Thursday, May 31, 2012
Hiding behind numbers.....
"To trample under-foot the commandments of God is a fearful thing to undertake in solitude, so the coward seeks to be upheld by a support group."
Thought that quote was so good it deserved it's own post. There's a lot of truth to it. A scriptural example is Mosiah 17:11; 29:22-23. King Noah was almost persuaded to repent, but then got persuaded otherwise by his support group who convinced him the prophet was the one in error.
How much easier is it to do what you know you shouldn't, when you have a support group saying there is nothing wrong with it?
That first quote at the top is from a friend's 4 part mini study on Abinadi from the Book of Mosiah.
It's sparked a few additional thoughts. What about hiding behind people with powerful positions? What about hiding behind religious leaders and their decisions? It's so easy to hide behind these things, and neglect our duty, conscience, and commandments of God.
A couple of years ago I heard Elder Bednar explain that many members of the Church in Africa eat only one meal a day. Last year Elder Neil L. Anderson gave a talk at BYU in which he explained that the average per capita income in the United States is $33k, while in the Philippines it is $1k. The average Philipino spends 36% of his/her income on food. The average American spends 6%. Recently food prices have increased significantly throughout the world. For us, such food price increases are inconveniences. For poor people, like the average Latter-day Saint in the Philippines, it can easily become an urgent matter.
Does it then make sense to hide behind and or jump on board with a decision to spend billions of dollars on a shopping mall in downtown SLC while members of our own household of faith suffer for want of basic necessities? It doesn't make a lot of sense. Even the statement that "no tithing funds were used" rings a bit hollow. What funds were or were not used isn't really the point. What business does a church bearing the name of Christ have meddling in the worlds extravagant and elite shopping centers while their own members in other lands go hungry? People should be drawn to Christ because of the truth of his message, not because they have been lured in by riches, and giant spacious marketplaces. But maybe I missed the Gospel marketing course in seminary.... who knows.
There may be strength in numbers...but again, we should always decide if it's strength to go towards or away from the truth. I ask myself if God's church in the past has been the mastermind behind building shopping malls in big cities. In the scriptures I don't read about a shopping mall, or entrepreneurial type of Church of Jesus Christ... The two things are contrary.
Scriptures repeatedly warn about spending money on that which will canker. They warn us about loving riches more than the poor. No human is perfect, and exempt from error. I don't think anyone makes perfect decisions, all the time, and in all cases. It doesn't make them bad, it just means we all need to find the truth, and then support it, regardless of other voices and popular opinions. We cannot hide forever behind numbers, or behind others. We have to face the truth individually.