Thursday, April 28, 2016

How To Not Be A Chicken - About A Parable By A Modern Prophet

President Monson wrote an article in the September 2014 where he said the following:

"In the vicinity where I once lived and served, the Church operated a poultry project, staffed primarily by volunteers from the local wards. Most of the time it was an efficiently operated project, supplying to the bishops’ storehouse thousands of fresh eggs and hundreds of pounds of dressed poultry. On a few occasions, however, being volunteer city farmers meant not only blisters on the hands but also frustration of heart and mind.

For instance, I shall ever remember the time we gathered the Aaronic Priesthood young men to give the project a spring-cleaning. Our enthusiastic and energetic throng assembled at the project and in a speedy fashion uprooted, gathered, and burned large quantities of weeds and debris. By the light of the glowing bonfires, we ate hot dogs and congratulated ourselves on a job well done.

However, there was just one disastrous problem. The noise and the fires so disturbed the fragile population of 5,000 laying hens that most of them went into a sudden molt and ceased laying. Thereafter we tolerated a few weeds so that we might produce more eggs."

Our prophet, like the Savior whom he represents, teaches many times in parables.  The meaning few saw around this comment was that, as one blogger said, "he is caught between the need to warn us  about preparing for the future, and the sensitivity of the saints to be alarmed that something bad is on the horizon. He could use words of “destruction and fire,” but that would be counterproductive; the “fragile population” of members would stop living their lives in a productive, one-egg-a-day kind of way. Once some chickens get it into their minds that the sky is falling, their lives will become unbalanced and fearful."

Many people, when I share these kinds of thoughts, say I'm paranoid, but that's just a word used by those who are uninformed when they finally see something that has been sitting under their very noses for the first time as it truly is.  So, if you're one of those who hasn't clicked out of this article or dismissed me as just some "nutball conspiracy theorist", feel free to to read on for my perspective of how to not be a molting chicken when poo hits the fan in the next few years.

First, President Benson gave us a powerful reminder of why the Book of Mormon was written for our day: "Now undoubtedly Moroni could have pointed out many factors that led to the destruction of the people, but notice how he singled out the secret combinations, just as the Church today could point out many threats to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work, but it has singled out the greatest threat as the godless conspiracy. There is no conspiracy theory in the Book of Mormon —it is a conspiracy fact."  There's no doubt about it, evil men have been conspiring for years to destroy the U.S. from within.  There's nothing else that would have or could have brought what I now call the "Divided States" of America to it's currently dismal and putrid state.  A house divided cannot stand on it's own and it's not a question of if  their government and economy completely collapses, but when.

Next, I repeat what prophets and apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ have been saying for several millenia: "come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness...".  If you want to have peace and joy amid the horrors that are to come, they will be readily and easily available if you make the choice to turn full force to the Savior in everything you do.  No, this does not mean sell everything you have right now, go off grid and hide in a bunker until nuclear warfare destroys the rest of the population (that's not even going to happen).  It also does not mean I support getting overly obsessive and becoming the boy who cried wolf.

What I am saying is that there is a poisonous attitude many, even among the Latter-day Saints, of an apathetic "I have my religious life and my regular life and I need to keep balance between the two." Please don't misunderstand.  Balance is a good thing to be sure, but to mentally separate our commitment to Christ from every day activities is not only missing the whole point of Christ's invitation to follow Him, it is deadly to our spiritual progression.  As Elder Holland said, "Never check your religion at the door."  Discipleship is not something we go should be going about casually, thinking that, because perfection doesn't come overnight, we can just "do things at a comfortable pace" and avoid anything that makes us uncomfortable.  Do you think Christ was comfortable when He was in Gethsemane?  When He was on the cross?  When He was rejected and spit upon and betrayed while totally unwilling to do anything contrary to His Father's will?  Not a chance!

While this doesn't mean that we have to look for hard things or pray for trials (although I do know of at least one person who had the courage to try that), I'm just using that thought to emphasize that becoming Christ-like in an ever increasingly evil world means that staying in our comfort zone is never going to cut it.

The divide between true disciples of Christ and those who aren't is getting ever wider.  If we don't want our faith to break with changes like church's recent policy regarding the LGBT community, we had better make sure we are far enough over on Christ's side of that divide that when such a chasm makes a shift to grow wider we not are so close to the edge that we fall in.  Elder Bednar once suggested that we ask ourselves with each trial "Is the load I'm carrying creating sufficient spiritual traction so I can get safely home to my Heavenly Father?" Similarly I would suggest that we also ask ourselves regularly, "Am I far enough over on the Savior's side that changes toward perfection in the church will push me toward Christ?"

It's impossible to be too Christian, so don't worry about that, but please, believe me when I say following the prophet and aligning our hearts with that of the Savior which prophets convey to us is the safest way to stay on His side and have His peace with us always.

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