really like Mormon Blogs. I recently found a whole bunch with interesting discussions. This is a long comment I wrote on one of them, because I thought it was interesting. This one asked the question:

Where do we draw the line, or define when counsel from the brethren applies to us and or when counsel does not? Maybe some would have to define “brethren” first. What about the Bishop? or the Stake President? What if they counsel us (either in a general meeting or privately) or extend a calling to us? Do we accept, no questions asked? If we like it then do we accept, if we don’t then do we have to “pray about it”?

Here is what I wrote:

This discussion reminds me of a conversation I had with my brother about polygamy. Being from New England, I grew up as the only latter-day saint in my high school (not counting my brother and sisters), and I was frequently asked questions about it. Being so outnumbered, I found myself using defensive tactics to respond to their, “How many moms do you have?” types of comments. I would argue that some marriages were custodial, that there was a severe depletion of men in that area, that polygamy has been renounced as a practice since 1890…but it never sat very well with my insides.

It wasn’t until talking about it with my brother that I realized I had been wrong in my approach towards this subject. I had always tried to rationalize the doctrine on my own, however my brother described his experience (just for context, realize that I had never previously described my frustration about understanding this doctrine. Polygamy happened to come up, and he volunteered his testimony without knowing my feelings about it) - of praying for a testimony of the doctrine of polygamy. He described receiving a strong testimony that it is a true principle, and of God when practiced correctly.

I agree with lots of people who have posted comments, so I’m afraid I’m not offering much “new” here, but I want to restate the idea in my own words: I believe that when we receive counsel from leaders (anywhere - seminary, General Conference, the temple endowment, sacrament meeting, personal interviews, etc.) we should not try to rationalize the counsel, but rather humble ourselves and pray with faith to know if the counsel is true.

Yes, we should ask questions - but to whom? Certainly not another mortal. We should ask our Heavenly Father; he knows us and our needs.

I am convinced that oftentimes we can receive revelation that includes a rational explanation for doing something. A personal example: dressing modestly. I’ve always felt like it was a good idea, because I feel more comfortable with the way men look at me, because of the way I act differently, etc. however, more important than searching for a rational reason for following counsel from prophets and leaders is gaining a personal testimony of the truth of their counsel. I think this means that there WON’T always be a rational explanation behind every principle. This is the time for using faith; not faith in our prophets, but faith in Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father’s perfect understanding and love for us. This makes sense to me; I don’t go to the GA’s when I have issues with the lace on my G’s or sustaining Priesthood in Priesthood meetings only. I go to Heavenly Father, and he answers my prayers with feelings of comfort and assurance that what I am doing is right, even though I don’t understand why.

It should be noted that Heavenly Father answers prayers in his own way, in his own time, and that he does this out of the deepest, most perfect love for us, his children. So the answer doesn’t come right away; that means I need to continue praying, and obeying.

I think there will be times that we must seek for personal revelation about a specific matter, like spending time with your non-member mother on mother’s day, or whether or not it actually is right for you to take the calling that has been extended to you. Or what about the decision of who to marry? I certainly would have to get on my knees and ask Heavenly Father if it’s right if a Prophet told me who I am supposed to marry!

I know this is a long comment, so I hope you’ll read. I just want to say that although I don’t understand everything about the temple, I do understand the feelings I have inside the temple, and I know it’s very good. If you get on your knees and sincerely, humbly ask Heavenly Father to help you gain faith that it is good, He will answer your prayers, and you will know that it’s good, too. I specifically worded this as an if-then statement, and not a for-all-of-you-who-struggle statement, because it’s something that EVERYONE should do. Continually, faithfully, fervently. Isn’t that the definition of religion?

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That's the end of the comment. For the record, it's not me who has the issue with lace on garments, but a close friend. Also, there were several commenters on the post who said they just don't understand the temple and the only way they can stay active is to not go, but do all the other things. I wrote that last comment to address that issue.

And then, I felt compelled to directly answer the questions:
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So, Don, a direct answer to your questions:
When people who have stewardship over us give us counsel, direction, advice, extending of callings, revelation, prophecy, new programs/doctrine/scripture, commandments, etc. we must always ask Heavenly Father to help us know that it is true.

However, the principle of D&C 58:26 also suggests we must also sustain our leaders through our ACTIONS.

This is how I feel comfortable going about the process: first, praying to Heavenly Father to help me know that what I am about to do is true, good, of God, etc.
second, do what I am counseled to do.

Note that I never included where I need the answer to my prayer to be. It could be before, it could be while I’m praying, maybe right after, maybe weeks later. But actively sustaining my priesthood holders DOES mean actively following their counsel, WHILE ALSO actively asking my Heavenly Father to help me know it’s right.

Note also that I specifically did not say to ask Heavenly Father why in the heck I’m doing something that I don’t understand, but instead to gain faith of it’s truthfulness. He will answer in his way.

Sometimes, though, I am not “a wise servant”, and my mortality requires LOTS AND LOTS of prayer before doing whatever it is. These are times when I will pray more fervently, and trust more closely in my feelings, praying not just for faith in the principle, but faith in my faith.

I think that often you do not gain a testimony of a principle until you actually DO it. So, instead of being unwise, I think we should try our hardest to continually ask Heavenly Father for help while actively doing our best to sustain counsel from His prophets on earth by obeying their counsel.

2 comments:

  1. Hey, that's cool that you like to read Mormon blogs! There are so many that it's hard to keep up with all of them. We should pick out a couple of them and read/comment on them together!

    ReplyDelete
  2. David H. SundwallJuly 10, 2008 at 7:44 AM

    You can find more at www.mormon-blogs.com and submit you're own if you wish.

    ReplyDelete

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