Sunday, June 13, 2010

Gospel Principles versus Cultural expectations

Let me make this perfectly clear (I just sounded like I am doing a Richard Nixon impersonation), I have a very strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ but I don't always believe that the culture is always true. Let me explain.

I love what Dallin H. Oaks said in a conference report, ("Gospel Teaching," Ensign, Nov. 1999, 78)

"Teachers who are commanded to teach "the principles of [the] gospel" and "the doctrine of the kingdom" (D&C 88:77) should generally forgo teaching specific rules or applications. For example, they would not teach any rules for determining what is a full tithing, and they would not provide a list of dos and don'ts for keeping the Sabbath day holy. Once a teacher has taught the doctrine and the associated principles from the scriptures and the living prophets, such specific applications or rules are generally the responsibility of individuals and families."

I believe that when I don't focus on the principles, and I get caught up in the rules and dos and don'ts that I can thus be guilty of comparing and judging others if what they are doing doesn't match MY rules or what I do or don't do. I can thus be guilty of helping create a kind of sick culture that makes us judgmental, less accepting, and hard on each other.

I think the gospel is a lot like this quilt. The pattern for all the blocks is the same but it is the individual use of colors that can create a whole different look. The principles of the gospel are the same for all of us but our individual application and rules will make us all unique.

I am committed to focusing on the principles of the gospel, especially the principle of love.

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