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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Virtue of Obedience

Obedience is best defined in connection with the context in which it is displayed. For example, obedience on the part of a prisoner to the rules of the prison is very different from obedience as demonstrated by a Latter-day Saint in deference to God. It is the obedience to the Word of God of which I speak and have used this post to elaborate on the symbolism and substance of the trait.

Obedience displayed by children of a Heavenly Father is the embodiment of love, appreciation and sense of humility and deference. These characteristics naturally come as a result of submitting to God and acknowledging that without Him we are nothing. Faithfully obeying commandments, scriptural teachings and the leaders that God has appointed on Earth is a way of honoring our Heavenly Father and acknowledging the infinite sacrifice that He provided for His children.

It is true that some mistake obedience for a lack of judgment, intellect or curiosity. They foolishly see their challenges to ecumenical authority as enlightened, noble or progressive. Worse yet, they mock and denigrate those members who seek to faithfully adhere to God's counsel.

The truth is that obedience is superior intellect, transcendent enlightenment and represents the epitome of wise judgment. Understanding these facts is simply a matter of recognizing what saints do when they obediently follow God. Showing obedience to God's omnipotence and infinite wisdom is to acknowledge that knowledge and truth come from one source and that source is God. Obedience naturally results from the earnest pursuit of following commandments diligently seeking to understand God's plan. Through such efforts, these Latter-day Saints grasp the depth of knowledge required to recognize that God's perception of truth is simply beyond their ken.

The life of the Savior and his eternal sacrifice is the single most powerful example of the importance of obedience. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus provided the example for obedience that is as unmistakable as it is poignant. The Savior of Mankind pleaded with our Father in the garden and sought His divine aid. The prayer recorded in the 26th chapter of Matthew provides a clear and unmistakable teaching regarding obedience:

39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and aprayed, saying, O my bFather, if it be possible, let this ccup pass from me: nevertheless not as I dwill, but as ethou fwilt.
Many will insist that obedience to God demonstrates a lack of enlightenment or is somehow intellectually weak. Still more will insist that God has given his children intellect that should be exercised in critically analyzing direction provided by ecclesiastical leaders. Latter-day Saints should be wise of such a ruse that can only lead to offense and apostasy. No good can ever come from attempting to sway other members of the church to oppose God's apostle.

With respect to the question of seeking answers to complex questions posed in our society today it is important to recognize that God has given us a great capacity for thought and analysis. Squandering such gifts is not only unwise but is contrary to the teaching in the Gospel. All men should seek individually and are entitled to receive answers to their questions but such illumination is provided only after men humble themselves and turn to God for answers.

Activities that are intended to contradict or oppose the stated goals of the first Presidency are at their inception foolish and ill fated. A better approach to take when such issues arise is to search one's feelings and determine what is at the core of the contention. As part of the analysis a man must be humble enough to allow for the possibility that he has strayed and that God's apostles and prophet would not be allowed to lead the church astray. With this understanding it is then appropriate to ask Heavenly Father for the inspiration necessary to understand His will rather than attempting to reshape Heavenly direction.


Amy said...

JAB, hey I'm not sure if you even check politicaLDS anymore...but the latest post Prop 8 could probably use a good succinct comment from someone who is of your own experience. (just a small cry of help) I'm actually leaving PoliticaLDS....Prop 8 was my last post even though I haven't told the other contributors yet. I'm just too busy trying to finish my nursing degree and I need to focus on my studies instead of letting other people's [blind] comments get to me. I'm not commenting anymore anyway, you were always polite and had good points in the past. Not sure if you still read the thing or not, but if you do now might be a good time to leave your opinion. :) Thanks.

Emiline said...

thank you for this!

~ Emily