Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Dear #,

The scriptures are strange, sometimes. Parts of them are simply mythic, telling stories of who we are, where we came from, what our purpose is on Earth. On the whole, though, they are a series of parables and metaphors, using the lives of God's servants as examples of what to do and, more often, what to avoid.

You see, these exemplars are deeply flawed men and, occasionally, women. While some of these stories are about someone who did the right thing, they almost universally tell a story of the pain, suffering, and heartache which comes from disobedience.

This is something I wish the Mormon church paid a little more attention to, especially in regard to the Book of Mormon and our own modern leaders. Honesty about Joseph Smith's weaknesses, for example, or a thorough examination of Nephi and what his flaws might be, could be good for us as a people.

It also makes me wonder how it would feel to be permanently enshrined in lore as the man who slept with his own kin, the guy who swindled his own brother, or the idiot who lost everything because he used his priesthood power unrighteously.

I wonder about some of the biggest screw-ups. Did Jonah have a family he worried about during his three days in the belly of an holy leviathan? Did he have a wife and children he assumed would be a widow and orphans after his mission to Ninevah?

Lehi is a better example, having received a revelation and simply going into the desert. His wife and kids weren't entirely pleased about his decision, though. Do I have the strength of Lehi? Or am I Jonah, about to be swallowed by a whale?


  1. Yeah, that Nephi...he says he has weakness, but doesn't tell us what. He was pretty outspoken to his brothers, though. No tact there.

    I think Sariah was in agreement with Lehi until the kids got sent back...and then her motherly worry got in the way of her faith. I hate to tell you how many times I have complained to your dad about being out here in the "wilderness" away from my children and grandchildren.

    The examples from the scriptures are encouraging in a way...they show that God can use us, in spite of our sins and weakness, to do his work.

    Of course, take a guy like Samson, yes he killed off a bunch of Israel's enemies. But think how much more he could have done if he had not given in to pride and lust.

    Leah became the mother of great nations, in spite of her deception. Even Rachel, the favored one, gave in to worry and superstition.

    But still, if God could do his work in spite of them, I guess he can reach my primary kids or Activity Days girls in spite of my weaknesses.

    That doesn't mean I should give in to my weakness. I don't want to be Samson. I'd rather be Moroni, who stayed faithful no matter how lonely he got. Or Deborah, or even Demaris.

    The one I love is Peter. Dear, weak Peter. Fell through the water. Denied knowing Jesus. Yet we forget to look at his good side. He had enough faith to walk on water in the first place. He walked with Jesus for years. He came back and became leader of the church. He "went a-fishing" for a little while, but he quickly returned to faithful service of the Lord.

  2. Wow, my comment is as long as your post. And I just thought of one more thing. We have our share of screw-ups--Thomas B. Marsh, for example. The Doctrine and Covenants if full of men being chastised for one thing or another.