My favorite of Shakespeare’s plays is the tragedy Macbeth. The play’s main character, Macbeth, Thane of Glamis encounters three witches who hail him as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor and King. This of course confuses Macbeth and he asks the witches to explain themselves whereupon they immediately disappear. At that moment he receives word that the former Thane of Cawdor has died and Macbeth is now Thane of Cawdor. Gripped by the reality of the witches’ prophesy he stumbles through the Great Question. The same Great Question that the writers of Back to the Future had to deal with along with anyone who has been informed of future events. The question is:
Do I have to make the prophesied outcome happen or will it just happen?
Macbeth’s didn’t have to do anything to become Thane of Cawdor, it just happened. Unfortunately the heavy persuasion from his wife and his lust for power compelled him to murder the king, an act which eventually led to him becoming king and fulfilling the witches’ prophesy. But the Great Question is did Macbeth have to murder the king or would something else have happened to cause it to be so?
On a macro scale the Great Question could be applied to prophesy in general… but today I’m not so interested in exploring that direction. I’m more interested in personal prophesies, our patriarchal blessings. These are future events that rely on and have meaning only for the individual.
One example from my PB is that it says I will be spared the plagues and sicknesses that will be prevalent in the world (up to this point in my life I’ve interpreted this as a “physical health” promise). It doesn’t give me any instruction as to how to fulfill this, there are no reminders of the Word of Wisdom, it just tells me of a future blessing.
Now I understand the need to live the commandments, to obey the Word of Wisdom, to not swallow gasoline and all that stuff. Fine. But to what extent do I need to watch what I eat? In other words, do I need to murder the king? I can wear out my days exercising and eating right (checking every label) to make sure this portion of my PB is fulfilled but is that what the Lord intended? And if that’s the case then really it should be in everyone’s PB because pretty much anyone that does that will have few health problems.
On the other hand, can I eat whatever I want, whenever I want it, exercising whenever I feel like it (my current habit)? How much do I have to care for this promise to still be fulfilled?
For now my answer has been “Follow the Spirit.” It’s worked so far, but of course I’m only 28 so I have little experience avoiding plagues and sicknesses. I imagine it won’t matter at least until I’m 29.