Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Not a Magic 8 Ball

Alma 37:38-47.5, with my own punctuation.

And now my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball or director or our fathers called it Liahona, which is being interpreted a compass.  And the Lord prepared it, and behold there cannot any man work after the manner of so curious a workmanship.
And behold it was prepared to show unto our fathers the course which they should travel in the wilderness, and it did work for them according to their faith in God.  Therefore if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold it was done.  
Therefore they had this miracle and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God day by day.  Nevertheless because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works they were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence.  And then those marvelous works ceased and they did not progress in their journey, therefore they tarried in the wilderness or did not travel a direct course and were afflicted with hunger and thirst because of their transgressions.  
And now my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a shadow, for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper, even so it is with things which are spiritual, for behold it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.  
And now I say is there not a type in this thing?  For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers by following its course to the promised land, shall the words of Christ if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.  O my son do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way!  For so it was with our fathers, for so was it prepared for them that if they would look they might live!  Even so it is with us, the way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.  And now my son see that ye take care of these sacred things, yea see that ye look to God and live!  
I had a rich discussion with a friend the other day.  She is a saint in so many ways.  Much of what I was saying seemed to be going unnecessarily far for her.  She asked, "But don't you think that just by being a good person, we can get there?"  She didn't see any problem with the drumbeat of "Following a Prophet," and figured as long as she did what was asked and served and was a good mom, her case was in good shape in the eternal realms.  Never mind what D&C 76 says.

In many ways I feel like she is in good shape, and it's not for me to judge.  But by taking out our 2nd hole of earrings because a man says so is indicative of our reliance on a Magic 8 ball, rather than a Liahona.  There is a difference.

When we use a Magic 8 ball, we shake it and ask a question.  We hope and hope and hope with all our might that the ball will give us the answer that we want.  We ride things out on superstition, and play along for fun.  The risks are not high, and we can be pretty slothful and come up with some less-than-serious questions.  Like "Will I marry Ricky Martin?"  Shake the ball, and get your answer.  It's pretty easy to disregard.  

With the Liahona, it did not work dependent upon the user's faith in the compass.  It was not a Magic 8 ball.  (Don't you think it's peculiar that we have a knockoff variety of the Liahona?  Does Satan have his imitation here?)  The Liahona strictly worked according to their faith in God, which was reflected in the action of the spindles.  They had to believe God was operating it and leading their journey, and they had to be full of faith in HIM.  If they were not faithful in the simple things, it would not work, despite their best hope and hope and hope and hope that it would work.  I can just see some of the guys complaining that the stupid thing wasn't working.  Perhaps they even began believing in the ball more than God himself?  Well how's your faith?  Do you have faith in a dead ball or in the living God?  That is the easiness of the way.  How easy is it to not even take the effort to notice the difference between a person/place/thing whose works are dead versus the living God?   


Has this post affected you for good? Please share your thoughts.