The Book of Mormon states:
2 Nephi 27:31 For assuredly as the Lord liveth they shall see that the terrible one is brought to naught, and the scorner is consumed,and all that watch for iniquity are cut off;
In context, there are four things you should never do, and this scripture is at the heart of a warning.
- First, never aspire to preeminence,
- Second, never accuse or search for iniquity in order to accuse,
- Third, do not contend,
- Fourth, never coerce by force.
If it isn’t clear, the scripture refers to Satan and those who follow after him. As another notes, both “the terrible one” and “the scorner” are epithets applied to Satan.
Consider the story from Clementine Recognitions. [see more at here and here] where Peter seeks peace and his opponent, Simon Magus derides the thought, for he asserts (as the agent of the anti-Christ) that those in the right should use force. That debate is constantly played out all over the world, all over the internet and all over the Church with people accusing, looking for flaws and mistakes and valuing contention over peace.
In looking at that story and others, and in using them to seek the message of the Book of Mormon, the question that arises is: do we seek to force others, do we accuse others, do we scorn others? If so, to what are our hears aspiring? To what should we aspire instead?
And to actually fit the term “deconstruct” read the above with this in the margin:
Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
Alma 43:47 And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion.
Excellent point Clark, excellent point.
I was expecting more comment, maybe some disagreement, maybe a comment about conference and the talk about lifting where you stand ….
Especially with Clark’s help (note the date — this has been ready to go with that comment for a while) …
Ah well, maybe everyone agrees with one or the other of us. 😉
Maybe I should have posted http://ethesis.blogspot.com/2008/10/some-personal-essays-talk.html at Mormon Matters and this one at my blog.
Live and learn.
This is truly at the heart of Mormon Theology. When discussing the nature of God with fellow Mormons I sometimes ask, “Why did it take billions of years for God to create the earth? Why not just millions of years, or even better, why not just one second?” It often comes down to the idea that God commands and waits until he is obeyed. Agency is the great principle of action and inaction in God’s decisions and the respect of another’s agency is embodied in the principles you mentioned. If only I remembered this counsel better (using meekness and love unfeigned) my children would have a better father.
Kent, that reminds me of a poem that is at:
I really liked this post, Stephen.
Kent, your comment made me think. I really like this sentence:
“It often comes down to the idea that God commands and waits until he is obeyed.”
It really made my head snap back, and when I shared it with my wife her reaction was visible and physical. Thanks.
Too bad I missed:
until just now. I could have quoted from a talk I really liked (it was part of a set on tape I used to listen to while driving) where a guy has hauled his wife in to talk with a G.A. “tell her she has to do what I say because I have the priesthood.” “She doesn’t, and you don’t.” “What?!” “When you act that way, God withdraws from you.”
It goes on to apply D&C 121 to the issues, that having the priesthood has nothing to do with forcing or putting pressure on anyone, but more the serving with kindness and pure love. The call to preside is the call to serve and to wait.
Kent’s thoughts really bring the concept home. You just serve and wait.
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