Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mosiah - Chapter 19

I've pondered this chapter for a whole day now.  The thought that keeps coming to my head concerns the nature of courage.  I think I've concluded that courage in truth, requires a testimony.  Let me explain.  The knowledge of the gospel and a conviction of the truth of the Plan of Salvation, it seems to me, can be the only source of true courage.  Real courage requires conviction.  Gideon had it.  Noah did not.  We can rationalize all we want, we can even gather other rationalizers around us to help convince us that our present course of action is correct, but in the end, deep down, we can only sense that we are not supported in wickedness - we don't have a leg to stand on.

This is not to say that the wicked have not been seen to do brave acts in their wickedness.  I think that  bravery is more like lunacy, or devil-may-care recklessness.  It is not courage and comes closer to desperation.  The fruits of this kind of brashness is evident in this chapter.  Ganged up on Abinadi they were bold, but in the face of destruction, they abandoned their wives and children and fled in sheer panic, concerned only for their own sorry skins.

Meanwhile, the more righteous, stood for the right regardless of the consequences.  The righteous do that, not entirely because they expect God to intervene in their behalf, but because they understand what life and living are really about.  And they realize that even death has meaning and rewarding results.  Courage and cowardice seem to have a direct correlation with faith and fear, testimony and doubt, pride and humility, selfishness and selflessness.


di said...

There are moments in our lives when we make decisions that have lasting effect and determine ours and others opinions of us. Something in me feels sorry of these followers who made the decision to flee from their families either to save their own skins or to show allegiance to a bad leader. I can only imagine the regret and remorse that must have followed this decision.
As I liken the scriptures unto me, I wonder which decisions I have made in my life have been the turning points.

D1Warbler said...

I remember a general authority who talked about having a chance to steal a bottle of soda pop from a machine that had malfunctioned. He made the statement to the effect that if he wouldn't risk his exaltation for something great, why would he risk if for anything so small.

That thought connects me to Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken" and helps me understand that the small things (taken one step at a time) are the ones that ultimately determine our character.

Thus, I would say that Noah and the men who abandoned their families didn't just follow an evil course as a decision they made on the spur of the moment. Their characters (the ones that were finally capable of such acts) had been in the formation for many years, and so it wasn't a great leap for them in the final circumstance to do something the rest of us find nearly unbelievable.

I don't think Judas' decision to betray Christ came at the last minute either. He had been paving the way for that despicable act for years.

All of the above reminds me of how important it is to always be true to what we know to be right -- no matter what. A question I always ask myself in a moment of temptation is what effect a possible action might have on my worthiness to enter the Temple. Always remembering to keep to that standard should ensure the rightous ending I desire.