(June 24, 2013)
Two thoughts on this chapter. First, this chapter puts to bed the argument that there cannot be a separation of public and private morality. Morianton had a leader of no less distinction than Moroni to say that he did right by his people even while he cut himself off from the presence of the Lord through his whoredoms. My natural inclination is to say that we should not vote for someone who doesn’t keep their marriage covenants, because if they don’t keep that covenant how can we rely on them to keep their promises to us. I still think that is good advice in general, but I suppose that I cannot say it with the same conviction that I once did (knowing that it is possible to be a lout and a good leader).
The second thought was on the brother of Shiblom killing the prophets. What is it about unrighteous people that they think to gain from killing the prophets? Whether it is the stoning of Stephen, the scourging of Abinidi, or even the crucifixion of Christ, there seems to be the thought subconsciously among the wicked that if only we can silence the servants of God then judgment will not fall on us for our sins. This persecution, by its very nature, is demonstration of their understanding that the Gospel is true – as clear as if they testified of it. After all, rational people don’t stone to death the man standing on the street corner with the sandwich board saying that “The End is Near.” Only the guilty, when confronted by the testimony of the righteous, engage in such behavior.
Of course, it is once again easy to see that behavior in others and more difficult to turn ourselves inward and see where we do the same. After all, we are not the righteous. We are the wicked. How do we seek to silence the Lord’s servants as they teach us uncomfortable truths? Do we ignore the Lord’s messages through convincing ourselves that they are speaking outside their stewardships (‘how dare the Church take a position on such-and-such political issue!’), or do we (as I think more common) politely read the scriptures or listen to the counsel of the Lord’s servants before turning our backs and ignoring those things the Lord has directed His servants to write and say rather than applying the teachings to our lives?