Saturday, December 19, 2009

Enos - Chapter 1

23 And there was nothing save it was exceeding harshness, preaching and prophesying of wars, and contentions, and destructions, and continually reminding them of death, and the duration of eternity, and the judgments and the power of God, and all these things—stirring them up continually to keep them in the fear of the Lord. I say there was nothing short of these things, and exceedingly great plainness of speech, would keep them from going down speedily to destruction. And after this manner do I write concerning them.
When I was a kid this is the method that was used to teach us to behave ourselves.  I wonder if we were really that bad.  I remember thinking in Primary that Jesus loved me, but by the time Seminary got through with me I was scared to death of Him.  There was hellfire and damnation from the pulpit too.  These days those tactics and notions have gone away.  In my heart I am glad of it.  But looking around at the mess we are in I wonder if we've gone too soft.

I know that when the kids come to church at the Detention Center (most are not members of the LDS Church) they expect some serious pulpit pounding.  When they find love, kindness and understanding instead they are startled and pleasantly surprised to find a gospel of love and forgiveness.

Anyway, I love this chapter about prayer and forgiveness and love for enemies as well as brethren.  I'm just not sure what to make of this verse.  It just isn't comfortable for me to think of "many prophets" using fear tactics to keep the believers in line.  I resented it as a kid and struggle with it now.  It nearly pushed me away and left me feeling guilty and irredeemable most of my life. 


di said...

I entered a big old conversation about this very verse yesterday. I like to think that I'm more motivated by love than threats, but...
Here in Southern Nevada we have the desert Tortoise. When I was a child we loved them. If we spotted one we caught it and enjoyed it for a few hours and let it go. Now we are forced by law to protect it. Millions have been spent building 'tortoise fence' and other rediculous projects. Our cattle have been banned from the tortoise habitat. Many of our roads have been closed. We have been been threatened with large fines and jail-time if we so much as touch one or break one of the new rules. Guess how the locals feel about the tortoise now? I believe if we had simply been told they were 'threatened' and some of the things we could do to preserve them, we would have. I don't know. I just question 'force' as a way to teach love and respect.

di said...

OH is the verse I put in my Book of Mormon journal....

27 And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to face death with this conscience?

D1Warbler said...

I think, unfortunately, that there are times when such tactics as those in this chapter are the only things the Lord has left in his arsenel. I think the tactics proposed tell us more about the people for whom there are necessary than they say about those who end up needing to use them.
If we look at Israel at the time of Lehi --those tactics were necessary then, too.

Hopefully, we are still in the situation where less difficult methods will still suffice!