(November 6, 2014)
It is a dangerous temptation, when we see society around us crumbling, to believe that we are destined to descend with society into the moral, economic, or spiritual morass (or, at times, all three). But we have yet another example of that not happening in these chapters. Wars and contention spread throughout the land, it was a time of conflict and suffering and pride. And yet, Helaman prospered despite all of this happening because he personally hewed close to the Lord and was obedient to him.
This is not a unique phenomenon. It is repeated throughout the scriptures. It is repeated in history – some of the monastic orders continually increased in their standards of living throughout the Dark Ages while society around them decayed. It is a lie of Satan that when society crumbles, we crumble with it. To the extent that we personally (or in our families or communities) are diligent and obedient and humble, we will find prosperity even amidst greater societal calamity.
The other thought that I had was on the high priests being astonished beyond measure at the blessings of the Lord. I often feel like that, both in my own life and as I tell others when appropriate the experiences that I have had. It really makes no sense to me why I have been blessed to have had the experiences that I have had – there is no particular virtue or righteousness in me that would seem to lend itself to the blessings that I have had. And yet, there are a number of times when it seems the Lord has directly reached down into my life. It is astonishing to me, and I don’t doubt that it seems astonishing to those who hear it.
I don’t know if I am unique – if everyone has similar experiences as I have had over the course of my life or whether they don’t. I have often thought that the difference is that I notice the events when they happen, but I don’t think that is necessarily the case. After all, some of the miracles that I have witnessed would be pretty much impossible to ignore. When I think about it, though, my mind ends up going in a loop. Instead, I am just grateful that I have had the blessings that I have had, allow myself to be astonished at the goodness of the Lord, and try to increase my efforts to give Him my will and follow His commandments.