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LDS World: The blessings of willing obedience

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  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    Oct. 20, 2013 7:28 a.m.

    “Blind obedience is the weakest form of obedience, compliance without thinking, without exercising agency and individually determining that obedience to this principle is appropriate and right. Thoughtful, willing obedience is what God hopes from us.”

    Free agency comes with the expectation that we will use it to voluntarily follow God and keep his commandments. When we choose to abuse that agency instead, it will only lead to suffering and misery.

  • djk blue springs, MO
    Oct. 20, 2013 10:11 a.m.

    as a child of god i choose to follow. even though i cannot see our Heavenly Father but i know he is there listening, comforting, guiding, understanding, forgiving. we have free agency which is a wonderful gift, this gift is given to us so that we may learn. choosing to follow the path of righteousness is the easier path even when the path is bumpy and full of experiences. i choose to follow the path holding the rod of iron !

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    Oct. 20, 2013 2:16 p.m.

    To: djk - your comment brought tears to my eyes and happiness to my heart. It is so refreshing to read comments from someone who has the same feelings I do. I once chose the path of unrighteousness that cost me many, many years of heartache, lonliness and being lost. The Miracle of Forgiveness gave me once again the desire to repent, turn around my thinking and behavior and because I am married and sealed to a remarkable man I will never allow myself to be drawn into the dark pit with the adversary.

  • Deliriousdd Benicia, CA
    Oct. 20, 2013 4:35 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful history of your ancestor. I have an ancestor who was among the rescue party. But I have felt the true heroes of this story are those who suffered, but retained their faith and made it to "Zion" in the end. Their faith is what makes them heroes in my eyes.

  • Mimifran Gymea, NSW
    Oct. 20, 2013 4:35 p.m.

    Agency is not "free", it came at a price and that price was paid by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. What we have is the right to choose the consequences which is why we ponder, think and determine the right course then obtain confirmation from our Father in Heaven. Of course, the Holy Ghost helps us through this process if we allow him to. The General Authorities have taught us this, our freedom lays in our being able to choose which path to follow but never to choose the consequences of those paths. When we look at it this way we realise how precious the Atonement really is.

  • Stay the Course Salt Lake City, utah
    Oct. 20, 2013 7:38 p.m.

    And your point is what Don?

  • Apocalypse please Bluffdale, UT
    Oct. 20, 2013 10:31 p.m.

    Obedience is a nice way to get people to do what you want them to do. Especially within the context of religion. "God told me that you need to give/do/sacrifice..." That's a pretty good motivator. It can also be pretty scary too.

  • ksampow Farr West, Utah
    Oct. 21, 2013 8:21 a.m.

    An excellent story. Thank you.
    I do take issue with one point in the article: “Blind obedience is the weakest form of obedience, compliance without thinking, without exercising agency and individually determining that obedience to this principle is appropriate and right."
    That term "blind obedience" is unfortunate - it is often used by the unfaithful to criticize the obedient. In reality any act of obedience is a righteous exercise of agency. Choosing to obey when you don't understand why is perhaps the most difficult, most sincere act of righteousness.
    In the Pearl of Great Price we can read an example: "An angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me." WHen the Lord commands, do it - even if you don't yet know why.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Oct. 21, 2013 8:35 a.m.

    In this story of the Martin handcart company, the overriding issue was survival. Obedience is not in and of itself a virtue. Cooperation for the greater welfare of all as well as ones self is the moral of this story.

  • Mc West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 21, 2013 9:14 a.m.

    @Craig Clark
    I disagree. Obedience in and of itself IS a virtue. It is obedience to law, to parents, to God, to rules of society, etc. that allows us to live together in peace. Disobedience leads to most all of the ills of society and creates the need for prisons.

    Obedience does not restrict our freedom. It makes us more free to enjoy all of the good that life has to offer and to reach our full potential. It is a great virtue!

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Oct. 21, 2013 10:26 a.m.

    Mc,

    Obedience is sometimes most vigorously preached by those who wish to be obeyed. Then what's it really about?

    Children must be made to obey because they are at too helpless and innocent an age to fend for themselves or understand the dangers in the world. But they won't be children forever. Someday they will be adults faced with making many moral decisions on their own. A wise parent prepares them for that day.

    Obedience is much like the Sabbath which Jesus had to remind the Pharisees was made for man, not the other way around.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 21, 2013 10:29 a.m.

    @ksampow
    "That term "blind obedience" is unfortunate - it is often used by the unfaithful to criticize the obedient. In reality any act of obedience is a righteous exercise of agency. Choosing to obey when you don't understand why is perhaps the most difficult, most sincere act of righteousness. "

    I couldn't disagree more with your statement. Choosing to obey when you don't understand why has been the cause of much evil in this world and is a common excuse used by authoritarian followers for blind obedience to their (sometimes evil) leaders. Obedience by itself is nothing, particularly if it is part of your emotional makeup (as an authritarian follower) to be obedient to the leader du jour. At the end of WWII we hung a lot of people who claimed "any act of obedience is a righteous exercise of agency".

  • JD Jones Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 21, 2013 10:29 a.m.

    Someone wrote, "Free agency comes with the expectation that we will use it to voluntarily follow God and keep his commandments. When we choose to abuse that agency instead, it will only lead to suffering and misery."

    Obedience is not a virtue. Indeed, takes away our freedom to exercise reason with regard to certain topics. For example, Mormons are really not free to discover that evidence contradicts key claims about the history of this continent, and it also prevents people from learning about evolution by natural selection. It requires a great deal of mental effort in the form of cognitive dissonance to refute the truth that humans are the descendents of primates that no longer exist.

  • Breathe Deep Eagle Rock, ID
    Oct. 21, 2013 12:06 p.m.

    JD Jones,

    Obedience is regarded as a virtue in many traditional cultures; historically, children have been expected to be obedient to their elders, slaves to their owners, serfs to their lords in feudal society, lords to their king, and everyone to God.

    Obedience does not in any way take away freedoms. Freedon in and of itself has its roots in obedience.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Oct. 21, 2013 1:16 p.m.

    So the author is saying that god protected and preserved this one man for being obedient and having faith but the 150 people who died on the same trip who were also obedient somehow weren't protected? Why didn't god protect those 150? It doesn't make sense.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 21, 2013 1:42 p.m.

    RE: The story of the Willie and Martin handcart companies
    Five companies of Mormon pioneers crossed America pulling handcarts. The last two companies, the Willie and Martin companies, met with tremendous tragedy. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 222 people perished due to equipment failure and early snow storms. Brigham Young’s handcart plan was quickly abandoned.

    [Howard Christy, professor emeritus at BYU, said,] “In my opinion, responsible leadership at the outset could have completely averted the disaster.” Several recorded comments by church agents that they supposed God would intervene to protect the emigrants “shows their knowledge of the dangers of starting late. They were throwing all sense to the wind that all would be well.”

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    Oct. 22, 2013 8:25 a.m.

    God can't protect you from yourself. The leaders of the Willie/Martin Co. made a huge mistake by leaving late in the year. The rescue was heroic. We shouldn't laud them for their obedience. They were eager to get to the Valley, took a risk and suffered.

  • GK Willington Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 8:50 a.m.

    re: Apocalypse please

    Agreed.

    Just a random and tangential thought, CTR & Hold to the rod sound like "Strength Through Unity, Unity Through Faith" from V for Vendetta.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 8:59 a.m.

    per Craig Clark...

    "Obedience is sometimes most vigorously preached by those who wish to be obeyed. Then what's it really about?"

    Conformity.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 3:43 p.m.

    RE: The deaths and hardship of the handcart pioneers were tragic.

    Termed by some the worst overland disaster in the history of the American West,early LDS tended to talk about it in hushed tones, if at all,according to William G. Hartley, associate professor of history at Brigham Young University, who moderated the [Mormon History Association] panel discussion.
    Over time, the emphasis of the story became the faith and endurance of the emigrants, rather than the decisions that led to the disaster, he said, adding that for modern LDS youths who re-enact the handcart trek, the experience has almost become a rite of passage.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 4:55 p.m.

    Church leaders must be held accountable for whatever is done in the name of "obedience" to them.

  • scwoz gambier, oh
    Oct. 23, 2013 6:57 a.m.

    Obedience was, perhaps, the difference between life and death for him. It is also the difference between eternal life and death for all of us. I find it amazing that people talk of it being scary for people to be obedient to God and do his bidding but everyone of us are obedient to a Government every day without any thinking, we obey laws we have no idea how they got there, why they are in force, how they affect us, but blindly we follow, and you think it is scary to follow Gods laws. I find that a little scary. If we follow the teachings of the Prophets who are directly led by God, then blessings will come to us, how do we know? Because the Holy Ghost told us it is correct. Do we always understand completely the commandments we have to follow, no, but we have a trustworthy Governor at our helm unlike the self-gratifying members of our Government who do things for their own gratification and not that of the peoples?.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Oct. 23, 2013 10:08 a.m.

    scwoz

    You mention how obedience was the difference between life and death for him, but you fail to mention that obedience was the difference between life and death for the 150 who died on that very same trip.