Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mosiah 23:13-15

"And now as ye have been delivered by the power of God out of these bonds; yea, even out of the hands of king Noah and his people, and also from the bonds of iniquity, even so I desire that ye should stand fast in this liberty wherewith ye have been made free, and that ye trust no man to be a king over you.
And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments.
Thus did Alma teach his people, that every man should love his neighbor as himself, that there should be no contention among them."
Mosiah 23:13-15

There is an interesting distinction here between love and trust.  In a lot of ways I think they are part of each other... we have to learn to have some level of trust as a part of most kinds of love.  But the trust that it is talking about here is interesting, because it has to do with freedom and independence. 
I think that we want someone else to make choices for us sometimes... because we don't want the responsibility, or we don't want to make the effort, or we want to be able to blame the consequences on someone else. :)  Or even, like John Donne's Holy Sonnet 14, because we want to have God in our lives, but feel too weak to let him in ourselves, so we ask him to force us.  Not that it works with God, of course... but the desire to give up our freedom to another is common.  In bad moments we want someone else to drive, and figure out where we're going.  The problem is that learning to drive is the entire point of life, and that anyone besides God is going to drive us somewhere that we do not want to end up.  So God cautions us... don't let anyone make your decisions for you.  Don't let anyone teach you what to believe, unless they are on the same page with me.  Only God knows the way... and following his path is the only way to retain our freedom and become all that we can be.  Prophets and other leaders that God has appointed will be pointing in the same direction and encouraging us to learn to make our own choices, not follow them blindly.
Today, let's make sure we're making our own decisions and learning independence.  That doesn't mean that we can't get God's help... he is there for us, and wants us to ask.  But in order to learn to be our best, ideal selves... he can't do it for us, and neither can anyone else.  And as we learn to love the people around us, and especially as leaders and teachers, let's encourage independent thought and decision-making rather than asking anyone to follow us blindly.

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