I get asked a lot of questions. The other day someone asked how “to write only what the Spirit directs?”
That requires something quite subtle and hard to keep. The presence of the Spirit, its constant companionship, guidance and influence is so refined and difficult a matter to put into words that even the scriptures do not give an adequate account of the process.
Obedience is required, but there are obedient people who are utterly without the Spirit. Obedience can make a person rigid and unyielding, when they ought instead to be meek and pliable.
Discipline is required, but not if it makes a person dogmatic. The word “disciple” is derived from discipline, but a disciple follows the Master. A disciplined man can be on his own errand, rather than the Lord’s.
These words, like so many others fail to capture just how great and fine a balance is required for the Spirit to provide direction.
Meekness is required, but not in the way the world thinks of meekness. I’ve tried to explain the true quality of meekness shown by the Lord and His followers in Beloved Enos. It involves power, strength, and certitude.
The process almost defies words. It is very real, in fact tangible. But the way in which you know it to be right involves an ability to feel the balance, taste the good, harmonize with the greater intelligence which pervades everything that is. It comes from Him. It is Him, in a very real sense. All things were made by Him, bear record of Him, and are a testimony of His way.
Writing the words of eternal life require someone to have eternal life. They can still be mortal, but they need the promise of eternal life. So I suppose the Lord’s admonition: “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all things shall be added thereto” really answers the question. Or as told to Hyrum: “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word.” The one must precede the other. At least the statement of the Lord to His disciples, and the revelation to Hyrum Smith seem to indicate as much.
I worry about things being attributed to me from private conversations or speaking events where the public was invited. I choose words with great care. The difference between truth and error can be quite a fine line in some important matters. Therefore, when I say, teach, write or answer a question with exact language in mind, and the listener or reader does not retain the distinctions when they attempt to repeat what I’ve said, I wind up being confronted with things I never said, don’t believe and would never teach. One of the reasons for this blog is so I can control what is attributed to me. I’m very willing to be held to account for what I teach or write. But I’m not willing to be held accountable for someone else’s understanding or partial recollection of statements I have made.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and am loyal to it as an institution and as the proponent of a faith. Although I am keenly aware of the flaws any body of men and women will display, those weaknesses inherent in the human condition do not diminish the greatness of an institution. I believe in constructive explanations about shortcomings, ways to understand or process what appear to be flaws. In that sense only do I believe in apologetics. To deny the existence of shortcomings is, I believe, to depart from the warnings given to us by Christ, Nephi, Mormon, Moroni, the Apostle Paul, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others. I like the comment made by President Hugh B. Brown about us Mormons: “We are a lay church; and this gives rise to much mediocrity.”
It helps to have a sense of humor if you’re going to try to be a faithful Mormon. It also requires thick skin.
It is a misnomer to speak of the “kingdom of the Devil” because the description presumes something more organized than is the case. It is difficult to organize when fear, hatred and anger are the primary motivations. Love is a far more cohesive, creative and loyalty producing motivation. All that Satan does is designed to destroy itself, as well as all those who follow him.
I’m trying to put into a blog what would require many hours of individual emails and conversations. Hopefully this will both answer the many questions I keep receiving and allow me to stay productive with my family, job and Church responsibilities.