Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ether 10:5 -- On Taxes and Zion

"And it came to pass that Riplakish did not do that which was right in the sight of the Lord, for he did have many wives and concubines, and did lay that upon men’s shoulders which was grievous to be borne; yea, he did tax them with heavy taxes; and with the taxes he did build many spacious buildings."
Ether 10:5

This scripture surprised me a little bit, because I never really thought about God being worried about our taxes.  And yet, of course he is, because he is worried about every aspect of our lives.  Riplakish was hurting people with the unreasonable taxes, and that wasn't right in God's eyes.  I don't know if the taxes that we bear are unreasonable, and I'm not trying to comment on that as a political statement.  I do think though that we all go through things that are "grievous to be borne," whether it is taxes or death, or other physical and emotional upheavals in our lives.

King Benjamin, in Mosiah 2:14 also talks about things that are "grievous to be borne," but he is talking from the perspective of himself as a righteous king, working hard so that he would not burden the people with heavy taxes or other things that are hard to bear.  I think the lesson here is that we should work for each other, and, in positions of power or otherwise, we should work to never do anything that will harm others.

Sometimes we do anyway, and we think, well, that's their job, or that's the cost of doing business, or whatever it is... but making lives easier for the people around us is the only way that the world improves.  If we all make the selfish choice, or the one that benefits us the most, at the cost of others, then the world gets more and more selfish.  It has to start somewhere, so let it begin with us.  Maybe we'll get cheated.  Maybe we'll get taken advantage of.  Those things are going to happen along the way.  But let's do the right thing anyway.  Doing the right thing won't always change the world overnight, but it will definitely change us.  And what else is God looking for?  We have to build Zion by first being Zion people.  Otherwise, who is going to live there? :)

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