Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Helaman 3:15 -- On History and Imperfection

"But behold, there are many books and many records of every kind, and they have been kept chiefly by the Nephites."
Helaman 3:15

You know, reading this today made me think about what would happen in several hundred years if someone tried to sum up the history of America in one book.  ... In some ways we already do that for history classes, and it's always interesting to see what gets included and what doesn't, and how biased it is based on who wrote it.  And maybe there is a lesson here for us about the scriptures, and about ourselves.

The gospel is perfect, but the people in it aren't.  Sometimes the scriptures show us unflattering, offensive, or wrong things that people did... not just the bad guys, but the people who are supposed to be the heroes of the story.  Sometimes the society of the time can explain it, sometimes it was a personal failing.  Sometimes there was a divine reason for it, and in others it was contrary to God's will quite clearly.

Overall, I think that the scriptures show God preparing his people, and helping them over the years and the centuries to become better, as a group.  That doesn't mean we are perfect, or that most of the people in the scriptures were ever perfect.  There are still going to be verses that tell women to keep silence and prophets getting swallowed by whales because they didn't want to do what God asked, and there are still going to be imperfections in the people around us, even the good guys.  Maybe, today, we can hold on to God's perfection and his perfect gospel, and allow the imperfection of people in general to give us hope that our own imperfections won't be held against us as we repent.

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