...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)
The Path and the House (Part 1 of 2):Thanks for putting this together. I'm only half way through so far, but I appreciate the insights that have been shared in the first half. I think it will be a beneficial (perhaps even crucial) exercise for us to be introspective and study the Lord's response with an honest and humble heart.The great worth of a parable, I think, is in the picture it paints, which as we say, is worth a thousand words. And when it's an inspired parable that comes from the Lord, a thousand words is a vast understatement. What the Lord has done, I believe, is take what he has observed of humankind through eons and condense it down into a succinct story in which is manifested and poignantly conveyed universal tendencies that imperfect beings are prone to. It applies equally well to us during the last two years as it does to any people in any age of the earth among whom the Lord has attempted to establish a Zion.For this reason, I think it's appropriate to look back over the last two years and try to find in this effort (1) what we each *personally* and *individually* put on display, through our actions and words, during this effort that can be found illustrated in the parable and (2) what we *collectively*, as a people, put on display. To note portions of our collective experience that seem to map well onto the parable can be instructive. And as we are aiming to become Zion, of one heart and mind (i.e. as we are attempting to become *one* people*), I think it's appropriate for us to think of ourselves as one body as we apply the lessons of the parable to ourselves. We're in this together.With that said, however, I agree there is danger is saying "this one specific group right here maps perfectly to this part of the parable". So, I will try to be careful in the way I say this. I want to preface this by saying that I was pleased with the original June document when I first read it, and as far as I can remember, I was ready to endorse it at that point, with the exception of maybe one or two misgivings.
The Path and the House (Part 2 of 2):As revisions were then prepared through July and August, I found myself endorsing all of them to differing degrees. When the plan was put forward to set up a website to solicit topic-based statements of principles with the ultimate hope to condense it down into something that was a product of the whole body, this appealed to me and I contributed quite conscientiously to the effort. When the lots proposal was put forward, I again felt good about it. I wanted something that everyone felt good about and that it seemed the Lord would endorse and be pleased with.Ultimately, after so much effort, the following were probably my most poignant feelings in the end: (1) I wanted a statement that essentially drew its main points and principles from the answer and covenant, since these were undoubtedly among the purest and most essential principles required for us to become a Zion people and (2) in the end, I just wanted something that we all felt good about and that we could agree upon, even if it wasn't my first choice.With all this background, now, here's what I want to say. All of this that I've described above was very heavy and difficult. It was a massive effort, both of will and of physical capacity, for all of us. It is this hard labor that I believe forms the stone path which will pave the way to the living house (the house being a Zion people) that the Lord wants us to become.Here's why I say this. At one point in the parable, it says that there were some who had compassion on those who were laboring with the stone and who, in their compassion, joined efforts with those quarrying stone. I'm not saying that any specific effort or group necessarily maps onto the stone quarrying group. What I want to highlight is that there was a moment in the parable, and there were many moments in our experiences through the last two years, where people came together, hearts united, to labor as one in a specific effort.Now, I ask. What is Zion made of? Or I should say, what is the path that leads to a Zion people made of? Is it not made up of many such very hard efforts, where the difficulty of the effort is not necessarily the specific task we're laboring on, but rather the greatest of work which is subduing our pride, putting away our opinions, and saying "I'm going to labor beside you in this effort, regardless of our differing opinions".The Lord was exactly right when he told us that if our hearts were right, the labor would have been easy. When our hearts are right, it is not difficult - indeed it is no labor at all - to put away pride and hurt feelings. Because, when our hearts are right, we are no longer laden by pride, hurt feelings, ambition, a need to get our way. It is no longer a part of our disposition. That is the house we are laboring toward, through our sweat and tears, as we battle with the natural man/woman inside of us. That is the great labor that paves the way to Zion.
Wow! Thanks Adrian, that was amazing! You’re voice is perfect for an audio format! Beyond that, I really appreciate your insight. I’m such a literal person, parables are definitely a big challenge. Greatfully, the Lord makes up for what I lack, and you were an instrument in His hands with this post. As much as we love to think about our own ideas, our own abilities, our own greatness, and our own successes, in the Lord’s house, obedience, humility, meekness, and repentance are always the answer! The Lord’s house needs altogether different materials than we are accustomed to using. Thanks for reminding me! Can’t wait till part two! Lisa
Thanks for the video! I have to say that I (mutually hehe) agree with your suggestion that the stones and wood-cutting tools are our traditions, culture, religious notions, beliefs, Babylonian skills, etc.--in essence, all of the trappings that we have been given as Babylonian-Greek-Roman-Western European-post LDS-North Americans (aka Gentiles). The stone that the Lord lets loose will eventually break all of those traditions and beliefs that hinder us in our ability to go and do the labor required for Zion.For what it's worth, I believe that the reason the Gentile remnant is tasked with this labor is precisely because of our many weaknesses. IF/when we overcome them and build the temple & a city of peace, I think that we'll be perfectly poised to help others (who are likely closer to living a Zion-like lifestyle naturally) come in to the wedding feast. Think about it this way, do you want a batting coach who naturally had the perfect swing, or do you want a batting coach who spent 40 years of his life struggling to master each and every step of the process? The latter will likely be a much better teacher, since they've been engaged in overcoming weaknesses in each step along the way. The Master is wise in all of His ways. Even in His choice to make use of initially misshapen, fire-less bricks to build His house. Jeff
Great thoughts, Adrian.One additional thought on Nephi's situation: Laman and Lemuel may have each failed in their attempts to obtain the plates (and certainly failed in how they treated Nephi and their in their unwillingness to complete the Lord's command), however Nephi's ability to complete the task "not knowing beforehand" turned out to have been dependent on the prior failures. It was Laban's crimes of robbery and attempted murder that made him subject to the penalties according to the laws the Lord had given, and the Lord executed that penalty through his servant, Nephi: the death penalty and the forfeiture of the plates of brass.
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