26 August 2010

One night at dinner, I don't remember the conversation (wait, now I do...), my mom made the comment, "Ours is not to question why, ours is but to do or die." Orgininally from Lord Alfred Tennyson's "The Charge of Light Brigade" and quoted thus: "Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do & die," it was again coined by one of the latter-day Presidents of the church (i don't remember which, but it is on a wall in a hallway in the Taylor Building on the BYU-I campus) (I could be wrong... in which case I could rewrite this post in the theme of using misleading quotes in order to not have to think for yourself...)

On occasion, we have leaders who ask us to do something we don't want to do: we don't see the wisdom in it, often we think we are above the task and feel a little "what's in it for me" about it. Maybe we think our leader is selfish and doesn't know what's going on.

As Children of God, there is a lot we don't understand. That whole veil thing... and then that line upon line principle. As we learn to obey, we grow in light and knowledge (part of that obey thing is to read your scriptures: become a disciple-scholar, and student of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, learn of Him and listen to his words, walk in the meekness of His light...). Check my "math" in Doc. & Cov. 93 and Matt. 11. Incidentally, as we disobey, we lose light and knowledge.

Recap:: obey:get brighter/smarter; disobey: get dimmer/dumber.

In the church, we have the great benefit of having inspired leaders who are called of God--through other leaders who are also called of God. Cool. Careful though, power is maintained by persuasion, long-suffering, kindness, meekness. A person may be right, but no one will follow an arrogent bossy-cow. (Sherri Dew once said, "no one wants to be led by a liar." Think about that!) Also, just because your Steward asks you to do something, you shouldn't blindly do it. Brigham Young once said that he was worried that the saints would blindly follow their leaders without gaining a knowledge, assurance, and testimony that what was asked of them truly came from God (on a personal note: often, when given an invitation to act from the First Presidency I feel the assurance of the Spirit, which is confirmed and strengthened as I act on the invitation)(faith without works is dead).

Question what is asked of you, and then do it. You are becoming an engaging, enlightened leader who can also be improved upon. You are becoming a righteous agent of change. You are becoming an heir of God, a benevolent God, yourself.
Frightening when I think of some of the young men and women in the ward... They'll learn and grow.
... or they'll disobey and lose light and knowledge, privileges and blessings.

So, what about that boss you hate who is making less than wise business decisions, that Sunday School president who asked you to attend a class you don't want to go to?

Good Heavens! I'm not your mom, or your conscience! Learn to communicate--express your feelings appropriately and non-defensively! Make your own decisions! But be aware that as you act disobediantly and selfishly you lose light, knowledge, blessings, access to the source of all truth and love, and His Atonement.

Ours is to question why. Questions, but never doubts (Elder Holzapfel, Elder Busche). And sometimes, ours is to do and die.

(Incidentally, "The Charge of the Light Brigade" is about what turned out to be a suicide mission. Those in command made bad decision, but instead of fighting about it, or turn coward and run, the Light Brigade charged, as they were told.
But I believe that those men who died, died valiantly, fighting for a good cause they believed in.)