Wednesday, January 20, 2016

This seems pertinent to the prophets issue

“It is a little dangerous for us to go out of our own sphere and try unauthoritatively to direct the efforts of a brother. You remember the case of Uzzah who stretched forth his hand to steady the ark. He seemed justified when the oxen stumbled in putting forth his hand to steady that symbol of the covenant.
“We today think his punishment was very severe. Be that as it may, the incident conveys a lesson of life. Let us look around us and see how quickly men who attempt unauthoritatively to steady the ark die spiritually. Their souls become embittered, their minds distorted, their judgment faulty, and their spirit depressed. Such is the pitiable condition of men who, neglecting their own responsibilities, spend their time in finding fault with others” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1936, 60). David O. McKay

This is an important point. 

The entire "prophets are fallible therefore I don't have to obey" is actually a distraction. Really the issue is "The prophets said something I don't like.

What do you do about that?

The scriptures would indicate (repeatedly and at length and with many, many examples) that it's not really a good idea to reject the prophets when we disagree with them. They would also indicate that it's not a good idea to "steady the ark"--correct their mistakes yourself, as if it is our personal jobs to keep the Church on track (our track, obviously...).

Given the scriptural emphasis on listening to and obeying the prophets, it seems like it might be a bad choice to reject the prophets when they say something we don't like, no matter how we justify it (it was a mistake, or they're going to change that one, or that makes no sense therefore it isn't right, or whatever).

So what do we do?

Perhaps start with an understanding of God.
       We know He knows everything.
       We know He has power to do whatever he needs to do.
       We know He loves us and is working for our good and our exaltation.
       We know He has greater vision and greater capacity for vision than we do.
       We know that we actually cannot comprehend what He can.
       We know He has ways to communicate with us.
       We know He gives us instructions, commandments, ordinances, etc., in order to help us.
       We know He has ways to re-direct us when we're going wrong (call us to repentance and whatnot).
       We know He sent Jesus to help us out and heal us so we could get through life, which is difficult and painful at its best.

Given what we know about God, we get to make a choice. Do we reject His servants? Do we ignore them? Do we try to agitate for reform as if God were not in charge? Do we point out how they are wrong now or all the mistakes they've made in the past?  Do we work our hardest to discredit them so we don't have to feel guilty for not obeying? Do you stick to your ideas with the assumption that you really do know best and couldn't possibly be mistaken?

Or do we remind ourselves that God loves us, He knows far more than we are capable of comprehending, He actually can redirect us if we're heading the wrong way (like a good parent would, actually), and if we follow Him even when it doesn't make sense, the understanding can come?  Do you assume that you might possibly be wrong?

What's the wisest course of action, pride or humility?

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