Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Note: Check Value Before Discarding

Some personal thoughts weighing on me today.  It would be very unusual to discards something you know is valuable.  But far more common to discard something you think is not.

I remember a few horror stories of people who had collected sometimes extremely valuable baseball cards or something like that, and upon returning home from a mission discover that it got thrown out while they were gone. The person discarding the item did not think them valuable and therefore concluded there was nothing to be lost in tossing it.  The stories I've heard were often innocent mistakes due to a degree of ignorance.  Had the person known, they never would have done it.     

On the other end of the spectrum are those TV shows about hoarding. Where someone thinks everything is valuable and therefore is unable, for whatever reason, to part with it. This too is a problem. Holding on to too much of the wrong stuff can destroy a person's life, both physically, emotionally, and socially.   

How are we ever to know if something is valuable if we don't understand it?  It's hard.  Which is why the Gospel invites us to continually seek light and truth from God.  Some things like ceremony, scripture, and ordinances are things we know are valuable even if there is a general lack of understanding about the specifics.  So when those change I believe we should stop and take careful note.

In terms of religion and truth my experience is sometimes when people experience a faith crisis the baby goes out with the bath water.  Or so the saying goes.  When emotions and hurt are high, it's more difficult to stop and consider what ought be discarded and what definitely shouldn't.  In that stressful state a person is very vulnerable to accepting false whispers about how the entire basis for faith, scripture, God, etc etc was all wrong or was a deception and that's when truth can get tossed.

People can loose faith not just in their tradition, but faith in God all together as they sort through the disorientation. The bad taste can be so bad its ruinous to the person’s life. There is great risk discarding things of value if we don't stop and gain our bearings when confronted by something like this.

I've seen a few moments of regret on peoples faces who inadvertently tossed too much.  Thankfully we can all repent and accept truth, so there's hope.  But it's just not good when truth is discarded.  It can be far more costly than some baseball cards. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about acquiring truth, preserving it, and helping it endure, never discarding it under the guise of revelation.

This was on my mind today after contemplating recent temple changes the LDS church has made.  It reminded me of a lesson I want to remember. Which is to check the value of something before discarding it. Just because you don't know the value of something does not mean it has none.  And because someone you view as having authority implies something has no value doesn't mean it really has none.  How many very valuable items sit rotting in a landfill somewhere because someone asked someone else if it was valuable and was told no?  Then that was the end of it.  It's often impossible to recover at that point. 

As most people know the LDS church recently discarded a number of things from the temple ceremony.  I've not attended to see for myself, I'm only going off validated reports. It's my understanding no explanation was given for the removals.  Things were simply changed and things removed.  Some common assumptions attending this is that the things discarded had little value, or were sufficiently pointless, out of date, or redundant so as to be removed without explanation.

Participants are asked not to discuss the changes and that restriction now extends to not discussing the ordinances at all.  So since no discussion should take place regarding it, it keeps people in a state of perpetual ignorance with only distractions offered to pacify.

It's a good reminder to check value before you discard something.  Even if religion discards things that had value, we individually don’t need to.  After enough discarding a lot of people may get fed up with it and then the risk of everything getting tossed grows. So people will need a place to land. A place that preserved truth.  I hope to work towards such a place.  Where truth is valued and understanding sought for.

I think Joseph Smith spoke with Godly wisdom and intelligence when he said time and experience and careful solemn and ponderous thoughts are how to find out the things of God. Once you find it out, it then takes effort to preserve it as it gets sometimes aggressively discarded by those who have lost any view of it's value.

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