Obedience in Mormonism
In the Doctrine and Covenants, section 76, it says,
For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end. Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory. And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.
Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations. And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught. For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will—yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man (Doctrine and Covenants 76:5-10).
These verses of scripture are thought provoking and even surprising. The Lord is speaking of knowledge of heavenly things, even His mysteries, and wisdom only He can give, but He promises to bestow this great revelatory insight upon those who serve Him in righteousness—the obedient. Thus, the obedient ditch-digger may someday fathom the mysteries of God, while the religious scholar is still analyzing ancient texts.
Obedience is central to worship of God the Father and Jesus Christ. Many of today’s Christian sects claim that all is necessary for salvation is belief in the Savior, and that our works don’t matter. They claim that God’s grace is sufficient for salvation, so that as long as we believe, our behavior doesn’t matter. The Mormon philosophy is as follows:
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved (2 Nephi 10:24).
For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do(2 Nephi 25:23).
Wherefore, ye need not suppose that I and my father are the only ones that have testified, and also taught them. Wherefore, if ye shall be obedient to the commandments, and endure to the end, ye shall be saved at the last day. And thus it is. Amen. (1 Nephi 22:31).
Obedience to the commandments of God can be difficult. First, one must learn what those commanments are. Because worthy Mormons enjoy the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and seek to live by the Spirit, they receive personal commandments as well as those found in scripture.
The Lord has given us “free agency,” the freedom to choose or to reject Him. Everything on this earth and in heaven is His, so the only gift we can really offer Him is our will. It is a lifetime journey to determine His will and seek to do it, no matter what our own worldly desires happen to be. Mormons are sometimes accused of being “sheep,” blindly following the dictates of the leaders of the Church, but this is not the case. Members are expected to take the counsel of the scriptures and the prophets to the Lord in prayer and receive a confirmation by the Holy Ghost that the counsel is of God. It is then our privilege to follow. We inform ourselves and choose to follow the shepherd. In truth, it is more natural to behave like goats, and go our own way. Obedience is difficult, especially at those times when a commandment makes no sense to us.
In Doctrine and Covenants, section 130, verses 19 and 21, it says,
And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.
In the Book of Mormon, it says,
I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it” (Mosiah 2:41).
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