Wednesday, October 1, 2014

God's Commandments: Restrictive or Liberating?


Let's face it. Very few of us, if any, like to be told what to do. We simply want our freedom. We're naturally inclined to go our own way, do our own thing, be our own masters. For this very reason, it takes effort to live in a governmental society because we are constantly told what we can and can't do. Then, when we add religion to our lives, the list of do's and don't's grows and before we know it, almost every decision we make is out of obedience to either a secular law or a spiritual commandment. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is known for its strict set of rules and guidelines. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, "A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation” [Lectures on Faith (1985), 69]. The words "life and salvation” denote liberty, which is a principle regarded just as highly in the church as the "sacrifice of all things", or total obedience. Surprising, freedom and obedience do not contradict each other. Rather, obedience is a stepping stone to freedom. For example, obedience to God prevents regret, and regret is by no means freedom. It also prevents addiction, which is another form of bondage. Disobedience to God, is obedience to the devil, who conspires to destroy our liberty, that we may wear the shackles of addiction and remorse, leaving us no more free than a prisoner confined to a cell. In the words of the Old Testament prophet Joshua, "choose ye this day whom ye will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:10). I know that if we do our best to obey the words of Christ and His apostles and prophets, then our lives will be full of freedom and happiness. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

7 comments:

  1. I hear many people complain about the limitation our church brings into their life. I disagree.

    We can CHOOSE to obey a commandment given or to CHOOSE not to. It depends on the consequences we wish for. Yes, if you want to live healthy and lung-cancer free, you will have to stop smoking. You can't have both the cigarettes and lung-cancer free life--well, unless you die before the cancer shows--but you get the idea.

    Being a member of our church is being free. We understand more in depth about our agency. If we want to go against church doctrine and go party and drink beer, you totally can. But you will have to face the consequences of being disobedient and having specific blessings withdrawn from you. But you chose that action. And you have the choice to choose against it as well even after you chose for it. That is the beauty of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. No matter what your choices were, as long as you strive to be better today than you were yesterday, God will bless you for that choice.

    It isn't a matter of freedom. It is a matter of what you want in life, who you want to become, and what you want for you and your family in the eternities to come. Then, after choosing which choice fits you and your family, you must understand the steps you need to take in order to achieve these goals. As a member, I have chosen to put aside worldly pleasures so that the consequences of my actions are blessings, peace and eternal happiness.

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  2. Obedience to God's commandments brings peace and freedom. Disobedience to God's commandments gradually takes away our freedoms until we are slaves to addictions, and bad behavior. Just as all of God's laws, the blessings come after the trial, not before. I am thankful for the safety that comes only through obedience to Him.

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  3. I find the commandments to be more liberating than restrictive. It helps me to know where the line is and I can whatever I please within those boundaries. Being able to do so brings me a sense of peace and love because I know these laws have been given to me as an act of love and that I am responsible for my actions for good or bad.

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  4. Personally I have found following the Gospel Principles quite freeing. I have watched loved ones, and friends, choose drugs, alcohol, immorality over the Gospel and I don't find their lifestyle liberating at all. Two of them have died from drug related issues, a couple are alcoholics, some have children they only see occasionally while others raise them, some have actually served time for drunk driving or other crimes they have committed while under the influence, more then a few have killed themselves. I cannot see how living like that is freedom. To me, that kind of lifestyle, is nothing but unhappiness and restriction. If you understand the Gospel and its principles you understand that it is the path to freedom and happiness. It is not restriction that is put on us for the sake of restriction it is for our benefit and our happiness.

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  5. In the words of the Book of Mormon prophet Alma, "wickedness never was happiness". Those who roam the desert of sin, pursue the water of the happiness, only to discover it is just a mirage. There is but one path to happiness, and it is the path paved by the Savior. He does not command us to do anything that He was not willing to do himself, nor ever will He. We must look to His example, walk in His footsteps, and repent in His name. This and this alone will bring the happiness we seek.

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  6. We are always free to choose our choices but not to choose our consequences. Because of this, we need to decide which consequences we would prefer and then make the choice accordingly. True freedom comes not from doing whatever we want, but from realizing that if we want to have certain results we are free to do whatever will lead to that result. Living the gospel brings true freedom by bringing us the result we all seek: happiness.

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  7. Thanks for taking the time to post/blog on these day to day issues we do come across as members as well as for everyone out there who do question all the rules and how they may at first seem restrictive. I particularly liked what Joshua Foster had to say almost 2 year ago on the comments, quoting Alma "wickedness never was happiness". I had a investigator friend ask me about all the rules which she didn't like (i eventually found out she was still drinking alcohol at least a couple of days a week). But I hope she understood my answer to her question, which I tried to explain about the savior and his example throughout his ministry which we try and emulate so that we too may gain eternal salvation. "Come follow me", were his simple words just like gospel teaches us, right is right and wrong is wrong.

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