Saturday, January 30, 2016

Blind Obedience and Freedom

I have often heard, "I would never be a Mormon. They believe in blind obedience. I value my freedom and will not blindly follow some leader, some Prophet." There are dictators and cult leaders who through military force, drugs, and personal charisma are able to make others submit to their will, but they are never able to maintain this control for very long. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) was established in 1836 nearly two hundred years ago and is now a thriving worldwide church of over 15 million people. Would so many people join and remain in a church where they were required to surrender their right to make decisions, to think for themselves? Are our eighteen year old missionaries that charismatic? Hardly!

People say, but you follow a prophet. Yes, we do. What would have happened to the people of Israel if they had not followed the prophet, Moses, who led them out of slavery in Egypt?  As one of our Apostles explained, "We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see. " 
We obey because we know it brings true freedom. I know that doesn't seem to make sense, but when you stop and think instead of just rushing around in an emotional tizzy, it really does. How many times have you heard young children defiantly announce that they won't wear seat belts, go to bed, eat good food, or stay on the path. They want immediate freedom, but adults know that if they let their child do as they want, they may not live to grow up. Reality is that we can choose what we want to do, but we can not choose the consequences of our actions.  As one tot patiently explained to me, "The car won't rund me over."  Yes, no one would want to run a child over, but a car can't always stop in time to avoid hitting them. 

 Another reality is that you need to experience to learn. Most children have to touch the hot stove, or slip on the smooth floor as they run through the house to understand danger and pain. As they gain confidence in their parents, and follow their rules and counsel they find that they have more, and more freedom.  Smart children quickly learn that a few moments of rule breaking "freedom"  can take away their future options. Experiencing the painful restrictive consequences (if you live) of deciding to "fly" off the roof certainly is not freedom! Expressing your "freedom" by taking drugs (including alcohol and smoking), does not make you free.  Addiction is a most cruel form of slavery. 

The people who will not heed the warning to slow before a curve are often found in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the ravine. Smart people learn from their experience. They are willing to trust rules and people who have proven in the past to be correct. This trust enables them to learn and grow and to accomplish astounding things in their life. Trust allows them to move ahead to where they haven't been before. You don't know you can play baseball or the piano until you do it, but how can you ever learn if you must have confirmation that you will be a great player before you will practice? 

If we are smart, we learn from our experiences to trust those whoes rules and advice has brought us happiness. We study, and work using their counsel to help us be successful. This confirms and increases our confidence in their advice. We seek our own spiritual confirming experience,  our own witness, that what they say is right, then we move forward far beyond what we could do on our own. Choosing to trust God and His representative on the earth, Prophets, is not surrendering any freedom, it is an intelligent choice which increases our future freedoms. 

The astronauts obeyed every instruction they were given and were able to reach the moon. Heavenly Father wants us to trust Him and follow His counsel, so He can help us to reach our full potential and have joy in this life and forever. Our Savior gave His life to show us how much He loves us, and to prove that we can completely trust Him. Do I choose to follow God's prophet on the earth? Of course!

for a great article on Obedience and Freedom see:


  1. This is a fabulous post that fits nicely with my next gospel doctrine lesson. Would you mind if I referenced it in my lesson next week?