Wednesday, October 1, 2014

1 Nephi 8:26-28 -- On Enduring Mockery

"And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth.
And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.
And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost."
1 Nephi 8:26-28

This is part of Lehi's dream.  This part is interesting because it warns us how dangerous it can be to take mockery seriously.  In the last verse, the people who had tasted of the fruit are those who made it through the darkness, who held to the iron rod, who cared about God and the truth enough to escape the dark and dreary waste, and make it all the way to the tree.  These are people who actually tasted the fruit and partook of the love of God.  And yet, because well-dressed people in a cool floaty building mocked them, they were ashamed, and walked away.
So, first of all, I love technology and a building that floats... got to admire that.  And well-dressed people seem pretty upper crust.  No one wants all the cool kids to laugh at them.  I totally get that part.  What I don't get, and what we should never, ever fall for, is believing that any of that is cooler than God.  I am a die-hard Sci-Fi fan, but even I know that God's stuff is much cooler than a floating building.  And God's love is way more valuable than the nicest clothes or the most exclusive party with the most famous people.  Having a relationship with God, and walking away from the dark and dreary waste in the first place takes effort and time and diligence, and being ashamed of that and throwing it away because of someone laughing at us?  No.
Reality is very like this dream sometimes.  We encounter people... people we admire, people we like or want to emulate, and we find out that they despise religion or they think that anyone who goes to church or believes in a real God rather than an abstract concept is foolish.  People we consider friends might know just the right arguments to push us into a corner, trying to "help" us by showing us that our belief is silly or contemptible.  Famous actors or authors smile winningly and very graciously and smoothly tell us that religious people are the ones destroying the world, or the ones oppressing others.  And we can understand Lehi's dream clearly, because it would be easy to agree, or be ashamed.  It is hard to defend ourselves sometimes, especially if we are not as well spoken, or well-dressed.  It is hard to hang on to what truly matters when we are listening to people telling us that what we love is refuse.  ... But we can.  The strength that got us to God in the first place can help us through these trials as well.  After tasting of God's love, additional challenges and trials are more opportunities to grow and learn.  And God will help us, as we learn to rely on him.  Not saying that it is an easy lesson at all.  But learning to stay firm and dedicated to our beliefs despite what others say is an important step in reaching our potential.
Today, let's tune out the mockers, and not let anything destroy the happiness and peace that God offers us.

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