...wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved. (1 Nephi 15:14)
Excellent commentary Adrian. As I've pondered this parable over and over again, there is one aspect of the story that seems to fall into the category of what we "ought to have learned" that I haven't heard many people try to address and I wondered if you would care to take a shot at it. There were at least two different groups of people who were able to abandon what they had previously thought was the way to accomplish the task and be WILLing to join with others, but they seem to come to that decision at different times/phases. I feel like one of the greatest challenges we had as a people with this effort and in which we could learn some of the greatest lessons would be in knowing when to stop laboring on our own and begin laboring with others. How does one know when to acknowledge that the house wasn't meant to be stone or wood, but was to be built with brick? What are the trigger points and how can we better recognize them?
Fascinating thoughts, Jim. I find it interesting that the groups who thought themselves prepared were unprepared, and the group who made no temporal preparations was most prepared. This tells me the brick group was prepared in the ways that mattered. They had faith in the Master and his purposes. They trusted his word alone, and started from the assumption that he would not ask of them what they could not accomplish. So, obviously, the best acquainted with the Lord, and therefore the most able to trust him and exercise faith, were the most prepared. The others were less prepared, and therefore required time and labor to change their hearts and prepare them to recognize the hand/voice of their Master.So how do we best prepare? It seems to me that being acquainted with the Master's attributes, words, and voice are the best preparation. To answer your question: How do we know when to change our approach? What are the trigger points and how can we best recognize them? My thought is that when you hear the Master's voice, or see the Master's hand, get aligned with them. As soon as you can determine the Master's will, do it. The sooner, the better. The stone haulers and the wood cutters never made any attempt to learn the Master's will. They only made assumptions. The brick makers actually went through the struggle to understand the Master's purposes, and this made all the difference. Some of the others recognized the Lord's work when it was told to them, some did not. Prepared hearts are the key.
Really liked this video series. I think the most valuable thing I learned from it was the importance of sitting down with material in quiet and letting the Lord teach you. Thanks for the work you put into this, Adrian. Good stuff.
Some quiet reflection is good, but there is nothing like gaining understanding from actually living the Lord's doctrine. You know that person who caused so much anguish to you, even insulting you, lying to you and hurting you bad.... Yeah, that's the one. Go bless them and see what happens.
Wise advice, thanks.
Thanks a million, and then some, for taking the time to do this. Not only did I learn a ton, but I came away with the serious commitment, to not just make it a "mental exercise" to answer the questions posed by the Lord---but I now believe I would be neglectful of showing my gratitude to the Lord for His condescension in speaking with us again, if I did not make the additional effort to prayerfully petition the Lord to reveal the answers to those questions specific to my weaknesses, and then record them in my journal and make them the focus of my internal compass to fix "what I yet lack." I thought I had been taking it seriously, and studying it, interpreting it, trying to apply it---but I see I can step it up several notches and give a greater degree of honor to the Lord for what He has shared with us.Thanks again, for the sacrifices in putting together something like this, that benefits us all.
I loved this Adrian! I especially loved the last part about Heavenly Mother and the quote that with God all things are possible. I needed to hear that! Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. I have learned so much from the two part series on the parable. Looking forward to more study! Lisa
Thanks Adrian for taking the time to put your thoughts together for others to gain from. I see things very similar to how you have. Here's a section of my notes with a different take that some may enjoy regarding the stone gatherers.BUILD A HOUSE – NOTESThe three groups I call three attitudes. The idea being any one of us could be found in that “attitude” anywhere in the parable. Individuals could be in one, two or even all three during this process.The stone gatherers to me represent any gospel position that we find ourselves staked out on, our hobby horse or one note. Our prized gospel tenant(s) or principle(s) we believe MUST be adhered too above all else in following our beliefs in God. We can be found obsessed with them and only see IT in anything God tells us. In this attitude, we are not spiritually nimble, we’re obsessed with it or them and they therefore cloud our ability to hear Gods direction because we are trying to make Gods command fit our prized position. Like trying to force a square peg into a round hole. For instance, focusing on just one or part of the Doctrine or Law of Christ not all. They can by themselves be a stumbling block for the person focusing on the narrow position(s). HOWEVER!This attitude blocks them from the joy of helping build the Lords house. BUT when brought together with other individual prized stones they became the pathway to the house. Each stone or prized teaching of one, laid beside the prized teaching of the others, they became a pathway, a road (the Doctrine and Law of Christ) to the house that they and others can use to go there and find joy in it. Something the Lord later gives recognition to.
All Offerings Were AppreciatedAt the end of His answer, the Lord summarized the main lesson to be learned from the parable is that all of the offerings were appreciated and that it was the desires of the heart that He cares most about, rather than exactly which solution was chosen.When one first reads the parable before knowing how it would end, was the ending obvious? Might it not have ended that those who took the wood tools were "right" and they might have had a nice wooden temple built and have been heroes while others collected stones. Or it might have turned out there was no clay nor trees and those bringing stones were "right" would have been the heroes. In those cases, the lesson at the very end would still have been the same, that the Lord loved all of their hearts who wished to serve him. He accepted all of their offerings!If the wood builders or stone builders had been "right", the Lord might have said, "Thou good and faithful servant because you knew it is not meet for me to command in all things." In other words, they might have been expected to build on prior knowledge.Note that the Lord never said that any of the approaches was "right" or "wrong"! What if the overarching lesson is that the only thing "wrong" was the criticism, backbiting, etc., but not any of the three approaches!So what were the three groups referred to, concerning that the reason for the parable to have been given at all was in response to the effort to produce a document? Let me suggest that the stone bringers were those who noticed that we have no system in place to determine "mutual agreement", which the Lord required. They saw that democratic voting could never succeed without total unanimity, which was not the requirement. Hence, they started to propose a weighty, ponderous, very slow approach which would solve the long term problem by building a path of an entire government which would also solve future problems.And who are those who reasoned that because there are no stones that we must use wood? Perhaps it was those who thought that even though we have no rock-solid method to achieve mutual agreement, perhaps the Lord wants us to vote as a democracy, even though that was never designed to achieve mutual agreement but instead only to find the majority's will. It became clear that simple democratic voting failed and would probably continue to fail on future assignments. Hence, the need for a stone path that is a firm foundation.And who were the brick makers? Were they not those who suggested the hybrid solution to choose lots from among representatives from each fellowship? That turned out to be a huge step forward in that it balanced the need for a long term solid solution, like a government, with the lack of a currently available process. Bricks are like an average between stones and wood. And it was the document made of bricks which indeed succeeded! That's why the brick makers could return and report to the others that the house was already completed. It had been done for months and all that required was for everyone to recognize that the task had been completed!
The awesome benefit of the Lord using a parable, as many interpitations as there are of us.Lesson learned for me.I know and love people who were in all camps on the SOP assignment and have had many discussions with a cross section of the covenant people, we are all are after Zion. All love the Lord and have real-intent about the work now underway. There aren’t any “bad people” among us. We need to gain more trust with one another. Trust that they, like me, love the Lord and have sacrificed many things for Him.
We have had discussion similar to all the ideas above. One idea that stands out is that this parable is certainly for what is coming and have we learned what we ought so we are better prepared and equipped to be in tune with what the Lord asks.
Part 1 What have I learned? What ought I have learned?I woke up, eyes still closed, Saturday morning with these two questions, out of the blue, being presented to my mind over and over. I had not been contemplating these questions in the last week to ten days, so I was somewhat startled by the intensity of these questions burning in my mind. From recent experience, the Lord has asked us:What have I learned?I am just now getting a glimpse, but it seems that a new and foreign foundation of government is being born. Instead of a democracy, or representative Republic, aristocracy, oligarchy, or collectivist, or anything now on earth, what I see being taught by the Master Teacher is a structure where a brand new idea is being introduced to mankind -- the idea of "mutual agreement" -- where sovereigns can agree by not objecting and where THEY are still free to act according to the dictates of their conscience. I discovered Saturday that there's a one-verse section in the T&C (Section 174) that states the definition of 'mutual agreement': "As between one another, you choose to not dispute." I think this definition has wider application than the ad hoc purpose which inspired it, and I believe the latest parable of the Lord -- the Master's House -- confirms that. This one idea is worthy of its own section. It's that big a deal. This appears to be a major foundation upon which Zion will be established. To say a new foundation of government doesn't communicate effectively because our traditional views and definitions of government cloud or block understanding of this newly-revealed paradigm. Traditional views involve force and control. Name an exception, besides the two previous Zions. I cannot. We mustn't overlay telestial definitions on what is happening now. That's what was causing the jarrings and contention hitherto. The predisposition to control others must be overcome. This definition and the parable teach us to honor others' choices. Worldly governments, conversely, offer three options to their subjects, and I do mean subjects: submission to its statutes (statues), prison, or death. Think you're not subject to their will, as manifested in the form of statutes (idol statues), try resisting. Liberty is given lip service in modern-day Babylon, but not honored. Natural rights are trampled under foot of the bar association and its members, who are the lawyers and judges which impose Babylon's will on the slaves, just as the Gadianton infiltration accomplished in its day. I find it no small thing that a card-holding member of the bar rose of above the corruption, brainwashing and iniquity of that priest class and parted the veil. I thank God for that man's faith and humility. Compulsion and fear are the hallmarks of earthly government, even and esp in the Church.I'm piecing together that a milestone achievement has just taken place. For Zion to have a fertile ground to spring forth, the foundation of fear and compulsion, which we have now, must be replaced with two core and essential ingredients, if you will. I speak of liberty (or I should say the respect for liberty, which may be called tolerance) and love. You could just say LOVE. Inhabitants of Zion must feel free to think and do as they believe is God's will, and these same folks must completely allow others to do the same, even if it's a different path. They offer no judgment and shaming of those who are different from them; just love them.
Part 2 of 2So...What have I learned? This year marks the year the dawn of a new civilization where a foundation has been established consisting of two pillars: 1) honoring free will, or, tolerance (the sacred and hallowed respect for Liberty) and, 2) love as expressed in the revelation that sets a pattern for Zion's initiatives to be mutually agreeable to its inhabitants. In a community of diverse, talented, and opinionated people, I was not sure how things would get done. How would things "be governed", so to speak? The Lord has provided essential light as to how all things can get done.Sure, these virtues, tolerance and love, have always existed, but the difference is, there is no governmental hierarchy proposed (aside from our King and us, His subjects). As the Parable of the Master's House illustrates, we are on the cusp of Zion, building the Master's house, and for Zion's "government" to work (the very word "government" seems archaic to me now), these virtues must be written in the hearts of those in Zion, else Babylonian compulsion creeps in, in the form of an attempt to control others through force, which is the only construct we have ever experienced and had modeled to us here on earth. One is love-based, one is fear-based. Zion's government will solely rest upon Christ's shoulders (Isa 9:6). As King, He commands, and we must obey and fulfill His commands SANS an earthly hierarchical structure of authority. Almost seems impossible. Then Section 174 comes along and lights the way, along with the parable of the Master's House, showing us that things can be accomplished, but only through putting into practice the gospel of love and tolerance. As the parable teaches, there can be many ways to skin the cat. Some will be better than others. The Lord appreciates and recognizes the efforts of all. The Lord said, "Well done my faithful servants, for all of you have labored to do as I have commanded, and proven your faithfulness...There was honor in the labor of others. Whereas I look upon the heart and see faithful service, many among you do not look at, nor see, nor value what I the Lord love in the hearts of my people." Telestial governments choose the way they think is the best (when it's often the worst way), and then compel the rest to comply with their wishes. What a stark contrast with the Lord's plan of Liberty, where He honors the agency of others and allows work to occur, and then is pleased with everybody's efforts! This latest parable lays the groundwork for Zion. Going forward, we can all imagine how much faster and smoother future endeavors will come to pass.What ought I have learned?To just let others do what they're gonna do. Just love them and let them be. They may be right or wrong. I may be right or wrong. We both may be wrong or both right. I should try to persuade, but if that fails, I simply pursue a steady course in what I think is right while letting them pursue what they feel is right. I am reminded of Joseph's statement (HC 2:431). This can be applied to our personal interactions in Zion (my comments in parenthesis):"Go in all meekness, in sobriety, and preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified (through our actions); not to contend with others on account of their faith, or systems of religion (or what they feel is God's will), but pursue a steady course. This I delivered by way of commandment; and all who observe it not, will pull down persecution upon their heads, while those who do, shall always be filled with the Holy Ghost; this I pronounced as a prophecy.”The lesson that ought to have been learned is to not contend, because persecution is the result, while the consequence of holding a steady course in the practice of love, is to be always filled with the Holy Ghost!
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